Columbus is a great place to live, but getting around the world and traveling to see, hike, walk, yoga, swim and of course >RUN< in new places is one of our passions! Every two to three years we do a big Spring Break trip, usually to the coast such as Mexico or Puerto Rico. On this “off” year, we kept the driving distance short and headed to the Great Smoky Mountains and surrounding areas. It was a great escape from the ongoing winter that Snow-hio has been blessing us with and even though we were only 7 hours south, the sunshine and warmth gave us an extra 20 degrees on most days. Yipee!
The first city stop was Knoxville, TN. My husband and I were originally planning to run the half marathon, but with both of us somewhat still on injury reserve, we decided to save our legs. We want to tackle the upcoming Cap City Half strong & healthy! We dragged the family to the expo on Saturday night, let the kids run around, got a lot of free goodies and had some fun at the selfie stations.
Sunday morning we slept in – which I have to admit, was better than the usual 5AM race day alarm – and headed out to watch part of the race. I love spectating almost as much as running. As the runners pass by, you witness all the sweat, hard work and often months of training come together in the magic of race day. If you want to be inspired, go watch runners finish a marathon. We sat at mile 25 for quite a while, cheering on the participants as they headed into their final mile. It was amazing and energizing!
Later that day, my husband and I headed out for a six mile run. We toured the streets, paths & greenways of Knoxville. Since we weren’t getting in a super-long-run, we decided to do a “pace” run and met my half marathon goal pace of close to 9 min/mile… this will get me over the finish line at that two hour goal, so hoping for that on race day! Hubs held the pace while I would stop, click a pic, then sprint to catch up. Otherwise, how would I get all these mid-run pics?! He is a pretty good sport about my camera… insert eye roll here. 🙂
We did some hiking at a nearby nature center, then spent the evening touring the restaurants and shops of Market Square. We LOVE the “square” type settings – another fav is in Savannah, GA – because the kids can roam a bit without the worry of cars.
At 11PM we realized we had covered 12.6 miles total that day. My brother decided we HAD to go out for another 1/2 mile to get to the 13.1 miles we had originally anticipated running in the half… so out we went to wander the streets & sites… and made our own Knoxville half marathon. 🙂
Our second stop was Del Rio, Tennessee to see family. We ventured out to hike at The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, crossing off the first visit both our littles had to a national park. One down, only 59 more to go! We hiked Big Creek Trail up to Midnight Hole and some beautiful waterfalls. Although it’s known as a swimming area, you likely wouldn’t dare this time of year… the water was frigid! It was a scenic three mile hike, a good calorie burn (especially since I had a toddler on my back for 1/2 the hike) and a great way to spend the afternoon.
Our last stop was Asheville, North Carolina. We spent three nights in the mountains in a GORGEOUS mountain home called Starry Night. This place made me want to move south and take in the mountain views every morning over a cup of coffee. We spent the days hiking the Blue Ridge and the evenings exploring all the shops, dining and breweries in downtown Asheville. It was a gorgeous city to explore and would be even prettier after all the leaves begin to return later this spring.
It was definitely a fun week filled with adventure and activity. If you are headed to any of those areas, feel free to email or reach out on Instagram, I’d love to be your virtual tour guide! Now, if we could just get the sunshine and warmer temps to come visit us here in good ‘ol Columbus…
For now, we think we’ll turn in for the night!