Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon – May 3, 2015

A couple of runners from my local running group headed down sown to the Redwoods to run the Avenue of the Giants half marathon (one of our group rocked the full marathon!)

Unfortunately with a meeting scheduled at work on Friday that I couldn’t miss, Michael and I weren’t able to get on the road until Saturday. It was a beautiful day and a pretty easy drive (easy for me as the passenger!), but it was still an 8 hour drive, which makes for a long day!

We got there right in time to join the group (who had all left at least a day earlier) for dinner. We were staying at the Miranda Gardens Resort which was super cute. There are a bunch of little cottages. For dinner we just walked across the street to the one restaurant in the area. It was ok, but none of us were particularly wowed by the food.

We hung out for a bit afterwards, but then headed to bed to get rest for the next day.

I didn’t really have any expectations for the race, other than to have fun and run it with my friends. That was achieved, although I have to say afterwards I felt worse than I’ve ever felt after a race in a long time. My body just ached and I was very frustrated with how difficult the run was for me.  We didn’t push ourselves either, so there was no reason why I should have been struggling so much.  I guess it just wasn’t my day….I suppose we all have those.

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Unfortunately, this race was a week after I found out that I won the lottery and would be running the Chicago Marathon in October! Not exactly how I wanted to start of my training for that.  IMG_7674 IMG_7672  finisher

Yuengling Lager Jogger 5k – April 11, 2015

Yes, I flew across the country for the Yuengling Lager Jogger 5k. Totally worth it! It was a perfect combination of a great race (with Yuengling and pierogies at the finish) and quality time with the family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmother, mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, nephews).  I’m sure most people on the east coast who can get Yuengling whenever they want don’t understand why it’s such a big deal….but it’s really a nostalgic thing for me. You know, you want what you can’t have! And we can’t get Yuengling in Oregon 😦

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We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day for the run. The sun was out. Although at the finish line it was a bit cold. The course was pretty hilly…..but knowing that it was in Pottsville, that was to be expected!  The crowd was great. A bunch of people were in costume….there was even a guy that was in a full spartan outfit made out of Yuengling beer cases! There were also a group of guys that were running with a log! True “logger joggers!”

After the race and getting my pierogies and beer, as we were walking around, I heard a girl in the crowd shout out, “Is that NoPo from Portland?” I was wearing my NoPo shirt. Turns out the girl was helping organize the Ecliptic Beer Mile that was happening in May and that our run club had done a “test run” for a few weeks earlier! Talk about a small world.

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After the race, my dad picked us up and we headed back to my parent’s home town where I saw my grandmother and my cousin’s kids and had dinner (and dessert!) at my dad’s cousins new café. The next day we stopped back in for breakfast and then started to make the way home (well back to their home, not mine yet!)

So once we got back to Virgina, the fun wasn’t over! We pulled into our driveway, unloaded the car, and then my mom and I were off to go visit one of my best friends from high school and see her adorable daughter who had gotten so much bigger (and even cuter!) since I last saw her back in October.  then we headed to my brother’s house where we had fun with my nephews and stayed for dinner, and sang happy birthday to Lucas who had just turned 1!

DC Rock n Roll Half Marathon

The decision to do this race actually happened while at a Blazers game against the Wizards. Michael and I thought it would be fun to go to a Blazers away game, and what better place than DC, since we could stay with my parents? And….as I was looking at the schedule, it just so happened that the Blazers were playing the Wizards at home the Monday after the DC Rock n Roll race! So of course the first thing I did was email my brother to see if he’d be up for it. And he was! So plans were made! I registered for the race and Michael got the Blazers tickets!

This was my first race as a member of Team SunRype. Around mile 2 or 3, I heard a “hey SunRype girl!” and it was actually my brother who had to poke me and say “you know they’re talking to you, right?” They told me that their friends who were also on the team were running too. Further along the course nearing the end, I saw 3 other girls on the team running. They had stopped under a bridge to take a picture (I think). I stopped for a second to say hi, but my brother was flying and it was obvious he wasn’t going to stop…..so I kept running to keep up with him.

The weather was AWFUL. Rainy, cold, windy. I have the best boyfriend in the world who not only fought through the weather, but also an injured foot to cheer us on at the race, making sure to be there at the start and then further along the course.   We finished the race with a PR for my brother, so that rocked. It was also fun running through my old neighborhood and seeing how much DC has changed in the 3.5 years that I’ve been gone.  But I run in the rain enough in Portland, it would have been nice to have had a dry race this time.

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Running in Scotland

After finishing the race in Mexico (yes, I am THAT behind on blogs!) I had a few hours before I had to get to the airport and make my way to Scotland. Why Scotland? At work the new region I’m supporting was having their annual meeting at our European headquarters office, and it was a great opportunity for me to meet the country directors I’ll be working with now. Unfortunately it meant cutting our Mexico vacation a da      y short (well mine since I was flying directly to Scotland from Mexico…..Michael would be going back to Portland first) but on the flip side it meant another mini-vacation in Scotland! We were able to use frequent flier miles to have Michael fly out to join me at the end of my meeting in Scotland, and my boss approved me switching my original vacation day to the other end of the trip….and adding in that there was a holiday on that Monday, we got a long weekend!

The last time I was in Scotland, I was there for the Edinburgh Rock n Roll Half Marathon. (ps don’t look for the post on that race, I apparently never did one! such a slacker I am).

I had been in Nigeria for work and was able to work my flights out so that I could stop for a long weekend on my way back.  And because I have awesome friends who also like to travel, my two friends Amanda (yes, both named Amanda!) were also there.

The race itself was actually pretty miserable. I wasn’t in shape and it was rainy, windy and cold. But we finished! And from running an international Rock n Roll race and a domestic one, we got an extra medal! The “World Rocker” medal. Heck yeah, we rocked the world!!

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Amanda and I with both our Rock n Roll Edinburgh medals AND Rock n Roll World Rocker medal!!!

This time since there was no race, and I had just run the one in Mexico…correction, I had just ROCKED the one in Mexico, the running in Scotland this time was just for fun.  The hotel that we were staying at was in a great location close to everything, including a nice park, the Meadows which had a nice path all the way around and was full of runners, which was nice since I had to get up early to try to squeeze a run in before our meetings and it felt safer to be with others. That being said, it was a little weird….I couldn’t figure out which side of the path to be running on.  Since they drive on the other side of the road, do they also run on the other side?  I don’t know if there just wasn’t any “rule” of if there were so many random people running, there was no consistency. So I just kept to the right side as I’m used to and then if someone was coming towards me, I’d move!

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The next day, I decided to run around town a bit.  Edinburgh really is just a beautiful city….full of pubs! I tried counting the number of pubs I passed on my run, but lost count. Just too many! I ran up to the castle and then down to Holyrood Park and back. Holyrood Park was where the half marathon had started, so I remembered that part (although not particularly fondly!)

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Michael joined me for the last part of my meeting and then we stayed on for a long weekend.  While still in Edinburgh, we made a stop at the Camera Obsucra right near the castle. If you’re in Edinburgh, I highly recommend going! It was a ton of fun.

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We rented a car and drive up to the Highlands and back. Scotland is such an amazing country! And we visited Loch Ness which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go.

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On our way back to Edinburgh, we stopped off in one town to try to get lunch and had the hardest time finding a place to eat (strange!).  But we did find a mall, so figured that would be easiest to find something. And when we walked in, this was the first thing we saw!!!!  Still not sure why it’s TK instead of TJ but I instantly felt at home 🙂

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Catching up!

I am sooooo far behind on a ton of race recaps….it’s pretty sad.  There’s just been so much going on it’s been hard to keep up.

So, I’m going to take advantage of the fact that I’m in Nigeria for work, it’s the weekend, and there are limited options of what I can do and catch up. So get ready for a bunch of short and sweet race/run recaps!

Before I do that….a little bit more of why I’m in Nigeria at the moment:

I’ve been very fortunate to have had 4 really amazing jobs since college, all with amazing companies. They all had two things in common: 1) a great mission and 2) allowed me to travel the world.  For the past (almost) 4 years, I’ve worked for Mercy Corps, an organization working to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities.

We work in some really difficult places, but as a result I’ve been able to travel to many places that the majority of people will never go to:  Iraq, Yemen, Liberia, Nigeria, Gaza.  But every now and then there’s the chance for a visit to somewhere amazing: Egypt, Scotland and Jerusalem.  And in the coming year there will likely be a trip to Colombia, Guatemala, Ukraine and/or possibly Georgia (the country, not the state!).  I’m actually looking forward to going back to Latin America for work, it will be interesting to see how much has changed!

But for now, I’m here in Abuja for about two weeks meeting with our finance team and the donors for one of our big programs supporting girls education.  It’s the rainy season here, so it’s been quite warm and there have been some pretty impressive downpours and thunderstorms. Unfortunately I don’t think it’s likely that I’ll be able to get out for a run while I’m here…although I did bring my stuff just in case!  I guess marathon training will have to start when I get back.

NoPo unofficial half marathon in Bandon, OR

This wasn’t an official race, but a fun run (13.1 miles) organized by two of my friends in my NoPo Run Club running group  (NoPo = North Portland). A bunch of us drove down for the weekend to Bandon.

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The “course” was gorgeous and the weather was nice on the way out, but a little chilly on the way back. But the sun was out the entire time, so no complaints there!

It was also the first “race” that I ran as part of Team SunRype.

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Even though it wasn’t an official race, our amazing Toni did print up bibs for us and even surprised us with medals!  Afterwards we got some delicious seafood for lunch and then grilled out for dinner. After dinner we were all so exhausted from the days activities that it ended up being a pretty early night.

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Michael and I took the scenic route on the way back and stopped in Florence for lunch (super cute little town!) and Salem to see the cherry blossoms (we were a few days too late…there were still some, but they weren’t at their peak any longer) and then couldn’t drive by the outlet mall without popping in!  All in all, a fun filled weekend getaway!