Aug 29, 2013

Colorado Gold Rush Towns: Georgetown, Central City and Black Hawk

After a totally brutal day of altitude changes, we decided to alter our original plans for the day. We were supposed to hike Mount Bierstadt, which would have been our first 14er, but we decided that this was a little too ambitious.

By the way, if you missed my previous Colorado posts, check them out first:
- A Day at the Pack Burro Races in Leadville, Colorado
- Exploring Colorado's Great Outdoors + Is the Dwight Howard?

Instead, we decided to start heading to Denver from Silverthorne, which had been our base for the past two days, and stop off at a few towns along the scenic drive.

Our first stop, though, was breakfast at a cute place called the Sunshine Cafe! Although it is located in a strip mall, the food and service were excellent. I ordered the hueoves rancheros with vegetarian green chili, which came with a side of hash browns. Yum!

Georgetown, Colorado

The first town we visited was Georgetown. In its heyday, it was the mining center of Colorado and a huge silver mining town. Today, it still attracts many visitors due to its historic preservation. During the drive, we passed by the Georgetown Loop Railroad, which was completed in 1884 and takes visitors between Georgetown and Silver Plume.

Georgetown Loop Railroad
Georgetown Loop Railroad

Georgetown's historic district is filled with preserved period buildings, with many serving as boutiques and souvenirs shops today.

Kneisel & Anderson Grocery
Hotel de Paris Museum

In addition to the Historic District, Georgetown also has a number of beautifully preserved Victorian era homes. This part of town reminded me of Cape May, New Jersey. How I miss it. 

Continuing to the next town, we passed by the Argo Gold Mine. I thought this was funny because of the film Argo, which I loved.

We took a scenic, partially paved path that is only open during the summer months towards Central City. The road had reminders of its old purpose, serving the mining industry, with long ago abandoned equipment along the road.

Central City, Colorado

Central City also has beautiful historic district, but instead of having many historical points of interest, it seems that casinos are its main attraction. There were very few people in town the day we visited and there didn't seem to be much going on.

I loved seeing this old stable.

Central City also has some cultural attractions like its Opera House.

Central City Opera House

Black Hawk, Colorado

Black Hawk seems to be beating Central City at the gambling game. It has 17 casinos! Many of them casinos are also newly built, huge Vegas-style casinos. We wound up having a late lunch at the Lady Luck Casino. I had steak and veggies. 

Raisin Bread and I both aren't the gambling type so it is hard for us to understand the culture of gambling.

We made the rest of the journey to Denver, where we settled in to our studio from Airbnb.

Sunshine Cafe
250 Summit Place
Silverthorne, CO 80498

Lady Luck Casino
340 Main Street
Black Hawk, CO 80422

Aug 27, 2013

Washington Redskins vs. Buffalo Bills Preseason Game

I got a surprise in my email inbox late last week. It was an invitation from Klout to attend the upcoming Washington Redskins preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. The email was pretty nonspecific, so I thought it was just two tickets for me and a guest. After conferring with Raisin Bread, we decided to go. I had never been to an NFL game before, and he hadn't been to a Redskins game before, so it would be a new experience for both of us!

On Friday, a confirmation email came with more details. The tickets weren't "just" tickets. We would have Club Level access, and we were also invited to a pre-game tailgate and meet-and-greet with the players' wives and girlfriends. Nice!

Raisin Bread and I planned to meet in time for the pre-game event, but the Metro took soooo long. It took me an hour and 40 minutes to get to FedEx Field and it took Raisin Bread almost 2 hours! So frustrating.

Needless to say, we didn't make it to the tailgate.

FedEx Field

While I waited for Raisin Bread to arrive, I picked up our tickets and found out that we had been upgraded to "Dream Seats" in Row 3! I wasn't sure what that meant but it sounded awesome.

We still had about half an hour before kick off so we went up to the Club Level to check it out. It was so nice. It is entirely enclosed and air-conditioned with dedicated restrooms, restaurants, bars and food courts. We also had access to the party decks, but we didn't scope it out.

My favorite part of the Club Level though was the plethora of seating available. There were tables and chairs and big comfy leather seats everywhere and flat screen televisions at every turn. This would come in handy later.  

A nice concierge took us down to our seats, and we finally figured out what Dream Seats are. They are a dream! Um, can this get any better? 

Dream Seats also get you unlimited basic food and drink: hot dogs, peanuts, cookies, water and soda. I took full advantage of that, maybe a little too much! 

Get your peanuts!

We stayed put for the introductions and run through the tunnel. I still can't believe how close we were! 

We were also there for the start of the first quarter.

I was getting a little too much sun, so we went back to the Club Level to sit in the lounge for the rest of the first quarter. We headed back out for the remainder of the game.

I spy #10 from across the field!

Washington beat Buffalo: 30 to 7! 

Since we missed the pre-game event, we decided to stop in to the 5th quarter post-game party on the Club Level. It also gave us a chance to wander around some more. There are PS3s to play on, lots of places to eat and drink and even an Audi Club. 

The 5th quarter was held in a tent on the patio and featuring some live music! Lots of party people!

We stayed for about 20 minutes before heading home!

Bye, FedEx Field! Thanks again to Klout and The Women of Washington Redskins Club for the amazing time!

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets for me and a guest to this preseason game from Klout and The Women of Washington Redskins Club. All opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure here.

Aug 26, 2013

Weeks in Review (August 5 to 25, 2013) + {Product Review} FrogFuel Protein Shot

How I feel after vacation
Image source:

The Weeks in Review have completely disappeared this month, I know. Since school ended, I have been very unmotivated in general and with training in particular. That didn't stop me from running my third 10K last weekend though. 

August 5 to 11, 2013
Monday: rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: ran 1.62 miles
Friday: rest
SaturdayMetabolic Maximizer + 30 second plank
Sunday: hiked/walked 3 miles

Total mileage this week: 4.62 miles

August 12 to 18, 2013
Monday to Saturday: rest
Sunday: Run Wild 10K 

Total mileage this week: 6.2 miles

August 19 to 25, 2013
Monday: rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: ran 1.96 miles
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest
Saturday: walked 4 miles
Sunday: ran 4.02 miles

Total yoga this week: 0 times
Total mileage this week: 9.98 miles
Total mileage this year: 241.05 miles

Since I have a half marathon on the schedule every month until the end of the year, I won't have any choice but to keep myself on track! 

Before I go today, I wanted to finally give my review of FrogFuel. As you may remember, I hosted a giveaway last month. That post has some of the specs on the product, so I'm not going to rehash that information here. 

I was supposed to receive some samples to review, but there was some kind of issue so it took me quite a long time to receive the product, which is why this review is just going up now. 

I tried FrogFuel both before and after runs. If you are like me and regularly use GU or a similar product for mid-run fueling, the first difference you will notice between those products and FrogFuel is the consistency. FrogFuel is liquidy instead of gooey. This makes it easy to take before or after a run because no slurping is required. The second thing I noticed was the taste. The flavor is supposed to be "berry," but it tastes very artificial, medicinal rather than fruity. In fact, I couldn't really swallow the protein shot on its own and had to take a sip of water with it to dilate the flavor. So while the consistency would make FrogFuel ideal to take without water mid-run, the taste would not make this possible for me.

What's my take: I can't get past the taste. Although I really like the consistency and ease of use, the flavor was not my favorite. If FrogFuel comes out with more flavors, I might try it again.

Disclosure: I received three FrogFuel protein shots for the purpose of this review. No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure here

Aug 22, 2013

Exploring Colorado's Great Outdoors + Is that Dwight Howard?

My first post about my 10 day trip to Colorado and New Mexico left off at our morning at the Leadville Pack Burro Race. From Leadville, we began to drive towards Aspen. Our first destination was to be Independence Pass on the Continental Divide. Along the way, we made several scenic stops to see the beautiful lakes and mountains of Colorado.

How gorgeous is this? 

There was a small loop trail at Independence Pass that we went on. It was at about this time that I started feeling the effects of the elevation change. Walking even on a slight incline was difficult and left me out of breathe. We took our time walking to the lookout. 

 Once we got there, we saw more beautiful mountains.

A short distance away is Independence Townsite. Independence was founded in 1879 and declined shortly thereafter. Some of the buildings have been preserved. There is also a 1 mile loop hike around the abandoned buildings that we explored. 

Our next stop was a short drive away to a trail called The Grottos. This hike was mostly on large boulders, and eventually takes you to an area where the Roaring Fork River has carved into the rocks to create waterfalls. 

We found the trail to be a bit confusing and wound up getting disoriented while we were trying to find the Ice Caves, so we just headed back to our car instead of wandering more. 

Next, we drove to Aspen to take an afternoon break. On the drive over, we came across a grove of Aspen trees. 

We explored town a bit and had way too many cookies from Paradise Bakery. Later, we decided to hang out in the park, where there were lots of doggies and their humans also hanging out. And wait? Is that Dwight Howard throwing a football around with a bunch of kids??? Why, yes! Yes, it is!

That was kind of humorous because I have no idea who Dwight Howard is, but apparently, my husband does as does every other grown up in the park!

Our final hike of the day was to be Maroon Bells. Just as we were heading over, it started to rain and then when we got there, it was pouring down. We still took a soggy walk around but couldn't do the hike.

Still lovely despite the lack of sun! 

It turned out to be good that we couldn't do the hike because by this time, I was in bad shape. My head was pounding and I was starting to feel nauseous. Maybe it was all the cookies, but I think it was the altitude and the over-exertion from our already long and active day.

We drove to Glenwood Springs for dinner at The Pullman, but I had absolutely no appetite. Did I mention my pounding headache??? Ugh. Raisin Bread had to run to 7-11 to get me some Tylenol. I couldn't even consider trying to eat meat, so I ordered a salad and soup. I wound up not even being able to stomach the soup.

It's too bad because under normal circumstances, I would have wanted to eat the entire menu.

Folks, altitude is no joke. The only other time I have done hiking in similar conditions, I was heavily medicated on Diamox! Don't be tempted to go, go, go like we did and give yourself a day or two to acclimate. 

Paradise Bakery
320 South Galena Street
Aspen, CO 81611

The Pullman
330 7th Street
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601

Aug 20, 2013

Lehigh Valley Zoo Run Wild 2013 10K - Race Recap

On Sunday, I ran the 5th Annual Lehigh Valley Zoo Run Wild 10K. This time I signed up for a 10K that was actually the correct distance! The race was special to me because it was the first race I ran with Raisin Bread. Let me tell you running with the hubby is a lot of fun. We drove up to Pennsylvania on Saturday and spent some time with his dad, stepmother and brother - helping them clean up from their yard sale, shooting hoops and bouncing around on their trampoline.

Look at these crazy kids jumping around! Oh wait, it's just Raisin Bread doing the jumping. 

After dinner and more hanging out, we completed the remainder of the drive to the Lehigh Valley and Raisin Bread's mother's house. We didn't make it until almost midnight, which meant very little sleep before our early wake-up time.

I had my usual pre-race breakfast: water and a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Mmm...nommy! 

Raisin Bread's mother offered to join us to watch us run. What a nice thing to do! We left the house around 6:45 am. The main road leading to the zoo was closed and we hit a dead end. Luckily, there was a lady jogging, who actually works for the zoo, and she gave us directions on how to get to the parking lot. Better signage would have been helpful! There were a lot of other cars behind us that did the same thing. Not fun to get lost on the way to a race.

After another 10 minutes, we finally got to the zoo and picked up our race packets. The 10K had only about 225 registrants, so our line was very quick.

We had a few minutes to kill before we had to get to the starting line. Raisin Bread saw that there were massages being given nearby, so he wandered over to see if they cost money. They were free! So we promptly got in line for a pre-race massage! So nice! 

Since we were in a zoo, located in a nature preserve, there were some animals around, such as this peacock! 

We had just enough time to hit the bathroom before it was time to get to the starting line. We discovered that there were lots of mosquitoes around the park at this point. Raisin Bread had a bite on his forehead and I got five bites on my legs. Boohoo!

The race quickly started and we were off. It was very crowded because the 5K and 10K both started at the same place and time. The race was mostly on pavement but there were about three spots that ventured onto trails. Here we are heading into the woods!

The weather was very nice that day. Not sunny and not humid in the 70s. It was perfect race weather for me!

Soon after the 2 mile mark, the 10K and 5K split onto different routes, which was so nice because there was so much room and no more need to weave around people. It was also at this time that we started climbing uphill along some switchbacks. Just when we thought the climbing had ended, we came to a monster hill! I couldn't run uphill anymore so I walked up the killer hill as did most people my pace. From the bottom of the hill to the top, we had gained over 320 feet! Ugh.

Big mean hill!

When we got to the top, we got a pretty nice view of the valley!

Around mile 4, we were greeted by these furry guys. I love bison. They are such majestic creatures although I wouldn't want to be on the other side of that fence!

After the fourth mile, it was pretty much two more miles of very fast downhill, which was amazing after such a grueling middle route. As we entered the final stretch, we re-entered the zoo grounds. I was able to spot some emus and kangaroos as we were finishing.

Raisin Bread and I sprinted to the finish and I beat him by a hair. I think he let me beat me since he's such a nice husband.

We grabbed some snacks and headed home.

My clock time was 1:12:22. The race wasn't chip timed, and we started in the back of the pack. My actual time might have been a minute or so less than the clock time.

My Nike Running app keeps crashing, so I'll update with my split times once it's working again. It doesn't look like this was a PR for me though. The route was just too tough.

Splits from my Nike Running app:
Mile 1: 10:38
Mile 2: 10:11 *fastest mile
Mile 3: 14:32 *big hill!
Mile 4: 11:55
Mile 5: 10:48
Mile 6: 10:35

Average pace: 11:27

Overall, I thought this was a great race. My only complaint was the difficulty we had finding the parking lot. Other than that, it was well-organized and well-staffed. The route was challenging, but it was scenic. I also didn't like the mozzies, but they can't help that. 

Runners also had the chance to visit the zoo after the race, but we had brunch plans and didn't take advantage of that.