Sunday, October 14, 2018

Bestie Day...

One of the things that I love most about being a nurse is having time off during the week.  I love nothing more than going to Target when no one else is there or sitting at home watching reruns of the Gilmore Girls.  Although, I occasionally get bored if I have too many days off in a row, so it is always nice when one of my friends can skip out of work for an afternoon to day drink with me.  Enter:  Michelle!!!

A few weeks ago Michelle and Charlee came over for lunch and wine drinking on our deck.  Kya and I were super excited that both of our besties were coming over.

Kya anxiously awaiting Charlee's arrival!

We spent the afternoon drinking wine, eating Chik-fil-a and laughing way too hard.  Girlfriends are simply the best.

Charlee having an amazing time

Kya was wondering why Charlee was laying in her favorite spot on the deck.  Obviously, Kya is an only dog and is not used to sharing.

Michelle and I had so much fun watching Charlee walk the perimeter of the yard.  She was also obsessed with the bushes where the rabbits hang out.  I am sure our resident rabbits, the Robinson's, thought the world was coming to an end with some new creature after them.

A group picture for the win.  Kya and both love these girls to pieces.  

Thanks for hanging out with us Michelle and Charlee!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Las Vegas!

Early this month my friend Jill had a big birthday to celebrate, so we all jetted off to Las Vegas for a weekend to celebrate.  Michelle and I flew out separately from everyone else and she picked me up early in the afternoon.  Our first order of business was a glass of wine at the airport, which may have been the theme of the trip.

We sat at the hotel bar and I told Michelle stories from the hospital.  She was about to pee her pants from laughter.

We had to document both of our bags arriving in Vegas.  The last time we were on a girls' trip, one of them was fashionably late.

Strip views and a bunch of blondes

Tearing it up at a piano bar.  We seriously had so much fun dancing and singing.

Besties in Vegas

Cruising to Freemont Street

Brian had Elvis come and sing Happy Birthday to Jill on Friday

The entire crew with Elvis

My beautiful friend

Having way too much fun on Freemont Street

It was a quick trip, but about all I can handle of Las Vegas.  We had so much fun and laughter that we have already planned another girls' trip at the end of November!

Happy Birthday Jill!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A Day in Vail...

We woke up on Sunday and the girls all prepared their things for their evening flight back to Kansas City.  We decided that we would all go back to Lionshead Village to enjoy lunch on the patio of a Tex-Mex restaurant. 

Everyone walked and I kind of hobbled over to Lionshead.  I was feeling okay, it just took me a bit to get going.  Once I was moving, I was fine.  We enjoyed our lunch complete with the worst fajitas Ken has ever experienced. 

There was a market going on in Vail Village so we kind of dilly dallied around looking at things.  After that we walked back to our condo and the girls left to make their way back to Denver.  Ken and I had debated about driving halfway home, but we instead decided to spend the remainder of the day in Vail.

We decided to drive back up in the direction we did on Thursday and find a place to hang our hammocks and enjoy some wine and snacks.  I have to say, it was my favorite thing that we did on this trip.

Having such an amazing time in my Hobo Hammock!

It was such a beautiful day

We were talking, laughing, and enjoying the day when Ken heard a very loud noise.  I had no idea what he thought it was and he got up to look at the small pond that was behind us and he spotted a moose.  He was so excited and I was pretty excited too.  He had mentioned to Katie that he hoped to see one and I could not believe that we were staring at a moose!

Looking through the trees at our new friend

My favorite picture of the day, Ken sneaking up to get a picture of the moose

We were so lucky to see a moose!
We hung out for a while, just enjoying the weather and time together before driving back down the mountain.  The sun was starting to set and it was beautiful.

Beautiful scenery above Vail

We ordered pizza takeout, enjoyed a bottle of wine, and watched a horrible horror movie before heading to bed.  We woke up the next morning and made the long drive back to Kansas City.  We always enjoy our time in Colorado and even though this trip did not completely go as planned, it was definitely something I will always remember.  Until next time Colorado!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Leadville 100...Race Report...

With a race start of 4:00 am and a 30 minute drive, we opted for a 2:10 am wake up call in order to allow plenty of time to get situated in Leadville.  After a little coffee and a breakfast, we were on our way from Vail to Leadville.

We arrived, found parking on the street, and immediately began looking for a bathroom.  I should have known the day would be rocky since there was absolutely no toilet paper in the portapotty.  I peaked the door open and yelled for help and Katie arrived and quickly found some toilet paper.  I am just glad Katie heard my cries for help.

We all got to the start line and I was really feeling nervous.  This is the part that always makes me a little sad because I know the times when I get to talk to my people are so far spaced out.  Sure, you meet other people along the way and chat, but they are not my people.  My people get me and my weird humor.

Ready to start the day with my number one supporter by my side

These girls went out of their way to support little old me.

Just before the National Anthem, some guys were asking me how to get into the chute.  I pointed to the opening and they decided to climb over the barricade instead.  They had plenty of time to get to the opening of the chute and I shuddered a bit thinking about pulling a groin at the start line trying to get over the barricade.  Being under 5'0, a girl knows her limits.

Anyways, the gun was fired and we were off!  The first part of the trail is very flat and easy to run.  It is so easy to run that one has to worry about going out too quickly.  I ran along keeping a 11:00 minute mile pace.  Just before hitting the single track section along the lake, a girl caught a look at me and said, "Hey, you are the husky mom!"  I was at first a little confused because my sweet husky was currently boarded but then I realized she found me on Instagram.  I have no idea how she recognized me in the dark from the photos on Instagram, but I chatted with her for a bit.  Her name was Kristy and she was from Denver.  We ended up leap frogging each other for most of the day.

My crew had planned on meeting me at Tabor Boat Ramp as advised by race officials, however, the passes to get into the ramp were only being sold the day prior.  This information was not communicated during the crew briefing and instead the ramp was an encouraged stop.  I did not see my crew, I did not really need anything other than a friendly smile, so I continued on towards May Queen.  

It was still pretty dark and there was one spot where I spotted some dude leaned up on a tree one step off of the trail taking a dump.  I get it, when you got to go, you got to go, however, perhaps a tree more than one step off of the trail would prove to be a better option?  I about peed my pants laughing and could not get over the smell I caught a whiff of in the open air.  I also thanked Sweet Baby Jesus that I was not the one taking a dump on the side of a tree.  Moving on....

The sun began to rise and headlamps were no longer needed.  The single track proved to be difficult to get around people, but soon enough we arrived at the first official aid station, May Queen.  I ran through, got more water and was looking for a spot to get the rock out of my shoe when I spotted Ken.  I nearly jumped on him and wrapped my legs around him all Bachelor Style.  I was so unbelievably happy to see my crew.  I got sprayed with sunscreen, got a kiss and a few snacks, and was on my way.  I was so happy to see them!

Getting the best assistance by Ken.  

I said my goodbyes and was on my way toward Outward Bound.  There is a decent incline on the way out of May Queen and several spots of climbing on this section.  There was one section where I was seriously hating my life going up hill and wondered exactly what would be in store later.  I met an ER doctor on the climb to get up to Powerline.  Our conversation may have started with me seeing him pee, which seems to be quite the ice breaker.  

Cruising down Powerline allowed me to see what I was in for climbing wise later.  That thing was steep.

Cruising down Powerline.  Some people were sprinting, but I do not have those kind of quads.

I noticed a lot of people had trekking poles and while I have never been a fan of them, I do believe they can be helpful during this race on the up hill portions.  After descending Powerline, we made a right hand turn and it started to rain.  It was a light rain, but rain nonetheless and I was without a rain jacket.  I only had about two miles to go before getting to the aid station, so I was not too worried.  

We ran down a road for a while before being able to see the Outward Bound aid station.  As we got closer, I saw a tall man waving his little heart out and knew that was Ken.  I was once again so happy to see him.  I walked into the aid station with him and he took me over to the area where the girls had set up their area.  

I ate some potato chips and M&M's, refilled everything and decided to change my socks and shoes.  The girls were all freezing and insisted I get warmer clothes too.

Rain jacket, check!  By the way, I was full on representing Lucy Activewear during the race.  I do not care if the North Face over took them, mama loves her Lucy!

The girls all making sure I am taken care of

A little over 23 miles in and I was really having fun.  I was so grateful for my people being out there with me.  The amount of laughs they gave me in a short period of time was absolutely amazing.

Carcass seen as I was leaving Outward Bound

I left Outward Bound on my way to Half Pipe.  Since crews do not have access to Half Pipe my crew met me at Treeline, or what we thought was Treeline.  I later learned that the area where my crew saw me after leaving Outward Bound was not Treeline.  Oops.  Alas, I saw them got a drink of Gatorade and continued on to Half Pipe.  

In this stretch I saw Kristy from Denver quite a bit but did not really talk to anyone else.  I got to Half Pipe and loved the vibe of the aid station.  They had great music going and were very helpful.  I emptied the pebbles out of my shoes, had some snacks and was on my way towards Twin Lakes.

The stretch between Half Pipe and the Mt Elbert trail head had a decent amount of climbing.  I did not get to do a lot of running until we started descending.  I saw a guy on this section that was leaning over like something was wrong.  I stopped and asked him if he were okay and he told me he was dizzy.  I told him to make sure and eat something to make sure his blood sugar was okay and he was.  I wish I could have helped him more, but that was all I could do.  I continued on and eventually reached the Mt Elbert trail head water stop.  

Ken, Kya, and I hiked Mt Elbert in 2015 and it was interesting to see a small portion of the start of the trail again.  

The aspens were beautiful

In this section I met a man named Dave from Washington DC.  I ran with him for quite a bit.  He told me this was his third attempt at Leadville and this is when I had wished I would have passed him early instead of staying with him.  He was running a decent pace, but I could have gone faster.  At the time I thought I was better off to stay with him to avoid running to fast.  Hindsight.  

Dave and I ended up running down into Twin Lakes together and parting ways.  I looked him up and he was unable to finish.  I wonder if he will try again.  He keeps getting further each year and really puts a lot of effort into the race.  

Anyways, we came down into the aid station at Twin Lakes and Ken was waiting for me.  I got a few things from the aid station and walked with him to find the rest of my crew.  I changed my shoes and the best line of the entire day was said.  Apparently my crew was a bit of Shit Show behind the scenes.  I had no idea, but they had a lot of funny things happen throughout the day.  Ken offered me up some new socks and Heidi quickly interjected that they were not offering socks at this time and gave Ken a hand signal to stop talking about socks.  I was not sure what was going on but I just wanted my trail runners for the next part of the race.  I later laughed and laughed about the no socks comment.  It made my entire day.  Side note about my crew:  They were amazing!  I had no clue that they had any hiccups what so ever.  I never went without.

Leaving Twin Lakes, Hope Pass bound!

I crossed the road and ran through a large group of spectators.  I was smiling and a few women gave me loud cheers about my sunglasses and my pink jacket.  I love people that recognize my small girly details.  :)

I stopped in the meadows to get a picture of the mountains that were all around.  

I met a nice guy on the way to the river crossing.  He was feeling pretty sick so I stayed with him for a bit.  He was super nice and I enjoyed talking to him.  He and I were talking so much that we missed the flag on the trail and went to the incorrect section of the water crossing.  We realized it and turned around to find the correct water crossing.  I hoped this would not be an issue for time later, but it really ended up impacting things.

We crossed the cold river, which was said to be ankle deep.  Well, it was not ankle deep on me.  It was more like mid shin deep and very cold.  We made it across and started the climb, the long, steep, horrible climb up Hope Pass.

I parted ways with my new friend and instantly found myself struggling to breathe.  It was unlike anything I have ever experience.  The trail was steep, but it was not any steeper than anything I had trained for at home. It was the fact that we were at 11,000 feet that was causing me to not be able to breathe.  I would walk a few feet and be dying.  

I met a few friends during this stretch and everyone was struggling to breathe.  I wish I could say it was different and I have nothing else to say other than I missed the cutoff at the Hope Pass aid station by 2 minutes.  

I can analyze everything and find 2 minutes all during my day, but that is not what this is about.  I missed the cutoff and that is that.  The altitude on Hope Pass was too much for me on this day.  I refilled my water bottle on Hope Pass, ate some pretzels, saw some llamas and started my descent back down Hope Pass toward Twin Lakes.

Hope Pass llamas

On my way back down, I saw a guy sitting on a tree stump.  I started talking to him and he decided to go back down with me as he had missed the cutoff.  He was from Denver and told me he just could not breathe hiking up Hope.  We both discussed our struggles and then started talking about other races.  I mentioned being from Kansas and running a 100 miler in Kansas in 2017.  He stopped and said, I know you!  I looked at him like he was crazy and he asked me if I have a really tall husband and if I wore a camo rain jacket at the beginning of the 100 miler in Kansas.  

I was so surprised to learn that he ran the race I did and he was the guy I met in the Garnett train station that told me I *only* had 23 miles left to finish.  I laughed and told him that I wanted to kill him so badly in that moment.  We chatted the entire way back to Twin Lakes.  It was so nice to spend what was such a disappointing moment with such a nice person.  

I made it back to Twin Lakes and found my crew.  We had a little bit of drama with the race officials losing me, but I do not feel like going into that now.  We were eventually all back together again.  I got a big hug from Abby and I was not even sad in that moment that I missed the cutoff.  It was the most difficult thing I have ever tried to do and am still in shock that I tried it.  

When Ken saw me he knew it had to be my lungs because I was in great shape otherwise.  I later told Ken shame on me for not using my resources at the hospital better.  I work with many physicians that would love to help me train my lungs for altitude.  

We drove back to Vail and stayed up chatting for a while.  I really enjoyed hearing about my crew's day as they had some super funny stories about things that they witnessed during the day.  

Disappointment set in the next morning as this was my first ever DNF.  I really hate setting out to do something and not meeting that goal.  I told Ken I would never run this race again and on the way home we were talking about things to do differently next time, so who knows.  

I do know one thing, I am so grateful for Ken and all of my girlfriends for being there for me!  I have such amazing people that I am around on a daily basis and I feel so fortunate that they all clearly love me so much.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Leadville 100...Prerace...

Two weeks ago we arrived home from Leadville.  It was an amazing experience, and sadly it did not end how I had hoped.  Here is the first part of the story, the pre-race events.  

We hit the road on Wednesday at 1:00 pm.  Ken was lucky enough to be riding with Katie and me.  Kya originally was going to join us, but at the last minute we decided to board her.  We missed her, but the whole race was pretty stressful and having a dog with us would have made it more so.  

We arrived to our condo in Vail at 10:30 pm on Wednesday.  We called it an early night, anxiously awaiting our adventures the next day.

We woke up on Thursday to crisp mountain air!  After running a few errands, we went for a hike on the trails above our condo.  We figured a short, six mile hike would be just what all of us needed to get acclimated to the elevation.

Ken hiking through the aspens.  I can only imagine how gorgeous this is in September when the aspens are golden.

We hiked three miles to a creek and found spot to hang our hammocks and enjoy some snacks and wine.

Ken being daring with his hammock location

Could it be anymore obviously that we shop at the same place?!?!  We love Lucy!  P.S.  This was not planned at all.  If only Ken had a pair...

More aspen groves

I loved the view of the windy river.  The clouds started to move in for an afternoon shower.

Ken loved this quick little hike

Looking back across the lake towards Piney River Ranch

I had a great time with my people

We stopped off at Vail Village for a glass of wine while we were waiting on Abby and Heidi to arrive from Kansas City.  I was so grateful that I was going to have so many people with me for this adventure!

Abby and Heidi had rental car issues, and it took two and a half hours to get a rental car.  Yes, they had a reservation.  I guess it was college move in weekend around Colorado, which caused a lot of issues.  After they arrived, we made some race plans and enjoyed some dinner before calling it an early night.

We woke up on Friday and drove to Leadville for packet pick up and the race meeting.  It felt odd being in Leadville and looking at the mountains where I would be running the next day.

Checked in and ready to roll!

The packet pick up at the race headquarters was crowded and kind of a waste.  I think it should be included at the high school where the race meeting is with the other vendors.  I know the race series wants people to buy their merchandise, but they can sell it at the expo where there is more room.  The race instructions made it sound like the high school was just around the corner.  In reality, it was about a mile walk.  Not an issue for us, but could be for people with children or the elderly.  

I was heading straight toward the sparkling energy drinks.

The pre-race meeting.  We all really enjoyed listening to Ken, the founder of the Leadville 100.  Seriously, my Ken cannot stop quoting Ken.  

My race crew!  They all gave up their free time to help a girl out.  Katie, Abby, and Heidi all had children starting school the day before and did not hesitate to come to Colorado.  I am so grateful for wonderful friends!

We stopped of at Pb Brewing Co for lunch and a beer and decided to drive around to find the different aid stations so the crew would know where to meet me.  We also got a peek at some of the course.  

After the Leadville tour was over, we ventured over to Lionshead in Vail for a pizza dinner.

Cheers!  You have to love the party pooper with the water glass...

Looking back at Lionshead, which is now our favorite spot in Vail.

When you know for certain you are tall enough!  This never happens.

We spent the rest of the night making sure we were organized for the next morning and went to bed early for our 2:00 am wake up call.  To say I was starting to get nervous would be an understatement!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

2018 Missouri River 340...

Well, Ken did it again.  Last year after he finished, he never said he would not do it again, so I should not be surprised that he registered for this race again in January.  He had fun doing it last year and wanted to take what he learned and apply it to this year.

What that meant for me was that I was going to get to take three days to drive across Missouri again, yay.  Actually, I did not mind it at all, it was kind of fun.

I was solo the first full day and then Ken's parents met me in Jefferson City on day two and were with me until the end.  We had a lot of fun and I even got to impress Bill and Linda with my driving on windy roads.  After all, I am a small town girl at heart.

Ken at the start of the race in Kansas City

I always think this view of downtown is pretty

After Ken started, I ran 15 miles since I have a small race of my own looming around the corner.  Ken called me to let me know he was going to be at his first stop earlier than expected, so I hustled to drop Kya off at the vet and go to meet Ken,  

I met Ken in Waverly and it was nice to see him and that he was in good spirits.  I gave him his night gear and made my way to Marshall, MO for the night to stay in a hotel.  

Ken happy in Waverly

The next morning I met Ken in my favorite small town of Glasgow, MO.  He got there around 8:30, and sadly the winery I visited last year was not open so I had to skip it.  I ran around the downtown area, stopped for some cookies at a bakery and drove to Franklin Island.  

Leaving Glasgow

Ken was still quite a bit ahead of where he was hoping to be, so he made plans to get to Jefferson City and continue on from there to find a place to camp.  

We saw Ken at Coopers Landing and Jefferson City, before we called it a night.  

The next morning we met Ken in New Haven before he powered on.  I like to think that the Casey's breakfast pizza I provided in New Haven made an impact on him finishing faster than last year.

Ken and Justin leaving New Haven

The ground crew stopped off at wineries for wine tasting before making our way to St. Charles for the finish.  Ken's goal was to finish before 7:00 pm, which was about 5 hours earlier than he planned and about 20 hours faster than last year.

Coming into the finish line at 6:00 pm!

So very proud of him!

Justin and Ken, MR 340 under 60 hour finishers!

We stayed the night in St. Charles and drove home on Friday.  Ken was pretty tired since his sleep was pretty messed up from the race.  I believe he got less than 6 hours of sleep total during the race.  

While cleaning up, someone decided to check out her dad's kayak.  Maybe she is wanting to go on a kayaking trip?

Kya the Kayaker.  She is so sweet to appease me and let me get her picture in there.

Well, that was the MR 340 2018.  The jury is still out on if Ken will do it again next year.  He has debated about doing it with a partner for something different.  Let's be 100% clear, that partner is not me.  This girl plans on keeping her feet on the ground, well, unless it involves swimming 2.4 miles in the river.  

Congratulations Ken!  You make your family of five so proud!