I've been in Ohio a month now - hard to believe how quickly the time has passed! The past few weeks have brought many changes, but I'm slowly adapting to the new (snowy!) environment.

The biggest challenge I've faced living here (besides living with 5 messy boys - oy!) is getting used to the cold weather. When coaching at USF, the girls team used to make fun of me for wearing capri tights in 60 degree weather when they were all wearing shorts... I couldn't help it, I get cold easily! So imagine my challenge running in single-digit temps and braving the wind and snow! To survive the Ohio winter, I've had to break out the ultra-warm gear - long tights with spandex shorts underneath (2 layers to keep from freezing my butt off!), 2 layers on top, 2 pairs of socks, gloves, a hat… if it’s snowing, I might even sport the oh-so-fashionable balaclava! I might look a bit ridiculous but at least I'm warm!!
Rockin' the balaclava
I'm also adapting to training here, 2500 miles away from my old training partners and support system. Lucky for me, I’ve been able to connect with some speedy Cleveland-based ladies and have made new running friends right away! Runners are universally friendly folks, always willing to share tips on where to run and eager to join you for some miles. I'm pleased to report that I've got a host of fantastic new training partners, fellow young women striving for Olympic Trials qualifying marks with their hearts set on 2016.

As I adjust to the Cleveland cold, my body is simultaneously adjusting to the miles I've been logging. After some time away from running, I've returned to training at full force. As I increase mileage, hit the weight room hard, and improve my flexibility during yoga sessions (a recent addition to my training), I'm watching my body slowly transform itself, muscle by muscle, pound by pound, back into a strong running machine.

The toughest adjustment is dealing with Gram being gone. Today is the 2 month anniversary of her death and each day I'm confronted with the gut-wrenching reality that she's not just a phone call away. When I'm missing her or feeling sad that I can't call her, I lace up my shoes and head out for a run to talk to her. We converse, or rather I talk, telling her about all the big changes in my life… about Cleveland, about my (mis)adventures in the kitchen, about being engaged, applying for jobs... I know she’s with me during these runs, watching my footfalls from above, listening as patiently as ever and sending her love.

Gram's house, with signs of spring...
I’m not sure if I’ll ever fully adapt to the sadness and grief of losing my grandma. How does one deal with a loss like that? I’m still figuring it out…