Friday, June 14, 2013

Home Sweet Home

"Oh how I miss Boulder..."

I'm not sure I would've believed myself had I said that three years ago. Don't get me wrong I've always thought of Boulder as pretty...but I could never get over the whole hippie, "Boulderite" thing. Or the fact that its home to CU...just kidding, I actually probably would've gone to CU had they had an Interior Design Program - but thats neither here nor there - my point is, I never truly appreciated where I lived and worked, until I started running. Actually there's a lot of things I never appreciated until I started running. 

I seriously took Colorado for granted almost my entire life. People from all over the world come here to see the Rocky Mountains and it wasn't until the summer of 2011 that I started really appreciating what we have here! Yes I would go up to Estes Park and I loved spending time there, but actually getting into the mountains, places untouched by cars and sometimes even other people - it's a whole other world. And getting above tree line - don't even get me started on that - I'm craving a hike above tree line SO bad (we may try one on Sunday, I'm just not sure how much snow is still up there). My point is there is so much in this amazing state I never even knew about until a few years ago. And the cool thing is - we've gone on so many hikes in the past two years and yet we've barely scratched the surface of what's out there! I've got too many hikes I want to do and not enough weekends!

But back to Boulder. Yes, it unfortunately still has those pot smoking hippies, but you know what else it has? Dozens, no probably hundreds of trails right out your back door. I mean that literally - hikes with NO commuting involved whatsoever. I keep thinking about how I could've gone hiking in the evenings when I worked in downtown Boulder. I could've gone for trail runs just like I go for road runs here. And of course, the views are incredible. The Flatirons are seriously amazing. 

So basically it took me moving away to realize all that the amazing city of Boulder has to offer. I still wouldn't want to commute into it again, but man to live there...maybe someday, in my dreams, if I could ever afford it!

So what brought me to all of this pondering about Boulder? Well my high school friend Carly got married in Louisville this past weekend so I made the trek back over the mountains. My weekend was fairly full catching up with people, but I did have both Saturday and Sunday mornings free, so I made some plans to go enjoy the city I once dreaded driving into. I did a little research and decided to check out Marshall Mesa Trail for my run on Saturday morning. I picked it because it was a bit more flat (and by flat - it definitely still had incline, it just wasn't going up a mountain) than most of the other trails and I knew I wanted to get somewhere between 10 & 15 miles in. 

Well it ended up being everything I imagined. It was a beautiful day, not too hot. I got there early enough so it wasn't too crowded yet, but there were definitely some people around (which honesty I kind of like when I'm by myself - I get kind of nervous on some of the routes I do around here - often times there is literally no one out at all). Marshall Mesa Trail wasn't that long of a trail but it connected with several others so I was able to get 12.5 miles in. I was hoping for more, but I honestly was just lacking energy after about 10 miles (I think I need to eat more before and during, as I've felt this way on my last couple runs). Overall though it was a wonderful run. This is the kind of run I run for (if that makes any sense). Runs like this just made me so appreciative of the fact that I'm healthy and able to run and experience this beautiful world God created for us. Runs like this are why I run. It's hard to explain, but it's an amazing feeling.

My photos will try to do it justice, but as usual they only try...they will never surpass experiencing it first hand:

On Sunday, I planned to spend the morning with my oldest and best friend Amy! We didn't really have plans but ended up at Chataqua Park in Boulder and spent a 3 mile hike to the first Flatiron catching up and talking about life. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it! We've decided that each time I come visit we're going to hike a different Flatiron! 

This hike also helped me see what an amazing transformation I've gone through. I believe it was sometime in the spring of 2011, Scott and I hiked part of this trail (I honestly can't remember where we hiked to, other than that we started at the same place. The two hikes (this past weekend and the one two years ago), shared the same starting point, which is a moderate incline, maybe 6-10% grade (I'm not very good at judging that). When I hiked it two years ago, I just remember huffing and puffing to get up the hill, when I hiked it on Sunday it was honestly almost a breeze. I made me think of a quote I've seen a few times: "It doesn't get easier, you just get stronger." It's still weird for me to think about how much I've changed in the past few years, I kind of see it in the mirror, but not totally, so this helped seal it in. I really am a whole new person with a whole new body! It's amazing what can happen when you set your mind to something!

In addition to some more photos, I am also going to leave you with a few quotes. Amy and I were just talking on our hike about how we liked inspirational quotes when a Facebook running group posted a link of the top 100 inspirational quotes - so I felt like it was a sign to share some of our favorites:

"Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." –Joshua J. Marine

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover." –Mark Twain

"You can’t fall if you don’t climb.  But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground." –Unknown

"Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears." –Les Brown

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