Snowy fun

IMG_0857IMG_0780IMG_0848 croppedIMG_0863Boulder is getting a great storm this weekend, and some friends and I decided to go out and play this morning.

We did a loop over in the NCAR area – on Skunk Canyon and the Mesa Trail.  Fortunately, the snow wasn’t too deep as of this morning, so we were able to run most of it.  But there were parts with bizarrely jello-like snow covered mud that kept us entertained.

One of my favorite things about running with these girls is how much fun we have.  Sure, we live in a beautiful area, and that’s epic in itself, but it’s so wonderful to have a group to run with, and enjoy the experience at the same time.  Sure, we’re slow, but we’re stopping to enjoy the beauty, do goofy photoshoots, and make snow angels.  Not every run has to be some butt-kicking experience.

Now it’s time to hunker down with pjs and a blanket, and enjoy the beautiful snow swirling outside my window, and the warm pup sprawled across my lap.

Getting Divorced: The Best Thing I Ever Did

I always feel like I have to explain to people that getting divorced was a good thing.  Over the last couple years, I have found that the conversation would often go like this:

  • Me: I got divorced two and a half years ago.
  • Them: <insert pity face here> Oh, I’m so sorry.
  • Me:  Don’t be!  It was the best thing I ever did!

People who have not gone through a divorce don’t seem to understand that it’s not always a bad thing.  Sure, the actual process of going through it is a giant pain in the ass, it can be obscenely expensive, and it’s completely emotionally exhausting, but it’s also freeing, and helps you learn things about yourself that you never would have otherwise.

First, some background.  I had never been happy in my marriage.  I knew even before the wedding that it wasn’t the right relationship for me.  But I was young (26) and dumb, and too embarrassed to call it off.  So on with the show we went.

Fast forward to nearly three years later, and I was at the end of my rope.  There were many factors that fed into my deciding to begin the divorce process.  Over the course of the summer 2012, I left several times, only to come back – fooled by promises of change that never really meant anything.  Eventually, there was that one event that was the final straw.  Everyone who has gone through this process has that “ah ha” moment – mine was the night before our third wedding anniversary.  In that moment, I finally found the courage and strength to stand up for myself and say “I want a divorce.”  and mean it with all my heart.

In that moment, I felt instantly better.  Yes, now the world was upside down and there were a million unknowns to worry about, but I felt so relieved to finally be taking steps in that direction.  The next several months were frustrating, and our divorce was one of the more amicable ones.  I can’t even imagine if it hadn’t been.  But even through all that frustration, I knew it was the right thing to do.  Neither of us was happy, so why continue like that?

Does getting divorced suck?  Absolutely.  Even in the most amicable of situations.  There’s something terrifying and sad about losing the life you thought you were going to have.  But in that loss, whole other worlds of possibilities appear.  It’s in this transition that I learned who I am, what I want for myself, what I want to give to others, and what I expect others to give to me.  I also learned what I want and need in a healthy relationship, what I am willing to compromise on, and what I am absolutely not willing to compromise on.  I learned how to actually date and get to know people.  I learned how to take care of my physical and emotional health.  I became a strong, and confident woman.  I learned how to deal with toxic, angry people, and not let their anger and hatred infect my life.  I developed excellent communication skills, and the ability to talk rationally and calmly through difficult situations.  All of these were things that I never would have been able to do if it hadn’t been for my divorce.

I am sure that I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone through all that.  So even though it was emotionally and financially difficult, I can confidently say that it was one of the best things I ever did.  Without forcing myself to jump off that cliff, I never would have learned any of these things.  Instead, I would probably still be in that unhappy, frustrated, and resentful life – wishing for something different, but too afraid to make a change.  Instead, I’m a happy, healthy, vibrant, confident woman living in a place I love, doing something I find exciting, surrounded by wonderful friends.  I am so thankful for this life every single day, and I know I never would have ended up here if it hadn’t been for that fateful night when I finally said “I want a divorce.” and meant it.

Fatass Frozen Dead Guy 50k

Yesterday, my friend Tara and I, and about 65 other runners, had a blast running from Nederland to Boulder for the Fatass Frozen Dead Guy 50k.  It was exhausting, but a great time.  Although this was not an official race – really just a glorified group run – this is, to date, my longest run ever, and my first “ultra.”


Since this was a point-to-point run, our morning started out with dropping off one of our cars at Chataqua Park in Boulder, picking up a few other runners, and heading up to Nederland – about 17 miles west up Boulder Canyon.  Several of us ended up grabbing coffee, tea, and snacks at New Moon in Ned before heading over to the Carousel of Happiness and the start.

People were all milling around and chatting – greeting old friends and making new ones – one of my favorite things about events like this.  John, the organizer of these events, made a few announcements from the top of his car, and then we were off!

10384843_10205808973248293_8734039022776455960_nAlthough this run was a net downhill, there was certainly no lack of butt-kicking climbs.  The first several miles weren’t too bad, but it always takes me a while to get warmed up, and climbs are a little ugly until that happens, so we took our time and enjoyed a leisurely pace out of Ned.  Along the way, we lamented the fogginess, chatted about random things, and met some other runners around us.

After a few miles, we made a right turn onto 68, stopped at the aid station (awesome volunteers!) so Tara could dislodge the mound of rock and ice that had become embedded in the bottom of her shoe (road shoes =/= trail shoes), and had a stretch of decent downhill.

After not too long, we reached the trail for the Twin Sisters.  Many of the fast people in the group had taken this side trek to the summit, but since there was really no view at the top today (too cloudy), and we were bringing up the rear (we were calling ourselves the unofficial sweepers), we decided to skip it and continue on.

Eventually, the road we were on turned into Flagstaff Road, and we found ourselves back with the pack.  We followed Flagstaff until we reached the Walker Ranch trail head, and the second aid station.  After a brief break for some snacks, we were off again.

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We headed clockwise around Walker Ranch, until we got down to the river and the split for the Eldorado Canyon trail.  The run through Walker Ranch was spectacular – great views and a runnable trail.  We definitely stopped here and there for some fun pictures and moments to take in the view.  The trails were a little icy at times, but nothing too icy to manage.  There were moments where I was wishing I had brought my screw shoes (I was testing out my Hokas this time), but those were brief.  The climb up to the top of the ridge on the Eldorado trail was steep and slow going, but once we got to the top, the view was excellent!


The picture doesn't do it justice.

The picture doesn’t do it justice.

We made our way down the Eldo trail and into the park.  Quite possibly the hardest part of the day was coming down all the stairs at the end of this long downhill.  By the time we reached the park road, our legs were wiped out.

We followed the road out of the park, and made it to the third and final aid station.  It was here that we picked up a third for our little group – Ruth.  At this point, my sprained ankle (rolled it on a run two weeks ago) was not thrilled with me, Tara’s knee was killing her, and Ruth’s legs were done.  The three of us decided to stick together for the last 6 or so miles back to Boulder.

We left the Eldorado park with a few other people, and made our way to what we thought was the Old Mesa Trail.  After huffing and puffing our way up to the top of one of the hogback ridges, we discovered that we made a wrong turn, and had climbed all the way up the ridge, when we were supposed to stay in the valley.


We very carefully made our way back down to the valley and the right trail.  All in all, this little detour took an extra 45 minutes, and destroyed Tara’s quads for the day.  The climb back down was definitely not easy.


Once we finally got onto the right trail, the rest of the way back was pretty simple.  We followed the Mesa Trail all the way north to Chataqua Park in Boulder.  At this point, we were going pretty slowly because we were all quite sore and tired, but we were making steady progress.  About 2.5 miles from the end, Tara decided to run the uphills because it actually made her legs hurt less than walking, so we didn’t see her again until we reached the end.

After what felt like an eternity, Ruth and I could tell we were getting close.  After 8+ hours on trails, logic starts to get weird.  We spotted a group of people pushing a stroller along the path, and I found myself saying “Alright, we must be close.  They have a stroller.  They can’t have gone far.  Also, look at her shoes.  She’s not hiking.”  Somehow, we found this really amusing.  I still maintain that those were pretty good observations.  🙂

We made it!

We made it!

A few minutes after that, we rounded a corner, and saw the Chataqua parking lot, and Baseline Road.


Some people from our group were hanging out at the bottom of the hill, and we happily ran towards them.  There were plenty of hugs, high fives, and pictures to celebrate.

Pretty celebratory picture

Pretty celebratory picture

How we actually felt.

How we actually felt.

Total mileage was somewhere between 27 and 29 miles.  Watches are notoriously difficult to rely on when you’re in trees and going slowly.  But either way, this is still my longest run ever.  We had such a blast!  It was 8:34:00 of fun.  Can’t wait for the next one!