Yeeehawww!: Part 3

I hike. Now, if you know me in real life you will know that I’m not the most graceful of people—meaning I trip, I fall, I run into things (I think I inherited this from my mother,) but most of the time it’s with a smile on my face followed by laughter, so it’s okay! This trip to West Virginia was no different, my group of new friends and I decided to head to the visitors center and check out the view of the bridge, the river and watch the crazy mid-western tourists snap photos at the vastness of what West Virginia has to offer. Gawking at the elevation change and how different it is from the cornfields of Illinois.

It had just rained I was sporting some sandals and walking down stairs, chatting and taking in the view. One of the guys was talking about how he just read that this bridge could fit two Washington Monuments, a Statue of Liberty AND still have twenty feet of space between it and the water! CRAZY! I thought, then BAM!!! I slid down four steps (my only shock absorber being my ass), grabbing onto whatever I could (mostly the people around me) everyone turned to look and see me, on my ass, laughing and crying at the same time. Awesome, a new bruise to add to my collection.  I won’t post the picture, it’s pretty gruesome and a bit PG-13.

That was my first hike of the week in WV. With the injury out of the way I was confident that my hike down the Kaymoor trail would be less eventful and more relaxing. Saturday morning of the Rendezvous my co-worker and I set off to hike down the 837 stairs and tromp down to the river. This was the easy part, a leisurely walk down, hang at the river, eat a few clementines and dunk my head in the swift water to cool off and revitalize my curls. Then our venture back up came, tired from the sun and legs shaky from the hike down, we began the 837 stairs back to the car.

I counted. I counted each step. One may think they are in good shape, you can think this all you want until you’re in the position where you have to move your body UP STAIRS FOR 837 steps, who thought this was a good idea?! But the accomplishment when it was over was overwhelming. This was a hike that was not only good for the body, but we had rewards at both ends—the way down we took our time, taking pictures, watching a millipede crawl across a branch was fascinating for a good 35 minutes, the river had a cool breeze coming off it, we watched rafters enjoy the day on the river and the hike up left me feeling tired and accomplished and there was an iced mocha calling my name at the local coffee shop!

I realized that even though I had been injured for weeks I was still in decent enough shape to use my body, bruised and all, to move myself up up and up!  Our bodies are incredible, they allow us to see, feel and experience so much—releasing endorphins can be as easy as climbing a few (hundred) stairs and enjoying the afternoon on a river.

 

What’s your favorite way to release some killer endorphins?

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Dare I say…

Because I live life on the road so much I have a hard time calling one particular place home. As a kid, my family bounced around from the east coast, to the mid west, to overseas, back to the middle of the country, then back east and then once more time to the Midwest.

On my own, I went to South America, then back east for a year of university and then ended up back in the Midwest… man, just talking about moving makes me tired. And now somehow I ended up with a job traveling the mid-Atlantic. So, when I’m running in a random city I rarely feel like I know where I’m going. I feel like I’m just constantly getting myself lost in hopes of a few things: getting a good run in, seeing the city, and maybe discovering something cool.

Rarely do I feel like I own a city. I don’t get a feeling of personal attachment to one particular place. However, I may have had that feeling last week on a run around the Inner Harbor. It was my second long run of the day and I needed to accomplish and hour and half of foot time, at 5pm I took off out the door of my apartment building and just started running, first to the harbor, then to the left through little Italy—being Friday evening, the weekend of Valentines day, I had to dodge couples and gaggles of single women lining up for Happy Hour, I had to weave my way between cars around Whole Foods until I finally made it to Boston street where things open up a little bit.

Boston runs right along the harbor where boats float in the icy February water, tied to the pier, begging to be let free to sail away. The water looked crisp, the air was fresh but not too cold. The temperature was warm for February, above 35 so I had shorts and a jacket, my favorite running attire. I ran and ran, Vampire Weekend was blasting my ears and keeping my cadence high and light. I ran, I ran and ran. The sun blasted orange over the water and reflected back turning the sky into an explosion that I wish I had been able to capture, (yet alas, my fancy camera phone was left behind—along with all other form of communication, what a glorious feeling!)

At my turn around point I stop to stretch a bit, to admire the other Friday evening runners, to take notice of what a dog friendly city Baltimore is. After a few moments I hop back into my pace, quickening it bit, getting into my grove, setting a bit of a faster speed for my journey back along the Promenade.

At this point, I find myself on a wooden surface jutting out straight toward the water, a perfect view of the setting sun, Vampire Weekend loud and optimistic in my headphones—I have the biggest, cheessiest grin on my face. I can only imagine what other runners think of my smile, but I don’t care. I feel good. I feel comfortable. I feel like Baltimore is a city I love to run in. The wooden planks under my feet are my favorite surface to run on, they make a happy noise under foot and spring me forward to continue on to complete my route that is wrapping around past Power Plant’s Barnes & Noble, by the Aquarium and to my goal—Russel Schipper. I can see the red neon lights; my pace gets more excited as it creeps closer.

Now it’s dark, lights reflect and double on the glass smooth water. No boats are sailing out to sea tonight. The mile back to my apartment from the end of the harbor was tough. An hour and half run after an hour morning work out was hard—but inspired. The city inspired me and kept my feet moving. It put a smile on my face that was the genuine smile of…dare I say? A runner’s high.

 

 

 

*Photos by Andrew Durand

A quick tour of a small part of Baltimore: (parte uno)

 

In the last 6 months I have relocated my life to Baltimore, MD. When I’m not on the road traveling for work I call a small apartment between Mr. Vernon and the Inner Harbor my home. It’s truly the ideal location for a runner living in the city. I have the ability to walk out my front door for a run, or take a quick drive and be in the woods. Imagine when you step out your front door or stoop (I really wish I had a stoop) and to the left is a never ending hill, the crest can’t be seen; and to the right is a slow descend that in half of a mile it hits a path that wraps around a beautiful harbor filled with sail boats, house boats and has a sky line of old factories that beg to be researched and read about.

 

To the right—toward the harbor, there is a lot to look at and distract the runner’s mind. The path curves sharply to the left or to the right. To the right the runner can continue past the science museum, stop and get a smoothie or a coffee at one of the many vendors set up for the hundreds of tourists that come through (ackkkk,) or keep going until it gets a bit more secluded.

She can run with the water to her left through condos where the wealthy enjoy a cup of coffee on their deck that over looks the lit up Domino Sugar sign, where they can keep an eye on their boat, some may be walking their Yorkipoo or a Snorkie in the early hours. This is my 4 mile turn around, sometimes, more recently, I keep going.

A night time view of the harbor

If I continue on this direction I find myself in windy streets of mangled brink sidewalks, random trees that grow in the middle of the sidewalk with roots protruding and trying to trip me. I find row homes with unique gates and fences, maybe roses growing or perhaps some other vine that takes over the iron leaves of the grate. There is a park that’s path circles me around and around to the top of a hill where I can see the harbor again, I can see more narrow streets and take a rest on a park bench if I need to. There are signs for Fort Mchenry with arrows that point me to the left or to the right, (I’ve tried multiple times to find Fort Mchenry, but the signs lead me to get lost-a common occurrence- and I end up distracted by something else, some other discovery along my way.)

Eventually I find myself in Federal Hill—though too early for anyone but students and city employees to be up, this neighborhood is sleepy this time of day. If I were to come here on a Friday night, (trust me, you will not find me in Fed Hill on a Friday night) I would see lit up bars advertising this weeks Miller Light draft special!!!! Buy one get one shot of tequila!!!!!!!! Pizza by the slice and Frat boys with their collars popped and jeans cuffed fists ready to pump. But at 8 am the city is quiet and mine.

 

This is one of my many running routes I’ve created for myself in Baltimore City. One of many I’ll outline for you on here to get to know my city and many other cities that I visit in my travels.