So in case you weren't "in the know", I moved to CO a week ago today. I sold my car to my good friends in Kansas, so I know it'll be taken care off, and I flew off to CO with just a few bags containing some of my clothes. Nick had moved out to our new place a few weeks before. I spent a couple days at our new place in Conifer which is about 20-30 minutes west of Denver, then Nick and I headed up to Pb-ville. Get it? So if you see a "Pb" sticker you know what it means now.
I had some good runs and hikes while I was at the new place. I felt 100% better than I did the last time I visited CO. No headaches or anything. It made me feel more confident about the race, since the altitude was my biggest worry.
We went up to Leadville on Saturday with the pups and decided to camp in the back yard since animals aren't allowed in Nick's dad's house. It pretty much turned out to be a nightmare. The dogs were misbehaving so Nick put them in his truck and Juko ended up chewing up a seatbelt. Nick had planned to hike/run Massive on Sunday but since he had a rough night with the dogs, he ended up sleeping in instead. You have to get up pretty early to ascend Massive and not get caught in storms. It's about a 13 mile trek.
So we ended up going up the powerlines together. This is part of the course that I will be going down outbound and back up inbound (at night) during the race. It was a good hike. It goes uphill for about 4 miles, but only a short portion of it is really steep. We got some great views of Turquoise Lake from the top.
Powerlines. The peak you see in the distance is not really the top.
Turquoise Lake as seen from Sugarloaf.
Overall it's not a bad hike. You just happen to be going the same direction (up) for a long time, which can be boring. Regardless of the steepness, after 76 miles of traveling, I will definitely be walking all the way up this thing. But my no nonsense pacer, Coleen, will be making sure I get up Sugarloaf as efficiently as possible. She's probably the fastest walker I know!
Monday I decided to go for a walk around Turquoise Lake. Not all the way, mind you. That would be a lot of walking. Anyway, it was a gorgeous brisk morning and I got some really amazing shots with Nick's camera. Unfortunately, Nick left Sunday night and didn't bring a cable to transfer the photos to my laptop. Apparently his fancy new Macbook Air is equipped with a card reader, and my not fancy old Macbook isn't. Probably too many negatives in that sentence.
Well the views were just amazing. When I got to the north shore of the lake, I looked south and could see Hope Pass looming FAR away. I was located on a trail 8-10? miles from the start of the race. The top of Hope Pass is at the 45 mile point. It was equal parts intimidating, beautiful and exhilarating. Just overwhelming. It made me super excited for Saturday.
Tuesday, I went for a walk from the house out to Pipeline Rd and back into the forest on the other side. I spent maybe an hour and 45 minutes just roaming around. That was all I had planned for the day. So I went into town to visit the local coffee shop, Provin' Grounds, for some breakfast and caffeine. This has become my tradition over the past few days.
Well by the time I left Provin' Grounds I had two hiking partners and was headed out to Hope Pass. I really had not planned on hiking Hope because I felt it was too close to the race and didn't wanna work my legs too hard. But I was pretty bored in the house all alone, so it was nice to be doing something with other people: Barefoot Ted and his business associate Bookis. I felt bad for Bookis sitting in the back of my little borrowed pickup truck. It must have been cold going 60 on the highway.
It had been a couple years since I had hiked Hope so I didn't remember a lot about it. I'm in way better shape now than I was back then, so I figured if I took it easy it wouldn't be very hard. Well, it WAS hard. There is really no way of getting up Hope without feeling the burn. There were some pretty long, steep ascents. But I was pleased with my lungs and the lack of headaches and illness on the climb.
The good news is, I hear going up the other side is much harder! Oh, that's not good news? I always thought the people who took trekking poles back from Winfield (the halfway point) were pussies. But after my ascent of the easy side and hearing Coleen say, "I would've cut my mom for some poles," I will no longer refer to these people as pussies. And Nick ordered me some poles of my own.
Well we made a successful ascent anyway. The timing was perfect actually. A nasty storm blew by a lower section of the trail while we were at the pass. We just caught a little rain up top and things had cleared up by the time we were further down. Even saw some leftover hail on the trail.
So there I was hours later, back at home, safe and sound, pleased with my efforts and looking forward to the race. But when I got up to use the restroom I felt pain in my foot. I wasn't too worried thinking it was just a minor bruise. When I eventually looked down, I saw what appeared to be either an extra toe or maybe a small alien emerging from the side of my foot.
I was in full freakout mode, fearing the worst. Maybe I broke something! It later occurred to me that if I had indeed broken something, I would have noticed when it happened instead of several hours later. Well I'm still in freakout mode a bit. It's been more than 24 hours and the swelling hasn't started to go down, but I do have a lovely bruise. This injury is really a mystery to me. My doc friend, Mike, told me this type of injury is usually caused my rolling an ankle. This is entirely possible. I probably rolled my ankle several times during the hike/run, but nothing was so severe that I noticed or stopped.
The degree of swelling is just somewhat baffling to me considering I didn't notice the insulting injury. Well I've been icing anyway and resting as much as possible. I can walk around in shoes without pain. But casually walking around and running 100 miles are not on the same sides of the pain spectrum. Anyway, I plan to toe the line at 4am this Saturday. I'm pretty sure there's no way my foot will be 100% healed by then, but I'll try my hardest anyway. I've got my eyes on that buckle!