Monday, July 21, 2014

Sober Streak

My drinking is getting in the way of my running. I'm the sort of person who doesn't do anything half-way. Lack of moderation: its the reason I'm drawn to long-distance-running and the reason I have a hard time sipping just one glass of wine. One extreme or the other...that's usually how I roll.

Because I'm not a moderate/halfway sort of person, I've struggled to find the middle ground between being a total lush (the one passed out in the grass) and a party-pooper (the tea-sipping yoga freak). The big magnifier in this situation is my love for running. You've never fully appreciated your hang-over until you're crawling your way through a long run, blurry, bloated and full of regret over the last night's antics.  I've admittedly had more than one long run during which I was focused not on the trail, but on the bad decisions made the night before, kicking myself for being such a moron. Running (if you can call it that) while semi-hung-over, foggy and fat is NO fun.
I've reached the conclusion that I really can't have my cake & eat it too (well that only took 30 years). To run or to booze, that's the question.
Well, when you put it that way, the answer is obvious.

I love wine and I love to have a good time. BUT, I need to run. Running makes me feel strong, invigorated and alive. Plus, I'm starting to realize that I usually have more fun sober. Life is crisper, brighter and more cheerful. I'm a better wife, mother AND runner when I leave the cork in the wine. Waking up the next morning feeling great is a nice bonus.
So, I'm presenting myself with a little (or BIG) challenge: A 30-day Sober Streak.
I'm sorry, WHATT?!
...yeah, right.
Ok, so I'm sure there will be some easy days and some hard days over the next month, but I'm up for the challenge and curious to see how I'll feel after a little break from the booze.

Of course, we leave for OBX next weekend, so that will make things interesting. Sober & vacation don't really go together, but I'll do the best I can!

(with juice, for now, folks)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lake Anna !

Trail Running Field Trip!
Destination: Lake Anna, Spotsylvania, VA
Lake Anna State Park TRAIL MAP

My hubby and I took a perfect mini-getaway to Lake Anna this weekend with my big bro and his wifey. 36 hours of sun, sand, good food, great wine and questionable company were just what this gal needed. The pretty little 7-miler that I squeezed in with my pup was the icing on the cake.

View of Lake Anna from Glenora Trail

I've been to Lake Anna State Park a few times, but its been a while. This was our first time staying overnight, and other than a brief run-in with the PO-lice (open container law in VA, folks...and they mean it!), we had a perfect little trip.

Saturday morning was gorgeous; I couldn't wait to hit the trails. After coffee and a little Ibuprofen (dang wine) I was ready to rock. My navigational skills are iffy at best, so I harnessed up my pup, packed a trail map and hit the dirt, just as the rest of my camping crew was about to grill up a breakfast feast (fatties! haha).

The first trail I headed down was Glenora. Nice trail, with a mix of grassy areas and flat dirt-packed terrain with majestic oak and maple trees lining the path. It came to an end with an awesome view of the lake, with the morning sun shining and a few boats already cruising around.

 I tried to coax Val into the water, but she opted for the bench instead.
After a quick water break, a moment to soak in the view and contemplate jumping in the water (nah...), we headed back up the trail, in search of our next great overlook.

Next we took the Big Woods Trail to Turkey Run Trail, which popped us out at one of the trail-head parking areas. With plenty of muddy areas along the way for her to romp in, Val was a happy camper.

1832 Original Smokehouse, Glenora Plantation. Check out that beautiful Oak!
After a jaunt down the Sawtooth Trail, along which we saw a cool old Sawmill well site, we headed over to the paved connector-path that took us to the Railroad Ford Trail. There's so much history in and around this park and this part of the state; I was stoked to see a lot of historical markings along the sides of almost every trail.
The Railroad Ford Trail was my favorite of the bunch, as it winded along the bank of the lake, offering amazing views and a cool breeze.
We finished our little adventure with a quick swing around the campground. I was drooling over the thought of jumping in the lake at the sandy beach area; the July heat and humidity were starting to settle in for the day. Waving to a few little kids on scooters and spotting my hubby hanging out on the porch of our little cabin, I couldn't help but feel happy, lucky and totally ready for that breakfast feast.

Railroad Ford Trail, named for the abandoned railroad grade that it sits upon. Built in 1916, the path was built to carry lead and zinc ore from the nearby mines for use during World War I. Pretty rad, huh?

Lake Anna Winery. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

These Are the Days

Location: Pocahontas State Park
Distance: 10.25 miles

Time/Pace: 1hr45min / 10:15 min/mile
Weather: PERFECT.
Most of my runs lately have been pretty gross. The heat, humidity and the fact that I've been trying to go faster have made for some ugly running scenes; shirtless, sweaty, spitting, swearing and holy crap its HOT. Today was the blissful exception. On the tail-end of Hurricane Whatshisface, we Richmonders have been given a gift: a much-needed break from the suffocating stickiness, just in time for the holiday weekend. Score!
Time for a run. A good one.
I haven't been running too far lately, opting to enjoy a little time off from super serious training to enjoy the summertime months and run a few short races here and there. My R&R is fixin' to come to a close, when I'll start training for a couple of fall half-marathons and the Seashore Nature Trail 50k in December. Today was the first time in a while that I've gone out for a 10+mile run; after my recent blah! running streak, I was pleasantly surprised. My legs felt great, only fatiguing/complaining a little after I hit the 9-mile mark (what the crap, lady?! this again?).
Not only did I feel better than I expected, the beauty of the day was enough to take my breath away at almost every bend in the path.

Van Morrison is one of my all-time favorite singer/songwriters. His music makes me smile, cry, dance and feel just plain good. I don't usually run with music (I like to be totally aware of my surroundings, in case I need to scoot over for a biker or fight off a gnarly beaver), so its interesting to notice what songs pop into my head while I'm running. Some days, I get stuck with some Daniel Tiger jingle bouncing around in my head for miles at a time (too much PBS!). Other times, I'll bop along humming a Katy Perry or Ke$ha jam. Today, as I was out on the trails at Pocahontas, I had an overwhelming feeling of happiness, thankfulness and summertime-ness (yeah, because that's a word).

Cue the Van Morrison.

"These are the days of the endless summer
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there’s only future

There’s only here, there’s only now"