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Back to summer

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The seasons change constantly in the Rocky Mountains. For all those days of summer we had in February, we enjoyed our fair share of wintry days in May. I mostly dread summer and didn't want it to end, but last week's three feet of snow disappeared as rapidly as it came. 
There were three days over the weekend when everything was a mess. Luckily we plowed the road on Friday, so by Saturday at least that was available for running — albeit through many puddles and shoe-sucking mud. Beat wanted to venture onto the trails, but shin deep slush was too strong a demotivater. We only made it about 200 yards, and I was the one who cried uncle.

 Trail conditions were significantly better on Sunday, so we ran the Walker Ranch loop. There was still plenty of slushy, splashy fun to soak the shoes.

 I was in the midst of what I've come to think of as a "bad week," experiencing similar symptoms to my winter struggles — labored breathing, feeling tapped out at a low heart rate …

Thyroid update 2

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Although not the most compelling subject to write about, I've decided to post regular updates about my dealings with Graves Disease, both for my own reference for others who lead active lifestyles and struggle with thyroid issues. I've found similar accounts to be helpful. 
Since being diagnosed in mid-February, I've taken a daily dose of 30mg methimazole — a drug that suppresses thyroid function. For about two weeks in April, I experienced what seemed like symptoms of an underactive thyroid — I'd become sleepy by noon and stay that way, even if I took a nap. I lost more hair than usual; knotted clumps would come out when I brushed my hair after a shower. My fingernails flaked off, down to nubbins. They've only now started to grow back. None of these symptoms were alarming enough to warrant a trip to the doctor, so I decided to wait for my May 12 blood test to see what was happening.
May came around and I hit another upswing. By May 12, I was feeling downright per…

Snowmageddon 2017

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The date was May 17, 11 a.m., and the temperature was a pleasant 58 degrees as I packed for a ride. Looking out the window at a hillside bursting with vibrant green foliage, it was more than a little difficult to believe the upcoming weather forecast — "a cold storm system is expected to track slowly eastward across the region into Friday night. Total snow accumulations of one to three feet possible." 
One to three ... feet? 
Of snow?
On May 18? 
When it was nearly 90 degrees just five days ago? 
Yeah, right. 
 However, I am one to be prepared, so I threw a rain jacket, fleece hat, and mittens into my pack, and wore tights — for sun protection more than anything. It was a beautiful afternoon and I wanted to put in five or six good hours, just in case Snowmageddon did happen to shut us down for the weekend. Looking toward the plains beyond Fourmile Canyon, there was hardly a cloud in the sky.

Bluebird day on Sugarloaf Mountain. I explored singletrack trails that didn't g…

The marvel of feeling normal

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Beat's knee injury didn't improve in time to run the Quadrock trail race, so I woke up at 4:45 a.m. and headed north alone. Saturday morning was intensely beautiful, with a pomegranate-seed sunrise sprinkled across the periwinkle sky. Streets were eerily empty and farm fields shimmered with green and gold glitter. The hillsides were saturated with this exuberant light. 
"This race could be a disaster and getting up early for this drive would still be worth it," I thought. "Still, I hope it's not a disaster."
I used to run trail races on the regular in California, but I hadn't put a foot across a starting line since January 2016. At the time, these 50-kilometer trail races were my fitness gauge to see whether I'd recovered enough from the Tour Divide Plague to reliably breathe my way through the Iditarod. Seventeen months later, I was no longer curious about whether dizziness and desperation would hit. I'd mostly accepted this as my default …

From snow to 85 to severe thunderstorms

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It's spring in Colorado, and the weather is all over the place. "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes" is an observation that's been flogged to death again and again, but the schizophrenic skies are still a source of entertainment. On May 3 we had a lovely snowstorm, illuminated by flecks of sunlight. I stood on the porch in my bare feet for at least ten minutes, mesmerized by the dance of sparkling snowflakes.

These poor daffodils. They were completely buried by 14" of snow just four days prior. They emerged on Monday only to be pummeled again on Wednesday. I'd feel guilty for not protecting them from the storms, but they seem to bounce back just fine.

 May greenery and fresh snow — one of my favorite color combinations.

 By Saturday — three days later — temperatures spiked well into the 80s. Beat and I lathered up in sunscreen and headed out for a mountain bike ride. We stopped to admire the elk grazing in the elk pastures ... except these …