Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Up All Night

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, my mom and I decided we were going to run the Swine Time Festival 5K in Climax, Georgia.  On Friday, I thought I was preparing for the race appropriately, eating bananas and "carbing up" with leftover stuffing and potatoes.  I would've eaten those carbs anyway - being that it was the day after Thanksgiving because I've never been a fan of carbing up.  We used it as an excuse to eat a lot during college crew, but as my college body quickly showed - an 8 minute race does not 3 bagels burn.  I think I was doing it wrong.

Moving on, Mom and I thought we were race ready.  On Friday night we got into the Christmas spirit by decorating our tree, listening to holiday music, and drinking hot toddies by the fire.  My dad normally makes hot toddies by warming eggnog and adding a little brandy.  We found a new recipe this year that was delicious - Hot tea, brandy, lemon and honey.  Hot tea.  Black tea.  Black caffeinated tea.  What I'm trying to say is that the night before this race, my mom, dad and I did not sleep at all.  It was terrible.  And it was terrible to run the race exhausted.

At 7AM we were tired, but ready to go!

The course was more difficult than I normally run...I don't want to exaggerate so I'm just referring to the course as "rolling molehills."  There was enough incline/decline action going on that it slowed me down and wore me out.  I don't know the official time, but I finished somewhere between 33 and 34 minutes.  I actually finished 5th in my age group, 20-29...out of five people.  Just kidding.  I don't know how many people were in my age group.  I also know I finished 68th overall...out of 68 people.  Just kidding - Gotcha again!  


We had a blast!  I'm hoping that when I go home for Christmas there is another local race to run.  I'm also hoping we remember to drink decaf past noon.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

On Thanksgiving day, after the Turkey was put in the oven and the sides all prepped, my mom and I decided to go for a hike around their and their neighbors' land.  For anyone who doesn't know, my parents live in the middle of nowhere off of a dirt road that is about 2 miles long and about 20 miles from the nearest town - which only has one stoplight.  Hillbilly.

We started by exiting behind the guest house through the fields that our neighbor rents from us and farms.  Usually they're growing cotton, which around Thanksgiving is at it's peak and ready to be picked - it's beautiful and my parents' house sits amongst a field of snowy white poofs.  This year - it was a little more brown.  As crop rotation would have it, Mr. Maxwell grew peanuts instead.

Peanuts left over from the harvest.

We walked through what was left of the peanut fields onto Maxwell Rd.  We took a right and headed to Cal Thomas which is about a third of a mile down the road.

The beginning of the 1.8 mile stretch of dirt road.

We walked from one end of Cal Thomas to the other and then back to the house.  It was about 4 miles and took a little less than 2 hours.  The day was beautiful and later our Thanksgiving feast was wonderful - We have a lot to be thankful for.

A small country church

This man was using a metal contraption - a stick with what looks like a hamster wheel on the end - to pick up pecans that had fallen from the trees.

Pecan Tree

Oh, Hay

Deer tracks

The other end of Cal Thomas - from here we turned around and went back.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tammany Trace

Last weekend I was in New Orleans and hiked with my cousin, Mary!

Being that a hike in Louisiana would not be part of my 60 Hikes book, I did some research online to find us a trail.  What I found was a really cool website and iphone app, that is a social network for hikers, called EveryTrail.  You can access trails and traveling tips online based on other travelers' reviews, download them to your account and then access them on your phone!  It is really very cool.

Using Every Trail, I saw a review for Tammany Trace which is across Lake Pontchartrain in Covington, LA.  The trail is about 27 miles and takes a whole day.  I had read on EveryTrail that the trail takes you right past the Abita Springs Brewery, and that it's only about 2 miles from the start of the bike trail.  My genius plan was to start at the beginning, walk to the brewery, have a little taste, and walk back to the  car, totaling a 4 mile hike.  Well, this is where EveryTrail gets fishy...The brewery wasn't on the trail.  It was no where near the trail, as the hike reviewer had suggested.  Abita Springs Brewery was actually on a very busy highway.  Mary, her dog Saphire, and I tried to rough it without a trail, but at the end of the day, concern for our safety told us to turn around.  We wound up going about a mile and a half into the bike trail/woodsy area and then turning around and heading back.  I didn't clock it, but I'd say we walked 2.5 to 3 miles total. 


Scary little house.

Although there wasn't a beer reward at the end, it was probably for the best.  I don't think drinking and working out are really the perfect pair anyway.  I was happy to have gotten a hike in on vacation...and Mary and I had plenty of drinks later!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Timelight Zone

Instead of hiking this weekend, I traveled to Iowa and entered what I'm calling *do do do do do do do do doooo* THE TIMELIGHT ZONE.  

You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead — your next stop, the Timelight Zone

Really though, my flights were ridiculous, uncomfortable, and the flight attendents were just plain weird.

My first flight from DC was delayed and my layover in Chicago was only an hour.  I was anxious because I already have a hard enough time figuring out if the "departure time" is the time they stop boarding or the time they take-off.  I've experienced both and it's very confusing.  The fact that my 7:20 flight didn't start boarding until 7:20 tipped me off that no matter how American Airlines calculates their itinerary, we were running late and I was at risk of missing my connector.  I voiced my concern to the flight attendant, hoping she'd offer to like, hold the plane for my royal visit to Dubuque, or something.  I explained that my connector in Chicago takes off at 9:30, and by the look of things we were clearly going to be landing later than our 8:30 arrival time.  I'm not sure if this will be as funny in writing as it was in my real life, but picture this: the flight attendant stared at me blankly and said, "But Chicago is in a different time zone, so when it's 8:30 here...." She then officially confused herself and she passed out.  Not really.  But as she trailed off I said, "OK, our arrival time is already adjusted on this boarding pass, so when it's 8:30 in's really 8:30 in Chicago..." I can't even think about it.   Neither could Flighty.   She said she would come back with more information.  Obviously, she didn't.  I have to assume something super important was on her mind, like the status of her application to Mensa.  You never know.

I had officially entered the Timelight Zone - which if you haven't figured it out yet, is my mixture of the Time Zone Twilight Zone.  See, I'm really funny like that.

Tonight's episode is a double feature, "Flighty 2: The Sequal."  Unlike other sequels I tend to think this one is just as good as the original.

During the same flight my cell phone was off per FAA regulations and no one around me was wearing a watch. (See how spooky this sequel is getting?) I was starting to get antsy about my flight stati, so I called over flight attendant number 2 who WAS wearing a watch to ask the time and give her a rundown of my sitch.  Well - this lady is of course wearing a broken watch.  I can't make this up - we're officially in the Zone.  As I explained my angst over potentially missing the last flight for the night to the glamorous destination of Dubuque, she continued to check her watch - which we already established is broken - and kept telling me we'd be landing in about 20 minutes.  To be fair, I understand that her point was we were "almost there," but it didn't really matter how soon we were landing if it was, let's say, 9:10.  Get where I'm going with this?  Good, you're already exponentially more capable of being a flight attendant than this lady.

We landed at B21 and I had to hike it to L4.  
I made it - no thanks to the Earhart Twins.

The thrilling conclusion of this saga is that both flights were about a thousand degrees.  Not just because there was no air on, but because the vents were blowing hot air.  It was like the rainforest at 32,000 feet.  People in the back were complaining (and let's be honest, by people, I mean me) and Flighty kept saying something - which I still haven't figured out - like, "It's a *Something* Cockpit."  The gist of it was though, that the air flow was controlled by the pilot, and the pilot was in a sealed cockpit and there was no way for the flight attendants to communicate with him.  I found that weird...and then I realized, maybe the terrorists have won.  Ugh.

The irony about all of this was that I was praying I would miss my connector in Chicago so that I could race over to my brother's house and give a big hug to my niece and nephew!!  Alas, the Timelight Zone had other plans for me.  And in the words of Rod Serling, Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas; you've just crossed over into... Iowa.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

These are my confessions

Enter Usher and Real World analogies because I'm about to take it to the confessional and things are going to get real.

If I'm gonna tell it then I gotta tell it all...

On Saturday I put away all of my summer clothes and brought my winter clothes out of their suitcase/storage in the closet.  There is definitely something exciting about pulling out winter items that I haven't seen in six's like shopping in your own closet, and it's free!  There's also something really sad about putting away summer dresses that I didn't get to wear this year because of my chubbiness.  Le tear.

But - that's what this blog is for, right?  Getting my chubbybunny tail back into shape and sharing it with you!  Therefore, I'm making a pre-New Year's resolution to keep hiking and working out through the winter, no matter how miserable the weather gets.  I've already lost about 14 lbs. since August and NEXT summer - when I'm sitting secluded in an edit suite because of the looming election - I will be in the cutest dresses known to fashion.  By that time, they'll be a few years old and I'll start referring to my wears as 'vintage.'  I can see it now.

You heard it here first - I have another 15 lbs. to go to get back to what I've referred to as "My 2009 Body."  Slowly but surely; one hike at a time; other motivating cliche here.  Thanks for letting me share this goal!  Something about putting it in writing makes me positive it will become a reality.

And feel free to call me on this next June.  Thanks.