January 4, 2020

Vacation Recap: Winter Break, Week 2

I left Albany on Christmas Eve, expecting to be home by 6pm. Unfortunately, United had other plans for me 🙁 My original flight from Albany to Chicago was several hours delayed, which pushed me to a later connecting flight as well. I didn’t end up landing until 8pm, and rushed home to drop my stuff off and change, then headed downtown for a wine date at Barcelona. Nice cozy way to close out Christmas Eve and put all the travel stress behind me!

On Christmas morning, I woke up early to throw some things in the car, then headed for the mountains. Although I didn’t get on the road until 8am, the roads were pretty empty – score! I listened to my church’s Christmas service podcast on the way, and found it really special. Even though Christmas is over, I’d still recommend listening to it here (the actual message starts at 20:12 if you want to skip to that part, though the music is pretty awesome).

After that bit of uplift, I headed straight to Vail (do not stop home, do not collect $200), and got to enjoy several hours of lovely skiing – with the slopes very quiet on account of it being Christmas! After about an hour or so, the snow started falling, and I was really thrilled I had made it to the mountains to experience a white Christmas 🙂

Although I was on all blacks the rest of the day, I skied my last run of the day down an intermediate slope… named Christmas. What could be better than skiing Christmas on Christmas?!

I popped by the grocery store after I finished skiing (I had checked earlier in the day and knew they were open till 4pm), then headed back to my house to unpack and once again make the brussel sprouts salad that had been such a hit with my family. This time, since I didn’t have a food processor, I cheated and used bottled dressing (Panera’s poppyseed dressing); unfortunately, it didn’t come out quite as good. Note to self: make the real stuff next time!

After showering and getting myself all ready for Christmas dinner, I also assembled an apple crisp, and then took both dishes (plus a tub of salted caramel ice cream) over to my friend Heather and Kirk’s for Christmas dinner. They had just moved into their new place in Edwards the week before, and I was really excited to see it!

Heather had given Kirk a gorgeous cheese and charcuterie board (the setup itself) for Christmas, and we enjoyed a feast of appetizers on that, followed by incredibly amazing cheese souffle and roast duck as our entrees. Cheese as an app, cheese as an entree, cheese in my salad, and ice cream for dessert… this kind of a dairy feast is my absolute favorite! We had a lovely night together – I feel so lucky to have great friends like this 🙂

How awesome is this charcuterie board??? I kind of want to get one myself…

The next day, I took my time lazily getting myself up and going (ah, the joys of vacation in the mountains – no obligations or places to be!), then headed over to Beaver Creek. I spent the morning skiing on my own, then the afternoon taking a master class in mogul skiing with Olympic mogulist Tess Johnson! It was amazing to watch her schuss down the moguls so speedily.

Even by the end of the class, my form was nowhere near as good 🙂 But I had so much fun!
It didn’t hurt that Tess was amazingly friendly and sweet!

I had a quiet night at home, then was up early on Friday to ski again. (Yay vacation!) This time, I headed over to Vail, and hit the back bowls. It was a bit of a chilly day, but I covered a lot of ground, and ended up hitting every lift in the back bowls at least once before I headed out! Last year when I did the Talons Challenge, I learned that I like having a goal when I ski, and this was a good one for the day 🙂 By the end of the day, I had covered over 16K feet – not a record for me, by any means, but pretty solid when I was skiing steep moguls most of the day!

While on the bus to get home, I was browsing Instagram, and saw my friend Tara‘s post, encouraging everyone to get a jump on their New Year’s goals today:


I had already planned to head over to Avon to pick up my new library card; with that inspiration, I put on my gym clothes and also headed to the Avon Rec Center to buy a punch pass. The facility ended up being really beautiful, and had very nice Les Mills spin bikes with screens where you could take virtual classes. Of course, I threw my iPad over the top and put on a Peloton class 😉

I was laughing to myself that with the snowy mountains and pines in the picture window behind my iPad, it was kind of like one of these hilarious parodies of the Peloton ads 😉

After my ride, I headed to the treadmill for a run, and surprised myself by holding a 7:30 pace for 4 consecutive one mile intervals (with a 30 sec walk in between each one). That’s a pretty good pace for being up at 8,000 feet! I hoped that meant my post-injury speed was starting to improve.

The next day, I bopped back over to Beaver Creek. So nice that my house is right between the two and it’s less than ten minutes to each! This time, I was meeting my friend Justin to ski. The skiing was fine (albeit a bit cold); however, we both chose to call it a day early to try to beat the Saturday traffic back. Unfortunately, that plan went awry when I accidentally locked my keys in my (already running) car! Instead, Justin was kind enough to stick with me while we waited for a towing company to break me out, and we grabbed burgers down the street at Benderz in the meantime.

I headed back to Minturn thinking it was now too late to pack up and go home, but when I checked the traffic, it wasn’t bad yet – so I jetted out of there quickly. The drive ended up being kind of hairy, mostly because my windshield washer fluid seemingly froze up on the drive, but I made it back in one piece. It was nice to sleep in my own bed!

The next day, I headed to Chuze for one last swim workout before my triathlon next week (eek!)… and unfortunately, this one was not a confidence booster. Right from the beginning, I didn’t want to be swimming, and I had to keep bargaining with myself to get myself to keep going. Although I had originally planned to do 2 miles (128 laps), I then talked myself down to 100, and then just 64 (1 mile). Fortunately, by the time I got to 64, I felt positive about the fact that it was more than halfway to 100, and by 100, I wanted to bang out the last 28 to feel accomplished. Does anyone else play these math games while they work out? I think I’ve also learned that I tend to take a while to get into my groove while swimming… and for my actual triathlon, I think I’ll try to swim a bit before the race to try to get my breathing in a rhythm.

I had planned to go right from the swim to a run… but after I actually got showered, dressed, and out to the treadmill, I was not feeling it. I lasted exactly one minute before I abandoned ship and hit the hydromassage, telling myself I’d run later instead. I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon running errands, then finally got back down to the treadmill at 3pm, where I did a solid 4 miles at 8:00 pace with no walk breaks. I’ll take it!

I closed out my weekend by heading down to Urban Putt, where my friend Ken and I enjoyed a fun night playing indoor mini golf and eating some surprisingly yummy dinner. You might remember I wrote about Urban Putt a few weeks ago (when I went to a kids’ birthday party there); turns out, it’s just as fun for adults! We had a wonderful time.

The next morning, I was up early to hit the bike for another Peloton class, and was just in the final minute of class when my doorbell rang. What do you know – the workers installing my new storm door were actually early! I had not been expecting that. I caught up on some emails while they did their work, then headed back down to the gym for a ten minute Peloton bike class (to warm up my legs) followed by a one mile run to test out my new triathlon shorts. I liked them a lot!

I showered, loaded up the car, and took a quick work call, then was back on the road out to the mountains. My original plan was to meet a friend to ski Loveland, but unfortunately, I had gotten going too late – so instead, we caught up over coffee. I’ll have to give Loveland a try another day!

I rounded out my Monday with dinner and a movie in Silverthorne, which I hoped would have me well-rested for the next day, because on New Year’s Eve, I had big plans!

I started out with a full day of skiing at Breckenridge – my first day there of the season. I went with Ken and his boss Ryan, and Ryan knew the mountain like the back of his hand, which meant we could just follow him. I was a little tentative about skiing some of the bowls at Breck, since the last time I had done so was two years ago, when I wasn’t very good. I’ve certainly improved dramatically since then, but I didn’t want to end up on something I couldn’t handle. However, once I got over the silly worries in my head, I realized I was totally fine on this terrain. I’ve come a long way!

And it was a beautiful bluebird day, which also helped me feel happy and comfortable 🙂

After skiing, I headed back up to Minturn, and then it was time to get energized and dolled up for a night on the town. Heather and Kirk had once again invited me over for dinner, and then we Ubered down to The Rose, a restaurant/bar in Edwards that has amazing cocktails. Heather and Kirk raved about their 2019 New Year’s party, and this year, The Rose’s theme was to dress as your favorite decade.

We all dressed up in 1920s-themed attire (for 2020, get it?). It was a really fun night!

New Year’s Day was supposed to be snowy, but the storms hadn’t started first thing in the morning, so I took my time getting out there. By the time I did, though, visibility was so low that I wished I hadn’t lollygagged!

But I did get to enjoy coffee out of the new mug my Dad got me for Christmas, which I love 🙂

On the mountain, at one point, I was skiing down the big bumps in Sundown Bowl, and slowly came to a stop because I realized I couldn’t see the bumps at all and was skiing blind. While standing there trying to figure out which way was up, I then got dizzy and fell over! Haha. It didn’t hurt at all, since the powder was so soft, but I realized it probably wasn’t safe for me to keep skiing terrain I couldn’t see – so I headed back down the mountain.

I stopped home in Minturn for lunch, thinking I’d get back to skiing a little later in the afternoon, but then I ended up talking myself into visiting the beautiful Avon Rec Center for a workout instead of skiing again. Unfortunately, while that was my ostensible plan, I didn’t end up actually going to do it until 5pm! The workout was a good one, and I wished I had done it much earlier in the day to give myself a kick in the butt. But it at least sent me home in a good mood, for a healthy dinner and bed.

Thursday had me a little bit nervous – I needed to get home that night, but there was supposed to be more snow coming. Fortunately, when I woke up, the forecast had improved – so I was able to ski till early afternoon and still beat the storms. I got to do two runs with my friends Sara and Torrey (who had just come up to stay in Vail for a long weekend), and was so jealous of all the fresh powder they were going to enjoy! But alas, I had to go – my vacation was almost over.

I got home late Thursday afternoon, and immediately scrambled to get this low-carb zuppa toscana soup into the crockpot. It’s one of my favorite recipes, and I had a whole head of cauliflower to use up! I had then planned to pack my bags for my triathlon in the few hours before my friend Heather (a different Heather than I spent New Year’s with) came over for dinner. But when I checked the mail, I had a surprise that made me change course. Peloton had sent me a water bottle autographed by Hannah Marie Corbin, one of my favorite instructors! Well, with that motivation, I couldn’t resist heading down to the basement to take one of her on demand classes 🙂

How cool is this? I love the community that Peloton is building… definitely check out the Peloton Reddit if you haven’t been there before.

I spent Thursday night catching up with my friend Heather over the soup (and a side salad), and watching Playing with FIRE, the documentary about the Financial Independence Retire Early community. Both of us were really disappointed in it, since the major strategy the couple profiled used to save money was moving in with their parents. This is not to say anything bad about people who live with their parents, but I think it’s pretty disingenuous to declare yourself “financially independent” when you are living rent-free and getting free groceries and childcare from your parents. What a disappointment! At least I had great company 🙂

Finally, on Friday, I was digging back into work (ugh, my overflowing email) and on a plane… to Florida for the triathlon I am running tomorrow! (More on that in my nervous pre-race post here.) Wish me luck!


4 thoughts on “Vacation Recap: Winter Break, Week 2”

  1. Great article, Vail ski resort is my favourite in Colorado. The Christmas run probably was crowded due to Christmas:). Thank you for the podcast recommendation, love it!

  2. Wow! As someone who has skied for a few years now, I know how it feels to go back to where you first began learning and realize how far you have come. Vail looks like a beautiful place to ski, I’d love to visit some day. Breckenridge looks amazing as well. Where are other places you have gone skiing?

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