Saturday, February 21, 2015


It occurs to me that parenthood is yet another example of the need for a 'keep smiling and keep moving' take on life.

I know few people who are truly ready for it when it happens. Parenthood I mean. Whether by birth, adoption, marriage or other circumstance suddenly "poof" there is a child in  your life and now you are a "mom" or a "dad"; a parent.

For me it happened 28 years ago today - by birth. I wasn't ready then nor was I anymore ready when it happened again three years later. Truth be told, I'm not sure I ever really got the hang of BEING a parent. Fortunately, as children often are, these two are very forgiving. I love them both .....

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Little Bit of This, That and The Other Thing.

My schedule** called for 9 miles today and 4 miles tomorrow. Tootsie and I were the only hikers meeting today so we opted to go to Ridley Creek instead of MLC's regular Second Saturday @ Wissahickon. RCSP is closer to home for both of us. We met at picnic area #9. The plan was to do the white trail loop; then the blue trail lollipop. Both are accessible for area #9 and combined they'd be about 7.25 miles. Then there is a White, blue, #9 parking lot loop that would likely make up the difference in 2 or 3 loops.

Took this at another spot
on the trail but the conditions
are the same. 
We only got .15 on to the trail and came across a sheet of ice heading steeply down. Unlike last week there was no snow to provide traction. We could have made a path for ourselves off the trail but a) I don't like doing that to preserve the area around the trail and b) there are parts of the white loop where the trail banks are too steep for that. So we went back to our cars and headed for the paved multi-use trail. It was better than not doing any miles.

It was a pleasant enough walk and we checked the trail several times where it crossed the paved MUT and found varying conditions. Some still very icy and some clear. On the back side of the loop, we met a group of Temple University students who asked that we take their photo. We gladly did so and found out they were taking a course at school on camping and backpacking. This walk was homework. Really? They didn't have courses like that when I was in college!! I'm only tad bit jealous. Can ya tell?

Tootise and I returned to our cars with just over 5 miles total. I started to drive home feeling disappointed that I didn't get to 9 miles. I know I'm going to heed the windchill and high wind warning for tomorrow and likely not go out. So I really wanted to at least get today's miles in. So I stopped at Rose Tree Park and put in some miles there as well. I figured correctly that the open spaces of the park meant more sunshine and therefore less of the refrozen ice and snow we saw at RCSP. I was right but the wide open spaces meant the winds were more noticeable too. I managed to eek out 8.22 total before I got too cold and super hungry because I wasn't paying attention to hydration like I should have been.

Through out today's hike I was feeling the effects of my workout with Maggi on Thursday. My hamstrings and inner thigh muscles made themselves known yesterday and were very noticeable as I walked and hiked today. When I was at Rose Tree Park I tried to focus on keeping my core engaged as I went. It was difficult and I kept getting distracted and losing it. Plus it felt awkward and I'm sure that is because I'm fighting years of walking and running with poor core habits. BUT when I was able to hold it I noticed the strain in my leg went away. Not sure how much of that was that I had just warmed up enough by then or was managing my core better.

Here is the link to my Garmin stats.

Total miles today. The straight
lines are the car rides to
the different start points.
** My schedule does not officially start until March 9th after DST begins. The weather, the spelling bee and the history day programs make Jan and Feb too difficult to plan anything. But I did extrapolate backwards from March figuring if I got out I'd have something to follow. It's very unofficial though. ;)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Don't Worry Be Happy

I woke this morning smack into a battle with the Blerch. It was taunting me with excuses not to go hiking. I won the battle but not before a few seeds of doubt were planted once again about whether I have what it takes to prepare and finish SSH. Ugh!

On the ride to Valley Forge the oldies station was doing a countdown as they often do on Saturday mornings. I found myself listening to "Don't Worry Be Happy" I know it's one of those songs that people like to hate. It's not on my list of favorites but it doesn't offend me to hear it and this morning it was appropriate. Being the dork that I am I decided it was a sign to stop worrying about SSH. I've got 29 weeks to go. I'll get there ;) A few minutes later James Taylor's version of "You've got a Friend" came on the radio and that IS on my list of favorites so my mood was greatly improved. Pppppffffttttt to the Blerch.

I saw Maggi and Russ at the meeting spot and waved them off to their run and set out to hike I decided to explore a path I always pass by on our way to Mt Misery. I've seen the trail runners head off that way so I knew it went somewhere fun.

I ended up on a fairly interesting trip that more or less followed the perimeter of the park from the Knox HQ parking lot to the visitor center. The fields were icy but there was enough snow to provide some traction. At the visitor center I decided to cut over to the Betzwood Trail-head and follow the River Trail. This trail was a mess. More ice than snow.

After 2 miles of trying to stay upright, I gave up and climbed the hill to follow a path above the River Trail back to Pawlings Farm and over to the Schuylkill River Trail along 422. I figured the paved SRT would be better. I was wrong. Ok it was a little bit better in that there was more snow along the fence so I didn't slide quite as much but it was still slow and bumpy.

Back at 23 and County Line road I spent about a minute on the idea of taking the Chapel Trail back to Wash HQ and then over Mt Joy to my car. However, it was likely no better - and probably worse- than what I had just done. So I followed the VF Loop over to Inner Line Drive and back to my car.

I spent more time on pavement than I expected to today. So much if it was snow and ice covered that at least it was an adventure. I did much less climbing than I would have had I gone over Misery, Joy and Chapel. Maggi and Russ did try Valley Creek Trail and took a look at Joy and reported that it was rough going. And in the end did manage 12.5+ miles, So it's all good.

Paula 1 - Blerch 0

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Susquehanna Super Hike - Registration

Yes I know what I said about a month ago. More or less in that post I had talked myself out of advance registration. I had decided that I had enough of the pressure of  'must do' training. Yeah, well that philosophy has officially jumped ship. Deep down I probably always knew it would.

Shortly after posting that, I visited the Keystone Trails Association (KTA) site to see if there was anything new. Sure enough the event page had been updated.

This year the event has been tweaked. It's still two distances but the longer distance has been increased to make it an official 50k and the shorter distance has been made a 25k. With the event now being billed as 50k Traill Ultra, I think there is danger of it attracting more attention and selling out. While I said I was ok with it selling out, that was when I didn't think the odds were good that it would. Now that I realize I really could lose out on the opportunity I realize how much I really do want to do this.

Registration officially opened today (February 1st). I went online around 10 pm last night and found it already open and registered. I am equal parts excited and terrified about this. For the past month I've been alternating (sometimes hourly) about whether I should or can do this or not. I'm registered so now I have to try. And if I don't try I would always wonder. So I had to register. A vicious win win circle. At least this hour.

The distance doesn't frighten me. It's the elevation. 8000+ feet of elevation change more or less equally in the up and downs. 11 significantly steep climbs. Nothing like what comes in my usual hikes. According to some MLC folks who have done the event the first 12 miles or so are relentless up and down. No breaks. THIS is what scares me. I do not have the strength and stamina to survive that.

So I looked at my budget and decided that I can afford to start working with a personal trainer. Maggi and I met this morning and training starts tomorrow. I know that what I get out of this is what I put in to it but I know I need guidance so this a good move for me. Just making the decision and having the first two appointments on my schedule are making me feel less shaky. By adding this previously missing element to my training I think I can do this.

I'm 55 years old. I'm not looking for miracles. I'm looking to improve to the best of my abilities. To purposefully train for this event. Looking back, I sometimes feel that I finished my marathons and half marathons by accident. I got lucky. Not this time.

BTW, in case you are not sure and just because I need to 'say' it out loud. I registered for the 50K event. If When I finish this, I will have trained for and completed my first official trail ultra!

Thank you for reading.

Keep smiling and keep moving