Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Archive for Greenland Sea

A Brief Jog In the Arctic Circle

The occurrence of summer solstice earlier this week continued the cat and mouse game I have been playing with the sun. During the Iron & Ice Voyage, we bopped back and forth between time zones while continuing north. Daylight hung around way past my bedtime. This was a trip to leave the Vitamin D capsules at home. The most extreme daylight was June 10th with a sunset at 0022 and June 11th with a sunrise of 0150. Then, heading south from Iceland toward Northern Ireland, it seemed odd to see the sun setting near 10 p.m.

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Leaving port at Akureyri

Leaving the Icelandic harbor of Akureyri on the 25th day of our voyage, we were to sail into the Arctic Circle before heading south to Belfast.  Although I had a few days on land early in the trip and many days in port, I still found that 25 days on an ocean voyage had me occupying some odd thoughts. Like, what would my Garmin record if I were running on the sea in the Arctic Circle?

My Garmin has become a hybrid travelogue, something between photos and a travel journal. I don’t bore family and non-running friends with this, but downloads that record the paths, bridges, and coastlines of travel runs and races around the world elicit wonderful memories.

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My mini-track

So, after briefly joining a party raising glasses to our entry into the Arctic Circle, I slipped away to my cabin to retrieve running shoes and Garmin, then made my way to the upper deck. A couple of other passengers enjoyed the quiet there. Even so, I found a sense of personal solitude in the chilly air. In the distance, whales would sporadically surface off the port sideI pushed the power button on the Garmin. It found satellites immediately. Beginning with a fast walk, then a jog out and back on the short area on deck. I glanced at the Garmin. It was registering about a tenth of a mile for my every step. Running on a moving ship was improving my pace significantly.

Returning to my cabin later in the evening, I downloaded the inflated results onto my laptop. The map doesn’t scream “Arctic Circle,” but results do show we were in the Greenland Sea, which is within the Arctic Circle.  

Not from my Garmin download

Not from my Garmin download

If there is a point to this post perhaps it is that runners who are generally obsessive can become more obsessive when at sea.

Are you having summer adventures with equally obscure thoughts? I’d love to hear about them.

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Return from a Voyage of Iron & Ice

I’ve been on a journey. Yes, I know, all of life is a journey. But this was a particular journey,IMG_0163 a voyage including stops at some of the most sought after ports and some off the radar of many travelers. From the previous Iron Curtain countries with their mix of the industrial and the pastoral, followed by the ice of those in the northern climes IMG_0693where daylight seemed eternal, I let the history, sights, food, and people of new countries and the knowledge of fellow travelers soak in.

UnknownA lack of access to the internet during much of this voyage helped keep my head in the journey. I reached the point of attending only to messages that were urgent or time-sentitive.

This voyage took us to multiple and varied ports on the Kiel Canal, the Baltic, North, Greenland, Irish and Celtic Seas as well as the Atlantic Ocean. We explored harbors, cities and villages, each distinct in its flavor and in my memory.

There are many stories to tell. I don’t expect they will appear in any particular order, but will be interspersed with my reentry to the local running scene.

IMG_0728Now it’s time to catch up with all of you and your tales during my absence. A voyage ends, another journey begins.