It was a super fun day skiing with Mike and Madeline. We took Madeline on all 5 peaks at Breckenridge. She tried the blacks off of Peak 10 for the first time and loved them. Her favorite runs of the day were Double Jack off Peak 10 and Bliss off Peak 6. We made our way through all 3 kid fun zones on Peak 9 with Madeline and had lots of fun. She loved skiing under the spider and through the various tunnels. Some of the lift lines were more crowded than the last time we were at Breckenridge, but we never waited more than 8 min for any lift. We did a total of 15 runs, 18,530 vertical ft and 20.24 miles. It was a lot of skiing in one day, especially for Madeline who is only 6 years old. However, we celebrated our victorious ski day by eating dinner at an amazing Mexican restaurant with some old friends who were visiting Colorado during the long weekend.
Ski date with mike at breckenridge
Sometimes as parents we have to take a step away and focus on each other. Mike and I spent the day skiing just the two of us and we skied all 5 peaks at Breckenridge. It was Mike's first real introduction to the entire mountain at Breckenridge. We started on Peak 8 and made our way over to Peak 9 and 10. We decided to ski the blacks off of Peak 10 while our legs were still fresh. We loved Centennial and Double Jack and the first part of Cimmaron. The last part of that run was a long cat trail which made the entire run not worth it. After getting our fill of Peak 10 we tried some runs off Peak 9 before heading to lunch at Ten Mile Station. After lunch we did a few runs off Peak 8 and Peak 7 and headed straight to Peak 6 so that I could take Mike on Bliss. I had the most amazing flow on that run and was so excited by it. Mike loved it too but we decided that our legs were getting tired so we headed back to 7 and all the way down the mountain. It was a marvelous day of skiing together!
SNOWSHOEING AT SPRUCE MOUNTAIN
The day after Mike got back from his reserve duty training in DC, we decided to head out on the snowshoes to one of our favorite places. We love snowshoeing and hiking at Spruce Mountain Open Space. There aren’t usually a ton of people there which is nice. The first part of our hike was filled with some sections that were a little barer than others. As we approached the top of the plateau, the view was amazing, and the snow was plentiful. Our hike was serene and peaceful! Along the way we saw a few different groups of people. We saw a few hikers, a couple of people on fat tire bikes and a group cross country skiing. Even with the occasional sighting of people, it still felt very private and quiet. We decided to not trek it all the way to the end but went out 2 miles and then turned around. We were both so happy that we didn’t try and push it too much since we were pretty spent by the time we got back to the car. Snowshoeing with Mike in the winter is one of my favorite things to do.
OAHU ADVENTURE WEEKEND . DAY 3
The last time we were in Oahu together we kayaked to Lanikai beach in a double kayak and had the best time. This time we decided to do single kayaks and I soon realized that was a bad idea. This was the kayak trip that tested my strength and endurance. The headwind was so strong it seemed like I wasn’t moving at all. With my little T-Rex arms it was very hard to steer the single kayak. Mike got to the beach first and eventually I made it there also. Getting there was hard, but the reward was sitting at the most beautiful beach for the rest of the day. It was well worth it. The breeze was a little too strong and chilly for me to want to go snorkeling, so Mike went ahead and did some snorkeling on his own while I sat on the warm sand and enjoyed the warm sun. We relaxed for quite some time and snacked on crackers, cheese, and grapes. It was the perfect beach snack! The kayak trip on the way back was much easier since we were moving with the current and the wind was at our back. Once back at the car we put on some normal clothes and headed to the mall for some shopping. We found the older girls some clothes at Uni Qlo and some treats at the Aloha sugar shop. We aren’t big candy eaters, but it was still fun to browse around this ridiculous store filled with more candy than you think is possible. Since we were getting hungry, we headed back to Waikiki and ate dinner at the Udon restaurant. We waited in line outside for about 30 min before getting our fill of the most wonderful Udon outside of Japan. This famous Udon restaurant is always packed with a line of people anytime of the day. It is that good!
OAHU ADVENTURE WEEKEND . DAY 2
For today’s adventure we decided to head to Kokohead first to do the Hawaiian version of the Incline. It was just like hiking the Incline in Colorado except the views were more spectacular and there was so much oxygen. I kept thinking that it was amazing that I didn’t need to stop. Halfway up to the top there is a little side trail called Murphy's Bypass. We took that instead of continuing on the railroad ties since that little section is sketchy with no ground underneath the ties and there were too many people who didn't know what they were doing. After passing that we got right back onto the main trek. After we made it to the top, we ventured over to the crater rim and hiked along the ridge line. Up at the highest point of the ridge the wind was so strong that my visor blew away. It was so sad, and I felt so dumb for not holding onto it because it was actually Mike’s visor that he let me borrow since I forgot to bring a hat on this trip. We headed down into the brush to try and find it but it was long gone. We headed back along the crater rim and made our way down the railroad ties to the bottom of Kokohead. We were still up for some adventuring, so we drove to the Makapu’u Trail and decided to run/hike the paved trail to see the views and the lighthouse. Our legs were a bit tired from Kokohead hike and it was a bit hotter than earlier in the morning. The views at the top were amazing and well worth the run to get there. We stopped on the way back to Waikiki to get Leonard’s donuts which are some of the best donuts ever. We ate our donuts on the way back to the hotel where we showered and relaxed for a few hours before heading back out to Secret Beach to enjoy the ocean before eating dinner. Mike went snorkeling while I sat on the sand and had fun watching the seals that were sleeping in the cove. We eventually made our way on foot to eat dinner at Monkeypod at the request of some of our friends. The food was pretty good but the dessert not so much. We ate it anyways and then headed back to Secret beach to watch the sunset. It was a pretty perfect day!
kokohead and crateR rim
secret beach and dinner at monkeypod
Exercise in March
This was my comeback month for exercise after spending the last month or so of being sick. Caryn and Dionne ran with me at the beginning of the month and did an easy run with me to help me get back to running. I spent most of the beginning of the month on the Peloton but was able to sneak outside with Mike on a warmer day and ride to Cottonwood Creek Park for an 18-mile ride. During spring break in Maui, I spent almost every day running outside. It was such a great way to get my running back on track. Then when we got back to Colorado, Mike and I were able to go outside on a beautiful Saturday morning and do an awesome 50-mile ride to Garden of the Gods.
Spruce Mountain Open Space Hike
When the weather is warm on the weekends during the winter, we try to take advantage of it by being outside doing something fun. Since it was a rather warm Sunday, we got the itch to go hiking. Abby and Madeline didn’t feel like going for a hike, so Mike and I took Emma and headed to Spruce Mountain Open Space for a jolly good time. We hit some snowy sections on the way up which wasn’t all that surprising since it was technically still the winter. We ended up hiking the big loop all the way around the plateau and back. The views were incredible, and it was so enjoyable to be hiking at a rather brisk pace. Sometimes it is fun to have an adventure with one kid at a time. We loved being with Emma and listening to her talk on our hike. She is such a great girl!
Exercise in February
It was a rather slow month of exercise for me. With several weeks of feeling under the weather I just had to exercise during the good moments. Most of my workouts this month, though, were on the Peloton doing some easy rides followed by some light strength training. I managed to get a few runs in outside and a bike ride outside through Cordera and along the Cottonwood creek trail with Mike. After our bike ride we came home to some homemade bread and fresh honey from our friends. It was a remarkable treat after our 20 mile bike ride.
REVEL Big Bear Half Marathon
Mike and I ran in the Revel Big Bear Half Marathon, and it was quite the adventure. We both PR'd which is amazing. I finished in 1:26.47 (6:37 avg pace), placed 1st in my age division (40-44), 6th female out 690, and 43rd overall out of 1101 runners. Mike finished in 1:48.41 (8:17 avg pace), placed 27th in his age division (45-49), 152nd male out of 411, and 259th overall out of 1101 runners. He only trained for 3 weeks since he had been injured and his longest run was 9 miles. That's incredible. I wasn’t injured so I spent the last few months training hard for this race including many severe downhill fast paced runs to get my legs ready for the pounding. My first 7 miles were between 6:16-6:22 pace and when I hit mile 8, I got the worst side stitch ever. I'm inclined to think I drank too much water when taking my gu at mile 7. It completely threw off my game and I had to really dig deep for that next 2 miles to get my head back in the game and to keep running sub-7. It was a mental suffer fest for the rest of the race, but I knew if I could just hold on I could still PR so that’s what I did. It just goes to show that sometimes even when you train smart you can still hit hurdles along the way. It’s how we face those challenges that determine how strong we really are.
Exercise in October
This was an exciting month of training for my upcoming half marathon. The beginning of the month graced us with warmer weather and so I continued to bike outside as often as I could. My running training was solid and focused as I worked on race simulation long runs, hill repeats where I focused not only on running uphill but pushing the downhill sections, track workouts, fartlek runs, and some severe downhill training. I was so lucky that we had such great weather throughout the month. At the end of the month our new Peloton bike came and that was a lot of fun riding on those cooler days. My favorite run of the month was my 6-mile race simulation down Rampart Range Road in Garden of the Gods. My mile splits were spot on for my race and I felt great for most of the run. The most exciting thing I noticed this month was my weight. I finally got down to my lowest weight (108) in 16 years.
hiking the crags
We have lived in Colorado Springs for 8 years and this was the first time that Mike and I hiked the famous Crags trail. The 5-mile trail started through a beautiful aspen lined meadow with mountain peaks in the distance. After walking through a forest of aspen trees we came to another clearing with the coolest rock formations in our view. As we rounded the corner from this first rock formation, we began to make the climb to the top of the granite dome. As we made our way to the top we came upon some astonishing gnarled ancient Bristlecone Pines sprinkled throughout the rocks. In every direction we saw the coolest rock formations and were amazed at the beauty of these rock formations and at the view of the Rampart Range, Ute Pass, and the Catamount Creeks drainage. We could've stayed up there all day, but the wind was pretty brutal at the top. After eating a quick snack, taking in the 360-degree view, and playing very quickly with an Australian Shepard, we headed back down the trail. This was a relatively easy hike and one in which we will have to do again with our kids.
Exercise in August
The month of August found Mike and I very busy trying to get ready for the Double Bypass bike event near the end of the month and my Pikes Peak Hill climb the beginning of the month. I found myself mostly biking this month with the occasional run with the Striders or with Dionne. Mike and I had some fun rides this month. My favorite ride was our anniversary ride where we rode up and back on the Cherry Creek trail and then the South Platte River trail inn Denver. It was a gorgeous day and a fun ride. We stopped along the South Platte River trail for a quick snack and enjoyed resting for a bit before finishing up our almost 63-mile ride. Some of my other rides included Sanctuary Pointe with Emily, the 719 segment with Mike, and some of our routine Cottonwood Creek trail rides.
Double Bypass Bike Event
The Double Bypass (part of the Triple Bypass bike event in the Colorado mountains) was such an awesome challenge ride. Mike and I choose to start with the shorter but totally sweet 65-mile ride up 2 mountain passes. We climbed about 6000ft, braved the cold elements throughout the race, took photos on top of the world, tried pickle juice at the aid stations, cheered on other bikers that we passed along the way, and challenged ourselves in an epic endurance ride. I love that we do these things together. We started out together but once we reached the first climb, I went on ahead. In hindsight, I should have waited for him at the top of the first mountain pass. Mike took time at each aid station to enjoy all the perks and enjoy the ride whereas I rode it for time. I finished the ride in 4:53:52 and Mike finished in 5:24:51. The next big bike event we do we will ride together because it will be more fun that way. Go team Wilhelm!
Exercise in July
This month was bike heavy for sure as I got ready to race the Pikes Peak Hill Climb and prepare for the Double Bypass. I tried to sneak in as many runs as I could. I met with the Striders at Red Rocks and did hill repeats. On a separate day we did trail climbing on Red Mountain and Iron Mountain with a road tempo on the tail end of the run. I also ran a new route with Dionne and Caryn up the Sunrise trail. That was a lot of fun. The rest of the month was spent road biking up Gold Camp Road, mountain biking from Pulpit Rock to Austin Bluffs, a practice ride to the top of Pikes Peak, long rides on the Cottonwood Creek trail, and exploring and getting records on the 719 bike segment. I crushed the previous women’s record by 3 minutes and came in under 1 hour for the segment. It was a month of fun both on the bike and on the run.
Boys Trip to New Orleans . Day 3
New Orleans can be done in 2 days, but one last thing that must occur when you are in the deep South is a trip into the Bayou. So, we got up, had breakfast, and headed east, just shy of the Mississippi border. We had a small boat tour of the East Pearl River and associated sloughs and bayou. It did not disappoint. It’s amazing how much life there is tucked into the grasses, bald cypress, water, and mud. From crawfish, to honeybees, to ducks, to pigs, racoons, alligators, and fish, there is a lot to see. It is a much different way of life than we are used to in super dry Colorado. Houses flood routinely, hurricanes threaten occasionally, and the humidity and heat never relent. It seems a distant world from the filth of New Orleans. It was fun to be in a different form of nature than we are used to in the mountains. There were lots more bugs and tons more water. The thought of our family living in a little cabin on the bayou makes me laugh. We wouldn’t last long.
After the tour, we headed back to the city. On our way, we grabbed some po’ boys and our culinary trip to the south was complete. We went back over bridges and water to the city and our hotel. Thank goodness for nice hotels. Driving into the entryway is like arriving through the gates of the castle. It is a refuge from the world just outside in the streets. We rested a bit, then headed back to the airport for our evening flight. Then it was back to Colorado, reality, and the life we know.
Written by Mike
Boys Trip to New Orleans . Day 2
Sunday arrived with a trip to church. The Brady family, who clearly was a big piece of this ward, decided to move to California and this was their farewell Sunday. It was an entertaining sacrament meeting and very much more diverse than anything we have attended in Colorado. After church, it was back to the WWII museum for the Pacific campaign and the planes. It was interesting to see the boys talk about their knowledge of Japan, the pacific, and relate it to the events of WWII. I think that they could really feel the misery of jungle warfare, the tenacity of the Japanese, and the unforgiving nature of Naval Warfare from their experiences living in Japan and being a part of 7th fleet.
After the museum, it was time for a New Orleans Sunday brunch. So, it was back to the French Quarter and off to Broussard’s where the boys had oysters for the first time, chicken and waffles, and I had Josephine Benedict. The service was stellar and the food good. The boys really enjoyed their chicken and waffles.
Sufficiently stuffed, the boys headed back to the hotel for a nap and refuge from the heat. I wandered around the shopping areas of New Orleans for a little bit, then headed back to the hotel. New Orleans and the WWII museum are a fitting mix. The WWII Museum shows the very best of mankind right beside the very worst of mankind. The depravity, vile disregard for life, lust for money and power that ushered the world into the misery of WWII brought out the heroism, charity, selfless sacrifice, and courage of so many. It is both a tribute to and a rebuke of humanity. A reminder that we must strive for the best, extoll the good, and prevent the evil. New Orleans is much the same. There is no place on earth that exhibits the depravity and worst of humanity than Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. If sin has a smell, then it is the fetid odor that stifles the air of Bourbon Street. It is truly horrific. The sights, sounds, and smells remind you that humans will resort to their bassist most animalistic natures for what they perceive is a good time. But in the end, they are only trading their birthright for a mess of pottage. It is sobering to witness. The musical, culinary, and architectural delights are almost no match for the sewage which swills around it. It endures, but only if people chose the good and not the bad.
On the other side, there is the Garden District and Commander’s Palace. It may seem a bit much to take an eighteen and a twenty-year-old to such an establishment, but it embodies Haute Cuisine and fine service. You would think eating at 8:45 pm was late, but the restaurant was packed with people. The immediate thing that you notice is the service. The service is impeccable. Everything about it is refined, thoughtful, and done in a way that dignifies the gust and does not demean them. The second thing you notice are the happy faces of people enjoying wonderful food. No one is sitting around miserable, waiting, wondering, or wishing. Everyone is enjoying themselves. And what’s not to enjoy? The food is exemplary. Peter had turtle soup and Andrew and I had the gumbo. For main courses we all had quail (you get a quail, you get a quail, you get a quail!). Peter said it was the best thing he had ever eaten. It was quite good. For dessert, Peter the bread pudding souffle, which is divine. I had the peaches and cream, and Andrew had the cookies n’ cream. Good food brings out good conversation and the evening was awesome. I am grateful that we could be together and enjoy an evening of laughs, tasty food, and excellent service. You can’t help but feel great after such an evening.
Written by Mike
Boys Trip to New Orleans . Day 1
Getting up early to fly somewhere is always so painful, but when you have a limited schedule, sometimes, it’s all you can do. Before the boys went off to college, I decided to do a quick trip somewhere. But where to go? The boys are really into WW2 history and have lived in and studied both the major enemy countries. They are really into Jazz, Peter playing trumpet and Andrew playing trombone. They are really into good food. So, we decided on New Orleans, home of Jazz, the WWII museum, and tasty southern cuisine.
Of course, we headed off on Frontier airlines, which was a little painful and certainly a little eye opening. It was the people’s flight. Lots and lots of unique, loud, and voluminous people. Once off the plane, we got our bag and then got on the rental car bus, which takes you on a 30-minute tour around the airport, to the old airport parking garage. It was not very glorious or efficient. The rental car folks still had printers from 1987, so that was interesting too. It’s like they took the entire airport and made it new and nice, except for the car rental people. They left them to perish by themselves. As if one day they are just going to open a new rental car place by the new airport and not tell anybody at the old place.
Once in our California Camry, we headed directly to the WWII museum, parked, and then left for our first taste of goodness. The Cochon Butcher. Just a couple blocks from the museum, the meats are delicious, the mac and cheese divine, and the Bavarian pretzels other worldly. A tasty way to start the day since we didn’t have breakfast in Denver. After lunch, we headed back to the museum and indulged ourselves in history. The WWII Museum is so well done, it’s just amazing. It’s probably one of the best museums in the world in my opinion. There is so much information, so many interactive displays that you could spend hours pouring through all of it. It really is worth the journey. As a parent, taking kids to museums, they just kind of look around at some stuff and then ask when they can have ice-cream. Now, the boys were content to watch every video, read every placard, explore every nook and exhibit in the museum. It was a lot of fun. What was even more fun were the discussions that we had at dinner that night and later in the day as they drew comparisons to the lessons of WWII and current events. Fascinating.
After the museum, we hustled over to the hotel, dropped off our stuff, and then headed to Preservation Hall where we were entreated to Shannon Hall and the Preservation Hall All-Star band. Trumpet, Trombone, Drums, Bass, and Piano. So close. So good. So inspiring. To see musicians who have mastered the craft up close was a gift to the senses. The pianist’s forearm muscles were like the strings of a bass bounding and pulsating in a way that made his fingers resurrect music from the worn ivory keys of the upright. The trombonist smooth and powerful while the trumpet led everyone higher and higher with unapologetic grandeur. The drums and bass provided direction and confidence to the endeavor and for an hour we were reminded that somethings in life are best enjoyed in the moment.
After the performance, we grabbed some Beignets at Café Du Monde and headed back to our hotel for dinner and more jazz. The boys had gumbo, truffle oil fries, Crawfish Fet toast, and shrimp and grits. Dessert was peach bread pudding and a smore’s board. After that, the only thing one could do is go to bed.
Written by Mike
McCullough Gulch Hike
After dropping off Emma to XC camp in the mountains, Mike and I headed off on a short little hike before heading home. It was such a beautiful evening as we ventured off on the McCullough Gulch trail. This hike had everything. There were beautiful trees, waterfalls, and a mixed trail of dirt, rocks, and tree roots. It was unique and fun, and we absolutely loved it. We didn't make it all the way to the end of the trail due to time but the parts that we did hike were spectacular. The sunset on the way back was epic too. We will have to come back when we have more time to finish the trail to the top.
Exercise in June
June is always the most coveted month for exercise outside in Colorado. The weather is finally warm but the mornings are still cool so you can enjoy being outside without sweating too much. I joined Peter on a run through Fox Run Park. I wasn’t in the best shape, so I was really sucking wind running up the back section of the park. In my defense, Peter was running rather fast. He realized he had gone out too fast and said, “Don’t worry mom, we can slow down!” What a good kid. It was the first time I had run with him in a long time, and it was so much fun. I joined the Striders for some of their last running workouts at Garden of the Gods and joined in the group photo. I biked in the Gardens by myself and with Mike, did some mtn biking in the Pineries and at Red Rocks, and biked with Mike up in Denver. We hit our longest ride ever biking 70 miles along the Cherry Creek Trail from Cherry Creek State Park to South Platte River Trail to Bear Creek Trail and back. It took us a little under 5 hours. It was a great training ride for our Double Bypass adventure in August.
Vail/Beaver Creek Weekend . Day 2
The next morning we woke up early, ate an amazing breakfast in the restaurant, and then drove to through the tiny town of Minturn and headed to the Fancy Pass and Missouri Lake Trailheads. We started up the Fancy Pass side and planned on making the big loop all the way around to Missouri Lake. The start of this hike was mostly in the trees, and it was shaded which was wonderful. There were a few sections where some big trees had fallen into the trail, and we had to climb up and over them to get through the trail. After some steep ascent we popped out and saw the lake. It started to sprinkle and hail which was crazy and sort of fun. We were glad that we came prepared with our light running rain jackets. As we made our way to the pass, we heard thunder and stopped for a moment to access the situation. We started to turn around but after a minute we decided it was best to keep going up the pass since the clouds and sky in that direction looked clearer. So, we booked it up the snow field, being very careful with our footing. We had to post hold several times since there were some deeper sections. Once we popped out over the other side the meadow bowl was littered with wildflowers and we had a 360-degree view of the most amazing mountain ranges. This was our favorite part for sure. As we made our way across the meadow and up towards Missouri Pass it started to thunder again. It kind of took us by surprise since we thought that had passed, so we hiked as fast as we could up the pass. There was one section where I feel into hip deep snow, and it took a little bit of help to get out. After we made it over Missouri Pass the clouds part and we could see Missouri Lake. This hike literally took my breath away! With every turn there was something amazing to behold whether it was another part of the lake, beautiful wildflowers, or distant mountain ranges. This was one of the best hikes I’ve been on in Colorado. Overall, the hike was a bit challenging but very doable in one day. After finishing our hike, we drove back to the hotel and got ready for some pampering. We both got massages and then spent some time in the grotto area where we sat in the adult only underground hot tub. It was amazing! For dinner that night we ate at the Japanese restaurant, and we were both stunned at how tasty the food was. We will definitely be returning to this hotel and restaurant someday!