Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I Went Camping Alone on Friday the 13th and Lived to Tell About It!

There is something about the Appalachian Trail that calls me like the sirens in the Odyssey.  The pathway with its white blazes beckon me to traverse the trail.  The white blazes beckon me keep moving forward.  The trail takes my spinning brain and starts to unravel and slow it down.  I feel more connected to myself and my loved ones while on the trail.  It allows me to process emotions and feelings more thoroughly.  I am so lucky to have a husband that knows how important this 2,190 mile journey is to me and never questions why.  I don't even think I know the reason why.  All I know is that I have been itching to get back on the trail.  When the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday was supposed to be beautiful throughout most of the southeast and Dan was scheduled for a couple of rounds of golf, Miles ToGo and I went for an adventure.  Miles is now 82.2 pounds and LOVES being off leash and stays very close by while we hike.  He is now old enough to carry his own food, but I hadn't bought one yet so I got to carry everything.  This time.  We hiked 43 miles in 2 days and 1 night of camping. 

 I didn't realize it was Friday the 13th until a radio announcer in a commercial was talking about Friday the 13th specials at some local bar in Virginia.  My eyes got really big when it dawned on me that TODAY was Friday the 13th.  I looked in the rear view mirror and adjusted my crown attitude.  I can run over 100 miles in 24 hours so I know I can do it.  If it meant not sleeping a wink, I think I could have done it.  I found solace in that fact.  I drove to my starting point at Grayson Highland Park and took off NOBO (Northbound) toward Route 81 where Dan was coming to pick me up to retrieve my car the next evening.

We hiked some pretty hilly terrain and were rewarded with some awesome views during our hike.  Not every mile on the trail is blessed with magnificent views.  In fact, you have to work to get to  most of them.  Miles loved swimming and splashing around in the streams along the trail which were pretty full of water.

We arrived at the Trimpi Shelter which was where I wanted to camp for the night since the odds were there would be people there and it was Friday the 13th for goodness sake.  My fears were allayed as when I arrived there were already 2 thru-hikers setting up for the night.  One in the shelter, one in a tent. 

We exchanged pleasantries and I went a little farther away to set up my little tent.  My tent feels like my little magic bubble.  If I can't see any spiders, snakes, skunks, racoons, bears, bobcats and anyone else in the animal kingdom than they can't see me.  Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous but it is my reality. It has worked so far.  Anyway, there were 7 in total for the night so I felt some comfort knowing there were people around if I needed them.




I turned in at 8:15pm because it is dark and I knew we had quite a long day to hike the next day and if I had any prayer of sleep I better try and snag it when I felt I needed it.  I slept pretty soundly till 2:30am when Miles bolted upright and let out a low growl.  A growl I had never heard before.  I was wide awake with my heart pounding, but I never unzipped my tent.  Again, I was in my magic bubble.  I couldn't hear anything over my beating heart so I just decided to lie back down and try and sleep.  I slept fitfully after that and finally got up a little after 6am.

Miles and I were on the trail by 6:45am and had the best time by ourselves.  We crossed over a cute little bridge and then we saw it:  a TRAIL MAGIC bus!  If you are not familiar with the term it is simply a person or group of people who bring all kinds of food, drinks and supplies and give you handouts of whatever you want.  It is magical.  I didn't want to take anything since I was only out there 2 days and wanted to save the vast array of goodies for the thru-hikers, but he insisted and I quickly cave in and took a rootbeer and an oatmeal creme pie.  Best decision ever made. Trail magic is something I would love to do one day just to see the faces of the hikers.  Priceless.



Anyway, we were off and the rest of the trip was uneventful.  We arrived at our prescribed meeting spot (Route 615- Settler's Museum) early so I sat on the porch and called Dan.  He was just leaving so he wasn't going to be there for 2 more hours.  There was a short stretch that was 2.8 miles so that he could meet me right off of Route 81.  After a couple of phone calls, a 20 minute meditation/stretching session, we decided to go for it.  I didn't want Dan to wait on me so we actually ran a little bit of it and arrived 20 minutes before Dan got there. 

I sat with Miles on a park bench at a gas station dirty, slightly sunburned, sweaty and tired.  I hadn't combed my hair in 2 days (I did brush my teeth 3 times, I do have some standards, lol) so I know I must have looked pretty bad because nice local folk made conversation with me to make sure I was okay and that I didn't need a ride somewhere.  I thanked them and gave Dan the biggest hug when I saw him.  I didn't care how much I smelled. 

I cannot wait to get back out there.  I feel the peace, the tranquility, but more importantly I feel alive.

xoxo











Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Proper Running Send Off for Our Greensboro Boston Bound!

To know you are EXACTLY where you are supposed to be and EXACTLY what you are supposed to be doing in life is a treasured gift.  I have been one of the lucky ones.  I have traveled and seen many parts of the world, but I am most happy with my husband, kids and puppy.  Home is definitely where your heart is.  Knowing you are doing what you are destined to do allows the body to feel peace and a calm presence.  I may be calm now, but I a SUPER excited for our local runners going to Boston this weekend for Monday's epic run!

My heart this week has been excited for all my friends running Boston on Monday.  Patriot's Day.  A day where runners connect before, during and after the most momentous race there is; the Boston Marathon.  This year is no exception.  No, I am not going (I'm not the streaky, consecutive type- I like to go every 5 years) but the excitement does not escape my mind and body the week before Boston.  It is hard to believe this has been an organized race for 122 years.  Ah-mazing!


I am SO excited to see all the big names compete on a world wide stage.  The competition this year is going to be FIERCE!  The men will certainly not disappoint, but MY eyes will be glued to the television screen to see some of my favorite women compete:  Flanagan, Linden, Huddle, Kastor, Hasay, Burla and Hall.  It will be Christmas morning on Monday for me and for the first time I will be not working and having to watch the entire marathon later in the day.

On a more local, personal note I was fortunate enough to invite a few local runners to a get-together at the Greensboro Lululemon store last night.  Adam Admundson spearheaded the party so that fellow runners could meet one another and get a proper send-off to Boston.  I could not have been more proud to represent (as an ambassador) a company that truly VALUES the community.  I will post photos on social media as they become available!



The introductions that were made and the shared stories created a sense of calm with the first time Boston runners and a sense of knowing with the seasoned runners.  I am so excited to track and cheer for them.  Here is a photo from the infamous bus ride from Bolyston to Hopkinton.  No matter how many times you run Boston, the bus ride seems like FOREVER and you question if you can even run that far...lol...Jeriann & I were giggling, laughing and having WAY too much fun!


The weather forecast may not be ideal for them, but I doubt they will notice with all the cheers from the crowds.

Running is my favorite sport because most of the competition is with yourself.  Running is a mental sport as well as a physical one. 



I am thrilled to be back on the Appalachian Trail tomorrow and Saturday with Miles.  This guy turned 1 a little over a week ago and I KNOW he is excited because as I began to pull out my camping gear, he went nuts smelling it as well as wagging his tail.  Have a super rest of your week!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Race Report: New Hanover Regional Medical Center Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon


Yes I am a runner, but no, I have not been following a plan.  I am pretty consistent in my mileage each week between 20-50 miles per week.  My average mileage for the last 4 weeks (according to my Garmin Fenix 5s) was 29.3 miles.  My average mileage walking for the last 4 weeks was 12.1 miles (walking Miles ToGo).  I am getting mileage in, but it is erratic.  I can’t seem to want to bring myself to train for any races, although I am pacing quite a bit this year which is always fun.



Last weekend was a baseline run to see where I need to work.  I ran in the Wrightsville Beach half marathon and promised myself to run happy and strong and not push it.  I was good about pulling back when I felt my heartrate start to climb.  I did not look at my watch for pace or distance the whole race, but I did have it on my heartrate screen so I could just run by feel.  I was thrilled to be so consistent throughout the race.  Here is a  breakdown of the mileage:

Made the conscious decision that since I was fun running it I would not warm up at all and just try to start slow and work my way into the race.  Mile 1 was probably a little fast, but it felt really slow: 7:40.  7:40 on another day would feel fast but with the excitement, adrenaline and all the runners  surrounding you it felt slow.  I guess it felt slow enough that subconsciously I picked it up. We had wind at our back during most of mile 2 so it felt effortless at 7:17.

During mile 3 there are many people along the side of the road and it is always fun to read the signs, chat with people and thank all the people cheering for you.  I wore a St. Patrick’s Day outfit and received lots of extra cheering for my costume.  In fact, a couple of men that were right behind me said they wanted to stay near me as long as possible because of all the loud cheers.  They dropped off around mile 7 and I ran alone most of the way unless I was passing someone, or someone passing me.  Mile 3 was 7:29 which felt comfortable.

Mile 4 is a mental blur for me, so I will just leave it at my time for that mile; 7:33.

Mile 5 is in Land Fall where my friend, Josie, has a house.  My hubby and her hubby were supposed to cheer us on at the end of their street, but they never made it.  The pillow was just too tempting….lucky them!  I was anticipating seeing them so it pushed me along at a 7:27 mile.  I had one Honey Stinger Fruit Smoothie flavor chomp during this mile.

Mile 6 was still in Land Fall and the neighborhood residents are really great at coming out and cheering for us.  They had cute signs and many had cowbells.  Everyone needs more cowbells in their life! 7:29.

Mile 7 is where I took in nutrition with my salted caramel Gu.  Yummy.  I was wearing a costume, so I had no pockets.  I wore a wrist band that had a zipper compartment and I had my chomps in there in a small baggie.  Well….when I took out my Gu I did not zipper the wristband up correctly (while running, mind you) and the rest of my chomps all fell out.  I was certainly not going to stop in the middle of the race, so I hope there are some happy squirrels and rabbits feeling nourished.  I dismissed any negativity here because I like a couple of more chomps before I get to mile 11-12 to finish strong.  This mile was a 7:28 .6

Mile 8 was a blur probably because we were running around the circles at Mayfair Center;  7:28.5.  It is odd to me when you lock and load during a race and you remember nothing, but stay very consistent.

Mile 9 was a 7:28.6.  We started on the greenway and thus started the quiet part of the course.  I felt good here and kept pulling myself back when I felt my heartrate started to rise.  I was sweating so much at this point (cotton t-shirt, I  am looking at you) that I was starting to get concerned about not having any nutrition on me.  I cannot tolerate Gatorade because of the sugars so water was my friend on the course.  I am hoping maybe I can convince the race director to switch to Nuun….wouldn’t that be awesome.  

During Mile 10 a gentleman came up on me and I picked it up a little to chat and run with him.  He then picked up the pace and I wished him well as I wanted to stay comfortable.  7:25 was my pace this mile and to me it felt much slower.

At Mile 11 I had decided that I was too stinking hot and I wanted food.  Anything edible.  I focused on my heartrate a bunch during this mile because I could feel it creeping up.  7:27 was my pace during this mile but it didn’t feel this fast.  I thought I was in the low 8’s at this point.

Mile 12…this mile was the mile I felt.  I felt every blessed step.  I was hangry by this point.  I kept pulling back my pace because I started to get a little lightheaded everytime I tried to up the pace a little.  I knew I needed water and food.  I was trying to pick up the pace to get FINISHED. I saw the beer tent at the WVU water stop and knew THAT was not going to work, but I don’t remember any water from 10 miles on.  I either missed it or drank it and don’t remember.  Either way, this was my slowest mile since mile 1; 7:35. 

Ahh….Mile 13.  Heaven help me.  Loved getting to this point, however…….insert screeching sound here.  When my watched vibrated at 13, I was nowhere near the finish line.  I picked up the pace a little and finished this mile at 7:31.  The competitor in me would have really worked this mile, but it was actually nice to   f  e  e  l   good coming in towards the finish line.  The last .31 was an average of a 6:47 mile.

My watch and many others had this course as long.  I am the queen of ‘as the crow flies’ and know the roads to know when I should be on the left, middle or right.  According to my watch, my overall pace was a 7:28 average mile, and the results show a 7:35.  Either way, I was happy to be done and get food and drink! 

My official time was 1:39.24 and I placed first in my age group out of 104 runners.  This was a great starting point and now I get to start working. I need to work at varying my workouts.  I need more speed workouts in my life.  Who am I kidding…I need to START speed workouts again.  I love speed workouts so I have NO idea why I stopped.

I am putting my intentions out here in print and for the world to see.  Plan your work, work your plan.  I want to see where this goes.  I am excited to create a running plan!
Meanwhile, if you are looking for a fun, yet challenging half marathon the Foothills Brewing to Kick off NC Beer Month with the  2nd Annual HopSwap Half Marathon powered by OrthoCarolina is on Saturday, March 31st.  I am pacing the 1:45 half….please join me!