Can I Do A Marathon From My Wheelchair?

Believe it or not, there are plenty of wheelchair-accessible — and wheelchair-oriented — races in the United States every year. In fact, we have a storied history of “wheelchair racing” here in the states. Many of these races are open only to those who have a specific type of disability, such as certain kinds of amputees or those with spinal cord injuries. Other races are open to the general public to raise awareness of the hardships endured by those confined to wheelchairs. We recommend this kind of race to anyone who qualifies! They’re tougher than you think.

Not everyone has an easy time entering marathons that require special types of wheelchairs or qualifications, though. Stephen Norris had to fight for his right simply to participate. He was confined to a wheelchair because he was born with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele. 

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon requires users to use a racing wheelchair during the event, and Stephen didn’t have one — nor could he use one. Norris didn’t want to be excluded simply because of the limitations of his own disability.

Norris eventually received permission to use his own wheelchair. He finished that race.

He said, “I wasn’t overwhelmed with pride. I stood up for myself and others like me who are told that we aren’t enough, that our athletic accomplishments don’t count, that we can go far, but only so far.”

And this race was a huge deal for Norris. He had previously aspired to become one of the Abbott World Marathon Major Six Star finishers. That title is only held by people who have completed races in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York, and Tokyo. He wasn’t happy when he was first told that the Chicago race wouldn’t be possible due to his disability.

Norris commented, “I found it ironic that the Chicago Marathon is touted as ‘inclusive’ when it shuts out an entire category of disabled athletes on the basis of the wheelchair they use. I am not a wheelchair racer, so I don’t belong in the wheelchair category, and the Athletes with Disabilities category is only for those who are ambulatory. I am an athlete with a disability, but I’m not allowed to participate because I’m the wrong kind of disabled?”

The accomplishment was even bigger for Norris because of his difficult past. He had sustained a serious injury that left him bedridden when he was 21, and he went from being underweight to being obese in a span of only eight months.

Norris explained, “I became depressed and developed a poor relationship with food, and binged daily as a coping mechanism.”

He got into shape with the help of wheelchair races — but he has no aspirations to become a “racer.”

He said, “I do not aspire to be a wheelchair racer, and have no intentions of ever competing in the sport.”

Where To Go Running In San Francisco

San Francisco is known for a lot of things: it’s a liberal bastion, Pier 39, The Rock, having the coldest summers you’ve ever experienced, and…hills. It’s that last trait that makes San Francisco such a great place to be in shape. You’ll be huffing and puffing, struggling to make it over that next hill, wherever you decide to go running — even if you want a long run on the shoreline!

Any trip to San Francisco is wholly incomplete without a walk over the Golden Gate Bridge. But if you’re a runner, then you can make this bucket list item into more of a workout. There are parks with several looped trails on either side of the bridge, making it easy to run for several miles without stopping. On the south side of the bridge, you’ll find the 7-mile Presidio Planks Loop.

Want to extend your run even farther (or find a different track for a different day)? Then head southwest along the shoreline toward Golden Gate Park, where you’ll find a gorgeous 8.5 mile loop. It’s even easier to find a route down on Sundays, when John F. Kennedy Blvd. is closed to vehicular traffic.

The north side of the bridge will let you head east into the Marin Headlands trail system. Added to the Golden Gate Bridge, you’re looking at around 11 miles of running. Venture far enough along the loop, and you’ll find a great little black sand beach!

One of the flattest sections of shoreline will take you along the wharf — but keep in mind that you’ll still have to navigate some cliff-like sections, and the path isn’t always easy to follow because it’s not a single straight line. But if you’re feeling ambitious, you can follow a path from the Embarcadero along the waterfront, continue along Fisherman’s Wharf, and then end your run somewhere in Aquatic Park. This will result in a nearly 7-mile run.

The Best Way To Train For A Triathlon: Part II

In our previous post, we discussed the basic training regimen you’ll have to endure to properly train for a triathlon. Most people who don’t have much fitness experience will take anywhere from 10 weeks to 6 months to train for a triathlon in order to give themselves the best chance of success. It might take you a little less time…but it probably won’t take you more! If it seems like you won’t get there in six months, then you might need to spend more time getting motivated.

The biggest obstacles to getting motivated are in your head. You might say, “I can’t do this.” Or heck, some of you might say, “Why would I want to do this when I can stay in bed, eat donuts, drink a beer for lunch, have cereal for dinner, and play video games all day?” 

Honestly, if that’s the way you think — then you probably already have a pretty good grasp on your own personal problems! Create small, bite-sized goals for yourself every day of the week, and make a written list of those goals. You might find that it’s easier to get things done when you have limited expectations and can physically cross each item off the list. If you can manage that, you can manage training for a triathlon. See part one!

Once you’ve worked out and reached your limit (for the record, you never really reach your limit unless you’re an Olympian god or goddess), then it’s time to pick up all the gear you need for your triathlon. Whether you change sets between each event is up to you, but whatever you do remember this: no cotton. It takes forever to dry and you’ll be getting soaked. 

We recommend a European-style swimsuit for the men (that means an, ermm, tight fit), and whatever works best for the women. If you have long hair, you might want to invest in a cap to cut down on water resistance. Goggles are mandatory. 

Make sure you get a pair of running shoes and use them before you go. Breaking in new shoes during a long triathlon will leave your feet battered and blistered. 

The most important piece of equipment — and the one we recommend investing in — is your bike. The type of bike you own can determine the ease with which you perform during the cycling portion of the triathlon, so do some research and head to an outfitter for some expert advice.

When the big day finally arrives, your safety should be your first priority. If you have an accident, then try to think of it as no big deal. You can remove yourself from the triathlon events, rest and recuperate, and try again next time. But don’t forget: it’s the job of the triathlon organizers to keep you safe too. If they fail in this regard, then they might be liable for damages that result. Socal Injury Lawyers are only a call away, and they can help provide you with the information you need to know who might be at fault for any injuries sustained during the big race.

The Best Way To Train For A Triathlon: Part I

Most people believe that getting in shape takes a great deal of time and effort — but that’s not exactly true. Getting in shape takes a minimum of both time and effort. There are two problems, though. First, getting in shape can be an intimidating undertaking, in part because so many people believe it’s impossible. Second, staying in shape once you’re there takes consistent work — and while most of us have no problem getting to that first stage of fitness, staying ahead of our gains can seem nearly impossible.

For the moment, let’s pretend you’ll only ever do a single triathlon — and you need to get in shape for that one. How do you do it?

First and foremost, your number one goal is preventing overuse injuries like tendonitis. For those of you out there who are insanely lazy, there’s good news: you don’t prevent overuse injuries through overuse. And that means you start training very, very slowly. 

You’ll want to spend a couple days a week running and walking for a maximum of 45 minutes. You’ll want to spend another couple days a week swimming for a maximum of 45 minutes. You’ll want to spend two more days biking for a maximum of 45 minutes. And on the seventh day of the week? You rest. Even God needed rest, if you believe all that.

After about a month and a half of this regiment, you can increase the duration of your daily workout to an hour and a half a day with the same two day running/two day swimming/two day biking/rest pattern. That’s a much bigger time commitment than before, so it might be helpful if you break up the working out: half in the morning and half during the evening.

After a few more weeks of this new regimen, it’s time to start mixing and matching. Try 40 minutes of running and swimming, 40 minutes of biking and running, 40 minutes of running and biking, etc. One day a week, do all three together for a longer workout. 

A few weeks before your triathlon, try to push yourself as far as you can go one or two days a week on your day off. You’ll be ready in no time!

Where To Go Running In Washington D.C.

When we visit Washington D.C., most of us will head toward the many historical sites to learn about our country’s history. And hey — that makes sense, because D.C. has more tourist attractions and national emblems than any other city in the country. Thankfully, city planners definitely considered the city’s walkability when they were at the drawing board. And if a city is good for walking, then it’s good for running too. Here are a few of the best running spots in Washington D.C.

You’ll see groups of runners out almost daily on the grounds of the National Mall. This is one of the most popular spots because running on the same 400-meter track with nothing to look at can get boring, and here you’ll find views of historic monuments, plenty of space, and no vehicles.

The largest “urban” park in the national park system (not to be confused with Portland’s Forest Park, which is the largest city park not part of the national park system) is a great place to relax during a run. There are paved trails, unpaved trails, wooded trails, open trails, etc. On weekends, head to Beach Drive for a car-free run.

East Potomac Park is a man-made island inside of the Tidal Basin near the Potomac River and Washington Channel. Keep in mind that this is a very local-heavy place to be, in part because it’s surrounded by park amenities like tennis courts and a golf course. This is a three-mile track.

Believe it or not, D.C. is a crossroads for many long-distance paths, including the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal path. The C&O Canal is a whopping 184.5 miles starting in Georgetown. It’s good for new outdoors runners, because it’s flat and easy.

Interested in learning more about D.C. and its running trails? Visit the website here to find out everything you might want to know about the best D.C. pathways.

You’ll find another long path in the Mount Vernon Trail, an 18-mile segment between Theodore Roosevelt Island and Mount Vernon. The path cuts through a number of different ecosystems, including heavily forested areas and wetlands. If you like to run and birdwatch, this is a brilliant option.

The Anacostia Riverwalk is a beautiful space in the morning or evening when the sunlight shimmers off the water. This trail is a decent 20-mile one-way trek, but you can make a pretend loop because it runs on both sides of the river. Tired? There’s a wading pool in Yards Park near the Capitol Riverfront, which makes it a great stopping point for the day.

 

Where To Run In Seattle, Washington

Seattle is considered among the rainiest cities in the United States — but did you know that it’s sort of a myth? It doesn’t even rank in the top ten! Seattle adopted the legend of the wettest city because it has so many wet days. But if you’ve ever been to this great city, you know that most of that moisture is like a mist. Raindrops are less common! Either way, you’ll probably get wet if you visit Seattle and decide to go for a run. Here are the best places to hit up along the way.

Tourists will definitely want to make a stop along Puget Sound, where coincidentally you’ll find the beautiful Elliott Bay Trail from CenturyLink Field to Smith Cove. The trail is somewhat disjointed, but you can hop on for a three-mile loop starting from the Olympic Sculpture Park. If that’s not enough head over toward CenturyLink for another almost-three miles.

Not long enough for you? Try the 27 miles of the Burke-Gilman Trail, a multi-use track from Puget Sound toward Lake Union and Lake Washington. There are a few segments near Downtown Seattle, but this is the path for you if you’re into great views.

Head to Green Lake for an uninterrupted six-mile run, but don’t be surprised when you get swarmed with both locals and tourists — because this natural beauty is one of the city’s most popular destinations. For more options, head toward Woodland Park to the south.

You’ll find a 6.2-mile loop around Lake Union. This is the perfect place to go for a run for a sunset view of the Olympic Mountains. Look to the southeast for a view of Mount Rainier. Speaking of Mount Rainier, it’s one of the most beautiful and breath-taking national parks in the lower 48 (and there are plenty of hiking trails), so it might be time for an overnight trip outside of the city.

Where Should I Run In Orlando, Florida?

Orlando is known for its proximity to Disney World, Lake Okeechobee, and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a wonderful tourist destination primed for those health-oriented individuals who need a shot of Vitamin D (sunshine) and fresh seaside air. It’s also not a bad place to work out! Runners will rejoice, because there are plenty of trails that weave in or around this great city. Here are some of the best places to go running in Orlando! 

If you’re willing to drive, we strongly recommend visiting the Florida Trail, a 1200-mile national scenic trail — and one of the longest continuous paths in the United States. It’s different from the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and Pacific Crest Trail in more ways than one. The Florida Trail is flatter, sunnier, rainier, and many parts are constantly under water. But don’t worry — there are plenty of dry sections for those who don’t want to get wet!

We caught up with a client of Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou (https://www.orlandofamilyteam.com/), who said that she met up with an attorney near the Gaston Edwards Park. Having never been there herself, she decided to take off along the Orlando Urban Trail. She said, “I only visited Orlando for this meeting, and little did I know it was such a great city for running paths. My attorney pointed out the trail. As soon as we parted ways, I went running.”

The Orlando Urban Trail is a six-mile trek alongside lakes and roads. It starts in Gaston Edward Park. It’s also a great option for tourists, as it passes the Orlando Museum of Art, the Orlando Botanical Garden, and the Orlando Science Center. 

If you’re in the Downtown Orlando area, then you can visit the Cady Way Trail. Find your way to the Fashion Square Mall (and maybe visit inside), and go from there to Winter Park along the track. This path is nearly six miles long, but you can add around a mile by heading toward Baldwin Lake.

Visiting Disney? Check in at the information desk for help finding the park’s 16 miles of multi-use trails. There are tracks laid out around the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness, Epcot, Hotel Boulevard and Downtown Disney, and the Convention Center near Universal Studios. Most of the paths are short and sweet, but you’ll want to get them out of the way early anyway — because why else would you visit Disney if not to experience the park itself?

Florida is known for its rail trails (and there are a lot of them because the state is so very flat), and the 22-mile West Orange Trail ranks as one of the best. It cuts through Orange County (not to be confused with the Californian OC) from Killarney Station to Welch Roach. You can also take the West Orange Trail to the Minneola Scenic Trail by jumping on a short spur trail.

Where To Run In Las Vegas

First and foremost, we recommend that all outdoor runners take more water than they think they might need — and head out very early morning or very late evening. Las Vegas is known for its scorching temperatures and dry heat pretty much year-round, and you don’t want to be caught in the middle of nowhere without water or protection. Speaking of protection, don’t forget the sunscreen!

Las Vegas is a great place for runners because the desert is flat. And so is the city. If you’re a visitor, you might enjoy simply running in the touristy locations: think the Strip (where all the casinos are located), Downtown, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV), etc.

But if you’re not the type of runner who likes gradual grading, then we have some treacherous paths for you to explore. One of the most scenic areas around the city is Red Rock Canyon — and the name speaks for itself. There are a variety of trails around here ranging from easy to difficult. If you want to run someplace beautiful — but new — everyday, you could keep returning to Red Rock because there are 30 miles of gorgeous track. 

If you want something simpler and less traveled by tourists, then check out the Union Pacific Railroad Trail, a 6.35 mile track. You’ll still see a thousand people, but at least they won’t all be holding maps!

If you don’t mind traveling far outside of Vegas to find the most scenic runs, check out Mt. Charleston. It’s one of the tallest peaks in Nevada, rising to 12,000 feet (the tallest is actually Boundary Peak, which is just over 13,000 feet). Charleston has over 52 miles of beautiful trails where you’ll find many other runners. Keep in mind there’s snow in winter. But also, it’s much cooler here in summer than other places around Vegas.

The Best Places To Run In Los Angeles

Los Angeles is known for its health-oriented residents. There’s a reason that boomers make fun of millennials for loving avocados or hitting the tanning beds. Angelenos like to look and feel good. They have a reputation to uphold! If you visit the city, you’ll see one thing immediately: there are people jogging from one end of the city to the next. And guess what? This is one of the best cities on the planet for getting in that run.

Debt settlement attorney Ryan Johnson said, “It’s kind of stereotypical, but I do most of my running in Runyon Canyon. I’ll meet up with friends or colleagues, and we’ll walk, run, and chat for an hour or two. In a pre-COVID world, we’d go to Jamba Juice afterward. Now we just go home.”

One of our favorite places to run is the Strand. This is a shared pathway built for bikes, so you’ll have to be extra careful. You wouldn’t want to get hit by some biker who was paying more attention to Snapchat or texting. Most people head to the Strand at Santa Monica, but the path runs for 22 miles from Will Rogers Park in the Palisades to Torrance Beach. This is a really easy, straight shot with basically no elevation change and few road crossings. There are plenty of bathrooms and, hey, you get a great view of the beach while you run!

Speaking of Will Rogers Park, this is where you’ll find the entrance to Temescal Canyon. Temescal is a really popular hiking area (and fairly strenuous, too) with a super duper lackluster waterfall. Most people stop hiking at the waterfall, but if you head about five miles into the trail, you’ll find a trail junction called “the Hub.” 

This junction connects to a number of fire service roads, which have gradual elevation change and branch out to connect to many of the smaller LA towns. For example, you could hike from Temescal Canyon in the Palisades to Encino. Granted, you’d need to make it back somehow. In any case, the fire service roads are great places for endurance running.

If you live in the San Fernando Valley, you’ll find another hike called Wildwood in the town of Burbank. Many Burbank residents will hike up to the top (about two miles), and then create a loop with the connecting fire service road (seriously, they’re all over the place) to run back down about four more miles. More motivated runners can keep the run going, as this is another very connected network of trails and fire service roads.

If you want something easier, then check out the UCLA Drake Stadium Track. Four loops is a mile. Keep in mind that this option will be no less populated than any of our others, but there’s plenty of space for multiple runners. By the way — if you’re running in LA, prepare to meet the crowds!

Where To Run In Portland, Oregon

Portland is known for its large population of hipsters. It’s an interesting place and a fun place to visit, to say the least. Want to find maple-bacon flavored donuts outside of New England? This is a great place to try them. The scenery is phenomenal. But if you’re an outdoors enthusiast, you could do a lot worse than this city. It’s not so far from the long-distance Pacific Crest Trail, which spans from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada. But Portland also has hundreds of miles of its own trails, including the biggest city park in the United States.

And we’ll start there. Forest Park is an awe-inspiring 5,157 acres — which, to put into perspective, is larger than many state and national parks you might visit. You’ll find over 80 miles of trails through the green tunnel, and completely forget that the city is so close at any given moment. If you’re a runner or hiker, this park should be at the absolute top of your list. 

The Wildwood Trail (in Forest Park, because we’re not done yet) is over 30 miles long. You’ll find the terminus at Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington Park, and that’s your most likely starting point. Birdwatchers rejoice, because you’ll find a respectable Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary in the Forest Park as well. 

From there, you can also run from path to path to get to many places in the city, including Council Crest Park, where you’ll find great panoramic views — although a few are blocked by trees on the hillside. Want to continue even farther? Marquam Nature Park is a hop and skip away. From there, you can find your way to the George Himes City Park before wending your way toward the Willamette River, where you’ll find many more miles of path in Willamette Park and the River View Natural Area farther to the south. By then, you’ll have seen much of the city!