one last summer adventure

In the past 28 days:

  • We have traveled to 4 different cities
  • We have driven/been in a car for a total of 40+ hours
  • We have taken 4 flights (including layovers)
  • We have been home a total of 8 days

After our whirlwind trips to Branson and then to California, we took one last trip this summer out to Breckenridge, Colorado.  As most of you know, Matt is a high school cross country coach.  Almost every summer, the 3 coaches invite some of the varsity runners out for a trip to Colorado for a chance to run at altitude and challenge their bodies a little to make running look easy.  It’s an opportunity for them to grow as individuals and as a team, and MacKenna + I just happened to get invited to tag along on the trip!

This trip was much less about relaxing and more about being active than the other 2 trips.  Every day (minus the 2 days for traveling) involved some sort of physical activity, whether it was a hike, a morning run, a race, or white water rafting.  With MacKenna along for the trip, Matt + I had to take turns doing the activities + babysitting.  I wish we could have done everything together and that MacKenna could have participated with us, but it just wasn’t possible.

The first day involved an 8.5 mile, mostly downhill hike on the Peak’s Trail from Breckenridge to Frisco.  It was by far the easiest hike all week and gave us some beautiful views of the mountains.

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Our second day in Breck started with a 4-mile run.  The best thing about going on a trip with other runners is that you always have someone to run with!  With all the traveling we’ve been doing, my running has taken a back seat and the runs I have done have been quite awful.  However, this run in Breckenridge was my best run all summer.  My lungs felt great, my legs felt swift, and running just felt natural again.  I ran 4 miles in 29:45 – my fastest 4-miler postpartum and one of my postpartum goals!  It was a mostly downhill run, which I’m sure helped, but it definitely gave me some confidence in running again and has me pumped up to start training for a sub-20 minute 5K again.

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After the run, Matt + the rest of the team went on a hike to Mohawk Lakes (with mohawks shaved in their heads – the boys, at least), followed by white water rafting the next day, meaning I got to stay back and babysit M + the other coaches’ (who are also married) daughter Ava.  We spent some time walking around downtown shopping, riding the gondolas, and just enjoying the views of the mountains.

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When they returned from white water rafting, we loaded up the van and headed to Boreas Pass/Baker’s Tank for the Summit Trail Running Series weekly race.  I’m going to do an official race recap tomorrow, but let’s just say racing at altitude is freaking hard!

Our last day in Breck was by far my favorite day.  We were up early so that we could get to the trailhead of Quandary Peak early.  Quandary Peak is one of 58 14,000+ foot mountains in Colorado.  When I went with the team a few years ago, we did a hike of 4 14,000+ foot mountains – Democrat, Lincoln, Cameron, and Bross.  So, Quandary was my 5th 14er.

Quandary is classified as a Class 1 difficulty making it one of the easier summits to hike.  However, don’t let the Class 1 difficulty fool you.  This hike was HARD.  When you live at an elevation of 450 feet above sea level in Missouri and start hiking at 10,000 feet with a 3,000 foot elevation gain, you will be sucking wind.  It was hard and long and my quads + glutes were burning on the way up to the top, but the views were absolutely worth every step.

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I’ve run 2 marathons and have hiked 5 14,000 foot mountains.  While both take physical + mental toughness to finish, hiking 14ers is so much harder than running a marathon.  And you know what, I would do all 58 14ers before running another marathon.  I just feel so much more accomplished after those hikes.  They make me feel hardcore and tough and push me farther than I think I can go.  There’s no question in my mind than I can’t finish and at no time is there a point where I feel like I want to give up and turn around.  Maybe that’s it though – if I turn around, I still have to get back to the start, where a marathon, I can just be done.  I don’t know, but I do know that I will be hiking more 14ers than I will run marathons.

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So, there you have it.  4 cities, 28 days, and one heck of a hike to finish it all off.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

  • Dang, you are fast lady! What a neat way for your husband’s XC team to bond! Beautiful pictures of nature- thanks for sharing them.
    Kelly @ Runmarun recently posted..Weekend In Review: 7.21 & 7.22

  • I’ve never been to Colorado but the pictures are gorgeous!! What a blessing for your family to get so many awesome trips this summer!
    Danica @ It’s Progression recently posted..Food, Inc.

  • Mary Kratochvil (Kristen’s great aunt)

    Congraulations on your hiking accomplishments. You are one amazing young women.