July 9, 2018

Weekend Recap: Trail Run Improvements and Family Birthday

I’ll just go ahead and start my weekend recap on Thursday, since I had the rest of the week off after July 4th. I started my day with a trail run up Rattlesnake Gulch – my favorite trail to run as of late. It’s 3.2 miles up to the Continental Divide Overlook, along with 1282 feet of gain, but I’ve been trying to run more of it and walk less. Even though I had just gone hard in the Superior Mile the day before, I headed to the trailhead feeling pretty well-rested, and I wanted to push myself to see how well I could do.

While I usually walk most of the initial Fowler Trail climb, I tried my hand at running most of it (with a few very short walk breaks), and ended up ascending it in 7:38, compared to 10-12 minutes on my previous attempts. Big difference! From there, the trail flattens out, and I had no problem continuing to run the next mile to Eldorado Canyon, finishing in 9:23 vs 12 minutes in other attempts. I ended up running pretty much all the way to the bridge at mile 2.2, and then doing some strategic power hiking for the next half mile before picking it up for the last half mile to the top. I got to the top in just 38:05 – beating my previous best efforts by more than 10 minutes. Wow – crazy fast!

This pic doesn’t fully show the view, but I thought it was kind of cool peeping through the trees at the overlook 🙂

After taking a five minute break at the top to rest and send a few emails, I headed back down – again, at a super speedy pace. My Strava app hiccuped on my phone when I stopped, adding my break in to my time, but I think I did the downhill in just under 30 minutes, which put my overall time at 1:05-1:10. Wow!!! I am now setting a new goal for myself to see if I can do the whole thing under an hour. It’s an aggressive goal, but I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

Speaking of trying new things: I was using this trail run to try out a new-to-me fuel belt, the Flip Belt. I bought it from someone in my neighborhood Facebook group for just $18 (new with tags attached!), and it ended up being totally comfortable; I loved how easy it was to take my phone out and put it back, and my phone didn’t bounce around in it and felt pretty secure. I just ordered this water bottle that fits in it for future runs, and I’m excited to have a fuel / water option that’s less bulky than the vest I’ve used for hiking / trail running the past. Sometimes I’ll definitely want the full vest, but if I’m going out for two hours or less, this lightweight option is great!

I spent the rest of Thursday and most of Friday working on a new (non-work) project, though I did take a break Friday afternoon to head down to Lakewood, where I met my friend Amber and Amanda for some pool time. It was really nice to catch up and laze around rather than being totally go go go!

This pic came out fabulous!

Saturday it was a bit more special project work, and then I packed up and headed off to the airport. I had booked a last minute flight to Albany, NY, so I could visit with my family on Sunday just before my birthday!

Sunday morning started out with a race I had found at the last minute was going on in Saratoga, and then I headed over to my brother’s house to hang out with him, my sister-in-law, my nephews, and my mom for the day. (My dad is over in Poland right now.) It was a pretty lazy day, in part because I wasn’t feeling great after my race, and ended up totally falling asleep on the couch! You know you’re tired when your 3 and 5 year old nephews outlast you without taking a nap 😉

Watching Moana. I fell asleep on my brother’s ridiculously comfy couch before she even went out to sea.

I closed out the weekend with a fabulous birthday dinner at the Macaroni Grill. As a kid, Macaroni Grill was always where I asked to go for special occasions, and it was really fun and nostalgic to go back now. My nephews loved getting to draw on the table, my sister-in-law and I loved the magnum of wine we kept pouring “just a little bit more” from, and in general, we all had a fabulous night! I was so glad I was able to get back to see my family, even if it was just for a quick 36 hour trip.

My nephew created an elaborate masterpiece of an ice cream truck… a guy after my own heart! However, I didn’t end up going to Stewart’s for ice cream this trip; instead, I enjoyed the super decadent and delicious chocolate cake at Macaroni Grill.

And now: back to my usual work week in Florida. But it’s a bit unusual in that it’s my birthday tomorrow, and I’m announcing something special! Stay tuned… 😉


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