As we enter the Christmas season, I want to share two ways to give that won’t cost you a penny and will take just a few minutes. The Charity Miles app lists more than 35 different charities that you can choose to donate to every time you do an outdoor walk/run, indoor walk/run, or outdoor bike ride.
Simply pick the charity you’d like to support and start moving.
Various corporate sponsors donate funds to your chosen charity. Bikers can earn up to 10 cents per mile and runners earn up to 25 cents per mile.
The Donate a Photo app allows you to post one photo per day. You choose the cause you would like to support and Johnson & Johnson donates $1.00 per photo.
I love scrolling through the list of wonderful causes listed on these apps and selecting my charity du jour. Taking a few extra seconds to turn on the app as I head out for a run or choosing a daily photo to donate effortlessly contributes a dollar or so to a truly worthy cause.
You don’t need to be a runner to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. A walk around your home or a stroll through the neighborhood can result in a meaningful donation to a deserving charity. Although there is no stipulation that donated photos be recently snapped we are certainly entering the season where there will be no shortage of photo ops.
I hope you will consider giving these two easy-to-use apps a try. Share this idea with family and friends and let them enjoy the gift of giving, as well.
When Mike and I started making plans to run our New York race, we decided we wanted to do a race that was not in the city. After scanning our trusty Running in the USA website, Mike found the Tibbetts Point Run. We were drawn to the location which is on the St. Lawrence River where it meets Lake Ontario. My mother and her parents and grandparents used to summer on the St. Lawrence Seaway, so being in that area had an additional appeal. We signed up for the 10K but there is also a 5K that is run at the same time.
We had the luxury of stopping to stay with my sister, Kate, in Vermont on our way from Maine to New York. That visit and the picturesque views made the long drive much more pleasant.
We stopped in Sackets Harbor, NY where they happened to be having a Canadian-American Festival. We had no idea we would be lucky enough to witness the fire truck pull!
It is a charming town with beautiful views of the lake.
Cape Vincent, where the race is held, is about 25 miles north. After reviewing the somewhat limited lodging options in town I had chosen the Buccaneer Motel for our accommodations. The fact that I had chosen it is significant, because it meant I couldn’t complain. There is a rumor among my family that I have been known to emphatically voice my, shall I say, “not always enthusiastic” opinion when our room didn’t meet my discerning (they say fussy) standards. You would have to confirm that with them.
Although the motel itself was not fancy and offered limited frills (such as soap or shampoo), it was just a few blocks from the race and it was right on the water.
We loved watching the boats on the river heading to or from Lake Ontario and I was completely enthralled with the wind turbines across the river on Wolfe Island.
As we finished dinner the night before the race, I realized that there would potentially be wonderful sunset views at the Tibbetts Point Lighthouse that we had stopped at earlier that day. We raced over just in time and joined lots of others who were there for the same reason.
It truly was stunning.
The race the next morning traveled on a flat course through town and out to a gorgeous route right along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. The 10K was an out and back course that looped around the lighthouse. After the race we returned to the lighthouse for a few photos
and then decided to take the ferry across the river to Wolfe Island in Ontario.
Fifteen dollars and 10 minutes was all it took to get us and our car across the river and voila’! We were in Canada!
Wolfe Island is the largest of the Thousand Islands. We loved the quiet, rural feel of the island and the transfixing wind turbines that have such a majestic presence on the island
We wished we had brought bikes to explore the miles of bike-friendly roads.
On the ferry ride back to Cape Vincent we met a cyclist who was heading to Acadia National Park in Maine (our favorite place) and we excitedly shared our suggestions for his visit.
The next morning we followed this small furry creature for a bit
on our way to this coffee shop.
After a tranquil start to our morning, we ended our visit to Cape Vincent and headed home.
State: New York
Date Run: July 21, 2013
Quest Race #: 13
The Bottom Line: This relatively small race features a flat course with a stunning view of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Its proximity to Wolfe Island, Ontario provides an opportunity for a fun, easy trip to Canada.
One of the most poignant runs we have ever done was not a race. It did not benefit a charity. There were no spectators and we didn’t get a t-shirt. This run took place one beautiful June morning this spring. Our family was at Moody Mountain Farm for the wedding of our daughter, Amelia.
Photo by Boro
It would be fair to say that the days leading up to this day had been a “tad” hectic. We had decided to do quite a bit of the wedding preparation, including catering and flowers, without the use of hired professionals. The amount of help and support that was offered by family and friends was truly phenomenal and this help was the only way we were able to even consider attempting to accomplish this. But despite my best laid plans, I awoke at dawn after too few hours of sleep in a moderate (leaning towards overwhelming) panic about what still had to be accomplished.
Amelia and I had spoken previously about our desire to start this day with a run together and this was absolutely still a priority for me. So after an hour or so of last minute organizing, my panic was subsiding. The house was still quiet when Amelia appeared and asked if I wanted to run. Mike was up, as well, and was ready to join us.
Both of our girls have been involved with running pretty much always. Whether it was tagging along to a race, doing a fun run, competing on their high school track team, or doing road races themselves, running has been a part of their lives.
Amelia and Hannah at an early race.
Mike, Amelia, and I have had our share of running together, as well. We cheered her on in her first half marathon. The three of us signed up for two local race series the year she was at home prior to starting vet school. As a result, we were together at many races. When Amelia trained for her first marathon, I biked beside her on her long runs (she was too fast for me to run with, alas). And of course, over the years we have traveled many miles together during ordinary, run-of-the mill (pun intended) runs.
So it seemed only fitting that on this truly special day the three of us should spend some time running together. We headed out the door into the blissfully warm, sunny morning. The setting was gorgeous and the views were stunning.
The road rose uphill pretty much immediately, so pretty much immediately Amelia and their dog, Jameson, were way ahead of us.
Amelia and Jameson
Mike and I caught up when she stopped for us at the top of the hill. We savored the quiet, the views, and this time together. We talked a little bit about the day ahead, but mostly we enjoyed this tranquil time, silently reflecting on the momentous event that was about to occur. As I ran, nebulous thoughts swirled through my mind. They were thoughts that were more like sensations about the years that had passed, how Amelia had grown from our little girl into this smart, confident, strong, beautiful woman who was on the verge of this milestone in her life. It was a tiny bit bittersweet, too, knowing that after today, things would be different. We absolutely love Matt and couldn’t have been more thrilled that he was marrying Amelia. We consider his family great friends and we eagerly looked forward to the blending of our two families. It was just the end of one era and the launching of a new one.
As we turned around and (thankfully) ran down the hill back to Moody Mountain Farm I thought of how this epic day that had been mere thoughts and visions in our minds was about to actually unfold. Months of talking, planning, creating, and dreaming were finally transpiring into a truly incredible day.
The run gave us all a cherished opportunity to be together before the wonderful whirlwind of the day began. As I returned to the house I was filled with that blissful feeling of serenity, clarity, and peace that only a run can provide. And I was so grateful that Mike and Amelia and I had been able to, mostly wordlessly, share the emotions that we felt as we traveled this distance together.
The excitement and activity of the day were soon escalating until that poignant moment when Mike was walking Amelia down the aisle through the field.
Photo by Boro
As I watched them I was overcome with emotion.
Photo by Boro
I felt relief that everything had come together. The weather was absolutely perfect, which was particularly appreciated after a frigid, rainy spring. Amelia looked stunning in the spectacular gown that was designed and created by her fashion designer sister, Hannah.
Photo by Boro
The barn was decorated just as we had hoped.
Photo by Boro
The tables were set with the dishes we had gathered over the past year, garnished with ferns freshly picked by cousins, Mollie and Leah.
Photo bu Susanne Harkins
Guests had arrived at the farm as my brother, Rich, played the bagpipes.
Photo by Boro
Fabulous food had been prepared by family and friends.
Photo by Jen Myers
There were delectable wedding cakes (plural!) made by their multi-talented cousin, Annie.
Photo by Boro
But beyond that feeling of relief, I was feeling joy, pride, contentment, excitement, and love. Amelia and Matt were about to be married.
Photo by Boro
The ceremony was heartfelt, funny, and moving. Their love for each other was so clearly evident as they said their vows surrounded by family and friends.
Experiencing the sights, sounds, and feelings of running outside is often equal to the enjoyment of the physical run. Here are some images from our runs this week.
Tuckaway Tree Farm
I couldn’t seem to stop taking pictures of the early morning sun on the foliage.
The fleeting rays of a morning sky like this will always speed me out the door to catch these colors before they vanish.
I soaked up the sights and sensations on this misty morning run.
Mike was pretty tolerant of my frequent photo stops on our long run on Saturday. I used it as an opportunity to add in some interval work as I sprinted to catch up to him.
No matter how many times I run past them, I always look forward to this part of our route.
The sight and sound of geese overhead thrills me every time.
These skies are such a gift.
Although we love our local loop, traveling to Portsmouth to run to New Castle is a favorite alternate route.
Mike took a quick detour as I continued to stop to take photos.
After our run in Portsmouth and Newcastle, Mike bought new shoes at Runner’s Alley. This store in Portsmouth provides an outstanding selection of running shoes, apparel, and gear with an unfailingly enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff. I wouldn’t shop anywhere else for my running needs.
Runner’s Alley, Portsmouth, New Hampshire- Our favorite running store!
As I write this post, the rain and wind outside are undoubtedly creating a different landscape for tomorrow’s run. However, I find these changes to be one of the beauties of running in Maine.