After 8 weeks in the PNW and spending some amazing, quality time with friends and family, we are back in the van and ready to embark on our 2019 journey. We feel so lucky that we had the opportunity to return home for 2 months and that we were able to re-connect with so many important people in our lives. We are sad that we didn’t get to see everyone but we also know that the holidays can be a difficult time, with the many obligations and plans that surround us this time of the year. I hope you can forgive us if we didn’t get to see you and hope that we can connect when we are back in Seattle at the end of 2019. Or better yet, feel free to come visit us on the road, in one of the many fun places we have on our list this year!
One of the last things we did before embarking on our 2019 trip was to take a coaching class through the Road Runners Club of America. www.rrca.org . It consists of a 2 day seminar to provide a baseline of education for individuals looking to become knowledgeable and ethical distance running coaches in the community. This class was engaging, interesting and a great introduction to the world of run coaching. I have had previous coaching education with the USA triathlon level I class as well as a coaching class through Team in Training, but I believe, you can never have too much education when it comes to coaching, both for my own endeavors as well as others I may coach.
Our 2019 journey started off with a fever, a crazy epic snowstorm and lots of driving to get to better weather. After a brief stop in Bend to catch up with some old friends, Colleen and Bryan, we headed toward Boise, then Salt Lake City and we eventually made it to sunny, St George, Utah. I was still feeling a bit under the weather but was able to muster up enough energy to go for some nice hikes and a half marathon. We were even able to meet up with some Hyland’s Boston Marathon teammates, an extra little treat! After a few days in St George, we woke up to rain. Time to move on to sun and warmer climates, so off to Las Vegas we went.
We spent a few days in Las Vegas, although it was still a bit chilly there, the sun was shining and I was feeling much better. We were able to visit with some long time friends, Eric and Dawn-Marie, Nicole whom I had not seen in a few years and Randy, who I had not seen in probably 10 years.. We got some good training runs in the desert and David was able to get out on his bike quite a few times. We love Las Vegas, it has so many great training opportunities, the weather is perfect year round and we both love the desert. We could have stayed longer but we wanted to make it to Phoenix in time for an organized training run on the Black Canyon 100k course. I believe that getting to Phoenix 2+ weeks prior to the 100K race will be very beneficial for me and will provide both of us with some great training.
We quickly learned that the terrain of the desert is not dog friendly, at least for our dog. Mira is so accustomed to the nice cushion of the PNW forest floor. She went on a 7.5 mile run with us and was quite sore for a few days. We will be buying her some dog “shoes” in the near future in hopes of getting her out on the trails, not only in the desert but in and around Colorado, as we plan to spend most of the summer there. We will have to do a fair amount of “tag-teaming” with Mira, as our training gets longer and she slows down a bit, as well as the harsh desert environment, but we are hopeful that she will acclimate a bit just as we will. I have mentioned it before, but this is one challenge of van life with a dog. We don’t feel that it is a sacrifice, we love her, she is family and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We cherish this time, we get to spend everyday, all day with her, something we couldn’t do working/living in Seattle.
We pulled into Phoenix and the weather was even better then we could have hoped for, perfect for training, cool in the morning and evening and warm and sunny during the day. Our first run on the Black Canyon course was a blast. We ran miles 37.5-43.5 as an out and back and then I ran a short loop in a neighborhood followed by another out and back on the course, almost 19 miles with 4 river crossings! It was good to preview some of the course during the day, as I may be doing this section in the dark!! The following day we met up with a group and ran a 15 mile loop north of the Black Canyon trail. This trail was even rockier than the previous day and unfortunately I took a hard spill at mile 3.5. It was an extremely challenging day and without the support of David, I am not sure I would have continued on and finished the run.
We will be spending the next several weeks in and around the Phoenix area, visiting with our dear friends Joan and Russ, training on the Black Canyon course, mountain biking (David, not me!) and enjoying the warm weather. Black Canyon 100K will be a challenge, not only physically but mentally, and I am excited to push my limits and see what I am made of!! Stay tuned for a race report.