Return to Colorado

I work as a graphic designer, web programmer slash front end designer, photographer and general illustrative person for a small midwest manufacturer. I’ve been in this position since 1998 but been with the company since 1992.

Not very often are there ‘kudos’ for a good job. You might hear about a bad job. Kudos, good and bad, do come at times, thankfully. But since there are no quarterly or yearly evaluations I never know if I’m doing as expected or if I’m doing great or if I need to improve in some area or if they are planning to show me the door. And with the new ownership change, not knowing can play havoc inside my head.

However, two recent comments made by the some of the new owners kind of took me by surprise.

The first comment, made directly to me and about me and made by Owner #1, concerned my lack of use of ‘vacation time’. Just a comment, no “you did bad by not taking all of it” nor “you did good by not taking all of it and being at work”.

The second comment, spoken in an expressive tone loud enough for all to hear expressed Owner #5’s point of view as to “WHY anyone in their right mind WOULDN’T take ALL of their VACATION TIME”.

I thought there are several reasons why someone wouldn’t take all their vacation time. In this company, vacation time is earned, not given. Therefore, it’s pay. Some people, like me, can use the nice ‘bonus’ at the end of the year to pay bills, debt, kid’s tuition, etc. Other people, also like me, just don’t know where to go on vacation nor have the cash to go. Other people, like me, use vacation time to work around the house or wait for the cable guy between the hours of 8 – 4.

I’ve used 7 days of my 15 days of total 2015 ‘vacation’. Five days were taken to drive to Colorado and hike and explore. Two days were spent hiking around some state parks and going to a doctor’s appointment. I did have other vacation scheduled but those days were delayed and then rescinded due to work and other conflicts.

There are five new owners at the company. Maybe they want people to take vacation time for good employee morale or accounting or other reasons. Probably for accounting reasons since vacation time is not accrued from year to year. They cut a check for unused vacation time at the end of the year. So, if you don’t take two weeks of vacation then you get a ‘bonus’ (not really a bonus but you understand my drift) of two extra weeks of pay.

So they are encouraging people to take their vacation. At least that is what I’m hearing. I wouldn’t want the new owners, particular Owner #5, to think I’m somewhat deficient in person or spirit because I didn’t take all of my earned vacation time.

Took this photo in 2015 during my Colorado 2015 vacation.

Took this photo in 2015 during my Colorado 2015 vacation.

So, I’m now planning some vacation time for late July, 2016. And, I’m going to Leadville Colorado and going to run on the Mineral Belt National Historic Trail. It is an 11.6 mile paved fitness trail that winds through and around Leadville.

How cool. It is cool!

I should be in shape to run the total distance by late July. I have two mini marathons scheduled for May and June 2016. So, I should be trained up for 11.6 miles. However, the elevation may offer a challenge, as Leadville is at 10,152 feet in the Colorado Rockies and is the second highest incorporated municipality in the United States.

Most, if not all, of my running and training is in the low lands of the midwest. So it may be a challenge to run at that altitude but it’s a challenge that I’m now looking forward to!

I plan to stay at a campground in Leadville or close by. I also plan to complete the Whitney Lake hike during this trip. In June 2015, on my first attempt at Whitney Lake, I turned back about a half mile from the lake because of deep snow and not really being prepared physically, as I was overweight and out of shape at that time. That hike, and that trip to Colorado in general, gave me the motive and impetuous to get back in shape.

I drove through Leadville on my 2015 Colorado trip. For the 2016 trip, I plan to linger in Leadville, take in some of the local craft brew and color and hike around the San Isabel National Forest.

Leadville is kind of a mecca for running. It hosts an entire series of races, from a 10K to the famous Leadville 100 ultra trail marathon. Here’s a link to their web site.

At least I have something on the 2016 vacation schedule. Hopefully that will make some people happy. However, I’m sure the plans will change and morph along the way before July 2016. Until then, I have something to look forward to and train for.

Indiana Trail 100

indianaTrail100_logoI came across this web site for the Indiana Trail 100. It is a 100 mile trail race staged at the Chain O Lakes State Park in northern Indiana. It’s the only 100 mile trail race in the state (so far). It’s scheduled for April 26-27, 2014.

I haven’t signed up for this race. I don’t think I could finish that distance at this stage in my running development. Although I would like to work up to it and do this race one day. For this race, you have 30 hours to complete it. Last year, the first place finisher completed the race in 17 hours and 35 minutes.

I looked at the online registration page to see what the cost is. The cost for the 100 mile race is $180 and the 50 mile race is $95. The minimum age is 18 and the maximum age is 75. Although they allow 15 year olds to run in the 50 mile race.

I’m envious of people who have the drive, determination and endurance to train for and compete in a race of this magnitude. Ultra marathons are a new concept to me and I’ve watched a few you tube videos on the topic. At times, I can hardly drag myself out of bed to run a few miles around the block let alone run 100 miles. But … it’s now a goal … time to get out of bed.

Stay Running!