When God Lets You Down

When God Lets You Down live @ Ryktor
When God lets you down 
Left you alone and crying in the summer
Makes you wonder why you even bother praying
When God lets you down

Brooklyn, Brooklyn don't you fear
Even when the Devils in your ear
Bigger pictures aren't always so clear
Take comfort knowing that your God is near
When God lets you down 

Brooklyn, Brooklyn don't you cry
Wipe away those tear drops from your eyes
When those baby blues feel like they've lost the light
Take another look deep down inside
When God lets you down

When God lets you down
Left you alone and crying in the summer
Makes you wonder why you even bother praying
When God lets you down

Brooklyn, Brooklyn don't you know
Heavens looking down on you below
When you're lost and it feels like there's no hope
Keep counting all your blessings like before
When God lets you down 

Brooklyn, Brooklyn can't you see
Everything's not always what it seems 
Mountains can be moved with faith sized mustard seeds 
Hold on tight to what your heart believes 
When God lets you down 

When God lets you down
Left you alone and crying in the summer
Makes you wonder why you even bother praying
When God lets you down

God take control
They ripped him from his home
Far from everything he knows 
God take control
Is there something that we're missing
Are You even up there listing

Brooklyn, Brooklyn don't you cry 
Wipe away those tear drops from your eyes 
When those baby blues feel like they've lost the light 
Take another look deep down inside 

Unbothered

As I sat on the all too familiar ledge of Kings Chair today, I closed my eyes and let the cool breeze do its best to dry the sweat clinging to my shirt.

Like most MUT runners, I’ve found myself feeling some type of way surrounding the mass cancelation of most spring races. Though Cruel Jewel 100 race directors plan to “reevaluate in mid-April,” in my heart I feel like I already know the outcome. Yea, it sucks. Most of us have put in months and months of hard ass training in preparation for these races. This virus has put us all in a position that we’ve never been in before. Protocols and regulations are changing daily and it’s put anyone in authority in tough decision making mode. Most everything I’ve seen on the internets has been positive. Trail runners in general are some of the chillest folks around and I think in these weird times, the authenticity of trail runners is shining through. No, these race directors don’t WANT to cancel or postpone your races… because it’s THEIR races as well. Some of these RD’s depend on these races for their livelihood. It’s been relieving to see such support and compassion for these RD’s over the course of this madness.

So where does that leave everyone? Some races are being postponed to the Fall where others are being canceled completely. I’ve seen where there’s been a big push to do self supported efforts/races and even chase after some FKTs. My heart lies within the self supported adventure seeking world so I can’t help but be a lil bit overjoyed at the push towards these opportunities. Even as I’m writing this, I’m seeing where Ben Feinson just set the new unsupported FKT on the GA Loop!

Ben Feinson ~ Ga Loop Unsupported FKT: 11hrs25mins

I had actually planned to tackle a big 55 mile route up in the Nantahala today. CJ100 is about 8 weeks out and this was going to be my last “big” effort in my training schedule. That hussy Corona has obviously changed that. I didn’t want to take the chance where something happens and we get quarantined and I couldn’t make it home. So I stayed home. I’m trying to do my best to follow the requested precautions about social distancing and simply trying to do my little part in helping control this out of control tidal wave of a virus.

Keeping the distance when bumping into Missy and Sunny!

While sitting up on Kings Chair, enjoying the fresh air, I noticed 2 birds soaring in the valley below. This isn’t an unfamiliar site, but today I took a little harder look at them and gained a different perspective. They seemed unbothered. These 2 birds seemed to simply be going about their daily lives, unaware of the plague that’s sweeping over the planet. They seemed happy and content having the opportunity to simply keep doing what they do. I took it as a gentle reminder to do just that… keep doing what I do.

Since I started, trail running has remained a major passion of mine. I think the healthy balance of racing and self supported adventures has kept the fire lit in my soul and far from burnout. In the past 6 months, I feel like there’s been a re-birth in my soul for trail running. Maybe it had something to do with checking off a bucket list item I’ve been wanting to do for years or maybe it’s simply that I’m getting older and more content with who/what my life is becoming. Whatever the reason, I’ve re-fallen in love with the art of trail running and mountain movement again.

Climbing Charlie’s Bunion in the GSMNP for my 34th birthday

I’ve put in a solid training block for CJ, probably the best one I’ve ever had, but I know that I can’t keep pushing as hard as I have been. It’s simply not sustainable for me. So what the hell is a fella to do? Today’s spin on the trails was a much needed reminder of why I run trails and what it means to me. I simply enjoy the endurance based self-propelled movement over mountainous terrain. Over the years, I’ve come to find that I actually enjoy the process (training) more than I do the actual event, so the thought of NOT doing CJ doesn’t really bother me. However, I sure as hell don’t want all my effort and training to fall by the wayside! I’m almost to the point where I’m ready to simply pin down a day and put in a hard effort on something fun and self-supported in the next few weeks and just let CJ play out however it does. I truly feel it’ll get canceled, but if it doesn’t, I guess I’ll just pack some pink duct tape and suck-it-up-buttercup. But for the time being, I’m going to dial back the intensity and start looking into something shorter (and hopefully way more fun) than CJ100 to push towards in the next couple of weeks. If that doesn’t work out, I suppose I’ll just keep moving and grooving through the woods like normal… unbothered and happy.

“Chasing Light”

Chasing Light live at Ryktor
The tears in your eyes makes me want to change
Makes me want to be a better man for someone like you 
The words on your lips make me feel ashamed 
Makes me rearrange everything for someone like you 

Well I'm not the man that I thought I would grow to be 
When I look into this mirror it's not what I want to see 
More and more it feels like 
I'm living someone else's dream
It's time to start living
It's time to start living
It's time to start living for me! 

The tears in your eyes makes me want to stay 
Makes me want to say all the words that I can't say to you 
The fear in your voice makes me feel afraid 
Makes me want to be a stronger man for someone like you 

Well I'm not the man that I thought I would grow to be
When I look into this mirror it's not what I want to see
More and more it feels like 
I'm living someone else's dream
It's time to start living
It's time to start living
It's time to start living for me!

I'll pack all my bags and head out West 
Where the skies always blue with red sunsets 
And I'll watch the sunrise through brand new eyes
I'll say goodbye to everyone I know 
Leave a note on the table with words I wrote 
Saying, "I'll be alright. Just chasing Light." 

The tears in your eyes makes me want to go 
Makes me want to show the world that
 I can be so much more for you 
The state of your soul makes me want to pray 
Makes me think that I might be a man that could be saved 

Well I'm not the man that I thought I would grow to be
When I look into this mirror it's not what I want to see
More and more it feels like
 I'm living someone else's dream
It's time to start living
It's time to start living
It's time to start living for me!

I'll pack all my bags and head out West
Where the skies always blue with red sunsets
And I'll watch the sunrise through brand new eyes
I'll say goodbye to everyone I know
Leave a note on the table with words I wrote
Saying, "I'll be alright. Just chasing Light."


Lakeshore Traverse

The view from OJG’s cabin back porch is heavenly. To the left you’re looking over towards the NOC at Cheoah Bald…

To the right you’re looking at the Appalachian Trail ridge line spanning from Rocky Top/Thunderhead all the way to Clingmans.

It doesn’t really matter if my eyes close on the couch, recliner, bunk, or a sleeping pad. Closing my eyes at OJG’s cabin almost always means opening them to a mountain adventure the next day. This weekend was no different.

Although me, Hump, Matty Fierce and OJG run a good bit together, it had been over 2 years since ALL 4 of us had an adventure in the Smokies!

Matty Fierce’s SCAR in 2017

At a lil past 7am we all piled into MF’s car, grabbed some Bojangles in Bryson City and made our way out to the Tunnel to Nowhere. OJG had booked a shuttle through Bryson City Outdoors to pick us up at the Tunnel to Nowhere and drop us off at Fontana Dam.

After an hour or so ride, AJ dropped us off at Fontana Dam and we took the first steps of the 35 miles back to the car.

Typically, I lean more towards the higher regions of the park because I love being up on the ridges. That being said, if you’re looking for great vistas and views… Lakeshore is NOT for you. The trail never gets over an altitude of 2400ft so most of the day was spent on low grounds, hopping small streams, crossing bridges and winding in and out of views of the lake.

The Lakeshore Trail was attractive for a few reasons: 1) the point to point tickled my purist side 2) it’s one of the most isolated parts of the park and 3) Proctor.

Honestly, if the traverse wasn’t on the Smoky Mtn bucket list… I would have just ran the 10 or so miles from Fontana to Proctor, turned my ass around and ran back to my car. Regardless… Smoky Mtn running is always a rad time!

The first 10 miles or so to Proctor ticked off quickly. The trail wasn’t all that technical and was mostly comprised of rolling hills. I mean, we still got 6000ft of gain on the day so there was some climbing, but there wasn’t any extended climbs.

OJG descending into Proctor

The allure of colbeer and finishing before dark kept our visit of the flooded historic village brief, but Proctor is such a fascinating area. We took a few minutes to explore the Calhoun House before reconnecting with the trail.

We’re already in the early stages of planning another adventure that will give us ample opportunity to explore all Proctor has to offer without having to link a 35 mile run with it! If ya want to read a lil more about Proctor and it’s history, “The Ghost Towns of Hazel Creek” is a really good read!

The last 25 miles were… meh. The trail really didn’t offer much to the imagination. Sure, there were nice sections of the trail with some good views of the lake…

And I took a short, solo detour up to Fairview Cemetery…

But mostly… it was just bland, woodys, leaf covered single track that often had us running on an annoying camber. By mile 30 everyone in our party was real ready to be done. One positive for the Lakeshore Trail is that water was plentiful and made filtering easy.

The tunnel at mile 35 was a welcomed sight!

Though the Lakeshore Trail won’t go down as my favorite Smoky Mtn trail or even one that I’d want to do again, I am thankful to have gotten to spend a lighthearted day with my boys in my most favorite place.