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Ready, Set, Race!

Pick a weekend in Colorado—literally any weekend—and odds are that somewhere within our state’s boundaries, you’ll find a bunch of sweaty people sporting race bibs, timing chips, and an array of moisture-wicking, speed-enhancing, heart-rate-tracking gear. They might be on bikes or wearing skis or in kayaks. Maybe they’re just hoofing it in sneakers. It could be a snowy January day in the city or a scorcher in July on a high mountain pass. The exact details of each competition—be it a 5K, a century ride, or a backcountry ultra-grind—are mostly irrelevant. What is important to note? Friendly (albeit high-caliber) athletic competition is a way of life here in the Centennial State.

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Peace Out (cover story)

We know there are circumstances under which no amount of sage advice or mental TLC will soothe the soul. For many of us, though, feeling unsettled, disgruntled, or burnt out is the result of multiple ongoing factors we can address. So we sought the guidance of professionals and everyday people who’ve carved their own paths to healing or fulfillment. Our hope is that the following pages might be a toolbox of sorts, stocked with ideas to grab when you need ’em. Here, our guide to de-stressing, simplifying, and living a more peaceful life.

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GPS for Brain Surgery

How much is too much? The answer is trickier than you might think for a surgeon removing a brain tumor. Ideally, the whole thing would come out. But cutting out an entire tumor can cause severe damage to the surrounding brain tissue, leading to complications that range from motor skill impairment to death. So the best course of action has typically been to leave a small part of the tumor behind and then zap it with radiation—which carries its own risks if applied to too large of an area.

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The T Cell Booster

The immune system relies on T cells to attack abnormalities that sneak into the body. Each invader triggers only one type of T cell, like a stubborn bolt that requires a particular wrench to remove it. But not every body has the right set of wrenches to handle certain infiltrators—including melanoma. About 20 years ago, Michael Nishimura, then with the National Institutes of Health, identified the T cell that responds to melanoma and cloned those genes. But that raised another question—how do you get the effective genes out of the lab and into a patient’s immune system?

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The Drug that Makes Cancer Kill Itself

Just like people, the cells in human bodies aren’t in a hurry to meet their maker. Normally, cells have a natural life cycle that ends in a process called apoptosis, which eliminates old or damaged cells to make room for the new. Problem is, sometimes cells cheat death by mooching off certain proteins in the body—an act of rebellion that lets those cells survive, spawn, and generally wreak havoc. And that’s one of the ways people get cancer.

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Carrie Meghie: 2016 Chicagoan of the Year

Not long after her son was born 10 weeks premature, Carrie Meghie received an eye-opening credit card statement: She and her husband, Terry, had spent about $2,000 on parking in six weeks while visiting their newborn, Jackson Chance, at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. Even with a good income—Carrie is copresident of her family’s company, Becker Ventures, which owns Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, and she and Terry own the Jamaican restaurant Mr. Brown’s Lounge—the bill was a shock.

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Doctoring the Menu: Food as Medicine

Clad in a crisp white apron and chef’s hat, Eric Sharer ’08 zips around a gleaming kitchen setting mixing bowls, utensils and ingredients on the island countertop. Butternut squash, cumin, paprika, chickpeas, kale — the foods and spices pile up beside the cutting board as Sharer consults his recipe. “We’re going to make something really fun today,” he tells his aproned co-chef, “using things you typically have on hand at home.” The scene is straight out of a cooking demo TV spot, but there’s no studio audience, and Sharer’s 40-something co-chef isn’t a morning show host; she’s a patient enrolled in a 12-week weight-loss program at the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine in Delmar, New York, outside of Albany.

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The Grueling Workout That Got Team Abu Dhabi in Shape to Win the Race Around the World

Team Abu Dhabi sailed its way to victory on June 22 to wrap up the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race around the world—and it wasn’t by happenstance. Nor was it because of superior boat design or technical advantage. For the first time in the race’s nearly 40-year history, each of the seven teams raced a boat that was uniformly designed, so factors like aerodynamics didn’t affect speed. In other words: It was an athlete’s race to win or lose.

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Sitting Pretty (cover story)

Denverites aren’t known for their vanity—not in the way that, say, Los Angelenos or Miamians are known for their high-gloss, high-maintenance (and sometimes highly enhanced) facades. But just because those of us who live a mile high don’t go for the Barbie doll look doesn’t mean we don’t work at it a bit. “Colorado’s definition of beauty is just a little more healthy, sporty, active, and outdoorsy,” says Dr. Cory Dunnick of the University of Colorado Cosmetic Services center. “People here tend to go for more natural results.” In other words, Coloradans aren’t above a little augmentation (yes, we’re talking plastic surgery as well as less invasive procedures); they simply have different ideas about what constitutes beauty—and how to attain it.

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Wellness: A Place At The Table

Nearly six years ago, I examined one of our state’s—and America’s—most pressing problems through the eyes of six Coloradans in “The Face of Hunger.” These individuals came from different backgrounds, lived in different corners of the state, and had very different life experiences. They all had one thing in common, though: food insecurity. I learned that it’s not a stereotype relegated to the panhandler on the corner with the cardboard sign.

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Beneath the Surface (co-bylined)

The United States holds enough oil and gas to power the country for hundreds of years, and Colorado is at the center of the search for energy resources. Using a controversial process called hydraulic fracturing—better known as fracking—and new drilling techniques, oil and gas companies are able to extract these previously inaccessible fossil fuels. These technologies may be the biggest step yet toward securing our energy independence. But at what cost?

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Destination Spa Guide

Even if you’ve just driven up the hill for a quick weekend away from Denver, there’s something about visiting a spa on vacation that seems especially indulgent. We scouted out a range of high-country spas—you know, for some extra encouragement to schedule that appointment you were already dreaming about. Plus, we revisit some tried-and-true urban favorites, scope out spas with a twist, and give you the 411 on spa etiquette. Go ahead. Get pampered. You deserve it.

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