Saturday, April 30, 2016

Month Four: 4 Adventures, 4 Lunches, up to 4 miles trail running and no excuses

Wednesday is quickly becoming my favorite day of the week. Now that I’m part-time I don’t have to fly on Wednesday nights and my only standing commitment is teaching a 5pm Bootcamp for my favorite group of people at DCI. Charlotte is at school all day and when I come home I have the house all to myself which means uninterrupted nap time.

Wednesday is also adventure day with Dawnelle.

For April we did not miss a single adventure week, not one. In fact the rule stands that unless we are puking or dead we don’t miss. Am I tired from getting 4 hours of sleep the night prior? Sure. Is Dawnelle tired from getting up at 4:45am and teaching two classes prior to our adventure? Of course. Yet something happens from that moment we come together and begin our expeditions magic happens. The tired, the excuses, the overworked feeling, all of that fades and we come alive.

We kick started April with another hike up Sanitas. Since we were now committed to our 16 mile trail race in Alaska it was time to start training. We began up the east ridge this time and then ran one mile down the Lion’s Lair trail. From there we ran the one mile back to just below the summit and down the west ridge to the parking lot. We hit 17,480 steps and 7.9 miles by 2pm. I’ve never trail ran in my life and this was my first time sans water and backpack wearing tennis shoes.

The Tuesday prior to our Sanitas adventure my friend Jessica and I had attempted Chasm Lake at the base of Long’s Peak but were turned away due to weather. Needless to say my legs were tired on Dawnelle and I’s hike from my 6 mile adventure the day prior. Jessica and I made a date to go back to Chasm Lake on Friday where we were able to successfully make it to Chasm Lake. While I’ve summited Long’s Peak in the summer and taken the Loft route down to hit up the lake I had never been up there in the winter. I am so thankful for my hiking all winter and adventure days because they prepared me for this very sketchy winter climb. I will say Chasm Lake was the hardest climb I’ve done in winter and by far the scariest due to the potential for falling 500 feet down a sheet of ice. We took our ice axes, studied the route and were adequately prepared for our expedition and it was an amazing day because of all our hard work.

The second Wednesday of the month was not only exciting because Dawnelle and I were headed to Colorado Springs to tackle the incline but also because we launched QiTopia Summer Adventure Training Camp that day. Our deal of the day for $100 off registration cost was good for the first 5 people that emailed us while we were climbing the incline. Our goal was to make it to the top in 39 minutes and we hit it at 37. If you’ve ever done the incline you know this is not an easy task but this was my 4th and Dawnelle’s 3rd time up there so we had the incentive to keep going the whole way. Once we reached the top we ran the 3 mile trail down then headed to lunch in Denver. I shaved 8 minutes off my previous time and proved to myself that anything was possible if I just didn’t stop and make excuses for myself. 

We also had 3 groups of 2 sign up for our Adventure Training Camp and after more marketing only have 3 spots left! I’m thrilled because our training is going to get people in shape for hiking the 14er Mt. Yale and will be filled with urban and outdoor bootcamps. Proceeds from our trip will go directly to our Alaska fund and the race in Alaska benefits Cystic Fibrosis research. So essentially we are adventuring for the good of research and funding for those who are less fortunate to have good health than us!
The third week of the month of April was free week in Rocky Mountain National Park. I took advantage of a rare Tuesday off and hit the park solo to hike to Nymph Lake, Dream and Emerald Lake and Lake Haiyaha. The weather in Denver was not so great and I was tired from flying Monday evening but I took the chance that the weather would be better in Estes and was rewarded for my efforts.
I also had the whole trail to myself once I veered off to Haiyaha.

Dawnelle and I drove up Wednesday under the threat of cloudy skies. We piled on layers and broke out the hand warmers but the weather turned and we ended up hot and shedding jackets on our way back. Since neither of us had hiked to lake Bierstadt that’s where we went and it’s a great 4 mile loop with not too much elevation gain. The views were nill at the lake due to the clouds and falling snow but we were more interested in hiking for time than views so after a few quick photos we were off.

On our way back down to Denver we stopped at the Colorado Cherry Company in Lyons which is a restaurant I’ve passed many times on my way in and out of the park but never stopped at. I’ve always been intrigued by the sign which promises pizza, beer, wine, cherry cider and pie. How could you not love that combo? Part of our adventure day, perhaps the most important part is the food we are going to eat after our excursions. We try to pick a restaurant neither of us has frequented so this fit the bill perfectly. I will say my eyes were bigger than my stomach and though the pizza, soup and bread and cherry pie seemed like a good idea at the time there was much stomach ache and skipping of dinner later.

We were fortunate that the last week of the month we had the only nice weather day for a trail run. Although we had done Matthews/Winters before up by Red Rocks the previous time was in ice and completing the loop. This time we hit the front side of the loop and ran two miles in to an overlook then two miles back. I hate regular running on concrete but there’s something special about trail running. I get to be in nature, on the trail and away from my worries just moving at a faster pace than my standard hike. I don’t carry my pack with me so there’s a lightness and freedom in my stride and Dawnelle is teaching me the art of WuWei running where the concept is going slow to go fast. As Dawnelle says, “Leave no trace leave no tracks.”

We couldn’t just trail run and have that be it for adventure day so we headed on over to Kompound Training Center for a Muay Thai class. I must say it’s intimidating to be the new kid at a studio. It’s even more intimidating to be the new kid in a place where the women wear mouth guards and know how to properly wrap their knuckles. We were totally out of our element and we loved it. We learned how to hook and jab, capture our opponent and then had lightening rounds of punching bags, push-ups and core work. Everyone was SO nice at the Kompound and the only other two girls in class were engaging after class. To be a student and put yourself in the arena can be intimidating but I’m so glad we went and I can’t wait to go back and learn more. Chances are high I’ll never be a professional fighter but I’m happy to learn a few tricks and tips along the way.

Closing on another month of adventures I reflect not only on all the places we’ve been but all the people we’ve met. From the trainers at the Kompound to the lady running Colorado Cherry Company and the guys in shorts who took our picture in Rocky Mountain National Park – half of the fun has been engaging with new people. We’ve been telling others our story and hoping to inspired more people to get out and explore the city and state they live in. It doesn’t have to be complicated and most of our adventures haven’t even cost us anything but time, some gas and lunch money. A standing date every week, rain or shine, tired or not has encouraged us to hold to a commitment we made and we’ve never regretted a single moment of our time together.

Part of the fun is not truly knowing where we will go next. May will hopefully lead to nicer weather and more trail runs but we’ve got a whole slew of summer plans and it isn’t even here yet. Don’t forget to follow our Instagram and facebook to see where our adventures lead us next….

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