Notes From a Hired Pen

On the Road With Jen: Up and Down

Running: a series of ups and downs. Hiking: a series of ups and downs. Road trips: A series of ups and downs.

I read somewhere that you’re supposed to put things in threes to make them funny. That line above is probably not funny – I’ve been listening to enough audiobooks by comedians to know that it won’t play well. But folks I’m a little bit tired, which is not a surprise because road trips, as I know and had to re-learn, can be exhausting.

I spent most of last week in Oklahoma - Tulsa specifically. What a nice city! Not too big, not to small, and very welcoming. June 7 was Global Running Day, and I joined a scavenger hunt at Runners World Tulsa, a fine establishment if you ever happen to be in the area. I was nervous – who isn’t when you’re dropping into a group you don’t know? But to double up on that, a scavenger hunt and required using clues to identify local businesses. Oh dear.

Fortunately, I was paired up with a few runners who drug me along with them. I gave away a copy of my book as part of the raffle, and also won a hat. It’s a good hat. I’ve worn it a few times.

And here comes the low: I tried to run the Mowdy Ranch Mustang Run trail half marathon on Saturday. I say tried because I dropped out at the 10K mark – the first time I have ever dropped out of a race in my entire running career. I thought I’d feel bad about it (especially after the first race official I found to tell him I was done tried to talk me back into running), but when I made the decision I knew it was the best one. I’m guessing part of it is not having run as much but also a lot of travel and being out of my usual element. Sleep has been OK but not always great. I am adventuring and working on this trip – and planning. There’s always something to be planned for the road ahead. I felt bad as soon as I started running, and never shook out of it. That’s not great in a trail run because if you’re tired and stop paying attention, you could fall, and one broken limb means the end of my trip. So: I made the right call.

Then it was through Arkansas and Texas to where I am now: New Mexico. Ah, that cool mountain air. The weather so far has been amazing: chilly enough to require a sweatshirt at night (and so cold camping last night that I almost got out the extra blanket) but warm and sunny during the day without a touch of humidity. My nose has been a little bloody, which isn’t surprising given the high altitudes I’ve been at.

I have done some amazing hikes so far. While in Taos, I hiked in the Wild Rivers area, down to where the Rio Grande and Red Rivers meet (and then back up again, which I wrote about in an upcoming story). Then I zipped over to the Atomic City of Los Alomos, which is much more and I liked much more than I expected (and I may sneak back up there before my time here is done). I’m currently exploring the areas around Bandelier National Monument - I did about 6.5 miles down to the ruins and back up this morning.

Well, currently I’m sitting at the Travel Bug Coffee Shop in Santa Fe using their wifi and putting a jolt in my system before doing some more touristy stuff. In some ways, I can’t believe it’s only been 2.5 weeks. In others, it feels like I have an awfully long stretch still ahead of me.


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