#Megsmiles and some trail exploration

You can see some neat things on the internet. No, I’m not talking about crazy cat videos or child prodigies. While those are cool, I’m referring to these virtual events that are popping up.

The first experience I had with a virtual event was the virtual half marathon held last January to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. You could complete the run during a specified period of time and for your fee, you received a bib number and a finisher’s award. I believe the money went to a scholarship fund or something like that. Lots of people did it, including a few folks from my running group. (I had the flu and couldn’t run. Boo.)

This most recent event was held in honor of Meg Menzies, a Richmond area runner and mother of 3 who was killed on her morning run by a drunk driver. Her friend created the event online to create awareness for the safety of runners and cyclists. To learn more about this event, check out this article. Some of my friends and I decided to participate. While no money was raised and the children’s mother wasn’t brought back to them, it was neat to see runners from all over the world taking some time during the day to think about this woman. Runners are cool people, and we feel like we are part of a big family – all united by some shoelaces (or velcro or whatever you use to keep your shoes on).

So my partner in crime and I headed out for a cold, snowy trail run yesterday with Meg in mind. I took the first two weeks of January off due to a nagging injury and did a few short (5K) runs this past week, so I was hoping that I could eek out 6-10 miles. I kept telling Jen that I was worried about hurting myself further and that I didn’t want to go far. With that in mind, we set out on the Appalachian Trail near Carlisle.

When we got a viewpoint near the top of the mountain, we paused to take a picture that we uploaded with the hashtag #megsmiles. Note the snow in the background.

ImageWhen we reached the top of the mountain, I took a photo with my favorite sign. Well, it used to be my favorite sign back in the day. It used to be old and ragged looking, but they recently replaced it with this snazzy one. Regardless, it’s my favorite spot.

ImageWe made a last minute decision to deviate from the AT and take on the Darlington Trail. We’d done part of it before and it was pretty nice. We met a random guy on the trail who was doing the trail in the opposite direction. He had a map he’d printed from the internet and showed us that the trail was a loop! We were giddy with excitement at the prospect of doing the whole thing. It was something like 8 miles long. If you remember, I wasn’t really thinking I’d do much more than that, and we were already 3 miles into our run. Whatever. It was a new and exciting challenge!

We thought we were lost several times. We made a couple of wrong turns. We followed some mysterious footprints, assuming they were going the right way and that they didn’t belong to a nefarious character. The trail ended up being fantastic! We can’t wait to go back and try out some of the side trails we found. It looks like it will be a blast.

We ran into our stranger-friend again with a few miles to go and he reassured us that we were on the right trail. We warned him of the icy patches ahead of him and wished him well. Had we not run into that guy and engaged him in conversation, we never would have discovered the awesome trail!

By the time we came back to the viewpoint on the AT, 3 hours had passed and all the snow in that area was gone. Crazy!

ImageWe had a tremendous run and got in about 19 miles. It was a lot of fun, and certainly a neat adventure. Sometimes it’s worth taking the road less traveled, but only if you have a partner who can navigate better than I can!

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