Finish What You Start

FullSizeRender-3I thought I’d be celebrating today. Yesterday’s Riga Marathon was supposed to be The One… the one that would get me a shiny new personal record, a Boston-qualifying time… the one that would end our time in Latvia with a bang. Instead, it was a bust, and instead of celebrating, I am mourning. Mourning the loss of what could have been, the feeling of having spent countless hours of time and energy – literally blood, sweat and tears – into training for what turned out to be one of the most difficult running experiences of my life. It’s a heartbreak that rivals some of the broken relationships of my past, and one that some people may not understand, because after all, it’s only running. It’s an activity that I choose to do (and one that many people actually hate), and it is supposed to be fun. Why so much melodrama, you may be asking.  Continue reading →

Under the Israeli Sun

“The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more, it is the history of earth and of heaven.” 

–  Benjamin Disraeli

IMG_7238If someone had told me a year ago, or even a month ago, that I would take a trip to Israel this spring, I’m not so sure I would have believed him. It’s not that I didn’t want to go to Israel; rather, the thought hadn’t ever really crossed my mind. As an Arab-American, I grew up surrounded by people who had such strong feelings about the politics and conflict – on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian situation – that my impression of the area had become marred by thoughts and images of unrest, violence, and even fear. Continue reading →

Decide What to Be and Go Be It

img_5366When I decided to work part-time instead of full-time this year, I envisioned having all kinds of time to run, cook, write, and do all of the other things that full-time teachers never have the time to do. And though I have managed to keep myself quite busy in the last few months with a couple of hourly teaching gigs, it would be disingenuous to say that I haven’t had time to write. In fact, I have – there has been plenty of time, actually, but my motivation and inspiration to do so has been woefully lacking.  Continue reading →

Moved by Mountains: Adventures in Georgia

img_4965What is it that makes a snow-capped mountain jutting up into a clear blue sky from a sea of rolling green hills empirically beautiful? Or the sound of soft waves as the tide comes into shore intrinsically peaceful? A landfill covered with rotting garbage inherently unattractive and an abandoned (or active, if you ask me) strip mall decidedly depressing? After all, no one looks at a river polluted with discarded plastic and says, Wow, that’s really beautiful. Or do they? Who determines what is naturally beautiful and what is not?  Continue reading →

A Run through the Woods: Cesis ECO Trail 81K

IMG_4613If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

This quote, from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., became my mantra yesterday as I navigated my way through Latvia’s beautiful Gauja National Park at the Cēsis ECO Trail 81K race. And though I could never fly, I ran as fast I could when I could and walked when I needed to. And, at times, I even crawled, just to keep moving forward to the finish line.  Continue reading →

One-Woman Marathon

IMG_4131Some days are diamonds…. Some days are rocks.  – Tom Petty

I ran a marathon today. With no spectators, mile markers, or bands along the course, it wasn’t a typical marathon. Just me, my race pack, a few good snacks, and some tunes for 26.3 miles (an extra tenth of a mile for good measure). It was a one-woman marathon, and the farthest I have ever run on my own and not as part of a race.  Continue reading →