Murder on the Appalachian Trail

Cruise was great. Very relaxing. I did my 2.5 miles minimum each day even though my hamstring was still being a pain. I had hoped to do more but decided not to push it. I also took a TRX class. It was interesting. So much so that we bought one and installed it in our basement. Hoping to get some good strength training in for this years Ironman. Starting to feel like I am slacking off and slight panic is settling in. There will be much more of that to come – 202 days!!!

Quick cruise recap – we left from Tampa and went to Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Weather was great except for some drizzle in Cozumel and the last day at sea. We visited a private beach in Roatan, cave tubed in Belize, drank ourselves silly in Costa Maya and snorkeled in Cozumel. All in all a great cruise.

While on the cruise I read “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail” by David Miller. Very interesting book on thru hiking which means hiking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. It almost makes you want to do it. Almost. I would never be able to take that much time off work (typically takes anywhere from 4-6 mths)until I retired so maybe if I keep going the way I am I will do it in my 60s. Maybe by then John and I won’t be so feisty because otherwise we would kill each other after a couple of weeks. Then someone could write “Murder on the Appalachian Trail” and our beneficiaries would have a nice little nest egg while one of us is dead and the other is rotting in prison. It’s even odds on who would kill who (or is it whom?) Anyway, I am now reading Finding Odyssa about the woman who holds the thru hiking record for fastest time (45+ days). John saw her speak at Stump Jump in 2010. Its good to know she is not an idiot savant of trail running. The first time she thru hiked she was a bit of a mess. Kind of how I think it would be for me. It will be interesting to see how she transforms into the phenom she is now. One of Johns co-workers took a leave of absence and thru hiked a few years back. I am really interested to talk to him about his trip now. We also know a guy from our trail running group GUTS that is trying to break Jennifer Pharr Davis’ record this year. You can check out his antics here:

Enough about truly *crazy* people and on to Red Top Rumble. So we got home last Sunday evening and then became the chaos of unpacking, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, taxes etc etc. Last week was quite hectic. I did manage to get in a Tue night GUTS run on my birthday. Weather was beautiful and we had a great time drinking beer afterwards. I got a massage on Monday and saw the chiro on Wed hoping my hamstring would magically feel better but it stayed about the same. I think it’s just super frikin’ tight and I just need to stretch. Period. I rested the remainder of the week because I knew I would be running 11.5 on Sunday.

Saturday night before the race we were scheduled to go to John’s company’s 20th Anniversary dinner. Most company functions involve a lot of alcohol so I was a little concerned about RTR the next morning. Turns out there was a LOT of hard alcohol and hardly any beer so I had no trouble staying sober and even John showed some restraint. We checked the weather forecast – rainy but warm and went to bed. The next morning we got our gear together and headed up to Red Top Mtn. Last year John was a little impatient and backed my car into the garage door before it was fully up. That was a great way to start the morning. The car survived but the door still has some issues. We got up there without incident, parked, checked in, caught up with friends and waited around for the race to start.

Most trail races start with little to no fanfare and this was no exception. There was a round of Happy Birthday for someone and then we were off. The trail was narrow for the amount of people so it backlogged a bit but soon we were moving well. I felt good and ran and ran until I got overheated with my jacket on. I had to walk to extract it from behind my camelbak but continued on quite quickly. I chatted with a few people along the way and stayed in sight of a bunch of people for the whole race. Usually, I am pretty much by myself until the end. That does not bother me in the least. I have my ipod and I am good. I saw friendly faces at each of the rest stops. I have gotten to know a lot of the GUTS group this year and this makes these events even more fun. I was a little disappointed by the weather. While I enjoyed the warm temps it was foggy and overcast almost all morning. Typically, this race is cold and clear and the sun rising over the lake is gorgeous. It’s still a great run no matter what the weather. 

I was listening to Stephen King’s latest “11-22-63” and realized that during last years event I was listening to King’s “The Dome”. There is this very weird audiobook phenomena that you can remember very specific events and parts of a book when you are in the same place where you listened to them originally. So, I am clicking off the miles and notice a girl behind me and slowly closing the gap. I made it my mission to stay ahead of her and in the meantime I started closing the gap on a man and woman ahead of me. I passed both of them right before the final aid station and then just hung on as long as I could. I ran as fast I could comfortably go until the end and felt great. My hamstring was a bit cranky but nothing crazy. I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:26. I was happy with my race and felt that I probably beat last years time. I am still slow as hell but the hills seemed easy and I ran 95% of the way.

I was a bit disappointed when I saw that I was actually 2 minutes slower than last year. Bummer! I wish I had looked at my time before the race so I would have had something to shoot for but really it’s fine. I know I haven’t been running much and this was just a fun run. So fun that we started drinking beer after the race and hung around until it was almost all cleaned up. We then headed home, crashed and were zombies the rest of the day. Was there some sort of football game on last night?

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