Hello everyone!

Wow, what a winter. My husband Matt and I returned from our warm-weather travels in early February and left home again almost immediately. We loaded up my little car and drove out west to ski in Colorado and Utah, a trip we’d been looking forward to for months. We figured that if we were going to be stuck in the snow and cold, we might as well do something fun in it 🙂

We planned to be gone for all of February and March, so I was prepared to make adjustments to my training while we were away from home. I brought a bike trainer for the days when it was too cold or snowy to ride outside. We were fortunate to be able to stay close to Denver during our time in Colorado, and took several warm, hilly rides during our time there. The community is very bike-friendly; we had no problem finding good routes and paths to ride.

I also found a great pool to swim at in the foothills outside of Denver. Ten lanes, several hours of open lap swim every day, fantastic facilities, and only a few dollars to drop in. I had an interesting experience there one day – there was a scuba certification class taking place in the deep end underneath me as I swam!

I slowly eased myself into running in the mountains. However, I was not prepared for the impact the altitude change would have on my abilities! That was the most difficult adjustment I had to make on this trip. It was hard to feel so tired after just a few miles, when just the week before I’d run a half marathon. I was also running strictly in the mountains for the first couple of weeks of our trip, and those roads are much steeper than I anticipated. I slowed my pace and shortened my runs until my body could adjust to the altitude and the steep grades. It took a few weeks, but I feel much stronger now. I’m excited to see how I feel once I get back to flat, sea-level running!

Challenging my body to train in a wide variety of environments early this year has been a very good learning experience. I know so much more about what I need to fuel both my body and my mind, and I feel prepared to face whatever adverse conditions could pop up during my races this season. Through it all, I’ve found that the people who surround me make the biggest difference. Having Matt or some friends by my side for a bike or ride, encouraging me and pushing me, is the best form of energy I can imagine. I can’t wait to feel that energy on race day!

Thanks for your continued encouragement, everyone. Keep your chin up and your eyes on the sunshine – spring IS coming!