I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we still are Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effect
Without the ghost of a shadow on it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolutely unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you at an interval
Just around the corner All is well.
Henry Scott Holland 1847-1918
Canon of St Pauls Cathedral
On June 18th, my grandmother, Alice Kennedy, passed away. She was 86.
Nana was not my biological grandmother, a topic that I touched on back in April, but which never mattered in the grand scheme of things. For all of my life, she was the only one of my grandmothers whom I actually saw more than once or twice a year and was a routine part of my childhood. Over the course of our childhoods, my brother and I spent countless weekends at Granddad and Nana’s house. I remember her taking me into the backyard at the house she shared with my Granddad so that I could search for and make wishes on the ‘wishing stones’ – pumpkin-sized pieces of polished glass. She taught me how to weed and how to harvest the small tomatoes growing in their garden. We went to yard sales, bought corn on the cob to place in the squirrel feeder, and spent evenings driving the back roads of Montgomery County searching for deer in the fields. I looked forward to Rice Krispies cereal for breakfast (in the mini boxes that you could pour the milk directly into), Barq’s Red Cream soda served at Granddad’s bar, and trips to PJ Pumpernickel’s for the pickle bar. I remember watching Milo & Otis and Wheel of Fortune every time we visited. It never got old.
As time passed and John and I grew older, our weekend stays at Nana and Granddad’s became less frequent. School and extracurricular activities dominated our spare time and we were unable to visit as often. Still, Nana and Granddad came to support us. They gave me my first (and only) violin, which I still play, and attended countless elementary school recitals (from which I suspect their ears never fully recovered). They came to my horseback riding competitions and babysat my brother during my 1st degree black belt test. Out of all my grandparents, it was they who braved the 100+ degree heat to attend my (outdoor) high school graduation. They even made the long journey to St. Mary’s College in my sophomore year to watch my crew team compete. That they sacrificed their time, made a space in their busy schedule to see me, to attend events that were important to me, never ceased to amaze me. It continues to mean the world to me.
A stroke felled Nana in September of 2010 shortly before I returned to the UK. It was the first time that I had to personally confront severe illness in a grandparent. I was only 9 when my father’s father, Grandpa, was hospitalized. I didn’t get a chance to see him before he died and his funeral was a very formal affair where I was encouraged neither to cry nor ask questions about what had happened. So to see Nana so physically diminished, as well as to witness the toll her illness had on those who cared for her (Granddad, my aunt and uncle, and my mother), was quite hard for me. And now she is gone.
I’ve been having a hard time with it even though I know that she lived a good, long life, enjoyed 30 years with my Granddad, and has now gone on to a better place. And at least I had the opportunity to see her one last time when I arrived home from the UK in May. I will never forget the love and kindness that she showed me.
Our family will be holding a visitation for Nana on Friday in Laytonsville while the actual funeral service will be held at Granddad and Nana’s church, Salem Methodist, on Saturday.
Beannachd Dia dhuit, Nana. Bidh mi gur ionndrainn.
On June 15, 2008, heady with the excitement of preparing to spend the next academic year abroad in Oxford and Edinburgh, I decided to start a blog as a way to document my travels for my friends and family. My first few posts were simple: a survey to get to know me, my nervousness about this new experience, the birth of my cousin Matthew’s first child, my thoughts regarding the Beijing Olympics. I was 19 (less than a month away from turning 20), entering my junior year in college, and still woefully naive about the world as a whole. I was so innocent, so idealistic, so…young. Three years on and it is amazing how things have changed. I’m three years older (and rapidly approaching decrepitude), 3/4ths of the way finished graduate school, and more familiar with human nature than I care to be. I’ve loved…and lost. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to travel to seven different countries, made numerous marvelous friends, and seen some absolutely amazing sights. More importantly, I have a better understanding of what I want to do with my life and what I want out of it. And although many of my lessons have been learned the hard way, I am the better for it.
What are the next three years going to bring? Who knows? A job, certainly. More opportunities for travel? I hope. All I know is that if they are as crazy as the past three years have been, then I am in for one hell of a wild ride. So here’s to another three years of Viaggiatory! (At which point, from the sophisticated perspective garnered from surviving 26 years on this Earth, I will no doubt be commenting on how innocent my 23-year-old self seemed.)
In typical fashion, it seems that Maryland has missed the memo that summer does not officially begin for another week and a half. It has not rained once since I arrived home from the UK. (Indeed, the last episode of rain I have seen was on May 7th in Stratford-upon-Avon.) Temperatures have remained firmly lodged in the upper 80s/mid 90s (32-36° C for those in the rest of the world). We have been under a code red heat advisory for the past few days, which has made running outside a bit perilous. (I’ll admit that I’ve mostly wussed out and been doing TurboJam in the basement.) I believe that this is the first time in my 23 years of life that my father has turned on the air conditioning before mid-July. It’s truly shocking.
Anyway, since I’ve been busy these past few days taking the Foreign Service Officer Test (more on that later), I’ve found myself hard-pressed to post. And because of this, I need to play catch-up in regards to some of the more interesting things that have been occurring down here in Scaggsville.
On May 29th, I ran the 2011 Patapsco Trail Run held at Patapsco State Park in Catonsville, MD by the Baltimore Road Runners and the Howard County Striders (the latter of which I am a member). I ran the same race last year with my then-boyfriend on the very day that I left to spend the entire summer in Edinburgh. All I remember from that first race is being told by race directors not to drown in the river (up to waist high in 2010), being forced to a walk by the
mountains hills, dislocating my knee, and crying for the last 1/2 mile. The only other race I’ve finished crying was my marathon, but those were tears of happiness as opposed to frustration. Since my body was still balking at the recent change from the mild temperatures of London to the ridiculous humidity of Maryland, I set my goals for the race at a bare minimum: survival. Meeting that, I hoped to not cry or dislocate anything. If I could get through the race having met those goals, I would be satisfied.
The Patapsco Trail Run is a self-described ‘challenging’ off-road race that winds through the Baltimore and Howard County sections of the Patapsco Valley State Park. It is roughly 7 miles in length (but feels about 20), crosses a river that can be anywhere between ankle and waist high depending on the time of day, traverses a swinging bridge and train tracks, and forces runners to climb sharp inclines, the steepest of which reduces almost everyone to a walk. Last year, the event attracted some 150 runners. This year, most likely due to the extreme temperatures, only 88 finished. This meant less of a backup at the start of the race since the narrow trail entrance allows only one person through the brush at a time.
The first mile of the race was deceptive since it was mostly downhill. I remember thinking ‘what was I so upset about last year? This isn’t so bad.’ The trail is incredibly scenic and I enjoyed running underneath the old railroad bridge as we made our way towards the river crossing. It was around the mile 2 mark that I ran into my first (and only major) problem. The field of runners had separated out enough that I no longer had anyone in front of me and I was so in the ‘groove’ that I completely breezed past the turn-off for the river crossing. I only realized after about 3 minutes when another runner came blasting past me in the opposite direction asking me when I had last seen the last orange trail marker. Feeling a bit disheartened (since it had been quite a while), I turned around and found my way to the river crossing, which, thankfully, was only ankle-deep this year. The remaining five miles of the race are a blur. I remember the pain of the never-ending uphills (one of which was so steep as to force almost everyone to a walk), crossing railroad tracks and almost falling off the swinging bridge. Despite this, I finished two minutes faster than last year to place 29th of 88 (6th among the women). I can honestly say, however, that this race was harder than my marathon. A lot harder! The best part of the race? The bagels and donuts afterward! (Although the heat was so much that I didn’t actually eat one . )
I joined the Striders a few days after arriving back in the States but, as of today, have still yet to attend one of their infamous Saturday morning ‘bagel runs’. I just can’t seem to get my butt up in time to make the 7AM kick-off time. I had entertained hopes of going this Saturday, but Dad and I are traveling to Gettysburg as part of the 2nd installation in our ’150th Anniversary of the Civil War’ tour.
Still, I am quite excited about the Striders’ summer schedule featuring two race series that I believe will provide a nice break up in my upcoming marathon training. The first series consists of several fun runs being held in Columbia, MD for both members and visitors alike. These 1-mile races are described on the Striders’ website as ‘low-key’ and can be walked instead of run if you are so inclined. They will be held on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer at Centennial Park. The second race series begins on June 17th at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia and kicks off the Friday Night XC Series. Each race $5 entry and those runners who complete three of the five 5k races will receive a free tech shirt. I’m bummed that I am going to be missing the first race, but definitely plan on getting to the rest. (Especially the July 22nd race being held at my old high school, Reservoir!)
In other running news: I’ve officially signed up for the Hands-on-House Half Marathon on October 1st in Lancaster, PA. I am going to fulfill my suppressed desire to become Amish (which is a story for later) by running through Amish country. I’ve also signed up for my second marathon: the Northern Central Railroad Trail Marathon on November 26th. Last fall, I had planned on running this race as my first marathon. Since my Boston qualifying time at the Shakespeare Marathon didn’t count since it was a non-qualifying race, I plan on using the NCR Marathon to iron out some of my hydration/fuel issues and actually qualify for Boston. (I don’t want to run Boston though. Too many people!) I will also be using the NCR Marathon to raise money for a charity that has some personal significance. More on this later though!
A few days ago I mentioned that I was working on a new and exciting project – this website! I had planned to reveal this last night but about five minutes before I hit ‘publish’ to send the site live, I made a mistake in the coding that completely ruined all of the work I had done over the past four days. Bummer, right?
Anyway, Viaggiatory is turning 3 on June 18th and I thought that it was about time to change from Blogger to a more permanent location. Change is coming and I can assure you that it will be for the better. The site is far from done, but should be complete within a few days.
In the near future, you can expect less complaining and more:
- Running advice
- Marathon training plans (I’ll be announcing my 2nd marathon soon)
- Job hunting in a
sad depressingrecovering economy
- Traveling on a budget
- Travel guides for those places I have been to
- Vegetarian recipes
- Attempts to get my strictly carnivorous father/brother to eat more veggies
- Traveling around the US of A
- How to write a dissertation and maintain (some semblance of) sanity
Plus all of the other happenings that come with being a single, 22-(soon to be 23) year-old graduate student attempting to get back into the DC social scene.
Thanks for reading!
Onwards to better things and a brighter future!
My ‘vacation’ is over and I’ve been occupying myself with several projects, one of which is my dissertation. Unfortunately for my academic career, the dissertation has taken a back seat to another project that is more interesting to me and will be revealed shortly. Check back tomorrow for more details!
I’ve also been applying to temporary jobs for the summer. My dreams of idling away this summer were smashed less than an hour after landing on American soil when, on my drive home from BWI, I saw gas being advertised for $4.05. (Parents: sorry for frightening you with my wail of despair.)
In the end, it is for the best that I try to find a temporary job. I haven’t had a summer ‘free’ since I was 12. From ages 13 to 19 I worked as first a camp counselor and then later camp riding instructor and barn manager at Columbia Horse Center. The following summer I took several economics courses at the local community college and served a journalism internship with ATHGO at the World Bank. The next two summers were spent with the Department of State in Arlington and Edinburgh. And now…I am unemployed and drifting. In addition to some ‘serious position’ applications, I’ve also filled out a few for the local health food stores, an eco-living store, an organic farm, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
Confession: I would be more than happy to get a job at the MD Renaissance Festival. When I was 7, my life’s ambition was to be a historical re-enactor at Colonial Williamsburg. It could be argued that I fulfilled this goal in my sophomore year at SMCM when I worked at Historic St. Mary’s City sorting lead type for the print house, raising flags aboard the Dove, and climbing trees behind Smith’s Ordinary in order to hack off an invasive form of ivy growing upon them. And while I long ago abandoned such career goals for more loftier ambitions (foreign correspondent, foreign service officer, analyst to name but a few), I will admit that there is a large part of me that would be chuffed to work at the Ren Fest. Especially since I have attended it every single year since birth. (True fact.)
Tomorrow is National Running Day! So strap on a pair of trainers, grab a buddy, and go out for a run!
- It takes roughly 2-3 weeks to acclimatize to hot weather. Re-adjust your personal goals and times accordingly.
- Slow down! As noted above, it takes 2-3 weeks to adjust to hotter weather. Even then, many runners fall into the trap of starting off too fast (i.e. at a ‘normal’ pace) too soon. Even if it does not feel ‘too hot’ outside when you start your run, once your core temperature rises due to physical exertion it will feel much warmer. Starting off your run at a slower pace will allow your body to adjust and prevent you from exhausting yourself too soon.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!!! I can’t stress this enough. It seems like common sense, but when push comes to shove, many runners forget to bring adequate fluids (water, sports drinks, etc.) to support their summer runs. I run into this problem all of the time because many times it seems cool enough outside that I will be able to ‘make do’ on whatever fluids I imbibed prior to running. Once I get a few miles into the run, however, I almost always regret this decision. How do you combat this problem? Most sports physicians recommend drinking adequate fluid (8-16oz) 30-45 minutes prior to exercise and then 6-8ozs every 10-15 minutes while running. If you absolutely cannot tolerate carrying a water bottle, try a hydration backpack or pre-position water bottles around your running route.
- Learn to recognize the early signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion. These include: nausea, chills, dizziness, cessation of sweating, disorientation, hallucination. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop immediately, seek a shady area, drink cold water, and rest. Pushing through these symptoms could lead to heat stroke (a condition that requires emergency medical attention). No run (training or race) is worth risking that.
- Run early or late. These are the times of the day when the temperature and humidity levels are likely to be lower, thus making for a more pleasant run. It also decreases your chances of heat stroke and sunburn. If you must run during the day, try to run along shady routes.
- Wear light-colored, moisture-wicking running clothes. Avoid cotton clothing, which soaks up sweat. If you can tolerate it, wear a hat.
- Don’t forget sunscreen!
- Try alternative forms of exercise to running. Go pool running. Hop on a treadmill. Cross train.
- Be sensible. If the weather channel has issued a heat advisory (which they usually do for a good reason), don’t go for a run. To sound horribly cliche, it is better to be safe than sorry.
1. I’ve applied for another job. I must not like freedom or something. I told myself (and everyone else) that I would RELAX this summer and enjoy my last bit of ‘me’ time before plunging into the real world. That lasted all of about a week before I submitted my first job application. I’d really really like to get this job, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
2. Being back in Maryland and in the brief ‘off’ period before I start training for my next marathon, I’ve been able to get back into barefoot running. It has made me realize just how much I missed running in my Vibrams.
3. I experienced the wonder that is the Georgetown Cupcake bakery yesterday. I went down to DC to have dinner/happy hour with my friend Brad and he bought me a cupcake from this famous bakery! (It has it’s own show on TLC – the true measure of success). I got a chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache. Delicious.
4. Alex and I went to Great Sage restaurant in Clarksville, one of Maryland’s best vegetarian establishments. I highly recommend it as it was absolutely wonderful. We also saw the Hangover 2. Considering that I hadn’t seen Hangover 1, I felt like I missed out on some of the jokes. However, it was not a bad movie, all things considered.
5. Tomorrow I am heading up to Catonsville to run the Patapsco Trail race. The race organizers describe it as ‘difficult’. I would consider it ‘hellish’. Last year, I finished the race crying due to the sheer number of steep uphills in the 7 mile race. If I don’t finish in the same state tomorrow, I’ll consider it a success.
Hot weather running tips coming tomorrow! Also: does anyone know what is the easiest/cheapest way to travel around in Canada?
Edit: Just realized that I am seriously going to have to start proof-reading these things. I seem to have developed the annoying habit of picking a word and then reusing it at every possible opportunity. This needs to change ASAP.
Since when did Maryland get so hot?
I went for a run around Centennial Lake this morning and almost began to experience complications from the heat halfway through the first 2.5 mile lap. I guess that living in the UK for the past year or so has made me soft. They say that it takes about 3 weeks to properly acclimatize to the heat, so I imagine that the next few weeks of running are going to be quite rough indeed. In lieu of this realization, I’ve decided to refrain from racing in the next few weeks. I’ll run the Patapsco Trail Run on Sunday, but that’s it. No sense in pushing myself in this heat.
Need some tips for running in the heat? Look for my next post!
Saw this on Pinterest and though it was relevant: