Tag Archives: mountains

Elk Camp 2012

23 Oct

The best thing about elk camp this year was that I wasn’t miserably cold during the day OR at night like I have been in past years. That wasn’t a side effect of pregnancy though – Travis just did a better job in keeping the stove stoked.

The worst part about elk camp this year was that we didn’t get an elk. 😦 It happens. We’ve been lucky the past 3 years.

It was cold and rainy when I got up to camp Friday night – and before we went to bed, that rain turned into snow. We woke up to this on Saturday:

Beth and I spent most of Saturday in the tent. We read, played Bananagrams and talked about baby stuff. This is what the dogs do while we’re chilling in the tent:


They lay on my bed.

The guys came back for lunch and then it cleared up a bit so we went on a walk on the road near our campsite.



The guys came back around 7 and we ate dinner around the campfire.

Sunday, we hung out in the tent until the afternoon and then the sun came out! So we went on another hike on Ute Pass Trail. We were camping and hiking in the heart of hunting territory so we have to wear blaze orange and keep the dogs on a leash.

It’s hard to find any “easy” hikes around in the mountains so we just took a lot of breaks on the uphill parts.

When we got back to camp, I made a fire (with quite a bit of help from Beth) while Beth started on dinner. Then the guys came back, we ate and went to bed around 9:30 (while was late compared to the previous 2 nights!)

Monday was by far the nicest day we had. It was 60 and sunny. Beth and I went on another hike up Morgan Gulch. I forgot my camera so I don’t have any pictures. But it was pretty. We saw a pack of about 8 deer on the top of a ridge. After our hike, we ate lunch with the guys. They went back out and we sat in the sun for a while reading and doing a crossword. I actually got a little sunburned! Then it was time for me to head home.

Even though camping is a lot of work, it’s fun to get up into the mountains. And I got to do a lot of reading and hiking, which is what I wanted! I finished the book Unbroken – VERY good book. It’s a little intense (since it’s about POW camps during WWII) but the ending is awesome. And it gives a different perspective to WWII than I had ever read about before.



Anniversary Trip {Part Two}

22 May

Sunday dawned cold but clear. When I went out to get bagels from the grocery store across the street, this was our car:


After eating a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter, I was off on my run and Travis was off to his morning hockey game. I took the pooches with me for the first 3 miles, then planned to drop them off to run the last 15 alone. After being couped up in a hotel room for 36 hours, only going outside for bathroom breaks, Katy and Charlie had a LOT of energy. And needed a lot of #2 pit stops. Nothing gets things moving like a run.

It was 35 when I first went out so I had decided to wear a long-sleeve tech shirt plus a lightweight jacket. The sun was out in full force, though, and by the time I got back to the hotel with the dogs, that jacket was too much. I left my long-sleeve on and with my compression tights and running skirt on bottom, I was perfectly dressed for the 40-50 degree weather.

Running in the mountains isn’t all bad

Pooches in their kennel, I headed back out with 3 hours of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to keep me company. Having something like a story to think about helps to pass the time. Since I had a long way to go and was running at a good 4,000 feet higher than usual, my strategy for this run was to run at an easy, comfortable pace and walk when I needed or wanted to. Which was good because there were a lot of hills on this run.

First 3 miles:

15 mile out and back:

And those just show the main hills! There were also a bunch of smaller rolling hills. I ran up most of the smaller hills but walked up the big ones. It just wasn’t worth pushing myself to run up them, only to be completely out of breath at the top and have to walk anyway.

Miles 5 – 7.5 (of the 15 mile route) were tiring. It was enough uphill to be noticeable but not enough that I could justify walking. Around mile 6, I saw Travis driving back from his hockey game. He honked and I waved.

Finally I got to the turnaround! But because of the doozy of a hill at miles 10-10.5 (which I walked most of), and my aching legs/hips, I actually only ran the way back a minute faster than the way out.

Around mile 13, I took a bathroom break, which was glorious. For the last 2 miles, I alternated between thinking “Hey, this isn’t so bad”, “Holy crap, my hips are throbbing”, “I can totally run a marathon”, and “EIGHT more miles after this? I’m screwed”. But I made it. And I’m pretty sure that I’m going to cry at the finish line of the real marathon because I get emotional just finishing my long runs. 😉

I borrowed Travis’ phone so that I could track my splits via the MapMyRun app but I’m pretty sure it didn’t work correctly. It says that the route I ran was only 14.6 miles instead of 15.1 (and actually, on the phone it said it was only 13.99 but when I looked it up online later, it said 14.6). It also said that my pace on some of the flatter miles was something like 14:45. I know I’m slow but I’m not that slow.

So plugging in my own numbers, it took me 3:47:36 to run 18 miles, for an average pace of 12:38. For running the longest run of my life at 9,300 feet with a cumulative elevation gain of 736 feet and a bunch of walking, I’m feeling pretty good about that pace.

Nevertheless, I’m hoping that I’ll run the marathon faster than that. And since the race is practically at sea level and I’ll have tapered beforehand, I feel confident that I can. Even if I run the race at an average pace of 12:30/mile, that would put me around 5:30:00 for a marathon finish time. So the goal I’m toying with right now is somewhere between 5:10 (11:49 pace) and 5:30 (12:35 pace).

I’ll wait until after my 20 miler to officially decide on goals.


After my run, I took a shower and Epsom salt bath. Travis’ team had won their morning game too so they were moving on to the championship game at 3 pm. We packed up all of our stuff, ate lunch at Noodles & Company, and then went shopping at the outlet mall for 25 minutes to kill time. I went to the Gap Outlet and found this adorable dress for $32 that I am smitten with as well as 2 pairs of black pants — traditional dress pants for $30 and skinny jeans for $35 (I’ll post pictures later). I’m only going to keep one pair (due to our Alaska trip limiting our $$ resources) but can’t decide if I want to go trendy or timeless. Thoughts? Travis had some luck too with finding some hiking/aquashoes at the Columbia outlet for $25, marked down from $85!

Then it was off to the last hockey game. I took the dogs for a short walk while Travis got ready and then went in to watch the game. They lost by 1 point in overtime. Bummer!

A quick stop at a gas station for snacks and we were headed home to do laundry and veg out. We took Loveland Pass instead of the Eisenhower Tunnel, which neither of us had done before. The views were gorgeous:

But as always, I got freaked out and asked Travis to slow down at least 10 times. I’m a wreck on mountain roads.

Finally, we made it home. After we unloaded and unpacked everything, Travis was going to recharge the AC in our Focus when the car just up and died. Now it won’t start. I’m just glad that it didn’t die at the top of Loveland Pass! That would’ve been bad.

But I convinced Travis that instead of spending all night trying to fix it, he should just hang out with me. And so we ended our nice little anniversary weekend with an episode of NCIS (we’re totally addicted to that show).

Pretty soon, though, the real celebration begins: ALASKA!!

Anniversary Trip {Part One}

21 May

Our anniversary weekend was GREAT. Travis and I both agreed that it was so nice to have a slow-paced, relaxing weekend… never mind the fact that Travis played four hockey games and I ran 18 miles.

We got up to our hotel, the Holiday Inn – Summit County, Frisco around 7 pm on Friday night. After a few room debacles (the doorjambs were all busted so the doors wouldn’t close right), we got situated in our room and decided to have a couple drinks in the hotel restaurant, Sporting News Grill. I had 2 glasses of Chardonnay, Travis had a few beers and we ordered a chicken quesadilla to split.

Our quesadilla took a while to come but because Travis and I weren’t in a hurry and were enjoying just hanging out and talking, we didn’t really notice or mind. Our waiter felt bad though and brought us a free piece of apple pie topped with whipped cream. I devoured that thing in record time. When our quesadilla finally did come, I had one section. It was really good. It had peppers in it and was served with lots of salsa and guacamole.

The only thing we weren’t impressed by was the atmosphere. It was a sports restaurant trying to masquerade as a club. They had a DJ playing club music in the bar area and it just seemed weird. But whatevs.

The next day, Travis had his first hockey game at 9:20 (as part of the tournament he was playing in) so we left our hotel room around 8:45. I had planned to do my long run that day but it was supposed to be rainy and cold all day (which it was). Sunday was supposed to be nice and we were able to get a late checkout so I decided to run then. I dropped Travis off at the hockey rink to get ready, got coffee at Starbucks and then watched the game. They won!

Travis was #22.

We went back to the hotel so Travis could shower, I did some stuff on the computer and around 1, we went to lunch at the Butterhorn Bakery and Café. I had eaten there once before with my mother-in-law when we had explored Frisco during elk season. It’s a cute little restaurant with great service and amazing food. If you’re ever in Frisco, this is a great restaurant to check out.

Since it was our wedding anniversary, I thought our salt and pepper shakers couldn’t have been more fitting:

I ordered the French toast with strawberries and walnuts:

I wasn’t going to eat that massive chunk of butter but then I discovered that it was the best butter ever. In that case, who cares about saturated fat?

Travis got tuna salad on a croissant. Isn’t that a huge sandwich?

Since we had only eaten a NutriGrain bar each for breakfast, we both cleaned our plates. After lunch, we walked down the street to the Frisco Museum.

I had also been there before with Travis’ mom but found it really interesting and thought Travis would enjoy it. And it’s FREE. Can’t beat that.

They have a model train set in the old schoolhouse that is supposed to show what Frisco looked like back when it was founded in 1873.

Like all museums, they have enough information in each building that you could spend an entire day just reading about the history so we didn’t make it to every building.

It amazes me how much work just living was back then.

Wood burning stove + oven

Canning and baking


After the museum, we went back to the hotel until Travis’ afternoon hockey game at 4. They won that one too!

We had talked about going to see The Avengers that night but the timing would’ve been rushed so we opted to jump in the hotel hot tub for a bit (which felt great because I was freezing from sitting in the hockey arena) and then go out for a nice dinner at a steakhouse in Dillon. We took the long way there to check out a new road and some great scenery:

And my sweet husband surprised me with a lovely card, bag of dark chocolate Dove Promises, and this gorgeous necklace:

I felt like a schmuck since I hadn’t gotten him anything (we had agreed not to because of Alaska costing so much). But I still have a few tricks up my sleeve…

Our dinner at Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse Brewery was delicious and afterward, we watched X-Men: First Class on TV at our hotel and called it a night.

Sunday details up next…

Heading to the Mountains

18 May

Rocky Mountain National Park, September 2007

Tonight, Travis and I are heading up to the mountains for a little anniversary getaway. We are celebrating 5 years tomorrow. I know those married longer would say we’re still newlyweds but I feel like the 5-year mark is the official exit from newlywed status. 😉

Travis has a great opportunity to play in a hockey tournament this weekend so we have 3 hockey games on the schedule. I’ll have to miss the first one since I’ll be doing my long run of 18 miles. Holy crap, that feels like a long way. Back at the beginning of my marathon training, it seemed unfathomable to ever be able to run that far and now, it’s right around the corner.

Since I’ll be running at 9,000 feet, I plan on taking things easy, enjoying the beautiful scenery, and taking lots of pictures to share with you fine folks.

The rest of the weekend will be spent playing Scrabble, drinking wine, checking out cute little mountain towns, and cuddling with pooches – yes, we are bringing them. This will be the first ever that we’ve had them in a hotel room with us. It will be interesting, I’m sure.

Have a great weekend!

It’s the most wonderful time of year…

13 Oct

…Elk hunting. Christmas is a close second.

Tomorrow morning, Travis and I, along with Travis’ mom, dad, and bro, will head up into the mountains to slay us some elk. Beth and I will be conveniently spectating from the warmth of our wall tent that looks very similar to this:


But with mornings that look more like this:


Gah, the mornings are brutal.

Here’s the weather forecast:

At least it looks like it won’t snow. Mid-50s is actually very nice weather for the hunters, since they’ll be traipsed through the woods all day with guns and backpacks. If it’s too hot, they can’t wear their blaze orange wool shirts and stocking caps! Last year, it was so warm that they wore t-shirts. But it worked out pretty well for me and Beth, since we got to lay outside reading our books without being cold.

Anyway, don’t feel too jealous about me being up in the mountains without you.

Unless we come back with more than one elk.

Then, be very  jealous.

Until next Thursday…

Snow and speed.

10 Oct

Saturday morning, we woke up to rain and cold. I normally would’ve been excited, since weather like that is not that common in Denver, but with the race on Sunday, I was a little nervous. Those would be miserable conditions for a race – 35 degrees and rainy. Yuck. We had also planned to drive up to the Winter Park / Fraser area to do some scouting for elk hunting next weekend. One of the main roads that they have used in years past was washed out by abnormally large runoff and hasn’t been rebuilt so Travis wanted to familiarize himself with some other roads.

But first things first – while Travis had the Forge at church Saturday morning, I had coffee with my friend, Cathy. Then Travis and I headed downtown for the race expo and packet pickup. Since this is by far the biggest race I’ve ever done, I really enjoyed the expo. Usually, the expos at the races I do consist of a handful of booths of stuff that I’m not really that interested in. But this expo was different. There had to have been 40-50 booths and almost everyone was giving away free stuff. (Score!) Travis looked at new running shoes and got a 15% coupon for Boulder Running Company – which I can use for buying new shoes too! I bought a new stick of BodyGlide (mine was almost gone). After an hour, we decided to head home.

We ate lunch and loaded up the pooches. As we were leaving Denver, we weren’t sure whether going up into the mountains was a good idea or a bad idea.

This was just the foothills. We decided to play it by ear. If we hit a bunch of traffic or the roads got really bad, we’d turn around and head home. Luckily, the roads were actually almost void of traffic (this is the lull time between tourist season and ski season) and the road conditions weren’t bad – I did tell Travis several times to slow down but that’s pretty much the norm when we’re driving in the mountains. We drove over Berthoud Pass into Winter Park, then turned off after Fraser onto the back country roads. There was a good 6 inches of snow on the ground so while everything was very pretty, the roads were very slick (mud + snow = slippery!).

The aspens stood out against the snow-covered evergreens – very pretty.

As we were driving along, Travis noticed tracks in the snow on the road. He thought they were elk tracks but then we saw this:

A moose!

That was the first moose I’d ever seen so I was pretty pumped!

We drove a little while more until we found a potential camping spot for elk hunting and then we let the pooches out to run around. This was potentially Charlie’s first time ever seeing snow so we were curious to find out if she’d like it.

She did.

I didn’t get many pictures of the dogs – they run so fast that it’s near impossible to catch them in action. But this is a still from one of the videos. It looks like Charlie was whirling up a snowstorm but it was actually Travis kicking snow on her. 🙂

She did really like the snow, though. Here are a few more stills of her and Katy running around (they’re not the greatest quality but it gives you an idea).


Katy loves snow too – they’ll be great Minnesotan dogs one day.

Travis was craving a burger and fries so we stopped in Silverthorne to get Wendy’s. I tried their new Caramel Apple Parfait and while it was good (when is ice cream bad?), I think it would be better with yogurt.

We got home around 5:30 and I tried to be productive but I spent about 45 minutes looking for a specific devotional in My Utmost for His Highest until my brain hurt and all I wanted to do was lay down. I wanted to just go to bed but we had to figure out directions and logistics for the next morning, as well as get our race stuff together. Once that was done around 9:45, we went to bed.

My alarm went off at 5:00 am and I pushed my snooze button twice without realizing it. Good thing it’s only 3 minutes long! By the third time my alarm went off, I woke up enough to wonder what I was supposed to be getting up for. Work? Church? What? Oh, the race.

My hair was pretty greasy from not washing it for 3 days so I took a shower. Since it was so cold outside, I figured I’d probably not do my normal thing of putting my hair up half wet so I dried it completely. I wore my 2XU compression pants with shorts over them (just cuz), a long sleeve tech shirt, and a fleece vest. I also wore an ear warmer and stretchy gloves during the race, but ended up taking them off about 3/4 of the way through. After peanut-butter-ing mini bagels for us to eat in the car and doctoring my coffee, we grabbed our stuff and left right on time at 5:45.

It only took us 15 minutes to get downtown, but another 10 to figure out how to get into the darned parking lot the race organizers had told us to park in. That was the only part of the race that was frustrating – they had pretty much every street surrounding the parking lot closed off. Makes it a little hard to get in and out.

Finally, we parked and Travis left to find the shuttle to the start line. He later told me that he waited 20 minutes by himself in the dark for the shuttle and was about ready to run back to the car and have me drive him to the start when the shuttle finally showed up. He got down to the start line with the perfect amount of time to go to the bathroom, check his bag, warmup and jump over the barricade into his corral – he only waited 3 minutes before the race started!

Meanwhile, I was sitting in the warm car checking Facebook and reading my Google Reader feeds on my phone. I got done with that around 7:00, which was when the race started. I was pretty close to the relay transition point so I didn’t need to leave until 7:15 or so to give myself plenty of time before Travis would arrive around 8:04. So to pass the time, I pinned my number on my vest.

I watched a bunch of cars get towed around.

Which made me nervous about getting towed. So I made a sign to put on our windshield.

I took some random pictures of my chip timer…

…and my bored face.

Finally, it was time! I got out of the car and it was COLD! My phone said 35 degrees. Brrrr!! I walked the 5 minutes to the relay transition area and stood around for about 15 minutes before doing a short warmup. Then I stretched, the race organizers explained what would happen, and we stood around some more. Finally, the wheelchair athletes started coming. Then the elite, crazy fast runners. Then the really fast runners. And then the fast runners, which was where Travis came. He was the 15th or so relay person to come in.

I saw him coming around the traffic circle and moved to the front of the crowd, to take some pictures of him coming in. I reached for the car key that I was supposed to hand him too but it wasn’t in my pocket! Oh no! As I heard my bib number called, I had to run back into the crowd to find the key. Luckily, I found it pretty easily and still had time to take a few pics of Travis coming in for the hand off.

He finished his leg in 1:04:36, at a pace of 8:16/mile. He said that the first mile was really crowded and they almost stopped completely after the first 500 yards or so, so we think that he was right on pace for the majority of his run, but that the first mile threw it off.

I handed him the camera and car key, grabbed the drumstick (our relay baton), and off I went. Since I was going to be entering the massive pack of runners way faster than me, I tried to be mindful and run on the very outside of the road, so that people didn’t have to swerve around me. Some still did but oh well. I was glad to be carrying something that showed I was a relay runner. Sorry to be so slow and running with the fast people!

But it was a LOT of fun to run with the fast people. I was in the thick of it – there were tons of runners around. Which probably was mostly to do with the 17,000 runners doing the race. If I had been back with the 11:30 minute/mile people, there probably would’ve been plenty there too. But running with the fast people also inspired me to run fast. My legs felt fantastic. The minute I started running, I felt great.

I pushed it. For the entire race, I toed the line between running my fastest and overdoing it. I started running at mile 7.8 and tried to calculate my pace at mile 9 but came up with an 11:30/mile. Crap! If I was having such a hard time maintaining that slow of a pace, this race was going to suck. I saw mile marker 10. I decided that if my pace really was 11:30, then there was no reason to really push myself like I was. But to my joy, I discovered that I had just done a 10:00 mile. Woohoo!

That gave me the motivation I needed to keep pushing.

Mile 11 – 9:45. Holy crap, I can’t believe it!

Mile 12 – 9:55. I’m actually running sub-10 minute miles!! But holy crap, this is hard. It’s so tempting to slow down. 

Mile 13 – 10:00. Only a mile left – don’t throw away this pace now! Think of how proud you’ll be. Think of how proud Travis will be. Keep pushing!

I picked up the pace for the last .1 when I heard Travis yell “Go Kath!” from the sidelines. I can honestly say that I ran my heart out in this race – so much so, that I almost felt like puking when I was done. That’s when you know you pushed it.

I finished 5.3 miles in 52:57. That is a 9:59 pace.


I am still on a high from that race! What an amazing feeling to dig down deep and perform in a way that I didn’t expect. I was aiming for at least an 11:00 pace, wondering if that was even a stretch. And I blew that away!

Final time: 1:58:58

Average pace: 9:05

25/86 co-ed relay teams

I’d like to think that if this had actually been a 10K, I’d have a new PR (the only 10K I’ve run, I did in 62:36). And perhaps, I would. But I’m not sure I could have maintained that pace for even another 9/10 of a mile. I was completely beat. Regardless, this proves to me that I still have some speed in me.

After the race, I found Travis and while he went to get some food (they didn’t have any in the relay transition area), I stretched. We walked around the expo a little, rode the shuttle back to our car and headed home.

About the race itself, I was thoroughly impressed. The Rock ‘n’ Roll peeps have their crap together. I give this event an A++. The registration was easy, the pre-race information was thorough (they thought of everything!), there were tons of volunteers and portapoos (and spectators!) everywhere, the race t-shirt and medal are awesome, and the post-race food was plentiful. They had anything and everything you could want to eat after a race. They also had a family meetup area, a stretching tent and space blankets. I would definitely recommend this race. It is worth every penny.

Anyway, when we got home, we showered, ate a snack, and got back in the car to head to a friend’s birthday party, where Travis played flag football. Football isn’t my thing so I just hung out with pooches and talked to the other people who weren’t playing.

Then we went to their house, where we ate a ton of food, drank margaritas and beer, and watched football. I talked to a lady who had ran the full marathon that morning – it was her 13th full marathon and she had done two half Ironmans this summer. Impressive.

We left the party around 3 and like usual, even though my plan was to plop on the couch the minute I walked in the door, I couldn’t resist being productive. So I did the dishes, did laundry, went to Target and the post office, got gas, and then rested. We watched the movie Bridesmaids, which we had heard was hilarious. Um… no? We actually thought it was depressing and pretty much sucked. I mean, there were a few funny parts. But overall, meh.

Today is a rest day but tomorrow, I start my base building training schedule. I will be taking several rest days during elk hunting – my MIL, Beth, and I will probably hike some but no running (because there will be no showers!). But then, it’s back to it!