Oh what a weekend! There’s nothing to feel sorry for us about here just “complaining” about how great of a weekend we had. The short story if you can to skip to the pictures goes like this: Marathon, Lexington BBQ, watched “The Social Network”, 2 days at the Grove Park Inn and Spa, breakfast at Tupelo Honey in Asheville and back home. Phew! Fun weekend.
On Saturday morning John, Jason and I headed up to Pinnacle, NC or the home of Pilot Mountain for a trail marathon. We completely underestimated the “trailness” of this race. We got a bit concerned when we had to drive through 2 stream crossings that covered half of the Tahoe wheels on the way to the start line. 12 stream crossings, very little flat running and 100% trail made for a long but adventurous morning. After trying to keep dry I finally gave in at stream crossing #4 and went right through. It was pretty exhilarating. Although my shoes were heavier for a period of time after each crossing the feared blisters never came and the cool water was actually rejuvenating. Pilot Mountain was no slouch.
Much of the ascent was up a rocky, leaf-covered trail cut out of the side of the hill. The views on the way to the mountain and up the mountain were spectacular. The support throughout the race was too. Mentally I was prepared to reach the summit and then proceed down for the next 12-13 miles. Not so much. More like proceed to go up and down for the next 12-13 miles. I spent a great deal of time walking up and running down. I “ran” the 2nd half 39 minutes slower than the 1st half. Regardless, it was good enough for 26 out of 62 finishers (and 84 starters) and I very much enjoyed the challenge of this kind of race. The reward of Lexington BBQ (or Fish sandwich for me) and sweet tea we had afterwards wasn’t half bad either. After a quick bite it was home, then family dinner and a movie (“The Social Network”) for Cindy and I later. Good movie – worth the watch, likely not the Oscar.
On Sunday Cindy and I departed for 2 days and 2 nights at the Grove Park Inn and Spa. If you haven’t been we would highly recommend it. The huge fire they make in the lobby fireplace during winter months is worth it alone. Sunday Brunch in the Blue Ridge Dining Room is also a meal not to miss. Other meals in the Blue Ridge Dining room we found to be slightly less than great. But the buffet…pretty spectacular. The buffet the day after a marathon. Nothing short of divine. We sat in chairs and watched the sunset over the mountains. We people watched as the Asheville icon Andie MacDowell (think “Groundhogs Day”) strolled by. We enjoyed afternoon adult beverages on a weekday. We read. We spent 6-7 hours in the spa where we read, sipped, soaked, napped and repeated throughout. On our last day we swung through downtown Asheville (we didn’t leave GPI otherwise!) and wandered around until we found Tupelo Honey, a breakfast spot recommended to us by our friend/neighbor Valli. They make an incredible sweet potato pancake! Don’t miss this place. Overall, the days away were awesome and a great reminder to me how important one-on-one time with Cindy is. I cherish this kind of time with Cindy almost as much as I cherish the moments when we return back home to the kids.
Tonight we celebrate Cindy’s Birthday with cupcakes and potentially Chik-fil-a (it’s Chik-fil-a night at the kid’s school – we are still in formal negotiations) and then tomorrow back to reality. Pictures of the birthdays of February are forthcoming. Pictures of our trip to the GPI are below.