June 13, 2020

Weekend Recap: Hitting the Boulder Trails

I went into the weekend without many plans; just a hiking date on Sunday morning. But Saturday, in particular, ended up being a pretty amazing impromptu day!

My morning started taking Sugar out for a trail run. My plan was to head up Rattlesnake Gulch to the Continental Divide overlook, but when I got to the trailhead, it was totally packed. I guess I will need to curse 5280 Magazine all summer for spoiling this quiet spot in their magazine… hopefully by next year everyone forgets about it! I didn’t feel like dealing with the difficulty of keeping Sugar calm every time we passed people on the single track, so instead, I took a left at the top of the first hill, which I knew would take me on a challenging (but all runnable) loop over Goshawk Ridge.

I have never done this loop as a standalone run; I’ve always done it as part of a long (13-17 mile) run starting at Flatirons Vista. However, since I hadn’t done that route in a year, I couldn’t remember how long this loop was. It turned out to only be about 3 miles from the lollipop stick turn off – so I realized I could easily add this on to bump up the mileage when I’m doing my regular Continental Divide overlook run.

Though, “easily” is probably not the right word here – this loop is pretty challenging! It’s a pretty steady uphill for the entire first two miles, gaining 700 feet in total, and then you reach this gorgeous hidden valley that I’ve never seen another soul in. When you crest the ridge, it feels like a window to a secret world, and then you get to run through a field of flowers while enjoying the beautiful Flatiron views ahead.

It was pretty cloudy on Saturday morning, so believe it or not, this is probably the ugliest picture I’ve taken here. This spot always takes my breath away with its beauty! 🙂

The descent was lovely, and when it came to the final half mile, I started pushing Sugar hard to sprint it down. We were just about to fly past a big group of adults and kids when I heard one of the kids calling my name…. and I realized it was my best friend Chris with her family and another family, all taking their kids for a hike up to the Continental Divide overlook! I was so excited and surprised to see them, but I was also really out of breath and somewhat flustered, and while I tried to make conversation, I felt like I was out of it and not making any sense. This may be the textbook definition of being awkwardly antisocial post-COVID!

We said our goodbyes as they continued up and Sugar and I kept running down. However, as I thought about it, I realized that I’m so used to seeing Chris and her family in certain contexts around the neighborhood, and it really threw me off to see her on a trail where I didn’t expect to see anyone I knew. (Kind of like when you were a kid and you saw your teacher at the grocery store?) Ironically, though, Chris is actually the one who first introduced me to this trail (before 5280 covered it, while it was still really unknown). Apparently I need to get out for more hikes with her soon 🙂

As soon as I got to my car, it started raining, so I was grateful that I had gone when I did! But fortunately for Chris and her family, it only rained a bit – and she later told me it wasn’t bad. I dropped Sugar off at home, then headed to Louisville to drop off my kitchen knives for sharpening. The Singing Cook brings in a guy to sharpen knives once a month, but that had been suspended due to COVID, so I was glad it was back! I dropped off my knives, did some grocery shopping, then came home to do a Peloton bootcamp before it was time to go back and pick up my knives. My going-out-during-COVID strategy has generally been to do my workouts in conjunction with errands, then shower after all that. Apologies to my fellow shoppers who have to see me all sweaty, but hey, it helps keep them six feet away, right? 😉

The Peloton bootcamp I did was an excellent one – this Jess Sims arms and shoulders bootcamp from 3/7/20. I definitely recommend it! I recently discovered that my old, basic treadmill I bought from a neighbor for $50 actually has what Peloton calls “free mode” – where the power turns off but you can still move the belt by pushing hard with your legs, kind of like a hamster wheel. So for the first time, when Jess called for us to switch to free mode, I was able to follow along instead of making up my own running block for that part.

It was really challenging and a great workout – I’m looking forward to doing more bootcamps with free mode!

After all that running and lifting, I was spent – so I quickly headed over to pick up my knives, then got to hop in the shower. There is nothing better than a shower after a sweaty, hot workout!

I spent the afternoon getting some chores done, then headed over to Chris’ house to catch up with her over drinks rather than just the few minutes we had on the trail, when I was so out of it. Chris and her family had a new deck put in two years ago, and I am currently meeting with contractors for estimates to get my deck replaced, so it was nice to hang out there and also get some ideas for my own deck design. Plus, more generally, it was great to catch up with Chris face-to-face – we’ve talked a lot on the phone, but not had a lot of time together in person. Chris’ lemon drop cocktail looked delicious, but I didn’t want to drink myself because of a commitment later in the night…

I’ve become friends with the person behind the Consulting Humor Instagram, and was invited to do a special Instagram Live Q&A with them. I didn’t know how it would go or what questions would be asked, but it ended up being a lot of fun! A lot of people in the comments asked us to do a follow up session with more Q&A, and after some discussion later in the night, we decided we’re going to do it. I’m excited! You can watch the video here, if you’re interested. (The person behind Consulting Humor keeps themself anonymous, so you see a static image instead of their video.)

Finally, I ended my Saturday night with a late dinner. I had made up a recipe for Mexican quinoa risotto and popped it into the crockpot before I went to Chris’ house, and it was ready and perfect when I finished the Q&A. I have never tried making up either a crockpot or baking recipe before (they always intimidate me because you can’t season / adjust later the way you can with a stovetop recipe), and I was really proud of how this turned out!

Combine in crockpot: 1 cup quinoa, 3 cups chicken broth, 2 small diced zucchini, 6 oz diced tomatoes, 14 oz canned pinto beans, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp garlic powder, salt and pepper. cook on high for 3.5 hours, then top with plenty of cheddar.

Then it was off to bed early, because I had a busy morning on Sunday!

First, I took Sugar out for a four mile loop around the neighborhood; then, I left her behind (sad face!) for the aforementioned hiking date. We went up to South Boulder Peak, and it was a lovely morning for a hike and some good conversation!

And some beautiful wildflowers all along the way!

Afterward, I spent the afternoon back and forth to Lowes for some supplies to repaint my front fence and make some sprinkler repairs…

D’oh. Time for another trip to Lowes to get more paint.

Finally, after that second trip to Lowes was done, I was able to take a long shower and grab lunch. I am obsessed with this honey mustard dressing recipe, and enjoyed it on a humongous broccoli chicken salad!

After more chores and a bit of work catch up, I closed the night out with dinner on the patio – making a simple Thai coconut green curry stir fry and pairing it with a South African chardonnay. Lovely way to end the weekend, and I’m looking forward to more like this 🙂


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