Thursday, March 19, 2009

Take Me to the Smokey Mountains Way Down South

In the time since I talked to you all, I have become gainfully employed and moved to the beautiful world of western North Carolina. Every run is a hill workout and I am discovering the world of trail running. Jensen is growing up and celebrated his first birthday. He is starting to run already. Christa is doing well, except for her shoulder, which is worn out from whipping my butt!

After a seven month hiatus, I am back with the Boy Scouts. My new responsibilities are with the Daniel Boone Council. I will be working with the volunteers in Haywood, Jackson and Macon Counties to start a new District. It is great to have the challenge of starting a new District and living in the heart of the Smokey Mountains.

Currently, I live at Camp Daniel Boone. It is a wilderness wonderland at the base of Cold Mountain (the Cold Mountain which the book and movie are based) and at the trail-head of the Art Loeb Trail. From there, I could pretty much hike anywhere. The lodge I live in sits next to the Little East Fork of the Pigeon River. I literally sleep ten feet from the babbling brook.

With that, I am totally focused on running. My mileage is in the 40 mile plus range and I am getting ramped up for a marathon. My plans include finishing a marathon this summer and trying to qualify for Boston in the fall. It is a no brainer that I am taking advantage of the opportunities around me by trail running. I made a treacherous ten mile run up Cold Mountain. My pace was a walking-like 13 minute pace.

This weekend will be the first race of the year. The twist is that it will be a 12k trail run at DuPont State Forest. The fifth time I have trail ran will be a race. I've met some new folks to run with. On Tuesday night, Jus Running, a running store in Asheville host a track workout. Norm, the owner has us run from the store to the UNC Asheville track where he lets us know what kind of pain we will be in that evening. There are a great group of folks there, who are known as "Norm's Maggots". Right now, I am at the tail end of the middle pack. They have some wicked fast runners show up. I try to schedule my week so I can run with them, but that is not always possible.

This area is downright hilly. You have to look around for an area flat enough for a recovery run. My first few weeks here were pain filled. Of course, it does not help to do long runs on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 3000 feet of climbing in a 12 mile trek can be downright painful. The Parkway is great this time of year, as the snowbirds from Florida and Atlanta have not arrived yet. In my hour and a forty five minute run, there were only three cars pass by me. The only disconcerting part was the bear poop (with fur in it) on the side of the road. One evening, I heard what may have been a bear in the woods, but I learned not to look in that direction when wearing a headlight.

Jensen is freaking hilarious. He is a little clown, who runs around, carries the biggest thing he can carry, laughs and smile all along the way. He also has been trying to find the smallest crevice in the house and wedge himself into it. It looks like we have a class clown on our hands!

I need to get the camera out and get some pictures of the scenery. Stay tuned!

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