Tag Archives: Colorado

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.


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.


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


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.












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….


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…..




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


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Starting Anew

The arrival of October has left me stunned from the very first day.

Not because I can’t believe it’s October, although I can’t believe it’s October.

More, because on the first day of this month, my oldest son, Link, turned 20.

(Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor.)

How can that possibly be?  Honestly!  I can’t fathom how I can be the mother of a 20 year old!  I’m not mature enough, responsible enough, or  old enough.

Why is it that their birthdays bother me so much more than mine?  I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks myself, and the number does not bother me at all.  But when I mention out loud how old my children are ….  aye, aye, aye.

Best to just ignore it and move on.

Things have been pretty good around here since my muddin’ experience, and I’m quite surprised that I can say so.

I just came off a consecutive seven day stretch of 6am shifts, which you may remember means waking at 3am and working non-stop for 8 hours before driving the long commute home.

I feel a little beaten for sure, but not near as bad as I would have felt in the past.

I attribute it to my MEcation.  I’ve heard that quite often people will experience depression after a vacation. I can vouch for that after my first trip to Colorado.

But this time, the time alone and away from the stresses was exactly what I needed.  This time, I did not feel depressed about returning.  I feel rejuvenated!

Therefore, work has been manageable.  I’m training a newbie, and although it adds more busyness to my day, I thoroughly enjoy it!  I like feeling like I’m needed, and I’m happy they chose me to train her.  I’m taking it as a compliment even if they don’t mean it to be.

Our weather is keeping in line with the fall season.  Our temperatures dropped soon after my return.  The recent rains have done wonders for the trees that managed to survive the drought, and they’re starting to show their colors.  As much as I’m dreading winter, I can’t help being enamored with fall.  Sweaters, jackets, jeans, blankets, pumpkins, pecans, apples and candy corn…. pure bliss!

So I’m feeling pretty content at the moment.  I miss my morning runs since I refuse to get up at 2am, but I’m fitting a few miles in here and there.  The kids are all getting their birthdays out of the way, so I can quit fretting about that.  The Cardinals have clinched a spot in the playoffs, so the extended season will allow extended busyness at the hotel, and my inner teacher is getting a great workout with the new trainee. Best of all, a new season of Amazing Race has begun!

And although the first day of October was a wallop, I’m looking forward to enjoying the fall weather, baking tons of apple, pumpkin and cinnamon goodies, and eating my fill of candy corn and peanuts.  Hopefully this month won’t fly by near as quickly as the last two have…


Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Everyday Living, Family, The Hotel, Vacation


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Last, But Definitely Not Least!

When our #3 son told us he wanted to go to Colorado, I was a little disappointed.  After all, I’d had my heart set on San Antonio, Texas.  But most parents of teenagers know that if you actually receive some input on what to do, as opposed to a shoulder shrug,  you go for it!

Little did I know that it would turn out to be one of my most favorite vacations.

I’m an active person, so I loved the cool(er) weather, the trails, being outside….

I loved seeing my son in his element – He’d jump out of bed early each morning, eager to explore.  Everywhere we went, he felt the urge to climb to the top… as fast as he could. When one activity was over, he would immediately ask what we were doing next.  He was in heaven, and I was thrilled to have provided that for him.

But the best part?

He was very supportive of me meeting up with one of my favorite, most loyal blog friends.

I suppose I knew Abby lived in Colorado, but when we were planning our vacation, and she let me know she lived there, I was shocked, and then thrilled!

The possibility of meeting up with her was exciting, and I knew we would have to make time in our short trip to meet her.

Through many emails we decided to meet up at Red Rock Canyon – a place she deemed a favorite with her family. I trusted her.

We arrived early.  Mainly because I was so nervous.

She arrived right on time.

Maybe it was the tattoo I’d seen in pictures, or the knowledge that she boxes, or the fact that she’s an extreme crossing guard, that had me a little intimidated…

but when I saw her for the first time, smiling and running towards me, my nerves disappeared immediately.  It truly was like we were long lost friends.  I felt like I knew her so well, and she was the sweet, funny, Abby that drew me to her blog in the first place.

We introduced our family members to each other, and I was thrilled that her older boys decided to come along too!  It just wouldn’t have been the same without all the AbbyNormals!

We started the trails through the canyon almost immediately.  Abby and I took the lead, with hubby and Magnum bringing up the rear.  The kids darted in all directions.

I loved catching up with her, despite having to walk with our heads down, and occasionally yell at the kids:  “Don’t go too far!”, or  “Be careful!”  Or to whine at them “Must you go that high?”

When we took breaks from the sun or the hikes, I jumped on the chance to ask her boys a few questions.  They were so polite, and so sweet, and so handsome!  I had guessed Abby was a great parent, and after seeing them, I knew for sure.

We ended our hike almost three hours later.  Our son was still picking cactus needles out of his hand.  Our daughter bragged that she was bleeding for the third day in a row. My hubby sucked down some Coors beer while in the shade of our van’s door.  And I was stalling in order to keep from having to say goodbye so soon.

Before we parted ways, we mentioned possibly getting together with some of our other mutual blog friends!

As well as this meeting went, I would absolutely jump at the chance to meet with her again, as well as any other interested parties….

And Abby, thank you and your family for bravely meeting up with the ShadowRun’s.  It was an experience I’ll never forget.  If you’re ever near our area, I’d love to have you visit.  I’d even clean my house for you.  🙂

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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Family, Vacation


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The Adventure Continues

All week I’ve been looking forward to running in Colorado.

Cool mornings.  No humidity.  Beautiful views. Lighter air.

It was gonna be perfect.

There was just one tiny oversight, however.

It’s kinda hilly here.

I awoke on my own at 6 am, feeling pretty good.  I’d already planned out my route – with a map the front desk gave me.  Seemed easy enough.  Up this street, turn right, up that street.

Key word:  UP 

(I’m from Illinois… flat lands, corn fields… and the hills I am used to are ant hills in comparison).

I made it up it to the top of the first street, and eagerly turned right, thinking I would be on level ground.


That street was all uphill too! I made it a few blocks before I had to stop and catch my breath. (I blamed it on the higher altitude).  Then I ran a few more blocks, stopped to breathe, and ran up a few more. I never did get to the top of the ‘hill’!

Thinking I had been gone long enough, I turned around and literally flew back to the hotel.  I was like a runaway train, wondering how I was going to stop at the end.  Needless to say, I got back much faster than it took to get there.

Not quite the run I was picturing, but the morning WAS cool, and the views WERE awesome, and I planned to give it another shot the next day.

This workout was followed by even more ‘workouts’.

First on our list today was Helen Hunt Falls. We piled into the car, drove up the winding roads, and finally reached our destination.  Imagine our disappointment when we saw the Trail Closed sign.  I felt like we were the Griswald’s finally getting to Wally World only to find it closed for repairs.

It didn’t stop us however.  We found other ways to get to the falls – and No, we didn’t have to hold anyone at gunpoint….

He found his way!

Me at the base of the falls.

From there we went to Manitou Springs.

What a cute little town!  Lotsa shops.  Lotsa restaurants. A few springs. And an arcade!

I found my next career! An ice cream truck driver!

I made the kids try a Mediterranean restaurant for lunch. Growing up in Greece, I became very fond of their food, and it smelled so delicious when we walked by!

They’re not very good at hiding their emotions.

I felt a little guilty….until the food came.  They found they actually liked it!

I didn’t gloat in my “rightness”.

From there, we headed to the Cog Railway, the train that would take us to the top of Pikes Peak!

Before heading up, we changed into jeans, and brought our coats – thanks to advice from a local friend of mine.

The change in temperature as we made our way slowly to the top was dramatic.  By the time we got there, I was already bundled up.

On our way up Pikes Peak. The views were stunning!

We were actually hoping it would snow.  It had rained on our ascent, and a few days ago, there was a brief snowfall, but we didn’t have that luck.

Instead, we had almost freezing temperatures with extremely strong winds that made it feel below freezing!  It was exhilarating, but the girl and I headed straight for the gift shop to get out of the cold.

It even LOOKS cold!

Hubby and the boy, braved the cold and went to the observation deck.

The cold wasn’t bothering him a bit. He loved every minute of it!

For the sake of our family photo album, I suffered through the cold long enough for a picture.

Forcing a smile

Another fabulous day was had here in Colorado.

But my favorite part is yet to come….

I get to meet one of my favorite blog friends. Stay tuned!







Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Family, Vacation


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On a Rocky Mountain High

The anticipation of seeing the mountains caused us to high tail it out of Kansas as quickly as possible.  We were checked out of our hotel and back on the highway by 7:30 am.

We kept our eyes peeled for the mountains.

We knew not to expect them right away, but we were pleasantly surprised with the change in landscape.  Gone were the flat lands of Kansas.

Every once in a while someone would shout, “I see them!”

Then, “Nevermind, those are just clouds.”

When we finally could see them, it was like an illusion… “Wait. Are those mountains?”… “I think so…” …and then a resounding,  “YES!  Those are the mountains!”

Yes! Those are mountains!

While working our way further west, we decided to go through Denver first.  My hubby is a huge music fan, and has always wanted to see the Red Rock Amphitheater.  Being this close, we had to go.  He was itchin’ to go on stage and help the setup crew, but I let him know I wasn’t interested in spending my first day in Colorado bailing him out of jail.

Dreaming of being on the Red Rock Amphitheater stage.

It did surprise me how many people use the amphitheater as a gym! This guy was being wheel-barrowed down the steps and “hopped” all the way to the bottom.  Crazy!

Wheel-barrowing down the amphitheater steps.

From there, we stopped at a nearby lake for a picnic lunch, then drove down to Colorado Springs, oohing and aahing over the mountains all the way down… the camera steadily clicking away.



We dropped our things off at the hotel, (yay!  I’m on the guest end!!…)

then we headed straight to The Garden of the Gods.

Garden of the Gods

My #3 son was totally in his element here!  If you remember, it was his idea to go to Colorado to see the mountains.  The Smoky’s wouldn’t do.  It had to be the Rocky mountains.

He can never seem to get high enough.

Very much in awe of what we were seeing.

Seeing him in this environment… happy, carefree, and loving every minute, made the long-a** drive worth it!

We arrived back at the hotel exhausted, but incredibly happy.

I think we’re falling in love….


Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Family, Vacation


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And We’re Off!

This past week at work has given me more and more reason to look forward to our vacation!

Despite having worked late on Tuesday night, I jumped out of bed at 5:30 Wednesday morning.  I needed to squeeze in a run, pack all my belongings, and threaten the 18 and 20 year old to be good while we’re gone.

The plan was to leave at 8:30am, knowing that it would be 9am before we actually backed out of the driveway.

To my surprise, we slammed the doors of our the in-laws’ packed van at exactly 8:30, backed out of the driveway, and never had to turn back.

Our first stop was at Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City.  If you’ve ever driven through Kansas, you know there’s not much to see, but they’ve got great BBQ!

Waiting in line to order.

My meal: Pulled pork and beef brisket combo with a side of spicy slaw and a few nabbed french fries off my son’s plate.

I’m sure glad we enjoyed it, because it was definitely the only excitement of the day.

We did have a few thrills, however… like when my 15 year old took the wheel.  I am NOT a very good passenger I’ve discovered.  I sat in the back with my head down, chompin’ on some gum to ease my anxiety. My hubby is a patient teacher, however, so #3 son got a few more hours of driving to add to the 50 he needs before getting his license.

At least it was a straight road, although a might bit faster than our country roads!

12 hours after we started, we stopped for the night in Colby, KS.

Yes.  Even after driving for that long, we didn’t make it through Kansas.

The silo shaped welcome center for Colby is adorable!

We settled in the cheapest motel we could find, and then treated ourselves to frozen yogurt at a nearby DIY yogurt shop.

Showin’ off his creation.

The kids love that their mom is an ice cream addict.  😉

Despite the long day, the time went fast.  We had a blast making fun of Kansas.  We saw some pretty cool cloud formations and went through a couple spouts of rain while the sun was shining all around the rain cloud.

Tomorrow we’ll finish our trip into Colorado.  We’re excited to see the mountains, but we’ve been warned not to be disappointed at not seeing them immediately after the Colorado border.


They better be worth the wait.


Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Everyday Living, Family, Vacation


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