One Day Ride Across Michigan

On Saturday I completed my first One Day Ride Across Michigan (ODRAM). The ride started near the Lake Michigan coast in Montague and traversed the state to the Lake Huron coast in Bay City. The self-supported ride was approximately 150 miles, which now marks the farthest I’ve ridden in one day. Bring on the randonneuring!

The weather was perfect for the long ride; sunny skies and temps in the mid-70s. Big love to Dharma for providing S.A.G. along the route. We’d meet up every 25-30 miles along the course. Since I was riding solo, it was nice to have breaks to stop, talk, and refill on water and nutrition.

Although the ride was big fun, I’m not sure that I’ll do it again soon. I’ve been reading about several multi-day rides through various states, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, and Michigan (DALMAC!). I think these are higher priorities for now. Also, I might squeeze in one more century ride before the end of the fall. We’ll see where things go…

Image of the ODRAM route
Image of ODRAM Garmin data
ODRAM Garmin Data
Image at a rest stop along the ODRAM
Rest stop at 55 miles!
Image at the finish line of ODRAM
The finish!
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Mad Anthony River Rally Century Ride

Last weekend I participated in the Mad Anthony River Rally century ride. This was my first time riding in Ohio. All in all, it was a fun event. There were a few hundred riders, good weather, decent support, and a scenic route. The course was incredibly flat, but the headwinds for approximately twenty miles were a real pain. In fact, my only complaint is that the pancake breakfast at mile 17 was poorly marked; I completely missed it!

The M.A.R.R. ride was my first century of the year and only the second I’ve ever completed. Next weekend I’m scheduled to ride the One Day Ride Across Michigan (ODRAM). That’s 150 miles from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. Big fun!

Image of M.A.R.R. Route
M.A.R.R. Route

Image of M.A.R.R. Ride Data
M.A.R.R. Ride Data
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Travelogue | Congaree National Park

Until recently, I had never heard of the Congaree National Park. I believe I read about it in either Backpacker or Outside magazine. I learned from the magazine article that the Congaree River, which runs through the national park, is a noteworthy destination for kayaking. So, after a little research and planning, Dharma and I decided to carve out some time from our road trip to Florida for a short kayaking journey on the river.

We rolled into Columbia, South Carolina on a Saturday afternoon and rented a tandem kayak from the good folks at River Runner Outdoor Center. From there, we drove a short distance to reach the Cedar Creek canoe access within the national park. Despite only getting in a couple of hours on the river, we had a blast. The Congaree is the largest remnant of old-growth floodplain forest remaining on the continent. The river is a peaceful setting and the water is like glass, reflecting the towering trees to create an awe-inspiring sight.

The Congaree River Blue Trail is a 50-mile designated recreational paddling trail, extending from the state capital of Columbia, downstream to Congaree National Park. The trail offers an adventure through an urban environment that transitions into a coastal plain known for its high bluffs and extensive floodplains. I’d love to return sometime soon to kayak the entire trail. I was told it’s a two to three day trip on the water. It’s definitely now on my short lists of places to kayak.

Update – November 28, 2011
A big thanks to Tracy at the National Park Service for commenting on this post. As she points out in her comment below, we actually kayaked Cedar Creek, which is not technically a part of the Congaree River. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful kayaking trip and we do plan on exploring the Congaree River Blue Trail in the near future. If you head to the Congaree National Park, be sure to explore Cedar Creek!

Here’s a short video of our trip:

Photo of our car with kayak and mountain bike
Adventure car - more abuse for the Corolla

A picture of Cedar Creek
Kayaking through the Cedar Creek portion of the Congaree National Park.

A picture of Dharma and Devon on Cedar Creek
Dharma and Devon on the Cedar Creek

A picture of Dharma on  Cedar Creek
A picture of Dharma on Cedar Creek

A picture of a tree on Cedar Creek in the Congaree National Park
A tree on on Cedar Creek in the Congaree National Park

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Ready, Set, Go! Preparing to Run the Flying Pig Marathon

After years of deliberating my motivations for running a marathon, I have finally decided to give it a go. That’s right, on May 1, 2011 – at 6:30 a.m., to be precise – I will join several thousand runners at the starting line of the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. Runners World recently rated this marathon on its top ten list of great marathons for first timers (See January 2011, A 1st to Remember). This recommendation, coupled with my desire to try regional variations on the humble hot dog, will lead me to Cincinnati for my first marathon!

I picked up running at a transformational point in my life. I had left my profession as a photojournalist and was trying to find clarity by returning to school for an additional degree. This was the time when I met my future wife, Dharma, and it was also a point when I decided to make major changes to my lifestyle and physical well-being. In hindsight, I know that I made many good decisions during this time of confusion!

Although I have now been running for over 8 years, there have been varying levels of my commitment to the sport. Usually, I am most committed when I have a specific goal in mind, such as a race or a set number of miles that I wish to achieve over a time period. My last distance “race” was in 2008, which is when I completed my second half-marathon.

This past autumn I created a new list of personal and professional goals. Running a marathon ranked near the top of my priorities. Having just completed my first century on a bicycle, I decided that a marathon in spring 2011 would help to keep up my endurance built from my training on the bike. The weather and lack of sunlight will certainly be a motivational obstacle over the coming months. However, I just successfully completed my pre-training, so I am optimistic about moving forward at this time.

Today marks the beginning of my eighteen-week training program, which was designed by running extraordinaire Hal Higdon. I found success using Higdon’s plans for both of the half-marathons I ran in the past, which is why I have chosen to use another of his plans for achieving this goal. Additionally, I am currently reading his book Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide.

I will be writing throughout the course of my training as a means to reflect and share my experiences with this milestone. I invite you to read along and to share your thoughts. And, if you find yourself in Cincinnati on May 1, come find me and we can share a Cincinnati Cheese Coney after the run!

Higdon’s Ten Truths of Marathon Success:

  • Truth Number 1: Progressively longer runs will get you to the finish line.
  • Truth Number 2: Scheduling rest days is the key to staying healthy.
  • Truth Number 3: Taking one step back allows you to take two steps forward.
  • Truth Number 4: Speed training can be a double-edged sword.
  • Truth Number 5: Learning pace and learning to race are the two most critical skills.
  • Truth Number 6: Consistency rather than spectacular workouts is what counts in the long run.
  • Truth Number 7: Nutrition is an oft-overlooked factor in marathon success.
  • Truth Number 8: Practice everything connected with the marathon, not just the running of it.
  • Truth Number 9: Reducing training several weeks before the marathon is essential.
  • Truth Number 10: You’ll go only as far as your motivation will carry you.
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