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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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9 Comments

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

Nope.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Family, Vacation

 

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