Maggie Rusch

Professional Triathlete

she's not crazy (knock on wood)

there's a song by the 90's band (and new orleans favorite) better than ezra that goes a little something like this,

"she's not crazy knock on wood... just a little misunderstood"

most triathletes, being on the verge of crazy already, can probably relate. but the general sentiment really hit home while i was taking the week off in asheville, north carolina.

you see, the city itself is a quirky hipster haven (kind of like an austin or maybe a portland, if you've never been there), while the outskirts are a little more, well, "appalachian". my parents are in the process of moving to a little place just north of asheville called mars hill (seriously, i kid you not... the town jupiter is just a few miles south) and, yes, it is like it's own other planet if you're used to the city like me.

i've seen more double-wides, livestock as pets and mud-covered F-150s jacked up on super-size wheels in the past week than i did my entire childhood. and that's saying a lot for someone who grew up in the dirty south, just a stone's throw from britney spears (seriously, we went to the same gymnastics studio circa 1995, northshore gymnastics).

so anyways, there i was in no-man's land and still expected to check-off my normal training schedule (not too bad these days, between 9-12 hours any given week). bike was fine since i brought my trainer and it was too cold to ride outside. i found a local high-school pool that got the job done, minus lane ropes and possibly chlorine. and though running is normally the easiest to cram into a vacation, here the flattest route i didn't have to drive 25-minutes to get to or risk getting killed on the winding two-lane backroads was this straight-up icy mess of a mountain:

yeah, not pretty. i did run a mix of uphill and downhill for the second part of a brick after a two-hour bike but, let's be honest, with my tired legs, it turned into more like 70% downhill and 30% uphill. the nice part though is that the future house is at the top while the old refurbished cabin we've been staying in for the past 10-ish years is at the bottom. and my parents were here for the first weekend i was staying there so i cheated a little bit and got a ride to the top to make the job easier :)

but back to the part about feeling way out of my element:

that 1-2 miles downhill was at about 7:30 pace, while the return trip was.... not. for the first time ever, i was glad i forgot my HR strap: the numbers would have been ug-ly.

to top it off, in addition to the holy hills, i made the mistake of wearing what some might call a very "slowtwitchesque"-outfit on my run: some CRX tights, crazy neon shoes, an electric purple pull-over, plus a visor and shades. sheesh: what a cliche. but the best part was that since this was on the edge of a highway in the middle of nowhere, i got some very interesting hoot an' hollers, stares from both church-going ladies and grazing cows alike and a honk or two from some of the logging trucks zooming past. made for a slightly disconcerting and out-of-the-ordinary long run.

favorite part of the week off? hanging out with these guys! :)

we did a little bit of climbing....

and a whole lotta running...

and then we had to sulk on the porch for a while post-bath while we dried off (okay, everyone but me)...

while i'm sad that my kick-up-the-feet vacation is over, i'm looking forward to fewer hills on my regular running routes. seriously, mad props to people who live in elevation-happy areas. how exactly do you do it?!??

hits counter