Marathon Training Week 8: Road Trippin’

Whew! What a busy week and weekend …but one filled with fun activities! As typical for us Southerners, the weather was all over the place ….cool, warm, sunny, rainy and ending with it being downright cold on Saturday. I’m not complaining, yet, though, as these cooler temps are equating to faster paces …and who would complain about that?

Major Hubs and I love Broadway musicals, so we took a little road trip on Saturday to see a new one at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis. We had such a fun day, but before I tell you about that, let’s take a quick look at my workouts for the week ….and since I was too busy lazy to make it to Marcia’s ‘runfessional’ on Friday, I’ve included a few here that I really need to get off my chest, or soles, whichever the case may be.26.2 Continue reading

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This Week’s Gallivantin’: Utah Rocks!

20170610_223130Wow! What a whirlwind the past few days have been! Within 48 hours, I flew to Salt Lake City, took in the Mormon Temple, drove through Park City, spent the morning at Sundance Resort, stopped by Bridal Veil Falls, arrived in Provo, met the girls, tackled the expo and dinner, ran a half marathon, drove back to Salt Lake City to catch a flight and arrived home at 10:30 Saturday evening! Exhausted just reading about it? Yeah, we were pretty tired and still had to drive 90 miles on Sunday morning and 90 miles back home on Sunday evening. But hey, I heard somewhere that if you’re not moving forward, you’re automatically moving backwards because time stands still for no one!! Gotta keep moving people!

WWGuestKookyAnd speaking of moving ….it’s time for the Weekly Wrap with TrishaHolly and this week’s guest hostess Kim! Be sure to visit her blog and leave a comment letting her know how much you appreciate her taking on the spotlight for the week and be sure to visit some other bloggers as well …you just might make a few new friends along the way!

Now, on to the recap….

 

Monday: 6 mile tempo run (last run before the half)

Tuesday: 100 push ups (June Challenge)

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Wednesday: 100 squats (June Challenge) I did these non weighted in an effort to save my quads and glutes for the race.

Thursday: 100 russian twists with 12lb medicine ball (June Challenge). Major Hubs and I caught an early evening flight to Salt Lake City connecting in Dallas. As usual, we had a delay in Dallas which put us arriving in SLC at 1a.m. (2 am for us). Can you say T.I.R.E.D?

Friday:  It’s amazing what just a few hours of sleep can do for you because we woke up ready to see as much as we could possibly squeeze in during our short visit! First stop was the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake….I have never seen such meticulously manicured grounds for a church before! This place was filled with beautiful flowers and a reflection pool.

 

Next, we drove down to Sundance Resort. If you’re not familiar with this place, it is a ski resort owned and developed by Robert Redford. In addition to winter skiing, there is plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails, several restaurants and a spa. We took “Ray’s Lift” 1,400 ft to the top of Mt. Timpanogos for an incredible 360 degree view!

 

20170609_125629There’s a little cabin atop the mountain named “Bear Claw” which serves beer, wine, tacos and burritos. I imagine this little cabin gets a lot of traffic during ski season!

 

On the way to Provo, we stopped to see Bridal Veil Falls. I knew that we’d be running right passed it during the race, but wanted the opportunity to really take it in.

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The wind was really whipping the water up!

Once in Provo, I met up with these fabulous ladies for packet pick-up and dinner!imagejpeg_0

Mary Beth snagged us all a free entrée and dinner reservations at California Pizza Kitchen, so off we went. Once the carb loading was complete and Holly and Marcia’s Starbucks “Utah” mugs were found and purchased, we headed back to the hotel for an early bed time ….3 am would come around all too soon!

Saturday: Race Day! I’ll save all the details for my race recap (coming soon), but I will say that while this was my worst half marathon finish time ever, it’s all good …because it was definitely the prettiest I’ve ever done! We all finished with a smile on our faces, some more than others (Judy), and gratitude to be blessed with the health to run!

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Just so happy to be finished! (Sorry Judy…we could not find you!!)

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Major Hubs posted his second best half finish time!

…..and with that, there was a quick shower and a plane to catch for me! I sure enjoyed meeting these ladies and look forward to many more miles and smiles together as well as meeting the rest of you! Friendship truly knows no distance.

 

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one week at a time!

 

Run thru History 10k Recap ~ Vicksburg, Ms

If you are looking for a challenging 10k course and just so happen to be somewhat of a history buff, this race is for you! It is a beautiful course run entirely within the Vicksburg National Military Park which commemorates one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War. It is filled with civil war cannons, fortifications, trenches, monuments, statues and plaques echoing the stories of the thousands of Confederate and Union soldiers who fought and died on these battlefields. The beauty of the park will inspire you while it’s considerably dramatic hills will humble even the strongest of runners. Continue reading

Another Year, Another Birthday

Another year has come to an end and as the entire world celebrates the dawning of a new year ….I, too, celebrate the dawning of a new year, a new decade, another birthday! I breezed right “over the hill” and now I eagerly anticipate this new chapter of my life!

The hubby and I spent the New Year’s weekend celebrating my 50th birthday and ringing in the new year Savannah style! We had a fabulous time touring the city, indulging on their famous pralines and ringing in the new year on River Street at their “Up the Cup” countdown. I will posting soon about the beautiful city of Savannah and all of the fun things to do. So, if you’re interested in visiting, stay tuned for my personal favorites from this beautiful and charming southern city! Continue reading

Insanity on the Manitou Incline

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 FallsGarden 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???”  100_3467

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.1280458_10201357281427854_785132391_n

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.

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Notice the parking lot at the bottom of the incline….which is at the top of the picture!

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. 1236800_10201357284787938_521388067_n

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.1148834_10201357285027944_1020467301_n

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.

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The trail down was a little treacherous at times as well.

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?

 

I’m linking up with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice and My No Guilt Life for Tuesday’s on the RunTuesdays-on-the-Run-2

As well as Fit Foodie MamaFitful Focus, Fruition Fitness and Pretty Little Grub for their Wild Workout Wednesday link-up. Go on over and check these great ladies out…you will love what you find!WildWorkoutWed