Sunday, March 20, 2005


Once upon a time there was a Turtle who lived in the Berkshires. Three of the things he liked most in all the world were riding his bike, cross-country skiing, and practicing martial arts. One day he had the opportunity to go to Alaska and walk a marathon, and he thought,

A free trip to Alaska just for walking 26 miles? I can do that.

But then he started to wonder about running the marathon, which was a strange thought, since he had never run before. But still he found himself wondering,

Could I do that?

And there was only one way to find out – he started running. Running was challenging and often painful, and he said many times,

This hurts too much. I'm not a runner. Once I finish this marathon, I’m done running.

And then finally, he ran the marathon – and it was fun! A LOT more fun than all the long, painful training runs. And since it would be a shame to give up what he had worked so hard to gain, he kept running, even though he continued to maintain

I'm not a runner. I just like what running does for me... but I'm not a runner.

Not long after that he read about trail running, and tried it – and absolutely loved it. Running was fun, but trail running was GREAT fun. Woods, rocks, mud, water… the Turtle ran through them all, up and down mountains and through fields. He even ran a few trail races, and they were fun too. So now the Turtle was a trail runner, and a bike rider, and a cross-country skier, and a martial artist… and he was having a heck of a good time.

Unfortunately, one day the Turtle's job forced him to move away from the Berkshires and he found it more and more difficult to keep up with his running. There just didn't seem to be as many good places to run in Albany. Gradually he ran less and less, and rode less and less, and skied less and less. (Fortunately he kept studying martial arts!) Sometimes he would enter a trail race, and struggle through, and say,

Next time I need to train harder for this.

But there was always something else to do.

Then one day the Turtle was roaming around the Internet, and wondered if there was anything on-line about a particularly fun race he’d once run called the Leatherman’s Loop. THAT race had been a blast – tons of mud, two stream crossings (including one that was waist deep), hopping over fallen trees and running through pine forests. To his surprise he found that there was a whole web site devoted to the race, including photos from recent races. Looking at all the fun others were having got the Turtle thinking, and he said to himself,

I loved doing this, and I’m not getting any younger. If I don’t try it again now, I may never get another chance. I'm going to do it!

So the Turtle signed up to run the Leatherman’s Loop.

As the Turtle thought about races, he remembered another race he’d really enjoyed – the Summer Solstice Run at Lake Minnewaska State Park. That was one of the most beautiful courses he’d ever run… and so he decided to run that race again, as well.

And from there it grew, until he was looking at 1-2 races each month, some trail races, some bike rides, some duathlons… he even settled on two major goals: the Lowlander Century Ride at the beginning of September, and the Adirondack Marathon at the end of September. With some smaller races before and after, just to keep him motivated and out there training.

(Perhaps the Turtle HAS learned something over the years…)

And so it began.

Little did the Turtle know what he was getting himself into… but he would find out many, many miles later on the roads and trails.

Come join the Turtle on his journey...