Portrait of an “awful” weekend

“Your weekend sounds just awful to me,” my co-worker told me last Friday after hearing about everything I had planned. “I mean, I’m sure it will be fun, but just listening to all of that physical activity exhausts me.”

I laughed along with her because I couldn’t blame her for her response. It’s not too long ago that I would have had the exact same reaction, so I certainly knew where she was coming from, but I don’t have a single complaint with how it turned out.

Friday night, I stayed in and rested, watching a little tv with Anthony and prepping some equipment for the next two days. I turned down two happy hour requests and then another last-minute “come meet us at the bar” invitation in order to rest up for the next morning. I had a semi-early (8am…) wake-up call to go meet my friends Mario, Billy and Ted so that we could head over to City Park together to gather at the starting line of our 10k race. Ever since spontaneously signing up a few weeks ago, I had been dreading the race due to a combination of factors: my knee still has a tendency to feel pretty sore after running, none of my training runs had been more than 4.5 miles, and most of all, it is mid-February, after all, and the possibility for treacherous conditions and chilly temperatures was high.

Luckily, however, we woke up to the most perfect conditions I could have asked for. The sky was the clearest shade of blue that Colorado has to offer, there were only a few icy/snowy spots on the race route, and the sun was shining bright enough to make the mid-40-degree temperature feel downright comfortable. The sunny weather put everyone in good spirits, and we played off of our silly moods to build some excitement for the race to come. We met up with some more friends once we got to the race, and enjoyed the cheery atmosphere before approaching the starting line.

Although I had several people to run with, I warned them all about my trepidation and that I was not going to hold anyone back, and was perfectly prepared to run by myself. I had “Rihanna Radio” playing on Pandora on my iPhone and was not going to get down on myself if I finished dead last, rocking out to some cheesy music by myself. The boys were shooting for a sub-1-hour finish, so I told them I’d stick with them for as long as I could before hanging back on my own.

Somehow, though, I was able to keep up with them for almost the whole race! I think it was a combination of the motivation of friends (and my competitive nature to hold my own), my pumped up tunes, the pretty weather and my happy mood, but all in all the race actually felt great. I glanced at the clock as I crossed the finish line, and knew I had just gotten a new PR. The official time I got was 1 hour, 41 seconds, which I think is actually a little higher because we were in the back of the crowd at the starting line and didn’t cross right when the clock began (they didn’t have any of those cool shoe timing chips). Even still, however, it was definitely a personal best for me. I had done last year’s BolderBoulder, with far more training, at a little over 1:03 — which I just had to look up because I thought it was 1:07 — guess I don’t keep track of my times very well!

Our good moods extended past the finish line, and we headed over to one of my favorite restaurants afterward for bottomless mimosas and brunch before parting ways for a bit of R&R after such a physical morning.

After I had showered and rested, Anthony and I packed up the car and headed to Frisco to meet up with some friends and spend the night. We went out to a local brewery for beers and dinner (I had no qualms about consuming heavy beers and fried food after that morning’s performance!), and caught up with Anthony’s high school buddies, who are serving as ski patrol in the mountains this winter.

Sunday morning, I rose bright and early again, but this time, bundled up in my snow gear for a day on the slopes. I rode with some friends to Arapahoe Basin, where I was treated to some more fun times on my snowboard. Again, I started out the morning preparing my friends for my own shortcomings, as they are all more experienced than I am and I have a healthy fear of the tougher runs. So, I told them that I’d stick with them for awhile, but wouldn’t be offended if they wanted to ditch me when I got too far behind. However, again, my competitive side won out and I was able to keep up with them all pretty much all day. As a beginner-to-novice boarder, I’m finding that every time I go I show marked improvement in my skills and confidence, and this was one of my best days yet. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll plateau in my abilities, but for now it’s a lot of fun learning and improving, pushing my limits each time and surpassing my own expectations.

We pretty much rode the mountains non-stop, only stopping for a rest in the bar once (“It’s beer-thirty!”) and pausing for lunch on “the beach.” A-Basin is fun because it is frequented mostly by locals and has this area near the parking lot at the base of the runs where people tailgate. There are dogs and beers and grills and girl scouts (capitalizing on the half-drunk athletes when they are most hungry — who wouldn’t want those cookies??) and tents and yard games and much more. This is one of the things I love most about Colorado — the people never miss an excuse to have a party outside!

After we spent the afternoon hitting as many runs as we could, we met up with Anthony and friends for happy hour at a local Mexican place. You can’t beat a margarita and nachos after a cold day on the slopes. Well, you can’t beat that, unless… a hot tub is available. And yes, we ended up back at Adam’s and took advantage of a little hot tub time out in the snow to take the edge off our sore muscles before driving back to Denver.

Needless to say, my weekend was in no way “awful” as my friend had predicted. Quite the contrary, really, and it left me smiling ear to ear almost constantly (other than the painful final few steps of the race, at which time I had a camera pointing at my face — of course!!). One thing she was right about, though? I’m exhausted!

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