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Rim Rock Marathon

14 Nov

Yesterday’s long training run was actually the Rim Rock Marathon.  I signed up for the race in late September not only get a proper marathon on the schedule for fall but also to ensure that I would at least have a long run of 26.2 miles prior to The North Face Endurance Challenge in December.

To sum it up, I couldn’t have picked a better long training run.  The Rim Rock Marathon was a small race with only 200 or so people in the field.   It was a road marathon but the scenery made up for that point.  We ran 24 or so miles through the Colorado National Monument – an insanely beautiful part of Western Colorado.

Apparently last year’s race was run in a blizzard so I was pleased by the blue-clear sunrise that turned into an absolutely gorgeous day.

The first 13 miles of the run were pretty much up hill yet that didn’t bother me because my toes were still cold from the chilly morning start.  Each turn of the serpentine course introduced a new, splendid view and on this clear day you could see for miles.  The red rocks glistened and changed color in the rising sun.  The bits of snow clung to the trees and crevices of the rocks.

The course was so curvaceous that at times you could see the other runners on the course ahead of or behind you.  

We ran through a handful of tunnels that went straight through the rocks.  Normally, those tunnels are off-limits to foot traffic but today the road belonged to the runners.

The last 13 miles of the course through the Colorado National Monument were pretty much all downhill or wonderfully flat.  These were some of my favorite views of the day, perhaps because I was in the second half of the run or because they really were that stunning.

Every mile we were greeted by a wee mile marker and every 2 or 3 miles there were great aid stations.  All the Hammer Gels and Salt Pills I could possibly want.  I treated this run and especially the aids stations like I was trail running.  I stopped, drank my water, said thanks to the volunteers then moseyed on.  I didn’t simply barrel through as I normally would if I were really racing, rather, I simply enjoyed the day and the aid stations.

We exited the Colorado National Monument and spent the last two miles of the race on the road headed toward the finish.  This wasn’t my favorite part of the run, but almost nothing could top the 24 miles of beautiful scenery I’d just run through.  Still feeling good, I headed toward the finish and even passed a few people.  Overall, I finished 45th with a time of 3:55.  Glad to have the miles under my legs, I enjoyed the rest of the sunny afternoon.

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Going West!

10 Oct

A week ago today I arrived in my new home – Boulder, CO!  After two days of driving, 1,216 miles, a Topeka, KS hotel, a few tumbleweeds and beautiful scenery, I arrived.  I thought I might have more to say about the solo road trip, but I’ve spent a week mulling it over and I’ve concluded that the road trip was simply part of the journey (literally and figuratively) — a journey that began months ago when I quit my old job to pursue my passion.  Thankfully, the journey continues!  But in the meantime, here are a few pictures.

Dad and I spent about 3 hours putting together and installing my Yakima bike racks – luckily, once they were on the roof of the car, the bikes were fantastically stable!  Thanks Dad.

St. Louis, MO drive-by, taken about 5 hours into my trip on day one.

Ta-da!  Welcome to Boulder!

To Do List

22 Sep

Climbing a mountain has been on my ‘Life’s To Do List’ for as long as I can remember.  In my quarter century-plus on this planet, I’ve climbed a few mountains, or what some may argue big hills, but nonetheless:

The Aonach Eagach Ridge in Scotland

The Enclosure next to the Grand Teton in Wyoming

Mt. Fuji in Japan

Regardless of the mountains I’ve climbed and the mountains I intend to climb, I can’t seem to cross this particular item off my To Do list.  Contemplating this on my run this morning, I decided that I welcome this perennial challenge on my To Do list.

Mountain climbing, whatever the size of your hill or peak, reminds us that ever day we seek to accomplish our goals and check one more item off our To Do list.

  • Change oil in the car
  • Make cookies for this weekend
  • Fix dinner
  • Change jobs
  • Write marketing plan
  • Prepare for sales meeting presentation
  • Etc., etc., etc.

And the list goes on.  Personal or professional, admit it, we’ve all got a To Do list. But have you ever noticed that not matter how diligently you work on crossing items off, new one’s appear?  In reality, there will always be on more item on the to do list.  But rather than hating the constantly growing list, I think that if you’ve found your passion, some of the items on the To Do list become like mountain climbing.  There will always be on more mountain to climb, one more peak to bag and one more summit to see but you’re not at all upset that you simply can’t cross it off the list.  And I’m ok with that.

What’s on your Life’s To Do list?

Makin’ Waffles

14 Sep

Waffles on the Boardwalk was born during my last few days as a marketing manager for a higher education publisher.  I chose to resign from my 60-plus hour-a-week position for various reasons, but the most important reason being that I wanted to pursue my passion of working in the outdoors industry.  Even before graduating college I’d dreamt of working in the outdoors industry but didn’t fully know how to make that dream a reality.

So, I decided to pursue some of my other passions at the time — sales and education.  After graduation I went to work for a higher education publisher selling textbooks to colleges and universities.  For almost six years I traveled the country visiting with college professors, students, and administrators seeing higher education from a different perspective.  Most of the time, I loved my job and eventually I was promoted from sales to marketing.  But my passion to pursue a career in the outdoors resurfaced time and again.  Then, during a conversation with my brother I realized that I needed to be bold and to truly pursue my passion I had to jump feet first into the decision and quit tip-toeing around it.

Hence, the resignation.  Yes, resignation with no other job lined up, living in New York City in a teeny tiny, expensive apartment. But yes, the best decision ever.

As the news spread throughout the office one colleague approached me and said,

“Liz, I wish I’d done what you are doing!”

“Really, what do you mean?” I replied.

Kate, my former colleague, explained that she wished she had spent a summer on the Jersey Shore making waffles on the boardwalk.  And with this catchy phrase, I got to thinking…

And, at some point in each of our lives, I hope we all realize that we have a choice to make our own Waffles on the Boardwalk. Further, I hope with that realization comes the courage to pursue those passions.  Looking back, education continues to be a passion of mine but I understand that how I choose to pursue and support this passion has changed.  On the other hand, sales remains for me a true passion and I hope that in the future I will be able to put my sales talents to use again.

Here’s to pursuing your passion, one sweet or savory bite at a time.  Go make your Waffles on the Boardwalk!