Friday, September 17, 2010

The Times They Are A Changin'

These new sights have caught my eye the past week while I was out running. They make me very happy. While out in Colorado, I felt so much safer on the road. They have several bike lanes and just an all around better attitude about bikers and runners sharing the road.  In Boston I was confused why the cars kept stopping for me. It's refreshing to think Wichita might become a healthier city very soon!

Several of these signs are covering the east side of town!
2nd Street Bike way is really happening!! Being painted as we speak!
Happy Friday!

Friday, September 10, 2010


That convenient little date is exactly one month from today. Many organizations have tried to jump on that catchy set of numbers for their event. The Chicago Marathon and The Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon just to name a few.
Another organization, closer to my home jumped on it too. 10-10-10 will mark the date of the first ever Prairie Fire Marathon. Wichita retired it's 30 year old, "Heart of Wichita Marathon," last October. An obscure 26.2 mile run from the small town of Derby through the outskirts of Sedgwick county and finally a few tiny miles into an unaware part of Wichita. No one knew it was happening, except for the runners and their families. So, about 300-400 people total even knew about it. The paper didn't report on it. The 3 major news stations didn't mention a word. But you better believe all the news fronts are always front and center when the local animal shelter has an event in the park with dogs and their owners for a social gathering...... but I digress.

So a year ago, word was given to show up at the arena for a press conference regarding this "new" marathon that was supposedly in the works.

I attended and listened to all the buzz.

 It was actually exciting to be present for the start of a new season. Like so many of my fellow runners had mentioned, "Why not Wichita?" Cities similar to our size have huge success with their races. From the high particpation to to incredible support of the spectators. In less than 10 years, our neighbors to the south, Oklahoma City, turned their marathon into a top 10 "must run" race.
11-9-09, I look so serious and skeptical. I was just listening :)
 They announced that the new marathon would include a half marathon, a relay, and the Mayor's 5K Challenge. However, possibly the best announcement was that the course was brand new and get this, it's actually going to go through the city of Wichita!! How clever :)
Prairie Fire Marathon Press Conference 
 The map was introduced later and it's going to go right pass our neighborhood and through a lot of the area we already train at. It's going to tour the main hubs in the central part of the city. Some are upset about the amount of turns, but I honestly have no opinion, I just want to support my city's new race.
I'm sure there are things to complain about, but I'm just excited to hear a lot of people say they're going to run one of the events and most of them have new run before! That's a victory right there. Usually the only thing this city gets excited about is food, so this could be a new season.

My "Fire Starter" Shirt
Meet "Sparky," and yeah, I think he's got fire coming out his back end too! 

So, I guess that's my official annoucement rgarding my fall marathon plans. I plan to run my heart out on 10-10-10. I plan to support my city's new marathon and once more be changed by putting my body, mind, and soul through such a challenge.
If you've never dared to take on the 26.2 monster, I implore you to be brave. It's worth it. Once you cross that finish line (whether running, walking, or crawling), for the rest of your life you'll know that anything is possible.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

We So Crazy!

So what do you do just hours after a Mountain 1/2 Marathon? Sleep? Rest? Ice bath? Stretch? Nah!!!!!
You haul your mountain bikes up the ski lifts and attempt to ride down on the trails!!! Right?

Sometimes even I think I have problems. However, I knew within hours the muscle pain would be so intense I wouldn't be able to try mountain biking, so I ate lunch and headed back out.

Silly little Kansas girl, what are you doing?
Kenton and I rode the gondola up to the fun park and then got on the lifts to take us and our bikes to the top of the peak. We really didn't know what all we were getting into, but that's not our style to analyze things too much. (Like, checking into the details of a mountain race you sign up for to learn it's going to take you up 12,500 feet...) Besides, we'd probably never do much if we knew all the details!
Don't get too attached to those shorts!

So we got up to the top, put on our helmets and followed the signs, how hard could it be, right?

After the first switchback, I was scared! I have pad breaks and I guess disc brakes are really what you need up there. I got real friendly with pumping my brakes as to not lock them and skid out of control.

It didn't seem so hard to Kenton...yet
Kenton was more comfortable than I was, even though he had to stop me once to see if I "meant to do that?" There were plenty of runs that I just held on and hoped it would level out before the turn.
I watched one rider wipe out, jump up, dust off, and take off again. That didn't help me get more comfortable.
Not enough O2 to grow up there
We stopped for a minute so I could, uh, you know 'find a tree.' And then Kenton took the lead. He took it alright. Right around a turn too fast and laid the bike down really hard. He jumped up to reveal new scrapes and shredded pants. (Later we realized it went all the way through to the skin and he earn quite a nice wound on his tail...awesome, "we paid for this?")

We switched trails and made it down with no more incidences. I was happy to not have increased the scrapes on my legs and that we didn't get seriously hurt.

Shredded through 2 layers, pic doesn't do justice!
I'm pretty fearless when it comes to "sacrificing my body" in the name of recreation, however, I'm not so sure I'll be adding mountain biking to my list of "interest." Kenton wasn't soured by his experience, he just wants to wear longer pants and thicker underwear next time. :)

I don't know what the big deal was...*I* didn't get hurt :)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Breck Crest 1/2 Mountain Marathon

Boston Celebration Jacket, "My Intimidation Factor"
I left the condo to a beautiful crisp morning. It was about 45 degrees at the start. I wore my Boston Celebration jacket. I jokingly told Kenton that it was my "intimidation factor." Kenton walked down with me and we chatted in the cold morning air until it was time to line up. Thanks to social media and specifically, The Daily Mile, I met a "friend" who was running before the gun went off. Brian is from Nebraska and he was just as ill prepared for this oxygen as I was. We chatted a bit and then began the race. One thing about mountain racing is that there's not much talking on the way up, no one can breathe, they're all saving what air they have.
7:30 Start

The course quickly ran past our condo and Great Great Aunt Faye was waiting on the balcony to wave at me. I've got the best 92 year old aunt in the world!
Heading up to mile 5

Once we passed the condo it quickly hit the trails. It was beautiful and tree covered. I huffed and puffed and did my best to hold a pace. Eventually the steep grade gave way to the opening mountain range and my first "I give!, I'm walking." I wasn't alone, we were getting high. After the mile 5 aid station there were a few more tree covered yards and a tricky creek to cross on a log.
Water crossing

From mile 5.5 to about 6.5 it was all up hill above tree line. There was no running from anyone at that point. It was just a power hike in the strong winds.
Heading out of the trees about mile 5.5

The sights were amazing but if I looked too long, I'd trip. I pulled off and snapped several pictures. All the while I was in shock.
Walking runners

 I did not realize that I was going to be climbing a mountain when I signed up. I couldn't breathe, the wind was literally blowing me around, and it wasn't even half way yet!
Looking back at the runners (tiny ants)
Pictures don't do justice!

Looking down at the tiny ants

I finally made it to the top. All the people below looked like ants, but I was glad to be above them and see the trail ahead. I looked down to Breckenridge and then immediately I began to enjoy my run. It was "all down hill from there."
Looking up at the tiny ants

The very top, about 12,500. Around mile 6.5
One more peak, the it's all down hill

Breckenridge down below

It was tricky not to lose control, but it was so great to be flying down the mountain.

The path turned to service roads and they were very rocky. As long as I controlled my pace I was fine. The huge loose rocks were a little painful on my feet, but my mood had turned to pure joy. I was up in the mountains, taking in the amazing views, and enjoying every step. What a blessing.
Finishing happy

The course ran on roads and finally ended up on some great wooded trails. I had breath to talk with the other runners who were just as happy as me to be heading down.
Finally, we hit paved roads and crossed a few streets and it was over!
I had already forgotten about how tough it was and was just so pleased that I had such a great morning. No spills, no major issues, and a joyful attitude.
I was whipped!

Officially I was clocked at 2:34:10. That's about an hour slower than my flatland PR, that might give you some idea of the conditions out here. I was the fourth in my age group, about 1/2 an hour behind the top female. I'll take it. Not too bad for a little Kansas girl running from 9,600 feet up to 12,500 and back.
My Daily Mile friend, Brian from Nebraska (Happy to be done!)
A smile is better than a trophy!

Saturday, September 04, 2010


Our first night in Breckenridge was christened by visiting a karaoke bar. The altitude didn't effect Kenton's lungs enough to prevent him from embarrassing me. He brought down the house with his rendition of "Use Somebody" and Huey Lewis', "The Power of Love." There were many other great performances from brothers and cousins. And.... I may have been forced to sing, "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Maybe.

We woke to a beautiful cool morning. The gourmet food was flowing, but I set out for my first acclimation run. I felt like a slug, but took in the incredible view. 
We've refused to use our car while were here. So we rode up to the brewery to meet our family for lunch. I had an amazing ahi tuna spinach salad. That should be a great pre-race lunch!

After lunch we rode the gondola to the slopes and rode the lifts up to the top off the alpine slides. We rode once and got stuck behind a slow rider. The powers that be let us have a do-over. We were stoked and planned to fly as fast as possible. I rode with Judah and Kenton gave me his iPhone to take a video.

Kenton & Judah go alpine sliding from Kenton & Lacy Hansen on Vimeo.

Kenton took off before us and then we pushed the speed on our turn. Well, apparently the speed was too much. We flipped on a turn. My mama bear instincts kicked in. I cradled Judah in one arm, protecting him from getting burned down the concrete slide. My tech/nerd wifing instincts kicked in too. I held Kenton's iPhone up with the other hand. I covered the essentials. The baby and the phone survived with minimal scratches!
I on the other hand tore through my shirt, tore open my elbow, and tore up my knee and leg.
We jumped back on as quick as possible to make sure the next rider didn't slam into us. Judah was a little gun shy, but we made it to the bottom expecting to show off our wounds to Kenton. However, he had crashed just as hard if not harder. His arms and legs were all torn up too. 

Lacy & Judah Crash from Kenton & Lacy Hansen on Vimeo.

So, our free ride ended up coming at a price after all. Good times though. We told Judah that even though it hurt and it was scary, we'll come back tomorrow for more.
I picked up my bib number for the race in the morning and got my shirt. It's called the Breck Crest Marathon. I'm only running the half. It's going to tough enough for me at this altitude, then I saw how high we're going in addition. Awesome.
Going to have a good dinner and a good night's sleep. Here's to God's favor in the morning!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Base Camp

We rolled in to Brighton, CO at about 3 AM our time, 2 AM their time. Uncle George left the light on for us!
After too few hours of sleep, Judah, who slept for a solid 8, came bounding in with mountain fever. I tried to suppress his excitement to no avail.
"Okay, I'm up!"
I woke to find various aunts, uncles, and cousins scattered through the house.
Judah and I were quickly put to work, picking the gooseberry harvest from Aunt Kathy's garden. We're loading enough food for 18 people, most of it grown right in Brighton. I wish we had all these farms at home.
Cousin Matty decided to take off on a run with me. He's in from NYC and his sea level lungs couldn't hang for long. He released me to go on and I did.
Brighton is just outside Denver and there's an amazing view of the mountains. The mountains did their best to distract as I was noticing the altitude sucking my air. I took a solid 3-5 minute break after 5 miles. I quickly recovered and made if back to Uncle George's for fresh garden produce.
Everyone loaded their cars to the brim and began the trip up to Breckenridge.
We grabbed a quick tasty lunch at Panda Express, potty breaked, and now we're rolling up hill with our 92 year old Great Great Aunt Faye keeping us very entertained.
We just drove through a mountain!  What a beautiful state! Next stop, Breckenridge! 

Thursday, September 02, 2010


We used to fret over the amount of Swedish Fish and Red Vines we packed for road trips. Today we spent 30 minutes trying to fit 4 bikes in a Mazda 3.
Oh, how life changes!
Off to Breckenridge, CO!