Sunday, January 29, 2012

Carrot Cake

Here we are already and January is slowing fading away in the rear view mirror. Having a job where each month more or less revolves around the end and beginning of each month I am more aware than ever how quick time passes by. So, like I said, here we are and January is already mostly over and we are well off in the not so new year anymore. What is refreshing is how much we have already accomplished. We are both off strong on our goals to run 3000+ miles for myself and 2500+ for Lindsey. With the knee feeling great I have been able to run everyday for almost 2 weeks and followed a 71 miles week with another strong 66 mile week. Lindsey's has had some hip pain and cycled in a bit of power hiking this week to allow some much needed and smart recovery, something I am too stubborn and impatient to try!
So, Carrot Cake, why and how did that deserve the title of this blog. Well, I love running and I sure do love eating. When combined together with good friends you can hardly ever go wrong. This Saturday Damien and Hayley were kind enough to show us the Mitchell Challenge course on a gorgeous sunny day, at least at 3000' near the start (not so much around 5000+ in the mountains). In return we made some deliscous Apricot Bourbon Chicken and Lindsey both blessed and cursed us with the burden of what felt like a 10 Carrot Cake. The cake was in honor of Hayley's birthday but the second fork hit cake and cake hit mouth we all felt like it was our birthday. Regrettably to admit, but not to reminisce, the cake slowly disappeared among the 4 of us!!! One thing I have learned in life is to enjoy the little things and yes Carrot Cake is one of them. Not entirely just the cake, but the long casual weekend runs, the great company, delicious food, and the way the sun can warm you from the inside out on a beautiful crisp January day. Just another day in the sunshine with a belly full of cake, Carrot Cake!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 Goals - Wk 3

With 2012 well under way Lindsey is crushing her 2500 mile goal for the year. With a good week on the knee and the Sultan 50k I found my way back on top as well recovering from a few 0 mile days early in the year. Most running this week was logged in the early am about 5am before i head to work. We did find some good time to hit the trails though and of course got in almost 33 miles on trail yesterday, though soaking wet in the South Mountains we had a blast and a solid hill climb workout which lasted 5+ hours! So here is the standings doing well and still having an absolute blast.

32 miles + Cake + Friends = 2012 Sultan Bday Run

When Linds and I first met the WNC Trail Runners group we knew we had found a great bunch of people. Some of the most genuine and caring people, interesting and truly talented runners around. After a few outings and numerous adventures now we know they are more than that. This weekends adventure was put on by Mohammed Idlibi. The 4th annual running of the Sultan 50k and I can say without hesitation that this is the only run I know of or have ever heard of in which we not only run 50k but we wear a crown, oh yes a crown. The crown must remain on your head for the duration of the run. And in case you that that was wild enough, at the half way point there are a number of very friendly volunteers to help and cheer you on. All they ask is for a few trick and that you eat a piece of Red Velvet cake before making the 16 mile return. Though its all fun and games the eating of the cake is as serious as the wearing of the crown and must not be taken lightly nor skipped.
As we met in the parking lot of Subway waiting for everyone to arrive, the crowns were put on and the stares began. Linds and I have truly realized we have met and now belong to one of the most exciting running groups anyone could ask for. And though the clouds rolled in, the heaven opened and let go of every last drop of rain they had in store, the only thing that failed to dampen were the spirits of everyone wearing a crown. For the next 5-7 hours the woods were filled with a bunch of screaming, laughing, bearded, smiling, soaked and crazy running lunatics as they not only enjoyed the cake, the woods, the crown but the camaraderie of all wearing the crown. Thanks to the selfless volunteers and Mohammed for putting on such a great run.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Goals

So sitting in my chair today at work I realized I needed to set some solid goals for 2012. Today I realized that I sit a lot during the day. All against my will of course. I do enjoy my job and am very blessed for all that we have but I am a very active person and the amount of sitting I do in a given 10-11 hr work day is TOO much. So, I decided to set some goals for 2012. I want to run a mile for every hour I sit at my desk, aka work. After doing some quick math, I work about 55-60 hours a week so that mean I plan to run 55-60 miles a week. Round it all out and the goal is to run at least 3000 miles this year.  So here is the plan with a few additional goals I plan to run at very minimum of 3000 miles in 2012. Lindsey, after no convincing at all jumped aboard and is planning to run 2500 miles. The goals for 2012 are as follows:
1.     Run X amount of miles in 2012 (3000 for me, 2500 for Linds)
2.     Stay healthy enough to complete objective 1 ( I figure plenty of beer and ice cream will help this area, although some early signs of Patella Tendinitis make me think some stretching may be in store as well).
3.     Never forget the reason I run though I strive to achieve a numbers goal. (I run because it reminds me of how small I really am in a world of such grandeur and awe, reminds me to never take the little things in life for granted and lets see, oh ya, and the endorphin's are awesome).

So here we go, a minor set backs with beginning signs of patella tendinitis have left me with a couple of days with no mileage but otherwise I am on track and set to make up the mileage this week. Enjoy the ride and I hope to see you out there on the trail or recovering over a pint beer or maybe ice cream.

Week 1: Tim 55miles/Linds 50
Week 2: Tim 55 Miles/Linds 40

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tanawha and a new year....

Tanawhat!!.... The adventure this weekend was set to take place just outside of Blowing Rock, NC. The first major run of 2012 definitely laid the foundation for a great year ahead. With almost 25 people taking on the Tanawha we had a great showing on a day that would have steered most clear of the mountains. Lindsey and I decided to embark on the marathon course which turned out right around 27 miles. I was nervous all week as I had some early signs of Patella tendinitis surfacing from some extra running I have been doing. I very reluctantly took two days off from running but had a great weekend adventure to look forward to as long as I was healthy. With plenty of icing and even more stretching, which is a rare occurrence for myself, I woke with healthy knees or so I told myself. It would be a casual run but there would be no lack of scenery and beauty as we would traverse yet another new section of mountain and trail.
The run started off awesome rolling over some smooth fell type hills before ascending the mountains following a more rugged, rocky and rooted route to Beacon Heights. The trail crested Rough Ridge as we stood in the shadow of Grandfather mountain and felt the cool mountain air wisp all around. The trail then descended down towards the Parkway and paralleled the Linn Cove Viaduct. After 5 hours and some gorgeous views we returned with tired legs to the finish area. Having enjoyed some new trail and some gorgeous views we were more than thrilled and happy with yet another amazing weekend adventure. The run was overall a great run, and we thank you Brandon  for putting this one. And I am happy to report the knee held up and also had some extra energy for the much anticipated Vertic-ALE run a day later, more to follow soon .We refueled at Canyons over some delicious food and beer as we reminisced the epic traverse of the Tanawha.

So far, Linds and I have travelled north east to the border of the Smokies, north to the Roan Highlands, south to Brevard, east to Linville Gorge and Mt Mitch and now as far east to Blowing Rock. With plenty of runs in and around Asheville, we have logged countless miles and hours in the short time we have lived in Asheville. Though the miles, minutes and hours can all be added, the memories are countless. We have met so many great people on our adventures we know 2012 is going to be one amazing year. Thank you everyone for the amazing time, the camaraderie and sharing in the pain and glory of the wild! Happy 2012 all and see you out on the trail and in the sunshine.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ending 2011 in style...

Sunrise Jan 1, 2012 just below Mt Mitchell.

What a wild year it has been...2011 started, for myself, being in Afghanistan. Since the start of 2011 I have returned from Afghanistan, got out of the Army, traveled what seemed like half the US in search of a job, got a job, moved, bought a house, Linds got a job, met many many awesome friends and have spent as much time as possible since moving to Asheville immersed in the woods, soaking up the sunshine, breathing mountain air, and enjoying the excitement of mountain running, which in and of itself has quite the extensive list. We have ran Shut In, a few times, experienced Dupont waterfalls, Pisgah, Mitchell, Roan Highlands, Big Hump, Big Bald, Max Patch, Graybeard, Linville Gorge, Art Loeb in entirety, and the list goes one. Having spent just about every free moment we have in the mountains and running we decided there was absolutely no other way to end the year than reminiscing about the years events while doing what we love in the sunshine and being in the mountains.
Friday night Linds and I hiked up the Shut In Ridge in search of a campsite that would allow us to watch the sunrise of the Buncombe/Henderson County Valley. Success!! We found a great spot on the ridge. As the night got darker the glow of lights in the city below grew brighter. The air was brisk and the night was quiet. We built a little fire and enjoyed the woods to ourselves. We spent the night listening to the quiet howl of the wind as the night came alive. Being in the woods as night is a whole new world. Not only do things appear different, but they sounds, feel, and smell different as the nocturnal wild comes alive. We woke just before dawn and watch the rest of the world slowly wake from our little spot in the woods. We spent the morning trail running and then descended back to town. Not more than 2 hours later we were packing our packs with the intent to spend the night on Commissary Ridge just below Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi. What better way to end 2011 and bring in another amazing year. Not the mention the sunrise from the top of the world there was going to be epic.
We parked at the ranger station and met Melissa, later to be joined by Jon, Charlie and Lauren and unbeknownst to us another friend. We again hiked into the night as the sun set behind us the glow of the town and world below glistened. There is nothing particularly beautiful about seeing lights but when you up on a ridge with no light seeing the glow of a town below gives one the feeling of complete peace and solitude as the dark woods surrounding come alive. As we began our hike the ranger let us know we may have some visitors as some hunting dogs were running wild chasing bears. As we approached our camp we were greeted by a new friend, Hank, well that's what we called him anyway. Good ole Hank, a bear hunting hound dog, looked as if he had been on the trail for quite some time, a week maybe longer. With every bone in his body showing from malnutrition and a nasty wound from maybe a bear or a bad fall, Hank was more than thrilled with the idea of sharing the night with some guests to bring in the new year.
We quickly set up camp, built a fire and relaxed as the dogs ran around like a couple of kids in a candy shop. After giving Hank a good meal and enjoying some ourselves we counted down the year. There were no regrets in the countdown that night. With plenty of great memories and the anticipation of yet another year filled with many many more, 2011 was ended in proper fashion. As we climbed into our tents and warm bags we lured Hank to our tent to let him share the warmth. As he curled in a ball on a towel underneath the rain fly overhang we covered him in our jackets. I couldn't help but think of all the many gifts, blessings and wonderful comforts of life we so frequently neglect. This very night Hank, though just a dog, was so thrilled just to have cover from the howling mountain wind for just a few hours.
Again, waking just before the sun we enjoyed one of the best sunrises I have yet to experience. As the sun rose from beyond Charlotte and what seemed like the edge of the world we welcomed 2012. Another day, another year, and in the moment another amazing time in the sunshine!

Hank, our New Years Eve companion.