Unplugging…finally!

You may not have noticed it, but I’ve been absent from the blog world for a while.  The last blog post I made was one I quickly typed up on my cell phone from a hotel room in Colorado, in the dark while my two older children slept in the next room (yay for suites!) and my youngest tried to fall asleep in the pack and play at the foot of the bed.

Yep, I was on vacation.  And it was wonderful.

I literally unplugged.

I turned off my work emails to my cell phone and set up an out of office auto reply that told everyone who emailed me that they wouldn’t get a response until I returned.  I spent 12 days not thinking about work at all.  Except the one weird dream where I somehow teleported back to work from Colorado…

Note: I returned today to over 300 emails…and spent most of the day just getting through them…such is the price we pay for our vacation time!

We traveled to Colorado for a wedding and family reunion, and so we spent the first few nights at a hotel near Denver for the wedding.  Afterwards, however, the extended family drove up to Estes Park to stay in condos literally a mile from the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance.  It was gorgeous.  A small river ran right behind the building, so every night we got to go to sleep with nature’s perfect white noise generator.  Mornings were cool, in the low 50’s, and daytime temps were in the upper 80’s, but never felt hot.

This was the view from the back deck of our condo.

Oh, and it rained every day, for no more than an hour.  For those of us who are stuck in the “dust bowl” drought-stricken Midwest, rain is something that we haven’t seen in a long time.  I have to admit I felt like looking up at the sky in disbelief, wondering just what that wet stuff was coming down from the clouds.

Rocky Mountain National Park
See the rain forming over the mountains?

So if you were wondering where I was (which I highly doubt you were), the mystery is solved.  And yes, I did get some running in (not nearly enough, given the almost perfect running weather).  The road that our condo was on had about a 3 inch shoulder.  I didn’t feel comfortable running on it, although others did, and there were many bike riders who braved the twists and turns to climb into the park.  So I drove down to the city of Estes Park and ran around the lake.  There was a perfect recreational trail around the lake that made a nice 3.5-4 mile loop.

I got to run around this. Yep, it was pretty nice.

The only issue with this trail (and it’s not an “issue” really), occurred the one morning I got up early, around 6:30 am, and went for a run.  I was about a half mile into the run and had reached the point where the trail forms a “Y” – one way takes you clockwise around the lake, the other counterclockwise.  Directly in front of me, spread out over both forks of the path, was a herd of at least 20 elk.  I slowed down, then stopped.  I looked over to see a sign posted that said “Caution:  Dangerous Elk Herds,” “Wild Animals” and “Do not approach.”  Then I saw the note that said “Avoid disturbing or coming between a mother and her calf.”  What was in the center of the herd, between the two forks of the path?  A baby elk.

I wasn’t going anywhere near them.  And they weren’t interested in moving quickly.  I didn’t have my camera or cell phone with me, so I couldn’t take a picture.  And I didn’t want to get closer to them, so I turned around and ran back to the car, and then headed back, making another “warmup loop.”  Sure enough, when I got back to the fork in the trail, the elk had moved up the hill a bit and cleared the trail.  Ever cautious, I looked around one more time, and sure enough, one lone straggler jumped over the fence and ran to join the group.

Comfortable that the elk had moved on, I continued on my run.  It was a beautiful start to my run, and the extra warmup loop made the 3.5 mile trail into a 4.25 mile run.  And it was 52 degrees that morning, so my hands went numb and I could see my breath the whole time (maybe it was actually colder?).  I was loving the temperatures!

It was a great vacation, topped off by the fact that I was able to see a bald eagle while we were there.  The eagle soared right over our heads while the family was enjoying the lake.  Only once, then it flew off.  The only eagle I saw the whole time.  🙂

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For those who are reading this blog to keep updated on my possible bone marrow donation, don’t worry.  I am still on the list.  I’m in the “wait and see” part of the journey – while my bloodwork is reviewed by the patient’s doctor and they decide how to proceed.  I’ll definitely post here when I hear back or know something new.

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