Some of you may have noticed it's been quiet on my blog for a little while. In fact, I've sat down to write posts several times, but never had the heart to finish them. The short answer to my lack of posting is a simple one - I've been incredibly depressed the past few months. For those of you following me on social media, you may have noticed I've really dropped the ball on basically all channels the past few months. I've just not had the heart to do much posting. In fact, I've only recently begun to start getting active on Twitter and Instagram again. It's very hard to curate images that are beautiful when you feel so heavy.
I've been doing a lot less guiding at my job the past few months. I love being a guide and teaching people how to see and explore the outdoors in new ways. The wildfire that swept our region back in November has had devastating effects on area businesses. Many local places are reporting being down between 20-45% from last year. In fact, many people are still under the impression that the entire town of Gatlinburg and all of the Great Smoky Mountains are completely decimated. The truth of the matter is that 1700 homes were lost, but many businesses reopened in the past few months or are rebuilding. The Smokies only saw 2% of the park damaged by fire and the damage becomes less and less noticeable every day thanks to spring rejuvenating the burned ground. Getting people to come back to the area, however, has been really, REALLY tough.
The past few months haven't been all bad for me. As usual, I focus my off-season months on running. I ran a PR in both the half marathon (finally running a sub 2-hr half) and full marathon (4:05:30 - nearly 20 minutes off last year) events I entered this year. I ran a trail marathon without ever having really gone trail running. I ran my fastest ever mile. I even decided to start focusing on more endurance and ultra events in 2018. Physically, I'm in the best shape I've ever been in. Mentally though, I'm not doing so hot. The past few months have brought up a lot of personal issues I need to deal with and I'm just now dragging myself out of the hole to do it. It's been really heart-wrenching at times and, if any of you have ever dealt with depression, you know it's not an easy road to recovery. Add to that the fact that I don't have health insurance and that means I'll be paying for all of this out-of-pocket and you've got an even tougher road ahead.
For those of you still looking for trail advice and reading trail journals, I'm still reachable by email and by Facebook. I'm still loving answering your questions and helping you plan your journey. Just know that the posts will be coming back slowly and it might be a quick minute before I'm feeling up to the task. For those of you who are regular readers, please note that I'm writing posts for you guys! It's very hard to continue coming up with new ideas, graphics, and formatting that makes sense. Drop a comment every once in a while and let me know you're reading. It's very tough to continue writing if you feel like no one is out there!
I'll be back at it again soon. Happy Trails!