Training While Traveling: The Chimney Rock Edition.

When I started my current position, I was training for the Poconos Marathon.

Learning any kind of new position is exhausting—for the first few weeks, I chose sleep over workouts and long runs.

Once I found my groove, I was able to adjust my schedule. With that came 5:00 a.m. weekday runs and treadmill runs in various hotels in Minneapolis and Chicagoland while I was traveling for work.

Things turned out fine.

Cut to this summer, where His Lordship and I have done our fair share of traveling for both work and pleasure.

Because of this, I’ve had to adjust my fall marathon training plan accordingly, and remind myself that it is absolutely okay that, just like that sleep that I desperately needed last spring, putting your family and friends comes first instead of that 18 to 20 miler.

We recently ventured to Lake Lure, North Carolina for my brother’s nuptials. I strategically flopped workouts so that I had a cutback week. (Meaning more time with my family and new sister-in-law instead of three hours of running.)

Greetings from Lake Lure! Take in the splendor.
Greetings from Lake Lure! Take in the splendor.

Then we got a text from my dad:

“Parking is very limited at house and road is bad. Suggest you let me know when you are getting close to the lodge and you can check in and I’ll meet you and we’ll take one car to the house.”

Read: road is bad.

As we pulled into Lake Lure, I saw what he was talking about. The road was narrow with a ton of switchbacks.

Later that night, we were chatting with my family about where we could run on Saturday morning. His Lordship expressed his interest in seeing Chimney Rock and Hickory Nut Falls. And so, my Dad gave us the idea to, “run up to the top.”

His Lordship did some research and learned that it was three miles to the top. (There’s even an annual 5K!) Our plan became to run up and run down, giving us a (very) hard six mile workout.

On Saturday morning, my parents drove us to the bottom of Chimney Rock State Park. We got out of the car, said goodbye, and pursued on foot.

It was a mile to the visitor’s entrance. We walked in and learned that what we did was “against the rules,” and were told to get off the road and continue our journey on trails.

So we did.

The Four Seasons Trail was beautiful. (Except for those long stretches of stairs—I’m quite positive I made a few negative comments to His Lordship.)

By the time we reached the Hickory Nut Falls Trail, I was spent. My legs were on fire. I was drenched in sweat. My handheld was running out of water. But we kept going.

We made it to the trail’s namesake waterfall—a bucket list item for His Lordship—and took in the beauty.

This picture doesn’t do it justice, obvi.
Butterflies everywhere!

Continuing on, we ran the Hickory Nut Falls Trail back down to the ascent of Chimney Rock.

And so we climbed all 499 stairs to the top.

It was worth it.


Our instructions from the park rangers were to either take one of the trails back to the main ticket office, or to have a park ranger pick us up where we currently were at Cliff Dwellers.

Completely exhausted, we chose the latter.

We spent almost an hour running and climbing (and walking) only 3.3 miles. (A very, very, very far cry from a personal record.)


Squiggles = stairs.
Squiggles = stairs.

Though it wasn’t what we planned, our legs were trashed.

And that’s all we needed.

Family time is a very important time for me.

Training will always come second.

Lots of love to my big brother. Welcome to the family, Alex!
Lots of love to my big brother and new sister-in-law. Welcome to the family, Alex!

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