Every Mile A Memory

August 4, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Are you ready for a somewhat unbelievable tale? Well buckle up.

So. First off, last night I couldn’t fall asleep. Finally passed out around midnight…but by 3am I was wide awake. Eventually I migrated to the couch and watched TV there until 4:30 when I gave up, wandered the internet, and got ready for my day…which was scheduled to include a 6 mile hike. (Ha. You just wait and see what ACTUALLY happened)

I picked up my friend Jenn around 7:30 and headed down to my parents to meet up with them for our hike. We were heading for Kelly’s Knob which is off the Appalachian Trail.

It looks so serene and nice! Little did we know...

It looks so serene and nice! Little did we know...

The first 2 miles of the hike went fairly well…aside from finding a VERY creepy house which of course we had to go play in.

Seriously? Creepy.

Seriously? Creepy.

Then we moved on to the Laurel Creek Shelter and got slightly confused by the directions on the print out that I’d brought. Eventually we found our way towards the top of the ridge…we wandered for quite some time…with a lot of back tracking…but never found the blue blazed trail that supposedly led to the knob.

However…after we gave up, sat down, and ate lunch…dad ran in to another hiker who said it was about a half a mile further. Mom and dad voted to head back towards the car. I was fine with this since I needed to get back by 6ish anyway.

So…back we went. Dad was a little tired…so Jenn and I forged ahead. We took the car keys and agreed to meet mom and dad at the trailhead with the car. (We had had to park the car at a church about a quarter mile from the trailhead because of the four thousand NO PARKING signs in the field where you picked up this portion of the trail.)

Jenn and I wandered along…FINALLY getting to the bridge that led through a pasture and to the last stile. On our way in, we thought we had seen a donkey in the cute barn on the other side of the pasture. As we approached the bridge, we could see a donkey or two out in the field!

When I got on the bridge, I saw not one, not two, but FOUR minature donkey’s! Jenn and I were highly amused. As were the donkeys.

Aren't they cute?!?! Don't you just want to pet them! Yeah. I'd think twice about that if I were you.

Aren't they cute?!?! Don't you just want to pet them! Yeah. I'd think twice about that if I were you.

The first thing I did was grab a handful of grass to try and see if they would let us get close. One bold donkey came right up and accepted my offering.

And then he proceeded to bite me.

Bit. Me. BIT.

Bit. Me. BIT.

Yes. On the Appalachian Trail, folks, it’s not the bears you need to worry about, it’s the donkeys.

And then he tried to eat my pack.

Seriously...he tried to take it from me.

Seriously...he tried to take it from me.

I played tug-o-war with a donkey for nearly 5 minutes.

Once we were free from the jackasses (sorry…I couldn’t stop myself) we headed for the car. We drove it back, just as mom and dad came over the last stile. I parked near the trail and got out to help Jenn get her stuff situated and to re-arrange mine for the drive back. As I stepped out of the car….and walked towards the rear….I suddenly found myself at eye level with the tires.

I fell in a hole.

Yeah. Instead of getting out of the hole, I tossed Jenn my camera. You're welcome.

Yeah. Instead of getting out of the hole, I tossed Jenn my camera. You're welcome.

Yeah. Didn't get hurt hiking. Got hurt exiting a vehicle.

Yeah. Didn't get hurt hiking. Got hurt exiting a vehicle.

I fell. In a hole. Yes. That’s right. Moments after getting bit by a donkey…I fell in a hole.

It was covered in grass and really deep. Not my fault!!!

It was covered in grass and really deep. Not my fault!!!

So. Once I climbed up out of the lovely ditch, we piled in the car and headed towards food. Since we were all starving, I dug the awesome peanut butter candies I’d bought before the hike out of my purse. I asked Jenn if she’d like a piece of candy. She said she’d love one…and I was about to hand it to her when I squealed and grabbed it back. Jenn’s allergic to nuts. I tried to send her in to anaphylactic shock. At this point…we were all basically delirious…and laughing hysterically.

Now we’ll fast forward to the end of the night…I dropped Jenn off and looked at the increda-scary sky above. When I got back on the interstate to drive home…some of the worst lightening I have EVER seen started. It hit so close, that the hair on my arms stood up right as the bolt hit, and the thunder quickly followed.

I made it to my tiny little town…and was driving down the main road behind another car. I saw the other car slowing down, but I couldn’t tell why, so I slowed down as well. And….that’s when the car disappeared in to a tree. I had a small heart attack and then went through the tree as well.

The tree had fallen across both lanes of the road. It was so large that you couldn’t see if there was traffic on the other side…and it was so dark and rainy, that even going 20 under the speed limit, you couldn’t see the tree until you were right on top of it.

I took a tree to the car. The car in front of me was going quite a bit faster than me and definitely hit the thicker part of the tree. After I exited the roadforest I could see parts of tree coming out of their grill. And mind you I’m still behind them.

I’m fairly sure my car escaped tree-free. If she got a little scratched…it won’t be her first. She’s 10 years old…so…no harm done really.

Overall…it’s been one of the most comical days of my entire life.

So…to recap. Today, on 3 hours of sleep, I hiked 8 miles, fell in a hole, got bit by a donkey, almost sent my friend in to anaphylactic shock, and drove through a tree.

I feel…accomplished.

A Lot to Drink About

July 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Cross Training | 4 Comments
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Not to start this off on a negative note, but the last week and a half has been a little suck-tastic.

I don’t know WHAT is going on with my body, but my stomach has been REALLY angry since the 28th. Every day, usually in the afternoon, it feels like there is an evil gnome trying to launch a cannon ball out of my belly button.

Seriously, it sucks. Some days, it hurts to move. Yesterday, I couldn’t get off the couch. I was in pain for two solid hours. I’m trying to figure out if it’s something I’m eating but MAN it’s awful. I’ve called my GI doctor to make an appointment, but the soonest they can get me in is the second week in August. (For those of you who don’t know, I have Crohn’s)

So. It’s been a little less than awesome, but…I’m trying not to let it slow me down. Let’s move on to fun stuff.

I have gotten a LOT of hiking in. Ashlei and I had a few really awesome hikes, and I’ve met some new friends and have gone hiking with them as well. My favorite so far was a night hike with some star gazing. That was aaaaaaawesome.

I’m mildly afraid of the dark…and the creepy noises in the woods, but it was really fun…even with the freaking bats flying RIGHT OVER MY FACE. I took Tully with us, and he wasn’t a huge fan of the boulder field. 🙂 It’s a little hard for dogs to navigate. I think my friend and I are going to go back without our dogs sometime. I can’t wait. We have a lot in common and a lot of fun together!

The other hike of non-awesomeness involved 13 miles, on a 96 degree day in July, with some of the most INSANE hills/mountains I’ve ever seen.

My friend and I set out around 9am…both of us had packed plenty of water…but by the time we got off the trail at 5pm, we had both ran out. 8 hours, and 13 miles. Not gonna do that again any time soon. Several times we looked at each other and said “What the hell were we thinking??” We went about 6 miles without passing ANYONE. That shows you that you’re the ONLY crazy people out there. Near the end we came to a creek…and I stuck my head in it. I was SO hot. It felt awesome. 🙂

My new rule of the summer is no hiking between 10am and 4pm unless it involves a body of water that I can submerge myself in.

After the hike…and after I consumed 32oz of gatorade…I had a meeting with my friend and editor Kim. We worked on some spinning stuff. She’s really awesome and I’m learning a TON from her. We’re going to do a dye workshop in August with a very good fiber artist she knows so I’m looking forward to that.

I’ve done a little swimming in the last few weeks, and provided my stomach doesn’t rebel, I may go today. I really want to work on getting ready for a tri soon. Ashlei has picked out a few that she wants to do and I’m probably going to try and do one with her.

OH!!! JO IS COMING!!!!!!!!! I am sooooooo excited. My sister bear is coming up next week!!!! THEN in August she’s going to come do a 5K with me!!!!! Her first 5K right before her hubby comes back from Japan!!!

That’s gonna be a helluva fun week. I get my sister bear up here with me!!!!! SO EXCITED.

I’m heading home tomorrow for a little over a week, so that’s going to be nice. I’m house sitting at one of my favorite places in the world and I can’t wait to be there and relax! This house is seriously awesome. If I ever get to design my own house, a lot of the ideas and inspiration will come from this place. It’s SO beautiful.

Other than that, not a lot of news. Tully is doing pretty good. We’re starting a new diet for him that hopefully will take care of some of his doggy issues like bad breath and stuff. I’ll keep you guys posted and tell you more about it next time…but for now, I’ve gotta go pack. I’ll leave you with some pics from the past few weeks!

Sunset over Devil's Marble Yard

Sunset over Devil's Marble Yard

I LOVE MY PUPPY!!!!

I LOVE MY PUPPY!!!!

Tully looking over Carvin's Cove

Tully looking over Carvin's Cove

Have a good one! 🙂

Dragon Attack

June 18, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Posted in Cross Training | 2 Comments
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Know what isn’t awesome?

Dropping a FULL thing of Stonyfield’s yummy yogurt on my shoes.

Yogurt Shoes!

Yogurt Shoes!

So they had to go for a spin in the washer…and what better to do with freshly cleaned hiking shoes??? GO HIKING!

Today I hiked up Dragon’s Tooth and………

Um ok we have to take a quick side-trip of AWESOMENESS.

GUESS WHAT?!?!?!

I just won the giveaway from The Crooked Stitch!!!! OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!! It’s a basket o’goodies and I can’t WAIT to see what’s in it!!! Dani and Whitney have an awesome shop…I love EVERYTHING in that store, so whatever it is, I’m going to be THRILLED. Something tells me it will contain some of Natasha’s handpainted yarns…which just makes it the thrill of my LIFETIME!!!!!! Oh freaking great. Holy crap. I’ll be picking the goodies up on Tuesday…so I will let you guys know just HOW awesome it is then!

Ok. Now that my day has been totally kick-ass….back to the blog.

I did a quick run up Dragon’s Tooth to take care of my little geocache! A friend from the Roanoke Outdoor and Social Club went with me. We blasted through the trail to the top…and took a slight detour that’s a somewhat less beaten path.

I climbed that. Yeeeeah.

I climbed that. Yeeeeah.

Up. That.

It was AWESOME. Yay for climbing!!!

Then we found some blueberries at the top, talk about yummy! So then…we found our way back to the real trail, and located my cache! It…was really sad. It was filled with trash and random junk. But now…it’s much better!

All better! Lots of new goodies, updated log, no trash! YAY!

All better! Lots of new goodies, updated log, no trash! YAY!

A little present for the thru-Hiker Ashlei and I met awhile back!

A little present for the thru-Hiker Ashlei and I met awhile back!

So then after wandering around a bit, I finally found a good spot *I hope* to hide my cache!

All hidden away!

All hidden away!

So we headed off back down the trail.

I love this picture. He looks SO confused and lost...but really he was surprised to turn mid-sentance and see me with a camera.

I love this picture. He looks SO confused and lost...but really he was surprised to turn mid-sentance and see me with a camera.

So…then we decided to climb the smaller tooth! I’d not realized it was climb-able…but it so totally is! It was AWESOME. I think I like climbing…because it’s like a puzzle.

A puzzle where if you don’t get it right the first time, you wind up seriously injured…or dead.

Hehe. Puzzles.

The view looking down the smaller tooth. What we climbed DOWN. Hehe.

The view looking down the smaller tooth. What we climbed DOWN. Hehe.

I come from the rocks!!! Ashlei-style!!!!

I come from the rocks!!! Ashlei-style!!!!

So that was the hike of awesomness.

The dog is getting better at not barking his head off when I leave the house…however he still REALLY doesn’t like other people taking him out of his crate. He’s terrified. It seems like he thinks they will take him away from me. 😦 Poor guy.

Tomorrow we’re going hiking at the Cascades…then I’m doing a 5K in Blacksburg! If I get time I’m going to take him to a fenced in location…with SUPER high prison-type security fencing…and let him off the leash and see if he’ll come to me.

Supposedly he’s a fence jumper, and will NOT come if he gets loose. So…I’m going to test that in a controlled environment tomorrow. So far, he REALLY seems to like to stay right beside me…so I’m hoping he keeps that up and becomes a little more capture-able if he gets loose.

So anyway, have a great weekend! Watch for my race report Sunday!!! And then next weekend? NEXT WEEKEND?!?!?! ASHLEI IS COMING FOR THE WHOLE WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!! I am beyond excited. Beyond.

Dear Summer,
You freaking rock.
Love,
~Courtney

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’t  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. 🙂 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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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!)

That’s What Living Is To Me

May 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Posted in 5k, Blogroll, Cross Training, Half-Marathon, Music | 4 Comments
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Be good and you will be lonesome
Be lonesome and you will be free
Live a lie and you will live to regret it
That’s what livin’ is to me
That’s what livin’ is to me
~Jimmy Buffett

So…I’m still missing my little tab from wordpress…but I’ve discovered a way to fix it on my own, so HA!

Moving right along.

Running Week:

Whew, boy did I run this week! I ran more this weekend than I did all of last week. Well maybe that’s because I needed a rest…but still.

I informed you about the 4.5 miles of awesome and the 3 miles of crap with pepper-spray lossage.

Did I mention they found it? Yeah. Got my pepper spray back so yay for that.

Thursday and Friday I rested again, partly do to weather, partly due to work beating the crap out of me. Blah.

Saturday was cross-training day and MAN did I have an awesome day. I hiked one of the toughest sections of the AT. See “Other Junk” for that report.

Today I did a rockin 7 miler. I knew it was going to be hot, so I got up around 7am. When I opened my front door…it was like stepping in to a sauna!

I had planned my route so that I did 4 miles, ending back at the house so I could grab a drink, then went out for another 3.

That was a good plan because the humidity darn near killed me! I am NOT a warm-weather runner. I do better in mild or cold weather. Cool or chilly works best for me. Hot weather or humid running…slows me down quite a bit.

What about you? I wanna hear your best/worst running conditions!!!

So I did my first 4, came back and gulped down some ice water. Then out I went for the last 3. It was an uneventful run overall, but I did pass a man working at one of the college’s facilities, he asked how far I was running and I told him 7.

He was quite impressed. Haha. It was just one of those moments that puts a smile on your face. When running away from him I kept thinking to myself “He asked how far I was RUNNING, not ‘jogging’, not ‘going’ even, he said ‘running'” Little things like that still make me smile…and still make me feel like yeah…I AM a runner.

What makes you guys feel like a real “RUNNER”. Do you remember the first time you felt like you could call yourself a runner? Does it matter? Is there a difference? I wanna hear what you think!

So with my little compliment in my head I finished my run…absolutely SOAKED with sweat thanks to the humidity…and came in to see just how bad it was out there.

Yeah, that says 75% humidity!!!

Yeah, that says 75% humidity!!!

 I nearly fell over when I read that. But hey, I did  7 miles in 75% humidity. I’m ready for whatever summer has in store!

I’m also going to find a pool…haha.

Knitting Week:

Not a lot of knitting again, but I did spin some! Also, my editor for the Striders Newsletter that I write for is a spinner as well…she is at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival this weekend and I am BEYOND jealous.

However…she texted today to say that she was bringing one of her mother’s old spinning wheels home to LOAN ME SO I CAN LEARN TO SPIN ON IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, yes I did stand in the middle of my house and SQUEE very, very loudly.

Dream coming true. Check.

Editor of awesomeness. Check.

Favorite:

This week’s favorite HAS to be my new addiction. Steep and cheap. Thanks to Tri Girl.

I can’t remember if she mentioned it, but I’ve also found Gear Scan and can’t stop checking that either. It’s now part of my home page tabs.

These sites are all discount outdoor gear type sites. Gear Scan is awesome because it shows you 6 of these sites ALL at once. It shows you the price, the time left, and how many of that item they have left.

Steep and cheap is my favorite because it has the most stuff that I would buy. Just about everything that pops up on there, I want. From North Face Denali jackets, to sleeping bags to tents…I want it ALL.

The current deal is some trekking poles for 70 bucks. 50% off.

If you’ve never seen these one-deal-at-a-time sites…GO CLICK!!! They are legit and AWESOME.

I can speak for Steep and Cheap especially because last week I bought my new best friend from there!

Camelbak Fairfax Hydration Pack

Camelbak Fairfax Hydration Pack

Yeah. I got me a Camelbak! That way for the half in June…which IS a trail run…I’m prepared. I had a fuel belt…but it had the one BIG thing of water on the back…and it bugged me. This is much, much better.

Retails for around 45 bucks. I paid 20 on Steep and cheap. HA! Winner.

AND you can combinde shipping. I stopped myself there for now though.

My camelbak arrived Thursday…just in time for my hike this weekend…which we will now discuss!

Other Junk:

Well I had an awesome Sautrday. I got together with some of the Striders and we hit the trails. Myself and two other Striders met at 9:30 to hike up to Dragon’s Tooth. One of the hardest hikes on the Appalachain Trail. 🙂

It’s a really technical hike and in some places they have put in metal bars to help hikers get up the rocks.

La Bars

La Bars

 My main reason for wanting to do this hike…was I had tried TWICE before…with Tracy…and never made it to the top. The first time, we had to make it home to have dinner with mom and we were losing daylight.

The second time he got sick.

So this was my third attempt. Both times I’d made it to the same spot, the fire circle where the Dragon’s Tooth trail hits the AT.

There was NO way I wasn’t going to make it this time. I informed my hiking companions of such, announcing I would leave their butts if I had to!

I was mostly kidding. Mostly. 🙂

On the way up we saw some really pretty flowers, including a Ladyslipper! I was quite excited.

I’m going to put all the pictures at the end…and just talk about the hike for now.

So we reached the fire circle and I proclaimed that this was as far as I’d ever gotten. So on we forged…and the terrain changed QUICKLY.

It pretty much turns in to all rocks in some places.

I apparently…am part mountain goat. Every time the path forked, I took the higher, harder, rockier path. I had a distinct desire to go UP at all possible locations.

We had one moment where we weren’t really sure where the trail went…and I proceeded to climb up a rock wall. So I got some free climbing in as well. It was pretty fun!

I decided at this point, that I would shun the metal bars. I didn’t need some man-made crap to make my way to the top of a mountain, no thank you! So when we ran in to the hand-holds…I found ways around every time. I shun the bars! HA!

We finally got to the top, and could see the actual rock formation that gives the hike it’s name.

Of course, I climbed that too. I made my hiking companions a bit nervous climbing almost all the way to the top. However while scrambling around on a bit of rock, I looked over the edge and I saw what I KNEW could only be one thing…a Geocache!

I instantly jumped over the ledge to grab the cache. And gave my friends a heart attack at the same time. Haha.

But I got the cache! I was pleased.

I also met a nice little salamander whom I named Fred.

After that, we headed back down. It was getting HOT out. We picked a great time of day to go. Not too many hikers at the top, and more people going up as we went down, and down as we went up! It was great.

So let’s get to the pictures!

Ladyslipper!

Ladyslipper!

Rocky much?

Rocky much?

Awesome view, and not even at the top yet!

Awesome view, and not even at the top yet!

I know where I'm going!

I know where I'm going!

Don't look down!

Don't look down!

I'm so proud!!!

I'm so proud!!!

The famous tooth!

The famous tooth!

Say hello to Fred! I met him on my scamble to the tooth!

Say hello to Fred! I met him on my scamble to the tooth!

Me, sitting on the tooth!

Me, sitting on the tooth!

This is where I found the geocache, and promptly jumped over a ledge.

This is where I found the geocache, and promptly jumped over a ledge.

LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!!

LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!!

Standing on the tooth. I win.

Standing on the tooth. I win.

You had to climb up and under this rock and pop out the top. I was highly amused by this.

You had to climb up and under this rock and pop out the top. I was highly amused by this.

I liked this massive rock ledge. :) Part mountain goat...

I liked this massive rock ledge. 🙂 Part mountain goat...

 

This is where I made my own trail, up a rock. You can't really tell, but it's all rock, nothing to really do but find a hand hold and scramble.

This is where I made my own trail, up a rock. You can't really tell, but it's all rock, nothing to really do but find a hand hold and scramble.

I win. Again.

I win. Again.

 Seriously…I realize more every day how much I love hiking. I love running…and just about anything that lets me be outside.

I’m also realizing that whoever I date…needs to enjoy at least ONE of those things. They don’t necessarily have to be a runner…but I think they have to like hiking. I enjoy running alone. Not so much hiking alone.

But I’m about to solve that issue…more on that next time. 🙂

Sorry I’ve Been a Stranger Shoutout:

This week’s shoutout goes to my awesome cousin Chrissy. First off you have NO IDEA how excited I was to get a comment from you on my blog this week!!! I squealed.

Yes, I need to come visit. I would like to publically announce that I have been a BAD, BAD cousin and I haven’t been down in forever AND I need to help with the wedding planning and….yeah. I’m a bad cousin.

But it’s ALMOST summer and so far I have NO summer job so….I’ll be down sometime after June 7th. You tell me when.

And we can go hiking!!!! Yes?!?!?! Haha.

And yes, I WILL bring you some granola. And give you the recipe. And come visit. And not be a stranger anymore.

Later guys!

It Just Comes Natural

April 28, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Posted in Blogroll, Books, Half-Marathon, People I Meet | 5 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hey guys!

For once I didn’t have a race this weekend! Crazy, huh?

Let’s get right in to it, shall we?

Uhhhhhh……..Ok wordpress changed something. The little tab where I could select my font size is now gone. Hello? Where’d it go?

Um so anyway….

Running Week:

This seems a lot less exciting without my bigger title font. *huffs at wordpress*

Well I guess the font size fits my running the past week or so! After the 10K…I didn’t feel like doing JACK. I seriously laid around all week. Between being tired in general, burnt out on school work, and doing 3 races in 3 weeks…I was DONE.

So I was a slug all week. It wasn’t as great as it sounds. You ever do that? Decide to rest…but then just end up feeling lazy? I hate that.

Sunday I kicked my self back in to gear. My half training schedule called for a 5K race, but we all know I can do that, no prob. So I was going to try for 7 miles…but I only manged 4. That’s not too bad though! It was mist/raining…so by the time I got back from 4, I was SOAKED.

The good news is that so far this week I had an AWESOME 4.5 mile run yesterday, and a…mostly crap-tastic 3miler today. 🙂 Oh well. It’s better than last week already!

Also today I had one of those “I never thought I’d say these words” moments. I found myself saying to my neighbor “I think I lost my pepper spray in your yard.” which I followed with “It’s pink. If you or your dog happens to find it, please let me know.”

You feel like a winner when you lose your pepper spray. 🙂

See, it’s not my fault, I swear. And I don’t NORMALLY carry pepper spray! Honest! But I was going to run this long country road…where there’s not many houses, not a lot of traffic…but there are dogs…and other animals…and we’re in the woods…and there can be coyotes….and there have been shootings and a few rapes here so um…yeah. Pepper spray. So. I was heading out to run, and the neighbor’s dog spotted me and came tearing after me, so I helped catch her…and apparently my pepper spray fell off in their yard. I didn’t notice till halfway through my run…but I figured that’s where it had fallen.

So yeah. Pepper spray. But the good news is my neighbor found my pepper spray and I now have it back! Yay for not having to spend 15 bucks!

Anyway.

No races in store for this weekend, but I AM going to hike Dragon’s Tooth  (which is part of the AT) with some of the Striders! Super excited about that. Get ready for a TON of pictures!!!

There’s absolutely NO knitting to speak of, so let’s move on in to this week’s…

Favorite:

So this week’s favorite is thanks to last week’s favorite. 🙂 This week’s favorite is the movie Food Inc.

Wow. Just WOW.  Did you know that the average food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store? And that transporting food accounts for 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year? Did you know that in order to kill the bacteria in the hamburger you buy at the grocery store, it’s been soaked in ammonia? Did you know that there is some corn product or corn byproduct in almost everything in the grocery store?

If you haven’t seen it…please, just give it a chance. You’ve probably wasted an hour and a half of your life on something MUCH less important, less interesting, and less entertaining…so just…try it. Netflix has it…I’m sure you can find bits and pieces of it floating on the web…

I liked it so much I bought the DVD so I can make all my family and friends watch it.

Even just go to the website. http://www.foodincmovie.com/ Just…look around. I mean…don’t you think you should know a LITTLE something about the stuff you actually put inside your body? We all want our doctors to wash their hands before surgery…or even before they poke and prod us in the exam room. Don’t you want to be sure the food you’re actually putting inside yourself every single day…is safe?

So thanks to Food Inc…I’ve made some pretty big changes in the last week or so. I’ve started eating all organic…or as much as I can find. I’m in rural southwest VA…and some grocery stores still don’t carry organic stuff. But on the weekends I’m going to the farmer’s market…I’ve made two homemade pizza’s…with amazing homemade sauce and dough…a rockin homemade salad dressing…and of course my amazing scrambled eggs.

Organic just TASTES better. If you’ve never had free-range organic eggs straight from a farmer…you’re missing out. Eggs will never taste the same again.

Anyway. This favorite has been too long…must cease and desist.

Other Junk:

Well I really have no other junk. OH WAIT! Yeah I do! Haha.

More planting!!! It ties in nicely with my whole organic deal. If you’ve had veggies you raise yourself…you KNOW how much better they are than the store-bought ethelyne-gas ripened crap. Bleh.

Tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, romaine lettuce, and more!

Tomatoes, broccoli, eggplant, romaine lettuce, and more!

So excited for these little guys to grow up!!!

I also made sweet potato chips. I haven’t perfected it yet…but they are SCRUMPTIOUS!!! If you’ve made chips at home by baking them…PLEASE tell me how to get them crispy?! Mine turn out either burnt, or slightly mushy…like french fry consistancy. I mean I eat them either way but…how do I crisp them?

Mmmm sweet potato chips!

Mmmm sweet potato chips!

Other than that…just….trying to get through the next 37 days until school is OUT!!!!!! I can’t wait. 🙂

Sharing Shoutout:

This week’s shoutout is to Miss Ashlei over at The Vegster. I want to say a HUGE thanks to her for sharing her amazing-fantastic-yummy-delecious-tasty-freakingawesome granola recipe.

Doesn't that just look amazing! And it's not even cooked yet!

Doesn't that just look amazing! And it's not even cooked yet!

It’s her Double Coconut Granola and it can be found on her blog under Recipes. Let me tell you….it is amazing. In a word…”granogasmic”. I devoured the first batch, only stopping long enough to share a taste with mom…and I just made a double batch today. 🙂 I will never buy granola from a store AGAIN. This stuff is better than cookies!

Hellooooooo granola.

Hellooooooo granola.

Ashlei…you freaking rock.

Alrighty, off to eat some granola!!

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