Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Great Walking Spot - Mt. Pleasant Memorial Park

I was back down in the Charleston, SC area today.  Instead of walking over the Ravenel Bridge, I decided to walk under it.  The Mt. Pleasant Memorial Park is located beneath the Bridge and is another great walking spot on my list of locations across the country.

The main feature (in my opinion) is the pier that runs out almost to the shipping channel.  It's parallel to, and in the shadow of the Ravenel Bridge, which gives you a really neat perspective on the Bridge.  As I reached the end, a freighter passed by, just a stone's (if you are an NFL Quarterback) away. The distance from the parking lot under the bridge to the end of the pier is about 1/2 mile.  It makes for a very pleasant walk or run.

There are also sidewalks heading out in two different directions from the park.  I chose the one that winds past Patriot's Point Naval Museum, the Submariner's Memorial and the College Of Charleston athletic fields.  The distance to the roundabout with the Statue is 1 mile each way, which makes for a decent calorie burn.

Of course, I wanted at least 4 miles, so I did the pier twice as well as the sidewalk tour.  One interesting aspect, was the signs that warned of coyote's in the area.  Who would have thought...

By the way, parking is not free, but not expensive either.  I paid $1.00 for 1.5 hours.  Worth it without a doubt.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

View From The Street - Beer Guts On Display

Why is it that guys with bulging mid-sections think that coming to the beach is a ticket to put all that mass of fat on display?  Look, (or better yet don't) there isn't anything attractive about a beer gut, or whatever you wish to call it, so why stick it out there for everyone else to admire.  Just because you can take your shirt off in public doesn't mean you should.  What ever happened to modesty and good taste? 

I don't have much of a gut anymore as a result of my walking habits, but even I don't bare the midsection very often in public, as I don't think its polite to subject others to what lurks beneath.

I just don't get it - these guys act like a beer gut is a badge of honor or something.  In reality, its the mark of a future coronary...  Or maybe they are just totally oblivious.  And what about their wives and girlfriends?  Why don't they speak up?  Oh wait a minute - most of the female accomplices are wearing thongs, when they should be in full body coverage attire...

Oh well, not my problem - I can always find something more appealing to look at like roadkill.

Hey, its stuff like this that makes me chuckle and keeps my walking fun and interesting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Great Walking Spots - South End Of Wrightsville Beach

I decided it was time for a new walking challenge.  Wrightsville Beach is great, but I do the loop so much that its becoming borderline boring, which meand I need to change the scenery a bit.  Sooo, I started out as normal at the Museum and Visitors Center, but after crossing the Banks Channel bridge, I took a hard right in front of Tower 7 and headed south - way south - final destination: Masonboro Inlet, also known as the South End.
The distance down (from the Visitors Center) is just under 3 miles and there are plenty of sidewalks along the way.  But of course, I prefer walking in the street and do most of the time.  Nothing like daring cars to run over me!  But with a speed limit of 15mph and lots of short one way streets, fast cars is definitely not a hazard.
Like many walking tours, you find all kinds of neat little things along the way, stuff you don't normally see in a car.  For example, way back in the dark ages, there used to be a Trolley that ran from Wilmington over to the beach and then down the island.  Though the system was discontinued many years ago, the trolley stops are now marked with plaques.
You also get a good look at all the contrasting architecture that Wrightsville has to offer.  Classic cottages next to multi-million dollar mansions and all kinds of unique landscaping including the house with the water running through an oriental garden.

 Further down you pass the South End Surf Shop, a new business that just opened in the summer.  It too has a bit of history, as the building that houses was built in 1941 and was for many years the Glenn Restaurant up until Hurricane Hazel devasted the building in 1954.

From there its only a few more blocks to the Southern Terminus of the Island - Masonboro Inlet.

So my entire route for you locals looks like this: Visitors Center to Tower 7 on the loop, then straight down to the South End, reverse course back to the loop at Tower 7, then continuing in the direction of Johnnie Mercers Pier and finally back to the Visitors Center. 

Total distance = 5.5 miles.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Broke My Walking Speed Record Again

The Wrightsville Beach Loop is my regular walking location.  It's 2.25 miles around with lots of great views.  I normally do two loops nonstop - thats walking not running.

Over time, I have gradually increased my speed and endurance levels and now find myself in a race every time I hit the loop.  Not a race against the other walkers, but against myself - actually against the clock.

Though my top level pace is 4.5 mph, I don't normally start out that fast, and have to work up to it.  My personal best time to date has been 1 hour and 5 minutes for two laps (4.5 miles total).  Well today, I ramped up my speed pretty was able to shave two minutes off for a new personal best time of 1 hour and 3 minutes for the 4.5 mile walk.

Don't forget, it was only a couple of years ago that 15 minutes of walking at 3 mph left me breathless.