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Happy Anniversary…to me!

5 Sep

Welcome back from the long holiday weekend!  How did you celebrate your extra day of late summer?

I decided to take it really easy the past week, and take it upon myself to create “adult summer break.”  Yes, I am too old for summer break but I couldn’t bear the thought of summer ending without spending just a few more days outside crossing things off my bucket list.  So, I took off a couple extra days just to do so!

Tuesday, I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to the sold out Mumford & Sons concert at Red Rocks.  Check one off my bucket list.  I always make it a priority each summer to get up to this venue for a show.  It is such a quintessentially Colorado night out, and if you haven’t had the chance to rock out up here, definitely try to catch one of the remaining concerts this summer (I am still considering tickets to Jason Mraz this month).  The show was awesome, the weather was awesome, and dancing my butt off with my best friends was just an awesome night all around.

Dana & I outside the party bus getting ready for Mumford & Sons

Thursday was the day that I finally tackled my 1st 14er.  I am not sure how it’s possible that I have lived in this beautiful mountainous state for so long and not completed this.  My mom happily joined the trek and we talked my boyfriend into coming too.  We set off a little bit late by hiker standards (about 8 AM) and the trail head parking lot was completely empty.  I turned on my Nike+ GPS and off we went.  Our plan was to ascend Gray’s Peak, then traverse the saddle back which connects to Torrey’s Peak.  Mother Nature had other plans, however.  A couple of hours into our hike the clear blue sky suddenly turned black and clouds were approaching on all sides.  Well, heck if we were going to throw in the towel at this point!  With my mom as our cheerleader (man, she is one of my fitness idols at 54 years old!) we kept chugging along.  Ed wanted to turn back at a couple of points because of the thunderclouds chasing us, although I am sure that his exhaustion had something to do with it as well!  There was no way we could get my mom to turn around so we just kept climbing even through some of the more uncertain and rocky points in the path.  At about 4 1/2 hours we finally summited Gray’s Peak!  The views were phenomenal, another breathtaking reminder of why Colorado is the best state to live in!  We celebrated and snapped a few pictures before finding a spot for lunch.  While we were eating and joking around I commented on my mom’s hair standing straight up.  Then she stopped and said mine was the same.  At this exact moment we realized that there was a strong electrical current running through the rocks that we could hear under our feet!  Then the charge started to shock our feet.  With a thunderstorm moving ever close to us, talk about freaky!  We threw on our backpacks and booked it out of there.  The funny thing is, that Ed was suddenly in the lead, which I have never seen, haha!  What took us 4 1/2 hours going up only took about half that time descending.  We never made it to the 2nd peak (Torrey’s), but at least I can say I have officially completed my 1st 14 and check that off my bucket list!

looking up at Gray’s when we started the hike. Sunny for days!

Thunderstorm at the top of Gray’s…Scary!

Ed and I about half way to the top, taking a break

My super Mom & I at the Peak of Gray’s! We did it!

If you are wondering about the title of this post, and which anniversary I am referring to, it is my “health anniversary”.  A year ago, the first week of September was when I decided to make a health a priority in my life again.  I was living at home with my parents and very unhappy with the 1+ hour commute to and from work everyday.  I knew that this was a waste of 2 hours each day that I needed to be using for activity.  Also, once I got home at night I was usually exhausted from sitting in traffic for an hour and I would use that excuse to crash in front of a TV.  So, I changed my lifestyle a bit in order to afford renting a house in Denver, closer to my friends and my job.  Along with this change I also was in charge of my own grocery shopping and preparing dinners.  I used this turning point as a chance to jump-start my more healthy and active lifestyle.  As I have mentioned in my About page, weight quickly started to melt off at first because of these small changes alone.  Over the past year I have made healthy eating the norm and consistently held to my exercise routine.  I can happily say that my life has been fuller and happier and in turn I have been able to lose 22 pounds without killing myself like I used to in college.  I didn’t have to restrict anything that I love, I have just learned to balance the good and moderate the “bad”.  I realize that this is  a slow pace for weight loss, but since I can maintain it I am not going to complain!  I still have 12-15 lbs. to lose before I reach my goal weight, and I am thinking of upping my routine to tweak some numbers to accelerate this just a little bit.  I am at the point where my clothes are definitely loser and my friends and family are complimenting me which makes me feel great and is a powerful motivator that I will continue to need on this journey.  I owe a huge thanks to everyone who has encouraged me along the way!  So, happy 1 year health anniversary, here’s to a lifetime of more health and fitness 🙂

Julie

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Chasing Waterfalls

16 Jul

This past weekend my boyfriend and I decided to get out of the city for a mountain getaway. We stayed at a condo in Vail for 3 days, and it was exactly the break I needed to rejuvenate. If you’re from Colorado you know what a beautiful state CO is in the summer, and if not you might be asking why go to Vail in July??

Lancelot’s for dinner. Vail is covered in pretty summer flowers right now!

Although you can’t shred any powder in the off season, there are still a lot of activities to do. Vail is known as a foodie mecca for famous chefs, so of course we had to indulge in some local fare. One night we had reservations for Lancelot and I had a farmer’s market heirloom tomato and feta salad that was fresh, simple, and amazing. They are typically known for their prime rib, which my boyfriend ordered and if you like meat, it was very juicy and satisfying. The second “special night” restaurant that we had reservations for was Sweet Basil where had the chef’s salmon and herbed butter special, yum! We also hit up some of the bars around Vail Village and Lion’s Head for live bands and local beer.

Riding on the Gondola to have a beer at the top of Vista Bahn.

After all those yummy indulgent meals, it was definitely time for me to burn some cals! My favorite way to be active is to find an activity that you enjoy- for me it’s hiking. I love being outside away from the normal stress of life/work/etc. (although my cell phone had great reception the entire time…so there goes that theory!). We decided to conquer Booth Creek Trail this weekend, and it did not disappoint.

Odds were not on our side when we arrived at the trail head. It was nearly noon (I was on vacation…I get to relax in the AM, right??!) and there were huge gray storm clouds looming overhead. Great. Ed was ready to throw in the towel already, but I insisted that we needed to get out and do something. So, onward we moved. About 2 miles up the trail are really beautiful waterfalls, so that was our starting goal. This was easier said than done. The trail was steep and very challenging, I had to keep up the morale for both of us. Alas, we made it to the water falls, took a break, and fueled up with some protein bars and water. Someone at this point told us about a scenic lake that was just about 2 more miles up the trail. So, at this point I said we needed to go up there. It was hard. It was really hard, and we were both drained. About 2.5 miles up, still searching for this lake, someone coming down tells us that it is actually another 3 miles from that point. Well, with no food or water left, energy low, and those storm clouds still following us, we decided that it was time to turn around. Going down was pretty easy, although we did have to sprint for about 5 minutes to the car because those clouds finally decided to drench us. Sitting in the car I was wet, exhausted, and completely happy because it was such a great hike! I definitely recommend it if you are in the area. We did a total of 8 miles and next time I would plan on doing the full hike to the lake.

We made it to the top of the waterfalls! 🙂

These kinds of vacations (or staycations) are my favorite because you get to see things in your state that you wouldn’t normal take the time to explore. Also, if I can combine good food and something active outdoors, then I’m in!