Congratulations to Gabe and Margaret!!!!!

This is way better than a post about running. Yesterday my brother Gabe proposed to his wonderful and amazing girlfriend Margaret. I am so so excited and happy for them, I was dancing around the house yesterday. I couldn’t think of two people who deserve each other more, I know they will fill each others’ lives with so much love and happiness. When Gabe first told me he wanted to go look at rings, I was so excited and told him I already had my speech planned for the wedding : ) A lot of you who read this blog are our close friends, so I will let Gabe and Margaret tell you the details but I am just so happy for them and for me too cus now Margaret’s really my sister, so I couldn’t wait to post something about it.

And a teeny tiny bit about running – this week I hit a 22 mile/day average in my training – my hardest and most favorite week yet! Today, Sunday, I don’t run and I’m going crazy feeling restless and without purpose. So I think I’ll just go celebrate Gabe and Margaret’s beeyooteefull love some more : )

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People are nice.

I’m sorry to everyone for taking so long to get a new post up! Things have been really busy since I’ve been home; running around doing lots of organizing, raising money, meeting people, and of course getting lots of miles in everyday. I had a really nice experience last weekend, and have been wanting to post something about it since it happened.
So last Saturday I stopped by Allspeed Cyclery and Snow, the shop where I bought my stroller. It’s right down the street and they were having this really cool event called “Cranksgiving” – a bunch of bike people met up at Allspeed, got a list of groceries to buy, and another list of grocery stores around Portland that they had to get the items from. No designated map or route. Everyone took off on their bikes and the competitive ones made a race of it. The race/scavenger hunt ended back at Allspeed, where all the groceries were donated to Project F.E.E.D. (a local Food Bank) and the owners served up burgers, hotdogs and cold brews.
I opted out of the bicycle race, but stopped by with my stroller to drop off some canned goods. I struck up a conversation with a woman who had just done the event. Inevitably she asked why there was no baby in the stroller. As soon as I told her the story and what I’m planning to do, she reached into her pocket and gave me a twenty-dollar bill….and this being right after she had just bought $20 worth of groceries for the food-drive. We kept talking and it turns out she grew up on Munjoy Hill (my family too), our families know each other, she’s got a daughter named Zoe who goes to Portland HS (I did too) and who goes to the Boys & Girls Club across the street everyday. And she just moved to a side-street right down the street from my house. Small world. The whole thing just made me feel so good — throughout all of this I’ve continually been surprised and encouraged by the compassion of strangers. So Mary if you get a chance to read this, thank you very much : )
And of course a HUGE thank you to everyone who has already helped and shared their enthusiasm with me. We still haven’t gotten a chance to tally the donations from the fundraising reception, because quite a few cards came in the mail this past week from friends and family who couldn’t make it to the party.
The next steps will be approaching local companies for sponsorships, and contacting hotels, inns etc. along the route to see if they might be able to donate a night of lodging. Check out the “Many Thanks To” link on the sidebar to see the full list of companies and individuals who have helped support the cause.
I also had the honor of attending a recent Board Meeting for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine, and I will post the details about that in the next post, I think this one is quite long already!!
And lastly, check out a few new photos from the fundraising reception in the “Photos” sidebar! Thanks to everyone : )

Goodbye, Richmond

OK, so I’m living back in Maine now, as of a few days ago, but I wanted to pay one last homage to Richmond, VA. While I was making my last drive out of my neighborhood last Friday, I saw a Fan hipster riding his bike down the street no-handed, cigarette hanging out of his mouth, writing a text message, and hauling a PBR in his water bottle holder. The image stuck with me; I will miss all my crazy neighbors and their fixed-gear bicycles.

And the thing I will miss the most is running all over Richmond. So here is my last hoorah to a wonderful city and great people:

You Might Be From Richmond If…RUNNER’S EDITION

1. You’re an avid runner, and an avid cigarette smoker, and see no problem there.

2. You’ve accepted and chugged a PBR from dedicated spectators at mile 22 of the Richmond Marathon.

3. You love Belle Isle, especially when there is nobody else there.

4. Post-race hydration? Joe’s Inn has that covered with their $2.75 mimosas.

5. You’ve got miles and miles of beautiful parks and trails you could run on, but for some reason you find yourself running up and down Monument Ave with everyone else.

6. When you run in the summertime you get caught in a thunder storm 95% of the time.

7. You’ve ever asked yourself “Should I run the trails with the nice nature views today, or stick to the street where I can admire the houses?”

8. You can ride a bike, smoke a cigarette, and drink a beer all at the same time.

9. You feel totally comfortable in your mismatched neon spandex as you strut by well-dressed professionals eating their sophisticated lunches along the Canal Walk.

10. You have one of the best cities in the world to run in : )

Fundraising party a success!

We had a fundraising social at my house in Maine tonight, and I’m ready to fall into a deep deep sleep, but I wanted to thank everyone who came to the house and showed their support tonight!! It was so nice to meet everyone and share my enthusiasm for this project. And to those of you who made a donation online, we missed you at the party but I appreciate your generous contribution : )

And a special thanks to Annie Messinger from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine for coming to meet everyone and saying a few words on behalf of the Clubs. I am very grateful to her and the BGCSM for their support.

The blog site had 135 views just tonight, I hope everyone continues to keep in touch — I’ll be posting photos from the party as soon as I can.

OK, that’s it, goodnight!

Never a dull moment.

First things first, photos of the stroller are finally up!! Big thanks to Jeffrey Hains!

I had quite the eventful run this morning. When I checked the weather to see what I should wear, there was a tornado warning issued for the city of Richmond. I thought, “hmm, this should be interesting” and headed out the door in shorts and a tank top — 75 degrees at 7:30!! Running across Nickel Bridge, I was greeted by every spider in the city of Richmond, weaving their webs along the railings, confused by the warm weather. On the south side of the bridge, I ducked down onto Buttermilk Trail, where things got really interesting. It was just like stumbling into a jungle, fog floating in and around the bends in the trail, and branches strewn across the rocks everywhere. I had been asleep by 9 pm the night before, and apparently I had missed quite a rainstorm.

Buttermilk Trail winds, dips, and climbs along the woods just below Riverside Drive, and has a lot of steep embankments, rocky passages, bridges, and streams. It’s one of my favorite places to run, anywhere. This morning, everything was slick. I was side-stepping fallen branches, hopping over roots, and slowly crouch-walking down the slick rocks. It was exciting, but a bit tedious here and there. I must have turned my ankles 5 or 6 times, but luckily nothing serious. Just some loud cursing at myself.

I was in one relatively flat stretch, absent of any big rocks, cruising along, when I nearly stepped on a bright orange turtle, resting square in the middle of the path. I stopped and stared at it for a bit til I finally hopped over it and continued on my way. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be the only reptile I’d run into.

I hate to admit it, but besides wanting to trail on pavement, another big reason that I cut way way back on trail running this summer was because I was afraid of running into a Copperhead snake, Richmond’s lovely poisonous snake that loves to hang around in the trails by the river. The summer before last, I nearly stepped on one laying flat across a trail out by Pony Pastures – as I flew over it in fright, I realized it was dead, but I was still scared out of my mind. And at that point I didn’t even realize it was a poisonous snake. I would find that out a few miles down the trail, when I ran into an ambulance blocking my way across to Belle Isle. They explained they were on their way to help someone who had just gotten bit by a Copperhead on a trail nearby. I described the snake I had just seen, which matched the description of a Copperhead, and which, they told me, was poisonous and bites easily. So I obviously felt great. Then, this past summer, I again nearly stepped on one laid out in the middle of the trail, also dead. I took it as a nice warning that I was flirting with danger, and decided to skip on the trails for a while.

So, this morning, October 27th, 4 days away from November, what do I come across on the Buttermilk Trail? A LIVE Copperhead. How close do I come? Close enough to scream like a big sissy. I backed away slowly, slowly, until I was running away from the snake, back in the direction I came. A half-mile later I climbed through a clearing in the trail out onto Riverside Drive. I finished up my run and went home, only to later complete my afternoon run minutes before another crazy storm front moved through the area, with gusts of wind up to 42 mph. Crazy day indeed.

PS: for everyone who agrees too readily that I am a big wimp: “A Copperhead snake bite needs medical attention, is extremely painful, and may cause extensive scarring and loss of use. Many people are bitten while trying to kill or handle the snake. Don’t take chances — avoid these snakes.” (http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/gaston/Pests/reptiles/copperhead.htm)
It might not kill me, but I’m not sure it will make me stronger either.

There’s a place up ahead and I’m goin’ just as fast as my feet can fly

I’ve started a weird music routine for my morning runs these past few weeks. It’s a curious thing, running early in the morning. As we move towards winter, each day it’s a tiny bit darker when my alarm goes off. I pull myself out of bed, lace up my sneakers like a zombie, and am out the door in a few minutes. I do not wake up bounding with energy, smiling, ready to begin the day. I get dressed like a robot and try not to think about transitioning from my warm blanket cocoon into the offensively cold morning air. But it’s weird – as soon as I start running, I feel ten times better. Stronger, fresher, happier. I think for most people that run first thing in the morning, the run is equivalent to a morning cup of joe. Except, of course, that a runner’s high is 100% natural : )

So back to the music. For the past two weeks, I’ve been streaming a combination of Coldplay and CCR thru my headphones every AM. For me it’s weird because I hardly listen to Coldplay during my not-running time, and it seems a odd choice for getting your energy up for a run. But I think that’s just the point. It lulls me into a zone, a relaxed tranquility, that I hardly even notice the first 5 miles go by. After that, I’ve started to wake up a bit more, and I throw on the CCR. I’ve always loved biking to CCR, cause I think it’s good cruisin music, but come to find out it’s great running music too.

And speaking of biking, I got hit by a car last week on my bike!! Also coincidental, I was right in the middle of “Bad Moon Rising”. Anyway, I had my helmet on, and wasn’t hurt very badly, so, to everyone who bikes – wear your helmet!!

One other small thing to report on concerning running with the stroller. Some of you have asked how it’s going, if it’s hard, etc. I have to say that the most annoying part so far is that I now have to actually wait the ENTIRE time at an intersection for the lights to change, instead of just darting through a break in traffic. Getting out of my neighborhood is so frustrating, because it feels like every other corner is a stop in momentum. But the park is only half a mile from my house, so all in all it is a very small annoyance and I’m happy it’s just that : )