A Year of Races

One year ago, in the early fall of 2014, I laced up my Nikes determined to prove something to myself- that I could do it. I never set out to become a runner.

It all started when I saw a Facebook post from one of my friends, saying how they had a great 5 mile run that morning. FIVE miles? That was crazy, I thought. Or was I just jealous?

Shortly thereafter, I saw the EQT 10 Miler race advertised, and wished I could be someone who could run 10 miles. Then, I realized, there is no reason why I couldn’t.

So, I signed up on a whim. I still can’t believe that one split decision is where everything changed for me. There was no turning back now! I slowly increased my mileage week by week, until November 9th, 2014, I ran further than I ever had before and completed my first race.

The feeling I got crossing that finish line is something, to this day, that I still cannot put into words. But my addiction was now full-blown, and there was no stopping it. I signed up for my first half marathon, which I completed in Pittsburgh in May 2014.

After a minor surgery and being out for a month, I finally got back into it, and this time, helped my boyfriend train for his first half marathon- Presque Isle in Erie, PA.

My third half marathon of the year (seriously, I was hooked!) was back in my hometown on Ernst Trail. I got my best time ever-  13.1 miles in 1 hour and 52 minutes.

Today, October 25, 2015, was the EQT 10 miler. It was the same 10 mile race that was my first race ever in 2014, and this time it was my last of the season. Everything came full circle.

Almost a full year of racing in, and it is incredible what it has done for my body and my mind, and surprisingly enough, my soul. Pounding my feet into pavement gave me release. Pushing myself past limits I thought I had showed me that the body can achieve anything, it’s the mind you have to convince. And that I’m a hell of a lot tougher than I thought.

Here it is, my year in races:

1. EQT 10 Miler November 9, 2014

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2. Strong Women Strong Girls 5k, March 22, 2015

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3. UPMC Health Plan 5k May 2, 2015

*3rd place in Age Division

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4. Pittsburgh Half Marathon May 3, 2015

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5. Presque Isle Half Marathon July 19, 2015

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6. Ernst Trail Half Marathon September 13, 2015

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*4th place in Age Division

7. Pittsburgh Great Race September 27, 2015

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8. Shadyside 5k October 3, 2015

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9. Donut Dash October 4, 2015

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10. Joggin For Frogmen 5k October 17, 2015

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*3rd place in Age Division

11. EQT 10 Miler October 25, 2015

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Thankfully my boyfriend & my parents put up with my love of the sport. They’ve driven many miles, and dealt with the freezing cold or unbearably hot temperatures just to be there to cheer me on. And they listen (or pretend to) even though I NEVER shut up about my shin splints or my PR’s or anything related to running.

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So here’s to this past year- accomplishments that have challenged and changed me completely. And to 2016, I’m ready to crush more goals. Bring it! 👊

But first…cake. And my couch.

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Traveller.

Couldn’t have said this better myself.

The Speaking PAw 🙂

I am just going to say some things here. It’s a tiny rant. I hear people boasting about travelling when all they did was take selfies at some touristy spots and that irks me. Here goes…

Travelling is a lot more than just going to places. It is about being adventurous, spontaneous and being open to new experiences. It is not about going to Delhi to shop. It is not about going to Switzerland to eat chocolates. It is about going on the metro trains at Delhi and pushing through the crowds, it is about walking around in Lucerne and asking random strangers about the lion monument there. It is everything you do when you are not being a typical tourist.

I want everyone to see the world. As a traveller. And here’s why…

I want people to travel so they see how beautiful the world is. I want people to travel so they get inspired…

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One Lovely Blog Award

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I feel so, so honored that Annie has nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. Her blog contains captivating stories, poetry, and other exciting features- please check her out here at What the Woman Wrote.

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Add 7 facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 10 – 15 bloggers for the award, and comment on one of their posts to let them know.

7 Facts About Me

  1. I miss the way I knew myself when I was traveling, and I can’t wait for my next adventure.
  2. Although poetry is my first love, I am taking a Creative Nonfiction writing workshop- Madwomen in the Attic, at Carlow University. It is proving to be tough, but it pushes me to become a better writer daily.
  3. My mother and my boyfriend, J.J., are two of my best friends, and without a doubt my biggest supporters in all things I do.
  4. I work as an Administrative Coordinator at a university, but am still trying to figure out a career.
  5. I have a love/hate relationship with running. I have completed three half marathons, and am set to finish the full Pittsburgh Marathon in the spring.
  6. I’ve lost a lot of friendships, and though it was depressing letting go of those people & the memories that came with them, I have realized they are out of my life for a reason.
  7. Two addictions: Chapstick and chocolate.

My Nominees

The individuals listed below have inspired me, whether it be with their travels, their poetry, or just their thoughts alone. So I’d like to let them know how wonderful and inspirational their blogs are, even if they decide not to participate.

  1. Sam
  2. Holly
  3. That Dang Farang
  4. Naomi
  5. Amber
  6. Chelsea
  7. Anna Rose
  8. Cassie
  9. Annie
  10. Sandy

Thank you all for reading, and I hope you have a lovely week!

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Unbreakable Bonds

During the past two years since I lived with them in Spain, Jordi (my “host father”) and I had stayed in touch here and there, enough to learn that he finally quit his demanding job at the restaurant, and that he and Roser had separated not even six months after I left. The news hit me hard. I was shocked, as I had seen no sign of it coming, and it was personal, as if they were my own parents. My heart broke for the children. Fortunately, my real parents are still together after many, many years of marriage, so I never had to deal with divorce. I tried to find the words to say, but faltered.

So, after entirely too much time, I finally created a photobook for the kids and shipped it to them in Blanes. I was hoping to preserve our memories together into something tangible, and perhaps provide a joyful distraction.

Here is the picture Jordi sent me of them last week upon getting it in the mail:

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I can’t explain what this means to me. Look at how big they are! I had hoped they even remembered me, with Adrià being 3 and Mar, 5, when I was with them.

There is a bond that love creates, and ties us together, and once you’ve felt that connection, you are never the same. Today, I am thankful for these unbreakable bonds of friendship and family. And, cue the tears.

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National Poetry Day

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I never really knew who I was until you said my name out loud.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

 

It is National Poetry Day, and our anniversary.
It’s only fitting since I am enraptured by both. This is not a coincidence, this is love.

 

I won’t post a poem today, but instead, I want to ask my readers:
 
Where does your inspiration come from?
Any helpful writing exercises that you’ve used lately?
Drop the link to them (or your favorite poem) in a comment below!

 

Here is one of mine:

 

Always- Rane Arroyo

 

We met in proud Utah and wore opaque
vodka on those vague Sundays for the
unfaithful on your dangling back porch
while dreaming of the very New York
where we entangled for the last time.
Te quiero, you said there, my ears as
paths. You then vanished with a macho
because I had a lover,
because we’d never ride across Russia together in
that frozen train, because listening
to A Chorus Line all those weekends
didn’t teach us the foreign language of our bodies,
because of your career as a model
after years as a military mannequin,
because we never expected
adios to be our actual parting last word.
Because, because, and because.
You turned around to stare at me and I waved
back: I love you too.
What an education:
poetry always demands all my ghosts.

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P.S. Go fall in love with some words today.