Friday, June 16, 2017

Taking a walk

Oh Man,
I can hardly wait until tomorrow when I’m setting off with friends and family to walk 106 miles across England, from Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood’s Bay to complete the Coast to Coast walk. In 2015 we did the first 85 miles and will now complete the 191-mile walk. From the map, it looks like the second half is less steep though there is a 22-mile day along the way.

There will be a couple of very special encounters on the walk this time, the first with my cousin George Eve and his wife Belinda who are meeting with us and taking us out to dinner midway when we’ll celebrate George’s 80th birthday. Then near the end, we’ll hook up with Mark and Debbie Rushworth to do a day’s walk together. Mark lived in Fort Collins at our house during his senior year at Poudre High School in 1976. This is a friendship that has weathered many years. His mom, Pat Rushworth, will join us at the end of the walk and we’ll all spend the night together in the village of Blakey.

Our destination is Robin Hood’s Bay and I’m hoping for a dip in the ocean. Could be a chilly one. It’s 92 degrees here right now, but from what I can gather, the temperature in our walking area is hovering around the 60s and no doubt there is a bit of moisture involved. It wouldn’t be the UK if there weren’t a few raindrops.

I love going back to this country where I was born and where I still feel as if I have roots even though I’ve been away from it for so long. Being there brings back memories I didn’t know were hiding away inside me—little phrases and thoughts that pop up unexpectedly.

It will take us 8 days to do the walk and during that whole time there will be nothing more to worry about than putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying the incredibly beautiful countryside, the intense greenery, the woolly sheep, the ancient ruins, the little stiles that separate one farmer’s field from another, and the stashes of drinks that people leave in a small box along the way with a note to leave a pound and wishing walkers a good trip.

We’ll carry lunches prepared by the B and B of the night before. We learned the hard way that there isn’t always a little village placed near the spot when it is time for lunch. And we’ll be sure to study the guidebook with care. This is not a single well-marked path and walkers need to make sure they stay on the straight and narrow. The days are long enough that no one is much interested in adding mileage.

If it is like last time, we’ll end up with several new friends we’ve met along the way. There’s nothing like hours of walking to allow for leisurely chatter the formation of friendships.

Be home in a couple of weeks.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Photo Op

I don’t know how I managed to leave my jacket behind when I loaded up my backpack for a trip to Albany, New York to run in Friehofer’s Run for Women. But I did. And I didn’t really need it until race morning which was a little cool.

When I asked the nice lady at the hotel desk if I could borrow a jacket from their lost and found for a couple of hours, she had a better idea. She gave me a very nice, but very large suit jacket which kind of swallowed me up.

One of the highlights of this all-women’s 5k which draws well over 3,000 runners and has been a premier national race for 39 years, is the presence of Joan Benoit at the race .For those of you who aren’t into the world of running, in 1984 she won the very first women’s Olympic marathon in Los Angeles. She’s 60 now, and shooting for an under three-hour marathon in Chicago this fall. Quite amazing! Most importantly, she has been a long-time advocate and supporter of her sport for all these years. And she is totally humble and unassuming.

She must have thought I looked pretty funny in that men’s suit coat, among all the elite runners warming up in their state-of-the-art running gear. She asked someone to take our picture. That was a kick for me!

Joanie won her 60-64 age group with a time of 19:55. I won my age group too, but at age 80, I only had to run 26:57 to do it. The time comes when it just isn’t all about one’s time.