This was a big month of training both on the bike and with running. Mike and I spent most of our time on the bike doing some intense hill training as well as some endurance rides. We started with our typical loop to Garden of the Gods and back home. I got my first flat in a long time and learned how to change it on my own. We attempted the 719 loop again and just did it casually, It was still a beast even though we weren’t biking hard, We also rode up in Denver a few times and did some rides up Cheyenne Canyon. On the running side of things, we spent most of the time at Bear Creek Park doing tempo loops on the “dirt” track, hill repeats, and intervals on the flatter garden side of the park. Dionne and I ventured one day and did Section 16 to the Palmer trail. The short but steep section up Section 16 is never an easy one and I was breathing hard the entire time. However, the effort is worth it after you crest the top and run down the flowy Palmer trail. Overall, training this month was really awesome!
Mike and I headed up to Denver the day before the race with hope that our race would go well after an extremely stressful week for both of us. We did all the things that would help us have a successful race the next day. When we got to the drop off point and headed on the bus to get to the starting line, we quickly realized that the bus driver didn’t know where he was going. We eventually made it there but not without some anxiety. That should have been a sign to me that the day would not turn out like I had expected. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for a running race. I started at the front with all of the other fools and when the gun went off I went out at my intended pace and was able to hold that even through the crazy first 2.5 miles of rolling hills. The uphills were not insignificant and by the time I made it to mile 4 I was already a little tired. It was the first time that I had no umph or energy at the beginning of a race. It was all I could do to hold a 7 min pace. As I descended down the course, I noticed how horrible the road was with a bank at every turn. This did not pose well for someone like me who already struggles with a testy SI joint. Despite all of this, I gave it my best and just tried to hold a somewhat decent pace so I could finish. Somehow I still managed to place 2nd in my age group even though I only ran this race in 1:33.37. It would have been easy to be disappointed in my time that was 6 minutes slower than my last revel half marathon, but I knew deep down that my efforts were truly the best I could have done that day.
Exercise this month was almost exclusively in the Garden, at least all of my weekday runs. The weather was warmer and with that were some epic runs with the Striders doing intervals around the dirt track in the Garden, another RRR downhill tempo, another clockwise tempo loop where I PR’d, and a fun run around the trails. Most of my long runs were done running down the Cottonwood Creek Trail and the Santa Fe trail. Mike and I even did one last downhill run down the backside of Woodmen and Blodgett. It was a month of highs and lows as I ran some of my fastest runs only to get sick and have to slow things down. I’m not sure I ever fully recovered physically between getting sick and my body shutting down from stress. However, I tried to just keep going through the end of the month in preparation for my upcoming half marathon.
It snowed a ton in April which made it hard to train for my half marathon. I did, however, love running up Rampart Range Road twice, working on pushing the downhill sections. Emma joined one of our Striders runs and enjoyed running with the faster guys and leaving the rest of us girls in the dust. We did have some nice days mid-April and Mike and I took advantage of that and headed on a longer bike ride to Criterium and back. I also took my mountain bike and headed to Pineries to do the loop there. I spent one morning by myself and ran an easy loop in the Garden after the kids were in school and that was so rejuvenating. Some of the hardest runs this month were in the Garden running the clockwise trail tempo loop, hill repeats up the Strausenback hill, hill repeats on Ridge Road, and the road tempo to balanced rock. This month ended with a beautiful, snowy climb up the Incline with Dionne. You never know what you are going to get in April, but one thing is for sure, you are bound to get both snow and at least a few short-sleeved running days.
For my birthday weekend this year Mike took off work on Friday and we spent the morning hiking the Incline and running down Barr trail. Then we headed to Rudy’s for lunch before going home to grab all our stuff for the weekend. We loaded our bags and our bikes onto the Tesla and drove up to Denver where we stayed at the Crawford hotel at Union Station. Mike has been so awesome at finding unique boutique hotels for us to stay in lately. Union Station was redone several years ago, and it looks amazing and so modern. We quickly got on our bike gear and headed out on a quick bike ride before the weather turned nasty. We got halfway through the ride with little wind but when we turned around we almost got blown over by the intense head wind we had the entire ride back to our hotel. Needless to say, we sat in our very nice hot shower for quite some time to warm up after that ride. We headed over to Pacific Mercantile for dinner and had such a good meal together. The dessert, however, was definitely my favorite. The waitress was loving that it was a birthday celebration and even brought us complimentary wine to celebrate. Too bad we don’t drink wine! That night we stayed up late watching movies and just enjoyed being together. It was marvelous to be able to sleep in the next morning. We ate breakfast back at Pacific Mercantile and had the best croissant French toast. It was divine. Then we grabbed our bags and bikes and headed to the Cherry Creek Mall to do a little bit of shopping. It was the perfect birthday weekend!
The nice thing about March are the random warmer days. This was a month full of epic runs with the Striders. Between intervals around Monument Lake, speedwork on the CC track, hill repeats up BFNH at Bear Creek Park, fun runs at Red Rocks, and tempos and long runs on the Santa Fe, it was a really great month of training and working hard. My favorite workout of the month was probably the intervals around Monument Lake because I felt really strong on that run. We had super cold mornings as well as a few warm short sleeved days.
Dionne and I had such a blast skiing together today. I gave Dionne a tour of all 5 peaks at Breckenridge! The powder on Peak 7 and Peak 6 were amazing today. I introduced her to Bliss and she went down that run twice with me. We got a little bit of sun coming down Bliss and some on Peak 9. Most of the day was cloudy but we were plenty warm. I really enjoyed being on the mountain with one of my best friends and hope we can continue doing this every season!
I let Madeline ditch school today so that we could head up to the mountains to ski together! My legs were a little tired from working out hard this week, so I was happy to go Madeline’s pace for the day (which isn’t all that slow it turns out). We parked at the south gondola garage so that we could charge the Tesla while we skied. It ended up only costing $7 to charge for 5 hours which was awesome. We had a great time skiing all of our favorite runs while trying to avoid the crowds. I took Madeline on 4 of the 5 peaks today. We started on Peak 7 and made our way to Peak 6 to ski Bliss a few times. Then we headed back to Peak 7 to eat lunch before making our way to Peak 8 and Peak 9. We skipped skiing the blacks off Peak 10 since the weather was starting to turn colder. We hit all of the fun little kid zones in the tree sections. Madeline could’ve skied those all day and been happy!
Like most Februarys it was fairly cold the entire month. I had some amazing workouts this month with the Striders and also a few strong runs on the treadmill when the roads were not feasible to run on. My favorite runs were intervals at Monument Lake, the Bear Creek tempo loop, the Cheyenne Canyon Climb, a fun run in the Gardens with Dionne where we saw big horned sheep, and some long runs with Caryn. Any work on the bike was mostly spent inside on the Peloton but I did brave the colder weather and went outside only once with Mike and was miserable the entire ride. Aside from running and biking I did spend some time skiing at Breckenridge. I hit the slopes twice this month and really had a blast!
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.
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!
This year I wanted to do things that I have never done before. I’ve been praying for good health at the start of this year so that I can reach my goals. This month proved to be a successful one in so many ways. With the Revel Rockies half marathon in June, the Triple Bypass in July, and the R2R2R in October, I knew that I needed to start now to build strength in areas that are weak. I was pretty consistent in my routine and was able to fit in the peloton twice a week, Striders run workouts twice a week plus a long run, the Incline twice, both upper and lower body strength, core, and stretching every day. The weather was snowy, and the trails were not that great all month but the only run I had to do on the treadmill was a track workout which ended up being an awesome experience anyways. I was even able to fit in a morning of playing pickleball with friends after a hard run earlier that morning. Some of the things I learned this month was how exactly to approach the strength training days.
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.
Every time it snows outside the first thing Madeline asks is if she can go outside to play in the snow and build a snowman. Up until this recent snowstorm it had always been so cold that going out to play in the snow was not a possibility. So, she convinced Andrew to go out with her to play. Then I joined them for a little while. We tried to build a snowman on the first day, but the snow was so light and airy that we could not pack it very well. So, we just made snow angels, pulled Madeline in the sled, and threw snowballs at each other. One time when Andrew was pulling Madeline in the sled, he whipped it around so fast that she flew right out and landed face first in the snow. We picked her up and brushed her off and just laughed it off. She is such a good sport! The next day the snow was still around so Abby went out with Madeline and built a snowman and pulled her in the sled. Sometimes it just takes having a little one in the house to get the rest of us to go out and enjoy the snow!
Christmas is over. The hustle and bustle of getting things done is over for now. Truly, I’m exhausted from the last several months of mission and holiday preparations and kid’s activities and events. But I wouldn’t change that for quiet all the time. I love my busy life. It is a good, fun, and fulfilling life. I have thought a lot about what my goals would be for this next year…physical and spiritual goals are written down. Today’s snowshoe run was exhilarating but also tough. It taught me that despite the rough conditions, if I just took it a little at a time, I could get through it. That is exactly how life was for me in 2022. It was definitely rocky at times. I do hope that this next year is a little kinder to me in some ways. And if not, I will just take it one day at a time, applying the things I learned last year to make this next year a little better than the last! So, here’s to an amazing 2023!
I started out this month strong, consistently running with the Striders and doing all of their workouts. I had just come off of a 6-week peloton power zone build so I was happy to be running and not be completely exhausted. One of my favorite workouts was the lake intervals around Prospect Lake. The sunrise that morning was amazing. Shortly after that I got sick for a week but then popped back into the workouts and did the Bear Creek Tempo loop where I wasn’t going to really tempo it. I went out easier with Caryn and Dave and did an easier tempo pace but then the last mile I picked up the pace and finished really strong. After a week of being sick that felt really good. Over the week of Christmas, I was skiing with the family and took some needed days off of running so I was all pumped up to do my annual day after Christmas run with Dionne at Garden of the Gods. It is a tradition we started a few years ago and continue to do every year. Later that week we met up for a lunchtime snowy run at Bear Creek Park. I didn’t get in as much running this month as I would’ve liked but the runs I did have were pretty great.
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!
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
I wasn’t sure Mike’s reserve duty was going to happen this year in Hawaii. With all the holds on funding in the government, his approval kept getting pushed. So, we planned a Hawaii trip with the kids for spring break and had a marvelous time. Then the approval finally came through and I found myself preparing to go back to Hawaii for just a few days during my birthday weekend. I couldn’t have made this happen without the loving kindness of one of my best friends. Myisha didn’t hesitate when I asked her to come and stay with the kids. She always jumps at any chance to be with my kids.
To my surprise, when I checked into my flight, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Mike had upgraded my ticket to First Class. I was on a smaller plane, so we didn’t have separate pods, but the service and extra space was so incredibly nice. It was like flying on what used to be business class. I felt so spoiled and special and blessed all at the same time. When I got to Hawaii, I took an Uber to the hotel and headed up to our room. There was a fun bag full of Japanese candies and a note from Mike. He had booked me a massage at the adjoining hotel. So, I got on my comfortable clothes and headed out on a walk before indulging myself in an hour of bliss. I love a good massage and this one didn’t disappoint. My massage therapist was a native Hawaiian with the most incredible spirit about him. He started out with a prayer and placed his hands on my head. It was a spiritual experience and I immediately relaxed. I have never experienced anything like it before and I will never forget the feeling of gratitude I had for this stranger who I knew had a good soul. If every adventure could start out this way, then watch out world because that is pretty freaking awesome!
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.