Tag Archives: Adventure

A Sunday Adventure

Didn’t run yesterday. We went for hike instead. We are very fortunate to have some beautiful sights not too far away.

But before I tell you about our hike, I have to share a photo that I captured earlier in the week. This guy was fresh out of a nearby lake, trailing seaweed and moss from his back as he wandered down the sidewalk.

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Not sure if you can see, but his tail is dinosaur like! It was a snapping turtle.

Our Sunday hike was at Tallulah Gorge which is a Canyon/waterfall site. It is famous as the filming site of Deliverence (a disturbing movie from the 70’s starring Burt Reynolds and featuring banjo music, and backwards Appalachian hill Billies).

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The bottom of the gorge

The trail went from the north rim, down across a suspension bridge.

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to the bottom

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and back up to the south rim. Lots of steps involved

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It was a beautiful day and we saw beautiful scenery… All about an hour from our house!

My sister is a big runner too. And she lives in the area of the gorge. When I told her we had hiked there, she told me that she and her running friends try to go there every week for ‘hill’ workouts!

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A New Running Experience

One of the things that I enjoy about this blog, is that I can report on new experiences.  This weekend, I had two.  Wonder if I should split this post into 2?

And the answer is yes!  After I finished writing about one experience, I realized I have enough material for 2 posts!

Experience 1

I used to go to track workout with my husband religiously on Wednesday evenings.  But then things got in the way…I got a part time evening job, I started running in the morning and so on: in other words excuse excuse excuse.  I really enjoyed it when I went.  There is a whole crew that goes regularly, and all very nice people.  My husband still goes.  My group of ‘chatty kathies’ doesn’t go so much anymore.  I’m hoping I can get back to it at some point b/c it really really does make me faster, but I’m not doing anything to make it happen!

Anyway, my son works at the running store.  One of his co-workers is a  former collegiate runner who currently competes at the national level in the over 70 age group and  is also the leader of the Wednesday night track workouts.  He invited my son and husband to a Sunday morning 1 mile time trail.  It sounded fun, and new, and different, so I invited myself along.  img_20160424_080120.jpg

About twenty of us showed up.  The usual fasties who go every week were there as were some of my friends from the ultra. And there were also several people that I didn’t know.

Anyway, after what felt like an interminable amount of time (warm up mile, stretching, strides…) we all lined up at once.  Four laps around the high school track and we were done.

The goal that I set for myself was 7:20.  I hit 7:22, so not awful.  But I think I didn’t run it too smartly.  I got behind a lady that I didn’t know (turns out she also works at the running store).  She was clearly younger than me and had on very revealing Lycra shorts, and not the tight ‘keep-every-thing-in-place’ type, but the ‘shows-everything-you don’t-want-seen’ type.  Since I was behind her, I could see that her rear-end was really flabby (not that mine isn’t, but no one could see it).  I decided that someone with a rear-end that flabby was not going to be allowed to beat me.  I jack rabbited ahead of her.  But then she passed me and stayed ahead for the rest of the time trial.  I guess someone with a flabby rear end can beat me!

The results were a little bit ego busting.  I finished third from last.  Not my normal spot to finish, but like I said, a lot of fasties, and more men than women. The last three of us were all in the 7 minute range and we were as follows: A 60+ year old female and 2 women in their early 50’s.  So realistically, nothing to complain about.  Plus it was fun!

I would do it again.  Maybe I should quite my P/T job, and get back into it??

Race Report – A Timed Ultra Marathon

Well, you already know the end of this story.  I ended up surprising myself and running 50 miles in my first ultra marathon.  My goal was to run 50k (or 31 miles), so it was a real shocker to end up doing 50 miles!!

It was an absolutely awesome experience, and I will definitely do it again.  Especially this one.  It was 15 minutes from my house!!

 

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The trail.  It was close to parking, so we could all set up our own stations right out the back of our cars

First, a bit of the particulars:  The 12 hour event was held in a park that had a .75 mile hard packed sand track loop.  To make each lap a full mile, there was a .25 out/back trip to a bridge added on.  There were 54 participants who ran the gamut in age (20-69) and fitness levels.  30 of the participants were female (two of whom were 67 years old and one who was 68!!!).  The one mile laps were counted by volunteers, who tracked a set number of runners all 12 hours long!

 

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The ‘to the bridge’ portion of the loop

 

Let me tell you, this was one of the most inspirational events I’ve ever witnessed/participated in.  (Boston Marathon being the other one).  This was not like a regular race.  While regular races really are fun, they are competitive (which don’t get me wrong, I like!) vs. cooperative.  Everyone at this event was so supportive of everyone else.  In the course of the twelve hours, we all got to know/run with many of the other runners.  These are people who  never would have met each other in our everyday lives. And here we were, running with and encouraging each other for hours!! As you can image, we’re all now best friends forever on Facebook!

 

Since the event was in “our territory”, 10 of the runners were from the same run group. Many of us already knew each other. And the ones who didn’t know each other at the start did by the end! Also, since we were so close to home, many more runners from our run group stopped by to cheer or run with us!

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Steve and I ran the event, and ran together for the first 28 miles.  My best running friend Maria (in the tigger capris) showed up to run a bit with us!

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Runners and supporters from our run group!

All that support made this event super!
As I already said, my goal was initially to do 31 miles. But, once I reached that goal, I felt like I could keep going. My next goal was 40 miles.

A friend showed up at mile 38 and told me I was doing 50. Another one of the runners started saying that too. I wasn’t interested, but kept on running. By mile 43, I agreed to 50!  And by the time I committed, I just barely had enough time to finish.  I completed 50 with 8 minutes to spare!

My friend ran with me….or i should say ran/walked all 12 of those last miles! She was my cheerleader and encourager. Without her, it truly wouldn’t have happened!

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There is so much more I have to say about this race. But I think I’ll save it for another post. In parting, I want to say, that when it was over, I took a shower.
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A Squirrel on Safari

We have A LOT of squirrels here in Georgia.  They are everywhere. And while at first you may think they look cute with their little hands holding acorns up to their mouths, really they’re not.  They are  dangerous and expensive pests. In the winter, they like to come into houses for warmth and nesting.  Once they’re in, they do damage by nibbling holes into your roof which in turn allows water in…

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For several years, we had an on and off problem with squirrels in our attic.  We cut down 2 beautiful trees that were too close to the house which allowed the squirrels access to our roof.  Eventually, we had to get a new roof, which was hugely expensive!  (Not all due to the squirrels, it was also an old roof).

One time I saw a neighbor’s beautiful new Porsche Cayenne with its front end smashed in.  He had rear-ended a car in front of him that had unexpectedly and suddenly braked for a squirrel crossing the road. So overall, we don’t like squirrels.

As I mentioned last week, we went on safari in Botswana several years ago.  It was an amazing trip where  we got to see many rare and beautiful animals.  Some of the highlights were the African wild dogs, an elephant family with a baby that was only about two weeks old, and a male lion.  DSC_0477DSC_0478DSC_0176DSC_0397DSC_0398

When you go on safari, the very best (and almost only) way to see all of the animals is by open air Range Rover.

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The Range Rover fording a river

Some of the time, we had the Range Rover, driver and tracker all to ourselves.  Other times, we shared the Range Rover with others.  For two days, we were paired with a nice couple from South Africa.  Luckily, my children behaved, so I think that this couple was able to have a nice time too.

While you’re out driving around, the tracker is hunting for animals for us to see and photograph.  If there is an animal that we are particularly interested in, we can request that the driver stop, or give us some more time for photographing.  One of the days that we were with the South Africans, we saw an African wild dog pack kill an antelope.  It was gruesome but amazing to see the whole thing.  Not only are the wild dogs very rare, but to see them hunting was even more rare!  On the same day, we also saw TWO honey badgers.  These too are very rare.

And now here’s the funny part…After seeing some of the most amazing sights and animals, the most enthusistic reaction all day from our traveling companions was when we saw a squirrel!! We had to stop for a good while for them to take pictures.  We tried to be polite and not laugh, but I’m sure we failed.

 

A Trip to Africa and a Race in Atlanta

This blog is entitled travelrunstyle.  My original intention was to have a combo blog that featured all three of those subjects.  Somehow, I haven’t really lived up to the name of the blog, especially in the style area.  Mostly, this has become a blog about running, with a little bit of travel too.  And that’s what this post is going to be about.  (Maybe someday I’ll write a style blog).

A few years ago, we went on safari in South Africa.  My family flew ahead of me and broke up the long flight with a stopover in Paris.  A few days later, I took a direct flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg.  This was by far the longest flight I’ve ever taken – 17 hours! We also had a 2 hour ground delay in Atlanta due to rain!!  19 hours sitting in coach was a really really long time!

I had a window seat, which I prefer.  The seats were off-set a bit, so the person in the middle seat in front of me was visible as well as audible.  At first I was excited when I overheard him talking to his seat mate about running.  I hoped that maybe I could get in on the conversation!

Then he started talking about religion too. He kept on talking about running, and religion. And ON and ON and ON. FOR HOURS.  And I don’t sleep on planes.  Oh my goodness.  I can safely say he NEVER shut up.  Well…ok he did for a bit after he took a sleeping pill.  But still.  And it was loud!

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Eventually, I made it to the lodge at Krueger Park and met up with my family.  I had travelled with my running shoes, in hopes of getting a few miles in Africa.

Ya…No.

You don’t run while on safari.  Too dangerous.  Even without a run though it was an awesome trip.  So awesome, that we went again the next year to a nearby country, Botswana.

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African wild dogs…very rare.  We watched them make a kill, which was really gruesome.

In between the two trips to Africa, we ran some races here in Atlanta.  One of them was a small local race.  Both my husband and I usually line up towards the front in local races.  While we were waiting to start, I noticed someone on the front line that I recognized.  When I asked my husband who the guy was, he said he didn’t know.  Even before I could think to stop myself from talking, I thought I recognized that he was the loudmouth from the plane, and I asked him if he’d gone to Africa last year.  It was him.

Oh geez…why did I strike up a conversation with him?? What if he started a loud on going conversation that lasted the whole race.  I felt panicked!! Luckily, he must have been nervous about racing because the conversation was brief.

Small world…but I don’t think I’ve seen him since.  Or at least I know I haven’t HEARD him!

Hope you all have a nice weekend, and I’m looking forward to catching up on your posts!

Trip of a Lifetime Part 8 – Peru.

After returning to the Luxury Starwood Resort in Urubamba (link here http://www.tambodelinkaresortview.com/) for the Inca Trail hikers to bathe and sleep in a real bed, we had another day of adventure the next day.

My husband does all of our trip planning – and does a fantastic job.  This day’s adventure was mountain hiking, zip lining, and repelling.  Here is the link to the tour that we took.

http://www.naturavive.com

We enjoyed the adventure, and I would recommend this tour group….however you really need to be in shape and not afraid of heights to do this trip!

Zip lining Photo from tour web-iste

Zip lining Photo from tour web-iste

The side of the Mountain that we repelled down

The side of the Mountain that we repelled down

Done Repelling down the side of the mountain

Done Repelling down the side of the mountain

After our adventure, the tour operator drove us to Cusco where we would be spending the night before beginning our journey home.

The hotel was beautiful, new (built inside an old building), and of course a Starwood resort (Thank you Starwood Amex for the Points!) Here is the link: http://www.palaciodelinkahotel.com/

Lobby of our hotel

Lobby of our hotel

In the evening, we sampled Pisco Sours at the bar — delicious, but dangerous!

Pisco Sour - Delicious and Dangerous!

Pisco Sour – Made from Fermented grapes and top with frothy egg whites

Our last morning in Peru, we did some sight seeing in Cusco.  We are NOT SHOPPERS…but spent the entire morning shopping!  I have read reviews that say the shopping in Cusco is too touristy, but we really enjoyed ourselves.

There are so many hand made, high quality items available at fairly reasonable prices…from hand knit items to colorful hand woven textiles to unique sterling silver jewelry.  We indulged.

Girls shopping

Girls shopping

Hand Knit Hats for my nephews

Hand Knit Hats for my nephews

My treat for me - Sterling Silver at fantastic prices!

My treat for me – Sterling Silver at fantastic prices!

A Mirror withhand made shadow box scenarios of Peruvian life built into the frame

A Mirror with hand made shadow box scenarios of Peruvian life built into the frame

And then we were done.  Headed for a flight from Cusco to Lima. Then Lima back home to Atlanta.  A really great trip, and truly a trip of a lifetime!

Waiting for our flight

Waiting for our flight

The Trip of a Lifetime Part 4 – Peru

After our first evening in Urubamba, Gabby and I HAD to find some money.  In the morning, we walked into the town searching for an ATM that would work with my card, or a bank.

It was market day in the village, so we got to see the preparations underway.

Bags of Potatoes and other vegetables were dropped off here in preperation for market day

Bags of Potatoes and other vegetables were dropped off here in preparation for market day

Peruvian lady selling chicks

Peruvian lady selling chicks

Market Day Kiosk

Market Day Kiosk

It was also some sort of celebration day.  There was a parade of school children in their uniforms around the town square, and a stage set up for dignitaries on the church steps.

Parade of school children marching through the town square

Parade of school children marching through the town square

Dignitaries  on a stage at on the church steps, watching the parade

Dignitaries on a stage on the church steps, watching the parade

We found some ATMs, but my card didn’t work in any of them.  We found a bank, but weren’t allowed in because it was for Peruvians only. In the meantime, we were living off the cash that Gabby’s dad had given her.  Thank goodness he was generous!

 

The Trip of a Lifetime Part 3 – Peru

Gabby and I took a locals bus from the start of the Inca Trail to a town called Urubamba.  The bus ride was an awesome experience of real life in Peru.  Mostly ladies and some children rode the bus.  All of the ladies were dressed in colorful skirts, plain blouses, and bowler hats covering their long, black, braided hair.  One of the ladies had a box full of chicks.

Van Ride to Urubamba with native Peruvian women

Van Ride to Urubamba with native Peruvian women

When I looked out the window, I saw farmers plowing their fields behind oxen, using wooden plows that could have been from the stone age.  I loved the bus ride…it was a true slice of Peruvian life.

I found a room for us at the resort where we had planned to stay after our hike.  It is a Starwood Resort, so I was able to use some of our points to pay for the room.  The room and the entire resort were  fantastic.  Here is a link to their web-site.http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3285

Here are some pictures of the resort:

Indoor Outdoor Pool at Tambo Del Inka in Urubamba Peru

Indoor Outdoor Pool at Tambo Del Inka in Urubamba Peru

Tambo Del Inka in Urubamba Peru

Tambo Del Inka in Urubamba Peru – our room was the bottom left.

Room at Tamba Del Inka

Room at Tamba Del Inka

Bathroom at Tamba Del Inka

Bathroom at Tamba Del Inka

Gabby and I had 2 and a half days before we were to meet the others at Machu Pichu (we would take the train to meet them).  What to do?

We swam a bit, and booked manicures at the spa.

The pool at Tambo Del Inka

The pool at Tambo Del Inka

But that type of activity couldn’t last for 2 more days.

I had an idea to take a bus tour of the area.  After investigating this possibility, I found that hiring a car with driver and a tour guide would be less expensive than the bus! I booked a tour for us.

We also had to find some money.  Cash is king in Peru, and credit cards aren’t.  But for some reason, my ATM card wasn’t working at all 3 ATMs in this town!

An Awesome Trip and a Run – The Trip Part

First a little Background:

Four years ago, we had scheduled a trip to Peru to hike the Inca Trail.  Before we got started on the trip, we literally had a change of heart, and  decided it would be much more fun to spend our 25th wedding anniversary in the hospital.

It started a few weeks before the hospital.  Our cross country son had convinced us to do a 5k race.  Although we had been running for a year or two, we hadn’t done a 5k yet.  After the race, my husband was very disappointed in his performance.  Not only did he have to walk due to chest pain, but worse, I beat him.  That’s what made him decide that something was wrong.  Long story short, he wound up in the hospital for 10 days having and recovering from quadruple by-pass surgery.

A Year Later:

With both kids at camp, we took a make-up trip: Europe.  He enjoys making all the plans, and does a great job of it!  This trip we’d land in Zurich, drive to Austria, and then Italy.  He found us a race in the Dolomites.  It was a seven mile race starting in an Italian Alpine village and ending in an Austrian Alpine village.

Zurich is beautiful, clean, and orderly city. We  spent 1/2 of a jet-lagged day there, so I don’t remember much.

Lake Zurich, Switzerland.  Too jet-lagged for very many photos

Lake Zurich, Switzerland. Too jet-lagged for very many photos

We rented a car and drove to Salzburg Austria.  Salzburg is in a beautiful Alpine valley setting.

Salburg, Austria is in an Alpine Valley

Salburg, Austria is in an Alpine Valley

The old town was cute and quaint…

Old Town Salzburg, Austria

Old Town Salzburg, Austria

but I was unimpressed with the rest of the city.  It was mostly filled with socialist style cement buildings.

Socialist style cement apartment building in Salzburg

Socialist style cement apartment building in Salzburg

From Salzburg, on to Hoschpusterstal, Italy.  It was a lovely drive, and we got to meet a nice Inn proprietor who was very friendly.  I suspect not too many Americans make it to such a remote Inn, so he was happy to chat with us.

Hoschpusterstal was a super village.  SOO cute.

The village of Hoschpusterstal, Italy

The village of Hoschpusterstal, Italy

We ran our race, and had a great time.  (See The Run Part post).  Then drove to Genoa, Italy.  Truthfully, Genoa isn’t really a destination.

Genoa port

Genoa port – Blah

But we stayed in a spectacular 5 star hotel (using points).  The basement pool complex was great!  There was a lap pool, and then various treatment rooms surrounding the pool:  Steam room, rain shower room, misting room.  Here is the link: http://www.melia.com/en/hotels/italy/genoa/melia-genova/index.html

One day we went east to Cinque Terra, the five picturesque towns that are built into cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean.  Let me give you a hint if you ever want to visit Cinque Terra…DO NOT DRIVE there.  Take the train.  The roads are crumbling, one lane, cliff-side, switch backs!  The only vehicles on the road besides us were large trucks…YIKES!

One of the 5 Cinque Terra Villages

One of the 5 Cinque Terra Villages

One of the 5 Cinque Terra Villages

One of the 5 Cinque Terra Villages

The other day, we drove West, and spent a beach day on the Italian Riviera.  Sorry…somehow can’t find those pics.  But I loved how clear the water was.  I went for a long swim.  And the beaches were tiny pebbles, not sand.  Then into Monaco for some shopping.

Our last day was the drive back to Zurich.  We drove through Milan.

Some fort in Milan

Some fort in Milan

Milan Cathedral Il Duomo

Milan Cathedral
Il Duomo

Shopping in Milan

Shopping in Milan

The Trip of a Lifetime Part 2 – Peru

The last half mile of the first day’s hike took me FOREVER to complete.  I was SO tired.  I just wanted to lay down by the side of the road and sleep.  Even running a marathon wasn’t that hard!  I skipped dinner and went straight to sleep in the tent.  Our daughter’s friend did the same thing.  She struggled as much as I did to finish the day’s hike.

1 of our tents in the backyard of a home on the Inca Trail

1 of our tents in the backyard of a home on the Inca Trail

(A side note:  We were climbing at a high altitude.  The original plan of the trip had been to stay a day in Cusco to adjust to the altitude…but we missed our original  flight, and therefore missed the adjustment day.  Some of the signs of altitude sickness are loss of appetite and extreme exhaustion).

The next morning, the friend had diarrhea.  Plus she was super exhausted still after almost 12 hours of sleep.  My husband and I got worried about taking someone else’s child into a really remote part of the planet if she was truly coming down with something bad.  Like dysentery.

We made the decision for Gabby and I to abort the mission. Gabby was almost comically relieved!

A very happy and relieved Gabby

A very happy and relieved Gabby

The guide sent us back with a porter, and we traveled back the way we’d come yesterday.  We kept encountering groups hiking in the opposite direction.  I felt kind of like a failure.  In my mind I referred to our hike as the ‘walk of shame’.

The 'Walk of Shame' back to the beginning of the Inca Trail

The ‘Walk of Shame’ back to the beginning of the Inca Trail