Seasons of Life

To every thing there is a season.

I find comfort in these words as I overstuff my suitcase for yet another transatlantic move.  The past six years since starting university have been full of many short and long-distance moves.  These moves tend to mark the end of one season of life and the beginning of another.  The seasons have different schedules, locations, responsibilities, people, and goals.  Though many of them have been short, the seasons of my life up to this point have been accompanied by many lessons.  These lessons have helped to shape my outlook on life and help me to navigate the seasons (whether they be welcomed seasons or not).  While difficult to explain, these three lessons attempt to sum it up:

  1. Take chances– It might work out.  It might not work out.  Either way, you learn a thing or two in the process.  In actions big or small, I have learned the importance of taking chances.  Do the research, weigh the pros and cons, make color-coded charts, consult your Support Crew, and then take the chance.  Two of my most incredible seasons of life (Austria and Scotland) were the result of chances taken.  It can be scary, and it can feel as though you’re being pulled in different directions, but that’s okay.  It’s okay to have no idea what you’re doing.  It would be boring if we had it all figured out, right?
  2. There are things you can control and things you can’t– This can be difficult to accept.  My current season of life is coming to an end because of factors I cannot control.   Unfortunately, I cannot outrun an expiring visa, nor can I topple the bulwark of bureaucracy that is preventing me from landing a job in the place I want to live.  When working towards a goal, I have learned to identify factors that I realistically can and cannot control.  On the way to achieving said goal, it is my job to take care of the factors that are in my control.  If I’ve worked hard and done my part and the goal is not achievable because of the factors I cannot control, then that goal is not meant to be reached…yet (I sometimes struggle to remember that time is a factor that I cannot control).  Side Note: For those of you who are aware of my ability to persevere and endure, I am not giving up on my goal of living and working abroad- I’m just taking a detour on the construction-filled, pothole-ridden, winding road of life.  “It’s exciting!” “I’m too blessed to be stressed!” I repeat to myself as I frustratingly shove everything I own into a suitcase, pretending that 20 kilograms is more than it actually is, and wondering why I collect rocks as travel mementos.
  3. Home is not a place, it’s a feeling– Since 2014, I have been fortunate enough to call three different countries home.  The northeast of the States is a place I call home because it is where most of my family is, it is where I was raised, and it is a region of the country from which I am proud to say I hail.  Austria is home because it is where I met a few incredible friends, took big steps out of my comfort zone, and became comfortable with my independent self, which gave me the confidence to find home in a third place, Scotland, which has been home for the past year and a half.  I initially embarked on this adventure to earn a Master’s degree.  Not only did I accomplish this mission, but I’ve also met some fantastic people, run some incredible races, and learned how to look the proper way whilst crossing the street (more or less).  Some people think that because I enjoy living abroad, I don’t miss “home” (aka the Northeast).  But I am here to report that this couldn’t be further from the truth.  While I am quite happy living abroad, I do miss friends, family, and familiar places from all of my homes.  These are, after all, the things that make a home.  It certainly isn’t easy to miss holidays, birthdays, weddings, funerals, and impromptu get togethers that turn into the best nights, but through all of this,  I have gained so much appreciation for my family, friends, and those familiar places.  I have learned to cherish them more, and  I have learned how to balance both forces of missing one home and being happy in another.  This balance is something that was difficult to strike at first, but understanding that it is possible to feel at home in more than one place has helped me to manage these forces.  This couldn’t have been more evident than when I was on the bus to the airport earlier today- a woman wearing a Red Sox hat sat down next to me.  Upon seeing this symbol of one of my homes, I got excited for my return, until .03 seconds later when I looked out the window of the bus, the only view in sight being Edinburgh Castle.  The forces battled and neither won out.

To every thing there is a season.  Taking comfort in these words brings peace to a move that is not exactly on my terms.  Luckily, seasons come back around, but in the meantime, it’s time to yield to the forces I cannot control, take a few chances in my career, work towards my 2018 goals, and spend some quality time with one of my other homes.  Ready or not, I start my teaching career in the morning.  All the best, Christina Rose.


Redemption in Reykjavik

For the past sixteen months, I’ve been running for redemption.  I’ve talked openly about my bittersweet and barefoot run through Boston and DNS in Berlin, and finally, I am pleased to report that I’ve run a strong marathon.  I trusted my training, fueled and hydrated properly, and left everything I had on the roads of Reykjavik.

A poor performance during a race that you trained oh so diligently for can be as frustrating as an unanswered text message, but a botched race can also motivate you through another training season, to the start line of another race, and on to another finish line.  You can also learn a lot from a rough run.  It was the pain of running Boston and the disappointment of sitting out of Berlin that fueled my fire this season.  Every long run, hill rep, lap swum, lunge, squat, wall sit, early morning spin class, and late night foot soak had some of this fire and a whole lot of heart (No matter the race performance, let us never forget the underlying reasons as to why we run).

After a training season that went strangely well, I boarded a plane for Reykjavik.  I’ve had many a stop over in Reykjavik, but this was the first time I got to leave my favorite airport.  I spent two lovely days exploring Reykjavik and Iceland’s Golden Circle.  I certainly didn’t dislike it, but since honesty is the best policy, I’ll also say that what I was able to see of Iceland definitely caters to tourists and receives a great deal of hype.  That being said, race weekend was still incredible, and I do recommend a visit to Iceland (specifically for hot dogs and Icelandic donuts).

In a twist of events, it turned out that I would be tackling this race solo, which added to pre-race jitters and sparked a bit of fear and flashbacks to the breathing-induced back pain during and after last year’s Boston Marathon.  With that as my last marathon memory, it was easy to wonder, “What if that happens again, but this time I am alone and in a foreign country?”  Thankfully though, I learned from my mistakes and was determined to not let that happen again.

Okay, now on to the good stuff.  The air was cool and crisp and the sun was shining as I headed out of the hostel and to the start line.  Right then and there, I knew it would be a good day for racing.

After a crowded first mile, I locked into a comfortable pace and pretty much checked out until mile 11 when I looked at my watch and thought, “Wait, when did I run 11 miles?”.  This was the first time I’ve raced a marathon with a GPS watch, and it definitely helped to keep me on pace.  The course was flat compared to what I am used to, which tends to bore me, but it was also incredibly scenic and the spectators were lively.  My new maple syrup fueling plan proved successful, as evidenced by no GI issues and a measly wall-hitting experience of roughly 4 minutes.  The last few miles ran along the coast and were very quiet.  My legs were tired, but on autopilot, and this was more of a mental challenge than anything else.  Luckily the scenery and blue skies were there to help me through.  Also, the smell of low tide put a little pep in my step so I could get back into town more quickly.  And suddenly I made it to another finish line, but this time feeling stronger than ever before.

I definitely missed the physical presence of my Support Crew and running buddies, but know that they were rooting for me from various corners of the world.

Thank You Notes:

  • Thank you to all of the friendly runners and travelers at the hostel, race, and around town for sharing stories, advice, and travel recommendations.
  • Thank you to Reykjavik for an incredible race and post-race festival/fireworks show.  Iceland surely knows how to party!
  • Thank you to my Support Crew, a team of friends and family who have taken on a whole new role recently.  While they couldn’t stand along the race route with cowbells and wet paper towels, they were pretty fantastic at supporting from afar.  Furthermore, the Support Crew has consistently been by my figurative side lately, offering plenty of advice and perspectives on my post-Master’s degree quandary/waiting game.  I can’t express my appreciation enough for the Crew xoxo

Lucky Number Thirteen

I laughed to myself when I realized I’d be toeing the line of my thirteenth half marathon this weekend.  I laughed because I still can’t believe that distance running is a thing that I do, better yet, a thing that I enjoy.  In the moments following every finish line, I usually find myself wondering, “How did I pull this one off?”

Every race is challenging- some physically, some mentally, but many both.  Completing thirteen half marathons in the past four years and all of the training in between has unknowingly taught me a lot, specifically about enduring, persevering, adapting, and the importance of hard work.  It has also taught me how to effectively pop blisters, another valuable life skill.

Running certainly wasn’t easy at first, but now I feel free when I hit the road, and every worry on my mind, no matter the size, is kicked to the curb.  Running provides a window of opportunity to think, and better yet, time to not think.

During that window of time, it doesn’t matter that people haven’t answered your text messages, that you haven’t landed a job yet (keyword: yet), or even an interview for that matter, or that you didn’t write as many words for your dissertation today as you would have liked.  Sure, some of those worries slap you in the face when you stop your Garmin and slip off your sneakers, but for a brief moment in time, the worries, annoyances, and frustrations of the day cease.

Thirteen half marathons calls for a lot of training.  I’ve learned how to pass the miles in a variety of ways.  I’ve spent many a mile making pro-con lists about big decisions, thinking about lesson plans, chatting with friends, answering the occasional phone call, making up funny stories about people I pass on the street, and belting out the Hamilton soundtrack from start to finish (yes, runs can last that long).  I’ve spent many miles not thinking at all, laughing at the stories told by Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Rachel Dratch in their audiobooks, feeling like part of the action while trail running to the Hunger Games, absolutely jamming out to the Spice Girls, enjoying pure silence, and sometimes all I can focus on is the pounding of my rough-day elephant feet on the pavement.

No matter what I’m doing from mile to mile, it always ends up being enjoyable.  Sometimes the miles feel less than great, or the pace is frustratingly off what I know I’m capable of, but other days the miles feel fantastic and every step is effortless.

This weekend I crossed the finish line of the Skye Half Marathon with a new PR and asking the ever-burning question of, “How did I pull this one off?”  The (very) hilly course and pouring rain perfectly matched the dramatic landscape of Skye and made for an incredible race.  Most of the spectators were sheep, and there were plenty of friendly runners to keep morale high throughout the race.  The course didn’t mess around, as the first incline began right out of the gate, through the first mile, and continued to roll until another long and steady incline in the eighth mile.  From there it was uphill and into the wind through mile ten where the course then made way for a mostly downhill finish.  The final three miles were a mental challenge, but I caught that train and finished with a burst of speed and my head held high.

In amazement of pulling off another race, I was handed a local beer and medal for my efforts, which is the perfect ending to any race story, but only the beginning of a wonderful weekend touring the Isle of Skye.  The jaw-dropping landscape of Skye was unlike anything I had ever seen before, and made a post-race hike impossible to pass up, beating the tired legs into submission. One of my favorite destinations throughout my year of Scottish travels, I definitely recommend a visit.

Thank You Notes

  • Thank you to maple syrup for being excellent mid-race fuel.
  • Thank you to the group of nice gentlemen I spent the weekend with (many of whom were running their first ever half!!) for letting me crash their Skye Adventure.  Kudos on a race well run!
  • Thank you to my Sister/Best Friend for coming to visit last month.  I miss you tons, come back please.
  • Than you to my laptop for holding its own in its old age as we near the finish line of the Master’s degree.  Please keep it up.

How to Satisfy Wanderlust at 23

This post is part III of III in a series about a Spring Break Adventure and Frugal Travel.  (Click here for part I and part II)

People often ask me how I travel so much.  The answer is very simple: work, save, travel, repeat.  I certainly didn’t work 14 hour days at camp or bus tables until midnight for nothing.  I prioritized, planned, and saved to travel, and haven’t looked back.  A couple of weeks ago I was sitting on top of a mountain in the Arctic Circle watching the sunset in the distance, and thought back to a night this time last year where I was working late, scrubbing guacamole and congealed nacho cheese off a table at a local restaurant in the Boston neighborhood I used to call home.  Suddenly it was worth it.

It takes a lot of careful planning and research, but traveling, and traveling well, in your twenties is possible.  You do need to be willing to spend money, but there are plenty of ways to see the world on a budget, which is why doing your research is so important.

Because people often ask about my “big secret” to traveling so much, I’ve compiled a list of ways to see the world like a local and on a budget:

  • Go to school abroad-  If you have to go to school to progress in your career path, go abroad.  There are plenty of programs ranging from two weeks, to one semester, to one year, to entire degrees at universities abroad (fear not, most schools accept FAFSA).  There isn’t a major you could study that can’t benefit from an academic experience abroad.  Don’t use your credits or lab requirements as an excuse.  It’s always possible.  The great thing about going to a foreign university is that you get to experience a new academic system, new culture, and sometimes a new language.  Also, your host university is probably a lot closer to all the action than your home university, so it’s quick and easy to escape to Budapest for a long weekend if you’d like and still be on time for class the next morning.
  • Look for flight deals and one-ways-  Looking at flights can be overwhelming when there are so many different websites offering the “lowest fare.”  My starting point is always Google Flights because it is a very simple platform without crazy popup ads.  Europe has plenty of “budget” airlines that offer cheaper than cheap airfare around the continent.  Some of the airlines have even ventured to North America.  If you don’t mind no-frills traveling, you can go transatlantic for under $200, provided you supply your own food, water, and entertainment for the journey.  My other recommendation when it comes to flying with budget airlines is to travel only with a carry-on.  The tickets are so cheap because they usually charge an arm and a leg to check bags (this isn’t true for all budget carriers though), so invest in a good sized backpack and test its limits with how much you can stuff inside.
  • Hostels-  Staying in hostels is a fantastic way to travel cheaply and meet people from all over the world.  I’ve hardly ever paid more than $10/night to stay in a hostel and have had a wide range of experiences.  I’ve met some incredible people, taken some horrible showers, and learned how to adequately stuff a duvet in the dark from the top bunk.  At the end of the day, it’s part of the adventure, a place to sleep, and store your backpack.  The exciting thing about hostels is that you literally never know what you’re going to get.  Some have breakfast and towels included in the price, others offer pub crawls, walking tours, and bikes for hire.  I recently stayed in a hostel in Tallinn that offered free “Welcome Beer”.  Always be sure to check out the reviews before booking, and make location a top priority if you’re traveling solo.
  • Cook In-  Another great accommodation alternative is Airbnb.  You can usually rent an entire flat or a room in a flat right in the heart of town!  I pretty much stayed in a hallway in Tromsø, but it couldn’t have been more perfect.  I also know someone who’s Airbnb ended up being a beanbag chair, so be sure to read reviews before booking.  The great thing about staying in an Airbnb is that you have access to a kitchen, which means you can save money by cooking instead of eating out.  Some people think this defeats the purpose of traveling and exploring local cuisine, but I tend to disagree.  Have you ever grocery shopped in a foreign language?  Still not convinced?  Check out this article.
  • Public Transit-  Did you know that public transportation in Estonia is free for all citizens?  Or that Budapest has the second oldest metro system in the world?  I adore public transportation so much that I have an evolving rank of cities with the best.  Taking public transportation to and from the airport and around town is the best way to see a city like a local.  It can be challenging at times because every city has its own norms when it comes to purchasing and validating tickets, but it’s often a fun challenge.  My other favorite alternative is to walk everywhere.  It might take a little longer, but you never know what you’ll stumble upon.
  • Don’t Buy Water-  If the tap water is drinkable in the country you’re visiting, use it.  Don’t waste your hard-earned money on water, especially because it can be more cost effective to buy beer in many parts of Europe than to pay for water.
  • Free Walking Tours-  Free walking tours are a fantastic way to get your bearings in a new city.  Local guides work for tips and show you great spots around town to eat and drink like a local, point out places to avoid, and give a nice historical overview of the city.  Many cities offer free walking tours every day of the week.
  • Museums-  Check out which museums are free, the best ones usually are!  And many others offer great student discounts.
  • Over Night Transportation-  Traveling via an overnight train or bus tends to be cheaper and cuts out a night of accommodation costs.  Once you’ve accepted that you won’t get the greatest night’s sleep, you’ll warm up to the idea and also “wake up” in a new city to explore, so it’s worth it.  Sleep when you’re dead, right?
  • Student ID-  If you still have a student ID, use it and abuse it.  You can get into plenty of museums for free or for a discounted rate by flashing that fancy university card with a less than favorable old photo of yourself.  But the savings don’t stop there!  Train tickets, bus tickets, and meal deals galore!  Never be afraid to ask if a place offers a student discount, because they don’t always advertise it.
  • Bring a book and a journal-  I like to plan down time when I’m traveling because it can be easy to cram too much into one day when you’re exploring a new city.  To prevent burnout, I always bring a book and a journal for a little down time in a local café, park, or library.  This also comes in handy when you’ve already walked around in the rain for three hours and just want a little break and a pastry.

So, if you don’t mind a no-frills, shove-everything-in-your-backpack, sleep-on-a-train experience, then the world is your oyster!  Becoming a Citizen of the World at the age of 20 was one of the greatest decisions I have made thus far, which is low-key impressive for someone with a fear of flying to say.  With careful planning and research, traveling well in your twenties is manageable, and will shape your outlook on the world, teach you more than the classroom ever could, and present history from a new perspective.

Latvia & Estonia

This post is part II of III in a series about a Spring Break Adventure and Frugal Travel.  (Click here for part I and part III)

From the Arctic Circle, we headed over to the Baltic region for some Eastern European charm.  Latvia and Estonia have been at the top of my travel list for quite some time, and they did not disappoint.

The Baltic adventure started in Riga, the capital city of Latvia, where we explored its charming old town and devoured full-size yet bargain meals and local brews.  We even went on a night kayaking tour of the river and canals, which was great, but probably more of a summer activity.

My top recommendation for Riga, in terms of what to do while you’re there, is to go to the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (entry: optional donation) and the Latvian War Museum (entry: free).  Both of these museums offer a fascinating insight into the tumultuous yet resilient history of Latvia and the Latvian people.

My top recommendation for Riga, in terms of where to eat while you’re there, is Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs, which is a delightful basement folk club with live music five nights a week, a delectable local menu, and an overwhelming assortment of beer on tap. I had the risotto, and, I don’t want to hype it up too much, but have since dreamed about it.  Another must try is Riga’s Black Balsam, a traditional Latvian herbal liqueur that boasts about 90 proof.

From Riga, we took a bus to Tallinn, Estonia’s capital city.  A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Old Town of Tallinn is a wonderfully preserved medieval city with an endless supply of charm and panoramic views of the Baltic Sea.  Ideally located, Tallinn is only a couple hours away from Helsinki by ferry, four hours drive to Riga, and five hours drive to St. Petersburg (insert notes for future trip here!).  Vana Tallinn, Estonia’s Black Balsam counterpart is a must-try.

Besides meandering Tallinn’s Old Town, I suggest exploring Kalamaja, Tallinn’s “hipster district.”  The Telliskivi creative city is an area of abandoned and renovated Soviet-era factories that now house local shops, galleries, cafes, and bars.  It’s just a short walk from the Old Town walls, but still off the beaten path.

The people in both Riga and Tallinn were friendly, welcoming, and always keen to recommend a local beer that went with whatever I happened to be eating that moment.  This was wonderful, although tricky as I returned to my training schedule this week.  My favorite thing to do in cities like these is to take advantage of free walking tours.  The local guides show you around, teach you the history of the town, and recommend great places to see and eat like a local.  Most cities offer free walking tours every day of the week, and it’s a great starting point to get your bearings when you arrive in a new city!

Click here to watch a video of the adventure!

Fjord Tours & Heated Floors: A Norwegian Adventure

This post is part I of III in a series about a Spring Break Adventure and Frugal Travel.  (Click here for part II and part III)

Since the birth of the World Happiness Report in 2012, Norway has consistently been ranked in the top four happiest countries in the world.  Perhaps it has something to do with their commitment to a healthy work-life balance, free access to childcare, eldercare, healthcare, and education at every level, or maybe it has to do with the generous maternity and paternity leave.  All of this comes with a hefty tax rate of course, but I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the Nordic region lately, and have found that most citizens don’t mind footing the bill because what they pay in taxes comes directly back to them and the betterment of society as an investment in their quality of life- individually and as a whole.  The government essentially takes the stress out of living so that you can actually live.  Many Americans have their qualms about this topic, and I recognize that no system is perfect, but I am going to recommend a good read that will answer every question you could possibly think of and then some, and get on to my Norwegian Adventure.

I could have brought some course reading with me for the journey, but in a quest for that healthy work-life balance, I left it all at home, picked up a pleasure reading book, and enjoyed the adventure.

The people of Norway were incredibly friendly and welcoming.  The public transport in Oslo was certainly in no short supply and helped us get to various museums around town.  We started at Holmenkollbakken, a ski jump that helped host the 1952 Winter Olympics as well as numerous other international skiing events through present day.  It was foggy when we got there, but we headed into the museum and then up the elevator and above the clouds to what I’m sure is normally a stunning view of Oslo.  The fog was nice too, though.  Next was the Viking Ship Museum, which was a fascinating look into the lives of Vikings.  The rest of the day was spent meandering through Oslo, admiring its interesting sculptures and strangely clean streets, until it was time to board the overnight train to Bergen.

Fresh off the train and a perfectly I-“slept”-on-a-train-last-night night’s sleep, Bergen gave a Scottish welcome- with fierce winds and rain, of course!  But the clouds opened up to reveal the stunning beauty that is Bergen.  Beautiful buildings, harbor, and hillside create a stunning backdrop for Norway’s second-largest city.  My favorite thing in Bergen was hiking Stoltzekleiven.  A hike made up mostly of stone steps, the trek was challenging, but the view at the top was worth it.  Once at the top, there is a lake and several well-marked trails.  We followed a trail that led to Fløyen, another popular viewpoint in Bergen and then followed the road back down into town.  While we walked over to Fløyen from the top of Stoltzekleiven, it is also accessible along a road or via funicular if you prefer to earn your views that way instead.  I don’t judge.

The next day we did a day trip that included a fjord tour and a ride along the famous Flåm Railway.  Because it rained so heavily while we were there, we saw hundreds of waterfalls cascading down from the mountains, which made the soggy trip to Bergen a bit more lovely.  I also learned my new favorite saying: “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”  The journey along the Flåm Railway was stunning.  The tracks traversed snow-capped mountains, passing isolated homes and jaw-dropping views along the way.

As our few days in Bergen came to an end, we flew up well into the Arctic Circle to Tromsø, otherwise known as the “Paris of the North”.  I’m still not sure that I understand the slogan, but the Arctic college town offers incredible mountain views, XC skiing trails galore, and  is home to the Northernmost Brewery in the World™!  (It’s actually not the northernmost brewery in the world anymore, but they trademarked the title while a microbrewery was being built on the Arctic island of Svalbard a few years back.)  We sadly did not see the Northern Lights, as the high season for viewing had just come to an end, but we saw a fair share of beautiful sunsets amongst the mountains, and that was pretty cool too.  We also went XC skiing one day, which is one of my favorite winter activities.  What I loved most about this experience is the culture and how much Norwegians love XC skiing.  It seemed like everybody on the island was out for a spring ski, just as one would take a leisurely stroll through a park.

Favorite thing about Norway: Heated floors.  Everywhere we stayed had heated bathroom floors and I did not realize how necessary this innovation is.

Least favorite thing about Norway: The prices.  Everything in Norway, especially eating out, is very expensive.  We traveling students couldn’t afjord (see what I did there?) it, so we cooked in for most meals.  But when we did eat out, the food was fresh and fantastic.  And cooking in gave us the opportunity to grocery shop in Norwegian, which is a fun game!

Click here to watch a video of the adventure!

Happy To Be Here

Running hasn’t been all that easy or enjoyable lately.  Since my slow and barefoot jaunt through Boston, a humid summer of training, a DNS in Berlin, and my first nagging overuse injury that kept me sidelined for a good six weeks around the holidays, logging miles has been a chore, and a painful one at times.  I’ve been struggling with my fitness lately, and it is very frustrating.

Before my six week hiatus from running (and a celebration through food and drink of the holidays and two beautiful weddings), I signed up for a few half marathons this spring that will lead into a full marathon come August.  Excited for a training season that takes me around Scotland, I also had some ambitious time goals.  These ambitious time goals, however, felt like they were being crushed with every painful step that I took in the month of December. That being said, I re-evaluated my goals while safely building the mileage back up.

I’m not very competitive when it comes to racing others, but I tend to get competitive with myself.  Coming back from injury, all of my training runs felt sluggish and I wasn’t seeing any improvement in my times.  So, while the competitive side of me had a generous number to beat going into the Inverness Half Marathon, I was also just happy to be standing at another start line and in a new city.

After a very Scottish bagpipe sendoff, my “In It To Finish” mindset and I began the 13.1 mile quest through the quaint city of Inverness.  The roads were narrow and the runners plentiful, which made the first few miles slow and tricky to navigate.  As the race progressed, I couldn’t believe how great I felt- legs strong, breathing easy, mental game on point.  The course was undulating, but not overly challenging, had excellent support along the way, a surplus of friendly runners, and my ideal running conditions of 50 degrees and cloudy.  About half way through the race the weather did a very Scottish thing- it started to pour.  This felt great and somehow helped me run faster and stronger.

The miles flew by and with about 5km left, I looked at my watch and accidentally did the math.  If I continued at this pace, I would finish under two hours and beat my longtime PR of 1:59:43.  I tried not to speed up so as not to burn out before the end, but, one foot in front of the other, I kept strong and chased the PR I’ve been trying to beat for over two years.

Much to my surprise, I finished the Inverness Half Marathon with a new personal record!  I started this race just happy to be there and healthy after six weeks off, and ended with a brand new PR!  This was exactly the race I needed to restore my confidence and jump start the upcoming marathon training season.


Thank You Notes

  • Thank you to five of my very best friends for coming to visit over the past couple of months.  I am so grateful that I got to share Scotland with you.
  • Thank you to “coaches” Rory and Craig for their hard work coaching Monday night track sessions.  It seems as though I’ve gotten a wee bit faster and caught that train!
  • Thank you to the Danish concept of Hygge for helping me maintain a proper work-life balance this semester.  I hope to continue practicing Hygge as I head into my professional career.
  • Thank you to Inverness for a wonderful weekend and break from schoolwork.  It was much needed!