I have officially completed a full marathon event! Well, with a little help from my teammates. I met up with my NC Oiselle Volee teammates on Sunday morning for the City of Oaks marathon relay in Raleigh, with 26.2 miles split across four runners. We had five teams running so it was quite a crowd, with plenty of snacks and selfies.
It was a foggy day in October and we were exploring. There were some abandoned places McCrae had noticed on some recent drives around the area that invited us out on a dreary weekend morning for an adventure. We first drove out to Chatham County to the Haw River, finding some small access point hidden off the highway - one of those gravel lots you might see and have some passing curiosity from the road as it flashes past your car window, but that you never actually stop and explore. It led down to a long wide dam next to the highway bridge over the river, all silt and rocks and rushing water and rusted cans and graffiti.
On Saturday night as we drove to the next big exchange point after what was supposed to be a quick bite at Wendy's I sat in the back seat of the van with my legs kicked up and my Richmond half marathon blanket draped over my sore legs and watched brown-gold fields chase the sunset. Some fields were cotton - half-harvested or brow-beaten with white balls - the closest to snow that ever settles on those furrowed fields. Some fields contained soybeans - either thin from recent harvest or heavy with dry or moldy bean shells for crop rotation, already longing to burrow and return to the soil and elude the dull grey winter that in this Indian summer seemed impossibly far away. But the crops knew that winter is coming. Brown naked stalks of tobacco stood sentinel in some fields, though there were much fewer fields than there were twenty years ago or even ten years ago. As we drove east I looked behind us at the shrinking fields and watched the sky purple into twilight, a soft nostalgic smile curling at my lip corners. Tuna Run 200 this year was very different from last year - check out the full race report!
The American Tobacco Trail, a 23-mile rails-to-trails project that runs through Wake, Durham, and Chatham counties, offers 4.7 miles of compacted gravel along the Wake County section where horses and riders can enjoy the wooded trail. On two afternoons recently I met up with equestrians to explore the trail and its features.