A Lot Can Happen in A Year!

So, with yet another Hawthorn in the near future, I remembered that I hadn’t given this blog any attention in about a year. A lot happened. And as usual, I just like to note that 140 miles at a time is about a lot of things with running smacked right in there It’s about being well-rounded and balanced to become a better athlete. So here goes!…
First and foremost, the journey to my engineering degree continues. I’m wrapping up spring semester now. I need a t-shirt that says “I survived Calculus!” because that stuff ain’t easy after a 10+ year break from it! Either way, the grades are good and it’s all getting easier and much more routine. I like to review everything after each semester too. I don’t just want to learn everything for the grade. I really want a strong grasp on the subject matter so I’m more confident. A little second round on it all seems to be the trick with me. And hey, there’s still a brain up there! Who knew!?
My last bit of Calc in all its brain-busting glory
My goal with this degree is to get into security with a focus on web exploitation. This kind of stuff has interested me since I was a teenager but I never really knew what to do with it or how to get into it then. I think that’s what deterred me from fully pursuing software engineering the first time. Now, I feel I have direction. It’s a great field that allows for remote work, travel, independence, and contracting with multiple companies. I love the idea of being the one who is supposed to attack your website and make it stronger against actual illegal hacks. And of course, I’ll be capable of general network/Internet security too. I want to be that person who will find your weak spots and make your company into a fortress. It feels like a competition to me (and ya know I love competition). That moment where I can be like “haha! I broke in!” will be so satisfying. Then I get to fix it and help others learn how to stay safe and protected.
My work schedule is a dream right now and I’ve been able to just keep running regularly. I love working remotely in tech support/IT now as it cuts out time wasted in a commute and allows me to travel freely. I take time off for actual vacations, but when I get a chance to hop on a plane last minute (like a recent trip to Chicago and potentially another one coming up), I can just load up my gear and go! I had a 3.5 hour notice for the last trip and pulled it off!😀 It’s awesome and will be totally helpful when I’m traveling more for racing again. Plus, having a great boss who I can talk to and awesome co-workers I can laugh with, keeps my days stress free. Since we’re spread all over the country, we often have a call together through Skype while we work and it’s the best. I love it. On top of all that, I get tuition reimbursement!
Sean and I wrecked a Giordano’s deep dish on the Chicago trip!
Goofin’ Off
Snowboarding dominated much of my winter with a student discount(!) on the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus. We did two vacations on top of regular mountain hopping (one group trip with some friends here to Steamboat and then just the two of us to Crested Butte). So, meh, running didn’t start picking up again until spring. It was more of a supplemental thing over the cold months. Colorado has so much to do, it’s hard to just focus on running, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was mostly doing it just to keep up fitness again since I kept getting distracted and wanted to take advantage of other activities. It’s good for training and mental health later when the miles get crazy.  But anyway, now with the nice weather, I just want to be out on the roads again and, luckily, miles comeback as easy as breathing. Years of muscle memory will do that apparently! (Thank Baby J!)
Sean and I hittin’ the slopes at Steamboat
We’ve also been climbing when we get the chance. Let me tell you, that is a HARD sport. For somebody who has legs like tree trunks and is built like a chicken on the top, going vertical is crazy. I’ve gotten better at coordinating my legs to help though and that makes it better. Since I’m pretty lazy when it comes to strength training, I like to do something that’s fun and challenging and this seems to be it. I notice obviously it’s helped my arms, but my back and core really get a workout and deep stretch pulling me up. So, I feel like I finally found something that will balance me out a bit!
I started at a bouldering gym but now I top rope and it’s A LOT more fun. Plus the gym has spin, yoga and strength classes.
I’ve been working on the boat and bought some new lines and a jib halyard for her and officially named her “Mittens”.  I had been calling her “Nermal II” after my last Hobie for awhile but she needed a name for herself. It’s traditional to name Hobie Cats with, of course, a cat name. She’s all laced up and just needs some final cleaning and a few more touch-ups on the paint before I get her out on the water again. This year, we’re hoping to lake hop around Colorado up in the mountains. I have a trailer hitch on my Cobalt, which is something I never thought I’d do to that little car but the the boat is fairly light and the car has a surprising towing capacity. I got my eye on you Lake Granby! I’ve sailed longer than I’ve been a runner and having a Hobie again has been incredible. I love that boat!
 “Mittens”, the Hobie 16, after her final sail of 2015.
Seeing some live music again lately has been great too. Sometimes, ya just have to let loose and have a good night getting some greasy food and drinks and jumping in the crowds. I’ve seen After the Burial, Erra, Rush, Worriers, Beach Slang, Lithuania, the coolest Rush and Van Halen/Who cover bands, and freekin Iron Maiden!!!! Coming up we have Journey, Gordon Lightfoot, and Dream Theater. Plus I got my eye possibly on the Telluride Ride Festbecause PEARL JAM (zomg). I think music, especially live, is just a real energy booster and hopping in a wild crowd is just as therapeutic as hammering miles. So, I’m happy to be back at that.
Iron Maiden at the Pepsi Center in Denver was incredible!
I also got back into crochet over the winter. I don’t like to just sit and watch TV or movies. I have to be doing something else while I’m just sitting. In the past, I made a lot of basic beanies for adults and such but the baby hat and clothes world is adorable! (My poor future kid is going to have a ton of hand-made clothes. Sorry future kid!) I’m also getting into purses and chalk bags for climbing now too. I have sort of started an Etsy Shop but I’ve been more about just making stuff for fun. I’m not too sure about having enough time to keep up an inventory but may be more serious in the future on that.
Some of my winter projects: Chevron dress and rose hat for my friend’s baby. Masa bag for me
Keepin’ it Healthy
I’m feeling great and it’s sticking with me this time. I’m continuing with a vitamin combination and other supplements to keep up the energy and focus and it’s been a steady 8 months of not feeling crummy. I don’t turn my nose up at junk food or some tasty craft beers (damn you, Colorado breweries!) but as long as the good stuff gets in, it’s totally OK, to have cheats.
I’m really getting into these recipes lately:
I work closely with my doctor to keep up my physical health and a therapist to keep me mentally motivated and in the right direction. (Kara Goucher really inspired me to do the latter :)  Can you tell she’s one of my idols yet? ). It’s really helpful to be surrounded by positive people to supplement good friends and my boyfriend who has also kept me going for so long. I’m pretty lucky. Actually, I’m damn lucky!
The motherload of vitamins and supplements!
SO, I got a coach to reel me in again and make sure I don’t head to crazy miles town constantly😛 . More to come on the new adventures later but I’ll be working with a highly recommended coach from Indiana. He has 25 years of coaching experience, a degree in Exercise Science and Wellness, and is coaching other Olympic Trials runners. I did my research this time and I know I can trust this coach. Plus, I felt like I was ready for competition again! This guy is the real deal.
Next, I joined up with Oiselle’s Team Volee! For a long time now, I’ve really liked Oiselleand their mission. It’s women who are fed up with many negative aspects of the running world and decided to be proactive about it.  I like the support and the message they’re sending out and am happy to be a part of it now. Joining this team gets you a discount, free shipping, early access to releases, a singlet and a bag. Plus, a portion of your membership goes to help fast chicks train and race. It’s well worth it to join this group. On top of that it helps you connect with other members in your area, which is really important when the training gets tough. Support the sisterhood! #headUpWingsOut !
Lil’ Side Project
Finally, not much but an outline yet on a work in progress, but I have a project going that will make the coaching world a safer, more legit place for runners seeking guidance. I’m hoping to also add a lot more runner resources also based on my experiences and the experiences of runner friends. Now just to find the time to get that in the mix! I feel like I’ve been thinking/talking about it forever and just need to freekin get working!
Wrappin’ it up..
I guess that’s it for now and I hope to write more after Hawthorn and with future races and training! Living in Colorado just keeps getting more awesome and I really feel more grounded here now. I never expected to settle in so far from water and in a place that takes running so seriously but I’ve learned how to make it work for me and I feel great about my future here now.
Run Happy!


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