Hiking in Colorado

If you want to get fit, come to Colorado.

My brother told me that Colorado has the fittest people in the nation, and I believe that wholeheartedly. The atmosphere and culture just scream: “Outdoors! Stay active! Wear sneakers!”

I mean, with this kind of land, how could the culture not be that way?

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When in Colorado, do as Colorado people do. So we’ve been getting outdoors and climbing ALL the rocks!

(Warning: A ridiculous amount of photos ahead!}

Monday: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

We started with a delicious breakfast a la hotel.

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scrambled eggs, hard boiled egg, Canadian bacon + oatmeal with honey, banana, and pb

other half of banana with more peanut butter

Mom: “Alison’s cooking.” ➔ aka cutting up a banana and spooning peanut butter onto my oatmeal.

Then we were off to Red Rocks! As soon as I started walking up the hill and stairs, my heart started beating what felt like twice as fast as usual. Hello, high altitude!

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But the beauty of the red rocks distracted me from my lack of lung capacity.

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The good people of Colorado were doing their thing, working out at the amphitheater by running the bleachers and climbing the stairs. Ben and I were inspired!

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 had to throw some burpee bench jumps in there

Ben and I decided to walk on the quick and leisurely 1.4 mile trail around the red rocks. Man, was it fantastic.

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Our time at Red Rocks ended up being a great workout between all the stairs and walking, so we were definitely ready for lunch afterwards.

DSC_0960 some Enlightened crisps to snack on

Ben found a Nepalese/Indian restaurant with great reviews on Yelp called Sherpa House. It was an all you can eat buffet for $9.99! NAAN, PLEASE AND THANKS.

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After a mighty satisfying lunch, Ben and I explored the town we were in— Golden, CO. My motive for exploration was finding ice cream, to be honest. But the quaint, western town was beautiful and charming! (We found awesome ice cream though. Caramel Oreo + Bing Cherry, oh my goodness.)

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The rest of our day was spent in our hotel room resting/blogging until we went out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with some family friends. I had the roasted vegetable salad with grilled chicken, which I totally devoured. Plus lots of bread and olive oil.

Tuesday: Bear Peak

This hike was probably the hardest workout I’ve ever done. At least, it’s up there. If you see a little Asian waddling with a look of pain on her face in Colorado today and tomorrow, it’s probably me.

I woke up at 7:30, and my body felt pretty tired— not quite sore, but just lead-like. I knew that Ben and I had a long hike planned at Bear Peak, but I secretly wasn’t opposed to just chillaxin’ instead. But we got up, ate breakfast, and tackled the darn hike. We are in Colorado!

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scrambled eggs + pineapple + oatmeal with honey and pb (I didn’t end up eating the yogurt)

but I did have a quarter of my mom’s waffle with the rest of the honey and banana

Let me just commentate our hike for you. We heard great things about this trail, the weather was perfect, and we were excited (Ben a little more so than I). The hike was almost 8 miles and took us just over 5 hours.

I knew it was going to be a tough hike, and I consider myself to be fairly fit, but WOWZA this hike was a whole ‘nother level for me.

At the start:

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In my head: Oh that’s cute. The start of the trail is going downhill. Bringing you down to go up. 

Me: It’s so not cool to be hiking up a mountain when you just ate a large breakfast.

Ben: Some people run up this mountain. In the winter.

Me: If we see a mountain lion or bear, the plan is that I get up on your shoulders and we make ourselves look huge. I’ll try not to scream and you just back away. And you film the whole thing.

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The hike up to the summit was about 3 miles, with 1.1 miles being straight up. Those 1.1 miles were the death of me. Ben had to stop several times for me to catch my breath. If I want to make excuses, I’d say we were climbing from 6,000 ft to 8,000 ft elevation, which is way up there for this city girl. I’m also a high maintenance packer who brought two water bottles, lots of snacks, and my jacket in my honker of a backpack.

Me: I feel like I’m using the stair master, running, doing burpees, and squatting all at the same time.

Ben: We have about 1,000 ft of elevation left. ➔ I give him a silent death stare.

Me: I definitely should have eaten pizza last night. Need carbs.

Me: My glycogen stores are depleting. I need a snack.

 peanut butter and banana on whole wheat sandwich thin

 A girl about our age was climbing up behind us, and I let her pass us because she was a beast and powered through those rocks much faster than I. Poor Ben had to keep stopping for me, but he said that made it easy for him. Ha.

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After a sweaty and butt-killing 2.5 hours, we carefully climbed up the rocks at the summit and just soaked. it. in.

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In my head: Worth it. Also, don’t fall off the mountain.

We ate a power lunch/snack at the summit before heading back down the longer but less steep 4 mile trail down the mountain.

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sweet potato, eaten just like that

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The hike down was so much less strenuous than the hike up (thanks, gravity), but it was still interesting. There was a creek that was rushing pretty hard due to melting snow, and we had to cross it back and forth at least ten times. Our feet got completely wet, but it was still a fun challenge to figure out how to cross each time.

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Ben: I lied about this being the drier side of the mountain.

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we climbed up that whole left side of the mountain

In my head: If anything will kill me on this hike, it would be a fly buzzing past my ear, causing me to spazz out and fall off the cliff.

Our last obstacle of the hike was passing by a rattlesnake, which made my heart beat just as fast as when we were ascending the mountain.

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7.8+ miles and 5+ hours later, we made it back to where we started. It was an incredible experience and I absolutely loved this hike, despite the pain my legs are in right now.

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I ate two more of those peanut butter banana sandwiches upon finishing. 🙂

Showers and relaxation were much needed afterwards. Then dinner! Mom took us to a Vietnamese restaurant, where I ate a rice vermicelli bowl with grilled pork and tons of veggies, herbs, and ground peanuts. We also shared egg rolls as an appetizer. Hit the spot so good.

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As you can see, I housed that bowl. Hiking hunger is as real as “runger.” I even had room for frozen yogurt.

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peanut butter and cookies ‘n’ cream with graham cracker crumbs, hemp granola, and mochi

Now it’s time to sleep. Does anyone who is attending Blend wanna bring a foam roller?

Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Your lesson of the day: eat the dang pizza.

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Linking up this hiking and eating extravaganza with WIAW!

So tell me:

What is the hardest workout you’ve ever done?

Do you like hiking?

What sweet treats have you eaten lately? 

Weekend Moves and Grooves {MIMM #25}

Today? School? What the heck is school?

Yes, yes. The time has finally come to go back to the grind after a seemingly endless string of snow days and then winter break. As much as I’ll miss my days of chillaxin’, I’d say it’s about time to get back into a routine. Spring is upon us, and I need to buckle down for all the events coming up!

This last weekend before turning my brain back on included a ton of moves & grooves (naturally), and a lot of delicious eats. All marvelous things!

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Linking up with Katie‘s Marvelous in My Monday!

Friday

This was technically my last day to myself since dance started back up on Saturday, so I definitely soaked up the time. My morning started off with my favorite breakfast— overnight oats. After reading blogs and doing some religious education prep, I went to my happy place and baked some banana nut muffins (using this recipe + walnuts). Does anyone else feel that baking is therapeutic? Or maybe I just think it’s therapeutic because I know I’ll have a sweet end product. 😉

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Moves

I headed to the gym for a bodyweight leg workout. After a 5 minute warmup on the arc trainer, I completed 3 rounds of each set of these bodyweight exercises:

  • 10 modified pistol squats (each leg) + 20 Bulgarian split squats (each leg)
  • 60 sec. wall sit (I did hold a weight for this one) + 20 lunge pulses each leg
  • 20 hamstring ball curls + 20 single leg bridge lifts (each leg)

Short and sweet! I ended with a quick 8 minute ab tabata that included 2 rounds of: toe touches, Russian twists, Spiderman planks, reverse crunches, side plank hip raises right and left, cross knee tuck planks, and ankle touches.

Then my mom came home with sashimi. She’s the best. ❤

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I also made a valiant effort to finally continue reading Catching Fire on Friday. Yeah, I’ve prolonged reading that book for about two years now. I still only read about 5 more pages…I’m not dedicated enough. But I wanna watch the dang movie, so that’s my motivation.

I was probably distracted by the awesomeness of this dinner:

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Sesame soba noodles (made by Mom), bell peppers, coconut oil roasted brussels sprouts, cashews, and a soft-boiled egg.

Everything was already prepped thanks to Mom, so this dinner came together in about 2 minutes, and it ROCKED. And if I may… #eattherainbow.

Saturday

I woke up thinking, “Wow. I actually have to do stuff today.” That stuff included dance from 11 AM -4 PM and then Mass at 5:30 PM. In the evening, we went out for a Groupon dinner (surprised?) at one of our favorite Persian restaurants. I totally spoiled my appetite by eating a snack at 4:30 after dance and then eating way too much of the appetizer. It was a delicious eggplant dip with house-made naan.

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I had only a few bites of my entree because I was already so full. Amazing falafel salad! I was sad that I couldn’t eat more of it.

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Lucky for me though, the waitress took quite a while before taking our dessert order and bringing them out, so I had time to digest and make room for the good stuff 🙂 Persian saffron ice cream and THE BEST saffron pistachio cake. I think it’s my favorite cake ever!

Sunday

Compared to others’ Sundays, mine are usually pretty long and full. It kinda goes against Sunday as a day of rest, but teaching Sunday school and dancing aren’t really considered work. It’s a joy to spread God’s teachings and dance with my girls!

My friend in dance company, Rachel, baked blueberry muffins for our brunch yesterday, and it hit the spot. I am a HUGE sucker for blueberry muffins. Hers had cinnamon and so many plump blueberries! Thank you for making my day, Rachel. 🙂

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Dance rehearsal was especially tiring yesterday, so I was more than ready to relax at home with my parents to watch the Harding-Kerrigan-20-year-later special (<—did anyone else watch that? the tension is real.) and the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. I smiled at Russia’s sense of humor as they mocked their own opening ceremonies.

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I’m sad that they’re over! Sochi bear’s tears almost made me cryI guess it’s a good thing though, because I would be staying up until the wee hours of school nights to watch them. My family always gets really into the games…as you can tell from our hockey-watching drama. We’re already looking forward to Rio! Oh, and the World Cup is this year too, right? So we’ll turn into soccer fans for a little while just for that. 

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#TeamUSA

So this is goodbye to the Olympics and my perpetual winter break. Unless it snows again. If it does, I can kiss my spring break goodbye.

It was a wonderful weekend though, and I hope the same is true for all of you! Have a great Monday, friends!

So tell me:

Do you find baking/cooking therapeutic?

What is the best cake you’ve ever had?

Three things you did this weekend!