Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Vacation Part One

All the laundry has officially been caught up, there are groceries in the kitchen, and we've all almost gotten back into the swing of things. You know it was a great vacation if you need a vacation to recover from it, right?

Well, here it is:

The Hansen Summer Vacation of 2007

Day One:

We rented a car and got stuck with a PT Cruiser. We tried to get out of it, but were unsuccessful. So we ventured from Wichita, KS to Estes Park, CO in an ugly orange granny car. We brought our bikes, not exactly the type of car you'd expect to see lugging a bike rack, but oh well.

After about 7 hours of traveling listening to Sirius Radio (the only good feature about the cruiser) we made it to beautiful Estes Park.

We Checked in to the Mt. Yipsilon Lodge at the YMCA of the Rockies. If you ever go to Estes, you should stay there. It's an incredible, Huge facility, and the view is the best in town!

Day one was completed with a late night dinner in town and some much needed rest.

Day Two:

After a good night's sleep, we awoke to the fresh mountain breeze. I hit the pavement and tried to acclimate to the altitude and prepare for Sunday's run. It was tricky, but we all know I survived it.

After a delicious breakfast at The Egg and I, we rode the Aerial Tram to the top of Prospect Mountain.

Once we were at the top we bought peanuts to feed the locals, the chipmunks.

After we fed all the chipmunks we could handle, we took the tram back down.

All that excitement proved to be too much for Judah and he crashed in the car. We took the quiet time as a chance to go explore the Rocky Mountains.

We saw many beautiful peaks and ranges. We also came in close contact with some male elk playing alongside the road.

A couple of motorcycles came by and scared the elk back across the street, right in front of our car.

We'd already saw a herd of mamas and babies the night before, not knowing how aggressive they are this time of year we got out and took video of them. By the time we saw the males we'd been warned about them and we stayed inside this time.

We headed back to go swimming only to be shut out due to lightening in the area. So we killed time by visiting the library on the property and helping Judah not fall behind on his summer reading goal.

After the storm passed we swam in a chilly pool.
I enjoyed getting cleaned up and playing in town at the "Big Slide."

After a yummy dinner, we headed 'home' for bed. I was up bright and early for the run the next morning.

Day Three:
13.1 Half Marathon...awe so beautiful!

The rest of the day was spent by eating at the "Father's Day Buffet," Checking out the river walk and local stores, playing, and riding that slide again!
Day Four:

Playgrounds, mini golf, Smoky The Bear, laundromats, bunk beds, and so much more!

Judah Began singing "It's fun to stay at the YMCA," and really meant it!

Day Five:

It was sadly time to check out of the YMCA and leave that priceless view of the Rockies behind. Judah hit the cafe one more time to get his new favorite snack, fruit smoothies, and then we hit the town one last time for some last minute souvenir shopping.

And what trip to the mountains would be complete with out horseback riding. Or in Judah's case a wrangler ride around the parking lot! He enjoyed riding 'Little Bit' before we left town.

This was the last picture taken in Estes Park. We headed off for a shorter drive to Colorado Springs that afternoon.

I'll call that Part Two and get that up soon.


Monday, June 25, 2007

I Finished

A million thank yous to all of you!

I think I took at least one song from all of your suggestions and it created one of the best play lists ever.

Running alone at an elevation of about 7,500 feet above sea level created it's challenges, but I just cranked the volume to over power the sound of my breathing and ran on.

If it wasn't the lack of oxygen taking my breath away it was the amazing views. The Rocky Mountains are overwhelmingly beautiful.

After a solid 6 miles uphill, and several more ups and downs, I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:06:59. I'm so proud of that and you all deserve some of the credit. You got me there with your motivating suggestions. Thank you.

It was an unforgettable experience. As I sent a message to my biggest motivator, Wendy, and let her know I was done, she let me know and now all of you, she'll be there, "Next Year."

I know she will.

Post race was another unforgettable experience as well. I'm revelling in my first high altitude experience, sporting my finisher medal, and hitting the buffet of food. Plain to say I was feeling good. Kenton goes to get "me" a freshly brewed beer, we laugh as he takes this picture.

(Side note: I hate beer and even if I did like it, I WOULDN'T be drinking it as a recovery drink after 13.1 miles in the mountains.)

I might as well have drank it though because the altitude caught up with me and I wasn't feeling so good anymore.

As I managed not to fall down as I walked out, even though I barely had any sight left, Kenton got me back to the room and enjoyed taking another humorous picture as I lost my battle with the high altitude.

awe... that's nice.

It took just a bit and all was well again.

We had an awesome vacation and we have about a million pictures to share with you. As soon as I get them all loaded, I'll be posting them.

The Half Marathon was a blast inspite of the toilet hugging. Hey, it could have been worse. It's the Elk birthing season and I was given specific warnings and instructions on what to do should I come face to face with an over protective mama elk. (Stare them in the eyes, raise your hands in the air to appear as big as possible, back away slowly, and if your chased, run for water.)

So, given the option, I'll take the puking!

You guys are great friends and anytime you hear a good song that I should have, keep sending them my way!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Little Help From My Friends

As many of you know we are heading off on vacation this week.
Yes, vacation! Every time I think about it I get that song by the Go-Gos stuck in my head.

"Vacation All I ever wanted Vacation Had to get away....." Of course when I hear it I can't help but let my mind drift to the sounds of Angelica, from Rugrats, singing it as the family was heading off to the "Graham Canyon." Therefore solidifying that I really do need to get out of the house more!

Never the less, whether to the tune of a cartoon character or not, we're off in just a few days!


We are heading directly to Estes Park, Colorado and planning on about four fun filled days in the Rocky Mountains. Then we are climbing down a bit to see the Ross' in Colorado Springs. With a day trip planned for the Royal Gorge in the middle of the week. Or if you talk to Judah, "the big hole with a river going through it."

Lots and lot of fun, I'm sure.

I've never been to Estes and wasn't planning on it anytime soon, until about a month ago my Runner's World magazine listed the Estes Marathon and Half Marathon as a "Must run" this summer. Knowing that my body wasn't ready for another full marathon just yet, I thought a nice halfer up in the mountains would be a good challenge and it sounded fun.

So there you have it..... an entire vacation created around a run. I'm guilty. I've gone to the obsessed level.

I've been training hard with three half marathon training runs the past four weeks and several fast races.

Speaking of fast. My husband challenged me to a 5K. He proclaimed for all to hear that he was going to beat me at the Victory in the Valley 5K on June 2nd. His big talk got me and my Dad roaring to take him on. We all blasted at the start and I thought maybe Kenton was going to live up to his challenge. But unfortunately he spent too much time talking and not enough time training. Me and my old man caught him and left him behind.


71 Randy Carlile 50 M Wichita KS W 24:41
I had two goals.
1. Beat Kenton (or try my best to be a good loser)
2. Set a new personal record and come in under 25 minutes.
It was a good day, I did both! All that extra push got me a third place medal too. I was really humbled, even if my "ha!" to Kenton didn't show it.
So, all that to say..... training has been going well and I expect to have a nice run this Sunday. I know that high altitude is going to be a challenge and I'll need some extra endurance to push through.
That's what I need from ALL of you. A little help.
You see, one of my greatest gifts in life has been the gift of Mrs. Wendy Grist as a running partner. She's an incredible friend, encourager, runner, and believer. Recently her health has prevented her from running. She knows and I know that God is going to heal her and we are both patiently awaiting the day we can spend hours out on the trails, running through Wichita. She even mention out next challenge should be an Ultra-Marathon. That's when crazy people run over 50 miles at a time. She's all heart and God has blessed her spirit.
I miss her terribly though. All my training has been in solitude. Just me and my iPod and few good songs to help me keep going. It's okay, but it's not the same. For now, it'll have to do. God had told Wendy to wait and as her health hasn't currently improved, she has no other choice.
Just thinking of her gives me more inspiration to get off my seat and push a little harder every time.
My mantra as of right now is, "I Run because.....Wendy can't."
She's continually encouraged me to cherish running and never give up. I just love her so much.
Pray for her, if you aren't already.
All that to say, can you all help inspire me for the long lonely run I have coming up? I need good songs to put in my ears. They don't have to be sacred or "christian", sometimes they just need a good beat.
Currently one of my favorites is, "All These Things That I've Done," by The Killers. You should check it out.
Friends and family, please over load me with your suggestions. I've got credit at iTunes and I'm ready to reload my Nano. Can you help me?

Friday, June 08, 2007

One Year Anniversary

It's been 365 days since I decided to go outside and try to run around the block.

365 Days

4 Pairs of shoes

countless t-shirts

a few medals

and one thankful heart for this gift

Kenton insisted that I put on all of my t-shirts. It proved to be trickier than I expected. So eventually we just had to hang them around me.

I can't wait to show you what this year is going to bring.