Just finished up a great visit to see my daughter at college and sneak in and see my soon-to-be 90-year-old grandmother for a few hours on Sunday.
I flew into Pittsburgh last Friday and drove all the way to Grottoes, Virginia where my daughter met up with me and we ran the Grand Caverns Signature 5K together.
Great, certified course. The majority of the course was on a couple of the town's streets, but the last eight-tenths of a mile were on the crushed rock trail in the park where the race started and finished.
We took it real easy in the first mile, but I picked up the pace for Waverly as we hit mile 2.
It was a solid time of 31 minutes, 55 seconds -- about a minute or so off of her best set in late October (after training for the Virginia 10-Miler).
So this was a really good effort on a minimum amount of work the last month or so.
The only mistake that we made is not staying for the awards ceremony as Waverly took first in her age group. Who knew?
We drove over to Charlottesville where we stayed the evening before doing the Montalto Challenge 5K the next morning at the grounds of Jefferson's Monticello.
We split a pizza at a place called Brix Wood Fired Pizza and then chased it down with some Ben and Jerry's afterward.
The next morning, we were at Monticello by about 6:20 a.m., where we registered, went back to the car and relaxed until we had to get a bus to go down to the start.
There was an 838-foot difference in elevation between the start and the finish.
The first 1.8 miles were winding trails that had mixed surfaces, but primarily asphalt and wooden planks on the many bridges that had been built.
The remaining distances was a series of eight switchbacks that certainly brought me to a halt. We had covered both of the first two miles in just under 13 minutes each. She was better prepared as she walks hills every day going to and from class at Liberty.
I performed a good bit of brisk "keep it moving" walking the rest of the way. We finished in 42:55.68. Certainly not impressive, but it was more about the shared experience.
We had a pretty good breakfast at a place called The Villa, which was on the University of Virginia campus, before heading back to Lynchburg.
Our original plans included seeing a Gardner-Webb at Liberty baseball game, which had been scheduled for 3 p.m. However, due to rains moving into the Lynchburg area Saturday afternoon and evening, the game was moved up to 10 a.m.
Waverly switched some things at her dorm room and then we headed to Roanoke. Primarily just to get away and hang out a little bit. She worked on a couple of things for school while I took care of things that were needed to do in preparation for completing her Financial Check-In for the 2015-2016 Fall Semester.
Oh, and this was after a trip to Bubblecake Cupcake Shop just off the outskirts of downtown -- and real close to where I had run my half marathon for the state of Virginia.
I had this Caramel chocolate cupcake that was totally sickening sweet. Waverly had one and then got one to take back for one of best friends who is a resident advisor (R/A).
She had also had some recommendations for dinner as we headed downtown. The one place was Queso Southwestern Grill, but it was closed for remodeling. We looked around at a couple of other places, but settled for a place that she and her friend, Taylor, had been to previously called Thelma's.
Waverly went to the restroom while our drinks came and shortly after she sat down she saw a group of four girls from Liberty, one of who was her R/A partner for the upcoming year.
A very pleasant, polite young lady who had recently been injured playing soccer and was still overcoming some of its effects. I'm real excited for that opportunity that Waverly will get not only for the role itself, but to work with the young woman that we met Saturday evening.
We had plans to run Sunday morning at 5 a.m., but I waved it off in lieu of a little bit more sleep.
Soon we were on the road by 6:30 a.m. to get Waverly back to Blue Ridge Community Church where she is a group leader for one of the second grade girls classes there.
We attended the second service, worshipped God in song and heard an excellent sermon on how our faith is what unlocks God's grace in our lives.
We had one of our traditional Sunday, after church meals at Moe's before taking her back to her dorm and then heading north to Pennsylvania to surprise my grandmother.
It was such a beautiful day to drive, which meant for pretty safe travels.
I ended up taking a little bit of a diversion off of I-81 and I-70 because 1.) it really veers you to the east and then back west and 2.) it is an area where traffic can really slow down. And there were places on I-81, north of I-64, that did indeed slow down.
I learned of a stretch of road - Highway 522 - that went northwest of Winchester, Virginia, into West Virginia - through Berkley Springs and across the river into Maryland. I could have gone west on I-68 and then north on 220 out of Cumberland, Maryland, but my gamble that I-70 North to Breezewood would be a pretty easy drive proved to be true.
I ended up my grandparents house at around 6 p.m. and I was able to get a few hot dogs at the temporary Austin's Texas Hot Dogs stand just outside of Delgrosso's Park.
The time there would be short-lived though as I put my head on the pillow around 9:30 p.m., slept until about 1:15 a.m. and then drove to Pittsburgh for a 5:45 a.m. flight.
Nonetheless, I'm looking at getting back home again soon.