Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

International Blog Action Day: The AR Lifestyle

The other day, I took a quiz to determine my carbon footprint.

In general, I did pretty well.  I use energy star electronics.  I put CFL light bulbs in every fixture.  I buy almost exclusively local and/or organic food.  I keep the heat low, I put plastic over the windows, I compost, and I walk to the co-op around the corner for groceries.
But in one category, I was off the charts.  Even though I drive a little fuel efficient toyota yaris – the poor man’s prius, if you will – my three-year-old car has more than 45,000 miles on it.  Ouch!  When I think about it, of course, it makes sense.  My daily commute is relatively tame, but in addition to using my car every time Brent and I go anywhere together (it gets better mileage than his subaru outback, after all), we regularly make the trip to Massachusetts to visit his family.
And then there’s the racing.
Over the past few years, adventure racing has taken my little yaris all over the northeast and mid-atlantic.  There was the impromptu road trip to southwest Indiana when Brent’s flight was canceled the night before a 24-hour race, the half dozen treks to upstate New York and northern New Jersey for the twice-annual NYARA events, and the handful of drives to Western PA, or Vermont, or parks all around the Philadelphia area.  Not to mention the occasional weekend trips to orienteering meets, or the regular meet-ups with teammates and running buddies.
In order to participate in this AR world, you’ve gotta be prepared to travel.  So for a sport that actively promotes green racing – in its very mission statement, it mandates minimum impact travel, respect of the land and inhabitants, and a prohibition against litter – how do we offset that carbon footprint?
I think it has to come in our day-to-day travel.  Sure, my commute is only 6-10 miles each way, depending on which route I take.  But I can just as easily ride my bike, and have my carbon-free trip double as training.  Instead of driving to the coffee shop a few miles away, I can run there, with my computer safe and secure in my backpack.  It’ll get me used to wearing a pack for a 12-hour race, right?
After all, adventure racing, as Ali once told me, is more of a lifestyle than a set schedule of rides and runs.  And perhaps that lifestyle can take the pressure off my gas pedal – unless I’m heading to a race, of course. 
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5 responses to “International Blog Action Day: The AR Lifestyle

  1. RunningLaur October 16, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Very well written, and well thought post. Incorporating 'adventure' into your every day life could have such a wealth of benefits – and I think you're already well on your way there.

  2. Amanda October 17, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I wish I could bike to work, but unfortunately with the roads I have to go on it really isn't possible. I think it sounds like you're doing a fantastic job at decreasing your carbon footprint, nice work. I would like to try composting, but haven't done it so far.

  3. I Run for Fun October 20, 2009 at 1:48 am

    First off, CONGRATULATIONS! I was thinking about you last weekend, just didn't have time for blogging. I am impressed…Steamtown is no easy feat. Great job, girl.Great post! It's clear you put a lot of thought into everything. If we all just give it a little thought before sitting behind the wheel and zipping off, we would save soo much energy.

  4. Minty October 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    thanks for this post. it is a gentle but strong reminder to keep an eye (and curb) my impact.

  5. X-Country2 October 23, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I try to do my best, but you're right, it's just challenging when you see the numbers all added up. You're certainly doing a ton of things right, so keep up the good work!

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