This November, I will bicycle (& skate) my way to Key West, Florida. It is the finale of my pedal-powered journey beginning (for me) in Bar Harbor Maine in 2015 — cycling southbound a week+ per year.
But, I don’t ride for me.
I ride — with a group of cyclists, test riders who are activists and pioneers — for you, your friends, your family and future generations who crave safe travels that don’t involve a cars. I pedal-power this distance for walkers, joggers, skaters, cyclists and those in wheelchairs who need trails & safe passages for commuting, recreating or just needing a dose of nature.
My fellow cyclists and I are part of The East Coast Greenway Alliance — a non-profit who works with communities along the Eastern seaboard to build or bridge trails from Maine to Key West that are car-free &/or safe-passages.
My distance running debut (beyond the high school track) – was on June 17, 1978 , at the Vestal XXK in Vestal, NY. The race organizers (Triple Cities Runner Club) and specifically Alan Jones, the Race Director at that time encouraged women to run distances previously frowned upon and it was an event where Kathrine Switzer — who famously ran the all-male Boston Marathon in 1967 — ran in 1971. Continue reading The Vestal XXK Re-run→
Doris drove the oversized van — a rehabbed ambulance — into the lot designated for runners taking four parking spaces while Lois tended to other matters. Outside, runners no older than 40 congregated, wearing singlets and shorts in 45-degree weather, not growing goosebumps, waiting for the half marathon to start. Inside the van, the temperature a balmy 78.
Sporting an age category far right of the runners bell curve, Lois and Doris broke a sweat with two layers of pants and a full contingent of long sleeve shirts, Goretex vest, and a winter jacket. Behind the driver’s seat a long hallway – presumed once used for stretchers – flanked a private bathroom, a closet with two fold out chairs, a coffee station and a large sofa covered with knee braces, ankle supports, bandages and four pairs of running shoes. Continue reading The warmup→
As their AmTrak train arrived in New York City, the screeching sounds of brakes grinding to a stop gave way to a sense that something special was about to unfold. Doris and Lois, dragged their carefully packed bags, backpacks actually, that were only easy to carry during the departure from Baltimore. Somehow, during the train ride these bags transformed into cement blocks, becoming heavier and wider, and any plans to walk the distance from mid-town to Battery Park seemed less likely. It was New York City at 9AM and the hum of the city, the tall buildings that on some blocks shut down the sky, had that unique smell of humanity that the shop owners did their best to hose back onto the streets, for a city that claimed to never sleep.
Every once in awhile, you challenge yourself beyond what you think you are capable. You push the limits, and there is still a reserve to push harder. You consider the “Q” word, but somehow manage to talk yourself out of quitting. You think the worst is over, only to find you need to push yourself even more. You wonder what provoked the need for such a challenge? Or, maybe you just don’t realize what you have signed up for.
We had signed up for the Blue Ridge Half Marathon in the dead of winter. The days when the temperatures were in single digits, the outdoor runs were slim to none and signing up for something that was advertised as the “worlds hardest half marathon’ seemed like a way out of the winter doldrums. We live at sea level in Maryland. Our altitude of 300′ with hills that might reach 1/4 mile at most is plenty challenging. Yet, we were drawn to an event that claimed to reach the stars. Words that touted 2 mountain climbs with nearly 4000′ of elevation change drew blank stares. Fixated by the claim of the worlds hardest half marathon – well, I had to see it to believe it. In that blissfully unaware cold winter day, sitting at my computer with a hot cup of Joe – I clicked on the “Register” button. Now, all I had to do was to convince my running partner to do the same. Fortunately she didn’t read the fine print. Continue reading Elevated→
Many people consider the Chesapeake Bay as the waterway that divides the Maryland mainland and the Maryland Eastern Shore. However, hidden in the geography details, is a small island. Kent Island. An island where the “Q” sisters rule. Sisters Quaint and Quiet.
It is also a splat of land where the terrain is sculpted perfectly for runners. Perfect in my world translates to flat terrain, off road running trails, unbelievably scenic views of the Bay and roadways mostly devoid of traffic. Welcome to the karma of Kent Island.
Somewhere in February, the arctic air took over Maryland. With temperatures in single digits and winds that put the “real feel” even colder, my exercise wardrobe morphed from running tights and windbreaker jackets to ski parkas, ski pants, sheep lined boots, and goggles. And no, I wasn’t skiing.
I “get it” that my neighbors north of Maryland – are faring much worse. I can’t even begin to feel their frozen pain. Yet for 2015, Maryland has become ‘one’ with Canada. Can’t we just start an early spring? But no. That little groundhog from Pennsylvania (Phil) had other plans…
It all started when my running partner was running late for our rendezvous in Bethesda.
With 15 minutes of spare time on my hands, I wandered through the Barnes and Noble bookstore. With no particular agenda (other than to stay warm for 15 minutes), I pretended to be a customer. Meandering along shelves of books, and stopping now and then for some pretend interest. And then I stopped cold in my tracks.
There is was. A book with a photo of healthy vegetables on the front and a title that was calling my name. “Paleo for Beginners”. And if that wasn’t enough – it opened directly to page 95. A recipe for Chocolate Chip Strawberry Muffins. I suddenly needed to “go Paleo”. Sold.
Today, I will run the Charleston Half Marathon – which is a charity running event that supports the Arts in Charleston SC. We left our campground in Mount Pleasant by 6AM – for a 30 minute drive into downtown Charleston. At 36 degrees, I was expecting to be cold, bone cold while waiting outdoors 1.5 hours for the 8AM start. I was thrilled to find that the Burke Middle School was open to the runners, and all 4300 of us piled inside to stay warm.
This is where I met Rosanne – a lovely lady in her early 50’s who is a cancer survivor and has run over 30 marathons and a few Iron-Man triathlons. She was quite inspiring and engaging and I nearly forgot that I was preparing to run a half marathon. With 10 minutes before the race starts, I said goodbye to my new friend – and stepped outdoors. Brrr. I was wearing too many clothes for running – but I really need to stay warm at the start. Aaah, the runner’s dilemma boils down to how much clothing to wear. Continue reading Taking in Charleston via the Charleston Half Marathon and 5K→