Sunday, August 30, 2009


High Altitude Workout Training or:
High Altitude Weekend Training..
At any rate it was fun, hard, tiring and just as we planned...

Friday: H and I arrived around 5:30 with a car full of tri stuff, food, dog and miscellaneous items. Our home in the mountains is remote and beautiful, but not too far away from civilization. The official altitude is 7900 feet so we always feel breathless here for a few days, even coming from a mile high. It is 2 hours, 45 min away from the ABQ home so we can be in remote quiet world just a hop, skip and jump away. Soon our friends began to arrive. There was Mark and his 10 year old son, Orlando, an up and coming(now beating my ass) triathlete, Dread Pirate and husband Steve and their 2- 7 year old twins. We somehow got everyone into a bed except Orlando, who graciously accepted the couch bed. He had to fight over it with Mocha, our geriatric dog, who thought it was very entertaining to have the twins "take her for walks" about 50 yards from the cabin down the road and back:

This is Ellie taking her for one of her "walks". The kids seemed to love it up here..

We all crashed Friday night, got up early on Saturday AM, me at my new waking hour of 4:00 AM-grrrr....

Run: We all had different plans on the run. Mark his 18 miler, Jane and Orlando 90 min. or so, me my 8 miles and Hartley walking his 5 miles on an injured but healing leg. We all took off together up and down the road near our place. It has some traffic but mostly beautiful views of he mountains, pine trees and glimpses of the river. I started out huffing and puffing feeling like dog-doo-doo. This soon passed as I turned around to head downhill and took a gel. We all ran into each other at different times of the morning as the paces differed (mine being the ever so slow 13 min mile). I ended the last 3 miles or so doing the walk one minute/run one minute uphill. We finally all made it back to the cabin and had a great breakfast, thanks to H's cooking:

Workout one completed!

Steve got to do a quick ride up Cumbres Pass as he was on "kid duty" the rest of the weekend. I think this was very noble of him to volunteer to do and think DP is a lucky girl to have such a husband as this. Perhaps this shows the generation gap between my young friends and I. All the men I know in their 40s and younger seem to have hands on parental relationships with their kids. This impresses me!

Swim: OK, no matter how I tried to WILL the clouds from forming, they did anyway. However after lunch we sped out to Heron Lake, a small wake less lake about 25 miles from our place up here. It was mid afternoon and no matter what the hell Accuweather said, the storm was we found out little spot to swim in the lake, hurriedly putting on our wetsuits, H & I with our new "Safe Swim" belts that will blow up into life vests should you feel like you need them. They are even race legal according to triathlon rules, but if you use them you are DQd (duh)...Anyway, here we are:

Notice how cold the poor kids look without the wetsuits! I had called the night before and got the terrifying news the the water temp in this lake was 52 degrees-say WHAT?!? Needless to say, they lied. The water temperature was probably a balmy 68 degrees, lovely weather for a swim. We still were seeing the clouds rolling in but off we took and decided it would make sense to swim to a green buoy somewhere "out there" and stick together.

There we are..before the squall. We got to the buoy after awhile and then I saw the darkness setting in. All of a sudden, the wind hit and so did the waves. I turned around and signalled Lets turn around NOW! Soon the rain was pelting down and I felt a bit like like I was in a washing machine. We were probably only 500 yards from shore and it seemed like we were going with the waves but every time I looked up,I was being blown off course to the left. I yelled over to Orlando that I was heading Over there and would walk back on the shore..I guess no one else knew that because they wondered where the hell I was going. I panicked a little a couple of times, rolled on my back, considered using the damn "safety sausage" as I call it, but decided against it. My heart rate was pretty high by now and every time I looked up the damn shore looked the same distance away..Damn! I saw a boat hovering near by. I think he was looking to see if anyone was going to start to drown. Finally after what seemed to be 30 minutes, I arrived like a sea wrecked passenger onto shore. There came Steve bringing my my flip-flops so I would not kill myself walking on the rocks..
OK, here is the really depressing part..I looked down at my new Garmin 310XT and all I saw was 1.25 miles..Holy cow! I thought..I swam much farther than I even imagined! Then my friends broke the news to me-we had only been out for a grand total of 17 minutes!! WTF?? This means either a: I swam the world's fastest 1.25 miles or b: my Garmin was SO wrong. It turned out to be the latter. I had forgotten to zero out the Garmin setting so DUH, as it turns out, we went only about 1000 very stressful yards in our attempt to swim 2500 yards. But alas, there was lightening at the end and hey-we did get out alive! That ended up being pretty funny after was all said and done.
On the way home, we turned down our dirt road on the way to our mountain getaway and alas, just as if mother nature thought we deserved a different experience:

Not one, two but FOUR young bucks, who seemed to befriend us when we pulled out the potato chips. They are quite tame around this area but I have never in 20 years seen this many bucks together, sans females..The kids of course LOVED it as the adults did and we all whipped out our cameras, Iphones, Blackberries and took as many pictures as we could as this is what you do when you see nature at it's finest!
We arrived home, tired but happy after our encounter with Bambi's relatives..
Another great meal from H, who loves to cook especially for people he loves so here we are having a picnic on our deck overlooking the Brazos Peaks:

Some of us were really tired:

Connor was taking a snooze (sort of)..

After dinner we all veged around the TV feeling like slugs watching some guy document his 5 month hike up the Continental Divide. We saw the sign for the CD up at Cumbres Pass-hey that is where we are headed tomorrow! Off to bed at a fairly early hour. I awoke again at 3:30 hungry...this time was able to get back to sleep...

Bike: The plan was to leave the end of our dirt road between 8 and 8:30 and by golly that is what we did. I drove the car down about 5.5 miles to a place where I knew I would not have to climb said hill at the end of a tough bike ride. Here are the rest taking off:

It was a cool ride down the hill, then we all rode the 10 miles or so to Chama to meet Steve and the kids, who were enjoying a nice breakfast near the train station:

After a pit stop, we headed up the 2,000 feet to Cumbres Pass. It is only about 12 miles from here but a difficult climb. We left NM:

and headed into Colorado. I was keeping my HR down, a steady but slow pace.

I arrived last to this stop, where we watched the train pass. It was pretty spectacular:

The last 400 feet or so seem straight up although it is only a 10% grade, at 10,000 feet, a very challenging climb to the top of the pass. The real challenge is to "beat the train" up to this point and two of our little group did, but we all finally made it:

The trip down was Wheeeee! Down in about 30 minutes back to town. Finally H & I made it back to the car, where we shuttled ourselves and bikes back to the cabin, then back to pick up the rest of the group.
Total bike miles for me: 45 miles
The longer group did 60 very difficult high altitude bike miles! Done!
We all ate and ate when we got back to the house. I was so hungry...
Then of course, the clouds opened up and it started raining as H & I said our goodbyes and headed to town to pick up some stuff we needed for the week. We are up here for the whole week! YAY! 11 days of high altitude training for us and I am so happy to be in the mountains even if it will be partly training, partly resting.

I LOVED having our NM Outlaws up here for the weekend. This is the second such annual event and it was even more fun this year. Now if we could figure out how to fit the many more folks into our humble abode, I am hoping next year many more of the team will come!

Today I awoke after sleeping like a baby finally! The sun is just coming up over the peaks, I am sipping my morning coffee and listening to the local radio station. We have a 5 mile run today-well run/walk I think with my legs feeling the way they are. We are heading out to the lake for another open water swim, the weather is again, not suppose to rain but just in case we will head out earlier today.

Thank you my friends for a great, great weekend!!