I actually did two runs in Maine during my trip to Bangor. Since I'm using my run in Bangor as my symbolic starting point for my move from Boston to Seattle, this post is a little out of order - thus the "prequel" title. Nonetheless, Portland is one of my favorite places to run in New England. THE RUN: For this 7.3 mile run (map), I parked my car near the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum. The Narrow Gauge Railroad has a short tour along the East Prom Park and is a favorite ride for my kids. I followed the foot path that parallels the narrow gauge train tracks and runs along the East Prom Park. East Prom Park provides spectacular views of the islands of Casco Bay, including Mackworth Island, which home to much of the Maine fairy population. At the end of East Prom, I connected to the Back Cove Trail and ran the 3.5 mile loop of the Back Cove. The back side of this loop gives a nice view of the Portland skyline. Finally, I returned to my car through the East Prom Park. Check out some of the pictures in the gallery to the right. Included in the gallery is a curious bit of running graffiti on a light post in the West Prom Park, where I drank my post-run coffee, ate a chocolate croissant from the can't-miss Standard Baking Co. and enjoyed westerly views of unnamed mountains in the distance. THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: During the route around the Back Cove, I noticed runners with race numbers pinned to their running clothes that read "New England Challenge." I asked one of the runners that I passed about it, and he told me that it is an ultra event that includes 5 marathons in 5 days. This day's marathon was actually 7 loops of the Back Cove. The start was at 5am, and most of the athletes still out there at around 12pm were some of the older competitors, including the nice gentleman with whom I spoke. It was a good reminder of one of the great things about running, which is its universal accessibility to participants regardless of age, gender or other categorical identifier. If you are 80 years old and want to get after 5 marathons in 5 days, you are entitled to do so!
I woke up yesterday morning in Bangor, Maine. It occurred to me that with my upcoming family move to Seattle, which is about the furthest west point in the continental US, I was starting my day about as far east as I could reasonably expect to travel. I was in Bangor for the funeral of my friend Vincent Cote. For six years I traveled to Bangor often with Elizabeth, my then-girlfriend and Vince's daughter, and I logged a ton of miles in and around Bangor from the summer of 1997 to the spring of 2003. Today, I am married to the love of my life, Amanda, and we have two wonderful kids: Anna (6) and Max (3). We have traveled to Maine many times with our kids. In fact, our travels to Maine are part of what inspired our move to Seattle. My wife and I wanted our children to be raised in a place that had access to many different types of outdoor activities. The Seattle area, with its lakes, Puget Sound and many mountains is an ideal place to further explore with my children our love for the outdoors.
When I learned of Vince's passing, it was Amanda who encouraged me to make the four-hour drive from Boston to Bangor. I am grateful to Amanda for the encouragement, and I was excited to return to Bangor after 11 years away to reconnect with old friends, say goodbye to Vince, and get in one last run in Bangor. In this blog, I aspire to talk about running, the outdoors and other topics from the perspective of someone who has lived, worked, and run in New England for 16 years (adding in my four years at Princeton University, I've had 20 years on the East Coast). From my competitive days as a member of Reebok/New Balance Boston, to working for Boston-based New Balance to owning two running stores, I have matured from a 22 year-old college grad to a 38 year-old adult. However, I am also excited for learning new roads and trails and having new experiences out west. THE RUN: My 3.8 mile run started (map) on the Penobscot River waterfront park where the Penobscot is the border between Bangor and Brewer. I did a short out-and-back, traveling north on the Kenduskeag Stream trail. To call the Kenduskeag a stream does not do it justice, as the rapids in the water are larger than in most streams that I'm used to in Eastern Massachusetts. After returning to the Bangor waterfront, I ran across the State Street bridge to Brewer, then south on Main Street in Brewer and back to Bangor on the Union Street Bridge. Check out the pictures in the gallery to the right. THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY: One thing that I noticed during this trip to Bangor was all the new buildings, particularly around the Paul Bunyan statue where the new Cross Insurance Center has erased much of the Main Street end of Bass Park. While its great to see business growth in a small US town, it was too bad that it had to come at the expense of a green space; not to mention that it makes pictures of Paul Bunyan an advertisement for Cross Insurance. On the positive side, the downtown area appeared more lively and I was happy to see a triathlon-based store, Triathlete Sports, in the downtown.