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Third Time's The Charm

This was our family's third year running the Big Blue River Days 5K (formerly called the Rib Run). My mother started the tradition by inviting the family to join her in her first 5K. Have I mentioned how proud I am of her?

The course has been changed to a scenic, pancake flat, gravel rail trail. My dad, youngest brother and niece did the 1 mile walk; my mother, middle brother and sister-in-law did the 5K and Hubz and I ran the 10K.

Every year so far, my mother has been edged out of first place by the only other woman in her age group. We've been fanning the flames of this "rivalry", exhorting her to train hard and claim victory. She's not so sure she has a rivalry but we have been slowly convincing her, I think.

As I am in the midst of training according to the Maffetone method, I am only running slow (keeping my heart rate below my maximum aerobic function number). I started at the back of the pack and right away fell into step with two older gentlemen who had been out the night before at their Class of '66 reunion.  

Allan Ring, Duane Iles and me
I always have great conversations with fellow runners but this was particularly outstanding. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the company of a fellow ultrarunner! The guys talked my ear off about everything from the Strolling Jim ultra and Gary Cantrell, trekking in Nepal, a confrontation with Fred Phelps, how to combat altitude sickness, meeting Oscar Pistorious, running Big Sur and Pikes Peak marathon and our family's late beagle-boxer, Petey. Duane Iles and Allan Ring, it was a great pleasure to run with you.

Meanwhile, the race was unfolding far ahead of me and I had no idea what was going down. Luckily, someone from our local paper was taking pictures. All photos are from The Marysville Advocate.

Adam chasing the youngest 5K runner

Hubz hammering. He won his age group and was 6th
overall in the 10K.
The first three places overall were won by women!
Adam passing the 1 milers on his way
to 7th place overall (1st in his age group).
S-I-L Paulyn. She was the only badass pushing a stroller.
Mom on her way to victory, her rival hot on her heels!

Dad and David celebrate at the finish line

As we gathered around at the finish and chatted, they announced the placings. I was pleasantly surprised to hear my mother had triumphed and won her age group!

I think this was my slowest 10K ever. The beauty of a small town race? I got 2nd in my age group. Everyone in the family got medals.

I am so proud of my whole family for running again this year, even in the rain. I hope our 5K tradition continues for a long time.

Spring Adventures

The weather this Spring has been spectacular here in the Mid-Atlantic. The oppressive humidity and the mosquitoes haven't yet arrived and I've spent every possible moment outdoors making the most of it.

Last weekend Hubz and I went hiking in Shenandoah National Park. We chose the Pass Mountain Trail just outside of Sperryville. It's similar to Dickey Ridge Trail (though a bit rockier) with a steady, continuous climb, but without the foot traffic.

pass mountain v dickey ridge
Elevation profiles courtesy of Bill Sublett
Neither climb is as steep as it looks here.

We hiked up Pass Mountain Trail for three miles where it joins the Appalachian Trail. We trekked north for another three miles, checking out the Pass Mountain Hut shelter and greeting three thru-hikers we encountered. 

Hubz getting some squats in on our hike
Hubz doing some squats during our hike
Five hours, 12 miles and one Ruffed Grouse attack later, we made it back to our Honda Element. Not to worry, Hubz escaped unharmed when Mama Grouse found his defensive posture intimidating enough to switch to the broken wing act. And I got a glimpse of the grouse's babies. 

We also returned to the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail for a Spring bike ride.  After a brief discussion about heading north for a change, our local friends talked us out of it. Disadvantages of heading north: It's not as scenic, there's a dearth of lunch options and the return ride has a slight uphill grade versus a lovely downhill cruise.

GAP elevation

The Lucky Dog Cafe is just 11 miles south of our starting point in Ohiopyle, PA. Our strategy was to ride 15 1/2 miles, then turn around and stop for lunch at 20 miles. 

GAP trail
Sign along the GAP trail

Spring along the GAP trail is incredibly green, lush, wildflowers everywhere. It was a noticeable contrast to the scenery here last Fall.

A lovely section of the GAP trail

Our much-anticipated lunch did not disappoint. One more benefit of riding a bicycle vs. running: You can still ride a bicycle after gorging yourself.

grassfed Hawaiian burger
Grass-Fed Hawaiian burger

The Surly LHT
The Surly LHT at The Lucky Dog Cafe

Bike parking at the Lucky Dog Cafe
Bike parking aplenty

I hope your Spring has been as enjoyable as ours has.

What adventures have you been on or what are you planning for this summer? I'm always looking for inspiration.