Jim, Sue, Cody, and Tater at Springer Mtn., start of the Appalachian Trail Adventure Run


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Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
Previous          Journal Topics by Date            Next
Start: Roanoke, VA                                             
End:  Roanoke, VA
Today's Miles:                       -0-
Cumulative Miles:             592.5
"You're very lucky. I wish I had a husband like that!"
-  50-something female who is thru-hiking solo

View inside "Fatman's Squeeze," narrow rock formation on the AT in the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area.  Photo taken on Day 32.

That's one of the two most-frequent comments I get when I tell hikers what I'm doing and how I'm able to do it.

The other is, "What does he do all day while you're out on the Trail?" Ha! See our typical daily schedule below.

I decided at 5 AM to take a rest day today. My lower right leg (maybe shin) is swollen and sore, so I'm icing and elevating it all day. Hopefully, this will prevent further trauma to it and I'll be back on the Trail tomorrow for ten hours or more.

We drove the camper home for a week and we'll drive to the next few trail heads from here. I may be doing some of the segments from Pearisburg north in a random fashion so some of them are closer to home. The two sections that are farthest south will take almost two hours to reach. We have to allow enough time for sleep in there somewhere!

OK, here's what a typical day looks like when I'm on the Trail:



Get up between 4:30 AM and 6 AM, depending on how long a run is planned (both Jim and Sue)


  • get dressed
  • fix feet (blister prevention)
  • go to bathroom
  • eat breakfast
  • review section of Trail I'm running today
  • take dogs to potty (Jim hates picking up poop!)
  • make sure everything needed for the day is in pack
  • collect the maps, guide, other information Jim needs today
  • brush teeth
  • put on Cool Off bandana, whistle, Croakies, headband, visor, jacket (if chilly), ankle supports, orthotics, shoes
  • go to bathroom again
  • say good-bye at trailhead and thank Jim for all he's doing to make this adventure run possible


  • take a shower
  • get dressed
  • fix breakfast
  • wash dishes
  • feed dogs
  • fill Sue's water bladder
  • make sure Sue has everything she needs for her run
  • check e-mail if we have a connection; if not, pack up laptop to take somewhere there is a good connection
  • misc. personal hygiene
  • drive Sue to trailhead
  • get a kiss, thank you, and good-bye hug from Sue



  • run/walk that day's section (I get the easy part!)


  • return to camper to eat breakfast
  • pay bills
  • respond to e-mails
  • download mail at campground or in town/library
  • do laundry
  • buy groceries
  • figure out what to make for supper
  • do routine truck and camper maintenance
  • clean camper inside and out
  • work on whatever just broke (always something!)
  • fill the water tanks if don't have water hook-up
  • check batteries (if we're relying on solar panels)
  • get things Sue needs at end of day (recovery drink, warm clothes, water, food)
  • figure out where to move the camper next
  • occasionally drive around to check out future campgrounds we'll use
  • make campground reservations, if necessary
  • move the camper every few days (many tasks involved in that process)
  • occasionally meet Sue along the Trail somewhere
  • decide when to go get Sue at end of run and whether to take one or both dogs
  • drive to trail head
  • take a nap or read a book while waiting for Sue
  • maybe run in to see Sue
  • if don't run then, usually no time to run at all
  • order new supplies from Hammer Nutrition and Montrail before we go home each time
  • plus whatever else needs doing that day



  • enjoy the ride back to the campground (ahh . . . just feels good to sit!)
  • drink recovery drink and eat salty cheese crackers or muffin
  • take off filthy shoes, ankle supports, orthotics, and socks
  • take a shower
  • hand wash some items for tomorrow and hang them up to dry (Cool-Off bandana, Croakies, visor, hand-held bottle carrier)
  • wash energy drink bottle and refill with new concentrate for tomorrow (Perpetuem or Sustained Energy)
  • wash and refill Hammergel flasks
  • eat lunch if a short day, supper if get home later
  • listen to news and weather report if have TV reception
  • drink lots of water and milk all evening
  • go to the bathroom often
  • read and respond to e-mail
  • edit photos with Photoshop and select one(s) to use in on-line journal
  • write journal entry for that day
  • record data in running log
  • work on tentative schedule for next few days
  • help Jim decide where to move next
  • review tomorrow's section in AT guide book
  • make notes re: distances to road crossings and shelters for next day
  • eat a snack so my stomach doesn't grumble all night (fruit and yogurt, ice cream, rice pudding, etc.)
  • take a walk around the campground if there's time and it isn't raining
  • listen to Jim nag me about getting to bed earlier
  • take dogs out to potty
  • get dogs settled in for the night
  • lay out tomorrow's running clothes
  • get myself ready for bed
  • thank Jim for all he does for me
  • lights out!
  • oh, and go to the bathroom two or three times during the night because I have to stay hydrated, and take out one earplug the last time I'm up so we don't miss the alarm clock


  • wash dog(s) if they got dirty running
  • clean up Sue's shoes, ankle supports, and orthotics
  • take a shower
  • empty Sue's water bladder and hang it up to dry (lid's always too tight at end of day for Sue's arthritic hands to open)
  • clean up his own running gear and supplies
  • prepare dinner
  • eat dinner
  • wash dishes
  • listen to weather report if we have TV reception
  • download photos Sue took that day
  • prepare today's journal page (links) before Sue does the writing
  • download and read personal and ultra list e-mail
  • write letters
  • do miscellaneous mechanical and other chores not done during the day
  • fall asleep in recliner while watching TV or reading
  • get a snack
  • nag Sue about how long her journal entries are
  • proofread what she wrote (sometimes after he uploads it to the internet!)
  • get ready for bed
  • sometimes go to bed before Sue does
  • make sure alarms are set
  • wear only one ear plug while sleeping so we don't oversleep in the morning

Whew! Makes me tired to read all that!

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil