Monthly Archives: January 2014

Between Ironman training (running marathons & 2 hour lap swimming), work, church & family (acclimating to life with Ash, Tom & pets), have experienced a mighty full 2014.  What’s missing?  Need to get outside & enjoy our Colorado winter!

Bought tickets (via Groupon) to Ice Castles – an elaborate castle carved from ice, open from late December to February in Breckinridge (CO), Utah & New Hampshire.  Cool, huh?

Wait, wait, it gets better.

Timed my trip to Breck on the same weekend as the International Snow Sculpture Championships.  Teams from the US, Europe & Mongolia worked for a week on their masterpiece(s) – judging scheduled for Saturday.  Excellent luck!

Left Boulder County in 50 degrees & sunshine.  Arrived in Breckinridge, overcast & 20 degrees.  Same state yet divided by the mighty Rocky Mountains = very different weather.

Busy ski day on Breck but secured parking & walked a short mile to Riverwalk Center & the International Snow Sculpture Championships.  What a find!  FAVES: Italy’s simple entry ‘Looking Up’ & both bold sculptures crafted by Mongolia.  DISLIKE: France’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ – seriously, kinda creepy.

Devoured a package of elk jerky & entered Ice Castles.  SPECTACULAR!  Inspired to climb – but probably not the right setting 🙂 Anything better?  How ‘bout returning at 6pm & walking thru the Castle under lights.  WOW, WOW, WOW!

Crazy cold return walk under the most stunning, illuminated sky (ok, 2nd best – hard to beat October’s outdoor soak in Steamboat).

Have enjoyed touring the US during my 50 state marathon challenge but Colorado – man, this is home.



Woke early & jetted to Louisiana’s State Capitol – 7am start time for my 3rd full marathon (only 47 states to go).

After enduring snow last month in Tucson, wore a blue running suit this go-around.  Had a lotta competing colours going on this day (crazy look)…but gotta say, [the running suit] did the trick.  Awesome Christmas gift – many thanks!

National Anthem, starting gun blast by Louisiana’s Lieutenant Governor & off we went – my largest marathon to date (or at least it seemed that way – both marathon & half-marathon races started concurrently.)

Sunshine poked out early in the run.  Still smiling at mile 10, enjoyed running lakeside through LSU campus.

Started dragging just past mile 15 – kept thinking how much I needed a potty break.  Unfortunately all outdoor johns were lined with female participants.  And no aim-n-shoot opportunities available on today’s course, race principally meandered throughout Baton Rouge suburbia.  Argh – new thought.

Saw M at mile 17 & then again at mile 20.  Re-energized.  I can do this thing…only 6 more miles.

Hill at mile 24, not pretty but kept running whereas other marathoners chose to walk up the I-10 overpass.

LOVE LOVED the many residents cheering us on – helped boost my energy level.  Thanks Baton Rouge!

Last mile – tired, but no excuses.  And still felt fairly good — even picked up pace at the end.   7 minutes slower than last month’s run in Tucson but finished so much stronger.  I-EEE!

Next month – Austin 🙂


9361    K R Haga           575               4:12:38

Left the Runner’s Expo in downtown Baton Rouge & hit I-10 West to Lafayette.  An hour half until our scheduled swamp tour on Lake Martin.  Travelled to Louisiana, so wanna see gators, right?

50-State Marathon prep:

  • Alaska – ice climbing
  • Arizona – Saguaro Nat’l Park cactus hike
  • Louisiana – bayou swamp tour 🙂

Quick turn in Breaux Bridge, six miles down a dirt road, a left, a right – then ‘you have arrived’ at the Meetin’ Place.  Did a quick walk-about, met our guide, then loaded onto a small metal fishing boat.

Travelled slow through the swamps of Lake Martin — surrounded by bald cypress, trunk-swollen in murky water & covered in Spanish moss.  Creepy, quiet bayou undergrowth filled with herons, egrets, cormorants & other fish-feeders.

Comfortable temps – sunshine & upper 50’s – but unfortunately too cool to coax any gators from their cozy mud burrows.

FAAANNNNTASTIC pre-race adventure!  AND no bugs – awesome benefit to touring in January 🙂

What did I learn?  Gators don’t eat from October to March.  Their heartbeat slows & they remain fairly inactive during the cool Louisiana winter – feeding off fat stored in their tail.  ALSO – unlike crocodiles, gators are skittish & fearsome of humans.

No gators, no pay (at least not yet).  Could’ve been because our guide was a bit disorganized.  He loaded his next group immediately after we disembarked & off he went.

Dinner?  Noticed a small Cajun seafood shack earlier when entering Breaux Bridge.  Check, done.

Didn’t see any gators so decided to eat gator instead 🙂  Couldn’t tempt M to try more than a bite – but gotta say, I stuffed myself on gator, seafood jambalaya, shrimp zydeco, fried potatoes & bread pudding.  LOVIN’ me some spicy food.  I-EEE!

Carb loading for tomorrow’s marathon run – Cajun style!


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