Reunited (And It Feels So Good)

IMG_0218Last weekend I rekindled the flame with my first love. And no, I don’t mean Jon Bon Jovi, although he did tag along for a little bit, reminding me to keep the faith, that one day, I will feel like a normal person again. I’ve been struggling – big time – with my running lately, and as is bound to happen, the less I do it, the less I feel motivated to do it. Last Sunday morning was on course to be yet another opportunity to run squandered, blown off with a sigh and followed by wistful regret for the rest of the day. Instead, I laced up my shoes, grabbed my iPod – something I rarely do, but I knew I’d need a little extra help – and headed out the door. I returned home 7.5 miles later sweaty and feeling like I had a new lease on life. I had worked out a few stresses in my mind, and felt ready to tackle the rest of the day and be the best mom I could be. I believe in some circles they call that balance. I call it feeling normal again. Continue reading →

Eighty Days and Trying Not to Count

IMG_6925With spring finally upon us (though not without a snow shower here and there) and nearly four months since my last post, our remaining days in Latvia are numbered. Eighty days remain, to be exact… enough time, in the eyes of Jules Verne, to circumnavigate the world, but not nearly enough time for me to reach the point of feeling ready to leave this beautiful place that has come to feel like home. Having never truly had a place I’d consider home, at least in the sense of a hometown or a simple answer to the question “Where are you from?”, it holds great meaning that Riga – which I knew almost nothing about before M. was assigned to work here – has become such a place of comfort. Indeed, I will miss it. We’ll be heading back to the U.S. for about a year, and following that, on to Yekaterinburg, Russia, where many new and exciting adventures surely await.  Continue reading →

Last Latvian Summer

img_4098As the sun rises later and sets earlier with each passing day, Mother Nature announces that fall has arrived, with her crisp breezes and turning leaves. Even though autumn is my favorite season, its arrival this year is a cruel reminder that our remaining days in beautiful Latvia are quickly slipping away. With only about nine months left in our tour here in Riga, our last Baltic summer has officially come to an end. We spent a good chunk of it with family and friends who came to visit us, and proudly showed them the city and country that have become our home over the last eighteen months. We snapped countless photos along the way so that we could forever cherish the true wonder that is summer in Latvia. Here are 50 of my favorites.  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 →

The Steepest Hill in Riga

IMG_1245In my experience, most runners have a love-hate relationship with hill running. A necessary part of any solid training regimen, it is tough and gritty, often leaving us gasping for air. But, as with most things in life, the more we do it, the easier it becomes, building strength, power, and confidence in a way that few other workouts can. Ask any runner and he or she will be sure to regale you with mighty tales of hill conquering following hours of intense training, sweat, and yes, possibly even tears. And probably some vomit, too.  Continue reading →

Running in Riga

IMG_0133Naturally, one of my first orders of business upon arriving in Latvia was to figure out where I can run. To my delight, there is no shortage of running paths in Riga, and even more exciting is that Riga has quite a large running community. I had been a bit worried that a woman running, often alone, and sometimes with a dog, might be a strange sight here, but it is not. I am surrounded by runners everywhere I go, and M. and I have already found quite a few trails during our first week here. They have provided the perfect avenue (literally!) for exploring the city on foot. Continue reading →