Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry and Bright

Here's hoping everyone enjoyed a warm, merry and bright holiday!

And wishing you all a Happy New Year!  May 2017 bring you all much happiness. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hiking on Black Friday

I don't like crowds.  I just feel like I have better things to do with my time than stand in lines with angry people.  So I try not to go to any major chain stores in the period between Black Friday and New Years (because the week after Christmas is still chaotic with people doing returns and blowing holiday gift cards).  You especially won't find me in Sam's Club or Walmart! 

This year on Black Friday I took the boys hiking with my friend, Trina.  Paul was doing a bike ride that day.  We hiked the Star Trail up to the top of Mill Mountain in Roanoke.

It was a beautiful day for a hike and warmed up quickly.  The boys enjoyed using the rain jacket/wind breakers my aunt and uncle got them for their birthdays. 

Cort and Pierce check out the view.  After the overlook, we spent some time at the playground until it became crowded.  Then we hiked back down.

I can't think of any other way I'd rather spend Black Friday. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

When the Cat Brought the Bat In

I've blogged before about the cats killing bats and leaving them on the doorstep.  But recently I let Bobby in the house and Paul said, "He's got something!"

Bobby dropped it on the rug and sure enough, it was a bat.  I had to put Bobby outside while Paul grabbed the first thing he could find - a kid rake.  He put it over the bat so that it couldn't fly off in the house.  Luckily, it seemed stunned.

So Paul turned the rake over and I tried to gently nudge the stunned bat onto the rake.  Which is when the bat spread it's wings, made a hissing sound, and bared it's fangs at me!  Whoa!  This bat was very angry.

Meanwhile, Bobby was outside clawing the door and trying to get back in the house to his bat.  He was angry too!

So the rake went back over the bat and I blocked the sides with my shoes in case the bat tried to escape while Paul ran to the basement for supplies.  He came back with a small Tupperware container, some huge welding gloves, and cardboard.

Thankfully, we were able to place the container over the bat, put cardboard underneath, and relocate the bat to the outdoors where it belonged.  Then I disinfected the rug with Clorox wipes.

People talk about living the quiet country life.  But some days?  Some days there is never a dull moment.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Crooked Road 24 Hour Ultramarathon Race Report

The past couple of months I blogged some about the training I was doing for an upcoming 24 hour race.  The goal was to cover as much distance as you could over 24 hours.  The morning started off as a chilly one, but had warmed up by 9 am.  The race course was a loop of about 1.18 in distance.  This was great because it meant you passed by an aid table for food and drinks, plus a bathroom, every single mile.  And I was able to park quite close to the crushed gravel track so when I needed to get supplies from my car (I removed and added layers throughout the day) it was convenient and didn't eat up much time.

My friend, Gloria, came down from Northern Virginia to do this race.  She had a goal of at least 50 miles (which she met!).  I didn't have any set goal.  I just wanted to push myself and hopefully run further than ever before.

Here's a picture of Gloria, Pam Rickard, and I taken in the first hour of the race (photo credit: Matt Ross).

As the day (and miles) wore on I started having a lot of calf cramping, which was unusual for me.  I think this was a fueling issue.  In a marathon I would've eaten Gus every 3 miles.  But I was craving salty snacks and they had the table of food so I was eating stuff like a handful of pretzels here or a handful of olives there.  In retrospect, this was not substantial calories.  I really enjoyed some salted baked potatoes in the afternoon. 

Two of my running friends, Trina and Steve, came out in the late afternoon to offer company and motivation.  I was just walking at this point due to the calf cramping.  Although I was bummed I couldn't run any longer, I was feeling good mentally and was having fun.  I was so thankful to have friends willing to come brave frigid weather just to cheer me along. 

I saw a guy who had what looked like stickers on his calves and I talked to him for a bit about it (he had calf cramping too).  He recommended Salonpas (which is what the stickers were) so Paul picked some up for me at CVS.  I think they may have helped a bit.  I also took arnica, which is a homeopathic remedy for sore muscles. 
I took breaks for stretching and rolling out sore muscles a few times, plus changing layers.  It became extremely cold and windy as the day went on.  The wind gusts were so huge they blew whirlwinds of crushed gravel and dust at the runners (the next day, my eyes felt gritty and were swollen as a result).  They had warm pizza for the runners around 6 and it really hit the spot (and after dark, they also had some soups).   

My furthest run prior to this was 34 miles.  I ended up covering 46 miles total.  Much of it was walking.  I loved when it got dark and there were glow lights all around the track and you could see the bobbing headlamps of all the runners.  Plus, the stars were amazing.  It was a magical feeling, despite the cold and wind.  I wished I could have kept going, but a muscle back behind my right knee started hurting at a level that suggested injury, and my knee was starting to give with my steps as a result.  In addition, I had long ago lost the battle to some significant chaffing issues.  So I decided to head home, which luckily isn't far from this race.  Once I got in the car, I realized I was starving, and had to stop at Bojangles for a chicken biscuit.

I loved this race!  The camaraderie among the runners and the race volunteers is amazing.  I met so many interesting people and learned a lot from my own performance.  I think I'll give this another shot next year, and try to at least hit the 50 mile mark.  I've run a lot of races over the years, but this one really had that extra something special.