A Perfect Weekend

Hawksbill Summit in Fog

Hawksbill Summit in Fog

Staying true to my strategies for keeping myself occupied and distracted from thinking about lotteries, Adam and I headed out of town and into Shenandoah for a weekend of playing in the woods with no cell phone reception. As our trip approached, the weather forecast keep increasing our chances of rain for the Friday and Saturday, our planned running days, and looking beautiful on Sunday. Oh well, I guess running in 35deg rain is paying the lottery gods for good fortune?

We headed out of DC and through the standard Route 66 traffic. I thought that we had left at a reasonably early hours and were headed out against DC traffic, but I swear that even at 3am on a Sunday that road moves at roughly 25mph, but we were on vacation! We decided on back to back Death Marches– Kerry’s Death March followed by Vicki’s Death March on Saturday.

We arrived at the trail head to start our first run right on schedule and best of all, it wasn’t raining! As we headed up the first climb, it was wet, slippery and covered in fog, I knew it might be a long day, but this is what training runs are made of and I was out in the woods with Adam, no matter what this was going to be a good day.

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Around mile 8 as the freezing rain started, we blew through a trail marker, looking for a 4 way intersection, for our only off -course section of the entire weekend, but we quickly realized our mistake and headed back the right direction. As we hit Skyline Drive, we hit our biggest problem of the day- Skyline Drive. It was literally a sheet of ice. The video tells it better than I can, but we fell HARD and I crawled on hands and knees across the road for the next crossing.

My blogging skills are in process as is my video upload…. come back soon! 

The run felt good, steady casual vacation training run pace, lots of smiles and no more skating. While I look forward to coming back and running KDM when the weather is a bit nicer, I can imagine what a frustrating experience it would be to be stuck behind a conga line of hikers and day trippers heading up Little Devil’s Stairs. We finished the run feeling good, the longest that Adam has run since being injured and really ready for our Triple Ginger Cookies. They are so not whole30, but that is what the off season is for and these cookies are worth it!

Adam reserved us a room at the awesome, Inn at Mount Vernon Farm in Sperryville. Our room came with a fireplace ready to be lit and homemade Christmas cookies. It was the perfect home base for our running getaway weekend.


We woke up ready to run on Saturday with more rain in the forecast, but it was lottery day and I was determined to be out of cell service, in the mountains and training while my lottery fate was being decided. As we headed up from the Old Rag Parking Lot it was already raining, it wasn’t too cold, but I was not going to DNF a training run only to get back and learn I didn’t make any lotteries, that would have been too much!


Old Rag

Old Rag

Satruday’s run was just what I was looking for. Long climbs, beautiful waterfalls, a run on tired legs and a day on the trails with Adam. We chatted about how liberating it was that my lottery fate was sealed, but we were just our for a run.

We got close to Skyline Drive several times during the run and at mile 13.71 (exactly) with the clouds rolling over the ridgeline I thought a picture might really capture the feel of the run, I stopped to take the perfect shot. As I climbed down off the rock I was using to get a better view, Adam let me know that he did have cell service if I wanted to check on lottery results. I debated, I thought about it and finally decided that I would check. DRUM ROLL!!!!! It took me 4 years but OMGOMGOMG I made it into Western States 100! Rock beats Paper and Scissors for the WIN! I love my odds! 33.2% is just enough!

At Mile 13.71

At Mile 13.71

After booking our hotel room from the trail, we spent the rest of the day trying to run as much as possible, with a mantra of “training starts now,” but my legs were tired and my mind was all over the place. While the last 8ish miles look like they are downhill on the elevation profile, my legs were not feeling that and with what felt like a million stream crossing where I was wet to my knees, I learned why they call it a “Death March.” However, the training part of the weekend was done and I had made Western States!! WOOOHOOOO!!!!

The B&B had limited wifi and I started responding to messages and tried to make a wifi call to my sister and I crashed the internet connection. Time to put down the phone and head out to a celebratory dinner at the Foster Harris House. It was an amazing meal and just the right end to my lottery day.

We headed back to DC on Sunday morning after breakfast, just missing the cows/sheep/llama/donkey as they were being moved across the farm to a different pen and onto Little Washington for the Christmas Parade and Artisan Market. The weather was perfect to wander around the small town, enjoy hot chocolate, BBQ in a cup as we wandered through the shops and sat in the sunshine.

Our drive home and the weekend were capped off with a stop at the 2nd Annual Cookie Decorating Party at the Dannenburg’s, a perfect end to my perfect weekend!

More waterfall pictures from the run:

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  1. Adam Casseday

    Congrats on States! I really CAN’T WAIT to see what you’re capable of doing there. Time to represent for the East Coast!

    1. robin (Post author)

      Thanks!! I am so excited for this opportunity and so proud to be representing. Training has already started!


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