Two months ago, in Algonquin Park, I ran into a kindred spirit.
Remember our canoeing friends?
One of those two fine gents is an avid runner and he drove down from Canada last week to train with me in the mountains.
So there. Dad's theory has been disproved!
My client's mountain home outside of Highlands, North Carolina is my favorite place in the world -- no exaggeration.
I go there to work, run and reboot.
This time I had a phenom of a running partner.
Brazen enough to cross the frigid Chatooga River -- twice!
Cole was carried most of the way during that German-French-Portuguese Expedition.
He pouted a great deal on this trip... he didn't get to accompany us on all our runs. The 12 miler in Ellicott Wilderness was 6 miles longer than the distance allowed by his physiotherapist. NOT my fault, Cole!!!
8 of the last miles recorded of that run.
He wouldn't have enjoyed our other run up Mount Mitchell anyway. It was cold, swirling snow, blustery and a brutal climb.
What a rush!
Two Canadians bagged that 6684 ft peak! More than 11 miles of pure fun.
Earlier, we had toyed around Whiteslide Mountain.
A mere 4930 feet in elevation, in the drizzle and clouds.
Enough to put a smile on our faces and make our lungs feel the burn from altitude adjustments.
The crowning glory was the last run up over Cole Mountain and to the fire tower on Yellow Mountain.
Jason may have earned Best Blood Award on this trip, but this run gifted me with Best Bruises. My left calf and thigh took a serious pummeling after a nasty Mr. Bean tumble.
Considering I have a 100 mile race coming up in March, this was a wake up call that I need to work on my hills. Nothing says "you're slow" as trudging up a trail to find your partner (Hermes) doing jumping jacks to keep warm as he waits for you!
I didn't have the energy for calisthenics, bear hugs are a better alternative for keeping warm.
Why we run:
Incredible view from the fire tower.
We also run so we can eat! Indeed, we grazed our way through Western Carolina. One tapas bar served deconstructed French onion soup. If you ever run across it on a menu, try it!
We even roasted our own coffee.
And found time to tour Biltmore Estate. It's an extra treat to go during Christmastime.
And of course, we did get a lot of work done too. Undaunted by shorter day lengths!
My sojourn did reboot my system, leaving me refreshed for my meeting with the head of the Kinesiology Department at Auburn. What I believed would be a short intro followed by a referral to a student advisor turned into a 2 hour meeting with one of the most engaging, passionate and vivacious women I've ever met. A week ago, Graduate School seemed like a long shot, now it's almost within my grasp. At the conclusion of the meeting, I was told that I'd found a new home.
Alrighty then! These people are my kind of crazy, I can't wait to start. Auburn is becoming an Olympic training facility in 2015. Working with elite athletes... somebody pinch me!