Ski Time

Previously.

I can’t get this…

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Or this in my own city.

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Let’s travel! I always get asked on our later Colorado trips, “Will there be snow?” Oh yes. When you are at 10,000 feet, there is plenty.

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B upgraded the girls annual passes to Copper this year. CS and I love Copper so we were excited.

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With all 3 Fuller girls on skis this year, we maximized the 6 seater chair.

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I even packed a selfie stick to get some group shots.

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I’m learning how to use it. I hooked it all up without realizing I clamped down on the take-a-picture-button on the side. I got 198 photos of my skis in 5 seconds.

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It’s hard trying to get all that shit out on the chair, not fall off, and not lose any gear to the ground below. Kayla was my rockstar this year! She had new longer skis and mastered them like a champ.

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Syd was our navigator with Reagan at her side. They lead us down the slopes all day long!

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It was very fun for me to watch B and his girls. They all have come a long way from when we first started doing this.

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After skiing all day, I thought these girls would be down in bed quickly. Nope! Dance battle ensued.

After I took a turn, Kayla was looking for her next victim. It was Future uncle.

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We had a new player this year. A new doggie. I tried to accommodate her when the girls had to head back to town for some soccer. Hindsight, I should have left her alone. But she looked like mix of my last 2 dogs. I couldn’t resist and it costed me. I was down in bed with an allergy attack like no other for 2 days.

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We spent a day walking around Leadville. Repeat, yes they have snow. Up to the roof!

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One of my favorite thrift shops has been replaced with a grow shop. Highest weed shop around. Get it?! It’s at 10,000 feet.

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While I’m reading my Ellen book, she talks about being in Colorado and wanting to see what her readers are doing. Well, cool! I’ll show you! I took to Twitter hoping @TheEllenShow would catch on.

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I got a few likes, but not my break through moment. Try #1 got a better response. Until next time, see ya Rockies!

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Bring Out Yer’ Boards

Are those mountains over there?

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Straight to Leadville we go!

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I’ve been eagerly awaiting more time here. It’s my west coast “lake”. I can truly relax here.

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After a ride in an herbal aroma scented car, we arrived!

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With the nieces still in school, BF and the family were off the hook for a day. We were excited to explore the Main Street of the town. They have very eclectic thrift shops and collectibles.

I found this and memories came back… where have I seen this?! Herbie has one! Text him and said he had a $43 antique, coin collecting bull.

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He offered me his for $42.50.

A beautiful local artist store opened since I’d been there last. If only I had the wall space, I would have come home with these.

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After the shopping was done, it was time to play some pool and have a PBR.

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And only at the Pb ATM would you find a guy waiting in line on a fat-bike.

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I wanted to show CS more of this beautiful land, so we drove over to Twin Lakes, one of the stops of the Leadville Trail 100. I know this place well. It’s a scene from a movie. A landscape of a postcard.

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Finding my namaste moment.

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Alright, bring on my weird yet relateable nieces!

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How does an Aunt entertain? Can Syd master the magic spoon?

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Can Reagan?

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Even Kayla?!

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While the magic was fun, my real goal of this trip was to see these ladies on the mountain. It’s been over a year, let’s see how you’ve progressed!

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After some planning at our last adventure, I learned I had two budding boarders on my hands. They were ready to progress past skis. CS was off on his own to burn up the mountain. B and K took the munchkin to master the skis sans ropes. I got these misfits!

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I’ll admit I was super excited to snowboard again. These girls have gotten so fast and quick at skiing, I haven’t been able to keep up on my board. So for the past few visits, I’ve skied. I was more super excited to teach these two my tricks.

B was skeptical to say the least. “They’ll never get it.” “They’ll give up.” “They’ll be on their butts all day.” Shut it. I’ve got this.

While standing in line renting their boards, I started my coaching. Promise me 2 hours of bitch-free comments. I was finding out which foot they kick the soccer ball with. What hand do they write with. Once we had the boards and figured out they rode goofy foot like me, it was time for practice with equipment. My brother likes to throw you to the wolves when trying something. I like to provide real context so your first time isn’t so scary.

Once we got all of our gear (boots, bindings and board), we went back to the benches in the lodge to practice. “Ok girls. Here is how you strap in for the lift”. “Here is how you get on a lift”. “Here is how you finally connect to your board.”

I felt like it would be a good day. Their center of gravity was so low, I was jealous. If they slipped, they popped up like popcorn. They did extremely well on the lifts. Reagan was my X-boarder by the end of the day, ready to fly down the mountain.

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Syd, she’s my Olympic athlete. Poised and mastering the movements.

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As we practiced, B&K&K spied us from the lift. Here’s me and Reagan.

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I will boast, I even had a random snowboarder watch me work with the girls. He looks at me, “Any advice you have for me? Anything? I’ll listen”. So cool. I sound so dumb, but it was so cool. I watched him then coached. Another run, watch, coach. He was 45 second runs in a few minutes. Left me with a thumbs up and shout out to how cool my nieces were for their first day. GREAT feeling.

We all met up at the end of the day to share stories. Really was so nice to have all of us enjoy different parts of the mountain the way we wanted. Day 2 was all skiing. It’s easier than snowboarding, but you do so many more runs. We were ready to take a seat!

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Hey old lady, get out of that big chair!

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Caption: Mmmmmrrrruuuuuph.

Until our next snow adventure…

Thanksgiving

Previously.

Signed up to escort these 2 hooligans to Colorado over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Moms has an airport apprehension and always wants to arrive super early. And the “busiest travel day of the year” didn’t help my timeline. She did really well and was only a few minutes early picking me up. When we got to the airport, damn the crowds.

Not even a single person in line at TSA before us. I’d never experienced that before. 

This monster surprised us while we were waiting for our ride into Longmont. She “learned” how to cross her eyes and was constantly showing us during night 1. Ok. Um. No. She really thinks she’s doing it.

A lot of this happened, too. She likes to be close, real close. I was the sick one this time so I was comfortable feeling like I wouldn’t catch the bird flu from her this trip.

I awoke to a fresh Thanksgiving morning!

And after a great meal, a crisp warm night.

Got a chance to hit some trails to make a trek up Mount Sanitas in Boulder, CO. View from the top!



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Passed a huge rock formation on the way down.

A man and his dogs…

Now that I have had a few experiences with dogs who run with you, IF I ever get another dog, he/she must be able to run with me. So much fun watching these guys and having them keep you company while you are out doing this miserable sport. 

In addition to the USA holiday, we had another celebration during our trip. Team Shart’s leader turned 4-0. His neighbors knew that the black color normally associated with 40 would excite our birthday boy. So they went with pink. And luckily his truck was parked outside that night so it got dressed up for the day!

We were able to take in a soccer game for Reagan. Look how excited she looks!

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She was a little nervous about all of us watching her play. There aren’t many girl teams in the area, so this group chooses to play against the boy teams just so they can get practice in the off season. Way to go ladies! 

The whole trip was a wonderful family event. We did start a Noah’s ark for each niece this trip as part of their Christmas from Nana and Papa. During the supplies trip, I got B to jump at the sight of a random live snake outside of his cage at the pet store. It was amazing! However, I did enjoy returning to my kid-free, allergy-free, pet-free condo in the Midwest. Clean air is about your own definition. Much Love to the Fuller excursion crew! 

Mt. Bierstadt – Day 2 of 3

Alarm went off at 6 am so we could get out the door by 7, to see this beautiful landscape…

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Our mission was to get to the top of the peak on the right, Mt. Bierstadt. CS was game to get to the top of his 1st 14’er. Let’s do this!

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B and his best friends were our chaperones. These dogs were amazing on this adventure!

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We started out in the willows but luckily they had built a bridge a few years back so we didn’t have to wade through a swamp.

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On the trail!

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As we gained elevation, the dogs turned into mountain goats stalking little gopher prey. I was impressed at how agile and quick they were all the way to the top.

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After the willows, the switchbacks arrived. Gahd I hate these.

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Nature called at one point, so I kept spying the right place to exit the trail to have a moment with nature and a flat rock. Had to wait for some more coverage. CS felt it was appropriate to capture the return moment.

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At mile 3, the heart rate really shot up. CS and I were breaking every couple of minutes to gather our breath and find a new spot to focus on achieveing. For being at sea level 17 hours prior, we were doing well with only 1/2 mile to go. All day the trails were full of people going up and down. It was quite crowded at the top! 

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Did you know that the top of a mountain is really a shit ton of rocks piled up? It’s crazy.

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Kiss for the official peak spot!

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Officially 14,060 ft.

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Felt the need to do a Yoga tree pose since I didn’t do anything cool at the top last time. Channeled my inner Yoga mouse.

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My original 14er partner helping me hit my #8 14er!

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My new 14er partner!

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We spent some time enjoying the view while the weather was cooperating. It hailed on us as we drove off the trail head.

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On the way down, a very bright yellow hat was heading up towards us. With my company’s connection to the Indianapolis Mini Marathon and my participation for over a decade, I knew exactly what the hat was! I had to stop the guy. His name was Ryan. Prior resident of Carmel, now a resident of Denver. Had to grab a pic!

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As we headed down, the clouds were rolling in. Yep we were up there. Way up there!

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Data geek time. For the whole trip, we rested over an hour. Hello sea level living! I did some jogging on the way down to make myself feel awesome, hence the 4:40 min/mile pace as the best!

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After fueling ourselves up with a tasty burger, we cleaned up and headed over to my nieces school fundraiser carnival. Where would they ever get their silly-ness from? Not these genes.

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Best part of the event was Kayla in the petting zoo. Very timid at first. Then the girl in the hat and full body coverage was owning the blonde chicken. Carried it around with her all over the cage. What else should observers do but try to get their “kid” to hold a chicken too! “Kayla, go pick up the chicken.” She followed hat girl around until she put it down. Then swoop in, Kayla got her shot!

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The chicken whisperer!

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1 great day done, 1 more serious adventure to be had! 

Mountain Time – Day 1 of 3

Had a need to visit some elevation again, so CS and I crammed a whole lot in a quick 3 day Colorado trip. First stop, my crazy nieces!

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Syd spontaneously turned into a cat?!

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After our bellies were full, it was time for a game everyone could play. Even B joined us!

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We hit the beds early because we had a full early departure for day 2 planned!

More Snow Please

After the Midwest snowmageddon and Michigan trip, it was time for some Colorado snow! A blizzard hit Indy the day we were suppose to leave, which resulted in me having my first airport-run-to-the-gate experience. We checked our bags and sped walk to security. I quickly asked each person in the security line in front of us “Excuse me, we have a flight leaving in 20 minutes, can we move in front of you?” Everyone graciously stepped aside and made it to the gate with our boarding group up next. Then we sat at the gate for over an hour waiting on water and clean shitters. WTF. Our lateness and the plane delay resulted in our ski equipment not making it to Denver with us. Lord, how does this work?! A nice SW lady offered to have the luggage delivered to us when it arrived. Thank you lady!

In all my travels to CO, we’ve always gotten there without problems. Not this trip. The drive there took 5 hours instead of 2. We barely went 10 MPH once we hit the mountains. They were only letting so many cars through the tunnels at a time. Guys were hopping out of their cars, like this guy, to relieve themselves. I was jealous.

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So without equipment for our first day, we opted for play time at the cabin. I finally got to see the tepee!

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CS fit better once inside.

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Our view, not shabby at all.

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As we were out playing, I recognized how well the snow was packing as I fired snowballs at the girls. I decided it was time to build my first and biggest snowman of my life. Sydney was on board and started rolling a ball for the head. I took the bottom portion. I kept rolling. And rolling. And rolling. Syd kept asking “Is this head big enough yet?” Nope. Keep rolling. Mine got so heavy I couldn’t budge it anymore. “CHAD!” He helped us with the last 5 feet of rolling and our snowman found his resting place. I started work on the middle section. “CHAD!” needed him to lift it! And put the head on since this thing was way taller than any of us girls!

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Since our skis still hadn’t arrived, it was a perfect time to get out the ole’ snowboard and attempt to not injure my tailbone again! CS was ready to test his 1985 skateboarding skills. Proof that he got the hang of it!

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Snowboard maps are not as smooth as ski maps. Our trek around Ski Cooper.

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Prior to my trip, my sister-in-law sent me a picture of a birdhouse made out of corks. I was intrigued. YouTubed a video and sent her a supplies list minus the corks. I knew a restaurant that could help me out and we used every single one! So fun playing with hot glue and 8 to 10 year old girls! Our masterpiece…

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Spent the next day at our fav spot, Copper Mountain. The amazing Fuller skiing trio!

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CS and I had our skis back so we were all on track to stay together. Except, someone (Reagan) was a speed demon and Brandon had to keep up with her. (At her/my fastest, our speed was 37.4 MPH!) I kept taking Syd in and out of the trees while Chad sloped beside us. Then… where’s B and Reagan? Texts were exchanged and we had lunch separately as we were on different ends of the mountain! Then at the end, we found B & Reagan, but then lost CS. Didn’t matter in the end since we all got to ski our butts off!

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Since the wind kept us from going up Green Mountain on our last day as planned, the Fuller shopping habit had to be satisfied. The littlest booger joined us giving Mom and Dad a break from some madness!

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Always sad to leave, Always looking to come back!

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As adults, you don’t get mail that is fun. Unless you order something for yourself then, at least like I do, you are tracking it from warehouse to your door like it’s a million dollars. This week, I got fun mail from my favorite niece! (Favorite because she has now sent me something… hint to the other 2…)

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Arts and crafts straight from Colorado. Bracelet is made of rubber bands! I need to buy some of this…

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…and show her how it was done in the 80s!

Mountain Time

CS and I headed west for a vacation in the mountains. I was ready to see how my girls have progressed in their skiing skills. This one surprised me by picking us up at the airport! She looks so innocent. See that grin?! She’s not.

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While Kayla dubbed me Julia a few times thanks to an older, and clearly awesome, neighborhood girl, CS got a different nickname.

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Silliness aside, we were there for one reason.SKI TIME!

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First stop, the best hidden gem in Leadville, Cooper Mountain! Cost CS & I $140 to ski for 2 days. Ridiculously cheap for these parts. What is also ridiculous is CS still tries to take pics of me when I’m “not” aware. Results…

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Cooper is where I saved Reagan from certain carnage last year as the child learned how to ski. (Fast forward to 8 min on this video, still makes me laugh) She was very proud to tell me she had learned how to stop now. But I forgot what an assembly line we had getting 2 girls skiing.

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Hand warmers, feet warmers, face masks, hoods, helmets… Gees! After 2 straight days of skiing, it was time for some relaxation at the Mt. Princeton hot springs!

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Oh Gesus that H2O felt so good. After we all were a pruny mess, we headed back to get some food and take on the master banker at Girly Monopoly.

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Biggest lesson I learned during this game was 2 adults and 1 child had totally different rules they were following. Where was the free parking money pool? When could you mortgage something? How did you get out of jail? Man… our parents have created their own rules to get through very long games that now make us look like fools as adults. Sydney kept going, “Do we have to read the rules again?!” Well, yes dear we do. Because, it was just earlier that day that I made my 3 year old niece cry by beating her at Kiddy Sequence. Apparently neither her Mother nor Father taught her the losing lesson yet. So mean Aunt Natalee did without knowing it, and the child ran crying to her bedroom where I had to then bribe her out with the presents I’d be hiding in my luggage. Can’t wait to hear that from Kayla in 15 years. 

Meanwhile, WFD turned to documented WTD.

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Day 3 of skiing took us to the bigger peaks of Copper. For a mere $197, CS and I got 1/2 day passes at this resort. On. A. Monday. Worth it, but damn. They had tons of tree cut outs and fun forest runs that kept the shorter ones of our group busy all day. I tried a sneak attack on Syd.

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We had blizzard like conditions to start our trip and ended with great powder on those slopes!

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Thanks again for hosting Coo-pper! We’ll make more treks next time!

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Mount Sherman

If a 9 year old can get to the top of this, I shouldn’t have any problems!

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But I drew a map based on Brandon’s previous Garmin data just in case.

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It’s been 4 years since I was atop a 14er. Why has it been so long you ask? A little thing called Leadville running events. In 2009 I participated in the Heavy Half. Then for the next 3 years, my usual fall Colorado trip has been focused on B’s LT100 experiences. I’m not complaining! NOT COMPLAINING. HAVED LOVED EVERY MOMENT! I love being there/here for those! But I wasn’t going to let another year slip by without getting up high. Especially with a house in Leadville. It reduces the trail head drive time to minutes instead of hours!

EJ was on board, so we started our journey just after 8:30am to summit Mount Sherman at 14,035 feet. Brandon had said the lower area was marshy when he was last out here, so we took the high line up on the gravel and made our way to the trail. Can you see the trail below?

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This might help…. 

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Closer shot as it wraps around the back side.

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I was all sorts of pumped to be out here. I was ready to run whatever parts of this terrain I could!  I would get to a point where I would lose my visual on EJ, so I’d stop for a short break to wait for his orange jacket to appear. Once I was assured he was still on his feet, I’d take off again. I knew he was capable, so I was just doing my due diligence. I was taking mental landmark notes on the backside of the mountain because another trail intersects with it and you definitely want to go back down the way you came up. Or you are screwed without a car on the wrong side. 

Mile 1.0 to 1.4 sucked hard. Very steep uphill. Like on your toes uphill. I did my best to not cause a rock slide. The ridge line on this summit is pretty bad ass. That’s 2 people at the summit at the top of this photo.

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I reached the top my 7th 14er after 1 hour and 32 minutes of running and hiking!

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It started getting real windy on the back side then we had snow! It was short lived, but at least I could hunker down in one of these coves if needed.

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EJ crested the top and we shared congrats! There was a bus trip of folks sharing the summit with us. All ages, most I talked to were over 50 and they still had 3 more to climb on their week-long trip to Colorado. I want to (and will be) like that when I get old! We didn’t stay at the summit long. I set a goal to get down in 1/2 the time it took me to get to the top. I told EJ I’d see him at the car because I needed to get moving. He warned me not to do anything stupid. While these may not have been the best shoes for the trek, they did just fine!

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I only stopped one time on the way down to make sure EJ took the hard right hand turn to get on our same trail. Once I saw he had figured it out, I started motoring again. I spotted 2 guys on the trail way ahead of me, so I made my next goal to catch them before they got to the willows. And I did! I made it back down to the car in 46 minutes. Exactly 1/2 the time as the ascent! I officially felt like a mountain runner. Garmin map and some video…

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Back at the house, it was play time with the girls!

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These girls may love dresses and princesses, but we play dirty!

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Or maybe they played, and I supervised!

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Like a good Aunt, I bribed the oldest one with cash to come over and swing me in the hammock when she’d see I was sitting still. She earned $10.

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Great freakin’ last day in Leadville. Can’t wait to go back!

Leadville Trail 100 – Crew Report 2012

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I’ve spent the past two weeks reading about 208 LT100 race reports. Guess it’s my time to recap. Let’s start with the outfit.

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Goal – Be easy for Brandon to find us. Done. I decided on bright ass neon yellow shirts, bandanas and (my) fuchsia outerwear. We were ready!

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Stepping back a bit… we attended the pre-race briefing on Friday hoping to get our annual Ken Chlouber motivational speech. It’s almost as necessary at this event as running shoes. Unfortunately due to a sad family matter, Ken wasn’t in attendance. His son, Cole, stepped up to the plate and did a very good job filling his Dad’s big shoes. I really was impressed with how Cole presented himself to the crowd. I imagine its intimidating to give a pep talk to a (small) gymnasium filled with eager runners from all over the world thinking they will out last and out run Forest Gump the next day. Cole had heart and made me proud to be a LT100 family member.

We left the briefing and headed back to the cabin for our own briefing. Except my second in command, EJ, left with the velociraptor-legged-fried-food-eater for dinner. A dinner that would haunt him the entire following day. How do you tell someone you don’t know very well, “Uh, please don’t shit yourself while in my presence tomorrow. Crew Chief doesn’t cover that.”

After the Team Shart briefing between B and myself, I loaded the car and was ready for some shut eye. I slept surprisingly well. I think there was some strange magical energy that kept me very calm for this race. I’d been there twice before, so it was like 2nd nature. We woke up at 3am, got our runner ready and dropped off on 6th street by 3:45. Over 800 people did the medical check in this year, so I was excited to see the stream of headlamps crest the hill at the base of 6th. Using JP’s signature observation spot, we watched the flood of lights pass us to the Boulevard. Also, since I had zero worry of getting to any aid stations, we stopped at the start of the Turquoise Lake trail to surprise our runner and give him a little reminder of his 2:10 goal pace to MQ. No 1:48 for us this year.

Mayqueen (Out): This aid station is usually a zoo. They did it right this year by not allowing crew access until after the tent section. Which left less room for us to set up shop, but it was so much better for the runners. I did hear though that the volunteers were not alerting runners to the tents so a few just blew by not knowing they were there. B rolled in at 2:05 and immediately went into the tent and started shoving food in his mouth. It was a great sight that I was not used to. Routine pit stop for us with our new strategy of 1 water bottle all day.

Fish Hatch (Out): We got to Fish just as the leaders came blazing through. They were on a hot pace! But luckily B was not and sticking to his pace chart. I ran up the hill to run in with him and get the low down on what was needed. What was needed, was a port-o-jon. He said his gut wasn’t emptying. The image of him eating a full bagel 18 hours prior had me worried. Kim was trying to get to this aid station, but the cars were backing up, so I directed her to just go to Pipeline and get us a good spot. We also picked up NP, our Winfield pacer, at Fish. B wanted no shirt, so I sprayed him with sunscreen, filled his shorts with crap and he was off. But without his water bottle. Shit! It was only 4 miles til I’d see him again, but I didn’t want him on this sun exposed road section without fluids. I think I ran about a 4 minute mile pace to grab it and get it back to him a few hundred yards away.

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Treeline (Out): My young crew members arrived dressed and ready to help out!

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Crewing from the back of the H2 is so nice! Even gave B a spot to stretch. Quick stop here but enough time to hug all his ladies and get back on the course.

Twin Lakes (Out): B rolled into Twin 15 minutes over his goal split time. This did not bother me as I wasn’t a big fan of the aggressive 23 hour overall time he was wanting to achieve. (He was never made aware of this fact, so… surprise B!) I was going to be happy with 24:45, even 24:59 if it had to be. I was ready with a shoe change and wet rags to cool him off. It was getting hot! B wanted to stretch his quads, so he got down to squat. I reached in and started the massage.

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Then Kim reminded me that we needed our awkward brother-sister-thats-not-normal photo. Done.

Leadville Trail 100 2012

Something new for this year was the parking patrol. The cops in this 2 house town didn’t like all the cars parked on the highway so they were driving up and down the dirt street where the crews were, yelling “If you car is parked over the white line, you will be ticketed or towed.” The H2 doesn’t fit well on the tiny shoulders of HWY24 and I didn’t want to tell B “Yeah, I just got your car towed.” I was able to nudge it in a bit to comply with the white line request and get back in time to crew for B. NP found a guy that needed a ride to Winfield since this dude was pacing Darcy Africa. She’s a monster female runner who was well ahead of B pace. For the first time, I was anxious to get to the next aid station to ensure he didn’t miss her making the turn.

Winfield: Up to this point, I was feeling good about what B was getting done out there, but knew Hope Pass was standing in our way. Twice. And there was a new piece of the course on this section that we hadn’t experienced before. All of these things combined started to put a damper on B’s day. He came into the halfway mark over an hour late. Hope had her way with him. He looked a little down in the dumps. We tried to cool him off and get perspective on how his day was going. NP was charged up and ready to run. Actually, he was more looking forward to eating at the aid stations while being a Pacer. Regardless, I was glad he’d be out on the course with Brandon this year. But before NP left, he found another guy that needed a ride! Unfortunately it was a ride for a runner, Scott Jaime, who was calling it a day. He was in great spirits but his hips were done. I offered my witch doctor acupuncture experience as an option to try. Sucks when your head is ready to go but the body doesn’t feel the same. Really cool guy but not his day.

Twin Lakes (In): We met up with another one of our pacers this year at Twin. He showed up and asked to use our wagon if we didn’t need it just yet. For what?

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That’s how JT rolls! Dude ran the Pikes Ascent, grabbed some nutrition to stock up for his Fish-Mayqueen section with B, and settled in to watch the runners make their way back over this gorgeous landscape.

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This is the point in the race I start doing math on splits. B wanted the Twin-Win section done in 3 hours. His outbound trip was 4. I knew the 2nd time over Hope wasn’t going to be any faster. Even though I knew he wouldn’t be there at 6:30pm, I set up shop like he was just around the corner. I left some of the crew a few hundred yards down the course. They were going to text me when he showed up so I could be alert and ready.

Leadville Trail 100 2012

He rolled in with another 4 hour split. His 23 hour goal was totally shot. He was starting to develop a blister, so we taped it and got him back in the Hokas. We loaded NP up with all his warm gear and night time accessories. I was hoping NP could help him get some momentum for the next leg so we could possibly hit the 25 hour goal I had for him. He needed to start shaving some minutes off. Since NP’s pacing duties would be done at our next stop, I warned EJ, the next pacer “If he gets things moving, and NP says they have been clicking off like 10 minute miles, you have to be ready to keep the charge or let NP continue with him.”

Treeline (In): Using my scribbled mess of a pace chart, I predicted B would roll in just after 10pm.

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Pipeline at night is dark and it’s hard for your runner to find you. Even with a lit up H2. So I brought glow necklaces that my nieces could use to decorate the truck in addition to the red hot poker sticks from WS100 hanging on the back. He was sure to find us! Which he did around 10:40 pm. Suck. We were losing time fast. We swapped out NP for EJ for the 4 mile road section that leads to Fish. EJ being a newbie to running was excited for this opportunity. I, however, wasn’t sure how this experience was going to go. After watching EJ use the bathroom about 12 times during the course of the day, I was pretty sure he wasn’t going to lead a big charge for B.

Fish (In): With NP’s job done, he was ready for some food! I still had the pizza in the truck and it made a nice snack for his drive back home. Dropping NP off at Fish, JT met back up with me and was suited up for his pacing stint. He had the arduous task of getting B up Powerline at midnight without him turning into a cowering pile of girly-ness. I guess there is no one better than your arch rival to do that for you! Can’t show that guy any behavior like that! B and EJ rolled into Fish over an hour later. Really guys?! EJ was close to shitting himself needing bathroom stop #13 but I had a different plan. I needed crew help first. EJ kinda missed the #1 rule of the day, the runner always comes first! JT and B headed out just before midnight. We got B another warm shirt but he wanted to stay in the shorty shorts. I didn’t like that, but wasn’t in the mood to argue with him about it. He’d have to take them at Mayqueen no matter what. I’m allowed to do that as Crew Chief.

Mayqueen (In): The crew was back to just me and EJ at this point. While driving to MQ, EJ asks what the house code is. I tell him then kindly ask “Why are you asking that?” He says “Once you get on the road with Brandon, I figure I have a couple of hours, so I’m going to go back to the house and clean up.” Hell no you aren’t! To the common person, I get that this sounds like a perfectly fine plan. But when you’ve been up for 24 hours a hot shower and clean clothes are going to make your body and mind say good night. I sternly expressed my distaste for his idea. I told him if he chooses to do that, that’s on him to ensure he’s at the finish to pick us up or worse case, something goes bad and we aren’t going to finish, we will need a ride in that case too. I advised him to not sit on a couch, on a bed, or on a chair to even put on a sock, if he chooses to go home. He will be asleep before he knows it. 

It became clear that he didn’t like a 34 year old girl telling him what to do. (We joke about this now…) His come back was “I’m a 31 year old grown man with a doctorate degree, I can handle…” Before he could get another word out, I yelled, “I don’t give a fuck about your doctorate degree. This has nothing to do with education and everything to do with having experience out here. You have never done this before.” He didn’t talk to me for over 2 hours after that. Great memories.

I spent that time doing my pace chart for the last leg of the course. While I knew 25 hours was not in the cards, I still calculated it hoping it was give some good mojo to B.

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We were parked on the road between the aid station and Timberline, a plan that B and I had discussed the night before. We’d just crew from the truck if possible. I saw JT’s green light appear at 2:51 am. B was cold and actually asked for the pants. Good! I thanked JT for getting my brother to me in one piece and took over the pacing duties. We had 13.5 long miles to go.

B had a steady walk going to the final aid station. I tried to get him some more food but he was over it at this point. Basically on autopilot to just finish. I filled our water packs and we headed out. I had stashed a bag of Cheerios in my pocket, so he would be eating when I told him too along Turquoise Lake. I knew he wasn’t having the day he wanted so I really didn’t know what to say to try to motivate him. I shared random stories from the day about every 20 minutes just to make sure he was still awake and not a walking zombie. About every 40 minutes I shoved the bag of Cheerios at him. That worked 3 times. The 4th time, he said no so I threw some Cheerios at his face instead. His tongue was shot from all the sugar. I had Listerine with me all day and we never used it!

I wanted to pick up the pace, but he was having none of that either. I decided it was best to not zap all his energy with a late surge and have a blow up at 5 am that would cause us to DNF. Who knew where the F EJ was anyway 🙂  So I kept our 18 minute pace as the sun rose. B would stop for a few seconds every now and then just to stop. I think he was recharging himself to keep moving. He kept saying, “Can’t we just be done yet?!” Nope, not til 6 th street.

We crossed the finish line at 7:29 am, 27 hours and 29 minutes. Over an hour better than 2 years ago. B didn’t shed a tear but I did. I was bummed for my brother. There is so much time and effort put into training and preparing for these events. To a point, you do feel like it was all for nothing when you don’t get your goal. But Brandon should not feel that way at all. He had an epic race at WS100 just 2 months ago and this is just his 4th hundred miler ever. EVER. He has SO much to be proud of on what he did out there. Any LT100 finish is remarkable. At 30+ hrs or -17 hrs like the winners, I don’t care. On the last miles of the course he swore off this race. I told him to shut it. He’ll be back. We all know he will. And I’ll be there with him.