Sunday, January 20, 2013

Favorite Runs: Yorktown Battlefields

I was fortunate to spend my high school Cross Country years training in the Colonial National Park, specifically in the battlefields around Yorktown, Virginia.  We used to joke that we were probably the only people in the world who cringe at the name "Yorktown" because once a week, we ran to Yorktown where our coach put us through some beastly workouts on two 800-meter loops through the town that both involved awful hills.  And we had to run back to school afterwards!  Yorktown Days were exhausting and painful.  But the rest of the week we spent trekking around in the battlefields, sometimes on the road and sometimes on trails, lucky to have miles and miles of gorgeous scenery around us to keep practice interesting.  The park offers miles of gravelly-paved roads that wander through wooded areas and open fields, crossing creeks and swamps and providing lovely scenery and great terrain for long runs.  Fond memories for sure, and I make a point of going for at least one run every time I'm back in the area just to remind myself what a great area it is.

Care to try a few runs there yourself?  Surrender Field (yes, THE Surrender Field, where the British troops laid down their arms and America officially won its freedom) has a little parking area to ditch your vehicle and head out on foot.  From there, out-and-backs offer options between 1 and 5 miles and the loops can get you about 13!  There are no bathrooms (hug a tree) or water stops anywhere along the way, but there creeks where you can stop and splash some cool water on your face during the humid summer months.  So for those of you looking for some new routes in southern Virginia and/or want to get up close and personal with a beautiful national park, lace those shoes up and go for a run!

Friday, January 18, 2013

In the Beginning

Hello, 2013!  Cheers to the challenges and adventures headed my way during your reign.

A brief word about this blog.  I am a wandering soul and an adventurous spirit, and my main goal is to share the things I learn along the way with other like-minded people out there.  This means topics will be all over the place, from running to CrossFit to travel to backpacking to diving ... I impose no restrictions upon myself!

2013 arrived with me confined to the couch from my first ever long-term running injury.  I am still not quite sure what precipitated it, but I have been 100% inactive (minus walking my pup) for 6 weeks ... and it has NOT been easy!  Physical therapy starts next week and it will be time to get back in the game, because there are great things in the future!  The culmination of 2013 will be the Antarctic Ice Marathon (http://www.icemarathon.com/) in November, but there are, at a minimum, GoRuck, Ragnar Relay, and Tough Mudder between now and then.  As well as other trips, including my first adventure to Honduras!  I don't have time to be sitting on the couch.  :)

But in the meantime, I've decided to try out Paleo January.  I never heard of Paleo until I found my way into an awesome CrossFit community during my 2012 deployment, but it sounded like an interesting experiment to me.  I read a couple books by Dr. Loren Cordain and Robb Wolf to figure out exactly what foods were permitted and which were not allowed, and off we went!  If nothing else, the past two weeks have taught me some cooking skills that I would otherwise have been too lazy to learn.  Honestly, I live off of pasta because it's the fastest and easiest thing I know how to cook.  So I've enjoyed my forays into seafood dishes, chicken recipes, and fruits and veggies that I've never heard of!  I've also learned that a well-stocked spice cabinet can make any basic meal taste delicious.  Cauliflower rice and spaghetti squash pasta are great substitutes for the pasta/starchy equivalents, and you can never eat enough fresh fruit and veg.  I do have to admit, I miss my milk and yogurt and will most likely be easing them back into my diet come February.  But in general, although I have not yet noticed any weight or physique differences, I definitely feel really good!  I convinced my mother to try it out too, and she's already lost 6 pounds.  If you care to investigate Paleo for yourself, I recommend http://nomnompaleo.com/ for some great recipes and commentary to get you started.

Although I am sidelined from running and basically every fun activity at the moment, I did take advantage of winter sales recently to start stocking up on some gear for Antarctica.  Thus far, base layers have been acquired.  I hope to be able to test the gear out in some New England snow in February when I can hit the trails again.  But in the meantime, my new fuchsia Saucony trail runners (strange that I've been running for over a decade but never owned a pair of trail shoes before!), lululemon Ice Queen tights, and Craft base layer shirt are looking pretty and waiting for some work.  I'll let you know how they work out!