Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Exercise on the 'run'

A post by John:

It's not easy maintaining our physical condition as we travel. We try to run three miles three days a week and weight-train three days a week.

Sunday is our day of rest. When possible we alternate the days we run and weight-train. Our runs average about 30 minutes and we need at least one hour to weight-train.

There are all sorts of obstacles to contend with. For example, we can't take an hour to weight-train on travel days. Breaking camp, packing gear, and hitting the road in a timely manner doesn't allow us the luxury of an hour of exercise. When we are parked in an urban area it's not easy to find running surfaces that are convenient and safe. Rain, very high or low temperatures and extreme humidity impact our runs. In spite of this we've been able to consistently exercise.

We spent two months volunteering at a salmon fish hatchery near the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. It rained all but six days we were there; and the only place we could run was on the shoulder of a two-lane highway that carried a lot of logging traffic. If we were going to run…we had to adjust…and adjust we did. We wore rain coats and pants on most runs. We ran facing traffic and in no time the drivers of the logging trucks were honking and waving as they passed. A half mile of that run took us onto a road in the forest. One morning we almost collided with a bull elk who was making its way through the forest.

We spent another two months volunteering at a wildlife refuge in Oregon. It never rained once during that stay. The only road we could run on was a one-lane dirt road that was covered with several inches of powdery dust. Our shoes and feet were filthy at the end of each run. The side of the road contained lots of vegetation and it was hard to see anything except what was right next to us as we ran. One morning as we were running up a gentle slope, I looked to my right just in time to see a skunk less than ten feet away. I yelped and doubled my speed. I think the skunk was as surprised as I was.

Last summer we ran for several months at 7th Ranch RV Camp in Montana. The Camp, a working ranch, is located in a remote area just outside Little Big Horn National Park. Our run there took us on a one lane rutted road that went from the Camp into a barb wire gated pasture which was populated with cattle and horses. That was a tough run but it was scenic and there was no traffic.

Early last summer we volunteered at Lathrop State Park near Walsenburg, Colorado. That was a great spot to run. We enjoyed spectacular views of the Spanish Peaks and we encountered lots of deer, geese, and ducks.

One morning as we were jogging we rounded a curve and Carol thought she was seeing a cow on the road about a quarter of a mile ahead. We slowed down, looked carefully, turned and ran the other direction. It wasn't a cow…it was a black bear!

We drove to Denver last Christmas and stayed at a suite hotel. The weather was terrible. The temperatures were in the teens, the ground was covered with snow, and there was no decent place to run. So, we ran on tread mills at the hotel.

So far on this trip we have run in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Virginia. Those runs have been on beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean,

along a beautiful path next to the Rio Grande River, in numerous RV parks, and even along the CSX railroad tracks running through Ashland, Virginia.

There are times we don't feel like running or weight-training…but we somehow find the discipline we need to exercise. And, when we're finished we're always glad we made the effort. It's important to exercise as we travel.


  1. I admire your commitment to fitness and your discipline.

    I need a little inspiration in this area.

  2. Ditto! You guys are awesome!