Sunday, May 29, 2016

Keep Your Eyeballs Open!

We have another little weekend guest and she is an angel.

Bagheera - I hope someone adopts this sweety soon!

Last week was all about trail time! 
I apologize now for all the pics.
The most important rule of trail time is keep your eyeballs open! 

Friday after dinner I headed to my local park. 
Maybe the homemade pizza slowed me down.
Pizza kit in a box -

Okay, maybe it is just my fitness loss.
It is also the first time I really tried to run in 80 plus degree heat. I was drenched.

This is why you got to keep to your eyeballs open. A much better surprise than a snake!

He was faster than I was!
It is funny how the trail loooks so smooth in pictures, but the reality is pretty rocky, like above. 
The elevation gain was about 300 feet for the evening, which gave me the urge for a really good climb! 

“You’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss

Saturday I drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I conquered Harkening Hill first. 
3.4 miles round trip - 967 feet of elevation gain

I tried to run a little uphill, but I was huffing and puffing, so I just hiked at a good pace. 
I did stop long enough to admire some of the interesting rock formations. 

The brush is so thick, it blocks the view when you finally get to the summit!

Harkening Hill is one of the most runnable trails - it is very single track, but some sections are pretty smooth.
I did run a mile down the hill! 

Harkening Hill Trail

 Harkening Hill from a distance

I took a little stroll around the lake and then headed to Sharp Top,
 so I could take in some views for the day. 

It is only a mile and half up, but most of the trail is rocks, so it feels a bit strenuous.
It's 1182 feet elevation gain. I took my time for this one, some sections are steep.
It was hot!

I spotted chipmunks, squirrels, and lots of lizards on the way up.

The views when you reach the summit are pretty awesome.

Hey! that is the lake I walked around earlier:)

 ...and check this out!! Keep your eyeballs open! 

In all my travels up to Blue Ridge, I have never seen a bear. 
Several years ago, I saw a huge wolf at sunset and I was awed by the beauty. 
Spotting a bear was epic! 
I was so intrigued, just watching her. I could hear people and dogs off in the distance and apparently she could too, her attention stayed fixed in the same direction. She or he, seemed unconcerned about me. I always tend to think of bears as girls...I have no idea why?!
I could have watched her all day and it wouldn't have been long enough. 

At the top, I rested and ate some trail mix. I was feeling just a little wonky. maybe the heat, maybe just being out of shape, I am not sure. I was still extremely content and grinning from ear to ear, so I made the decision to do something I have  never, ever done...

I let the stubborn go, and I hopped the shuttle and got a ride down the mountain. I had hiked the best part - the up! The rocks are a little hard on the feet, so I rode down. I don't know who I am.
My feet were grateful. No need to overdo it, I guess. 

I have =  ❤  for hiking and running.
Peaks of Otter are the closest trails to me, about 2.5 hours from home.
There are tons of great trails 3-4 hours from me, just far enough so it is hard to make a day-trip of it.
I wish I lived just a little closer, so I could do this more often!

I am linking up with my favorite gals to tell ya'll about my trail time this week! Join in with Holly @ hohoruns and Tricia@ MissSippiPiddlin  

That's a wrap of the highlight of my week!

Discovered box wine rocks
Morning 5K -
3.11 mi 0:30:55
Walking -
0.25 mi 0:04:21

Circuit Training - 0:35:20
No Motivation To Lift - 0:20:45
Being On Time Is Over-rated -
6.65 mi 1:06:30
Cool Down -
0.16 mi 0:04:04

Stair Climber - 0:11:08
Upper Body and Leg Lifts - 0:44:34
Pocahontas Trail Run - 1.01 mi 0:10:19
Trail Walking -
2.31 mi 0:40:16

Pocahontas Trail Run - 1.36 mi 0:14:15
Trail Walking -
1.13 mi 0:20:08
Stretching - 0:10:54
Harkening Hill - 3.40 mi 1:04:56

Sharp Top - 1.57 mi 0:55:47

Bedford Walking - 0.50 mi 0:12:07
It is pouring rain again!

I hope you are enjoying some extra fun if you have off Monday. 

Have you ever had any epic wildlife spottings? 
Have you ever hiked in Blue Ridge? 
What driving distance is comfortable to you for a day trip? 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Average Pace

Sometimes the average pace just doesn't tell the story. 

At a glance it looks like an average run.

It doesn't tell you... I hit the snooze button and started later than I hoped.

It doesn't tell you... I skipped my warm up. I started running a few steps after my driveway, which I never do! I always walk, and do a little dynamic warm up.

It doesn't tell you... I was determined to get at least 5 miles in this a.m.

It doesn't tell you... my head felt a little foggy when I started running because I had a margarita last night. Bless you Nuun, you made me feel better.

It doesn't tell you... I was sad to feel the highly humid conditions this a.m. but, hey, summer had to show up sometime...

It doesn't tell you... my Garmin pulls weather info, but it is almost always wrong! I track on my local app - it was 63 degrees, dew point 61 and 90% humid.

It doesn't tell you... I really had to ease up the first few miles to ensure I could get my mileage goal.

It doesn't tell you... I ran through three sprinklers. My first two were just pass-throughs and the dampness felt good on my arms and back. The last one I paused my watch for about 30 seconds, and filled my handheld with a little more water, and made sure to let the spray hit my face.

It doesn't tell you... I felt so good after my short pause, I just wanted to keep running.

It doesn't tell you... I saw pretty pink skies, but only for a few seconds.

It doesn't tell you... my lack of concern that I may be late to work. I just wanted that extra mile.

It doesn't tell you... that my feet, which stay in the 2 to 3 range on the pain scale, felt better than usual today.

It doesn't tell you... I had my up and downs on the run, but overall it felt like a great morning run.

It doesn't tell you... I made it to my desk at 7:02 with my hair in a damp pony tail, but I was completely content because I spent those early morning hours exactly as I wanted to!

Sometimes the average pace just doesn't tell the story...

When was the last time you looked at your numbers and felt like it just didn't convey the story? 

I hope you are having a great week! 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Darling and Drizzles

I started the week off with a good Galloway run and a beautiful sunrise. 
I need more of this in my life! 

Here is my week at a glance...

Galloway Four 4.60 mi

Cool Down 0.14 mi
Warm Up Mile 1.03 mi

Arms and Shoulders
0.87 mi

Buddy Run 5.01 mi

1.55 mi

More Walking 0.50 mi

Stationary Bike 6.00 mi

Upper Body Work
Mostly Walking 5.01 mi

Cool Down 0.23 mi
Pizza eating!
Stair Climber

Leg Work 57:05

Tuesday the rain came and so did my knee pain. 

Have I seriously turned into the person that can predict the weather by their arthritis flare ups?!
Truthfully, I can not find any real pattern to the trouble, but I have noticed when the weather stays in rainy, stormy mode I seem to have more issues. I have felt pain and tenderness on and off  now for the past three weeks.  
Tuesday night I was in pain. 

There have been more rain days (article) than clear ones here for May, and it is doing a little number on my motivation.

Wednesday evening the rain had taken a break. I ran five miles with run buddy and this morning runner felt surprisingly good. It was short lived, the next afternoon I was hurting again.  I was up and down all week. 

Thursday my knee was really wonky and I couldn't bend it easily. It seemed to spark my foot into a flare up, which has never happened in the past ten years, since I started dealing with this. (insert me, pulling hair out). I slept with ice packs.

Friday when I woke up it was cool and beautifully foggy...

I couldn't run because my knee was still hurting...
I was so irritated the aches were keeping me from being able to capitalize on a cool, non-rainy morning. 
I ended up taking an evening walk with some very short bursts of running, and it ended up being a great mood adjuster  :) Friday was the the prettiest day of the whole week.

Can you tell that is my thumb?!
I was worried and posted the pic below instead.

Saturday the race 13.1 series was holding a half marathon in my area. If I would have felt better this week, I probably would have went and run it in the rain, but given my challenges, I decided another untrained long run was not the best choice.

Hubby and I decided to do a little foster care for the weekend. Sorry, for the repeat info, IG and FB friends :) It is so easy to fall in love with this face...

George was a perfect little weekend guest. This little darling helped us through the dreary drizzles. Having a baby around perked everyone up!

There are so many sweet, wonderful animals sitting in shelters waiting for a forever home. It makes me sad to think they may never get to experience being part of a family. 

I added a tab for Tweek this week, if you would like to read his story.

I am linking up with my favorite gals to say hi to ya'll this week! Join in with Holly @ hohoruns and Tricia@ MissSippiPiddlin  
㋡ Check out the etiquette here

While I am still not doing exactly what I want, or what I hoped I would be doing at this point of recovery, I am still pushing on! 

I am trying to stay active, trying to let go of what I wish I was doing, and trying to be optimistic and make some future plans to keep me motivated.

and hey, look at the current conditions...clearing :)
This qualifies as sunny! 

The forecast after Monday is temps nearing 90's everyday...darn, crazy weather.

Share a favorite pet moment with me! I love to hear pet stories...
Cat or dog person?
Ever foster any animals?
Anyone else notice the aches flare up in certain weather conditions?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Gateway to the Smokies Half

Where to begin...

The best thing was meeting Holly!
It was not raining and it wasn't humid! (it has been raining in VA for two weeks)
It is the most beautiful area, seriously it was a blanket of green mountains, just stunning!
I had no business trying to run 13 miles, but I did it anyway. 
That sums it up if you hate reading recaps. 

Friday,  I worked until 11:00 a.m., then hubby and I got packed up and on the road to Waynesville, NC.
It was raining when I left home (as it had been most days last week) This was our view for about two hours...

After we got into North Carolina, things started looking up!

It was about a 6 hour drive, and I was thrilled be somewhere the sun was actually shining!
We stayed at a hotel with a pretty golf course. The humidity was low, the breeze was blowing, and I was excited to meet my long time bloggy buddy in the morning.


I hit the sack early and got about 7.5 hours sleep. I woke up at 4:18 a.m. and tried to go to sleep, but I was too excited. I ate a vanilla power bar about 5:30 a.m., because my hotel didn't serve anything before 7 a.m. and drank 20 oz. with a Nuun tablet.
I got dressed and met up with Holly about 7 a.m. who is even prettier in person :)

It was about 50 degrees when we started running, sunny, totally gorgeous, and I was trying to tell myself I would be okay. I forgot two key things on this trip...the wall charger for my phone and my timer! Yikes...I realized Friday night I would just have to wing my walk breaks.

I really wanted to run with Holly a little bit, so I decided I would run as far as I could before I took a break.  I realized after the first mile I wouldn't be able to hang with her. I am just too far out of shape now. My last half was April 16th (that I never trained for), and since then, I have not run many miles, or even been on my bike for any long rides. I have gained weight too, so I was just hoping I could get to the finish without any major issues.

My Garmin credited the course with 864 ft. of elevation gain and it felt like it! LOL

I couldn't decide which chart I liked 

This is my hilliest half to date!  689 ft. is my second hilliest. 

10:13   9:54   9:53

We took off and it was a hilly beginning and we chatted for a bit. I think I lost Holly during mile two. She was going at a good clip, and I had her in sight until about mile 5, then I lost her.

9:39  10:08   9:30

I hit the six mile marker right at an hour, and I was feeling pretty optimistic...I figured I could finish in 2:15 or under and that was a happy vision in my head.
I was getting pretty warm at this point. The sun was shining and the temp was climbing fast, so I eased up just a bit. I can not remember what miles the water stops were at, but they didn't seem plentiful at all. At this point, I had only walked when I stopped to drink Gatorade and water.
I chatted with a man who was doing a running /power walking thing. He had hung pretty close to me the first six miles. I had never seen anyone walk that fast! He was really pumping those arms and ended up finishing ahead of me.
I could not believe I forgot my timer! I knew the random walking was really going to mess with my head, and I was trying to prepare to relax about it...hahaha. 

10:16   11:17   10:50

Oh, the hills! It was pretty everywhere we ran; green, lush, and hilly. I had studied the elevation chart and thought if I could get through the last big hill around mile 9, I would be okay. I managed the walk breaks as best I could, but obviously during mile eight I was struggling. My feet hurt and I knew the extra walking would give them the break they needed. I had a hard time finding a rhythm without my timer. I actually have the intervals programmed into my watch, but I have never used that feature yet, and the race didn't seem like the time to try. I kept reminding myself I have not trained in months, but that 2:15 goal was stuck in my head.

10:51   10:04   10:45

At this point, I started getting a bit nauseous. It didn't feel humid, but it was very warm, and being in the sun so much was getting to me. I eased up and the nauseous feeling was manageable, but I was discouraged. I chatted with some sweet girls and hung with them for a few miles, and it was a good distraction. I felt like I had backed off enough the second half, and expected to feel more energetic, but I was petering out.
Oh, hello...lack of training...
...then my feet started protesting  a little louder, and then the mental battle...decent finish or listen to my feet.

11:43 ugh, what a last mile...

The last mile was soooo loooooong.  I was walking way too much, and I was irritated that my feet would not cooperate!

I tried to shift thinking gears, and I hoped Holly had a great race.  I told myself it was silly to have any time expectations. I reminded myself that I had barely run this past month,  and I have damaged feet, but none of it really made me feel any better. Crazy, yes, I know!! It was just hard to lose it so close to the end.

I have never claimed to be 100% rational...especially, when I am hot!

for some reason Garmin put my avg. moving pace...the actual pace for a 2:17 half  is about 10:30 

I ran to the finish line and perked up. The finish is always fun :) My Sole Sister looked awesome, while I was a sweaty, salty mess.

It was so nice to finally meet, but we didn't have much time to chat. I had to race back to the hotel to get a shower before check out! The cleaning ladies were waiting to clean my room, I was about 15 minutes late checking out.

I did win a little extra piece of bling. I was shocked. I was disappointed with how I performed. The funny thing was, I had no idea what it was for because I couldn't hear the announcer clearly lol 

When they posted the results I found out it was 1st in my AG - (think small race) I feel strange about it, but I am not giving it back! I rarely win extra bling! 


Overall2:17:3210:3076th of 11034th of 110
Chip Time

The race overall was well organized. Everyone was extremely friendly, they were plenty of course volunteers, and plenty of after race food. My only complaint would be, NOT enough water stops, especially this time of was 70 + degrees by the end of the race. 

This was part of the course.  I stopped on my way out of town :) 

I was sad to leave. 

The drive home was pretty, but I could not get comfortable. My nemesis left hamstring continues to tighten when I run and sitting always makes it worse. I put on my compression socks and kept trying to stretch in the car and shift positions. A few hours in, it started to feel better.

Hubby and I ate a lot on the way home. Often I don't have much appetite after I run, but this time I did. 

First we ate at  Zoes, which had awesome pasta salad, then later at an Italian place lol

Oh and props to Giles Chemical - look at the awesome box of Epsom salt in the goodie bag! 

I slept 11 hours Saturday night! Now that is recovery ❤  
This was a fun little adventure that went way to quick! I would love to go back when I can stay a little longer :) 

Have you every visited the Waynesville or the Asheville, North Carolina area?