March Motivation?

Half the time I feel like I should let this blog die. I mean, was it really alive? Maybe in 2013. Then I vacillate back to that it provides me with motivation & self-accountability. Plus, It can be nice to use it as a journal. So, today there is a post.

My friend Alex has been CRUSHING his runs and is super motivated. See, we joke that we “suck at this” when we run marathons together. He’s a great middle/back-of-the-pack, party buddy. He’s got an ambitious race schedule this year and I can’t be the only one sucking in the back anymore! I love that his motivation is getting me motivated! Not to the point of wanting to do 8mi weekday training runs, BUT, some stuff. And that stuff is usually a little ass-kicking in other ways.

The excitement of seeing my goal of 50 states getting close  (hopefully next year!) is another motivator. Of course I don’t like “easy”, big road races. Some of the ones I’ve picked are difficult…*ahem* AZ and NV. Hard! (race reports coming soon)

Finally, Pikes Peak marathon registration is this weekend. The race that was the hardest race I’ve done besides the 100. Harder than 50mi, even the one in the blizzard. Far harder. I said last year that I wouldn’t do it again. No way. Too hard. Took me over a week to feel functional and recovered. (It would help if I had trained) Naturally, this means I’m planning on registering for the Double. Because once up the mountain isn’t enough. Lets do it twice. Half Saturday (all the way to the top), full Sunday (up and down). It’s going to kill me.

The only way it won’t kill me? The only way I can have a CHANCE finishing the full? Training. Hopefully this motivation sticks around. Hopefully it rubs off and I’ll want to keep logging my workouts here.

image

Crowded for a weekday afternoon!

Tuesday 3/8: Up the Incline, up a little ways past the Incline to where it connects to Barr trail, then down the trail. I usually just go straight down after I finish, but I want to keep doing more miles up (hitting Barr Camp at mile 6) as time permits.

image

First of many Barr Trail runs. Barr, you will be my friend!

 

image

See that dark figure? That was a guy in a wool coat, work slacks, and brand new trail shoes. I suspect that he is in town for work, picked up some shoes are REI, then went to the Incline–to say he did. Typical tourists. Oh, and no water. They never carry water.

3/9: Crossfit. Hour of snatches. Form work, then 20 min of set building, then 3 reps every 30 seconds of power snatch (60lbs). It felt like Tabata snatches and it got hard. I felt very uncoordinated and my form was very off. Oh well, I lifted weight and put it down for most of an hour.

3/10: I wanted to do the Incline again, but I was too busy.
AM: dog park walk, 40min.
mid-day: Tabata run: got my pace down to 7 and some upper 6’s at the end of the sets. And I didn’t feel like I was going to die. Progress!
Tabata Kettlebells: 36lbs. 12 swings per set.

Friday won’t be much of anything. We’re busy all day. This weekend though…I’ll need to find some other dirt to hit since I don’t go anywhere near the Pikes Peak/Incline trails on the weekend. Ciao!

May…and April? Ch, cha, cha, changes!

Oh, so it’s been a month. Sorry.
Short version: I did Whole30. Felt amazing: of course. I did not do the 30 days of running. I think I lasted a little over a week? I don’t know and I don’t care. I *DID* get in the groove of working out (or movement, walking, park, etc) every day which was the purpose of the running thing. But, yeah, I should be running…

Long version: I spent a lot of time trying to unpack, separate more things to sell/donate/downsize. Try to get this rental in order and feel like home.
During free time, or while doing things around town, we’ve been exploring parts of town to see what & where we like…and don’t like.
On April 25th (less than 2 weeks ago) we saw some open houses. Apparently it was “Open House Weekend” for Colorado Springs with a huge amount of open houses. We hit it off with a realtor, fellow trail runner and backpacker. We were very upfront that we were just browsing and planned to buy next spring after really getting a feel of town for about a year. Well, we had a couple houses we wanted to see, but didn’t see the rush. He was happy to set them up for us and we saw 3 on Sunday, the 26th. Loved one of them, but left with the thought of, “that’s awesome, but we need to think about it, we didn’t want to rush.”
He called that night and said, “the house has 3 offers from this afternoon.” WHOA. WTF. We were quickly educated that the market here is INSANE and things are getting multiple offers after 1 day on the market. He advised that if we were even halfway serious, to get our financials in order and be ready to make an offer if our dream house comes on the market. (which, was no surprise as the selling season is really heating up right now to start the summer)
So, Monday 27th he sets me up with email alerts of new listings as they hit the market in our price range and desired neighborhoods & we get our financials ready with our lender. Again, being very honest that it could be a month, 6, 8, or 12 before we are ready.
Wednesday (29th) late afternoon I get an email of a house at the low end of our budget, near Garden of the Gods. Whoa. This neighborhood is almost impossible to get into. Not many houses, people don’t leave, and location, Location, LOCATION. I go drive by and think it’s promising.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.38.44 PM
I call him immediately and say “we need to look at this ASAP. It will sell tomorrow.” The listing agent tells ours that we can’t see it until Friday, when the house is cleaned and cleared. Ok. Friday it is. Well, Thursday the listing agent calls ours and says, “There is serious interest, we have 5 showings Friday. If your clients want it, go today and put in an offer.” So last Thursday (30th–less than 1 week after “casually looking”) we are standing in the house (full, dirty, still with occupants…awkward) and put in an offer with a SIX HOUR limit for the sellers to accept. We knew that Friday morning they’d have more offers and we didn’t want a bidding war, nor could we really afford it. They accepted!
Found an inspector for THE NEXT DAY, Friday. I’m there with the Inspector, my Agent and K….and people are showing up for their showings. So. So. Awkward. But…schawiiiiing. Who is the winner? This gal. They were all pissed and saying things like, “oh, you’re so lucky! No one was supposed to see it until today!” Well, I don’t think “lucky” so much as “on top of things” and willing to take a huge risk of paying full ask,no concessions, on a house that needs work and is sold “as is”.

So. That was the last week and a half. In that time we’ve gotten contractor bids, finalized negotiations with the seller (even after no concessions, there were things to be worked out) and now are waiting on the lenders to do their job.

The final appraisal is tomorrow. I feel like this is the last hurdle. It could all fall apart next week when that report comes back, but I’m optimistic at his point because the sellers are VERY motivated as their closing on a new house is conditional on this one. And we are very motivated as we feel like this house is a steal…despite the work we will need to put into it.
Oh, the next house for sale in the neighborhood…listed at $110,000 MORE than ours. On a smaller lot, farther from the park. Sure, it’s almost double the size, but we wanted small + big lot. There’s no way we can afford anything else in this area.
3 trailheads, each LESS THAN a 1/4mi from the potential front door. ❤

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.36.07 PM
Oh yeah, the Red Rocks Canyon trails are close too.

So, less than 1 month of living here we’re about to move again. But, it feels right. The first place I’ve wanted to buy a house in over 10 years. I’ve found home!*
At this point if it doesn’t work out, I think we’ll be pretty disappointed and will take a break from looking. Nothing will compare to the house at this location (at this price).

*Pics of the house once it’s ours.

Colorado first “real” week: This and That. And a killer climb.

image

Visitor Welcome Center

I’m getting settled in our new home. I love, Love, LOVE it here. Sure, it’s not the big city, but it’s big enough and has everything we need. All the creature comforts: decent restaurants (even Thai and Vietnamese!), Whole Foods, REI, farmers markets, breweries, meat markets, you know, all the things yuppie/hipsters/people without kids need. My mantra all week was, “I can’t believe I live here!”
“Look at the mountains!”
“It’s so pretty, I can’t believe I live here!”
And on, and on, and on…

image

The view in The Springs!

I have been here a week and have adjusted well, I think. Way better than when I was here looking for a place to live at the beginning of the month. I only had a headache for one day and I only had one morning where I woke up super-early. Otherwise, I’m sleeping to or past 6am. AWESOME.

Saturday I did my first “real” workout. I’d been here less than a week and K strongly advised against it. He wanted to go to Garden of the Gods for an easy jog/walk on their trails. But, when I found out a friend’s boyfriend was going to the Manitou Incline…I couldn’t resist. I knew it would be bad. Nothing about this was a good idea. I negotiated and told him that I’d only make it to the Bailout point (about 3/4 of the way up, where it crosses a trail). <– Check out that video!! I would go as slow as I needed to to make it safely there. I brought my inhaler and we agreed on that plan. He mostly waited for me, would climb ahead, then wait…I’d catch up and he’d ask if I was ok, then he’d go on and repeat. And repeat. Made it to the Bailout and only used my inhaler once. Felt ok since I was going slooooooow. I knew if I felt ok that I’d never quit at the Bailout. He was going to keep going, so of course I did too. And…I made it! Haha.

image

Not dying.

I was one of the last to finish in our group, but I have to say I felt pretty great. Yes it was really hard, but I really took it easy since I didn’t know how my lungs and head would feel. So at the top we waited for almost 45min for the last guy in our group, took pictures, people watched….people do this in jeans and cowboy boots and flip flops….insane! Very much a mix of locals, people really training (like us), tourists, and families just on a stroll….a 1mile very uphill steep stairclimb stroll. Crazy.

image

Group photo…Pikes Peak in the background.

The way down the Incline is a 4 mile jaunt down the Barr Trail. This trail goes all the way up to Pikes Peak. It was very groomed (and crowded), but it’s steep enough for an awesome run down. Walking is fine too, but we let it carry us and I ran the whole way down. SUCCESS! Sure, it was high (6500-8500 feet), but I felt great. I’m very pleased that I handled the whole day better than I thought. I’m on the upswing and it’ll only get better!

Sunday I went to the Denver Botanical Garden for the Cactus & Succulent sale with Bridget. It was a really nice break from unpacking and living in amongst boxes. I’m totally into these little plants right now and love that there are so many neat things to do here!

image

My new project. Any succulent/cacti ideas?! Yes, that’s a desert alligator.

Back to the climb…since I felt like I handled the climb well, I told K Saturday night, “I think I’ll go back and do the Incline 2 more times this week!” *PAUSE* “Well, maybe I should see if I can walk tomorrow.”
Today is Monday and while I am pretty sore, it’s tolerable. Mostly my hips and lower back (bad form!). I’m really glad my quads and calves don’t have any feelings of soreness. I will probably wait until Tuesday-Thursday to go back. No need to push it.

I’m planning on trying out our CrossFit gym this week, and hopefully do the Incline at least once. Otherwise, I’ve been walking in our neighborhood and doing small active things without pushing too hard. Can’t wait to be 100% acclimated!

Even Whole Foods sells a version of “Bulletproof” coffee! So do the local cafes.
image

Now, hopefully back to a regular blog schedule…

image

Into the light!

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 8.30.30 AM
Pikes sunrise

…I see the light! In a good way. I haven’t had time to blog (isn’t that always the excuse?). Or I should say, “my life has been so crazy and stressful and changing, I had to set anything that wasn’t essential, aside.” So, blogging was one of those things.

What has happened since the last time I blogged? Gosh, when was that? Let me check…Jan 28. Bwahahahahahaha! Well, exactly a month after that blog, I was standing on a street in Colorado with full list of rental houses to check out. How did I get there?

Well, the last blog I wrote I as close to having peace and I could see the light. My husband had one offer in Virginia (at Quantico, DoD). An excellent job and offer, doing what he has studied and trained to do. An area we know well, were comfortable with, but not ideal (expensive, too far from the mountains/active lifestyle, but we’d make it work). He was thrilled about it…until Jan. when he progressed though the interview process with an opportunity in Colorado. We just didn’t think it would ever work out. Over 150 applicants, not gov’t related (what he had been focusing on), and when it seemed like he was a top contender, we didn’t think the offer would come close to the VA offer. Well, it did. And then some. The benefits were better, more stable work hours (not at the mercy of when units want to train), and COLORADO. All along I’ve told him that I would move wherever his job took him (within reason NEVER THE MIDWEST, my opinion did matter), as we moved to the New Orleans area for me. So, it’s his turn. I told him we could be happy at either location, but I have no shame in saying now that I pushed for CO. It’s more “us”. Way more us.

So, a week after he got an offer, he left Lake Placid, went to Ohio, came back to Nola. Less than a week after that we were on the road to CO.

image

Cadillac Ranch. Finest TX has to offer.

image

Found an old friend on our first day!

image

Girl Scouts at the library. He couldn’t resist.

image

Hotel takeout and House of Cards binge watching

I spent his first week of working desperately searching for a place to live…the rental market is insanely competitive! For instance, we found a charming little house and looked at it at 9:15am one morning. When we arrived, another couple was there (9am showing). We left that house to STAND IN LINE for an open house (for a rental!). Interviewed with the landlord. Put in application. Left there and went to the library and put in an application for first house. The next day we got a call that the 9am couple put in an application LESS THAN AN HOUR before us and they were approved. I did another interview with house 2, and we were one of the “top 3,” but didn’t get it. WTF.
Some highlights of our stressful week:

image

Cozy mountain house: not bad for our first local dinner with friends.

image

When there isn’t room in the freezer, apparently the porch is an acceptable option.

image

Cute!

image

Pickle bar?! Be still my heart.

We can pickle that!

mountain-pp-in-winter

Neighborhood view.

On my last scheduled day there, I had all but given up and accepted the fact that we’d rent an apt for 3-6mo and buy a house. We had originally planned to live there for a year, then buy next spring/summer. I was leaving worried, not knowing when I’d be back. See, I didn’t want to move all our things and the children dogs until I knew we had a place to live!
I looked at the house, had a long interview with the landlord hanging out by the wood burning stove in the living room…paid her all the money, and immediately drove back to Denver since my flight was the next morning. Stopped at Whole Foods, rudely texted Bridget asking to celebrate that evening on no notice, picked up some fun things, picked up K from his conference, and went to her house. Oh, did I mention how awesome it is to have people I know that I can text and see within a couple hours?! FRIENDS! I’ve missed them!
In the end, everything worked out. I found something and I think it’s going to be great. It’s an old cottage (100 years) last remodeled in the 70’s-80’s. Haha. But the neighborhood seems great and our landlord is the bomb. Super cool and laid back, big time cyclist. She didn’t flinch when I said the 3rd bedroom would be the “bike room”. She replied “oh, any bike person is good in my book!” (I’m not the bike person, he is) We got along great and we both think we’re a ‘good fit’ and she felt that was important.

Some points I sent out in an email to my family (with some edits for privacy):

image

IVYWILD. How will I not walk here every day for coffee? First world probs.

image

The rest of the house may be outdated, but the working stove sealed the deal.

“We’re in the revitalizing Ivywild neighborhood. Ivywild is a huge, old school.  They have: a coffee shop, a bakery, a charcuterie, a farmers market, a bike shop (K is excited about that) and a brewery…all in the school. The old gym of the school is still used as a gym with workouts and movie nights.
The house is about 15min from Pikes Peak. That’s just one of the many hiking areas. So many mountains and trails are close and all the ski resorts are about 2 hours (with lesser known ones closer).

It’s less than 10min (about 7, parking to parking) to Garden of the Gods, a huge free park with 15miles of trails for walking and hiking. Great rock formations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_of_the_Gods

2.8 miles from 7 Falls, a waterfall park. It has some trails, but has tons of stairs to climb to the top of the falls.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g33364-d276141-Reviews-Seven_Falls-Colorado_Springs_El_Paso_County_Colorado.html

Finally, Red Rocks is a park and amphitheater. It’s 4mi west near the Gods and Pikes peak. It’s open for hiking, climbing rocks, running in the amphitheater, when there aren’t concerts. Also free. ”

What I found out while browsing the web at the airport* to fly back to Nola, was that the best CrossFit & Weightlifting Club gym in the city is really close. REALLY close. Walkable, ride-able, maybe 5min in the car depending on stop lights? CLOSE.
* I do not recommend Googling something that has the potential to be VERY EXCITING, or you may end up not stepping on the airport escalator correctly, and falling down. In front of many people. I was that person.

SUCH a far cry from our life the past 2.5 years. Our gym was an hour away. Great restaurants and farmers markets and Whole Foods was 45min-1hr. All this stuff…just about walking distance now…AND running, riding or a short car ride to all the outdoor activities that were our priority (why we wanted to live on the West Side of town).

There you have it! We are THRILLED. I think I’ve found my place. And already, some people. (I’ve missed having friends close!) Or, at least my state. I’ve loved CO since I was a kid. I told K that he will have to drag me out, kicking and screaming. I’m ready to settle. I told him that I really don’t think I’ll want to leave CO, unless it was another western state like UT. Maybe.

imageNow, I’m back in the Dirrrty South, packing up our house. We’re I’m doing a POD move. Expensive, but we don’t have enough household goods to justify a moving company 18-wheeler (and more expensive), and a U-Haul is ridiculous, not reliable, and takes forever. Not to mention, I’m probably driving back to CO alone, and I wasn’t driving a U-Haul across TX and pull the car on a trailer. So stressful. Anyway, so far I’m a fan of the POD situation.

I’ll be back in CO soon, once the POD is picked up and I finalize my travel plans (can’t drive across TX and not see friends and sightsee!). I should be settled in the new house well before April 1, which has been my mental “life will be different and settled by then” date that I gave myself in Dec. So, it’s been a long several months, but totally happy with the way it’s all worked out.

Don’t expect another update for several weeks. I’ll just be realistic about that this time.

image

Shouldn’t have gone to REI on our first day, and 3rd day, and 4th day…