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

Running

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…)


4 Things I Learned From Today’s Running Mix

MWC2014wp

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!

blah

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

AU1

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…)


Day 1 in Ireland: Cliffs, Cars, and Clifden

Ireland

Day 1 adventures (L to R:) Sunset takeoff from Boston; our tiny, barely-automatic rental car; looking south at the Cliffs of Moher; O’Brien’s Tower atop the cliffs; and veggie fare in Galway.

Greetings from Ireland!  We left from Boston Monday evening on an overnight flight to Shannon Airport on Ireland’s west coast.  Our plan to sleep through the flight and wake up refreshed in the morning was foiled by the fact that you can really only manage about two hours of sleep on a six-hour flight.  So we were more than a little sleepy upon arrival and quickly downed two airport coffees to jump-start our new day.  We picked up the rental car we had reserved in advance, having splurged an extra $100 or so for an automatic.  We’d heard tales of terror about driving on Irish roads, and although we can both drive a stick shift, we didn’t want the added pressure of figuring out how to do that with our left hands.  Driving on the right side of the car on the left side of narrow roads while navigating endless roundabouts would be tricky enough. (more…)


My Road to Achill

My road...err, flight path...to Achill

My road…err, flight path…to Achill Island for next week’s marathon

I’ve only been running for three years, but I’ve noticed a recurring runner (R)/non-runner (NR) conversation that goes a little something like this:

R: I’m a runner.

NR: Have you run a marathon?

R: No

NR: (Nods. Loses interest. Changes subject.)

Completing a marathon is a rite of passage for a distance runner.  It confers a level of commitment to the sport, of accomplishment as an athlete, of membership in a special (albeit slightly crazy) group.  And while half-marathon is now the most popular distance to race in the United States, the marathon remains out of reach for many runners.  Perhaps because it is more difficult, more of a training commitment, more daunting a challenge…whatever the reason, taking on a marathon is a milestone in a running career, and for me, that milestone is right around the corner. (more…)


A Change of Plans in Lake Louise

Lake Louise

L to R: Late afternoon on the shore of Lake Louise; nearby Moraine Lake; a washed-out section of the Banff Legacy Trail; the electrified bear fence surrounding the campground; and post-run yoga overlooking the Bow River.

After leaving Jasper via the Icefields Parkway, our first stop in Banff National Park was the small settlement of Lake Louise, most famous for its ski area and storied Fairmont hotel.  The hotel sits directly on the glacial lake, but the shore area and trails behind the hotel are open to the public.  We headed to the lake the evening we arrived in an attempt to avoid tour bus crowds, and we were rewarded with a parking space close to the water.  The lake was pretty, but the light wasn’t quite right, and the scene didn’t measure up to either of our expectations nor to other lakes we encountered.  Moraine Lake in Jasper and Maligne Lake, just a few miles away from Lake Louise at the end of a windy mountain road, were arguably more picturesque…at least on the days we visited them.

We spent the night at the HI hostel in Lake Louise, conveniently located near the center of town.  Actually, town is an overstatement.  It’s more like a small tourist village within the national park, with one main intersection, a gas station, a few inns, several overpriced restaurants, and a gazillion tour buses.  In short, nowhere we wanted to be.  We went to bed early, much to the chagrin of the 20-something German guys with whom we shared our 4-person bunkroom. (more…)


Ode to the Multi-Use Trail

Caption

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.

(more…)