First Full Day

This was my first full day as a vegetarian. I committed to it as of Sunday but I had some sliced ham I'd already paid for and didn't want to waste, so I had some of that for the past couple of days.

Mmmm...ham tastes good. I will miss it for a while.
So far, so good.

I love vegetables, so enjoying my food hasn't been a problem.

Look at all the vegetables! You can even buy this poster!
The only tricky thing was eating out today. We went to a restaurant with a fairly limited menu and I discovered that there was only one vegetarian entree. Yes, only one. There were some salads I could have requested without meat and a vegan soup option but everything else was meat-filled.

In the grand scheme of things, I think the fact that eating at restaurants doesn't present a plethora of appealing options will work in my favor, making it far more appealing to prepare my own food.
And I'll have this much fun while I prepare it!
Also, I think Indian food will become my new best friend. It's completely delicious and comes from a country where 31% of the people are vegetarians. I really need to learn how to cook it for myself. The best is saag paneer and chickpea masala. Mmmmm... and naan.

Yeah, no meat in that, and I can almost guarantee it was delicious.
I have some protein powder and B12 supplements on the way. Yay for Amazon's Subscribe & Save discounts!

Anymore advice, vegetarians of the world?

Photo (of a) Finish(er)

This photo was finally posted online. I was more excited than I can tell you. When I'm not running, I'm very photogenic. It's the smile.

15 minutes after finishing my 4th half marathon and my third race of the weekend.
In my RW Half Marathon recap, I recounted that this moment happened just as I finished but it was actually after I'd eaten an apple, picked up my gear bag, checked facebook, and cheered a few people across the finish line.

I'm so proud that I completed these three races and I'm excited for the opportunity to try again next year and to do it FASTER. I might even forgo a marathon and focus my training on this race weekend. And, even better, next year I'll have lots of friends running with me!

A Little Experimentation

Several weeks ago, I ordered a new book. It's shares a name and an author with the the very popular blog No Meat Athlete. I've been reading Matt's blog for the past several months and, as I started reading the book, felt inspired to give vegetarian eating another shot. I gave it a shot about 6 months ago but didn't make it past a week, mostly due to poor planning. This time, I'm prepared.

The first section of the book gives some basic guidelines for getting started and then Matt says, "Okay, put the book down and get started; Once you've done that, come back and read the rest." So, that's what I'm doing this week: getting started.

Yesterday, I bought a Nutribullet. It works SO fast - takes hardly any time at all to have a great smoothie full of fresh ingredients. My recipe needs a little work but it'll get better.

Last night, I planned my meals for the week and made a shopping list. Today, I went to Wegmans and filled my cart with the ingredients for breakfast smoothies, vegetarian cassoulet lunch, and grilled cheese sandwich dinner. Clearly, I'm not going vegan.

Here's the cassoulet:

It looked better the last time I made it but it still tastes good.
Next week is going to be a challenge because I'm at a work retreat for three days but I'm not going to think about that now. For now, I'm going to focus on the week right ahead of me.

How many of you out there are vegetarians?
What prompted you to move to a plant-based diet? 
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Lessons Learned from the RW Half & Festival

I can hear your thoughts coming through the internet tubes. Seriously. You're thinking, "When is she going to stop talking about this running festival already?"

Well, until next year, this is my last post about it. Cross my heart.

Some things I learned this weekend:
  1. Running with friends, even if we're not talking to each other, motivates me to keep going. When Andy and I separated during the 5k, my pace slowed significantly. A secondary lesson from this is that I need to find some more internal motivation.
  2. If I'm ever doing races on back-to-back days again, I need to find some way to occupy my mind during the afternoon and evening of the first race so that I can't think too much about the upcoming race.
  3. One of my favorite things about running is the minor celebrity sightings. Bart Yasso, Monica, Mark Remy, David Willey, Summer Sanders, and all the other people I think are awesome and my non-running friends think, "Who's that?"
  4. Putting my toe over the starting line is magical. No matter how nervous or freaked out I am, just stepping over that line, moving ahead with whatever measure of confidence I can muster, and soaking in the adrenaline of the crowd makes me brave.
There's probably more but I'll keep them to myself.

Just in case you missed them, here are my recap blogs.

Half Marathon:

What are some lessons you've learned from the races you've run?
Have you ever run back-to-back races? Would you repeat the experience? 

Official Race Recap: Runner's World Half Marathon

As I mentioned yesterday, I didn't have any trouble sleeping through Saturday night but, almost as soon as I woke up, I started to fret about the final race of the RW Hat Trick. My finish time in the 10k was not great for me; the entire race was a struggle. After that race, I had too much time alone to think about my performance and analyze what my results meant for the half marathon.

Once I had my car packed, I drove to the ArtsQuest Center, got a great parking place very close to the finish, laid around in my car for a little while, then headed toward the warm, indoor toilets. On the way, I snapped a couple photos of the steelstacks. They were an inspiring sight both mornings.

Bethlehem has turned these behemoths into something beautiful to behold.
My stomach was reminding me how nervous I was and, suddenly, I was overwhelmed by emotion. For the next half hour, I sat by myself trying to pretend I wasn't crying. I never burst into sobs but I got close a couple of times.

Fortunately, as I was getting ready to head to the starting line, a fellow runner struck up a conversation with me that continued until we got to the starting line and went our separate ways. We bonded over a shared admiration for Andy Potts.

I love watching people at start lines. Listening to them is even more entertaining.
As soon as I started moving, all of the nerves melted away. There was an open road in front of me and I was moving along it. It helped a little that the first half mile or so was downhill and then flat.

Can't help myself with the photos of giant groups of runners.
Not far into the race, I encountered some of the people I'd run alongside the day before. For two or three miles, I ran and chatted with a couple cheerful young women. Their company got me up the first hill. At the next hill, I was feeling sprightly, so I sped up a little and had my best mile of the race.

A mile on my own along mostly flat roads and I made a new friend. Her name was Jennifer. We stuck together until we got to the steepest hill on the course. The carrot drawing me on was the promise of a free running skirt at the top. Alas, they ran out before I arrived. (Goal for next year: Run fast enough to get a skirt.)

Just past the skirts, we reached the halfway point and that's when I knew I was going to finish. Though I hadn't been dwelling on the idea of not finishing, it seemed like a possibility until I hit the midpoint with plenty of time to spare. Interestingly, my 10k split during the half was 2 minutes faster than my 10k race time.

There weren't many runners around me and spectators were thin on the ground, so I took in the sights around me, thanked the course marshals and police officers keeping traffic at bay, and semi-jogged through the beautiful city of Bethlehem.

Beginning around mile 8, every course marshal told me "It's all downhill from here." Knowing there was a hill in the last mile and able to look over their shoulders to visible, upcoming hills, I smiled, thanked them, and said, "That's what everyone keeps telling me."

I was looking at this hill as the first person that day told me, "It's all downhill from here."
At mile 9, I suddenly became ravenously hungry. I had some GU but I wanted real food. My stomach was growling. As I passed a medical tent, I considered asking if they had something but I didn't want to raise concerns.

I walked most of the last 5 miles of the course. At mile 11, the walking ladies from the 10k passed me again. At mile 11.5, I congratulated a little boy who rode his bike up a giant hill that I had the pleasure of running down. From mile 12 on, I dodged all of the people who'd already finished and weren't sticking around for the awards. There were a lot of encouraging words from those walking toward me but it was still a bit of a bummer to have to watch them head out.

When the finishing arch finally came into sight, I started the fastest jog I could manage and finished on the run with 12 minutes to spare - official time: 3:17:39. As soon as I got my medal a photographer stopped me for a photo op. I got out my 5k and 10k medals and hung them around my neck, too.

Before long, I was at my car with a bag full of treats that the Larabars rep was trying to get rid of, compression socks on my tired legs, a half full pizza box in the passenger seat, and my GPS set to Lancaster and then home, and the right to wear the hat that says I finished the 2013 Hat Trick.

As usual, Mogli had to get in on the picture-taking action. Those are his medals, right?
I'm going to try to write about the lessons I learned this weekend tomorrow.

Official Race Recap: Runner's World Half and Festival 10k Edition

After my triumphant 5k finish, I had 45 minutes to kill before lining up for the next go 'round. I was on the lookout for several other Sub-30'ers and managed to run into two: Matt and Ashleigh. As we lined up for the next race, we got some photos with all five of us.
My medal was in my bra. Great place for it during a photo op.
Even though we both knew we weren't running together, Lauren and I hung out together at the start. It was nice to have a familiar face nearby.

Since I was running alone, I felt free to take a few photos. As I was finishing up my second mile, I saw the leaders coming toward me over the bridge.

I missed a photo of the guy in first place who was accompanied by the illustrious Bart Yasso.
And I always love a good shot of ALL THE PEOPLE! 

I ran with Julie and Christine, in gray and pink on the left, for a while.
I started out fine. Sure, my legs were tired but it wasn't unbearable. Then we hit the first hill, not a huge one but as soon as I stopped for my first walk break, I couldn't get started running again until I hit the top. No big deal, since I knew I wasn't going to PR but walking six miles takes a lot longer than running it.

Fortunately, I ran into some ladies who were just having a good time on the course. We chatted a bit. Sometimes I ran ahead, then they would catch up. Being at the back of the pack is really what you make of it and these women weren't letting anyone get them down.

Around mile 5, I was passed by some older women who'd walked the entire race. A few minutes later, just at the base of the last hill, I ran into Monica on the same street corner where I'd met her the day before. I love minor celebrity sightings!

I cruised into the finish line at 1:30:28.

Some Sub-30 folks managed to meet up at a local restaurant for brunch but I got impatient and silly and ate Taco Bell in my car. It was delicious but I really do want to try Jumbars next year. Maybe we can reserve the entire tiny place.

During the afternoon, I attended two fun seminars - one with Mark Remy and the other with Bart Yasso. After Mark's seminar, he raffled off a bunch of... let's be honest, crap. He even raffled off the leftover raffle tickets. We were all concerned a rift might open in the space-time continuum but I think we're still okay. After Bart's, I accosted him for a quick selfie at the request of my lovely friend, Lauren. Now it's a thing: Every time it's possible, I need to get a photo with Bart Yasso. Watch out, sir!

His real face and his race face.
That chicken hat - it was part of the raffle. Can you believe he'd get rid of that?

I wish hundred of people wanted to take a photo with me!
Then, I went back to my hotel, brooded about my 10k, watched a marathon of Extreme Couponing, from the network that brought the world Honey Boo Boo, ate some pizza, laid out my gear for the morning, and went to bed early. Along the way, I discovered an advantage of running two races in a row: After the first day of racing, I was so tired that I didn't have any trouble sleeping through the night.

Ready for race day. A little more gear for a half...
Stay tuned for tomorrow's dramatic finish - the HALF MARATHON!

Official Race Recap: Runner's World Half and Festival 5k Edition

Three races = three posts. Believe me, it's better this way.

Before I even made it to the expo, I ran into Monica, from Run Eat Repeat, on a street corner. I awkwardly introduced myself and we took a photo. After we became BFFs, I continued to packet pickup.

Me and Monica, BFFs 4-Evah!
Let me tell you, Runner's World knows how to put on an expo. It wasn't a huge race, so there were only a small number of vendors (a point in RW's favor, in my book), but there were so many other fun things happening, like book signings and films and seminars, and it was in such a unique venue, The ArtsQuest Center, that RW was able to avoid the garage sale feel I've encountered at some expos.

After picking up my bib and swag, I stuck around to watch the kids run. Even though I wanted to get dinner before my viewing of The Spirit of the Marathon II, I couldn't tear myself away from watching so many children enjoying the sheer excitement of running. They had three age-grouped fun runs and then there was a competitive mile at the end - four or five of the kids finished around 6 minutes. Eesh!

3:02 half mile split. :-O
My viewing of the movie was cut short by queasiness but a good night's sleep at the Best Western took care of that. Before bed, I laid out everything and put my shoes in my gear bag so I wouldn't forget them again. I woke at 5 a.m. Saturday and was in my car by 5:30 out of worry that I wouldn't find parking. Not only did I find parking, I found free parking near the finish line.

I was excited for the chance to meet some of my fellow Sub-30 Clubbers, so I headed to the building and texted Andy. Soon enough, I found him, Lauren, and their friend Bonnie (or should I say Kirsten?).

Kate, Lauren, Andy - Sub-30 Represent!
As we were taking photos before the race, we realized that everyone was staring in our direction. The national anthem was playing and we were putzing around under the flag with cops staring at us... *swallow* Also, there was a puppy in a backpack. Just thought you'd want to know that.

Andy and I had talked about running together since he's been injured and I was poorly trained. We all lined up together in the starting corral. Lauren quickly zipped away, Bonnie disappeared into the crowd, and Andy and I moved along together.

I don't remember much about what happened during the race itself except that Andy and I stuck together through the first two miles. As we were crossing the Fahy Bridge during our first mile, the leaders were coming back across, about to finish their second.

As we passed the 2 mile marker, I told Andy I needed to back off and save something for my other two races. Since it was his only race, he decided to kick it up a notch. See ya, Andy!

In the last mile (of all three races), there was a hill. After cresting it, I knew I was in the home stretch. As I approached the finish, two ladies and I struck up a conversation. One of them was running her first 5k. I slowed to a walk dangerously close to the finish line and they grabbed my arm and said, "Run with us!" With their encouragement, I was actually able to finish ahead of them. So, though my time wasn't what I'd always dreamed of, I finished strong, running under a flaming steel arch prompted by strangers who wouldn't let me disappoint myself.

Thanks for catching me at the finish, Lauren!
Stay tuned for 10k details tomorrow...

Have you ever met someone IRL that you knew/followed online? Awkwardly awesome or awesomely awkward?
Have you ever run multiple races in the same day?

Sneak Preview of My RW Half Weekend

Five & Dime race morning - as ready as I'd ever be.

Mark Remy raffling some crap.

Quick selfie with Bart Yasso. It may have just become a tradition to get a photo with him every time it's possible.

The Amazing Sub-30 Club - And A Virtual 5k

I've mentioned it before but I want to mention it again. I belong to this fabulous, funny, irreverent group of runners known as the Sub-30 Club. It originated when Ted Spiker, a professor and author of the Big Guy Blog, was trying to reach his goal of running a 5k in less than 30 minutes. He started a Facebook group and a bunch of people with the same intention joined it so they could talk about their journeys.

There are a wide range of people in the group, from complete running noobs to seasoned veterans of multiple marathons, from folks that rejoice in a 12-minute/mile pace to those who've achieved the elusive BQ (Boston Qualifier). And, though the original impetus was reaching a sub-30 minute 5k, a wide variety of conversations on everything from fueling for a marathon to fartleks to men in dresses to advice on shoes take place every day.

All of that is fantastic but what has made checking in with this group part of my daily life is the amazing support and encouragement that everyone provides one another without reservation. On the extremely rare occasion that someone steps out of line, someone else steps up to say, "Hold it, bucko! That's not how we play here." Of course, none of us are shy about a little lighthearted ribbing. What would we do if we couldn't make fun of Lonnie, after all?

If I'm honest, I think that the combination of support from some IRL running pals and this group are what have kept me interested in running through this slump I've been battling. Yes, I enjoy it, so there is a good amount of internal motivation, as well, (Otherwise, I wouldn't even continue contemplating a marathon next year. I'd just give up.) but I can't say enough about the power of community to amplify my motivation. Part of why I want to run is that I want to continue being a part of the Sub-30 Club, specifically, but also the running community, in general. It's a bunch of cool people and I feel lucky to count myself among them. Without them, I might not have realized that hitting pockets of awful like this is perfectly normal...

Wow! Enough blathering. I didn't mean to write that much. Mostly, I wanted to tell you that our group is holding a Virtual 5k. The rough details are below. Check out Andy's blog for more info and to register!

Distance: 5k or more
Dates: November 28 - December 1 (Thanksgiving weekend)
Dollars: $25
Donations benefit: The Wounded Warrior Project (we voted)

And you'll get this awesome tech shirt (designed by Allison, another member of the group) and a chance to win some prizes drawn randomly out of the pool of entrants.

Our group motto is "Suck it up, princess (or platypus or any other p-word you fancy)!"
While you're at it, you could join the Facebook group, too. Just don't get scared away by the crazies; they're cool once you get to know them. And, bonus!, I get to meet several of them while I'm at the RW Half & Festival this weekend!

I've Been Afraid

Since the 18.12 Challenge on September 1, which taught me a lot of lessons but wasn't a terrific experience, I've been afraid to run. Almost every time I've gone out since has been torturous and frustrating to the point that I've basically stopped. The most times I've run in one week has been three and I haven't gone any longer than five miles (and that was only once).

All that to say:
  1. The RW Half & Festival, where I will be running a 5k, 10k, and half marathon in two days, should be interesting. I'm already planning a repeat of the event for a Sub-30 Club meet-up in 2014. That, combined with my lack of training, means I'm really not planning to go all out for any of these races. In fact, I think I would be courting injury to push hard in any of the events. My current plan is to run the 5k with a 3:1::run:walk ratio, the 10k at 2:1, and the half at 1:1. I'll find some friends along the course and just have a good time taking in the sights and sounds. It hasn't been a habit at most races but I'm planning to take pictures along the way, too.
  2. Once this weekend is over, I'm going to start over again with a Couch to 5k program + long-ish weekend runs. It's probably not necessary to step back that far but I think it will help my mental state to start at the beginning again. Reducing my running volume significantly will also help me feel more ready to add strength-training, cross-training, and flexibility back into my workout regimen. I'll be easing into those aspects of training, too, since I've basically taken a month and a half off.
  3. I'm going to make another attempt to find a running partner or group with whom I can run consistently even if it's only on the weekends just to add a more face-to-face social aspect to this whole running endeavor.
Because I want running to make me look this happy again.

Official Race Recap: Baltimore Running Festival 5K Edition

Last night, I set out my clothes and packed my bag for gear check to get ready for this morning's race. I woke up around 6 a.m., got dressed, had a little pre-race apple cake, and headed out the door with my gear bag.

I got to Ravens stadium and found a parking spot. My copy of No Meat Athlete had arrived in yesterday's mail, so I sat around and read for a while. Around 7, I decided to do gear check and find my friend, Patti, who was running the half. It was at the very moment I opened the door to get out of my car that I realized I'd forgotten my running shoes. Since I was getting to the race so early, I hadn't wanted to coop up my feet in shoes earlier than necessary. Having the race in my backyard lulled me into a false sense of preparedness. Blurg!

Fortunately, I was in a good state of mind because my immediate and continued reaction was amusement. There may have been several fits of laughter over the next fifteen minutes. Since it was a 5k and I knew lots of people would be walking, I decided to go ahead and walk it in my flip flops.

So, this was my footwear for the race: not only flip-flops but a really old, worn out pair.
As I walked around the runner's area, I was particularly aware of the footwear of everyone around me. With temperatures in the sixties, I thought there would be at least one or two spectators in sandals but, noooo, even the spectators were better prepared for this race than I was. Oh well.

Patti and I found each other and hung out for a while before my race started. We found a great spot and watched the marathoners begin their race.

Look at those speedsters.
Once all the full marathoners passed, I headed to the start and Patti resumed her spot at the start to wait for me to pass. I knew where she would be, so I hammed it up for the camera. She didn't catch the actual jump but she did capture my preparatory move.

Just wear those flip flops with confidence and everyone will think it was on purpose.
Though I was a little frustrated that I couldn't run, it was fun to watch and listen to the people around me and to take in the sights and sounds of the races in a way I don't usually get to.

At one point, I heard someone say, "She's wearing flip flops!" I happened to be jogging downhill at that moment. I felt the need to shout, "I forgot my shoes!" They responded with words of encouragement; clearly, they thought I was a bad mamma jamma.

The best part came as I neared the end of 3 miles and a woman on the sidelines shouted, "I ran with you once! Briefly! I can't remember your name!" I recognized her and shouted back, "Sue? I'm Kate!" Her reply was, "Keep moving! Nikita here!" We ran together once at a Saturday morning group run and she remembered me when I passed in a race months later. Awesome!

I couldn't stop myself from jogging across the finish line. My official time was 47:40. It was a slow pace but it would still put me across the finish line at the RW Half well before the cutoff. Yay!

Immediately after I finished, the rain that had held off all morning, started lightly falling. I collected my medal (yes, a medal for a 5k), got some water and a little food, and tried to make my way back to see the beginning of the half marathon. Unfortunately, I couldn't navigate my way around all the barriers, so I missed out on cheering some pals.

I made my way home and found my shoes waiting for me on the kitchen table, just where I left them.

I do not recommend running in flip flops, these would have been MUCH better.


Thanks for your words of wisdom, Mr. Ford.
I've been failing myself lately. At the beginning of the year, I had a list of fitness goals and, a couple months ago, I lost sight of them and gave up. But I'm done giving up.

On my way to the Baltimore Running Festival expo to pick up my 5k packet, I was silently lamenting my lack of training for this race and next week's Runner's World Hat Trick. That's when I remembered/realized that fitness is not a one-time goal. You don't get there and stop. If you want to stay fit, you have to keep working for it. You can't train for one race and expect that effort to carry you through all the rest of your races. Fitness is not an area in which you can rest on your laurels.

Then I had another little chat with myself about how I don't get to keep making poor choices because I feel guilty about making poor choices. So, I'm not going to set a date for when I stop eating sugary crap or start exercising again, I'm just going to make one choice at a time, beginning with an early enough bed time tonight so that getting up in the morning to exercise won't be as difficult.

I may have failed myself for a time but that just gives me a chance to start again and, this time, I will do it better because I've learned from my experiences.

Thanks for bearing with me, folks. I've appreciated your encouragement and I can't deny that I'd love your continued cheers. :)

Shopping with M

Me and M a few months ago: we're still just as cute.
If you've never had the chance to shop for clothes with a 3 1/2 year old, I would highly recommend it. Just be sure that you're choosing a low maintenance, laidback, incredibly funny 3 1/2 year old as your companion.

Last Thursday was my first full day in Houghton for our ten-year reunion. I have an Old Navy Visa, through which I earn gift certificates. Occasionally, I get a coupon for 40% off my entire purchase. Combine these with sale prices and I leave the store with five new outfits for the cost of one. It's like a perfect storm of savings. Since Rebecca and John both had to work and their oldest had school, I stole their youngest, let's call her M, and went on a road trip to Olean.

On the way down, we chatted, kept close track of the school bus in front of us, drove slowly because of heavy fog, and enjoyed listening to Beauty and the Beast.

In Old Navy, we hunted around the store for clothes I might enjoy, filling my VERY BIG bag with tops and skirts and dresses. We even put a few things in the bag for M and her sister, J, because I promised a treat.

When it was time to try things on, M got her turn first. She is so tiny that even the smallest of skirts didn't fit her, which was probably not a bad thing because I was anxious about choosing clothes for her sister without her there. (In the end, we settled on cat hats that were black with little pink noses and ears.)

Then it was my turn. As I tried things on, I would ask, "M, look at this sparkly shirt/sweater with an owl/red tank top/etc. Do you think I should get it?" And her invariable reply was a cheerful little "Yip!" Occasionally, something wouldn't fit well and I would say, "Oh, this is a little tight." And M would say sadly, "Yeah, it's a little tight..."

By the end, I had obtained a surprising amount of work appropriate AND three-year-old approved clothing (Who would have thought there would be so many items in that Venn diagram overlap?) and a healthy reminder that most people are paying just as much attention to how my clothes fit as M was.

Can't wait to wear that sweater with the owl on it to work. Good call, M!

Official Race Recap: Purple and Gold 5k Edition

You may have thought you weren't going to hear about my most recent racing exploit but I wouldn't want to disappoint you, my faithful readers, that way.

The race was on Saturday at 9ish in the morning. It's a fairly new part of the Homecoming festivities at my alma mater. I was surprised and pleased by the level of participation from students, alumni, and community members.

Originally, the race was set for a rather hilly, paved course that took one on a tour of the campus but, a few days before the race, they switched to a grassy course that's used for cross country meets

I started out at a pretty good pace but, as has been the case lately, my legs felt like lead by the end of the first mile, which I finished in just under 12 minutes. The weather wasn't hot or cold but it was incredibly humid. At times, I felt like I was swimming more than running.

Though several friends were running the race, I trucked along the course on my own because they are all in better shape than I am right now.

There was an optional color element to the race. At two points, there were volunteers directing runners which path to take if they wanted to get plastered with purple or yellow corn starch. I unabashedly avoided being doused.

My second mile took about 14 minutes. By that point, my goal became finishing in under 40 minutes.

With about a quarter mile left, my college roommate and running inspiration, Rebecca, found me on the course and we hightailed it into the finish. She'd already scored a second place overall female win and was cooling down. I didn't feel like I had much energy left but it was a lot easier to push my pace with someone by my side. (I really need to find a running buddy.) Our friend, Rosa, also picked up an award: third place in our age group.

I managed to finish in 38:35. It wasn't a great time for me but it was a fun race and I'm glad it's been added to the homecoming line-up.

And, the best part was that almost all of my Houghton running buddies were there for the race. We were only missing Hillary and Lauren. Maybe we'll see them at 15 or, hopefully, before.

Rosa, Beth, Shelley, Rebecca, me, and Becca. Photo credit to Marlene, our cheerleader.

Houghton: Class of 2003

I can't think of a single place in this world that I love more than Houghton, NY. The town I grew up in is pretty nice. Baltimore isn't so bad. Philly and Princeton, Arlington and Lancaster all had their charms. But, the four years I spent at Houghton were some of the most formative of my life. I try not to romanticize it but, so far, my college years were my best.

So, it should come as no surprise that I've been anticipating my 10 year reunion all summer. Sometimes I get really excited about things and then am utterly disappointed when they don't live up to my expectations; There wasn't a single moment of my entire weekend at Houghton that didn't completely blow my expectations out of the water.

We didn't have any raging parties or dramatic moments but there was an incredible amount of good conversation, laughter, fun, and joy - intense amounts of quiet, persistent joy. I could give you all the details but, instead, I'll leave you with a picture from our semi-official reunion lunch. Photo credit: Andy Sauer, spouse of our amazing classmate, Mindy, who's in the front row with her daughter on her knee.

47 people showed up but several hid from the photo.

Out of Office Reply

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I am away for the weekend in Houghton, one of the most nostalgic places on earth. It is unlikely that I will be blogging as I enjoy the next few days with friends, some of whom I haven't seen in the ten years since we graduated from college. I hope your weekend is going to be as awesome as mine will be!

Yeah, we had a good time here.

10K Across the Bay

Hopefully, you won't have form this bad when you run.
Next November (yeah, that's November 2014), there is going to be a race here in Maryland, right across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. If you're into planning things that far ahead, I've got a discount code for you.

Just follow these quick and easy steps.
  1. Click here to get to the registration page.
  2. Choose Ambassador Referral Program.
  3. Enter the password BRIDGEREP (all caps matters).
  4. Fill out your registration.
  5. At checkout, enter the coupon code ABBKATEE for 10% off (good until October 31).
  6. Show up for the race next November.
I hope to see you there. If you want to come in from out of town, I've got some floor space.