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

People

Strangers on a Plane

My boarding pass, and the Midwestern sky the day of my travels.

(L to R): My boarding pass and the Midwestern sky on the day of my travels.

I met a man on a plane last month. He was the kind of guy I’ve been seated next to a hundred times on a flight without saying more than a polite hello: a generation older than me, graying hair, jeans, tucked-in button-down shirt, sneakers. He reminded me of my dad.

We were flying Southwest, which has an open seating policy, and I happened to have A1 for the only time in my life. A1 is the first passenger to board the plane, and accordingly, I got to choose the first seat. Now, this is tricky proposition for an introvert who likes options. The entire plane is open (great!), but I’d be fully responsible for my personal placement if I ended up in the wrong neighborhood (not so great). (more…)


Bookmarking Personal History

A sampling of bookmarks in our house: shifty, mysterious mileposts in our personal histories

A sampling of the bookmarks in our house: mysterious mileposts through our personal histories

One of my goals this year is to read (to completion) 12 books. This number seems absurdly low for a girl who used to read that many books in one week on summer vacation, but it’s a realistic reentry into a space I haven’t occupied for a while. I still read a lot of words, but they are rarely in full-book format. So before catching a plane to Utah last week, I scanned one of our bookcases and grabbed a fresh book off the top shelf, the shelf with the invisible label, “Books I purchased years ago with the intent of reading but haven’t quite gotten around to yet.” (more…)


Balancing Our Way Into Bear Canyon

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. Scenes from our trail run to Seven Falls inside Bear Canyon.

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. Scenes from our trail run to Seven Falls inside Bear Canyon.

We’ve been in Tucson for just over a month now, and with the last of our boxes unpacked and recycled, we’re settling in to the business of exploring our new town. One of the things we love is the easy access to trails in every direction. We live just a few miles from the entrance to the eastern section of Saguaro National Park, and it’s just about a 30-minute drive to the western section of the park and other national forest recreation areas to the north and south.

This past weekend, looking to shake out our heavy post-holiday legs and enjoy a spell of warmer-than-usual weekend weather, we drove up to the Sabino Canyon parking area in Coronado National Forest, on the north side of the city. We’d been to Sabino once before, in early November before we officially moved here, and we were eager to return and try another trail. But instead of heading back into Sabino Canyon, we set out from the visitor’s center on a trail leading east into neighboring Bear Canyon with a destination of Seven Falls. (more…)


Exploring Acadia National Park from the Acacia House Inn

Room 5, our third-floor hideaway in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Room 5 at the Acacia House Inn, our third-floor, anniversary hideaway in Bar Harbor, Maine.

A few years ago, on a very lucky Friday the 13th, we eloped to Maine, specifically to Northeast Harbor, a tiny village at the mouth of Somes Sound, where the ladies in the Town Clerk’s office were giddy and gracious in hosting an impromptu wedding for us on just a few days’ notice. They served as officiant, witnesses, photographer, and florist, presenting me with a bouquet of fresh-cut daffodils from outside the building. We spent the rest of the weekend exploring the island by bike and foot. When we arrived back home, we sent the Town Hall crew a thank you note with Portsmouth chocolates and our favorite picture from that day. And so began our May tradition of adventuring on Mount Desert Island.

This weekend, we arrived on Friday for four days of hiking, running, writing, sleeping, and eating. Acadia National Park is the frequent site of the first three activities, while the Acacia House Inn is our preferred site for the last two. We’ve written extensively about our national park adventures at Acadia, but we’ve been remiss in writing about our favorite B&B, the place we stayed that first spring and almost every year since. Let’s correct that right now! (more…)


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…)


An Inspired Run with Six Women Who Weren’t There

Me, after this morning's run, and the six ladies I had the pleasure of "running" with: Meg, Sam, Suz, Mary, Heather, and Mona

Me, after this morning’s run, and the six ladies I had the pleasure of “running” with: Meg, Sam, Suz, Mary, Heather, and Mona

I just returned home from a chilly, hilly 10-mile run on the winding country roads that blanket the New Hampshire seacoast.  It was a planned run, capping Week 2 of an extended marathon training plan and testing my readiness for a 10-mile road race I’m running in two weeks.

The first mile of a long run is about waking up the body, shaking off the cobwebs, and getting a feel for the road.  It wasn’t until somewhere in the second mile that my mind started to wander, and I remembered that today was the #megsmiles event I had read about online.

When I set out this morning, I had no intention of logging my miles as part of the event.  I didn’t print a bib or share the details on Facebook.  I didn’t seek out new running buddies or organize a group run.  I’m a bit introverted and not a natural joiner, so jumping on the bandwagon in the wake of a tragedy seemed inauthentic.  The idea floated away.  I kept running, but my thoughts kept returning to Meg.  (more…)


Back to the Alternative Grind

L to R: Threesunset scenes in Florida; 5K racing on my birthday; my October photo project; and M's new poetry blog

L to R: Three sunset scenes from Florida; 5K racing on my birthday; my October photo project archive; and M’s new poetry blog

We realized today that we haven’t posted an update in close to two months. How does that saying go? Time flies when you’re exhausted, confused, and energized by new ideas? We arrived home from Germany at the end of September, having traveled for 12 of the 15 preceding weeks. Six weeks spent road tripping across the Canadian and American west followed by six weeks in Europe, with three weeks at home in between to do laundry, repack, and taper for the marathon. By the time we finally returned to our cozy apartment in New Hampshire eight weeks ago, we were jet-lagged, burned out, and ready to slow down. And we were supposed to leave in six days for our next adventure: two weeks of national park hopping in the Pacific Northwest. (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…)


It’s All About People (Even for an Introvert Like Me)

These pictures illustrate the places where we met them, but this post is about the various people we encountered in Ireland. L to R: the Achill Ultra starting line; the village at Achill Sound; the Galaxy Bar; Gallagher’s Boxty House; and the Yeats exhibit at NLI.

Greetings from Germany…specifically from our cousins’ home south of Frankfurt.  We’ve only been here for one full day, but we already feel settled in and are so grateful for their hospitality and friendship.  We tackled our first post-marathon run together (six scenic miles along the Main River) and enjoyed our first German beers of the trip, including a specially-formulated alcohol-free beer with added vitamins designed for consumption after sports.  Running just got even better!

But before we fill our minds and hearts with new people and adventures here in Germany, we wanted to give a shout out to some of the wonderful folks we met in Ireland.  (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…)