Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just call me mountain goat!

This past week Don was away on business, so I was a single mom. Again I utilized the baby jogger, and also some good friends, so I could get in my runs.  I had one big test this week, I took the kids camping up at the Mountain Institute in Spruce Knob, West Virginia. I packed up the car and headed into the mountains all by myself, including setting up the tent for the first time in my life.

Now, you may be sitting there saying, SO What! But for this Jersey Girl, it's kind of a big deal. I wasn't in girl scouts, my family didn't go camping, and I was only allowed to go to 4H camp one year. So until the age of 25 I had very little outdoorsy experience. I do love it now though!

The trip to the mountains was also to run the half marathon portion of the WV Trilogy. Some crazy ultra runners, who will remain nameless, thought up this weekend of torture. On Friday there is a 50k, Saturday a 50 miler, then Sunday the half.  They also have a 5k that Don and I ran last year when I was pregnant.
                               finish line of the trilogy

Once you get outside of Elkins, you have no cell service. I was driving dirt mountain roads with two young kids and no cell service. I was a little nervous. But, I had enough food and water for two days and I wasn't completely isolated, there were some homes along the way, and it was a beautiful fall weekend, so there were lots of people around checking out the leaves.

Thanks to Lara Lehman I was able to run the half without worry. We started at 9 am and I left the kids in her capable hands at the finish line. After our first little 2 mile loop around the Mountain Institute's property, we headed down a huge downhill to a creek which we had to cross not once, but twice. I managed to stay relatively dry, although my friend Pete did splash me as I came through the creek the second time.  After heading down the creek for a bit, we started back into the trails for what seemed like forever uphill. This is where I stumbled a bit and may have broken my toe. I'm no doctor, but it hurts! I was about 5 miles in, so I just kept on running! Up and Up and Up we went until I'm pretty sure we were at the top of Spruce Knob (the highest point in WV). We finally got to turn around. We were on a road section of the course at this point, but I couldn't take full advantage of it because of my painful toe.  We headed back the way we came, then headed down a different trail. This took us to an open field, at which point I lost the trail. I stood there for about a minute trying to figure where we were supposed to go when two guys came from behind me and we finally found the marker down the field. I was being blinded by the sun and couldn't see it before. We then headed back onto a trail which went through some fields at which point we had to jump some farm fences. I had heard talk about a fence the night before and I thought "surely they are joking", but no, they were not, and there was not just one, but four. I think. I lost count!  While going over one of the fences I thought to myself  "I can't believe I am 36 years old and I am jumping friggin fences!" Then I thought "Good for me!!"After all that we came out along the creek again. Almost home at this point, but not before we had to climb back up the huge hill we went down in the 3rd mile.  I was happy to be at the finish line. But I must say, it was a fun race and a beautiful weekend for the second year in a row.
                                Eileen is a happy camper!

When I did get back to the finish (in first place), Eileen was playing on her blanket with her blocks and Travis was playing in the woods with some other kids. Neither seemed to be effected by my absence.  After I showered and packed up our tent, they had a pig roast and awards. We were then on our way back home, another adventure into the wilderness, with my broken toe on the pedal!

Recipe of the Week
Pumpkin Turkey Chili
I tbsp Vegetable oil, 1 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup green bell peppers, 1/2 cup yellow peppers, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 lb. ground turkey (I used two), 1 can diced tomatoes (I used two), 2 cups pumpkin puree, 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1 dash salt, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream.  Cook up the oil, onions, peppers and garlic in a skillet. Add the ground turkey to brown. Throw it all in the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 4-5 hours and then add the cheese and sour cream.

I added Corn because I didn't have yellow peppers and I like corn in my chili. I also added a can of kidney beans. Right now this is cooking in my crock pot.

 Picture of the Week
                                   Leaving the Mountain Institute

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