I loved the suggestions given to me last Thursday in an effort to get my running motivation back on track. I loved them so much that I pretty much implemented all of them this past weekend.
1. Create a plan.
I already had a plan mapped out leading up to the Colorado Marathon on May 6th- but I wasn’t super excited about it. It was a generic plan that I was not sure would get me the speed I needed to break 4 hours. I’m a really new runner and I need to be pushed and find my speedy legs.
Then a friend back east, whom I admire a ton as an athlete (BQ’ed her first marathon, and qualified for Kona in her first Ironman), willingly wrote me a track workout for Friday morning. She and I also discussed a training plan that revamped how I would execute my long runs. Talking to Kendra about the training plan made me excited to start to train and document my improvement. So excited that I got up at 530am on a Friday to do quarter mile sprint repeats like she asked me to. I plan to do a post about the plan once Kgo and I work through all of the details. Thanks for the help, Kendra- I really, really, really appreciate it!
2. Dont force yourself. Just party instead.
I liked this suggestion- you guys are smart! If I am still feeling burnout from Ironman, jumping into an intense training plan is not going to help. I interpreted this suggestion as “calm the eff down, go snowboarding, drink beer, and eat cookies”. So, um, that is what I did on Saturday.
3. Run with a friend/ Dont wear your Garmin/ Join a running group
On Sunday morning I met up with Liz, Marco, and our new Colorado blogging friend, Erin for a 10 mile run down the beautiful Cherry Creek trail. I did not wear my Garmin, so I had no idea what our pace was. I turned around when Liz said to and just enjoyed being outside and chatting with 3 friends for 10 miles. It was really fun!
I also plan to run on Wednesday evenings with Runners Roost- a Colorado running store that hosts runs (for the DC people- it is like Pacers). I am excited to meet fellow runners, including Courtney, for a mid week social run.
I plan to ease back into the training- I’m still not totally motivated- but having a training plan which I am excited about, and tons of friends to run with, makes it easier to tie my shoelaces and get out of the door. Oh, and my Garmin is fully charged for the first time in over 2 months so that’s a good start.
Running + Snowboarding + beer + cookies +friends = a successful weekend.
I thought it would be around late January where I wrote a post about kicking off marathon training. The Colorado Marathon is May 6th, and I have some pretty big goals in mind. Goals that will only be achieved if I work really damn hard. Instead, I am struggling to find the motivation to even lace up my running shoes and charge my Garmin. My Garmin has been dead for over a week and I have been too lazy to even plug it in. Sigh.
The thought of following a training plan right now is just very unappealing. I knew I would feel that way after Ironman- but that race was two months ago! I didn’t think I would have an issue jumping back on a training plan after a couple months of doing whatever I please. Like snowboarding. Or Pure Bare classes. Or sitting on my butt drinking local beer and being lazy.
I am taking three upper level science classes this semester (to finish my prerequisite classes before PT school starts in August), and working so I can’t use the excuse that I don’t have time because I was training for an Ironman, working, and taking classes just a few months ago!
Leave me a comment telling me to get my ass in gear, please. I need some tough lovin’.
…i WILL run this weekend…i WILL run this weekend…i WILL snowboard this weekend…i WILL run this weekend no matter how sore I am from snowboarding…i WILL plug in my Garmin…
Many of you guessed that Phil was going to take me rock climbing- since that is how we met. In this adventure I did not wear a harness, and was not attached to a rope. We went indoor skydiving at Skyventure Colorado! Phil chose this activity because I have always wanted to go skydiving, but with all of my knee issues, and the fact that I am very accident prone, we thought I may be jumping to my death. That is where a wind tunnel with an awesome instructor comes into play!
We arrived around 8pm for our 8:45 flight time. To pass the time we sat and watched other people in the wind tunnel. They were more advanced fliers- doing flips, flying upside down, and on their back. Beginners work on mastering flying on your belly.
Once it was our turn, our small class of 4 was lead into a classroom by our instructor- Nate. We watched a short film on how to enter the wind tunnel, how to exit, the correct body position, and hand signals that Nate would be giving us in the tunnel. The hand signals were simple things like bend your legs slightly, straighten your legs slightly, chin up, relax, and a thumbs up for good job. All we had to do was get into position and hold still.
After the short classroom session they suit you up in some pretty sexy outfits. Nate asked me if I minded pink- he clearly has not seen the blog yet. I told him I would be honored to wear pink!
Sexy, and I know it!
Once everyone is dressed and ready for action you go into the waiting chamber of the wind tunnel where you are not allowed to bring any items at all. Not even a camera! I was scared that since Phil and myself were both flying we would not have anyone to take pictures. Luckily for us, another coach- Jordan- was not busy and was willing to snap a few shots for us. Thanks, Jordan, we really appreciate it! So if you decide to do this, make sure you bring a friend who will not be going into the wind tunnel to snap photos!
Once in the waiting area, Phil and I watched for a few minutes before it was my turn.
we. look. awesome.
I had butterflies in my stomach as I approached the door to the wind tunnel. The wind tunnel itself has a netted trampoline-like floor and is small enough that the instructor has full control and could grab me if needed, but large enough (especially for someone my size!) that he could let go of me and let me try it on my own if I was doing well.
Nate and I ready for flyin'!
To enter the tunnel you lean forward and the wind just picks you right up! Nate held on to me for about 10 seconds and then let go. I was flying by myself! He stayed close by to tell me to lift my chin up, or adjust my arms. I had 2 minutes in the wind tunnel and after I got the hang of the position Nate instructed me on how to turn using my arms, go up or down using my hips and forward and backward using my legs. I loved that as soon as Nate saw that I understood the basic position and was well controlled, he took action to teach me as much as possible in two minutes.
I couldn’t help but smile the whole time because I was having so much fun! The only downfall to that was that I drooled all over myself. Woops. I’ll just pretend that happens all the time.
Once my two minutes were up, it was Phil’s turn!
Oh, you want to see a video of us flying? Ok! (ignore the text in the middle of the video- I edited the video to cut it down a bit with a trial version of software- if you buy a video from Skyventure it comes on a DVD and obviously does not have the annoying text in the middle of the screen.)
After the other people in our class went, we got to go into the tunnel one more time. Everyone got two turns which I thought was pretty sweet! Nate told me that he was going to fly with me toward the end of my 2 minutes and to not be scared if we got some height. I totally trusted that he wouldn’t let me smash my face into the glass or come crashing down onto the trampoline-ish floor.
The first minute I just did some more belly flying and tried to turn using my arms. Which is harder than you think when you have 120+ mph winds coming at you!
Then Nate gently grabbed onto me and whisked me up into the air and back down again flying in perfect circles. Nate did all of the work, I just held my position and tried really hard to not drool all over him. At this point I was laughing (see photo below) so there was no stopping the drool.
Here is a video of my second flight. You can see how Nate instructs me. I was not able to hear him but I understood everything he wanted me to do. This video shows him teaching me how to go up and down as well as turn before he grabs on to me and flies with me.
Once everyone flew for the second time, Nate showed off his skills before we left the wind tunnel. It was impressive. You could tell he loves his job!
I had an absolute blast at Skyventure and I recommend it to anyone in the Denver area or people visiting (I’m lookin’ at you friends who are coming to visit me!). All of the staff were friendly, professional, and fun. (Side note: Ladies, the guys who work here are also pretty damn attractive. I found my man at a rock climbing gym, you can totally find yours at an indoor skydiving gym! Nothing says sexy like a tight and bright fly suit!) Phil and I will be going back to hang out with Nate again in the wind tunnel.
Well 26 is off to a great start, I would say! Thanks for all of the birthday love, and a huge thank you to Phil who planned 3 wonderful surprise birthday dates. I love you- even when you are wearing a bright purple and yellow fly suit
For Birthday Date #2 the theme was ‘us’. One of our favorite things to do is to explore new restaurants. We have enjoyed a few local (and cheaper) dinners since we have been here, but we have not splurged on any fancy dinners since 2012 is the year of the budget.
Last night, the budget went out the window when Phil took me to Fruition- Denver’s highest rated restaurant on Yelp. The cuisine is “farm fresh american” and oh my god was it amazing. We both agree that this meal goes on our list of top 5 meals ever (Barbuzzo in Philly still holds the ‘best meal of my life’ award).
The ambiance and service was amazing. The wine and beer list was extensive. The food was perfectly cooked and full of flavor. If you are in the Denver area, this is a must try!
I loved getting to spend the day with her just catching up on each others lives. When she asked me what my birthday plans were, I told her I didn’t have any! I was sure Phil and I would go out to celebrate but there were no set plans. 5 minutes later I got 3 emails from Phil which said:
“We have plans on Sunday night at 6pm. Dress Denver pretty (whatever that means). Don’t ask questions”
“We have plans on Monday night at 730pm. Dress classy, it is your birthday! Don’t ask questions.”
“We have plans on Tuesday night at 845pm. Dont eat a heavy dinner and no drinking beforehand. Wear yoga pants and lace up sneakers. It is somewhat athletic. Don’t ask me any questions.”
So just like that I went from not having any set plans, to having 3 nights of surprises!
Birthday Surprise #1
Last night Phil hurried me into the car and drove to downtown Denver and parked. I was confused. We walked into a restaurant called Euclic Hall Bar and Kitchen where Phil told the hostess “Phil- party of 6″.
Six? We sat down at the table as I kept an eye on the door to see who would walk in.
A few minutes later Liz and her hubby Neil walk in. And then our friends from Tri Bella walk in right behind them. I was really excited to be able to celebrate with a few friends. We had a wonderful dinner filled with laughs and good conversation.
I have no idea what is on the agenda for tonight! Phil said the theme last night was ‘friends’, tonight is ‘us’ and tomorrow is ‘adventure’. He is a keeper for sure!
What are your predictions for birthday surprise #2 and #3!?
Last Thursday evening Phil and I attended the National Western Stock Show. I had never seen anything like it! It was a down right rodeo complete with bronc riding, mutton bustin’, calf ropin’, bull riding, and more cowboy hats than I could count.
First up was the bronc ridin’ (yes, I am going to leave the g off the end of many words in this post). The objective was for the cowboy to stay on the bucking horse until the bell rang. He was scored on how well he rode the horse and how hard the horse was to ride. It looked like it hurt.
Another event that I liked was the steer wrestling. A cowboy would jump onto a steers back and wrestle him to the ground. Actually, it is kind of mean. I wanted to go and pet the steer after their wrestling match. However, the cowboys were pretty talented. The cowboy who got the steer to the ground the fastest won.
Now my all time favorite event of the evening was something called mutton bustin’. It is where 5 to 7 year olds hang on to a sheep for dear life. They wear football helmets! I was laughing so hard at these little kids straddling sheep. There was one little girl who rode the sheep all the way across the arena and they actually had to pick her up off the sheep! She was a champ.
hang on, buddy!
The show was unlike anything I have ever seen before. There was a ton of hooting and hollering and “yee haws!” being thrown around. If you are in the Denver area the stock show is an annual occurance and goes until January 22nd. Not the mention the tickets are as low as $10! I had a great time watching the cowboys and horses.
If you want to watch the east coast gal giggle like a 13 year old at a Justin Beiber concert, bring her to the rodeo. Yee haw!
My weekend started on Friday when I tackled the bunny hill learning to snowboard! I had a sore butt, knees and shins on Saturday for sure!
Saturday evening Phil and I went to a local brewery to watch the Broncos vs Patriots game. There we got to meet up with Liz and her hubby Neil who just moved to Denver from DC a few days ago. Liz and I will be spending time together training (she is shooting for a sub 4 hr marathon as well!) and exploring our new city. Hooray for DC bloggers moving to Denver!
I also met up with an old friend from college! Jess and I were both on the diving team in college and we lost touch once we graduated. I actually did not even know she was living in Denver for grad school until I moved here and randomly saw it on facebook! It was nice to reconnect with her and catch up.
After a night of beers, chicken fingers, and friends I decided to go for a run on Sunday morning. My training plan for the Colorado marathon starts next week so I figured I should lace up my sneaks and hit the pavement. I have only done 2 runs since Ironman- 3 miles on a treadmill, and a run with my neighbor and her cute 6 month old daughter earlier this week.
I suited up, wearing my fancy new Ironman jacket that was a Christmas gift from miss Kate! I love it.
And just in case I decide to run at night, it’s reflective! Even the Ironman symbol is reflective- that way if a car is driving towards me the driver can say “I shouldn’t hit that runner…she did an Ironman!”
I used my Garmin for the first time since Ironman. (I forgot to clean it after Ironman so this morning I had to use warm water and soap to get all of the sweat, sun screen, bug spray, etc off of it!) I decided to not wear the heart rate monitor and go solely on perceived effort. I only had distance and time showing on the main screen.
I was surprised to see that my average page was under 10 minute miles. In fact, it was closer to 9 minute miles with my last mile being 8:28. I was pushing the pace a little bit, but I felt great!
In case the M-dot symobol on the breast wasn’t enough- the jacket says Ironman down the sleeve.
On Friday, the bunny slope at Arapahoe Basin and I became best friends. Mostly because my ass hit it so many times in the span of 4 hours.
Phil and I left our apartment at 8:30 am and I was strapped into my snowboard on the massive bunny hill by 10 am. It’s pretty sweet living in the mountains!
Phil knew I was nervous so he really took his time to teach me the fundamentals of snowboarding. I started off with just my front foot strapped into the board pushing it around on the flat ground just to get used to the feeling of gliding. This is also when Phil pushed me to the ground several times for me to practice getting back up. I looked like a beached whale but I eventually got back up onto my feet.
look! I'm standing up!
After I was comfortable on flat ground, it was time to head to the top of the bunny hill. Instead of taking the chair lift, we took the baby lift…the thing that looks like an airport walkway. I believe the children called it the “magic carpet ride”. Once at the top of the hill Phil taught me about riding on my toe edge and heel edge. I practiced going down the tiny hill on my toe edge and then again on my heel edge. Phil always stayed really close by to tell me things like “stop flailing your arms like an idiot! Keep them relaxed!” or “TOES! TOES! Lean on your TOES!”.
heel edge with flailing arms
From there I learned how to traverse across the slope, come to a stop, and do j-turns (which are tiny little baby turns). Once I had these moves down pretty good (which took about 10 times down the bunny hill) Phil taught me how to get on and off the chair lift. I think this was the scariest lesson of the day! We took a small chairlift that lead to an easy and short green trail.
I did that short easy run atleast 12 times working on different techniques. The first several runs Phil stayed close by to give me directions- which I was very thankful for because just as I felt I was about to lose control he would give me a direction that would quickly put me back into control. By the end of the day I was able to get down the hill without falling more than once. I call that a successful day!
Everyone told me that learning to snowboard takes at least 3 days and now I see why. I spent a ton of time on my butt today, but I also learned a ton and I am excited to try it again. I know I have to work on my posture (and stop flailing my arms like a goofball) and become more relaxed on the board, but that will come in time. Phil was a fantastic teacher- he held my hands (literally a few times) when I needed, gave me great instructions, and kept telling me how well I was doing. I was very thankful that I had him by my side all day- he gave up a day of riding black diamonds to push me down the bunny slope
I ended the day with sore ankles, sore knees (from riding, not from falling!), and a sore butt (from falling!).
I had so much fun that I bought a season pass and we plan to go again next weekend!Maybe…just maybe…I’ll be riding blues by the end of the season
Oh! and when the snow melts, we plan to ride our bikes up the mountain.