Exploring the world one word…and one mile…at a time

Fitness

4 Things I Learned From Today’s Running Mix

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L to R: Me and J pre-race; Me at mile 5; J at the finish line; Me “penning” this post

Today was my first road race of 2014, the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler in Cape Elizabeth, ME. While I was working through the last few miles, I thought about this blog post to avoid thinking about the fact that I was pushing my legs harder than they wanted to be pushed. In many ways, this post is for me, but I think there’s something universal about it, too. It’s a point of reflection as I consider my goals for the remainder of the year.

I’m poised to take several new risks in 2014. J and I will grow Destination Fitness in ways that will test our merit as small business owners. We’ll contribute our time and effort to organizations that we believe in; we’ll resurrect some of the skills we picked up in our prior professional lives; and we’ll put our creative output into the world to be sometimes accepted and often rejected.

As I ran today, I listened to the songs on my iPod, and I realized that there’s a lot to be learned and applied from what I chose to put on today’s mix. (more…)


Runner’s High, German Style!

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L to R: Ummm…this way to number pick-up, I think; The Start/Finish (Ziel) line; Team “Partner Look” pre-race; The socks post-race; Our race swag.

J and I run a lot of races. However, since many of our races take place while traveling, it’s rare that we get to run with friends. Yes, running is an individual sport, but taking on a race with friends is much better than going it alone. While J and I are always each other’s personal cheering squad, a bigger group means even more positive energy.

Today, we joined T & S for a 10K race in Elsenfeld, Germany, a small town near Groβwallstadt where we are staying. In some ways, the race was like most American races: there were timing chips, a DJ, t-shirts, water stops, etc. In other ways, it was totally different: (more…)


11 Things I Learned on Achill Island

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L to R: Signage just before crossing the bridge into Achill Sound; J and me battling our nerves on race morning; race course signage (the roads were open); the start and finish line as the ultra runners began; mile marker near the finish line showing all three events.

The Achill Ultra race series on Achill Island in Ireland consisted of three events: a half marathon (13.1 miles), a full marathon (26.2 miles) and an ultra-marathon (a whopping 39.3 miles). There were just over 200 runners across all three races, making this a very personal affair. While most of the runners were Irish, we met folks from Ontario and New Jersey as well. And of course, we were in from New Hampshire. (more…)


Ode to the Multi-Use Trail

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L to R: M on the Arroyo Chamiso Trail in Santa Fe; River’s Edge Trail in Great Falls; M & J post-run in Niagara Falls; Highline Canal Trail Denver; J in the shadow of a locomotive in Jasper

Sometimes you don’t know what you need until you have it. Today is day 38 on the road, I’ve run 169 miles since we left, and my first treadmill run didn’t happen until yesterday. We were in Amarillo, TX, there were severe storms in the area and the only roads nearby were too busy to run. So I pumped out a sweaty, boring five miles on the treadmill in the cramped hotel gym. On the heels of my treadmill run, I thought it would be appropriate to give a shout out to the multi-use trails I grew accustomed to while we were out west.

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An Exercise in Flexibility

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L to R: Entering Saskatchewan with a bug-splattered windshield; making a pre-run breakfast at our hostel by the river; and a stunning view of the Canadian plains from yesterday’s drive.

As we headed out for a run on the Meewasin Trail in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan this morning, the question “right or left?” immediately came up. The trail runs along the South Saskatchewan River by the hospital and the University of Saskatchewan. We had planned our stay at a small hostel-like inn near the river, knowing that we had a run scheduled for this morning and having researched the Meewasin Trail online.

Despite our research and pre-planning–the Google images of the trail and the online maps–we still had to choose a direction to run with limited information about which direction was “better.” That choice got me thinking about the concept of expectations and subsequently the need for flexibility. We could be surprised or disappointed, not necessarily because of the trail or run itself, but because of our own expectations. Had we expected a populated, well-marked trail and a sunny run, we would have been disappointed. The trail was paved and wide, but the grasses were tall, the route wasn’t always clear and it was raining. Also, since it was Tuesday morning, only a few other runners and cyclists were out on the trail.  (more…)


Choosing Joy

Soccer shenanigans (c. 1986) and grown-up joy (c. 2012)

Soccer shenanigans (c. 1986) and grown-up joy (c. 2012)

M and I emerged from winter hibernation to attend a writing conference in Boston last month.  One of the seminars we attended was on the topic of teaching writing at community colleges, and one of the panelists, in sharing his personal experience, said that many students arrive in the classroom having had negative experiences with writing.  Specifically, in students’ pasts, writing frequently had been used as punishment.  So beyond having no current “relationship” with writing, many of them had a well of negative emotions associated with the topic.

Unexpectedly, my own latent writing memories rushed forth, strange elementary school flashbacks of writing the same phrase over and over again until I filled a piece of lined paper or writing an essay explaining why our class misbehaved for a substitute teacher.  For many students who have similar experiences, writing becomes permanently associated with negative events or emotions.  They never return to writing freely or for their own interest or benefit.

Fortunately, I had a pre-existing positive relationship with writing, even as a kid.  (more…)


A New Year of New Endeavors

January Scenes (L to R): What we've been reading [physiology and poetry], Whiteboard madness, and new tools of the trade...tape measures, yoga mats, and dumbbells, oh my!

January Scenes (L to R): What we’ve been reading this month [physiology and poetry], whiteboard madness as we brainstorm business ideas, and tools of the new trade…tape measures, yoga mats, and dumbbells, oh my!

Hello, friends, and happy 2013!  We hope your year is off to a good start.  We’ve been a bit quiet here at WPG, and it’s mostly by design.  We’ve been hunkered down this month, reflecting on last year’s adventures and taking care of a few important tasks to get this year started off on the right foot.  Two of those tasks are ones we wrote about back in August, upon return from our road trip to check out graduate schools in the Midwest.  We shared the debate we’d been having about our future plans, specifically whether applying to graduate school or starting our own business made more sense for us.  We concluded, “When in doubt, do it all!” and set out to do just that. (more…)