It has been quite some time since I have sat down to write. Part of that has been due to lack of motivation for wanting to write and the other part has been time. I started working a second job, which I am really enjoying, but it does take time. I try and work early in the morning or later in day, before bed, but it doesn’t always work out. I am not complaining about my time. I feel so lucky and blessed that I have the ability to work remotely to support our lifestyle of travel, training and racing. We have also been really busy with life, which is a great thing.
Since my last post, we have done and seen so much. We left Boston, after the marathon and headed to Vermont for 3 weeks. We went to visit with Irene and Ed at Cold Moon Farm. This was an opportunity for us to spend time with people we love and get some good training in the Green Mountains. If you know anything about Vermont, you know that very few people visit in spring. The weather is usually cold and wet and not very conducive to outdoor activity, it is known as mud season. We tried to take advantage of the warmer, sunnier days, which were few and far between, but we did venture out even when the weather was less than ideal. We met up with Adam and Eliza, from Nor’east Trail Runs, for a night hike, hiked Stratton Mountain in blizzard-like conditions, visited with our fellow Hyland’s athlete, Nancy, hiked up Killington Mountain, ran a self supported marathon and witnessed many baby goats being born on the farm. It was a wonderful stay for all 3 of us.
We left Vermont and headed back to Maryland for our first IGNITE SwimRun race of the season. We were really excited about the season opener at Greenbrier State Park. We had visited the park about 6 weeks prior and were looking forward to being back. It is a beautiful state park with great trails. Although we did not race, we helped with course set -up and tear down, David took photos on race day while I helped on course. After the race IGNITE had its first ambassador summit. We got together with all the ambassadors and talked about all things IGNITE SwimRun and how we can improve the ambassador experience, along with getting feedback from them on what IGNITE could do better. It was an extremely successful summit and something we hope IGNITE will continue to do every year going forward. We absolutely love being part of the IGNITE family. Not only are they are dedicated to making their races successful, but the sport as a whole. It is so nice to work with a group of people that are so passionate. I am looking forward to getting back to SwimRun racing next season (too many other races this year!!) and hope to inspire some people to try this amazing sport!!
After a very busy few days in Maryland, we made a brief stop in Washington, DC to see some old college friends. Dana was one of my many housemates while at Tulane and Dave was a good friend. It had been years since I had seen either of them. The weather was less than ideal for walking around and sightseeing but the rain finally subsided enough for us to take a short tour and see some sights. We had a great visit and fun time talking about our college days and catching up.
Then it was on to South Carolina to see David’s daughter and grandson. We realized that we would be driving near his son in North Carolina, so we made a brief stop to see him and his wife. It was a short visit, but it is always good to see family when the opportunity arises. We spent a couple of days in South Carolina, enjoying the company of Dee and Helen and of course we had a blast with Tucker Jay. David built him a swing set, which once assembled, we couldn’t get him off of. We went on the boat and to the beach, and had one of the best visits to South Carolina that we have ever had. It was full of fun, laughter and smiles.
From South Carolina we started heading west with our ultimate goal being Colorado for the Revel Rockies marathon on June 2nd. We had not raced in quite sometime so I scoped out a race located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Oak Ridge is not far from Knoxville which was the location of the next IGNITE SwimRun race, IGNITE Knoxville. We were invited to stay at one of our ambassador’s house for a few days, while we explored the area, did course recon at Ijams Nature Center and raced the Run Under The Stars 12 hour (RUNTS). Larry and Sarah and their girls could not have been more welcoming. They opened their home to us, made us dinner, allowed us to shower and do laundry, and just made us feel at home. Like I have said so many times in the past and I am sure I will say it again, this journey is all about the people we have met. Ijams Nature Center is a beautiful urban park with amazing trails, beautiful lakes and the Tennessee river. We are sad that we wont be able to be there for the race but this is definitely on my list for next year!! The RUNTS race was interesting, a 12 hour race on a 1.19 mile loop starting at 6pm. We were both signed up to race but as it turned out the weather was unbearably hot and Mira wasn’t happy with anyone watching her but me. It was 90 degrees at race start, and although we got a lot of volunteers to offer to watch Mira, she was anxious and barking and quite frankly a pain in the butt. I did get to run periodically throughout the 12 hours for a total of 17 miles, not as much as I had hoped for but still happy that I got some miles in. David was able to really race and after 54 miles he ended up with a 4th place finish. A great training run for sure.
As we made our way west we stopped at one of our favorite state parks in Missouri, St Joe State Park, where we spent a few hours one evening in the concrete bathroom waiting out a severe thunderstorm and tornado warning. This seemed to be the theme of our journey to Colorado. The storms were rolling through the Midwest on a daily basis and brining with them hail and tornados. After a few days in Missouri, we made our way to Emporia, Kansas to visit our friends and for David to do an overnight training run with our friend Jacob (he is doing the Leadville 100 too). As we pulled into Emporia, the tornado sirens rang out and we scrambled to figure out where to go. At first we pulled into a car wash, well that protects the van but it certainly doesn’t protect us. So, after a quick pause, we called the local coffee shop, Gravel City Roasters, and they invited us over to take cover inside, Angie and Nic (owners) are so genuine and generous and we could not thank them enough. Emporia was spared from a tornado and off we went to dinner with our dear friends Steve and Becky. We were able to spend time with most of our Emporia family, David and Jacob ran 30+ miles on the dark and muddy trails and we dodged a few more severe thunderstorms before heading west to Colorado.
We finally arrived in Denver on May 25th to sunshine and mountains. Our first stop was Red Rocks Mountains Park, where we went for a hike, took in the amazing scenery and relished in the fact that we were finally in Colorado. A place we had planned on visiting a year ago but never made it here. We have plans to stay in Colorado for the remainder of the summer with the exception of one week when we will return to South Dakota to visit friends and race the Black Hills 100 50K.
We think about how fortunate we are to have met so many truly generous, genuine, honest, caring people. We have made so many friends that we are able to visit as we live our lives on our terms. I recently said to David, sometimes I feel like we are on vacation, but more often than not, I now feel like this is our life. I have 2 jobs that I really enjoy, they are able to help sustain our lifestyle and support us (for the most part) and we have supportive families that see the value in what we are doing. We may not want to live this life forever but for now we are extremely content.