July 3, 2013
Rhode Island is the smallest state and yet the day I ran in Rhode Island couldn’t have been fuller. It began in in New Canaan with a simple mission, drive down the Connecticut coast, run on the beach in Rhode Island, eat lobster, see the sights and arrive at my friend’s sister’s house in Plum Island, Massachusetts by dinner. I’d planned according and wore my running clothes under a perfectly New England navy, t-shirt dress. With a scarf in my hair and tortoiseshell sunglasses I hopped in the Impala and headed out from New Canaan. I stopped in Katherine Hepburn’s hometown of Saybrook, Connecticut just to say that I had done it. By lunch time I’d arrived in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.
The main street of Watch Hill was packed with tourist shops selling signs such as “wanted: a buoy toy” and “it’s a shore thing.” I passed those up but did pick up a mesh toiletries travel bag with an embroidered corvette to remind me of the packed day of travel that lay ahead. After I’d shopped I went back to my car, stripped off my dress right there in the road, hopped out of my red wedge espadrilles into running shoes, tied the car key to my shoe and headed to the beach.
Running on the beach is tough. I don’t usually seek it out but for 3.1 miles I knew I could handle it. What I couldn’t handle was the midday full sun. I foolishly neglected to put sunscreen on and quickly realized that while I was tackling running in my 13th state I was also getting a sunburn. No matter. In the journey of 5K in 50 States I was learning to press on and be flexible. After the run I went back to the Impala, grabbed my clothes and headed to the beach’s public restroom at which I peeled out of my sweaty running clothes and into fresh underthings and the navy shirtdress. That restroom change was one of the most uncomfortable, stuffy, stifling situations I found myself in on that trip and yet I was still pleased with myself for picking a place to run that had a public restroom and for having the foresight to bring fresh underthings. I treated myself to a lobster roll, stopped at a Dunkin Donuts, drove up to Walden Pond, got out, reflected and cooled my feet in the water, got back in the car, fought July third Boston traffic and made it to Plum Island Mass. by dinner. Dinner was a lobster salad from a coastal shack: another lobster for a lobster. All in a day’s work, Rhode Island.