Saturday, December 13, 2014


For years, my father had been telling that I won't meet anybody nice if I insist on running through the woods.  But, it's what I love to do.
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.
The goal of our +13 mile run:  5500 feet elevation.
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!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Bipolar Week

The week in a nutshell:  work, work, work, toil, toil, Murphy's Law, elation, success, happy, happy, joy, joy, work, more work, Murphy again and escape.

We had a full house of boarders for over a week.
I took my posse to work with me on weekends.  The more the merrier, right?  Exception:  the King size bed isn't quite big enough.

Personal Trainer Class finally covered the subject of strength training.  38 pages of notes... so much good info, but so much to absorb.

In the past month of pouring over the 600 page textbook on fitness training, I've gleaned a lot.  I've been able to become more proactive in my training sessions with Ike... with good results.
This week's analysis:  15.4% body fat.  I was at 26% last Winter when I began working with Ike.  In September, I was still stuck at 22%. 
In the past three weeks, I've gained 3 pounds, but lost 3% body fat. As a woman, it's been difficult to let go of having a set desired weight.  
For months, I've been harassing  Ike that I want to weigh 128 again.  Finally, I'm looking past the weight and the BMI (which is only a height to weight ratio) and I'm focusing on muscle mass.  Because muscle = work.  Work is power.  This morning at the gym, I was able to complete two reps of an upper body exercise that my trainer said no other female he's seen can do.  2.  Next month, I'm working on 13% body fat and doing 10 of his killer exercises.  I'm tossing my bathroom scale out the window!
Feeling good and feeling strong is far superior to being skinny.  Embrace whatever body type you have and go with it! Yes, you may call me Moose.

When are the days going to get longer?  Working at night by head lantern , I've blazed through 16 AAA batteries the past 2 weeks.  It is magical to work outside late at night and to hear the constant chatter of wildlife all around you.

Cole is still and will continue going to physio therapy every week.  This week, the superstar was called in on an off day to help his favorite person in the whole wide world (his therapist)  put on a demonstration.  He's actually in a movie.  There's no containing his ego now.
And if you think I'm nuts -- I met a man at the vet school who drives 6 hours round trip to bring his dog in for treatments.  He's at 25k at the moment (my 7k pales in comparison) and he swears it's the best money he's ever spent.  A kindred spirit with deeper pockets!

On the schooling front, things got interesting this week.  Through a friend's referral, I was put directly in contact with the head of the School of Kinesiology.  I will meet with her next week to discuss possible grad school.  She doesn't see why I need to do another undergrad degree in Science.  I don't think my grades will allow such an easy entry into grade school, but, hey, maybe after 15 years, my record has been expunged.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Tonight, I'm tanking up on caffeine to make the 4 hr trek to North Carolina.  Part work, part exhilarating running like a fiend through the forest.

Working off a Master List for Cole's stuff and one for mine, we were packed in 2 hours last night.  Adios Auburn for a few days!