Colorado Take Three

Two weekends ago, Darren and I took our spring vacation. After such a long winter we both needed to get away. It’s no surprise that we decided on Colorado and with plane tickets under $230 a few months back, it was easy to twist his arm. Since we’ve been to Colorado not once, but twice, we wanted to make sure we got a chance to see what we’ve missed. I also had a list of things I was hoping to check out, and well, I wasn’t disappointed.

We flew in on Friday and did the whole downtown Denver thing. We checked out the Rialto Cafe, Uptown Tavern and the Hornet Restaurant all while catching up with D’s friend from college. Nothing too exciting, but we were exhausted. I’m pretty sure I was asleep during dinner.

16th Street Mall

16th Street Mall

Saturday we got up early and headed up to Boulder. It was a beautiful day, so we were able to enjoy the local Farmer’s Market, hiking up the Flatirons, and do a little shopping. The Flatirons were absolutely amazing. The path up the mountain was perfect for a little morning hike. And while we weren’t fully prepared, I could see us doing a lot more hiking up there.

So, so neat

So, so neat

My hill workout for the day

My hill workout for the day

Looking down on Boulder

Looking down on Boulder

Once we finished up around Boulder, we headed south to Golden. I really didn’t know much about it, other than the cool sign in town and it’s the home of Coors beer. But I had to get a picture of the sign, it was on my Colorado Bucket List.

Welcome y'all

Welcome y’all

Shortly after our drive through we headed towards Red Rocks and made a quick visit to see one of our favorite places.

So much beauty in Colorado!

So much beauty in Colorado!

Denver is hidden behind Darren's shoulder, you almost miss it

Denver is hidden behind Darren’s shoulder, you almost miss it

With all of our exploring we were starving and headed back to Denver. We checked out TAG Restaurant, Osteria Marco and caught a live band at Appaloosa Grill.

Sunday morning I was able to sneak out for a few miles and run with Courtney through Washington Park. It was my first time there and I loved it, seriously so beautiful and full of runners all shapes and size. Reason number 5,937 to move to Colorado. We caught up, got 5 miles in and even saw an eagle in the middle of the park, how cool.

Next up on the tour of Colorado was a trip to Colorado Springs. I had heard that the Garden of the Gods was something to check out, but I had no idea how amazing it would be. The pictures I took can’t even describe how breath taking it was. If you’re ever in Colorado and have a few hours to explore, check this out.

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Simply amazing

Natural beauty

Natural beauty

Pikes Peak in the distance

Pikes Peak in the distance

If checking out these views doesn’t relax you, then I don’t know what will. While we were in Colorado Springs we checked out a local brewery, Trinity Brewing Company. The strangest thing was that there were no TV’s but the place was packed. It’s great to see that people still enjoy each others company and don’t need to be glued to technology.

We finished up the weekend back in Denver, checking out REI and of course D Bar Desserts. For the first time, I left the entire vacation up to spur of the moment decisions. I usually need to plan everything, but I’m glad I didn’t this time. The only bad thing was that I didn’t want to leave. Every time we go out to Colorado, I want to move there more and more. Hopefully we’ll be out there in the next two years.

Have you ever checked out any of these Colorado hot spots? Where else in Colorado do you recommend to visit?

 

Rocky Mountain Love

Over the weekend I finally took my vacation for the year. It couldn’t have come at a better time, with stress completely smothering me. The plan was spend Thursday to Monday out in Colorado, split up the time between Vail, Steamboat Springs and Denver. Due to a snow storm that came through and our lack of experience driving snow covered mountain roads, we had to unfortunately cut out Steamboat and head back to Denver. It was a wonderful trip filled with beautiful views, relaxation and enough food and drinks to keep us happy until Thanksgiving. My personal favorite day was Friday, which was filled with running in the mountains, shopping, and a spa day. Who wouldn’t enjoy that.

Rather than dive into all the details, I’ll share some of my favorite pictures from the trip. The best part, I didn’t get altitude sickness this time! Win for me. We did however travel to Breckenridge, which is at 9,600 feet. I felt a little lightheaded, but I luckily beat the altitude this time around. I’m still in love with Denver, and cannot wait until I can call it home…one day.

Perfection is just over those mountains

Vail Village

Beautiful snowy views

Oh, just some snowy roads

Breckenridge in all it’s beauty

Do we look like Coloradans?

The most beautiful view in Denver

Someday, home sweet home

Have you ever been to Colorado or been in the Rocky Mountains? Did you take a vacation this year?

The Mile High City

This weekend was absolutely incredible, and I cannot wait to share my experience of the race and Colorado. As much as I’d like to start with the race recap, I just haven’t found the right words to explain it. But the city, oh how I’ve fallen in love.

I flew into Denver on Friday, incredibly excited, and nervous. Darren flew out earlier, picked me up from the airport and we made our way into the city. Unfortunately, because it was so late, they only place open was Hooters. Awesome. It actually wasn’t that bad, and the seafood was pretty good.

Saturday was by far the busiest day. With the race being on Sunday, we had a lot to get done in such a short amount of time. First up was the race expo to pick up my shirt and bib. There weren’t many vendors, but I found a great race belt from FlipBelt It didn’t move, and it held everything I needed, perfect for a small person like me.

Long sleeve tech tee, amazing.

Next we headed to the mountains, stopping at Red Rocks Amphitheater. It was absolutely breath taking. The view of Denver from the mountains was incredible.

Love, love, love.

And even more fascinating was the amount of people working out. Runners, cyclists, climbers, yogis. This was the place to be. I was a little jealous I didn’t have my running shoes on.

I can climb too! Well, just a few feet

After hanging out at Red Rocks for a while, we headed further into the mountains.

Colorado snow is better than Ohio snow

I started to feel the altitude change at this point and we decided to turn around. Perfect time too, the moment I stepped in our hotel room I was out for a good three hours. I honestly thought my trip out here was a complete bust at this point. I started to regret wanting to run the race, and making Darren come out here for a few short days. I even had a small moment where I didn’t even want to run, just stay in bed for the rest of the trip. But Darren forced me to get better so I could do a little early birthday shopping. Shopping can cure dehydration/altitude sickness. Fact. Lulelemon and REI were calling my name.

The rest of the night was pretty low key. We went out for some carbs at Strings, and then visited with some of Darren’s friends. All I could think about was how little energy I had and how terrified I was for the next day.

Sunday-Race Day. As much as I’d love to start right in, I have to keep you in suspense. Tomorrow I’ll have the recap, I promise it will be worth it.

However, the weekend wasn’t over just yet. After the race, we didn’t want to let the day get away from us, so we met up with blogger/runner Courtney.

First meeting IRL

We spent the rest of the day checking out the city, and trying some amazing restaurants, Vine Street Pub and d Bar Desserts. Seriously the best chocolate chip cookies ever. We spent the evening packing up and moping around about having to leave.

Monday we were off to the airport and back to the wonderful city of Cleveland. As much as I love Ohio, I fell in love with another city. Denver was absolutely amazing. At every turn you could see someone running, biking, walking, just enjoying the outdoors. There was so much more to do, but with so little time, we could only pick a few. I already have an itch to get back there. I’d even move out there in a heart beat. I’ve enjoyed my travels for work, running, and past vacations, but this place definitely called out to me. I can’t wait to go back!

Denver, I love you.

Hey Colorado!

Tomorrow I leave for the great state of Colorado! After 15.5 weeks I’m ready to take on 13.1 miles of high altitudes and a new adventure. I’ve been looking forward to this for months, as if my blog didn’t already show it. I’ve got my list of everything to pack, iPod is ready, and I’ve checked the weather about a hundred times.

I’ve had ups and downs in training, but I’ve come a long way. In no way am I expecting a PR on Sunday, but I don’t plan on just coasting through it. I’ll be running in altitudes that I can’t even imagine, and although the course is rumored to be flat, I guarantee it will be a challenge.

I’m excited to explore Denver and see this amazing city that so many people rave about. I’m even more excited to see things through a runner’s eye, find out why so many runners go out there to train. More importantly, how running in Denver will hopefully make running in Ohio much easier.

I’ve come so far, cutting down my mile pace by at least two minutes. I’ve used Gu on more than one occasion, and I’ve spent many nights with my foam roller. I’m back to the point in my running where I can just feel where a mile is. I’ve already run two PR’s this year and I haven’t even hit the peak of race season.

The greatest thing…

After running this weekend, I’ll be mentally ready to start training for my marathon. Every race this year is a challenge, and training for those wonderful 26.2 miles that await me in October.

I can tell myself to be cautious, to make sure I pace myself, drink lots of water and Nuun all weekend. But honestly, I’m going to enjoy it, soak up every single moment, and just do what feels right. I’m ready.