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To the Top!

Wednesday marked the day of my real reason for making the trip back to Colorado.  That was the day I planned to beat The Incline.

The months leading up to my trip, I worked diligently to strengthen my legs and my stamina, knowing I’d have to overcome the altitude and lack of oxygen.  I was also determined not to slow down Abby, who I know is an Incline expert, and who agreed to make the trek up with me.  Heck, she went just the week before to test it out for us and beat her best time.  So yeah, I was bound and determined to not look like a sloth.

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The trail started out relatively flat, but got steep pretty quick.  I was breathin’ heavy right away, but soon fell into a groove.

There wasn’t much talking going on, as I was saving my breath, but I managed to sputter out a few words.  “What kind of time are we lookin’ at?”  And “Ugh, I thought THAT was the top.”

Every once in a while, I picked my head up to look around and admire the view, but mostly, my head was down and I trudged along.

At times, the people in front of me would “pull over” for a drink and a rest.  I just kept on going.  I basked in the glory of passing someone, even though it seemed to take a great deal more effort.  Abby would say good morning to each person we went by.  I barely managed a grunt.  Hopefully she was polite enough for the both of us.

As I took my last step, I turned to face Abby only a few steps behind me.  34:05 she stated with a smile and a high 5.

34:05!  WAY better than the 50 minutes I had set as a reasonable goal for a flat lander.  And only two minutes slower than her best time.  My chest swelled, and not just from trying to suck in the thin air.  I was proud of myself.

imageWe wandered around the top of the incline a while.  Abby pointed out the guys who were lifting a barbell over their heads.  We questioned how they got it up there, but then got our answer when they took it apart, split up the pieces, and ran down the mountain.  We just stood out of the way.  Best to let them go first.  They were making me look bad anyway.

We made our way down the 3 mile trail, occasionally having to get out of the way of runners.  I could barely keep from skidding while walking.  No way was I gonna run.  Besides, I remember how painful it is to run down a steep hill.   And I t was nice chattin’ with Abby.  I didn’t want to ruin it by panting through it all.

By the time we got down, I was starving.   We went to a place known for their big portions, and they didn’t disappoint.  I’m ashamed to admit I couldn’t finish it all, but I gave it a great effort.

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We went our separate ways for a little while to shower and rest up for our next set of stairs at Seven Falls.

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Here’s where I was proud of Abby.  She’s afraid of heights, and I know from watching my Hubby, that fear can be paralyzing.  But she pushed her fears aside and climbed up the steep “ladder” where we were awarded with beautiful views.

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I went first on the way back down, hoping to block her view.  It’s really is a steep drop, and this is only from halfway up….

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It was a great day.  Everything I dreamed it would be and more.  Abby, thanks for sharing the day with me.  And get ready!  I’ll be back for bigger and better things…..

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8 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2016 in Friendship, Health and Fitness, Vacation

 

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The Fun Just Got Funner

Our first day in Colorado merely whet our appetite for outdoors adventure.

After we caught our breath from the climb at Red Rocks Ampitheater, we grabbed some lunch at the Airplane Restaurant and headed off to Garden of the Gods.

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Probably one of Amp’s favorite places.  Lots of rocks to climb.

 

The following morning, we met up with Abby for another tour of Red Rock Open Space.  She gave us the tour last time we were out, and. Amp was so impressed he wanted to go back.  This time there was water, which made it even more beautiful.

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Chip, seeing Colorado for the first time.

Amp, begrudgingly allowing a selfie for the sake of the blog.

 

 

 

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Shadow and Abby.

 

We said so long to Abby, and then moved on to Palmer Trail and Helen Hunt Falls.  The longer we went, the more we realized we were flat landers trying to keep up with the natives.

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But boy was it beautiful.

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We wanted to hit one more trail, but storms were brewing.  We got to see first hand the hail and flash floods Abby often describes on her blog.  Luckily we were safe in a car and not stranded on a mountain.

Our day may have ended abruptly, but to me the best was yet to come…….

 
8 Comments

Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Family, Friendship, Vacation

 

The Guys’ Turn

I thought it only fair for the boys to have quality time with their mom since Mario had some a couple of weeks ago.  So I rounded ’em up for a trip to Colorado.  What better way to bond than a 13 hour car ride.

We piled into the car with all our Colorado necessities, and off we went.  We weren’t even out of the driveway, and the boys had their headphones on and their eyes glued to their screens.  My dreams of deep conversations and brotherly bonding flew out the window.  ***sigh***   This was gonna be a long trip.

Hours into it I began to appreciate Mario’s non-stop chatter.  To get them talking, I brought up “No Man’s Sky”, the game Abby’s son Meego had just downloaded.  They discussed the pros and cons of this game, which led into reviews of other games, and seemed to break the silence for the rest of the trip.  Still not the chatter Mario and I had, but better than complete silence.

After a short layover in Colby, Kansas, we made our way to the mountains.  As we got closer to our first destination, Red Rocks Ampitheater, I realized how great a navigator Mario was.  She was spot on, telling me how to get there, giving me plenty of advance notice, balancing the real world against what she saw on her phone.  The boys waited till it was time to turn and told me to turn.  It was like pulling teeth to get them to paint the picture for me of what I needed to do.  After many u-turns, and a lot of gas, we found our way.

My frustration ended quickly.  I’d forgotten how beautiful and breathtaking (literally) the Ampitheater is.

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Amp, much more comfortable here than in a cramped car, even allowed a selfie.

 

 

 

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And Chip, who was seeing things for the first time, humored me as well.

 

 

 

 

We realized just how high up we were, when we were completely out of breath climbing back up the stairs.

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Practice for what’s to come?

 

 
4 Comments

Posted by on August 17, 2016 in Family, Vacation

 

Let the Summer Begin!

It’s been a weird summer.  Seems that June and August have switched places.  June was extremely hot and dry.  The grass died, the weeds died, we even had a tree die.  When the rains came, though, they really came.  So these past few weeks when we’d normally be seeing things die off, they’re thriving!  Even our little tree is sprouting again.  Makes me feel like we’re starting summer over.  Which is fine by me.

See, the first part of summer was all work no play, but our girls’ trip to Indiana changed that, and got the ball rolling for future fun.  Last night, Hubby and I played tourist while Mario and her friend attended a concert in downtown St. Louis.  We toured the Old Courthouse, watched the sun set on the Arch grounds and walked the city with a waffle cone full of ice cream.  (I haven’t given it up completely.)

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Not my pic of The Old Courthouse, but if you look to the right, the dark brick building is my old hotel, where we happened to stay the night of the concert.

 

 

 

 

 

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Again, not my pic, but this is what the Arch grounds are looking like these days.  They’ve been redoing the interstates and ramps to make the pedestrian commute much easier, safer, and nicer.  The dark brick building to the right is my old hotel.  In fact, you can see the room we stayed in last night.  Fantastic view.

 

 

 

Tomorrow is the first of 9 working days in a row, which will likely suck, but there’s a pot of gold waiting for me at the end.  Amp, Chip and I will leave next Sunday for an adventure of a lifetime.  Ok, maybe not.  But I get all giddy inside whenever I think about it.

I get to climb The Incline in Colorado.  Something I’ve been dying to do ever since I learned about it from Abby.  I love having a physical challenge to look forward to, and have been gearing up for it for months now.  I can’t stand the excitement!

The boys are NOT ready for a physical challenge, but are excited about visiting Colorado.  If the prospect of moving there can get them through one more year of school, then I’m all for it. And heck, I could visit them all. the. time.

After Colorado, the physical challenges ain’t over yet.  In September I’ll be biking 175 miles in two days.  My new bike is up for the challenge.  I just hope I am.  I’ve had some good training rides though, and have never felt better, so I’m feeling pretty good about it.

Fingers are crossed for some good weather for both.  These days, you just can’t be sure what Mother Nature is going to do.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on August 3, 2016 in Health and Fitness, Vacation

 

Girl Trip Gone Better

The last time I went on a road trip with my daughter, we came back in tears.

Since then, Mario has made remarkable strides with her bowling.  Enough so, that we decided it was worth the trip to Indiana for a week long bowling tournament.

This tournament is the largest youth bowling tournament in the world.  There are over 700 girls in her division alone, and people come from all over for a chance to win the Junior Gold title and possibly a spot on the USA Team.  It’s HUGE for young boys and girls alike.

Mario qualified for this tournament before going to Chicago where the problems began.  Well, not really problems necessarily, but changes.  She’s had to learn a whole new way of bowling, and a lot of her confidence was taken away.

After her tears dried, she got back on the lanes and fought hrough her demons.  She  practiced daily, worked with a coach, and has gotten most of her confidence back.

So she was excited to travel to Indy, meet some of her favorite pros, and bowl with hundreds of girls who would give her a run for her money.

And they certainly have.  Her scores haven’t been overly impressive, but her attitude, focus, and determination definitely have been.  The first day of competition, the ball stuck to her hand and pulled her down.  Her greatest fear had been realized, yet she picked herself up, laughed with her teammates, and bowled again.  Every day after that, the ball stuck to her hand at least once during the day, but she didn’t let it crumble her.  It’s very scary for me to watch it happen, but I am incredibly proud of her resilience.  I know she’ll overcome this, and will be back on this “stage” again next year.  Bigger and better.

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We’ve also taken advantage of all the down time between tournaments.  We went to a movie, swam in the pool, and paddle boated along the canal.

Oh, and can’t forget…  Caught tons of Pokemon.  In fact, the canal was FULL of people, old and young alike, catching Pokemon, finding Poke’ stops, and taking over gyms.  I found myself telling Mario to watch her step, move to the side, look out for the pylons…  And wondered how everyone else could see where they were going with their nose to their phones.  Even so, it was great to see all these people out walking around.  I know it’s getting my kids out of the house more.

Now off I go to her final match.  Six days of bowling – every bowler’s dream – is coming to an end.

Keep your fingers crossed for a smooth release each and every time.  (Next time you can wish for a win….)

 

 

 

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Bowling, Family

 

So this happened…

About six months ago I gave up ice cream in favor of fruit and yogurt smoothies.  They do a body gooder.  And at my age, as much as I push myself, I needed gooder food than ice cream to keep me going.

So last night after work, I set out blending my favorite mixture of Greek yogurt, strawberries, dark cherries, blueberries, bananas and kale.  This is a nightly ritual for me, and after a long day at work, I’m usually fixing it on auto-pilot.  I pour everything into the blender, turn it on high, and use a spoon to push the frozen fruit down into the mix.  The next thing I knew, the spoon hit the blade, the mixture erupted out of the blender, I shrieked and let go of the spoon, which splattered out more of the smoothie, and by the time I found the off button, well….

I looked like this….

 

 

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And the ceiling looked like that.  And the floor.  And the cabinets.  Worse, I had to keep the frozen mixture on my head until my hubby could find his phone and take a pic.  Joy.

I cleaned myself up and sat down with what was left.  I was still picking out bits of fruit and kale this morning before my bike ride…

on my brand new bike!

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I haven’t been on a ride since my tragic accident two years ago, but I was somehow convinced to ride a 175 mile MS Bike ride in September, so I figured I better get back on it.  In two rides, she has 52 miles on her.  Not too shabby for being a little bit gun shy, but she makes me feel pretty secure.  Both brakes work for one.  Perhaps I’ll call her “Grace” in the hopes that she’ll keep me safe.

Anyway… Hope you all were able to celebrate our Independence this past weekend.  I celebrated with 400 of my closest friends at the hotel.  And although it was a great time, I plan to enjoy my belated holiday weekend that started today!

Wait.  No fireworks?

 
15 Comments

Posted by on July 6, 2016 in Blunders

 

I saw him with my own eyes!

Link’s been battling a few issues these last few months, and although he tells me he’s handling it ok, I know deep down it’s bothering him.

And since it’s bothering him, it’s bothering me.  After a while, texts and phone calls aren’t enough, and I just gotta see with my own eyes that he’s ok.

So last week I rounded up all the boys – my hubby, Chip and Amp – and we took off for Columbus.

We crammed a lot into the two days we were there.  An eye doctor visit to determine if his keratoconus is worsening (maybe a little), a walk down a beautiful wooded trail near his house, a stroll along the riverfront followed by a fantastic meal, and an afternoon of a competitive game of mini-golf.

Hubby and I on the golf course.

Hubby and I on the golf course.

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Our view from the restaurant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chip and Amp spent the evenings at Link’s house for some quality brotherly time.  They gamed, played ping pong, and were treated to Link’s speciality of homemade hamburgers and milk shakes. Hubby and I spent the evenings at our hotel for our own quality time.

Throughout the days, I found time to talk and listen and share advice with Link.  It’s tough being his age and having to deal with the issues he’s dealing with, but he’s managing it on his own, and I’m proud of him.

I left with a heavy heart, knowing it would be another 6 months til I see him again.  Thank goodness for cell phones and texts.

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on June 28, 2016 in Family

 
 
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