Well hello there, strangers. Our blog has become somewhat of a quarterly newsletter, it seems. But, that’s OK – I think we post, share and #hashtag enough on social media that most family and friends are up to speed.
Breckenridge is now looking lush, green and full of wildflower color. Summer is in full swing with seasonal tourists, locals and wildlife alike enjoying the sunny days and mild weather. Summer crept up on us, and it will pass us by just as fast, I am sure of it!
Our trip to Europe in May allowed us to skip what is called ‘mud season’ in the high country. Mud season, well…it’s muddy, wet, and slow. By the time May rolled around, I was ready to start running on dry trails (which were non-existent here). Instead, we hopped on a plane to northern Spain to hijack our friends’, Brad and McKenzie’s, honeymoon. It was an absolute blast seeing them, not to mention enjoying $3 bottles of wine and an endless flow of bread. Eric asking me to marry him wasn’t so bad either.
Yes, folks, we are getting hitched!!!!! For the romantics out there, the man did well, 10 out of 10. The day in his own mastermind words:
“While I traveled overseas and wandered around Spain for two weeks with the ring in my pocket, I knew I wanted to propose on the trip, but didn’t really know how or when it would happen. I just knew I would know when it was right. And then it came to me…a sunset sail on the Mediterranean. Over a couple of days, I made calls and sent emails looking for the right boat and timing. And then it was set – we’d go climbing on the seaside cliffs of Ibiza, have dinner and head out on the boat.
The day couldn’t have been more perfect. We spent the morning climbing on pristine seaside limestone and then enjoyed the afternoon on a gorgeous beach. For dinner, we headed into a nearby town (also where our boat was!). It was all in place, except for one thing…I was yet to connect with her dad and ask for permission. I had previously talked to her mom on our last trip to Iowa but three days of texting and calling were unsuccessful. The call came just as our dinner was getting served and let’s just say, the look I got when I told Heather I had to leave and take the call wasn’t one of appreciation. 🙂 We ate dinner…then I told her the plans to jump on a boat for sunset. We loaded up with wine and snacks and headed to the dock.
Jump ahead an hour into the boat ride – staring at a magnificent sunset over the Mediterranean. We were laying on the large net common to the front of Catamarans when I reached into my pocket and pulled out the ring. I had a whole speech planned, but I was simply too nervous and excited. All that I managed to get out was “How about a lifetime of sunsets together?” She said “Yes, yes!”, the ring went on her finger, and then very little was said…we simply laid there together, laughing, crying so happily, knowing how perfect our futures together would be.”
Like I said, he did well. 🙂 After Spain, we flew to Paris and enjoyed more wine and bread to celebrate. Check out the “Photo Highlights” page for a few photos from our travels.
After Europe, life settled into what many would call adult normalcy. We ran or biked in the mornings. Worked the typical eight to five. Enjoyed weekend adventures and climbs. I even completed my first mountain bike race, teaming up with Eric to complete the Firecracker 50 miler in Breckenridge. To be honest, it all was a nice change of pace. I, especially, enjoy what I do for work and a good balance between work and play helps me stay motivated and focused.
But, only a short time after establishing ‘normalcy’, we had the itch to get on the road again with our van. “How about somewhere in Idaho?” Eric asked one day as we brainstormed where we would call home for a few weeks. “Possibly,” I replied. “How about…” Then Eric eagerly jumped in. “WAIT. Truckee!! Let’s go to Truckee! We wanted to go there last summer but we changed plans. Truckee is the perfect mountain town, you HAVE to see it!!!”
Eric, if you can not tell, is OBSESSED with Truckee…and he has only been there once. Sitting at about 5,800 feet, this once wild logging hub now serves as a gateway to Lake Tahoe, only a stone’s throw away. It is also home to stellar climbing, mountain biking and trail running. The skiing here is mediocre in comparison to Colorado…yet, this place clearly still entranced Eric. Within two days of being there, I understood why.
Less busy. Friendly people. Phenomenal, accessible High Sierra climbing (not to mention only being 4ish hours from Yosemite). Beautiful landscape and lakes. It was an incredible place to explore and maybe, just maybe, will be a future planting spot for us.
We enjoyed being settled – working, running, and climbing – in Truckee for two weeks before another long drive ensued to Seattle for an Alaskan cruise with Eric’s family. Cruises…well, they are not exactly our thing. When I lived in Alaska, I remember cringing at the huge cruise liners pulling into port and the thousands of people raiding the streets.
But, I will admit it was fun! The wildlife, views, kayaking, running, and time with the family was fabulous.
Then…Seattle to Ten Sleep, Wyoming for a climbers’ party. By the end of this venture, we had driven 3,200 miles over four weeks. We were ready to be home and I, on another note, was ready to be healthy.
The extended amount of time in the car had caused a nagging back injury to flare up again. Due to a backcountry ski fall in March, I have experienced on-and-off-again pain in my lower back. Sometimes so intense, I cannot support myself sitting up for a day. Then, wahlah! I would feel better and continue my running, biking and climbing without a thought. But, after this recent flare up, I lost it. Months of pent up frustration from not being able to do the things I love to the capacity I want and need came pouring out in tears. Eric ever so graciously comforted me and said, “That’s it, you’re going to physical therapy…time to get you healthy.”
It turns out I have a slight disc bulge, which has caused intense inflammation around my L5 nerve and, sometimes, numbness in my left leg from that inflammation. The physical therapist is extremely optimistic, saying “…we simply need to tap that little guy [disc] back into place over the next few weeks!” It feels good to have a plan, and I am hopeful that it will work.
While I realize it is not the worse of injuries or ailments, there is also someone out there reading this who loves the physical feats they partake in as much as I do. He or she knows that you become addicted to those feats, in the best possible way. They define who you are. He or she understands that, no matter how big or small the injury, being unable to do what you love as you normally would, and the mental toll that comes with it, can eat you alive. You understandably become lost.
And man do I get cranky when I cannot run or climb. Eric has had to deal with my up’s and down’s and left’s and right’s more than anyone – and he has done so with so much love and compassion. It is because of him I am validated in the way I feel, in the way I am struggling. He has always been my rock through my most vulnerable times.
Eric is one of the few people who has seen me down to my very core, stripped of all the self-protecting layers that have blanketed me since I was a teenager. Me, at my core, am insecure and confident. Scared, but bold. Complicated, yet simple. Beautiful and ugly. Light and dark. I am perfectly imperfect – and Eric accepts all that is me.
Because of Eric, I have ever-so-slowly begun to peel back the hardened layers for other people, allowing me to deepen relationships or start new ones. His wholehearted acceptance and love for who I am is the reason I said “yes”. He completes me. He makes me better.
Some of you may or may not know, but both Eric and I have been married once before. We are not embarrassed by this fact, nor do we feel a sense of shame or failure. We both married younger, before we really figured out who we were, and exactly where life was going to take us. We learned a lot in our first marriage, but above all, I learned the importance of being the ever open and vulnerable me.
Love is not about compromising who you are to your core for the sake of someone else. It is, to me, about accepting, loving and embracing one another as that core being. From day to day obstacles to alpine climbing pursuits, Eric and I were, almost immediately, vulnerable with each other. It makes us one hell of a team and proves the crazy connection we have. Life is complex, full of happiness, hurt and wonder. I believe you cannot fully experience life if you do not allow yourself to be vulnerable, be human. And I hope, for all of us, that we find someone to be vulnerable and experience life with.
While we do not have a wedding date yet (ironically, given the name of this post!), I cannot wait to spend my life with my very own, completely human Eric. I am sure he cannot wait to marry his often blubbering mess, either.
Until next time, folks.