Pete is generous in his praise and very diplomatic about how
"comprehensive" some of my journal entries are!
What can I say? I love to write and brevity has never been one
of my strong suits. I figure those who have the time will wade
through the topics that interest them. Those with less time or
interest can skim the sub-headings or just enjoy the photos.
This year we decided to have some winter adventures, not just
summer ones! So I have a good excuse to begin the 2008 journal
earlier than usual.
This is my fourth journal chronicling Jim's and my ultra running
and traveling adventures and occasional inadvertent misadventures.
The 2005 journal covered our Appalachian Trail thru-run/hike. It
was so much fun to write and the feedback was so gratifying that
I just kept on writing and taking photos on our summer Rocky
Mountain running trips in 2006 and 2007.
Last summer we decided to add in a second trip spanning the end
of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. Our plans morphed several times, but always
included running our first serious attempt at a 24-hour event,
the Across the Years (ATY) 24-, 48-, and 72-Hour Run. We'd
considered it previously, but Phoenix is a long drive from both
Billings, Montana, where we lived in the early 2000s, and
Roanoke, Virginia, our residence the last four years. We
finally realized that the freedom to go anywhere we want, any
time we want is why
we retired early, so let's go!
That's how we find ourselves in Arizona in January.
Jim and Cody run up the Bluff Trail at McDowell Mtn. Regional
Park near Phoenix. 1-8-08
I can't believe two weeks have slipped by so quickly since we
ran Across the Years. All the information about that race is in
2007 journal. We
thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent with friends at Nardini
Manor. The race was a satisfying finale for me to a good year of
running. Although Jim isn't as pleased with his races in 2007,
he's optimistic about 2008. So am I. It's going to be a great
My first entries in this new journal will chronicle what we've
been doing in Arizona since ATY and whatever adventures we have
on the way back home. It will include scenic stops in New Mexico
and another interesting ultra in Texas in a couple of weeks. Jim
has several ultras scheduled this winter and spring to prepare him for
the Bighorn 100-miler in June. He hasn't given up on that one
yet and I'm excited about going back to the Bighorn Mountains.
We'll probably work an aid station again at Hardrock and help
out at Leadville, too.
Or maybe we'll go somewhere else after the Bighorn race . . .
or come up with something totally different this year! One thing we're very good at is being flexible with our
plans. Since I sometimes upload journal entries late, our
relatives have to call or e-mail us to find out where in the
world we are.
Retirement's fun like that! We highly recommend it.
A WORD ABOUT OUR SPONSORS
On the frame at left are links to the companies that have
previously sponsored us and continue to give us discounts on
their products. I can't tell you how many dozens of pairs of Montrail
shoes we've worn in the last ten or twelve years or the copious
amounts of our favorite nutritional items we've consumed from Hammer Nutrition.
We asked for discounts before the AT trek because the products
worked well for us. We still use them (and would even if we
weren't getting a discount) and we continue to recommend that
others give them a try.
Even though we aren't elite ultra runners we try to be good
ambassadors for our favorite sport and these companies value
that. They also appreciate the exposure they receive on this web
site. We are grateful for their continuing support.
NAVIGATING THIS WEB SITE
This is our fourth annual running-related web journal. There are links
to each year in the frame at left, which you should see from every
page of every journal, as well as on the
page. The links take you to each year's topics
page. Scroll down to see the various topics. When you're done with an entry you can go forwards,
backwards, or return to the topics page.
For additional photos click on the link for
more photos. That takes
you to our Picasa photo-sharing site. There are albums covering
various races since 2004 and a "virtual tour" of the entire
Appalachian Trail. I may eventually do a "tour" of the whole
Colorado Trail, but meanwhile many of those photos are already
in the 2006 and 2007 journals.
Jim has links to some other running sites we like on the home
We love receiving feedback from readers. Use the
us link in the frame to the left if you have a
question or comment. I'm still getting questions about the
Appalachian Trail (AT) and hope hikers and runners continue to find
the information in that journal to be useful for years to come.
GO FOR IT IN 2008
One of my original goals for writing the AT journal was to
inspire other people to set big or meaningful goals in their
lives and go after them with all their heart. That's still one
of the reasons I enjoy writing these journals -- to serve as a
role model for being adventurous, regardless of age. We are all
capable of so much more than we think we are even in our middle
and senior years. Some of our "adventures" may be less
physically strenuous than they were thirty years ago, but they
are still "adventures" to us.
Sunrise from our campsite at McDowell Mountain Regional Park.
Jim and I are two athletes nearing sixty years old who refuse to
sit around and die a premature death because of inactivity,
poor nutritional habits, boredom, or fear of the unknown. We like to push our personal mental and
physical envelopes because that's just how we're wired.
Although we see ourselves and our ultra running friends as
"normal" we have continual feedback in our daily lives that we
are NOT the norm in our present society. We hope to be examples
of what men and women in their fifties, sixties, and beyond can
accomplish when they care enough about themselves to pursue
their dreams and seek long, healthy, productive, interesting lives.
I have a recommendation for a good book for our readers who are
middle-aged or older. Heck, you can learn a lot from it even if
you're in your 30s or 40s. It's especially appropriate at this time
of year when many folks are motivated to change their lives, or
are simply unmotivated to get outside and exercise in crummy
winter weather. It's called
Younger Next Year, written by Chris Crowley and Henry
Lodge, MD. There are both men's and women's versions. You
can get the paperbacks for only about $10 each from Amazon or
find them free at your local library.
I'll talk more about the book in another entry. Meanwhile, start
reading it and you'll be champing at the bit to make some
healthy changes in 2008.
It's gonna be a great year! Come along on our new journeys
and have some fun with us.
Next entry: Where the heck are Sue and Jim?? Our 2008 running and travel plans.
Room with a view: busy camper desk,
distracting mountain views
[Note: because we were so busy on this trip AND had
numerous "technical difficulties" with limited internet
connections and Windows Vista on our new laptop computer (it
interacts differently with our software programs than the
familiar Windows XP), the remaining journal entries from this
Southwest trip were finalized and uploaded after we returned
home. The dates correspond to our locations as we traveled and the notes I wrote
at the time.]
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and
© 2008 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil