Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Next Challenge

So, a couple postings ago, I asked for the next physical challenge. Well, I think I found it. This past Sunday, I did my first training on Pike's Peak. Mike, Holly, and I hiked up to Barr Camp which is about 7miles from downtown Manitou Springs. We hiked from the Cog Railway which shaved about a mile off the total mileage. It took 2:13:56 to get to Barr Camp and the legs were beginning to get tired. At the same time, my tummy was getting hungry. We rested for about 15minutes before heading back down.

On the way down, we hiked for a bit before I got the urge to run. Part of me was freaking out about whether I am going to be able to do the marathon while the other part of me was tired of the company (part of my adjusting back to the old life that has changed). So, I took off about a mile from Barr Camp and ran back to the car with a couple of little stops to test my legs and see if they will hold me after running downhill for a long period of time. Holly was worried about Mike's knees because he decided to wear his big backpack to keep himself from running, so she and Mike remained hiking along the trail talking intensly about their work lives. I guess eventually, they did kind of run down the mountain. For me, I learned that I need to hit the mountain a few more times to test some gear and figure out what to take on the mountain with me on August 20th! Hopefully, I will be able to get down there at least 2-3more times before my race. We will see.

I do find myself still thinking about the trail and almost getting the blues just thinking about not being out there getting the blues on the trail. Today, the temperatures are in the 100s for Denver and last year on the trail it was 100 with 100% humidity when Spice Rack and I pulled into Waynesboro, PA for resupply. We opted for the airconditioned hotel room and some fresh laundry rather than heading back out into the heat. What a difference that makes. I remember joking on our walk to dinner that night about going on a date to the movies there in Waynesboro and how it would be a kids movie beacause that was the only movie at the theater in Waynesboro. They were showing Madagascar. We never did end up going to the movies. Instead, we had our dinner and went back to the hotel to chill out in the coolness of the room. Spice Rack had turned the AC up so much that it felt like winter in the room. I remember sleeping that night with all the covers and possibly even my sleeping bag thrown over me. I slept very well though!

Pike's Peak is going to be a challenge, but I'm not sure it will be as much of one as the trail. I guess there are all different kinds of challenges. Since, my husband is hesitant to allow me another long trail for a while, I will make do with the challenges he will support. His passion is running so anything running I do he will join me and of course always do better than me. We will see how things shape up. I have friends planning the PCT in 2011. I have mentioned it to Mike and he has said simply that we will see. So, all my friends on the West Coast help me nag him to let me do it! I should also look into getting sponsorship or something. We will see what happens though!

I do thank everyone for their support of me while on the trail. Despite being done with an amazing challenge and showing how strong I can be, I do still need the support of dealing with the insanity of "reality! " Thank you and Blessed Be! Never forget to help those less fortunate than you for some day they may be your boss!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Me Centered WORLD

So, as I continue to pass through my days wishing I was back on the trail knowing full well it would not be the same as it was last year, I think of my lessons. The most recent one was sent to me more in an email from GG upon her return from a year Holiday;

"We are really missing the trail and everyone, not having to deal with people who think the world exists because of them."

During my daily walk to work, I am often nearly run over by automobiles with citizens in a hurry to get somewhere as though they are unable to wait for me to cross the street despite what the crosswalk sign says!

When I was on the trail in New York entering Harriman State Park, I remember crossing on an overpass and looking down at the traffic jam below me. I laughed at the people stuck in their cars all hurrying to get somewhere and yet being stuck in nowhere land...aka. the highway parking lot of the 4 July weekend. It felt really good not to have anywhere to be. I was just being.

At work these days, I listen to my co-workers complain of not having enough time to do something nice for their co-workers like bring treats to work. On the days I decide I want to be nice, I wake up extra early just to walk to the bagel shop to bring bagels and cream cheese to work.

Don't get me wrong, I am not asking for praise for my good deeds or anything like that. All I am saying is that it really does not take that much time to do one good deed every so often in life. Whether it is a matter of stopping at a light to let a pedestrian cross the road. Heck in Colorado, it is state law to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. It could even be something as simple and easy at staying in the right lane on the highway so those moving faster than you can pass with ease. A few kind words to a friend, co-worker, family member, or stranger could make all the difference in the world. This world was not just created for each individual. We all live together and effect one
another both physically and emotionally.

So, think of those who surround you and how much energy it takes to get upset at the jerk who cut you off versus how much energy it takes to just sit back and laugh because that person is taking life way too seriously and rushing to the end. Every day is a gift, so live life to the fullest before it is taken away from you leaving you with tons of guilt and regrets!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ticked Off

Alright! What the heck is the deal with the crap comments on this blog of mine? Do people think because I spent time in the woods that I am homeless and need a little action? For those looking at my blog and wanting to post crap, PLEASE REFRAIN! As for my friends and family reading this blog, I am not homeless nor do I need any action!



I could use a little hiking action!

A year ago today, I was hiking out of the NOC with my father straight uphill! That was the short trip where I tried to kill my father with the incline! It did not work as he is still alive and looking to get married in the next year!

Springer Fever is still strong within me and driving me out of my bed early in the morning to hike, run, walk, or climb stairs. Anything that gets me out seeing the sunrise again! Maybe I should look into seeing the sunset as well. It is a little more difficult seeing the sunset with the Rockies in the way. That is where I will wait until I am on vacation in Michigan to see the sunset over Lake Michigan! What a beautiful way to spend an evening!

My saturday mornings have been filled with hiking in the morning before going to work. It feels good to be moving and I hope to start adding my pack and some weight to my hikes to regain the muscle I had on the trail. Luckily, I have not gained back too much weight, but still missing the body I created on the trail. Gotta get in shape for the big climb up Pikes Peak in August!

Not much else happening at this time. Still hiking and still wishing I was carrying 40 pounds on my back while doing so over a long period of time. Met with trail friends recently and it was good to hang out and rehash the trail. Sent Eagle Eye off for his foot surgery with a few beers in his gut! What a great night last sunday! Looking to do it again upon his return to us!

Life is good and always an adventure! Try to find your own advenure and stay away from porn and realtors! I do not condone either of those posting comments to my blog!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Springer Fever

As Dan "wingfoot" Bruce defines it..."springer Fever" is the almost uncontrollable urge to be back on the trail that hits thru-hikers of past years each spring.

On 27 March 2005, I began my journey along the trail. That day I only hiked 3 miles or so along the trail due to horrible weather and the option of staying in the Lodge one more night. I am no fool and decided to begin dry and happy. It was not the wrong choice by any means. Now, I sit here a year later having shared my experiences with an audience of 40-50 strangers, friends, and loved ones.

This past Monday, I presented my journey through a slideshow presentation at the Lakewood REI store here in Colorado. My power point presentation did not work and I had to wing it. For close to an hour and a half, I told people of my travels north along the appalachian trail. At the end, I got to chat with friends from the trail who live in the area and were able to make it to the presentation. It was nice having those who have the experience there at the talk to give me assurance. Every so often when I thought I was rambling on about nothing, I would look back at "Danger & Gravity" as they shook their heads in colaboration with my comments, thoughts, and feelings. It helped me to feel confident and continue with my presentation.

For the next day, though, I felt like I had not really said much of anything. As I thought of the presentation and all the people, I was unsure whether I actually was able to portray the true nature of the trail. Then, I began realizing it is hard to get a foreign concept across to people who have not ever gone on such an experience or have no desire to walk such a long distance. On my way to work the day after my presentation, "Springer Fever" was hitting me harder than usual. I looked to our grand Rocky Mountains and tried to create a way for me to hike the Colorado Trail and still work fulltime at REI. Knowing that was insanity, I quickly put it to the back of my mind.

Arriving early to work, I checked my email where I had an email from my friend, "Hardcore Hiker" and she was talking of doing the Pacific Crest Trail next year. I am more than ready to jump on another long distance trail and see what I can do. My level has decreased lately, but I am ready to see how much of a superhero I can be again. Part of me misses having people ask me why I am doing such a crazy thing as walking for days on end! Hiking and walking are in my blood now. With Mike, when he gets down or in a funk, he likes to go run. Me, I feel the need to hike somewhere or walk somewhere. Sure, I am training to run Pikes Peak this Eugust, but I figure if nothing more, I can power hike it as fast as some people can run it! Yup! I am a little smug on that one. Maybe that is what keeps me lazy occassionally. We will get on the ball though and start the heavy training. I have gained 10pounds back from the trail and am not happy with that look so I need to get a move on with my sumemr running and fitness activities. Some of my activities are going to include hiking the Colorado Trail in segments even if it kills me! I miss carrying my pack. It was my life and is still all I really need in life. Everything else is just fluff!

Many things are on the platter for the future and I just need to convince my hubby he wants to join me on some of those excursions. Some of them include things that he is interested in...like the running. This summer, I am running Pikes Peak Marathon. Next summer, I am running the Leadville 100 if all works out right! We will see how everything pans out over time . Currently trail friends have plans to return to Damascus trail days the middle to end of May. Due to work, I am unable to go, but will plan on looking into it for the following year as I really miss the people I grew to know and love along the trail. It is a wonderful family of thru-hikers out there. Maybe that is what is calling me back to the trail. Unfortunately none of the same people will be there except a select few! Guess I will have to keep up connections with the friends here in the Denver area and retell stories of the trail with them.

Give me my next physical challenge please!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Life Lessons

So, it is almost that time of year when I began my journey! It is strong in my mind of the thoughts and feelings that attacked me then. Today, I find myself attacked by different thoughts and demons. In about 2 weeks, I will present for the first time my adventure traversing the land between Northern Georgia and the middle of Maine. Boy how I miss that journey! Some days, "reality" feels overwhelming! Other days, I feel as though I am an alien visiting a different planet!

Today, I do not know where I fit in "reality!"

As I move through events here in Denver, I realize I am just going through the motions for the most part! Recently, I applied for my old position as a coach for beginning runners. Yesterday, I was informed there were not enough runners to warrant me as a coach. Thus no position for this season. For the past 2 days, I have been very disappointed by this concept thinking it had something to do with me...

After all, "I just accomplished something amazing, why would anyone deny me?"

Of course, after the news last week of my only having the presentation at my home REI rather than there and the flagship store, I guess I have been awakened to the idea that I am not a superhero to anyone other than myself! That takes some getting use to, I guess!

These past few days, I am learning to enjoy the little slice of enlightenment I have been allowed to enjoy through my travels of self discovery! At the same time, I find myself very frustrated by these realizations of my growth. On my last posting, my aunt Carol posted a response of my changing the world through the knowledge gained during my journey! In response I can only say that I am only one person in a vast sea of self-consumed human population!

Along with my recent revelations, I look at my mother and the tribulations she has had to deal with in her life...
1. An adulter for a husband
2. Single parenthood
3. Emotional abuse from her employer due to fear she was more competent than he
4. Again abuse from her equals because they have nothing better to do than jump on the band wagon for fear they may be chastised for thinking for themselves and voicing their true opinions!!!

My mother's comment in a recent email really made me think of the trail and my difficulties in adjusting back to "normal" society upon my return. Here is that comment: " Is that why things like this happen - because one is tough? I'm going to turn into a wimp!"

As I look at my journey and some people's lack of interest in what I endured for 5 months, I realize that my mother created 2 wonderful daughters despite the hardships she endured! From that, she has grown and learned. From my journey I also have grown and learned. As time passes, we may be the only truly enlightened people. That frightens me! I can only hope the best for the world and what it may become. As time passes, I do hope to impart not only the knowledge I gained from being in tune with nature for 5months, but also the many great things my mother taught me through the years! To her, I owe my existence as well as the entire journey along the Appalachian Trail. She has always made me choose to dance! Thank You mother and I hope to continue to make you proud in everything I do! I love you for being my strength as well as my heart and head!