It is only fitting that my first full day back home in Colorado is my birthday. My 23rd birthday, to be exact.
What a birthday present….the day could have been boring and terrible (it most certainly wasn’t!), and I still would have enjoyed it if only for the fact that I am now back in Colorado. I really love it here….the crisp and dry air makes me smile. Just like this:
I started my day off with a 3 mile birthday run around my neighborhood. It started off great….I ran down the hill from my house and completed the first mile in a blistering fast 9:03 (for me, this is lightning speed!). I could hardly believe my Garmin when I saw my pace…..
….and then, the altitude struck.
Oh yes, altitude.
I had forgotten about how much that little factor can affect you when embarking upon cardiovascular activities at 6,000 feet above sea level. There really is less oxygen at this altitude, and I started feeling it once I hit the turn around point in my run. As I turned around to start heading back uphill to my house, the altitude started kicking my ass. My lungs were burning, and my heart was thumping much faster than it normally does at sea level when I run uphill. On the final hill up to my house, I had to stop and let my heart slow down. It felt like it was about to thump out of my chest! This run was the anti-negative split run. My first mile was a speedy 9:03, the second mile was a moderate 9:43, and the last one was a sputtering 10:43.
That last hill up to my house KILLED.
Lesson of the day? Even though I am a Colorado native, I am not invincible to altitude. My next run (which will be a 13 miler tomorrow) will be done at an extremely slow pace to prevent altitude burnout like I experienced today.
For lunch, my mom took my sister and I out to one of my favorite places in downtown Colorado Springs, a funky little restaurant called Poor Richard’s.
Their menu features all sorts of fresh salads, sandwiches, and homemade pizza selections. They even offer a spelt crust option for the pizza, which I think is just fantastic. I love spelt.
While I love the thin crust pizza at Poor Richard’s, my heart longed for one of their fresh and fabulous veggie burgers.
I chose the Mexi-veggie burger which was served on homemade whole wheat bread (so soft and doughy!) and was topped with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, mustard, and lettuce.
I could only finish a little more than half of it, but I savored every bite that I could manage…fresh veggie burgers are glorious.
For my birthday dinner, my family and I went to a tapas place downtown called Nosh. My family loves good food just as much as I do, so the meal was enjoyed by all. Honestly, can you every go wrong with eating a whole lot of everything? I think not. It’s a foodie’s dream!
The mom and me:
Being a huge goofball:
My sis and my dad got in on the photo action.
The little sis can be a big goofball too. Guess it runs in the family…
My mom and I started the meal off with a refreshing cucumber vodka cocktail (not my normal drink choice, but my dad thought I would like it). This guy packed a punch, so I sipped it slowly and only finished about half of it by the end of the meal. I’m such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so I have to be careful with drinks like this….one too many, and it wouldn’t be such a pretty sight.
My dad went with his usual martini. The man loves his vodka….
We ordered a slew of tapas plates including a roasted beet salad with herbed yogurt cheese, large leafy greens, and tofu-garlic vinaigrette dressing….this was so earthy and delicious!
...Wild tuna sashimi with crispy rice crackers for scooping. This had a great sesame-infused flavor, and it tasted lighter than air!
…Grass-fed bison tar tar with homemade vinegar potato chips (my dad’s choice….he ate 90% of this….the whole raw meat thing is a bit too much for my mom, my sis, and I). I dug the chips though!
…Spicy shrimp with sweet basil and kale. This was good, but I feel that I could make this type of dish at home. Whenever I go out to restaurants, I always try to order things that I wouldn’t normally cook in my own kitchen.
….Roasted brussel sprouts with manchego cheese, candied lemon peel, radicchio, polenta, and a buttery sauce made of mirin, ginger, and honey. This was hands down the best dish of the night! I am already a brussel sprouts lover, but this dish would convert even the most fervent brussel sprout hater. My family and I practically devoured this dish. The sauce was to die for!
…Roasted cauliflower with caramelized onions, cilantro, and cashews.
And no birthday is complete without a little dessert. Or in this case, a LOT of dessert. I have a serious thing for chocolate, so I decided to share the “Chocolate Lovers” dessert platter with my family. Aren’t I generous?
So much chocolate. So good. My taste buds are smiling.
With that, I’m headed off to digest before my run in the morning. Let’s hope the chocolate doesn’t make a reappearance then.