Monday, June 24, 2013

A Place to Love to Run: A Top 10 List

Miles 1-3: Sheep grazing in Katama

My family gets together sporadically throughout the year, mainly for holidays; and we often meet at my parents house on Martha's Vineyard in MA.  Every summer, we have the good fortune of spending a couple weeks or so at the house with everyone; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, dogs, etc; which is, as my 8 year old tells me, "the best ever".  Yes, we are insanely lucky.  I love running in all of the local races that the various towns across the island offer throughout the year.  There are a ton of them, they're always fun and they are usually held to support a local cause or organization.  It's a win-win.  Back in November, I provided some of the many reasons that it is so great to race on the island of Martha's Vineyard.  In so many words, there is a magical, carefree, 'love thy neighbor' quality to the island that everyone, locals and tourists alike, seems to both understand and respect.  Today, I ran my first long run on the island since last summer.  Once again, I was reminded why I love, not only racing, but simply running here.  The scenery alone is reason enough to head out.  But there are a lot of other good reasons.  Here's what I cam up with:


1. Vehicles of any size and/or type including landscaping & construction trucks, buses and tractors, will move to the complete opposite side of the street when they drive by, giving you more space then you could possibly need to stay on the road and feel safe.

2. Anyone who passes you on the road (other runners, bikers, walkers, etc.) will: 
(a) smile (b) wave (c) say "hello" or (d) do all of the above.  It's usually (d).

3. If you run anything over 4 miles, you will likely run through multiple climates including, but not limited to, chilly, foggy, misty, breezy, sunny or hot.  Strange but oddly cool.

4. There is at least a 1:3 farm to mile ratio; meaning 1 farm for every 3 miles you run.  The animals, the produce and the pure awesomeness of the farms themselves are such fantastic distractions.

Miles 4 & 5: The Farm Institute, Edgartown, MA
5. The air smells like salt, manure and/or fried food at any given point along the route.  This may sound disgusting to some, but I love it.  It reminds me that I'm here.

6. It is not the least bit odd to stop and chat with a family that has small kids because they look nice and their kids might want to hang out with your own kids at some point.  
7. No matter what you are wearing (or not wearing), how slow you are going or what you look like; it doesn't matter because no one cares; which is incredibly refreshing.

8. Cars that pass you and honk are doing so because they know you or they're being friendly and simply want to say "hi"...not because you are in their way.

9. The island, as a whole, is slightly askew.  Everything is a bit off; a little crooked...perfectly imperfect.  You're never 100% sure where you're going or where you might end up and it doesn't matter because you'll figure it out eventually.

10. When you get home, you're tired and you're typically coated in dirt, salt or maybe even some animal crap, and still, you can't wait to lace up and head out again the next day.

Mile 13: Katama General Store
(Also, the end of my run. Note the iced coffee on the porch)
I realize it's not possible for everyone to hop on a ferry and head out to Martha's Vineyard to go for a run.  That said, I hope you all have a place that gives you as many reasons, if not more, to hit the road.  A place where you truly love to run.  Running can be  hard. A place like this makes it easier.  I love that.


Listen to this:
You & I - Crystal Fighters  You & I - Cave Rave


  1. Love this! Completely agree with your top ten and will add a few more: 11. running makes you feel slightly less guilty about indulging in any of the delicious treats the islanders have in store for us (the seafood! the chilmark chocolates! the donuts sold out of the back door of a bakery at night!); and 12. the terrain is as varied as the views are breathtaking!!

  2. Yes and yes. And since we're still going...
    13. If you take a wrong turn it is totally acceptable and safe to wave someone down and ask them for a ride home.
    14. If you leave your key in the door of your house while you are running (like I did yesterday by mistake) you don't need to worry about it. No one will notice.
    15. It is not the least bit odd to see a child walking a goat on a leash and feeding it a bottle. This one is random, I know, but still.