Faculty member Kristie Yelinek, who teaches CO130, CO150, and international sections of CO150, has spent her summer preparing to run a marathon, hiking fourteeners, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, and dreaming about building a tiny house. Life is anything but boring for Kristie!

kristie running

What was your most memorable adventure this summer and why?

Running my first half marathon was pretty memorable, for two reasons. First, I was finally able to reach my goal of running a half, which has been a goal of mine for a few years, but I haven’t been able to train because of an injury. Finally, being injury free and running the race felt really good. Also, three of my friends came to the race, so I had a pretty big cheering section at the end when I finished.

How long have you been preparing to run a half marathon (and are you preparing for a full marathon)?

Running the half marathon was actually part of my training plan for the full marathon I’m planning to run in October: the Blue Sky Trail Marathon. The half fell on a day that my training plan called for a 13 mile run, so I figured I’d combine my training for the full marathon with my goal of also finishing a half marathon at the same time. I’ve been slowly building up mileage since April so I don’t re-injury my calf. I don’t run every day, usually four times a week, with one day for cross training (usually biking or hiking-sometimes a hike up a 14er!) and then two days off. The half went really well and I felt good at the end of it. I’d like to focus on building up mileage this year and then start working on speed next year.

What compelled you to hike three fourteeners this summer? What were those experiences like? 

I’ve always really enjoyed hiking and starting to hike 14ers just seemed like a fun new challenge. I enjoy seeing what I’m physically capable of and adding the challenge of hiking 14ers seemed like a good next step in my love of hiking. I hiked Mt. Elbert first and it was definitely a bit humbling. I’m used to just kind of bounding up the side of the mountain and at that elevation I definitely needed to stop a few times and catch my breath. The view from the summit, however, was amazing. We went on a clear day so we could see a lot of the mountains surrounding Mt. Elbert. Grays and Torreys were also challenging, but I knew more of what to expect and better how to pace myself. I’m hoping to hike at least two more this summer/early fall.

kristie on mt. elbert
On top of Mt. Elbert!

What inspired you to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity? What was that experience like? 

I’ve always thought that it’d be interesting to see how a house is built, especially since I’m considering building my own tiny house on wheels. The experience with Habitat is completely different from anything I’ve done before. The first day I volunteered, we put up most of the exterior walls of the first floor of the house they’re building and it was really exciting to be able to look at it at the end of the day and know that I helped build it. Everyone at the build site is friendly and helpful. I joined through a program called “Women Build,” which caters especially to women and made it less intimidating.

“The great thing about teaching is having time in the summer to be able to pursue passions that I have in addition to my passion for teaching.”


Have you been doing any more planning for your tiny house?

Since tiny houses on wheels aren’t legal permanent residences (yet!), it’s really just a dream at this point. I’ve heard a number of horror stories of people who have built and are living in their tiny house, only to have to leave it because of zoning laws. Tiny houses are new and most cities aren’t sure what to do about them yet. I think they’re a great way to leave a smaller environmental footprint since they tend to use less energy and many are off grid. I’m excited to see what kind of changes the Tiny House Movement might make to the way we envision our living space.

I’ve gone to a couple home shows in Denver that have had tiny houses on display, so I’ve gotten the chance to tour some show homes. They get really creative in the way they use the space!

denver home show
At the Denver Home Show

On top of all your adventures, you went to the AP Grading Conference in Kansas City and have been doing online scoring as well. How do you manage all this? 

It hasn’t been a boring summer, that’s for sure! The great thing about teaching is having time in the summer to be able to pursue passions that I have in addition to my passion for teaching. It’s just been a matter of planning and making sure I have time to do everything.