We’re still alive!

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Somewhere around Hiawassee, GA

I had this grand plan of taking notes almost every evening about our day, adding in a couple photos, then editing & posting when we got to wi-fi. I’ve mostly done that. However, when we got to the town we’re in now, and I went to charge the camera (and download the pics), my lovely partner realized that he sent the cord home. So. Awesome. I’m so glad we bought a new camera just for this and he sent the lifeline home. The good news is I still have 8min of battery left. He wants me to buy a new cord and I refuse. We have the camera still and our 2 cell phones. I’ll make do.

Otherwise things are going fine. Some days are hard. Really hard. Like yesterday: 16miles and 3.5 mountain climbs. I say “3.5″ because the map/guide named 4 mountains but we barely noticed the 4th, so it’s 3.5. Again, hard.
Then there was the day we took to come into this town: 2 miles. We planned it that way, so we wouldn’t arrive in late afternoon with little time to do our errands (grocery, laundry, EAT, sleep), so we stayed the night in the woods then arrived at 9am the next morning. BRILLIANT plan. A fellow hiker on the trail taught us that after our first night at a hostel we arrived at 3p, then couldn’t leave until 11am the next day before we got our resupply done.

The good: The views. Gorgeous. They’re mostly the same when we get to each peak, but they are no less impressive. Now, a week in, they are getting even better as the mountains are more dense. (read: more and more climbing)
The people: There are some fascinating people on the trail. Full-time volunteers, retirees, college students taking time off to hike the whole thing, drifters. Some very, very weird, and some really cool. All of them very nice.

Neels Gap, GA

Neels Gap, GA

Our original “big” goal was to make it to Damascus, VA. That’s 460miles. I don’t think that is going to happen. We could do it, but that would put us very close to mid-Aug (I think) and we have to be home before then. So, we are still on track to make it to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which was our minimum. We haven’t decided if we’re stopping at the south end, the middle (Gatlinburg), or the top, but that will depend on what day we get there, how we feel, and how insanely crowded the park is.

The best part of all this? I lose track of what day it is. It doesn’t matter! We go by our miles per day and how many days it will take us to get to our next destination. I can’t remember not having any stress like this. It’s so liberating! I now know why people take 6 months to leave the real world and your only ‘job’ is to hike every day. What a way to live.

K admiring a view.

K admiring a view.

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Taking a break, studying our map, and enjoying yet another view.

“Carpe fucking diem”

A fortunate (or unfortunate) confluence of life changes and more free time than we expected, led us to the decision to “carpe fucking diem” (credit to Hollis, amazing adventure supporter) and run away for a while. We could keep the status quo and tread water for a while, or take advantage of the life limbo and do something fabulous.

A couple weeks of crash-planning, acquiring of gear, guidebooks, and getting boxes and boxes of food in order…we are ready to go.

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Find someone that gets your crazy.

I’ve been hesitant to write about it because until the last few days, I didn’t know if we could pull it off. Sure, we’d gotten so much ready (and spent a lot of money: did you know that while the actual act of getting away to nature and living off the grid is cheap, the prep is not), but we were ready to scrap or cut down the plan if we got calls to relocate or interviews or…whatever. Or a self-inflicted injury that would scrap our departure. Like my toe situation. Or kicking a stair and jamming my toe–one day before we left. (totally happened)

I stopped by a friends house last week to borrow a dehydrator. We were chatting and I told her our plan (she just thought I had veggies to dehydrate), expecting a “you’re crazy” or “ohmygod.” Instead she smiled and said, “you know, we did the same thing. After Katrina, my gov’t job was in limbo. We were told to expect to not have a job, or if we did, we didn’t know when it would start again. My husband was out of work. So, in Houston for the evacuation, we went to the airport and told the agent, “with our miles, send us somewhere cheap, and we must have seats next to each other on the plane.” We ended up in Costa Rica for about a month, when he got a job offer and my work had contacted with a report date.” I was in awe. Why would you sit around and wait, stress, and start an unnecessary spiral into depression or anxiety? They had done almost the same thing.

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A whole box of spinach from Costco. This is what it reduces to! And when it gets crushed, it’ll be even smaller.

 

    Beet murder.

Beet murder.

Mess.

Mess.

 

A whole pineapple.

Due to purposeful life decisions, we have the “luxury” of being open ended in our adventure. We can’t put a price on the experience, and appreciative that we can do this, but we figure to make the investment worthwhile, we will be gone at the minimum of 2 weeks. I’m shooting for a month. 4 solid weeks. In my effed up mind, it seems more “hardcore” or “epic” (hate that word) to say we ran away into the wilderness for a month.

Turn a less than ideal situation into something good. It just might lead you somewhere you least expect.

Don't worry, it's not all healthy. Not shown is the macaroni, grits, and Ramen.

Don’t worry, it’s not all healthy. Not shown is the macaroni, grits, and Ramen.

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postal drop box

Woe is my toe.

Dislaimer: this is gross for most of the population. Medical and morbid people will enjoy. You’ve been warned.

Here is the pretty version my friend TJ drew for me! She’s so talented.

Picasso.

 

So. Waaaay back in Dec I did that little long race thingy. It destroyed my big toes. I had other blisters but the blood blisters that resulted under my big toes were pretty horrific.

Not nail polish.

I got a pedicure a couple weeks after (and they just left those alone). I haven’t gotten a pedi since because I was missing 4 out of 10 toes.

Why would you come here?!

Seriously, this poor woman. She was dumbfounded and so confused. And probably disgusted. I tipped extra.

Ok, last one, promise.

Sweet relief.

Which brings me to today… I was thinking I’d get a pedicure this week or next. My big toe nails have mostly grown out! Enough to not be completely horrid and long enough that the old dead part could be cut off without them being too short.

Then I did a race this weekend. Marathon #50!! WHOOP!
(Still working on that race report. Oh, and Zion from April too. Oops)

It was hilly. Apparently not good for my still-growing big toenails. My toe was sore on Monday and Tues and I didn’t know why. I decided to trim my big toenail and made the decision I was going to get a manicure TODAY. That’s it. I’m tired of it. Let someone else deal with it. (Poor thing. I will tip extra)

While I was clipping the dead off, I was greeted with a nice, painful surprise!
See that dark line on the nail? That’s the new nail below it. The top is the old dead part that I was attempting to cut off.

Juicy.

I guess it goes without saying that I am not getting a much-needed pedicure today and I’m limping around. I’m super annoyed. It’s sore and a little red and it keeps filling with fluid, repeating the pain and leaking cycle. I’ve cleaned it and did an epsom salt bath. This needs to clear up ASAP. I’ve got training and things to do!

If the picture wasn’t enough for you, I took video! Hope you aren’t eating!

I hope this gets better in a couple days. I’ve shit to do!

Whole..day 8-10

Day 8:
Oh geez…I forgot to log it all. Dang. It was kind of a “down”, easy day.
I did have curry on lettuce for lunch!

Day 9:
AM: 1hr power walk
post walk: celery & cracksauce (avocado dip)

Nothing exciting.

Weight lifting:
bar warmup (5min)
sets of 5 reps
Hang Cleans: 55, 65, 75, 80
Bench Press: 65, 75, 80
Pullups (strict, banded) 3 sets of as many as possible. (Spoiler: not that many were possible. Arms: sore.)
Cool down: playing in the pool
Food:
Bowl of zoodles with basil pesto and chicken. Delicious!

Mix it up. Eat.

Day 10 (today!)
AM: 45min walk.
Hitting the road!

We leave today for a quick weekend trip. I got a free entry to one of my most FAVORITE marathons: Hatfield & McCoy in Kentucky/WV. Yes, both states. It starts in one and runs along the border to West Virginia. It’s so gorgeous and exciting to see the 26 Hatfield & McCoy historical markers (and houses, and meet them!) along the route! It’s my fiftieth marathon/ultra. Number 50! WHOA. It’s low compared to many of my Maniac friends, but pretty damn high compared to the normal population. FIFTY! If there is moonshine on the course like last year, I just may partake.480447_400388846743578_32193635_n

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Whole…day 4-7

Day 4
AM: Tabata Airdyne (warmup)  + 45min olympic lifting.
Unimpressive numbers, but I can’t remember the last time I had a lifting session. Coach (K) really stressed I need to get back to a lifting routine, even if it’s just twice a week. This was pretty difficult. I think partly because of my change in eating this week, maybe not enough calories yesterday, but the bottom line is I just need to do it more often.
Back Squat: 75, 85, 90
Front Squat: 55, 65, 70
Military Press: 55, 65, 70
Push Press: 65, 75, 80

Don’t judge the light weight.

Food:
M1: (right after lifting weights) spring salad w/carrots & broccoli & tuna. 1/2 sweet potato. 2 pieces of bacon. 1/2 Harry & David pear.
This was a lot of food; I struggled to get it down, but I did it. I felt too weak & a little lightheaded this morning.

Delicious.

Crap…I forgot to log the rest of the day…let me think. Sorry, can’t remember. Damn.

Day 5 (Friday)
AM: 1hr walk, 4mi
20 single arm KB swings- M1: BIG salad: greens, broccoli, carrots, celery, can of tuna, 1.5 pieces bacon crumbled, 1 pickle,1/2 avocado, mustard.
M2 (walk around uptown): lettuce wrap sliders from District (locally sourced meats!). Cold coffee with shot of almond milk: the barista was awesome. She showed me their packages of almond milk (and soy, but, yuck) so I could see what didn’t have added sugar. Great service! I did not even want a donut! Knowing that I “can’t” have something is SOOO much easier than “i really shouldn’t…ok, I’ll have a little bit”…then…”oh, I feel like shit….”

PORK.

Love the vintage benches. And El Paso. <3

PM: HOT ASS RUN. 2.75mi, 27min/9:50 pace.
Mile 1: 9:54
Mile 2: 9:49
.75: 9:48
“Coach”/K/other half, told me to do an easy run to shake my legs out from lifting yesterday and to keep acclimating myself to the heat. Begrudgingly, I went. And farther than Wednesday. It still felt pretty bad, but I don’t think as bad as Wed, and I went farther. So, there is that.
Post run: 16oz of 10month expired coconut water. I don’t think it was supposed to be yellow, like urine, but it tasted fine. We’ll see how that feels later…

Ooops.

Yes. This is real.

90 degrees, 60% humidity (wow, that’s low), feels like 99.

Day 6 (Sat)
AM: 1hr walk
Big salad for breakfast

In the afternoon we went downtown for K to play volleyball. I browsed around some shops and picked up a couple things from the grocery. After that, the NOLA Jazz Symphony was giving a free concert! We hit that up hoping there would be some food trucks or local food vendors on the same street. No such luck. So, throughout the course of the afternoon I ate a 1/2 bag of grapes from Whole Foods and had some kombucha. Not ideal and not “real” meals, but it wasn’t junk. We got home at 7p (late for me) and I do not eat that late. So, only one real meal for the day, but I never felt overly hungry. Not terrible I guess.

PM: parking garage intervals! 6 story parking garage. We wanted to go 2-3 more times, but the building’s fire alarm went off and we didn’t feel comfortable staying. It was a good hill workout for this below-sea-level city!

I found where the Mercedes dealership stores their extra cars! $$$$$

Day 7 (Sun)
AM: mowing a big lawn. Yes, I’m counting this as a workout. It was hot. I didn’t wear a shirt. It took me 45 solid minutes without any breaks.
Food:
Salad (post mow): greens, broccoli, carrots, tuna, avocado dressing. Whole bell pepper with avocado crack sauce.

More of the same.

Fat. Get in me.

KB swings, SDHP: curry chicken! Slow-cooker meal that is so delicious and easy. I have Danielle to thank for that. I put it on lettuce with cilantro, shredded cabbage and some sriracha sauce.

 

So lost. Thankfully, Danielle called during my crisis.

Best thing I’ve made in a while.

Curry. Who knows the difference? I need to do some research!

Whole day 2 & 3

I’m really enjoying being home and not driving around. I have to go to Costco and Whole Foods and get some plants from the nursery…but I’ve been avoiding it all week. See, those places are almost an hour away so it takes a whole morning or afternoon. Blah. Thursday: I will go to Costco and Whole Foods! I’ve got plenty of food though, so I’m not in danger of being without HEALTHFUL options.

Day 2
AM: Tabata Airdyne + Tabata Battle Ropes. Ohsweetgeezus the battle rope was SO MUCH harder than the Airdyne. Now, I didn’t sandbag the Airdyne. It is difficult, but the ropes….ooof. My poor arms. Which means…great workout!
Food:
10 burpees: scrambled eggs & veggies, 2 pieces bacon
30 air squats: bowl of tom kha gai w/extra veggies
10 burpees, mountain climbers, plank: tuna salad (extra greens)
PM: 20 tire flips, practice forward rolls to box (tire) jumps, forward roll pistols (hahahaha, no bueno)
tastes of sesame zoodles (zucchini noodles). Zenbelly recipe.

My body is CRAVING greens. I’ve eaten a whole container of spring mix in 2 days. I’m totally ok with that.

Day 3:
AM: 1hr power walk
10 burpees: tom kha gai, 2 pieces bacon, 1/2 pear
20 KB swings, 2×20 “high knees”: alligator sausage (Yes, that’s right. Eat local! Eat Wild!) w/mustard & kraut, sesame zoodles, 1/2 sweet potato w/ghee & cinnamon. Yum. None of it looked great together, but individually…delicious.

Pre-kruat. Looks better that way.

10 KB snatch, 20 one-arm swings: alligator sausage w/mustard & kraut, carrots

With the kraut. Looks delicious, yes?

PM: National Run Day! 2 mile run. Splits: 9:19, 9:03. OOOF. This was really difficult. It was HOT (I probably shouldn’t have gone in the heat of the day). I had to do postive self-talk the whole way. Everything about this was hard: it hurt to breathe. It was hard to keep the pace…and last year this pace was really easy for longer distance. My legs hurt. I got random twinges. Blah, blah, blah. But, last year I wasn’t carrying this extra weight and I had been more diligent in the spring about my workouts. So. I can only work with what I have TODAY. And today I ran 2 miles and it was really hot. Good training for Pikes Peak!

The lighting in my kitchen is horrid for pictures, so I often take my food outside for photographs. This is the hazard of doing so.

Damn you!

Back home and back on the wagon!

We’ve been gone for 2 solid weeks seeing the in-laws, friends, and more friends. It wasn’t a terribly exciting trip of sightseeing or gallivanting to exotic places like Zion NP or the Appalachian Trail. Just, “normal” life things of catching up with people we love. Oh yeah, there was a marathon in there, but I’d really like to forget it.
It’s good to be home, we’ve missed the children dogs. I think they’ve missed us.

Thanks for resting on my bladder.

Maybe one day I’ll add all the miles I’ve driven across the country. Or not. I probably don’t want to know. Anyone planning long haul drives, I’m your gal.
Did you know it’s farther from New Orleans to El Paso than it is to Madison, WI? INSANITY.
(this was just the way back! Doesn’t even count driving to TN, OH, around OH, then to WI)

Too far.

So yes, I’ve missed my self-imposed “one blog post per week” rule, but I never had enough down time to sit at the computer for an hour and compose a post. SO. Busy. The whole trip. Sure, I probably *could* have found an hour or two, but the people we were seeing were far more important.

I have no words. <3

PERFECT squat. We should all be so lucky.

Whole <30? Dunno. We’ll see. I can’t commit to the 30 days this month since I have a marathon smack dab in the middle on June 14. So, I’ll do it until the day before (I can be compliant the day before, but I’ll be traveling and it’s a small town, so no guarantees there will be anything close to what I deem acceptable). I haven’t decided if I’ll do the race Whole30. I’ve done it before, but I’m leaning towards “no” since I want to keep my stomach somewhat able to tolerate race foods. We’ll see. It’ll be a game-week decision.

I spent the day cooking and getting my house/kitchen in order. Roasted a chicken & veggies. Started a broth in the crock pot. Made tom kha gai soup from Paleo Comfort Foods.
Sidenote: I’ve been on a HUGE thai/vietnamese/sushi kick lately. I cannot get enough of it. Even though it’s hot, I could eat pho several days a week–extra jalapenos and basil, please! So, I’m hoping to minimize the cravings for pho and sushi by making paleo-friendly foods with the amazing flavors of the East. Hoping for the best!
Anyone have any recipes they’d like to share? I *NEED* them. Coconut, curry, broth, SPICY. Send it, please!

I’m also doing something “new” this time. I’m doing some sort of body movement/exercise before I eat. Burpees, bodyweight squats, KB swings, etc. Nothing major, just get my blood pumping a little bit.

Day 1:
AM: 1hr power walk
10 burpees: 2 bowls spicy vegetable soup, 3 boiled eggs.
KB push press (10 each arm), 10 squat cleans. Tuna salad. Or tuna on mixed greens. Same thing, right? 2 pieces bacon.
KB swings, cleans, russian twists. Dinner: roast chicken, roast carrots, kimchi. (Love Farmhouse Culture! If you don’t make your own kraut or kimchi, they are the next best thing that can be found in stores.)

Speaking of dogs…they eat just as well – if not better- than I do! Their dinner last night:

Spoiled.

Make the most of this new month! I sure am!