Author Archives: fearofbananas

Feeling Flat

I had an amazing weekend and Monday was, well, a Monday. I’ll recap the weekend which included a trip to Vail and a super fun mountain bike ride on Cougar ridge from Vail to Minturn, but I’m waiting on photos. I was a slacker and didn’t take any or have my GPS, so it would be a boring post if I wrote it now.

 

In general, I’m feeling tired, sore, and in need of rest and the past few days have made that very apparent.

Workout – Monday

Yesterday morning I planned on heading to the gym to do some strength training, but when I opened the door to a cool morning I couldn’t resist running. Cool weather is hard to come by here in Colorado lately. We’ve had mid-90s temps for a few days now. It is kind of unbearable if you ask me.

I ran down to the park the stopped and did my strength circuits plus an extra just for fun.

 

Circuit 1

  • Front & back lunges – 6x each, each side
  • Incline push ups on low bar – 15x
  • Burpees – 15x
  • Repeat

Circuit 2 

  • Lateral pull-ups on medium bar – 15x
  • Hanging tucked leg lifts – alternating sides – 6x each
  • Squat jumps – 15x
  • Repeat

Circuit 3

  • Tricep dips – 15x
  • Reverse crunches on bench – 15x
  • Lunge jumps, alternating – 10x each side
  • Repeat

I ran home for a total of a little over 2 miles of running, but it felt like a lot more with those circuits mixed in!

Biking/Commute

Evan and I drove to work, but planned on riding home together. I love being able to commute with Evan. It is great to have a buddy and helps me push harder, slow down, spin more, support me or whatever it happens to be that I need on the particular day. Yesterday, it was just someone for support and to tell me to shift and spin instead of mashing my pedals.

I was tired. My legs weren’t burning or hurting, they  just wouldn’t go. I felt tired through my whole body and no matter how much I shifted, pedaling still wasn’t getting any easier.

We still made it home in reasonable time, about 53 minutes from my office, and I was thrilled to get off the bike.

The morning workout + uphill commute + nearly 100 degree temps beat me up.

Mountain Biking

Clearly, I needed some rest after yesterday’s ride home and this morning’s very sore legs, but I don’t take well to rest days, so I attempted a mountain bike ride this morning before work. It wasn’t my best ride, I didn’t make it far, I fell when I shouldn’t have, but ya know what, it was still awesome to be outdoors getting sweaty before a day in the office.

 

I only rode for about 30 minutes and kept it super easy to hopefully just get my legs moving enough to work out some of the tightness.

One Year

A year ago today I started this little blog of mine. I had some loose direction as to where I wanted it go, what I would blog about and how often I would blog. I’m pretty sure I have strayed from all of those and still don’t have a much clearer direction. For now, it is my place to share anything and everything, but I mainly try to keep it to healthy living related stuff like running, cycling, hiking, other adventures, travel and foodie stuff. I have no idea where it will go in the future, but it is something I truly enjoy and has become therapeutic for me, so I think it will stick around for a while.

30-Day Challenge Update

It has been about 10 days since I set my challenges so I am a bit overdue for an update.

Running: Sadly, I had to give it up. My knee was not getting better even with only one easy mile per day. The last I ran, until today, was about a week ago I think. My body needed it and there was just no sense in pushing myself to get through only one mile, because that is all I could tolerate, day after day.

I would love to add a new challenge to replace the running, but I’d rather wait until I finish the first set then start new challenges all at the same time.

No Alcohol: Easy-peasy. I really only had one day that was tempting last week while I was at a work event, but other than that, it is not big deal.

Workout

This morning I knocked out my strength training workout in about 25 minutes total. And that might even include my travel time to and from the gym. Believe me, I still felt it. I was drenched in sweat and shaky by the time I left. I really love those workouts.

 

I grabbed running clothes hoping to get out at lunch time and hoping even more that I could run more than a quarter of a mile before my knee started hurting. Well, the week of no running paid off! I ran 3 miles with zero pain. My legs were tired from yesterday’s riding and this morning’s lifting, but given the short distance I kept a reasonable pace. Booya! It was super hot out otherwise I would have run longer just because I was excited to be running!

Snack

I had lunch after my run and it was good, but then I polished off some raspberries as an afternoon snack! They’ve been on sale so I am snatching them up and eating them anytime I want totally guilt free. So good!

 

I’ve got an exciting evening of haircut, girls dinner for charity, and a birthday bbq!

Have a wonderful evening!

Hazelnut Crusted Chicken & Beet Salad

It feels like ages since I’ve spent some time in the kitchen and make an “actual” meal. Lately we’ve been just throwing together whatever is quickest. This was a welcomed change and really wasn’t super complicated still.

Hazelnut Crusted Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter

Chop hazelnuts, panko, cilantro, salt & pepper in food processor until crumb sized. Pound chicken breasts to about 1/2 inch thick. Dip chicken into beaten egg. Coat in crumb mixture and press to stick. Heatbutter in skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through. 3-5 minutes per size.

 

Roasted Beet Salad

I have seen lots of different variations of this salad on menus and was excited to make my own when I bought these beets and greens at the farmer’s market. This is my take and we loved it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 beet (I roasted 3, but used only 1 on 2 salads)
  • 4-6 cups chopped red leaf lettuce (any other green would do)
  • 1 bosc pear
  • 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400*. Remove stem and scrub beets. Wrap each beet in aluminium foil. Roast beats for 45-60 minutes or until tender. Remove beets from oven and let stand to cool. Peel beets once they are cool enough to handle. To peel just rub the top layer off of the beet with your hands. I recommend wearing gloves so you don’t stain your hands. Chop beats into 1/2 inch cubes. Top greens with sliced pear, beets, and gorgonzola. For the dressing; whisk olive oil, vinegar, shallot, salt and pepper together. Drizzle on to salad.

 

Evan and I both cleaned our plates and commented how nice it was to have a meal that required some thought and more than 10 minutes.

 

Fresh roasted beets are noticeably better than beets you get at most restaurants, especially on salad bars. I’m glad we still have two left!

 

What is your favorite kind of beet salad? 

Workout

This morning I wanted to ride my bike, but hit snooze one to many times to have enough time to ride, so hit up the high school track instead. I did all kinds of running/sprint drills plus some push-ups both incline and decline. I definitely got my mile run in as well.

Okay, off to bed. Super long day tomorrow.

Buffalo Creek Trail Ride

This Monday is flying by. Wowzers! The weekend also kind of flew by with workouts, farmer’s markets, conferences, mountain biking, Ikea, and some family time and by time I mean napping at my parent’s house.

Buffalo Creek Mountain Biking

Sunday morning we got our butts out of bed early to go mountain biking at Buffalo Creek. Located in Pine, Colorado about 40 minutes from Denver, Buff Creek has miles and miles of trail. I have no idea how many miles of trail are actually within the park but you can connect with the Colorado Trail and other trail systems, so I’ve heard you can ride upwards of 60 miles and only repeat small sections of trail.

I was thinking I’d like to do a long ride, but Evan downhilled hard on Saturday and I wasn’t feeling top-notch. We ended up having a crew of six and we all agreed a 3 or so hour ride would be ideal. A buddy had a route in mind so we set-off up the road.

Our route was just shy of 20 miles and covered Gashouse > Charlie’s Cutoff > Homestead > Raspberry Ridge > Blackjack > Sandy Wash.

Most of the trails at Buffalo Creek are super smooth, with lots of corners, and are great to cruise on!

Raspberry Ridge and Blackjack were much more technical and climb a bit higher into the rockier section of the area. The views up there were pretty darn amazing though.

 

Evan and I had never ridden Blackjack which is the new black diamond trail. We helped do some trail work on it a few years ago, so it was cool to see the trail finally completed. For me, it was mostly a hiking trail. I definitely couldn’t ride most of the features. Maybe next time I’ll ride more now that I have seen the trail.

 

Myself and the other gal that was riding with us were pretty relieved to be off of Blackjack and back on the silky smooth, flowing trails. The descent down Sandy Wash was screaming fast and so flipping fun we never wanted it to end. In my opinion, Sandy Wash and Charlie’s Cutoff are must-ride trails for anyone that doesn’t hate fun.

I did track the ride on Strava, but my phone died at some point. It appears it was near the end of the ride though. The data is kind of confusing because I stopped Strava once my phone was charged at home. It is messed up, so there’s that. Oh wait, I might have just edited it to fix the problem. Hmm. I thought I was savvy.

Post-ride we chowed down and headed to Ikea where I had the best $1 ice cream ever. I almost got another one because it was so delicious. Then we headed to my parent’s house. They fed us delicious homemade meatballs and sauce and I napped. Then we at pie. And then went home. To bed.

Do you rest and relax on weekends or play hard and feel more tired after the weekend? 

Running Streak

Fail. I didn’t get a run in yesterday. I did lots of stuff and am not going to make excuses. I am super bummed that I missed a day, but I am going to get back after it and shoot for 37 out of the 38 days as long as my knee holds up.

Are you participating in the run streak? How is it going? 

Freshen Up

What a glorious morning in Golden!

Workout

I was a tired girl this morning. I wanted to sleep forever. Well, not really, but you get the point. I was a little ambitious last night and claimed I was going to get up early and get a 40 or so mile road ride in before heading to a conference here in about an hour. Didn’t happen. I think it is for the best. My body is tired.

That said, I still got seriously sweaty this morning. I ran exactly a half mile to a park where I did a few rounds of a circuit workout that included things like lunges, burpees, tricep dips, pushups, squat jumps and some other stuff. Then ran the half mile home. That’s a mile for Run Streak Day number six.

 

I did a bit more, mostly core, when I got home. I needed more props than the park had to offer. I left a serious sweat puddle on the living room floor.

 

Golden Farmer’s Market

I showered off and jumped on my bike for a quick trip to the Golden Farmer’s Market. Today was the opening day of the Farmer’s Market for the summer season. It isn’t a very big farmer’s market, but I can always find something to buy there. I have to limit how much cash I have on hand so I don’t end up blowing our budget on tasty dips, pickled vegetables, homemade granola, fresh bread and pastries (OMG I want them all), crepes and all the other deliciousness that is sold at the farmer’s market. This year’s selection doesn’t seem to be much different from last year, but it is always a nice way to start a Saturday. It is more fun when others join though. I picked up some greens – kale and red leaf lettuce – and some beets. Not sure what I’ll do with them yet though. I just love beets.

Do you have any good beet recipes?

 

Off to a conference for the rest of the day. Enjoy your Saturday!

Two Rides, Two Runs.

Running

Yesterday I headed out for a lunch run to keep the running streak going. My knee had (yes, past tense. bummer) been feeling a bit better so I hoped to get more than just a mile in. My goal was 3. I made it about 2.5. My Garmin reads two because I stopped it at a street light and forgot to turn it back on. The knee wasn’t into it after about a mile and a half. So frustrating.

 

Oh and I couldn’t find a bobby pin, so I had to get creative with keeping my hair back. Paper clip worked just fine until I had to take it out. I might have a bald spot now. Am I the only crazy that uses office supplies as accessories? Or have you done it too? 

 

Mountain Bike Ride

Since it was Thursday, that meant it was T.I.T.S. ride night! I haven’t been out with this group in quite a while, so I was pumped to ride. We rode from Ironworks, of course, and then hit up Green Mountain. Evan and I didn’t bring lights so our ride was a bit shorter than everyone else’s but it was super fun. I was pumped to be climbing strong and generally riding really well. It was an absolutely gorgeous night and Green Mountain had tons of bright wildflowers in bloom. We rarely ride Green Mountain in the summer or in the daytime so it was a bit of a surprise how pretty it was up there.

After climb numero dos, we stopped for a snack and most had a beer. I carried the beer all the way up there, but I didn’t drink mine. Made for a nice photo though. Actually, that was Evan’s and it did get drank. And he took all the photos too.

My Garmin died part way through the ride, but here is our route from Evan’s Strava. He and I covered a little over 13.5 miles and climbed 2,160 feet in about an hour and a half.

 

Bootcamp

Even though we got home at almost midnight and I was feeling a little less than 100% from the post-ride beers, I got my butt out of bed and hit bootcamp at the rec center. The awesome thing about bootcamp in the summer is that we go outside! This morning’s class was a lot of running. I definitely covered more than my mile during class, but my knee was killing me. The morning was beautiful and I just felt luck to be there enjoying the views of Lookout Mountain with the perfect blue sky.

Commute to Work

Annnnnd then, I showered off quick did a wardrobe change and jumped on the road bike to ride to work. Even though the ride is primarily downhill my legs felt it. They’re a little tired. For good reason I suppose. Regardless, I love commuting it is an awesome way to start the day.

 

Almost the weekend and playtime!

Do you use Strava?

I’m a Strava newbie but Evan is really in to it. I’m hoping to learn. I think it could be addicting though.

Amazingly Delicious Treats

Okay, so maybe these “treats” aren’t that amazing, but to me they were pretty freaking awesome and are both fairly new to me.

Please meet Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter. A little pricey, but so delicious. I bought this a week or two ago and spread it on a warm crumpet and almost died and went to Heaven.

 

Evan came home with a couple of sample bags of Pop Chips on Tuesday evening and he let me have the bag of Salt and Vinegars to bring for lunch yesterday. I am surprised that they made it until lunch. I couldn’t stop thinking about trying them all morning. Now, I can’t stop thinking about how delicious they were. In my opinion they had better taste than regular potato chips, I got more in the little bag, and they were only 100 calories and way less fat! Score.I didn’t really get to try this treat, but in two weeks I will get to try Batch #2 of Evan’s Sleepy Monkey. We bottled it last night and I cannot wait to give it a taste. It is one of my favorite IPAs, so hopefully this batch will be as good as the first!

 

Workout

Yesterday was one of those days where I bounced out of bed without thinking twice about it and was excited to get my workout in. I went to the rec center for the first time in ages and burned through my new circuit workout. It is super intense and super short. I love it. While I was there I also mixed in some laps on the indoor track to get my mile in for the Summer Running Streak.

Biking

After work I met up with a friend and went for a road bike ride. It was super windy and we, of course, didn’t notice it on the way out on our out and back ride, but it was extremely noticeable on our way back. It was like pedaling through mud. We weren’t pushing too hard and ended up covering about 22 miles in a little over an hour.

SBT: Check It Off The List

SBT = South Boundary Trail

The SBT is an incredible trail ride that I’ve been trying to do for three years or so now and I finally got to do it this past weekend during our trip to Angel Fire, NM.

We sandwiched our two days of lift-served downhilling with a long trail ride. The South Boundary trail is a 20-30 miles, depending on who you talk to and what route you take, of super sweet trail connecting Angel Fire to Taos. Our route was 21.5 miles.

 

Evan and another fella set-up the shuttle the night before. God bless them. I despise shuttle logistics. Thanks to the majority of the shuttling being covered already, we got an early start riding. I was super nervous about getting lost because I had heard and read that way-finding could be a challenge, but trusted Evan’s research and some random map off the internet.

The ride started with a decently steep climb for less than two miles to the max elevation of the ride of 10,730 feet, but once that was over there was no real sustained climbing to speak of. At least that is what I thought. The climb varied between open sections on wide gravel, rock, dirt road or two-track and a bit of singletrack. It ducked into stands of trees and through open meadows which made it pretty tolerable.

The trail right from the beginning was used so little in some spots that we were riding through grassy patches here and there. Way-finding even with the grass was easy. Large cairns marked the way quite well and there were signs at every major intersection. Some of us even did our part to make sure no one got lost.

The first descent was through a wide open meadow then quickly dropped into the woods. The trail was narrow, the trees were tall, and the light coming through was pretty fantastic. The trail continued to roll a bit for a quite a while but was fast and flowy.

 

The beginning portion of the singletrack itself,  past the grunt of a climb, was pretty buff in a lot of sections, with a few rougher sections with roots and rocks.

 

The descent lasted through about mile 6 before it started to gradually climb again, but nothing super technical, steep, or challenging. A lot of the climbing sections especially coming up to and just past Garcia Park were a bit wider, two-track, or dirt road. A lot of different roads and trails intersect the SBT and there are some incredible camping areas along it, but the only slightly challenging part of navigation that we were warned about was through Garcia Park. We had memorized the directions that we read in other trail reviews, but the trail was signed pretty well and our directions ended up not making a lot of sense. We believe the trail was re-routed within the last year or two.

The trail continued to climb a little bit past Garcia Park through about mile 10, but super mellow climbing with some whoops and more barely there trail. Loved it.

 

Around mile 10.5 we hit the peak of the second major climb and were pretty confident there was not really much more climbing left. The views were incredible from 10,300 or so feet. We took a break, enjoyed some lunch, and rested up for the second half of the ride.

 

The next portion of the trail was unreal. It traversed along side of the mountain on super narrow, perfectly bench cut, slightly rolling trail with tall trees, perfect corners, smooth dirt. It was big ring cruising time. I really can’t even begin to explain how much I loved this section and how much fun it was. I didn’t want it to end, but it flew by. We covered 4-5 miles is what seemed like only a few minutes. I think it was really like 30 minutes though. I have no idea for sure.

The final section of trail got substantially steeper, looser dirt, more rocky, and much more technical, but dang! was it fun.

 

As a group we caught several flats in the last few miles of trail, but none of us were in a hurry so we just enjoyed the views down into Taos while we waited.

The last section of trail (1-2 miles) had some real hairpin turns and were really steep, but at least they were on more packed dirt so they weren’t too bad. The final descent was bittersweet. I was excited to have checked off such a big ride, but I enjoyed every section of the trail so much I  didn’t want it to be over.

 

We were pumped that the truck was still there and hadn’t been towed, thanks to a thoughtful note that Evan left on the window the night before. We had met some folks on the trail that ended up to be our parking lot neighbors and they confirmed that the red Tundra was there so we cold breathe easy for the last section of trail knowing that the truck and cold beer awaited us.

The boys were thinking ahead when they set-up the shuttle and had stashed a cooler with some PBR in the truck. All seven of us were just glowing as we cheers’d the amazing ride.

So now you want to ride it yourself? Well, here are the deets as I have them. Or just get all our GPS info from Garmin Connect.

  • Start Trailhead: We picked up the trailhead where it crosses FR 76. Take the trail to the right that starts climbing.
  • Finish Trailhead: Just east of 585 on 64. As you’re coming into Taos it is on the left.
  • Way-finding:  Follow signs for 164 all the way. Some are brown sticks with numbers, but there are also a lot that are large fence posts with red arrows and writing. Garcia Park can be confusing but was signed well for us. Intersections that aren’t marked are pretty obvious. There was one just after Garcia Park where a road went right, but the trail continued left. There are well-built cairns marking the trail as well. As you near Taos the trail gets much more heavily trafficked. Near the end of the ride (about 1 mile left) take a hard right to go to the parking lot.
  • Total Length:  21.47 miles as we rode it.
  • Start Elevation: 9,930 feet
  • Finish Elevation: 7,179 feet
  • Elevation Gain: 1,808 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 4,548 feet
  • Timing:  We were on trail for just shy of 5 hours, but our moving time was under 2:30 and we taking it very mellow. I would suspect that strong riders can do it in 2-2:30 with no stops or mechanicals.
  • Maps: We didn’t use one, but you can find our GPS track above.
  • Post Ride: Head to Guadalajara Grill to refuel with Mexican food and Margs.

If you don’t like this ride, you hate fun.

Have you ridden SBT? 

The Moose Is Loose.

Hello from Angel Fire, New Mexico!

When I got home from work last night we packed the truck in record time and blasted out-of-town for the long weekend. This is weekend is traditionally the first weekend of lift-served downhill mountain biking at Angel Fire and I’m pretty sure all of Colorado’s Front Range downhilling community makes the trip to ride. Seriously, with the number of people here you’d think we were only an hour from home.

Roadside Meal

Since we got on the road and didn’t really have time to prep anything for dinner we decided to stop on the way. The only problem, there really isn’t anywhere good to stop. About an hour an a half into our drive Evan recalled little burger stand that we could stop at in one of the small towns. When we hit Jefferson, we saw it. The Moose Caboose.

 

Nothing fancy. Not healthy. But actually pretty darn delicious. I had a chili cheese dog and hand cut french fries. Super healthy, I know. I felt like I deserved it since I barely ate lunch yesterday. Evan had Train Wreck burger with every topping imaginable and the burger itself was really good. You can’t beat fresh meat on a burger. This roadside meal was a little tough (read: messy) to manage while we were cruising down the road, so I didn’t capture a photo of it.

We arrived in Angel Fire super late last night, but ended up staying up even later chatting with friends that were already here. I don’t think I retired until 3am!

Downhilling: Day 1

With the late night, we also had a later morning and took our time making breakfast, getting ready, and getting on the hill.

I am such a nervous Nelly when it comes to getting back into something after some time off, so today being my first day on the downhill bike since last summer was no different. We rode with some friends and kept it super chill for the first couple of runs. Then started to take on more challenging runs as I got warmed up and more comfortable. I do get comfortable more and more quickly each season which is cool. Today I rode things that last year, even after a few days or riding, I would be really nervous and hesitant to ride.

unfortunately, I don’t take my phone or camera with me on the bike, so I don’t get to capture a lot of pictures of me riding, but I’d like to get some before the end of the weekend!

They stopped running the lift because it is super windy, so I cut my day a little shorter than I would have liked, but I still have tomorrow and Monday!

Now, it is time to relax and enjoy this hoppy red ale from Marble Brewery here in New Mexico. Their IPA is a fav, but this isn’t far behind.

Short Workouts & Long Work Days

Yesterday was the longest day ever. Okay, maybe not ever, but it was a long day for me.

I was up before the sun, somewhere in the middle of the 5 o’clock hour, to get ready to head to the trainer. I haven’t done any strength training since Boston and he was giving me a new program. I was there by 7 and by 7:30 my butt was sufficiently kicked. I did barely 20 minutes of work and I was sweating like a beast, my muscles were shaking and tired. I think I’m going to like this new quick and dirty workout he gave me. It is basically two circuits that equal 4 minutes of high-intensity work with 40 seconds of rest in between.

I was still to work early. And I worked late – until after 7pm. For some that isn’t late at all, but for me, that’s a long day. A bonus of working late was zero traffic on the way home and zero guilt about having a beer at my desk.

Then another beer when I got home.

I enjoyed my beer and hung out with Evan in the garage while he did bike work. I kind of helped. I put air in my tires that he changed. That’s super helpful, right?

I got a little motivation finally and washed my bike. It was covered in red Moab dirt. It is all shiny and clean now. Bummer part of washing my bike is that I noticed all of the scratches and chips in the paint. Sadness, but it is a mountain bike and it gets ridden. Hard.

Finally around 9pm I got motivated to make dinner. Nothing fancy at all. Just burgers with blue cheese and pepperoncini spread with corn on the cob and watermelon feta salad. That makes three nights in a row that I’ve had corn on the cob. Quick, easy, and delicious.

Then I packed super fast. No “real” clothing need for this weekend only biking clothes, pajamas, and lounging clothes. Perfect.

This morning I was up early again to squeeze in a workout before what is going to be another long day. Not only is my new training program short, but it can also be done completely outside or at home or where ever with only a few slight modifications. I ran/walked to this little park area did my workout and ran back home all in about 45 minutes.

My abs are sore and my arms are shaking. Great start to the day!

On my hike the other night we got talking about morning workouts. We lamented about how there is no way we’re going to ever get more hours in the day, so we need to make more hours for ourselves. The conclusion was that getting up an hour or so earlier to get your workout in is the best way to make “more time” in the day. I am on and off with my morning workouts, but I love the feeling of having it out-of-the-way before I even take my shower for the day. It starts the day off right and gets me motivated right from the start.

How do you feel about morning workouts?