by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Go for a free hike up the Rocky Mountains with an outdoor Breathe yoga class afterwards, deluxe charter bus, lunch and snacks provided? Count us in!
Alexandra and I just finished attending and presenting at the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference that took place at the deeevine, high tech, and new Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, just outside Denver. CO (yes, I liked it so much I wanted to go back to grad school just to take advantage of all the Anschutz Center offers).
Prior to taking off we were offered two of 20 spots on a bonus pre-conference tour put on by Goodness Knows Snack Squares and Zephyr Adventures. Fun fact #1 – I am SO glad I went on the excursion, which was beautiful, amazing, well-organized, and a great chance to take advantage of the beauty the area offers. Not so Fun Fact #2 – I SUCKED at this hike. As in sucked air. Big, wheezy, gaspy time. Yes, I was “THAT PERSON” at the tail end of the group who had to stop every 5 minutes to “enjoy the view,” “check my Omron Heart Rate Monitor,” “get my water bottle out of my backpack,” “retie my trail shoes.” (THANK YOU Overland Equipment and Vasque Velocity for the super comfy backpack and trail shoes. At least I looked like a pro hiker and my feet felt great!)
So I compiled my excuses during the many breaks I took while climbing. Perhaps you can use some of them in your next outdoor workout:
1) I just flew in from sea level living to mile high altitude climbing. No wonder I felt my heart imitating the alien explosion birth in Alien. Pretty sure I did not look as good as Sigourney Weaver though. The fact that
stoopidhead Alexandra whisked her little way up at the head of the pack was not taking this excuse away from me. Gasp Gasp Sweat pouring down back of my knees, face, underarms. Oh wait, she drove from Santa Barbara to Boulder so had time to acclimate. Excuse still intact and usable! And I was ahead of the 25 year old from New Jersey and 40 year old from Boulder. The three of us were making the front pack possible!
2) I have had 2 knee surgeries after all. Ok, so my knees did not actually hurt on the climb up since I have strong lower body muscles and powered each step through my glutes. Still, past surgeries and injuries are something to think about when contemplating a path straight up. I might think better if I sit down for just a panting moment.
3) It was HOT! Yes, I flew in just in time for record heat in Denver. Don’t even start with that whole “it was just as hot for everyone else who was ahead of you, prancing, frolicking, and talking while climbing.” Heat makes me cranky so back off and let me enjoy the exercise, scenery, new experience, and rest stops.
Honestly, I thought I would ace this hike with lipstick and reputation intact given that I teach fitness 5 days a week and power walk almost every day. And I am happy to report that while my heart rate shot up to 158 while climbing, it dropped to 115 within a minute so my recovery rate was good.
What I learned from this potentially humbling experience:
- Thank goodness I hike a lot at home as I had no muscle soreness the next day.
- Breaks are my friend. Interval training is my friend. Guides who say “go as slowly as you want” are my friend.
- For every thought I had to turn around early I had four positive, encouraging thoughts that kept me on track (literally).
- The view at the top was worth the effort. I actually LOVED this whole day and was so grateful for the opportunity.
- I don’t always have to be at the front or the best.
- Alexandra gets to wear the backpack on the way up, not down next time.
As for the yoga class awaiting us back at the bottom of the mountain? I managed 5 minutes following the darling teachers’ well-cued Down Dogs, then took full advantage of the Corpse pose for the rest of class. Namaste ZZZzzzzz
Disclaimer: We were not asked to write about any of the above companies or products. However, we did receive the excursion free as well as the Overland backpack, Vasque trail shoes, and even a water bottle and yoga mat from Goodness Knows. All opinions are my own.
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