Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The countdown is on

The fourth and final Christmas occurred last night. I must say, the first and the last were the best. Maybe I just really like small gatherings better than large extravagant parties? But it was fabulous. I love visiting with my little brother and his family.

And now that all that is over, I'm packing up my things and going to Boulder for a few days.

I was just talking to a coworker this morning about what a year this has been. The first and second quarters were horrifying. And devastating. The third was a time of recovery and discovery and enlightenment. The fourth? Beyond my wildest dreams. And I feel as though it's going out on a good note. There have been so many lessons learned, so many friendships made, strengthened, secured... I get chills  every time I think about how much has happened, what all I've been through, the people that have helped me, the places I've been, the possibilities that lie ahead...

Here are some of my favorite moments from 2009...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Three down, one to go...

My Saturday morning run was much more enjoyable than the day before. Mostly because I was prepared for what was out there. More wind. More cold. And yes, I went out and about in the town of Effingham. I ran by the high school, which, if you've heard that Ben Folds song I referenced before, you'll notice the first line is "If there's a God, He is laughing at us and our football team!" It's because they're named the Effingham Flaming Hearts. No joke. 

And I ran past the hospital where I was born...This is also where my mom worked. And still does on occasion.

 After that fun, I ventured out to Wal-mart. And I was scared. So, for protection, I took Kaylee and I let her wear her Heelies. I figured I could play mom and fit right in with allowing her to skate down the aisles.

Then it was off to dad's side of the family in St. Joseph, IL. Again, I took Kaylee with me. We also brought the pup. .

If you get grossed out easily, skip the next paragraph.

Let me give a little preface that all dogs have something called anal sacs that can leak. And what come out is the most revolting liquid known to man. I'll just state for the record that there have been times when Clubber has secreted some fluid. It's usually when she's reaaaallllyy tired on warm and cuddling on someone's lap. Which is what she was doing with Kaylee on the way to dad's family. Clubber stood up and the odor wafted into the air as Kaylee screeched and I bursted out in laughter (not out of cruelty, but because it's happened to me before. and why not laugh?)

As luck would have it, we were just five miles from an oulet mall and stopped at Old Navy for a quick changing of the pants. and stuffing the old ones in a plastic bag. We were back on the road in no time. And later, Kaylee was able to laugh about the situation too.

We arrived and got to hang out with grandma, and the kids (2 year old Marley and 4 month old Owen) while dad and my little bro and his fiance went to get gifts. I love those children, but after a weekend of being around kids, let me just say that there is no better birth control than children themselves.

Back to mom's that night. In a snow storm. Luckily, I have a guy who will entertain my niece with text messages from Boulder while I grip the steering wheel and pray we don't die. Upon arrival, we encountered a mess of monumetal proportion...but I won't divulge what occured. Just know I went and cleaned up the next morning, but stayed the night on the couch at my grandma's.

And went for another cold, and snowy this time, run before the 25 family members gathered at Granny's. That was fun. It was just a lot of people. And a lot of kids. Seriously. Very effective birth control. I was EXHAUSTED by the time I left that afternoon.


So was Clubber, but she got some lovin' from her cousin, so I think that totally made up for it...

I got in my car to make the drive back to Cincinnati, and it smelled like gasoline, but I figured it would go away like it usually does (yes. I said usually. I mean, i usually also only drive the 6 miles to work, so it doesn't bother me). But a half hour down the expressway and I wasn't feeling too great. And I had the window down. And it was all of 19 degrees. Oh, and i don't have heat.

So, I called mom and my little bro brought me her car to drive home. A couple accidents on the roads, some severe traffic, and a 6 hours later (it usually takes 3.5-4 hours), I was finally back in KY in my own bed!

And there's only one more Christmas to celebrate.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas with the ladies

Morning began with an hour run. I decided to run the 15 minutes out to the country and run amongst the farm life. While it's typically very peaceful out there, I failed to remember that where it is flat and farmland, there is no shelter from the wind. And the gusts were about 35 miles an hour. And the cold was rolling in. It had rained the previous 48 hours. After a half hour in that lustering cold, I was definitely looking forward to getting back to town for some reprieve from the wind. About five minutes from home, I was pelted with freezing rain. I had to stop and turn my back to it at one point because the little balls of ice felt like razors hitting my face. Hot coffee never tasted so good as when I got back to mom's.

My aunt and cousin arrived and we had lunch. This was fairly uneventful. Then the Scrabble gaming began. Granny sat out the first game. My cousin won the first game and then she and my aunt headed home.

That's when the real fun started. My granny, old and senial as she is, dominated. At one point, she was up by 40 points. She couldn't add her points up for shit, but she sure as hell can play up the triple word scores. And let's not mention the fact that she'd start the game with a word and then later ask who wrote that word and whether it was actually a word!

We had four generations of women sitting around the table. My granny, who will be 91 in three weeks, my mom, me and my ten year old niece. My mom was asking about my favorite Christmas song, which turned into her singing "I want a hippopotomus for Christmas..." horribly off tune. Kaylee and I were laughing about farts, I'm playing words like "boner" as granny snickers in the background and tells her daughter to "shut up" and questions whether "freer", which was played about four rounds earlier, is a word. To be a fly on the wall in the room...

It was a glorious day and a fabulous evening.

Tomorrow, I head to dad's family...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Four Christmases. in real life

My mom and dad are from IL. When I was a wee tot, my dad got a job with the federal government, which moved us to Northern KY/Cincinnati. And we're pretty much the only ones that moved away. ever. The entire rest of the family is still in IL. It was always us that travelled for holidays, back to Effingham (central IL) and St. Joseph (right outside Champaign). This was always an adventure. For one, my parents couldn't take a trip to the mall without a major blowout. And any trip over 45 mins and my older brother would eat a can of honey roasted peanuts and stink us all out. I was the token fat, middle child (and only girl) that always needed to eat. you know "can we stop at Dairy Queen?" right after having had McDonald's. And candy. Chips. Coke. You name it.

Yeah. Dysfunctional doesn't even begin to describe.

My parents have since divorced. And remarried. And my little brother moved far away and started his own family. And mom moved back to IL. So, I still travel. There's Christmas at mom's. Christmas at mom's family. Christmas at dad's and Christmas at dad's family.

Things are much calmer and more fun now that I'm older. And now that we're not three crazy kids and fighting parents shoved in a minivan full of peanut gas going over the river and through the woods.

But that's not to say it's not entertaining. I mean, within the first hour of my arrival to mom's today, my granny said "now...I think you've gained some weight since I last saw you..." Um, she's 90. And her memory is dwindling. And I no longer wear a size 0 (yeah, fat kid to way  too skinny to now) but that comment has had me feeling like a lard ass all night. But that's just granny. If it's not your weight, it's your hair. but she's honest. so it's kinda funny.

I decided to make the trek to Effingham today lest I spend Christmas eve at my lonely little apartment and Christmas day wondering why the hell I didn't finish all my shopping earlier. It's just the girls here now - my mom, my granny, my niece, Kaylee and me. Oh, and Clubber. We're banishing the male cat to the porch (no worries, it's covered and like 40 degrees out).

Just now, we were decorating the tree and my mom busts out in song "O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree"... and Kaylee is commenting on Clubber sniffing feline ass. Granny went home. She lives next door (yes, this is small town central IL - for a funny take on this town, listen to Ben Folds "Effington"). She keeps her house at about 82 degrees so no one stays long. Smart lady. Or maybe she wants to see some skin?

Did I mention that I also had to help Kaylee register her new iPod? yes. Miley Cyrus. And Taylor Swift. I think I already heard Party in the USA about 20 times. in the last hour.

Tomorrow, the rest of the family comes in for some grub. The hilarity ensues. Stay tuned. I'll have pictures. Maybe even old fat pics.

In other news, I stopped by Judi's today to exchange gifts and got these adorable wellies!

And she made Clubber a collar with her name on it!

And Clubber got to play with Fausto and Ari. Lucy prettty much stayed to herself. But it made Clubber EXHAUSTED for the ride. Good for me. Merry Christmas all!!!
Oh, Chipmunks Christmas album is now playing as our soundtrack.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Big Warm Welcome to Winter and Hell Week!

Monday marked the first day of winter! Yes, I realize this probably doesn't sound like a great thing to most, but hear me out... As my friend, Holly, pointed out, this also symbolizes the shortest day of the year (wait, it really does get better), which only means that the days start getting longer again!

So, let's welcome the winter! We can get through and move on to long warm days on the bike outside instead of long laborious sweaty static rides inside on the trainer...and sweating while we pound the pavement instead of dodging snowflakes and attempting to stay upright while running down ice covered sidewalks...and wearing flip flops and shorts to swim practice rather than feeling our nose hairs freeze as we make the trip back home in the dark at 7am.

Speaking of swim practice... Yesterday, Coach Aaron explained to us that the week of Christmas is also known as "Hell Week". Apparently, most people are out of work (not me) and kids are out of school...and everyone is eating to much and not exercising enough, so what more perfect time to bust out lots of long sets with very minimal rest...try to get through and maybe fail. Ahahahahah! Notice the maybe. This is also the time when he stripped his sweatshirt. We were already sweating in the pool from our 600 mix and then 12x75 warm-up. The workout laid before us? 15x200. They were broken into 3 sets of 5 with descending pace. And After the first 1k, my lats were screaming. I begged someone else to lead the second set and that was much, much bettter. I am better able to relax if I'm not the one in the front. I have a major fear of slowing others down and my HR skyrockets at the very thought of it.

6:45 (the end of practice) hit before we could finish them all, so we only ended up doing 12x200 and then a cool-down for a total of 4k for the morning.

And a bike/run brick followed that evening.

Needless to say, I slept well last night.

And I'm going home now to get in a good bike. and another run. and then back to the second installment of hell week.

Monday, December 21, 2009

another fun one

I skipped out of work early on Friday. And today isn't going so smoothly as a result. But I don't have one ounce of regret. I left to pick up Boulder. And I think the sun came out in Cincinnati.

Some lunch, exchanging of gifts and then down to happy hour with some friends at a new place on the river, just a few blocks from my house. We even got our picture in the paper!

Saturday morning was meant for sleeping in, right? Right behind sleep, the priority was getting an HD converter for my old school TV so I could watch the Ironman Champs on TV. (yes, I've gone about 7 months now without watching television. And, really, I didn't miss it. I have a DVD player. I don't pay for cable. And somehow, I missed that gov't subsidized converter program thing...).

After visiting the Kroger Marketplace, Wal-Mart and Best Buy, it was determined that it would just be simpler to purchase a television. Apparently no one carries the converters (and Larry from Wal-mart electronics dept said that you can't even order them anymore!). So, I caved.

Good thing I had a techie with me for the weekend to set it all up in record time because it was only an hour to IM air time and I still had a run to get in. We headed out for an easy 30 min run in the cold. Me, in my new jacket, that just so happens to match my new shoes...

And he, imitating my action move. Funny.

The difference between Cincy and Boulder? Um, it pretty much looks like this outside all winter. It's cloudy and grey. And dark. And ugly. It's no wonder everyone suffers from SAD. Guess that's when we have to take matters into our own hands and just be goofy.

Upon returning home, I jumped on the trainer and teared up as I watched the stories of Ironman. It's such a moving experience. I remember watching it two years ago from my mom's living room in IL thinking I wanted to do it someday, but never imagining that by this time in my life, I'd have completed two IM distance races. I remember crying. And wondering how? How do they do all that? How does someone train for something like that? How does anyone have time for it? And now, it's hard to imagine my life without that!

Saturday morning, I awoke to go run with my buds. Actually, I didn't know who all was going to be there, but I didn't want to skip out on it. After a good ten hilly miles with five guys, a couple of whom were pushing the pace a bit, I was starving! And I came home to a fresh veggie omelet and sweet potato hash...and sadly, I had to send Boulder back to Colorado at the end of the day. But, like I said, it was another good weekend. And I don't have one ounce of regret about it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside

What a week it's been! It started out on Monday as being nice and warm outside. Like 55 degrees. Tuesday, it was a little chilly as I got up and went to swim practice. I think it was in the 40s. I wore flip flops to practice. By the time I was headed to work, the temps had dropped into the 30s. And they kept sinking from there. It was a crisp 19 degrees on my way to practice this morning. Ugh. I just tried not to think about how I was going to have to strip down and get wet.

Luckily, it only takes a few hundred to get warm in the pool. Tuesday, we did a total of 4k. That included 29x100. It was all at easy pace, so it didn't really hurt.

I had a minor melt-down between swim practice and work. A good friend of mine happened to call in the middle of it. So, he picked me up for lunch...which was much needed. I have the most amazing people in my life.

Anyway, after work, I got on the trainer for my first focused bike workout of the off season. Twenty minutes in, I was dripping sweat. I'd forgotten what that was like! And having a focus for the ride makes it oh-so-much-easier to get through! I do so much better having a schedule. I mean, I'm going to exercise anyway, so it's better that someone else design what I'm supposed to do and how much of it I should do. If it were up to me, I'd probably just run five days a week, swim a few days, lift a couple days...and then, when I get back on the bike in the spring, I'll be wishing I'd been on it more in the winter.

Anyway, Wednesday morning was a run with strides. It was all of 17 degrees. But I just chose not to acknowledge that small factor. I just put on some layers and acted like it didn't matter. Those first ten minutes were COLD though. Then the sun began to rise and I couldn't help but be smiling at how beautiful it was on the bridge as I did my strides.

Luckily, I made it through the work day...and onto an easy spin. And then more cleaning. And baking. And watching movies.

Practice this morning was, um... tiring. Lots of sprints. Lots of kicks. A "half hour of power", which is as many hundreds as you can do on a specific interval. My lane was 1:20. And we ended with a timed 100 and  a timed 50. Did I mention it was 19 degrees out? I think my hair froze on the way home.

Tonight is nothing. Except cleaning out the car and maybe getting some groceries. Tomorrow is another cold ass run. With hills. And I can't wait!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I can't believe...

 - I actually went out for a ride on the mtb and didn't crash! I had a lot of fun. And I went alone. I got incredibly muddy and I slipped on ice a couple times. I found out that mtb tires have no traction when caked in mud. And even Marines will laugh at a chic in spandex who has mud streaks up her crack.
 - I opted to run on the treadmill instead of the road yesterday. It had been raining for about 12 hours. It was dark and dreary. I was cold. I wanted to sweat. So to the gym, I dragged my ass. And I got sweaty. And it was glorious.
 - They will hire anyone willing to work for minimum wage at the new Kroger Marketplace in Newport, KY. Wow. Did I just state the obvious? All of northern KY decided to visit this place on Sunday around noon. It took over a half hour to get through the check out line. And every lane was open. There are three cart corrals in the entire parking lot. Fucking genius.
 - A good friend of mine told me I'm intimidating. I've gotten this in the past, but I honestly thought that perception might have changed. I'm so not that girl. I mean, I'm a total softy. I don't get it. I'm totally approachable. In fact, I'll probably approach you. I'm just a clutzy goof. With an obnoxiously loud laugh.
 - I watched two movies this weekend. And two last weekend. And one before that. I rarely watch movies. And I just signed up for Netflix. I fugured I need something to do for these trainer rides during the week because...
 - The "off season base training plan" starts today. I have a schedule. Here we go!
 - As I sit here eating carrots and broccoli, my coworkers are ordering "Five Guys Burger and Fries". Just for shits and giggles, I pulled up the website. And the nutritional info. I decided not to ruin their fun and inform them of nutritional monstrosities they are about to comsume.

Friday, December 11, 2009

early to rise

People always ask me how I get up so early and work out. In the winter, the question expands to "how do you get up so early when it's so cold outside and train?"

Simple. I don't have much choice. My body is designed to rise early. I have always been this way. Sleeping in for me is, like, 8am. If I were really lucky, I could sleep until 9. But only if I were up until 3 the night before. Even in high school, I was up in plenty of time to get in a run before class.

Problem is, my body wakes up, but I don't think my brain is quite so acute in the early hours. If it were, surely, it would convince me to stay indoors, where it's warm.

Case in point:
Yesterday, I woke up ten minutes before the alarm...yep, 4:20am. And I got ready for swim practice. It was the coldest morning of the season so far - 19 degrees. And I make this the morning that I'm going to go back to swim practice. Twenty minnutes away. In a car with no heat.

But, like I said, my brain didn't argue the idea. It was just an autonomic response.

And this morning, again, 20 degrees. And I put on some tights, a fleece, gloves and a hat and I go out for a run along the river. The sleeping brain this morning? I went out with the wind. And came back against it. It's a total rookie mistake. And a recipe for disaster. or frost bite. The kicker? I'd just had discussed this very topic with my COO (and fellow runner on) Wednesday.

In other random news...
 - I've found that you make no friends in the office when you jam up the printer with pages upon pages of client tax returns. After receiving several nasty comments, my only response is "I'm just doing my job".
 - I'm still not as unpopular as that person in the office who leaves streaks in the toilet.
 - My buddy just lent me his mountain bike. So I'm riding it this weekend. Pray I don't kill myself.
 - Boulder is coming to visit next weekend. :)
 - The previous statement means I have some cleaning to do this weekend. I hate cleaning. Right now, it looks like Christmas puked on my living room floor.
 - Meeting up with Coach and teammates this eve to discuss training and season plan.
 - Um, it's Friday! Let the games begin!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I hope i have power

So, I absolutely love running in the rain. Yesterday after work, it was raining. It was also about 37 degrees. I like both these factors.

I set out for my run in an IM cap, a lightweight fleece, capri tights and my Zoots (cause the water flows oh so freely through them). Oh, and I had on gloves. I felt good from the onset. And I headed toward downtown. I passed a couple guys with shit-eatin' grins and waved. These were the only other two crazies out last night.

A couple miles in, I started to feel my upper body warm up. I unzipped a bit.

A mile later, I was regretting that move. The cold started to settle in. I think it rained down my top. That didn't help.

The last couple miles my pace kept creeping faster. And I think it's because all I could think of was getting the run over with and into a hot shower. I was running with my hands covering my frozen nips. My legs had long gone numb.

I walked inside and stripped down and literally had to wring out my clothes in the bathtub. Even my gloves. Immediately to a hot shower where I felt like my skin was burning off. I thought for sure I'd lose some sensitivity due to nerve damage and frost bite. It was hard to eat after such trauma. I don't know if I was more upset that I was so cold or by the fact that I felt betrayed by my instincts to love the rain running.

I piled on layers and cranked up the heat for bed.

And I awoke to 54 degrees and wind. Like crazy blustering wind. Like, the kind of wind that is scary to be outside walking your dog in kind of wind. And then the radio told me that we're dropping to 18 degrees by this evening. And more wind. Lots of it. Like 60 mph gusts. Remnants of Ike kind of wind. So, I jumped on the trainer and finished watching Whatever Works before heading into this dreadful place work.

It is now 31 degrees. And it is still wet out. That means we'll have some glorious ice out there. And there are almost 10,000 people without power because of the crazy wind. Ugh. I hope I'm not one of them. I'll have to jump on the trainer for warmth.

Monday, December 7, 2009

First time for everything!

I won my very first race on Saturday. I've come in second in a lot of races. But this was my first win. 

It was a small field, just 174 runners. A 10 mile trail race at John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs, OH. And it was cold. All of 22 degrees.

My feet were numb for the first three miles. That's pretty miserable when attempting to not kill yourself while running through rocks and ice... I'd opted to NOT warm up since I was told the first few miles are very technical. I figured I could use that as a warm-up. Plus, I wasn't willing to get rid of any layers any earlier than I had to.

I stayed with Coach and his daughter and a couple guys I train with for the first couple miles. Then we hit an opening after an uphill and I decided to take the opportunity to go ahead and move at a faster pace.

I saw a guy in blue ahead and focused on him. Pretty soon, there was a line of four of us with Blue Boy pacing us in the lead. The guy behind me sounded like he was about to lose a lung and I wanted to tell him to ease up, but who am I to tell some dude I don't know that his breathing was frightening me?

At a about the half way mark, we exited the woods and hit some grass where there was a picnic table with jugs of water and Gatorade. I opted for the Gatorade and went on my way...again behind Blue. But we'd picked up another runner. Another mile and I decided to make another move and pass the two guys in front of me. The new guy tagged along, but I dropped him pretty soon too.

There were volunteers out on the course at random spots and one yelled "Shoot it in. You're almost there". I figured this meant we had a mile or less. Um, wrong. I guess he was just trying to be nice. Or encouraging. But he was completely misleading. I kept seeing a woman ahead of me. Through the switchbacks, I'd catch a glimpse of her orange fleece. I just focused on my footing and not burning myself out.

A couple miles later, I was right on her tail as we came to a widening in the trail. I figured we had to be close to the finish, so I picked up the pace again and passed her just before we came out of the woods again and into the grass, about a half mile from the finish.

Finish time was 1:20:11. And when I crossed the line, they told me I was first female! I hadn't even known. I got a ribbon. And two cookies.

I dropped off Tom, who had joined me for the trek up to Dayton, went home and thawed out and watched Funny People with Clubber. Good movie. I laughed out loud a couple times. And it really made me think about some things. I was feeling pretty nauseas and figured it was just from the cold, so I took it easy the rest of the day and stayed warm so I could get up and go to Judi's cross race with her in the morning.

She picked me up at 6:30am and we headed down to Louisville. Again, very cold outside. I was happy to make the trip. And even happier it wasn't me racing this time. Sometimes, it's just really nice to be the one cheering and taking pictures.

Doesn't it even look cold?? EEk!

The course looked fun. And Judi did great! Check out her RR here.

After a long hot shower and warming up again upon arriving back home, the nausea set in again. And it was suggested that I treat myself to a day of rest. So that's what I did. And today we have snow!!! So, if I can kick the nausea, I'll be making the trip home in my tights and running shoes!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

This, right here, epitomizes how I feel when I run

Well, at least those two pictures in which I have a shit-eatin' grin.

And that's precisely why I opted to bail on swim practice, yet again, this morning and go for a run. I woke up at normal swim practice time...4:30!! and walked the pup. It felt amazingly warm out. But I called the weather line (241-1010 for all you Cincinnatians who aren't aware of it - gives you current temp and forecast) to make sure my mind wasn't playing tricks on me. 43 degrees. and dropping into the 20s tonight.

Yup!! time to take advantage of the warm(er) weather and run!

I was out the door by 5:20. I tried to keep a nice slow pace, but it's difficult to gage in the dark. I just moved my feet. And headed up the long hill to Ft. Thomas. There was a smell in the air that reminded me of long runs prepping for GFT. Must've been the rain from the evening before.

I wound through the streets I know so well from having lived up in that area for two years. It was strange to be a visitor. I passed the Y where I first started swimming. I thought about the guy that I swam next to every morning. I wondered if he'd gotten any faster. Back then, I though 1500 was a long swim. And it took me at least 30 minutes...

I passed the old park where I would stop and swing, and the track behind the Domicilary where I do track work in the summer. I cruised by my high school coach's street. There were signs in the yards all over town encouraging Highlands to win state.

I thought about that 50 mile run I want to do. I thought about the 10 mile trail run this weekend. I thought about what I'd eat for breakfast and the people who've influenced my life over the last few years. I thought about riding my bike and how much I don't want to get on the trainer and going to a show on Saturday night. And pancakes and peanut butter. And Clubber and how she was probably sleeping in my covers waiting for me to return. I thought about what to get people for Christmas. And I wondered how mom's new live-in situation is working. I thought about hot coffee and how it seemed to be getting colder the longer I ran. And I thought about how I'd run further if I didn't have to go to work.

After an hour an ten minutes, I headed back toward home. It was still dark. I was glad I didn't bring my camera along because my keys and the sloshing water bottle, which had become significantly lighter, were plenty to carry.

A little less than two hours and about 14 miles after I began, I was stretching on my front porch, chilled, as  the sun began to light the sky. The perfect beginning to my day...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I don't know if there's some hidden meaning behind those t-shirts...

...but, seriously, Life is Good!

It's one of those times when it feels like it's in fast forward because so much is going on and the days just seem to fly by. But I guess that's kinda how the holidays tend to get, right? I mean, one day you're passing out candy to trick-or-treaters and then suddenly, you look up and see Christmas trees and snow!

Unfortunately, I'm one of those very few people who had to work the day after Thanksgiving. Fortunately, it was only for three hours. And then I left for a weekend in Boulder....and if you haven't ever been, go straight to travelocity and book a flight NOW. But wait until after the holidays to visit because flight prices are exorbitant right now.

It's an outdoorsy person's dream come true. Hiking trails and bike paths. Sun. Moutntains. Fresh air. Trust me on this one. It's gorgeous.

Those three days passed oh so quickly, but involved a climb up Mount Sanitas, which overlooks the city, a ride into town to walk around Pearl street, an hour and a half run on the Mesa Trail, cheering at a cross race, good beer, nice people, and some relaxation.

I skipped swim practice yesterday morning and slept in. I walked into work to get some activity. And I wished I had remembered to bring my camera. There were so many sights to see. I passed by the big Christmas train display downtown, saw an elderly woman walking a dog and carrying another in swaddling clothes (no kidding). Plus, the moon was crazy big last night as I made the trek back home. I love walking through downtown with my iPod in my ears. Soon, it'll be too cold and wet to make the trip by foot, so I'm trying to take advantage of the nice days.

I got up and went for a swim this morning. I'd forgotten how great it can be to just swim. Judi had told me about it. But I've become so accustomed to hard sets with Masters practice that easy swimming alone with no intervals or sets seemed foreign. But it felt great.

So, yeah, all this activity the last week is my excuse for not writing. That, and I've had no good material. These are the frivolous thoughts I've had and some of what I get to look forward to...

 - There's a 10 mile trail race this Saturday that I'm SO looking forward to doing. I haven't run trails competitively since high school cross country.
 - I get to go be Judi's sherpa for her cross race on Sunday. In Louisville. It's pretty cool to watch instead of race all the time.
 - Can you really listen to Jay-Z without dancing along? or at least bobbing your head? or getting a swagga?
 - Why is there ever just one lonely shoe out in the middle of the road?
 - I want to do an Ultramarathon this year. Either the Leadville Silver Rush 50 Run or the Mohican 50 Mile. Problem is, Mohican is just a few weeks after TTT; Leadville has crazy altitude. Running is my true love though. And trail running is even better.
 - November was my month to slack on intake. Too much sugar all around. I'm making a better effort to watch what I eat. And no, I don't mean just seeing crap go down my gullet.
 - Nice job at IMCoz, Kim! Way to rock it out. Is it really your last? Somehow I doubt this.
 - Flight is booked to go back to Boulder for New Years. It will be a nice repreive after Christmas with the family. I love them, but it's a little overwhelming. And a lot of travel. I am looking forward to seeing them all though. Maybe I'll take my bike to IL.
 - I haven't been on the trainer since prepping for Worlds. I'm holding out until I have to get on that thing again.
 - I love witnessing someone talk about their passion. Can you really, truly even know someone without seeing this?

Ok, enough from me. Happy Hump Day!