HuHot Half: A Flatlander Races At Altitude

Hey, friends!  Happy Monday!  I’m off on yet another short trip (trying to soak up all the adventure I can before reality starts in a few weeks!), but I wanted to pop in quickly to give you a brief recap of July’s half-marathon.  I’ve got several posts coming your way in the next little bit all about our trip (look at that-I’m actually going to get to talk about backpacking around here!).

Because our annual vacation to the mountains started with our July race, that’s where I’m going to kick off the recaps as well.  This particular race recap will be short and sweet for one specific reason-it was three weeks ago and my memory is hazy!  That definitely means that I’ve had plenty of time to completely forget any bad parts, and just focus on the good stuff.  Isn’t that always how races go?

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When I first started looking for July races, I knew that scheduling would be tricky since we always take our two-week vacation that time of year.  That’s why I was really excited when I found a 4th of July race in Colorado Springs.  It was easy to fit into our trip, and I thought it was a really cool way to celebrate Independence Day.

This was the HuHot Half On The 4th in Colorado Springs, and we pulled into town the night before.  We just missed the window for packet pick-up that night, but Dad, John, and I were able to scope out the race site and eat a carbtastic pizza dinner.

The next morning we were at the start line about an hour early to get our packets and bibs, and take all of our usual pre-race photos.  We’re making sure our adventure this year is well-documented.

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Just before seven, Dad and I handed over our race swag to John, and towed the start line.  The race started in Monument Valley Park, and the whole thing was on the Greenway Trail.  It was really nice to not have to worry about traffic, but the start line was a bit congested.  Hundreds of people starting on a path made for maybe two is a bit much!

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I have to be honest-I was a little bit worried about how I was going to handle running at altitude.  As much I consider myself a mountain girl at heart, my lungs spend 11.5 months a year at sea level.  There’s no way I wasn’t going to notice.

Sure enough, I felt the difference immediately.  I run enough now that I can usually cruise through seven or eight miles before I feel the burning need to make.my.legs.stop.moving.  This time around I got to the mile 1 marker and thought, “Oh my gosh, that was only mile 1?!?!”.

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I could tell Dad wasn’t feeling 100% either, and, when I looked over at him, he quickly indicated that his legs were completely dead.  I settled in for a long race.

Luckily, it was never horrific.  Sure, it wasn’t the best run, but I never felt miserable.  It was an out and back course, and, when we made the turn at the halfway point, it seemed like my body magically adjusted.  That made for really pleasant second part of the race.  I was able to concentrate on my surroundings, and really enjoy the views all around.  It was easily the prettiest course we’ve raced on, and I could feel my Colorado euphoria threatening to take over with each passing mile.

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When all was said and done, we finished in 2:13:14.  That’s definitely all the slow end for me, but, overall, I was completely happy with the race.  Dad and I were able to hold a consistent pace throughout, and we were definitely working against some factors were not used to.  It was a solidly good effort on our parts, and I’m proud of it.

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Quickly, I’d like to say how much I really enjoyed the course.  Yes, it was a bit congested at the beginning, but it was actually better than a lot of other races I’ve been a part of, and you just can’t beat the scenery.  Not to mention it was a fairly fast course with no significant ups or downs.  Perhaps it doesn’t make me as hard-core as others, but that’s always a positive in my book!

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So that was #7 Colorado!  In case you’re wondering, we’ve now covered Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Colorado.  Next up we’re heading to Albuquerque for #8, and I can’t believe we’re already that far along!  We just might actually do this crazy thing ;)

A to Z: Jumping On The Bandwagon

Hello, friends!  I’m back from my two weeks of paradise, and I definitely got hit with a huge reality check as soon as we got back.  I have horrible teeth.  I take care of them, I do everything I’m suppose to (ok, so I don’t floss like I should), and, still, I am plagued with problem after problem with my teeth.  One in particular has been giving me problems all summer, and I joked that I’ve seen my dentist more than I’ve seen my mom.  The last few days of vacation it started to aggravate me, and, almost the minute we got home, it turned into full-fledged pain.  Long story short-yesterday, I had to have a root canal.  It’s the first one I’ve ever had, and I am seriously considering sending my dentist flowers or candy or Super Bowl tickets for ending the pain.  Today I am sore and swollen, but not in pain and I am so thankful!

All that being said, getting posts written about our trip has definitely taken a backseat.  I owe you guys a recap on July’s half-marathon (spoiler alert: altitude is real!), and a trail report (spoiler alert:  It rained.  A lot.)  I’m working on the write-ups and going through the pictures, and I’m hoping to get those out soon.  In the mean time, today I’m going to jump on the blogger bandwagon with the A to Z survey.  I’m sure you guys have seen it floating around, and today you’re getting my answers!

A to Z Survey

A – Age: 31

B – Biggest Fear:  Snakes.  I have a serious phobia.

C – Current Time: 10:49 AM

D – Drink You Had Last:   Water.  This heat has me so dehydrated!

E – Easiest Person To Talk To:  John.  I can tell him anything, and I also don’t have to worry too much about carrying the conversation.  He talks a lot ;)

F – Favorite Song:  I can only narrow it down to something by James Taylor.  You guys know I’m a Sweet Baby James super fan.

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G – Grossest Memory:  I can’t think of anything right off-hand, but I’m sure it involves one of the many times I’ve had to clean up dog vomit.

H – Hometown:  Calera, Oklahoma

I – In Love With:   Well, duh :)

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J – Jealous Of: People you live in the mountains.  I always tell John that while we’re in Colorado I have this irrational need to scream at everyone you are obviously locals, “Do you know how lucky you are?!?!”

K – Kindest Person You Know: My aunt Tammy.  She’s ridiculously nice and considerate and thoughtful.  I have literally never seen her upset.

L – Longest Relationship:  John.  We’ve been together for almost eight years, and married for almost six.

M – Middle Name: Nicole

N – Number of Siblings:  One sister and three step-brothers

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O – One Wish:  Fall.  I always start longing for fall around this time of year.

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: Mom

Q – Question You’re Always Asked:  Well, in the last couple of days it has been, “How are you feeling?”  Lucky, the answer so far today has been “Good!”.

R – Reason To Smile: My fur-babies.  It is a little ridiculous how much I laugh at them.

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S – Song You Last Sang: “Midnight Train To Georgia”.  I’ve been marginally obsessed with this song lately.

T – Time You Woke Up: 8:15 which was glorious after three days of not sleeping.

U – Underwear Color: I have running shorts.  They’re orange, if that counts!

V – Vacation Destination:  Well, of course, my favorite place to vacation is the mountains, but, lately, I’ve really been wanting to see New England.  I hope we can make that trip happen soon!

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W – Worst Habit:  Making lists.  I have to remind myself sometimes to just chill out.  Things will get done when they get done.

X – X-Rays You’ve Had:  A zillion on my teeth!  Other than that, I’ve had them on my knee and my feet.

Y – Your Favorite Food:  Pizza.  Fresh, frozen, take-out:  I’m not picky.  I recently decided that it is the food I could eat every single day!

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Z – Zodiac Sign:  Sagittarius

Ok, folks, I’ll see you soon with tall tales of all my travels.  Have a great day!

Celebrate Yourself!

Hi, friends!  We’re still in the middle of our vacation, but I wanted to pop in briefly for a super short post to finish up the 10 Day You Challenge.  I’ve been working through the ten different posts for months, and it was really fun to fill out.  I especially love reading other bloggers posts in the challenge so some of you should definitely do it too!  I love getting to know my fellow writers!

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The very last post in the challenge is to post a picture of yourself.  The idea is to find one that you really love, and not necessarily because you look great in it (although that’s a plus!).  I went through quite a few pictures, and realized that I actually don’t have many of me.  Apparently, I am not apart of the selfie generation!

However, I did manage to come up with one that I absolutely adore every time I look at it.

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Excuse the old school date stamp in the bottom!  I really love this picture.  Have I taken better ones?  Sure, but this picture really represents me.  I am truly in my element doing my very favorite thing.  This was taken in the San Juans which means I was also in my very favorite place.  The smile on my face is a little bit tired, but I know the exhaustion I felt was the very best kind.  The fact that I’m still smiling means I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

This was a great way to finish up this challenge!  I think people don’t take enough time in our everyday lives to really appreciate and celebrate ourselves especially in photographs.  Most the time I look at photos of myself and nitpick everything that I don’t find attractive.  This one just radiates pure unadulterated joy.  I kind of love that!

Currently: July

Hey, folks!  Right now, I’m currently in the middle of the wilderness, and basically living my idea of heaven.  But I didn’t want to completely leave this little blog of mine to gather dust so here’s a quick Currently post for July.  Have a great one!

Currently: July

Current books:  I’ve packed about ten books (counting the ones on my Kindle) to make sure I have plenty to read in the backcountry and on the road.  The one I’m hitting up first is It’s Classified by Nicolle Wallace.  I’m such a junkie for political dramas either in book or film form, and this is the second book in a trilogy that follows the presidency of the first female ever elected to the office.  The first one was pretty good, and I’m excited to see where the characters go next.

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Current music:   James Taylor came out with a new album a few weeks ago, and I’ve been listening to his new song “Montana” on repeat.  One of the reasons I love his music so much is because he is able to put my feelings into words, and it’s so beautiful.

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Current guilty pleasure:   Leading up to vacation, I challenged myself to go a month without my Diet Dr. Pepper kick.  I made it, but you better believe I’ll have a few while we’re gone!

Current food:  Nuts, granola, beef jerky, dehydrated meals….you know, backpacker fare!

Current shows:   My favorite summer show is Rookie Blue, and I’m so excited it’s back on the air.  John and I will have a few episodes on the DVR to watch when we get back!

Current wish list:  The only thing I could possibly wish for is to stay in the backcountry always!

Current needs:  See above answer :)

Current triumphs:  Along with kicking my Diet DP habit, I decided a few weeks before our trip that I wanted to drop a few pounds before we left.  I cleaned up my diet, watched my portions, and I went into it 5 lbs lighter.  Now I will proceed to gain it all back with road trip food :)

Current bane of my existence:  Social media.  Enough said.

Current celebrity crush:  Oh, you know I recycle about three of them.  This month it’s all about Mr. Gosling.

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I watched Crazy, Stupid, Love the other day.  I love him in that movie!

Current indulgence:  Being in the backcountry allows me to indulge in some junk food that I don’t eat normally.  Bring on the Pop-Tarts!

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Current blessing:  I’m blessed to be able to travel the way we do.  I hope I never take it for granted.

Hiking in the Narrows at Zion National Park

Hiking in the Narrows at Zion National Park

Current outfit:  Something along these lines!

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Current excitement:  I bet you can guess!

Current mood:   Happy!

What’s going on with you currently?

Public Service Announcement

It’s a whirlwind kind of day here in vacation prep central so let’s do some Thursday Thoughts, shall we?

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1.  As someone who truly loves TV, it makes me so happy that the last several years has given rise to the “summer season.”  Remember in the olden days (<—insert granny wobbly voice here) when absolutely nothing came on, and those months between mid-May to end of September lasted forever?  Not so now!  We have wonderful things like Rookie Blue and Royal Pains to look forward to every week.  Yes, it’s possible I’m way too into TV.

2.  Speaking of TV, has anyone been watching the new show, The Astronaut Wive’s Club?  I’m a sucker for period shows, and I love Joanna Garcia Swisher so I was really excited about.  So far, it has not disappointed.  The show is actually based on a book by Lily Koppel, and I was able to get it from Tace last weekend.  I’m not too far into yet, but I’m looking forward to diving into during our trip.

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3.  Every year we try to take in at least one play of the Dallas Summer Musical season for Mom’s birthday, and last weekend Mom, Tace, John, Caite, and I took in the stage version of Dirty Dancing.  I was so looking forward to this play because you all know how much I love the movie and Mr. Patrick Swayze, may he rest in peace.  Unfortunately, we were all a little disappointed.  The music was great and the dancing was really impressive, but the acting left a lot to be desired.

4.  I’m not even sure I’ve mentioned it, but this trip is not exclusively backpacking.  Dad and I managed to roll our July half-marathon into vacation so we’ll actually be running in Colorado Springs on July 4th.  It should be a really cool way to kick off the trip!

5.  As relaxing as backpacking is, the prep for it is not.  I’ve been dehydrating food for two weeks, and my house has stuff everywhere!  I can’t wait to get into the car Friday morning, and get to the easy part of vacation!

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6.  Originally, we were going to take Gus with us on this trip, but ultimately decided that this probably isn’t the best trip to start him out on.  I’m really bummed despite knowing it’s the best decisions.  Two whole weeks without both of my boys!

 

maxguscollage7.  Speaking of my pups, I have a public service announcement.  I’ve discussed before how sensitive Max is to loud noises, and that fireworks are just awful for him (and so, of course, us!).  Unfortunately, this is a common problem with dogs.  So many little pups go missing this time of year because they driven out of their safe, comfortable yards by the fear that they are under some kind of sneak attack.  Please be sure to keep an extra eye on your babies this time of year, and put them up in a safe place if you’re heading away from the house.

8. Have you guys read this blog post by Colleen?  If you haven’t, you should.  If you don’t follow her, you should.  I absolutely loved this post, and it’s just further illustrates to me that she is the writer I want to be!

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9.  Ok, I was on a roll, and now I’m suffering writer’s block so I’ll end here.  I have a one or two posts ready to go up while I’m away, but be sure to follow me on Instagram to see all the beautiful sights over the next couple weeks.  I think I post more on Instagram during our two-week vacations in the summer than I do the whole rest of the year combined.  Have a very safe and Happy 4th!!

Guns In The Backcountry: One Backpacker’s Point Of View

Hello, folks!  I hope everyone’s week is off to a really great start.  This is one of the best weeks of the entire year for me because we leave for vacation in just a few days.  Before I know it, I’ll be miles from civilization with everything I need strapped to my back.  It is always my idea of perfection, and I really can’t wait to get there.

Because I’ve got backpacking on the brain, today I want to discuss a topic that has been on my brain for sometime.  John and I live in an area of the country in which backpacking is not one of the most popular activity around.  In fact, whenever we start talking about around people unfamiliar with us, we get one of two reactions.  They either look at us with  unmistakable awe or like we have two heads (more often than not, it’s the look that has me running to the mirror to make sure that I haven’t, in fact, grown two heads).

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And, almost without exception, the next thing out of their mouths is “Don’t you worry about bears?”.  John and I have gotten this question so many times that now I can feel both of our heads exploding from the effort of not rolling our eyes.  We honestly try to answer their questions patiently because we understand that backpacking is a completely foreign concept to most.

However, there is one aspect of all those conversations, that has worn thin over the years.  On the heels of the bear question, comes the question on whether or not we take a gun with us.  Now, you think I get weird looks when I start talking about backpacking?  When I say no guns, I sprout one more head bringing me to a total of three.

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So, let’s talk about the gun issue.  It’s a divisive issue not only in the greater American public (don’t worry-we are NOT debating that today!), but also in the hiking community.  For every backpacker you meet, you might get a slightly different opinion on carrying a gun in the backcountry.  It’s definitely a personal decision for each person, and I’m not here to judge that.  I simply want to add my two cents, and explain why we have never and will (probably) never carry one in the wild.

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First off, one of the most important things to a backpacker is weight.  When you’re strapping on a pack to walk for miles upon miles, it becomes essential that said pack is not the size of a small car.  Backpackers speak in terms of ounces, and every single one of them count.  Guns are heavy!  For many backpackers, that particular weight is necessary.  Not so for the Fords.

Bear spray is the preferred method of protection, and not just because of the weight.  Bear spray creates a wide area of protection against the bear.  The cloud that results from the spray provides a lot more bang for your buck (<—-like that ;) ).  Many experts on the subject consider bear spray to be far more effective during wildlife attacks than firearms.  For us, personally, I know that both John and I would be far too scared and under pressure to fire off a precise shot from a gun during an attack.  The bear spray does not have to hit an exact mark.

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Inevitably, in a discussion like this, the fear of dangerous encounters with other humans comes up.  This is where personal preference plays the biggest role in our decision not to carry a gun.  It, of course, depends on the area that you are hiking in, but, in general, the odds of running into nefarious characters in the backcountry are very, very low, and I have never felt it necessary to have a weapon for protection.  For many people, the only way they could relax and enjoy themselves is to know they have that type of protection.  A very close friend of mine would never venture onto the trail without a gun, and  I definitely respect that point of view.  It’s just not mine.

In fact, full disclosure, I am very skittish and uncomfortable with guns.  I do not like being around them, and I am instantly on edge if I know that someone in my vicinity has one.  I would never be comfortable in the backcountry if someone in my group was carrying, and those attitudes definitely affect the way I view guns in the wild in general.  It’s worth noting, however, that John is entirely comfortable using and being near firearms, and he still prefers not to have one the trail.

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Obviously, these are my views, and informed by my particular life perspective.  Carrying a gun in the wild is a personal choice for each hiker, and I ultimately respect whichever way people choose to go.  It is essential, however, that you consider all the angles and education yourself before making your decision.  That’s the only way that everyone stays safe, and ensures that we all enjoy the wilderness we love!

What do you think?

Backpacking Food: What Works

Hello, friends!  I hope all of you are staying cool.  The rain we’ve experienced for the last two months has left us behind, and some serious heat has taken its place.  I’m planning on spending the afternoon at the pool!

It’s that special time of year in which my crew gets to take off to the mountains for two glorious weeks of backpacking and no civilization.  This year Colorado and Wyoming is on the agenda so this time next month you can look forward to hiking recaps and seriously beautiful photos.

For now, we’re in prep mode so today I wanted to give you guys an overview of the food we’ll be taking on this trip.  I’ve backpacking food posts in the past that you can reference for even more ideas on what to take with you into the backcountry.  Like just about everything, John and I have honed our system over years of hiking.  Some things work and some things don’t with everything from gear to wilderness area, and that is most certainly true when it comes to food.

First things first, about two years ago we jumped into dehydrating our own meals for camp, and that decision is one we’ve never regretted.  A home-dehydrated meal tastes truly special after a hard day on the trail, and I always do at least two when we’re out on a long trip.  However, the process takes a lot of time, and, last week, John bought a new little toy to make it a little easier.

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This is our new 9 tray Excalibur dehydrator, and it is wonderful!  On Sunday, we experimented with some fruit, and in 8 hours we managed to do 5 bananas, 5 apples, an entire pineapple, and a quart of strawberries in about 9 hours.  By comparison, that would’ve taken three days with my old machine!  Having fruit on the trail is a real treat, and this trip we’ll have a ton!  Right now, the dehydrator is working on the ingredients for our two big meals so stay tuned to Instagram to see the results.

So what are we eating the other eight nights we’ll be on the trail?  Well, we’re trying something a little different this time.  In the past, we’ve stuck pretty heavily to things like Mountain House meals.  There will still be a fair amount of those on the trip, but we’re also going to try something that thru-hikers have known for years.  You know those aisles in the middle of the grocery store that all the health gurus tell you to stay away from?  Those aisles actually contain some inexpensive and tasty treats for backpackers.

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Any of those boxed meals that only need water are perfect to take on the trail, and I, for one, am really looking forward to having mac and cheese in the backcountry.  This trip we’re trying mac and cheese, boxed jambalaya, and Hamburger Helper.  Dehydrate a little ground beef, then simply repackage the ingredients into Ziploc bags and write the instructions on the outside in sharpie.  Boom!  Done!

Day time food will be the typical granola bars, peanut butter packets, nuts, our dried fruit, and beef jerky.  No need to reinvent the wheel on this one!  I am, however, really excited about breakfast.  I try to be pretty health conscious in my daily life so, sadly, Pop-Tarts haven’t been a staple part of my diet since college.  All that changes on the trail!  Pop-Tarts are so easy and convenient for a trail breakfast.  There’s no need to break out the stove while you’re trying to pack up camp.  Instead, open that beautiful silver package and enjoy!

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We will have a one or two days that we’re just hanging in camp so I’m packing in FlapJacked so I can enjoy pancakes on the trail.  All you have to do is bring along a little olive oil, scoop your desired amount of FlapJacked in a baggie, and top with peanut butter.  Who said eating on the trail is boring?

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So, as you can see, we’re trying some new things this year, but we will not be lacking in delicious food.  I plan on seriously making up on the calories I’m burning!

What’s your favorite junk food?  What food is a special treat for you?

No Feudin’, Just Runnin’: A Race Recap

After 10 states, thousands of miles, and one half-marathon, I’m back on my couch, and I have no plans to move for at least the next day and a half.  Dad and I wrapped up our six half marathon in our 12 in 12 in 12 quest this past weekend, and (spoiler alert) it was the best one yet.

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Dad got to my house around noon on Thursday, and we headed east.  We spent most of the day in the car with a quick pit stop in Memphis for the best BBQ on the planet, and pitched the tent in Natchez State Park about eighty miles from Nashville.

For whatever reason, I didn’t sleep so great which means I was wide awake for us to get on the road around seven the next morning.  We had about seven hours to our final destination of Belfry, Kentucky, and arrived there for packet pickup about 4:30.

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Belfry, Kentucky is in the heart of the Hatfield and McCoy country, and the entire race was played on that theme.  It was actually the reason why I picked it-you guys know I’m a sucker for history!  Belfry, Kentucky and Williamson, West Virginia are basically the same town, and the race organizers utilized both towns to provide resources to the runners.  One such resource was opening up the two fire departments for runners to crash in since there aren’t many hotels in the area.

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Dad and I thought this would be a neat part of the trip, and we were assigned the Williamson Fire Station along with about seventy other runners.  It worked out well except for someone deciding 4:45 was a great time to turn on the lights on race morning!

We caught a shuttle to the starting line, did a little stretching, and joked that we might have a good shot to place in this race.  We were floored at how few half-marathon bibs we saw.  This race series offered a double half-marathon as well as a full, and most everyone we saw was running one of those.

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The race started promptly at seven, and we took off.  We cruised through the first five or six miles.  I’ve really started to noticed a difference in the effort in takes me run those distances.  Those first miles have started to fly by, and I’m feeling stronger every race.

We knew there was a beast of a hill to look forward to at mile six.  The full name of this half was the Hatfield and McCoy Blackberry Mountain Half Marathon, and Blackberry Mountain awaited us halfway through the course.  It was just about a mile long,  and very, very steep.  Dad and I just concentrated on getting up it however we could.  We knew we’d be greeted by a long downhill on the backside.

We flew down the hill.  I didn’t check, but mile 7 to 8 must have been a 7:30 minute pace!  The rest of the race was fairly flat, and went pretty smoothly.  Right around the time we got to mile 9, the sun rose over the mountains in full force and it got super humid.  I’m just grateful that we made it to mile 9 before it happened.

This was a point to point course, and around mile 12.5 we crossed the bridge into West Virginia.  We’re counting the race as a Kentucky course since most of it was done there, but running in two different states was a special way to mark the halfway point!

We crossed the finish line at 2:11:17.  Certainly not my fastest time, but considering the beast of the hill and the three times we stopped to read some of the historical markers, I’m happy with it.  It was even good enough to get both of us 2nd place in our age groups!

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I really loved this race.  It was fairly small (only about 900 runners), but so well organized and the course was beautiful.  The people were friendly, and I loved the historical element to it.  The course actually goes by several of the famous spots in the Hatfield and McCoy feud which made my little nerd heart happy.

Dad and I headed out of Kentucky after the race headed south.  We decided since we were on the right coast and we had the time, we would check out a few states we’d never been to before.  My family is obsessed with visiting all 50 states, and my total is now up to 26!

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Our little adventure took us all the way to Charleston, South Carolina.  We grabbed dinner there Saturday, spent the night, and did just a little walking around on Sunday morning.  It was a really neat city, and I want to go back to do a proper vacation.  Although it will have to be January-it was so hot!

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From there, we headed back west, arriving mid-day Monday.  It was a fast, long trip, and I’m exhausted but it was really a lot of fun!  And, now, #6 is in the books!  Next up-Colorado followed by our backpacking trip!  I kind of like summer!

How many states have you visited?  

Headed East!

Hey, folks!  I’m popping in today so I can do a little Thinking Out Loud with all of you.  Let’s jump right into it!

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1.  So I need to offer greetings from somewhere in the east!  As you read this, Dad and I are headed to Kentucky for the Hatfield and McCoy Half Marathon which (if you’re counting) makes number six in our 12 in 12 in 12 quest.  Come Saturday we will have hit the halfway mark! I’m really looking forward to this particular race, and I’ll be sure to pop in Tuesday with a full recap.

2.  Did anyone else binge read anything you could find on the Gilmore Girls reunion panel at the ATX festival in Austin last weekend?  I was desperately hoping for an announcement about a reunion movie/Netflix series/5 second Youtube video, but, alas, no luck.  They did leave the door open, however, so hope springs eternal!

3.  I finally got a chance to try the new FlapJacked Carrot Spice flavor, and, guys, believe the hype.  It is so good, and I really think it might have jumped to my new favorite flavor!

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4.Here’s a picture of the kitchen with backsplash completely done!

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I think it looks fantastic.  The kitchen looks so different than it did just weeks ago, and I’m really enjoying it.  The next major project is to get the new flooring installed, and I am really looking forward to it.

5.  Mom and Joel came up to do a training hike up Cavanal again at the beginning of the week, and I snapped this picture of Gus at the top.

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I kind of love him!

6.  Because I love my boys equally, and because it’s such a cute picture, here’s one of Max.

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That face!

7.  I’m a big fan of John Green (the author of The Fault In Our Stars) and another book of his is being made into a movie.  I haven’t read Paper Towns yet so I picked it up this week, and I’m hoping to power through it while we’re on the road.  Anybody else read it?

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8.  I had the pleasure of walking Jedd and Whitney’s pup on Tuesday, and I snapped this picture while I was out.

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Oklahoma really does have its own particular kind of beauty.

9.  Alright, it’s time to fly!  Catch ya next week!

The Song Remembers When

Hey, friends!  We’re currently back in my old stomping grounds celebrating my brother’s high school graduation and hanging with family.  He’s a great kid, and I was really proud to see him walk across the stage last night.  He’s got some really wonderful plans for next year, and, let’s just say, I’m going to have get some Aggie gear for my wardrobe :)

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I thought I’d pop in today to do another installment of the 10 Day You Challenge.  We’re down to picking two songs which is one category that I’ve really been looking forward to despite how hard I knew it was going to be!

I’ve always been a serious music lover, and my taste are pretty varied.  If it sounds good, I’ll listen (some things are off the table-most rap, techno, new country)!  However, my heart belongs to ’70s singer/songwriter genre of music, and my deep and abiding love of James Taylor is well-documented.

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So it comes as no surprise that my two songs hail from that time period.  It is almost impossible for me to say definitively that these are my two favorite songs, but they are definitely up there and I’ll stop and listen to them any time anywhere.

1.  You’ve Got A Friend performed by James Taylor

This song was written by Carole King, another favorite of mine, and, for a real treat, you need to listen to the two of them perform this song together.  It is such a beautiful song, and I relate to it in a myriad of different ways.  There are many people in my life that I can apply this sentiment to.  It took on extra special meaning a few weeks ago when a quartet of senior music students surprised me by dedicating this song to me at the spring concert.  I will never again be able to listen to this song without tearing up.

2.  Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

I LOVE John Denver, and it should be no surprise why this song speaks to me.  The mountains are very special to me, and I understand the language he’s speaking in this song.  There’s a line that says, “Coming home to a place he’s never been before.”  For me, I suppose you’d have to change it to “…a place she’s never lived before.”, but you get the idea.  That’s exactly how I feel every time I go to the mountains.  My John and I have also been guilty of blasting this song as we stand at the top of a particularly stunning mountain pass.  Corny, but necessary.

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I’m sure you guys are familiar with both of these songs, but, even so, go give them a listen.  They’re worth it.  Have a great weekend!

What song/songs speak to you?

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