10 whole days without writing a post on this blog. That's the longest I've gone since creating this monster. Did you think I'd died, or moved on to bigger and better things, or perhaps won the Powerball lottery???
Well, sorry to burst your (or my) bubble, but none of the above are the case. It's a simple one that can be defined in one long run-on sentence:
I took a short vacation to the hills of North Carolina with the girlfriend where I brought home some kind of sinus infection only to head back to being absolutely slammed at work for a week in the midst of trying to squeeze in 20 to 25 miles of training runs per week with my desktop computer at work (from which I often write blogs on during down time) blowing up with smoke and electrical noise right in front of my very own eyes!
Whew! Being down a computer does not help in the midst of all those other things, but GOOD NEWS folks. I'm back. I'm feeling better and determined to get back on track this week with everything that I consider interesting in my life. So I'm going to start right where I left off and recap the North Carolina trip.
But before we go there I just want to point out that one of my followers, Cari Rich at Carichblogs, pointed out a fact error in my last post where I equated a song called "Wagon Wheel" to my upcoming trip and credited the Against Me! cover of it to Bob Dylan. Cari pointed out that Old Crow Medicine Show wrote the song and Bob Dylan was actually covering the song as well. This is awesome and I can't wait to search for the Old Crow Medicine Show recording of it. Thanks Cari!
Onward to Raleigh, North Carolina!
There are two runs to talk about on this trip. First was our long run. Scheduled to be a 13-miler, we mapped out a route, with the help of our lovely host, Kelly, that would begin in the Harris Lake County Park with about 5 miles of trails before heading out on country back roads for the remaining 8 miles back to Kelly's house. The route is nothing but rolling hills and perfect for training for the Seattle RnR Marathon.
First, let me say the park is beautiful. There's a disc golf course that looks really challenging, miles of mountain bike (only) trails, open playing fields and of course hiking trails, however, Jenny and I see them as running trails. Since we were both exhausted from working and traveling the day before along with drinking wine with Kelly we got a little bit of a late start. I'm pretty sure it wasn't until after 10 a.m., but the overcast weather was keeping it cool (probably upper 60s).A mile or so into the run we begin to realize that the trails are a little more technical than we planned with lots of roots to step over, hills to climb and switch backs changing direction. I like it. It's also very scenic with the lake, the newly green trees and even the nuclear power plant on the other side of the lake. Yup, I totally imagined Homer Simpson over there!
After about 45 minutes we realized that we're a little confused as the trail has disappeared. I vaguely remember the trail hugging the shoreline until the end and a small bridge to cross, which we have not reached yet. Getting lost is probably my fault since I suggest we continue on along the shoreline and before long we find ourselves in the middle of the disc golf course. Eventually we find our way out to a parking lot where Jenny asks a guy with hardware pierced all through his face which way to the park exit. He points us down the road and we're off after downing some Gu and Shot Blocks. It's not long after heading down a long hill on the asphalt (Woohoo for pavement after an hour on the trail) that we see hardware guy drive past us and go out of site in a car. A few minutes later he comes back heading the opposite direction not saying a word. Then a few minutes later (and another hill later) we come across the sign saying the park exit is the other way. Hardware guy was lost and he didn't even have the decency to tell us we were going the wrong way. Douchebag! So we turn around and run back up the hills we just ran down and find the park exit. Begin road portion of long run.
North Carolina's hills are different than Florida. I know that sounds stupid and obvious, but this was a good lesson for me. I'm used to being able to see the top of the hill. In North Carolina the hills can go on for miles. For example: right about the time Jenny is really getting into a groove and feeling awesome, I'm starting to feel leg fatigue and the sun pops out from the overcast sky. It's hot, but not super hot so I don't really think it'll bother me that much. I mean, seriously, I run in Florida in July. Anyways, I realize we've been going up a hill for quite a while so I start timing it. 28-minutes later we are still going up hill. Jenny is out front chatting away and I almost completely lose it. "We've been running up this F*cking hill for 28 minutes," I yell. I try to have a sense of humor about it, but I'm definitely not having the best run at this point. You see, the hills in Carolina can go on for miles and they're curvy so after 28 minutes it turns into just getting around the next curve to see if the hill is going to end. Slow gradual hill... I am not used to at all!
In a nutshell, we did reach the top of the hill. We finished strong going up a steep hill into Kelly's subdivision and yes, you could see the top of that hill. I then collapse in the grass for a symbolic picture of the way I felt. It was a good hurt.
A few days later I mapped out the run, the getting lost, the going the wrong way and even a short cut across an onion field and figured we ran nearly 14.5 miles... NOT 13. Whew!
Well, that's all for now. I'll catch up on the next run tomorrow... a 3.5 miler around another lake in North Carolina with more HILLS! It's time for me to have a beer!