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getting in touch with my inner colorado girl

Such thing as a free lunch

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I learned the hard way this weekend that there is such thing as a free lunch.  Unfortunately this only occurs after you lose your only car key on a 22 mile run, cancel your weekend camping and hiking plans, and spend four hours waiting outside of a brewery with your ID locked inside of your car.  Luckily it takes a lot more than a lost key to stop this Colorado girl, and I still ended up in the mountains somehow on Sunday morning.

Sunday morning hike at Lake Isabelle

It’s a long story.  My weekend adventures started on Thursday, when I went to Denver Trail Runners with my friend Sarah who was visiting from Florida.  One thing led to another, and I found myself running laps around Washington Park on Saturday morning  with Sarah and some other awesome DTR ladies.  There is perhaps nothing more miserable than training for a marathon alone, and so I eagerly tagged along on the run with Sarah and company despite my serious reservations about the 22 mile distance.  I also had serious reservations about our planned five laps around Washington Park.

Small consolation – at least I had new shoes to run in!

We all eventually made it through the entire 22 miles.  Sarah and I actually hugged afterwards.  On a boring side note (apologies in advance to non-runners), I was really happy with how okay I felt about the 9:30 pace we averaged.  I think I may have been selling myself short on my previous 4:30 marathon goal.  My new goal is now more around 4:00-4:15.  And if anyone wants to run 24 miles next Monday afternoon with me in Denver, I will provide Mocha Gu and my Nicki Minaj Pandora radio station.  Think about it.

Our run ended at the REI flagship store near downtown Denver, where Sarah bought me a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks.  Sarah and I also went and sat in the Platte River for 20 minutes as a cool down.  We got back to Sarah’s car, sweaty and wet from the not so clean Platte River, when I realized the worst thing ever: my one and only car key was not in my fanny pack.

Of course I have a pink fanny pack.

Sarah was great and stuck with me while we frantically asked some bikers to search the Platte River Trail for my key and called REI to see if anything had been turned in to them.  My key was gone though, and there was really nothing I could do to change that fact.  After my Honda Civic stranded me in Mankato, Kansas on Christmas Eve last year, nothing phases me.  I called AAA for a locksmith and told Sarah to go.  I had parked right by the Denver Beer Company, but the great irony was that my ID and money were of course locked in my car.

While waiting in the hot sun for about an hour, I became really hungry.  Understandable, since I had just run 22 miles.  I went over to talk to the food stand guy by Denver Beer Company, thinking I could ask him to give me food on an IOU basis.  The man was amazing and had been watching me sit by my car.  Before I could even say anything, he offered me a free lunch and gave me the most amazing pork and green chile sandwich I have ever eaten.  My faith in humanity was restored.

Heaven on a plate.

Meanwhile I had already cancelled my camping plans for the evening.  I had been planning on going with two of my friends to hike Mount Sherman at sunrise, but it quickly became clear that I was going to miss our 3:30 p.m. departure time.  It’s amazing how one key can so radically alter your plans!  After another two hour  ordeal with a locksmith and tow truck, I ended up at a Toyota dealership just in time to get two keys made.  Everyone was super nice  to me, and the tow truck driver let me do the paperwork at the dealership so we could get my car there before they closed.

Although the key ordeal of 2011 ruined my Saturday afternoon, I was not about to let it ruin my Sunday!   Two of my friends and I went hiking at Lake Isabelle in the Indian Peaks Wilderness just northwest of Nederland.  I was really impressed with the area.  I felt like it was Rocky Mountain National Park pretty but half the distance, price and crowds.

Mountain therapy.

I think I owe my calmness over the key ordeal to the mountains.  How can I ever be upset about anything when this is where I get to spend my weekends?  I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

Perspective on life, courtesy of nature.

Lake Isabelle was gorgeous, and I am so glad I ended up there, albeit completely unplanned and last minute, on Sunday.  There is something to be said for rolling with the punches.


Author: paulamahla

Typical Colorado girl that can't make up her mind. Trail running, hiking, climbing, camping, CrossFit, ultimate frisbee, and skiing? E, all of the above.

One thought on “Such thing as a free lunch

  1. I just found your blog through Sarah’s (Levy)- I’ve heard a lot about you! Anyway – I just wanted to say that your photos of Lake Isabelle are breathtaking!! I’ve not heard of Lake Isabelle yet (been in Denver only 2.5 years) but it is now on my Must See list.

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