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


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Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
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Start: Roanoke, VA                                             
End:  Roanoke, VA
Today's Miles:                        -0-
Cumulative Miles:            648.9

“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.”   - Tommy LaSorda


What I felt like after today's massage (that's Sally, the therapist's dog, asleep in the room while I was getting massaged!)

Brain-like fungus on a log during yesterday's slog through the woods

Just to prove that I haven't totally lost my sense of humor, I offer the two photos at left.

In the past five days I have broken my first two "rules" for this adventure run:

#1  Don't get injured.

#2  Have fun!

So today I'm invoking Rule #3: Flexibility and adaptability. I have to heal my injuries and get the fun back into this adventure!

(Those are my only "rules," thank goodness.)

I woke up after one more night of not enough sleep and my whole body ached. I couldn't sleep on my right side because of the road rash on my arm and leg. It even hurt on my back and left side. My ankle/lower leg was not swollen, but still tender to the touch.

I simply didn't feel like running today. So I didn't. I played hooky.

My recent massage therapist was out of town this week so I called the woman whose yoga classes I'd taken a few times at the YMCA this spring. She is a licensed massage therapist and was able to see me this afternoon. Lisa Wade gave me a very thorough, very deep two-hour massage, the longest one I've gotten in 23 years of massage sessions in three different cities. Hopefully, it will help me when I get back out on the Trail Friday.

I couldn't resist taking the photo of Lisa's dog, above. Sally is a sweet little girl and knows a dog lover when she sees one. I had put my clothes on the overstuffed chair where she's lying. When Lisa came in to give me my massage, she laughed and said that was the dog's chair. She moved my clothes to another chair, and Sally bounded onto the pillows. Sally didn't move during the two hour session - or after! I took this photo as I was getting dressed again. I wanted to nudge her over and take a nap right then and there!

But I couldn't. I had errands to run and weeds to pull and dinner to make. It wasn't exactly a relaxing day, but my body got a break from being on the Trail all day, and Jim had some time to run and work on the camper.


We got a nice surprise today from one of our Montana ultra running buddies, Gary Thomas, who lives near Helena. When we lived in Billings, we'd see him at the Big Horn and Elk Horn ultra races, where he would give away at least one pair of his beautiful sheepskin slippers to a lucky runner. We always intended to buy some for ourselves, but just never got "round to it."

Gary has been enjoying the journal, especially the photos from Charlie's Bunion in the Smokies. They brought back some great memories of backpacking there with his father every spring when he was in high school, Gary wrote, "and it touched that memory file, to my great delight."

Feedback like this just makes my day, folks! There are several reasons I include photos every day, and this is one of them.

Anyway, Gary saw that we would be home for a few days this week. He wanted our shoe sizes so he could send us a "care package for the evenings."  

"Keep at it!" he continued. "I admit to no small amount of jealousy over your trip. I can't wait to read about New England and Maine."

We responded promptly, delighted by his generosity and support, then sort of forgot about it in our general busy-ness the last few days.

So I was surprised when I looked on the front porch this evening and found the box from High Plains Sheepskin, Gay's company. He's been making these beautiful slippers and other sueded sheepskin/wool products (including hats and mittens) for 27 years.

We can vouch that the slippers are very well made and oh, so comfortable. Gary notes that wool is breathable, so it is cool in the summer and warm in the winter; these slippers can be worn year-round.

In a letter included with the slippers, Gary wrote, "If all goes well, they will give your feet some R & R. Hope they help in some small way to get you to Baxter Park and Katahdin."

That is so sweet of you, Gary. Jim and I appreciate your generosity, friendship, and support of this journey run.

If you'd like to see the sheepskin products Gary makes, go to his web site at

Today ended up so much better than yesterday, thanks to a day to collect my thoughts, heal a bit, get caught up on some things at home, and to share memories and a treasured gift from a thoughtful friend.

Life is good,

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

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© 2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil