Night Shift

Well, this week I officially switched over to the night shift at work.  Luckily, by the time I was back in the ICU, my legs had gotten some much needed rest from last weekend’s run.  Now, adjusting my sleep schedule back to ‘normal’, and resting my legs, so I can focus on this weekend’s and next week’s section(s) of the Long Trail run.

This weekend we plan to run from where we left off last weekend -VT 30 & VT 11, and run until either Pico Peak or Brandon Gap.  Most likely we will run to Pico and finish the section to Brandon Gap later next week on my day off.  Weather dependent, we are aiming to leave Friday night to camp at the trail head.

Will update soon!

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First Leg of LT, complete!

Hello!

Yesterday I finished the first 54 miles of the Long Trail (58 total if you include running to the ‘start’ which is 4 miles or so from Williamstown, MA to the border of VT).  We had a great weekend of nice sunny weather, no humidity, and, lovely trails to run through.  We carried our supplies with us the entire way, and camped along the trail.  Please check out the photos posted on this blog.

As I ran, I kept meeting up with through hikers along the way.  Some were completing the Appalachian Trail (which starts in Georgia) while others were completing the Long Trail.  Also, there were plenty people out for day hikes, and overnights.  It was a constant reminder that no matter how old or young, anyone can get outside and enjoy walking in the wilderness.  Honestly, there was no standard hiker.  Everyone out there was out there for different reasons, with different life experiences, but, the one common theme, that was quite evident to me, was that health and wellness (both physical and mental) was central to their individual well being.

One of the things that I have always enjoyed about running on the trails is the simplicity it brings.  I did not hear a vehicle for 36 hours, and, outside of taking pictures, I was completely unplugged form society -which, felt great.  It gives you a chance to reflect, and, take a step back from things.  One of the things I observe, as a nurse, is how people often do not provide themselves time to reflect.  If we are talking about preventative healthcare, surely, reflection, and, taking the time to provide for that, is a necessity.

I think part of taking care of yourself, is to begin from your gut.  Think about what truly makes you happy, and, be brave.  In order to achieve health and wellness, a gym membership is only meeting halfway.  Part of health and wellness comes from listening to your body and taking care of yourself.  One of my favorite books is the “Te of Piglet” written by Benjamin Hoff.  Here is a quote that I was reminded of while traipsing through the Long Trail this past weekend:

“It is hard to be brave,” said Piglet, sniffing slightly, “when you’re only a Very Small Animal.”  Rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said: “It is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us.”  

Here’s to the adventure ahead.

Thoughts on Why I Run…

“Do whatsoever you will do, so long as you do it beautifully.” -Kahil Gibran

I started running when I was 10, in the middle of winter, and, feeling stuck on the little sand spit I grew up on in Southern New England.  I got outside, danced over snow and ice, felt the wind on my face, and let the winter sun slowly warm me, as I ran the entire 0.25 miles down the end of my street ‘and back’.  From that moment on, in mid February of 1988, I was in love.  Since then, running has led me to meet many of my closest friends, race cross country and track in high school, and in college, as well as complete 10 marathons, 3 of them at Boston!  My passion has always been, and continues to be, running on trails -whether the trail is on a beach, in the forest, or Rock Creek Park, in the middle of Washington, DC.  Any trail, anywhere, I am able to continually rediscover my bliss.

To me, running is a frame of mind more than it is a way to ‘get in shape’.  Consequently, you can definitely get in shape by running.  However, I find running is much more about mindfulness.  It is about having fun, playfulness really, and not worrying too much.  Running is also a place where I, sometimes, do a lot of thinking.  I have written poems in my head when I run (forgetting half of them by the time I got home) and made very important ‘life’ decisions.  Running is the place I go to, no matter where, how long, or how the weather is, and, I find the same thing -myself.  That much I know.

It was while on a run, up in the Green Mountains, when I came up with the idea to run the Long Trail.  At the time, I was living in Washington, DC and working in an Emergency Room up the street from the Lincoln Memorial.  I started thinking, for one, how much I missed Vermont, but also, how much I respect the work being done for preventative healthcare in Vermont.  In DC, I was constantly in the middle of the health care debate.  No matter what side of the aisle you sat on, I kept thinking, Stop talking, just do something.  Which, got me thinking about the Community Health Centers of Burlington (CHCB).  Having worked there in the past, I know first hand how exceptional the care is, how dedicated the providers and staff are, and, foremost, how much of the local community depends on CHCB for it’s services.  In other words, it is all about action, and, that is something I can support.

So, I am dedicating the 272 miles of the Long Trail to the Community Health Center of Burlington, and, everyone else out there that supports preventative healthcare… we are the ones that will make the difference, in the end.

See you out on the trail!! -Beth

Training and Preparations for the Long Trail Run

Greetings!

Next weekend I will embark on my mission to run the Long Trail, in sections, and in completion, from South to North.  I am doing so in order to raise money and awareness for preventative healthcare… not too mention see much of the beautiful state of Vermont!  100% of the donations (see below for crowdrise link) goes to the Community Health Centers of Burlington, who not only set an example of supporting and providing for preventative healthcare -they excel at it!  Already, we have raised 22% of our $5,000 goal!!

Always a runner, I started amping up my training this past winter.  Most of the time I just run how long I feel like running, which varies between an hour and four hours, and, almost exclusively on trails.  Since moving back to Vermont in late April I have hit up many of the summits closer to me, such as Mt. Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, and Mt. Abe.

The first section will start in North Adams, MA (along Rt. 2) and head up to the Southern Terminus at the border of VT and MA.  On Friday, July 20th we will run from this start until we land near the road crossing with VT Route 9, which is approximately 20 miles total.  Most likely we will set up camp somewhere near Maple Hill, or, use the Melville Nauheim Shelter just south of Little Pond Mountain.  On Saturday, July 21st, We will rise early so we can make a big day of it!  Crossing Little Pond, Glastenbury and, eventually, Stratton Mountain, I suspect we will greet the evening crashing into the tent and sleeping soundly at the Stratton Pond Shelter.  Sunday, July 22nd, the last day out on the trail (for this section) is full of rolling hills through the Green Mountain National Forest.  We finish at the road crossing of VT Rt. 11 & Rt. 30.  Then, next stop will be pizza, most certainly.

Due to trying to pack as light as possible, I will be keeping track of my memories of the trip on paper (old school, I know) and taking pictures with my phone.  I plan to update my blog after I return from each section throughout the summer.  I am aiming to finish the Long Trail by early September.  In between running sections, I will be working as an ICU nurse at Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington, VT, where I work 36 hours a week -which is full time.  🙂

Please support this cause, and, let me know if you have any interest in running a section… I am flexible!

Website: http://www.crowdrise.com/longtrailrun/fundraiser/bethannmurphy

Happy Trails,

Beth