Sunday, November 11, 2012

Zero to Thirteen

I miss running. I miss the feeling of the ground pounding beneath my feet, the air deep inside my lungs, and the wind in my hair. I miss the strength running gives to my legs and my core. I miss the freedom that fitness gives you. I miss it all so much, I can hardly take it anymore.

So, why am I not running? Oh, there are so many reasons and excuses I could use here... but do you really want to hear them? Two knee injuries. Heavy school (and now work) loads. Laziness. Relocations. Weather. Now, some of those excuses were plenty valid for a while, but I can no longer think of one that doesn't involve utter laziness.

I stopped running in 2001 after I seriously injured my knee for the second time. It was my own fault - not my body's. I was running 6 miles/day plus going to the gym once or twice a day... PLUS working on my feet in heels at night. I wasn't eating right, or sleeping right, and I definitely wasn't resting when I should. My body just gave out. So when I started my senior year of college, my injury and my course/workload gave me an easy excuse to quit. Oh, how I wish it would have been temporary.

Through the years, I have made many, MANY attempts to pick up my exercise routine again. I've tried running, but I always get worried once I move from the treadmill to the open road. I exercise, but with no real regularity. Luckily, my dog requires at least 2 walks a day... of which, I participate in one of them. UGH! Why do I continue to let myself get so lazy???

This summer, I participated in two 5Ks. The most fun of the two was the Color Me Rad 5K. Never heard of it? Basically, it's a casual run during which you are pelted with corn flour color bombs. It was so much fun!

I know the new year is a couple of months away, but I am already preparing one of my resolutions. Starting last week, I have been training to run again. Ideally, I want to get myself to a point where I could do a half marathon by this time next year. I know I should start with a "Couch to 5k" program, but why stop there? There are several races I'd like to do between now and then, so I might as well get started. Here is my list for 2013, helping prepare me to go from zero to 13.1:

I'm sure I'll hear of other shorter runs that I'll want to participate. The goal the really is just to make it fun to run again. I used to love it so much, I didn't need a gimmick to entice me to do it. Now that I'm lazy and in my 30s, though, a gimmick now and then doesn't hurt. Ha! 

I'll make sure to post my crazy race stories as they happen. Until then, I hope you'll be cheering me along. Come hell or high water, I will be fit again.

Until next time...

--- Becks

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hiking with Giants

Hello, my friends! Sorry it has been such a long time since I last posted anything. October turned out to be quite a busy month! My mom came to visit early in October, which was a real treat. My brother was able to get some of the time off too, so we had a great time. One of the amazing things we did was take a drive to the Sequoia National Forest. 

Sequoia National Forest

First - a confession. This was not my first trip to Sequoia. I had gone on no less than 2 adventures to this forest, trying to find the Trail of 100 Giants. I had grown up in the mountains of northern New Mexico/southern Colorado, and had seen plenty of pine forests. It wasn't until I heard of the giant trees in the Sequoias that I ever wanted to actually travel to see a forest. From what my teacher told me, the trees were the largest in the world. You could park a bus inside them! This completely blew my mind, and I knew that one day I would just have to see them. So why not go until now? Well, Google maps doesn't have the trail mapped - crazy, right? Well-meaning coworkers gave me instructions that got me lost in the forest, and I never can read/understand the forest service maps. I was, however, determined to change this when mom came to town. 

For this trip, I opted to go by way of Hwy 99 north to 65, then cut over to County Road J22/Ave 56 to California Hot Springs. This is a very quiet, desolate road with very little cell phone service. I advise you of this so that you make sure you have a full tank of gas and a spare tire in case you need it (we only came across 5 or 6 cars the entire drive). It is an easy drive, though, with amazing scenery. I think mom really loved it! (Note: These directions are incomplete - check out this link for directions).

A foggy afternoon near California Hot Springs

After about an hour and half drive, we had finally arrived! These trees completely lived up to my expectations. There are few things that take my breath away, and this was definitely one of them. Truly awesome! Below are some of the amazing pictures we captured from that day:

Trail marker at the beginning of the trail

Giant looming behind the more normal-sized trees

A one hundred year old "sapling" in front of a mid-size Sequoia

This giant fell on the trail last fall (of 2011), and closed the trail for several months. 
The chainsaws aren't strong enough to cut it up, so they're leaving it there. 

Mom and my brother at the base of one of the trees

Brother and I inside one of the trees - you could literally park a truck in here

Beautiful sunset on our way home

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. If you haven't gone before, I totally recommend it. It's truly amazing! I have many more adventures to post, and promise to do so when I have time. 

Until next time...

--- Becks