Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Gotta get away

As many of you know, I eschew modern conveniences.  I've tossed out my TV, microwave, radio and I was making due with an antiquated flip phone. 

So, I'm a old fashioned!
 Unbelievably, I have dipped one toe into the 21st century. 

That's right, I'm cool, I'm hip and I don't know how to use it!
 It pays to play hard to get---after 2 years of free upgrade offers, Verizon finally convinced me to accept a $550 phone for free.  Apparently, it has built in WiFi, so I won't be getting lost again in the backwoods of Minnesota or Oklahoma anymore.  Unfortunately, they forgot to include the 12 year old needed to be my 24/7 tech support. 

The dust had hardly settled after my return from half a month on the road and I was itching to bug out of Auburn again.  Clients requested I open up their Summer home in Highlands, NC. I have such a rough life!

With my first ultramarathon coming up in Utah, I'm gearing my training towards improving my performance at higher altitudes and ratcheting up my weekly mileage.  Competitive ultra runners do B2B's:  two days of long runs back to back.  I did a modified version:  three days back to back.

It was unintentional...that's the excuse I'll use on my trainer when she chides me!  After a grueling week at work, I had missed a run, so I squeezed it in on Friday.

+9 miles through concrete jungle.
 Freedom at last, I was on the road to NC by 9 PM Friday night, arriving at 1 AM, sleeping at 2 AM and back up at 5 AM.  Work to do, trails to explore, mountain air is exhilarating!

In lieu of leaving my rat terrier at home on the farm, I coerced Jinx into joining us.  Fun, right?  He did not enjoy our Saturday morning walk through the Highlands Botanical Gardens.

The look of sheer terror.

I left Jinx at the house to cultivate nightmares of how he was almost abandoned in the woods to be eaten by tigers and bears (he has an over fertile imagination).  Cole and I hit some trails in South Carolina.  Pristine, quiet,remote, isolated...that's what I crave.  Sumter National Forest delivered.

The camera never takes good action shots, but I love this one anyway.  I was actually ahead of Cole!

Steep, rocky terrain, a great technical run!

Nooooooo, don't take the stepping stones across the falls. Slipping and falling is fun when Mum jumps in to save you!

Passed the Walhalla Hatchery---beautiful stone building.
 From the hatchery, I ran up the road back to my car.  2 miles straight up, 1000 feet gain, no breaks.  Killer fun!

9 miler in Sumter NF

Made it! 

A tough runner deserves a big treat!

Usually, I avoid shopping.  But, a dog bakery in Cashiers, NC caught my eye.  The owner was so kind and welcoming in spite of the mud and sweaty aroma Cole and I tracked into her boutique.  She insisted on providing us with water and frozen yogurt pops.  She makes most of the dog treats at her store, the pops are for the dogs, but I found them to be quite delicious and refreshing.  I was given the recipe and I'll be making some for myself!

Cole's birthday will be July 3rd.  I always celebrate mine and his with hiking or trail running.  (Any excuse to run for the woods.)  June 15th was a little early, but how does he know?

Yup, I'm crazy...

All organic doggy birthday cake.

Birthday Boy digging in.

Jinx was not forgotten.
 Don't I know how to party?

I strove to finish most of the cleaning of the house by 10 PM because I had big plans for Sunday morning. DuPont State Park, southeast of Brevard, NC boasts +80 miles of trails.  Cyclists, hikers and horses all share the same trails.  You need a bomb-proof horse to put up with bikers coming up from behind at break-neck speeds.  Nope, I'll stick to the Nantahalla NF and my beloved Ellicott Wilderness, this park was too congested.  Too much time was wasted playing leap frog with gaggles of mountain bikers.  I'd pass them on the flats and uphills, but them they'd careen past me on the downhills.  Cole didn't enjoy being surrounded by the frightening helmeted/goggled/ Spandex clad monsters on two wheels.  I didn't enjoy running through an endless smog of sunscreen and fabric softener smells!  Two centuries ago, an Ojibwa chief commented that since the arrival of the Europeans, the woods were thick with the smell of man.  Sad,but true.  To escape the pack, I veered off on a loop trail straight up a mountain.  A path too rocky for most cyclists.  Peace at last, a tranquil trot interrupted by a bear cub's cries.  I stopped, I listened...I'd heard that same cry 25 years ago in Quebec.  While running down a trail in the Outaouais', I found myself snugly wedged between a crying cub and his mama.  Instinct override:  Cole and I flew over that mountain.  Actually, I did quite a bit of aerial acrobatics on Sunday.  I fell a record of 4X!  One fall classified as a 9.5:  my camera, in spite of being in a protective case, died.  The screen is kaput, I have now been forced to learn how to use my phone camera.  I survived with only scrapes, but my joints are not impressed by all the hyper extending and banging.
36 miles in 3 days, accidents will happen.  Thankfully, my clothes survived unscathed.  I was wearing a new outfit given to me by my best friend in Texas.  99% of the new clothes in my closet come from Gayla!

16.2 mile run with 3200 feet elevation gain...brutal.

With much chagrin, I had to leave on Sunday night.

I had to stop to admire the second best view of the Ellicott Wilderness.

This is the best view!

Aurevoir Ellicott, I'll see you again soon.