We have now been in our new home of Castle Rock, Colorado for 3 weeks. However we are still residents of the Best Western. This forces us to load up the crew and explore as much as possible in order to escape our hotel walls where the main "toy" is jumping on the beds. Our adventures just allow us to every single day fall more in love with Colorado, and we get more and more excited to get into our new house and build roots.
Running has not been what I expected. I was warned about the elevation adjustment but for some reason thought I would be exempt, or at least that I was in good enough shape to push through the so called "adjustment" period in a week or less. I have since learned that it has nothing to do with your level of fitness. You lose 3% oxygen with every 1000 feet you gain so my sea level lungs are burning with 18% less oxygen on every run. I find myself hyperventilating usually about 3 miles in, and can only complete my runs with lots of walk breaks (especially up the numerous hills I encounter on very trail). Each run I start thinking "this is the one where I am magically going to be able to breathe again" and it hasn't happened yet. However if I just slow my normal pace down (by 1 to 2 minutes per mile slower), I can focus on my breathing and complete the longer runs. I actually went to a group trail run last week and brought up the rear dead last on our 7 mile run...but the group was so encouraging, gave me lots of advice to help me through this time (which I know now can last from 6 months up to a year...EGATS!), and told me to come back. I also hooked up with an "instagram" friend and her trail dog (don't tell my dad-he hates that I am so vocal on social media and the internet) and had an amazing run with her in the Garden of the Gods. All in all, even with the hyperventilating, the views are amazing...words can't even express. I think I am going to like my running adventures here!
The older 3 started school on August 13th. So far they each seem to love their teachers, the school, and the friends they are making. All smiles every night as we complete homework across the hotel beds for desks. Anna has also started with a local dance company and quickly making friends there whereas Asher starts swim practice next week with The Rock USA swimming club. Jesse has decided he wants to take weekly swim classes to learn the butterfly and get better at his other strokes so he can be on swim team next year with Asher (yes! Could it really happen that we could get 2 kids in the same sport!!). He still really loves baseball but we can't seem to find a team for that until the spring.
Josie was not happy about the others going to school. She misses them lots during the day!
But we did sign her up for weekly dance lessons so she had something to call her own. Her face was glowing as she put on her leotard and dance shoes.
We spent this last Saturday at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado. Yes Bill, we have been to the Omaha Zoo but truly are in love with this place. We had so many up close encounters like no other zoo we have ever been to in the US. Come visit us and we will take you to this zoo! I can't even pick my favorite moment but this was one of them. We got to feed, pet, and kiss giraffes (yes this giraffe left me pretty slobbery).
Our first moose sighting...I could not imagine seeing one of these in the wild.
We also got to pet a baby wallaby, see and elephant get a bath and pedicure, and watch this hippo (my absolute favorite animal) do water aerobics.
The sky ride at the zoo.
Then we ended the day with a trip to the "Shrine of the Sun" at 8,000 feet elevation above the Zoo on Cheyenne Mountain. You could see this tower from the zoo and Josie kept pointing it out and calling it "Rapunzel's Tower". She was ecstatic to go see it and climb to the top.
We never did see Rapunzel but felt like you could see all of Colorado from here! We had such an absolutely perfect day.
Next weekend's adventure includes a trip to the Garden of the Gods (one of my new favorite running spots here and I can't wait to take the kids). I just know the kids are going to love climbing on all the amazing rock formations and exploring the hiking trails. Hopefully we won't find any rattle snakes! It is still a HUGE fear for me...every run I am scouring and jump at the littlest stick. But besides the snakes, Colorado you are perfect!