Netwalking

Netwalking. What?! Integrating Woman Leaders sponsored an event at my home turf, Holliday Park. I was ready to represent and pay admission to support the cause. DnKpresents.com were our guides. We walked through the park and were reminded of how to disconnect with the modern world and use nature as a gift and retreat to be mindful of our lives. I learned about Jewelweed.

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Jewelweed grows near poison ivy. Back the F up. Great fact I learned that day. Orange pretty flower? STAY AWAY! K was so gracious and knowledgeable about our surroundings. Loved seeing the appreciation she showed for life and land. What are you looking at?

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Gorgeous light!

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As we walked DnK would ask us thought provoking questions and encourage us to pair up with peeps we didn’t know. I starred into a strangers eyes for 2 minutes while she just shared her life. So… so…. i don’t have the words. It was challenging yet amazing. There. I tried. We had an exercise in trust. Trust a complete stranger to help you walk backward across a bridge while you only look up at them. No looking down.

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Happy to report no falls! We all passed! So, big question of the event… What does being mindful mean to you? I gave a few attendees this today.

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I’m going to love this toy.

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! 

2013 PA Urban Sprint Race

2011.

Now that I got my disposable camera developed, I can finally tell how we earned this…

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The old gang of BA, KOD, and myself teamed up this year for the Urban Adventure race. It’d been 4 years since we’d raced together. Win Or Lose We Still Booze was ready! The race started at Triton Brewery, where we arrived to check in and get our maps and clue sheet. We received 5 maps and made quick work highlighting our projected course because I needed to “laminate” them before the gun went off. Major lesson learned from previous years using map cases. Waterproof map cases only work when they are fully shut. This time, I bought a bunch of contact paper and covered the maps back to back minimizing the number of things we needed to carry. It worked so amazingly well!

The maps we received started at checkpoint (CP) 5. We learned 5 minutes to the start that the first map will be given out after you retrieve a golf ball from a gravel pile with your team number on it about 50 yards away. BA lined up to start us off!

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They’re off!

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BA made quick work of that task and we got our first map that had 4 CPs on it around Ft. Ben. This part was on foot. We had to read signs, count bushes to solve the clues and earn our points. CP5-9 were over at Camp Belzer for a biking portion of the race. We got a bit caught up on CP5 and vowed not to follow the masses. This was our race.

We had to cross a river with our bikes to get to CP10 because the bridge was out and you would be disqualified if you took the bridge. People were pushing their bikes through the water. I’ve been to this rodeo before and just picked up my bike and carried it over. Much easier people!

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CP10-13 were clue based about light poles and boring stuff. But we made it fun by going off road for CP11. We rode to a dead end, fenced off with trees behind it. I spied a gate that had a house down the hill. There was also a gate at the front of the lot that was open. We decided on a straight line approach and high tailed it amid barking neighbor dogs through someone’s back yard/wooded area, across their driveway and out to the other side of the neighborhood. Then we hit another dead end that backed up to a fenced off golf course. With no gates in sight, we decided to stay on the roads. When we turned around 3 other teams were standing right there with us! They saw us sneak down through the first gate and followed suit. They opted to hop the golf fence, bikes in tow, to find CP11. Turned out the CP11 was not in the golf course, but on the street in the neighborhood. Phew. They had to have been pissed. But we were all smiles on our way to Broadripple!

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KOD, our navigator, blew by CP14. I remembered the map had us at the shopping center east of Keystone, so we got KOD’s attention and headed to Title Boxing. Here we had to do a series of burpees, punches and sit-ups to earn our point.

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CP15 was another clue, then we got to the canoe section for CP16-18! I bark the orders and let the boys do the heavy lifting.

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The White River is pretty nasty so we did our best to stay out of it, except when it’s the shortest distance to a CP. As I studied our next map, which was an orienteering section, 2 CPs were on the south shore and 4 on the north. I told the boys it was fastest for us to cross the river and go into the Art Center park. Otherwise we’d have to trek on the trail then up and over College Avenue. This was my home turf! I run this area all the time. They both asked if I’d crossed the river before. Uhhhh… no. But I said “YES, it’s fine!”

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They were on board! We killed this section and headed out in what we figured was 3rd place. Teams don’t have to get all the checkpoints, but if you want to win you do. So you really don’t have a gauge at how many points the teams in front of you even have. CP27 was a skills challenge at the Brip fire station where we each had to make a bag in the hole for Cornhole. CP28 was reading letters of a license plate parked at Boogie Burger. CP29 was another skills challenge of Frisbee golf. We each had to land a disc before leaving. It took me a little bit on this one.

CP30 brought us back to the nasty pond we had to swim across last year. This time, we got an inflatable canoe but no paddles.

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I took the front, KOD in the mid, and BA at the back. Sitting up straight and using our legs wasn’t working. I handed off the passport to KOD and apologized for the view he was about to receive. I straddled the canoe and laid my chest on the front so my arms could reach the pond to paddle us along. Like the song says, face down ass up! Massive hip stretch for me for the rest of the day.

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We had 1 more clue CP to get before hightailing it back to Triton to get started on loop #2.

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We checked in at Triton for our second map, and learned we were in first place! We had under 2 hours left to find the last 32-37 CPs. Every minute you are late to the cutoff time (2 pm), you lose a point. I was strategically plotting our turnaround point to ensure we weren’t even a second late. CP32 was at a house near Ft. Ben. We walked up to the porch to find this.

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I said “Move over boys. I got this.” I grew up with a red plastic version of this puzzle at the lake. I have probably done it over a 1,000 times. But not since I was a teenager. The pieces make a 3 dimensional cube 3x3x3. Some how I remember one corner piece and started working. Try #1 showed me exactly where I was off at the top. Try #2, Done! 31 seconds. The volunteer at the CP was timing me. Before I could take a picture of it, BA goes “Knock it down so no one sees it!” No one was even there! Not sure if I could ever do it that fast again!

CP33 stumped us. We thought it was at the end of a cul de sac. It wasn’t. We talked to neighbors about where a dog park could be (that was part of our clue). No luck, so we backtracked to see if there were any entry points on the side of the road we missed. There was! But still no dog park items. After 20 minutes I called it quits and said we needed to move on. CP34 and 35 were clues again. Got those. CP36 seemed far away on the map and I didn’t want to chance something going really wrong (cramping, flat tires, etc) and ruin the excellent day we were having. The boys agreed so we headed back in. While riding back, I was studying that pesky CP33. As we passed an apartment complex up on a hill, I told the boys I wanted to ride up to see if anything stuck out about a dog park. We figured there must be a spot up the hill that had the clue. The hill looked really tall. We knew we had more CPs than any other team so we passed on CP33 again and headed in.

Upon arriving to the final check-in, which we thought was CP37, we learned CP37 was actually a block away. We still had 24 minutes to spare, so we kept on moving! CP37 had all 3 of us on the same foot planks with a rope handle, moving in tandem, walking a triangle shaped course. If one of us fell off, we had to start over. I became a drill sergeant and started “Left. Right. Left. Right.” to keep us on track. The last leg of the triangle, you had to walk backwards together. Not technical but lots of coordination!

Finally, after 45 miles and 5 hours and 39 minutes, we turned in our passport to finish the race.

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After they tallied the scores, we awaited the results.

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This picture is ironic now. I’m scratching my leg. I made a joke at one point during the race that I’ll wash off with White River water to get rid of any poison ivy I may have picked up. Well, I picked it up bad on my left leg.

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Turned out along with our 1st place prize for the Co-ed Division, we got anti-itch cream. They must have known this would happen!

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The race director published the results showing us 4th overall with 33 CPs completed. There isn’t an award for overall, but we counted us at 35. Pride was on the line here! I asked him to re-look at our passport. He did and agreed with our total, so the bragging rights are with Win Or Lose We Still Booze – for winning the 2013 Planet Adventure Urban Sprint race!

Click here for other racer photos.

Here’s the GPS map of the full course.

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Post race thoughts: We ran a nearly perfect race. The route wasn’t very technical but very easy to navigate. Poison ivy sucks. I wish they had more skills challenges but I recognize those take a lot of coordination with volunteers and getting the gear. My teammates rock. I’ll be back again next year!

Throwback moment… in 2012, I wasn’t able to participate in the real race, but the race director is my friend and said I could join him on his practice day. As the director he requires himself to do the whole course so he knows what the participants are faced with. Here’s the video I shot during practice! He wouldn’t let me release it prior to race day. No secrets can be revealed on these events!

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!

Longs Peak Hike Reminder

Almost 8 years ago?!  Really?!  The first time I visited my brother in Colorado I told him I wanted to do something fun and adventurous.  I wanted to sky dive, but he picked mountain climbing.  Little did I know how much I would end up loving his choice and still be doing it nearly 10 years later. 

My brother sent me a story today.  His friend took a guy up the same mountain that was my very first mountain climb.  Only they did it when there is lots of snow.  We went in the Fall.  I think we made the better choice.  Here’s the guy’s account of his trip if you want to read it.  http://footfeathers.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/raw-truth-of-nature/ His picture of the final ascent, a.k.a. Homestretch, says it all.  It’s like climbing up a ladder, but there no ladder, just a rock wall in front of your face with cracks in it to wedge your feet and hands in.  No rope either.

Reminiscing, here’s a list of my climbs and stories to match.  As you can tell by the dates, this is my Labor Day trip each year.  Kind of funny.. something about 8/31 and 9/2 must make us want to climb!  If you have some time, at least look at the pictures.  They are still breath taking to me each time I look at them.  If you have extra time, read the stories.  The first one is my account of our trip, the rest are from my brother’s perspective.  He’s a great story-teller so you kind of feel like you are there with us without the physical exhaustion part.

08/31/2001 – Longs Peak
09/02/2006 – La Plata
09/02/2008 – Yale
 
When there’s a website dedicated to the torrid history of deaths on this mountain, I think that suggests I will never climb this mountain again.  http://listsofjohn.com/Accidents/Longs.html

Colorado Adventure Day 4 – Are we done yet?!

No time to rest!!!  Last day in Colorado… what haven’t we done yet?  Oh yea, hiking!  Since I’d stolen my brother away from his family for a few days, we did a family event today.  We drove through Boulder and hit Flagstaff trail.  We had a crew!  4 adults, 2 kids, 1 soon-to-be-kid (Kim’s not mine), and 2 dogs.  We headed up a trail until we got to a part that had some really large rocks to climb on.  We played with the kids and the dogs for a bit and enjoyed some scenery. 

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I used to say “Rocks and trees… they all look the same”.  That was back in my prissy years when I thought this stuff was stupid.  Now I can’t get enough!  We stopped for a group photo op, then headed back to the car. 

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Many many many thanks to the Fuller’s of Colorado!  Brandon, thanks for hauling us around and planning such a great trip!  Kim, thanks for letting us into your home (for the last time) and taking Brandon away for a few days!  Syd & Reagan, thanks for getting my room ready and playing games with me!  Time to start planning my fall trip… what mountain(s) should we climb this time?

Check out my brother’s story.