Tuesday, June 30, 2009
We never did see the governor of South Carolina. ;)
Some of my favorite moments:
The sweet smell of a cool breeze as we walked.
Seeing the stars above me as I slept in my hammock.
Knowing that I could give all the other hikers a run for their money, even the 20 year old guys. It wasn't really a competition but it's nice to know.
There are a few stories we can tell. A large, angry rattlesnake gave us some trouble on our second day. He was sitting 3 inches from the trail and he was not moving. In fact, he was coiled up and rattling. So, we listened to the wisdom of an old Chinese proverb and....headed out into the woods so we could simply walk around him. That day was challenging in more ways that one. It was the longest, hilliest day but it was only the second day which meant our packs were full. Add in an extra sleeping bag from my nephew and my pack suddenly weighed 40 lbs.
After that, it was smooth sailing. The other major hills were scheduled for the end of the week when we had eaten most of our food (i.e. lighter packs). Beautiful days. Cool nights. Only 30 minutes of rain. Good times.
Well, there were mice in our packs almost every night but that's just part of hiking. The mice seemed to prefer my peanut butter pretzels. At least the little vermin had good taste.
I, too, would love to hike next summer. Maybe hike 40 miles in 4 days and take a few days to ride my bike. A bigger physical challenge. Plus, the roads up there are awesome for riding. We'll see.
For now it's time to get back on track with my Beach to Battleship training!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The last 2 days have been spent frantically buying supplies for the trail and getting stuff shipped in overnight delivery because the only camping store in town was out of several key items. Items they promised me 2 weeks ago that they would have. Oh well. This business does a lot to support local tris but they leave me no choice. REI gets the money. Today, I'm packing most of the food into ziploc bags. I know what I would pack for myself but....I'm also packing for 2 men and an 8 year old boy who loves red Kool-Aid and oatmeal cream pies. Definitely interesting. And heavier than I would like. Oh well, it will be an adventure either way.
Shawn was nice enough to help us field test a few of our meals last night. She didn't die so they must be good enough. And all 6 days of food can be cooked in nothing but hot water from our Primus camp stove. YEAH!
Monday, June 15, 2009
with private rooms
Refusing to let my mind wander too far. I'll bet there are not too many Pulitzer Prize winning author's in that store. Don't worry, there are lots of other choices for those who don't want to read.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
My husband and I will be hiking with my father and 8 year old nephew as well as a group from my church. This not my first hike on the AT but it's been over 20 years. Even though my old, retro, external frame pack is still in decent shape there is a lot to buy. And people say Triathlon is gear intensive! Backpacking has just as many startup costs, if not more. Our camp stove arrived Friday. We need cooking pots and lightweight dishes. Water bottles. Water filtration systems. Food that can be prepared with only boiling water. And I need some cheep nylon shorts for hiking because I'm not bringing my nice tri gear on the trail. Need to buy a copy of those maps and ship them express delivery. So much to do come Tuesday (the end of night shifts).
Should be quite the adventure.
This particular project involves "redigging" an existing shipping channel that runs to a power plant. The dredge itself is a hydrolic dredge rather than a clamshell (or bucket) dredge. My responsibilities are the same: make sure no protected species, particularly manatees, get stuck in the dredge.
The only problem is that I was assigned nightshift. Without any input from me. It comes as a shock to no one that I.AM.NOT.A.NIGHT.PERSON.
I told myself it was better to take the night shifts rather than split a few days with the midshift person so I would have a 14 hours off between shifts. More time to sleep. I would get used to it. Blah. Blah. Blah. Well, with only 3 overnight weekend shifts a week (9:30pm-6am), there is no time to get used to it. And this is not a job where you can take a break, talk to people, or watch some TV in between sampling stations. My job is to watch the water for manatees anytime there is active dredging. Which happens a lot at night.
So, it's been hell. Two-six AM is the hardest time. That and driving home. Four days of the week, I'm a zombie. One day, I can run errands. Two days, I'm awake enough to train. My comeback train is totally off the track.
But hope is on the horizon. Only 2 more overnight shifts before the end of my current contract. If the project runs overschedule, I need the AM or midshift or....I'm done. Not worth the money.
For what it's worth, here is what I've learned:
1) For a regular coffee drinker, Red Bull is not worth the money. Nor are most of the Energy Shots out there.
2) The 5 Hour Sustained Energy shots last me about....2 hours.
3) Coffee is still one of the best "Energy Drinks" I've found.
4) It does help to put blankets on the windows to keep the bedroom dark.
5) Listening to the Tac Boy and Bigun Podcast helps keep me awake. Too bad they seem to have stopped recording. Oh well, I have the archives!
Two more shifts, two more shifts, two more shifts.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I'm not fond of evening races but when the race starts/finishes at one of the most popular pubs in town, it's hard to say no. Work has left me in a deep funk. The 5K was an excuse to break free of the night shift blues and have fun. Nothing serious. I wore my garmin only because they were not recording our times, as far as I could tell. There was a race clock at mile 1 and the finish but no age group awards. Just free beer boots to the first 30 women/men. HOW COOL!
And it was one of the most fun 5Ks ever. Very few super serious runners looking stressed, running warm ups. Lots of groups from work, school, local running clubs who were running as a group. It's not that the usual fast people weren't there, it's just that they were relaxed and having fun, too.
After waiting an extra 10 minutes to finish registration (rumor was over 700 people for this first time event), we were off! I just ran fast but comfortable the whole way. Because this was an event for me, not a race, I wore my ipod. I started out way too fast, dropping down to 8:10s at one point. I didn't think I could hold it but this was not a race for worrying. When I got tired, I would slow down. No stress. Finished mile 1 in 9:15. Mile 2 was very amusing because this was where a lot of the cute skinny kids from those office groups realized they should have trained a little better. Lots of walking on their part. Near the turn around point I saw one girl walking, furiously texting on her phone, and a group of her friends running backwards. They were giving her no end of teasing about it. So I said, "there's no texting in a 5K. We're done in 10 minutes. Put the phone down and run." Her friends cheered. And she did finally put the phone down because she passed me a minute or so later, with another round of thanks from her friends. I let her go. Like I said, this was not the most hard core race on the calendar.
Then it was time to cruise to the finish. The large burrito I had for lunch came back to haunt me but a short walk followed by a very satisfying belch got me back on track. The 3 mile mark coincided with one of my favorite fast songs so I sprinted to the finish. 29:37. No beer boot for me. Maybe next year. A few months ago sub-30 took all my effort, now I'm running sub-30 without really trying. Nice progress in it's own way. There was a time when I dreamed of a sub 30 5K and now it's like "yeah, I can do that". Oh, how times change. Got to enjoy it while it lasts.
If I want _race_ these afternoon events, I'd definitely have to change things up but for now I enjoy having fun being around fellow runners.
Friday, June 05, 2009
Right now the main difference is that my weight is supported by the sit bones. When I'm in aero, some of the weight is transferred forward but the pressure runs next to the sensitive tissues instead of on top of them. The nose of the saddle is shorter and wider than I'm used to but it didn't cause any discomfort. In fact, the shorter nose eliminates a big source of my problems. After several years and a multitude of saddle tweaks by so called experts, I finally have hope.
Tomorrow will be the real test when we hit the road for 3 hours.