Thursday, August 27, 2015

Three Things Thursday -- Aug. 27 Edition

The last Thursday of August is upon us! What, what? Where did summer go? Hard to believe that September is almost here, and while I don't particularly like saying goodbye to the summer, this stretch of few weeks were it starts to cool off and the leaves start to change is one of my favorite times of the year.

*I didn't get a chance to "travel blog" about my trip to Colorado, but one of the highlights of the weekend was the trip I took to Mt. Evans on Sunday. Ken, one of my fellow crew members, suggested I visit there because it was one of the few mountains where you can actually drive all the way to the top.

And what a drive it is! From where you turn onto the road to get to the summit, it is a 14-mile drive to the top, much of it along the side of mountains on a narrow road with no guardrails! Yes, if you were on the cliff side you would be looking at a long drop into a lot of rocks and what looked like an endless abyss!

But once I got up there, the drive was worth it because the views were fantastic! Like many things I had seen last weekend, I was just stunned by the beauty. It was a little hazy Sunday but as you can see by the photo it was still a great view. It was also a bit chilly up there, it was only 48 degrees and when the wind blew it dropped the chill down into the low 30s!

Nearby the sign where that photo was taken was a path that led up to the actual summit at 14,258 feet. That was actually a better place to view things as I was able to look down towards Summit Lake, which sits at over 12,000 feet and shows some deep wall facings that the glaciers carved out a long, long time ago.

Here's one of my favorite pictures, it's the geological marker set on top of the mountain in 1955. I have more questions about how they measured the height of the mountain, so I will be writing a letter to them with my questions! (The joke is in the inscription on the marker)

I later drove down to Summit Lake and looked around there too. The lake was still in the area above the treeline, which meant all of the surrounding area was made up of tundra that several months a year is covered in snow and ice. It is amazing how animals survive up there, but I saw bighorn sheep and mountain goats and they looked like not much bothered them!

I made sure that I waded in the water a little bit, and man was it cold! Like, ice bath cold! But, given there was still snow in the near vicinity, the lake probably doesn't get much of a chance to warm up.

Going up Mt. Evans was a great way to end the trip. Though I have done a lot of traveling, I've never really been to a place quite like Colorado. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to go there again.

*Marathon Training? Meh. Between my travels and my Achilles injury -- which is getting better, well, either it's getting better, better, or I just haven't done enough running to irritate it again -- I've been kind of off my game the last couple of weeks. After my 10 1/2-miler on August 16, I've only run twice since then.

I'm a little disappointed in myself for that, but the St. Jude Marathon is still 14 weeks away so I have time to get back on the ball. Since most training programs are 16 weeks long, in effect I'm just getting started anyway, and my long run is already 10 miles, which is a good place to be.

If I run the next four days (as planned), I can still salvage 25 miles out of this week, given I'm going to go 11.5 or 12 with my long run. The high on Sunday is only supposed to be 82, so that will be some good conditions to get one in. I will probably go down to the Prairie Path, which is about 20 minutes from where I live, and run there. The path is all limestone and crushed gravel, so it's a good place to do long runs.

*Time for cross country. This Saturday marks the official start of cross country season as Aurora Central Catholic participates in the Aurora City Meet. Right now the kids are scheduled to run in at least 13 races (give or take) on the road to the state meet in November.

It should be an exciting season for the kids. The boys team is loaded with juniors, so they have a lot to keep working towards, and while the girls team is small it boasts two potential all-state runners in Karina Liz and Abby Fioresi. Karina finished ninth in the state meet last year and is the two-time Class 2A 800 meter champ in track, while Abby finished 27th at state last year in cross country and ninth in the 1600 meters on the track. Thursday Abby ran 10:30 in a two-mile time trial to set the girls program time trial record. Fast.

Kevin will be running on the freshman/sophomore team this year, and like many of the younger kids he is just taking this year to figure everything out. He's really improved since practice started and ran his time trial in 15:15 on Thursday, which was a PR for him.

My coaching duties so far have involved following the kids around on the bike as they train and doing things for the team's Facebook page. I'm looking forward to being involved in the race day stuff this weekend!

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