WTA Hike-A-Thon 2014

In 2009 I ran nearly every day during the month of August. I don’t recall the exact amount, but I know I raised nearly the most for Washington Trails Associations annual Hike-a-Thon. If I recall correctly, I came in second place. The following year, due to some soft tissue injuries and the pending birth of my second child I ran fewer miles, but with a matching gift from my employer we exceeded the fund raising efforts of the previous year.

Since we left Washington in 2011 I have been unable to locate a trails organization that does even a fraction of the good WTA does every year. These guys mean business, and considering the number of fallen trees and washed out water bars they have to contend with they had better be ready to step up. Personally, I have felt that loss. The years we spent in Colorado were marked by the decline of some of my favorite trails. Beautiful places neglected, or worse, good places used with neglect. That sort of thing happens. When it became apparent that we’d be moving back to the Pacific North West I got excited.

Now I get to work with excited, energized people who care about wild lands. So now our chance to rectify the intervening years. Click on the image above, let’s get this baby rolling. And remember, if you are lucky enough to be working for one of the many excellent employers in the Puget Sound you may have matching funds you can donate toward this cause.

Bulki Running

This here is a running post. Every once in a while I get out and nothing, or almost nothing, gets in my way of turning over a few miles on the pedometer. Those days are good, really stinking good.

A long time ago, when I’d hit the trail, I’d see people struggling to push their brood along, and all the requisite gear that necessarily must come with, in baby joggers of one variety or another. I would chuckle to myself and speed on past. Yeah, I had no idea the workout I could have been getting back then.

Pushing your child and all his stuff in what amount to a three-wheeled sled while trying to maintain a running pace is not for the faint of heart. I hate to look down at my GPS watch because I know what I’m going to see there is my struggle to maintain even 75% of my usual pace. It can be a little disheartening I suppose.

Today’s loop stuck to mostly paved roads, sidewalks, and the River Trail. I mostly walked through downtown, my thighs were screaming after their two-mile wake up call to Main Street Bagels¬†and I had a danish in my stomach to contend with, but pacing picked up again all the way back to the apartment.

After some serious playing out in front of the bagel shop, we got back underway. Aral fell asleep which means that I don’t have to gasp for air trying while to have a conversation with him and pretty soon my mind began to wonder like it does when I’ve got a really good cadence going. I was thinking that this sort of running a) could be its own sport and b) probably deserves a better name for it than “running with a baby jogger”.

The setup, at least for most of the joggers that I’ve seen, is very much reminiscent of a dog sled or pulk. Yeah, there are three wheels instead of runners and you’re pushing it, not pulling; but the set up is largely the same. Think the Swiss style schlitteln or better the northern-Sami style bulki.

“Yeah,” I thought to myself, “I’ve got something here.” I already take my jogger and my little boy pretty much anywhere I could take a mountain bike. What could possibly stop this from becoming the summer equivalent of single-stage dog sledding endurance sports like the Iditarod. Maybe I could run the length of the Tour Divide?

Things were getting out of hand inside my head. I was devising alterations that I would implement to extend the range of our Chariot CV1. Adding some much needed luggage space. Ways I might narrow the wheel base to make it more useful on single track. Calculating how much water I might need to cross long stretches of northern prairie highlands with my young charge tucked inside.

Well, this folks, this right here is “brain soup”. All the cool things I think about when I’ve found flow state and there is nobody telling me all the things that cannot be done. It is an awesome place to be as an author, it is an amazing experience to be in this frame of mind.

Anyone want to go run with me?