Monthly Archives: July 2014

Home Remodel: One Room Done!!

It was probably either the least important room OR the most important room in the house to renovate!

Our house is built into a hillside, which means it’s much bigger than it looks on the outside.  More importantly, there is an entire level built below the hillside, but it opens out, if that makes sense. It’s not a true “basement”, meaning a hole in the ground. This lower level is quite large. There is a “kinda” finished basement room, a rough bathroom, the “work room” which is mainly the husband’s tool/machinery area but the washer and  dryer are there too (well, that is mainly his domain also) and the coal room.

The coal storage room, for you people not accustomed to either 1) old times or 2) rural life  is where the coal was stored.  The coal was used to heat your home. (It now goes to power some electric cars but I won’t really go there..) My friend down the road has similar set up and she tells me that the future is smart homes! She says she loves the idea of them and Future Automation.

Then, once the home owners got an oil heating system, the oil tank was here.  When we bought the house, it was now using natural gas, but we still had the oil tank in this room.

Over time, we got some scrap metal folks to come drain the tank and remove it from the estate.

Now the coal room just became a storage room for ..stuff.

Luckily, not that much stuff. I had my paint supplies in here, in totes, and we had some pallets, Styrofoam, and pegboard in here.

Also, there is no dampness here.  Again, with the house  built into the hillside, the hill continues down to the pond.  It’s very nice to have a basement/downstairs that is entirely usable, unlike our old house up North.

Why work on this room now? It now has lighting! There was not so much stuff in it. Besides, once finishing-or overhauling this room-I could move all the wine out of my workout room, which will be next on the agenda to fix. Read: no drywall to install.

I first gave the walls a coat of left over paint..which was purple.  This was the color of our guest room once.  I knew the walls would just suck up the paint, which it did.

Second coat of paint was white.  The husband saw it after it was dry, and mentioned it needed a second coat of paint.

Of course that was all I needed to hear. Then, since I was painting the walls a second time, I decided I might as well throw a coat of paint onto the floor too.

Two glass wine basket from

This is a 4 bottle (or 2 bottles, 2 glasses)  wine basket from

The pickling bookcase also went into the wine room.  This is my husband’s work!

These are two peppers, hostas, grape leaves, jalapeno peppers.

Summer zucchini pickles

Cedar wine basket from

Very stoked at the way this little hole in the wall turned into a great little gem!  Now to find some Pinterest boards for some DIY craft to store our extra wine glasses down in the “Wine Room”.

Next project:  Kim’s workout room!

10 Tips To Road to Trail

1.Slow Down

My number tip for moving to trails from road running is slow down.  Your pace will probably be slower, don’t get frustrated if your numbers are different than road pace!

From Pinterest, via

2.Ditch the Ear Phones

It’s a big argument about music, but if you are new to trail running I would advise against music. There is much to hear out there in nature, you might be sharing trail with other runners or horses or mountain bikers that you need to hear around a curve or tree to make a judgement call.

Image courtesy of cooldesign /

I do wear earbuds most of the time, even on trail.  But at a race, or an area with mountain bikers-like Mohican State Park-I only wear one earbud, and the sound is turned very low.

3. Prepare to Get Dirty

A trail runner usually comes home with a bit more dirt and cobwebs than the  usual road runner.  Bring a change of clothes and socks and shoes for the drive home.

4.Stay in the Moment

I was sitting on the trail, on the Island Lake Trail,  eating smoked almonds for lunch, just savoring my view.  I noticed a marmot had come out of his hole, and was travelling back and forth. He declined to have his picture taken, just like my dogs.  It was a pretty special moment, just sitting in the sun, looking at the mountains, and just basking in the moment.

5. Don’t forget the bug spray!

You may get bit by little critters more in the woods than on a road.  Bug Spray can definitely be your friend.

6. Look up every now and then

Sometimes trails will lead you to gorgeous views that roads don’t lead to.

7. Savour the surfaces

A nice feature of trail running is the different surfaces. You might run from dirt, to rocks, to mud, to puddles, back to soft pine needles in the same mile.

8. Walk the hills

Unless road races, it’s pretty acceptable in trail races and running to walk the hills. (Back to number one point on slowing down..)

9.Keep trying

One of my first technical (read rocky) trails was in West Virginia, on the North Fork Mountain Trail.
I had NEVER been on such rocks before. I had never felt so slow before.  I really did not have an enjoyable time on that run.  But I went back the next year,  and now I really LOVE running over rocks-hence my fascination with the Massanutten Mountains. 

Even if you have a tough first experience, try again.  The next run might be “smoother” or you might just need a little adjustment to new surfaces.

10.  Enjoy nature!

Once I found trails there was no going back to roads for me.  Sure, I do run roads still, and enjoy nature while road running, but I just found it so much more satisfying going into the woods and just get surrounded with the sights, sounds and textures of nature!

New Favorite Podcasts

I never listen to the radio these days.  I’ve been hooked on podcasts for the last eight years. Over time, my interests vary a bit, or podcasts “podfade:  and I find new favorites.

Image courtesy of cooldesign /

I like to review my podcasts every  year or so.  Here is the link to the favorites I was listening to in 2013.  I still listen to many of them.  Some new podcasts I have encountered and listen to on a daily basis are:

Athlete On Fire: Short, half-hour or so interviews with athletes of all sorts of backgrounds-not just runners, but swimmers, bikers, climbers.  The chat is about their background, what they do, and how they train.  Pretty interesting!

Operation Ultra-a new podcast featuring races in the south and Midwest south (if that makes sense.) Good mix of interviews with race directors and runners.

Run Buzz-this is Steve’s second podcast, and he does a great job as a solo host.  His podcast talks about running, from 5Ks to the marathon.

Runners of a Certain Age-The goal of the runner of a certain age podcast is start a conversation around what it is like to run long distance races as we grow older. John does nice race recaps, it’s just like reading race reports!

The Alton Browncast-it’s Alton Brown! He does great interviews, with many different celebrities out there-well worth a listen!

The 5am Miracle Podcast-Jeff also does the solo host very well; Jeff wants you to “dominate your day before breakfast”.  It’s a personal growth/development type of podcast, but it’s not so hyper-smiley or over eager that some motivational podcasts can be.  Jeff’s podcast has turned me on to several personal development/growth books/authors/gurus that has been very helpful through the first half of 2014.

A new interest: learning more about blogging. I’ve come across several podcasts about blogging:

Blogging Betties: good interviews with bloggers usually with some funny banter with the Betties before and after

High Impact Blogging-this podcast is very good, as it is focused on the health/wellness lifestyle bloggers

These are my new favorites for mid year 2014!

 Any new recommendations for podcasts?

Camp Hardrock Day Six: Island Lake Trail

I climbed the Island Lake Trail on Monday, July 14, after Camp Hardrock ended on Sunday.

I got up and went to the Avalanche Cafe with the idea of getting some writing done, but Hardrockers kept walking in to talk to Billy Simpson, seated next to me, so it was far more interesting to join  into the post race chit chat. One thing Billy said, and I agree with totally: “There was alot of love out there this weekend. Alot of love at Hardrock”.

I meant to take it easy. I had two items on the agenda: go on a tour of a gold mine, and take a hike up  Island Lake Trail, which would take me to the iconic lake featured prominently in many Hardrock photos.

I headed up the trail, nice easy single track, but climbing right out of the meadow. I kept it mellow. I was feeling much better, after breakfast and two coffees at the Avalanche, but all I wanted to do was stretch out the muscles, and shake off some of the stiffness.

A beautiful little trail.

Where I parked. About one mile or so, the trail splits, to the left for Ice Lake Trail, to the right for Island Lake.

As I ascended the trail, I noticed a Hardrock flag. Hmm.  I thought the course was well up and above the Ice Lake Trail I was hiking on.  But apparently not.  I don’t remember this section of trail at all from 2012, all  I was doing that year was following other people and not trying to hold them up. But when we got to the Island Lake, I remembered the trail!

And funny, I don’t really remember the lake.  At all!  I was do busy on climbing and keeping up with the other runners.  The first section was such a blur to me.  Until we came to Grant Swamp Pass.

It’s very nice to hike this trail, taking it easy, having lunch, watching marmots, no pressure. 

 This is the climb up to Grant Swamp Pass.  I ascended about 1/3 of the way up the slope.  I was watching some clouds, and did not want to get stuck in some “weather” and have to run down this slope, as it was nearing noon.

The next time I post a pic with Island Lake I hope to be wearing a bib in the photo again!

Camp Hardrock: Course Clearing

I woke up around 3am and hung out at the Silverton Gym waiting for Gombu to finish.  Which was four hours too early.  After Gombu and Robert finished, and Amanda Grimes, last runner, ran in, it was time to do some work-aka course clearing.

Course clearing means picking up the metal markers and any ribbons  and trash along the course.

Our plan was to start from Grouse Gulch and clean up from there until Maggie Gulch, 27 miles of trail.  This route also takes one over Handies Peak, 14,048 feet.

Most people who are looking to summit Handies start from American Basin, but we start down on the County Road 2, where the Grouse Gulch Aid Station was located. It’s a steep climb up from this direction.

Me and the trail out of Grouse Gulch do not seem to get along.

I have exactly the same symptoms as I had when Cam, Slim, and Eric hiked this in 2012.  It was a cool morning, at about 730 am.  I had my breathing mask with me, that I also wore overnight while pacing Gombu.

Same symptoms.  I immediately start the climb, hard to breathe, pulse rate elevated.  The group gets away from me right away.  I resolve to not let this bother me.  Same actions.  Climb, climb, stop, breathe.  I don’t know what it is with this valley, but it doesn’t agree with me.

The views agree with me though!

As it warms up, I can at least remove my mask and top layer of clothes.  It’s still a slow slog up.

I DNF’d Hardrock 2012 at Grouse Gulch.  As I climb up, I reflect that was the best decision I could have made.  I would have probably been clocking a 60 minute mile, given my fatigue factor and health. I actually felt much better about that spot that I DNF’d in.

 First spot is American Basin, where it appears most hikers come from to ascend Handies.

Next landmark is Sloan Lake.

This was as far as I hiked back in 2012.  The rest of the climb up Handies is new territory for me!

Almost to the top here.

Summit photo!!

View from the other side of Handies, about two thousand feet down.

I could really feel the descent in my quads, despite only running downhill for  about four miles 24 hours previously.

Once you descend off Handies,  it’s a nice piece of actual runnable trail! This is Grizzly Gulch Lake Trail.

The temperature warmed up as we got down to tree line.  I caught up to the guys at Burrows Park and told them I was going to bail on the rest of the course clearing.  I was moving much slower than they were, and the idea is to get the work done.

I walked the road section from Burrows Park to Sherman. It’s all road here, the Cinnamon Pass Road, 5K in distance. I’m completely out of water! and pretty darn tired.

Now I will hop into our 4WD vehicle with our expert driver, Michelle, and take the road over  Cinnamon Pass!

I knew by dropping at Sherman that my ride would be over Cinnamon Pass. I had read up on this drive a bit, when we were trying to find a driver to go over the Pass. Despite  me being terrified on Bird Camp Road in 2012, I was not terrified on the drive over Cinnamon Pass.

Pic from

Just an photo example of Camp Bird Road.

I have to admit that Cinnamon Pass was kinda fun.  It didn’t hurt that Michelle gave us a beer before we started, so that helped to relax me!

Views from Cinnamon Pass

Michelle drops me off in town, and I am happy to get back to the hostel and take a shower. After some food, I just crashed- the lack of sleep, HR miles and lack of altitude acclimatization just cooked me-I slept twelve hours that night!

Camp Hardrock: Pacing Report Hardrock 2014

I worked the Ouray Aid Station all day Saturday before Gombu arrived.  This was really fun, as I got to see the front runners come through, and see the media circus that was surrounding the event, due to the European runners-Killian, Seb, Julian, and of course our American runners Dakota, Timmy, Joe, Scott Jaime, Jared Campbell, Jeff Browning.

I tried to take it easy and not take on any taxing aid station duties. I made sure I ate a good lunch and dinner.  In the evening, I took over “Drop Bag Duty” which meant just hanging out in the gazebo, waiting on the radio for a runner to come in and either deliver their drop bag to the aid station or hand it off to a crew member who came by for it.

I think Ouray is a prettier town than Silverton, with these exposed rock surfaces.
Drop bags were set up in the gazebo.  There was a radio where someone would notify that a bag was needed, but most of the time, crews came by to retrieve bags way before runners.

Many runners had some rather big entourage.  I’m not just talking about the elite runners, many runners had more than two or three crew people there. I’m not used to that, I think I’ve had maybe three people crewing/pacing me in 100 mile races.

Ouray Aid Station theme was “North Pole”.  When darkness fell, there were Christmas lights everywhere!

 I got to watch the electrical storm above Bear Creek Trail.   It was a very uneasy feeling, as that would be the direction were I would be going once Gombu showed up.  Well, if I wanted a taste of real Hardrock weather, I think I was going to get it.

Gombu was behind his targeted split-no surprise there, it’s very odd that a hundred mile run will go to plan, specially something like Hardrock! He showed up shortly before ten pm, changed socks, got some food into him, and off we went!

Our first few miles are just through Ouray, thru the  Ice Park, down next to the river, then climb up and cross 550.  This is the section with the “china plates”.   When you hit a rock, the sound they clink together sounds like china plates clinking together.

We both have donned and taken off our rain jackets twice in three miles.  When we start climbing Bear Creek Trail, the rain settles on us and the jackets go back on.  We are also experiencing wind and wind gusts on this section.

Bear Creek Trail is a pretty awesome section of trail during the daylight.

Slim and Eric, recce before HR 2012

  At night, with rain and wind, not so much.  I was not scared on the climb, it was more that I was concerned.  For once in my life I didn’t regret my extra weight around the middle; I felt more grounded to the earth this way!  It was a careful section to pick your way through.  Luckily for us, the rain and wind died down as we got through the shelf trail.

I’ve been on this section of trail twice before, once reccying the course in the daylight, and then all by myself during the 2012 run.  Being fresh out of Ouray, it was nice to climb this trail in an entirely different perspective than when my wheels fell off in the 2012 race.

Your view of the trail in daylight

More pics from 2012 recce

As things happen in a 100 mile race, Gombu’s stomach turned on him with several puking events and it was a slow climb up to Engineer Aid Station.  The streams that were near non existent in 2012 were flowing very quickly in 2014, and I was careful to pick my way across.  I was happy that the water level was not higher!  (Gombu even paused and turned to make sure I made my way across!)

Engineer Aid Station is a very small, no frills Aid Station where the volunteers have packed in their supplies two miles straight down. Gombu got a little food into him-no where near enough, just some broth and some ginger ale and water. I donned my rain pants over my shorts finally, knowing it was going to be cold out there-this was near 2 or 4 am?

Out of Engineer Aid Station, it’s two mile straight up, 1400 feet of gain.  In 2012, this pretty much sunk me to the depths of despair.  (This is where my wheels really fell off in my 2012 race.) For my pacing duties in 2014, I was making sure I was eating!  That was my big downfall of my race, and I was going to nail my nutrition on this section of the course.

Gombu, being the Colorado native and  been training on the mountains dropped me here.  There is not much oxygen around 12,000 feet.

The air was cold and I made sure I got my mask out at Engineer Aid Station. I was a bit concerned about my asthma, but I made sure I wore the mask the rest of my pacing duties.

Here is where a flatlander cannot compete, especially with no acclimation time.  I was doing the walk up twenty paces, pause and breath for a ten count. Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Pant pant pant.  The little blinking red light at the top of Engineer never changes. It’s still WAY UP THERE!!

Walk walk walk. Pant pant pant.  I  hear Gombu give a whoop and I know he has hit Oh! Point and is on the road.  Shortly there after, I ascend and give the red blinking light pole a little tap with my pole.  Oh yeah! All downhill now, four miles!

Except for the little uphill, followed by a little downhill, then another little gentle but annoying 1/2 mile or so ascent-hey I don’t remember this at all!

Then it turns downhill. I see lights below me, and I start to jog. It’s the first RUN I have gotten all day. I’ve spent 9 miles climbing uphill, so it’s really hard to get the mechanics of the muscles settled into running downhill.

I catch up to Gombu. He’s not in a good place but is continuing to move forward. He doesn’t whine or complain, which is what I expect.  I try to move myself between him and the edge of the road when he teeters a little too close for my comfort.

He finally stops and curls up on the side of the road  and says to give him a few minutes. I glance at my watch for timing, then take off my pack to grab some food and my inhaler.

Gombu stirs and retches again.  A runner goes by and offers him a Tums. (I’ve lost my entire drug supply somewhere on Saturday.)  Gombu takes the Tums, and before I can really look up, he’s gone down the road, running!

On our way to the Aid Station

I don’t even have my pack on. Three runners go by and I dryly remark “I guess we’re going to run now”.  I regroup and start chasing him down the mountain.  He is moving really really well. I don’t know whether the Tums either settled his stomach a bit, or he’s suffering so much that he might as well run than walk to get to the aid station quicker.  I believe it was a big mind over matter.  I am actually sprinting (he’s a much faster runner/walker than me).  I catch back up to Gombu and we settle into a very brisk power hike down to the aid station.

Mark meets me and tells me he is Gombu’s next pacer! And I am so happy, because I did not know Bob had a pacer lined up. Of course, I didn’t ask him either.  Gombu is eating a bit and I am very glad he’s got a pacer over Handies Peak, the 14’er on the course.  The weather has been rather epic for Hardrockers this year, but the skies are blue around Handies at 7 am.

I beg a ride back to town and a nice runner family obliges me.  I’m pretty smoked after being up for about 26  hours straight, working an aid station all day, and pacing all night, but people, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Hardrock is a special special place.

Oh, and my runner? Bob Combs finished, his FIFTH Hardrock, he is now in the veteran pool!!

Robert Andrulis and Bob Combs finishing HR 2014

Musings on the Way to Camp Hardrock

Photo by Bryon Powell,

I’ve made it to Denver, I’m sitting in the New Belgium Café at the end of the wing, waiting for my flight to Durango!

A few musings, or brain dumps-I’m too wildly excited to be very coherent.

Two quotes, which seem to go together, for my situation this week:

“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be”– Fanny Brice.

And the quote from the Hardrock Manual (which I thought was Latin for wild and tough)

Esse Quam Videri

“ To be, rather than seem to be”

“Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be”- Fanny Brice.

As I go out of town to Camp Hardrock, this is a good reminder. Be yourself as you are. Don’t try and present yourself as what you think the other Hardrockers see you as.  Admittedly, I do end up just as myself. It’s more in my mind that I “think” I should be something else.

 I felt a bit of a poser, I have to admit, at HR 2012.  People were surprised to hear I was in the race.  (That’ didn’t help my confidence level.)  Being the status of a volunteer and pacer, I’m far more comfortable this year.

 With all my life stresses of the first half of 2014, it turned out well that I was NOT selected in the lottery.  It was hard enough to complete two 100 milers in the first half of 2014, I’m very glad I was not trying to train for Hardrock.  Many times things just work themselves out.

The Hardrock quote  “ To be, rather than seem to be” also connects.  One certainly needs “to be” in the moment of the Hardrock 100.  The mountains won’t let you “seem to be”.  You better have your shit together.  You better know what you are doing in the mountains.  You need to be able to read the weather signs and pay attention to the weather.  You need “to be” ready for hours alone, big climbs (this is an understatement). You need “to be” grateful that you have the opportunity to come out and play in the big beautiful mountains.

Okay, time to stretch the legs and get some water for my final leg to Durango.  I hope to do some blogging, and some major picture taking while on this trip.  There should be at least one “pre-race”  blog before Friday.

My tentative schedule:
Thursday July 10-climb up to the Christ of the Mines Monument and down the trail a bit
Volunteer at the Gym
Volunteer Meeting at 2 pm
Runner Meeting (Mandatory for the Runners) at 4 pm
Spaghetti Dinner for the S&R

Friday:  Attend Race Start
Friday: Work Ouray Aid Station
Friday Night: Date Night with Gombu!  (Pacing from Ouray to Grouse Gulch)
Saturday: Find ride back to town from Grouse Gulch

Sunday morning before 6 am: Wake up and welcome Gombu back to town
Watch the last finishers kiss the Rock
Sunday: spend the day clearing the course from Grouse Gulch to Maggie Gulch

Monday, Tuesday: TBA.  Hopefully spend more time on the trails!