This Colorado winter has been pretty chill compared to my expectations of what a Colorado winter would be like. The sun is so bright and intense that even when it is 30 or 40 degrees, it feels about 10 degrees warmer. Most days have been so mild that through most of December I was still running in short sleeves. I guess this is normal for life here but I had this image of being buried in snow all the time. Than it happened....the week of Christmas it actually FELT like Christmas because the snow came and it hasn't really stopped. It has been gorgeous. Thankfully all 8 members of my family arrived before all the snow really accumulated so we could all enjoy it together.
The traditional Christmas Eve PJs, the one gift we let our kids open on Christmas Eve. Building up to this night our days were filled with all the usual traditions: making gingerbread houses, remembering to move Sonny, our elf on the shelf (he wasn't very creative this year...lol), decorating cookies, riding the "minivan" express while drinking hot chocolate and looking at Christmas lights, and counting down to Jesus's birthday. It was hard for anyone to sleep this night because not only were we all anticipating Santa on Christmas Day but also Grammie, Poppy, Auntie Nikki, Uncle Frank, and 4 dear playmates in the form of cousins.
It is quite the crew! But we sure had 8 happy kids for 8 days straight. There was too much movement to ever really get some good pictures of everyone together. We did have professional photos take (which turned out beautiful!) to be shared at a later date. We went sledding, played games, ate lots of cookies (and cake as we celebrated Grammie's birthday!), and went on a sleigh ride in Breckenridge!
The cousins snow exploring.
My mom, sister, and I...first time together in 3 years.
Sleigh Ride in Breckinridge
6 of the 8 amigos with Grammie
You have to book these sleigh rides months in advance...leave it to me to book ours on the COLDEST day of the entire year. Temps were hovering around -5. We just bundled up and did it! There were some unhappy kids but for the most part it was an amazing adventure with breathtaking scenery.
After my sister left, my parents watched the dogs for a day so we could take the family skiing again. I actually went on a real slope this time (the easiest green I could find and stayed there all day!)!! By the end of this trip the kids were skiing down the bunny slopes by themselves and going on the lifts. All keep asking when we are going again.
We are in love with skiing.
And no blog is complete without a run update! Running in snow has been an adventure that I have never experienced in this capacity before. I just keep going out with my yak trax strapped on and no expectation of speed. It is breathtaking and gorgeous....and so so so hard. Something has just kind of happened to me as a runner over the past few years...each year bringing me a bit further physically and emotionally. The Lord has brought different runners, mentors, and encouragers into my life that have changed how I run, how I see running, and how I see myself. It has brought me joy and community. I have seen myself get stronger and believe things of myself that I never thought possible when I really started out for the first few miles 11 years ago. Every "runner" starts somewhere...with that first step and most are embarrassed to even say they were a runner. I was there, believe me. I never thought I would be standing where I am now, running up mountains in the snow, and talking about ultras and speed work and BQing.
This photo marks Jan. 1, day one of official marathon training for me. I have posted on here before about my Boston dream and this will be the first marathon training cycle that I am heading into with the goal of qualifying. I am running the Colorado Marathon on May. 3rd in Fort Collins. I am wicked afraid of sharing this because if I fail, than everyone will know. But then I will try again. There are days of self doubt and days where I KNOW I can do it. You have heard my dreams and now can share the journey with me. I have set some other goals for 2015 besides this: 1) I plan to run my 1st 50K-the trails have stole my heart and I see many trail races and ultras in my future. 2) 2015 miles in 2015 - I am not even sure if this is possible as I often lose track of mileage but I will be paying attention now!
One step at a time. Happy New Year everyone. Believe in yourself and you would be amazed at where you can go!!