I feel like a true Coloradoan now that I’ve run on the snow-covered ground in 20 degree weather. Because the cold temperatures would typically deter me from running, I can honestly say that I was motivated by the animals to run 11 miles this past weekend. I’m raising funds for Mercy For Animals (MFA) while training for my next half-marathon, and if I weren’t running this race in December for MFA, I probably would have stayed on the couch by the fire snuggled up with my fur-babies. The harsh reality is that animals being transported to slaughter have to endure way harsher conditions than I experienced this past weekend – extremely cold temperatures, no water, lack of medical care, and the list goes on and on – just to have their lives end in an untimely (and unnecessary) death. Makes running in the snow look like a walk in the park.
Although I was cold and slightly uncomfortable during parts of the run, it was truly a beautiful experience. For every mile I ran, I probably passed one runner. It was serene and magical to be out on the trail with my own internal thoughts, hearing only the external sounds of my breath flowing in and out of my body and my feet hitting the pavement. I ran slowly as I was taking precaution to not fall and injure myself, which led me to contemplate and take in my surroundings more than I usually would have during a run. In the last mile when I felt like giving up, a flock of geese flew overhead honking at the top of their lungs, almost like they were cheering me on to keep going.
It’s hard to believe that a week prior to this run, I was hiking with my husband, Kevin, in Boulder in a t-shirt and cropped pants. But, I guess that’s Colorado weather for you! Kevin and I went to Boulder for a mini-anniversary trip. We celebrated our four-year wedding anniversary, although we’re going on nine years of being together.
Boulder was a cool little town where we enjoyed hiking and awesome vegan food. But first we stopped in Denver on our way up because we had to eat at Watercourse. I was famished after my training run of 10 miles that weekend, so we got an appetizer to share and we each got a sandwich with two sides. Mama’s gotta eat after running! I ordered the Cuban and Kevin got his usual – the Grinder. He always means to get something different, but he just loves that sandwich!
Later that evening when we got to Boulder, we went to Native Foods for dinner, which isn’t local to Boulder but serves incredibly good all-vegan food. The quality of the food was excellent and I really liked the flavors in all of the dishes. And their desserts were to die for!
Early the next morning, we got up and ate oatmeal and fruit off the hotel’s hot breakfast bar. It was so hard to watch people pile their plates with sausages and eggs, knowing the hazards they’re placing on their health with consuming that food. Not to mention the animals – whenever I see food like that now, all I can think of is the living creature that the meat came from. I just found this quote the other day from Ellen, which perfectly explains how I feel.
After fueling up, we headed out to a trail that was recommended to us by the lady at the front desk, called the Chautauqua Trail that leads to the Royal Arch. It was a difficult hike for me because of all the rocks we had to climb over – I’m never too sure of my footing on those types of trails. It was so worth it, though, because the views were gorgeous.
After hiking for several hours, we went to a restaurant called Sun Deli that isn’t completely vegan, but has a tremendous amount of vegan options. The starter salad was really good, which makes me think I may have ordered the wrong meal for lunch because I wasn’t too thrilled with it. The faux chicken was too real in texture for me, even though the waiter warned us about people being fooled by it, so next time I think I’ll order their veggie calzone or pizza.
After lunch we went to the Pearl Street Mall district, which was super entertaining. They had street performers on every corner with everything from musicians to flame jugglers to bronze statue-like people. They even had a silent disco going on with hula-hoopers showing off their skills.
We found a place that served vegan gelato and got a couple of scoops to taste. It was perfect for the unusually warm weather Boulder was experiencing.
I feel so grateful to live in a state that offers so much beauty. This picture sums up what it’s like to drive home to Colorado Springs after visiting such an incredible town like Boulder. Every place we’ve visited in Colorado, especially the city we live in, is just simply breathtaking, and it’s so wonderful to be able to call it home.