Tag Archives: georgia

(Not Nearly) Afternoon Delight

2 Oct

I paid to suffer and that’s not the worst of it. I would do it again.

Let me explain.

When I first told Ginger I would enjoy a family camping weekend at FD Roosevelt State Park that ended with a 13.1 mile trail run called The North Face Endurance Challenge, I don’t think I really processed the words “endurance challenge” and the race’s location of Pine MOUNTAIN. Sure, I said. Sounds fun, I said. Because it did. I love hanging out on a run with my bud. We explore, we have great talks and we feel awesome after conquering a distance and crushing some calories.

It sounded like carefree fun all the way up until she emailed that her Achilles was hurting and a specialist told her no way to running – especially no MOUNTAIN trails. First and always, I was worried about her. I know how much she enjoys her runs. They are a part of her. How will she feel not running? I just wanted her to heal so she could run again soon. In the midst of my worry though, I began to realize – I’m not going to have my buddy with me on this frolic through the woods. She suggested maybe Andrew could come with me and run my pace. He’s also a wonderful running pal and a great motivator. Of course, he agreed so it was all set – and then it all hit my ignorance.

Pre-race Pose

Endurance

This event is called an endurance challenge for a reason. It is nothing like the trail I run at Fort Yargo. There parts of it that feel like only goats should be on it – cliff side, rock covered inches of footing. Muddy rocks that serve as bridges to get you across stream after stream. Fallen trees that block narrow paths. The roots of those trees, or possibly rocks, stole my feet from me and sent me down – hard – twice.

Rocks-n-Stuff

That rock slate IS the trail.

The first collision with the ground happened within mile one and I landed like a tree. The crash knocked the wind out of me and I had to jump off to the course for a minute to decide if I remembered what my name was. Luckily, I did and kept moving forward, only to fall again around mile five. Big props to my right shoulder for taking the brunt of that body toss. Ow. I was so proud when the first aid person at the water station asked me, “Ma’am, do you need your shoulder treated?” To me, it really showed what we were enduring. The whole-body soreness days after the event helped remind us of that too though …

Shoulder Boo-Boo

Challenge

I must have said “you’ve got to be kidding” or “this is ridiculous” or “choice cuss word” at least 10 times each mile. Once we started, the challenge was to finish. The challenge was to not lose my mind. The challenge was to not damage my skull that protects that mind. The challenge was to not stop climbing the hills and to stand tall to conquer them like Andrew kept reminding me to do. At one point toward the end, I began telling myself to keep my knees and feet up, pay attention and don’t get lazy. A lot of it was out loud. So was my rendition of “Funky Town” and Andrew’s duet of “Afternoon Delight” with me. (It was prompted by Anchorman quotes after I started saying things like “I love tree. I love plant. This trail was a bad idea.”)

The fun singing didn’t last long though because sure enough, we soon had to scale a hill.

Straight up.

Mountain

Being that this was a mountain trail, it was rare to have a nice stretch for a steady running pace. I don’t know how people finished this and more (some traveled 50 miles!) with such a fast time. They are incredible. It seemed to me that just when I would start to feel like a kid running through the forest (and I actually did at one point and shouted it out through breaths to the trees and Andrew), we would encounter an obstacle from nature. You know, like a mountain. Climbing a mountain wasn’t on my bucket list but I can go ahead and pencil it in just to draw the line through it. Dang.

See all the people at the top of the hill?

Gorgeous Mountain View from a Ledge

Elevation says wha?

Finished

13.1 miles equated to 3 hours and 33 minutes of adventure for Andrew and me. I know he could’ve finished at about 2 and a half had he ventured it at his pace. He didn’t once complain or make me feel bad. He carried my sunglasses and helped me up when I fell. He kept encouraging me with pep talks and coaching me with guidance to make it through.

“You’re doing great, lady.”
“Stand up tall to get deep breaths.”
“Slow it down some, your adrenaline is tricking you right now.”
“We’re married.” (That one came after I made a goofy pose when I saw a photographer on the course. He actually claimed me!)

I’m so grateful to him for his friendship and selflessness. He even stopped to give directions to hikers along our course. He laughed at my jokes along the way and when I asked him if I earned major cool points for my falls he replied, “Not for the falls but because you got back up and kept going.”

So, would I endure it again?

No. I would enjoy it again.

Ginger's Finish Line Photo

Ginger’s Finish Line Photo

I wasn’t sore yet.

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Diamond Dreams

5 Jul

There you sleep, barely a wrinkle in the blankets of the hotel queen bed next to ours. You are so sweet and peaceful. Hours before you had batting practice at the cages, ate four pieces of pizza and pounded that kid-sized root beer while sharing a table with your team. After dinner, you played a “who could pick up who” game and begged to hit the pool “just for a little bit” before bed. We traveled two hours for this adventure. A chance to play in the Dizzy Dean State Tournament. You are an All-Star. You are seven.

What will you remember of this trip? Could this be the one time you experience something as neat as this? You were supposed to play your first game tonight. Instead, rain delayed your fun on the field and opened up another kind of bliss. Goofing off with the guys. Cannonball contests in the pool until the sky turned dark from night instead of storm clouds. Curiosity about what the other boys are doing as we headed back to the room for bed. “Where’s Bryte staying? Are they all still awake? When will we play tomorrow?”

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I’m sure they were all like you … eyes more than ready for sleep with baseball diamond dreams in their heads. Sleep well, Barrow County 7U All-Stars. I hope this is a weekend full of special memories for you.

Sleepy baseball boy

Sleepy Baseball Boy

I ran 13.1 miles and …

5 Nov

I loved every second of the 2:31 it took me to finish it. Really. I loved it. Just look at my finish line picture. Hilarious proof.

PUMPED

If you’re wondering how in the world I could love such a thing – here’s why I had so much fun during the Savannah Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon:

  • It was in Savannah, Georgia. A beautiful place I called my home for six years. Loved ones live there. I had our babies there. I became an adult there. It’s even more than that though. It was the view on the run. The historic city offered my eyes gorgeous homes, buildings with impressive stonework and character, and trees with personality due to their branches’ unique curves and Spanish Moss clothing. Even better? It was a sun-shiny day.
  • The people were lovely. So many came out to cheer on the runners. Their clever signs along the route – “You think running a marathon is hard, try waiting for you to finish.” “Don’t poop yourself!” “Run, Total Stranger, Run!” “Worst Parade Ever!” “If running was easy it would be called your mom!” – dotted my breathing with giggles and served as entertaining billboards. How could I pass up the small children who held out their hands for a high-five? Neighbors eating their breakfasts and even enjoying mimosas on their front lawns as they tailgated and relaxed as thousands of people passed by their homes. (One house even offered free margaritas!) Sanitation workers lined up and waiting to roll out offered high-fives and words of encouragement. That almost brought the first hint of water to my eyes. It really happened when I passed two neighbors sitting comfortably on their front porches. One was an older woman who greeted us with a kind smile and wave. “Good morning! Good morning!” she sang in such perfect Savannah style. Beautiful.
  • Andrew and Ginger. They are such fantastic running buddies and coaches. It was comforting to go through all the same pre-race, race and post-race feelings together. I didn’t get to run with Ginger the whole time but we started together and finished together – something that made the race so perfect for me. We stood side-by-side in the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd in Corral 17 as we waited in anticipation for them to set us free. We had to say goodbye to Andrew because he was all the way up in front of the thousands in Corral 4 for his first marathon. (He did amazing and I’m so proud of him for accomplishing it. When he sets his mind to something …) When it was our turn, we did our thing. I knew I wanted to keep my pace nice and easy so I held back from trying to stay with her pace. Twelve miles – and almost finished – later, I saw my friend. I kept looking for her pink skirt and her Brew/Drink/Run shirt and was so happy to see her. “My friend! My friend!” I shouted. We finished together – same time – same pace. We joke that we should’ve stopped at the finish line and said, “No, you go first. No, you.”

Finish Line Friends

The Marathoner and Me

Corral Crowds

  • I ran my race. I didn’t stop once. I didn’t walk. Not even to take off my long-sleeve shirt that was under my tank. “I undressed while running” should be a t-shirt. I just can’t believe how good I felt. Andrew said we were likely banking miles on the hills we run around home and he kept telling to “trust the plan.” All that training paid off. I felt incredible. I now wonder if I should’ve pushed myself more. I was afraid to get burned out. I wanted to enjoy it and I did. Everything from my music (thanks to Facebook friends who offered soundtrack suggestions) to my muscles – it all felt right. I have zero regrets on how I ran it but I think I will try a little harder now. From mile 8, I kept telling myself, “Don’t push it yet. Not yet.” Now that the fear of the unknown is over, all I feel is bliss. Thank you, I’ll have another.

When’s the next race?

Snowy Fun in Georgia

1 Mar

Nia Attacks

Snow Nate

Daddy is Armed!

Snow Nia and Momma

Hot Chocolate after Snow

Hot Chocolate after Snow

Beware of the Scarecrows

18 Aug

Kind of CreepyWe thought we’d encounter the most interesting sights during our trip to Georgia’s “largest flea market,” not on our way there.

At first, we drove past a few of them here and there and then it seemed as if they had taken over the small city of Hoschton, Georgia.

There were so many of them and a few were having more fun than others – riding horses, fixing cars, wearing the latest fashions.  It was a really wild sight.  Apparently, they are a part of Hoschton’s Fall Festival and, according to this news story, are popping up all over town to beat a Guiness World Record.  I can’t wait to hear if they do!

 

 

 

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