This month started out so well with my running, biking, and swimming. I was determined to make this my best year ever and be more consistent not only with my cardio but also with strength training and core exercises. I ran on the Santa Fe trail with the Striders and then another day with Dionne and Caryn, I ran the loop at the Pineries, I did a track workout at the CC track, a bike ride up and around Garden of the Gods, a swim at Flying Horse and ran in the 2nd race during the Winter Series. Then I started getting signs of passing a kidney stone. The next week I took it easy and didn’t run much. The following weekend I thought I was better so I did High Drive with Caryn and although I had such a good time, this run was almost more than my body could handle. I got sick after that and couldn’t exercise at all.
I spent a good deal of time this month biking on the Peloton and running the Striders workouts on my own. After recovering from being sick after Thanksgiving, I decided to just have fun with my workouts this month. In conjunction with biking and running, I started a 4-week core workout program and made sure to do lots of stretching on the Peloton app after my bike and run workouts. The weather was a lot colder this month and I had to pull out all my winter gear to run outside. My favorite runs of the month were two of the coldest runs I did. The first was a fun run in 12F but the sun was shining, and I was in the zone. My second favorite workout was another fun run but this time in the Garden with Dionne. It was also freezing that morning, but the views were outstanding, and the conversation was unbeatable. My hope going into the new year is to continue being consistent not only in my running and biking but all the other supplemental stuff like core and stretching which will help me become a stronger athlete!
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.
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.
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.
It has been so much fun switching gears and focusing more on running. After finishing my last bike race last month, I have been focused on training for my upcoming half marathon in November. I didn’t want to lose too much fitness on the bike, so I consistently rode twice a week to cross-train and I was amazed at how much stronger I felt on the bike compared to last year at this time. I was able to get on my mountain bike and rode with Dionne at Red Rocks. That was a ton of fun. I had some amazing runs this month. My top runs were with my running group, the Sunrise Striders, on the 3x8min tempos at Rock Island trail, the Bear Creek tempo run, the MVP 3x1 mile repeats, the 4x400m (4 sets) at the Manitou track, my own personal 4x4 min tempos up in Cordera/Wolf Ranch, and the Rampart Range Road hill tempo where I pushed the pace coming downhill. After focusing so much time on biking I was amazed at how fast my speed came back. I still have some work to do but this month was encouraging.
During one of Madeline’s days off school, Myisha and I took her to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. We scheduled our time right when the zoo opened. First, we went and fed the giraffes. This was the first time that Madeline agreed to feed the giraffes. It was so cute to hear her giggles when the giraffe licked her hand trying to get the lettuce. Then we headed over and saw the lions and elephants. For some reason we never watch the elephants for very long. We spent a good deal of time feeding the budgie birds. Madeline just loved that and so did me and Myisha. It seemed like all the animals were out today. The tiger was the most exciting animal of the day. It was pacing back and forth so quickly and then it got in the water and started playing with the ball. We made sure to stop after the tiger to eat a quick treat. We shared some dipping dots and then headed to ride the carousel. Madeline loved this fast carousel ride and chose the rainbow horse. Then we headed to the penguin exhibit. They were all swimming in the indoor exhibit. The only animal we didn’t see today was the bear, but we did see many other animals. Today we saw the giraffes, lions, elephants, wallabies, budgie birds, alligators, red tree kangaroo, turtles, snakes, lizards, geckos, sloths, tiger, bald eagle, mountain lions, elk, porcupines, peacocks, penguins, orangutangs, and monkeys.
While the girls were in school, Myisha and I headed over to Garden of the Gods since she hadn’t been there yet. She was amazed at the beauty of this place. I am always in awe even though I have been there so many times. We walked around the paved inner path first and stopped in a quiet spot in the shade and just chatted for a little bit while eating Werther’s caramels. It was absolutely perfect! Then we headed back on the upper trails so she could see an overview of the park. There is nothing quite as grand as Garden of the Gods in this area of Colorado!
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!
I’m so happy with how I did on my first ever bike only race. Today was the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race which is 12.14 miles and 4721 ft of climbing. It was a different feeling racing up this mountain rather than just riding up it. The competitive women’s categories all started together except for the 2 professional women who started after us (10 women in my heat). I placed 2nd in my age division and 5th overall woman for the competitive category. The first 2 professional women came in 30 min ahead of the rest of us. It was so amazing to watch them as they passed us. I didn’t break 2 hours which was my goal, but I got pretty darn close. I crossed the finish line in 2:00.30 which was a new PR. Now I just need to come back next year even stronger so I can destroy that 2-hour time!! It was fun to meet a new friend at the race. She and I were in the same age division!! She just moved from Yokosuka, Japan which is where I lived 8 years ago. We had so much fun talking about Japan the entire way down!
This was the heat for the competitive women ages 20-60
This is the leaderboard for people I follow on Strava for the Pikes Peak Cycling race. Wow, my dad rode this race fast back in 2017!
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.
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.
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.
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!
With all the crazy end of year festivities and spring sports season being pushed into June, Mike and I desperately needed some alone time away. In typical Mike fashion, he booked an amazing trip to Beaver Creek and Vail. We drove up early on Friday morning and parked our car in Frisco and got on our bikes to ride up Vail pass. The trail leading to Vail was incredible with amazing views of the mountains and the river. We were pleasantly surprised at how much easier Vail pass was to bike than we had originally thought. After turning around at the top, we coasted down the path and loved every minute of it. We headed back towards Frisco and then decided to bike around Dillon Lake. On the opposite side of the lake, we found a farmers’ market. We walked our bikes through the market and found some great street tacos for lunch. Then we headed back on the trail to make the full loop back to our car. We ended up riding around 46 miles. Then we got in the car and drove to Beaver Creek where we stayed at Ritz Carlton. We normally stay at the Park Hyatt, but this was a wonderful change. Everything about the Ritz was amazing. We spent the first night ordering room service for dinner and watching the Olympic trials.
One of the best things about summer is being able to exercise with Mike. Since his morning case got cancelled, we decided to head to Mt. Herman for a morning hike together. I love this hike even though it isn’t very long. It is a steep mile or so to the top, so you feel like you got a slight workout without having to work hard. One of the best things about hiking is the great conversations that Mike and I have as we are hiking. That is the biggest reason why I love hiking with Mike more than any other sport. Sometimes we can chat on the bike, but hiking is a little easier to hold a real conversation. This hike ends at the top with the most beautiful view of the valley. I wish I could start every day like this one. Life would truly be perfect if I could spend time like this every morning with Mike.
May is always an unpredictable month when it comes to exercising outside. For the most part the weather was pretty good, but we did have the random snowstorm and chilly, windy weather. Still, Mike and I were able to go on an awesome long ride on the Cherry Creek Trail in Denver towards Cheery Creek State Park. We biked all the way to the park from downtown and around the lake. It was so nice to bike somewhere other than our typical ride on the Cottonwood Creek trail. I headed to the pool once which was nice and spent some time on my mountain bike. I enjoyed some more Garden runs and a fun run with some really fast girlies in my running group.
I was finally able to start getting back into real running and biking shape this month. I had some amazing runs at Garden of the Gods with my running group and good friends. I even managed to get back on the mountain bike and attempted the Ladders/Gold Camp/High Drive/Captain Jacks ride with Tina and felt pretty good on the ride. I started getting back on the road bike since the weather was finally a little bit nicer and did some rides along the Cottonwood Trail and even the Sinton Trail. I still had to wear all of my layers on most of the bike rides, but it felt good to be riding outside instead of on the trainer. While visiting my parents the end of this month I was able to get in some good rides in warmer weather. I had my longest ride ever at 60 miles at 4000ft of climbing. It was a great month to jump start getting ready for the summer months of riding.
Madeline and I took a little 5-day vacation and headed to see grandma and grandpa in St. George over my birthday weekend. Our last trip back in November was so much fun that we decided we needed to do it again. Instead of flying into Las Vegas and driving 2 hrs. to St. George, we flew directly into St. George from Denver. It was amazing. When we got to my parents' house, my mom had tulips and chocolate waiting for me in my room as a birthday treat. My mom is always so thoughtful. Madeline was so happy to be able to spend time with her grandparents. She and my mom spent lots of time playing, going on walks around the neighborhood, working on her learning book, watching movies and dancing in her dress ups, swimming at the rec center, playing at the playground, and going on a bike ride. I was able to spend some time biking with both of my parents and pulling Madeline in the burley. It was a lot of fun biking with my dad to Sullivan’s Park and then meeting my mom and Madeline there. We attached the burley and headed all the way to Thunder Junction Park. We stopped at Jersey Mikes and picked up lunch and ate in on the way to the park. Madeline had the most fun on the twisty tube slides and riding the train around the park.
The next day I rode 60 miles with my dad up Snow Canyon, around Tuachan, through Kayenta and to Gunlock Reservoir. Then we headed back and met my mom and Madeline for lunch at this amazing burger place called the Ice Box. Then my dad and I climbed Snow Canyon one more time. It was the most epic bike ride I had ever been on. The views from Snow Canyon were incredible, and although I had climbed Snow Canyon before, it was just as amazing as the first time. We finished the ride at 60 miles and 4000ft of climbing. We picked up John from the airport that night and went to the Ironman Expo downtown. It was fun to be able to spend some time with him before I left to go back home the next day. I rode early on Friday morning with John and my dad back up to Snow Canyon for John’s shakeout ride before his race. My legs were a bit tired, but it was still a good time. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone that afternoon. I could have stayed in St. George for another week, and I would have been so happy!
There wasn’t a ton of exercising in March as I was slowly adding back in running and biking after my surgery. It felt good to get outside and run, even if I had to do it in the snow. I surprisingly love running through fresh snow. There is something so calming about a new snowfall. I was able to run up Rampart Range Road with Dionne and Amber and did pretty well until the last mile or so. Mike and I biked together, and I actually got QOM on one of the Cordera segments. I was completely shocked. The last half of March I was preparing for our upcoming trip to Disney World so although I didn’t run or bike during the end of the month, I did do a lot of walking.