Running in Colorado: 5k Pancake Stampede in Littleton, CO

My daughter and I ran the 5k Pancake Stampede today in Littleton, CO. The 5K race course ran along the Platte River on the Mary Carter Greenway with the start/finish in front of Hudson Gardens Event Center.Image result for pancake images paper plate

It was a flat 5k running course with plenty of geese and ducks swimming in the river. It was an early start (8am), so we beat the heat. It wasn’t my best time, but it was good enough for 3rd place in my age group.

Afterwards, Littleton was celebrating their Western Welcome Week and had a pancake breakfast at Arapahoe Community College. My daughter ate 4 pancakes, while I drank coffee.

Fun, little race. Not crowded. Fun day!

Running in Colorado: A 5k That Was in Actuality a 5 Mile…

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“I haven’t been to Winter Park in 18 years.  There’s a 5k there this weekend.  Let’s run that one.”

This is what I remember saying to my kids when I was looking for a Fourth of July 5k to run.  I don’t like running a 5k on July 4th per se because they are extremely popular and I prefer smaller races.  Hence, this one up in Winter Park, CO, appealed to me.  And I hadn’t been there in so long I wanted to go.

I signed up my oldest daughter and myself, leaving my other two kids to decide on that day.

After an early morning stop at Starbucks and a two-hour drive, we arrive in Winter Park at 7 am.  At the sign up station, my oldest daughter grabs a race course map and notices at the top it says “5 mile race course.”

Aghast (since I had no intentions of running a 5 mile), I ask the lady.

Sure enough.  The race is a 5 MILE, not a 5k.  My mistake.  I suppose I had 5k in my brain and the rest filled in the gaps.

After debating all of our options for over 30 minutes, we finally decide to run with my other two kids riding bikes since we had planned to mountain bike after the race.

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My time was good:  38:19.  I beat my daughter by over two minutes.  It was an all downhill course so it was fast.

Scenic?  Somewhat.  We ran the Fraser River Trail (a trail that goes from Winter Park to Fraser, CO) for the first 3 miles or so and then we had to run through the town of Winter Park and finish at Rendezvous.  Passing the McDonald’s in Winter Park was not my idea of scenic.

About 3/4 of a mile from the finish line, my son catches up to me and follows me on his bike, giving me minute-by-minute commentary on how much further I had to go.  The finish was one of those where you could see the tent, but you had to zig-zag around a pond.  At some point, I told my son to stop the commentary, so I could concentrate.

I did not win a prize (I came in 4th for my age group), but my daughter came in first despite the fact I beat her (read hissing-mad here).

Next, we take the shuttle back to Winter Park and unload our bikes to ride the trails.  However, my daughter’s bike seat was twisted and mangled.  Having come all this way, we all wanted to ride.  So my son and her switched off every mile or so in a hilarious attempt to ride a bike with a broken seat.  I spent the whole ride laughing.

Near the end, I decide to take a shortcut back to the truck.  This shortcut was indeed shorter, but it entailed a trail of all uphill where we basically pushed our bikes the majority of the way.

Overall, a very memorable day.  I did well in my race with a 7:40 pace despite the fact no fiber in my body wanted to run 5 miles.  We got in a great, scenic bike ride with plenty of entertainment value–all fueled by donuts the sponsors of the race all but shoved down our throats at every opportunity.

The Rendezvous Run for Independence was great fun, and mountain biking in Winter Park is an amazing experience.

In the future, I will be sure to READ race descriptions closer.  As for next year, I’m unsure if we could top this one!

Running in Colorado: Garden of the Gods 10k…

Running in Colorado:  Garden of the Gods 10k

I ran my very first 10k.

I’ve run a marathon in college and several half-marathons but never a 10k

This one was absolutely breathtaking.  It was held in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO, is an amazing park that’s a Registered National Landmark. It features 300′ towering sandstone rock formations with Pikes Peak in the background.  The park was closed down for our run.


The weather was perfect at 7:30 am start time. Around 66 degrees and cloudy skies, we began with a huge hill climb. The course was lots of up and down hills and very few flat areas, which I tried to make the most of. It was hard to realize how hard the run was with beauty all around you.

Both my daughter and I won our age groups and received a cool, engraved mug. I finished about 30 seconds behind her and both of us in under an hour. What a fun and memorable day!

The Magic of the Mornings…

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Under the Big Dipper

Nothing but sky

The Immensity of Nature

Overwhelms the Eye.


It reigns.


The gains.

Sunlight invadesRelated image

“Go away!”

“You’re ruining the moments!”

I curse the gray.

Hard work and sweat

Is the stuff dreams are made of

The feeling I get?

Like the shivers of first love.

My First 5k of the Season…

I ran my first 5k today of the season.  It was called Tyler3Miler, named after Tyler Mayle who died while hiking.  All of the funds raised go towards the band of Windsor High School in Windsor, CO.2 mile December

It was a gorgeous day here in Windsor, CO.  It was a bit chilly, but five minutes into this and all that was forgotten! There’s nothing like running in the fresh air with nature.  Nothing beats it!

I did well, but there wasn’t a lot of entries.  I was second place overall for females.  My daughter was about 40 seconds behind me.  My other daughter was about 13 minutes behind. She got a bad cramp.

I had a good time.  It was fun.  I’m preparing for a 10k in early June and this was a great warm up!

Running at 3:30 AM…

I didn’t realize how much I miss running very early in the morning until I did so today.

When I was in college, I’d run every day from 3-4 am.  Every day.  Rain.  Snow.  Sun.  Wind.  It didn’t matter.

I hurt my knee after my marathon and gave up running for almost a decade until I started CrossFit and picked it up again.

Now, I love to run 5k’s and jog.  I just don’t do it every day!Image result for running in the dark

Today I decided to exercise early.  By myself.

It was snowing out but not sticking since the ground is too warm here in CO at this time of year for that.

It was euphoria…

There’s this “dead zone” as I like to call it where 95% of the population is sleeping and it’s between 2:30-4:30 am.  This is my favorite time of the day.  To be alone.  Me.  My thoughts.  God.  To do my thing.  To think.  To plan my day.  To read.  To write.  To exercise.  To breathe.  To be.

I also love the dark.  I love winter because it’s dark the majority of the time.

You combine all these elements–darkness, silence, and the sense of being alone on this planet–and you touch magic.

I wanna touch magic more often now.  Don’t you?

A Gratitude Run…

Image result for runningAs I posted a few days ago, I have been learning a lot lately about achieving your goals and defining them.

One thing Chop Wood Carry Water recommended was a gratitude walk when you’re comparing yourself to others.

Well, I took this idea and turned it into a “Gratitude Run.”

I love to run.  There’s nothing better to clear the mind, promote clarity, have some quiet time to yourself, and be healthy.  It’s the cheapest exercise program out there!  I have some of my best ideas when I’m running.

So yesterday I went on a gratitude run.  I tried to take everything I saw and be grateful for it:  prairie dogs, melting snow, grass, pavement, trees, bird calls, lakes, memories, etc.  I also used this time to be grateful and thank God for all the blessings in my life:  family, love, happiness, house, home, car, CrossFit, time to meditate and time to run, my job, my life, this moment, my future, my past, etc.

This was a great exercise!  I had some ideas I want to implement in my life not to mention I feel I’m not grateful enough in my life or humble.  I need to remember how blessed I am so I am a better person, more empathetic to others, more compassionate, more caring.

I plan to make every run (except maybe when I race) a gratitude run.

Try it yourself, see if your attitude or mindset changes, and let me know what you think!!

CrossFit’s Online Running Course

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I like to run.

So it was a no-brainer to sign up for CrossFit’s online running course, which went over the correct running technique to prevent injuries, major faults, and corrections.

As a runner, we all pass through 3 major phases:  Pose, Fall, Pull.  The pose phase is where your feet are directly beneath you.  The fall phase is where your feet are not touching the ground.  The pull is when your other foot pushes off and you complete your stride.

Runners want to maximize their fall phase in order to run faster.  This is contrary to popular belief that increasing your stride will make you run faster.  Your body is more efficient the more it maintains its center of gravity.  This goes for lifting heavy weights as well.

This course also goes over how to analyze a runner’s stride and if they are efficient or not.  Ultimately, the longer you stay in the fall phase, the less your energy output, the less work you do, and the longer you can do without feeling the effects of fatigue.

I would recommend this course to anyone looking to improve their running technique.  I implemented what I learned during my very next running session and saw immediate improvements.  Great course and great information!

The Best Part About Running IS….

…the birds.

I never run with music.

During a race, I want to hear if someone is coming up behind me.

During a jog, I want to hear nature.

What’s not to love about a low-flying hawk’s screech, an owl’s hoot, or a crow’s caw?

I am not alone.  Nor would I want to be.


Running is Stress Relief…

Normally, I take the winter off from running.

But here in Colorado, we’ve had such an unseasonably warm winter that when it hit 60 degrees out, I HAD to go for a run.  Who could waste such beautiful days?

Now, it’s colder out.  And I still find myself craving my afternoon runs.  And frequently, I take them.

I’ve been pretty stressed lately with life decisions–ya know, the big one like what should I do with the half of my life left type thing.Jingle 4

Running clears my mind.  I get TONS of writing ideas from running.  I remember tasks I have to complete.  I see hawks and birds and squirrels and smile.  Even though my heart rate is technically up, it is really down.

And afterwards?  Priceless the relief I feel from all of life’s stresses.  I’m even considering a 5k if the weather is nice enough!

Conclusion:  runs are back.  And I’m so relieved!