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:             737.1
"You're better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can." - Ken Chlouber in his annual pre-race speech to Leadville 100 entrants

Tiny, bright mushrooms growing on a log

Flame azaleas brighten up the foggy Mountain Lake Wilderness Area.     Photos taken 6-13-05.

This is a zero day, our last day at home. It was nice to be home several days but there are too many distractions here to keep focused on my trek - cleaning, weeding, other chores that stare at you. If you have a house and yard, you know what I mean. It's easier for both Jim and me to relax when we're using the camper as our base.

I spent a lot of time this morning figuring out my next two weeks of running and we both agonized over where to camp. That's one thing that takes us a lot of time. We're torn between using  nice public campgrounds that are spacious and quiet, but often have no utilities. It's so hot now that we'd like to have air conditioning so it's comfortable in the camper when we get back each afternoon. It's difficult to sleep well when it's hot. We'll likely stay in campgrounds with electricity as long as it's really warm.

Although Jim called several campgrounds to inquire about size limits and hook-ups, the only reservations we made were for the Vermont 100 in July. We were able to reserve a site at our first choice there and found a kennel for the dogs. Jim is still planning to run the race, too. He has until June 24 to withdraw.


I'd like to mention the amazing letters we've been receiving from folks all over the country - and world - who are reading this journal. I never imagined such a wide audience. Through the miracle of technology, this link has spread world-wide on links such as CoolRunning. I intended the journal mainly for ultra runners and some hikers with whom I corresponded before starting the adventure run, but I'm delighted and flattered that so many other people are enjoying it, too.

Many of the letters express how much I've inspired the correspondents to start running, increase their mileage, or attain some other goal. Every time I read one of these messages, it inspires ME more to achieve this goal of reaching Katahdin. Thank you for your encouragement and support! It helps a lot.

One of my goals in writing the journal was to inspire others to strive for their own goals and dreams. I didn't mean just athletic goals, but educational, career, relationship, and other goals like starting a new hobby, learning a foreign language, planting a garden, volunteering for a worthy cause, adopting a child - whatever would bring more purpose and joy into someone's life. I wanted to encourage people to think about what would make them happy (or those around them), and DO IT.

When I was in graduate school in counseling psychology, I taught a series of "life planning" exercises to undergrads who weren't sure of the direction in which they wanted to go with their lives. This is similar.

One of the messages I want to convey is not to wait until you're retired to do the things you love. Do them NOW. If it's an athletic goal like hiking or running a long trail, e.g., it's a lot easier when you're younger! Besides, you don't know how many days you've got on this earth. If you keep putting things off that bring you pleasure, you may never enjoy them.

On the other hand, if you're older don't hesitate to try new things. They will keep you younger, both mentally and physically. Many retirees are in their "second childhood," happily growing and experimenting when they finally have the time and other resources and are not limited by their careers and kids any more.

We're all capable mentally and physically of so much more than we think we can do. Many ultra runners have discovered this and continually test their limits to see how far they can go (literally). I might point out that many ultra runners also exceed the norm in other areas of their lives, too. Many have high standards, outstanding careers, high education levels.

As I said in one of my early PREP pages, if a 56-year-old arthritic, menopausal woman can pull this off, think what you can do!

Putting it "all out there" on the internet is risky for me (embarrassing if I don't finish), but it helps keep me motivated to finish. I have high standards for myself and like to set my goals high so the satisfaction is greater when I reach them. I am determined and committed to this endeavor.

I hope you find goals that make you as happy as this one makes me.

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

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  2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil