Boston One Fund 5k

There are times when I am so proud and honored to be part of the running community that it brings me to tears. Last night was one of those nights. I ran in the Boston One Fund 5k, organized by the Maine Running Company.

When I first saw the race announced I almost didn't sign up because I don't really like to run at night. And then I thought about it again and told myself to get over myself. This is a race to honor and raise money for Boston victims. I am privileged to be able to run, even if it isn't my preferred time of day.

The race was held on one of my favorite trails, a dirt loop around Back Bay. It was the perfect night- warm, sunny, with a nice refreshing breeze.

There were lots of people in Boston gear and we took a moment to honor all those who ran in this year's race at the start.

Most movingly, there were 2 people who were injured. Hearing their stories made the horror even more real to me.

The whole race was pretty informal, and right before the start someone said that we ought to sing the national anthem. Someone volunteered to lead and we all sang along. This brought me to tears. 600 runners gathered at sunset to run for a common cause joined in the national anthem.

And then we were running. I knew the trail would be crowded and that I wasn't there to set a PR. I just ran. I spent some time thinking about those killed and injured, about the mass acts of violence that seem to be happening with more frequency, and then about how amazing the running community is. 

I didn't look at my watch, so I was really surprised to finish in 25 minutes. That is pretty speedy for me. But honestly, my time didn't really matter. 

The finish was also informal, but had an amazing atmosphere. Those who had finished were hugging, dancing, and going back to cheer on those who were still running. 

I am a runner and it is an honor. 

Tri for the Y Swim Clinic

Somehow the triathlon  that I thought of as months away is now just weeks ago. All that swimming I was going to do this winter? That coaching I was going to get? Yeah, that didn't happen.

So when I found out that the Tri for the Y was offering a free swim clinic before the race I pounced. And then when it fell on a Friday night after a terrible work week, I considered skipping it and going to happy hour instead. But I used my good sense for once to convince myself to go to the clinic.

The clinic was held at the Freeport Y (which is way nicer than Portland BTW). We spent the first 30 minutes in a conference room where they described the logistics of the swim (divided into heats by projected time, 2 swimmers per lane, 325 yrds.) I really wished I'd gone last year, my first year doing the race, because it made everything super clear.

pool, you are not my friend
Then it was time to hit the pool. They had us all swim a few laps while they analyzed our strokes. I was shocked that they said my stroke was generally pretty darn good. I lift my head a little high when breathing, which is probably because of doing a lot of ocean swimming). The one thing they had me work on is my turn. I can't do a flip turn, so we worked on touch turns.

Grab the wall with one hand
Partially turn and lift both feet up and plant them on the wall
keep your top arm close to your head
push off the wall with both feet, don't worry about being fully turned around, your body will naturally do this as you push off
keep your hands together out in front of you
you should be about 2 body widths below the surface to reduce drag

This was hugely helpful- keeping my arms together and staying further under the surface of the water really helped reduce drag and I found I was getting much farther off each push off.

Then they offered to time us if we wanted to do a time trial. Despite my goggles filling up with water and then completely falling off, I finished in 6:19 which is more than a minute faster than the race last year!

I still can't say that I love swimming, but this definitely helped me feel more comfortable.

How do you feel about swimming? Do you have any good tri swim tips?

DIY Friday: Driftwood Key Rack

I don't know if it is spring, or the fact that the BF is moving in, or what, but I am majorly nesting lately. I have  a million and half things that I suddenly decided I want to do to my house. A lot of them I either can't afford to do, or don't have the skills/time to do, so I decided to start small.

I am forever losing my keys. So I hung a single stick-on hook by the door. But I had outgrown my hook. I had not just my car keys, but my house key I take running, my extra car keys, keys to BF's car and house, and of course his keys too. I needed a key rack.

At Easter I was walking on the shore at my Mom's house and found some cool pieces of driftwood. I asked myself what I could do with them and the wheels started turning- key rack!

This was the easiest DIY project ever. I let the driftwood dry in the sun for a week.

I bought some little screw hooks. I used a ruler to measure so my 4 hooks would be equally spaced (this was the hardest part, I was having a major unable to do easy math moment) and then drilled 4 holes with a drill. I screwed the hooks into the holes and then mounted hangers on the back and hung it on the wall. Easy peasy diftwood key rack for less than $3.


With all of the horror and sadness last week, I am trying to take time this week to focus on the positive. Truly, I have so many wonderful things in my life and I don't stop to appreciate them nearly often enough.
Here are the things I am most grateful for this week.

and now that he like to ski, he is even better!
1. My boyfriend. I don't really talk a lot about our relationship on the blog because this is a running/healthy living (or something like that, is it bad I don't really have more a focus for my blog??), but it is wonderful. I have never had a relation that felt so natural, easy, and wonderful. I love this guy. It's the first time I have ever felt like this about anyone, and it's pretty darn amazing. I am turning in a romantic schmuck. In fact, we recently made the decision to move in together and I can't wait.

2. Dixie dog. The dog came with the boyfriend and I love having her in my life. Because of his crazy schedule, I get to have her a lot. It gets lonely working at home alone all day and it seems so much less crazy to talk to the dog than to myself. Plus at night, it's totally legit not to move from the couch for 3 hours because you don't want to disturb the dog. And she is just so darn adorable.

3. Where I live. Moving back to Maine was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Seeing the ocean every day makes me a happier person. I love that I can go to the beach or Portland Head Light and walk at lunch. The beauty of the Maine ocean never fails to move me. I love my city too. Last Saturday I just walked around Portland for a few hours by myself. Portland has such character, great food, and lots of fun, funky, artsy, and active events.

4. Spring. Spring has been slow in coming this year and we've had quite a few regressions back to cold and snow. But, at the very least I don't have to deal with sub zero temperatures and snow and ice covered roads. It is that perfect time of year for running and skiing. Lots of snow still on the mountains, no snow on the roads, and warm enough to be comfortable but not too warm.

What are you grateful for this week?

Run for Peace Marathon

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” 

― Mahatma GandhiThe Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas

I woke up Friday morning to the news of the massive manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers. It was surreal watching the live video of Watertown. I used to live not far from there and I saw many familiar sites. All day I refreshed my facebook page frequently making sure that my friends who were on lock-down were still okay. It all seemed like it should be a movie or a terrible dream.

When they finally captured the bomber, I cheered along with the rest of the country. As angry as I was, I was glad they got him alive. First of all, I want answers. I want to understand why he did what he did. Secondly, I didn't want more violence or death.

I think that the best way we can move forward from this tragedy is with a mission of peace, camaraderie, and support for the wounded. This is why I love the idea of the Run for Peace Marathon. It is simple- register, make a donation, and then commit to completing a marathon distance between April 29th and May 31st. 100% of the entry fees will be given to those affected by the Boston Marathon Attacks.

Run for Peace

Community movement heals the wounds of tragedy and actively remembers those that have fallen.
Run alone.
Run together.
Run for Peace.

Chile Day 5: Celebrating a Birthday in Santiago

Wednesday was our last day in Chile and it was also R's birthday! I woke him up at 2 am (the time he was born), to sing Happy Birthday. He told me to shut up and go back to sleep. Rude. 

When we woke up later that morning, I did a quick workout in the gym and then we had a leisurely breakfast. I already miss the fresh strawberry juice, buffet of fresh fruit, perfectly cooked eggs, and giant bowl of warm manjar (caramel) to drizzle on my toast! I went a little crazy with the manjar because it was the last day.

We took some time to pack up and check out, leaving our suitcases with the hotel for the day. Our first stop was the local craft market just a couple blocks down from our hotel for some souvenirs. We took our time wandering the market. There were a lot of alpaca products, from socks, to sweaters, to hats. There were also a lot of metal crafts, from earrings, to decorative plates, to wall plaques. I dragged poor R to look at a million pairs of earrings that basically all looked the same and agonized over which to buy. I finally just bought myself both pairs that I really liked, one is a pair of pounded silver and the other is turquoise tear drops. The prices were good, the merchants friendly but not overly pushy, and we felt safe.

Next stop was the Mercado Central, the giant fish market. We saw row after row of every kind of fresh seafood imaginable. The merchants here however were very aggressive and the  smell of fresh seafood got a little overwhelming.

So we headed to San Cristobel, the biggest hill in the city that has a funicular that takes you to the top. The funicular was a bit ghetto, so I had visions of us crashing down to our death.

The smog was pretty thick, but it was still a nice view. We had a good time seeing what landmarks we could now recognize.

Then we hiked up the final portion to the giant statue of Mary at the top. My calves are still feeling that glacier hike, and I was glad we hadn't hiked the whole hill.

After an equally scary funicular ride down the hill it was lunch time. We were near the Bellavista neighboorhood, so we decided to make one last stop at Viva la Vida. On one hand it seemed silly to go to the same place 3 times, but on the other hand no other place looked as a good and had such a nice atmosphere.

We had a leisurely lunch in the sun, sharing one last terremoto (but a small one today!) I had a hake sandwich  the fish was very lightly fried and so moist and tender. It came on a fresh baguette with a salsa of tomatoes and onion. There was so much fish that I had to give up on the baguette in order to finish. R had salmon and cheese on homemade focaccia with pesto. He said it was also amazing. 

We wandered back to the hotel and spent our last hour just sitting in the park, enjoying the sun and sharing a Mendocino, which is 2 shortbread cookies filled with caramel and covered in chocolate. Heaven in a cookie.  

Birthday boy in his new hat

And then it was time to head to the airport :( The trip home was long, but uneventful, and we were not pleased to see snow at home upon our arrival. Please bring me back to the warm sunny days in Chile. 

Chile Day 4: Valparaiso

Tuesday morning we were pretty tired from the marathon day of hiking, but we roused ourselves to go to Valparaiso. Valparaiso is a city on the ocean that is a Unesco world heritage site and we heard great things about it.

We navigated the metro much more smoothly than on Saturday and bought our bus tickets also without issue. We used Turbus, and I would highly recommend it. The tickets were only $6, the bus was very clean, we had assigned seats, and they even played a movie. 

Our good luck ended when we got to Valparaiso. It was cloudy and cold and we were dressed for a warm summer day. Our first mission was to find sweatshirts. Secondly, the area around the bus station was pretty sketchy. We followed the directions the guy at the tourism booth in the station gave us to "the tourist district," but it never got any nicer.

The streets were narrow, crowded, loud, and dirty. We didn't feel safe and we never found anything good to do. We couldn't get near the ocean, and we couldn't see the supposedly picturesque colorful houses up in the hills because of the fog.

The one picture I took in Valpo of the only pretty building

We wandered around for a couple hours and then decided to cut our loses and head back to Santiago. We stopped to grab a couple of epanadas for lunch, and I ordered the "Napolitano," which was supposed to be like a pizza. Instead it was filled with hot dogs. Fail. Maybe we weren't prepared enough and maybe Valparaiso is better with a tour guide and a car, but I won't be going back any time soon.

Back in Santiago we took a bit to recompose ourselves and then headed to the Bellavista district for dinner. We knew we wanted another delicious teremoto cocktail and after my hot dog empanada fail I also wanted an English menu. We wandered the district for awhile checking out menus, but we were like Goldilocks and impossible to please. One place was too fancy, another didn't  have an English menu, and another didn't have teremotos. We finally decided to go back to Viva la Vida, where we had lunch 2 days before. Great choice. We had the back patio all to ourselves. We ordered the pitcher of teremoto this time, and it was giant. Just what we needed to erase the crappy memory of Valparaiso. 
giant pitcher of teremoto, you were so good.
We shared a salad of spinach, romaine, peppers, goat cheese, and a fresh basil dressing. It was great- crisp and fresh. The goat cheese had the texture of a cheddar instead of being soft and crumbly like in the US, but was really good. 

I figured since I was in Chile, I should have Chilean sea bass at least once. Holy goodness. It was a huge, tender, flaky piece of fish on top of onions, peppers, potatoes, and carrots, and topped with a spinach cream sauce. I can't even describe how good it was and I ate until I was about to explode. 

Chilean Sea Bass Perfection

We took a leisurely walk home through the park wonderfully full of delicious food and drink. Valpo was a bust, but dinner redeemed the day.

Reflections on Boston

This one hits close to home. I was born and raised in New England. I grew up going to the Boston Marathon with my parents during our April vacation. I went to college just outside Boston. I lived in Boston after college. I worked on the marathon course. I biked the marathon course several years early in the morning before the race. I am a runner. I was at the finish line last year. I have friends who were running and spectating yesterday.

So I feel like I should say something, and yet I don't know what to say.

I can't make sense of this. I don't understand why this happened.

And so the only thing I could do this morning was go for a run. That is what runners to do when they need to grieve, to think, or to celebrate. Which is why I know that this horrible event will not affect the future of the Boston Marathon.

I ran to my favorite point that has a view of Portland Head Light, Casco Bay, and the open Atlantic. I stopped and looked out at the ocean and thought of the victims. Please people let's stop this violence.

Chile Day 3: Glacier Hike and Hot Springs

Spoiler alert....... I got my full South American marathon after all!!!!!

We had booked a hot spring and glacier tour through Eco Chile for Monday. We tried to do most of this trip on our own on the cheap, but we also wanted to get put of the city and see the mountains, so we decided to splurge on one guided tour for a glacier and hot springs adventure.

Our guide, Mario, pick us up bright and early at our hotel and we headed south out of Santiago. The highway soon turned to a narrow twisting back road with a sharp drop off down to the river. The towering mountains we saw from the city we now right around us. We stopped in San Jose de Maipo, a little village, to buy lunch. We got empanadas at the bakery, water and cookies at the market, and apples and avocados at the fruit sand, before heading off again. Soon the road turned into a dirt track and we completely left all signs of civilization. We were in an SUV, but we were bouncing all over the road. There were a lot of trucks coming from the mines up in the hills, that kicked up so much dust that we couldn't see anything. This made it especially scary when we pulled out to pass them. I was pretty sure we would die either by hitting a bump and then sliding off the cliff or by hitting a truck head on. But eventually we reached the trail head in El Morado.

note the lack of roads to San Jose de Maipo and El Morado

We grabbed our packs and headed off. It was about a 5 minute walk to the ranger station where we needed to check in. I was dying. The race yesterday made me feel pretty darn good about my fitness, but the start of the hike totally made me doubt it. I was gasping and my heart was racing. I had totally under estimated the effect of the altitude. Mario went to sign us in while R and I exchanged " we are screwed" looks.

And then we were off. We could see the glacier 16 long, steep kilometers in front of us. The first section was very steep and all I could do was watch my feet and try to keep moving. I just tried to remind myself to look up occasionally and remember how completely amazing the view was. I have seen a lot of mountains in my life but these were by far the most rugged and spectacular.

After an hour we stopped for a quick break by a spring. I ate my apple, which was both huge and amazing. There is nothing like fresh local fruit. As we ate, we were approached by a group of horses. The farmers turn them out to graze all summer and fall. I fed one my apple core and made friends. 

But we still had a long way to go. Luckily next section wasn't quite as steep and the footing was a little easier. An hour later we stopped for lunch by a little lake. I housed my cheese empanadas and then cut open the avocado. Holy yum. It was so flavorful and perfectly ripe. I also drained half a liter of water. It was sunny and the air was very, very dry. I worked up quite a sweat, but it dried almost instantaneously and I constantly felt thirsty.

After lunch we had only about 30 minutes until we reached the glacier, but it was steep and rocky. It was rough, but I was determined to touch that stupid glacier. And then finally we were there. It was crazy to be touching ice that is thousands of years old. We didn't linger long at the glacier because of the risk of rockslides and avalanches.

Going down was amazing. It was a little rough on the joints, but at least I could breathe! Since I could breathe, I could also talk so I had a long conversation with Mario about Chilean history, politics and culture. And I had a lot more energy to admire the stunning scenery (and do a few cartwheels).

5 hours and 32 kilometers later we were sunburned, dirty, and back at the car. Hot springs time!! We headed even further south and east on the crazy, bump dirt path to the springs. The Baños Colina hot springs are nestled at the bottom of the San José volcano. When we got there we had a celebratory tailgate with Pisco sours, avocados, hard boiled eggs, and nuts.

The hot pools were fed by a single hot spring that fed into a pool at the top of the hill. This flowed into a pool below, which in turn fed into another pool, and so on. So the pools got cooler as you went down the hill. We started in the fourth pool and worked our way up. Omg, nothing has ever felt as good as a hot mineral bath after a half marathon and a day of hiking. It really felt like something out of a movie to be in this hot spring fed pool looking a condors sweeping over the snowy peaks of the Andes. I could have stayed there forever. 

Sadly, we eventually had to head back on the bouncy road back to Santiago. I had been worried the drive back on that road in the dark, but I was so blissed out on hot springs and Pisco sours and so tired, that nothing bothered me. I ended up passing out on R's lap for most of the ride. As I was lying there I started thinking- I had done 5k on the treadmill in the gym early in the morning, then hiked 32k. That mean that I was a tiny 5k away from doing a marathon. Yes I was tired, but this was an amazing opportunity. When I would be in South America again and just need 5k to complete a marathon distance in one day? So yes, I hopped on the treadmill again when we got back to the hotel and pounded out those 3 miles. 

Meeting my marathon goal after all, touching a glacier, being surrounded by the beautiful mountains all day, and finishing with hot springs and cocktails. Does life get any better??

Chile Day 2: Race Day!

I woke early on race morning with my stomach churning. I thought that since I had dropped down to the half, that I wouldn't be. Wrong-o. I think it was a combination of not being able to officially switch to the half, not having as much time to acclimate as planed, and being in a foreign country. I had everything laid out and ready to go. Until the 26.2 with Donna, I had no technical difficulties. My garmin and i-pod were full charged. I heard that pretty much everyone in the race wears the official race shirt, but I didn't want to try anything new. 

I had brought peanut butter from home for my traditional pre-race breakfast, but then couldn't find it. So I had a bowl of oatmeal instead and tried not to be too jealous of R's bacon, eggs, and pastries. After a quick pit stop back in the room, we were off. 

I picked our hotel somewhat randomly, but the location was awesome. It was about 4 blocks from the entry chute. I got a little confused at the chutes and ended up in the 10k chute, but managed to extricate myself. The guard then  tried to send me over to the marathon chute, but I played the clueless American and went right by him into the half area. I had expected the worst when it came to porta-potties after Rome last year. But the lines were short and they were clean. I came prepared with my own TP so all was good.

I still had half an hour before the start so I sat down on a curb to chill out. I was still super nervous and could tell my heart rate was high. It was really strange because I couldn't understand anything going on around me. The announcer was blaring and occasionally everyone broke into this cheer, "T, A, TTT, AAA, viva TA." No idea what it means but soon I was shouting along.The chute was absolutely packed and not organized by pace so the first mile was a mess. But then the road opened up into 4 lanes and we spread out.

The race is kind of a blur. I had no idea where I was going and it was so crowded that I had to watch my feet a lot to keep from stumbling. The half course ended up being totally flat, mostly on big wide boulevards. The crowd support was fairly consistent. There was water/gatorade every 5k, but I never saw any food. The race started at 9 so the sun was already fully up and it got hotter as the race went on. Luckily there were firefighters blasting us with water fairly often. At one point they aimed it directly at me and it was so powerful that I got knocked sideways!

I had been worried about the heat since not a single one of my training runs was warmed than 45, but it didn't affect me. In fact, I felt great. I ended up doing a 4 min run/ 30 sec walk ratio until mile 11 when I just ran until the end. I told myself I didn't have to push, that I was just here to finish, but it just came naturally. So when I crossed the line in 2:02 I was thrilled. So strange that in my last race where I felt like I working so, so hard, I finished almost 2 minutes slower.

After the finish there was a giant crush to get into the finish area. I was tired, hot, thirsty, and not thrilled to be shoved and smushed. I grabbed a medal, pushed my way to grab fruit from the fruit table, and water from the water table and got out. I did like that they had separate finish areas for the full, half, and 10k, so that the short distance people didn't take all the food and water.

Overall, I was really impressed with the race organization. There were 25,000 people between the 3 races, but they separated the races nicely and had plenty of resources for each. Also, the humidity and smog wasn't nearly as bad I had heard.

R and I had arranged a meeting place down the road so I made my way there. We headed back to the hotel and headed to the pool. I totally wore my medal into the pool. Is there anything better after a race than swimming and then lying in the sun with a cold Gatorade??

After a hour or so, we got dressed and headed out for a late lunch. We headed to Barrio Lastaria, a cool artsy neighborhood we walked through yesterday with lots of sidewalk restaurants. We chose, Squadritto, a cute Chilean/Italian place and promptly ordered 2 Pisco Sours, another special Chilean drink. They were STRONG, but cold and yummy. We shared an amazing giant salad to start with lettuce, spinach, kale, cucumber and avocado. Everything was so crisp and it was dressed perfectly with oil and vinegar. I got squid ink pasta filled with shrimp and topped with crab sauce. R got fillet over fried potatoes. The food was amazing and it was so nice to sit out in the sun and have a long leisurely meal.

After the pool and lunch, I was feeling recovered enough to climb to the top of Santa Lucia hill. We only went half way yesterday and wanted to see the view from the top. It was spectacular. There was less smog than yesterday, so we had a better view of the mountains. The whole city is surrounded by these absolutely massive peaks. It is strange to be standing where it is 85 and sunny and looking at snow capped mountains.

We weren't starving after our late lunch, so we stopped at a bar right by the hotel for another round of Pisco Sours and some cheese empanadas for a snack before an early bed time.

Chile Day 1

R had no problem sleeping.
The trip got off to a rough start when our flight was delayed from 9 pm Thursday night until 8 am Friday morning. But we rolled with the punches and got a few hours of sleep at the hotel American provided in Dallas before heading back to the airport early Friday morning. I tried not to sleep too much that night because I really wanted to sleep through a lot of the 10 hour flight. Not so much. I slept for maybe 2 hours and then played a lot of Candy Crush.

We finally got to Chile around 8 pm Friday night. We were at the front of the customs line, but then found out you had to pay the entry fee in a separate window, and then go to customs. By the time we waited in the fee line, paid, and then went back to customs, the line went on forever. So we were a little tired and grumpy as we headed to the hotel. It was Friday night and Santiago was hopping. There were people and cars everywhere. It was a little overwhelming given how exhausted we were, so we decided to call it a night once we got to the hotel. 

Our hotel, the Caesar Business was great! The rooms were clean and spacious, there was one of the best fitness centers I have seen outside of the US, and there was a great deck and pool area that no one else ever seemed to use!

The continental breakfast was great too, with something for everyone. I loaded up on fruit, yogurt, and cool cereals, while R enjoyed eggs, bacon, and the meat tray. They had fresh strawberry, pineapple, and orange juices that were amaze-balls. Oh and there was also a giant bowl of hot manjar, which is like dulce de leche. I put gobs of it on everything.

Can he ever make a normal face in a picture??

We started Saturday off with a walking tour done by Free City tours. We had a group of about 15 with people from all over the world. There are stray dogs everywhere, and they decided to join the tour as we went. So by the end we had a nice pack of dogs too. The tour lasted 4 hours and we saw a lot- the Cathedral; Plaza de Armas- the first square created in Santiago; Palacio de La Moneda- the palace where Allende committed suicide as he was being bombed during the coup that put Pinoche in power; and Pablo Neruda's house. There is a lot of contrast in Chile between really old buildings (which they have a hard time keeping because of all the earth quakes) and super modern buildings. We also learned a lot about Chile, from the native tribes, to the Spanish settlers, to food and culture in modern Chile. I would definitely recommend this tour. 

We finished in Barrio Bella Vista, a funky artsy district, and decided to stay for lunch. We found an awesome little place, Viva la Vida, where we had a courtyard all to ourselves. We ordered a special drink recommended by our tour guide, called a Terremoto, or earthquake. It is white wine, pineapple sorbet, and caramel. It was amazing. I can totally see how you could suck down so many that you would no longer be able to stand, like during an earthquake. I had a quinoa risotto with mushrooms and R had a fish sandwich that had to have more than a pound of fish in it. 

We did not love the metro which we tried to take to the Marathon expo. It was so crowded and confusing, but eventually we got on the right train. After we got off we walked back through some of the same streets we took on the tour. I couldn't believe how much more crowded they were. It was nuts. The expo was just as crowded. R and I had to hold on to each other to keep from getting separated. As a I checked in, I tried to ask about switching to the half. There wasn't anyone working who really spoke English, so eventually I gave up and figured I'd just do the half anyway. What were they going to do, chase me with a stick and make me run the full? The marathon shirts are okay- I knew to order a bigger size than at home after my Barbie sized shirt in Rome last year. But they are kinda cheap looking and the shoulders are really square.

We were both tired and in no mood for the crazy crowds at the expo so we headed back to the hotel for a break by the pool before dinner. We didn't want to go far for dinner so we went to a little tiny place around the corner. It was super authentic, so the menu was all in Spanish. I really couldn't tell what anything was and didn't want to get something strange the night before a race, so I went conservative and ordered the fettucine vegetariano. It was pretty bland and not that good, so as a consolation we grabbed a little ice cream on the walk back to the hotel. This is my kind of country- we got 2 cones for $1. We were in bed early to rest up for race day!

What is your worst airline horror story? 
Have you ever ended up with something you totally didn't want to eat in a foreign country? 
Have you ever changed your mind about a race distance and unofficially run a different distance?

In Chile they never get chilly....

In elementary school we used to sing this silly little song in music class and for some reason I still remember the line, "In Chile they never get chilly." It looks like that's going to be true. Here's the forecast for our time there. 

Since it's been about 30 and windy at home for the last week, I am more than ready for some time by the pool in the warm sunshine. I am not however to run when it is 82 degrees out. Naturally race day is going to be the warmest day. I have not done a single run in months and months where it was above 45.

This makes me feel especially glad that I am only doing the half. I think the heat would really destroy me if I were doing the full. But at the same time I am starting to second guess my decision to only do the half. I mean I ran the full in freaking Antarctica, couldn't I do the same in Chile? I am blowing all my frequent flier miles, taking time off work, and spending 30 hours travelling there and back- shouldn't I do the full? Do I really want to give up on my goal of doing a full on every continent?

But at the same time I didn't regret a single weekend that I spent skiing instead of doing a long run. We had a long, cold, snowy winter and I am so glad I didn't have to slog my way through 20 milers in the snow. I don't miss my body hurting for 3 months solid. I don't regret that I got to spend Sundays with my boyfriend instead of long running.

It wasn't an easy decision and I'm not sure I will every be at peace with it. BUT, the decision was made and we are leaving today and it's too late to change my mind. I am taking a total break from technology, so I won't be blogging while I am gone. So see ya next week!

Coconut Lime Chicken Soup

I mentioned in my foodie pen pal reveal that Cheryl sent me awesome recipe for Coconut Lime Chicken Soup. It is so good, so easy, and so adaptable to different dietary constraints, that I just had to share!


  • 6 ounces dried flat rice noodles
  • 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons lime juice (from 3 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light-brown sugar
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (if you like it hot. I skipped this)
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves


Soak rice noodles according to package instructions; drain. 

In a large pot, bring broth and ginger to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer 10 minutes.

Add coconut milk to broth and return to a simmer. Add chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, jalapeno, and 1/2 cup cilantro; cook 1 minute. Stir in noodles and serve immediately, topped with 1/4 cup cilantro (I replaced the cilantro with scallions, because I hate cilantro!!
Cheryl gave me the excellent suggestion to store the noodles separately and add them to individual bowls and top with soup just before serving so they don't get mushy. This worked great! I ate it all week for lunch and it was just as good the 4th day as the 1st!

I LOVE this soup. I even made it this weekend for my family. My uncle is gluten free and my cousin is vegan, so finding something we all can eat is a challenge. I replaced the chicken with tofu, the chicken broth with miso broth, and the fish sauce with gluten free soy sauce, and it was great! I also want to try making this with shrimp instead of chicken. 

Running it Out

I try to keep religion out of my blog because I know it can be a polarizing topic, but I can't stop thinking about the sermon at the Easter service I went to yesterday. The topic was "Walking with God." The gist of it was that you need time each day to just walk with God. You do not need to go to God with a specific message or request, rather this is a time to "walk it out." This is a time to sift through all the thoughts in your head and have time to process time and make sense of them.

This totally resonated with me because this is what running is for me. I run it out. I run first thing in the morning and it is when I allow all my random thoughts to come to the surface. It gives me time to honor each of these thoughts and then organize them and put them away before I start my day. As a result, I start the day feeling calm and like my life is orderly. Of course, usually each day brings something to mess up this calm and order, but then I have my next run to restore it.

What do you do to work out the chaos in your life?


I turned 35 in June. It's an age that felt both momentous and ominous to me. I'm not just an adult, I'm an ADULT. I've never...