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The Weekend Away.

7 July 2015

BB and I went up to the Poconos this weekend for the holiday. We stayed in an old Tudor mansion B&B near Bear Creek in Pennsylvania. This was our first weekend of marathon training, but it was also our weekend away. We wanted to be very active, but it was less important to get in the actual distance. Especially considering how tough the runs turned out to be. We went to the Bear Creek Preserve, which isn’t far from where we stayed. If you click the “trail map” link (pdf) at the end of the page, you can find the red, “difficult”, trail that we did. The map says it’s 6.1 miles, but my GPS said it was 6.7. And it was a grueling, brutal trail.

It had rained all night, and it rained all day. The path was wet, slick, muddy, and often ankle-deep water. Much of it was large rocks, and covered in undergrowth. Because of the inclemency, or perhaps the remoteness, we were the only people there. Literally, not a single other car in the parking lot. The trail guide warns of “black bears, bobcats, and rattlesnakes”. Joy! I made sure BB understood that if we were eaten by bears it was her fault. And away we ran. The 6.7 miles took us an hour and forty-five minutes. We twisted our ankles, and plowed through deep mud, and ruined our shoes. It was awesome.

The next day we went to Ricketts Glen State Park, and did the Falls Trail, which is not runnable, and was too crowded even if it had been. It’s a five mile trail that passes something like 17 waterfalls, some more than 90′ high. It descends deep into a valley and than back up. We ended up adding another mile or so onto it because of where we had to park. It was a beautiful and challenging hike, but accessible to anyone interested in a challenging two-hour hike. You don’t have to be really fit, just willing to stick it out. I’d highly recommend it to anyone visiting eastern Pennsylvania.

I really enjoyed the four-day weekend, and it was very nice to take a little time off and get myself moving. Trail running is a whole different beast from road running. Harder. More mentally demanding. And I prefer the road, all things considered. But it’s a good thing to do to find another level inside that I can get to. Dredge up something from inside and put it out there. It’s not mystical. I’m not doing ultra-marathon endurance challenges. I’m not an athlete. But I’ve become someone who does things. And I like that about myself.

For the fourth of July, we went into Wilkes-Barre (WILKSbarry) and found a fun little traveling carnival and rode the tilt-a-whirl which was indisputably more dangerous than any bears. BB made sure I understood that if we died in a tilt-a-whirl accident that it was my fault. We threw darts at balloons and went home to bed before the big fireworks display. It’s pretty obvious that Wilkes-Barre has not recovered from the recession yet. A great old American town, still suffering badly. Abandoned shop-fronts and burned-out buildings on prominent corners. It was sad.

All in all a very nice vacation. Now I’m back. I have a paper to finish and a bunch of presentations to give and a person to hire. I’m sore from the runs and nervous about marathon training. There’s a new plumbing problem in my house, and I need some flooring replaced. We’ll see what the world brings me next. But I can handle it. Because I’m here, and sober, and accepting of the things life brings. Even when they suck, like plumbing problems.

One Comment leave one →
  1. tehbride permalink
    7 July 2015 10:24

    I completely disagree that trail is more mentally demanding than road! Clearly that’s personal. I find it so hard to just keep going on road after flat road. It intimidates the hell out of me. On trails, though, my mind and body are always occupied and entertained, and the time and miles fly by. Definitely more cardio and different muscles involved, but mentally, for me, so much easier!

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