Colorado Let’s Get Physical!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Sierra City- A Weekend Getaway

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

 

Growing up I would spend a lot of time with my family at our cabin in Leadville, Colorado. When I was young I hated going to it. To me the cabin felt old, small, and minimal. There was no cable TV, taxidermy was the decoration of choice, and time spent there was being active during the day and relaxing at night. Two things I hated in adolescence.  My grandfather had built the cabin, so it was just that a true “cabin.” Friends parents had condo’s in fancy places like Aspen or Breckenridge. I would find myself being resentful at how rustic our cabin was, embarrassed to bring friends to it. I always wished it was fancier and in a popular mountain city.

However as I got older I realized how special our cabin really was. The features I hated about it as a teenager are now the reasons I love it the most. I learned to not only like our cabin, but I fell madly in love with it. I am not able to make it back to our cabin as much as I would want, so now any chance an opportunity arises to  get away somewhere remote I am all in. Even thought I might still be local it is comforting. Like going home without being at home.

This past weekend I had just the chance to experience a piece of home in California. One of our friends has a family cabin in Sierra City and invited Dustin and I along with another one of our close couple friends to come up and enjoy a weekend getaway.

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All photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

The drive was long, about 4.5 hours to be exact. However we caravaned up there  early afternoon. We stopped ion Sacramento for dinner at a little whole in the wall Mexican restaurant. I had double downed on exercise earlier that day (spinning and barre) as I knew I would be sitting for a long period of time and wanted to be able to enjoy myself full over the weekend without worry. I ordered the chicken fajita’s, which had to be some of the best Mexican food I have ever had.  Of course I had to indulge in the tortilla chips, a guilty pleasure of mine I have too hard a time ever saying no to. After dinner we did a driver swap so the girls and boys could each ride up together.  We arrived at the cabin around 10:00pm and settled in quickly with a fire and some drinks. The cabin was just as cozy as I could have hoped for!

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

The next morning I woke up cozy, relaxed, and excited for our day! We had made plans to go on a 10 mile hike. After a week of hard workouts I was looking forward to moving my body in a less intense way. In typical fashion the girls made breakfast for the group, which was enjoyed with freshly brewed coffee. Next we packed up and proceeded to the starting point.  The hike was absolutely beautiful! It was just warm enough outside to not be sweating, but wasnt so cold that it was unbearable.

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

The first 2.5 miles took us up to a beautiful lake. Upon arriving we stopped in our tracks just marveling at the beauty of it. We were surrounded by everything that is amazing in nature. Just the 6 of us, Cooper, and nature. Of course this was just the start, we had another 2.5 miles to explore.

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

We continued to march upward, passing along amazing rock formations and just looking at the bright blue sky ahead. As we started to approach the last leg of our hike and what would be our summit spot for the day, we had one last large push up. Only a steep hill was between us and the summit. By the time we made our way up the hill the group was huffing and puffing, ready to relax and enjoy the view. Although we had hiked 5 miles at this point the group still had enough energy to throw a few snowballs and have a photo shoot. Yoga poses on top of a mountain, yes please!

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

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All Photos taken by the beautiful Miss Erica

 

Next we hiked back down the 5 miles and made our way back to the cabin.  I made some chips and guacamole, an easy snack, but always a crowd favorite.  It was all devoured quite quickly as none of us had eaten lunch and had only had snacks on the trail. After sitting for a moment we decided our next stop would be into town to grab a beer at the local watering hole.

I loved the small town of Sierra City. It was just a road with a handful of places to go. We made our way into the local bar and proceeded to have a few drinks, play the jukebox way too loud, and shoot some pool. Oh did I mention this was one of the places Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild, stayed on her hike of the Pacific Coast Trail! It felt like being where a celebrity had been. Nerdy yes, but true.

After what had been a couple of hours and as it started to get dark outside we realized we had not had a full meal yet. Of course when you realize this you then become immediately hungry! We all quickly rushed home to prepare what we would later call the meat fest. In just one hour the group was able to grill ribs, chicken breasts, sausage, veggies, make a green salad with fruit, mashed sweet potatoes, and a bean/corn salad. For 30 minutes no one talked as we cleaned every last plate of food. By the time we were done we all were beat and ready for bed.

The next morning was an early departure as everyone wanted to get back to the city before the day got away from us. We picked up, packed the cars, and at 9:30 am were on our way back to reality. All in all it was truly an amazing weekend with great friends and nature!