Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yes, I Am a Counselor

I won’t say it was easy because that would be a lie, but I will say it was one of my most favorite runs ever.

I bet it would be one of your favorites too. Come on out and I’ll take you along, but no excessive whining.  Unlimited and uncensored cussing is okay and if you need to run into the bushes due to your fibrous breakfast and coffee I will not make fun of you. Hell, I’ll probably join you.

Walker Ranch Loop outside of Boulder, CO - 7.5 miles (takes ~1.5+ hours):




Things started out well enough, but as Joie and I descended and descended and descended into a canyon, we both knew the only way back to the car would be major climbing. We repeated this exchange a lot on the rapid way down:

Joie: We’re going to pay for this

Me: Shit. The climb up is going to suck.

The trail hit bottom at the roaring Boulder Creek:


We then started the ascent back up:


That’s right, straight up some stairs. Yes, we did run this which hurt quite a bit. I almost stepped on a baby rattlesnake. Or, that’s what I think it was but I’m really no snake expert. He’s so cute my milk came in. Well, not really.



The trail seemed to climb forever, and I guess it did because this was 1,600 feet of elevation gain. The elevation profile says it all:


Look carefully and you can see where we came from (that trail way down there):


We both agreed this was one of the tougher runs we have done. But, who doesn’t love a good challenge and that feeling of accomplishment you get when you’ve done something that really pushed you HARD into your uncomfortable zone?


You bet I got in the car and wolfed down a gallon of water and one of these:


I like these because I am really eating a candy bar but calling it an energy bar seems healthier.

Exciting news bulletin: I got home just in time to be interviewed by the New York Times.  They are writing a pre-NYC Marathon article about marathoners who are plagued by GI issues while running marathons. Who else did they think to come to but the “poop counselor,” as they called me. I guess they saw my post “How to Not Crap Your Pants on the Run” and decided I was so full of shit I could provide some insight.  Look for the article some time next week.

Do you enjoying climbing and hills or do you think they are just a pain in the ass and not worth it? I like climbing, for some reason. I am the same way on my bike. Give me a mountain and I will want to find my way up it. It’s the biggest sense of accomplishment.

What’s your immediate post-run snack? (Like something you keep in your car always, etc?): I love the Triple Threat Bar or something along those lines. Chocolate milk is good too, but I don’t have that in car with me at all times.



  1. I have come to like hills because the payoff is huge when it comes to endurance, strength, and speed. Plus, there aren't any trails nearby without at least a medium sized hill, and since I love me some trail running, I gotta embrace the hills too.

    My pre-run snack is usually a banana. I know: boring!

    Excited to read the NY Times article!

  2. I used to HATE running up hills. Now I love it and do it almost every run…the more ridiculously hilly, the better. I now seek out the 'worst' hills I can find and slog up them an insane smile on my face :)

    That route you ran looks fabulous!

    Immediately post-run, I really enjoy a piece of fish and ice cold kombucha. I know…fish sounds weird but it works for me :)

  3. Send the New York Times to me next! I can't imagine a long run without GI issues!

    I don't "enjoy" climbing hills, but NEVER regret getting to the top! What a sense of accomplishment!

    My post-run snack must wait an hour or more, due to those GI issues!

  4. I...don't mind hills, though I prefer my races without any major ones! A few rolling hills are fine, but most of the time I like my races fairly flat, unless I'm doing trails or something. I've learned to like hills more as time has gone on. I used to hate them, but now I don't mind them so much.

    Post run, I have chocolate milk. I'm lucky that I can usually run from home. Hot chocolate in the winter sometimes, and smoothies in the summer sometimes to mix it up, but usually I have chocolate milk. Occasionally I have some sort of "energy" bar, but that's pretty rare. I'm pretty good with fluids right after a run, but I can't seem to eat right away.

  5. Looking forward to seeing the NY Times article! :)

    Lately I have been going straight to lunch after my long runs on the weekend, so my post run food has been a tasty sandwich! But, I like the Triple Threat too if I need something quick.

  6. I don't mind running some hills. I really enjoy hiking them. When I'm racing though, I prefer FLAT.

    My post run snack is some kind of protein bar a big bottle of water and watermelon or strawberries.

  7. LOL! The poop counselor! Gotta love it. That post was one of my favorites by the way, nice to know I'm not the only one with "issues".

    And I don't like running up hills, but down is fine. :P Good thing I live in Illinois.

  8. I LOVE them as much as possible. They firm up my butt and the back of my legs, and in So Cal where we live in our bathing suits that's important. Post run I drink an iced green tea if it's hot. If I run in the rain, it's hot tea or coffee post run

  9. Ha, ha poop counselor! That trail looks awesome. Living in FL the only "hills" I get to run are bridges. Hoping to move back west next year to get some real hills, can't wait.

    Btw that looks like a gopher snake, totally harmless.

  10. When I'm climbing hills I don't consider it a run, I then segway into what I like to call, a hike!
    I'm tempted to come join you - I'm driving from SLC to Colorado Springs tomorrow. Wouldn't that be a surprise for me to show up. Lets run! With my pain in the ass foot there would certainly be lots of swearing. Plus I'm a sucker for Poop talk!

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  12. I love hill running but we don't get the same kind of trails you have here in the UK. Our next 'race' is a night time hill/trail run in a local park at Halloween which is done in fancy dress with just glo sticks to light the trail, great fun.

    As I said, I'm not native to the US but I'm pretty sure that's a corn/rat snake (Elaphe Guttata) so you're safe! (jealous you get wildlife like that as well as your cool trails!)

  13. I love hills! I don't get a chance to run many due to where I live in Michigan but when the opportunity arises I'm on it! Hmmm.....unfortunately I don't really have a post run go to snack. Pretty much eat everything under the sun.

  14. Can't wait to see your NYT interview!
    I hills. I live in the very flat Maryland Eastern Shore, and don't know how to run hills (ha ha). A little slope puts me under! However; we (running group) have started meeting and running a parking garage which is 6 floors - I'm calling that my hill work. All the way up, and back down is almost a mile. Count?

  15. What a beautiful place to run (minus the snake), thanks for the photos. I love the hills. Want to get better at them as well. Love trail running and can't wait till I can do more (have to be able to get off treadmill).

  16. You had me with that scenery until the SNAKE picture. Yikes - though the stairs were also pretty scary. I need to train more in my MO hills before I head out to CO for the mountains.

  17. Wow awesome views!! I love hills and trail running but I'm so clumsy on the downhill that I've had to postpone trail running until after my IM is over to avoid injury!! :-)

  18. Looks like a run I would love! Wish I could join you...maybe one day. I love hills and climbing but enjoy technical descents too. Chocolate milk is my absolute favourite post run nutrition. That or any chocolate type snack.

  19. All that hill running has given you an awesome set of gams, girl! Living in Central Florida, we have a few hill-ish areas; I live in one. Nothing like yours but let me tell ya, we got the snakes too, but in a massive rattlesnake way. Saw one just a couple weeks ago, 3 feet long and fat as a tailpipe. Of course, after getting a glimpse of him our adrenaline shot up and we had a GREAT run! I'm a very poor post-run refueler; maybe some tomato soup or a smoothie. I'm positive it's never the fat/carbs/ ratio I should be getting.

  20. You know, to be fair, now that you've written extensively about pooping and running, you need to address those of us (um, not me but a friend) who have had babies and PEE when we run.

    1. Agreed! This is a big problem with me... especially at the finish of a race. I ran a 5K last month, and at the finish line I fought with the volunteer to take my own timing chip off because the sudden stop was causing me to pee uncontrollably. She kept saying "I'll do it" and I finally barked "I WILL urinate on you!" That shut her up :)

  21. Looks like a gopher snake. Pretty harmless unless you're a rat! Checkout

    1. Thanks. I hate all snakes, but hate them slightly less if they are harmless.

  22. Beer. Shower. Pizza. Nap. Works every time.

  23. "He’s so cute my milk came in" too funny, girl!

    I avoid hills like the plague - and living in SE Georgia makes this extremely easy to do. There is actually a small arched bridge on my regular run and I walk up it! I am a wimp.

    My post-run snack is a Clif White Chocolate Macadamia nut bar. Yes, it is candy!

  24. I love hills. My run group has 2 incredibly hilly (by Toronto's standards anyway) 10km routes that we do tempo work on. Talk about gut busting. I love feeling like I'm going to puke at the top of a hill. That full body lactic acid build up feeling is another good one. Nothing like it. Heh. I do wish I had trails like yours in my backyard!
    Post run snack, usually a protein shake and sometimes, if I happen to have one with me, a Luna bar.

  25. Look forward to reading the article. I am sure it will be quite comical. I am not so much a hill runner... I should work on that. I am focusing on hilly bike rides and running stairs in the triathlon offseason.Perhaps I will do some of these hilly runs you talk about.

  26. I would like to add that I really appreciate all your talk about GI issues. When I first started running with my husband I was frustrated and impatient about his "issues". I couldn't understand why he could never complete a run without a stop. But your blog helped me realize that he was not alone, so now I actually plan out our routes with his pit stop needs in mind. See? You single-handedly turned me into a Stepford Wife :P

  27. Hills make you stronger. I can't say I enjoy them, but I do them so on race day I know I'm prepared for anything. :) my favorite post run fuel is nuts or pb. :)

  28. eeekkkk scary snake!!

    I'm a beginner runner and that looks so so hard.

  29. I hate hills, but I actively seek them out. The steeper the better. All the time I'm suffering on my way up, I keep telling myself "this is making you stronger, this is making you stronger". I absolutely LOVE running downhill, but I paid a price for that last week, and busted my knee wide open. Ugh. Pic:(not for the faint of heart!)