Let the Biking Adventure Begin!

at the airport at 6am

at the airport at 6am

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We officially made it to Seattle with all our luggage and bikes intact! It’s hard to believe we won’t see the East Coast for another six weeks. Here is our plan for the trip.

The Plan

Our trip begins in Seattle then loops over onto the Olympic Peninsula. We will then head south along the coast to Florence, Oregon and hopefully see Thor’s Well. Check out a picture of it if you have a chance. Then we will stop by Crater Lake and Eugene, Oregon. I’m determined to run a lap around the track if possible! Then we’ll cross over Idaho into Missoula, Montana where the Adventure Cycling group is located, which helped us to plan out our trip. Then we’ll head north to Glacier National Park, Banff, and Jasper. That’s probably the part I’m most excited for. It has some huge climbs, but sounds gorgeous from what I hear. After that we’ll head southwest to Vancouver. If we have time we might take a ferry to Vancouver Island, but we’ll see. Then it’s back to Seattle to fly back home.

My dad and I will be biking the whole thing and my mom will be driving the support vehicle. We’ll be camping the whole thing unless we splurge for a motel or hotel on a really rainy night.

So, that is our current plan. We might change things along the way – cut some things out, add some things in. Nothing is set in stone beside when we’re flying in and out.

A few highlights along the way;

  • Crater Lake
  • Florence, OR (Thor’s Well)
  • Eugene, OR (aka track town!)
  • Glacier National Park
  • Banff
  • Jasper
  • Vancouver Island (possibly)

Bucket List Items for the Trip

  • See a grizzly bear
  • See a mountain goat
  • Run around part of Crater Lake or bike around it
  • Bike all the way up the Road to the Sun (Glacier National Park)
  • Run around the University of Oregon’s track

I’ll blog as often as possible and will try and make some videos with my new GoPro. If you want to see more current updates then you can check out my instagram where I’ll be posting photos; joyrunner6 or the link is in the right column. Talk to you soon!

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GoPro Adventures

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GoPro Hero

I’ve loved playing with my new camera! As previously mentioned, I got a GoPro for my birthday; a GoPro Hero to be specific and I’m having so much fun goofing around with it.

The camera itself is very light. I took it along for one of my runs and didn’t use the head strap, instead deciding to just hold it in my hand. I didn’t want to make myself look like a total weirdo! It didn’t feel much heavier than my current GPS watch. Granted, I wouldn’t want to carry it on a longer run, but for an hour or so it didn’t bother me.

The camera is easy to use. It has a “QuikCapture” setting, which means I can just click one button and it turns on and starts filming. If I press it again, then it stops filming and turns off. I chose the entry-level GoPro mainly because it costs less. Plus, I didn’t find the other features of the newer models essential. WiFi, an LCD screen, and more bursts for pictures weren’t a priority for me, especially since this is my first real camera. The GoPro Hero is enough for me at the moment.

It came with a head strap to either attach to a helmet or just wear on my head. I’m not sure I would trust this for the bike trip and plan to get a mount for my handlebars instead. That way it’s right in front of me on the bike and I will be able to see the light to tell if it’s on/off and where the camera is facing.

bike mount

bike mount

For someone that has barely any experience filming and ZERO experience editing film I was pleasantly surprised with how my first video turned out. It definitely isn’t perfect and I know what to change in the future. I have a lot of learning left, but I’m on my way!  Check out the video! Oh, and make sure to watch in 720HD – gotta get the full GoPro experience!

 

Do you have a GoPro? What’s your experience been like with it?

Motivational Monday!

Happy Monday, People! The last Monday of 2014! Here are a few things I thought I’d share with you guys because everyone needs some motivation at times.

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Most of you know that I LOVE the November Project. Although I go to school at UVM I love when I can join a workout in Boston on my breaks. It blows my mind how even in the winter there are HUNDREDS of people that show up to workout in the dark at 6:30 in the morning. Recently the cofounders of the November Project gave a Ted Talk on “How to Start a Movement.” They talk about the secret recipe to starting a movement and their own experiences. The November Project started with only one person showing up to their first workout, but now there are hundreds of us at each workout and November Projects in 16 different cities in North America! That’s powerful! If you’d like to get an idea of their enthusiasm and what they bring then check out their Ted Talk.

This is how dark it is at 6:30. We still show up, though!

This is how dark it is at 6:30. We still show up, though!

Group photo from last Friday

Group photo from last Friday. Oh Christmas tree…

Lastly, here’s an adorable video that I saw last week. It went viral a few years ago and I think I remember it vaguely, but I couldn’t help but smile/laugh when I saw it again. It’s a little boy giving a motivational speech after just learning to ride a bike. You can’t get much cuter than this!

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Happy Monday everyone!

Dog Tales

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It’s no secret that I love my dog. Besides being cute, fluffy, and adorable, he also makes a great running buddy. He has a LOT of energy, which translates into a lot of natural running talent. He has enough energy to help pull me up some of those hills, gets along well with other dogs and people, and is not that interested in wildlife. That last one is surprisingly important when running. Otherwise how would he handle the geese that think they own the Charles?

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A daily occurrence

However, Samson can be a bit of a scaredy cat sometimes. Bikes, strollers, skateboards… Okay, basically anything on wheels makes him nervous. The funniest one, though, is that he is scared of bridges. Not the big ones that cars can go across, but the smaller ones that you can see through to the water below. We first noticed this a few years ago when we took him for a walk across a wooden bridge. He started walking really low to the ground like he was stalking something. It took us a little while to realize that the bridge was the problem. I can kind of understand the confusion. How do you tell a dog that they’re not going to fall through?

Today the weirdest thing happened. I did a new loop that I hadn’t run with Samson before. He was doing great and running along very happily. There’s this one spot right before going under the Longfellow bridge that is grated and you can see through to the water below. I’ve run across it plenty of times and never really thought twice about it. All of a sudden I found myself hurdling/tripping over Samson. He had stopped dead in his tracks and was apparently scared of the grate.

Bar Grating Bridge Decking Rtch

No matter how much I tried to sweet talk and coax him forward he would not budge an inch. Even using treats to try and make him walk across it didn’t help. He was just glued to the ground. I really didn’t want to run the 5 miles back the other way, so I ended up carrying my 70-pound labradoodle across the grate. Luckily, the grated section was only about 15 feet, so it wasn’t that long. However, I’m sure I looked absolutely ridiculous. It’s a good thing no runners were going by, but there were plenty of cars that saw us. I wonder if they thought I was dognapping him or something. Nope, just helping my scaredy dog out.

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The Goofball

Do you like to run with your dog? Is your dog scared of anything? Bridges? What’s the funniest thing your dog has ever done?

Thank You, Boston

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Looking back at my previous posts, I realize how bad of a place I was in at the beginning of the summer. After a horrible marathon experience, I was emotionally drained. I spent months and months training for that one race and it had gone terribly wrong. I still cringe talking about it. Add on top of that moving to an unfamiliar city where the only people I really knew were my immediate family and let’s just say I wasn’t too happy. I had a summer full of physics classes ahead of me, no real friends in the area, and was questioning my running ability.

When I think about it, though, a summer in Boston was just what I needed. At first it seemed new and intimidating, but it was also a place for me to start with a clean slate. I wasn’t around people I knew, which in a way was relieving because I didn’t have to explain over and over again about my marathon. Nobody knew who I was, which was just fine with me.

I still remember those first few runs on the Charles. Everything seemed so loud and busy. There were so many people going in different directions in comparison to what I was used to. I also spent the first week back to training on the Cambridge side getting extremely frustrated at all of the intersections. Took me a little while to realize that I preferred the Esplanade.

At this point, I was still registered for the Baystate Marathon, but was very unsure if I wanted to go through with it. VCM had been so extremely painful that I’d thought, “Why would I ever want to do that again?” after crossing the finish line. I spent a while moping around trying to figure things out before fully committing to running Baystate. I just couldn’t leave the marathon alone after having some bad timing getting sick.

However, I decided that things needed to change. I absolutely love running. It’s my passion, but at the beginning of the summer my heart just wasn’t there. The spring hadn’t gone as planned and my confidence had taken a blow. I needed to add some more fun back into the mix.

One of the biggest changes I made was joining the November Project. From the very first session, I felt welcomed and included. After going to the first Monday workout, I was hooked. The November Project had worked its magic on me and I started to get my spark back. I was determined to go to all three workouts that week. If you’re curious, I did accomplish all three workouts, but I also couldn’t walk normally at the end of the week because I was so sore!

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hill sprints on Summit Ave!

The November Project runs on high fives and hugs!

The November Project runs on high fives and hugs!

I had the stupid idea of running to and from the Wednesday workout at Harvard stadium. I learned pretty quickly that that wouldn’t be possible. I was humbled, and by the end of the workout I had to call for a ride because there was no way I could run the five miles home.

Throughout the summer, I learned what the tribe was all about – having fun while getting a good workout in. Hugs from strangers, high fives, and “f*** yeah’s” are all in a day’s work.

I had to find my way around Boston to all of the different locations of the November Project. Most of the time, this meant I had to use a GPS to get me to wherever it was. I’ve run into the heart of Boston, all up and down the Charles, around Cambridge, Brookline, Brighton, etc. It helped to get me out of my comfort zone and I explored a lot of places I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

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This became one of my favorite things to run by. Whether I was out for an easy run or a hard workout, it always inspired me.

This became one of my favorite places to run by. Whether I was just out for an easy run or a hard workout, the message always inspired me.

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I signed up for a few 10ks over the summer and surprised myself by taking a big chunk of time off my previous PR. That helped give me the confirmation that I still had my running ability and was in good shape. Heck, I was in PR shape!

running to my new 10k PR

running to my new 10k PR

Now that I’m back at UVM, I feel like my old self and I know that Boston was a huge influence in making that happen. It provided me with the new motivation and confidence I needed. Thank you, November Project, for welcoming me with open arms. I’m already looking forward to working out with you again when I get back for winter break! More in general, thanks Boston, for providing me with a clean slate and a home away from home. You helped to light that fire in me again.

Streaking Runners

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Since I’ve been living in Boston, I’ve enjoyed running on the Charles because of all the other people. Runners, bikers, walkers, old, young, buff, skinny – all shapes and sizes. The esplanade invites all different types of people. When I get out of my zone and do a little bit of people watching, I realize that there are some really interesting scenes.

The strangest experience happened yesterday morning. I woke up bright and early to run over to the November Project. I refuse to wake up any earlier than 5:40, which means that I throw some clothes on, put in my contacts, stuff some food in my mouth, and run out the door to make it to Summit Ave on time. Therefore, I’m not fully awake until I’ve run a couple miles, which is why I didn’t quite believe what I saw yesterday morning.

As I was running over the Mass Ave Bridge, I was looking at the ramp that leads down to the esplanade. There weren’t a ton of people running that early, but there were a few. All of a sudden I noticed something not quite right. I blinked a couple times because I didn’t quite believe what I was seeing. There appeared to be a guy running… completely naked. Well, unless you count running shoes as clothing.

I didn’t quite believe it and figured he must have some underwear or something on that I just hadn’t noticed. When he got to the top of the ramp, sure enough he took the turn to run in the Cambridge direction towards me. Nope, no he was not wearing any underwear. I quickly averted my eyes and acted like everything was normal. I did NOT want to make eye contact. He was going at a good pace and passed by me within a few moments acting like everything was normal. He would’ve blended right in if he was wearing clothes.

The other runners on the bridge were also acting like everything was completely normal. It would’ve been one thing if it was a Saturday night and there was a guy streaking, but at 6:00 AM on a Friday morning? I was so confused. It makes me wonder if this was an everyday thing that the guy does. There aren’t many people awake that early in the morning and probably not as many police out. Maybe he was just out for his normal run… naked.

I spent the last few miles of my run to Summit Ave questioning if what I saw really happened. Was I dreaming? Did I just imagine that? I DON’T UNDERSTAND. I guess I’ll never really know why that guy was streaking. I’m not sure I want to know.

Have you seen any strange sites on your runs recently? Ever seen a runner streaking? Anyone else running on the Charles yesterday morning?

Boston Escapades

the view from Fan Pier Park

the view from Fan Pier Park

Over the past couple weeks I’ve been having a great time finding my way around Boston. Between the November Project workouts, visiting out by my sister’s house, and finding new places to run, I’ve done a lot of exploring. Sometimes you have to completely mix things up to find new motivation.

Firstly, I absolutely love the November Project. I found myself smiling at the beginning of today’s workout as a few hundred people circled up doing jumping jacks at 6:30 in the morning. We’re all a tad bit crazy as you can probably tell. Mondays are normally core workouts, Wednesdays are stair climbs at Harvard stadium, and Friday hill sprints up Summit Ave.

Fridays are fantastic! They’re right up my alley. As a runner that’s used to hillier terrain I feel like those days are kind of my specialty. Remember when I was complaining about the flat terrain in Boston? Well, I’ve definitely found some really great hills. Between Summit Ave and running near my sister’s house I haven’t been deprived, so don’t worry! I’m not turning into a flatlander.

Mondays are awesome as well. I’m not as good at core days, but I have fun. I have issues doing core on my own, so it’s great to have other people to workout with. Mondays are always in a different place. This morning was at Fan Pier Park and I had to use a GPS to find my way over there.

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Wednesdays, on the other hand, are definitely something… There are 37 sections of the Harvard Stadium with 31 giant steps in each. The first time I went, I tried my best to make it all the way around, but only made it to section 31. Everyone starts out running and leaping up the stairs. Eventually I found myself losing momentum near the top and having to hike the last few steps. By the end I probably looked pretty pathetic gasping for air and slowly hiking up the stairs. Around halfway through I noticed a couple people leaning over the side puking. Oh, boy.

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Harvard Stadium. I couldn’t fit the whole thing in one picture it was so big!

Next time, I’ll try to start closer to the front of the group and I won’t run over there. It’s around 5 miles from my apartment and I had the brilliant idea of running over there the first time. NEVER AGAIN. It probably didn’t help that I got lost along the way. I think I’ll just bike next time thank you very much. My calves haven’t felt that sore in a long time. I want to go again so that I can finish the sections, but am not sure I’ll be doing that regularly. My calves were not happy with me to say the least.

I also wandered over to the Minuteman Bikepath for my long run yesterday. It was kind of a pain in the butt to get over there from where I live because I have to cross a bunch of streets. However, it was a beautiful path – kind of reminded me of the Burlington bike path. It went by some ponds, soccer fields, and through a cute little town. There were even some signs along the way pointing towards ice cream shops and good places to eat. Somehow on the way back I ran past a parade. I still have no idea what the parade was for, but it looked cool!

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a parade!

a parade!

the pond I ran by on my run

the pond I ran by on the bike path

What’s new in your life? Have you done something different lately? Explored a new place?