Colorado Springs, Colorado
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Half: COVID SUMMER ROADTRIP SERIES
Date: August 8th, 2020
Finish Time: 1:50
Who’d I travel with? Me, Kristen (sister), Nora, (niece), and Mom!
Pre-run meal? LEMON CHICKEN PASTA – MY FAVORITE FOOD EVER!
SUMMER ROAD TRIP SERIES: STOP #3
After two back-to-back half marathons in Iowa and Nebraska – I WAS FEELIN’ IT during the car-ride to Colorado. But thankfully I had a reason to keep the excitement high throughout the drive – because I was driving to the airport to pick up my mom, sister, and niece!! They would be celebrating state #33 with me in Colorado Springs, and I could not WAIT to see them! So off I went – a straight shot (literally, stayed on one highway the entire way) from Topeka, Kansas to Colorado Springs, Colorado!!
It was LATE once we finally settled into our Air B&B – but MAN was it already nice to be with my family. I hobbled down the stairs to my bedroom (literally) and tucked myself in for the night to prepare for a BIG weekend of adventure with my favorite people in the world.
DAY #1: Garden of the Gods, mojitos & mountains, racing my niece around the air b&b, a personal taco bar, and lots of games and laughter. My family is a good mixture of both active and laid back. We love to get out there & see what there is to see while we’re visiting somewhere – but we also simply value our time together over all else. So, if we want to relax at the air b&b for most of the time with a mojito in one hand and the other hand buried deep in a huge bowl of guac – well, that’s exactly what we’re gonna do. It was the perfect “off” day for me after having run two half marathons (not that I could walk very effectively anyways).
DAY #2: Our own personal “beach,” ice cream, pasta, and more games! So, we decided early on the second day that we wanted to spend the day outside – on a beach. We even went out to buy Nora (my niece) sand toys for this beach that we were going to find. But when we looked up beaches online – we found only one beach within driving distance – I guess that was going to be the one! We set out to find it… only to discover that it was a very small pond with zero sand or grass space and 35 fishermen lining the edge. Great. After a quick search on my phone, I found a little creek that seemed like MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, it would have SOME sand….at least somewhere around it. That’s how we ended up on our own personal beach at Rainbow Falls. While there may not have been sand… there were small rocks (and thankfully, that was enough for Nora). So we spent day #2 relaxing in the sun before fueling up with a HUGE pasta dinner that evening to prepare for the BIG DAY.
I am the WORST at planning. Truly. Even when it is an “official” race – I NEVER know the start time until the night before, I never know where the start line will be, and I never know if parking will be available. My mom could ask me 490328430294 times, and I would still not prepare myself with the answers. So, when faced with the task of finding my own race routes/creating my own start times… it’s safe to say that, well, it’s not my strongest skill. I woke up the next morning with at least a framework for a plan – I was going to go to this trail that was like 11 miles long. My mom and sister were going to meet me at the end of it, where I would turn around and do a mile back and a mile back to meet them to gain the mileage for 13 miles. It sounded like a great plan… until, of course, we couldn’t actually find the trail.
So there we were, at 9 a.m… the Colorado sun growing hotter and hotter by the second… searching for a damn trail for me to run. There we were… driving around… searching for another trail… and finally we came across “Cheyenne Mountain State Park.” I had no idea what the trails were like, no idea how long each trail would be, no idea what the elevation would be like, no idea WHAT TO EXPECT – but, I hopped out of the car, and started running anyways. IT. WAS. TOUGH. Nearly 100 flights in hills, over 1,000 feet in elevation, uneven terrain, and the 10 a.m. summer sun glistening across my face the entire time. But it was BEAUTIFUL. In the distance you could see the mountains, and a few times I even found myself up so high that I could look down upon the world below. BUT AGAIN. IT. WAS. TOUGH. I found myself with that familiar, “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to finish,” feeling that I used to get years ago. I found myself stopping to do a weird, ugly, slow-jog/walk several times. I found myself making excuses in my head about everything. And that’s okay. Each and every race is different – and you know what? This HARD race is exactly what will someday make some race seem “easy.”
As I raced into the finish line, my family stood, waving and cheering, signs in their hands.
My family is absolutely incredible, and their support during this journey is the greatest gift that I could ever receive. Showering me with water, wrapping me in hugs, and snapping photos left and right to capture the moment – they made #33 WORTH the pain and the challenge. After literally hosing me down (I was extremely salty after the run – like, weirdly salty… I’ll google that later), it was finally time to CELEBRATE STATE #33!
Next stop: Topeka, Kansas!