Thursday, March 15, 2012
Well, I figured I should blog a bit about my trip to Colorado. I need to keep a blog/journal/whatever on all my adventures and when I have time, need to write about my backpacking trip in the Smokies a few yrs back!
Anyways, me and Mike (my boyfriend) decided to drive to Colorado for my spring break. Why drive? Because I had always wanted to take a road trip out West, and it was cheaper than flying! We left Friday morning around 7:30am (I don't have classes Fri). We drove 10hrs to Omaha, Nebraska, where we then unloaded all our active gear and suitcases in our hotel, and then worked out for 30min in the fitness center (It was way too windy and cold for my liking to run outside...lol mainly the wind bothered me). I just couldn't believe how flat the plains are! Anyways..we ate dinner at a real good steak house in town because Omaha, Nebraska is known for their steak! The state is also known for creating KoolAid!
Next morning, up early and drove about another 8 hrs until we arrived in Winter Park, CO! Gosh, it took about an hour to drive up the mountains, it was fun though, with all the twisty-turns around the mountains. We met my friend we were staying with in Tabernash, CO (like 15min from the resort), to figure out where her house was. She works at the Starbucks in Winter Park Resort, pretty cool! Dropped our bags off after we found her house, then went to the grocery store for food for the week, then went to bed.
Sunday....we woke up pretty early (it was like that the whole week, our bodies were on Eastern time), and went to Monarch Lake, part of Arapaho National Forrest. I had planned to run 10 miles that day for my Glass City Half Marathon training...but only got in 7 (it was hard because I ran uphill for half of it!) So then I turned around, ran back to the car, and waited for Mike to get back-he cross country skiied while I ran. Then, we put on our snowshoes that a friend from work let me borrow, and we snowshoed around that whole lake! I thought I was going to have trouble adjusting to the snowshoes since I have never tried them before, but I had no problem! I was even ahead of Mike for awhile (haha) until the end, which was rough for me, my glycogen stores were running low. It was a beautiful day, too, with the sun shining on us, I just hiked in my snowpants and a long shirt. We were hiking for about 3 and a half hours! Plus the 7mi I ran, we were hungry! Went out for Chinese once we got back.
Monday=Snowboarding! Mike had a lesson for skiing from 9:30am-3:00pm. He has only skiied 4 times in his life, and with his shoulder surgery awhile back, I figured it'd be a good idea for him to take a lesson out West. So, I rode all over the place, the whole mountain haha :) I felt like I was in heaven! I love snowboarding, it makes me feel so alive, especially being surrounded by the great outdoors. (Then again, so does every other sport I do!). I was riding so fast down some of those hills, it was great to get a lot of speed for a long period of time. Once I got to the "Jane" side of the mountain (where all the locals ride...the tougher side..) I was wowed even more. It was challenging, but I handled it well. I avoided moguls because I'm not that great on them, especially when they're on a black diamond. So I rode the blues and blue-blacks which are just as steep as our blacks back East. They closed the highest lift, so I didn't get to experience that on Monday. It goes up to 12,000 feet! Anyways, Mike did well in his lesson, and I had a lot of fun snowboarding, and we both got pretty sunburned because I forgot to take the sunscreen with me....
Tuesday=more snowshoeing!! We decided to experience Rocky Mountain National Park since it was less than an hour's driving distance from where we were staying. We stopped at the visitor center, and the nice lady at the front desk told us about each trail in the area that we could snowshoe. There were trails that gained a lot in elevation, and those that were more scenic. I wanted to hike all day, and I wanted to hike this one trail that was about 7 miles long with over 1,000 feet in elevation gain. It was through the woods and the woman said it wasn’t too scenic, but we were more likely to see animals, like Moose! So, naturally, I wanted to do the most difficult and long trail (it was for advanced hikers), so we drove to that one. We started hiking up with our snowshoes, and once I got into the forest a little bit, the snow got deeper and I kept sinking! So I let Mike go first so he could make holes for me. He also had poles, and I did not, which probably would have helped me get up faster, but other than that I didn’t want to hike with poles. We got to the top, and it was so snowy, we weren’t sure where to go next, and the previous footholes had stopped there, so we turned around and went back to the car. I was actually relieved, because we had hiked for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, and I was getting tired of falling in holes, and trying to get back up in the deep snow with all my snow gear on!
Next, we went to the most scenic route the lady at the visitor center told us about. It was actually a road that you can drive up the mountain on, but since there was so much snow, people hiked or used snowshoes on it. Well…it was all uphill obviously from the start. I was already kind of tired from falling through snow from the trail before, but I kept up a good pace until about the last 30 minutes. My heart rate was getting higher from the elevation and climbing. Mike was way ahead of me. There were 6 turn-arounds to get to the top, and by the 5th one, I was actually getting angry. I wanted him to wait for me (that was selfish of me because I know he was getting a better workout and would have had to slow down for me-this is how I think, haha I was ahead of him on Sunday). So, I plopped down in the snow and started to pout. I actually started to cry. I think I just wanted it to be over. Then, I got up (because I’m strong-willed, and refuse to let nothing go undone that I’ve started) and climbed to the top. When I saw Mike returning downhill, I asked how much further. It wasn’t too much further, so I made him hike back up with me. (haha..he didn’t mind). Here, I took a Hammer gel because I was pretty depleted, and drank a bunch of water. My mood got better after that (I get pretty cranky when I’m depleted and hungry). Then, it was all downhill from there! Mike stayed closer to me because he noticed I was pretty weak from the uphill climb, and didn’t want me to fall off the side of a cliff.
We hiked a total of 5hrs and 20minutes, no wonder I was so tired! I ate a big lunch, too, but gosh was that climb tough after falling through snow for an hour before! We reached 10,000 feet that day, pretty cool.
Wednesday we drove to Colorado Springs. I had to meet with a USAT coach that some of my teachers knew just to chat with him about what I needed to do if I wanted to become a coach or work at the Olympic training center. After chatting with him for awhile, he told me to apply to a bunch of the internships. So, I applied to about 7 or 8 so far J But who knows, I’m not going to worry about it and I just let life take me wherever from now on. I have ideas, but it’s too early to make a plan. Life never works out the way you want it to anyways. That’s why I have adventure :)
Mike rode his bike around Garden of the Gods, which was pretty intense, I hear. Then, he came back, and we met my friend who is an intern there right now for lunch. I guess Michael Phelps just left last week, darn! Other than that, the OTC wasn’t anything too special, just a big place to workout.
We had wanted to drive up Pike’s Peak, but then it was almost 3pm by the time we got to the Manitou Incline, so we just hiked that. OMG-one of the toughest workouts of my life, it reminded me of backpacking up steep inclines in the Smokies. It climbed 2000 feet in 1 mile. Took us an hour. Then, we got to the top of that, snapped a few photos, then started walking down the mountain. Now, I saw someone start running down it. I decided to start walking since the climb was tough enough. I kept slipping all over the place, then tried running. Running was actually easier to me, so I handed Mike my jacket and flew down the mountain. It was fun! I love trail running, actually, because you really have to concentrate and jump over rocks and uneven terrain. Didn’t fall or slip once while running.
We snowboarded Thurs and Fri, and Mike got a lot better at skiing :) I had a real fun time in Colorado, and didn’t want to go back home. Now I’m here, wishing I was either in Colorado again or back home where all my favorite parks are :)
Wow, this is long, and sorry if there’s any typos, but I’m going to bed! And I will continue to dream about my goals, like running ultras, climbing more mountains, snowboarding more out West, completing long endurance rides, and more triathlons. Which, by the way, I still haven’t signed up for Nationals because I have no idea what’s going on this summer. I can’t sign up for that 10k swim either yet, because I don’t know where I’m going. Another thing-all these races cost $! I just want a job that can support my side jobs! Haha.
One more thing-I sometimes wonder what people think of my long adventures or workouts. All I can say is, it's FUN to me. My idea of fun is torturing myself. I don't know why....on that trip I had alcohol twice...whereas some people might enjoy their whole spring break drinking...I enjoy mine being physically active. It's my favorite hobbie! I usually don't get bored when I'm out there hiking, running, or cycling or whatever for hours on end. What else would I be doing with my life? Sitting in front of a computer screen (I do that enough) or watching TV? You can learn a lot about yourself out there in the outdoors. And about the great outdoors, as well as other people. I've met some pretty amazing people just through running, snowboarding, and triathlons. Do something with your life! I may not be elite, but I always hope to help and inspire others to reach their goals and dreams!