life run

To Be An Athlete

By on February 15, 2014

My office has an unofficial running club. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday a group of between 3 and 20ish people get out and run anywhere from 1.8 miles to 6ish miles. It’s a great way for me to practice my speed, since the fast group usually averages sub-8 minute miles for the shorter runs and 8:30 min/miles for the longer runs. It’s also a great way for me to get to know my coworkers since we all obviously have at least one thing in common if we’re out there running 3 days a week.

This past Wednesday, one of my coworkers was commenting on how he doesn’t feel like a runner, despite the fact that he is usually the one making sure that our group leaves promptly at 4 pm each day. My response was “of course, you’re a runner. You just ran 2.5 miles, most of it in a crazy headwind. That makes you a runner in my book.” He just smiled and gave me a “whatever you say” look. On my way home that afternoon I started thinking about his comment and how I’m prone to the same thoughts. Despite the fact that I religiously run between 0 and 80 miles a week depending on the time of year, I still don’t really consider myself a runner and I definitely don’t consider myself an athlete. When I think athlete and runner I think of people like this:

Not people like this:
Which is obviously not a very good mindset. Last year there were approximately 70,000 ultramarathon finishers in the United States. In a country with a population of 313.9 million, that means 0.02% of the population completed an ultramarathon last year. And I was one of those people. I guess that means I’m an athlete. Now i just have to actually accept that fact.

While I mull over that thought, I’ll get on to the fun stuff. Last weekend was amazing. I drove up to the mountains Friday, only to find out, as I passing Frisco, that Vail pass was closed for avalanche control. I made the decision to take the scenic route and drive up to Leadville and down through Minturn to get to Avon. Unfortunately it was less than scenic since it looked like this the entire time:
Normally, you can see miles and miles of mountain peaks at this point in the drive. It did allow me to drive the whole time instead of just sitting on the highway. I finally made it to Avon as Vail pass opened. 

On Saturday Jason had to work, so I decided to go on a nice little run. I set out without a plan and decided to just enjoy the beautiful weather. I ended up running 13 miles with 1,268 feet of elevation gain and had a nice little tour of the Eagle River, Edwards, and Bachelor Gulch. I had big plans to run from Bachelor Gulch to Beaver Creek, but was told by the concierge at the Ritz that the road was closed. So I just ran down, around Nottingham Lake and back to Jason’s house. I was pretty impressed that I was able to maintain an average pace of 10:31 min/mile for the run, despite the fact that I stopped to take quite a few pictures before I accidentally threw my phone into the snow and it stopped working (it’s fixed now that I warmed it up).

 After a dinner out, we headed to bed early in anticipation of a great Sunday.

We woke up bright and early Sunday morning so we could pick up Jason’s brother and get in some runs in the 11″ of snow at Breckenridge. I tested out my new board and it performed beautifully, floating above the deeper snow, absorbing all the jolts from the choppy snow, and turning like a dream. I really couldn’t be happier with it. We managed to get in 6 runs before we had to leave to go DOG SLEDDING!!!!

Dog sledding was seriously one of the best experiences of my life. Between Jason and I, his brother and sister-in-law and their 2 friends visiting from London, we took turns driving the dog sled, sitting in the dog sled, and watching from the sled attached to a snow mobile. Our eight dogs were high spirited and so happy to be running. After about an hour of learning how to dog sled, we headed over to where they keep the dogs and were able to see the puppies that were so young they didn’t have their eyes open yet. If you find yourself in the Breckenridge area when there’s snow on the ground, check out Good Times Adventures. You won’t be disappointed.


After dog sledding, we enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch and headed back to Avon to pick up my car and Moose. Little did we know that we were about to have a quite the anti-adventure. We successfully made it back to Avon, showered, and got Moose in the car. As we were heading up Vail pass, traffic suddenly stopped and when I looked on my phone, it said that Vail pass was closed due to multiple accidents. Unfortunately we had just passed our last chance to turn around and so we were stuck on I-70. We spent about 3 hours in separate cars waiting for Vail pass to reopen. It was less than ideal. We finally made it to Frisco, only to find out that I-70 was closed at Silverthorne  and there was a 3+ hour delay for the 8 mile stretch to the Eisenhower tunnel. Luckily, Jason’s sister-in-law’s parents live in Frisco and they kindly let me sleep at their house. I finally made it back to Denver Monday morning just in time for my 8:30 am meeting.

It was quite a weekend and this one is shaping up to pretty adventurous also. Stay tuned for more of my escapades!