Welcome to the second installment in our Sip Happens Series!
Cabin fever is the real deal. Does anyone else struggle with it? Every winter I vow to be content with putzing around the house on the weekends, doing a few DIY projects that I’ve long neglected or catching up on the half read stack of books in my nightstand drawer. Inevitably I get bored, the restlessness builds and cabin fever rears its ugly head.
Compared to last year, the cabin fever seems to be worse than ever. Last year I spent most of the winter running and therefore didn’t have much of a chance to get bored. I set a lofty goal to run 2,015 miles in 2015. I had heard of other people doing it and it seemed doable so I declared my challenge on Instagram and set off to prove the skeptics wrong. It was a valiant attempt that landed me with a serious injury and a bruised pride. Let me preface this by saying that I am actually a runner! Just in case you thought I was totally insane, I’m not. Just a regular amount of insane. I’ve ran a number of races and have even laid down some respectable personal records. However, it is purely for fun and exercise. I like to race because I like the post-race party and the free swag. I like to run because I like to drink wine and eat brownies. At the time I declared my 2,015 goal I was running
thirty, okay fine twenty, OKAY FINE fifteen miles a week. When I’m training for a race I’ll log around 30-40 miles a week but after the race is over, I settle back into running 15-20 miles a week with other types of various exercises peppered in. I’m sure you’ve already done the math but to break it down: 2,015 miles. 52 weeks in a year. That’s 38.75 miles a week, which far exceeds my casual 15 miles a week running regiment.
I lasted for almost 6 months. The last month was brutal and I was in serious pain but competition runs fierce in these veins and I was not about to go down without a fight. Even if I am the only competition and it’s to my own demise. In late April I began experiencing severe pain in my right foot. I’ve always had pain in my heels when I wake up in the morning but this time the pain didn’t go away. It lasted all day and continued to get worse over the next few days and weeks. I continued to run through it for another month before deciding to take a break from running. This cycle repeated two more times before eventually calling it quits on the running scene altogether. Walking became impossible, especially in the mornings or after sitting for long periods of time. I took my standing desk down at work and switched to strictly tennis shoes. I had full blown plantar fasciitis in my right foot and no amount of stretching, Tylenol, special socks or ice was helping it get better. I finally went to the doctor – two weeks before my wedding. He took a look at my foot, ran an X-ray and did a very scientific plantar fasciitis test which consisted of simply pushing his thumbs into my heel as hard as possible. After jumping out of my skin from pain and nearly kicking him squarely in the jaw, he officially pronounced me screwed, gave me a cortisone shot and a walking boot to wear for 4 weeks.
Fast forward: Four weeks in the walking boot then four weeks off then another bout of walking boot for four more weeks. Some incredible shoe insoles (hallelujah) and a lot of tough love with myself (no impact cardio, no walking unless necessary, no jumping, no shoes other than tennis shoes, etc) and I am happy to report that I am doing much better.
This brings us to January 2016 with a much more realistic fitness goal (one unassisted pull up, anyone?) and a serious case of cabin fever. Which is why Matt and I decided to head to the mountains and go for our longest hike since the boot officially came off.
It was a cold and cloudy day with a chance of flurries in the forecast. We love hiking in the snow and were so excited when we got to the top of the mountain and found a lovely dusting of snow waiting for us.
We hiked at a Virginia state park called Sky Meadows. There’s a $5.00 entrance fee per vehicle, miles of trail networks and backcountry camping. The trails were beautifully kept and we were both impressed – well marked and well maintained. I could see where parking would be an issue if it was a busy day but we had no difficulties finding a spot since the weather wasn’t ideal.
After climbing down the mountain we found our way to Miracle Valley Vineyards. When I visited their website earlier in the week, I happened upon a coupon for a, ‘buy one get one free tasting’, which made going here a no-brainer. The snow was coming down pretty hard at this point (but not sticking to anything) which made for the perfect day to cuddle up and enjoy a glass of vino.
There was a local band setting up to play some music while Matt and I enjoyed a glass of Viognier (his) and Cabernet Franc (hers). The wine was good but not the best we’ve tasted. I would visit here again, however. Our taster was so friendly, easy to chat with and very knowledgeable about the wines. She took her time helping us and never made us feel rushed, which is my number one annoyance whence tasting at a vineyard. Let. Me. Take. My. Time.
From there we needed to grab some lunch before heading to our final vineyard. We had munched on popcorn and Clif bars on the trail but it wasn’t going to hold us over! We always ask the locals for restaurant suggestions and the Red Truck Rural Bakery did not disappoint. They have grab-and-go sandwiches, fresh coffee and pastries, and delicious homemade soups. Matt and I each grabbed a sandwich and a cup of soup but we definitely should have either split the sandwich or split the soup – it was a lot of food. Which is good considering the bill was $30. A bit steep for your local bakery but the food was delicious and plentiful. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Our final stop before heading home was Delaplane Cellars. The interior of the building was impressive on its own but the wines blew us away. I felt a bit out of place here in my flannel shirt and hiking vest but our taster was attentive, knowledgeable, quick and kind. I’m sure they’re used to receiving guests who have spent a day on the trails and she made us feel right at home.
Matt and I both enjoyed a glass of the Left Bank which is a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. It was full bodied with blackberry and a hint of tobacco on the nose. Smooth as butter and a finish that just wouldn’t stop. If it wasn’t $50 a bottle we would have come home with some.
We ended our day feeling grateful to be so blessed and with tired legs, happy bellies and lazy grins to boot. My foot felt great the next day and we can hardly wait to get out and do some longer hikes and camping once the weather warms up. Cheers!