Weekend Recap: Kelly’s 35th Birthday!

Weekend of November 8-10

I would have to say my weekend kind of kicked off on Thursday last week, as two of my analysts flew into town to visit Denver for the weekend! I was really excited to get to spend more time with them outside of the office :)

Julia and Spencer were staying at my friend Sara’s apartment downtown (Sara is a senior associate at my company), and we convened at Sara’s place Thursday night to kick off the festivities. There were lots of laptops out as we all mixed catching up with finishing up some work that needed to get done, but that’s pretty much to be expected when consultants get together ;)

Friday morning, I had calls starting at 6:30am, but got up to sneak in a quick workout beforehand. After a fun ten minute hill climb with Ben Aldis on my spin bike to warm up, I headed for the treadmill… and it was a total failure :( I was supposed to get to run for ten minutes (1 min run, 1 min walk), but my leg started feeling a little bit shin splint-y on the eighth interval. I was so upset by this setback!!! And unfortunately, that kind of set the tone for me to be kind of grumpy the rest of the day :(

After a few conference calls, I headed to Orangetheory for my last class before my membership ends. Unfortunately, this ended up being the most mishap-laden class I’ve ever taken! I had brought my heart rate strap but accidentally left the monitor part on the counter, so I needed to borrow one. But the one they gave me would not read my heart rate at all; we tried swapping for a different one, and that didn’t work either. I finally gave up, not wanting to miss more of the workout switching back and forth.

Then, I realized while I was on the strider and watching the treadmills that the staff hadn’t blocked the appropriate number of treadmills: there were three of us on the striders / bike, but only two treadmills not in use. That was going to be a problem when it came time to hit the weight floor! I tried to beeline it over there when it was time to switch, but then I learned that at this studio, striders / bikes are supposed to block their own treadmills, so it was my own fault there wasn’t one for me. Makes sense to do it that way, but I’ve never before seen a studio do it that way! Since that day’s workout had a full block on the rower (meaning there was no way to share a station), I ended up having to swap blocks 2 and 3, which meant I was doing the workout on my own and uncoached. It was still effective, but not great for my morale; I like to do Orangetheory because of the group atmosphere, rather than working out on my own. What a disappointing last OTF class! Though I’m sure I’ll eventually get back to it, when I’m not worried about triathlon training, and also when I’m working in a place where OTF is easy to get to.

Unfortunately, my day continued to be rather grumpy / stressful from there. I had two proposals to get out the door (PANIC ALL AROUND to get them done), then headed downtown for a volunteer event at my office. We were stuffing teddy bears for military veterans to give to their families.

Operation_Gratitude_Teddy_Bears

A pile of completed bears!

It was kind of fun to stuff the teddy bears, but in talking to one of the organizers, I learned that it was an extremely expensive program to buy the teddy bear “skins” and stuffing, and also to ship the finished products. According to him, it would have been far cheaper to just buy inexpensive ready-made teddy bears from Amazon! Unfortunately, I’ve found that to be the case with a lot of volunteer activities – they’re designed more to make the volunteers feel good than because the activity is actually needed (see: Habitat for Humanity). I don’t mind doing activities like this, but I’d rather direct my limited time to where I feel like I’m truly making a difference; otherwise, it seems to me it’s a much better idea to work those hours and donate that part of my salary.

After teddy bear making, though, it was time for something definitely not at all productive – an office happy hour! Sometimes fun trumps productivity ;) I was responsible for organizing this month’s happy hour, and we had a great evening sipping cocktails at Hearth & Dram (one of my favorite restaurants downtown), then walking over to Milk Market for dinner and to round out the night.

Happy_Hour_Hearth_and_Dram

Hearth and Dram is awesome; if you live in Denver and haven’t been, I’d highly recommend it!

I wasn’t super hungry for dinner, so I decided to take advantage of my limited appetite to have a treat for dinner – an ice cream cone! However, I ended up regretting that decision the next day – the combo of several drinks + all that sugar meant I woke up feeling pretty tired and lethargic. Not good when I had a big day on the docket!

I started my morning by heading down to my basement to get in my workout for the day – a long ride on the bike. I chose to do a 60 minute Peloton class with Hannah Marie Corbin followed by a 30 minute class with Kendall Toole. Those are my two favorite instructors, and it was fun to get to ride their classes back to back! I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the time passed – 90 minutes didn’t feel long at all, even though I normally ride 30-45 minutes. I am looking forward to stringing more classes together in the future to rack up 2-4 hour indoor rides :)

But I had no time for that on Saturday morning – I had to prep for a big brunch at 8am! It was my best friend Kelly’s 35th birthday, so I had offered to host everyone (Kelly and her family, Sara and Torrey, and Spencer, Julia, and Julia’s boyfriend John) at my house for a big breakfast before we headed out to hike.

PS – Kelly and I met because we were in the same start class at my original consulting firm, so I always thought we were the same age. When Kelly mentioned she was turning 35 (and not 34), I had a moment of panicked confusion. Was I 35 too, even though I’ve had it in my head I’m 34?? Haha, nope – just one of those nuances of how different school districts have different age cutoffs for kindergarten. You know you’re old when you don’t know how old you are ;)

Kelly’s husband had requested the blueberry cheesecake French toast casserole I made a few weeks ago. To try to make the dish a tiny bit healthier, I swapped fat free cream cheese for full fat (made no difference), cut back on the brown sugar in the actual dish (next time I’d probably use half the sugar called for rather than none), and used coconut oil rather than butter to make the streusel (not really healthier, but it was a lot easier to mix). I also used French bread instead of brioche, because I couldn’t find brioche at the store – but I think that swap made it slightly less delicious than last time, so I wouldn’t recommend that swap. Definitely worth the time to hunt for brioche if you can!

I had prepped the casserole Friday night, and also put together a crockpot cinnamon-pear quinoa porridge for a gluten-free option (not sharing the recipe because I didn’t think it came out very good and I wouldn’t make it again). That meant Saturday morning, I just had to top the casserole with the streusel and pop it in the oven, then give the quinoa a stir. But I had a lot of house cleanup to do before my guests came, so I was running around like crazy still getting ready!

Shortly before everyone arrived, I tossed some chicken chorizo sausage into a covered skillet, and then (afraid there wouldn’t be enough food), I quickly sliced some potatoes and green bell peppers and sauteed them with garlic, chili powder, oregano, and salt / pepper for a quick side dish. That ended up being the perfect amount of food, and aside from my messy house, not too difficult to prep. I want to host more weekend brunches!

Forgot to take pics again… oops.

After we all fueled up, we headed out to hike. Per request of the out-of-town guests, I was looking for something as easy as possible. I was also challenged by the snow we had gotten, which made last week’s hike really difficult (I still have a chunk missing out of my left shin from that slip I made on a boulder), and so wanted something as dry as possible. My original plan was Flatirons Vista, but when I learned that was closed for mud, I instead took the group to South Mesa Trailhead. This was nice and dry, and had beautiful views!

Winter_Hiking_South_Mesa_Trail

Perfect cloudless Colorado day.

After about 90 minutes of hiking, half the group wanted to keep heading up toward Bear Peak, while the other half wanted to turn back. I didn’t see the point in heading partway to Bear Peak but not actually going up (and I knew it would be too icy to go all the way up), plus my car ride was with the people turning around, so I called it a day. Besides, with that and the long bike ride in the morning, I was pretty well set as far as workouts went! Instead, Kelly and her family and I headed up to Boulder to scout out a good brewery to take the out-of-towners to when they finished.

We ended up at Upslope, and while I chose kombucha instead of beer in order to save the drinking for the evening, I totally dug into their homemade empanadas – which were an awesome post-hike meal. Yum!! The empanadas were somewhat small, so I probably ate more of them than I should have, but they were delicious and I regret nothing :)

Unfortunately, the rest of the group texted that they were going to skip Boulder after all… bummer. Instead, I headed home to get ready for the night ahead! I had a little bit of time to relax, and I spent it learning to play the intro to “Summer Highland Falls” on the piano – my absolute favorite Billy Joel song. I finally am able to do the runs up to tempo, and I just love it! But I think the sheet music I have is a simplified version once the lyrics start, so I need to find the real copy before I learn any more.

I lost track of time a little bit playing the piano (#Flow), and unfortunately, there was construction on 36 that I really should have budgeted extra drive time for. Luckily, I wasn’t too late in getting to the venue for the rest of the night.

Den had been planning a birthday dinner for Kelly for some time, but that afternoon, we ended up moving the location to Bigsby’s Folly, a cool winery in RiNo. This meant it would be easier for me to then meet up with the out-of-town crew, who wanted to brewery crawl in RiNo. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be! That group ended up going out in a different area and calling it an early night, and with spotty communications back and forth, I didn’t find out early enough to head over myself. Bummer again! But I made the most of my night by enjoying extra time with the group at Bigsby’s Folly, and discovered a new-to-me board game:

Dirty_Codenames

Did you know that Codenames has a “dirty” edition? Codenames Deep Undercover is hysterical – though I wouldn’t recommend it for a group of people you’re not already good friends with ;)

The next morning, I started my Sunday off with a solid workout. First, a long (2500m) swim. Lately I have been really enjoying swimming, but Sunday was definitely a slog – from the very first stroke, my arms were already sore and tired! So I did five sets of 500m each, with 30 secs rest in between sets, and my arms luckily loosened up a little bit as I swam. I tried to focus on getting faster as I kept going, and while the first few sets were well over 10:00 each, my final set of 500m was only 9:30. Always feels good to negative split!

I asked y’all last week for tips on pool skincare, and based on how Sunday went, I think I have finally solved my chlorine / dryness problem. I put a little bit of vaseline all over my face before I swim, to try to keep the chlorine out; after I swim, I immediately rinse off in the shower, and then use Cetaphil Pro foaming face wash to remove the vaseline. And finally, I finish with a big slather of this super cheap generic heavy duty collagen moisturizer (a dupe for this L’Oreal Collagen Moisture Filler). Problem solved!

Holy_Grail_Post_Swim

Not sponsored; just what I have found works.

After showering and changing, I headed for the cardio equipment. I started with ten minutes on the lateral trainer to warm up, then moved over to the treadmill. My PT is currently allowing me to do 20 minutes of alternating intervals every other day: 1 minute run, 1 minute walk. Once I can go three days of that routine without any pain, I’m allowed to graduate to a bit more running (2 minutes run, 1 minute walk). So, each workout, I get pretty nervous before I run – will I be able to do it pain-free so that I can get one workout closer to the next level?? On Sunday, the answer was YES – no pain at all for the entire twenty minutes, and for my very last interval, my friend Heather popped up on the treadmill next to me, fresh off her Bodypump class!

I stayed on the treadmill and walked for about 20 minutes while I caught up with Heather, then moved over to the AMT for the rest of my “run”. (I find that the AMT is the closest cardio machine to simulating a run, without the impact.) I did 10K in 60 minutes, which meant overall I had gotten in about 2.5 hours of working out. Instead of feeling tired, though, I felt energized and great!

So on my way out of the gym, I texted my friend Chris to see if she wanted to go for a walk around the neighborhood. Although it was a little chilly out, the sun was shining, and it was a beautiful Colorado day! We had a great time catching up on our three mile loop, and after some discussions about biking, I got inspired to extend my day outside by making today the day I would finally learn how to ride clipped into my bike.

I had been told that while learning to ride clipped in isn’t that hard, I should expect to fall a few times while learning. So, I thought it would be a good idea to start practicing on a cushioned surface – namely, my carpeted living room. However, as I later learned from Instagram friends, it’s a lot harder to clip out when you don’t have a long runway – so I actually probably made it harder on myself by trying this :(

In trying to practice unclipping (even with only one foot clipped in), I fell numerous times. And usually when I fell, the bike was still attached to me when I did so – ouch!!! I have so many bruises all over my legs, and I finally ended up lying on the ground crying with the bike still attached to both of my feet – time to give up for the day. I was really surprised and disappointed that this was so hard! I had thought I’d figure it out pretty quickly since I’m good at clipping in and out on my spin bike, but this seemed to be a whole different animal. Fortunately, I have two friends who offered to take me out to a park and help me learn – so hopefully I can do that next weekend. In the meantime, I kind of feel like a failure :/

Finally, my weekend concluded with a quiet pho dinner at Faifo Pho in Westminster. It was a new-to-me place that was highly rated, and the summer rolls (my favorite) were delicious! Nice way to wrap up the weekend with some comfort food – especially after I had been so grumpy for so much of it. Better luck next weekend!

Comments

  1. Thank you for everything you did to make my birthday so special!!! You are an incredible friend and I am so lucky to have you in my life (and so close to home)!! Xoxo

    • YOU are so special – I can’t believe we’ve been friends for over a decade now! XOXO so grateful for our friendship and for always living close together :)

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