Thursday, February 19, 2009
I left Denver during the morning commute. Not a lot of fun. And, I quickly found myself headed into the mighty Rockies. Travel was tough. Snow and ice made the three lane highway into a single lane. Several times the line of traffic had to dodge through huge snow plows. These trucks made the Vermont plows look like toys. I was scared. After two hours of slow progress the roads opened into Skiers Paradise. Vail and other resorts lined the "Valley". Leaving the Rockies was breath taking and Utah was simple amazing. Ten and half hours of driving went bye instantly. View after view, everywhere I looked was something new. This must be how flatlanders feel when they come to Vermont for the fall spectacular. Vegas tonight with my little sister.
I had the pleasure of finally making my return trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron New Mexico. I worked there as a Ranger 1 in 2000. I did not realize how much a single place can impact your life. I spent four months working as a back country guide, preparing fresh troops for the ten day trek into the mountains. I was 19 years old and did not fully understand what a wonderful place that was. As I got off the highway and turned West, I could see the Tooth of Time Ridge in the distance. Instantly I was filled with weird emotions. A sadness overcame me. I felt comfortable, as if I was finding a part of me that had been missing for some time. The camp was empty upon my arrival. Presidents Day had all but one staff member on a day off. I walked around Base Camp and could remeber specific events that had happened 8 years prior. As I left New Mexico heading North to Denver, good thoughts passed through my head. I am excited to start my journey home. To see old friends and family and to begin a normal life again.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Texas has come and gone. It's been a long two weeks. Lots of driving, lots of the same scenery and not enough running. I've run into a little injury troubles. Nothing serious but it means that I will have to be more careful with my warm up and stretching. As for Texas. It is in my past. It was nice but I am ready for a change of pace. More driving and more country. Austin was a lot of fun. It is a very trendy city filled with young professionals. Not exactly my scene but I enjoyed it just the same. As for the Half. My seventh and midway point. It did not go so well. More troubles. A quick stop one mile into the race left me running in around 4,000th place. Any of you who know running, that spells doom. I wanted to run relaxed anyway, so no problem. After 13 miles of semi conservative running, I crossed the line in about 1:40. Sixteen minutes off last week. No problem...I have a great week ahead of me. Lots of driving and I pick up my little sister in Las Vegas on Thursday for the week. Good things ahead!!!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I'm in Marathon Texas, about to head into Big Bend National Park. The country down here is amazing. Mesas, canyons and miles of plains. I am reminded of the old westerns with cow boys riding down cattle. Things have been going well. The Dallas Half went better then expected. I paced out fast following the lead woman for a mile or so. Realized that I couldn't hold the pace so I relaxed for a mile or two. Grouped with three other guys from mile 4 to 11. This was the first time I've run in a pack in some time. Reminded me of the long jogs we would take at UVM. I talked most of the way. I finished the race in 6th place. My time was 1:26. An improvement, but I still have things to work on. My training needs to be more focused and consistent. I need to relax a little more and enjoy all the wonders that there are out here in America.
Classic mistake....follow your instinct. I was in Coppell Texas, picking up my racing packet for Saturday morning. Pretty normal. Chat with the workers, enjoy the running store and think about all the fun I am having. I left Coppell and found a movie theater. My intent was to burn a couple hours since it was 4 pm on a Friday afternoon and the house i was staying in was 80 miles on the other side of Dallas. Upon wishing my mother a happy birthday. I forgot about the movie and started driving. 30 miles took me 1 hour and 45 minutes. I swear that I won't be driving through any cities during rush hour. Lesson learned.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
I love San Antonio. The River Walk is one of my favorite tourist attractions. They have a nice walking path that overhangs the river. It is a large square that covers several blocks under the busy streets. It is very artsy in feel and there are many nice restaurants, shops and malls. San Antonio itself is one of the larger cities in the nation. 9th I believe. This makes the highways busy. Not my favorite since my car is my life. But, with some patients it is all relative. I am on my way to Rudy's famous BBQ for lunch and Dallas for my next Half on Saturday...All has been real swell so far. Cowboy country. Maybe I will buy myself a birthday present today. Haha, I have always wanted a nice pair of boots.
I found Texas. Everything is bigger in Texas. So they say. From what I have seen, it is about the same as everywhere else. Nice open country. Lots of farm land. The driving is going well. I find the miles go fast and I often loose myself in the radio. Today, I didn't have a plan. I saw some green on my map so I turned south. Crockett Texas. I found an antique shop where the shop owner told me about Texas Camping. A must do! So, I stayed two nights in my tent. Ratcliff Lake State Park was a nice eye opener for me. I read my book by the fire and slept well. February 3rd, my 28th birthday. I spent my birthday at Padernalas Falls. Out of cell phone service. It was peaceful and I was reminded that I need to do more camping. Another night by the fire. I celebrated with some red wine and my book. When I was turning in for the night, packing my valuables back into the car. I got a happy birthday visit from a curious armadillo. He ran from the underbrush, sniffed around for a few seconds and ran back into the underbrush. Maybe a good sign. Even the animals love to run.
My travels have taken me to Shreveport La. I'm spending tonight with Zema Smith. Maren Bates' grandmother. Maren is one of the wait staff at my local watering hole in Brattleboro. So, the afternoon was spent with her brother Warren. We toured the city and I met some of his local friends. A pretty good day. But the real fun began later on in the evening. I was treated to a fantastic dinner. Stove top corn bread, hamburger soup and a cup of red wine. Now Zee was a real treat. She told more stories then I can remember. It was nice to listen for a change instead of talking all the time. The Super Bowl played in the background but I hardly paid it any mind. It was my pleasure to spend an evening with a wonderful woman who has literally seen this country grow into what it is today.
Sorry y'all for the delay...my travels have left me without the internet. Thanks for being patient.
The Mardi Gras Half Marathon went without a hitch. Or almost did. The race started out nicely. An even pace up Bourbon Street. Now, a new feature to NO, they wash the streets each morning. This made the road slick and did not do anything to ease the smell from the previous nights party. Leaving the downtown area, I ran at ease until mile seven. A three minute port-a-let visit cost me some time but no worries. I finished the race at what felt a comfortable pace. Never really pushing. I placed 65th in 1:29:14. Had I not stopped, I would have finished around 45th place. The post race party was fantastic. On to North Louisiana.