Tuesday, April 28, 2009

North Myrtle Beach Fires

Jim and I went down to our townhouse at North Myrtle Beach on Friday while the big fires were going on. It wasn't that close to us, 5 or 6 miles by the way the crow flies, but none the less scary! They finally opened 31 and 22 so we scooted by there on our way home. Here are a few pics. Some are a tab blurry as I took them while traveling 65 mph!

This is on 31 just north of Barefoot landing. It looks like the fire blew through and didn't totally burn everything.

This is on 31 with homes just north and beyond the fires. I have no idea how many homes were destroyed in this area.

This was on 22 headed to Conway.

On 22 again with burnt trees as far as I could see. So sad.

The fires were still smoldering and there was a lot of smoke on the roadway.

Completely burned out. I saw nothing green here!

Wild Prettiness

My friend Karen (fellow Boy Scout Mom, fellow blogger, and now Book Club pal) blogged about her pretty flowers so it inspired me to post a few pics of random flowers I recently snapped! Actually I was just playing with my new camera!

We found these in the woods along the new housing development behind our beach townhouse. I have no clue what they are!

These were in the bushes at the side of my neighbor's (51A) townhouse. Just across the patio from us. Thanks Julie and Ricardo!

These were just gorgeous blooms that had fallen off the azalea bushes at our townhouse. This pic turned out better than the one I took of them ON the bush!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Flip Flops and Sunscreen and an LL Bean Beach Bag

Just playing with my new Camera. Yeah I know............................random!

Black faced Squirrels

Jim and I were riding our bikes through new neighborhood behind our development at the beach, when a golf cart passed us, then suddenly startled us by making a U-turn, almost causing us to run into each other. He wasn't a serial killer coming to get us, but a nature lover pointing out a squirrel with a black face. I guess we had never paid attention to one or thought it was a raccoon since it was a little bigger than the average grey squirrels we see in North Carolina. We biked home to grab the camera and go back to hopefully find him and get a picture.

Before we even got back t o the same spot, we found two more playing in the road and eventually on the trees. They even let me get pretty close to snap a few pictures. I was almost scared he would run after me! The neighbors say they wait at the golf course for crackers!

The Fire at North Myrtle Beach

The winds changed and on Sunday morning, the air was heavy with acrid smoke. We went to the beach, which was a little better, but the air was foggy and obscured the buildings down the coast

The is the debris from the ash that rained down on the ocean and washed up on the beach!

A black stripe all the way up the beach. Notice how hard it is to see the pier due to the smoke hanging in the air.

After an hour or so the winds changed and blew it all away!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Crooked Bib!

My daughter Jenni pinned her bib onto her running shirt then put in on. It was CROOKED!! Aw just let Mommy do it!

Ready to roll..................er...run!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Proving it to Myself!

Lately I have been on a kick to increase my stamina and rebuild some of the strength that I have lost in the past decade. I started running about 18 months ago and at first could barely run 30 seconds without getting winded. Plus with my asthma, I refuse to let it get the best of me. After finishing the 10K and feeling really good about that, I have set loftier goals! I signed up for a half marathon today! It's the Outerbanks Marathon in November. 13.1 miles...................wow! It's only a little more than double a 10k. If worse came to worse I can walk it in a little over 3 hours.

Well lately, I have wanting to get my bike out and Sunday was a very nice day for that. I had been thinking of biking down Pea Ridge to US 64 and then across the lake to the next stoplight at Wilsonville and then back. It just sounded so-o-o-o-o scary to me. I am not totally sure why! Maybe it was the thought of biking on 64 as the cars whiz by? Maybe it was the thought of being on the road all by myself? Maybe it was the thought of the wind blowing me off the bridge into the water? Maybe it was the thought of the killer hill from the lake to the intersection of US 64 and Mt Gilead/North Pea Ridge Road? It's all uphill for over 2 miles!

So after thinking about a comeback to those thoughts, I decided to do it Sunday on my way home from church............after I washed the car!
The shoulder is actually wider on 64 than North Pea Ridge and I felt safer. I wasn't really on the road all by myself....................plenty of cars whizzed by, plus it WAS daylight. I took my cellphone and had Jim in standby to come get me if I chickened out. The bridge is pretty high and the wind wasn't going to knock me into the lake. Although, I did joke with my brother about having on my inflatable tube and if I got blown in, all I had to do was pull the cord, LOL! The hill was a killer but I geared down and hunkered down and stopped twice between the lake and the stoplight. Yeah, stopping was allowed for a minute or so and a drink of water.

It took me right at an hour to complete the 10.4 miles and the sense of accomplishment was awesome. The view was awesome as it is amazing what you see from the bike. Not to mention how well I slept last night. Yeah I can run/walk 13.1 miles!

Monday, April 6, 2009

2009 Cooper River Bridge Run

Me, my dad, my daughter Jenni and her husband Ben, drove to Charleston on Friday evening for our 2nd Cooper River Bridge Run. We got settled into our hotel home by 11 pm and spent a little time laying out our running outfits and pinning on our bib numbers and affixing the timing chip to our shoes. Lights out finally by midnight and a short sleep as we set the alarm for 5am! Of course we were too keyed up to sleep and I don't feel like I really ever got to sleep at all.

We had some power bars and Gatorade and left the hotel by 5:40 am to walk 6 or 7 blocks to stand in line to get a bus ride to Mt. Pleasant to the start of the race. The line itself is at least 5 or 6 blocks long but it moves pretty fast as they have every bus in the city and surrounding area running to transport runners. At least 10 or 12 pull up, runners board, they pull away and then another group of 10 or 12 comes along. They use city buses, school buses, church buses, activity buses! You name it!

There are no words to describe the first inkling of daylight with it's pink, purple, blue hues over the horizon as we cross the bridge that we will be running over in just a few hours! They let us out and then we walk at least a half mile to the start line. Now that's a moving target as there were 36,190 registered runners. Just the sheer number of people puts the start line spanning over a mile or more. This year we got smart and registered as runners over 60 minutes instead of walkers, so we got closer. We could even see the start line! It took us a mere 7 minutes to get to the start line this year!

So we stretched and chatted and looked at the crowd and moved up twice to fill the gap between the groups of different abilities, then moved back to give everyone room! Then the gun went off and we stood still! And then we inched up a for or two and then we stood still and finally a very slow walk and a little faster and finally crossed the start line. Yaaaaaayyyyyyyy! Then we started on in a trot and it was just amazing to see all those people running in the same direction for the same goal. Ahhh it felt good!

We ran for over 2 miles before we even arrived at the bridge. It's a pretty steep grade at that point going up the ramp. The facts of the bridge state that it is a 4% grade but I am pretty sure that's on the bridge itself and the ramp is steeper. Anyway, we walked most of that!

One of the best feelings is cresting the apex of the bridge and suddenly feeling the strain go away as we start running downhill tirelessly! At the height of this welcomed feeling, I heard a scuffle behind me and then a thud and turned to see my 83 year old dad lying flat on the bridge. I just knew it was him before I turned around as we were weaving in and out through the crowd passing runners and slow joggers. I freaked out and screamed "oh that's my dad!" Some strong men picked him up and set him upright and we moved over to the left to see that he had landed with his left hand knuckle side down and skinned his knuckles pretty badly on the grooved road. Blood was just dripping off his hand. He skinned his right elbow and it was a pretty bad road burn. We immediately went to one of the national guardsmen on the side of the bridge and asked for bandages. He didn't have any but offered to call the EMTs. My dad wasn't having any of that and whipped out his ever present handkerchief, wrapped it around his knuckles and trotted on down toward Charleston! What a trooper! I was all for giving it up and seeing about some medical care but he wasn't having any of that!

So after dripping blood all the way down the bridge, we turned the corner onto Meeting street and came across a water station. We both grabbed a cupful, and then I grabbed another one to pour over his hand. He literally squeezed the blood out of the handkerchief, rewrapped it and kept on running. About 1/2 mile further, I spotted a group of EMTs on bikes and we stopped to ask about bandages. They had some in their fanny packs and whipped out some 4 by 4's and tape. We slapped it on there, and I grabbed the tape and tore it with my teeth, wrapped it around it, thanked them and ran off!

The feeling of running through that area of Charleston is indescribable as there are so many people on the streets cheering us on and offering words of encouragement and high-fiving us! Just a few more turns and finally we see the finish line. We had ended up walking a bit but just had to muster up some energy to run through the finish line! Out time was 81 minutes and 29 seconds. We shaved about 5 minutes off our time from last year and we figured we spent maybe 5 minutes overall dealing with the fall. We were very pleased. The crowd was all but unbearable and we had to fight to get to the water and the fruit. But we managed to find a nice lil wall to sit on and enjoy the crowd and rehydrate and replenish. We wanted to go to the awards arena but he crowd was so thick and I was anxious to get back to the hotel to see the real extent of my dad's injuries.

Thank goodness for my boys being in scouting as I still had the first aid kit one of them had prepared as part of earning their first aid merit badge in the trunk of my car. I was able to bandage him up pretty good til we got back to our house at North Myrtle Beach. So we cleaned up, check out and went to T Bonz for our traditional celebratory lunch and a well deserved beer!

As soon as we returned, the results were posted on the internet and we found out that my dad came in FIRST place in the men's 80 years old and over division!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Cooper River Bridge Run

For the 2nd year, my dad, my daughter, her husband and I are participating in the 31st Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC. It starts in Mt Pleasant and you run (or walk) across the Arthur Ravenel, Jr bridge to historic Charleston. It is 10K (6.2 miles) and the bridge is fairly new; I think this is the 3rd or 4th year across the new bridge. The new Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is 2.5 miles long and 200 feet high (about 30 feet higher than the old bridges). The slope is 4% and the towers are 550 feet tall! last year, I had my camera with me and probably wasted valuable minutes taking pictures at the top of the bridge, but it was well worth it.

My daughter started running about 18 months ago and challenged me to do it too. I hadn't run in years, but she told me about some podcasts that were available called "Couch Potato to 5k in 12 weeks" so I started downloading them to my ipod. I could barely run 30 seconds without dying and had set a goal to be able to run a full mile without stopping by my 50th birthday which was last May. Well i did it!

Now back to the CRBR. My dad is 83 now but he joined us last year and of course again this year. He runs and walks everyday and was able to stay right with me. Actually I am hoping I can keep up with him this year! Last year we finished it in 82 minutes from start line to finish line. However, with a crowd of almost 40,000, it took us almost 20 minutes to even get to the START line! This year we have seeded ourselves as runners over 1 hour instead of walkers so hopefully we will be much closer! These are last years pictures, but I'll post new one next week!