Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Running Through the Garden

After hiking up.  Way up.  To get a better view!
This was mile 4-ish.
After a very long extended weekend at the ER I'm assigned to while here for Army Reserve Annual Training at Ft. Carson, Colorado, I got to enjoy a much-needed day off.  I had planned to meet-up with some of the other RNs from the ER, but those plans washed out after I spent the entire morning and early afternoon on Post trying to schedule an appointment to get my required official Department of Army photo on Thursday.  Without that photo, I can't sit for Captain's boards.  But after meeting face-to-face with the supervisor for the photo lab and pleading my case, he was able to squeeze me in for an appointment first thing Thursday.

I picked up my newly purchased and altered-to-perfection dress uniform (and it's gorgeous) and found dry-cleaning services to get it completed by Wednesday evening.  Then I grabbed some lunch at the D-Fac (can you believe the chow hall had humus?  I was uber happy!) and decided to head to one of my favorite places I've found since arriving here:  Garden of the Gods.

I've now been in Colorado Springs (elevation 6500 feet) for a little over a week.  I thought it would be a relatively easy acclimation and gave myself just two days last week before going on my first run.  My first run was three miles and I completed it in about 33 minutes.  I was happy with that; given the altitude, I expected it to take longer than my usual time (30 minutes).  Two days later I embarked on a four-mile run.  LUNGS ON FIRE!  That is all I can say about that run.  I was only about a half-mile in to the run before I realized I was out of my league.  No matter how deep the breaths, I just couldn't seem to catch my breath.  My legs and arms felt like jello.  Even when walking I was huffing and puffing and miserable.  But I still did four miles, even though it took me 51 minutes and enjoyed the view of Cheyenne Mountain, and moved on.

Then two days later (Mother's Day!) I went on a sweet little three mile run.  It was 85 degrees outside, and I had just finished day three of my long work weekend.  Exhausted, I performed poorly as compared to my usual pace (39 minutes!).  But, I still did it, so I moved on again.

Still on mile 1.  Check out how far out I am
from the Garden of the Gods main area!
You can also see Pikes Peak in the background.
Bringing me to today...I drove out to Garden of the Gods with no expectations except to run and hike.  I planned for five miles, and figured I would just see how it went.  It was an amazing afternoon to run/hike.  Perfect weather, sun shining bright.  The first two miles I ran (and at my usual 10-minute-mile pace!) along the paved trail.  The next two miles, I mostly hiked, taking the less-traveled trails, and tromping through the Gardens on the rough terrain.  Magnificent views everywhere. I allowed myself to stop and enjoy the views to Pikes Peak.  Breathtaking.  I can't get enough of it.  I can officially say that this is now my second-most-favorite place I've been to.  The first of course being SoCal (Love my San Diego and L.A. - ocean view to the west, mountain views to the east.  Starbucks on nearly every corner.  Amazing running weather year-round.  Pure perfection to me).  My lungs didn't feel nearly as beat-up today, and my legs didn't jello-out on me.   The last mile I ran.  I finished out my five miles at 1:08:17.  Only about 15 minutes longer than I would have done at sea level at a full-out run.  Before I had baby #3.  I really ought to cut myself some slack.  Kellen is only 6-months old!

Here's what I've learned in one short week of living here and running:
1.  Give yourself more time than you think you'll need.  The altitude really does make a difference.  Don't be so hard on yourself if it takes you WAY longer to do the distance that it usually would.  Tell your brain to shut up! and enjoy the run and the view.

2.  Hydrate.  And then hydrate again. (I forgot to bring my H20 along with me, and the last 20 minutes were spent day-dreaming about a drink.  Thankfully, I had a triple soy latte waiting for me in the car!)

3.  It's terribly dry here.  Hydrate again.

4.  The sun is closer.  I got sunburned AGAIN today when I thought I had done a good job covering up with a shirt.  Nope.  It didn't cover my neck or my forearms.  Guess what got burned.  Must. Buy. Sunblock.

5.  Hydrate.  Again.

Enjoy the photos (sorry about the quality - I only had my iPhone on me!).  This place is truly amazing.

Only about 1/2-mile to the Garden of the Gods!

Mile 2 complete!

Pikes Peak way in the background!

Magnificent Garden of the Gods.

View to Pikes Peak.  I'll be trail-running the base
of that bad boy on Thursday!

The final mile back to my car.  Paved and FLAT!

View from the paved trail back to the car...

Beginning mile 5!

Finishing the last mile.
So thirsty!  Thankfully, the
BFF Starbucks Latte is waiting for me
in the car!


  1. Awesome! If you had to miss your kiddos, I'm glad you at least got to come hang out in the mountains out here. (And I agree on the H2O and lotion. I'm using both like crazy to get used to the dryness and altitude again. Water helps with both.) Now that we've got you hooked on the Rockies you'll have to come visit us in UT sometime too.

  2. Absolutely! The more of the West I see, the more I love it. I could seriously become overly possessive of all of this. Stunning, beautiful, breathtaking!

  3. Awesome post!!! And Cairo? Much Envy. Best wishes getting read to take off :)