“I feel like a million grams.”

Okay, I have two announcements to make. And then a third one, because two just wasn’t enough.

These are BIG and IMPORTANT announcements, so pay some motherfuckin’ attention please.

The first is that I will be moving to Florida next year. Yes, I might die of heat stroke or white trash or alligators. But all jokes aside, I’m actually very excited. I think it will be better in every way than Logan besides the mountains, though the mountains are substantially significant. My advisors got a very good offer from the University of Florida, so we’re officially starting there fall of 2015. And I guess I’ll be living in Gainesville.

Ooh, and there are beaches! (Sort of close.)

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Second thing is that I’m going to have a second attempt at a thruhike of the Appalachian Trail next year. All the stars have aligned in the most beautiful, unbelievable way. This is happening for real and I cannot fucking wait.

I’ve mentioned my first AT attempt on the blog a couple of times, and most people who would be reading this know about it already. I started at Springer Mountain in Georgia in March 2013 with the intention of hiking over 2,000 miles to Maine. I didn’t finish because I had to start school in August and also my best friend from high school was getting married, so I got off in New York about four months after I started. It was still an incredibly life-changing experience.

That really deserves a post of it’s own, but don’t hold your breath. I’m a lazy bastard. You’ll at least get a few photos.

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I’m getting excitement goosebumps just looking at those.

After I got off, I thought that would be that. But no. That unfulfilled goal of a successful thruhike has burned hard in the back of my mind ever since and I’ve realized that I won’t be happy (or at least content) until I achieve that goal. And because of a series of fortunate events, some due to my initiative and some not, I will have the opportunity at an attempt.

And while these sorts of events are an attempt because there are so many uncontrollable factors, I know I’m going to make it. I was mentally and physically in a great place when I got off trail last year and I’m quite confident in my ability to have a successful thruhike. And an amazingly fun one. I’ll be starting in April, most likely near the end of the month, next year at Springer.

Hyperventilation-level stoked.

And then there’s the news that’s not so good, and actually pertinent to this blog’s original purpose. (There’s a little foreshadowing for you.) I went on an easy 3 mile run around my neighborhood a month ago after getting back from a wedding in Tennessee. Apparently I’m no longer allowed to run on roads at all anymore, because it tweaked my knee. While the knee is slowly but surely getting better, there’s been no reason to give y’all any updates since then because pretty much all I’ve been doing is swimming.

It’s caused me to ponder my fitness choices a lot lately, though. I even wrote a 1,500 word diatribe about my knee and the emotions it evokes that I intended to post here, but it got much too dark and intense and I was worried someone would try to get me committed. Maybe I’ll throw it up someday. Let’s just say, I get very stressed out and depressed when my knee flares up, but I constantly deal with the fear of a flare-up even when it’s fine. And it worries me that it seems to be chronic, but I don’t have the means to get it looked at.

So I’m making the executive decision (I am, after all, the executive of my own life) to take an extended break from running. Ever since I became a runner in 2008, I’ve never intentionally stopped running for any length of time. I’ve stopped due to injuries and for the couple mandatory weeks after track season. I’ve never even thought seriously about stopping because it’s such an important part of my life. I need workouts to stay mentally balanced and running has always been my absolute favorite.

But I need to think long-term here; I would rather take months off now and be able to run for years. I would also really appreciate a break from the emotional trauma of dealing with this injury. I’m going to take off about a year from running. That’s the six months until I start the AT, and then the six months I’ll be on it (I wouldn’t be running then anyways). Some of the motivation for that timeline is to ensure my knee is fully healed and ready to go when I start hiking.

I’m definitely going to remain active. I plan to completely replace running with all of the other activities I love. There will be plenty of boring-to-write-about cross training (stationary biking and swimming mostly), lots of hiking which will transition to snowshoeing/cross-country skiing in the winter, and hashing, obvs. And possibly picking up yoga again in the spring.

At this point though, there’s no way that I could reasonably finish the 1000 Mile Challenge. Without any miles from running, and from this past month off, it would be difficult to maintain the required mileage and probably put me in a bad physical spot for the AT. No more weekly updates then. But I’ll be posting sporadically, probably mostly backpacking trip recaps and maybe some of the more ridiculous hashes. And hopefully I’ll keep this blog rolling while I’m on the AT.

Is that enough words for you?

Because I want to end this on a positive note, here are some pictures from THE FIRST HASH I’ve done in FIVE MONTHS. I had to do quite the supercharged down down for backsliding.

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Identity crisis.

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I’ve missed my Salt Lake hashers so much and it’s great to be back.

And more pictures, this time from a 4 mile Card Canyon evening hike.

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Hopefully I’ll be back next week with some cool shit from my first trip to Zion. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy getting fat from being lazy, and you are very welcome to join me.

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