December 12, 2019

Weekend Recap: Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Santacon, and Monet

Recap of November 27 to December 1

This was a lovely long weekend from Thanksgiving Thursday to Sunday! And my mom was with me in Colorado the whole time, which made me really happy. I’m working on convincing her to move, and I think it’s starting to work, as she periodically sends me houses on Zillow she’s looking at 🙂

Speaking of houses, to start Thanksgiving extra thankful, Mom and I headed up to the mountains after I finished work on Wednesday. I haven’t been up there in more than 2.5 months (since my calf injury, because I couldn’t trail run after that), and I was eager to have the two of us go on a little getaway!

While I thought we would get up there in time for me to get a few warmup runs of skiing in, as it turned out, we just missed the lifts closing. Instead, we dropped our stuff off at my house, then headed back to Vail Village to tour the Colorado Snowsports Museum and then settle in for the 5Points Film Fest: Snow Sports reel. The short films were fascinating, though I got a chuckle out of seeing my mom gasp anytime the daredevils did something crazy… I reassured her that I am not that kind of a risk taker on the mountain 🙂

We stopped at City Market on the way home to pick up a few ingredients for salad, then headed back to the house to heat up a pizza and watch a bit of TV while cuddling with my roommates’ adorable dog. I missed Louie so much!! While my roommates are awesome all on their own, he definitely sweetens the deal 🙂 And then, I crashed hard into bed pretty early, around 9pm. I always sleep so well / soundly up in the mountains! I think it’s some combo of the cold and altitude.

Unfortunately, while I went to bed early, I woke up far too early, around 4:30am, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I lightly tried to doze, but finally gave up and pulled out my book till it was a more acceptable time to wake up. Then it was time for coffee, breakfast, a bit of email catchup, and off to the slopes!

I didn’t want to leave my mom waiting for long (though she assured me she was happy to get to walk around and check out Vail Village), so I planned on just a quick two hours. It had been six months since I’d last skied, so I figured my legs would need a reminder of how it’s done! But on my first run, I inadvertently went down a mogul run – not exactly easing back into things 🙂 I was disappointed to find that my technique was really poor… I have lost a lot from last season. Hopefully it comes back quickly once the snow gets good and I start going more often!

For Thursday, I stuck to just intermediate runs – especially when I looked down on the two expert runs that were open and saw they were filled with rocks poking up through the light snow coverage. But one of those, Northstar, is one of my favorite intermediate trails on the mountain – this is the trail that made me fall in love with Vail! It has some decent drops and stunning views of the entire valley, but is rolling throughout, so I never feel like I’m on a super steep face where I’m going to fall all the way down the mountain to the bottom. And as soon as the early morning clouds burned off, it was a beautiful, perfect, blue sky day!

I am thankful for… my first day on the mountain!

Those clear blue skies made the drive home with my mom quite a treat – she kept snapping pics out the window as we drove 🙂 After stopping home for about two hours to shower, change, and cook, we were back on the road and headed to downtown Denver, where my friend Sara had invited us to join her family for Thanksgiving.

It was a feast to behold! Sara and her boyfriend had rented out the lounge at her apartment building, which was a beautiful space with a giant roofdeck overlooking the Denver skyline. In addition to the stunning views, Sara (and others) had cooked up a feast – and I enjoyed far too much of it as we dined by candlelight and went around to say what we were thankful for.

I am thankful for friends who are like family 🙂

After dinner, we played fishbowl – where everyone writes some nouns (as general or specific as you want) to put in a bowl, then one person from each team takes turns drawing and trying to get their team to guess as many as possible in one minute. In the first round, you can talk it out and say anything you want; in the second round (with the same nouns), you act it out; and in the third round, you get to say one word. I have never laughed so hard as when my mom drew “White Claw” in round 2 and had to act it out when she had no clue what it was (after it’s over: “But who is White Claw?”). It was a riot, and we all had a blast! I ate far too much (amazing) dessert while we played, so it was hard to tell whether my stomach hurt from that or all the laughter 😉 But it was a wonderful night, and I’m so thankful for wonderful friends like Sara who have quickly become like family 🙂

Friday morning, I woke up early – and as soon as I woke up, I threw some leggings on and headed out for Black Friday… to Lowes! Haha. Honestly, it seems like most of the best Black Friday sales these days are online, but every year I go to either Lowes or Home Depot for their $1 poinsettia plants, and buy a dozen or so to put all over my house and make it feel Christmassy. This year, Lowes decided to one-up Home Depot and offer their poinsettias for only 50 cents – what a fantastic deal! So now for only $8, my house has beautiful festive flowers all over it 🙂

This is how you’re supposed to do Black Friday, right?

Speaking of which, most of the rest of the day was spent online shopping (oooooops) and decorating the house. My mom and I tackled the decorations as a joint effort, mostly doing it during commercials of the Christmas movie we put on the Hallmark Channel… which was actually starring one of my childhood friends, Rachel Rhodes-Devey! Rachel and I did a bunch of musical theater shows together, and were also in the same dance troupe, and it was so cool to see her starring in a TV movie.

How cool is this??? My mom and I were so excited to see Rachel!

The one thing I didn’t do on Friday? A workout! I am definitely a morning workout person – and unfortunately, if I don’t work out as soon as I get up, it often doesn’t happen. That was threatening to be the case on Friday, since I had gone to the store immediately after getting up, but finally at 4pm when I was almost out of time, I forced myself to get down to the treadmill. And I was sure glad I did – I did my longest run yet!! 40 minutes of jog/walk intervals, in the form of ten rounds of 3 minutes at 7.5mph and 1 minute at 4.0mph. I clocked 4.5 miles by the time I finished, and it felt fantastic – no pain! That put me in a really fabulous mood, and I wished I had done it earlier rather than feeling like a slug all day 😉

Because now, I was running late for the one activity I had planned for the day – Santacon Boulder!! I went to Santacon by myself a few years ago, but this time, a group of my friends wanted to check it out, and I knew it would be a lot more fun with a crowd 🙂

Although I thought I was late, my friends were even later… so I awkwardly hung out at the first bar with about a hundred Santas. One thing that’s a little unique about Santacon in Boulder vs New York is that people of all ages tend to go in Boulder, while in New York, it tends to be mostly 20somethings. Unlike when I went to Santacon a few years ago, I didn’t really find anyone to chat with, but soon enough, my friend Chris arrived, and after a quick stop at Japango to wrest our friend Carley from the bar there, we were off to carol with the Santas.

Santa selfie!

Chris had made the brilliant move of stopping at Safeway on the way over to pick up a box of donuts… and those went like hotcakes! I am going to have to remember that trick for next year. Meanwhile, I had said all along I was going to call it an early night; in the end, I made it to three bars (an hour each), which meant I was still home by 10pm. That’s my kind of Friday night 😉

And it meant that Saturday morning, I was able to get up early and head to Chuze Fitness for a swim… with a brand new bathing suit I was pretty pumped about! Based on advice from a friend at Santacon the night before, I did a set of 1000m, another set of 1000m, and then a set of 1200m, with about 30 seconds of rest in between sets. And for the last 500m, I tried to push it hard and pick up the pace. It was just over an hour of swimming (1:03:16)… but I wasn’t done yet.

I headed home to hop on my spin bike for a Peloton ride. Not quite a brick, as it was about 30 minutes between when I got out of the pool and when I got on my bike at home, but close enough! I did a 45 minute country ride with Hannah Marie Corbin. She’s my original favorite instructor, but I have been trying to branch out, and hadn’t taken one of her classes in a while. I loved it, though! Her personality seemed to be extra sunny, and after that break, it made me really appreciate her 🙂

Finally, I finished the workout with a 1 mile run within just a minute or so of getting off the bike. (Switch shoes, walk three feet over… hooray for home gyms!) 4 minutes at 7.5mph, 1 min at a 4.0mph walk, and then a 3 minute progressive push where I started at 7.5mph and increased the pace 0.2mph every 30 seconds. It felt good! So, how’s that for a brick workout – swim, bike, and run all in a morning! People keep warning me that it’s very difficult to go from bike to run, but every time I’ve tried it so far, that transition has worked out pretty okay for me. I’m hoping it will be just as easy on race day!

Which… I should really make sure I blog about this! As I think I’ve written about before, I was originally eyeing the HITS Napa Valley Triathlon (because wine), and even registered for the race and booked travel… but then they changed the date. What the heck?! After scouring the internet for another race for weeks, I finally found another race that happens to be on January 6th. That’s really soon, but at the advice of many of my friends, I scaled down to the Olympic distance rather than the 70.3. My goal in doing this is not to win any kind of age group award (especially since I’m just getting back to running), but to see if I enjoy doing triathlon enough to continue training throughout the winter (when I think I’d rather be skiing). So… only a few weeks away?? Wish me luck!

Mom and I spent the rest of the afternoon mostly hanging out, and then we invited my friend Heather over for dinner and a movie that night. To keep things simple, I popped this quinoa chicken primavera pesto dish into the crockpot mid-afternoon (one of my favorite crockpot recipes!!), and then we all settled in to watch Home Alone that evening. It was a lovely night!

The next morning, I continued on my Peloton adventures with a strength workout that served as a great warmup for my long run. I did Rebecca Kennedy’s 20 minute full body strength workout, and it turned out to be a ton of Turkish getups. While I’ve done a lot of half-getups at Orangetheory, I’m not sure I’ve ever done full getups before… maybe just once or twice. Rebecca went a little bit slowly on the demos in the beginning, so I learned to just go at my own pace once I had it down; once I did that, they were great!

I then headed for the treadmill, where for the first time since my injury, I was going to attempt to run without 180bpm music. Instead, I downloaded a metronome app onto my phone so I can watch TV and still run at the right cadence. It was gamechanging for me to be able to watch TV while I run again, especially since I’m now up to 40 minutes of running (10 rounds of 3 minute run, 1 minute walk). I was so excited!!

As soon as I was done with my workout, my mom had some news for me. While I was running, she managed to get us tickets to the sold out Monet exhibit at the Denver Art Museum!! I quickly showered and got ready to go downtown.

And then… magic. It was so special and cool for my mom and I to be able to check out the Monet exhibit together! As a child, I loved reading Linnea in Monet’s Garden, and I was so grateful that my mom had introduced me to art like this when I was a kid.

We had a poster of a Monet similar to this in my living room when I was growing up, so I loved seeing this one in person.

In high school, I took an AP Art History class during my study hall period (#Overachiever), but I was very surprised to realize how much of it stuck with me. Some of Monet’s early works of people on the banks of the Seine reminded me of Georges Seurat (“Seurat the Dot”) and his composition in Sunday on La Grande Jatte. And more generally, I realized that the class had given me a lens to analyze the composition of visual art and recognize some of the stylistic choices. I’m sure this all sounds super pretentious, but I was just very pleasantly surprised to see how much I knew, and how much it added to my enjoyment of visiting the exhibit.

I don’t think I had ever seen “The Geese” before, but I fell in love with it. I adore the way he used the ripples in the water to keep the eye focused down on the geese, even though the lines of the trees would normally draw your eye up to the house. Magnificent!

After we finished exploring the exhibit, we headed for a late lunch… and decided to go to Snooze, the popular breakfast chain. While Snooze often has an insanely long wait, it turns out, there is no wait at all if you go at 2pm 🙂 Jackpot! Our lunch was quite epic, especially since I convinced my mom to get the sugar coma-inducing pancakes that I could steal bites of while getting something savory for my actual meal 😉

Labeled it all for you so you can drool. The Grandma’s Hot Cocoa pancakes were particularly amazing!

We closed out the weekend with another night relaxing at home with dinner and a movie. Unfortunately, my mom would be leaving on Tuesday, and we were both so sad for her to go! But I reminded myself that I’d be seeing her in just a few weeks in Albany for Christmas.


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