Race report: Queenstown Marathon

As many of you know from past posts, I’m a runner. I am much slower than I was in my 20s, and I rarely enter races any more. I find them a bit demoralizing, not to mention expensive. I’m not going to set any PRs, so why bother?

But there was one event that I hadn’t yet ticked off the list, and that’s the marathon. I watched Marc train for and suffer through a few, and earned a healthy fear of the distance. We had hiked 27 miles one day on our Oregon hike, and I was completely trashed.

You have to seriously train for a marathon, Marc said, in a serious voice. Seriously.

I haven’t done anything serious for years! Plus, there’s all that research showing that ultra long distance running is terrible for your heart.

Maybe I should just eat cookies instead.

But this year, I decided the time had come. Enough is enough. I’m going to run a marathon! Continue reading

PCT day 6 – hiking the rim

July 29 
Miles hiked: 26.4
Total trip miles: 115.1

We wake up, as usual, around 5:20. We want to get an early start, but the lodge’s free coffee service doesn’t start until 6:00, so while we wait, we eat the leftover cake from last night. Yum! As I catch the sun rising up over the rim of Crater Lake I meet a woman who is also setting out this morning, with her husband and 8-year old son. They’re “doing Oregon”, too, but at a much slower pace. I’m impressed. That kid is really lucky! Continue reading

CT Stage 3 – Collegiate West

July 31

Miles hiked: 16.2
Total trip miles: 203.6

Rick picks us up in the morning as promised, and drives us to the Willis Gulch trailhead just off the road heading up to Independence Pass. We climb about 3 miles up to meet the CT at a junction at mile 4.3. Like I said, we weren’t about to hike on flatland all the way around the Twin Lakes reservoir just to get to mile 0.0 of the Collegiate West. Continue reading

Home again

I’m baaack!!

500 miles, ~90,000 vertical feet, 29 days …

We survived the epic adventure! We finished the Colorado Trail! Our bodies didn’t break, we didn’t get hit by lightning, and (unfortunately?) we didn’t see a single hungry bear.

We emerged in Durango on August 17, five days ahead of schedule. I haven’t written about the hike here on Gydle yet (UPDATE: yes I have, and you can read it all here) because it has taken me quite a while to 1) process the experience and 2) re-engage with regular life. When your existence is pared down to walking, sleeping and putting food into your mouth, normal life is so complicated in comparison. It boggles.

I don’t know if the hike “changed” me – but coming back, I feel the need for some change. So I gave Gydle a fairly major facelift. I hope you like the new design.

Because I found other peoples’ blogs about the trail so useful and interesting when I was planning, in the posts to come I’m going to tell the story of our hike, doing my best to leave all the interesting parts in and all the boring bits out. Plus a few photos. If you’re not interested, just bear with me. It will all be over soon and I’ll be back to my usual obsessions.

But first, a video:

Boy was I glad my man walked those 500 miles with me! And we would definitely walk 500 more!

Dispatch from the wild west

So many things have happened in the Gydle-sphere lately that I have not been able to manage the mental focus it takes to sit down and write for more than ten minutes. Even if I had managed to pull myself together, I don’t think I would have been able to choose any one thing to write about.

Here’s a three-sentence summary to catch up:

On July 8, a group of friendly Kosovans from Allied Moving company came and put all our stuff into a shipping container and drove away.  Then we took off to the Alps and hiked for twelve days. Luc and I barely had time to recover from that before we packed our bags, loaded a very unhappy Minnie the cat into a cat carrier and headed for our new digs here in the wild west.

As I’m settling into my new, albeit unfurnished, home and getting to know my new city, the mental clarity is slowly returning, like coffee grinds to the bottom of the cup. The itch to write once again needs scratching. What precipitated this post? you’re probably wondering.  Am I going to tell you the sordid details of my Canadian immigration experience? The wonders of shopping on Sunday? The exhilaration of running in a midlatitude rainforest?

Maybe later.

No, what happened was I almost fell asleep at the wheel. Continue reading

I’m a movie star

Here I am again. I just got back from a run and I had to post something. It was transcendent. It’s probably just my endocannibinoids talking, but I feel like I’m entering a whole new plane of existence. Yeah, that does sound cannibis-like. Duuude.

This morning I was snooping around on iTunes looking for some new running tunes. None of the music that other runners were raving about on various blogs and magazine sites did anything for me; the songs were all too strident and fierce. Then I happened upon an album of new age-y, celtic inspired music by David and Diane Arkenstone, and when I checked it out with my BPM counter, all the tracks were right in the 90-95 bpm zone. Perfect for running! On impulse I splurged and bought the whole album for 12 francs. I downloaded it to my iPod and headed out the door. Continue reading

Moments of beauty, hibernation edition

Just so you know I’m still alive … here are a few pictures from some trail runs we did in Cortina d’Ampezzo, in the Dolomites. Next year we might do the Cortina Trail 50km. (If it’s not raining.) Over the two days we were in Cortina we ran 42km of it, so we know what we’ll be getting ourselves in for. (Click on any of the pictures to see an enlarged version).

 

Possessed

I think I’ve been possessed. All I can think about is how much I want to run an ultramarathon.

I know! It’s totally insane! I haven’t even run a marathon yet!

We keep running mountain trail races during which I’m thinking Oh my God I’m going to die! And then we get home and eat a ton of pistachios and I think Wow that was really great, we should find another one of these to run.

Do you think pistachios could be hallucinogenic? Continue reading

Age trumps beauty

So Marc turned 50. It was a big event chez nous, with a huge, fantastic party to which he invited everyone he could possibly imagine inviting. The weather cooperated beautifully, and a good time was had by all.

I may have mentioned before that in celebration of this watershed (yes, that’s a hydrology term) year, we’re going all out and running our aging butts off all around the mountains of Switzerland. Well, the French-speaking part, anyway. What that means is that for the first time in many, many years, we’re actually in fairly decent running shape. Marc, in particular, is in the best shape he’s been in since the 1990s.  He doesn’t look anywhere near 50. But then again, at 30, he still looked like he was about 15. Continue reading

Race Report: tour du lac du Joux

Sorry about the AWOL. Life has been kind of hectic lately. I’ll to do a couple more race reports, and then I’m planning to take some time off. I need a break!

Saturday after our epic Bettmeralp adventure, Marc and I climb in the car and head up to the lac du Joux, in the Jura mountains. It’s the hottest day of the summer (so far), with 33˚ temperatures down in Lausanne. The 24-km race around the lake starts at 2:15 pm, so we’ll be running smack in the highest heat of the day. But over in the US, the entire country is sweltering in 90+ temperatures, so I refuse to feel sorry for myself. In comparison, this is nothing. Continue reading