Blazing Trails - Hope Lake - Telluride, CO (Part 2)

I’m back with more Colorado magic to share!  This particular hiking trail has it all - gorgeous wildflowers, rushing streams, dense woods, spectacular views, huge waterfalls, dramatic snowy peaks, and an alpine lake that sits above treeline - Hope Lake.  Not to mention that between the steep inclines, rocky terrain, and high altitude (over 11,000 ft) - it’s a kick-butt workout!  

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^^^View of Trout Lake on the bumpy ride up to the trail head.  

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^^^We didn’t think we would, but we made it to the trail head!  Be prepared for a bumpy ride with switchbacks and make sure to have a vehicle with some clearance. 

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^^^Setting out onto the trail

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^^^Downstream (literally)

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^^^Upstream (literally) 

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^^^Mid-hike stretch break 

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^^^We made it to the top!

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^^^This is what 11,000 ft above DC looks like

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^^^I found a tree above tree line :)

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Foodie fuel for this hike:

I highly recommend bringing lots of water, snacks, and sandwiches on this hike so you can enjoy a leisurely lunch up at the lake.  I would budget about 1 to 1.5 hours to make it up there.  To fuel you in the morning, might I recommend the following: 

A breakfast burrito from The Butcher and the Baker - get there early before they run out.  They had the genius to add sweet potato to their burrito and I’ll never be the same again. 

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While they also have amazing coffee, I would walk down the block and grab my coffee from the Coffee Cowboy - so hip they serve out of an airstream trailer, so absolutely delicious that you’ll bring a bag or two home with you. 

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Blazing Trails - Prospect Trail - Telluride, CO (Part 3 of 3)

This was the hardest run I’ve ever done. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. As I was looking back through these pictures, I found myself laughing hysterically and calling my sister (who joined me on this run) to ask “What the hell were we thinking?”  

Well, what we were thinking on the last day of my vacation, was to go for a trail run.  But instead of doing the town trail again, my sister had the “brilliant” idea to take the gondola up to the top of the mountain to run one of the mountain bike trails.  Having decided on Prospect Trail, which we eye-balled to be about 3 miles and relatively flat due to the way it snaked across the mountain, we excitedly set off.  We weren’t even deterred when we reached the summit and a burly (possibly high) mountain man informed us that the trail was actually 8 1/2 miles long, but totally “kick-ass.”

Boy, were our asses kicked. Less than a mile in, we were alone in the dense woods, out of breath, on the verge of tears, feeling like we were on one of those reality shows where they drop you in the middle of nowhere and tell you to find your way home.  That, or we were in the middle of our own version of the Hunger Games. 

Either way I look at it, I laugh now and have the most amazing memories from conquering this mountain trail with my sister. Beautiful scenery and an insane workout - I highly recommend this run (and no, I’m not high like the mountain man was).

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^^^Starting off with a stretch on the way up the gondola

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^^^Top of the world!

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^^^Beginning to wonder what we got ourselves into once we saw this  mountain biker struggling  

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^^^Uphill battles

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^^^Wondering whether we could ride the chairlift down?

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^^^Note that this trail opened the day before we ran it due to elk calving season - talk about trail blazing!

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^^^Views like this one make it all worth it

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^^^Sometimes when you #runfree you have to overcome unforeseen obstacles! You can do it Kris! Seriously, just do it. Let’s go! :)

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^^^No really, what were we thinking?

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^^^Prospect Basin

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^^^Our saving grace? Once we got to a certain point, we were able to run down the Green slopes back to Mountain Village! 

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^^^Beyond pumped for the next trip to Telluride and will be sure to train for some more adventurous trail runs!  Now, I just need to book a trip!

So fresh and so green, green

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As the days continue to get warmer (yipppeee!!), it’s always nice to cool down - literally - from a run or a workout with nutritional smoothie. While I usually opt for the fruitier flavors, my sister convinced me to try a veggie-based smoothie while in town this past week.  I was happy to learn my gym’s version “Popeye’s Punch” actually included mango, pineapple, and pineapple juice in addition to organic baby spinach and to my surprise, tasted totally tropical!  Now I get my cool down, fruit fix, protein (which I added!), and my veggie-vitamins all in one cup!

I found a similar recipe from yummy mummy kitchen’s blog so you can make your own version - enjoy!!!

The Best Green Smoothie Recipe

Makes 1 smoothie (or 2 kid sized)

1/2 cup vanilla almond, soy, or coconut milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 cup frozen pineapple pieces
1 cup frozen mango chunks
1 big handful fresh baby spinach

Variations:
- add a small container of yogurt for added protein and calcium
- add a scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder (I don’t do this for kids)
Add 1 tablespoon of any of the following:
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- natural flaked coconut
- peanut or almond butter

Pour milk into a blender. Add pineapple, mango, and spinach. Cover with blender lid and blend to combine. If blender stops turning, add a little more milk. I like to add a couple of ice cubes to make the smoothie very cold and icy. The fruit makes this smoothie sweet, but if you would like it sweeter, add a dash of stevia.


calories 195
carbs 40
fat 2
protein 3
*calculated by my fitness pal

10

Running for an Impact

Last Friday, the Advisory Board Company’s Community Impact division hosted their 2nd annual Week of Service 5k Charity Challenge. After it was originally scheduled back in October and rained out (twice), those who showed up on Friday afternoon were really ready to run for the cause. Maybe the extra month of hype paid off in the end, because a few of us even missed the turnaround point and logged over 3.1 miles (yep, yours truly made this rookie mistake).  

Runners made a small donation of $25 to run (T-shirt included!) and formed teams which were typically made up of those in their department - a really fun way to bond with team members! You can see our Strategic Marketing team, the Strategizer Bunnies, above. The donations benefited Community Impact’s 2013 grant recipients. Charitable donation prizes were also given for 1st place male and female runners, most spirited team, best team name, and money raised by team.

Being able to join colleagues on a Friday afternoon to run for a reason is one of the many reasons I’m lucky to call the Advisory Board my employer. We’re offered 10 paid hours per month to volunteer, the most generous policy in the nation. Not only that, but Graham McLaughlin and his team make it easy for employees to find opportunities to volunteer, launching a portal earlier this year that catalogs all of the volunteer opportunities available near our various office locations. That’s how I found out about Girls on the Run, a program that I plan to get involved with this next year, which is a physical activity based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade that culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event.  

As we’re only a few days away from Thanksgiving, I encourage each of you to look at what you love doing and what we’re lucky enough to be able to do, and find a way to share in that experience with those who may not have the same opportunities at their fingertips. I wish each of you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving this week!

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