Friday, August 11, 2006

I'm Baaaccckkk!

Denver was great, but it feels wonderful to be home! Here's a little re-cap of my week. I had intended to include pictures, but blogger was not cooperating. I'll try to get them posted later....

I wasn't sure how often I would get to run while in Denver, so I ran for 30 minutes on my treadmill Monday morning before the kiddo was out of bed. I arrived in Denver around 1:30 pm on Monday. My boss and I traveled together, so we decided to take some time to unpack and unwind, then we'd meet up to check out the town a little. The hotel was very cute...there was a goldfish in my room that I named Fred and the "honor bar" was fully stocked with every kind of liquor you could possibly want, plus some cute items like a sleeping mask, manicure set, stress relief cream, etc. I also discovered that we were only one block away from the "16th Street Pedistrian Mall", so we did a little exploring there before we had to meet the rest of our group for dinner.

Dinner was began what I later labled a week of the "dieter's nightmare". We had a wonderful meal, complete with wine and tiramisu. We played a "get to know each other" game and I learned that I work with a former Miss Arizona (also an actress), someone who was offered a job by the CIA, someone who met and received a kiss on the cheek from JFK Jr., etc. Later that evening, after feeling a little guilty about the tiramisu, I decided to check out the hotel's workout room. It wasn't anything too great - the usual treadmill, eliptical, a couple of stationary bikes & free weights. I decided to do a 30-minute core workout using the exercises I had learned from "The Ab Diet Workout". Afterwards, I retired to my room and hung out with new friend, Fred.

Tuesday, after speaking to the hotel staff about the safety around the hotel, sunrise time, etc. I decided to get in a morning run. I found that if I jogged about 4 blocks, I would find access to the "Cherry Creek Trail" which extends for 8 miles. That was the route I had in mind, but when I reached the Pedestrian Mall, I changed my mind. We had only explored a small portion of the mall the day before, so I decided to investigate this area further. I headed toward the capital on 16th Street and was very pleased with the sights! There was a Virgin Records Superstore with a Lucky Strikes bowling alley upstairs, a Hard Rock Cafe, Barnes and Noble, Victoria's Secret, Ann Taylor, etc. along the way. I eventually made it over to the library and capitol building, which were seperated by beautifully kept grounds complete with a gorgeous flower garden. I decided to head back in the direction I came from and saw the U.S. Mint and the Denver Police Department among other things. I ran a total of 45 minutes.

It's a good thing I did get in a run...the day was filled with a healthy breakfast of yogurt and berries, but a dangerous lunch of salad, gnoche and pizza. Later in the day, we had an ice cream bar and an italian soda bar. I managed to resist the temptation, but ended the day with dinner and drinks at Maggiano's. Dinner was okay, but when I travel to a new city, I prefer to not eat in a restuarant I can eat in at home....however, since the company was picking up the tab, I wasn't complaining! As our group went their seperate ways to shop, I stopped in at Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of the Stephen King novel I have been meaning to read before school starts up.

Wednesday, I decided to run in the morning again. Wednesday is normally my rest day, but after consuming so much food the day before, I decided that I must run again! This time, I decided to run on 16th street in the opposite direction toward Union Station. Going this way, I saw several other runners. Going toward Union Station, I passed the clock tower and a herd of metal buffalo. I also noticed a restuarant called "New York Burrito" and wondered when New York became known for it's burritos? Seemed like a bit of a oxymoron to me, so of course I had to make a mental note to take a picture of that before I left.

I found that 16th street pretty much dead ends at Union Station. Then, you run through an open area that has park benches on either side which leads you to a cement staircase. As I was running up the stairs, I noticed a sign that said "Riverfront Park", so naturally I thought that when I reached the top of the stairs I would see water. Instead, I saw that there was another set of stairs leading down to a big, green park. I saw that if I crossed the lawn of the park, I would reach another staircase identical to the one I had just ascended. When I turned around to go back in the direction I had come from, I discovered that I was on top of a great scenic outlook. I could look in the direction I was coming from and see a beautiful sunrise over the skyline of downtown Denver with Coors field to my left and the mountains to my right. It was really beautiful. As I began to head back toward the hotel, I weaved through some different streets and discovered Larimer Square and a few other neat areas. I ran a total of 35 minutes.

Again, I was happy that I had taken the time to run! We had a full breakfast, a huge pasta lunch, more ice cream (which I didn't eat - good for me!) and a cocktail hour with wine and hor odeurves. Afterwards, I decided to walk around town to work off the food and take some pictures of the areas that I had explored on my morning runs. I was beat when I returned to the hotel room and ordered the "Lavender Relaxation Bath" which was supposed to help get a good night's sleep and was heavenly! The lavender must have worked, because I slept like a baby! Of course, the Cosmopolitans I had earlier may have helped a bit with that too.

Knowing this was my final day in Denver and knowing that I had eaten horribly again the day before, I decided that I wanted to run in the morning once more. I also wanted to see if I could capture a few pictures of the sunrise. So, I headed down 16th street once more in the direction of Union Station. I made it to the observation deck and snapped a few pictures before heading to the Cherry Creek Trail. I ran past a cute bookstore called the Tattered Page and wished I had discovered it before spending my money at the big Barnes and Noble earlier in the week. I made to the Cherry Creek Trail, which reminded me a bit of the trails that run along Allen Parkway and Memorial near the bayou. As I ran on the paved trail along the creek, I saw other runners, as well as biker and in-line skaters. Since I didn't have much time, I enjoyed the trail for a few blocks then returned to the streets to head back to the hotel. I ran a total of 35 minutes, but did stop quite a bit to take pictures.

When I returned to the hotel, I received a call from my hubby informing me of the big news headline - 24 people suspected of planning airplane highjackings had been aprehended. This was not the news that you want to hear when you are going to be boarding a plane later in the day. It set the tone for the rest of the day and since everyone in our group would be traveling home that day or on Friday, everyone was a bit uneasy.

Later in the day, our group headed to Stapleton to check out the new community being built there. Stapleton served as Denver's airport from the 1930's until the mid-80's when the newer, larger Denver Airport opened. When the new airport opened, the city voted to convert the airport land into a master-planned community....however, the community had to look seamless and blend in with the rest of Denver. It was very interesting! Of course, the usual food was offered and of course, I ate it. This time, I even gave in and had a Drumstick ice cream was extremely yummy, but I'm not sure it was worth the 24 grams of fat! We were released from our meetings about an hour early to allow more time getting through airport security.

So, I made it home! Saturday's LR will be 12 miles and then I am off to school for orientation. It feels a little strange to think of myself as a student again!

Run Long and Livestrong!


Vic said...

WOW, it seems like you've been gone forever. Missed reading your blog every day. Great writeup about your trip. That's soooo cool to just set out on a running adventure.

Sounds like a lot of good food was had. No problem, skinny. You can afford it with all that running.

You're going to be an awesome student. I'm taking a class this semester, too. It's going to be a busy 3 or 4 months.

Humble Runner said...

Great post.