Country Roads

June 15, 2010 at 7:33 am | Posted in Blogroll, Cross Training, Half-Marathon, People I Meet, Training | 4 Comments
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Yeah, I know. I wandered again.

But seriously? If you’ve ever been in your first year of teaching…you’ll know exactly what I was going through, and exactly how little free time I had.

School ended one week ago tomorrow. How awesome is that?

Wednesday…I got new tires, always exciting, shopped WAY too much, but mostly bought things on sale, and then Thursday I got this……..

Yes, he looks weird. Therefore I love him. And he's not angry, he has an underbite.

Yes, he looks weird. Therefore I love him. And he's not angry, he has an under bite.

Meet Tully! He came from Ringdog Rescue in Richmond. His name there was Spanky…but I have this thing about naming all of my pets after Jimmy Buffett music/books/etc…so Tully it is. (From Mr. Buffett’s book, Salty Piece of Land)

All he wants is love! And cookies...

All he wants is love! And cookies...

He has been doing pretty good so far. He doesn’t like being alone too much, but he’s improving every day! The first time I tried to leave the house…he barked and whined the entire time. We’ve practiced and he’s getting more used to the idea.

However he is still pretty darn sure that the ice maker in the freezer is his sworn enemy. Either that, or he thinks that I REALLY want him to let me know every time fresh ice drops in to the bin. Maybe he’s just trying to be helpful! That’s probably it. I mean it makes perfect sense for him to wake me up at 1am barking his ears off so I would know that hey…if I’m feeling a bit parched, I can now get a nice beverage with the freshest ice possible. Yeah…we’ll call it helpful. For now…

He likes my cat, Paco (Apacolypso…after the JB song) and doesn’tΒ  mind the neighbor’s dog too much…even when she attempts to jump through my open window. He’s cool with that.

But let’s back up a bit to Friday. Also known as the Friday of Lostness, and Awesomeness.

I set out to meet Miss Ashlei for an awesome hike! We picked our spot, planned it out, and I even downloaded a few geocaches for the day! I had a lovely drive along the back roads of Southwest VA, mostly staying right along The Crooked Road. It was a glorious day.

Ashlei and I were to meet at the trailhead for Whitetop Mountain just past the town of Damascus at 9am. I got to the town, found the appropriate road…and began to get a bit concerned.

I grew more and more concerned as I kept driving…and looking for the trail signs. According to my directions there would be a sign marking the Appalachian Trail…however let me tell you buster, if there is a sign for it on Beech Mountain Road in Damascus, I drove up and down that tiny little gravel mountain road about 50 times, seeing no such sign!

I decided to try other options and followed some helpful green state signage for Whitetop Mountain. (You would think this would have worked out for me…but you would be wrong) I turned down the designated road…and drove along…being mildly concerned about my inability to find Ashlei, and also my inability to achieve cell phone signal and notify her of my predicament. As luck would have it, I came to a large sign and parking area for the Appalachian Trail! However…this was for Mt. Rogers. Not Whitetop…and because I had actually referenced a map at some point, I knew this wasn’t the parking area I wanted. So I pressed onward.

After about another 30 minutes of driving around confused, and glaring at my GPS which is normally so helpful, unless you yourself don’t know where it is that you want to go…I achieved cell phone signal by pulling off the side of the road, in to a gravel area that clearly other people had used for just this purpose seeing as it was the ONLY place in 10 square miles with an ounce of signal. My phone then told me I had a voicemail from Ashlei. This…was not helpful because the voicemail said she had NO signal and was calling from a payphone.

She said she would try and get ahold of her boyfriend, Matt, who I know from the blog-o-sphere as well. Luckily I had him on my chat contacts and managed to get ahold of him and he called to say he got a similar voicemail. We tried to work out a plan…but…were really both at a loss.

Finally, after a bit more driving around (by this time it was around 11:30, 2 and a half hours after we were to meet) and going back to the cell phone magic spot…Ashlei CALLED!!! She had driven back to cell phone signal!!! We agreed to meet at a predetermined location of which we both knew of…and 30 minutes later we were FINALLY able to find each other!

So. After that, you’d want to hang up your hat, right? It’s now 12:15 or so…3 hours after we intended to set out to hike 6 miles. And we STILL don’t know where this elusive trailhead is. But no. Since I’ve found the Mt. Rogers area…we decide to just go wander up there!

So we did. We managed to wander to Buzzard’s Rock. We had some great chats, saw some AMAZING scenery, and met some cool thru-hikers and shared a bit of trail magic with them. πŸ™‚ Good fortune for them good karma for us!

We got more pictures than I can even begin to share. If you want to see them all, please visit my photobucket album here: http://s539.photobucket.com/albums/ff354/PinkDsnyPrncess/Hiking%20with%20Ashlei/

But here are some of the highlights, INCLUDING a picture of Whitetop Mountain which we DID manage to find! Sneaky bugger. Now if only we could figure out how to get to the parking area…that we did actually hike past. Haha.

AT <3

AT ❀

Spoon and the other two thru-hikers we met. Yes, his name was Spoon.

Spoon and the other two thru-hikers we met. Yes, his name was Spoon.

This? Is why hiking rocks. Pictures are nice, but it's not the same.

This? Is why hiking rocks. Pictures are nice, but it's not the same.

Ashlei! She comes from the rocks!!!

Ashlei! She comes from the rocks!!!

Whitetop! Of which we did not hiketh.

Whitetop! Of which we did not hiketh.

Ahhh the trail.

Ahhh the trail.

So. Then because that 6.5 mile hike just wasn’t enough, I set out on Saturday with my parents, my new dog, and a fellow Star City Strider.

We hiked Stiles Falls, which was a really nice, short 3 mile hike. The waterfall is amazing and ends in a shallow pool at the bottom where we could actually get in, and walk right up to the falls! It was really awesome!

The climb up the rocks to the pool was a little much for our four legged companion, so my dad found a lovely shaded stump to sit on and held on to Tully for me.

It's a happy hiking dog!

It's a happy hiking dog!

Apparently, Tully had already made up his mind who his mom was…and he had NO interest in watching her climb up and over rocks, and out of sight near roaring water. Dad said that he whined and pulled on the leash almost constantly and REALLY got upset when I was out of eyesight. He seems to like me, so yay for that!

It felt SO good!!!

It felt SO good!!!

Then I climbed back down and took Tully from dad so that he could go up to the falls with mom. Aaaand that’s when mom dropped her camera.

But she didn’t JUST drop it in the water, no, that would be too easy. She dropped it BETWEEN two of the boulders that we’d climbed to get to the pool below the falls. And I do mean boluders.

So after dad, mom, and the other member of our party all tried but failed to reach the camera from the rocks, I had dad come back down, hold Tully and I climbed up in the cave-like opening that the boulders made.

Who got the camera out?

Nuff said.

Nuff said.

This girl. πŸ™‚

Then…camera in hand, we headed down. (I’m not sure what the damage was…it was still on when I got it…but we took out the batteries, opened all the flaps/bits and let it air out, we also put it in a bowl of dry rice in hopes of pulling out the moisture. I have the SD card…but nothing to plug it in to to check it’s functionality…haven’t talked to mom to see if the camera works)

And then…because apparently I have developed a fascination with climbing up anything I possibly can…I decided to climb this tree.

And if I do something…mom of course want’s to go too. πŸ™‚

It made for a lovely family portriat!

The Fam!

The Fam!

So, those are my adventures so far in the land of summer! This is my first summer not working/going to school in 10 years. You have NO idea how excited I am.

I think I’m hiking with some people from the Outdoor Club on Wednesday…and maybe again with Ashlei at the end of the month!!!!!!

Running-wise…I didn’t make it through the half that I had planned. It was pushing 75 degrees and humid at the 9am race start…I made it through the 10K portion and KNEW I was done. I was dehydrated all ready and I knew another 7 miles would have been a bad idea. I dropped out. My first DNF.

But I’m glad I did. I had a MASSIVE headache from then until Sunday morning from the dehydration. Going on would have probably been dangerous for me! No regrets at all! It was a beautiful course…but I just don’t do well in heat. Next year, I’ll just sign up for the 10K, unless the start-time moves back!

Since I have the summer off…my goals are to be outside as much as possible, do as much fiber-related art as possible, and really improve my running. I’m going to make working out my “job” for the summer. πŸ™‚

But in fiber-related news, I have done a lot! I’ll explain in picture form…because I fully realize knitting, dyeing, and spinning aren’t exactly exciting topics of conversation for most people.

It's a sheep! Her name is Amidala *like from Star Wars* and I have her fleece to make in to yarn! YAY!

It's a sheep! Her name is Amidala *like from Star Wars* and I have her fleece to make in to yarn! YAY!

I finished my Aunt's socks...only 6 months late!

I finished my Aunt's socks...only 6 months late!

I spun up some fine fiber!

I spun up some fine fiber!

I recycled yarn from a goodwill sweater and dyed it!

I recycled yarn from a goodwill sweater and dyed it!

I dyed some more yarn...

I dyed some more yarn...

And then I dyed a little bit more.

And then I dyed a little bit more.

And then I knit a felted adult beverage insulating holder type deal. *read as: Beer Huggie*

And then I knit a felted adult beverage insulating holder type deal. *read as: Beer Huggie*

I also knit a hat. (And started another pair of socks and another huggie)

I also knit a hat. (And started another pair of socks and another huggie)

Well, now that I can check “update your blog, you slacker” off my list…I’m going to go work on another one of the the MANY things that I neglected in the past few weeks!

So long for now! (But hopefully not too long this time!)

Party Like It’s Your Birthday

April 12, 2010 at 6:42 pm | Posted in 5k, People I Meet, running, Training, Triathlon | 6 Comments
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Or rather I’m gonna blog like it’s my birthday. πŸ™‚

Cause it is. πŸ™‚

Whooo go me!

So I’m going to deviate from my normal pattern and do a birthday and race special. πŸ™‚ Cause I can. πŸ™‚

Race Special:

Last Friday started my spring break from school so I headed home for some rest and family time. Saturday morning I got up and headed to the local park for a 3 mile run. When I got there it appeared as though there was a race about to take place.

I parked, and as I did so another car parked behind me and a fellow Star City Strider hopped out! I quickly asked him about the race and he told me it was an 8K for a local charity.

So I said…”Hey, might as well”.

I’d never done an 8K race before…and was scheduled to do 5 miles on Sunday anyway so I figured I’d move it up a day.

Let me tell you…entering a race on a whim makes you feel like a bona-fide real-live runner with a capital R. πŸ™‚

Not ONLY did I run my first 8K race, but I did it with some very prestegious company.Β James Kipketer, Richard Bett, and David Cheromei. 3 amazing Kenyan runners. It was so incredible to run with them. I can’t even put in to words how cool that was. James Kipketer finished first in a time of 23:23. Yeah. 23 minutes for 5 miles. It was even more amazing that when I was finishing and they were cooling down, they cheered for the runners coming in. It’s just one more reason why I love this sport. You don’t get to play football with Randy Moss or Peyton Manning. But with running…you’re on the same course at the same time. Same playing field. I love it.

So anyway, after an awesome 8K last week, I had a 5K planned for this past weekend. Our first Susan G. Komen race in the Roanoke Valley. I have been looking forward to this for a year!! The Striders helped organize the event so naturally I volunteered to help the day of the race since I would be running anyway.

Carly and I posing at the finish.

Carly and I posing at the finish.

The president assigned me an awesome job…he asked if I could lead the non-competitive 5K portion. I instantly agreed. I wasn’t sure what exactly that entailed…but hey, lead a race? SURE!

So the morning of the race I met up with all our Strider volunteers and got the details of my assignment.

See, I’d entered the COMPETITIVE 5K. I was asked to lead the NON-COMPETITIVE. With this particular race…there are 3 parts. Competitive 5K, Non-competitive 5K, and 1 mile. The two 5K’s start 45 minutes apart…so I could either drop the competitive one…or run both.

There was never a question. I did both. πŸ™‚ Yeah. If I thought signing up for a race on a whim made me feel like a real runner, well doubling my race distance day of the race…yeah, I’m a runner. πŸ™‚ BAMF even.

So I did a 10K race. The bestest was there and I talked her in to doing the 10K as well. Hehe. I was so honored that our Striders president wanted me to lead the non-competitive. It was supposed to be mostly walkers but there were some FAST people in there too. They passed me…but I was fine with that. I’d already done one race that day! Haha.

Running a second 5K carrying a somewhat bulky sign the whole way...slightly less than awesome but still pretty freaking cool!

Running a second 5K carrying a somewhat bulky sign the whole way...slightly less than awesome but still pretty freaking cool!

I was also on the news and in the paper. πŸ™‚ Awesomness.

So to recap…I ran an unplanned 8K and 10K. I. Rock.

2 weekends, 2 races, 2 distances I'd never raced before. BAMF.

2 weekends, 2 races, 2 distances I'd never raced before. BAMF.

Birthday Special:

It’s my BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!! Whooooooo!!!!!!!!!

Since I was home for the last week, there were lots of birthday happenings.

Easter dinner involved my birthday cake for dessert…red velvet, the best!

Mmmm cake.

Mmmm cake.

I also went down to Tennessee to see my adopted sister. πŸ™‚ Today is her birthday too! ❀ We had several adventures which I will cover in the next post. πŸ™‚

My sissy and me, out on an adventure.

My sissy and me, out on an adventure.

And then on Friday the bestest brought me birthday CUPCAKES!!!!

Hello, my love.

Hello, my love.

Oh my GOSH these things were AMAZING. No, we didn’t eat them all. Some were for her boyfriend and his family. πŸ™‚ Let met tell you, one was enough to put me in a sugar coma. So good.

And for my own personal present, I bought myself a new bike seat!!! This puppy ROCKS! More on how great it is in the next post. πŸ™‚

New bike seat!

New bike seat!

And to end things properly…

Sisterly Shoutout Special:

Today’s shoutout has to go to Jo. My sister-bear. πŸ™‚ She’s my birthday buddy and the most awesome sissy in the whole world. She’s also in a LOT of trouble for tattling on me!

Ok so I maaaaaaay have talked her in to adopting a puppy while I was in Tennessee…but I mean…it’s not my fault! It was a CUTE puppy! She needed it. I swear.

So she adopted the pup…and brought it home today and I got an awesome text from mom saying that I’m on her hit list now. πŸ™‚

Thanks Jo. Love ya.

Check back later this week for even more news!! *2 posts in a week!?! NO WAY!!!*

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