Monthly Archives: June 2015


Marc Bourgoin, CEO, Lincoln Canoe & Kayak, asked me for a recommendation for the wonderful, snappy little Quoddy Light LV kayak that I own and love.  Here it is – with pleasure.

Quoddy Lite Lincoln KayakAs I segued from equestrian sports to skiing and, when single-parent finances dictated, to running, it never occurred to me to try a water sport. Then came surgery that stole my running shoes. So if I was to be permanently grounded, I’d try water.

My first boat was a plastic tub that served only to get my attention. I traded up, really up. A friend in the business found me a great deal on an elegant Epic18. She was beautiful, swift and, though light, a pain for me to maneuver on land or to the roof of my car. But I was hooked and even dreamed dreams of joining a local recreational racing group.

That was 6 years ago. In the interim I fell in love again, this time with road cycling. Normally I am a one-sport woman, but I have learned the perfect formula – dedicated training hours on my bike balanced by any extra hours I can find to paddle.

I have finally acquired the perfect bike and absolutely the best kayak for me, a low profile Quoddy Light.

It all began when, on vacation, I met Marc Bourgoin in Freeport, Maine. I wanted to test the local waters and he sent me out with a Quoddy Light. In fact, he wanted to share his love for a Chebeague, but once I had paddled the Quoddy Light, I was snared.

Why? My Epic was serious. I am serious. Paddling the Quoddy Light made me laugh out loud. The day I tested it, the wind was up and the boat should have been unstable. It was not.

Mind you, I am small, not brave or super strong or highly skilled. I am also a grandmother. But in that boat, on that day, I sliced through wind and waves that should have alarmed me. Instead I returned wet, salty and exhilarated. So much from so little.

It didn’t make sense. Anyone knows you should paddle at least a 16’ boat if you want performance and stability, right? Wrong.

The fun I had that day haunted me. Bottom line? Marc was patient. Finally I let go of my beloved Epic. The sale made the new owner very happy and financed my new, custom built Quoddy Light.

Each and every boat that comes out of the Lincoln factory is meticulously finished and embodies a spirit, a personality, of its own. The lucky ones are those of us who connect with our boat. I love mine. She rides on top of my X-Trek along with my bike. I can go anywhere and ride on land or water. These two are my friends, my training partners, my playmates. And we trust each other. We fit. We work hard and celebrate big. We live life the way it is meant to be lived.

Who knows, maybe someday there will be room in my “stable” for a Seguin. But whatever, it will be a boat built by Lincoln, maybe even by Rusty himself.



Dirty Girl Mud Run, Killington Vermont

Dirty Girl Mud Run

Dirty Girl Mud Run

The Dirty Girl Mud Run (DGMR) is coming to Vermont, July 11, 2015. Partnering with Bright Pink, a breast and ovarian health organization, DGMR has attracted over 900,000 participants since its inception in 2011.

If you can walk or run, crawl, climb, reach, bend, and slide, and, of course, if you don’t mind giving new meaning to the word MUDDY, you can earn a medal while raising funds for a worthy cause. You will also be the envy of every kid on the block!

DGMR participant; photo supplied by Human Movement Management

DGMR participant; photo supplied by Human Movement Management

This is your chance, girls. A team of talented contractors are planning an obstacle course to challenge but not defeat you. This is an untimed event. Some will make it a race, while others will demonstrate sisterhood and be happy to claim their medal at the finish. However the 5k (3.1 miles) is conquered, all are winners.

For more information or to register, go to:

For 10% discount on registration fee use promo code MUDLOVE.

Registration fee $75.00. Heads up there is also a $10 parking fee. (cash)

Lodging at Killington Resort can be obtained with a 25% discount with DGMR.

Look for full story to appear in the Rutland Herald and Times Argus ACTIVE VERMONT page on Sunday, June 28.

DGMR participant gets dirty; photo supplied by Human Movement Management

DGMR participant gets dirty; photo supplied by Human Movement Management


Just today, June 18, 2015, we learn that yet another cyclist has been killed while riding a popular cycling route in Ferrisburgh, Vermont. Once again the fatality was caused by a drunk driver. This is the third time in recent weeks the small state of Vermont has suffered loss of human life and a blow to what should be a safe, enjoyable and healthy outdoor activity. Ironically what follows was printed in the Rutland Herald & Times Argus recently.


On two feet or skinny tires, behind the wheel or astride a horse, driving a tractor or pushing a stroller, here are some road notes of interest.

Submitted by Linda Freeman for 6-7-2015

Active Vermont

Though unlikely, streets and roads are the new sexy, a hot topic being discussed, written about, argued over and complained nationwide and throughout Vermont where individual voices are heard. Traffic fatalities, whether motorist, cyclist or pedestrian, are a slap-in-the-face wake-up call to action.

An article in the July issue of Bicycling Magazine, “The Secret to Safer Cities,” suggests that designated and protected bike (and pedestrian) lanes are the answer to the growing number of cycling and pedestrian accidents. Could this concept be relevant for a small state like Vermont?

From 2009 to 2014 Rutland pedestrians suffered 4 fatalities and 73 injuries in traffic related incidents. This spring, through a US Department of Transportation grant for a pedestrian audit, VTrans selected Rutland as the site to be studied.  Jon Kaplan, Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager of the Vermont Agency of Transportation, said the audit provides ways in which to “move forward – has recommendations for both things to address behavior and infrastructure changes.  It also outlines the process to be used for similar assessments in other communities.” (Go to  Check out the 2015 Bicycle and Pedestrian Program.)

Susan Schreibman, Assistant Director of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, an active participant in the audit, speaks to moving forward. “Save the date-April 1, 2016,” she said, “for the bi-annual Walk Bike Summit in downtown Rutland.  Different tracts will focus on the economic impact of a walkable and bikeable community, engineering and Complete Streets and education. Mobile workshops will follow on 4/2.”

From class 4 roads to I89, from traffic laws designed to accommodate farmers to discussions of safety for commute, recreation or competition, streets and roads are the star players. Perhaps, however, what should be said is that the people who use streets and roads assume leading roles.

When it comes to safety, it is about behaviors, attitudes and infrastructure.

Local Motion, newly merged with Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition, began as an organization in the Burlington area but has grown to function statewide. “Your Voice for Active Transportation and Recreation, Local Motion … [promotes] people-powered transportation and recreation for healthy and sustainable Vermont communities.” (

Recently I met with Emily Boedecker, Executive Director of Local Motion. “We’re talking about people who bike, people who walk, people who drive. We must keep the focus on the human being and not the vehicle,” she said. “I don’t care if you’re wearing lycra, there’s an underlying element – the system that we move on, the roads, how they’re designed, built and maintained. It is also the other users of that system. Our actions make our roads dangerous.”

Boedecker believes that behaviors and attitudes can change. Compare accepting shared use of streets and roadways with previous cultural adaptations with respect to smoking, drunk driving and littering. Does any of this still occur? Yes, but public awareness and, to a large extent, practice has changed over the years.

“The bottom line,” Boedecker said, “is that everyone can individually choose to make our roads safer in the same place and the same infrastructure.”

While some routes are designated for use by motor vehicles only, others such as recreational paths prohibit motorized travel. As for the remainder, it is no longer an issue of who should or shouldn’t be on the road. “It is what it is” and sharing the road is here to stay.

Boedecker speaks of the invitation that certain conditions offer to users: a paved road, scenic path, friends and bike racks encourage walking, running and riding. To those who already do so, this is preaching to the choir, but there are resources available that prove useful.

Local Motion is one that provides advocacy to efforts across the state. “VTrans is trying to be open and accessible,” Boedecker said “and demonstrates seriousness to accommodate all kinds of road users.” For example, when a recent VTrans project asked the public to comment on where they would like to see bike lanes, there were over 2,100 responses.

Vtrans also offers two websites to help plan summer outings and routes for motorists and cyclists with up to the minute data on construction and conditions in progress as well as planned. and, Vermont 511 Online Map.

Have you heard of the 11’ line? With the different widths of Vermont roads, one solution might be to measure 11’ out from the center line, paint a stripe, and end up with what width is available for a shoulder. “With a broader coalition, we want to be able to celebrate when a local town crew restripes at 11’,” Boedecker said. “Local advocates can have this conversation.”

Information and education may be the key to today’s challenges and future usage.

“Everyday Bicycling” is not about riding your bike every day, but rather is a project offered, free of charge, to organizations and businesses that want to promote biking as transportation and healthy exercise to their constituents and employees. Local Motion has “gone out around the state for partners for hosting classes and bringing people in,” Boedecker said. “There are 12 contracted trainers throughout Vermont.” Adult skills workshops and coaching sessions have been presented most recently in Northfield, Rutland and Brattleboro. (To inquire about a workshop in your area, contact Mary Catherine Graziano at or 802-861-2700 x106.)

Young students in Driver’s Education courses learn the rules of the road, and the Vulnerable User laws. Young cyclists learn their part in riding safely in the Kohl’s for Kids, Bike Smart Program, a game-based bike skills curriculum that has been presented in eight counties to 5,096 kids, 40% of whom were low income. “The goal,” Boedecker said, “is to reach 7,000.” Local Motion provides a trailer (now there are two), loaded with bikes and helmets, training for teachers on how to deliver the bike curriculum, and lots of fun mixed in with the learning.

In addition to road skills rides, this program gets kids outside, gives them an option to get to school, an opportunity for fun, addresses health (and the obesity rate), teaches respect for rules and law enforcement officers and encourages each child to act as a productive member of a community, helping each other along the way.

Local Motion is not the only bicycle and pedestrian advocacy in the state, but it is one with experience and exists as a connector for individuals, communities and diverse issues.

“We can all say yes to walking and biking in whatever shape or form works for us,” Boedecker said. Having migrated to Montpelier a decade ago, Boedecker brings the best of her childhood with her. She grew up in a mining and farming village in England and spent her first 20 years outside on bikes and walking. “My bike was my pony,” she said. “I enjoyed the luxury of being independent and mobile.”

Since then she has mountain biked in California, hiked and skied in France. Today she bikes, hikes, walks, paddles and digs her fingers in the dirt. “I don’t consider myself an expert,” she said. “I am a person who does activities. There is a way for each to get outside and move.”

There is much to be said and Boedecker wants to know. “I want to hear from as many people as possible. I want to hear what needs there are. There’s a tipping point for safety that is incredibly low.” Once that point is reached, “safety improves for everybody.”

Contact Emily Boedecker at or (802)861-2700 ext 105.


Girls on the Run Vermont, a piece of the national pie, is an organization that, through cooperative effort, teamed energies, and plenty of activity, promotes and sustains budding confidence, awareness and individuality for girls.

When RUN = FUN

Girls on the Run, Vermont, Culminates Another Year

Submitted by Linda Freeman for 6-14-2015

At the Start 2015

At the Start 2015


 In a small café in Randolph, in the spring of 2011, I met Nancy Heydinger, Executive Director of Girls on the Run Vermont. The coffee was good, our connection was warm and immediate, and I left with full admiration for Heydinger and her mission, to make Girls o the Run (GOTR) available to every girl in Vermont.

Four years ago Heydinger said: “As a coach, runner and mother, I was drawn to the way GOTR builds girls’ confidence and also how it helps them become physically and emotionally strong. The curriculum emphasizes values of health and self-awareness, the message is to teach the girls to feel strong and proud of who they are, unique and beautiful, inside and out.”

Fast-forward to Saturday, June 6, 2015. My fourth grader and I pulled onto the Essex Fair Grounds parking lot and claimed a slot in the first row. We were eager to get on with our day. Soon it was apparent that the prediction of 2000 girls and 3000 family and supporters was conservative.

This was the GOTR year-end 5K event, the grand finale, of a 3-month GOTR season, drawing participants from schools throughout central and northern Vermont. It was designed for fun, and fun it was. Cool and breezy didn’t matter; pre-run activities heated up quickly.

The place was popping with color, laughter, nerves, costumes, face painting, hair streaking, warm ups, cheers, high 5s, music, photo ops and so much expended energy one wondered if there would be enough left to lap the grounds twice for a total of 3.1 miles.

By the time the 1700+ girls along with many more registered supporters lined up for four wave starts, the mass of tutus, feathers and decorated skin on faces, arms and legs, looked like a moving circus about to parade through town.

And then the parade began. Actually, some of the participants ran fast with the first few clocking in around 23 minutes. But this event was not about fast. It was about finish. It was about running and/or walking with a buddy. It was about cheering and hugging and crying and going back at the end to welcome friends across the line.

Halfway around I saw my girl and her buddy taking a walking break. I called out their names with a “looking good” and off they went again, perhaps wanting to prove my point.

Watching, I wanted to take in every detail of the mass and freeze the memory. There were girls with their families and friends from every imaginable background and of every size, shape, socio-economic level and ethnicity. It was a feast for the eyes, food for the soul.

As we drove away to stop for a celebratory bagel, I asked my fourth grader if all the girls in her school group participated. “Yes,” she said. “In the beginning some of them could hardly run at all, but everyone finished. It didn’t matter whether they walked or ran, but what mattered was that we helped each other. And that we had fun.” And there you have it.

What is GOTR?

GOTR was first organized in 1996 in Charlotte, NC. and is currently a national organization with national partners. Girls on the Run Vermont took first steps in 1999. Now, June 2015, Heydinger’s vision has escalated to a statewide organization of over 3100 girls from 144 schools and 825 volunteer coaches.

Annie Guyon, Director of Marketing, Communications and Development, credits Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, state-wide program sponsor, for “substantial financial contributions that support the program itself, the entire program.”

(Note that BCBSVT also supports Velocity, a similar program for boys. For more information see

Other sponsors step up to help out with additional costs such as Peoples United Bank that sponsored the Essex 5k event.

Somewhere in the United States this year, one young girl was the one millionth to have participated in the GOTR program. The national goal is two million by 2020. That’s a lot of girls.

Here are the basics. GOTR is about more, much more, than running. It is a three-month long after-school program that meets twice weekly and is coached by a trained leader and assistants who follow a carefully developed curriculum that includes tools to address health and fitness, confidence through accomplishment and social skills to be used in everyday experiences faced by young girls in contemporary society. GOTR is about self-awareness and understanding, about relationships and teamwork, about how to connect with each other and the community and world in which they live.

There is a small fee, but scholarships are available. Fundraising helps to support these scholarships.

At the end of the program, each region hosts a 5k event: Brattleboro on 5-16-2015, Rutland on 5-30-2015 and Essex on 6-6-2015.

Of this year’s 5ks, Heydinger said: “Our three 5k events were fantastic and continue to grow. Our goals for these events are to provide the girls with a joyful lifetime experience in a fun, festive and non-competitive environment, an opportunity to be successful in the goals that they set for themselves at the beginning of the season … to complete a 5k run/walk.”

Following the Rutland event, Guyon said: “Today’s Rutland 5k was amazing, where over 950 girls came to celebrate their limitless potential, their confidence, their uniqueness and their inner and outer strength. It was spectacular, with beautiful balmy weather, lots of smiling faces and amazing achievements, with all the girls finishing strong—and beaming.”  (Rutland’s Presenting Sponsor was Rutland Regional Medical Center.)

“Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realized that even the seemingly impossible is possible.” (

What happens after the finish line? GOTR is available to girls in grades 3-5. Girls then move on to Girls on Track, their sister middle school program for grades 6-8. Soon, GOT, restructured, will morph into Heart & Soul.

For detailed discussions on each program as well as contact information and ways in which to support or participate, go (run or walk is ok) to or


For years, as a single mom with two kids, I drove a truck decorated with the Ben & Jerry’s blue and white bumper sticker that proposed “If it isn’t fun, why do it?” (I can’t remember the exact words. I also had “NO FEAR” pasted across the top of the windshield so you can guess the era.)

Later I learned that the quote, “If it ain’t fun don’t do it,” is attributed to Jack Canfield, the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series.

Now I tweak the original saying. Fun is an often underestimated part of the fitness equation and must be both considered and honored. Why? If the fitness activity you pursue isn’t fun, that activity will gradually disappear from your daily schedule.

If it isn’t fun, then find other pursuits, other ways to include activity in copious amounts in your personal and corporate life.

Perhaps a better way to say it might be, if it isn’t fun, MAKE it so. This was my take-home message from last weekend.

Quickly, when I say the word “run” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For many it is merely a grunt or an “ugh.” Run does not always equate fun. Change one letter and you’ve got it. Change parts of the process and you’ve got it as well.

Make a run, walk, hike, ride, strength training session, even laps or an elliptical fun by adding quirky, amusing or light-hearted pieces. Be creative. Join friends for a start, tell stories along the way, wear something funky, plot coffee or a beer for later, even a bribe works, but make it fun.

Then, just maybe, you’ll find yourself in the habit of exercise, a habit that you should not break and might not want to.