This Week’s Gallivantin’: Changing Gears

Hello and happy Monday from the deep south where the sun is shining and the weather is fabulously warm! We had a beautiful week which felt more like summertime than a typical February week. My Saturday morning run was filled with the smell of fresh-cut grass and the sound of weed eaters ….I hope it never ends! However, I’ve lived in the South long enough to know that there is always a frost just before Easter, so I’ll not be packing my cold weather clothes up just yet …but spring is near folks and it inspires me to take all of my workouts outside! Speaking of workouts …this is the “Weekly Wrap” so let’s see what was done this week.

Monday: 4 miles (tank and skirt) and dinner with friends

Tuesday: Spin class

Wednesday: Rest ….oh yeah, there was Mexican food and Margaritas!

 

Thursday: Spin class, 4 mile run with Chester Boy (yes, it was cold in the morning but was in shorts by noon) and date night with Major Hubs!

Friday: Rest and spent a little time with the tool box assembling my new toy! (I love the bright orange …because if you have to be pedaling 15 to 16 mph and going nowhere  ….you might as well have some color under your wheel!)

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Saturday: 5 mile run (again, tank and skirt) followed by 16 miles on the trainer.

Okay, so it was just an average week of working out. I never found time motivation to do strength work. Yep, I lost my mojo this week. Perhaps it got slurped up in the cocktails I had Monday evening while dining with friends or maybe it got buried in the basket of tortilla chips and salsa consumed on our Wednesday taco date. Nevertheless, I am sure to find it when I attempt to get into my jeans soon!

I’ve been thinking about switching gears a bit anyway. The custom orthotic inserts I’ve been fitted for should be in this week and was also told that I should seriously consider switching from my beloved Newton running shoes to something with a more stable structure. Ugh! I do hate the whole “looking for and trying new running shoes” process. It’s just not that easy for my finicky feet. I just can’t put on a new brand/model of shoes and head out for a 5 miler…. I have to ease into it, giving my feet plenty of time to get adjusted to the shoe. At the risk of sounding all negative here, this process could take even longer due to the fact that I will be adjusting to not only a new brand of shoes but also the new orthotics.  So, with all of this in mind, I’m thinking that my grand ideas of running a spring half marathon is probably not in the cards for me. I need to change gears and focus on other goals ….maybe a duathlon, metric century, more strength work or just focus on adding even more variety of cross-training.  Whatever it is, I will remember to find joy in the journey …because that’s what this beautiful, wonderful life is all about ….the journey, not just the destination.

Speaking of enjoying the journey …I’ll leave you with a few fun pictures from my boot scootin’ date night with the hubs at the rodeo!20170210_081642

 

How was your week? Anyone else having unusually warm weather in your corner of the world? What fun date nights are you having with your Valentine’s this month? Tell me about them and be sure to check out other bloggers and the hostesses, Holly and Tricia of the Weekly Wrap link. They are all having a fun-filled heart-felt February! weeklywrap

 

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one gear at a time!

Another Year, Another Birthday

Another year has come to an end and as the entire world celebrates the dawning of a new year ….I, too, celebrate the dawning of a new year, a new decade, another birthday! I breezed right “over the hill” and now I eagerly anticipate this new chapter of my life!

The hubby and I spent the New Year’s weekend celebrating my 50th birthday and ringing in the new year Savannah style! We had a fabulous time touring the city, indulging on their famous pralines and ringing in the new year on River Street at their “Up the Cup” countdown. I will posting soon about the beautiful city of Savannah and all of the fun things to do. So, if you’re interested in visiting, stay tuned for my personal favorites from this beautiful and charming southern city! Continue reading

This Weeks Gallivantin’: ISO New Gym

December is upon us and another week bites the dust! As if this year hasn’t flown by fast enough; this move is really bringing an end to 2016 even quicker. Just when I’m beginning to feel as if we are getting settled, the holidays arrive …bringing all of the excitement, hustle and bustle of the season along with them. (More on this and my plans for New Years Eve can be found on my Ultimate Coffee Date post; if you missed it go check it out!) Continue reading

This Weeks Gallivantin’: Giving Thanks

As this years Thanksgiving holiday comes to a close, in the midst of the chaos of a move, I have been reminded of the many, many things I have to be thankful for….

Monday: More unpacking. Although our possessions are spread between two houses, I’m thankful we have been blessed enough to have a roof over our heads and food on our table.

Continue reading

This Weeks Gallivantin’: Hello November!

With the wrap of another week, we welcome November…the glorious month of Turkeys, dressing, cranberry sauce and pecan pie. (or as we here in the south say, peCAN pie!) It’s the month that finally ushers in fall like weather here in the deep south and also kicks off the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season. It’s a busy time of year and going to be even busier for this family.

Our house is officially on the market and we will be moving most of our belongings this coming weekend. The hubby has already started his new job and has been commuting each day. Between his new job and commute, his Army job and preaching on Sundays, I can say without a doubt that his ‘wagon is draggin’!  Needless to say, we need to get settled as soon as possible. It is quite fitting that all of this is happening during the month of Thanksgiving, as we are most grateful for all the blessings that have been bestowed on us even in the midst of the chaos. Life has taught me that the things we often take for granted, someone else is praying for. Therefore, I try to always be thankful in every situation! Continue reading

Runfessions for October

Hello fellow runners! It’s Friday and the end of the month; which means it is time for another edition of “Runfessions” link-up hosted by Marcia where we take the opportunity to confess any and all of our running, fitness and …well, just life related confessions. It really does feel good to get a few things off our chests …or in our case, our feet!

So, without further adieu… Continue reading

Insanity on the Manitou Incline

If you are looking for an extreme workout, one that will challenge you physically, mentally and emotionally, then look no further than Colorado Springs! The Manitou Incline once operated as the old Cog Railway used to provide access to water tanks at the top of Pikes Peak mountain. It operated until 1990 when a rock slide damaged the rail bed beyond repairs. The incline is now considered the holy grail of cardio for locals and athletes, alike. It consists of approximately 2,744 steps made entirely of railroad ties. Although it is only one mile in length, the ascension averages a 41% incline, 68% at its highest point, and a 2,000 foot climb in elevation! A lung crusher at the very least! Needless to say, tackling the incline is not for the faint of heart or those with any fear of heights.

Three years ago, the hubby and I were in Colorado Springs for one of his Army buddy’s wedding. We arrived a few days early in order to take in the beauty of Colorado and enjoy some hiking. After taking on Seven FallsGarden of the Gods and several other attractions, our “friend” (did I mention that he was in a special forces unit of the Army??) recommended that we climb the Manitou Incline. “It’ll be fun” he said. “You guys will love it” he said. “You guys are runners…you won’t have any problems!” he said. He was wrong. Well, sort of …but I’ll come back to that.

So, the hubs and I type in the address in our GPS and took off toward Manitou Springs. As we are approaching our exit off of the interstate, I see a brown trail cut into the side of mountain off in the distance. For a moment, I thought to myself ….”holy guacamole, that’s it???”  100_3467

I quickly dismissed that as a possibility, knowing that it would be impossible for that to actually be what we were about to climb. Nah, no way. Following the turn by turn directions being barked out to us by “Stella”, the endearing name by husband has given our cell phones GPS, we arrived in the parking lot labeled “Cogs Railway Parking”. My initial thought was, unfortunately, correct …that tiny little brown trail cut into the side of the mountain was now looming right in front of us! My heart sank. We walked toward the beginning of the trail and stood before it, staring in disbelief. My husband then said to me, “We don’t have to do this if you don’t want”. What??? Back down from a challenge? Never! I mean, if an Army special forces Soldier thinks that I can do this, then I will do it …even if it kills me! So, with a nod and a fist bump, we began our climb.1280458_10201357281427854_785132391_n

Things were going very well the first half of the trek up. I have to admit, I was feeling pretty “bad ass” as I tackled those railroad ties with the greatest of ease! Just past the half way point, there is a “bailout” point which takes you back down via the Barr Trail. This is your last chance to exit the incline …continue on and you’re committed to the steepest section of the climb and all of the suckage that comes along with it. We did witness a couple of people make the decision to end their insanity; but we pressed on. To the top or die trying! Insanity!

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20 ….I now know why the bailout point is where it is! Just past this point, the grade increases to about 68% and the pain begins. This is where things began to fall apart, at least for me. The difference in elevation between Mississippi and Colorado alone was taking its toll on me, let alone the additional 2,000 ft of elevation I was climbing at this point. My breathing was extremely labored and I felt as if I would pass out multiple times. I would stop and rest on rocks along the side of the trail, while 70-year-old locals would trot by me like they were taking a walk to their mailbox ….this ticked me off. The hubby would always be 10 – 15 steps ahead of me, then he would stop to wait on me, with no apparent difficulty in breathing whatsoever …this ticked me off. We continued on this way ….climbing, resting, cursing, crying, climbing, resting, cursing, crying, climbing….you get the picture. At one point of rest, I thought about our “friend” who recommended this activity ….this ticked me off as well. Who needs enemies when you have friends like this?!? I wondered if they ever performed helicopter rescue missions from this mountain …clearly, the lack of oxygen was beginning to cloud my thinking.

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Notice the parking lot at the bottom of the incline….which is at the top of the picture!

As we neared to top, the grade was so steep that I found myself using my hands as if climbing a ladder. At this point, I was beyond the anger and frustration and I just wanted to get to the top of this dang mountain! Again, the hubs being several steps ahead of me, yells out to me  “we’re almost there, I can see the summit! Keep climbing, you’ve got this!” Yes! I’m almost done. I’m not going to die on the side of this dang mountain! As I reached the summit, I looked up only to see my husband still climbing!!! What??? Yep, you guessed it ….a false summit. 1236800_10201357284787938_521388067_n

For a split second, I thought about crying again but decided it would only slow me down and besides, I was more than likely too dehydrated to make more tears anyway. (We only had one bottle of water between the two of us …again, I blame our “friend”).

Only about 300 more steps beyond the false summit and we reached the top. Lungs were screaming, quads were burning and my head was spinning, yet the amazing feeling of accomplishment overshadowed it all. The view from the top was extraordinary, like none other and we stopped for a moment to marvel at the beauty.1148834_10201357285027944_1020467301_n

At this point, you can connect to Barr Trail and either continue up the mountain to the summit of Pikes Peak or take the Barr Trail back down the mountain, we chose the latter. The return trail consists of approximately 3.6 miles of rocky switch back trails which planted me on my butt several times trying to run down it. I highly recommend wearing trail shoes if you get a hankering to tackle the incline …you can thank me later.

The climb itself took about an hour and a half, including all of my crying and cursing stops. And the trail down took about an hour.

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The trail down was a little treacherous at times as well.

I’ve read that many elite athletes incorporate this into their training regimen with many being able to reach the top in 20 minutes … now that’s insane!

The next evening, while at our “friend’s” wedding, I found myself telling of our adventure on the incline to some of the wedding guests who just so happened to be in the 10th Special Forces group. They stroked my ego just a tad by telling me that they are required to climb the incline quite often for training; however, they are not allowed  to do so by the Army for at least two weeks, allowing themselves time to adjust to the altitude. They were impressed that we were able to complete it after having only been in Colorado for a couple of days…boom! Maybe they were just trying to make this little Southern belle feel better about how long it took me to reach the top, but that’s okay…. I survived the Manitou Incline and I’m darn proud of it!

I will admit, after quite a bit of time has passed; I am itching to tackle to incline once again. Like most runners, the desire to compete against myself and beat my previous time lingers in the back of my mind. Certainly, I will not make a special trip to Colorado just to torture myself once again; but if the circumstances of life ever find me in the area again, I will face the giant …the Manitou Incline, once again.

Have you ever climbed the Manitou Incline or anything similar? If so, what was your time? If not, would you like to attempt this? What is the most extreme cardio activity you’ve ever attempted?

 

I’m linking up with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice and My No Guilt Life for Tuesday’s on the RunTuesdays-on-the-Run-2

As well as Fit Foodie MamaFitful Focus, Fruition Fitness and Pretty Little Grub for their Wild Workout Wednesday link-up. Go on over and check these great ladies out…you will love what you find!WildWorkoutWed