Good morning! I’m starting off with some celebrations and finishing with a story :).
Last night Anthony’s mom put together quite a feast for the birthday boy! Since his family lives in Australia, it was a truly special event to celebrate his birthday all together.
Anthony’s mom is Italian, so pasta sauce basically runs in her blood. This baked pasta was amazing.As if that wasn’t enough, a self-saucing pudding (a very Australian thing similar to molten cake) appeared next. Candles were lit, happy birthday was sung!
Our nephew went face-first for dessert Fun night! Happy birthday, Anthony!
Speaking of getting older — reader Ellen asked if I could share my running story. I realized that I’ve never really written it all out. I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly special about my story, but perhaps you’ll enjoy skimming through it? So, here goes!
- 2002: Join the high school track team for a hot minute. Totally hate it and quit after a few weeks. I thought running was SO boring.
- 2006: In the spring of my senior year of high school, I decided not to play my main sport (volleyball) during the off season for the first time ever. Since I didn’t have a gym membership or anything, I started running since it was convenient and free. For the first couple months, I ran/walked the same two-mile loop almost every day before school. I was really slow — to this day, I think those first two-milers were some of the toughest runs I’ve ever done. I kept running through the summer of 2006 — in part for fun, and in part to handle the anticipation about heading off to a new city for college in a few months.
- 2006-2007: Start college and find out that my roommate is on the track and cross country team! Mira and I became good friends and she taught me some running basics. By the spring of my freshman year, I could run about 6 miles straight at about a 9-10 minute pace. Instead of gaining the freshman 15, I actually lost weight that year.
- 2008: At this point I was running almost every day — typically 5-6 miles (And not doing any cross-training, shame on me). In college, running was a way for me to escape the craziness/intensity of Johns Hopkins. It was a strange place. I also really enjoyed getting out and exploring Baltimore (even the sketchy parts…)
- Spring 2008: I trained for my first half marathon — the Rock ‘n’ Roll Country Music Half in Nashville. I had no idea what to expect and somehow finished with a 1:40 finish time. I felt really dead at the end and was like, “I’m never doing THAT again.” What a liar
- 2009: I did a couple more half marathons, one of which was the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach half with my sister:
- And I did another half marathon during a fall semester abroad in England. A trail I ran on almost every day in Norwich:
- I caught the travel bug bad and returned to Europe as a Spanish au pair the following summer. After watching four little kids during a loooong day, I was ready to get out of the house and run in the evenings (typically around 10-11 pm, in true Spanish form!). A shot from a run in nearby Barcelona:
- Summer/fall 2009: During the end of my stay in Spain, I was pretty tired of my little town and ready to head back home. I thought that training for a marathon might be a fun way to beat the monotony. So one night I did my usual 6-mile loop… and then did it again. And so the distance training began! That fall I returned to Baltimore for my last semester of college and ran my first marathon: the Under Armour Baltimore Marathon. It actually went pretty well! I finished in 4 hours and felt really proud. Somehow I have no photos of this accomplishment….
- 2010: I graduated college a semester early and moved to DC for my first job. I joined the DC Road Runners as a way to explore the city and meet people. I made a lot of friends through the club and running became a much more social part of my life. I realized that running with other people is a “thing.”
- 2010-2013: Start training smarter with the help of my running friends! Run about six more marathons, including Boston. (All my races & results are listed here). I begin to realize that things like speed work and cross training can make you faster.
- By this point, my average weekday run is 6ish miles at an 8-8:30 pace. In 2012, I get my first Garmin watch (!) and Anthony convinces me to start this blog (!!!!)
- 2013: Hire a running coach after hitting a bit of a plateau in my marathon times. He helps me PR in every distance and makes me a much smarter runner. I ditch listening to music, start doing more hill repeats, improve my speedwork dedication, and become a much more “zen” runner.
- 2014: Move to Nashville and keep running! I’ve even gone back to my old neighborhood to do that original two-mile route a few times :).
- How many years have you been running?
- Have you ever lived abroad?
- Bloggers: When did you start your blog? Why?