Been a long time since I posted, but its been a crazy early 2013. This semester both Lisa and I are teaching so we are busy. On top of this, we are doing multiple job searches at VT so we are especially busy. We have hosted a couple of visitors, etc.
On to the race. This is my big race each spring for the past 4 years. My training this winter went pretty well, I had numerous long runs but no super long runs (24 miles plus). Still, given the complexities of life, I was as ready as I could be.
We drove down to Black Mountain on Friday afternoon. We rented a house near the race finish, a good plan given that at the end of the race I can't go far. We then went to dinner at our favorite pizza place and had a good pre-race dinner. We also went to the race-meeting to hear that the race was being re-routed off of the trails to the top and onto the road. There had been a big storm and the trails were covered with snow and ice and they couldn't get race support where they needed to be.
Race day started off horrible! I got up early and ate and then we hustled to get the kids mobilized. Then I went to the car the realize I had left the reading light on the night before and killed the battery. Great. So we had to walk to the race start. Not a big deal for distance but it was supposed to be rainy later and we were already getting late. So we set out on foot. I was stressed then and forgot my bottles. So we went a block or two when I realized this and had to run back to get them. Finally I got my bottles and we hustled to the start. One of the race organizers saw us and gave us a ride the last few blocks to the race start. We were there with 15min to spare!
Once the race started it was time to run, for me at least. The rest of the family went to a coffee shop for hot coco and then went to a toy shop.
The first 15 miles of the race went fine. I took it easy and set a good tempo, probably a bit slower than last year but the trails were super muddy, sloppy, and slippery. I didn't feel great but not bad either. I hit the Blue Ridge Parkway in the top ten and then started to walk a few miles. It was a steep section and I decided to save myself. A few people passed me and I was fine with that. Near the top, a guy caught me and we ran together for a good 5-10 miles. It was helpful because I was in the midst of a serious pity-party as I got near the top of the mountain. Mt. Mitchell is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi at 6,685ft. It was cold on top with some wind but nothing too bad. I just felt bad and wanted to quit. But I hit the top and turned around.
Going down the mountain was tough. I hit the top around 12th place and started me way down. Running down a road is brutal on the legs so it hurt. Lots of foot pain and quad shock but I got back to the trail with 12 miles to go. A couple of guys caught me on the trail but I didn't care. I am conservative running downhill on trails as I don't want to turn or break an ankle. Near the end of the trail I had some serious cramping. This was with about 5 miles to go and my left leg was locking up. A guy I had passed and re-passed a couple of times then caught me and offered me some electrolyte pills. I happily accepted and tried to get going again. Ten minutes later I was rolling again. Not sure if it was the pills or something else but I was past the cramps. I started catching people again. With a mile to go I saw the 'pill guy' up ahead with another guy in our race. I decided to catch them if I could. And I did, with about 1/4 mile to go. The 'pill guy' waved me through but I refused to pass him. I couldn't see passing a guy who had saved my race. So the three of us finished together in 15, 16, and 17th place... just under 6 hours for the ~37 miles.
I was quite happy with the result. Long distance running races take a long time and you go through lots of emotions. My biggest issue was the pity-party I had at the top. Luckily a volunteer snapped me out of it. I was ready to quit and this guy notes that I am near the front of the race. Seemed like I should keep going, so I did.
Here is the track from my race: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/277531522
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
After a few days in Phoenix we went down to Tucson to visit Gabe and Kris's house. The kids were very excited to stay with their cousins. Before going to their house we went to the Desert Sonoran Museum. Its not really a museum but rather a zoo but dedicated to native animals of the desert. Its a fantastic zoo!
This mountain lion was posing for us!
Amalia liked this heart-shaped cactus.
The two older girls sitting on the Gabe's porch. They live on the side of Mt. Lemon which rises up over 10,000ft. Makes for great hiking and views.
Here is another view of their backyard.
One of the coolest things at the zoo was the free-flight demonstration using trained raptors. They zoomed right over our heads! Here is a barn owl.
The kids posing for a pic.
Trying to get them all to sit still was essentially impossible.
This old Studebaker was parked out from of the museum.
Amalia riding a javalina.
Here is the grey hawk posing for us.
And flying by... buzzing the tower!
And waiting for its treat.
And the barn owl again.
The coolest part were the Harris's hawks. There were 4 of them and they were flying all around us. They are cooperative breeders so are used to spending lots of time together. It was cool to watch their interactions.
A pack of Javalina taking a nap.
Gabe leading the girls.
And finally a tired cougar that wasn't too bothered by us staring at him.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Grandparents Moore live about 3 miles from Camelback Mtn which makes it an obvious spot for me to run to. The trail is a around 1.5miles and climbs around 1500ft. Here is my track from the days before. There are two paths up the mountain, Cholla Trail and Echo Canyon Trail. Cholla trail is less used and closer to our house so I have always used it. It starts out easy and then gets more and more technical and ends up being a scramble at parts. We decided to hike it one morning.
Camilo walked a bit but then decided he needed to be carried. Lisa did a lot before I took over. Made the technical sections even more interesting.
Of course it also have a bit of an upper body workout!
Between the two humps there is what looks like a helicopter pad. Not sure if that is what it is, but don't know what else it would be. You can see it in this pic. Camilo and I stayed here while Lisa and Amalia did the summit push.
They made it to the top! Someone dragged a Christmas tree up there for the holidays. Kind of silly but fun too. I'm glad it wasn't my job.
Amalia must have been the youngest person up there this day. She practically ran up that mountain and had a fun time.
Camilo was exhausted from being carried so decided to nap on the descent. This made the technical sections even more challenging. Of course every person I passed had to make some kind of comment, usually something like 'can you carry me down next?'. Not funny.
Camilo and I started down before Lisa and Amalia and they caught us.
This pic was just before the summit push. Camilo wanted to go but it was just too technical and dangerous for the little guy. Next time.
After such a hike its time for..... ICE CREAM. We went the the Sugar Bowl, a Scottsdale establishment that opened in 1958 and is still owned and opperrated by the same people. Cousin Anacelia attacked a 'single scoop' of mint chocolate chip.
Amalia went after something that included ice cream and a browny.
Camilo was after the chocolate ice cream.
Lisa couldn't pass up the caramel.
One last pic of Amalia on her way to the top!
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
We visited Arizona last week for the holidays. We chose last week as it split Thanksgiving and Christmas and thus made for easier traveling. We visited my folks in Phoenix and also my brother's family in Tucson. Uncle David also drove out from Dallas to be part of the festivities. Overall the trip was great and I have lots of pics to share. Here are some from the first part of the trip.
We visited the Phoenix Zoo, a great zoo that is also close to my parent's home. We spent 5 hours there and the kids could have spent more!
Here they are at the sting ray petting display. This was a big hit, obviously.
There was also a carousel that was also super popular. Here is Viviana on the ride.
The whole thing was exhausting my Kris, Tom and me, but Amalia and Camilo couldn't get enough.
The petting zoo was another exciting part. Nothing like petting goats for a good time. Both Camilo and Anacelia liked this black goat.
This prairie dog seemed to be happy just sitting there and watching the visitors walk by.
More of the rays. This was the second visit and the kids got to feed the rays!
The three girl cousins in the backyard.
I think this was on the way to the zoo. Big excitement!
More from the carousel. Anacelia liked the hummingbird.
Viviana was amazed by something...
Maybe it was this lion who was sunning himself on a rock in a regal pose.
The four cousins decided to pose in front of the lion's enclosure.
The baboons were captivating.
Riding the camel wasn't cheap but the kids all had to do it. Gabe got the pleasure of taking Viviana on the ride and he couldn't have been more excited.
Amalia and Anacelia rode the camel together.
Amalia rode on some kind of mythical sea creature.
Camilo rode on the giraffe.
Viviana on a tiger!
The lion got tired of us... he had been promised a snack of young kids and was disappointed when it didn't happen.
Anacelia and Amalia on the camel.
We also visited a train themed park in Scottsdale and this was obviously a highlight for Camilo. This was a replica of a full sized train and was a real, functioning steam engine that gave rides.
Its always fun to make faces for a camera.
I practically had to wrestle Camilo to get him to leave the train park. Its now one of his favorite parks anywhere!