Barefoot Mama

"I started running barefoot in March 2008. I started one step at a time, one day at a time. I decided to start keeping a journal of sorts. Sharing my history, my journey and my adventures."

I have taken some new paths in relation to my running over the last year. This blog will still include my running adventures but I have to move on with more stories of my family and the journey we have taken together over the last year. This blog was started as a way to help me record my barefoot journey but now needs to become more than that. Please be patient as I explore ways to stay connected with family and friends.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Appalachian Trail Adventure /Support the American Cancer Society

All winter I have been planning a hiking trip with my friend Paula. We will start at Mount Katahdin and hike the Appalachian Trail south as far as we can. We are hoping to cover 10-20 miles a day but we will have to take into account weather, steep mountain climbs and how well our gear works. Just like any event I have completed; sometimes there are things that we cannot control and we'll  have to learn to roll with the punches.

The planning process has involved reading many books about the Appalachian Trail, studying maps and trail guides, talking with other people who have hiked the trail, buying the right backpack, learning what to bring and testing out the equipment. I have learned that since I only weight 105 pounds that I am limited to the amount of stuff I can physically carry. I have gone through several trials and have come to the conclusion that the most I can comfortably carry is about 27 pounds. And that can only include my survival gear, a few necessary clothing items, a sleeping bag with a bivy sack, 1 change of shoes and 3 days of food. Needing to take calorie dense food and about 2200 calories day is what I have come up with as well as water. My friend is carrying the water filter.

I did a hike to test my gear and my ability to carry it.  I carried my 21 pound pack 8.5 miles in 3 1/2 hours. The mountains I climbed were only about 1200 feet. The ones I will encounter on my hike will be 3000-5000+ feet.  I feel like my gear survived the test. I stopped to  take some pictures, stopped at the top of the last mountain for a 10 minute break and stopped once to pee. I think I can manage a little more weight but some other things will have to be eliminated in order for me to be comfortable. I really would like my pack to weigh closer to 25 pounds not the 27 it currently weighs. 2 pounds makes a huge difference. I still need to test some food options and see if I should really carry a walking stick or not. I also can't decide if I want to carry my hammock or just the sleeping bag.

Why am I doing this? There are several reasons:  One is that I need to prove to myself that I can do this. Hiking in the woods seems to be what I need. I LOVE trail running and hiking. The more I think about it the more excited I become. Second, I was inspired by my friend and fellow Crow member who did his own trip from Maine to Washington DC last November and I believe that we are capable of doing anything we set our minds to.  I'll only know if I can -  if I do. This will be another thing to cross of my Bucket List as well. Why wait ? If I put it off I may never have the opportunity to do it. This just seems like the right time. And this will give me the opportunity to put in the training I need to run well in my next 50K which will be a National Championship.

I also thought that this would be a good way to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society celebrates its 100 year anniversary this month. I hope to cover more than 100 miles to help them celebrate. And I will return from my hike and  join my family in our local Relay for Life event. Our team "One Family Fighting Back" will relay around the track for 12 hours to honor and remember our family and friends who have had to deal with cancer.

In an earlier post I wrote: "Another great adventure (and the JFK 50)" I stated that I hoped my next adventure would include my family.  My children will see me off at the start and my husband will meet me every 3-4 days to resupply me with food. The children will be a part of this adventure through texts and information  they receive from their father and they will follow along with me on a map with their highlighters. I hope to be able to text in information so they know I am safe but other than that I will try not to contact anyone.

I still need to test more gear, hike one last hike with my pack, prepare the family for my absence and run in a 50K at Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival before my adventure.

My husband will take over my Blog while I am gone to keep everyone posted on how I am doing on the trail. He will also post on my Facebook page. AND to answer the question: Will I go barefoot? I'll just have to wait and see what the trail has to offer before I make that decision.

If you would like to make a donation to my American Cancer Society's Relay for Life Team here is a link. Please don't feel any pressure to do so. My favorite saying is, "It's all good" Hugs to all. :) Birthday

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We survived the winter...

Spring has arrived and the loons are back in the pond. Ducks and geese are here. We hear the loons calling at night and it's a wonderful sound. Being in the woods on the edge of a pond really made the winter special. Just heard the coyotes a few nights ago, right outside the door. The dogs went crazy! We can hear them call at night. I think they are watching us. It's funny because one daughter leaves her shade open so she can look out and see the night and all it's glory and the other daughter closes her shade to block out all the "scary" things in the night. I'm hoping it's a stage and she'll eventually keep her shade open so she can look out into the night. We kept a small patch of the ice clear of snow for ice skating and I went snowshoeing and cross country skiing across the ice until MARCH! The dogs had a blast running across the ice and playing in the snow. We didn't get out the ice fishing gear and we never had a bon fire on the ice. We were toasty warm with our propane heat. We only experienced about 3 days of frozen water pipes. It was a bit chilly on the below freezing mornings to go out and use the outside facilities but we managed all winter with very few complaints from the children.

To give ourselves a break from the Maine winter and to visit with family and friends. We took a much needed vacation to the south for 2 weeks in February. It was fun to be barefoot all day and to run barefoot on the beach everyday. I also did a 10K trail race in southern Florida. The race director had just finished the miami half marathon barefoot and it was nice to meet him. He had great enthusiasm for running and fitness. We came back to face the task of digging our way back to the camper through 3 feet of snow.

The kids love it here. Call it home and it is. It wasn't all fun and glory. We had times when the tight/small space would get on our nerves and we'd need a break from each other. But for the most part things were ok. We taught the kids to play cribbage this winter and my 10 year old loves it. She's competitive like her mama and has beaten me on several occasions. We had two pigs that went off to the butcher before it got too cold. It was a sad day but we knew they would feed us all winter and every time we have bacon the kids ask me which pig it is. It sounds like a terrible thing but they wanted to say thanks for their food and honor the right pig.

The fiddleheads passed before I could pick any. :( The dandelions are ready to be picked but I don't have the space to process the jam this year.  I still have a few jars left from last spring though. I went out to my cold frame and opened it up and low and behold we have kale and swisschard growing. YUM! I haven't planted the garden yet. We just had another 32 degree night so the garden will have to wait a couple more weeks. But our compost pile is growing by the day and the hay bales that we put around the bottom of the camper this winter for insulation are going to be the new home for my potatoes. A friend gave me a Jerusalem Artichoke, which is a root vegetable, and I've planted that and am hoping for the best. My raspberries over wintered and are gonna be strong and tall this summer as well. Things are growing like crazy and turning green and we are excited about it all.

Looking forward to the summer....