Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Break

These past few days were truly a break! I haven't napped all year!

I have been on “break” since 7pm Tuesday evening. It was an optional workday the day before Thanksgiving and I opted out. I started the 1st morning of break with a good workout in the gym, followed by an “after JFK” 30-minute leg massage. The day was warm and George and I got in a 4.5 walk before leaving town.

We spent 2 very mellow nights at a cabin in Claytor Lake State Park. Only a 1:45 minute drive from here, it’s a quick getaway. No phone, TV or internet. No work or cleaning. There are always so many things to do at home, that I have a hard time turning “off” to relax. Yet, here it was different!

Thanksgiving morning we drove 11 miles to the North end of the New River Trail State Park near Pulaski, VA. George rode 32 and I ran 16. A few weeks ago I thought I run my age on my b'day...yet the efforts of JFK 50 and my current reality took over and I opted for "43 over 3 (days)instead!
George and I moments after finishing our pursuits on the New River Trail Thanksgiving morning.

After we got back to the cabin and had lunch, I fell asleep while reading Douglas Bulter's A Walk Across America (no reflection on his engagement abilities!)

Photo above taken up dusk as we were finishing up our Thanksgiving afternoon hike. State Parks are strange places....

Sun starting it's set in the Virginia woods.

We got in an hour hike in the park before preparing our Thanksgiving meal: rosemary/lemon chicken breast baked in foil, local sweet potatoes, roasted onions and sprouts from our garden, cranberry sauce, and gravy. George surprised me with goods from WV as “early b’day gifts-quite fun-we sipped on some WV dandelion wine for an aperitif, drank red wine with the meal and sipped WV cherry wine to go with the dessert of apple crisp. It was a wonderful day of togetherness. We even got our 2009 holiday letter written and hung out on the couch in front of the fire and read. Joy.

This is an outside view of the cabins...

My birthday was Friday and I got up and immediately hit the trail for a very slow 5-mile run in the park. We checked out by 10am and stopped at Hungry Mother State Park, only a few miles off the path home. We decided to meet back at the car in 2 hours. It was chilly with little drifts of snow in the shadows. George hit it hiking and I running. My Garmin clocked me at 10 miles in 1:56. Sounds about right. Going up Molly’s knob was quite steep and slow going (and I was certainly NOT going for speed!)

Saturday rounded out my quest for 43 miles with 12+ on dirt. George and I drove 32 minutes to Kerr Scott Reservoir in Wilkes County. More than 1000’ lower, it would be warmer than what we’d have in the mountains. Warm it was! George was on his mountain bike and I in my Hardrock 09’s as we played in our own way on the Over Mountain Victory Trail. After changing and stretching, we had a picnic in the sun and again I promptly fell asleep. I think I have hit my yearly allotment of naps.

As we drove a from N Wilkesboro to Deep Gap, roughly a 14 mile stretch of highway, I counted 117 Christmas trees from the High Country tied to the top of vehicles! I spent a couple hours Saturday late night Wal-Mart Christmas shopping for 6 kids George and I “adopted” for Christmas. (Instead of exchanging gifts with our families, we “adopt” a child per couple –or “single” in case of Mom and Grandma and give in their honor). The Salvation Army ringer was outside Wally world. How did the Christmas Holiday Season get here so fast?

The first couple days of being 43 years old have been great: Quality and fun time with George, awesome running, checking out new places, getting chores done at home and feeling organized by starting Holiday cards early. I am grateful for my health. For George and my family. For kitty. For my friends. For having a job I like much of the time! I am glad to be LIVING this life!


Sophie Speidel said...

What a wonderful weekend of giving thanks, being together, enjoying nature and your health. Happy birthday to my inspiring friend!

ps did you see the photo of you singing the national anthem at Hellgate that I put on the video? With Horton holding his heart and you belting out the song, it's priceless.

jenn said...

sounds like you had a WONDERFUL weekened!! That is so cool you and George went to claytor lake and Hungry mother state park! I take my kids to hungry mother pretty frequently!! They love it! (especially getting to play in the lake/beach in the summer) My son Jack was obsessed for a little while with the story of the parks name. He felt so terrible for the little girl.
I have also ran a mtn tri there called "mtn do" it's a 10k trail race, 2 mi kayak, and 20k mtn bike on all the trails there in the park. It's held in the spring time.
but I digress: the food, wine, running, biking and enjoying nature all sounded so relaxing and amazing! glad you had such an awesome experience!

take care and have a great week my friend!!!

Rick Gray said...

Well, I can't say too much more than the two wonderful ladies before me have said, but there is nothing like a little mini vacation with nothing to do, but have a great time. Nice to see you enjoying a nice deserved break around Thanksgiving and your birthday. Rick