June 25, 2018

Weekend Recap: My Favorite Boulder Local Activities

This was another fabulous, albeit short and packed, weekend!

On Thursday night, I flew to Chicago for all-day training Friday… and also to meet up with my good friend Caitlin, who moved from Boulder to Chicago last summer. Unfortunately, my flight to Chicago was several hours delayed due to weather, and the delay meant that I couldn’t get to see Caitlin Thursday night for dinner as planned 🙁 Instead, I ate #PlaneDinner (United’s shrimp and sausage paella, which always looks / smells way better than it actually tastes) and got to my hotel just in time to crash into bed for the night.

On the bright side, I was staying at a new-to-me hotel, The Gwen, and I loved it! The decor was kind of a glammed up version of mid-century modern, and I especially loved the marble-tiled bathroom… made me start to get antsy about when I’m finally going to bite the bullet and redo my master bath at home. (Right now I have other financial priorities.) I also enjoyed a good run / lift session at their fitness center Friday morning. I’d definitely come back to this property again!

Got a great night’s sleep, too!

My training on Friday was all around the Internet of Things, and it was fascinating. As you might have gleaned from various posts I’ve done about my house and all the gadgets I have hooked up there, I’m a big fan of automating / connecting things, and it was great to get more insight into what resources my company has for helping clients in this area. As a bonus, training wrapped up a little bit early, and I was able to catch a flight home much earlier than planned – landing at 6pm instead of 11pm. After having four delayed flights in the last week, it was nice to have it go the other way for a change!

When I landed, I got some stressful family news, so my plans for the night changed to just going home and trying to relax as much as possible. That didn’t happen either, but I was at least able to get to bed by 11pm – later than I’d like, but I was still able to get 7 hours of sleep before waking up for a hike with my girlfriends.

My friends Kelli and Sarah drove up from south Denver to come on one of my favorite hikes with me: Green Mountain in Boulder. Last summer, this used to be one of my go-to hikes; this year, I hadn’t done it once! But the trails felt like old friends when I got back to them – I like having routine routes where I know the various landmarks along the way, and have a good idea of how much longer we’ll be out there.

This wayfinder at the top isn’t exactly a landmark so much as it is “the end”… but I still love the view from here so much.

Speaking of friends, it was great to get some quality catch up in with Kelli and Sarah. Both running and hiking make it so easy to open up and talk about things you might not otherwise feel comfortable discussing. It was wonderful to get this time with my girlfriends!

Not only good girlfriends, but also BO!!!!! Sarah’s dog is quite the intrepid hiker / trail runner.

Post-hike, I needed to leave the trailhead fast: I had less than an hour to get home, shower, and catch an Uber to downtown Louisville, where I was hosting a Meetup group at the Rocky Mountain Beer Festival. I ended up arriving a few minutes late, but as it turned out, only one other girl from the Meetup group showed up. Bummer!

One of my biggest pet peeves is flakiness. If I make plans to be somewhere, I don’t look at it as optional; I see it as a commitment that I’ll show up. I’ve been frustrated when I throw parties at how many people say “maybe” as their RSVP, when that really isn’t an actual answer and doesn’t allow me to plan how much to cook / serve. Even at work, with some of the office connectivity events I’ve organized, we’ll have 10 yeses, 10 nos, 40 non-respondents, and 30 maybes. How do you appropriately plan an event when there could be anywhere from 5-40 people (or even more, if some of the total non-respondents decide to show up)? This drives me absolutely nuts, and I really wish people would just commit to things with a simple yes / no, and then stick to it. It’s great that cell phones let us stay in touch on the fly, but I do think that same ability has encouraged people to flake out on plans much more frequently than when we had to plan in advance and then just show up because there was no way to communicate otherwise.

Anyway! Rant over 😉 Despite the fact that there were only two of us from the Meetup group at the beer festival, I had a blast – and after a few games of cornhole, we ended up making a bunch of friends. Although I had initially thought I wouldn’t stay the whole time, we ended up closing out the festival, and my new friends came over to my house for pizza and a few more drinks on the deck. I love being able to take advantage of summer weather for an impromptu gathering!

For once, I also drank just the right amount at the beer festival to feel like I tried a good selection of brews without hating myself later that night / the next day.

Around 9:30pm, I was surprised to discover how late it was, and I regretfully kicked everyone out and headed to bed. Fortunately, I didn’t truly have to be up until 8:30am, since I had brunch plans at 10am. As per usual, though, there was no way I would sleep that late – I woke up at 5:30am, which gave me time to do some chores / cleaning around the house before hitting the trails for a run.

I got to the Fowler trailhead around 6:30am, and found only two other cars there. Another quiet morning on my favorite trails – I was psyched! Unlike last Monday’s cloudy run, though, the sun was beaming down brilliantly. I started out at a power hike pace, but once I reached the top of the fire road, switched to a run – I wanted to try to go a little faster than the week before, and while I’m not yet ready to just run the whole uphill, I think I can be more strategic about when / where I walk.

This bridge is one of my favorite parts to run on this route… it feels so bouncy and smooth compared to the rocky trail.

The trail up was so beautiful, but there were a few times I caught myself wondering if I was going the right way (even though I knew I was). The trail just looked so different on this bright sunny day, even so early in the morning! I only saw three people on my way up, and it was so peaceful and relaxing to be out there on my own.

Though I will admit that right about this point I started thinking about how empty it was and I got in my own head and scared myself thinking about potential mountain lions watching me. Better not to think about that!

I stopped at the top for a few minutes to relax and bask in the sun. When I stopped, I also stopped my Strava and then started a new track once I headed down. I posed this question on Instagram, but I’ll pose it here too: is it best practice to do separate tracks for the way up and the way down when there is a clear summit, or just pause it and keep it all as one track? The problem with that latter approach is that the mile in which I summit ends up with a really weird pace (since it tracks an uphill pace for part of the mile and a downhill pace for part of the mile). I wish Strava had simple lap functionality to allow me to track those separately…

This view when you get to the top… perfection. How can it get better than this?
Answer: you turn to the other side of the overlook and see the snow-capped peaks and the Continental Divide in the distance.

The run down, though, was so wonderful that I forgot to care about Strava or any data points – I was just loving the experience I was in at the moment. Although I listened to podcasts (Jillian Michaels Show) on the way up, I switched to music on the way down, and ended up running the whole way listening to Matthew West’s All In album. So many of the songs had a great beat to spur me on, and by the time I got to the last half mile down the fire road, I was flying at a 5:59 pace with a huge grin on my face. What a wonderful way to start my Sunday!

Gazing at the Flatirons while running by is always a bit of a religious experience! #ChurchOfRunning, indeed.

After the run, I headed home for a quick shower and a bit of work, then up to Boulder, where I was meeting my friends Elizabeth and Jay for brunch at Jill’s, to celebrate Jay’s birthday. Despite the run, I wasn’t super hungry, so I ordered a la carte rather than springing for the brunch buffet… but as Elizabeth and Jay kept coming back to the table with delicious-looking plate after plate (and many with seafood – my favorite!), I regretted that a little bit. I definitely need to find a special occasion to come back and try the buffet for myself!

Only problem was I forgot to ask for the hollandaise on the side, and this was a LOT of hollandaise. Good thing I went for that run!

I had a few hours free in the afternoon to knock out some laundry and packing for the week ahead, and then I rushed out for some quick errands and grocery shopping. I made it home by 3:15pm, which was just barely enough time for me to whip up some cupcakes, take a shower, and clean up around the house. At 4pm, Jay and Elizabeth came over with a few more friends to continue celebrating Jay’s birthday, and then we headed to see Sam Burchfield perform at Sounds of Simon, the house concert series in my neighborhood.

I’ve written about Sounds of Simon a few times before, but for a quick recap: an awesome couple in my neighborhood, Lee and Jen Simon, invite artists who are already coming to Denver to stop by their home and play a concert there. They charge $20 a ticket, and every cent of that goes directly to the artist, so it’s a great opportunity for artists to make a little extra money while guests get a really intimate show. Guests are also asked to bring a drink or dish to share, and the potluck dinner starts an hour before the concert – setting the tone for a wonderfully communal vibe. Last night, I brought my friends Heather, Kelly, and Den, and it was lovely to catch up while also feel proud that I was introducing them to a really unique music experience.

Here’s a great panoramic shot of the living room that my friend Kelly took. Pretty cool, huh?

Last night, we got to see Sam Burchfield Band in a rare performance where he was joined by his wife Erin (also a musician). They were fantastic! Erin played jazz flute and ukelele, and also had a beautiful singing voice, and I struggled to imagine what the show would have been like without her. Meanwhile, Sam was fantastic – his joy at playing music was evident, and every so often he’d throw his head back with the biggest grin while he was rocking out. It reminded me of how I felt this morning flying down the trail, and I loved getting to see that kind of passion.

As far as my own enjoyment, for the first time, I got the coveted sofa seat that’s literally right next to the “stage” area, and since the performance was a band rather than a solo act, that meant my elbow was about six inches from the drum kit. I loved getting the up close view of everything that the drummer was doing – what an awesome vantage point, to be practically inside the music!

We also got to chat with Sam and Erin after the show, and they were lovely. I hope they can come back to Colorado again soon!

With that, my weekend was about over – but I had a lot of great memories from all the fun stuff. I’m now off to Florida Monday through Friday this week, and then I’ll be off work all next week, and home in Colorado. Looking forward to more adventures then 🙂


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