The weekend - it's a time for relaxation and fun. It's a time for experiences that are different than the run of the mill day-to-day, humdrum that marks the rest of the week. We really had to make sure that we had some different experiences this weekend as we have a guest this weekend. My sister Lesley from Pennsylvania has come to spend the weekend with us.
Today started with it's normal routine for me as Saturday means my long run day for my LLS Team-in-Training. For today's run we had to run for at least 90 minutes. The basis of our training is centered around how much time we spend running. Each week we need to run a specific amount of time to prepare for the half marathon. The principle behind how much we run is based upon working our muscles to build endurance so that we can run the entire race. Given that the Canyonland's Half Marathon is now only 56 days away, much of our training is focused on running longer and longer times.
The run took place along the Bear Creek Trail in the Western Suburbs of Denver. We started near the building that houses the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The LLS is located off of Hampden Ave at Sheridan right across the street from where the Bear Creek Trail runs. Our run had us heading to the west (upstream) on the Bear Creek Trail. Given the distance that I had to run I traveled over 4 miles before I turned back and headed the other way. In total I ran over 8 miles today - which is longer that I have run since I was 20 years old. It was a great accomplishment for me and made me feel really good about my prospects to complete the race without stopping!
Once I returned home from my run I quickly showered and then all of us were off to experience Fried Twinkies and cows! If you aren't from Denver - you probably don't know what I am talking about. Denver is home to the biggest "stock" show in the entire United States - the National Western Stock Show. This stock show has taken place in Denver every year at this time for the last 100 some years. Besides Zack, Lesley and me, my brother Tim and nephew Cole also went with us.
I have never seen the Stock Show as crowded as it was this year. The place was swarming with people. Even the large parking lot was almost totally and completely filled. Despite the number of people there we still managed to get around and see a lot of things. We spent most of our time in the stables where the cows, horses and sheep are kept. This is right outside of the main arena where the animals are exhibited. We wandered through row after row of animals. These cows, horses and sheep are the best looking animals that you could possibly imagine. Each one of them has been bathed, dried, groomed and manicured until they look nothing like the animals that you see in a typical barnyard. These animals are beautiful and you can see the amount of care, love and dedication that has been put into raising them. Many of the animals have been raised by kids participating in 4H clubs. As they kids exhibit their animals you can see the pride they have taken from raising such fine specimens.
One of the things I love the most about the Stock Show experience is the smell of the animals, their feed and the manure. I know many people might find that last item to be offensive, but it brings back many wonderful memories from my childhood of spending carefree days hanging around our neighbors farm.
After walking through the animal stalls we got some food and then hit the "petting farm" so that Zack could spend some time playing with and feeding the animals there. He loves to go into the midst of all the animals there and give them love.
On our way out of the Stock Show we walked past a booth selling fried Twinkies. I had never had the opportunity to experience fried Twinkies before and I decided I had to have one. Oh my god was it good! They take a Twinkie and dip it in the batter that is used to make funnel cakes and then they deep fry it. I am sure it was no good for me at all but it did taste fantastic. I am a fan. For next year's stock show getting a Fried Twinkie will be a requirement!
Tomorrow will bring some more adventures as we have a hike planned for early in the morning. Not exactly sure where we are going but right now I am leaning towards a return to Hidden Mesa. We will be up early as we have plans for brunch/lunch with my brother's family around noon.
I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far. And of course I have to add - GO STEELERS! Hopefully tomorrow will bring yet another trip to the Super Bowl for the Steelers.
Thanks and peace to all! ~J.