This was a rough weekend, my friends.
I’ve been trying to post more on Instagram Stories lately, sharing both the good and the bad. And honestly, I have been super stressed out with work. I thought it all came to a head in January, when my friend / coworker Elizabeth visited me for the weekend and I just completely melted down, but the stress has continued and I haven’t yet found a way out :/
Friday was a pretty brutal day for me. I was on back to back calls from 7am to 2:30pm, when I finally jumped in my car and headed out to the mountains, taking more calls on my drive. After getting into Minturn, I settled in for the rest of the night to jam out more work, finally calling it done and heating up a quick dinner at 9pm. Not quite the relaxing night to myself I had been planning!
I told myself it was worth it because I was going to spend all day Saturday skiing and not working… and then the emails started flying at 6am, and by 7am, I was booked on another call. Ughhhh! By this point, I was so sick of work and eager to just relax that I didn’t sit at my computer (like I should have to be in front of the contract we were discussing); instead, I headed over to Avon and picked up a bagel and cream cheese to treat myself, taking the call from outside Avon Bakery while I waited for my order.
Finally, my call was done, and I headed to the mountain as fast as possible. Today was the official Talons Challenge, and I was looking forward to seeing how fast I could finish this year compared to last year! What I wasn’t looking forward to, though, was that I had arranged to meet a group of coworkers on the mountain. After the last stressful 24 hours, all I wanted to do was be left alone, to zone out and ski solo, not hang out with coworkers and be reminded of work. I was in a mood.
As with last year, I started at Centennial, then from there hopped right onto Cinch lift to get up to the top of the mountain. But while last year I started with Goshawk (a double black bump run I love), this year, I chose Golden Eagle as my first run. Golden Eagle is by far the steepest run on the mountain (it was the men’s Super G course in the World Cup), and it is definitely no joke. I was really proud that I knew I’d be able to do it as my “warmup run” – my skiing has really improved in the last few years!
After that, my plan was to go back and forth between Grouse Mountain and the other two lifts (Birds of Prey and Larkspur). This way, if the Grouse chairlift broke down (like last year) or otherwise had long lines, I could avoid being stuck waiting for Grouse just because I had already finished the other two. The other part of my strategy was getting all the most difficult (double black) runs done first; this way, as my legs got tired, at least the terrain would get easier.
I headed up Grouse, and stayed on the far left side of the mountain to tackle Bald Eagle. This run has the biggest, steepest moguls of the day, and the final pitch was definitely a challenge! I was surprised to find that my legs were already feeling the burn, even though I had taken it easy the day before and tried to keep my legs fresh. This didn’t bode well for the rest of the runs I’d have to tackle. Meanwhile, I just felt very off my game. The moguls were not at all coming easily to me, and I found myself cruising across them rather than taking a clean line down.
I went back and forth between Grouse and Birds of Prey, knocking out Kestrel, Falcon Park, Peregrine, Osprey, Ruffed Grouse, and Goshawk. I was now totally done with the Birds of Prey, and also done with all the double black runs! I now had just the second half of Grouse (all single blacks) and the three short / easy runs on Larkspur still to go. I was really happy about this, given how poorly I was skiing. It was a lovely day, but I was in a truly terrible mood.
My coworkers were texting me that they were at lunch, but I still didn’t really want to talk to work people. Despite my goal of making that call in the morning the end of my work for the day, I was responding to a few emails on the chairlift, and also just thinking a lot about various problems at work and how I could try to solve them. I couldn’t turn it off! And on a few of the lifts, I teared up thinking about it all 🙁
Ptarmigan felt a lot easier than the others I had done, and while Loco over on Larkspur is a bit of a long run for that bowl, it was still shorter than all the Birds of Prey bumps. I was glad that these runs were getting easier, because my legs were definitely pretty tired. I’m not sure next year I’d do this same strategy of tackling the most difficult runs first,a s it definitely wore my legs out early. Maybe an every-other hard and easy approach would be the best way to do it? I’m still learning.
As I got to the final runs of the day – Raven’s Ridge, Shooting Star, Lupine, and finally Screech Owl to finish – my mood started lightening quite a bit. Not because I was actually getting happier, but because I was soon going to be done. Ugh, how terrible to look at this fun challenge as something to check the box and complete! I cried on my last chair up to Screech Owl (luckily, I had it to myself as the crowds had thinned out quite a bit), and when I finally got down to Talons Lodge to claim my lunch and swag, I was just grateful I hadn’t gotten hurt with how poorly I was skiing. Lesson learned – attitude is indeed everything, and I shouldn’t be skiing with a bad attitude!
There was a long line to collect the (mediocre) lunch, and then I found a table inside by the bar to both eat and also save for the rest of my coworkers when they finished. I had about 30 minutes on my own before they joined me, and I idly played with my phone and tried to cheer up a bit. But when they finally all arrived, I found my mood lightened significantly. We shared a few drinks at the lodge to celebrate (I had hot cocoa since I never drink and ski; I don’t trust myself to be good enough), and then all skied down to the base together and enjoyed happy hour at the Chophouse.
Even though we talked about work a bit, I felt so much better getting to connect with everyone. I realized that one of the things I love most about my job is the people; isolating myself from them is definitely not the way for me to feel better! I was particularly buoyed by one of the female partners who I greatly admire, who gave me some great advice about an upcoming conversation I have with the head of my practice, and who also told me that she and her husband might be looking to build a vacation home in Minturn. I would love to get to hang out with them more, so this was amazing news!
I headed home from the mountain feeling a lot better, and closed the night out with a date night dinner at La Tour. I know I shouldn’t use alcohol to solve my problems, but having a glass of wine definitely helped me relax and stress a little bit less. My coping mechanism has been going to the gym and working out hard, which is definitely an awesome way for me to deal with stress… but sometimes a glass of wine is warranted 😉
The next morning, I woke up early to knock out some work, then headed over to Vail just after first chair at 8:30am. A big storm was coming in, and while I really would have liked to stay all day and drive home Monday morning, I was worried if I didn’t leave right away, I’d get stuck and the Pass would close. In fact, it started snowing soon after I started skiing – so after just a few runs down Sundown Bowl, I headed down the mountain and hopped into my car to drive home.
The traffic luckily wasn’t too bad just yet – I left at 10:45am, and made it basically back in 2 hours. But instead of heading home, I headed down south – to Ikea to pick out some new appliances. Ikea sells unbranded Whirlpool appliances that come with a five year warranty, and once a year, they put them all on sale for 50% off. This meant I could score a new French door fridge for $900, and a double oven for $500 – amazing deals! Unfortunately, they were sold out online, so I had to go into the store itself to buy them and request delivery. A little bit of a pain, but also probably a good idea to see them in person before I bought them. They were able to schedule delivery for the very next afternoon – pretty efficient.
I stopped for a quick coffee date on my way back up home, then hustled to squeeze in a quick Peloton ride with Matt Wilpers before I showered and put dinner together. Skiing in the morning, then a solid bike ride plus a few sets of deadlifts in the afternoon… not a bad leg day! I tend to get a little lazy about “leg day” and put it off because I don’t want to tire my legs out for subsequent workouts; I need to get better about just doing it despite the soreness.
I closed the night out making my favorite crockpot paella along with some sangria. Okay, probably too much sangria! Oh well.
This had been a really tough weekend, and it became very obvious to me that I’m getting burned out and need to regroup. When even my happy place in the mountains isn’t making me happy… we have a problem. I’m still not entirely sure what I’m going to do about it, but the first step is obviously recognizing it.
To end on a more positive note – the bright spot in all of this has been that the more I share candidly on social media how stressed I am (and admit that not everything is perfect), the more sweet messages I get from both friends and strangers telling me to hang in there.
I’ve connected with a few people who know exactly what I’m going through, and also had friends I haven’t talked to in a long time reach out to let me know they’re here for me. I’m still not happy, by a long shot, but it helps to know I have a support network who cares and is looking out for me.