Going the Distance

IMG_1552 Training doesn’t take a vacation.

But it can enjoy the enjoy the scenery and revel in the new surroundings.

So that’s what I did.

With a taper week conveniently scheduled for the same time as my family vacation, I’m able to channel back the miles without guilt.

Yet while there may be fewer miles logged this week, it doesn’t mean that my workouts will take a backseat. On the contrary, with such gorgeous weather these past few days, it made for the perfect conditions to take my miles from the pavement to the trails.

So, naturally, we climbed a mountain. Well, kind of.

After logging 4.5 morning miles running down the main strip of our vacation town, I met the family to fuel up for the day’s adventure: a hike up to Arethusa Falls, the highest single drop in the state of New Hampshire at 300′.

The ~1.6 mile trail is considered “easy/moderate,” but it is no picnic. In fact, the hike is a vertical climb that makes even the Calvert Hill look tame. Rocks and tree branches navigate the path to the falls. As groups descended down, we often asked how far we had until the top. Each time it seemed we heard less than encouraging words, signaling that we still had a way to go, but we everyone promised us that our efforts would be rewarded.

And rewarded we were.
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Before we even saw the falls, we could hear the rush of the water trampling down on the rocks below. As they came into view, the last hour and half of sweating and hard breathing were nearly forgotten as we stood in front of the ~140′ tall natural beauty.

In the glimmer of the sun, the water sparkled. The pounding water drowned out all other noise and dominated as the forest’s soundtrack. There were children running through the pools at the base of the falls, while there were others nearly frozen still on the rocks sunbathing and admiring the sight before them. I was one of the latter.

The falls were a sight to behold, a prize for having forged such a long way upwards. But even more rewarding than the sight of the falls themselves was seeing my family also in their presence. A definite challenge for us all, I could not have been more proud of my mom and dad for coming along with me on this journey and pushing through it, even when they sensed difficulty. They endured and were paid with spectacular images and smiles all around.

It has been nearly eight months since I spent this much extensive time with my whole family. Although I had visits from mom and dad in April and then a weekend stay with my sister in May, so much has happened since I last had the chance to hug them all and thank them for listening to me on the phone and reassuring me with optimistic email messages.
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The climb to and from the waterfall may not have been the most miles logged in a day, but those three miles represent so much more than a distance. They represent a time when my family persevered and pushed past limits they thought they couldn’t reach. They were miles of strength and endurance, proof that going the distance has its rewards.

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