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 (rest day)                             
End:  Same
Today's Miles:                        -0-
Cumulative Miles:           1,126.9
 'Wow!  I finally got up to you!  It took several days of diligent
reading while my house fell apart around me but was it ever
worth it.  Keep going!  Now, I'm going to scrub some dishes
and make some salad while waiting for your next installment."
- encouraging e-mail from a reader named Michelle

Two scenes from Day 65 in PA:  double blazes indicating a turn through the hay bales, above; the deep green-ness along Conodoquin Creek, below.

Jim teases me about my "fan mail" but I keep reminding him that most of the terrific letters we receive are addressed to both of us.

After all, most folks who are reading this journal know that I couldn't possibly fulfill my dream of running the Appalachian Trail without his assistance - and sacrifices.

This trek has been harder for him in many ways than for me. After all, it's my dream, not his. But he knows how important it is for me to accomplish this goal and he's doing his best to help me reach it. That's a lot of what a marriage or partnership is about, after all.

I'm just totally thrilled with the number of folks from around the world who've written to us to express their support and who are enjoying our adventure vicariously. Your letters are great!

Several people have expressed the same sentiment as the lady I quoted above - they had a hard time stopping once they began reading the journal. What a wonderful compliment; thank you!

Sorry for the sleepless nights and un-done housework. Hey, I've heard the quote, "You can sleep when you're dead," and you know the housework is always going to be there . . . so if something really grabs your interest, do it.

I've gotten mesmerized before, too, by something I'm reading and can't put down so I know what you mean. I just never dreamed that an adventure of my own would fall into that category. All of this is new to me: an exciting trek, writing a journal about it, putting it on-line for the world to see, and getting feedback from four continents. Wow!

This is mind-boggling to me, a woman who had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the world of computers in the late 1980s at work. I resisted getting a computer at home until 1996. Now I don't know how I'd live without one! Same thing with the microwave oven and cell phones. I'm not exactly an "early adopter" of new technology and I'd be lost without Jim's technological expertise. I write the journal but he makes it look good on the screen.

Although I have a lot of internal motivation to complete this run your comments and encouragement make it even more important to me to finish. I've already mentioned that many people have said my journey run is an inspiration to them to follow their own goals and dreams. That is so great! Letters like that just make my day.

So keep the letters coming and I'll try to be discreet if I quote you. I don't want to embarrass anyone.


Ahhh . . . I was able to get in to see my new massage therapist, Lisa Wade, this morning. Bless her! This is just my second time seeing her. Although she does deep work I felt better when I left her office after 90 minutes under her capable hands.

I mentioned yesterday the problems I've had sleeping the last few nights, the increased knee pain the last several runs, and some new muscle cramping. Although I slept well last night in our bed at home my legs and hips felt absolutely awful this morning when I got up, especially at the insertion points in my hips. I could barely walk!

Lisa got the kinks out, although I'm still stiff if I sit too long. I look like a cripple when I first get up!

And my chiropractor, Dr. Brian Slakman, bless his heart, also had time to work me in this morning right after the massage. My right hip (the one that hurt the most) was badly out of alignment. He fixed that and the other places (spine, ankles) that needed adjusting. He also recommended an electrical stimulation on my lower back; it felt great. Dr. Slackman is very enthusiastic about my adventure run and wants me to do well. I appreciate his support and confidence in me.

So I feel kinda like a new woman now after all this therapy and two days of rest! I think maybe with a warm, soaking bath before bed I'll sleep like a baby tonight and be good to go again on the Trail on Thursday.


There's always a lot to be done when we come home for a couple days: getting the last few weeks of mail and sorting through it; doing laundry (six or seven loads this time); washing the truck, camper, and dogs; cleaning the house; taking care of the yard and gardens; gathering up items to take back with us; shopping, renewing prescriptions, and running various errands; planning ahead on the trip (running segments, campgrounds); catching up on e-mail and correspondence; journal writing; etc.

I don't usually rest much on rest days, if you're visualizing me sitting in my recliner with my feet up! But at least my body isn't getting beaten up on the rocks for three days.

My shoes and orthotics are also getting beaten up by the rocks. I tossed out one pair of Montrail Hardrocks after only 400 miles because the soles were showing considerable wear. I'm certain the midsole was wearing out, too. Other pairs have lasted 500-600 miles on softer terrain. I expect to go through four to five pairs of Hardrocks and one or two pairs of Vitesse on this run, plus the VT100.

Not sure what to do about the orthotics. They're falling apart and are beyond refurbishing again. They are out of warranty now and may not be best for my "current feet" anyway. I got them after ankle surgery over three years ago. I got fitted for new ones this past winter but didn't want to pay $400 for them when my insurance carrier said it wouldn't cover them. I talked with my chiropractor today about some less expensive ones he uses. He recommended I continue using the ones I have until the AT run is over, unless they cause me problems.

Meanwhile Jim had a good run on familiar trails at Explore Park this morning, then got new tires on the truck so the rest of our trip will be safer. He's stayed busy all day doing various chores and getting ready for a five-hour run tomorrow before we head back to Pennsylvania in the afternoon.

I've enjoyed my days off but you know what? I am anxious to get back out on the Trail. Every day there is a gift. What a national treasure we have!

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

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2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil