Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Best To-do List Ever

As is customary this time of year, Outside Magazine posted their take on the top skiing destinations in North America. I immediately adopted this as an off-season "to-do" list.

I'm a list maker myself. I really enjoy lists. They keep the chaos in order and my little brain from exploding. Checking things off lists is one of my favorite little joys in life. So I'm pretty excited to get to work on this one.

Top 15
1. Alta/Snowbird, Utah (scheduled, Jan 09)
2. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia (been there, done that, over it)
3. Vail, Colorado (been there, going again Dec 08)
4. Jackson Hole, Wyoming (been there many times, but may never consider this "done")
5. Snowbasin, Utah (scheduled, Jan 09)
6. Fernie Alpine Resort, British Columbia (done, may do again March 09)
7. Silverton Mountain, Colorado (uhhh, might need to hold off on this one 'til I gets me some better skilz)
8. Aspen Highlands and Snowmass, Colorado (may be paying them a visit in Jan 09)
9. Squaw Valley, California (I've biked by here....but I guess that doesn't count)
10. Steamboat, Colorado (scheduled, Jan 09)
11. Mammoth, California
12. Telluride, Colorado (hmmm....maybe Jan?)
13. Solitude, Utah (might make the list for Jan 09)
14. Alyeska Resort, Alaska (ya, I WISH!)
15. Taos, New Mexico (New Mexico....really? I've got a few that I think should make the list before this one....but I'll just have to keep them my little secret lest I not be able to have the gondola to myself. on. every. epic. run.)

In case you couldn't tell, I've been frantically plotting ways to spend as many days as possible in the mountains this winter. And I have to say, its going pretty well so far. Right now I'm booked for two weeks in Colorado to ring in 2009, and then I'll be following that up with 5 days in Utah later in January.

Now....all that's left is to get my lazy off-season booty into mountain-girl shape. I see a lot of lunges in my future....perhaps I should just forgo the office chair and do squats and wall sits all day? I think Bode used to put one of his friends in a wheelbarrow and push them uphill for a mile or two....any volunteers to ride? You're only likely to get dumped on your head a couple hundred times. It'll be fun. ;)

Monday, November 24, 2008


What...what is this? I have a blog? Oh yeah, I have a blog.

Sorry about my recent hiatus from blogging, but you see I've been taking the off-season very seriously. And by that I mean, take OFF to another country, then take OFF to another state, totally blow OFF all your workouts while you try to recover from your travels, then have nothing to say and no time to say it so just blow OFF blogging too while your at it.

Off-season is going very well.

Truth be told, I had been trying to keep up with at least the speed workouts but managed to catch a nasty cold that put me out of commission just as I was getting back on top of work and whatnot again.

Then came time for the annual trip to Iowa. For four years I've been making the 5+ hour drive to Des Moines for the Living History Farms X-Country Race. I was starting to feel a little better before the trip, but still decided not to do the race. Another addition to the OFF-season accomplishment list, I guess. But I figured running through streams and up muddy embankments for 7-miles in 26-degree weather wasn't really going to help me kick the cold for good, and another week of being sick wasn't something I was interested in dealing with. So when my friends were pulling on their warmest mud-loving clothes Saturday morning, I was happily heading off in search of coffee.

The race has always been an excuse to visit some friends in the area, but this year the visit was all about the friends. So there was ample time to catch up, with no regrets about another glass of wine, and lots of extra energy for shopping (thankfully, because I'm pretty sure I tried on 100 pairs of jeans at Blond Genius!).

I think I'm really starting to get the hang of this off-season stuff.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New running gear, pain, and other reasons to love speedwork

Today it was cold, cloudy, rainy and windy all day. With it getting dark at 5pm now I envisioned dropping temps, biting wind, and drizzle for my speedwork session tonight, so I had to roll out some new gear.....well, maybe not so much "new" as "totally forgotten since the spring thaw."
You see we're lucky like that here in Wisconsin. With every change of the season its like shopping in your own closet. You end up digging in the back of that dresser drawer, or in that box you had to retrieve from storage, and pulling out all kinds of stuff you forgot you had. And it's the best kind of shopping because its FREE.
So I dug deep, and busted out the fleece hat and the headlamp for tonight's workout. And yes, we may have looked a little silly running around the track with our little headlamps on. But is the headlamp not one of the great inventions of all time? Dork factor aside, those little guys are pretty handy.
Ok, back to the workout....
I can be a bit of wimp sometimes. Today was no exception. The weather was not the "oh yay, lets go running" kind of weather that gets you pumped about leaving work and heading for the track. Today was more of a "I'd really like to stay late and get some more work done" kind of day. So mid-afternoon I was starting to look for excuses. I knew, no matter how miserable the conditions, I would feel great after doing the workout. But I went fishing for an out anyway.
I sent off a quick email to my 'coach'....."we run rain or shine?".....secretly hoping she was thinking about bailing. She wasn't. (well actually I found out later she was, but she didn't want to let on)

Darn. Still on.
So we rolled into the parking lot at 5pm ready for the worst mother nature could throw at us. Except that mother nature wasn't feeling nearly as crabby as she was earlier in the day and it was downright pleasant out. Aside from it being almost dark that is.

Turns out, it was probably best that it was dark seeing how I'm not all that attractive when I'm in pain. 800m repeats tonight. Whole new pain experience. In fact during our cool down we had a very in depth discussion of the varying types of pain and each of their benefits.
I have a feeling these speedwork sessions are just going to get more and more "fun" as the winter wears on. ;)
But its all good, because now I have plan. Really, an actual black and white plan. With quantifiable goals. So it all makes sense. And I understand that the pain is just a necessary step toward the end result. Which makes it surprisingly more tolerable.

Monday, November 3, 2008

bust out your DayGlo

Hello daylight savings time.....a five o'clock run is in the dark now? Time for my PSA of the day: If you are going to play in traffic, wear something reflective.

There is a little part of the route I ran tonight that is sans sidewalk. Which meant that tonight for about 800 meters I was out running on the road in my little pale yellow t-shirt and grey runner-girl skirt. Way cute, (and quite speedy, I might add -- yes, I believe that what you wear CAN and DOES affect your speed) but not reflective.

Although, fear of getting run down by a car does apparently make me run faster. So I guess there are perks. But I think I'll be digging out my ankle reflectors before I try that again.

Aside from the traffic part, tonight's run was awesome. I am loving these short, fast workouts. I really feel faster. And tonight, I had enough energy left at the end of the run to suggest that a few hill repeats sounded like fun. Yes, fun. I really used that word. And I really did a few hill repeats -- just. for. fun. I don't know what's gotten into me lately.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I WANT my weekend back

Seriously, where did the weekend go? It cannot possibly be Sunday night. Because what feels like three hours ago it was Friday afternoon and I was contemplating an early exit from work to enjoy the great weather. (which didn't happen)

And even with an extra daylight-saving hour of productivity thrown in there I swear my 'to do' list got longer over the weekend. How is that even possible?

Its like the vacation hangover that will not end.

In other news, which I failed to report, last week I completely rocked my speed workout. No, really. I was monumentally faster than the workout before I left for vacation. I have no idea how. But I'll take it. Guess all those stairs climbed to castle towers really paid off. Or maybe it was the three week "taper." Not sure, but the way I see it, if I go to Europe one or two more times before tri season starts, I'm feeling some podiums in my future. I'm altering my training schedule accordingly.