Posted by: Ingrid | November 18, 2015

Bumpdate: 15 Weeks

Due Date: May 12, 2016

Weight Gain:  Somewhere between zero and 1.6 pounds gained.  I am suddenly reminded of how little I like the quick and capricious changes of the second trimester.

Symptoms: Some nausea but mostly just a lot of tiredness and feeling kind of icky.

What’s different this time: In some ways, this seems to be going faster in a way that the second and third pregnancy did not.  Probably because we are just way too busy this semester.  Also, I have not yet seen a doctor.  That’s a first (and not my fault).

Cravings/Aversions: I am still stuck on the blue cheese/lettuce/crouton combo. Plains yogurt sounds good, as does steak and chicken.  Water is still not something I can drink most of the time and suddenly I don’t like grapefruit juice either.  No pizza or Italian or Mexican food.  Sweets and carbs and stuff are still out, which is a shame, since I made a brownie peanut butter cheesecake for tonight that sounds absolutely disgusting.

Sleep: I take Unisom, therefore I sleep.

I am loving: The fact that I get to have my first prenatal visit this Friday.  Yes, first.  At 15 weeks 2 days.  Unless it gets cancelled the day of, as happened last time.  You should not cancel on pregnant women, makes ’em cranky.

I am grateful for: The fact that Clint and I celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary today.  If you’d told me nine years ago that today I would be living in Colorado while my husband teaches and that I would be 15 weeks pregnant with our fourth child I may have run screaming into the night.  Or laughed at you.

I miss:  Being productive and sucking in my stomach.

Milestones: I’m at a week divisible by 5, which always feels like a milestone.  Also, I have reached the dubious milestone of having my rear and my belly sticking out exactly the same.  Normally I am a fan of symmetry but pregnancy looks way better when the belly overshadows everything else.

Best moment this week: I can’t think of anything monumental.  It may have been the morning I weighed myself and was still at pre-pregnancy weight or it may have been when I got people time on Friday or it may have been when I made this for dinner while my children ate leftover pizza.


I am stressing over:  I don’t feel particularly stressed, although my class that ends December 12 feels like it is constantly hanging over my head.  Next up, dissecting a fetal pig on our kitchen table.

Movement:  Maybe?  I can’t tell and I am not sitting down long enough ever to try to figure it out.  Except I am sitting down and I think it has hiccups!!!!

It’s a: I don’t know!  I sort of want another girl though.

Exercise: 31 miles last week.

Diet: I can’t get enough gouda and blue cheese.  Still preferring salty stuff over sweet.  I am just eating what will taste okay.

Exercise goal for the upcoming week:  30+ miles with hopefully at 10 mile long run.

Belly Shot: 


Blast from the Past – Nine Years ago Today:



I originally signed up for the Denver half in hopes that it would motivate me to get out and run more in the first trimester.  I actually put signing up off for quite a while, even though I had a friend who was running her first half, and it is always good fun to see someone hit their goal.  But then there was this Groupon for the half marathon (and who doesn’t love feeling like they are saving $40 on a race) so I bought it and hoped for the best.  I was a little unsure of a half at 10.5 weeks though.  I’ve run one at 2 weeks pregnant (which really isn’t actually pregnant), and at 14 weeks, but not in the middle of the no-man’s land of the first trimester.  So when I found that I could no longer wake up early enough to run, my mileage was dropping, and I was exhausted and nauseous, I just hoped for the best.

Off I went to Denver, after optimistically seeding myself weeks before in the second wave with a projected 1:46 finish.  Ha!  I was hoping by then to be under 1:50 and to not have to puke in public.  At the beginning of race week, unable to drink liquids except a cup or two of grapefruit juice a day, I was on my way to dehydration.  Fortunately, that’s when I began taking unisom and B6, which allowed me to stop throwing up and actually tolerate some liquid.  The unfortunate bit was that the unisom knocked me out for 12 hours a night and we had to be up at 4:00 am on race morning.  I spent all day Saturday agonizing over what to do.  I ended up eating Star Wars mac and cheese and falling asleep at 6 pm in order to give myself a fighting chance at actually waking up.

Besides the sleep dilemma, the rest of my mental energy went to appeasing my runner’s pride.  I always wear plain shirts at races because I hate to wear a shirt I haven’t earned yet and I feel like it’s tacky to wear a shirt from another event.  But did that stop me from wearing my Boston Marathon shirt?  Oh no, it did not.  Nor did it deter me from plastering “baby #4’s first half marathon” on the back.  My friend asked if it wasn’t weird that I hadn’t told most people I was pregnant and yet had no problem announcing it to the entirety of downtown Denver.  But it wasn’t.  Both the shirt and the announcement were completely to make me feel better if I came limping across the finish line in 2.5 hours.  I wanted people (all the people who didn’t even know me and could care less) to know that A) I could run faster and B) I had a reason for not running as fast as I could.  That’s sort of embarrassing when I write it all out.  On the other hand, it was really cool when people yelled “Yeah, Boston!” instead of my name, during the race.


Sunday, October 18 was dark and cold.  Since we were carpooling as a group of 6, we left way to early and then got to sit in the car for a long while.  But the car was awesome and had seat warmers, so all was not lost.  Also, we were parked right next to some virgin porta potties, which, with 5 women in the car, was handy.  I ate my usual honey, peanut butter, and toast combo at 4:45 and then took a Gu right before the race began.

We headed through the still dark streets of Downtown Denver, empty except for the runners and the homeless population, towards the Capitol building.  We actually didn’t time it badly, just enough time for another porta potty stop and then through the maze of people to find our place in the numerous waves for the race.


Just before go time, at 7:15, the sun was coming up.  It was gorgeous.  The day was cool but not cold.  It was a good day to be alive and outside.  I was surprised at how close I was to the front since I was in wave 2.  But then I realized that really, aside from the Elite start and the 1:30 pacer and company in wave 1, we were it.  They did a rock n’ roll National Anthem, and then began letting the waves go.  It was a new countdown and start for each wave, which is kind of nice, and then we were shuffling our way to the first mat and on our way.

That first mile I almost cried.  It was such a glorious day and I was so happy to be outside running with all these people I didn’t know and so grateful to be healthy and pregnant and having fun doing something I loved.  It was almost too much of everything.  I never lost that feeling and I never lost my smile the entire way through.  I just felt so good.  I looked at my watch after the first mile split (7:13) and couldn’t believe that it could feel so good and effortless.  You don’t get a lot of runs (and fewer still when you’re pregnant) where you feel like you’re flying.  I had so much fun!

I didn’t know anyone and didn’t really talk to anybody but the time went fast and the miles ticked by quickly.  I felt like we did a lot of running around things but it was like those lines at Disneyland where you pass people and loop around and haven’t a clue where you are.  There were a few hills but they were minor.  Eventually we found ourselves in a park and ran around that and then merged back onto the street passing the half marathoners behind us and in front of us and sometimes passing the 10K and 5K runners.  It was well-controlled chaos.  And all I could think was How is this so much fun???  Obviously I had been holding out in my training because I was running steadily and faster than I’d hoped (I was really hoping to hang onto a flat 8 minute pace) and feeling so darned good.  I took a Gu at mile 7.5 and drank a little from the aid stations.  It wasn’t too sunny or windy during the race, just a nice day to be out.

There is a gratifying downhill stretch as you hit mile thirteen (7:27) in to the finish line.  I finished in 1:43.10, which was way beyond what I’d hoped for and my fastest pregnant marathon ever.  It is even faster than some of my non-pregnant ones, which felt good.  Since I was running at 5,200 feet (I live at 3,900), it was surprising to me how good I felt at this half as opposed to The Dam Run (also around 5,200 feet) that I did in March.  I ran that one in 1:38.06 in the middle of my training cycle for Boston and felt miserable the entire time.

denver half collage

I was 476th of 8041 finishers, 27 of 884 in my age group, and 110 of the 5148 women.  My only complaint with the race is that it felt like the aid stations were set up too far from the course.  By the time I was done I had run a 13.43 half marathon!


Other than that, the post race food was good, my friend finished her first half, despite not feeling well that day, the race expo was fun, and the medal is heavy duty.  The t-shirt, however, is so itty-bitty that it may not fit me even after I’m not pregnant anymore!




Posted by: Ingrid | November 11, 2015

Bumpdate: 14 Weeks

Yes, I am totally going to be self-indulgent and log all these seemingly trivial details.  Last pregnancy and all that.  Thought I did discover, when I recapped the first trimester, that I couldn’t stand my bare stomach showing up on Facebook (I know my little sister is snickering over that).  So we are going with clothed bump pictures right now.

Due Date: May 11, 2016.  I am guessing May 15 if this child follows the trend of the others.

Weight Gain: 0.2 pounds so far.  Fine by me.

Symptoms: The nausea has lifted earlier this time, but I just don’t feel well some days.  Vomiting tends to be random, like throwing up in the walmart parking lot, in a bag, while my children look on.  Headaches, exhaustion, and a complexion that would get me called all sorts of mean names if I were in junior high.  Which, thank God, I am not.

What’s different this time: I am much more appreciative of everything.  I am very aware that getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy is not something to take lightly at this point in my life.  Plus, with the knowledge that it’s my last, I feel like I’m at least able to enjoy the the things that can be enjoyed.

Cravings/Aversions: I love: protein, eggs, lettuce, grapefruit juice, sweet potatoes, chicken salad, crab cakes, gouda cheese, blue cheese, wedge salads with bacon and blue cheese (are you sensing a trend?)  Aversions: candy, chocolate, almost any carbohydrate, pizza, mexican food, spices, the thought of Indian food, crackers, coffee most of the time, water often.

Sleep: Still taking Unisom/B6 for the nausea which means I sleep 10 hours a night.  And I feel like I have no life.

I am loving: The fact that several people have lent me long sleeved maternity clothes (I had almost none) and they are all adorable and they have rusching.  I love rusching!  It looks so cute and none of my maternity clothes ever had it.  Should I ever get past the current stage of pudginess, I am going to have some cute clothes to wear.

I am grateful for: Feeling better so much earlier despite not taking Zofran during this pregnancy.  It is a gift to feel like I can do things again during the day, even though I can’t do everything I would like.

I miss:  I miss coffee and alcohol tasting good.  And carbs.  I used to enjoy the taste of carbs.  I miss being able to get up early as well.

Milestones: No matter what website or book you consult I am fully and officially done with the first trimester.  No regrets there!

Best moment this week: Last Friday when I got up and ran a delightful 10 miles and then proceeded to make a wedge salad AND homemade crab cakes for lunch.

I am stressing over:  Finishing my online class from hell which is eating all my free time and making me hate Anatomy and Physiology.

Movement: Sometimes I think yes?  But I am not for sure.

It’s a: Peach sized baby.  No gender guesses, I am always wrong.

Exercise: I am limping towards 30 miles this week.  With sleeping and no one to watch the kids it has been hard to run, which is frustrating.  But Husband is gone all Friday from 6:30 am on, and today the winds are gusting at 30-55 mph and the kids have no school, so maybe I won’t make it to 30 after all.  I am lifting and doing abs at home, and biking when I can’t run.  I know that I have nothing to prove running lots of miles a week while pregnant, particularly in the winter, so I can probably deal.  I just wish I could run as much and whenever I want to.

Diet: I am better at gauging what to eat and not eat.  Very seldom, this time around, have I eaten things I know won’t sit well just because I feel nauseous.  I eat what I feel like and what tastes good and I think I am getting a decent balance.  And if not, I really don’t care! It will all pan out eventually.

Exercise goal for the upcoming week:  Get past 30 miles for the week.

Belly Shot: 


Posted by: Ingrid | November 7, 2015

He found me

I went running sometime in the summer and, without thinking, put Kelly Clarkson’s 2004 album, Breakaway on my ipod.  And wow.  It was like I was punched in the face by 2005.  Hard.  Somehow I’d forgotten that ten years ago I had managed to associate almost every song on that particular album with my mom’s cancer and two very unfortunate crushes on two completely ineligible guys.  The only bright spot was You Found Me, which I came to associate with Clint after we met in the aisle of the 99 Cent Store (full story in lengthy detail here).  Oh, 2005, you were a crazy crazy year.

And that was a decade ago today.  Ten years.  Which seems like one of those far off milestones when you’re just starting to date someone and you don’t know where the relationship will go.  Then suddenly you’re brushing your teeth and realize that this person who has changed your life has been by your side for ten years.  I am forever grateful that he did find me, though after ten years I feel like Halestorm’s Here’s to us (the clean version, I might add – I just found that the original needs… well, at least a cautionary note) is more apropos of a ten year relationship.  It’s been a good decade!

10 years


Posted by: Ingrid | November 5, 2015

Saint Poseidon

Back in August we acquired a skinny kitten-ish creature at the end of a barbecue.


It was not the most auspicious time to adopt a cat, as I’d just found out I was pregnant and wasn’t about to go near a litter box.  But this kitten was so sweet and loving, jumping on our laps and nuzzling under our chins and actually letting our boys hold him.  And all they did was hold him.  And carry him.  And hold him some more.  I was a little worried they would scare him away.  But Poseidon stayed, and we found that we had ourselves a cat.  What I didn’t expect was the fact that our newly minted two-year-old was going to prove to be his nemesis.

Have you seen Finding Nemo?  The scary little girl, Darla, who kills fish?  Yeah, that’s my daughter except with cats instead.  She grabs the cat and pulls him, dragging him onto her lap.  And then she squeezes him, proclaiming: “‘Sidon HAPPY.” when that cat is the farthest thing from feline happiness that a cat can get.  I witnessed the following progression while on the bike yesterday.  It is only due to the sainthood of this cat that Lily is not sporting claw marks everywhere.  Are you looking for a family cat?  This is the model you want!








Posted by: Ingrid | November 4, 2015

First Trimester Bumpdate

Time to kick the first trimester to the curb! I am so done with it, even though, overall, this has probably been a “better” first tri than the other three.  I only throw up occasionally at this point, I go to bed as early as 7:30 when necessary, and have been pretty much letting everything go that I possibly can when I need to just lay on the couch.

I would say that the first trimester was made part mostly because of the presence of my dad.  Although he does not change any variety of diaper, he allowed me to sleep in and run during daylight hours, he grilled, ran errands, cleaned out the garage and the gutters, took out the trash, did dishes, and deposited the recycling since we are probably the only city in Colorado where they don’t pick up recycling with the trash.  Also, I owe my Dad about 10 gallons of expensive grapefruit juice, since I kept drinking his.  We miss him.

The first trimester brought a drop of up to three pounds below pregnancy weight, depending on the week, and then suddenly, at 13 weeks, I am right back to where I started.  I know I am about to hit the part of pregnancy at which I get less nauseous and actually gain weight and circumference.  Time to find cheap maternity shirts since I have never been pregnant during a “real” winter!  Even though I am very aware of the changes, I am guessing that normal clothes and extra long stretchy shirts will see me through Christmas.  My favorite from the progression from 4 weeks to 13 weeks pregnant is the fact that A) I was actually washing my sheets at 4 weeks and doing normal household chores and B) The fact that so much stuff has accumulated everywhere in the house in 9 weeks.

Being the fourth pregnancy it was all I could do to briefly jot down what excited and surprised me during the fourth go-round of the first trimester.

first trimester

Week 4: What I am excited about: There seems to be a unique kind of crazy that comes with joining the 4 kids club.

Knowing that this happened with one month of trying.  It would have been exhausting to have to continue.

Knowing that I want to intentionally enjoy the enjoyable parts of this pregnancy, knowing it is the last.

The unknown of that new little baby we will get to meet in May.

What I didn’t expect: To feel so ridiculously attached to the rapidly multiplying cells in my body.  There is something about planning this that makes me feel protective already.

Being hit by the semi-truck of extreme tiredness this early.

Five Weeks:  What I am excited about: The fact that I can still eat normal food and have no nausea.

The fact that I hiked my first 14ner with this baby tagging along.

What I didn’t expect: That the trick to getting my weight down was to apparently get pregnant.

To already be arguing with husband over whether or not to find out gender (I say yes, he is wrong).

Six Weeks: What I am excited about: Somehow in the last two years of never getting my body where I wanted I have acquired a normal person, very forgiving wardrobe.  I can be bloated and no one knows!

It has been easier to mentally accept the physical yuckiness of pregnancy knowing that it was planned.  I am better able to look at my family and like them than I was with Lily because my head then was such a mess and I was so blindsided with that pregnancy.

Doctor’s visit in three weeks!

What I didn’t expect: To suddenly want to buy ALL THE STUFF.  Suddenly we need swaddling blankets, a bouncer, an exersaucer, a large plastic car for the kids to play in and I need a treadmill.  Must.  Collect.  All.  Things.

To have all of the pregnancy symptoms.  Yuck.

To have my running go south this quickly. Double yuck.

Seven Weeks: What I’m excited about: I think I have felt better more often this pregnancy.  Also, I have not taken any Zofran yet and am hoping to completely avoid it.

What I didn’t expect: To be so accepting about putting sleep before running.  Look at me growing up.

Eight Weeks: What I’m excited about: Every moment when I feel quasi-normal and don’t want to puke.  I cherish these moments.

What I didn’t expect: To be so out of commission when I feel bad.  I just can’t do it all when I’m sick.

Nine Weeks: What I’m excited about: I saw baby on the ultrasound at 8 weeks 5 days and everything looked good.  And baby was wiggling!  So cute!

What I didn’t expect: To be unable to drink water or almost any other fluid.

Ten Weeks: What I’m excited about: 25% done is something.  Also excited that we told the kids and Isaac is SO excited.

What I didn’t expect: To feel so horribly sick and to spend so much time laying on the couch.  I do nothing.  The house is a wreck and there is nothing I can do.

Eleven Weeks: What I’m excited about: The unisom/B6 combo keeps me feeling okay (if I sleep 10 hours) until mid-afternoon.  Yay?

What I didn’t expect: To make it this far without zofran and to be almost at the end of the first trimester without feeling (quite) like I am going to die. Also, to have run a fantastic half marathon!

Twelve Weeks: What I’m excited about: Telling everyone finally!

What I didn’t expect:  To only be drinking grapefruit juice at this point because all other liquids make me sick.

Thirteen Weeks: What I’m excited about: Maybe feeling more normal sometime soon?

What I didn’t expect: To still be drinking grapefruit juice, to crave crab cakes, and to have to throw up in a grocery bag in the van today outside of Walmart and in front of my children. Blah.

Posted by: Ingrid | October 29, 2015

Rothell, Party of Six

Collage Reveal

The short synopsis: I am 12 weeks pregnant yesterday and everything looked good at the 8 week ultrasound.  Yes, we know what causes this (but I am happy to inform you if you aren’t sure).  Yes, this was planned.  Yes, we are SUPER excited.  Yes, this is our last. Yes, I have been miserably sick.  Yes, my house is a mess.  Yes, I will kill you if you come near me smelling like garlic, pizza, or Mexican food.  Yes, if you put grapefruit juice in my fridge I will drink it all because I can’t drink anything else, including water.  No, I am not really that “bumpy” but it makes for a better picture.

And as this this is the last baby, you can’t have too many announcement pictures, right?  Husband doesn’t like this one, but I had to hang up all the jeans.  While feeling like I was going to puke.  So.

Jean reveal

And of course, the perfunctory shoe shot.  At least you don’t have to get anyone to smile in pictures like this!
Shoe reveal

Posted by: Ingrid | October 27, 2015

Half marathon music picks

So someday when my online A&P class and my children aren’t demanding every minute of my free time I will write up my race report from the Denver half marathon.  Though the short version is that I didn’t do any training and ran it to have fun and completely fulfilled my goal.  It was an absolutely awesome run.  It was my first Rock N’ Roll experience and I did something I almost never do before the event – I bought music.  Lame, right?  I mean, I think the point is to rock out to all the local bands that are playing.  But my guess was that it would be more fun to see the bands than hear them, and I was proved right.

But oh, the sticker shock from itunes!  I remember the good old days when songs were 99 cents.  I miss those days.  I had written down various snatches of songs that I’d heard and wanted and dove into spending too much time and money on itunes.

So for those who like music recommendations:

Shut up and Dance by Walk the Moon.  I put this song on my playlist three times and hit repeat at least six.  I may have listened to it for the entirety of mile twelve as well.  This makes for a perfect running song, in my definition.  The first time I heard it in California, Isaac was shocked that there was a “bad word” (shut up) in the song and I turned the song up.

Centuries by Fallout Boy.  Fallout boy has consistently good running music.  Maybe no filter sometimes, but their music is good.

Say Geronimo by EP.  Nice easy listening.

Single Ladies (put a ring on it) by Beyonce.  This song always makes me laugh.

Somebody that I used to know by Pentatonix.  I heard about Pentatonix over the summer and they have become my guilty pleasure when I need a quick study break.  They sound good, yes, but it’s when you realize that they are making every single noise in the song with their mouths that they become amazing.  I didn’t think it would be a good running song, but it works quite well.

Party in the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus.  So this is embarrassing, because I didn’t even know who sang this song until I was on itunes – it just sounded catchy.  Isn’t Miley roughly thirteen years old? Don’t lose respect, it still works for running!

And now back to the ins and outs of pulmonary ventilation.  Sigh.

Posted by: Ingrid | October 10, 2015

Living in a Gift

The other night as I was going to bed I recalled something I’d seen on Facebook that morning.  A child I’d babysat when I went away to college was now twenty-five.  Twenty-five. I vividly recalled him in his ten-year-old form, precociously pontificating from behind the couch, while I chased the unclothed two-year-old and his other two siblings danced around the room.  That somehow sparked a whole trail of memories of the three years in southern California working on my BA, memories so tangible that I caught my breath at how vivid they could be fifteen years out.

I was away at school, with hardly a demand on me other than paying for my education by working on campus twenty hours a week and keeping up with 18-21 units of classes.  But other than that, I could have done anything, explored anything, visited anything and anyone.  I could have approached interesting people, tried things that intrigued me, traveled to different places.  I had all the time.  All the time in the world.

I was living in the middle of a gift and I didn’t even realize it.

Instead of leaning into the endless opportunity I rationalized my way out of my semester at Oxford even after applying and being accepted (couldn’t figure out the exact price tag and refused to take out loans). I let opportunities slip by because the fear that I was too fat, or I wouldn’t get in enough exercise for the day, or would (God forbid) be somewhere where I would eat something I hadn’t planned on and then get even bigger than I already was, trump the fact that there was a whole lot more to be interested in than whether my thighs were too big.

Of course I see that now and I see the waste, so much waste, of time and energy and emotion on things that never ever mattered in the first place.  It makes me wish I could go back and grab all of the things that I missed, to throw out the limitations I set up to make my college life predictable, calculated, and safe.

More than that, I know that right now, in the middle of my messy house with three days worth of laundry that I keep moving from floor to bed, with the three kids running around, that I am still living in the middle of a gift.  And I am so afraid that I won’t really be able to appreciate it for another fifteen years when it’s gone. I don’t want to spend my life always looking back and wishing I had enjoyed and soaked in all life had to offer in the moment.

I see it when I look across at my daughter with her curled hair framing her face, peanut butter smeared on her round cheeks and I’m struck by the fact that I can’t have ever seen anything so beautiful.  Or when the boys go tearing out the door to greet their dad at dinner time, with our strange kitten loping after them.  Or when I have my lap full of kids voraciously listening to book after book and they are so interested and intelligent and alive. Or when I get home from a run and a pajama clad pirate and a superhero come tearing out the door yelling: “Mooooommmmmmmmyyyyyy!”

I feel like the moments when I actually realize that now is a gift are wrapped in so many layers of mundane exhausting never ending repetitive activities.  I want to press fast forward and get to the really interesting part with more sleep and less laundry. Whenever it is that I can sit in rapt fascination of the sheer energy and creativity my children possess.

At the very least, I will keep reminding myself of the gift my life is right now. Maybe that means in fifteen years I will look back and think, “What an exhausting gift that was!” rather than feeling remorse over missing it.

Posted by: Ingrid | September 7, 2015

Grays Peak


So 14ers are a big deal in Colorado.  This was not a term I was familiar with before moving here from Michigan.  There are 53 14ers (peaks above 14,000 feet) in the state and if you are a driven climber/hiker you can collect them all!


Once I heard that hiking 14ers was a “thing”, I promptly put it on my list of New Year’s resolutions.  Of which there were 35 (Yeah, don’t ask, it just sounded like a good idea at the time.)  Actually, I think I probably substituted it for something else, like “Spend 15 minutes of quality time alone with each child every single day.”  I am nothing if not pragmatic when it comes to making resolutions.  But the thing about these peaks at 14,000 feet is that the snow doesn’t go away until mid summer (maybe never on some of them).  So the summer passed me by and school started up and I was willing to recycle that resolution to another year.

Serendipitously, about a week ago a friend of mine suggested a hike up Grays Peak.  I looked at the homework for my online class.  I looked at all the work my husband is trying to get done.  Then I threw caution to the wind, left him to parent the three children (including the still unweaned baby) overnight, and went off to Golden for the night before heading out at 5:30 am the next morning.  By the way, I really would like to be able to afford a home in Golden.  I loved it.

I was nervous.  I hadn’t hiked since doing Half Dome, back in college.  I could pack for a race but felt completely unprepared for a hike that climbed from 11,000 feet to over 14,000 feet.  The nice thing is that Grays is a well marked, fairly easy trail that is only 7.5 miles round trip with a gain of 3,000 feet.  Turns out I didn’t need trail mix, 2 gu, and 3 Cliff Bars after all (made it through one bar during the hike).  There were a ton of people out (and their dogs!).  This is not a trail you can lose.  At some points people were so close that I had this horrible desire to grab the stranger in front of me by the hips to start a conga line.  I blame that thought on the altitude.



Here’s what I absolutely love about hiking.  I could stop when I wanted, take pictures when I wanted, I could have hiked to the summit in five step increments if I’d wanted.  There’s no pressure and no competition and there are all sorts of people out hiking.  As long as you don’t mind looking down and realizing you would die if you fell off the edge of the cliff.



It was crazy to look up and see all the rock and switch backs and people ahead.  At some points I wondered if there was actually a summit.




Grays is funny because you suddenly arrive at the top and it takes you by surprise.  It was almost impossible to see anything from the top, which was sad, but once in a while I’d glimpse a little of what was shrouded in the fog and it left me breathless.  We didn’t stay long because it was so cold and windy.  I would guess with the windchill it was at least down in the 20’s.



I did a lot of stopping to take pictures both on the way up and down but the hike only involved about 3 hours and 50 minutes of active hiking time.  Which is super short for a 14er but then… it’s also only 7.5 miles!  I ran my last two marathons faster than it took me to make the climb up and down Grays!  Originally we’d thought we would hike Grays and then take the saddle across and go to the summit of Torreys as well.


As the day turned out, the summits were covered with mist and fog, making the steep descent to the saddle (in the picture above) from Grays summit very slippery.  The winds were gusting at 20+ miles per hour and the prospect of having to brace ourselves as we crossed the saddle (think of a half mile path with not much on the sides that joins the two peaks with the wind hitting you from the side) caused us to rethink our plans and head back the way we’d come.

I got lots and lots of pictures of Torrey, but oddly enough, trying to get a good picture of the mountain we were actually climbing proved next to impossible.  I’m sure there’s some life lesson there: The mountain you are climbing in your life will look clearer when you’re back to the trailhead, or something wise like that.


The things I wish I’d done differently

-Worn running tights or capris – I put on my winter track pants within two miles of the start.

-Drunk water.  I sort of forgot, even though I had two bottles in my pack.  And it was only 4 hours, but I had a pretty nasty headache the rest of the day.

-Stayed at the summit longer just in case the fog burned off.

-Purchased hiking boots instead of wearing running shoes (Ouch on the downhill!)


The Rockies are so exquisitely beautiful.  I think that I’m hooked.  I can absolutely see why people get addicted to hiking these mountains.  I’m glad I can check “hike a 14er” off my list of resolutions, but I can’t wait to hike another one!


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