Good news, T-Rex Readers (catchy, no?) I FINISHED MY LAST GRAD CLASS TODAY. The wait is over. I am back with a new post. Yes, I have to write my thesis (on marathons, naturally) this fall, but I am expecting to have considerably more time for blogging, marathoning, and triathlon training. Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief in a sign of solidarity.
In other news, I’ve been watching the Olympics like a crazy person, obsessing over events I’ve never even heard of. I do this at every Olympics, winter or summer, as I honestly think the Olympics are one of the best things ever invented, right up there with pimento cheese. The current Olympics have inspired me to do the following:
- Vow to attend the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro
- Become obsessed with men’s archery.
- Transform my body into that of an Olympian. Maybe one of the Czech beach volleyball players.
- Become an Olympian. The US does not currently have a handball team, so AJ and I are going to start one. Who’s in?
- Defriend people who put Olympics spoilers on Facebook. If I really REALLY like you, you are just getting hidden from my newsfeed for the time being. Seriously, for shame. You’re mean.
So I’m going to try and get this post up before the Olympics starts tonight. Two weekends ago, AJ and I decided to take an impromptu trip to Asheville, North Carolina, because I had some hotel points burning a hole in my pocket. For those of you who have never heard of Asheville, it is this cool/weird little city in Western North Carolina that is known as “Beer City USA” because it has the highest number of microbreweries per capita in the US. I think you can see where this is going. I happened to have enough hotel points for a super swanky hotel that is way nicer than what I normally stay at and was most importantly just 4 blocks from most of the major breweries. Win!
AJ and I decided to go on a hike during the day and then hit the breweries at night, so I set about searching for a suitable adventure. I ended up on romanticasheville.com, trying not to gag as I silently judged myself for being on such a website, looking at their list of hikes. Most were about 1 mile round trip and led to a waterfall, which I found delightfully stereotypical. I’m sorry, but 1 mile hardly constitutes a hike. Since we’ve already established that I hate sweating, I figure if I’m going to sweat, it might as well be for a reason. I finally settled on a 6.5 mile round trip hike on the Looking Glass trail through Pisgah National Forest, which still seemed terribly wimpy, but it was the best I could come up with. The website said to allow 4-5 hours to complete the hike. Pssshhhhhtt.
So we roll up to Looking Glass Trail and AJ is wearing his toe shoes, much to my chagrin. He hadn’t washed them off from the mud run yet, so they were feeling a little sandy and uncomfortable, so he washed them in a stream, which I found hilarious for some reason.
The weather seemed nice enough so we set off up the mountain with four bottles of water, which seemed like it would be more than enough. Right? Right.
Because I am an asshole who has to make everything into a cardio event spectacular, I set off up the mountain at a blazing speed. Soon enough, the humidity caught up to me and the sweat was pouring off of me. Sigh. AJ kept making comments that suggested I was acting like a crazy person and wondering why we were going so fast. The journey seemed to take forever, and it was a serious workout. When it seemed like we had been climbing forever and were about to turn around having not made it to the summit, some people told us it was right over the other side of the mountain and we were almost there. By this point, we were literally scaling slippery rocks and had lost sight of anything resembling a trail. Fortunately, the view at the top made it all worth it!
A storm was rolling in to the mountain, so we headed back down. By this point, we had decimated about 3/4 of the water and the backpack I was carrying had become significantly lighter, if no less sweaty. AJ had a pretty angry blister thanks to his
useless innovative toe shoes, but unfortunately we had to go down the mountain one way or another. I scurried down the thing like a mountain goat, and we made it down about 20 minutes faster than we went up. Remember how it was supposed to take us 4-5 hours to complete the hike? Yeah. It took less than 2.5. I guess now we know why we were so sweaty and exhausted. Oops!
After checking into our swanky hotel, we showered quickly and put our drinking pants on. With Asheville being Beer City USA, we had a lot of things to do! We started the night at the Thirsty Monk, which was a bar I had wanted to visit since Team T-Rex visited Asheville on our way to the Hatfield-McCoy marathon. They had a great selection and I was determined to focus on local beers
because it makes me look cool.
Out of the corner of my eye, I suddenly noticed someone dressed like a nun. And then I realized the nun had a beard. I then immediately told AJ to grab my phone and take a picture for the blog, because I care about all of you.
After the Thirsty Monk, we headed over to Asheville Brewing Company for some dinner and more local beer, where I got an excellent surprise. As we were leaving, I felt someone touch my arm and heard a woman say “I’m going to make you feel really cool right now. T-Rex?” Ok, we’ve totally reached a new level because now people are recognizing me way outside of the running community. Although to be fair, I guess my second community would be the drinking community, but whatever.
It turned out to be Tanya, a friend that Anders had introduced me to via facebook. She publishes magazines and is going to publish Anders’ book when he writes it. And guess what? She’s going to publish mine, too. You know, when I have time to write it. We had never met before but she recognized me and I felt really cool. Tanya is awesome and so enthusiastic and got me excited about working on my outline and actually making a serious push towards publishing, so maybe now that I am mostly done with school, I will be able to focus on that a bit. Hooray!
Next we headed to Craggie Brewing Company, which boasted about its Antebellum Ale, which is made from a recipe from the 1840s. When I asked the bartender if it was any good, his response was “No, it’s terrible. Please order it though because I’m trying to get rid of it.” Well sir, challenge accepted. When I tasted the sample, it was pretty good, so I went with it. Poor choice. Don’t drink 1840s beer.
After that, we headed to Jack of the Wood Brewery, where the only important thing that happened was this:
Somewhere around this time, we decided it was absolutely critical that we get some type of exceptional dessert and bring it back to the hotel and eat it while sitting on the bed. It just seemed like a really exciting idea. Unfortunately, breweries aren’t too well known for their desserts, and all the local bakeries and dessert places were closed. So we decided to go to a combination microbrewery/seafood restaurant as the final stop of the night. I know what you’re thinking, because it’s the same thing we were thinking: breweries and seafood are kind of a strange combination. In Asheville, NC, which is probably a solid 7 hours from the nearest ocean, it’s particularly strange.
Turns out this place had the most amazing dessert menu of all time (or at least the most amazing I’ve ever heard after 5 microbrews) and we got the RED VELVET CHEESECAKE and the CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE PIE. Omg omg omg omg omg. Didn’t take pictures of it because as soon at we got back to the hotel it was immediately in my belly.
The next morning, we took our sweet time and got brunch at one of the many adorable cafes downtown and then headed back home. Our friend Zach had just come back from the Air Force, and there was a get together in his honor back at Lake Wateree. For some reason, I was feeling particularly adventurous and decided to water ski when the boys did. It should be noted that I started water skiing at the age of 5 and was the youngest member of my extended family to do so, which was kind of a big deal at the time. I haven’t skiied in about 10 years, but I used to be pretty damn good, so I figured why not? Turns out, I stillllllll got it.
After the skiing went so well, I thought it was time to get really crazy and conquer one of my ongoing fears – the jet ski. You see, I don’t like jet skis. I was quite traumatized by the reckless behavior of my high school boyfriend when I rode one with him back in the day, and now my back is so bad that every time I’m a passenger on one, I’m in horrible pain. To say nothing of the fact that I trust no one to drive them because everyone in the world is a crazy driver other than me. I decided to go by myself, where I could actually control the speed and direction of the cursed machine. Turns out when I’m the one driving, it’s actually pretty fun. I even made it go at top speed and did some “jumps.” And by “jumps” I mean I held on for dear life when I accidentally went over a wave.
It was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time! Hey, can’t do all that and run a marathon in the same weekend, right?