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Road Trip Day 4: Durango to Silverton

Thursday, June 4, 2010

_DSC1954 As we checked in for the 9:00am train from Durango to Silverton we learned that someone put us on the 8:15am train by mistake. We had just watched that train pull out of the station. A woman informed us that the equivalent car on this train was full and tried to put us on the 1:45 train. Um, no. I told her the mistake was not our problem and we needed to be on that 9:00am train. So why doesn’t she upgrade us instead. They only had space in First Class, normally a $60 per person upgrade. She upgraded us for free! Our car was called the Silver Vista, named after its paint job plus the fact that it is the only open air car with a glass ceiling for better viewing of the cliffs. Our hostess, Ellie, waited on us hand and foot and gave us all kinds of information about the train and the sites along the way. What a great mistake!

The train ride was absolutely beautiful. We travelled by waterfalls, bridges, towering cliffs, and rushing rivers. I love hiking and mountain biking but there is something to be said for sitting in a train all day and just watching nature go by while someone waits on you. Ha ha ha. The people in our car were fun too. I could not help but giggle when the Australians were frantically snapping pictures of the prairie dogs near the station. We also chatted quite a bit with a very friendly couple sitting next to us and ate lunch with them at Handlebars in Silverton. When we returned to Durango we had a little Mexican food in town and then spent some time in the Jacuzzi before bed. What an incredible day!

Vacation Workout 4:
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 reps
Sit up / leg lifts
Time: 6:37
(This means you do 10 burpees, 10 sit ups, 9 burpees, 9 sit ups, and so on down to 1).

Our hostess Ellie told us that on our 8 hour round trip train ride there is just one guy that shovels the entire 5-6 tons of coal necessary for the trip. I will be thinking of this fact when I feel exhausted during our always less than 20 minute CrossFit workouts.

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Road Trip Day 1: Bishop Castle

image After the Bolder Boulder we headed for the Great Sand Dunes. Todd took us on a minor detour without telling me where we were going. I was not expecting what I saw on the side of that hill. A radically anti-government guy named Jim Bishop has been building a giant castle out of big rocks and wrought iron on his property since 1969… by himself. The top of the tallest tower stands 160 feet up! And yes you can go all the way up there on rough hand-built steps. It was really nerve wracking. He built a metal dragon head on the peaked roof that will be capable of spitting fire 30 feet! Unbelievable.

In the evening we watched the sunset over The Great Sand Dunes and the whole San Luis Valley from our lodge room porch. What a view!

Check this out: Jim Bishop’s Story
More info: Bishop Castle on Wikipedia

Vacation Workout 1: Bolder Boulder Sprints. Time: 53:17

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The Title Of My Blog

world-peace-in-our-handsFrom time to time someone asks about the title of my blog. It is a pretty grand title for someone who mostly talks about working out. It comes from a famous epitaph and you can read that here. The main point is that you do not necessarily have to dedicate your whole life to a political cause or to create an anti-gravity device to make a mark on the world. It is about the sphere of influence that every person possesses. If you work on being a better person it will influence those around you and they will influence others and so on (like chain mail). Self-improvement is infectious.

The change I have initiated on in my own life is to overcome a fundamental flaw in my character. When you are as impulsive as I am it is very hard to follow through on promises you make to yourself and others. You are easily distracted by… well, everything. This can make it very difficult to meet goals. So I decided I need to learn to follow through on my goals despite distractions and set backs – to push through when its hard or when I suddenly feel unmotivated. Some of my personal goals just happen to be fitness and health related but there is a bigger picture.

For those who DO have grander plans the title can also have a more literal meaning. For example, I have a soft spot for three major life issues: people with problems related to their weight and eating habits, people living in poverty, and the environment. For this, the title can be read like a task list. First I need to change things about myself to make me better equipped to then tackle issues outside my own life. (In the meantime, I still pick up groceries and go to the dentist now and then).

This is a very young blog and I am still working on the Change Myself part. Obviously I don’t believe that improving my performance in CrossFit is going to change the world. I am just hoping it will change me and that someone will notice. It will take some time. There are no shortcuts to building character. But just because I haven’t built an orphanage in Africa yet doesn’t mean I won’t.

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My Dad, Bob Stutesman

Speaking of amazing people who inspire me. Happy Birthday, Dad!


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A Great Birthday

Apr3_happy-birthday-cake Thanks for the birthday wishes yesterday, everyone! I had a great day! First of all, I didn’t wake up and workout. What a treat! Todd and I went to breakfast at Lucille’s in Boulder. The beignets were delicious! Then we headed to Black Hawk to play some Black Jack. I would love to say we won a bunch of money but… we played for three hours and ended up losing $50 a piece. But hey, we came home with half of what we went with so… cannot complain. Next we went shopping and bought what I had planned to since January. A brand new pair of Lucky Jeans! I had to try on five pairs before I knew what size I am now. I am a 27/28. That is roughly a size 6! Finally, we intended to see Clash of the Titans but the ticket line out the door! FORGET IT! We went home and curled up in our newly finished basement for a movie instead. And we ate WAY too much junk food and candy. Blech! I feel so gross! I need some fruit and vegetables! I had planned to take the whole weekend off from healthy eating but the way I feel after all that candy… I don’t even want another day off. I think I am going to go for a run. But first I am going back to bed.

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An Amazing Experience

2_nails Yesterday was surreal. After my final hike I got my nails done at a place that had been totally remodeled and fitted with a row of new massage chairs. I fell asleep. That was the best massage chair I have ever sat in. Oh man, where can I get one…

By noon I was at the studio where I met an adorable woman named Amanda who was assigned to spray tan me. Spray tanning was a very strange experience. I stood naked in a pop up tent and she spray painted me like a car. I was not sure I wanted this done at all since it is so out of style to be really dark these days. Super dark tans no longer make people think of relaxing on the beach but of skin cancer. However I was very pleased with the result, just a shade or two past my normal color and not a hint of orange. She did a fantastic job. (No, that’s not me in the picture! That is a model.)


Next was make up and hair done by the lovely and talented Jen Murphy. Such a professional! In a very short time she transformed me from Plain Jane with no make up and wild hair to ‘Whoa!’ I told Todd I would probably look like a 13 year old in dance recital with a bunch of make up on me. Either that or a hooker. Far from it! Jen was truly an artist and took really good care of me. This is Jen:


Finally there was the photos. Before yesterday, I could think of nothing more uncomfortable than putting on a bikini and high heels, standing in a cold room, and having someone bark orders and snap photos. I had dreaded this day since the beginning of the challenge.

Yet when the time came, Rob Hawthorne made it seem like a piece… of… cake – like something I had done a dozen times before. He had to provide a lot of direction but did not let on for one second that it was anything but fun for him. I felt totally relaxed. In the middle of the photo shoot, a group of business men walked in and Rob ran over to show them my before photos. Their reaction to how far I had come boosted my confidence even more. One of them said, “Ok, seriously. What are you trying to sell me?” like he almost couldn’t believe it. That got a BIG smile from me.


Rob made it so much fun that I could have easily kept changing outfits and taking pictures except for one thing. After five hours I realized I was REALLY hungry and I could FINALLY fall off the wagon for a day or two and eat whatever I want! Last night it was Chinese Food. Fried crab cheese wontons, egg rolls, sesame chicken, and vegetable fried rice with ice cream for dessert. I almost cried I was so happy not to be eating steamed beef and vegetables for once. GREAT dinner!

Oh, about the photos. Challenge rules state that I cannot post them until I find out for sure whether or not I am in the running. Once you submit them, they own them. I am going to call on Monday though. I might be able to post one I took in a sports bra and shorts since I am not submitting those. We’ll see. Even if they say yes I still have to build up the courage to actually post it. That is pretty… I don’t know… PUBLIC. Eek!  Either way, on Monday I will let you guys know how the competition works from here on out.

By the way, if you need a spray tan, make up, hair, or pictures an event I highly recommend this wonderful group of talented and experienced people:

Photography:   Rob Hawthorne –
Hair and Make Up:   Jen Murphy –
Spray Tanning OR Personal Training: Amanda Berthod –

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The Long-Awaited Photo Shoot / Final Weigh-in

TheEnd_PhotoShootYa know, I think I won’t go get my pictures taken today after all. I am really tired. I think I will stay home and eat McDonald’s and watch movies instead…

*big grin*… 

I did it! I cannot believe I finished! The photo shoot is going to take all day so I took off work. And since tomorrow is my birthday I took that off too! This morning I feel ambitious so I am going to do one last pre-photo hike. Then I am getting my nails done. After that begins a long session at a studio in Denver. I somehow managed to find a photographer who specialized in taking photos of fitness models so hopefully he can provide some guidance. The session includes a whole ordeal including make up and hair and everything. I am so excited and nervous I couldn’t sleep! I am going to be treated like a model for a day! (And I mean that in a good way. He he he.) What a great birthday present! And best of all…

Starting: 157
Original Goal: 137
Revised Goal: 135
Final Weight: 130

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Day 84: I Finally Made It!

Day84_ReachedTheTopStart Date of Body For Life Challenge: J anuary 7
Days Left: 1 – Today

I cannot believe I have finally made it to the last day of the challenge! Unlike February, I had absolutely no set backs in March. I quite literally worked my butt off. These lips did not meet a single bit of junk food and I did not miss one workout. Yesterday was a close call though. The place I play volleyball clouded up with thick dust on Sunday and Monday I woke up with a sore throat. Yesterday it burned so bad I thought for sure I was really sick. I laid in bed furious that I had come so far and was getting sick right before the end. I finally took some ibuprofen for the sore throat and it perked me up enough to get back up there late in the afternoon, just in time.

I have to say, morning hikes are better. It is so peaceful. And I don’t have to hike with other people’s dogs running up behind me, back and forth, back and forth, crashing into my legs. It is cooler, quieter, and best of all I can choose my own pace without having to stop to pass someone or be passed. Yesterday afternoon I might as well have been on the escalator at a busy mall. One more hike today and you can bet I am going to catch the sunrise again. It is 5:00am and already almost 55 degrees out already!

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Day 83: Pictures of Hike Yesterday

Some pictures of yesterday’s hike…

I was at the Mount Sanitas trailhead at 6:10am. The sunrise started at about 6:45 and I wanted to be part way up the trail for before it started.


I walked along the ridge a little slower than the day before to enjoy the scenery.

There is still snow but it wasn’t too cold.

It helped that I was bundled up.


Once the sun came up it was plenty warm and the sky was clear.


Before I knew it I had reached the top.


On the way down I ran into some friends…


Start Date of Body For Life Challenge: January 7
Days Left: 2

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Day 81: My Sister Kim Inspires Me

For my Week 12 featured inspiring person – my sister Kim. A moral compass for me and a constant source of inspiration in my life. Love you, Kim!


Start Date of Body For Life Challenge: January 7
Days Left: 4

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