Category: Get Outside

I’m a tortoise, not a hare.

Best training run ever!

Best training run ever!

I sped causally down the valley, warm wind in my face, David close behind me. It felt good to bike for once without my commuter saddle-bags weighing me down. It was Sunday and we were enjoying an easy 20-mile ride.

An easy 20-mile ride. I pondered the odd novelty of the phrase, the ease with which I now categorized such a workout. Easy.

Five years ago I wouldn’t go to the gym for more than twenty minutes. Four miles was my personal running limit. I was too terrified to ride a bike.

And yet, last month I ran my first marathon.What changed?

As I switched gears to pump up hill, the Tortoise and the Hare children’s story popped into my head.

It’s seems the classic “found my potential” story, but it’s not.

I didn’t run the marathon because I found my potential. I ran it because I stopped putting limits on my potential. I stopped thinking I had to be a hare, and started being a tortoise.

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why you should just pack up and go.

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As a culture we plan far too much. Our calendars are so full of appointments, meetings, workouts, deadlines, and coffee dates that if we lost them we wouldn’t know where to turn. My life in college was a prime example. I was in so many groups, had so many jobs, and juggled so many assignments that I sometimes felt like a robot, trudging through my calendar and to-do list without thought.

The road trip was a big, dramatic way for me to turn this around; it was a huge success. We crossed the country without a plan. No deadline, no itinerary, no destination. Just each other, a general direction, all materials we might need, and an atlas. The result of this approach was that we never felt rushed, we were able to thoroughly enjoy the places and moments we loved and rush through those that weren’t jiving so well. The lessons I gained from these experiences have transferred into my stationary life – I’m more flexible, spontaneous, and present than before. I hope my “How to Travel Spontaneously” tips can help your next adventure provide you with the same.

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tour de farms.

Once I overcame the annoyance of constantly avoiding other bikers, the Tour de Farms was extremely enjoyable. Saturday morning I rode 25 miles with dozens of other Durango locals to tour small farms in the Animas Valley (David was going to join me but he decided to go get 6th place at the Silverton Alpine 50k instead, without training I should add). The annual event is hosted and coordinated by The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado and the Colorado State University Extension.

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Lined up outside the Smiley Building.

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biking always terrified me.

Confession time.

Biking always terrified me. The fear was born at the beginning – I didn’t learn how to bike until I was seven years old, which to me was always horrifically embarrassing. I got my first nice bike when I was around ten from LL Bean, I loved it (dude, it was pink) but I didn’t really have anywhere to ride it. I lived out in the country surrounded by a combination of dirt roads perfect for my brothers’ BMX bikes and paved roads full of crazy traffic that I wasn’t allowed on. So I rarely rode. I quickly grew out of that bike and I never got a new one.

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Where were these awesome balance bikes when I was a kid?!

My first week in college I realized that Dickinson had a bike rental program. Awesome! Especially since I didn’t have a car. My new roommate and I decided to take a ride to Walmart with a new friend to get some decorations for our room. I forgot that it had been nearly a decade since I’d pedaled anything. The second I swung on to the crappy rental I realized how awkward I felt. I completely wiped out on the way there. That’s probably on the list of my life’s most embarrassing moments.

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austin, TX: the green city.

Zilker Park in Austin, TX.

Zilker Park in Austin, TX.

Finding a place to live is one of the main goals of this trip. Recognizing the importance of place to our personal well-being, David and I determined that we would actively seek out a location in which to live – possibly finding jobs afterward (though we’re still applying to jobs as we go, which ever comes first – job or place – will ultimately determine our landing site). As a result, we’ve spent many driving hours debating the kind of place we’re looking for. City vs. small town is a frequent topic. Many times city doesn’t make the cut because of pavement (bad for running), lack of access to nature, and too many people.

Yet, Austin, TX stole my heart.

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my guide to tampa, fl.

We spent an amazing week in Tampa, FL with David’s parents. We stayed away from the big commercial attractions like Disney, SeaWorld, Universal, and Busch Gardens – voting to check out more local, educational opportunities. If you’re looking for neat, local stuff to do – I’ve compiled a list for you!

1. The Florida Aquarium

CAM00087I haven’t been to an aquarium since I was little, but this was awesome. David’s mom volunteers there so we had a personal guide the whole time. From the tiniest sea horses to the largest sharks to the fascinating corral I was hypnotized the whole time. I especially loved the sea otters! A must see for anyone of any age.

 

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a taste of the everglades.

While staying in Port St. Lucie, FL we took a day to visit the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. It was beautiful! At the northern edge of the everglades it gave us a taste of what we might see if we went further south to the National Park. Enough of a taste that I know I’d love to go back! Beautiful. Here are some pictures we both took:

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fear vs caution – in sumter national forest.

“Oh my god. What about snakes?” I blurted out, breaking the car’s silence.

“Um… what about them?”

“Does South Carolina have poisonous snakes?”

David kindly held back a laugh and said, eyebrows raised, “Most southern states do.”

I tried to pretend like I wasn’t panicking at the thought of slithering things that could kill me hanging out in my running path. I knew I was being ridiculous, but I’ve inherited some of my father’s paralyzing fear of serpents.

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earthaven: ecovillage reflections.

In that true twilight dusk, the kind that makes the forest come alive with the impossible, Earthaven becomes the world of my childhood dreams. Winding trails and bridges made of stone, trunks, branches, clay, and everything the forest offers spiderweb the town. “We’re losing light!” NikkiAnne exclaims as she hurries us down a small path into someones yard and off on another path hidden in the shadows.

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