musings on running, life, and everything in between

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Denial is not just a river: Boston

It’s been awhile…I’ve been slightly in denial and slightly overwhelmed. There are some things going on¬†outside of running that are taking up a lot of emotional energy and time. There’s barely been time to process that Boston is in less than 4 days. I get on a plane in about 24 hours. I haven’t really thought about packing or logistics or anything. This is despite the fact that Jen and Patty (mostly Patty) have been blowing up my phone with messages about Boston weather, packing lists, more weather, expo pick up, more weather…I have been only partaking in reading in small bursts. Cuz I. CAN’T. EVEN.

To my credit, part of of the reason is that I was immersed in professional nerd-dom in our nation’s capital. I attended the major educational research conference for 4 days last weekend. It was good to get away, and I got some time to run with cool people and see some more cool things. Still, it was an intense 4 days.

My favorite monument run this time was the (newer) Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Memorial. I shrink at sentiment, but I was surprisingly moved by the memorial. It’s a beautiful piece of sculpture/architecture, and I couldn’t help but feel the importance of King’s legacy and the ongoing fight for racial and economic justice today. There is still so much work to do. And it can feel overwhelming at times, but none of us struggles alone. Others have gone before us, others struggle alongside, and others will come after.

The King portion of the monument almost looked like a breakaway from a larger concrete mountain. Somehow, I failed to take a picture of that part. However, surrounding the main monument was a long wall of quotes. There were some amazing ones, and it inspired me to go back and finish a book of his essays I’ve had forever. A lot of people were taking photos, and I had trouble choosing just one. This one seemed timely, though, in terms of the importance of all of us speaking out against injustice even if it’s not comfortable.

I also did a very convoluted route (partly because I got lost and partly because it was a long run) past the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial (which is on a funky island/peninsula bit and totally reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Bart talks to the various monument/presidents), and meandering over into Virginia.

This tree was beautiful and strange. A cork tree! It actually looked dead, and there was a sign asking people not to climb or touch it so that it wouldn’t be damaged. While the majority of the cherry blossoms were gone, there were still some trees with blossoms so it was a pretty run.

I have to say that there was some strange criss-crossing back and forth across the river to try and get back from Virginia to DC. It makes it more delightful to find hidden little spots like this one, though!

I ran out of miles on that run, though. Right when I got to Theodore Roosevelt Island, I had to head home, so I dragged some of my friends back there Sunday. I wanted to see the island and get some trails under my feet. It took some convincing to get them out there as they were concerned I would be too fast, but I was tapering and more concerned about enjoying the run with friends than speed.

Tracey makes a second appearance (middle bottom), though still only in DC ūüôā Laura, top middle, also works with me. And Susan, far right, is the awesome friend that sent me lipstick a little while ago. We also make it a habit to purchase beauty supplies when traveling together. Hey, can’t be nerds all the time!

The island wasn’t very big, just over a mile running the circumference. In the middle of the island was a big carved out section with little bridges, water (though it was drained for the winter still), and a big Theodore Roosevelt monument. We asked a fellow runner to take our picture, and we went with the Black Power fist instead of the regular one hand up in the air that Teddy was doing (the photographer didn’t seem to get that we wanted Teddy¬†in the picture also so you’ll just have to imagine it). We all do critical work, and it jived with the theme of the run as we also saw the MLK memorial (a second time for me, I couldn’t get enough!).

Us, in nature.

This last picture is of my friend, Ramon, who I HAVE run with years ago. However, he said he tends to cycle on and off with running, and he has NOT been running for a bit but wants to start again. I am putting his picture up here to publicly shame/encourage him to start running more regularly. So, if you know Ramon Martinez, make sure you ask him about running!

Work this week has been really rough. I got a chance to do an early, very therapeutic 4 miles this morning with Jen. I was greeted by this awesome sign from the amazing, supportive ladies of Best Foot Forward. It helped remind me that I’m NOT doing this alone, and these girls have helped support me every step of the way. Onward and upward!


Running Out of Town

I got to travel to Washington D.C. for some work-related stuff, though it was a very short trip. Still, any chance to sleep in a bed by myself and have a decent amount of independence from others is always welcome! I was on the fence about bringing my running stuff, as I would literally be in D.C. for 31 hours and my running stuff took up more space than my regular stuff. However, I figured I’d be more annoyed with my self if I DIDN’T bring it than if I did.

At one point during the flight, I looked out the window and got a great shot of the frozen/melting Great Lakes.¬†2015-03-07 08.27.412015-03-07 08.38.53I was also catching up on the latest Runner’s World magazine. I was frightened to read that we are so sedentary in our culture currently, that we need to run about 6 miles/day to burn the same number of calories as our grandparents. Another reason to keep moving! That thought haunted me as I sat at a table doing work for most of the trip. It definitely motivated me to get out and run.

I attempted half-heartedly to get up before meetings on Sunday, but the double-whammy of Central to Eastern time change PLUS daylight savings was too much for me. We did finish our work early (it was conference planning stuff) and I had a late flight, so I decided to cram in a run before my flight. Boy was I glad! It was in the low 50’s and sunny. There were so many runners out, it was great! I used some maps from the Washington Running Club ( to map out a route past various landmarks.¬†So of course, you can’t miss the White House. Lots of tour groups and security! It looks smaller from what I remember ad a kid, ha.

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I love the Washington Monument. Against the blue sky, it was pretty awesome. You can see how melty everything was in the area! I think you can go inside to the top of the Monument? At least I thought I remembered that from when I was a kid. I took a picture of the Mall/Monument from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It really is an outstanding piece of architecture/planning. All that symmetry! Too bad there wasn’t any water in the reflecting pool this time of year.

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I almost bypassed the Lincoln Memorial as there were quite a number of steps, but I couldn’t get a good picture without climbing them, ha. It has to be one of my all-time favorite people sculptures. He always looks so sad. I think I remember reading about it being purposeful, to express the gravity of the times of his Presidency.

2015-03-08 14.01.32¬†You probably can’t tell from these next two pictures, as they are nearly identical. However, they were taken from two different bridges spanning the Potomac River–the Memorial Bridge and the 14th St. Bridge. As you can see, the Potomac was still pretty frozen. I felt the urge to jump on it and attempt to walk across as some parts still looked pretty solid…don’t worry, I didn’t.

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For the most part, I was able to stay out of the puddles. However, there were some that just weren’t avoidable. It was either “run/walk through flowing water” or “run/walk through squishy/muddy grass and dirt.” After awhile, I accepted that my feet were going to be wet and that¬†cleanish water was preferable. I did feel very cross-country runner-ish doing it (to be honest, though, I only lasted in cross-country for like a day. I didn’t like all that running, ha!)

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The last bit of my run took me past this. I couldn’t decide if it was public art or bike racks. I decided both. But how fun is that?!
2015-03-08 15.00.25I’ll be honest, this run almost didn’t happen. I had to check out of my room before noon, but my flight home wasn’t until almost 6 pm. So I had a choice. Run and take a baby-wipe bath or don’t run and do random reading/writing/grading for a couple hours. Then I checked the weather back home, which was quite a bit colder. I chose to run and baby-wipe it. I like to think of it as training for Ragnar! Honestly, though, I feel like I sweat a lot less than the average person, and I ran in shorts so I didn’t get very hot.

One thing I am always fascinated by traveling is the kinds of things you find in airports. From things like the food to the retail stores to amenities. I think it was the Minneapolis airport that had a nail salon and mini massage parlor (brilliant!). Chicago’s Midway airport trends towards more local restaurant offerings. And D.C.’s little kiosks offered some awesome grab-n-go food option, including a vegan Soba noodle salad. But I was most excited about these two things. Vanilla cafe latte by Vita-Coco. Totally delicious, and I pretended the coconut water in it balanced out the sugar (lies, I know). It might also balance out the trashy magazine I bought for amusement that you can see in the background.

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Now THIS, THIS I’m excited for. Korean-style beef jerky. I actually bought it for my husband, but I might make him share. I do think Americans’ proclivities towards naming ethnic-influenced food by a weird version of their original¬†name is kind of weird. Like “gogi” in Korean is “meat.” You would probably never buy “American” food that was just labeled as “meat.” Or “chai” just means tea for most Indians, but it’s a very specific sweet, milky processed product for Starbucks-goers. Don’t even get me started on their horrible mistake in what they call a macchiato…

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Anyhow, it’s the beginning of the work week. Good luck surviving “Heart Attack Monday” today. As a mom, I hate daylight savings. I thought I WAS going to have a heart attack trying to get my kids ready and out the door as they were screaming they were tired and didn’t want to go to school. There may have been coffee and donuts as bribes to get moving…

Anyone out there LOVE day light savings?

Running while traveling? Do you do it or not?¬†I do think it’s “easier” (for safety concerns) for men to do this than women, but that’s a whole other post….