Category Archives: Long Trail

Planning!

I realized last week that we’re within 80 days of the 2018 summer solstice!

 

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Sunrise in Craftsbury, VT

 

That means that as of today, there are only 73 days until I plan to get on my bike at the Vermont/Canadian border in North Troy, VT at 4:30 am on June 20th and head south along VT Route 100.

If all goes well, I’ll make use of the day’s 15 1/2 hours of daylight and make it to North Adams, Massachusetts, some 215 miles away.

The next day, on the morning of the solstice, I’ll change bike shoes for trail runners and start up the Long Trail. The first 4 miles or so are still in Massachusetts, which adds some distance and elevation gain to make the first day a bit longer, but, again, if all goes well, I’ll be on my way north and Journey’s End at the Long Trail’s northern terminus.

With the help of friends and family, I’ve started breaking down the days a bit more granularly — trying my best to balance distance and elevation, keeping in mind the transition from bike to run, and making sure I have support when I need it most.

With this planning comes a renewed excitement — and a mounting anxiety — about this huge goal I’ve set for myself.

Clearly, I know I can’t do this on my own. In a departure from my endurance runs in the Arctic and the Far North, I’m inviting people to join me in support of both this adventure and to help build resilience in communities across Vermont.

Are you interested in joining me for a short stretch, a 1/2 day, or even a full 50km day?

Just shoot me an email and let me know

 

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every step

I’m procrastinating a little.

It’s day two of our January thaw.

It’s 48 degrees and raining, which has glazed the 4th-class gravel road in front of our house with a sheen of mottled gray ice.

So, I’m less excited to get out there and put in the miles today, but I know I need them — as do my dogs, Dragon and Freyja, who will eventually lose their patience with my lassitude. IMG_8578

For the time being, I have been reflecting on and planning for running instead. I’ve been dividing 272 by various single digit numbers — 9, 8, 7 — realizing that only 4 extra miles per day can help me complete the Long Trail in 8 days rather than 9. Is that possible, for me?

I pushed to near 40 miles for a day or two of my Arctic Trail run last August, but then I also called it quits after only half the total distance because of a stress reaction in my leg. More training? The variables in Vermont are different, the goal distance overall is shorter, but the terrain more demanding.

I’ve also never ridden a bike 200 miles in one go. I’m confident, though that the training I started in December will make that possible for me.

Every step of every run I take is so deeply interbraided with these questions, with self-doubt, as well as with the hopes, aspirations, and insights I gain from reflecting on the why of it all.

Some of that why is this:

Experiencing our full humanity requires us to attenuate our self-centeredness by enfolding it within a much wider sense of self in which we experience genuine love and compassion for all beings, both living and non-living.

This excerpt from a short essay by Stephan Harding is part of a response to the question, “What does it mean to be human?” Harding draws on Arne Naess’s idea of an ecological self — one that is larger than just our individual self that encompasses the whole of the human and non-human worlds.

I share Stephan Harding’s belief that

…the most pressing challenge for our times is to awaken the ecological selves of as many people as possible within the shortest possible time.

This is exactly why I’ve come to do the things I do —

If I can connect my footfall on the icy gravel outside my own door to my more far-flung adventures in the Arctic to conversations with middle-school students about climate change to, finally, building resilient communities, I hope that I can help awaken at least some of our collective ecological selves.

Now, time to strap on the microspikes and get out that door.