A couple of weeks ago Dustin and I were able to go back to my home state of Colorado for a 5 day trip. It is amazing how you can grow up in a place and never really experience all the city has to offer. I am not sure if others feel this way, but for myself coming back home as an adult is different compared to how it was in my youth. I have grown to appreciate my hometown in a way I never did when I was younger. Home used to just be a place to come and see family and friends. Now home has become a vacation. It has now become a place to not only enjoy time with the ones I love, but to also spend that time doing things I love with them.
So what did 5 days of activities and fun look like in Colorado? Well Day 1 started with a 3:30am wakeup call to get ready for the airport. Now I am one who will stop at no cost to get a workout in the morning. I mean I have been known to get up at 4:00am to get a run in before a really early flight or work meeting, however we all have our limits and 3:00am was mine. If I am being honest I thought about working out all morning. When was I going to be able to get it in, how could I balance spending time with my family while also doing what I needed for me? Once the plane touched ground and I saw my parents waiting to eager and happy to see me, I decided being with them was way more important than any workout I could get in. So I just made this day my “rest” day for the week. Now this might sound like nothing to most, but for me it was a big step. One of many steps I am slowly making to learn how to balance my life more.
Day 2 started with a morning at the gym. I went to an hour spinning class while Dustin hit the weights on the gym floor. Afterwards we headed home, ate some breakfast, and got ready to play golf with my parents. This was the first time I had made it out to the golf course this year and boy did it feel good. I forget how much I enjoy playing. I love being outside, being completely engulfed with concentration, almost into a meditation at times. For me when I play golf it is a true mind-body connection. When I am out on the golf course I am thinking about nothing else but what I am doing in that very moment. If your mind is off then your game will be too. There are few opportunities we have in life to fully be present, to not have our minds wander. When I find an activity that allows me to do just that I love it.
Day 3 was a day of running and hiking through Garden of the Gods. I grew up with this magical place practically in my backyard, well a 15 minute drive. In my adolescence I never enjoyed any of the outdoor beauty that Colorado Springs had to offer, so I am only grateful I have learned to love it as an adult. I try to make it to the beautiful red rocks every trip home I can. My run for the day was 5 miles, followed by a couple miles of hiking/walking. For me every time I go home to Colorado I never know how my body is going to react to the altitude. The longer I have lived at sea level the more I feel a difference when I go home and attempt to run. Some trips are easier than others. I have found if a trip happens to be a hard one for me to acclimate then I need to listen to my body. This typically means a shorter run than usual, a slower pace, and if a break is needed in between miles then that is ok. What is important is I am out moving my body.
Day 4 was maybe my favorite day of them all. I started the day with a 4 mile run around the neighborhood. I love this run, for the sole reason of every time I do it I get flooded with memories. I see the house of my best friend in 3rd grade where I had more slumber parties then I could ever count, the friend’s house where in high school on summer nights we would sit around a big outside fire pit, playing guitar, talking, and just hanging out. I run by the neighborhood pool where for countless summers I spent sun bathing while my friends had their first summer jobs as lifeguards. Then to bring the run home I end right in front of my elementary school where I spent years learning and growing. After getting home Dustin and I grab my parents bikes and do the 10 mile bike ride on the Santa Fe Trail to downtown Colorado Springs for breakfast and coffee. This trail is amazing. You go through the whole length of town seeing a vast array of views. You cross over multiple bridges and get waved at by every biker/walker/runner you encounter. It is a true heart of Colorado Springs in my mind. After breakfast Dustin and I saddled back up and rode the 10 miles back home.
Day 5 was all about the Manitou Inline. I am pretty ashamed to admit this, but I had never heard of the Manitou Incline till this past Christmas when chatting with my uncle. Even though I was not into fitness growing up, it feels like this should have been something I at least knew about. Either way once Dustin and I learned about it we decided next time we were out in Colorado it was on! Let me tell you a little about the incline. It is located in Manitou Springs, a quick 20 minute drive from my parents’ house. “Since its closure as a railway in 1990, the trail has steadily grown in popularity as a hiking trail and fitness challenge. The base of the Incline sits at 6,600 feet (2,000 m) and the trail climbs 2,000 feet (610 m) in just over 3⁄4 mile (1.2 km). Parts of the trail are extremely broken and steep and will require even the fittest of hikers or trail runners to scramble over the broken rocks and steep trail.”
I have to admit, I was nervous. Seeing pictures of how steep the trail was and just knowing how my lungs had not been cooperating with me on my runs all week, I was not sure how this hike was going to go. However regardless of my fear I knew I was physically capable of doing it and had a great partner in crime to do it with. We arrived at the trail head early Friday morning. We looked at the trail, looked at each other, smiled, and started our walk up. Was it steep, yes. Hard, yes. Did moments of rest have to occur, yes. But overall I would say it was a breeze and by the time we reached the top we were excited and marveled by the view. It is good to remind yourself from time to time you can do anything. We hung out for a bit and then hiked the 3 miles down the Barr Trail instead of hurting our knees trying to go back down the incline. All in all it was a perfect start to my Monday and a great way to end the trip!