Sunday, February 28, 2010

What's New in Leslieland

Sweet Jeeeezus - It's March the 1st on Monday.

How the heck did that happen?!? I've got my first "race" of the year coming up this weekend - a wee jaunt of 100k featuring 19,000 feet of elevation. Damn. I'm excited to be going to Coyote Two Moon - just as much for the socializing as for the main event. It's sounds like a unique, wacky, one-of-a-kind adventure. It's branded as more of a gathering of like-minded individuals - we're all meeting for some camping, some eating, some bowling, some random silliness and of course, some running on trails. I can't wait. Truthfully, I'm fit and confident I can complete this sucker. But, reeeally? I'm not exactly running fit. When is one ever entirely prepared for these things? If your Leslie in Winter, you are sort of prepared. I'm mentally preparing for sufferage. And I'm hoping all of that ski touring gave me enough power in my booty to march my ass up and down a few mountains. What this race will be good for is a little running reality check - it will be a good measure of where I am and where I need to get.

In other Leslie running news, the Hardrock draw happened a few weeks back and I am officially 284th out of 289 on the Waiting List. I got some serious chuckles out of that one! Ha! No disappointment here - I'm equally stoked to be officially signed up for the Bighorn 100 Miler in June. It's a run after my own heart: 100 miles of scenic trails in the mountains with lots of elevation gain and loss. I'm excited. Now I just need to train....

The goal is to get myself to the start line healthy and strong. I may have to put a little more focus and thought into my training plan because in typical Leslie style: there is no plan. I'm still thinking about it. I'm a procrastinator when it comes to the details. I'll think about putting a program together and then a month will go by! I've still got a few chronic problem areas that cause me grief. Hips - tight. Back - fragile. Glutes - lacking power. It's all connected, I know - but it hasn't stopped me yet. O.K - it's stopped me once last June and that was scary as all heck and should have been enough for me to get my shit together, but alas...I'm still working on it. Just not diligently and consistantly enough! The whole problem is a that I'm a Pleasure Motivated Creature. I do things for fun. It's what keeps my running fresh, but also what impedes me from running further, faster, stronger. Alas, I'm secure with it. After all, it's all about F-U-N.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Solar Powered Weekend

It was a solar powered Weekend in Paradise. After a weekend like this weekend - I'm almost left with hangover type symptoms. A little "come-down" after being so frickin' awe inspired by Mother Nature. These are places I keep returning to, time and time again and still continue to be blown away. I love you Banff National Park! Thanks for inspiring me to get out the door and explore your wild and wonderful places. And thanks for allowing me to share you, with like-minded friends who appreciate you, just like I do.

Keith - getting his run on, Deception Pass, Skoki Area

Ptarmigan Lake

After my epic Friday, I didn't think it could get much better. But on Saturday, we enjoyed a perfect blue sky day and a awesome run in to Skoki with friends Mike and Phil. It was fun to share this place with them - we've run the trails together in summer, but the winter scenery really blew them away. It still blows me away. Especially, on a sunny blue sky day.

Mike, in his Happy Place.

Keith and Phil, cruising downward

Mike - High as a Kite

Cruising on the lake - Keith and Redoubt Mountain

Trail Trash

When we awoke to yet another perfect day, we happily dragged ourselves out of bed and headed out the door yet again. This time, our friend John joined us for a most awesome day at Sunshine Village. The plan was to go for a ski tour, ski up to Quartz Hill to enjoy the view, have some lunch and maybe make some turns.

Heading Out

John Gow, International Man of Mystery

Big Mountains, Little People

Yep, we made some turns.

The Scenery Was Pretty Good

....and fun was had by all.


Friday, February 19, 2010

60% Chance of Flurries

Yep, that was what the forecast said. 60% Chance of Flurries.

Have you every had one of those days that's just a gift? Golden?

Today was one of those days. It started last night really: I resigned myself to a good night's sleep, to have a sleep in with my hubby and a wake-up whenever. I didn't make any plans with the dreary forecast. I woke up at 9:00 and looked out the window to reveal a Bluebird clear sunny day. Sat in the sunbeam in our kitchen, soaked it up, had a coffee and enjoyed the perfect start to the day.

But, I needed to get out and enjoy that sunshine. I needed a run in a pretty place. In the sun. On a trail.

You had me at Hello, Lake Minnewanka

My runs have been feeling a lot like work lately, so it was great to have a run that felt inspired. Naturally, I was completely solar powered and caffeinated, but the combined effect was rather stellar. I was high as a kite and running like a speed demon. The trail was in great shape for February - even dry in a few places, but mostly a mix of ice, firm snow and dirt. My plan was to run 8km out to the Campground and run back on the lake.

Lake Minnewanka was noisy today - probably because of the sun. It was solar powered as well! It was cracking, groaning and moaning and the abrupt noises made me jump out of my skin a few times. There's a wee video of the view from the middle of the lake at the bottom of this post.

I returned home, did the Presto-Chango and Keith was all ready to go. He had to work in the AM, so we decided to go for a late day ski tour in the PM. A quick 20 minute drive, a 10 minute Gondola ride and a 5 minute chairlift and we were skinning our way into Paradise. It was so frickin' gorgeous up there today!

Mount Assiniboine in the distance

Keith overlooking The Ramparts and Lake Eohippus

*Solar Powered*

Rock - Garden

Yep, 60% Chance of Flurries.

As well as being a good day, it was a helluva' week! Last weekend we had the pleasure of a visit from Danni. We had her all to ourselves for the weekend and fun was had. Danni's good people. We dragged her out for 2 days of ski touring and it was cool to see how much she has progressed. Last year, the girl couldn't ski and this year? Yeah! Pizza's and french fries! She really did awesome.

Danni entertaining the troops


Brenda and Danni

Rad, Skiier Girls

C'est Le Fun!

Now, get out there and enjoy your weekend! Even if there's 60% Chance of Flurries.....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Things I Learned in Joshua Tree National Park - Part III

5. There's wildlife in them thar' hills.

Yep, Joshua Tree has all sorts of critters. While camping in the park, we got to fall asleep to the sounds of coyotes and wake up to the sound of Cactus Wrens. The coyotes we saw around the campground were scrawny, unhealthy and fearless. This coyote was a much healthier looking coyote than our campground stalkers:

As always, we saw lots of signs of wildlife on the trails. The benefit of rain in the desert is it washes the desert clean. The sand and the desert washes are great places to see animal footy prints and we saw lots of signs of coyotes and foxes. We had some excitement on the trail, when Meghan spotted a huge pile of ridiculously fresh poop and shortly after I spotted the tracks of One Big Kitty Cat. Our spidey senses were tingling and I reckon we were probably being watched!

6. The many Ass-ets of Joshua Tree include rock formations that look like butt crack.

It's a little know fact, but Joshua Tree National Park boasts a huge number of rocks that look like Ass. Who knew? The rock formations are really out of this world. One of the first places we visited was a place called the Wonderland of Rocks. How could we resist running through a place with such a fantastic name? The best surprise was of course, that everything looked like butt crack. That's probably why the climbers like it: great crack(s)!

Meghan, had recently taken a trip to Canyonlands and made here own geological discoveries! It still makes me smile to just to think about it.

7. Friends are Good.

'Nuf said. Meghan was a great road trip partner, a fantastic trail running accomplice and a great friend to spend some quality time with. We had fun. And fun is good. As are friends.

49 Palms Oasis

On this day, our run ended with a hitchhike back to the campground...

Sexy Hitchhiker Girrrl

Hypothermic Fun!

Mmmm. Coffee.

Leslie of the Desert

Joshua Tree National Park is a great escape if you are looking for some dry trails in winter months in a beautiful place! There was enough trails to keep us busy for 4 days of running and we were the only ones out on the trail. We had some FABULOUS runs in the desert! If you go to Joshua Tree NP, take a map you'll need it. Some of the trails are well marked, others not at all. We did lots of navigating, lots of cursing and lots of consulting with the map. It's a quiet time of year - it was just us and the climbers. Don't hitchhike - it's so quiet there's nobody there to pick you up!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things I Learned in Joshua Tree National Park - Part 2

3. It rains in the desert.

Yes, it rains in the desert. In Joshua Tree, it's only 4 inches a year. During our time in Joshua Tree, we got to enjoy one day of torrential-raining-sideways-kind-of-rain with winds gusting up to 40mph. I think all 4 inches fell. Everything flooded. It was seriously crazy. We just ran through it. After all, we're hardcore. I put on my high-desert-fashion $1 rain poncho and ran. This is my best "I'm Taking Shelter Under This Boulder In The Rain Trembling Lower Lip Pout."

Here, Meghan has perfected The Pout: especially when she's quasi-hypothermic and is forced to run in her down coat just to keep warm.

The great thing about desert storms, is you get the calm after the storm:

O.K, it wasn't exactly calm and the wind almost blew me and my stylin' poncho away. But at least the rain had stopped!

4. The desert is colorful.

The desert is colorful and has texture. When you least expect it, you will come around a corner of the trail and there will be a splash of color in the monochromatic desert world. It's a beautiful thing. My favorite living thing in the desert, was the hot pink Barrel Cactus. They reminded me of Tribbles or Sea Urchins.
Tribbles on my Head

Where desert meets rain storm meets Joshua trees, the world becomes a colorful place! As crazy as it was, running around in the rain and wind was a exhilarating, beautiful thing. Yes?