I actually had a decent start with running in Colorado when I first moved here in late April — back when there was still some snow on the ground and I wasn't acclimated. Now, instead of improving, I'm getting worse. I wish I could see stats of my VO2 max now versus 13 months ago, because I'd expect to see a decline. Although I doubt that the whole "I ruined my lungs during the Tour Divide" theory has real merit, this continues to be my fear. Hard breathing doesn't earn me much these days. My legs remain bored with slow plodding, and yet plod slowly is all I can do before dizziness sets in. Because of this, three-hour runs don't leave me feeling tired afterward, but three hours is about the amount of time I can tolerate before frustration takes over the fun factor.
This morning I joined Eszter for a jaunt up Green Mountain. She's visiting her hometown (maybe she doesn't consider Boulder her hometown ... so we'll say the town where her parents live) for the next two weeks, and it was fun to talk about bikepacking and the Trans-Am while out on slow run.
She asked about my first impressions of Boulder, and I realize I haven't written much about that. My point of view is skewed because I reside 25 minutes outside of town and can live like a hermit if I want, and sort of do. I occasionally work in coffee shops and enjoy this, although this is a college town and the crowdedness of coffee shops reflect that. I've only visited a few local restaurants, and they've all been pretty good, but not "San Francisco good." I still do about 80 percent of my grocery shopping at Trader Joes ... habits die hard. Beyond that, there's a lot about Boulder that reminds me of my hometown, Salt Lake City. It definitely has a strong mountain west feel. The scenery from main street is hard to beat.
I've been following the antics of a running group that I joined, but I have yet to show up at a group run — mostly because of my location and scheduling, but also because of fitness insecurity. That's another thing about Boulder — the trail running scene can feel a bit intense. After living in the Bay Area with its seven million people, I grew accustomed to generally falling in the top 25 percent of women on most non-downhill Strava segments. Here, I'm working as hard as my lungs can manage and still struggling to crack out of the bottom half. Well, it's my fault. I was warned not to compare myself to Boulderites on Strava.
Anyway, someday I'll be able to ride a bike again, and then I'll just head out to explore miles and miles of forest roads, and none of this will matter anymore. Until then, I'm on the hunt for amazing routes in the Indian Peaks Wilderness that don't require use of hands.