Leadville Race Day – Heavy Half Marathon

The time has come.  15.5 miles up and down a Colorado monster.  From 10,000ft to 13,000 and back.  We woke up at 6:30 am for our 8 o’clock start time.  Our hotel was a few blocks from the start, so we all got dressed and headed over.  This race has just a few hundred runners in it, but they come in all ages, shapes and backgrounds.  It’s quite interesting to observe other human beings that think they should attempt this type of thing.  Here’s me and my brother at the start, plus my stretching coach helping me with my pre-race routine.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

The gun went off and we were on our way.  The heavy-halfers and the full marathoners all start out the same, then branch off about a mile up the course.  Brandon ran with me the first mile, then I was off on my own.  I huffed and puffed my way up.  It was mostly walking with running when your body felt like it could.  My GPS was freaking out a bit during my walking spells, so luckily I had written some aid station mileage on my arm so I knew where I was at.  I took some time to video here and there only to notice that as I was getting my video in and out of my pocket, I turned my watch off.  Shit.  It happened around the 1:30 mark, so now I had nothing to tell me where I was at in my goal to reaching the top in 2 hours.  The goal was at the top of this hill, just above the “i” in the snow.  You can also see the dirt switchbacks we had to traverse to get to the top.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

Here’s a shot looking another direction.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

The big traverse is called Mosquito Pass.  On my way up, the elite marathoners started passing me.  I got to see Anton Krupicka pass me on his way up and down.  I said good job, but after the race he admitted he probably looked a bit disgruntled.  I agreed with him.  This race is brutal for anyone.  I made my way to the top in 2:14.  Took some video and left little time to rest as I was ready to start back down.  The descent is the most fun for me.  Gravity just wants to throw you down, so you have to use control and precise footing.  I was able to run into Brandon on my way down and his way up.  We stopped for a few breaths and were on separate ways.  Once I got down the Pass, all I could feel was happiness and was singing to my tunes and smiling at everyone.  People probably thought I was nuts.  These marathoner’s still had a long way to go and here comes some chick bouncing down like a school girl.  A lot of people smiled back once they saw how good of a time I was having, and I reminded them that they would be smiling once they start down too.  As I passed by aid station B, I got to see Kim and the kids.  Kim snapped this picture of me headed down.  I was acting like I could fly.  I felt like it was possible with the momentum of the hill behind me and the view in front me.  I was having F U N!

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

With just a few miles left, everyone is pretty spread out but I got to meet 3 interesting fellows on the way down.  One was from Mexico.  He didn’t speak any English but told me if I ever wanted to visit his country, he’d give me his phone number.  He found me at the end of the race and asked to have his picture taken with me.  I’m not a rock star runner, but I’ll take the “celebrity”.  The other guy I met was named Jim Heil.  He and I had been taking turns leading each other and at his final pass past me, he introduced himself.  He was 68 and on his 4th set of legs!  I assume he had some hip replacements in the past.  He did say I had the nicest legs on the course, so I’ll let it slide that he kicked my ass by a few minutes.  Another marathoner ended up passing me before our big turn out of the mining area.  There are pink flags marking the course, but he wasn’t paying attention.  He started heading straight down a street when he needed to go right.  So I started yelling “right…Right…RIGHT!”  Finally he caught on, waved, and headed into town.  His name was Nick Clark and ended up finishing 4th in the marathon race.  At the end, he admitted he was a bit out of it and said thanks for the help.

I cruised into the finish at 3:57:06.  I was pleased!  Not too shabby for a Flatlander.  I finished 115th out of 164 and was 15th in my F30-39 age group.  The winner ran it in 2:16:11!  I made my goal of 4 hours, but my most important goal was to have fun.  And I did.  More fun than I can describe!  I probably could have pushed myself harder at points and cut some time off, but I’d wanted to take in every second of this race and squeeze as much fun out of it as I could.  Here’s me with my finishing time on the wall.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

Since Brandon had twice as far to go, I hung around the finish to take in the scene and people.  I was surrounded by some really talented runners.  I introduced myself to the Leadville Marathon winner, Dennis Flanagan and snagged a shot with him!  Met and got pics with runners #1 & #2 of the day, sweet!

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

As I waited for Brandon, a quick storm rolled in and added some coolness to the otherwise hot sunny day.  It sprinkled for 30 minutes on us, but you could hear the thunder rolling in on the mountains.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

Brandon made it down the stretch and crossed the line at 5:55:36.

Leadville Trail Marathon 2009

In my opinion, a job well done by the Fuller Crew.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.  Not even the tiniest elephant in the world!  Sounding like a 5th grader, I think it’s so cool that my brother and I have both got to compete in a race together in our home states.  I will say, my state’s are easier, his are more fun!  Thanks for the invite Brandon!  I wouldn’t of wanted to share this with anyone else!  Thanks to Kim, Sydney, and Reagan for giving up their weekends to be with us in Leadville!  I sure enjoyed it and hope you all did too!

Check out Brandon’s story

Check out my video…I inadvertently had the camera on in my shorts pocket, so my battery died towards the end. Didn’t get my finish on video. Lessoned learned for the next race.

Leadville Pre-Race

We drove over to Leadville today to get settle before the big race.  This town sits at just above 10,000ft and looks like a tiny little historic burg.  It’s very peaceful up against the giant mountains. 

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We walked around a bit the headed over to get our packets.  It was in the little sports shop on the main drive.  Brandon goes in first and I follow.  As I pass by Kim, she says quietly, “Tony’s here.”  OMG!  This is the Forest Gump of Colorado.  I have followed a little about this dude since my brother brought him to my attention.  The dude runs and runs.  I think Tony is my brother’s idol.  So we are standing in line with Tony right in front of us.  My brother starts up a conversation.  Tony gets his stuff and is ready to head out.  Ummm… we all know I’m not that shy and just happen to have my camera, so I politely asked for a picture.

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He was really nice, shook my hand, asked my name, and was on his way.  The best comment… my brother asked him what time he wanted to run.  His answer, “Break the course record.”  Jesus.  Can’t you jusy say win?!  Pretty cool that the dude can say that though.  After our celebrity encounter, we headed over to Turquoise Lake for some water fun.  The girls were too excited and stripped down to get in their suits.  I’m old and it was quite cold to me, but the view was beautiful.

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We grabbed some dinner and are ready to chill at the hotel and rest up for the real reason we are here… To not be the Last Ass Over The Pass!

Summer Fun

Time for the lake again!  I had only been home 4 days, but was ready for some more lake action.  We had people coming and going all weekend.  When it was all said and done, we had 21 people come thru the house.  Eph and I headed up Thursday to get ready.  Plus it was America’s birthday, so we got the best flags in the house up. 

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The first wave of friends came up Friday.  Bruce, Jake, Joe, Ben, and Chris.  The usual boat rides and wave runner action ensued.  Here’s me as Captain of the Fuller Formula.  I put Bruce in the back with his timeout belt because he wouldn’t shut up about how bad his “beef curtains” hurt during boat rides.

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We hung out all day then headed over to Lake Syracuse for the fireworks.  They weren’t too bad, but the real show is on Lake Wawasee the following night.  Rumor has it, it’s the 3rd best show in the state.  Unfortunately I didn’t record those, but I did get Syracuse on tape.  We finished our evening with a grand game of poker that I can’t remember who won, but I know it wasn’t me. 

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Saturday brought Rick, Tim, Mitch, Amanda, Kristin, and my parents.  The weather did not want to cooperate with us this day.  Most of us stuck out the drizzle and played Boche or corn hole outside.  A few others decided to attack the 1500 piece puzzle that was inside.  The haze finally wore off towards the end of the day and we had a perfect view of the fireworks from our yard. We ended our night with a stellar game of Apples to Apples. If you are a group of degenerates like us, have a few drinks and play this game. You’ll cry its so funny. Here’s a few pics from the day and a video of our own personal fireworks show. 

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Sunday was the weather we’d all been looking for.  Lots of sunshine and blue skies!  Too bad it wasn’t 1 day earlier but we made the most of it!  Even Mimi, the matriarch of the family and proud owner of the house, made a visit!  Great times and memories!  Thanks for letting us use it, Mimi! 

Ft. Wayne Weekend Celebrations

A friend Andy from high school tied the knot this weekend, so a few of us traveled up north for the big hoopla.  I was on a time crunch after my race, so as an old lady, I wore my hair in rollers as I drove up there then got ready at my parents house. 

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My mom has known the Offerle family for years so she attended the wedding with me.  It was beautiful and quick. Just how a wedding should be!  The reception was at Pine Valley Country Club where I use to work during my summers home from college.  I was a “cart monkey” and got people’s clubs ready and loaded on the cart for their tee time.  I ran into the pro-shop to see what was new… the employees were.  They didn’t look a day over 17.  Oh wait, I was only 18 when I started there.  I felt old.  Went over to the reception where the adults were and got a picture with the groom.

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There were quite a few people there I hadn’t seen since they graduated so it was nice time to do a bit of catching up with some of them.  A few of them were fellow runners too.  One reminded me and his wife of the time I mooned him during a cross country race.  Oops, forgot about that one.  She seemed pretty cool and I reassured her that wouldn’t happen again.  Here are some fellow Saints, Marcus and Chris.

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Sunday was Father’s day, but my father wasn’t feeling the best.  He’s had a cough all week, so he stayed home while Mom and I attended mass at St. Anne’s with my Grandma, Mimi.  Talk about a sight to see.  A retirement home catholic mass.  There were more wheelchairs and walkers than prayer books.  Just FYI – I did take communion and no, my tongue did not burn off.  At the end of mass, my Mom looks at me and says “You can either take the prayer books or grab an old person.”  WTF?  I guess everyone that visits, helps out and wheels the fogies out so they can get back to their respective floors and rooms.  I chose prayer books. 

We got back to my parents to find my Dad already about done with 1 of the 2 books I bought him.  Maybe the second will last until Thursday. We had a nice lunch and then I headed back to Indy.  It was a long weekend, but great memories of it all!

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Happy 10th Wedding Anniversary!

10 years ago today, I was sunning myself on the beautiful beaches of Kauai.  Thanks to my brother and Kim, I got a 7 day trip to Hawaii on my parents dime!  We spent time on Waikiki then headed over to Kauai for the ceremony.  The intensity of the sun is so different.  I was football brown without the football looking skin.  It was awesome!  But eventually my Dad won the tanning contest without even trying.

The point of this post… Happy 10th wedding anniversary Brandon and Kim! You guys have been together much longer than that though. I think in total, you’ve been together for approximately 19 years.  Holy shit. My wish for you… May your love together always be as great as it was when you first felt butterflies for each other!

In case you forgot, here’s what you looked like when your love first started blossoming…

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Wicked Fun

My Mom found a bus trip down here that included shopping and tickets to the musical Wicked.  Count me in!  I met her and 2 bus fulls of Ft. Wayne-ers at Circle Center mall.  Everyone got a few hours to shop and enjoy downtown before the show.  Since I parked at my work and walked over, I hopped on the bus to get a shuttle to the Murat so I wouldn’t have to deal with parking.  Our seats were fantastic!  Balcony center about 9 rows up.  Here’s the set that welcomed us to our seats.

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This show was phenominal!!  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a comedy about the Wizard of Oz that tells how Glinda got to be the good witch and how Elphaba became the bad witch.  It starts way back in time and shows the girls growing up and going to Witch school.  I’ll leave it at that for now, because you really want to see it live.  The cast was amazing and the songs the girls sang together were harmonized perfectly.  There was one scene in the show that Glinda cracked herself up so bad, so had to take 30 seconds to compose herself, then went right back into character.  The crowd loved it.  The only bad part of the show was the flying monkeys.  I have hated these things since childhood.  They creep me out.  I will not watch any part of the movie that has these things in it or the chatting stomps of the Oh-wee-oh dudes.  This show had these monkeys on wires and wings flying all over the stage.  I about wanted to vomit.  My mom just laughed at me.  The show could have went on for 4 more hours and I would have stayed glued to my seat.  I think musicals might be my new big thing to do.

After the show, I headed to the bus to grab my shopping bags and walk back to my car.  My Mom had commented on some tents and booths she saw on the way thru town.  I couldn’t figure out what it was for.  As I was walking to the car, a guy yells from his car window, “Hey honey, your shoes are flawless!”  Reminded me… it was gay pride day in Indy.  Thanks for the shout out dude!  Added the cherry to my already great day!  Thanks for the invitation Mom!  I had a great time with you!

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Too Much Fun in Too Little Time

Why aren’t weekends longer?!  This was one of my few weekends where I was able to head up to Wawasee for some R&R.  Bruce and I were itching to get out, so we left early Friday to make the trek up there.  You would have thought we were providing food and drink for 20 people!  We had it all!  We set the radio on random and took off.  Very appropriate during a train crossing, a Kenny Rogers song came on.  For some reason, this just cracked us up which was a great precursor to how the whole weekend would be… hilarious!

We arrived about 5 pm and I was so excited, we had to do everything right then and there!  The sun was shining and the water was calling my name.  First order of business was to get our suits on and get the boat uncovered for a ride around the lake.  Bruce was expecting a nice smooth ride, we don’t do slow in the Fuller family.  It was a 35 mph cruise around the lake finished by about a 50 mph run down the bay.  One thing about this lake.  People like to race you.  A boat was doing the “do you wanna go?” cruise right next to me followed by eye contact, but I wanted no part in it.  I have childhood memories of my father yelling at me to hold on to the bottom post of the seat because he’s gotta show this guy who’s faster.  So I did put the throttle down a bit but turned away from the guy and headed to the sandbar.  The water was crystal clear this year.  I’ve never seen it this great in my 31 years up there.

We headed back to the house to take a paddleboat ride.  Bruce was very interested in my turtle hunting skills.  We saw maybe 3 turtles, but it was fairly late in the evening for turtles to be sunning themselves.  No chance of catching anything so we headed back to the house only to run into a sea otter (a.k.a Muskrat) that we thought was a stick.  Bruce wanted to catch that.  Ahhhh no, I don’t think so.  We did catch a new pool cup for Bruce.

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Next order of business was to uncover the jet skis and take off.  By this time it was about 8 pm and the water was like glass.  We hit the throttle and cruised around a bit then headed in.  We needed to eat!  We spent the evening playing games and doing a puzzle.  If you’ve ever played Taboo, you know you have to get creative on the clues.  “What sound does a pig make?”  Bruce says “Oink”.  “What do you put in your mouth if you want fresh breath?”  Bruce says “a mint… Ointment!”  This word will provide us many laughs for years to come.

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Saturday came and the party people showed up… Herb and Carole.  We played cornhole for hours, ate some lunch, played arts & crafts with a dead fish…. Huh?!  My mom saw this article about pressing fish with paint on rice paper and calling it art.  Well my mother felt she was an artist and we all must get in on the action.  Mind you, she found the construction paper, we all did the rest of the work and got bossed around by the artist.  On today’s turtle hunt, I picked up 2 turtles and a pretty good size dead fish.  Dad got the spray paint out and we made a few attempts at this so called “art” project.  After studying the article a bit, I figured out that artist used RUBBER fish to make theirs.  Geez.  We made do with our dead one.  Herb figured out “You don’t bring the fish to the paper, you bring the paper to the fish!”.  The funny part of this is we were all trying to apply some logic to figure out how to get the damn fish imprint on the paper.  Here’s Carole with her “art”.

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And say hello to my little friend.

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This is George.  He’s spending 3 weeks at my place before I take him back home to Wawasee.  He’s so cute you can’t stand it!  We finished up Saturday night at the Frog followed by Rummy and Clue at the house.  Bruce kicked my ass at Rummy, but I beat him at “silent” Clue.  Here are Bruce’s friends that he made this weekend.

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We wrapped up Sunday with a float in the water and a few rounds of Would You Rather… Disgusting yet intriguing game.  Thanks to everyone for making it a great weekend.  Looking forward to doing it again ASAP!

Lake Living

Memorial Day weekend = Open the lake place!  My parents have usually gotten most of the menial tasks out of the way by the time I arrive to the lake, but this year it was my turn to get dirty and help out.  Usually my brother and I would help with the boat, the jet skis… you know, the fun stuff!  This year, I arrived early Saturday to even help get the water turned on.  That task seemed to take a few hours, but I learned how to soder pipes with water in them!  It’s always a learning experience when working with my father.  It’s amazing what a piece of bread will do!

After we got the water issue settled, we vaccummed, cleaned floors, cleaned fridgerators… we did it all.  But Mom and I did manage to get some water and sun time in between.  Sunday, we got the ladders on, pier posts in, lauched the SS Carole Jean and took her on her maiden voyage, got the Fuller Formula running and in the water… it was a full day.  But again, Mom and I found time for water and sun.  Today, we got up at the crack of dawn to beat all of Elkhart to the flea market capital of the north.  AKA Shipshewana.  It’s fun, but every 10th booth is the same.  If you need a trunk full of tube socks, embroidered bluebird sweatshirts, novelity t-s that read “I’m a multi tasker, I can talk and piss you off at the same time”, head up HWY5 and follow the horse and buggies.  We did pick up a few items but headed back to the house so we could all get on the road and home in decent time. 

Here’s some pics of the place.  The first is the front of the house, next is the view from the yard, the next is the view from the pier.  My little oasis in the midwest!

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