Welcome to this week’s Gallivantin’! It’s Memorial Day weekend and just two short weeks out from the Utah Valley Half Marathon! It hasn’t been a spectacular training cycle but at the same time, it hasn’t been a total train wreck either. But then again, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a perfect training cycle …is there such a thing? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until the day arrives that I cannot put one foot in front of the other ….at my age and with the injuries I’ve had in the past, I’m just grateful anytime I can cross a finish line of any distance. Yes, grateful and blessed! Running is a gift, never take it for granted. With that being said, let’s see what the past week had in store for me.
It’s been a bumpy ride for the LadyBird the past couple of weeks. After going in for what was supposed to be my routine annual checkup, I came out with an abnormal mammogram and a couple of abnormal lab results leaving me feeling confused and a little worried. Who knew you could be ‘sick’ while feeling so great! It can be somewhat deflating to find out that despite all of your efforts at exercising and eating healthy, one can still have an elevated cholesterol level. Apparently, this sort of thing is 70% hereditary and 30% diet/exercise. So there. Not my fault, right? Something else to blame the parentals for! Anyway, I will attempt to tighten up the old diet a little more, eliminate more sodium and do what I can to prevent having to take a pill. Continue reading
Hello and happy Monday from the deep south where the sun is shining and the weather is fabulously warm! We had a beautiful week which felt more like summertime than a typical February week. My Saturday morning run was filled with the smell of fresh-cut grass and the sound of weed eaters ….I hope it never ends! However, I’ve lived in the South long enough to know that there is always a frost just before Easter, so I’ll not be packing my cold weather clothes up just yet …but spring is near folks and it inspires me to take all of my workouts outside! Speaking of workouts …this is the “Weekly Wrap” so let’s see what was done this week.
Monday: 4 miles (tank and skirt) and dinner with friends
Tuesday: Spin class
Wednesday: Rest ….oh yeah, there was Mexican food and Margaritas!
Thursday: Spin class, 4 mile run with Chester Boy (yes, it was cold in the morning but was in shorts by noon) and date night with Major Hubs!
Friday: Rest and spent a little time with the tool box assembling my new toy! (I love the bright orange …because if you have to be pedaling 15 to 16 mph and going nowhere ….you might as well have some color under your wheel!)
Saturday: 5 mile run (again, tank and skirt) followed by 16 miles on the trainer.
Okay, so it was just an average week of working out. I never found
time motivation to do strength work. Yep, I lost my mojo this week. Perhaps it got slurped up in the cocktails I had Monday evening while dining with friends or maybe it got buried in the basket of tortilla chips and salsa consumed on our Wednesday taco date. Nevertheless, I am sure to find it when I attempt to get into my jeans soon!
I’ve been thinking about switching gears a bit anyway. The custom orthotic inserts I’ve been fitted for should be in this week and was also told that I should seriously consider switching from my beloved Newton running shoes to something with a more stable structure. Ugh! I do hate the whole “looking for and trying new running shoes” process. It’s just not that easy for my finicky feet. I just can’t put on a new brand/model of shoes and head out for a 5 miler…. I have to ease into it, giving my feet plenty of time to get adjusted to the shoe. At the risk of sounding all negative here, this process could take even longer due to the fact that I will be adjusting to not only a new brand of shoes but also the new orthotics. So, with all of this in mind, I’m thinking that my grand ideas of running a spring half marathon is probably not in the cards for me. I need to change gears and focus on other goals ….maybe a duathlon, metric century, more strength work or just focus on adding even more variety of cross-training. Whatever it is, I will remember to find joy in the journey …because that’s what this beautiful, wonderful life is all about ….the journey, not just the destination.
Speaking of enjoying the journey …I’ll leave you with a few fun pictures from my boot scootin’ date night with the hubs at the rodeo!
How was your week? Anyone else having unusually warm weather in your corner of the world? What fun date nights are you having with your Valentine’s this month? Tell me about them and be sure to check out other bloggers and the hostesses, Holly and Tricia of the Weekly Wrap link. They are all having a fun-filled heart-felt February!
Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one gear at a time!
Whew! The last week of October was spent mile after mile on the road. Unfortunately, these miles were not spent running, but rather in the car, sitting on my rear …no calories burned there! Yes, the hubs and I got in a lot of windshield time together and while there is no one on earth I’d rather ride shotgun with; we’re tired. However; I’m happy to report that after three trips to Jackson, we have signed a lease on our new “temporary” home. We decided to rent until our current house sells, allowing us time to look around and be sure of the area/town/suburb that we want to buy a home in. Now, for the “not so fun” part…packing and actually moving, ugh! It’s during these big life changes that my body likes to remind me that I’m not as young as I used to be. The mental “thinking” alone about this move has zapped all energy for running; I’m afraid the actual “physical” move will shut any and all running completely down for a while. Speaking of…. this is what my week looked like in the way of being active: Continue reading
Hello fellow runners! It’s Friday and the end of the month; which means it is time for another edition of “Runfessions” link-up hosted by Marcia where we take the opportunity to confess any and all of our running, fitness and …well, just life related confessions. It really does feel good to get a few things off our chests …or in our case, our feet!
So, without further adieu… Continue reading
If you are looking for an extreme workout, one that will challenge you physically, mentally and emotionally, then look no further than Colorado Springs! The Manitou Incline once operated as the old Cog Railway used to provide access to water tanks at the top of Pikes Peak mountain. It operated until 1990 when a rock slide damaged the rail bed beyond repairs. The incline is now considered the holy grail of cardio for locals and athletes, alike. It consists of approximately 2,744 steps made entirely of railroad ties. Although it is only one mile in length, the ascension averages a 41% incline, 68% at its highest point, and a 2,000 foot climb in elevation! A lung crusher at the very least! Needless to say, tackling the incline is not for the faint of heart or those with any fear of heights.
Three years ago, the hubby and I were in Colorado Springs for one of his Army buddy’s wedding. We arrived a few days early in order to take in the beauty of Colorado and enjoy some hiking. After taking on Seven Falls, Garden of the Gods and several other attractions, our “friend” (did I mention that he was in a special forces unit of the Army??) recommended that we climb the Manitou Incline. “It’ll be fun” he said. “You guys will love it” he said. “You guys are runners…you won’t have any problems!” he said. He was wrong. Well, sort of …but I’ll come back to that.
So, the hubs and I type in the address in our GPS and took off toward Manitou Springs. As we are approaching our exit off of the interstate, I see a brown trail cut into the side of mountain off in the distance. For a moment, I thought to myself ….”holy guacamole, that’s it???”
I quickly dismissed that as a possibility, knowing that it would be impossible for that to actually be what we were about to climb. Nah, no way. Following the turn by turn directions being barked out to us by “Stella”, the endearing name by husband has given our cell phones GPS, we arrived in the parking lot labeled “Cogs Railway Parking”. My initial thought was, unfortunately, correct …that tiny little brown trail cut into the side of the mountain was now looming right in front of us! My heart sank. We walked toward the beginning of the trail and stood before it, staring in disbelief. My husband then said to me, “We don’t have to do this if you don’t want”. What??? Back down from a challenge? Never! I mean, if an Army special forces Soldier thinks that I can do this, then I will do it …even if it kills me! So, with a nod and a fist bump, we began our climb.
Things were going very well the first half of the trek up. I have to admit, I was feeling pretty “bad ass” as I tackled those railroad ties with the greatest of ease! Just past the half way point, there is a “bailout” point which takes you back down via the Barr Trail. This is your last chance to exit the incline …continue on and you’re committed to the steepest section of the climb and all of the suckage that comes along with it. We did witness a couple of people make the decision to end their insanity; but we pressed on. To the top or die trying! Insanity!
As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20 ….I now know why the bailout point is where it is! Just past this point, the grade increases to about 68% and the pain begins. This is where things began to fall apart, at least for me. The difference in elevation between Mississippi and Colorado alone was taking its toll on me, let alone the additional 2,000 ft of elevation I was climbing at this point. My breathing was extremely labored and I felt as if I would pass out multiple times. I would stop and rest on rocks along the side of the trail, while 70-year-old locals would trot by me like they were taking a walk to their mailbox ….this ticked me off. The hubby would always be 10 – 15 steps ahead of me, then he would stop to wait on me, with no apparent difficulty in breathing whatsoever …this ticked me off. We continued on this way ….climbing, resting, cursing, crying, climbing, resting, cursing, crying, climbing….you get the picture. At one point of rest, I thought about our “friend” who recommended this activity ….this ticked me off as well. Who needs enemies when you have friends like this?!? I wondered if they ever performed helicopter rescue missions from this mountain …clearly, the lack of oxygen was beginning to cloud my thinking.
As we neared to top, the grade was so steep that I found myself using my hands as if climbing a ladder. At this point, I was beyond the anger and frustration and I just wanted to get to the top of this dang mountain! Again, the hubs being several steps ahead of me, yells out to me “we’re almost there, I can see the summit! Keep climbing, you’ve got this!” Yes! I’m almost done. I’m not going to die on the side of this dang mountain! As I reached the summit, I looked up only to see my husband still climbing!!! What??? Yep, you guessed it ….a false summit.
For a split second, I thought about crying again but decided it would only slow me down and besides, I was more than likely too dehydrated to make more tears anyway. (We only had one bottle of water between the two of us …again, I blame our “friend”).
Only about 300 more steps beyond the false summit and we reached the top. Lungs were screaming, quads were burning and my head was spinning, yet the amazing feeling of accomplishment overshadowed it all. The view from the top was extraordinary, like none other and we stopped for a moment to marvel at the beauty.
At this point, you can connect to Barr Trail and either continue up the mountain to the summit of Pikes Peak or take the Barr Trail back down the mountain, we chose the latter. The return trail consists of approximately 3.6 miles of rocky switch back trails which planted me on my butt several times trying to run down it. I highly recommend wearing trail shoes if you get a hankering to tackle the incline …you can thank me later.
The climb itself took about an hour and a half, including all of my crying and cursing stops. And the trail down took about an hour.
I’ve read that many elite athletes incorporate this into their training regimen with many being able to reach the top in 20 minutes … now that’s insane!
The next evening, while at our “friend’s” wedding, I found myself telling of our adventure on the incline to some of the wedding guests who just so happened to be in the 10th Special Forces group. They stroked my ego just a tad by telling me that they are required to climb the incline quite often for training; however, they are not allowed to do so by the Army for at least two weeks, allowing themselves time to adjust to the altitude. They were impressed that we were able to complete it after having only been in Colorado for a couple of days…boom! Maybe they were just trying to make this little Southern belle feel better about how long it took me to reach the top, but that’s okay…. I survived the Manitou Incline and I’m darn proud of it!
I will admit, after quite a bit of time has passed; I am itching to tackle to incline once again. Like most runners, the desire to compete against myself and beat my previous time lingers in the back of my mind. Certainly, I will not make a special trip to Colorado just to torture myself once again; but if the circumstances of life ever find me in the area again, I will face the giant …the Manitou Incline, once again.
Have you ever climbed the Manitou Incline or anything similar? If so, what was your time? If not, would you like to attempt this? What is the most extreme cardio activity you’ve ever attempted?
My goodness, a week sure can fly! It seems like just yesterday I sat down to “wrap up my week” and yet here I sit chronicling another seven days. It’s been a busy week with a lot to process, ponder and plan. I left you guys, hanging on the edge of your computers no doubt, with some exciting news that I had been given from the hubs …..and now that the news has been shared first with the appropriate and necessary people, I can now share it with the rest of the world. The Bird family will be moving their “nest”! Yep, a new adventure and new chapter in a new city. I’m beyond excited! We will still be in the “land of cotton”, the Magnolia state, where the hospitality is plentiful and our southern drawls are soothingly endless; just a couple of hours away in a suburb of the capital city of Jackson. With so much to do in so little time, my head is swimming but so excited about the possibilities!
Not to worry, I’ll be keeping you abreast of our move and all that it entails over the next few weeks…for now, let’s see how my week unfolded.
Sunday: I heard from the middle son who is off living the life as a freshman in college going through rush week. I was thrilled to get this picture of he and three of his childhood friends all accepting bids from the same fraternity. Friends since preschool, now brothers for life. My heart is full.
Monday: Typical Monday with no time to squeeze in a workout during the work day so the hubs and I went out the dam for a night run. The dam is a little over a mile long, totally flat and has light poles that are, conveniently, 100 meters apart. After running one mile across at a slow and easy pace, just enjoying the beauty of the moon reflecting off the reservoir; I then decided to get in a few strides on the return. After 8 x 100 strides with jogging in between, I finished 2.5 miles in 27 minutes with the strides average pace 6:30. It felt good to really stretch out my legs and sprint, even for those short little bursts!
Tuesday: 45 minutes on the elliptical and tried this new coffee ….delicious! When you can’t have the real thing in your coffee…. this will suffice.
Wednesday: Early morning 3 mile run before work with Tammy and strength training. Worked the back and bi’s again with the TRX trainer…. I’m liking this thing more and more!
Thursday: Strength training (Chest/Tri’s) and then, despite my irritable ankle, I signed the hubs and I up for this half marathon…..
I must be crazy and I honestly do not know if this ankle will allow me to run 13.1 miles in just a few weeks. But hey, worse case scenerio…I can walk/run if I have to and I may be able to sweet talk a podiatrist into a cortisone shot to get me across that finish line.
Friday: Abs and core work then a laid back ‘date night’ with hubs. It was a beautiful, crisp fall night for some Friday night lights at his alma mater.
Saturday: No long run, no bike ride, no workout of any kind. Instead, we were up bright and early heading to Jackson to spend the day looking at houses. By the end of the day, I felt as if I had just completed a filming of HGTV’s House Hunters. I’m pretty sure all the same phrases heard on the TV show were uttered by either myself of the hubs at least once throughout the day …..open concept living, granite countertops, split bedroom floor plan, yard too small, jacuzzi tub, needs new appliances etc…..
Monday brings with it our official start of half marathon training and another trip to Jackson with more houses to view. Wish us luck!
As always, I’m linking up with Tricia and Holly for their Weekly Wrap, where like-minded ladies share their fitness journeys, offering advice, support, motivation and inspiration to one another…so go check them out!