Perfect Timing

By: Cassandra Henkiel

It was August 1st,  about noon, just finished my day of training clients. Off I go, I rush home to pack up my car and get on the road. I’m heading to Colorado for 2 weeks. I usually make my annual summer trek to Colorado to escape the Texas heat and get in some great base training in the cooler temps, clean mountain air and altitude. I believe last year about this time, I blogged about my Colorado trip, where I attended a college reunion of sorts in honor of my college cross & track coach’s 75th birthday.  I’ve been going back to Colorado every summer the last 10-13 yrs. This summer I did my Colorado triangle; Boulder, Aspen, Crested Butte/Gunnison.

I spent the first four days in Boulder with Michael & Amanda Lovato. They are my tri-athlete peeps and very dear, old friends.  It’s so great to hang with other athlete friends seeing as our lives are very similar, so there are no issues about eating, training, pooping, going to bed early, and napping if you need it. And there’s always the colorful sharing of stories about past trips, races and training.  They live in north Boulder so there are many spots for great running right outside their door.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to run with my running peeps, Nicole & Michael Aish.  Although, did get to visit the Aish’s running store in Greenwood Village, CO called RUN COLORADO. It’s a great running store, any runner should go check it out! With my internal clock, I was up & out early every morning. This worked out well because it got pretty toasty during the day and was nice to be done!  Although, of course nothing as toasty as what I just left in Texas. I kept hearing how “humid” it was those days I was there in Boulder…..REALLY?!? They have no idea! I’ll give it to them it rained several of those days…so there was some humidity in the air.

The next stop was Aspen. I have an old co-worker that moved there about 8-9 years ago. She’s a sweet friend who I don’t get to see nearly enough. We got to share some laughs, tears (she lost her dad the day before I arrived) great food & wine and caught up on our lives. As in Boulder, I was up early and headed out each morning on some of my favorite runs. Once I hit the mountains, I’m off on the single track trails.  One is the Government Trail, from Aspen up to Snowmass Mt. This is the Golden Leaf Trail Half Marathon course. For anyone who wants a great destination downhill trail race/run(they run the race from Snowmass to Aspen, in late Sept….do it.  It’s amazing!!  As in Boulder, there was wet weather, although the temps were unseasonably cooler than normal and of course higher elevation. Every run I started was in the upper 30’s!  Yup, brrrrrrr, ¼ length tights, long tank, long sleeve shirts, gloves & a ball cap. This is early August….. do I need to say more?!?

The final stop was to Crested Butte/Gunnison. Here I was to witness my great friends from Austin, Colin Wallis & Michele Krejci get hitched in CB.  Many Austinites descended on CB and got to experience the vast beauty this area of the country has to offer. It’s truly God’s country!! Of course, all the chatter was about how hot it is back home, how cool it was there and their challenges with the altitude. Though, people got in some great runs, hikes, bike rides and fun!! As in Aspen, there are favorite runs of mine I must hit and that I did….up and out pretty early in those crisp, cold mornings. Here I got it all; trails to climb up and down, some flat dirt roads to tempo & turn over and a great hot tub at the condo to soak afterward. All starting at about 10,000 feet. My last run was on August 13th, the day before I drove straight back was 35 degrees and frost everywhere. I wasn’t ready to leave quite yet!

Every stop I made along this triangle, I was able to share some quality time with friends as well as spend quality time with myself, my body, my breath and the great vast beautiful Colorado outdoors. At times in my runs, I made a point to stop and take in the view and several good deep breathes to respect it’s beauty and not take it for granted. As it worked out this year….this trip was perfect timing; everyday after I left it was in the 100’s and the day I returned those 100’s broke and here came the rain! Sweet!!

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