Category Archives: Running/Health & Fitness

Fumbling through February


Matt and snowman (2005?)

Don’t get me wrong. Love the snow… As the first flakes fall, I’m reaching for my running shoes and thrilling to the prospect of a “snow run”. I’m all for sledding and walks in the woods. Hot cocoa advances a level or two up my food pyramid, and chocolate consumption is always a good thing.

It’s just that… by February I’ve already done all that. More than a few times… February cold fronts generate in me the polite applause mustered for the mid-alphabet graduates crossing the stage to the diploma table. Winter has slid from invigorating to chilly to simply too cold. We’re past the initial excitement of “snow days” from school and simply intent on avoiding winter illnesses.

Spring is a bit of a tease in Ohio. We always get a “run-in-your-shorts” day toward the end of January… but also at least a dusting ofStarfish in Caneel Bay; St John, US Virgin Islands; May 2000 snow in March or April when botany and I have just begun to grow hopeful. And so I do this dreaming thing…

At first, it’s literal dreams. I swim, snorkel, run, and occasionally fly through my own version of some warm place I haven’t yet visited. I spent a couple of nights swimming off of Barcelona last month. Last week, I bobbed my way down a spectacular canyon river and then awoke just as I was gathering my kids to snorkel (geographically unlikely, but I’m an efficient dreamer).

Nighttime dreams then lead to daytime planning.  And travel…  I’m just thankful that my latest dreams haven’t included sock sorting.  Yes, I get those mundane sorts of dreams too.  They’re not nearly as refreshing but I find they can be just as motivating to jump starting the trip planning process!

Are you dreaming -or planning a warm weather escape?

Updated from February 13, 2008.

Dog Days of Winter

An In-Town Tourist Feature:
…because Adventure begins in the heart and Travel starts at the end of your own driveway.


Our dog Lily has had a touch of cabin fever.  Begging to run out in the snow after every squirrel, deer and rabbit she thinks she might have spotted through one of the back windows (while pretending it’s an urgent call of another nature) and then scurrying back in after a rejuvenating roll in the snow.  Over and over and over again.  She’s bored.  With the shorter days and colder weather, the ball tossing sessions in the yard have been less frequent.  I readily admit that. And there’s not much in the way of smelly stuff to roll around in unless she were to trek into the laundry room -and to give her credit, she’s much smarter than that.

So we took her to a running/biking path this afternoon to burn off some doggy energy, enjoy the white wealth of winter -and coincidentally, to relive some memories.

The Olentangy Bike Trail is well known to Columbus area cyclists and runners.  It hugs the Olentangy River stretching away only occasionally to access expansive fields graced by stately sycamores and dotted by the occasional soccer goal, neighborhood playground or exercise apparatus.  I ran it daily for several years, the most memorable run being a plodding jog through thick snow the day before my first son was born.  It’s a great bike route as well, passing through Antrim and Whetstone Parks before hitting the Ohio State University and then downtown Columbus.

Sunday afternoon, we walked as far as the athletic fields of my old high school, Thomas Worthington, turning back when we reached the boat launch site.  The same river bank to which I had once solo paddled a two-man canoe after leaving a jealous high school boyfriend behind on a river island…  I no longer remember the “why” of that escapade but am slightly impressed that my scrawny teen self could have piloted that canoe back upstream fueled only by righteous resolve.

Lily’s only resolve as we shivered our way back in fading sunlight was to roll herself into a chocolate (Labrador) snowball and to meet and greet every animal along the way.

Old trail, new memories, another cold winter day frozen in time as a treasure.

Columbus Things To Do


Can You Hear It…?

Originally posted April 14, 2008

Craving a little warmth as the snow falls steadily outside my window…

There was so much to see that it took a moment for me to realize there was nothing to hear. It was silent. And then a warm breeze rustled the leaves of the aptly named brittle bush and there was sound in the Sonoran Desert…

With a bottle of water and serious slathering of sunscreen, I was primed to explore the desert area of South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona last month. The choice I wobbled over was whether to photograph it or run it.

I love to run in new-to-me beautiful places. I also love capturing those places frame by frame through a camera lens. Fitness or photography? On vacation, I had the luxury of choosing both. I took my camera the first afternoon and then enjoyed a truly lovely run the next morning; reminding myself each time I caught a spectacular view (without a camera) that I’d had my chance the day before.

South Mountain Park preserves 16,000 acres of Sonoran Desert. Three mountain ranges stretch diagonally across the park, creating a challenging playground for mountain bikers and hikers and “home” for some fascinating desert critters. I spotted the orange tail of a chuckwalla, several geckos, California jackrabbits, cactus wrens, quail, hawks and hummingbirds along the Pima Loop trails. No javelinas or rattlesnakes. Maybe next time…

I used inordinate caution over the loose rocks that scattered most of the steeper grades in grudging accommodation of my surgically-enhanced ankle. But the sandy trails below made for a wonderfully cushioned run… I kept thinking that I should turn around but had a hard time following through that second morning. It was forty-five minutes of pure exhilaration with a water break at the half-way point. I was in no hurry to finish, which made it a good run and a great vacation.

Phoenix Things To Do on raveable

More Arizona adventures to come…


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