Off The Beaten Path: February 24, 2017

I’m trying something new with some of my blog posts. Late last year, I brought back my old “Running and Reading” posts because I realized that I was reading a lot of great articles that I wanted to share with others. I admit, it got burdensome to keep the posts fresh and light and relevant. Most of what read, given what I do for a living and where I reside, is all political. Not necessarily one-sided, but issues-oriented. I want to steer clear of that. There’s enough of it out there, and I need a break from it, too.

Also, when I relocated to DC back in 2014, I used to write posts called “Off the Beaten Path” to update friends and family back home in Nebraska about what I was doing in DC besides “running all the time” and working my “I’m not sure what she actually does in DC” job. I attempted to revive that recently, but then I sat down to write it and realized that I really don’t have a whole lot going on right now. Or at least not enough to keep the post going and keep it interesting. I get the sense that readers gravitate toward bloggers who “keep it real” but there’s a fine line of keeping it real and oversharing that I enjoy a graceful dance with, so I could write about how I am struggling to accept where I am in life… or I can keep it on the sunny side up.

So, I’m going to try consolidating things and see how that works. Even if no one ever reads it, I swear sometimes I keep up this blog because I just really enjoy the simple art of writing. Let me know what you think! Continue reading “Off The Beaten Path: February 24, 2017”

An Open Letter to Drivers From Runners

Hi there.

It’s been a long day, hasn’t it? I suppose that’s as much the reason why you’re rushing to get home as it is for me being out on a run right now. You’re aching to get home and shake the day off, and I’m lucky to already be out here doing just that. Shaking off my day with a run.

But the thing is, you almost hit me with your car.  Continue reading “An Open Letter to Drivers From Runners”

6 DC-Area Turkey Trots To Consider Running This Thanksgiving

I’m just going to say this because I know I’m not the only one out there thinking it: How on earth did Thanksgiving 2016 get here so fast!?!?! Maybe it’s the unseasonable warmth that has blanketed 2016 in complacency or perhaps we’ve all been a little too disconnected from reality thanks to a blistering Presidential campaign and (for some) election. Whatever the reason, we are very much overdue for a day of gratitude and giving thanks. Continue reading “6 DC-Area Turkey Trots To Consider Running This Thanksgiving”

How to Build a Home Gym In Your Studio Apartment

When you’re single, over 30, and live in a major metropolis, you find that you never completely leave that awkward phase of having to explain to friends and family in the Midwest why you’ve been here so long and haven’t bought property yet. It’s hard to do that without number-dropping: “Well, for a space about the size I am living in and for the neighborhood I’m in, a condo would be about [insert that voice used in Charlie Brown commercials when an adult speaks] million dollars.” The million dollars part is typically all they hear, even if you prefixed it with “quarter of” or “half a.” Or even if you euphemize it with “hundred thousand dollars,” they still somehow hear millions. Truth be told, I think it’s crazy to buy property here in DC when you can get a literal mansion and farm in Nebraska for the price of a 1-bedroom condo in Arlington, Virginia. And since I don’t know when or if I will leave DC, the dream of home ownership seems pretty far away for me.

One thing I know, if I ever do own my own home, is that I want a home gym. I envision having a place where I can set up a treadmill (as much as I hate them but they seem to be a reasonable compromise for when you have kids which I assume will be the reason I do venture into home ownership), a weight stand, my library of Jillian Michaels DVDs, and a few key must-haves, like a Bosu ball. Things that I can have because space is not an issue. The walls will be wallpapered with my race bibs, medal racks, some race posters, and my favorite race photos. There might even be a filtered water cooler and a ficus in the corner just for a touch of posh. Continue reading “How to Build a Home Gym In Your Studio Apartment”

My “Happy Place” Playlist

Last summer, when I told my colleague that I was going to the beach, the look on her face was one of shock. “But it’s so far away!” she lamented. DC is about 3 hours away from the coast, which to a native San Diegan might as well be a transatlantic flight to Portugal. For me, a Nebraska native, 3 hours was almost too good to be true. Growing up landlocked, any trip to the shore felt like I was on vacation because that’s the only time I got to see it. And now I can take weekend trips and even day trips to the beach anytime I need it. I love that my happy place is within reach and that I can take off and just go when I want to. All I need is a tank of gas.

Two years ago, when I was living in Nebraska, I spent a summer missing the beach. The best thing I had at my disposal was a pool with a pool chair– not complaining, but something about hearing waves crash and sizzle against the shore puts me in my best state of mind. Calm, present, content. So, I put together a playlist called “My Happy Place” with songs that remind me of sunny days with toes in the sand, a beer in my hand, and frolicking in the salty surf with the feeling of sun on my skin. Some of these tunes are chill and relaxing but still have a peppy island vibe, some are all-out beach party hits. Ahh, I can practically smell the funnel cakes and malt vinegar now. Continue reading “My “Happy Place” Playlist”

Trying Out Orange Theory Fitness

Photo Courtesy:
I got cabin fever…and the only prescription is getting the eff out of the house!

2016 has gotten off to a pretty dull start for me. With the exception of running the Dopey Challenge the first weekend of the year, I spent the rest of January indoors coping with a two-week long bout with the flu (which hurt far worse than any marathon I have ever run) and then Washington, DC got hit with a massive snowstorm that buried us under 2+ feet of snow. Both of these events lined up in sequence, which meant that I literally only left my house twice in eight days: once to go get my flu diagnosis and a strict order to sleep from the doctor (I wasn’t even allowed to crochet) and the other time to stock up on storm supplies. Hauling a case of water up to your apartment when you are sick and achy is a real bitch, by the way. 

Honestly, though, I was sort of okay with my mini-house arrest. The past few months have taken a lot of energy from me in dealing with personal and work life and not having my usual outlet of exercise to relieve stress. I sort of took the double whammy of the flu and blizzard as God’s way of forcing me to slow down. 

Fast forward three weeks to President’s Day weekend when I am not sick anymore; however, right now, we are all forced to stay indoors as the air outside is literally colder than my freezer and the winds are nearing 50+ mph gusts. I don’t even want to leave my apartment to get groceries, which is more of my personal affront to dealing with the annoyance of polar winds in your face than the cold itself. I will never understand God’s creation of wind.

Another three days indoors. Suffice it to say that I have some very serious cabin fever. I needed to try something new. Continue reading “Trying Out Orange Theory Fitness”

If Virginia is for Lovers, Count Me In!

Photo Credit: Virginia Tourism Corporation
Photo Credit: Virginia Tourism Corporation

Sandwiched in between marathon weekend in Chicago, Illinois and a work conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, I had a free weekend. Typically, I’m such an introvert that usually I really need two days to recoup after a busy week at work and another upcoming busy week at work to just be alone and do my thing, except maybe with the guy I’m dating or a close friend or the occasional group outing. I don’t make huge weekend plans that often; partially because it seems like I am always training for something so I need one of my two weekend evenings free so I can turn in early and wake up early to conquer the sunrise with a long run of some kind. But I left my office on Friday evening with a stark realization: I had a COMPLETELY free weekend and I didn’t really like it. I didn’t have a long training run planned, I wasn’t flying anywhere, my time was all my own. I might be an introvert or whatever, but two days free of social events spent holed up in my studio apartment without the excuse of a raging blizzard or hurricane to keep me indoors was even too much for me. Besides, I had all winter to hibernate– why start early when this weekend’s weather was expected to be nothing short of beautiful? So, I texted a friend to accompany me on a road trip two hours west of our nation’s capital to a world away: the Appalachian Mountains in the heart of Virginia. Time to check out some leaves. Continue reading “If Virginia is for Lovers, Count Me In!”

Rooftops, Air Mattresses, and Forced Minimalism

Empty apartment living is not the new lifestyle chic.
Empty apartment living is not the new lifestyle chic.

This week, I got back to a sense of normalcy. I have a job once again so that means I can’t sleep in until 9AM then wander off to 9:30AM yoga pretending not to be curious why so many other people are there on a weekday morning. Waking up in a strange apartment everyday has taken some getting used to. There’s the typical noises of air conditioners going and neighbors wandering down the hall, but in Arlington, Virginia, it seems like there’s literally always a fire to be put out somewhere. Distant sirens are so commonplace here I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll make my fortune by adding that sound to sleeping noise machine apps for “city” folk. I can’t be crazy with that idea…my sleep noise app has a distant train on it, which reminds me of the five years I went to college in a cow town that had trains going through it at all hours. Continue reading “Rooftops, Air Mattresses, and Forced Minimalism”

Back in DC

Friday morning, I woke up on an air mattress on the 11th floor of an Arlington, Virginia high rise, startled at the “world apart” feeling I had in my heart. A week ago, at this time, I was waking up in my Lincoln, Nebraska apartment…two days earlier, it was in my younger sister’s bed at my mom’s house…yesterday, a hotel room in Indianapolis and now
I am here again, waking up in DC. I’m back in “this town.” I have a car; it’s parked three blocks over in a garage. There’s an apartment in this building with my name on it– I just have to wait 15 minutes for the office to open so I can go get the key and move in. There’s a desk in an office building downtown, ready for me to sit down at it on Monday morning. And everything is back to the way I feel like it should be. Continue reading “Back in DC”

Living in the Present

For the first time in probably more than a year, I’ve been walking on sunshine. This past year has had its challenges and I’ve spent it feeling hollow. I’ve been living my life with one foot in the Midwest and the other on the East Coast. While I am so proud to be from the Midwest and, with my family living there, Nebraska has always been my sanctuary, DC is my town. I lived there for five years and made it my place in this world. I earned my MPA degree there, the first years of my career in government started in DC, I fell in love and had my heart broken in DC, and it’s where I became a runner and marathoner. I’m still inspired by the monuments when I see them, intrigued by the dynamics of a vibrant dialogue on more issues than I knew existed, and excited by the city’s transient energy– where few people are actually “from” there but most everyone has made it their own with “Natitude,” community groups that meet over brunch, running, or softball on the Mall, and the loyalties to their own neck of the D, the M, or the V. I’ve missed being a part of that so much since I’ve been away. Continue reading “Living in the Present”