Being Bold

You know how people say that a good way to get motivated to run more frequently is to sign up for a race? By committing to a timeline and having a clear goal, you’re supposed to be more motivated to lace up on a daily basis.

Well, that doesn’t work for me. I know because I recently tested the theory – unintentionally, of course. I ran the Running of the Green in March and achieved a personal record, despite my lingering chest cold. So I quickly signed up for the Bolder Boulder and planned to work hard to prep myself for an awesome run.

But then I didn’t work hard. Like, at all. I pretty much just ran when I wanted, which was almost never. I don’t know if it was the inconsistent Colorado weather or the stress of finishing up the school year, but I completely fell out of running shape. Of course, I had already signed up so there was no turning back! Luckily, the Bolder Boulder is simultaneously a serious timed race and a crazy party. I decided to change my approach and run the race for the party aspect, rather than try (and fail) to get a decent time.

My new mentality was evident before the race even started when I got there so late that I missed my start time. I just filed in with a bunch of other people and set off.

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Yeah, it was also my birthday. They gave me a cool birthday pin and people told me “Happy Birthday” whenever they saw it. It was cool.

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Me running! As usual, Matt was my photographer.

The whole vibe was quite a bit different from the last time I ran the race. Since I wasn’t pushing for any real results, I took out my headphones and just enjoyed the ridiculous surroundings. I was able to hear the bands and notice a lot more of the fun stuff around me. And while I wasn’t willing to try the slip-n-slide, I did drink some unidentifiable liquid from a table giving free drinks to people 21 and up. In looking back, I would have been much wiser to take the slip-n-slide. Luckily, I had no real ill-effects from said drink, so it was fun.

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The slip-n-slide and some crazy costumes.

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Military vets and firefighters crossing the finish line.

In the end, I took a really long time and I still felt exhausted at the end. I may have even cried a bit out of frustration and a little pain. But I finished! And after the race was over it was still my birthday, so I went to a family barbecue at my aunt’s house.

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Happy Birthday to me!

My birthday celebrations continued later in the week with a fun night out in Denver with friends. We hit Patxi’s Pizza for dinner where our lovely waitress brought me a treat in honor of my birthday. Unfortunately, the rest of the group had to tell her that I’d already left to go check on our reservation at our next stop. She was mad and I felt really bad about it. : (

Anyway, the pizza was delicious.

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So. Good.

We spent most of the evening at the Irish Snug, which is a cool Irish Pub on Colfax.

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I had to drink alone until all my friend arrived. Luckily, they did not ditch me.

Our next stop was Voodoo Doughnuts, the famous Portland-based company that recently opened a branch in Denver. It was pretty cool place, but I have to be honest: I really don’t think their donuts are worth the ridiculous wait we had to endure. I’m probably going to be shunned by fellow Denverites (and Portland Peeps), but that’s just what I think.

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My before and after Voodoo Doughnut, which I actually didn’t eat until the next day because that was way too much sugar to handle after midnight. (And in case you’re saying that I didn’t like the donuts because it was a day old, I’ve had my fair share of day-old donuts, and many of them were still better/equal to this one).

The LONG stop kind of derailed our night. We popped into the closet bar, but The Streets of London Pub is a not-fun place that cool people shouldn’t go to, so we shouted over the music for one last drink before heading home. Luckily, the rest of the evening was tons of fun, and my friends are awesome enough to even make that weird place tolerable.

So my last year of my twenties had officially begun. It’s a little depressing. Luckily, with all the fun things we do ALL the time, it’s probably going to be a pretty sweet year.

As I tried to grapple with the idea of being 29, we went for one of our first only hikes of the season. We went up to Golden Gate Canyon State Park, which is a beautiful park area that’s pretty close to Denver. We hiked the Burro Trail, but because the sign resembled the backside of a bear, we referred to it as the Bear Butt Trail.

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It’s supposed to be a donkey footprint, but just imagine a bear bending over. Right?

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Pretty sights.

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Goofing around.

It was a summit hike, which meant it was a little strenuous, but rewarded us with a lovely view.

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Pretty.

Finally, I couldn’t have a post about “Being Bold” without discussing our trip to boldly go where no one (except for hundreds of nerd fans) had gone before. That’s right, I’m talking Star Trek. And while an actual trip to space on the USS Enterprise would be a way cooler story, I’ll settle for a Comic Con panel with many of the stars from the BEST Star Trek series: The Next Generation.

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Before the event!

This was our only Comic Con event this year, due to a variety of frustrations that I blame on the con organizers: no really good guests (other than the TNG panel), cancelled mediocre guests, schedule changes, and ridiculous fees for the only good event – even though I already paid for a 3-day badge. Plus, I just don’t think I’m nerdy enough to be willing to tolerate the long lines and tons of crowds. Other nerds can deal with it, but it’s too much for me.

So we got rid of our badges and bought tickets to only the Star Trek panel. I got my nerd fix without having to fully commit to the craziness of the whole con.

I was a little giddy when I saw all the TNG stars take the stage. The participants included Michael Dorn (Worf), Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge), Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher), Jonathan Frakes (William Riker), and Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar). Plus, the whole thing was moderated by William Shatner. Sadly, not all of my favorites we there (I❤ Wesley Crusher), it was still a pretty cool group of people for a girl like me. I hear that Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart went to the one in Chicago. I’m jealous.

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TNG!

The whole thing only lasted an hour, and it was filled with almost as many annoying comments/questions from the audience as actual interesting responses from the panel. But I did get to sit within 5 feet of Marina Sirtis as she berated one of the questioners for asking how old the women were.

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Get him, Marina!

I definitely don’t regret missing the rest of the con, but it was fun to get a little time with my nerdy people. And if braving giant crowds of costumed Trekkies doesn’t count as being bold, I don’t know what does.

All Growed Up

There’s nothing like your nieces graduating from high school to make you feel OLD! We now have FOUR nieces with diplomas, which just seems ridiculous; I’m too young for this! But Lexie and Hannah, the most recent to reach the ranks of adulthood, met this milestone with such grace that we couldn’t be prouder!

The first to turn the tassel this spring was Lexie. Sadly, we couldn’t make it out to Kansas to attend her graduation or giant party. It was tough to miss the big day, but sifting through pictures on Facebook made me feel like I was almost there. I “borrowed” a few photos from family so that I could share them here.

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Lexie’s choir sang at the ceremony.

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With her diploma!!

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Family!

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Selfie with the whole crew!

Hannah walked across the stage a week later. The ceremony was on a Friday morning, so Matt had to miss this one, too. I was able to go, but I had to watch a broadcast of the whole thing from another room because there were too many people to fit in the gym. Thank you, rain, for your creation of a swamp on the field where graduation was supposed to take place.😦

Oh, well. My family took pictures, and we were all able to celebrate together after!

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Hannah also sang at graduation. She and a fellow choir member performed the National Anthem.

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Diploma!

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Family!

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Siblings being siblings. I love this picture!

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The whole crew.

Can you believe that both those lovely ladies are grown-ups now? It’s nuts!

Little Evie celebrated her own milestone this year. She has completed preschool and will be starting kindergarten in a few weeks. I know. It’s crazy, right? I got to go to her little continuation ceremony, which included a musical performance by her class. Super cute!

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Dancing and getting her certificate.

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The little kindergartener.

After the ceremonies and parties were over, there was still a little celebrating to be done. Since we missed all the fun surrounding Lexie’s graduation, she came out our direction for a big senior trip. With her grandparents playing chauffeur, and her good friend along for the ride, Lexie had a few adventures in Colorado to celebrate being done with high school!

The first exciting event was ziplining! Papa even got brave enough to join the girls.

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Before the zip.

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Lex and Annie!

It looked like they had tons of fun, and I think Matt and I need to get out to try ziplining in Colorado sometime.

As Lexie’s graduation gift from Matt and me, I took the girls to Elitch’s, our fun amusement park right downtown. While I was a little less adventurous than the girls when it came to rides, I tried to not be TOO old.

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On the way!

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Lexie and Annie riding rides and having fun.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Colorado without some time in the mountains, so we went up to Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park for a short hike and picnic.

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We really enjoyed getting to celebrate a bit with Lexie, and we hope it was fun for her, too. Now she and Hannah are both preparing to step into REAL adulthood. Lexie soon begins working as a Special Education paraprofessional, and Hannah heads off to college at University of Colorado at Denver. They’re going to be awesome.

Cell Phone Picture Dump

Yeah, that’s right. This post has no story. It’s just going to be a dumping of pictures, most of which have been sitting on my cell phone for the last few months. The only thing linking these pics together is that they were taken in the spring months, when so much was going on that I couldn’t even think about properly documenting it all. Thus, the cell phone pictures and this lovely picture dump.

Enjoy.

Back when there was still some snow on the ground, we went on a little Snowshoe with Rachel and Keva (her dog) at Echo Lake.

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Frozen lake.

It’s always fun to go snowshoeing with Rachel and Keva. There’s no pressure to summit a giant mountain. Instead we just hang out and play in the snow!

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Pretty view.

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Friends.

For my brother-in-law’s birthday back in April, we went up to the mountains to play at a park. Unfortunately, it’s still often pretty chilly in Colorado in April. We managed to play a little bocce ball before getting too cold and heading back to my folks’ house for the rest of the party.

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The big thing monopolizing most of our time this spring was our devotion to our hockey team. Go Avs! We got really excited as they finished up the season and went into the playoffs. We went to two playoff games and a huge away-game watch party at the Pepsi Center.

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Sadly, we lost game 7 of the first round. I was pretty devastated, but it was an amazing season! We can’t wait for next year.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet a pretty nice group of girls through work. We try to make it a point to hang out every now and then.

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Brunch, mimosas, and matching shirts.

My awesome friend, Sarah, and I decided to get season passes to Elitch’s (Denver’s big amusement park) this year. We had a memorable night at the Season Pass Holders’ Sneak Peak. Then Matt and I went back the next weekend.

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We have so much going on this summer that there’s much less time for hiking. We managed to get out for a quick early season hike to Mallory Cave above Boulder.

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Of course, it’s not spring in Colorado without some spring skiing! Our last day was at Abay. I pushed myself a little, and then we got to grill in the parking lot. Perfect spring ski day!

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And finally, Trail Ridge Road in RMNP opened at the end of May. Matt has always wanted to go over right after the road opens because the wall of snow on the side of the road is supposed to be huge. We headed up there one weekend, but the road closed again due to some more snow and fog coming through.

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Road closed.😦

We got to see a mini snow wall, but it wasn’t nearly as big as it would have been at the top of the road.

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Oh, well. I guess there’s always next year.

So there you go. A bunch of random pictures of moderately interesting events. We’re so fascinating.

The Wheat State Adventures (Part the First)

Oh, Kansas. You beautifully boring state. You quiet and quaint land. You sparse, but special place. You… ok, I’m out of alliteration. But you get the idea.

We all know that Kansas is not the most exciting state in our nation, but those who have actually lived there often agree that there’s something lovely about it. Whether it’s the wide-open spaces, the gorgeous sunsets, or the simpler way of life, there’s a reason so many people I know are happy to call the place home. I’m not saying I’m ready to leave Colorado behind and return to the prairie, but I often become nostalgic for Kansas. After all, I spent most of my summers in El Dorado when I was growing up, and I went to college in Emporia. Plus, Matt and I have so many loved ones who remain all across the state, so we’ve spent our fair share of recent holidays and vacations in various Kansas towns. I have plenty of Kansas memories on which to reminisce.

So, I think about it sometimes. I think about driving along the back roads while the setting sun reflects off the fields of wheat. I think about the deafening sound of cicadas, which begins at twilight, shortly before the first flashes of lightning bugs. I think about the leaves from the many huge elm and maple trees crunching under my feet as I walk down the sidewalk. (Trees seems so much bigger in the small Kansas towns!)

I think about the creative ways we would find to have fun, from poker nights to campfires to disc golf. Or about driving an hour to the nearest city when our creativity runs out and we just need a meal at Olive Garden or a movie in an AMC theater.

Ah, Kansas memories!

I’ve spent a lot of time in Kansas over the last couple of months, reminiscing and making new memories. It started back on spring break – but before I get to that, I better throw in a couple pics from my other spring break fun!

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Not Kansas. Skiing powder AND trees on my new fancy skis!!

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Wild Child, one of our favorite bands, at Lost Lake Lounge. Awesome show!

But back to the Kansas stuff. I took a fun spring break trip out to with some of my family. Sadly, Matt has to stay behind and work. No Spring Break for marketing people!

The eight-hour drive to my grandmother’s house was pretty nice, since my dad drove and I mostly slept and read.

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Wind farm!

Once we made it to El Dorado, we spent all of our time visiting with Grandma.

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Playing.

We found a little time to get out to El Dorado Lake. Dad and I tried to run, but when the wind slowed us down, we gave up and just played instead.

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We came across this awesome giant exercise machine that involved running around trying to hit buttons when they lit up. If I lived in El Dorado, I would seriously go play it all the time.

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On our last night in town, we went out for a delicious meal. Evie and I gave each other makeovers for the occasion.

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Evie’s makeover on the left; mine on the right.

It was tons of fun to visit with my grandma and play with my family for a bit!

A couple of weeks later Matt and I were back in Kansas for a visit with friends. We’re trying to more regularly get together with this group of besties, and it’s been so fun to see them and their kiddos more frequently. This time we met at John and Anna’s place.

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Playing Cards.

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Princess tea party!

We had fun celebrating Anna’s birthday and meeting their newest little one: Jack!

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Baby Jack!

Most of the time, we just visited and laughed. I love that we laugh so much with these friends!

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Crazy boys.

Day two involved a lot of fun playing with the kiddos.

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We walked a few blocks to check out the site of John and Anna’s future home!

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Boys bonding.

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Kind of a house.

Then we played a bit at the park across the street. The (grown-up) boys played frisbee, while the kiddos played on the playground.

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Yay!

As usual, it was great to see our friends, and the time went too quickly. We quickly remembered one of our least favorite things about Kansas (and eastern Colorado) on the drive home: blowing snow and slick roads along I-70.

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Yay.

Still worth it.

And I Ra-a-an, I Ran So Far Awa-a-ay

Running is hard. And tiring. And significantly less fun than sitting on the couch, eating cream cheese frosting with a spoon. But we all know that running is a slightly healthier option than binge eating pure sugar, so I’ve been trying to do it more often (run, not binge eat… or maybe both). Once I get my body into “running shape” – which has only happened once and lasted for about 3 hours – I really enjoy going for runs. I always thought people were crazy when they talked about “runner’s highs” and silly things that make running sound fun, but I’ve discovered that I can actually experience, not just pain and misery, but happiness from running! (Usually all mixed together and at the same time!)

In order to stay motivated, I’ve tried participating in a couple of races. It’s fun to get out with a bunch of crazy people, and there’s usually a “free” t-shirt and beer involved. I like t-shirts and beer, so why not? Most recently, I participated in Denver’s annual Runnin’ of the Green 7K on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

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Pre-race excitement!

The race takes place in LoDo (Lower Downtown) in Denver. I love Denver, so it’s super fun to race through the familiar streets. We even line up to start the race right in front of the historic Union Station.

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Lining up with lots of people.

And they’re off! (Yeah, I’m cheesetastic today.)

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Matt watched the real runners kick off the race.

And here come the slow people!

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Me, running in the crowd. The pic on the left could be a game of Where’s Waldo Kelly.

Once I left the start area, Matt occupied himself by taking artsy street pictures and watching the super fast runners finish.

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Finally, I made my way to the finish line.

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Almost there!

Considering the killer chest cold I was suffering from in the days before the race, I was completely stoked to finish with a new PR (personal record)! And I only had to collapse, wheezing, on the sidewalk for about 10 minutes after I crossed the finish line!

In addition to the race itself, there were tons of crazy characters and fun things to watch.

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Dancers, bands, and a “real-life” leprechaun!

As usual, my favorite part was when the race was over and I was able to enjoy a delicious meal. We went to BD’s Mongolian Grill, where I had a giant beer and lots of food!

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My next race is the crazy Bolder Boulder on my birthday! I haven’t been running much lately, so I’m not sure how well it will go, but I can always slip-n-slide my way to the finish!