Monday, December 21, 2009

Lost in a need for peace of motion

Reading my stories from the AT and working the industry I work fuel me more and more with the desire to lace up my shoes, pack up my pack, and take a walk. About a year ago my husband asked me about he and I going to do the PCT (pacific crest trail). I was overjoyed at the idea of him wanting to join me on such an endeavor. At the same time, I knew it was not something he really wanted to do and thus it would not happen. However, it has gotten the brain juices flowing.

Throughout my life I have always looked for the challenges to power myself forward. I cannot do things simply just to simply do things. Backpacking has been in my blood since birth. I joke about being born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and how they drained the lower peninsula blood out of me and put that outdoorsy Yooper blood in me.

Never could my family keep me indoors. I'm still that way to some degree, but I find it harder to get out these days. Also, after having hiked the Appalachian Trail, getting outside takes on a whole different meaning.

As winter comes and summer is seen past that, I begin to plan my challenges for the year. Seeing as though I have been feeling overwhelmed with clutter, I am feeling it is time to take a long walk. It is not time for the PCT although I would greatly love to do that and think it is time to start researching that excursion. To keep my sanity, I am thinking of something shorter...the Colorado Trail. We will see whether that pans out of not.

All I know is that I need to get back to the simplicity of nature and living day to day versus caught somewhere between the pain of yesterday and the depressing hope of the future. I need to refocus and recenter myself. Now, to figure out the details of a short long trail hike!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

On the Trail Again

Argh! My heart aches to be hiking again. The pure joy of simplicity! Knowing I can handle anything that comes at me just with the use of those items I chose to put in my backpack! It is an amazing feeling to be so empowered!

So, the other day, I met friends who are currently hiking the entire Colorado Trail (~500miles from Denver to Durango) and brought them their resupply food. I got there a day early with the idea that I would meet them on the trail and stay the night with them before bringing them back in to resupply! After about 10miles out, I found myself extremely exhausted and worried about missing them. So, I turned around, drank the coke I brought for them, and headed back towards their car. In total, I did 20miles of backpacking that day only to end up back at the car, where I spent the evening, more or less!

The next day, I woke up early to make sure I was at the trail head to meet them bright and early. By 10am, I had not seen them and began to worry a little more. Having read a couple of short Stephen King stories and eaten tons of cherries, I decided it was time to get in motion again. So, I headed back up the trail to meet them. This time, I did it in my flip flops without a pack! It made me chuckle a little! :o)

At the pass and junction with the Colorado Trail, I once again met up with Apple, a trail angel for both the Appalachian Trail as well as the Colorado Trail. He is a retired IBM employee who enjoys assisting those who attempt the craziness of long distance hiking. At Lujan Pass, he had a cooler, tent, and chairs waiting for those hiking the Colorado Trail at this time. It was neat to read his log book and talk to him about the AT. We knew some of the same people and then one of the guys I met on the AT in 2005 had actually been through on the 5th of July. It was amazing and brought tears to my eyes as I remembered old times.

During my backpacking on Thursday to meet my friends (whom I never did meet that night), I found myself overwhelmed with emotions of wanting to be back on a long trail. The simplicity and the respect one receives by taking on such endeavors builds enormous amounts of self-esteem. I found myself breaking into tears and forcing myself to turn around for fear of never leaving the woods again and knowing I need to go back for my husband! Life feeds us a lot of responsibilities and challenges and we are not always lucky enough to be able to step outside of those challenges and take the outside view of it. Sometimes, we just have to jump in blinded by the unknown and hope for the best. The future is what we make of it and sometimes we just have to make it!

With that in mind, it is my intention to be back on a long trail again before I grow too old. Once you do one natural journey, it soaks through your veins until it causes you such discomfort that you have to go out again! The trails breed such communities one does not find in cities of any size! It reminds you of the humanity of people and we are not doomed to tragedy! Hiking and finding selfless people wanting to hear your story is where the honesty and integrity of a nation is seen first hand! The beauty of each of us is still there if only we all believe and embrace it.

That is why I long to be out again among those full of the love of nature and what it was truly given to us to teach...peace, love, and understanding...not to mention patience and kindness!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Training Time

The packets are finding their way into my mailbox and increasing the stress in my training life to get out there and mountain bike. I am most worried about the Silver Rush 50 and the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. As for the running aspect, it really is just a matter of fast hiking. So, I am not worried about that.

Many moons ago, I remember my husband starting to get into cycling and coming home from being gone for about 15minutes on a bike ride pissed because of mechanical problems. His complaint was in favor of his running because nothing can go wrong with running. There is just so much to know about with cycling...mainly the need to change tires, thus carrying extra gear with you.

Since the Appalachian Trail, I have been looking more and more into going ultralight in everything I do. Working at REI, I have acquired many lightweight layers to make my hiking and backpacking more enjoyable and easier, but just as safe. So, as I prepare for Leadville/The LeadWoman events, I wonder how to make things lighter on the mountain bike. The bike itself is big and bulky, but I was not going to spend tons of money on a carbon mountain bike which I may never use again. Although, I cannot imagine not falling in love with mountain biking as I have every other adventure event in my life. Anyway, my husband put a slime tube in the front tire of the bike after it went flat on my first mountain bike race last september when we did the Bearable Adventure race, so I know I could change that out for lighter, but then I run the risk of getting a flat on the course. Granted, I can get a flat even with the slime tube, but...

Ok, so I guess I got some thoughts to work through on how to approach these events. After doing the Colfax Marathon almot 2 weeks ago, I did learn what I need to do for the running events and am ready for those. It is simply the cycling events that need to be managed at this point and I need to get out on my mountain bike and train. Part of my fear is going alone. I am prone to falling off my bike and after a rash of friends crashing on their bikes from crazy mountain bike accidents to goofing around on road bikes during a day of fun, I am a little nervous to mountain bike alone. Granted, I will be wearing a helmet which these others were not doing when they had their major crashes! Also, I will start small with just local parks that are rather busy most of the time. That can be a good thing and a bad thing as I will have to learn how to dodge people if there are too many of them on my training courses. It all boils down to confidence on the bike. Unfortunately, my mountain bike is the one bike I feel least comfortable on. So, we will see what happens. The sun is out today and I am thankful for that as I may actually be able to take the bike out on some trails without slogging through mud. I may go check out the trails on foot first, though. My confidence increases when I know what I am in for and can plan ahead! That keeps me on my bike usually. It is the unexpected that throws me for a loop and off my bike!

So, the challenge is there, but I am still excited to get started and see how things finish up. I will be posting the cutoff times for the races in the next few days as I review the information being sent to me. As I have already said, the running events will be easy to make the time cutoffs. I need to figure out how easy the bike cutoffs will be even if I end up pushing a bike a good portion of the course. This summer will be a busy time, but also rewarding in so many ways. I look forward to the challenge as it continues to approach me and remind me of my strength and ability to put mind over matter to get the job done! I will prevail!

Monday, January 05, 2009

This Year's Challenge

So, until I am able to get back out there on a long trail (which may be the PCT in 2010), I continue to find semi-local challenges to keep me in the shape I was on the Appalachian Trail. For this year, I am biting off more than I can chew, but I am going to try to swallow it WHOLE!!!! I have decided I want to be a Leadwoman! My friends are all trying to be Ironmen, so I thought I would stick with the metal idea and go for Lead! Also, I am an over achiever and have to do a variety of crazy races and teach myself something new with each challenge. So, here is the list of events going on for this year's challenge:

2009 Schedule of Events

Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp

Saturday – Monday, June 27 - 29, 2009

Leadville Trail Marathon & Heavy Half Marathon

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Leadville Silver Rush 50 Mountain Bike Race

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race

Saturday, August 15, 2009

LT 100 10K

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Leadville Trail 100 Run

Saturday – Sunday, August 22-23, 2009

As some of you know, I have attempted the Leadville Trail 100 Run before. It was 2007 and I got to see the entire course. This time around I plan on doing better than 2007 and thus decided it was okay to throw the extra events in along with the trail run. My husband feels I am biting off more than I can chew, but like I said above, I plan on swallowing it WHOLE!! Without challenges in my life, I am just ordinary and my mother taught me to always be

E X T R A O R D I N A R Y!!!!!

So, here goes another year of fun and adventure! Wish me luck world as I conquer the world this time around and swallow LEAD WHOLE!!!