Oh hey, it's the 4th of July already-does anyone else feel like 2010 is the Usain Bolt of years??
June certainly had a lot going for it-the Wasatch Back Relay and getting to meet my new nephew , the trip to Portland, a site visit to London, an old friend making a pit stop on her great escape from Provo to New York...and it still managed to outdo itself.
-My nephew Wyatt Mark is a doll-baby. Holding a newborn just never gets old. My little brother being the father of two children also never stops taking my breath away. He and Tasha are so good at making kids I think they shouldn't stop until they have a baseball team.
-Wyatt's big brother Morgan gets funnier every time I see him. I took him some tiny LeBron James high tops I picked up in Portland and got my first unsolicited hugs from the guy. He was so excited that we ran, kicked the soccer ball and dribbled in the house to try out the new kicks. He's still not so sure about me but I think we both learned an important lesson about the value of a good bribe. I always sort of fantasized about being the fun aunt who gave the kids fun toys but always figured that as the oldest, I certainly wouldn't be the auntie before I was the mommy. Fate, you have a wicked sense of humor.
-The Wasatch Back was fabulous as usual. It's such a thrill that the thing my siblings like to do together is something so active and that takes us through the most stunning parts of our home state. The best news of this year's race is that all this training in Colorado and doing that infernal Incline once a week without fail meant that I ran my legs in my fastest times ever. And I felt really fantastic too. My second leg started at 12:30 at night and was a little over six miles long. I was totally alone for most of it, just me, my headlamp and my playlist. I really can't think of many things I've ever done that make me feel more like I am truly living than those night runs. If you haven't done one of these races, and you like running even a little bit-just DO IT.
-Post race we finally did what I've been dreaming of since the first year and stayed up in Park City at a fancy hotel with a hot tub and big comfy beds. It was just as dreamy as I hoped it would be and it had better be a tradition...are you listening siblings?
-I got back from Utah on a Sunday night and sort of forgot we'd be leaving for London so quickly. But before I left, it turned out my sister-in-law Kristen would be in Denver on her very first business trip. I drove up to take her out to dinner and oddly, three couples from college-including the lovely Jane who was here in May for the dance competition-also happened to be in Denver for the Sox-Rockies series. So Kristen and I met up with them after the game and I got to catch up with all of them. I hadn't seen Troy and Daphne in probably ten years but there is something about your college people-they always feel so familiar. Jane posted an awfully cute photo of all of us here. I promise no one has aged a day. Good people, great families-lucky lucky me to be able to steal a little time with them.
-London was a delight. I got to spend a good chunk of time in the school we are going to use to process the athletes in 2012. We saw a bunch of venues and then spent a couple of days just getting to know the city. I am enjoying my Colorado home more by the second but oh boy is there ever a city girl in my soul. I love the crowds, I love the Tube, I love the shopping, I love the energy. I can't wait to keep going back and kind of can't believe I have a job that is going to allow that!
-The highlight of the trip was getting to sneak off one night and say hello to my friend Danny from my Boston days, and my friend Monica from my HB days, both of whom are now living in London. And then walking into the pub and running smack into my friend Troy from my SUU days who happens to be there taking a class during his break from law school. Epic.
-In yet another random coincidence, on our way back from London we had a layover in Denver. I was scanning Facebook and noticed my friend Alex also happened to be at DIA and his flight was delayed. I texted, he called and within 10 minutes we were catching up in an airport bar.
-I landed in Colorado Springs and my friend Heather texted to see if I was up for the Incline. I was tired and jet lagged but I had workout clothes and a headlamp with me so I went to her house instead of home and up we went. It's awfully satisfying to choose pushing yourself over going home and passing out.
Which brings me to this 4th of July weekend. It's been such a busy busy few months that I flat forgot to make any sort of plans for the 4th of July. I toyed with going to Huntington and considered a road trip of some sort but in the end, decided to just stay put.
Well sorta. As you may know, Colorado is rather full of places you have all heard of what with all the skiing they do here. Breckenridge, Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs, Durango, Grand Junction...the list kind of goes on and on and I figure I really ought to take advantage of my time here and do some exploring. So I talked my friend Greg into just hitting the road yesterday. We sort of made a plan but mostly, we just got in the car and headed out of town. We atarted by driving to the top of Pike's Peak. I was ONLY willing to drive it after Greg pinky swore that we would get some people together and climb the thing before summer's end. Do I even need to say that the view from 14,000 feet is spectacular? These are the views that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write America the Beautiful back in the late 1800's-a fact I didn't know until yesterday.
After Pike's Peak, we headed West and then North and stopped in Leadville. They have a pretty famous bike race and 100 mile run there so we decided to check it out. Poor Greg discovered that I am pretty much my mother as I chatted my way through two antique shops, an art gallery and introduced myself to the Leadville 100 founder who happened to be wandering around near the finish of a marathon they held yesterday. Then we drove up to I-70, stopping in Frisco long enough for me to fall wildly in love with it AND get my third Diet Coke of the day. Fourth if you count lunch but I think she may have given me Pepsi. We ate dinner in Denver and I dropped Greg off a respectable 13 hours after we set off.
There was an episode of This American Life recently that was all about road trips and the American desire for a road trip to spur some sort of adventure or ephiphany. My honest expectation for yesterday was to explore my new home a little bit and to take advantage of a three day weekend, but I have to admit maybe in the back of my head I was hoping for an adventure or an epiphany.
Colorado delivered on both counts. This will come as a shock to no one but I was controlling the iPod for most of the trip and at one point "Rocky Mountain High" cycled through. I have heard that song about a zillion times in my life-John Denver was a staple when my dad would play guitar with us as kids. But here we were, driving along through the Rocky Mountains, in a state that was never on my list, a year after one of the toughest stretches of my life and the lyrics reached right through the speakers and almost made me cry:
He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin' home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door
This is just how I feel about Colorado. I realize more and more as I get older how much Salt Lake is a part of me and I love it so much. California is the only home I really ever chose myself and will always be special, Boston is a place where I learned and grew more than I ever wanted to but it felt temporary from day one. Enter Colorado. I don't have any idea if I will live here forever, but for the first time in maybe my entire adult life, I am not thinking about the next move. I'm really, really happy here. Happy and settled in a way I haven't been in I don't know how long. I love seeing mountains every day as I drive home and knowing I get on one in about ten minutes if I want to. I love that people at work want to go for bike rides. I love that tonight we watched The Sandlot on the lawn and tomorrow there are ten places to go running that I've never seen before. We're coming up on the anniversary of that email from my friend saying, "there is this job in the Springs...are you at all interested?"
Best yes I ever said. I'll be John Denver would agree.