2016: Measured in Miles

As the famous song from Rent goes, we measure a year in daylights, in sunsets, in midnights and cups of coffee... in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. And of course love! As I measure 2016, I'll borrow the miles measurement and combine it with the love measurement, to get a year of joyful miles - here are my 2016 highlights!

The first month of the year brought my first race in a Team USA jersey, at the Great Edinburgh XC Challenge in Scotland. It was muddy, wet, sloppy, and challenging, but an incredibly awesome experience. 

Aside from the trip to Scotland, I spent the rest of January in my hometown of Davis, CA, enjoying warmer weather than Providence as I prepared for the Marathon Olympic Trials. I logged many miles along Davis farmfields, but also along the beautiful American River Parkway in Sacramento. My dad and younger brother Bryce accompanied me on bike on my long runs, which I was so grateful for - marathon training takes a village!

February was highlighted by the Marathon Olympic Trials in Los Angeles. It was the warmest Trials on record, and over 1/3 of the field dropped out of the race. I was proud to have finished on a warm day, even though the last 10 miles were a slow death march. I left LA disappointed, a little frustrated, and hungry for more.

I was back home in Providence this spring, preparing for the track season. Fueled by my disappointment at the marathon in LA, I trained with a vengeance and was rewarded with a 5k PR of 15:29. In between track workouts and races, I explored some new routes in Providence and enjoyed coaching athletes as part of my online training program, Training Joyfully.

The summer brought the Olympic Trials Round 2 - the Track Trials in Eugene, Oregon, and the realization of a long-held dream of mine. I competed in both the 5k and the 10k, and my season was highlighted by an 11th place finish in the 10k. My brother Brendan also ran, finishing 8th in the 10k (proud sister alert!). Our family was there to cheer us on in every lap, and I was so grateful to be able to share the experience with the people I love most.


From Oregon, I jetted off to Europe for the summer track circuit. I traveled to the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Finland, and Germany on a whirlwind running tour. I went on some pretty epic runs, explored new countries on the run with my Strava Track Club travel buddies Annie & Laura, ran a 3k PR, ate a TON of gelato, and overall had a blast!


The fall was marked by some changes - at long last, I went back to grad school! I began a Masters in Public Health program at Brown University, which I am loving. I'm studying Global Health and am doing research on obesity-related health interventions. I also changed coaches, officially joining Ray Treacy's Run Providence group to train with Kim Smith, Molly Huddle, Emily Sisson, Katie Dicamillo, and Aisling Cuffe. Back home in PVD, I logged many miles locally, with my training group and with the monthly Run Club I host in conjunction with Whole Foods Market.

December Run Club at Whole Foods, with many of my Training Joyfully clients that I have the pleasure of coaching!

December Run Club at Whole Foods, with many of my Training Joyfully clients that I have the pleasure of coaching!

I'm closing out the year back in Davis, California, running on the dirt levees where my love for the sport was born. Overall, 2016 has been a banner year - thanks for sharing in the journey! Onward to 2017 - may there be many joyful miles ahead for you & yours!


Summer Training Update

Where did the summer go? Somehow we're already in mid-August and the countdown to fall racing is quickly approaching. Here's a quick rundown of the past few months for me:

On the struggle bus at NYRR Mini 10k

On the struggle bus at NYRR Mini 10k

I finished my spring racing at the New York Road Runners Oakley Mini 10k in June. I was thrilled to toe the line with some of the best women in the world in what was the most competitive international field I've competed in. Unfortunately, a long spring campaign and an extremely hot + humid day got the best of me, and I finished a disappointing 23rd. You can't win 'em all, and while I was upset about my performance, I was also happy with a breakthrough spring. 

From New York, it was off to Tanzania for 2 weeks for Avi and my belated honeymoon. The 8 days up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro followed by 5 days on safari were adventurous, challenging, wonderful and memorable - a perfect honeymoon!

We saw tons of animals on safari (including the Big 5 - lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhino), but I have to give a special shout-out to the wildebeests. At first I was hating on the wildebeest because let's face it, they're pretty ugly. They're mangy and their ribs stick out and they look awfully awkward with those skinny little legs.

But once I saw the wildebeest in motion, I took back all my insults. When a wildebeest runs, it glides effortlessly across the savanna, flying smoothly through the grassland, against all odds. The wildebeest is an expert runner, and watching them in motion, I had to admit, it is my spirit animal. It's no mighty lion, no flashy cheetah; but the wildebeest has long-distance cred that none of the other Big 5 have. Wildebeests are the marathoners of the Serengeti, running annually across Tanzania to Kenya in the Great Migration, and for their running grace, they were my favorites :)

But back to training - I've been back running for 6 weeks now and have slowly found my fitness. The first few runs back after the honeymoon were ROUGH, as are any runs after an extended break. But I was glad for the opportunity to take a step back, as the year ahead is a big one. 

I spent a week in Ohio for work and got to run on some of my old favorite trails, including the Towpath in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I also traveled to Chicago for a family wedding and ran joyfully along Lake Michigan with my brother Brendan - sibling miles are the best kind of miles!

Back in Rhode Island, I've been supplementing running with yoga to improve flexibility and have gotten in many runs and workouts on our bike paths. 

Bike paths are great and all, but they do get rather boring... So, I've also been exploring new trails throughout New England. Training partner Katie Dicamillo and I checked out some new trails in the Blue Hills Reservation in Massachusetts, and I recently got in my fair share of hills in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Summer training is less about hitting exact splits and more about time on your feet, which makes it the perfect time to log some trail miles, which I've been enjoying.

I'm holding off on racing while I gear up for a big fall campaign. Look for me racing here at home in Providence for the USA 5k Road Championships in September, then at the 10 Mile and 10k Road Champs in October. But first, time to put in some more miles!