After a whopping seventeen months, my family finally got to spend a little vacation time together. Due to various factors, we've only gotten to take trips separately, and that stinks! So earlier this fall we decided that -- by golly! -- we were going to go camping no matter what. And so we did.
Being that I am a native Arkansan, and Chasen spent probably 12 or 13 years there, we both know that there is just no better place to camp. They don't call it The Natural State for nothing! So he found us an affordable, available cabin at Mt. Nebo State Park. We loaded up his truck, added in Isaac's good friend, Michael, and we headed west.
This sign preceded a VERY steep, windy road to majestic views.
We would our way up Mt. Nebo and I thought to myself "there's a good chance I may not do any running this weekend," even though I had my gear. I was planning to run, but that hill was very discouraging.
After checking in at the visitor's center, we easily found our sweet, little cabin. It had a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living room with two futons and a lovely fireplace. Perfect!
Here is a rear view showing the awesome rock patio area.
This is what it overlooked. Seriously!
Chasen went out to search for a playground for the boys, and he discovered that a 5k was going to be held within the park the next morning. That was my sign; the run was going to happen, hills or no hills.
After a rather exhausting two weeks, I slept like a rock that night. In fact, I got about eleven hours of sleep. The beauty of traveling with small children, and staying in close quarters, is that you basically have to go to sleep at the same time as them. While that may be annoying at times, on this occasion it was a blessing.
After cooking a big breakfast on Saturday morning, I headed to the 5k area to see if I could register "with my good looks," as I had no cash or checks with me. Just a few hundred feet from our cabin I saw eighteen deer cross the road. Yes, 18!
They just kept on going and going!
I located the 5k organizers, and they graciously said I could mail in my entry fee. So I hurried back to the cabin and got into my running clothes. The four of us went to the start/finish area and waited it out. The boys were happy to play on the playground equipment. The did so during the entire race.
It was a VERY small race. It was the first running of the event, and I think the impending rain may have deterred a lot of potential participants. There were 22 of us in all. I was to maintain a 12:00 pace, per my new running coach (more on him later). That, believe it or not, is a big stretch for me these days. Unfortunately, I have slowed down incredibly over the past few years. My coach is going to help fix that! None the less, I was worried about the 12:00 pace. One reason I was excited about the 5k is because I knew it would help to push me. And it did.
I kept my sights on a college girl in front of me (yes, probably 18-20 years younger). She stayed about 100-200 feet ahead of me until mile 2. I was determined to catch her. I finally got to about 50 feet behind her. I knew it was "now or never," so I hustled up. I got close, and she surged ahead. Finally, I had the chance again, and I surged more. I passed her, and I was "hell bent and whiskey bound" to keep it that way. The finish wasn't too much farther up, so I just gave it all I had. Chasen and the boys were at the final corner, and they were cheering for me. That helped! I crossed the finish line in 36:24, which is about an 11:45 pace. Whoo hoo!
I came in at 12 of 22. I'm not used to being in the middle of the pack! Ha. But guess what it was good enough for:
A medal for little ole me! I couldn't believe it!
There's 2/3 of my handsome cheering section.
Here's my race t-shirt. I like the turkey.
My Saturday got off to a great start, huh? After that we went back into vacation mode. We hiked as far as the boys would allow (which wasn't all that far).
Chasen and I
Isaac and Michael
It was such a peaceful, relaxing, gorgeous weekend. It was just what I needed. We enjoyed campfires, s'mores, sleeping with the windows open, and more. I've already told Chasen that we need to go ahead and book next year's trip. Life's too short to not camp.