We just returned from a GLORIOUS weekend up in the mountains. We left Friday night (after a gracious friend took Arwen at the last minute) and headed up to Winter Park where our friends Chris and Taylor had reserved a condo for the 5 of us. We had a great night with them, chatting and catching up. Saturday morning we made our way to Winter Park Ski Resort which was a 2 minute bus ride from the condo. I skied in the morning while Troy stayed with Annie and then I met him at 1pm and we swapped. I picked everyone up in the car at the end of the day. Everyone had fun skiing, it snowed the entire day and the conditions were FABULOUS! The bumps were soft and we did some awesome runs off the top and through some dense trees. The snow was powder, and fluffy, and just lovely! That evening we had lasagna, garlic bread and a salad, prepared by yours truly. The boys all seemed to enjoy the food. Annie was an absolute RIOT that evening. I knew she was outgoing, but it was a hoot. She played with Chris and Taylor without even acknowledging us for about an hour. She would sit on their laps, bounce on their tummies, laugh, giggle, roll around, bounce on the couch, and act generally silly, all pretending we didn't exist! She went to bed like clockwork and slept very peacefully. After getting her to bed I had several glasses of wine, a mimosa, and hit the hot tub! Ahhhh!

Sunday morning we checked out of the condo and drove over to Beaver Creek Ski Resort for the third race in the Beaver Creek Adventure Series, called the Jeremy Wright North American Snowshoe Championships. This is the largest snowshoe race in the world. They have a heavily competitive 10K, and a "more on the fun side" 5K. The 10Kers race for $$$, the 5Kers, for goodies! My very good friend Amy had taken the plunge and signed up for the race. This was to be her first race EVER, in any discipline. What a rock star! We met up with her at the free parking, and Troy dropped us off at the lifts. Troy went to check into our hotel in Avon, while Amy and I took two lifts up to the top of the mountain where the race was. The previous two races started at the bottom of the mountain, and therefore Troy could participate, or spectate. But the last two races are at the top of the lift and infants are not allowed on the lifts, so Troy and Annie must kill time until we are finished racing. We got dressed to race, took a small warm up, and stood around to let the nerves swell! Amy was nervous, and that made me even more nervous, but I tried to stay upbeat! The race was off! Swells of people with snowshoes all instantly on the move. The start was uphill, and not a very nice uphill. Quickly the pack broke into small groups as we trudged upwards. Somewhere between 0.5 and 0.75 miles the 10Kers took a left up some huge nasty hill while we 5Kers got to continue on a modest hill. I remember feeling tired and wondering early in the race if I was having an off day. I looked ahead of me, I could see 3 women and I thought to myself, what if those 3 are in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. How would you feel knowing you could get them now. I sped up. We passed the 1 mile marker (15 minutes...huh). I passed a girl, she passed me back. We took a dip into a deep powder section. The powder was knee deep, not runable (not a word, I know), dang. The girl ahead gained distance on me, I gained distance on her. The 10Kers joined us again. There was a 2 mile marker (apparently for them, not for us, b/c later we passed another 2 mile marker). A water stop, I passed it without water. We dipped into more powder. I had a fast 10K lady on my heals. One step before the end of the powder section I tripped on my snowshoe and fell on my face. We both had a strong laugh about that. "You almost made it" Hahaha. More hills, bye bye 10Kers, they turned off to more hills. The real two mile marker (30 minutes), and another powder section, this time hip deep. I got stuck several times, so stuck I had to yank at my leg several times to free it. Women were told to run through the powder on the right side of the flags, men on the left, I complied (apparently the winner of the 10K did not, but they let her keep her title...hum...interesting). Out of the powder and more rolling hills, I now loose the girl in front of me to the fog, she's there, she isn't. She's far ahead, I'm all alone. Slowing down. I catch a glimpse behind me on a turn...girls behind me...close behind. I go, I go hard. Don't want to get passed...no! It works, girl in front of me gets closer. I hear the announcer, the end is close. Time to haul. I pick it up, I dial in the form. I finish. I look around, not many women. I count 3. I get in the tent for snacks and see another 2. 6th, could I be 6th? Sure enough. 6th it is. Time of 47:08 for a 5K (although, this "felt" longer than 5K). I'm high...ooh, but now getting cold, very cold. I change clothes quickly and walk back along the course to cheer for others and watch for Amy. Sure enough, there she comes, looking strong as ever, and awesome as ever. You would never know it was her first race. I watch her run to the finish, so proud of what she overcame, and what she now knows is possible.

Ahhh, the sweet taste of being done and knowing you did well...ahhh.

We ride the lift down, meet up with Troy, and grab the provided lunch. I win a pair of Atlas kids snowshoes in the raffle and we head off to have a few celebratory drinks...thanks Amy!! Awesome race!

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