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Cycling high!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Yesterday I cycled with my co-worker again. I dropped my bike off at the shop for it's well baby checkup before an upcoming weekend bike/camping trip. I rented a road bike to use in case mine wasn't ready.

I knew I was faster on the road bike but didn't know to what extent because it doesn't have a computer on it. The first 13 miles, I was able to keep up with her, a definite change. At that point, I decided to play more with the gears. Once I engaged the ones on the left, I felt like I'd just ignited a nitrogen boost. My speed was increasing without increasing my energy. I was already at or above 80% of max HR for much of the trip.

I was on my first biking high (you've heard of runner's high). According to her computer, we finished the 26 miles a whole mph faster than we've ever done before. I'm convinced we would have done better had I played with the gears earlier.

I left her, went to another Greenway where I biked another 16 miles alone & without a computer again.

I love my hybrid for biking with my family. It has the capability to hold lots of gear. One trip, my granddaughter even straddled the back for 10 miles when her pedal fell off and we didn't have the equipment with us to repair it. It's heavier and only has 8 gears which doesn't help when climbing hills but it makes me stronger doing it on my own.

When I'm with serious bikers, I need all the help I can get. I have a 30 mile biking event on Halloween morning. I'm renting the road bike again. Hopefully by next spring, I'll be the proud owner of my own. One more way to mix it up and have the best of both worlds.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GO-LOEW 12/17/2010 8:55PM

    I just stumbled on to your SparkPage by following some discussion of biking Sparkies. Isn't it fun to be able to fly like the wind on a bike, especially when you are pedaling and not just going downhill.

I guess I can say I am a serious biker having ridden thousands of miles on bike tours in the US, but mainly in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Our first trip in 1984 was for one month and our last, in 2008, was for three months. We have airline tickets for June 10, 2011, flying into Copenhagen and will fly out of Amsterdam 80 to 90 days later.

In 2002, as I was training for a six-week bike trip on my Cannondale touring bicycle, I was continually having urinary tract infections so we bought recumbents and have only ridden what we call "wedgies" for about 15 minutes since. We have loaded up camping gear and all the rest of our needed items on those bikes and traveled all over. I absolutely love biking as a means of exploring foreign counties. It truly is an example of the adage "The journey is the destination."

I am very interested in the Virginia Creeper Trail that you mentioned. I am hoping to find information on the internet.

Your transition to the healthy life has certainly impacted many people's lives. Keep up the good work.

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DAISYBILL 11/23/2009 4:40PM

    OK. I don't feel so bad not posting in a while. I think I have you beat. You do what I do, check up on eveyone and then are off and running to do other things. Just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you.... very fondly, I might add.

PS We have turned into bike nuts, too, and have planned out spring vacation (getting out of here for part of Feb to mid April) around bike paths etc in Louisianna and Fl.

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DAISYBILL 11/4/2009 2:10PM

    Just stopping by to say "hello... I've been thinking of you". Hope all is well. Hugs Sandy

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SHANNONSNAIL 10/12/2009 4:30PM


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KRZYKAT3 10/11/2009 7:11PM

    WOOHOO! What great fun and such an improvement! Can't wait to hear how you do on your FIRST 30 mile run!

Where do you rent a bike a? what is the difference between a road bike and regular? gears? I am not ready for that yet, I think. Just being a gym rat 3 days a week is an improvement!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EDUCGRAD 10/11/2009 2:53PM

    What a great time.I agree,biking can do that.I haven't biked that long,but do enjoy bike riding.Where do you rent a bike from ? I think my bike has a flat tire or need a new tube for it

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JOYYAK 10/11/2009 12:00PM

    That sounds like so much fun! I used to be an avid bike rider when my husband was alive. We would take some serious rides. But I have not been on a bike now in about 18 years and don't know if I would trust my balance.

I have to look up these "hybrid" bikes you mention - I am not familiar with them. What is the main difference? Of course, in my "day" of riding we had the racers and not the mountain bikes. Time change. Maybe you don't get as saddle sore with the new bikes?? That would be a real plus!


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CAROLJ35 10/10/2009 10:49AM

    What a dedicated biker you have become!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MSWEEZER 10/10/2009 10:45AM

    Holy cow Donalie, that's awesome. I wish I could find a way to get going on a bike but I know it has to do with the cheap bike I have. Maybe renting something is the key to finding out if I would enjoy it more with a better piece of equipment. Once again the old saying fits - I am in awe over your riding such a distance.


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SLCB1023 10/10/2009 10:41AM

    Sounds like you are ready to move on to a new bike. I know you will enjoy switching back and forth. You are doing such a fantastic job!! emoticon

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CANICE 10/10/2009 10:34AM

    I'm proud of you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DAISYBILL 10/10/2009 10:19AM

    Boy oh boy that sounded like fun. We have had our bikes about 2 weeks now and have been out about 10x, working around the weather. Our longest trip has been 13 mi of gentle hills and flat terraine and we have 7 gears. The wind has be atrocious so that has added extra resistance. Doen't take all that much for me to get "high" but I did hit the wall the other day. Not fun. I had no idea how much fun a bike could be since my experience was with a racer with my neck at an odd angle and a banana seat. Needless to say, both ends hurt. Not so anymore.

You are so "into" it . WTG !!!!

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3/4 Marathon?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Yesterday was my first organized half marathon. With 5 hours of sleep I was up @ 4 am for the 90 minute drive to make sure I was there with time to pickup my packet and be at the start line @ 7 am for walkers. Runners started at 8 am. The races included a half marathon, marathon, & 40 miler. The trails began at the same location and overlapped but were different courses.

It was a bit chilly, perfect for a long walk. I tried to strike up a conversation with another walker close to my age but she was definitely not interested. They blew the whistle, about a dozen of us took off for probably 1.5 miles of road & greenway before we hit the trails. The lady I spoke of, took off at a very fast clip. I figured she didn't want me along because I'd slow her down. I later passed her on the trail.

I was disappointed in not being able to use my ipod for company. Soon after I was on the trail and realized there wasn't anyone around I elected to do so until 2 hours into the walk when runners began to pass. At that point, I put it away so I could hear them coming and move to the side. Most of the trail was narrow. For the next 75 minutes, passing runners were intermittent.

The trails were marked with yellow signs & arrows. At one point I misinterpreted the signs. I ended up backtracking for 15 minutes. Fortunately another walker happened by saving the day for me.

"The terrain is rocky & rooty & can be treacherous. Fallen leaves conceal rocks, roots, sticks, & holes" was advertised and definitely true. I tripped multiple times but only fell once. I was glad no one was around to see. I was more embarrassed than hurt. It was beautiful being in the woods but there weren't any particular beautiful scenes to enjoy. I carried my camera for not. To have shared it with another would have made a huge difference.

The volunteers seemed to have a good time. No signs indicating direction were at the water stations. I almost missed the trail at the first station, they called me back after walking past. I heard one guy say "we can't let any others get past us" to the gang.

At around 10 miles, I was huffing along when I presume an insect stung the heck out of my left middle finger. It was such a shock, I instinctively threw my water bottle being held in the same hand. It looked as if a "stinger" was still in the finger, I squeezed until I thought I had it out. It was very uncomfortable, my finger swelled until I couldn't bend it, the top of my hand blanched.

At the next water station, they offered me Benadryl but the last thing I wanted was to be sedated not only for the remainder of the walk but also the drive home. I was at 11.7 miles into my walk, less than 2 to go. Other than my finger, I felt good. I used the potty and asked which direction for the half marathon. I don't know if they gave me the wrong direction or I misunderstood but off I went on the marathon trail.

I kept walking and walking and walking wondering when the trail would end. After all, I had less than two miles to go, right? The mile markers had changed, that was my first clue. At the next water station, I questioned whether or not I was on the right trail. The answer, all the other half marathoners have passed through here. I wanted to give up, ask for a ride back, but I couldn't.

I hadn't eaten since my oatmeal for breakfast. I decided to eat the apple I brought with me, it would pick me up and distract me for awhile. I looked at my watch. I'd been walking over 5 hours. Initially I was averaging a 15 minute mile. If I had indeed gone less than 13 miles, my time was now over a 23 minute mile. I had slowed but definitely not to that point. I had not taken any breaks except the quick potty at the one stop. Something was not right in Denmark.

At the next water stop, I'd had enough. They listened and agreed, I'd gone 19 miles at this point. Once I realized I had 7 miles to the end of the marathon I thought about going on but I don't believe I had it in me for another 2 1/2 hour walk. I hadn't trained for it and was not only physically spent but emotionally spent as well.

I accepted a ride back to the finish line. There was no way to document my time, apologies were made, changes will be made for next year's walk/run because I wasn't the only one who had problems. I didn't stay around for the festivities & pizza, I had an obligation in Raleigh at 3 pm. I drove to the nearest Chick Fil-A for a healthy lunch then home to the whirlpool tub for a very long soak.

I will post an objective evaluation of the event online to aid in making this event the best it can be. I had a wonderful workout, received a lovely shirt and medal (all finishers receive). I know what I need to do should I elect to participate in that trail event again. Today I don't anticipate that happening.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLCB1023 10/10/2009 10:47AM

    You did a great job under trying circumstances. Sounds like the organizers need to learn some lessons for next year's event!!! You might want to write down suggestions and mail it to them just in case they missed the problems you encountered. Maybe next year you will be ready for the entire marathon. emoticon

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GLASSHUNTER 10/10/2009 9:31AM

  10 miles is my longest distance and due to health issues and
lack of motivation that was some time ago...yesterday I did are a great motivator to me...maybe I'll get back
on track.
You did great!!!!
Be bless, glass

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EDUCGRAD 10/9/2009 5:40PM

    Sorry you got stung.You still did an amazing job!you have such a great attitude!

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JOYYAK 10/5/2009 3:52PM

    Gosh, what a tough day! You should be very proud of what you accomplished, intentional or not!! Where was this? That sounds like a grueling trail.

Sometimes things just don't go as planned ... but look at what you were able to do!!

Great job!


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HARMONYBLUE 10/5/2009 11:30AM

    Wow, what a day! Congrats on accomplishing the 3/4 marathon, even if 1/4 was unintentional. Let me know the next time you are interested in a NC event. I would love to come along with you!

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CANICE 10/4/2009 4:03PM

    Bless your heart!

I'm sorry there wasn't anyone for you to walk/ talk with.
Bummer that the trail wasn't marked properly.

THAT must have been a total let-down for you, to find out that your time didn't count!

When Sean and I were stationed in Germany, we went on many Volksmarches.
One event was only a few weeks after my abdominal surgery.
I was NOT UP TO it, but I went along, being a "team player."

There were two choices, a 5k and a 10 k
We missed the turn for the 5k and ended up doing 10k.
By the time I realized we were on the WRONG TRAIL, we had gone too far to turn back, seeing as it was shorter to just keep going.

My 6.2 miles is NOTHING in comparison to your 19 miles!

You Rock! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PINKLIZARDS 10/4/2009 4:02PM

    Nice recap of your experience. Good Job on yoru 3/4 marathon!

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MSWEEZER 10/4/2009 12:13PM

    OMG your did great but sorryt he folks running the show did it so poorly. I was pooped just reading your journey. You should be proud of yourself as we are of you here on Spark. Thanks for sharing!!!

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CAROLJ35 10/4/2009 10:59AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
WOW!!! What a day you had! But what an experience, too. You are commended for being such a good sport and I'm proud to say you are my friend.

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FITKAT2010 10/4/2009 10:17AM

    Unfortunately, I've learned to be very proactive and make certain I am in the know of the path on these events. Especially when there is a multiple type of event. The event planners do very little for the participants sorry to say. The YMCA guy here is pathetic and a throw back to upbringing by hippies.

You did well and learned some valuable lessons. You are a winner on all counts.


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SHANECODER 10/4/2009 10:13AM

    Great job! It's always disappointing when an event is not organized enough, but you did an awesome 19 miles. I bet as time passes you'll be more interested in the event next year. FYI, I think they should have an official 3/4 marathon. There's a BIG gap between a half and full marathon emoticon

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DAISYBILL 10/4/2009 10:04AM

    What a sport you are. Gosh, if I was there with you, we could have been "lost" together and not cared. I am soooo proud of you. I bet you will look at this event differently today and give yourself a great big fat pat on the back. See that arm reaching across the miles???? That is MY arm giving you a pat. Hugs Sandy

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SparkNC Rally 09.27.09

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nine NC sparkers (two not pictured) enjoyed a walk at Umstead State Park in Raleigh this afternoon. We managed two trails, Pott's Branch for 1.25 miles and Sal's Branch for 2.75 miles.

Old friends caught up on happenings since the last meeting and new friendships were established.

METIMEISNOW donated a nice prize to DCSHADOWS, MBOOTHE, and her mother who traveled the furthermost.

Can't wait until the next one!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSWEEZER 10/3/2009 6:05AM

    What fun!!

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DAISYBILL 10/1/2009 10:34AM

    Just dropping in to say Howdy, Girlfriend. emoticon

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DAISYBILL 9/30/2009 10:43AM

    So glad you are on top of the world today. Sometimes the joy just bubbles over. emoticon

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MBOOTHE 9/28/2009 2:19PM

    We had a great time on the hike. It was so nice to see you & to meet all other spark members there. Thank you for this blog & for sharing these great pictures! Hope to see you soon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/28/2009 2:20:23 PM

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CANICE 9/28/2009 10:32AM

    Go SPARKPEOPLE! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOYYAK 9/28/2009 8:31AM

    Sounds like you all had fun! Somehow I missed the info on this event. Not sure where it was posted. I hope I can catch the next one!


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DAISYBILL 9/27/2009 8:49PM

    Ok I just wonder if we can walk if we are bent over laughing and trying to catch our breaths. I will pack Depends if we get carried away. I love the fall and I especially like kicking up the fallen leaves and the smell and the feel and........ everything about it.

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KRZYKAT3 9/27/2009 8:34PM

    Daisy - i am with you, I will come pick you up and we will go to Guin's!! One of the things talked aobt at convention was the importance fo local rallies. I am going to make an effort to be more involved locally!

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DAISYBILL 9/27/2009 8:21PM

    I am jealous. Wish I was there, too.

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MSWEEZER 9/27/2009 7:52PM

    Thanks for sharing Donalie. I'd love to try to pull something like this together in our area.

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PINKLIZARDS 9/27/2009 7:38PM

    Looks like a pretty fall day and loads of fun.

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PATTIDGN 9/27/2009 6:54PM

    so good to see that spark friends take time to get together. glad you are enjoying the fun times with spark!

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CLAVINOVA 9/27/2009 6:37PM

    Glad you had a chance to get together for a nice weekend! I enjoyed our Illinois rally in June and we all hope to get together again soon too!
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SLCB1023 9/27/2009 6:07PM

    What a great looking bunch!!! You must have had a blast!!

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FITKAT2010 9/27/2009 5:53PM

    How fun!

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Swimming classes

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My first swimming class was tonight. I've always loved the water, I used to cry & beg my parents to take us swimming in the river. There was only one public pool in our area, I don't remember ever getting the opportunity to swim in it.

On vacation, we swam in the ocean until I was a teenager. At that time, my parents started camping. We went to Myrtle Beach every year on vacation. The campground had a pool with a diving board. My sisters and I thought we'd died and gone to heaven.

I could "swim" enough to keep myself afloat and get where I needed to be but it wasn't necessarily pretty. I took a couple of free swimming classes my first year of college. My strokes improved but I still feel self conscious and definitely don't have long range endurance.

Tonight I took my first in a series of swimming classes to improve my stroke and begin work on endurance.

There were four of us, that's as large a class as they allow. One lady started the class without being able to go underwater without holding her nose. She left not holding her nose and producing primitive but effective strokes. I praised her off and on during the class and especially at the end for her progress. It felt like a spark rally. The other two had been to classes before, I don't know to what extent but definitely need more work. They're not necessarily after fitness, they're interested in learning to swim.

It felt great. The instructor was easy on the eyes, confident, funny, patient, and seems to know what he's talking about. My gym has a pool so I'll be able to get in practice between classes. My goal is to continue classes with this instructor as long as I am learning and advancing. I want to work up to one hour on either the treadmill or elliptical followed by an hour spinning or stationary bike followed by an hour of swimming laps. I will compete in a triathlon in 2010.

So, happy steps, pedaling, & stroking to all!


P.S. I went off the high dive twice on Labor Day weekend. I love being a "hot" grandma!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLCB1023 9/27/2009 1:37PM

    OMG, you are amazing!!! I will be cheering you on and doing a happy dance at your first triathalon. emoticon

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SHANNONSNAIL 9/23/2009 10:12PM

    Can't wait to hear more about your classes soon!

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KRZYKAT3 9/23/2009 2:24PM

    WTG hot Grandma! Nice to see you are enjoying yourself and with such determination to meet your goals! I love your swimming stories of being young. Didn't we all just jump in with enthusiasm and not even think about if we looked good while we were doing it? Who cared as long as we had fun!!

Kids today have so much pressure to be the BEST at athletics to get college scholarships or be in the olympics or pros or....

Oh for the days of jumping in, getting wet, splashing around until you were too tired to move and slumping down in a chair, getting dry and starting all over again!

Comment edited on: 9/23/2009 2:38:58 PM

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CYNTHIALEE45 9/23/2009 11:43AM

    You're the greatest. You've got me remembering how much fun it is to go swimming. Perhaps I'll just go buy a bathing suit, put it on my less than perfect bod and have some fun.

Easy on the eyes--that always helps! You're awesome!!!


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CANICE 9/23/2009 9:10AM

    Donalie, you go, girl!
You are one "Hot Grandma!"

What caught my attention in this blog was your swimming instructor, "Easy on the eyes", was he? {smile}

I'm proud of you!!!

Spread the Spark!

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METIMEISNOW 9/23/2009 8:52AM

  OMG - if only I could last a half hour on any ONE of those items you listed! LOL....

You made me chuckle with your "easy on the eyes" comment. Hey maybe that is what I need - a good looking coach to keep me going. Ha Ha.

Seriously, you definitely sound like you got a plan & I wish you well with your training for the triathlon.

GOOD LUCK & have a GREAT day!

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DAISYBILL 9/23/2009 8:48AM

    OMG.. You are amazing !! How wonderful that you are getting to do the things you love. A triathalon ?..... you GO girl. How much fun is this ??????

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FITKAT2010 9/23/2009 7:32AM

    You are simply HOT! So happy that you are living your passion and your dreams are coming to fruition!

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Cape Fear River Trail, Fayetteville, NC

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Four SparkNorthCarolina members and their family started the 5 & 8 mile trek of the Cape Fear River Trail @ 9 am this morning. The trail was completely paved with water and restrooms available along the way. We shared it not only with each other but lots of folks working on fitness via walking, running, and biking.

The foliage was full providing shade for most of the walk. The humidity felt like 100%, I believe we managed to stay hydrated despite the beads, or in my case, buckets of sweat produced. The site and sound of a small waterfall gave us momentary respite from the heat. A covered bridge enticed us to discover more.

Half of the team turned around at 5 miles, the remaining half completed the 8 miles. We were met about 2 miles from the end by security warning us of impending rain with possible thunder and lightning. We stepped quite a bit faster from that point on with sprinkles and a bit of thunder urging us onward.

We met as virtual strangers on the same journey to become fit and healthy. We shared a portion of that journey together and became friends reaching a clearer understanding of the reasons behind it.

Way to go SparkNorthCarolina!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALB@ATIME 9/1/2009 8:46AM

    Sounds like you had lots of fun...awesome pics

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CANICE 8/24/2009 10:00AM

    Great Blog!

Yes, we had good time hiking, and chatting, and dodging Rain and bikers. {grin}

My plan was to turn around at the 2 1/2 mile marker, but I obviously missed that!
We got going up the hill, and it dawned on me that I had gone further than I had wanted to go.

Rut-Roh! THAT MEANT I had to go back that much further.

The highlight of the day was the group photo before we parted ways.
There was a Porti-Potty directly in front of us that had a SIGN next it that said, "Emergency Parking Only."

Like don't park on this potty unless it's an emergency? emoticon emoticon emoticon

There was a paved parking area there.
Not sure WHO would be parking there...

As Donalie pointed out, there was a Thunder Shower "Threatening" to dump on our heads. As a matter of fact, as my family came out of the woods and entered the parking lot, it was just starting to sprinkle.

My family drove to Raleigh after the hike, and I met up with Spark Member, Tracey.
It POURED RAIN for most of our drive to and from Raleigh!

We got hit later that night in Fayetteville.
Thank you, Lord, for the Rain!

Thank you, Donalie, for bringing your camera, taking photos, and posting them on here!
Thank you to all who made it out to the First Monthly Fayetteville Cape Fear River Trail Hike.

I hope MORE people can join us next month!


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KRZYKAT3 8/23/2009 9:52PM

    Glad you missed the rain!

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DEMIKIT 8/22/2009 9:22PM

    I am so glad you were able to make it, it sounds like you guys had a good time!! I am hoping that I will be able to go to one of the upcoming walks, but we will see!!

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MBOOTHE 8/22/2009 7:40PM

    Thank you for sharing this. We were thinking of ways to make it work for us to go. I was torn. My kids wanted to go to the Lake to ride the jet ski w/ their grandma. But they also wanted us to go w/ them. We thought we were going to be able to walk w/ you guys then go to Jordan Lake. But If we had done that the rain would have stopped us from riding the kids on the jet ski. If the rain was not in the forecast we would have all came out to walk then went to the Lake. I hate I missed out. & I was looking forward to going. It looks like you guys had a great time. I wish I could have gone to both places :o)

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EDUCGRAD 8/22/2009 5:36PM

    So glad you were able to go!Thanks for the great pictures.

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CAROLJ35 8/22/2009 4:52PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon I'm so proud of you and your accomplishments!!! You have become so adventurous!!! And you look so emoticon!!!

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