“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pico de Orizaba - Guest Post

As many of you know, my Dad recently climbed to the summit of Orizaba in Mexico with RMI.  What follows is his recap of the climb and some pretty awesome pictures.
Climbing Pico de Orizaba 18,701'
High camp is set at ~13,800'. We set up our tents, eat an early dinner and head to bed at 6 PM. 

My Dad at High Camp

The guides wake us at 11:30pm. We have one hour to get ready for the climb. Getting ready consist of packing your pack, eating breakfast, drinking water and getting dressed. We begin the climb wearing avalanche transceivers, climbing harnesses and a rock helmet with a headlamp. Crampons and ice ax are tightly strapped to the outside of the pack. We hit the trail at 12:30 am.

The first stretch of the climb is a broken steep trail over mostly rock and scree, with a little ice and snow. After 2 hours and 15 minutes we arrive at the base of the labyrinth.The labyrinth is a series of steep gullies filled with ice, snow and rock.  It is time to put on our crampons, get out the ice axes and rope up. We set up in three four man rope teams. We carefully work our way up through the labyrinth gullies. We do our best to maintain efficient foot work work, alternating between crossover step, goose step and rest step techniques. However the difficult terrain makes efficiency difficult for us less experienced climbers. It takes about one and one half hour to clear the labyrinth at which point the climb levels out for a very short period. We are now somewhere around 16,000' elevation.

After the labyrinth, comes the Jamba glacier. The Jambo Glacier is relatively straight forward, and there are no crevasses, but it is very steep.  I have heard estimates ranging from 30-45 degree slope for the glacier, either way it is steep and a slip not properly arrested could turn into a long fall.  
Rest stop on the Jamba Glacier - note that the ice axe is planted to keep the poles from sliding down.
There is no established route up the glacier, so we just make our own little switch backs up the glacier. It seems pretty simple (unless heights bother you), just keep 'rest stepping' up the glacier, but it goes on for hours and hours. 
Making their way up the glacier
We see a rock that is supposed to be about one hour from the summit. I swear it was getting no closer after three hours. 
On the glacier with the elusive rock
The rock not getting closer is one thing, but the oxygen keeps getting scarcer and catching your breath is much harder. At least one pressure breath per step is needed now. A pressure breath is a forced exhale through pursed lips to help take deeper breaths and get more oxygen into your system. At sea level, atmospheric pressure is higher and your lungs naturally breath deeper. At high altitude, the lower atmospheric pressure requires extra focus to get the limited oxygen deep into your lungs, The higher you go, the more you need to pressure breathe.
A view looking back down the mountain
Finally after almost 10 hours we reach the summit ridge and the short traverse to the summit. 
My Dad's rope team approaching the summit, he is the second from the left.
The scenery is amazing. The skies are clear and even the winds are light! It was simply an "oh wow" moment.
My Dad's rope team on the summit
Entire RMI team on the summit
We are not done yet. We must descend. The real objective of a climb is to safely return, the summit is always optional. Most mountaineering injuries and deaths occur during the descent. It is more dangerous to descend and you are tired. Staying focused after a long day is critical. The guides like to move to the back of the rope team for the descent, so they can see any problems. I am leading the rope team now and trying to carefully maintain a steady pace and route. At one point, I hear the dreaded "falling" shout from one of my teammates.  I drop to knee, plant my ice ax and set feet in the self arrest position.  Fortunately, it was just a little slip and my teammate fully arrested on the fall and I felt no tug on my rope. That was the only excitement on the descent.  Before long we are off the glacier and now must work our way back down the labyrinth. Once down the labyrinth we remove our crampons and hike down the rock and scree. We arrive back at our tents almost 13 hours after we left. Mission accomplished.
My Dad enjoying a bagel on the summit of Orizaba
Here is a video summary of the climb shot by one of the guides:

Orizaba Summit from JJ Justman on Vimeo.

Thanks Dad for writing up this recap!

So, who wants to climb a mountain now???

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rainier Training: Pre-Pregnancy!

Quick Look Week of Feb 20-Feb 26:

# of Workouts: 8 
# of miles ran/hiked: 26
Weight: 185.8 (Down 2.4 lbs. from previous week!)
Chest: 41.5" (No change)
Hips: 47"  (Down 1" from previous week!)

Monday: Fastest 4 mile run ever!
Tuesday: Ran 3.5 miles, 45 min PT
Wednesday: Ran 4 miles, ST with Adam 45 min
Thursday: 45 min PT
Friday: Rest day!
Saturday: 10 mile run with crazy wind
Sunday: 4.41 hike with hills and 30 lb pack
I am officially BELOW my pre-pregnancy weight!!!  (if by only 0.2 lbs - HA!)  Another goal-met check mark!  A big thank you to everyone for the encouraging comments last week when I was a bit bummed, y'all gave me extra motivation for this week.  I lost 2.4 lbs this week, despite our fancy date night dinner and book club madness!

What a good week workout wise - I had my fastest 4 miler ever, with my fastest mile as an adult being the LAST mile of that run.  I also had a great 10 mile run with 1000 feet of elevation gained (and lost) in terrible conditions for my asthma.  I topped it all off with a fantastic hike in the hills of High Banks, wearing my mountain boots and carrying Avery in the Kelty pack with all of our water and snacks...for a total of a 30 lb pack!  We gained (and lost) almost 2000 feet in elevation.  We took pictures at High Banks to try to show what kind of a hike it was.
At the beginning of the hike. Avery giggled in the pack for about the first 0.5 miles.  The bouncing was fun.
Avery and I on one of the hills - she's still giggling
About 2 miles in - an observation deck - there is an eagle's nest in the background
We conned one of the birders into taking the family photo.  Yes, Avery is asleep.
Mark finally relented and let me take his picture on another hill.
The hike was fabulous!  Beautiful weather (sunny).  I felt pretty good the whole time.  In fact, I actually had to slow down for Mark, and we were going a lot faster than mountain pace.  Mark wore the weighted vest with 20 lbs.  The vest is not well-balanced as the pack, so he may use his actual mountain pack next time.

In the past, on hikes, I wasn't in good enough shape.  On any hill, my asthma would always hit HARD.  In the past, Mark was always being forced to wait for me, to take "breathing stops" for me.  This time, however, I was cruising and actually had to slow up for him.  (I've done more weighted carry workouts at this point).  Truly an awesome feeling to not hold him back anymore!!!

My Dad has written a recap of his climbs in Mexico.  I am working on getting pictures inserted and working in the video as well.  It will be posted this week for those interested.

Now, I'll leave you with Avery dressed up all pretty...
Mommy only goes to church so that she has an excuse to put a dress on me.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Date Night!

One of my awesome running friends volunteered to watch Avery so that Mark and I could have some "us" time. Several members of my running group have done this (which only proves how awesome they all are), but Sue was persistent enough that I took her up on it.  I have this horrible habit of worrying that I'm taking too much advantage of my friends to ask them to watch my kid.
I don't understand Mommy.  Why would you want time without me around?
So, Friday night, I got dressed up in something other than running clothes and Sue came over at 7pm to take over baby duties.  
Mark and I
I felt bad leaving Sue with Avery since the kiddo had a bad nap day, and I feared she would demonstrate some of her Angry Avery behavior for Sue.
Don't worry Mommy, I save Angry Avery just for you and Daddy.
My husband and I went to a fancy smancy steak house for a fancy dinner - our Anniversary is next Saturday, and since we'll be in Colorado skiing, we decided this was our celebratory dinner. Unfortunately, I'm a bad blogger and the steak was just too tasty, so I only took a picture of our partially eaten desserts and our wine glasses.
Chocolate lava cake and creme brulee, both delicious!
And then, my husband and I demonstrated what truly wild people we are....we came home from dinner and were both in bed before 10pm.  In our defense, we haven't been getting much sleep lately, and I had an early morning group run scheduled for the next morning.

Avery apparently went to bed by 7:45pm...and did so without a fuss.  I swear she KNOWS.  All my friends assure me that she is too young to have already figured out things like cause and effect, but I think they're all liars.  She also slept through the night (well, until 5:45am, which is actually much later than she's been sleeping all week).  When I saw Sue this morning at our group run, I informed her that she was required to come put Avery to bed every night for now on.  
Well....Attempting to catch this cat is so exhausting!
What a great Friday night!  Mark and I really enjoyed having some time for just us - although we only made it about 20 minutes before we devolved into talking about the kiddo.  Ha!  I believe I even have enough suckers volunteers among my awesome friends, that we should be able to make date night a more regular thing - how awesome is that???

Did I use the word awesome too many times in this post?

Any suggestions for future date nights??

When was the last time you had a date night?  Where'd you go?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When did you know..

...that you were a runner?

I'm not super fast and haven't qualified for Boston yet (haven't even finished a full marathon yet), so even though those are on my running bucket list, that can't be it for me.

This week it was Monday's run.  That night I was worn out from family visiting and kiddo's messed up sleep schedule and just feeling flat lazy.  Running was one of the LAST things I wanted to do.  Right up there with drilling hot screws into my head.
Cassie's Monday plans were more what I had in mind.
And yet, I went.  I dragged myself off the couch, put on my sneakers and went out for my scheduled 4 mile recovery run.  I complained (in my head - not out loud) the entire time and mentally drafted my whiny dailymile post.  Then, I turned in my fastest 4 mile run time ever.  HA.  I also ran my fastest mile as an adult.  Double Ha.   I guess my legs were recovered????
It's because you stretched like this.  (Avery's first solo sit!)
Other things in my life that have made me say - Okay, I'm a runner now.

  • When I completed a half marathon.
  • When I attempted another half marathon 5.5 months pregnant.
  • When pregnancy finally made me stop running...and reading about my friends races made me both happy for them and depressed because I couldn't join them.
  • When I wrote my training plan for when I was no longer pregnant while I was 7 months pregnant. HERE
  • When I showed up for a MiT group run 2.5 weeks after Avery was run born. (That typo was too funny, given the topic, to correct). Hardest. Run. Ever.  I was also rather hysterical and a hot mess.  I think my group thought I was a lunatic.  They still run with me though, so I'm not sure what that says.  HA!
  • When I ran/walked a quarter marathon 3.5 weeks after Avery was born.
  • When I cried over the idea that I might have to skip a bunch of runs because of my knee.
  • When I started creating a running bucket list.
  • When I bought an extra pair of running shoes to "rotate" them in.
  • When my hard drive died, and the first software I loaded onto the new one was the Garmin software.

I'm not the fastest runner on the block, but I am a runner.  Other than my group run this week, most of my runs have been difficult to start.  That one on Monday?  I was definitely not feeling a love for running at all, and I still went out for a run.  Either I'm crazy, or I'm a runner.  I'll go with runner.

Although it doesn't go with the theme - here is one picture from my Dad's climb last weekend...I promise to post more.  Maybe I'll get him to write a guest post recapping the climb!
My Dad - Climbing a glacier on Orizaba

What are some moments that made you realize that you are a runner?

Do you have a running bucket list?  Any suggestions for things to add to mine?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rainier Training

Quick Look Week of Feb 13-Feb 19:
# of Workouts: 7 
# of miles ran/hiked: 23
Weight: 188.2 (Down 0.4 lbs. from previous week)
Chest: 41.5" (No change)
Hips: 48"  (Down 1" from previous week)

Monday:Ran 4 miles, ST with Adam
Tuesday: PT, Ran 2 miles
Wednesday: Unintended rest day
Thursday: Ran 4 miles, PT
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Ran 9.5 miles, walked dog 1 mile
Sunday: 2.2 mile weighted walk, 16 lbs
This morning, I found myself disappointed after my check-in with the scale.  I feel like I've been at a bit of a plateau regardless of the actual numbers.  Several people have asked how far I've come, and it seems a good time to remind myself as well.

Avery was born on August 10th.  The first weight I wrote down after her birth was on September 6th.  That rather large weight was 220.8 lbs.  Today, I weigh 188.2 lbs.  That means that I have lost 32.6 lbs in 5.5 months.  
August 16th - the first week Avery was home
Although, I'm not where I'd hoped to be by this point, goals are sometimes meant to be adjusted, and the point is that I am making progress.  This weekend, I ran 9.5 miles COMFORTABLY.  I felt good after the run with only minor knee tenderness, despite my patellar tendinitis.  I still have time to work on the weight I can comfortably carry during a workout, and the weight I need to lose, before my climb in July.  My goal is to lose another 30 lbs before that climb, and to be able to carry 50 lbs comfortably.

Thus, I also need to start carrying more weight, and build up my endurance for carrying weight.  I took the dog on a walk yesterday wearing my fancy new weighted vest (and my mountain boots).
It has 40 removable weights in the vest, each weighing 1 lb, allowing me to adjust the weight of the vest from 1 lb to 40 lbs fairly easily.
Some of the 1 lb weights.
It is ideal for me to train with my actual pack, but for some things, the vest will be easier and still allow me to train carrying weight.

Besides - the vest looked slightly LESS odd than the pack for a walk around the neighborhood - in theory.  I still got many odd looks and my husband said I looked like I was heading out to war wearing a flak jacket.
But, I go to war with a smile damn it.
In other news from this weekend...
...Avery was baptized
...My Dad reached the summit of Orizaba in Mexico, a grueling 18,701 feet!  An accomplishment to be proud of!!!  Once I have pictures - I will share.

For your viewing enjoyment - this video is of Avery finding my fake fart noises almost as amusing as me wearing the weighted vest around the neighborhood.  (This is not the same one I posted on Facebook)

What's the funniest looking thing you've worn for training?

What activity/outfit has merited the oddest looks from your neighbors?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Naps and Baptism

This post will be about God/baptism, so if that offends you, stop reading and come back for tomorrow's post.  :)

Avery was baptized today.  My stepmom and my in-laws came into town for the occasion.
From left to right, FIL, Mark, Avery, Me, MIL, stepmom
Avery fell asleep at the beginning of the sermon, which normally is nice.  Today, I was a little nervous as to how she would act when she woke up. When we went up to the front for her baptism, she was still passed out on my shoulder....and stayed that way even when I held her over the baptismal font...up until the Pastor splashed the water on her head.  
Sound asleep, comfortable that Mommy would never dump cold water on her...
Surprisingly, though, she didn't cry at all.  Her facial expression was priceless and both the pastor and I were chuckling for the next two water splashes. 
Silly kiddo making the Pastor laugh during the baptism...
She was rather fascinated by the baptismal candles and enjoyed everyone saying how beautiful her dress was.
After the service, we posed for several pictures...here are a couple of my favorites:
Church is so funny!
Or maybe it's Mommy that's funny.
I have to admit though, after today, I can't help but think my kid is perfect.
That's what I've been trying to tell you all along!
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dentist+Run+Food+Wine = True Love

Where's my V-day chocolate?
So, how did I spend my Valentine's Day evening? 

I started with a nice cleaning at the dentist.  I hate the dentist.  They informed me that one of my fillings had fallen out - Really?  Is that why it hurts to chew on that side?  Ha.  I rushed away from the dentist and said I'd replace the filling later so that I could make it to my group run meetup.  I had run my scheduled 4 miles yesterday, so I could do an easy 2 miles with the group before our planned Valentine's "Party". 

And yes, Mark was at home watching Avery during this Dentist visit and run.
He loves me better anyway.
After the run, we drove over to Chipotle, bought burritos and nachos and brought them back to my house.  I'd also purchased some awesome brownies from Sugardaddy's earlier in the day.  We ate food, drank wine (or beer) and talked....while Mark went and did his run on the treadmill.
I'm a terrible blogger, this is my only picture and it's of the brownies.
Avery fussed for a lot more than usual this evening - I think she was jealous that we weren't sharing the brownies or wine.  She then went to bed the easiest she ever has.  I told my buddies that meant they all had to come over every night.  They think I'm kidding.  :)

By the end of the wine, beer, brownies and burritos...two out of the three running buddies at my house agreed to babysit Avery some night so that Mark and I could have a date night.  One word, awesome.

Some people may gasp that my husband and I didn't do anything special for V-day.  I did buy him his own peanut butter brownie, and a card!  

We've been married over 10 years, and our Anniversary is March 3rd, so Valentine's Day has become a no-big-deal thing for us.  Ironic, considering he proposed on a Valentine's Day 13 years ago.  (I thought he was breaking up with me at the time).
Our Wedding Day - March 3, 2001
To make this a more stereotypical v-day post, I'll tell you about how we met.  We were both in the same pre-law fraternity and were at happy hour.  My friend E needed to get R's signature for something, so R told E to profess undying love to Mark every 5 minutes for the next hour in order to get the signature.  That would have been too boring, so we kept coming up with more and more inventive ways for E to profess love to Mark. For the last one - we knew it had to be good, so E and I staged the whole top gun "You've lost that Loving Feeling" thing.  Afterwards, giving us the dirtiest look ever, Mark turned to R and said "give her the damn signature".  Ha.

We continued to not like each other until the next semester.  The next semester, I kept conning new people in the fraternity to sing "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" to Mark.  If that's not true love, I don't know what is.  (whether he agrees with me or not).  A few pictures of us over the years...
Our England trip from 2003
Costa Rica 2005
Yosemite, California 2007
October 2011
On a side note - I purchased a domain name for this blog today -and it seems to be causing the comments and blog to act a bit wonky while it's figuring out the switch-over.  Feel free to beat me for this later.

UPDATE:  As of tonight, February 17th, it's all working again.  It required a really stupid easy fix, and I blame blogger.  I'll have to make that a separate post.

Can you top going to the Dentist for pure awesomeness on V-day???

What should Mark and I do for our upcoming date night?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Two for the Price of One

Quick Look Week of Feb 6-Feb 12:
# of Workouts: 6 
# of miles ran/hiked: 12
Weight: 188.6 (Down 1.6 lbs. from previous week)
Chest: 41.5" (No change)
Hips: 49"  (No Change)

Avery's 6 month weigh-in
Weight: 16.0 lbs, 50th percentile!!!  WOOHOO!
Height: 25.5 inches, 25-50th percentile
Head Circumference: 43.5 cm, 75-90th percentile --- must be all those brains

Monday: 30 minute ST with Adam, PT
Tuesday: Ran 3 miles
Wednesday: 30 minute ST with Adam
Thursday: Ran 3 miles, PT
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: Ran 4 miles
Sunday: 2 mile simulated hike, 13 lb pack
Avery and I are both reporting our weigh-ins this week!  Two for the price of one!  HA!  It's amazing how learning that your child who started at 3 percentile for weight has climbed up to the 50th percentile in only 6 months really makes you feel like you rock as a parent.  It also helps when the pediatrician has nothing but good things to say about her.  Avery passed her 6 month check-up with flying colors, but still hates shots.
No more shots mommy, please.
This was a fallback week for me on my half marathon training schedule.  I admit to feeling a bit lame in that I ran less miles in the whole week than some of my friends ran in one day.  I also eliminated a run on Monday since my long run from the week before was on Sunday.  Monday was also my first PT session for my patellar tendinitis.  The second session was on Thursday and involved heat and sound waves being applied to my right knee.  VERY WEIRD feeling.  He then intentionally caused some micro-tears in the tendon to encourage healing and applied an electrical ice pack.  As a result, although I'd planned to do 4 miles on Thursday to make up for missing on Monday, some knee issues crept in around 2.5 miles, and I decided to stick with 3 to be safe.

I'd said I would walk carrying weight this week and almost failed.  I finally sucked it up around 10pm Sunday night, and laced up my mountain boots, loaded a dumbbell into my pack and got on the treadmill for a simulated hike.  I made my husband take pictures of this craziness...
This pack is lighter than Avery!  Easy!  HA!
Additional random Rainier stuff?  The duffel bags we'll use to drag our gear to Washington State arrived this week.
I'll be good Mommy, don't put me in the bag.
I also may have found what will ultimately be my downfall.  Neapolitan Oreos.  It's two cookies in one!
Soo tasty, but soo not what I should be eating.
Lastly - my Dad is climbing mountains this week.  You can follow his climbing team's progress HERE.  The two peaks he will be attempting are Ixtaccihuatl (17,340) and Pica de Orizaba (17,701'). Hopefully, I'll have some awesome pictures to share when he makes the summit and comes back!

Do you have a favorite snack that you just couldn't resist?

Anything new in your training this past week?