A Winter Like Fall Weekend

I always say I’m up for an adventure, and this weekend was no exception. We headed up to Snow Mountain Ranch early Saturday morning for the Endurance Race Series Snow Mountain Ranch 10K. As we hit the lower part of Berthoud Pass, we could see the snow mixed with the yellow of Aspens. As we climbed higher on the Pass, we encountered snowflakes, dense fog and dropping temps. I tried to stay positive despite knowing the weather was going to be perfect at home.

As we made our way into Winter Park, the fog cleared and temps began to rise. There is a reason why they say if you don’t like the weather in Colorado, wait five minutes!

The Aspens were full on golden in color as we made our way to our friend’s parents’ house in Granby. After dropping off the luggage, my good friend Cary and I headed to the start line leaving the others behind to keep warm at the house before meeting us at the finish.

I had about ten minutes to get my race number and gear ready before the start. I don’t like/need a lot of time before races, but I did feel a bit frazzled before the clock started.

The race begins with a nice downhill leading to a steady climb. Anyone that has biked, ran, snowshoed or skate skied at Snow Mountain knows the hill I’m talking about right outside the Nordic center. It sucks whether you are heading out or heading in. That hill hurt and it reminded me that a short run warm up would have been nice for the lungs.

The course rolled up and down amongst the aspens and pines. It was the prettiest fall run I have ever ran. The snow made for an even prettier run. There was some muddy spots, but other than that the trails were fine. I went from cold to hot to perfect throughout the run while the clouds came in and out and the course climbed in and out of the shade. However, the wind picked up towards the end of my run. With the clouds rolling in, the last mile was a bit chilly.

It was so nice to have my dear friend Cary run with me to be my personal photographer and biggest motivator. Much like how I  train, I am typically by myself in many races in no man’s land between the fast runners and slower runners. Despite the miles I have put in, I haven’t felt strong running in a very long time. The altitude jump also took its toll. I have found I just don’t have that personal competitive spirit anymore as well!

Considering this course was 6.5 miles versus 6.2 miles long and much hillier, I am happy that my time was close to my time in Frisco. Emma and Carley (our friend’s daughter) helped me up the last big hill to the finish line. Emma’s pure joy and excitement seeing me at the finish of a race is typically my most cherished memory when I cross the line.img_2096

After a shower to warm up, and some delicious chili, we headed to a fall festival in Frasier while the boys went for a mountain bike ride. The kiddos had a blast despite the chilly weather and snowflakes settling in. We even won an auction for a two night condo stay up at Winter Park. After dinner, the kids played and then settled in for a bunk bed sleepover. Emma lasted about half the night and then was in the room with us!

On Sunday, we woke up and had a delicious pancake breakfast. The men went on a scouting mission for Shane’s upcoming elk hunt. The ladies were left to keep the kids happy for a couple hours. It was kind of a tall task to keep Emma from not climbing and running around like a maniac. I finally got her outside for some fresh air, and that helped!

When the boys got back, we headed to Grand Lake for some lunch and a hike to see Adams Falls. After seeing the falls, we continued our hike to a beautiful meadow where we happened upon some water. We stopped to enjoy the view, have some snacks and for the kids to put their feet in the water.

Emma is about pushing the limits- a skill that comes in handy but also bites her (and us) in the butt at times. She kept wading deeper and deeper off the bank and eventually fell in up to her chest. It was a cold walk back to the car in only a diaper, sweatshirt and shoes!

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We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends with such welcoming and loving parents! Despite some three year old behavior challenges, we had an amazing weekend away!

My article on virtual doctors is available in the October issue of Colorado Parent online and in print. Check it out if you are wondering how they work!

I am currently working on two pieces for the November issue of Colorado Parent on indoor ski facilities and resort ski programs in Colorado and trying to finish them before Emma and I leave for a week with the family. My collaboration post with fellow blogging friend Lindsay Faria is coming along as well. Look for that in the next couple weeks!

And, we are already making winter adventure plans including booking a night at a yurt off Tennessee Pass. We picked up Emma’s rental skis for the season at Christy Sports today too! Thanks Chris and Dennis at the Boulder location for getting us set up to hit the hill!

Adventure On,

Courtney