Friday, April 17, 2009

Conference Carolinas Championship: Day 1

AM: 15 mins. core

22 mins. (3 miles)
50 mins. ellip (incl. 20x2 min. on, 1 min. off; 5x1 min. on, 1 min. off)
PM: Conference meet

This morning I got in a quick jaunt with Tanya before heading over to the fitness center for my workout. We had lots to do and little time to do it, as the train (read: van) was pulling out of the station (read: school) at high noon for our conference meet. We were destined for Lees-McRae college in Banner Elk, NC, a small mountain town about 150 miles north of Charlotte.

After driving for about an hour on major highways, we detoured through Hickory and then began a gradual but steady ascent through the Appalachian Mountains. We passed through Blowing Rock (where Zap Fitness trains) and Boone (home of Appalachian State University) before arriving in the bustling metropolis of Banner Elk. By "bustling metropolis," I of course mean "quaint mountain commu
nity." In fact, it felt so far removed from the hustle and bustle of Charlotte that had you dropped me in there blindfolded, I would've been convinced we were in the mountains of Colorado. Add the fact that none of the trees have leaves on them yet--a lasting reminder of a harsher than normal winter--and the whole thing felt quite surreal.

Grandfather Mountain, as seen from the balcony of our cabin.
If you look closely you can make out the grandfather's "face" as he's
lying down

The meet itself was pretty inactive on Friday, at least from our perspective, since most of our contingent wouldn't run until Saturday. Also let's just say our conference isn't a track powerhouse. In fact, this is the first year we've even had a conference meet, if that gives you any sense of perspective. Tanya and Mike both did workouts in their respective 10k races (each of them winning handily), and a few of our randos participated in field events (including a soccer player who threw the shot, an implement he had never seen before today). Needless to say, we were all ready to peace out from the meet as soon as Mike finished his cool down.

Enjoying a few minutes of relaxation in the cabin

The nicest part about the weekend was staying in cabins farther up on the mountain. Apparently the team comes here 3-4 times a year, for pre-season and camp and a few other random weekends, as it's near some great trails and is at a decent altitude (~4000 feet). The cabins were at the same time rustic and modern, and offered plenty of room and amenities as well as stunning views of the valley below. Beats the hell out of the Super 8 we usually stay at. We were all pretty exhausted and retired fairly early upon arriving at the cabins, grateful for a good night's rest and the fresh mountain air. I don't think I could live here, but for a weekend getaway it's quite enjoyable.