Standard Route on Mt. Lemmon

Ryan and I first climbed on Mt. Lemmon near the base, at “the wall of the flying scorpions”. This was a single pitch crag and near 1500ft. elevation. We had fun, even though I did split open a couple fingers in the process.

This time we decided to head up near the 4000ft area to a multi pitch climb named “the standard route“. This climb is located on Chimney rock and is only a 200ft climb, divided into 5 pitches. Perfect for me but pretty lame for Ryan!

It was a gorgeous day when we got to the base of the wall.

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Ryan placed his rope and some gear near the base and we “suited up”.

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There was a party of three ahead of us, so we waiting our turn. I watched the two women ahead of us in the hopes of learning the best way to maneuver the route.

Then Ryan lead up to the first anchor.

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There was a big ledge here to sit and wait for our turn on the second pitch.

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The view just keeps getting better!

This is the start of the second, and my least favorite, pitch. This is the chimney, which is just large enough for your body to squeeze into the gap. You can see the last climber in the group ahead of us as she tries to work her way up the rock face.

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Eventually, Ryan and I got up, through and over this pitch. Below is the top of the chimney and the start of my favorite pitch, number 3.

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We waited here for a bit while the other group made their way up.

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Helmet hair!

 

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Ryan was tired of waiting at this point and was ready to head up.

The view from the top of pitch 3.

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After talking with the group ahead of us, we all decided to combing pitches 4 and 5 and went to the top!

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This rock teetering on the spike, was another 1000ft or so above us. Would love to climb in that area!

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The obligatory Summit Selfie!

 

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We waited for our turn to rappel off the top.

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Ryan goes first and I wait for him to yell clear, then I head down. When we are both on the ground, we pull the rope through the anchor.

But the rope did not cooperate this time. Ryan had to climb back up and retrieve it!

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This happens sometimes! Luckily he knew what to do because that rope is $300.00, Yikes!

After a fun climb there is only one thing left to do!

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Happy Hour at Zona78!

Our next climb will be with the whole family!

The Climbing Adventure Continues on Mount Lemmon

Ryan and I have been climbing in the Southern Arizona area, and have been to the Cochise Stronghold area a couple times. We like that area, but it is a two hour drive from our home in the Catalina foothills and makes for a pretty long day. We decided to head over to Mount Lemmon, in the Coronado National Forest, which is only 40 minutes away.

The day was perfect for climbing with the temperature at 73F and no wind. And, since it was a weekday, we would not have too many other climbers to contend with on the wall.

There are many crags here, mostly single pitch climbing, all well bolted with “lower offs” in place.

We chose the “wall of the flying scorpions” because it had several routes, some low enough for me, and most harder, for Ryan to climb.

This is the view from the parking area and our routes are on the far right rock wall.

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We had a bit of a hike to get through the gully and over to the crag. One thing I have learned about hiking in the desert is that the cactus are not the worst offenders. I used to believe that the cacti, with their sharp spines, were the only foliage to be avoided. But the cactus are not the biggest problem!  The brush and bushes, none of which are the iconic saguaro variety, are the real danger. Look at the spikes on this bush!

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This, and the many large aloe vera plants with their razor sharp leaves, are the real obstacles along the path.

We made our way to the other side of the valley and found the wall.

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These are the easier routes, so just a warm up for Ryan! I made it up this first, 5.8 just fine.

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But, 1/3 of the way up the second wall (5.9) I had a little problem.

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Turns out this rock was a little sharper than I had hoped. As I pulled up on a finger tip hold, I sliced my index finger. It wasn’t too bad, but the blood made the rest of the route a little slippery and I then took a larger piece of my thumb off.

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That was ok because these were the only two routes I was going to attempt on this wall anyway. So I finished off the climb and we moved down the wall to Ryan’s routes, 5.10b, 5.10b/c and a 5.11-.

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Ryan’s routes were longer and obviously harder. At this point I was just belaying him and taking some shots from the base of the wall. A pretty view!

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The view from the base of the wall, looking back on the road leading up Mount Lemmon

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Ryan’s favorite climbing shirt. Last year’s Christmas gift from his sister.

We were not alone at the crag, a few other duos were there working the wall as well. We caught a glimpse of them as we drove away.

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Zooming in on the wall, you can see one of their back packs (circled) where the belayer is standing and the arrow indicates the climber on his way up.

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This must have been how Ryan and I appeared from the other side of the highway.

There are so many other crags to explore on Mount Lemmon and we will be heading back to check them out!

Ryan and Dee Dee’s Excellent Adventure

You may recall that my husband and I decided to buy a second home in Tucson about six months ago. As soon as we told our kids, our son, Ryan, began planning a climbing trip. He wanted to leave Washington the minute his fall semester ended and stay at the new house, which would serve as his base of operations, through the Christmas holiday.

This plan was not practical for Dennis and Alex (our daughter) as they needed to work and was not poplar with Grandma as Ryan and I would not be around for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner! But, this is our first year with the new house and everyone has been gracious in allowing Ryan and I this great opportunity 🙂

We decided that Ryan and I would be in Tucson until the end of December and then Dennis and Alex will join us so we can all climb for the first week of January. So, Ryan and I had our first foray into Southern Arizona yesterday.

We left the house at 9:30am for the 2 hour drive to the Cochise Stronghold climbing area in the Coronado National Forest. There are over 1000 different routes to choose from. Ryan decided on Euphoria for our first climb. Armed with two guide books and the Mountain project website we began our search for the route.

For any of you that climb or hike, you know that finding the parking area is the first challenge. We turned onto the well marked “primitive road” and began the 10 mile drive toward the general area.  We were pretty sure we were on the right track when we saw the domes off in the distance.

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About 8 miles into the gravel road we saw this…

 

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How is a school bus making the 16 mile round trip on this road? And where are these kids coming from??

Anyway, we kept going.

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Getting closer!

We had been making good time, up until this point! Somewhere we missed the tiny little sign that indicated the forest road that split off toward the parking area. This cost us an hour as we tried to back track and listen to the disembodied GPS voice telling us to take the private, padlocked road to our destination! Finally, we found it.

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The dome on the far right was where Euphoria lives, and where we needed to hike over toward. This hike would take about an hour, according to the guide books, we managed to get there in 40 minutes.

We now are beginning the climb at almost 1pm! The sun sets at 5:22pm and we were hoping to climb the five pitches (plus the hour hike back) before it was so dark that we needed head lamps, so we had to be efficient!

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Ryan began flaking the rope

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This is the view from the base, lots of trees and rocks!

Ryan lead the first pitch and set the anchor, you might be able to see his yellow jacket at the top of the orange rope.

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I climbed up and Ryan took this shot at the top of pitch one.

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From here it gets colder! The wind picked up big time and we climbed the next four pitches. No pictures there as the focus is now on not dying! Both hands on the rope at all times. As we went higher the cold became a factor as our finger tips and toes were really starting to suffer! Ryan, of course, never fell. I, of course, fell twice!

We finally topped out about three hours after the initial pitch and we were both shivering! Ryan snapped a summit selfie.

I found out later that a “unusual cold front” had moved into the area and would take the temperature into the low 20s. The first frost warning of the season-lucky us!

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It was now pushing 5pm and we had to get back to the car. The hike down was steep and we had all the gear to balance. The sun was going down and we took a few last shots of this beautiful place.

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We did make it back to the car before it was too dark to see without the head lamps. I was rather proud of that!

I am not going to lie, I am bruised and sore today! But we will be back! There are many more routes to explore in this area.

Black & White & Color Photo Challenge

We, brilliantly, left our rock climbing gear in Arizona last month. So we had to buy a few items when we returned to Washington. I feel that there is a big difference between the color and black and white version, do you agree?

 

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Of course the price is the same for both sets of gear from REI- a lot!

Grab your camera or phone and join Linda from Everyone Else has the best titles and Take the “Black and White and Color” photo challenge!

7 Days, 7 Photos Challenge, day 2

“Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day”. 

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Today I would like to invite Foodzesty to participate in this challenge!

Roda’s “Critter Connection” Challenge, Day 8

I must be the only person in the Pacific Northwest who can’t get a decent picture of a squirrel! They are everywhere this time of year and I tried this morning, during my training run, to snap several pics and they must have known it, because they kept avoiding me at just the perfect time. I then went rock climbing with my kids and remembered that we saw several of these little guys at Smith Rocks State Park.

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This is the yellow bellied marmot and they are everywhere in central/southern Oregon. They were willing to pose for pictures at all times!

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If you are interested in learning more about what Smith Rocks State Park is like and what a great time my crazy family had climbing for four days, then check out this post, “A family vacation that really Rocked!”

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Hopefully I will be able to find a critter closer to home for tomorrow!

And the Winner is…..

Tucson, Arizona!

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This is the view from our new backyard!

If you have been following me from the beginning, then you know that I have been searching for the answer to the question “what’s next?” The reason I began this blog was to work through this extremely tough question of transition, as we move from full time parenting into our empty nest phase.  This has been a tumultuous year, to say the least. We have been roaming around, renting houses in a variety of states and environments looking for what feels right. We have spent time in Idaho, Eastern Washington, Oregon, Kansas, Nevada and Arizona. In each place we checked out the running paths, yoga studios, golf courses and climbing gyms. We wanted a place that was not too far from our extended family, all of which are in the Seattle area, and provided the activities that we have been enjoying the past few years. There was one more big requirement: SUN!

We love Seattle, especially in the late spring, summer and early fall when the weather is fabulous and the running and climbing are to be enjoyed outside.

But then, somewhere around mid October, it gets dark and the clouds open up and begin to pour and it does not stop until May! No, I am not exaggerating!

In late February we went to Scottsdale to explore the area. Now, we have been to Sedona and Phoenix before, but this time was different. I wrote a post about some of our time there, a few others as well. But when it came time to leave, it hit me. I knew, somehow, that I could be happy in Arizona. I told my husband and we talked about nothing else the entire drive back to Seattle. By the time we got home, we were making plans to look, really look, at the potential of buying  a second home in AZ.

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We got pre approved, found a realtor and went to Tucson for the first time ever. We liked the views, the mountains, and the potential for all our outdoor activities that we have become  accustomed. We arrived in June, when it was 115°F, not exactly the best time for driving around and house hunting! Our first stop was the local indoor climbing gym. Rocks and Ropes which turned out to be perfect for us. The routes are tougher and longer than our home gym, which will keep us challenged while we are in Tucson.

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We also made our way up Mt. Lemmon, which is great for hiking, climbing and has a ski resort in the winter.

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Can’t wait to be these guys!

Near the end of our trip we managed to get in a short run (it was 80°F at 8am) at a bike/run path that runs the entirety of the downtown area.

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This path runs along a dry river bed which is full during the monsoon season

We fell in love with the place. Did I mention the views?

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This is one of the five mountain ranges around us

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Tucson is one of the premier star gazing areas in the country. There are city ordinances governing the lighting in downtown to preserve the star quality. This is another view from Mt. Lemmon

Our home was the third property we viewed on the first day of house hunting. We both knew, as soon as we set foot inside the door, that this was the place for us. It will take several months or so to know for sure if this snowbird lifestyle is right for us. In the meantime I am excited about moving in (we close in August) setting up the house and making it a home! I waited to post about the new place to make sure it would go through (you know, inspections and paperwork). I am sure there will be more posts and pictures to come once we take possession of the house.

Since today is our 27th Wedding Anniversary I decided that this would be the perfect time to talk about our new phase and life direction. Thank you for reading this far and sharing this special moment with me!

 

Half Marathon Training, Week 13 Update!

so true

This was not my best week. It started out great with a decent 5 mile run on Tuesday. I ran a 9:51 average pace, not my best but not too bad.  I followed that up with a faster 4 mile/9:37 average on Thursday.  I was feeling good about the week in general and really looking forward to our first warm Memorial Day Weekend since 1995 (no, I am not exaggerating that date!). When Friday rolled around I was really up for our 11 mile scheduled run the next day (Saturday) and it was glorious outside so my husband and I decided to hit the driving range early in the afternoon. I have just started swinging the driver and wanted to practice. I began to notice that my back was unhappy, and as I worked my way through the bucket of balls, it became more painful. I did end my practice early but didn’t really think too much about my back.

We usually go climbing on Friday nights so, of course, I wasn’t going to let a little pain stop me! I thought I was being careful by only climbing easier routes, but as the night went on it was clear that I had actually done something significant to my back. There was no way I would be able to run 11 miles the next morning, or even half that distance. My hubby went on without me, and I had to watch! I have spent the last three days icing, heating and alternating between Aleve, Ibuprofen and Tylenol. I have not climbed, run, golfed or done yoga for three days!!! ENOUGH. I am going crazy!! Just like the quote above says: once you are used to regular exercise it is impossible to quit!

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We leave for Vegas on Thursday and we need to change up our schedule to avoid running a 12 mile gauntlet in the desert in June! So, here is the new plan to survive week 14.

 

May 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule
This is a blank and printable May Calendar. Courtesy of WinCalendar.com

April 2017 May     2017 June 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
week 10

1

 

2

5miles

3

 

4

4miles

5

 

6

9miles

7

week 11

8

 

9

6miles

10

 

11

5miles

12

 

13

10miles

14

week 12

15

6miles

16

 

17

10miles

18

 

19

 

20

5miles

21

week 13

22

 

23

5miles

24

 

25

4 miles

26

 

27

11miles

28

week 14

29

 

30

5miles

31

 

June 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule
This is a blank and printable June Calendar. Downloaded from WinCalendar.com

May 2017 June     2017 July 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1

4miles

2

 

3

Some run

4

week 15

5

 

6

12miles

7

 

8

4miles

9

 

10

6miles

11

week of the race

12

 

13

4-5 miles

14

 

15

4-5 miles

16

carb load

17

 

18

13.1 miles!

19

 

20

 

21

 

22

 

23

 

24

 

25

 

26

 

27

 

28

 

29

 

30

 

Notes:

I don’t care what my back thinks, tomorrow I am running and I hope to make it 5 miles. Then we will run  4 miles Thursday morning before our flight. I did miss the 11 mile run and want to do some mileage in Vegas, it may only be 4 miles but 5 or 6 would be wonderful. Then we will hit the 12 miles the day after we get back. At that point, we should be back to the regular week 15 schedule.

I hope everyone had a restful and enjoyed the long weekend! Summer is right around the corner!

A family vacation that really rocked!

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This is my daughter and I sitting on top of Red Wall in Smith Rocks State Park. We just finished the 3 pitch climb of Super Slab. What a view!

My husband and I are truly blessed to have these amazing kids who also happen to be very athletic and, apparently, fearless. Our son, Ryan, is only 21 but has been a rock instructor since he was 14. He recently began to acquire AMGA certifications and is now a professional guide. He is also a classically trained clarinetist, not sure how these two worlds will knit together yet, but as his parents have zero musical talent, we have chosen to join his climbing world.

This was the first trip to Smith for the parentals (as our daughter Alex calls us) but the kids have been numerous times. We stayed in a motel in Redmond Oregon, about 10 minutes from the park. We had never been to Central Oregon before and were impressed with its beauty. We live in Redmond Washington so the drive is about 6 hours, give or take. Warning: Lots of pictures in this post!

We were greeted by these yellow bellied marmots, which are like rabbits there.

Our first day in was all about Red Wall, and climbing a route called Super Slab. We had a small hike for the approach, but when you are carrying gear, ropes, a camera and its 70+°F, the hike is harder! It was mostly uphill of course!

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Our daughter at the very top of the last pitch

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A view of the wall as we approached

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Our trusty guide!

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Ryan did most of the leading and set the rope for me. Alex lead up for Dennis.

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Once we finished all three pitches it was time to enjoy the view and some snacks

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The views were spectacular!

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I do like being as high as the birds

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This is the crooked river which runs through the entire park

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You can see why this is called the Red Wall

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Ryan was probably a mountain goat in a former life!

We rappelled down, reorganized the gear and headed off to another climb that the kids felt the parentals could handle. Ryan also had a project that he had been working on, that was impressive!

We made our way over to a route called “5 gallon Buckets” because the holds are huge-perfect for my husband and me! This was only rated a 5.8 but it was longer than most of our lead climbs, so the decision was made that I would lead up, set the anchor then hubby would top rope it. This was my first outdoor lead climb!

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me leading 1

Yep, that’s me up there!

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The good news is that I got it done in one take! Then my husband climbed it and we all headed over to Ryan’s project- A very intimidating 11.c climb named “heresy”. It is only 4 bolts and the anchor and it is intense!

We did have a short wait in line while other climbers were on the wall so I took some shots of the surroundings.

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There are climbers all over this rock like ants!

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A number of climbers here as well

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There were humans hanging all over the place!

Then it was Ryan’s turn to climb!

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He got it in one try! At this point we were all tired and it had been a full day! We hiked out (no small thing) and drug ourselves to dinner in town. I was asleep by 9pm.

The next day was also to be a big one-the Marsupial Traverse which was a whopping 10 pitches total. We got up and out the door and were at the park by 9:30am. We had a nice long hike out to the site. Since this climb was longer and required more gear, I did not take my canon with me, just an iPhone, so less pictures this time!

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This was one of the views on the way into the canyon

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This is what we would look like in a few hours! I caught this group doing the traverse before we did!

Along the way, Alex decided to try a quick climb before we all started the traverse. She got up ok, but stuck on the way down (the rope drag was too much for her size). Fortunately, little brother knew what to do and brought her down safely!

The traverse took all day, as I said before we started at 9:30am and we finished the final, 200 foot rappel at 5:45pm. Another long day, but so worth it!

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My hubby fighting his way up!

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Amazing views from up here-notice my husband hunkered down and tied in at all times! He is not super excited about the height!

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He is feeling a little safer here!

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This climber is on an adjacent spire waiting to rappel

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Look how joyful Ryan is! This is his “happy place” several hundred feet above the ground! 

We had an amazing time at Smith and will definitely do it again! The parentals did mange to get one half marathon training run done while the kids went for one last climb before we all piled in the car for the long ride home. We were dirty, tired, sun burned and very happy!

Half Marathon Training, Week 11 update!

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This is my new motto!

It’s Monday and I am a little late with this update. Normally, I would post this weekly update on Sunday, or the rare Saturday posting, but this Sunday was Mother’s Day so I was busy being pampered and showered with gifts-it’s good to be me sometimes!

We had a 6 mile, 5 mile and 10 mile run scheduled this week. Tuesday’s 6 mile was a little slow for me, for some reason. Not sure why, I know I can’t blame the weather because is was 50°F and dry which is basically my sweet weather spot for running. But Thursday’s 5 mile was closer to my regular pace. It was also a really nice day here at 57°F and cloudy. I have finally been able to put my long running pants away!

When Saturday rolled around I was a little nervous. This was the first double digit run since last fall when we ran the Vancouver Rock n’ Roll half in October. I felt pretty good about the 9 mile run last week, but this is week 11 and I have only missed one 5 mile training run because I was having so much fun prepping for my colonoscopy. We have also been climbing a lot (more on that in a minute) and I am starting to feel a little tired. I am not injured (knock on wood) but it does start to add up for me. So, when we started the drive into Seattle to run 10 miles around Seward Park, I had some concerns about my endurance. Fortunately, everything worked out just fine.

10 mile run

It was a little cooler, and the breeze off the lake was noticeable to be sure, but overall I was pleased with my pace of 10:15 as an average. I will need to pick it up if I want to finish the 13 miles in under 2 hours, but I am hoping that I will get a little faster in the next few weeks. We have another 6, 5 & 10 set for next week, but here is the problem. All four of us leave on Thursday for Smith Rocks in Oregon. We will be climbing single and multi pitch routes all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday next week. That makes a 10 mile run tough to fit in, and did I mention it will be in the 80s in central Oregon? So, the current plan is to shift the schedule around to run 6 miles on Monday, 10 miles on Wednesday and then try to squeeze in a quick 5 miler sometime during the weekend. I have already run the 6 miles today (Monday) so we will see if I can do a quick turn around and hit the 10 mark in less than 48 hours! I hope I can! My husband is taking the more sensible approach of skipping the 10 mile all together, running 5 on Tuesday and doing “some run” on the weekend. For the record, he skips runs all the time and gets stronger and faster somehow-I guess it is good to be him sometimes too!

 

May 2017 Half Marathon Training Schedule

This is a blank and printable May Calendar. Courtesy of WinCalendar.com

April 2017 May     2017 June 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
week 10

1

 

2

5miles

3

 

4

4miles

5

 

6

9miles

7

week 11

8

 

9

6miles

10

 

11

5miles

12

 

13

10miles

14

week 12

15

6miles

16

 

17

10miles

18

 

19

 

20

5miles

21

week 13

22

 

23

5miles

24

 

25

4 miles

26

 

27

11miles

28

week 14

29

 

30

5miles

31

 

 

We will have to see how this works out next week. Either way we should have a great time climbing as a family at Smith Rocks!