Friday, August 15, 2008

somewhere out there

Out late tonight taking care of things, I saw the nearly-full moon and wondered who else of my friends and family might be seeing the same thing ...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

off the trail

I have never thought of myself as much of a rule-breaker. But sometimes it's just irresistible ... The day after the race, we went to visit Munising Falls. They're very pretty! We stood on the platform at the end of the trail, took some nice photos of the falls, read the signs about "don't leave the trail, falling rock, erosion, blah blah blah", and then we hopped the fence and walked over to the falls. Let me tell you, it's a much cooler experience standing underneath the waterfall than looking at it from the platform. Standing on the platform, I was an observer of nature; standing underneath the falls I was part of nature.

We had a little more off-trail fun on our way back from the falls - there was a terrific mossy ledge on the side of a hill that was just begging to be the background for some group photos. Over the fence we went again. This was one of those moments when it was crucial to have friends around - friends who are better at climbing up mossy hillsides off the side of the trail - I may have chickened out if they hadn't been there to show me the right footholds and lend me a hand to grab onto.

We spent the entire next day at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. One of the highlights was Miner's Castle, a sandstone formation that used to have two castle-esque turrets - now it has just one - but it is still a gorgeous sight to see, perched on the edge of Lake Superior. After the Castle we hiked around to Miner's Falls, which was even prettier than Munising Falls. What a pity that the viewing platform was at the top of a steep rocky-looking hill and we couldn't possibly climb over ... then I saw someone climb over. I can't remember who went first. Even after the first person went, I hesitated - it just didn't look do-able - but after a few moments I knew I would regret it if I didn't climb down.

The climb didn't turn out to be too bad, and it could have been ten times worse and still worth it. [Sheila pauses for several moments trying to figure out how to describe the Miner's Falls experience to her readers. A picture is worth a thousand words, so she gives up and just uploads a couple more photos.]
Later at another waterfall I decided I could not possibly follow my friends across the rushing stream since they crossed on a fallen log that looked really unsteady. Then I climbed down the bank and crossed on the unsteady log and had a great time at the top of the waterfall. Overall, some of the best moments of this trip happened off the trail. And if I hadn't been there with my adventurous friends I wouldn't have had nearly so much fun. Thanks, guys.

Friday, August 1, 2008

on the trail

Our vacation to the Munising, on the shores of Lake Superior, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, was so wonderful I barely know how to tell you about it - but I'll try. Here's part 1:

The inspiration for the trip was the Grand Island Trail Run. Justin, Kyle, Pete, & Pete ran the marathon and the rest of us spent the weekend in awe of the fact that those guys really ran 26.2 miles. Sarah H. and I ran a measly 6.2 miles. I am proud to say I came in 158th out of 170, but the more significant fact is that I had a GREAT time running it. I came into the weekend confident in my decision not to run any more 10Ks after this one: training had been difficult, the Sunburst was awful, it just seemed like 5Ks were probably more my thing. But then I ran the Grand Island 10K. I felt great, the weather was wonderful, I listened to some excellent music along the way ... two highlights of the actual run:

1. At one point my running synced up with my music perfectly so that the inspiring song I was listening to came to a powerful crescendo just as I ran out from under a canopy of trees into a bright golden clearing filled with wildflowers. Gee whiz, was that beautiful.

2. One of the songs on my "running" playlist was "Whatever It Is" by Ben Lee - check out the lyrics here - this song is important to me as a runner for two particular phrases: "Are you changing/Do you know it, do you feel it" and "Awake is the new sleep/so wake up/wake up". It was awesome to be running through the woods on this gorgeous island remembering all the changes that brought me there, and feeling how awake my body was - that's what I've experienced as I've become a soccer player and a runner: that my body woke up to an entirely new part of life. I was so grateful to be doing what I was doing.

So now that I have had one awesome 10K, I am pretty sure I am going to keep doing 10Ks. One reason is that I felt pretty good after this race, barely sore at all. That actually makes me want to run faster and/or farther because the way my legs felt after the first time I ever ran 6 miles, in training, was the most beautiful pain I've ever felt, like my legs were screaming yes! We're growing! Keep doing this! So if I feel fine after a run that probably means I haven't worked hard enough ;) So now I am eager to run the Salmon Chase and the Fall Frolic (we discussed possibly frolicking that whole race, like skipping or jumping rope for 6 miles) to see how much faster I can go. If I really can go faster, which - well, we'll see how it goes. And maybe in the future I will run even farther than 6 miles ...

One last delight of the running experience this weekend was that we managed to convince Christine (one of the Minnesota gals who came camping) that she should begin running too. All she had to do was tentatively express an interest and that was it - we spent the rest of the weekend talking to her about it. I told her all my "didn't think I could do it but by the grace of God I could" stories and took her for a mile(ish) run around the campground Monday morning. It's like a cult or something ;)

Stay tuned for more chapters of our UP vacation stories ...

(ps how do you like my random bolding?)