Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Testing the Limit

On Sunday I set out to do a 10 mile hike along the Mason Dixon Trail in White Clay Creek Preserve(PA)/State Park(DE). I wondered before I even started if I could manage 10 miles after being off for so long. I went for it anyway knowing that it might hurt at the end but it wouldn't kill me. In the end the total was 9.7 miles. I definitely felt it in the final miles but I never felt defeated. My legs were a bit sore yesterday but today they feel fine. So it was a good call.

This hike is sort of my second section of the Mason Dixon Trail. On the first attempt Candy and I lost the trail and took a different unplanned adventure. So I'll have to try the section(s) between Chadds Ford and White Clay Creek again another day. This time I studied the M-D maps; matched them to the White Clay Creek maps and carried them in my hand for the first half of my hike. It turned out I didn't really need all that as the trail was much better marked in the park.

It was a very nice hike. Although it was cool - 35-40 degrees the whole time - the sun was shining brightly which made all the difference. The M-D here hugs the shore of White Clay Creek popping in and out of the woods. I was treated to birdsong as well as frogs (or toads? I never know which) in the shallower wetlands. The trees creaked in the light breeze. And best of all the sound of the creek rushing over the rocks. If it had been a little warmer I could have pulled up for a nap.

At the five mile mark (more or less) I planned to turn around. Just west of the turn around was the Arc Corner Monument. If you are familiar with a map of the border of PA and DE you recall the border is not straight but rather an arc around New Castle /Wilmington before straightening out for about a mile to join the MD - PA border. The Arc Corner Monument marks the spot where the arc joins the straight line. The monument was less than half a mile from where I would have turned around so I went for it.

I was puzzled that there was no sign pointing to it. I knew where to turn off the trail only because it was mentioned in the M-D trail guide and in another  hiking blog I enjoy reading. Otherwise I never would have known it was there. Even when I arrived at the spot there was nothing telling me what this was.

On this side it says Pennsylvania
and on the other side Delaware. 



To take this photo of the top of the monument I had to move the log you see in the photo above it and stand on it. Even then I could not tell if the camera caught the image until after I took it, #Shortpeopleproblems

About a mile down the road from here is the Tri State Marker where the three state boundaries meet. I will have to visit that another day. I didn't want to add two miles to a hike that I believed was already long enough for the day. 

I took Hopkins Road back to the trail to cut off a bit of distance. This turned out not to be the brightest idea as there is very little shoulder. But I survived. I took another short cut on a different park trail as well and despite the extra distance to the Arc Monument my total for the day ended up being just under 10. 

Here is a link to the Garmin stats.  The little blip around mile 5 was the trail leading to the Arc Monument. Other than that the route was almost completely flat along the creek. 

- Keep smiling and keep moving
Paula 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Space

It's not the final frontier. It's one of them. The ocean leaves a lot to be explored too but that's a story for another day. Exploring either means spending gobs and gobs of time in small enclosed spaces, so I have to to my investigation vicariously.


I'm very excited about the One Year Crew adventure that started on the International Space Station yesterday. Astronaut Scott Kelly and Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko along with Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka docked their technologically souped up tin can yesterday with the ISS.

In my lifetime (yes, I know that's a pretty long time but still....) In my lifetime we've gone from this .......


1969 moon landing 
taken off our family's TV
......to sending people to live in space for a year. And being able to see super clear photos of the ISS and the Soyuz capsule that brought the men there. Here is video of the docking and hatch opening. I watched it live last night on my favorite app NASATV. The views of the space station from the Soyuz and the Soyuz from the space station are amazing.

And here on earth I took this photo at Ridley Creek State Park this week ....


Keep smiling and keep moving....
-Paula


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Back Where I Belong

Maybe the title is too dramatic but it fits my mood.

I went to Ridley Creek State Park today after work. My first hike in just over 5 weeks. I did the White Trail loop out of picnic area #9. I was going for time on my feet and nothing else. With the long layoff I had no idea what to expect. I haven't downloaded the Garmin yet - I'm not in the mood to fuss with its  crankiness - but I know by the rough numbers that my pace probably averaged 20 min miles and that is good enough for today. My energy was good and I did not feel like I was struggling to climb any of the hills.

It didn't hurt that the clouds that had been around all day were cleared out by the time I started.


Combined with my love of this park it was going to be tough to have a bad outing I think.

Winter is battling with Spring in the park. There were spots where the hillsides were fairly covered with snow and other that were not. The trail path was snow free and either soft but dry or very mushy from the melt and run off. I think that's my least favorite trail condition. Snow and ice can be tricky but the sucking nature of the mud is worse in my opinion.

It was chilly despite the sun. The temp was probably in the mid 40s when I started out. Long sleeves, and my shell kept my upper body warm. I wouldn't have minded gloves to start out but my hands warmed up quickly enough. I did wear - and need - a hat. I think the best was being able to wear my hiking pants without tights underneath. A necessary evil in the cold that I'm glad to be done with until next year.

So 4+ miles today. I'm going to try for the same tomorrow and go for long on the weekend. Thursday it's supposed to get to 69 but rain and thunder. Plus it's Easter Egg stuffing day in preparation for the Media Lions Easter Egg hunt on Saturday. So it all works out.

Until next time,
Keep smiling and Keep moving

-Paula

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Snow day!!

You know it's a good one when the snow obscures the "Magic of Winter" sign.

My day started at 6:00 a.m. awaiting the 'office is closed' text from my boss. At 6:05 it still hadn't arrived and the snow was only just starting. I wondered if the forecast could have gotten it that wrong...again. This one seemed so certain. But without the official text - and knowing that we have been open in worse than what was coming down right then - I began preparation to go to work. 20 minutes later the message arrived. Office is closed today. So much for sleeping in on a snow day.

In that 20 minutes from wake up to text, the snow picked up considerably and fell hard until about half an hour ago. As soon as the rate of fall lessened we headed out to shovel it. We took about 6 inches off the sidewalks and car and thanked our anonymous neighbor who ran a snow blower down the entire block making the whole snow removal experience much less exhausting. I need to stay alert for an opportunity to pay it forward.

*Newsflash* mystery solved as the phantom snow blower operator just appeared in the back alley way too! His name is Mike. We know his house number now but I won't publicize it here. :) Maybe there is a batch of homemade cookies in his future :)

So today was a work at home day. I'm pleased to say I stuck to it for about 3 hours and got a lot done. Without the interruptions of phones and people that normally occur at work, it was a highly. productive 3 hours. I do not think I could be a work at home person full time though. I like the phone and people aspects of my job. But it was a nice break :)

I should have retired these boots two years ago. I kept thinking about it and well... stuff happens. I think they are trying to tell me they are tired now. LOL

Keep smiling and keep moving
-Paula

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Life is not a smooth road.

This past week has been a struggle for me. Stuff happened that caused me to reconsider my priorities. I'm not going to share what happened. I'm only telling you that it did so you'll know there is a reason for my change of focus.

Hmmm it took me awhile to find the right word to end that sentence. Focus. I like when the right word falls in place. Anyway, I came to realize that my fitness goal(s) and my involvement in creating fitness opportunities for others was unbalanced. Although I didn't realize it was unbalanced until stuff happened.

When faced with an urgent need to modify my schedule, I panicked. Not just run of the mill panic. It should not be that way. Life is not a smooth road. We have to be able to absorb the bumps and -in my opinion- if we can't then something is not right. So, I am stepping back from my duties (albeit unofficial ones) with my fitness groups and from serious training for the Super Hike.

As for the fitness groups, I'll still be supportive and encourage others in their endeavors. As for the Super Hike - it's on my calendar and I am registered and if that week comes and I'm feeling it I'll see how much I can do. But I have to approach all of it with less "Type A"ness commitment.

This is hard because while most of me is ok with this, part of me feels like I've failed. And truth is, I have. I may have been in a no win situation but it still stings.

So keep smiling and keep moving but with a little less ___________ --  haven't found this word yet.