I've been running more regularly the past few months. In fact, I have a bit of a streak going. I told myself that I would run at least 10 miles a week this year -- for the whole year.
I have made the mileage in all but one week so far. I was sick for about five days one week in February so I missed that one. But I'm happy. The running plus my other exercise regimen of lifting weights helps keep my energy up and in shape to travel effectively.
The countdown is on for a road race I am training for, too. We will run the Utica Boilermaker 15K this year for the fourth consecutive year and my fifth time overall. The race is a huge community event in the small Upstate New York city. I used to work at the city's newspaper as an assistant sports editor back when I was just starting out in journalism. So, the race is a bit of a reunion for us as we get to go back to see old colleagues and friends.
The great thing about the Boilermaker is how the city of Utica embraces the whole event. It is the most massive thing annually for the city, and neighborhoods come out in full force to cheer on the runners. Spectators line the full 9.3 miles of the course, making it a great spectacle and gives all us runners a wonderful boost, which we often need while grinding along up and down hills in hot and humid temps in July.
Many of us in the Northeast (and every other place in the U.S., maybe) have bitched about another brutal winter that we just suffered through. Much of my maintenance training has been on the treadmill for that reason. I'm a big weather wimp and don't like getting all geared up to run outside in the cold.
Even so, I have run more regularly than ever I would guess. (I am 48 and guesstimate I have been semi-avidly running for about 14 years). The net effect of all this running talk is that I hope to get a personal best time in the Boilermaker this year.
As it relates to my interest in travel? We often like to hunt out destination runs or other fitness- or adventure-related events as a reason to go somewhere. I mean, we probably wouldn't put Utica, N.Y., at the top of any bucket list. However, if you have an interest in running, this race truly is a must-consider event. Couple the crowd energy with the top-notch organization of the nearly four-decades-old race, as well as the post-race all-you-can-enjoy Saranac beer party, and you're in for a fun time. The region also is worth exploring further afield -- Cooperstown and the Adirondack Mountains are nearby.
Runners, put the Utica Boilermaker 15K Road Race on your list. Now! Go ahead, I'll wait.
The past couple weeks, we've been able to take our training outside. A fave spot to run and bike is the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park towpath. We live in Central New Jersey, near Trenton, and the path can be accessed at several points in our region.
The 70-mile-long popular recreational corridor is a registered historic landmark. The canal, which long ago was used to help transport goods between Philadelphia and New York, features wooden bridges, old locks, tender stations and other structures that have been preserved. The park also is home to more than 90 bird species. You can use the park for biking, running, walking, fishing, horseback riding, canoeing and kayaking.
We stick to running and biking, so far.
If you're ever in Central New Jersey, check out a stretch of the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, even if you just take a stroll or grab a patch of grass or bench to have your lunch while keeping the turtles and geese company.
I think we would go crazy if we didn't constantly have some trip or event to look forward to or some fun way to pass the time between those trips, too.
Many of us design trips around a specific sports event, race or adventure in which we want to participate. There are all sorts of mud runs, road races, triathlons, mountain ascents, etc., that just add to the excitement of travels.
We've taken trips to see friends and added on races that we've always wanted to try. We did the 50,000-participant Bolder Boulder (below), held in Colorado every Memorial Day. This was a visit to see friends because we used to live in Denver, and it was made even better with a fun race event and barbecue and party afterward.
Goals are great to have. They keep us vibrant. Sometimes, you just need to compete against yourself to get a high. Set a goal to complete a new adventure and work to conquer that challenge. When we have something to look forward to, the days just seem brighter and more fulfilling.
I also suggest entering an event that has an after-party with beer. Because you'll always be able to push yourself a little harder when you know there is beer at the finish line. (Some races have beer during the race, by the way. Even better!)
Thanks for reading,