Friday, December 27, 2013

Year End Update

Sara and I just received an email from a fellow hiker who shared a couple days with us just before reaching Steamboat Springs during our CDT trek in July.  Hearing from Dave and seeing some of his pictures reminded us of just how special our hike was this summer.  We can't wait to get back on the trail, but before we do, here's what we've been up to since we got back to Flagstaff.

Top of Humphrey's
Sara just survived her first attempt at teaching as a long-term substitute teacher in a middle school English class.  The first couple of weeks were pretty rough, but it seemed like she was able to get a modicum of control by the end of the job.  She was reminded daily how difficult middle school can be between the strains of cold/flu/bronchitis and raging hormones flying down the hallways.
Sara at the top of Kendrick Peak

After her last day in the classroom, Sara got one day off then started working at the Flagstaff Nordic Center again.  We had one medium sized snowstorm (yay!) that allowed it to open, but this will probably be the last weekend until we get some more precipitation.

I helped coach cross country at Flagstaff High School again this fall.  The boys had a rebuilding year, but still made the State meet, while the girls won their 3rd State Championship in a row with an incredibly low score of 34 points.  As excited as I was to get back to coaching, I decided this would be my last season coaching here in Flagstaff.  There may be more coaching in the future, but it will have to be when the stress from other coaches does not infringe on the benefits of working with the runners.

Working at Run Flagstaff has gone really well this fall.  We have had a very busy year and have started putting on a few more events.  Vince (the owner) has let us run with a few event ideas to get more people in the store, and the first couple were overwhelming successes.  Nick (fellow manager) suggested a potluck/discount night for Team Run Flagstaff, which filled the store with great food, lots of people, and exposed us to chocolate chip bacon bit cookies.  If you have never had these, stop reading, and go make some.  It will change your life.

Full store for Cops and Robbers
In mid-December I put on a Cops and Robbers Run through downtown Flagstaff, that also went surprisingly well.  I borrowed the idea from the Footzone in Bend, OR and tweaked it to involve other local business.  Basically the robbers had to run to a few different downtown stores, run in and grab a sticker, and the whole time avoid the Run Flagstaff Police.  One of the police officers is the current US Marathon Champion, so that put everyone in sprint mode.  I was hoping for 30-40 people and we ended up with just over 70.  Most important, everyone had fun and nobody got hit by a car or slipped on ice.
Robbers leaving Peace Surplus during the Cops and Robbers Run

Gavin finished his PCT hike and meandered back to Flagstaff for a few weeks, but then left us again.  He moved up to Bend to live with his girlfriend, Amy, although we think his move is also influenced by the volume of pubs and mountains in the Bend area.  He wasn't able to come back for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but Sara and I will get to go visit him, and Sara's sister, in February.

Sara and I have also decided to do the Mt Taylor Quadrathlon again this year.  After getting over the giardia/heart problems, I started trying to get my fitness back, but had a few lazy weeks.  Sara told me to stop moping about the apartment and to train for the Quad, so I did.  This is the first time I have seriously trained since we started dating.  I started doing running workouts with Vince, mountain biking in Sedona, a road ride here and there, and sneaking in skiing and snowshoeing when we get the moisture.  Sara started getting in pretty decent shape as well, but the diseases the middle school kids gave her set her training back a few weeks.

Soulstice Mountain Trail Run
We both went down to the Phoenix area and ran in the McDowell Mtn Trail Frenzy.  Sara took second in the 5 mile off of very little fitness, and I defended my 10 mile title.  It was a nice little confidence boost for me since my time was four minutes faster than last year and is apparently a course record.  The trail was also super fun, as it was designed for mountain bikes, so we got to swoop up and down the banked turns during the race.

I also got to run down from the rim of the Grand Canyon, down to the Colorado River, and back up for the first time.  I had never run in the Canyon before, and it was amazing.  The weather was gorgeous, and of course the Canyon itself is always spectacular.  It also made me incredibly sore, put me out for a few days to let my legs recover, and has had lingering detrimental effects on my motivation.  I am going back on Monday, however, and this time Sara gets to come with me.  Mt Taylor will seem like nothing compared to the Canyon.

We had an exciting addition to the household in late September.  Sara had been talking about getting another dog for a while, and we finally committed and brought Zeno a friend.  Sequoia is now 7 months old and close to 65 pounds.  Although Sara thinks his head is too small for his body, it's really just his feet that are too big for everything else.  So far he has been pretty mellow as far as puppy's go, but he and Zeno get into the wrestling for hours.  It's been nice to give Zeno company so we don't feel too bad if we don't get him out every day.  

2013 seems to have gone by really quickly.  We shared many adventures, but the highlight for us this year was obviously the Continental Divide Trail.  We, of course, wish we were able to finish it, but are also glad that we made it off the trail safely and were able to regain our health.  At this point we are looking forward to more adventures in 2014 and getting back on trail in early July.

Happy New Year!