Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lincoln Marathon Recap

[Yeah, I neglected this blog for several months.  I got busy at work and just didn't really feel like getting on the internet.  But I did run an AWESOME marathon, my first race in a Runner's Roost uniform, and am finally getting around to doing the recap a month late.]

Race: Lincoln National Guard Marathon 
Date: May 5, 2013 
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Weather: Overcast, 41 degrees F, wind at 7 mph from the NNW
Course: Mostly flat, some rolling hills (good change up), great crowd support, well organized.


Both Jeff and I ran PR's and qualified for Boston.  This was Jeff's first time qualifying for Boston!!!  Jeff's brother also ran and qualified for Boston.  Jeff and Chris ran together the whole time and had a blast.  At the finish we all celebrated together, what an experience!!!

We all ran nearly perfect races, running the second half of our race faster than the first.  We also had enough in our tanks at the end to sprint to the finish and never "hit the wall."  I started off slow and picked it up to maintain my goal pace for the majority of the race.
Here are my splits from the race:
FINALLY a race that I can be really proud of from mile 1 all the way to 26.2.  I ran it as I planned and felt great the entire time.  I had GU's at miles 6, 13, and 19 and my parents drove all over the course giving me my handheld full of Nuun at 4 locations.  It was great!!  My parents are now required to come to every marathon as they were an big part of my (and Jeff and Chris's) success.

Next Half Marathon: Georgetown to Idaho Springs (Colorado), August 10, 2013.  Goal = break 1:30
Next Marathon: St. George (Utah) Marathon, October 5, 2013.  Goal = break 3:05
Other Races: Hood to Coast, August 23-24, 2013.  Goal = run 6:50 average pace

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Seattle vs Denver, a Comparison of 2 Great Places to Live

I got an email from a friend who is graduating from college in May and is thinking about looking at jobs in both Seattle and Denver.  He asked me if I could provide him some information on living in both cities and to give my opinion on the pros and cons of both. 

Um YES, I just LOVE giving my opinion so he is in luck! (Mitch, I bet you didn’t think I would take this so seriously, HA!)

Plus everyone is always asking me what city I like better…. so without further ado, here is my detailed comparison of Seattle and Denver, 2 wonderful cities and great places to live.

(Note: These are MY opinions and are open for debate.)

comparison 1

WA vs CO 1comparison 2   WA vs CO 2 comparison 4   

WA vs CO 5comparison 5WA vs CO 4 comparison 6

 WA vs CO 5

comparison 7

WA vs CO 6

I don’t think one city or region is any better than the other.  They have their similarities, but are also so different. 

I loved living in Seattle and I love living in Denver.  There is so much to do in both places and I’m glad I have gotten the opportunity to live in both! 

Personally, I think Denver is a better fit for me.  Although I do miss Seattle and the water and the green….. 

Mitch, I hope this helps :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Life of Barb Update

So what the heck has been going on in the Life of Barb?  I know you have been dying to be updated……

1. Utilizing my Ski Pass.  I’ve been trying to ski every weekend and have been skiing 6 times since December (with the terrible snow, I am proud of this).  By being limited to going on weekends, Jeff and I have to get up at the a$$ crack of dawn to beat the I-70 traffic, ski our butts off, and get home to tend to the dogs.  It makes for a tiring day, but worth it!  Plus we have had a lot of friends who have visited Colorado and we try to join them when possible.


2. Starting Marathon Training. I started back into training for my May 5 marathon in Lincoln, Nebraska.  I also have a half marathon in Moab, Utah on March 16 which the training is going towards.  I took most of December and January off and have spent February trying to re-gain the speed and strength that I lost in the “off season.”  I needed the time off and am excited to be training again.  I have also been trying new workouts, running partners, and running clubs and it is going great!  I’m not jumping into tough training and gradually getting where I want to be (I admit, it can be frustrating that I am not at the pace/fitness I left off at, but I will get there soon). 

2013 workouts I ran a 10 Mile Race, the Snowman Stampede 10 Miler, on Saturday and maintained a 7:30 pace.  I was a little disappointed that I didn’t go faster, but wasn’t pushing myself either.  All in all it was a good measure of my current fitness and will just help fuel me to push a bit more the next few months.

3.  Home brewing.  Well I haven’t really done the home brewing, but Jeff has.  I am his quality control specialist and enjoy the fruits of his labor.  His first batch (a golden ale that came with the brewing supplies kit) wasn’t drinkable, but I’m not counting it as failure because the ingredients were over a year old and had not been refrigerated (rookie mistake).  The REAL first batch was an IPA and turned out really good!  Like surprisingly good and tasted like something we could get a local craft brewery.  What the hell, Jeff just might be good at this and I am so excited to continue tasting the different home brews that he is makes!

IMG_01894. Working.  I have been working on various major proposals at work (lots of writing, which is why this blog has been neglected as I only have a certain amount of words available in my little brain).  Many of the projects are located in Alaska, remote Alaska.  I should find out if we won some of the proposals in the next few weeks and if I get to make some treks up to the amazing state of Alaska.  The other proposals are for projects in the Pacific Northwest, so I might get to make several treks to my old stomping grounds as well.  Fingers crossed we win some of these proposals (and so that I can keep billable)!

alaska projects

5. Making Tough Decisions. Jay, the brown Italian Greyhound, is old.  I got him over 8 years ago when he was 5 or 6 and he has always had various health issues (seizures, unexplained hair loss, skin rashes, and the list goes on).  In the past few years he has really shown the effects of aging; he has lost vision in one eye (and the other one doesn’t see well), he has poor hearing, he can’t keep on weight, and has gotten progressively weaker unable to jump up on the couch and can’t walk down stairs.  In addition, the past few months the frequency of his seizures has increased and he is starting to become incontinent.  The little guy has one paw in the grave and it has been really hard to watch.  His mind is still there, but his little body is worn out.  The past week has been the worst as we have witnessed one seizure and found him laying in his bed in his own urine on several occasions (most likely from other seizures).  I know that it is getting close to making a really tough decision.  Jay is uncomfortable, on the border of being in constant pain, and upset over his inability to do the things he used to and to control his bladder.  I know this tough decision will happen sooner than later and I am starting to come to terms with it (over many tears and discussions with my mom and Jeff). Jay

He is the most loyal, gentle, and silly dog that I have ever had and has been an awesome companion to me (and Jeff) these 8 years.  I love my best buddy and I will miss him terribly when he not with us. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Runners Roost Race Team and Run Club

In November and into December I felt “blah” about running.  I wasn’t looking forward to running, I was going through the motions, my legs never felt fresh, and I wasn’t improving.  I knew I was getting burned out and decided to take a little break from training  in December and January (I still ran a little but wasn’t training).  I also decided I needed to change things up if I wanted to continue to enjoy running and start improving again.

I knew I needed to run with different people and to make running “fun” again.  Hopefully running with different people would also help motivate me it and to get out there to meet more people in my “new” city (who also ran).

I decided to apply for a running team through a local running shop called Runners Roost.  In early January, I found out that both Jeff and I made the team; we made the Runners Roost Race Team!

Runners RoostNot only would we be representing “something” when we ran, but we would be part of a running community.  I couldn’t wait to meet our “teammates” and start running with a “team.”  I didn’t really know what to expect or what being on the Runners Roost Race Team meant (and I am still learning what it means), but I was excited to find out.

Jeff and I attended our first Run Club at our “home store” in Lakewood, Colorado a few weeks ago.  For me, it was like going to try-outs for club soccer.  Who would be there?  Would I have anything in common with anyone?  Would they all be better than me?  Would they like me? 

Jeff and I got there to find over 20 people milling around the meeting spot.  For a dark winter night, I was impressed with the turnout!  All of a sudden the group of people took off on the route and Jeff and I followed along. 

Luckily, everyone was so friendly and welcoming!  There was a great mix of men and women, different ages and backgrounds, and all sorts of running abilities.  The 5 mile run flew by as I chatted with various people.  Pace didn’t matter, we just ran and got to know each other.  After the run, everyone proceeded down the street to local bar for drink and for more conversation.

Jeff and I both decided Run Club was a success and will be a weekly occurrence.  Its a great change up to our weekly routine and is a fun way to meet all sorts of different people.  And hopefully it will push our running comfort zone and lead into some other events (speed or track workouts anyone???) and friendships.

Thanks Runners Roost for everything!  I can’t wait for what 2013 brings!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Crawl before you walk…5K before a marathon

I recently read an article about the risks involved in putting on a marathon. It looks into marathons that take place in hot/unsafe conditions and who is responsible if a runner is hurt or gets sick during the event.  The article also goes into discussions about the levels and types of runners that toe the line; many participants are beginning runners who are ill-prepared regardless of race day conditions.

Now more than ever, EVERYONE wants to run a marathon.  It used to be that only the serious, well-prepared runners signed up for a marathon. Today, people who have never ran a mile or participated in sports decide to sign up for marathon to cross that item off their “bucket list.”  Running a marathon is the thing to do!

Although it is commendable that people want to run a marathon, sometimes these new “runners” bite off more than they can chew.  This decision can be dangerous to their health and also to their views on running. 
It got me thinking about my own start into distance running and how I went about things all wrong.  Granted, I had an athletic background in which I played every sport under the moon growing up and went onto college for soccer, but I had never ran more than 2 miles before signing up for a half marathon.  And that first half marathon was a TERRIBLE experience.

I was ill-prepared; only running a maximum of 6 miles before the half marathon and only “training” for a few months (I don’t even think I knew what a training plan was).  I was absolutely clueless; not knowing how long a half marathon was (seriously, I didn’t know it was 13.1 miles).  And I paid for it.  I got to mile 8 and wanted to die.  I hated every 2 hours and 7 minutes of that first half marathon and I couldn’t walk for days following the event.  I vowed NEVER to run a full marathon and even quit running for 2 years.

Then 2 years later I forgot about how terrible that half marathon was and stupidly signed up for and ran an ill-prepared FULL marathon.  It was again the most awful 4 hours and 47 minutes of my life (it was also during the Chicago heat wave of 2007).

Why did I skip past the little stuff and sign up for these long distances?  Why didn’t I start with running a 5K, then a 10K, then a 10 miler… why didn’t I gradually build my endurance until I was fit and ready to run the half and then eventually the full marathon?? 

The answer: I was clueless.

I didn’t fully understand what it takes to run 26.2 miles or how long I needed to train to be adequately prepared.  I think it is safe to say that a lot of other beginning runners have found themselves in this same situation.  I have seen these people during races; they are the ones at mile 10 of a half marathon miserably walking.  I have been there too and it sucks.

How do we get beginning runners, like I was, to GET it??

Have them PROVE it.  The article proposes a qualifying standard for marathons.  And not necessarily a specific time, but that they have participated in a 5K, 10K, and half marathon.  I honestly wish this would have been the case before I was able to sign up for that first half marathon I “ran.”  Maybe I would have had a better idea of what it took, performed better and actually enjoyed the experience. 

After 6 years I finally enjoy running.  For probably the first 3 years of that time I didn’t particularly enjoy running and at times dreaded lacing up my shoes and hitting the road.  Most likely it was because of my rough start.  But I kept with it and now I look forward to each run and I keep improving.  I have learned many lessons and am constantly figuring out what works best for me. 

If you are beginning runner, learn from my mistake…crawl before you walk…gradually build up your endurance…run a few 5Ks, 10Ks, and 10 milers…then sign up for that half marathon and eventually that marathon.  You will find the whole experience to be much more pleasant that way!

(Well that certainly was a rambling of running thoughts, thanks for hanging in there!)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Closing out 2012

(I know this is a few days late…but oh well, its not like anyone really cares...)

Jeff and I were able to spend time with the family for Christmas, once again driving to KC and STL so we could see each of our families (and our newest member of the family, Bethany who was born a week before Christmas!).

It was a quick and busy Christmas, so busy that I wasn’t even able to get any pictures.  I can’t always be the annoying event photog, maybe next time.

We got back from STL/KC and immediately transitioned into New Years festivities.  Our friends from Chicago were in town so we took them up to the mountains, went to our first Broncos game, and hit up several eateries and breweries (big surprise).

skiing Saturday was in the mountains…. Sunday was for football.

We had perfect weather for the Broncos game and had an absolute blast.

Broncos1 We cheered loudly to watch PFM (Payton Effing Manning) lead the Broncos to a win over the Chiefs.  And yes, I was wearing Broncos apparel even though I am from KC…. the Chiefs are just so terrible I have never really been a fan.  Might as well cheer for a team that wins.  Though Susan wore her red proudly and cheered for the Chiefs even when they were playing quite pathetically.


Broncos3Our seats were in the very last row.  But that didn’t stop Jeff and Nate busting out some sweet dance moves.

We then rang in 2013 the next day at Prost Brewery.  It was a low key night, but so much fun!  I guess we are getting old because playing Scrabble and Yahtzee at the bar made our night.


2012 definitely has been a great year and I can’t wait for what is in store for 2013!!!!!!

(Although I enjoyed my time off from seriously running during December, I am ready to get back into training.  AND I will have more of a reason to run since Jeff and I were selected to be a part of a local running team!!!!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Brothers (some of them) in Denver

Last weekend 2 of Jeff’s younger brothers came to Denver for the weekend to sample some of Denver’s finest brews and to get in a little skiing. 
thursdaynight (Jeff really isn’t significantly smaller than his brothers, it just looks like it in this photo.  So tiny.)

We took them to some of our favorite establishments over the course of the 4 days they were in town:
  • Right Coast Pizza in Wheat Ridge (they only serve beer and liquor made in Colorado)
  • Hogshead Brewery in the Highlands
  • Falling Rock Tap House in LoDo
  • 1UP Arcade Bar in LoDo
  • Wynkoop Brewery in LoDo
  • Forest Room 5 in the Highlands
  • Williams and Graham in the Highlands
  • The Highlands Tavern
  • Denver Brewing Co in LoDo
  • Prost Brewing in The Highlands
plaid shirts (It was plaid shirt night and I didn’t get the memo.)
Friday Night (We were joined by other friends which made a great night even greater!)

We also headed to the mountains where is was finally SNOWING!  We skied at Keystone in surprisingly good conditions and then stayed the night at the Inn at Keystone before returning to Denver.

I’d say we had a busy weekend….And TONS of fun!  Thanks for visiting Patty and Dave!