Thursday, August 30, 2012

Run For Tony 5k

The Run for Tony 5k is a race that's been going on for as long as I can remember.  It's sponsored by The Taproom Bar and Grille in the town where I teach, meaning that I would get to race against a number of my students last night.

Only one of them beat me.

It was hot and humid and I finished in 20:46, probably my slowest time in years, which is proof of just how much I drank and ate while in Europe and Florida this past summer.  So naturally I filled up on free beer and pasta right after the race.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Proposal (mine, not the crappy movie)

Man proposes at the 2005 Boston Marathon

I had thought about the proposal for months beforehand.  Watched marriage proposal videos on YouTube. Tossed around ideas with friends.  And for a long time, I considered proposing at the end of a marathon.

Most of my friends balked at this idea, warning me that proposing while sweaty and gross and half delirious wasn't the most romantic option, and most reminded me that marathoning is my thing, not Stevie's.    They agreed that if we both finished together, that would be one thing, but this wasn't likely as Stevie has no interest in running marathons.  Only one friend loved the idea, saying that the wedding is usually about the woman, so the proposal should be more about the guy.

My reasoning for a marathon proposal was that enduring a marathon before proposing was kind of romantic, in a test-of-wills, prove-my-worthiness, earn-the-right-for-your-hand-in-marriage kind of way.  Does that make sense?  I also knew that the thought of proposing would give me much needed inner strength in the latter miles.

I ended up proposing in Florida because I did want to incorporate more of Stevie's interests.  She grew up in Florida and loves the beach, and the particular beach where I proposed is one she's been going to since childhood.  I also knew that she only gets to see her family for a few weeks out of the year, so I wanted them to be able to celebrate with us directly after the fact rather than find out on the phone.

Stevie: It was perfect.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

She said yes

A few days ago I proposed to Stevie in a private moment on the beach in the Florida Keys, which we reenacted the following night:

While reenacting the moment for the photo op, her family waited patiently as the outer bands of Isaac whipped up a frenzy of wind around us, spraying champagne and flinging hair everywhere (my hair is just a mess in this picture).  We then drank a lot more champagne back in the hotel room.

And regarding the proposal, I'll give you a hint as to what she said.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Running in a tropical storm

I follow almost every run with pushups and situps.  Here's me doing pushups by Stevie's grandmother's pool after running in Tropical Storm Isaac.

I ran for 30 minutes, and between the down trees on the sidewalk and the ankle deep puddles everywhere, it felt like one long steeplechase today.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Running in Florida

Running this morning in the Florida Keys as Tropical Storm Isaac bears down on the region.  It's threatening to turn into a category 1 hurricane before making landfall in the U.S., but so far has only produced a little wind and mottled skies in our region. 

I've been in Florida for almost a week and it's been - you guessed it - hot and humid here, not bad conditions for drinking a rum cocktail by the water, but less than ideal for running.

My average run as of late has been 30 minutes, followed by the usual situps and pushups and whatever other exercises I can glean from nearby trees and roof overhangs and the like.  I would love to run longer, but that might have to wait for better conditions.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Marathon in Florida

I'm in Florida visiting Stevie's family, and we've all taken a side trip down to the Keys for a few days.  While tracking our progress on the drive down this afternoon, I was pleased to note that one of the Keys is named Marathon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Running with Suze

After traveling for most of the summer, I'm trying to get back into a routine (before I am ripped right out of it again by going to Florida), so I went for a run around the Cooper with Suze this morning.  We met at 8am to try to avoid the heat of the day and knocked out three and a half miles while catching up on our summers.

When we finished, I brought out my jump rope and did three minutes, and after Suze left, I did another lap around the river for a day's total of about seven miles.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Running while traveling

I'm finally home after a month and a half on the road.  The trip went down like this:

  1. Flew to Dublin, spent three days with a couchsurfer.
  2. Flew to England, spent a week with various friends.
  3. Flew to Germany, spent roughly two weeks with friends and in hostels, mostly in the company of Stevie, all over the country.
  4. Overnight train from Berlin to Budapest, changed to a train to Belgrade, spent three days in a hostel.
  5. Overnight train to Bulgaria.  Spent the day in Sofia, overnight train to Istanbul.
  6. Spent one week in Istanbul, five nights in a hostel and two nights with a couchsurfer.
While obviously not the focal point of my trip (beer, museums, and all things German might vie for that spot), running played a big part in the trip, and I can tell you with certainty: running while traveling is not fun.

I hate to complain about anything related to the trip.  Believe me, I feel blessed and humbled on a daily basis that I have been able to see so much of the world in my life, and continued to do so on this trip.  Being on the go, removed from my daily routine, crossing borders, listening to the strange sound of foreign tongues, meeting new people with such different views on life... these are but a few reasons I am passionate about traveling.

But keeping up any kind of fitness regime is certainly challenging.  At home I have many set routes to follow, but on the road I'm mapping out a new course every few days.  Getting lost while out running is constantly on the back of my mind.  At home, when I finish running, I can hang my clothes to dry and immediately take a shower.  On the road I might have to stuff those sweaty clothes into my pack and not take them out for twelve hours.  At home I can wear new running clothes each day and wash them when I need to.  On the road, due to attempting to pack light, I may wear the same shirt over and over, each time crusting it with even more dried sweat, and I'm never sure when I'll be able to do the next load of laundry.  At home, I have a more predictable schedule.  On the road, I'm never sure if I'll be able to fit in a run in the first place.

With a half marathon coming up in September, and a pair of marathons later this fall, it was imperative that I keep it up somehow during the trip, and despite the difficulties, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

On the night train to Bulgaria

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Running in Turkey

Running in Turkey has been significantly more challenging than other places, given how hilly/crowded/hot it is here.  But I'm still doing my best to get the runs in on the road.

Went for a 30 minute run with my couchsurfing host Süphan on the Asian side of Istanbul this morning.  She had to bail after a few minutes, and I did the rest on my own through her neighborhood, trying not to get lost.

And here's a much better picture of Istanbul, taken at sunset the other night while crossing the Bosphorus by ferry:

Sunset over Istanbul

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Running in Serbia II

Another run here in Belgrade.  30 minutes out and back, mostly along a pedestrian route, so much better than my first run here.  The second half was all uphill again, though.

I really didn't want to go running this morning.  I was in a small room with a very loud snorer last night, then finally switched to the bean bag in the TV room, but had to suffer the comings and goings of people all night.  Obviously I didn't sleep well.

But tonight I'm boarding a night train to Bulgaria, and tomorrow night I'm boarding another night train to Turkey, so I may not be able to run for a few days.  I knew I had to run this morning whether I wanted to or not.

Istanbul will be my final stop of this trip, and I'll have a full week to find running routes and get some training done.  Then I head home for a week, then off to Florida to visit Stevie's family.  It's hard to keep up training while traveling, but it's a decent price to pay to be out in the world and experiencing so much.
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