Recapping 2012… A Year I Never Expected

I had much of this post written before December 17th. I am going to leave what was written originally as is but add a little something up here first to give a little more context to my 2012…. I feel this post is better late than never.

On December 17th, my grandmother passed away. It was sudden, unexpected, and devastating. Mere days before Christmas, a fatal heart attack that no one saw coming was ultimately to blame. Surprisingly, I managed to keep myself together for most of what followed, only breaking down in the hardest moments, trying with everything I had in me to keep my tears hidden.

My Nuna was the most generous person I’ve ever known. Anything I ever wanted, she was willing to supply. She was the reason our Christmas tree had unnecessary but always welcome mounds of presents under it on Christmas Day, why I always had an “emergency $20” in my wallet (that was almost ALWAYS spent on non-emergent things) and why I had a life-size princess Barbie doll (remember those things?!)

She was also stubborn, but in the kind of way that made you thankful for traditional things, like the exact right way to make a turkey on Thanksgiving and why, to this day, I sit closer to my steering wheel in the car than is really necessary because “it’ll protect me.” No, it will probably make things worse, but things stick when you’re a little kid.

I miss my Nuna more than I can possibly say. I am thankful that I had her for almost all of 2012, but 2013 and on will not be the same without her.

My little sister, Nuna and me... Little kid fro and all.
My little sister, Nuna and me… Little kid fro and all.

Now, onto what I had written before. Happy New Years everyone!

Remember when I wrote the post, “2012 Will be Great?”  Well, it was.

But not before it was absolutely horrible.

2012 became a year that I never expected. Last December, I had my whole life planned out. A special relationship to me ended and I thought things would never be the same.  They aren’t – they’re better. Things change, people change, and everything happens for a reason. I think I’ve finally grasped that concept.

But 2012 had many great things. Many amazing things. Allow me to tell you about them.

– I ran my first 5-miler.

First 5-miler on New Years Day 2012.
First 5-miler on New Years Day 2012.

– I ran my first 10K.

First 10K, March 2012.
First 10K, March 2012.

– I spent my summer at the London Olympics.

London2012... The best summer of my whole life.
London2012… The best summer of my whole life.

– I turned 24 on the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Happy 24th Birthday to me!
Happy 24th Birthday to me!

– I watched two of my childhood friends get married.

Photo courtesy of the Groom's Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of the Groom’s Facebook page.

– I met a guy I would get to know while I was away for 7 weeks… and fall for him… hard.

This is my boyfriend, Sean. I suppose its time for all of you to be introduced.
This is my boyfriend, Sean. I suppose its time for all of you to be introduced.

– I was in 2 DanceWorks Boston shows and choreographed 2 routines for it.

My routine, "Deadly", featuring the 7 Deadly Sins.
My routine, “Deadly”, featuring the 7 Deadly Sins.

– I finished my Master’s Degree. (FINALLY!!!!!! Master Torto has a great ring to it.)

The face of a Master.
The face of a Master. You know you’re impressed.

– I got a part-time, paid internship as a Sports Web Producer at Boston.com.

I changed in a lot of ways.

When I look back on 2012, I realized how much my life has changed and I honestly don’t think I’d change a single second of it. Even though parts of it were incredibly difficult and there were times when I wanted to give everything up and just live in my own misery, I pulled through it. I am happier than I have been in a long time.

Here’s to 2013 and everything it brings. I haven’t really made any New Year’s resolutions but here’s one: blog more. Good plan.

It’s been three months?!

Hello again!!

Apparently I took a completely unscheduled hiatus from blogging and now all of a sudden, it’s November.

I never really meant to stop blogging for all this time.  Life just got away from me there for a while.  If you’re just dying for a not-so-short-but-still-sweet recap of what’s been going on with me for the last 3 months, buckle up… you’re in for a bumpy ride.

I last left off leaving for Paris.  It was incredible.  I spent the first few minutes of my 24th birthday on the top of the lit up Eiffel Tower and it was nothing short of spectacular.  Keesa, Matt, Justin and I spent the rest of the day lounging out front of the Eiffel tower with two bottles of wine before getting on a plane back to London.

Happy 24th Birthday to me! The Eiffel Tower was my present but I couldn’t fit it on the plane home. Darn.

Fast forward a few days…the London2012 Olympics were beginning, I was knee deep in school and internship work and life was surreal.  Though stressed, I was happiest than I had been in months, partly due to completely unrelated circumstances that I will get to in a bit.

So the Olympics… yes, well, let’s just say I’ll never be able to watch them from my couch again.  Yes, I will be finding a way to get to Rio in 2016, hopefully by then I’ll be an Olympic correspondent for… something… anything.  Just get me to Rio.

Yes, that is Ryan Lochte and yes, I was that close to him. We chatted… Let’s just say its a good thing he’s an Olympic athlete cause the kid’s got rocks in his head.

So let’s back up a bit… before leaving for London I was pretty much a miserable wreck.  Long story short, my boyfriend of a very long time broke up with me.  I was blindsided, devastated and, in the midst of the worst and hardest semester of my entire life, fell completely apart.  I considered dropping out of school, I considered giving up London, I considered being a moping, miserable person for the rest of my life.  And for a few months, I was.  But I stayed in school and committed to London because let’s be real here… what was the point of throwing away the $60,000 I had already spent on my grad program and the trip of a lifetime?  There wasn’t.

I buried myself in my school work, dance and being with people who really did love me.  I cried every day, multiple times a day for weeks.  I listened to sad music, ran a lot of lonely miles and talked to anyone who would listen.  I didn’t believe it when people told me that life would get better, that there was someone out there who would love me unconditionally, someone who I was supposed to be with.  This was in March.

Dance (and dance friends make everything better.)
Best Friends. No shame.

My BU friends took the brunt of the emotional roller coaster simply because I saw them every. single. day.

This dinner was for cheering me up. I also carbo-loaded for my 10K the next day. It was awesome.

A few months went by and soon, I wasn’t crying anymore… or at least not as much.  I finished my semester with one of the highest GPAs of my entire academic career and was now looking ahead to the summer.  London: getting away, doing everything for myself, letting nothing hold me back.  And I was scared as all hell to go away for 2 months so that pretty much trumped all other emotions at the time.

This is how I get good grades. No, but really.
And Keesa was one of my roommates in London. Best matchup ever.

June rolled around and soon, I was mere days from leaving.  But before I hopped on a plane to Europe for the summer, my family and I went to the wedding of two of my very good childhood friends.  Together for 7 years, throughout high school and college, they got married in our church and had a beautiful reception on the water in Nahant.  Though slightly emotional, it was one of the best nights I had in a very long time.

Aren’t they the cutest?
Photo courtesy of Sarah’s Facebook….

I even met someone… but more about him another time.

Spoiler alert: This is where the previously mentioned “happy, unrelated circumstances” comes into play.

He seems nice…

Three days later, I boarded my plane, took off to London and went to the Olympics.

The End..

Kidding.

Is that the end of the story?  Hardly.  Let’s just say I not only got to go to the Olympics this summer, but I also got to know someone very special from 3,000 miles away.  But I’ll leave it there for now.

My Summer in London: Off to Paris!

I can’t believe it’s been 12 days since my last post!! I’m currently working on one encompassing everything I’ve been up to since July 6th, but at the moment, I’m slightly preoccupied…

Tomorrow morning, at 3:20am, a bus will take me, Justin, Keesa and Matt to Luton airport.  I don’t know about you, but I only know what 3:20am looks like because I’m usually up on Skype or g-chat until 4am… But to actually have to be a functioning human being who is traveling to another country, I should probably take a nap or go to bed super early or something.

Not likely.

We’ll be spending the next 4 days in the beautiful city of Paris.  Think of it as a mini vacation in the midst of my program here.  We had spent the past 2ish weeks taking a special topics class on the Olympics, took our final this morning (aced it) and I have one package already done that should be posted on boston.com sometime next week.  We’ll be going nonstop for the 3 weeks after Paris in full-blown internship mode so after already being here for a little over 3 weeks, a getaway to France is more than perfect.

The last time I visited Paris, I was 9, and as much fun as I’m sure I had there being hauled around by Len & Shirl, I am bouncing-out-of-my-chair excited to get to experience it again in a different way.  The four of us are even considering a day trip to Versailles on Saturday.

And the best part?  It’ll be my birthday while I’m there… Oh hey, how did you spend your 24th birthday?  In Paris… no big deal.

So the next time you see me, I’ll be a little older, probably none the wiser and hopefully full of good French wine.  Always gotta have wine..

Look out Paris, not sure you’re ready for us…

Trouble? Not us…

…or them.

Paris is doomed.

My Summer in London: Where I’m Living, What I’m doing

Hello again!  This time from Courtfield Gardens in Kensington.

Home Sweet Home until August 14th!

I moved into my flat on Monday after a weeklong vacation with my family.  Courtfield Gardens is a mere 25 minutes away via tube  and I quickly settled into my 3-bed room with two roomies, our own bathroom and an accessible kitchen.

It’s a lot bigger than it looks and I love it.

On Tuesday, my special topics class on the Olympics started.  Three hours a day Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and our schedule looks a little something like this:

3 weeks of class + 3 weeks of internship = 6 fast weeks

Essentially, I’m putting together a presentation about Women and the Olympics, shooting and editing a ton of video and stills, and have my first few weekends free to travel Europe and explore all that London has to offer.

Instead of sleeping after class, because let’s be real here…. I’m hardly doing any of that for one reason or another… I decided to go down to a local dance studio for an advanced contemporary class.

Not only were both the class and the instructor amazing (I was drenched in sweat within the first five minutes and could hardly move the next day), it had a familiar name making me feel right at home.

A little piece of my DanceWorks family here in London ❤

DanceWorks London… who knew?

When I got back from the class, my friends were ready to get a drink and check out some of the local nightlife.  We decided on the Courtfield Pub about 10 minutes from our place.

Me and Keesa!

The only boys in the program… they have it made.

On Wednesday, our group made the journey on the tube to West Ham to take an Olympic walking tour.

This is Pepe, our tour guide. He really enjoyed his stories but we learned a ton.

We walked for about 2 hours, learning about everything from past Olympics to how and why London was chosen over Paris for the 2012 Summer Games.  Apparently everyone thought that Paris would get it over London, including all of England, and when it was announced that Paris lost, the French didn’t take it so well.  Go figure.

To see the Games, get off at the Stratford tube station and go straight to the park. You’re welcome.

For now, the area surrounding the Olympic Park is still pretty accessible but within the next few weeks, security will tighten and getting anywhere near the entrance will be impossible without tickets or the highest security clearance.

This way to ultimate sporting glory…

See?

Big fence, very legit.

This is the viewing tower and the main Olympic arena…

Doesn’t get more badass than that.

Since it was the 4th of July on Wednesday, there was no way that we were going to not celebrate, despite the fact that we’re in England.  If anything, the irony made it that much better.  We got ready, had a drink or two, and found a bar in Covent Gardens called Roadhouse that we heard would be full of other Americans we could party with.  It was.. and we had a blast.

Future journalists of America celebrating America.

Sometimes we let Justin think he has game…

Just kidding, Justin. We love you!

Matt decided to bring the American flag along for the ride.

AMURICA.

It was, by far, the best 4th of July I’ve ever had.

Despite staying awake until an ungodly hour, we decided to dedicate the next day to being as touristy as possible.  Our solution?  The Tower of London.

Torture chambers, the Crown Jewels. Classic England.

Before going inside the fortress, we checked out the Tower Bridge, beautifully adorned with the Olympic Rings.

Breathtaking right?

Within the walls of the Tower of London, we joined a guided tour with a Beefeater.  I think we got the best one the Tower has because we learned a ton and laughed the entire way though.  He was informative, clever and knew how to keep the audience engaged.  A+ Mr. Beefeater.

Let’s be friends.

We saw the Crown Jewels, took a tour through the Torture Towers and checked out the Royal Artilleries.

The White Tower… home of devices like “The Rack”.

Sometimes Matt likes to play with ancient weapons.

That is focus.

Today included things like a gym session with Justin (who made me run a 7:30 mile to the gym and I thought I was going to die), shopping on Oxford Street (oh Primark…), a much-need 2 hour nap, froyo, wine and Despicable Me…. a terrific way to end one of the busiest weeks ever.

I want to know… How are things in the States?  I heard it’s super hot in Boston!  What else should I check out in London and what would YOU like to see in a London-themed giveaway here on the blog?

My Summer in London Week 1: Family Vacation

Greetings from London, England!!!!  (Warning: Lengthy post ahead…)

It only took me a total of 15 hours to get here from the time I left my house at 2pm US time last Tuesday afternoon to when I arrived at my aunt’s place in London at 10:30am Wednesday England time (5:30am US time.)

Bye bye America! See you in 7 weeks…

All-in-all, the travel day wasn’t horrible.  6 hours from Boston to Frankfurt on Lufthansa’s business class is an extremely luxurious (cough cough SPOILED) way to travel.  My dad works for Lufthansa so it just makes sense and all….

We landed in Germany at 5:30am their time before boarding a much smaller airplane for the 1 and a half hours to London, where the time changed again, back 1 hour.

Hello business class.. thanks for the unlimited drinks for 6 hours.

Now, I’ve traveled abroad a lot in my life and jet lag isn’t something that normally hurts me too much, but this time around, it was BRUTAL.  I don’t know if it’s because we left the USA so late in the day or if it was the 3 hours getting from Heathrow to my aunt’s house because of a massive line at the UK border or the amount of luggage we had or the time on the tube but either way, I was dying for sleep by noon.

Happy to be in England, dying to get some sleep.

After taking the fastest hour-long nap of my life, we were back up and off to one of my favorite places in all of London…

Oh Harrod’s… I could live in you.

I proceeded to practically run around the store, buying things like Harrod’s brand red wine.  Don’t judge me.. this is good stuff.

What are the odds these bottles of amazingness make it back to the USA? Answer: Not very good.

The rest of my week looked a little something like this:

My family’s place where we stayed for our vacation… freakin’ massive and beautiful.

On Thursday, we visited Windsor and saw the castle where the Queen is currently residing.  We didn’t actually get to see her, but we did get to see her guards and their stellar hats.

The Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle.

We tried some on just for fun.

Lookin’ awesome.

Friday….Stonehenge and Bath!

I like taking dance photos in front of historic landmarks… Sorry I’m not sorry.

Stonehenge was beautiful, albeit a bit chilly but by the time we got to Bath, the weather changed completely.

The Roman Baths in Bath…

We toured the Roman Baths and checked out Bath Abbey.  Bath is the setting of one of my favorite books, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, so it was incredible being there where the story takes place.

Bath… I could live here.

That night, my cousins took me and my sister out to experience the London nightlife.  Ever met an Irish kid you couldn’t understand because his accent was so thick?  Now I can say I have…

This is Gabrielle.. She’s an expert in what we like to call “photo bombing”….

One night club in particular looked slightly familiar..

O’Neills? I thought we left you back in Salem….

Later that night, I decided it would be smart to stay up until 2:45am thinking that I’d get to sleep in the next day.  My dad, however, had other plans, strolling into my room at a casual 7:00am to inform me that I needed to get up RIGHT THAT MINUTE because we were going to miss the 8:21 train to Oxford.  Fail sleeping in.

Oxford included a tour of the gorgeous Blenheim Palace and scoping out Oxford University’s campus.

Who’s moving in with me?

The rose garden of Blenheim was by far my favorite.

Reminds me of the Secret Garden.

By the way, I got a new camera…can you tell?  No more iPhone photos for me!

Did I mention how much I love roses?

100 British pounds to whoever can name what movie this courtyard was featured in…. Hint: It’s one of my favorites series of all time.

Oxford was the shooting location for……………..

After falling asleep on the train ride home, my family went to dinner at one of my favorite spots in London: Kandoo.  This hole-in-the-wall Persian place is BYOB and serves incredible food.  Even my mom, the pickiest eater in the entire world, loved it.

Best Persian food ever.

Today I finally got to sleep in and didn’t wake up until… noon.  With my parents out of the house (they decided to go back to Bath and spend a few more hours there), Melissa and I printed a map, got some tips from our cousin Ali and hit the streets of London for our own pub crawl.

I have a map and a beer. Go.

First up, The Beehive..

First stop.

Then, The Marylebone, which ended up being my favorite stop of the day.  I recommend the Passionfruit Bellini.

2 for 1 cocktails all day Sundays…. I will be back.

Third, The Prince Regent, where I had my first-ever glass of Zinfandel.  I usually stay away from this type of red because I’m biased towards Merlot, Cab and Malbec, but this one was surprisingly delicious.

Bar #3

Our last stop, the Barley Mow, was cute too.

Last stop…. NOT.

About three seconds after we left the Barley Mow, we got a call from Ali who told us to come to a bar called The Globe to watch the Italy-Spain “football” game with her, Gabby and bunch of their Embassy friends.

Fun place but super crowded for the game.

…And then Ali spilled her full beer all over the place and our new friend Derek laughed at her.

Whasamattawithyou????

All-in-all, a successful pub crawl around London and a great way to end my first week here.

Post-pub crawl success.

So that’s my trip to London up until this point.  Tomorrow I move to BU London at Courtfield Gardens in Kensington and have orientation before starting class on Tuesday!  Once I’m settled in, I promise more pictures and maybe a few more posts so they aren’t as long…

Cheers!

I want to know… Have you traveled or studied abroad?  What’s your best advice for getting around London and/or Europe?  I’m dying to get to Paris and Rome but I’m not sure of the best way to go about it… help!!

How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation

That’s right.

In 8 days, I will be on a plane headed for one of my favorite places in the entire world: London, England.

But before we talk about why, let’s back up to a little over a year ago.

When I was looking at graduate schools, BU was at the top of my (very short) list.  After bombing my GREs and writing what I thought were less-than-stellar essays, I sent my applications away and hoped for the best.  The day my acceptance letter from BU came, I screamed so loud I almost sent my then-pregnant friend Miriah into early labor… I was just that excited.

When I went to BU’s accepted student’s day, one of the professors told us about an opportunity to study abroad in London covering the 2012 Summer Olympics.  After already falling in love with the school, the possibility of spending a summer in one of my favorite cities sealed the deal.  In October, I applied for the program, found out I got in and happily sent in my $500 deposit without a second thought.

Do we look happy? Of course we do.. we’re going to the Olympics!

Fast forward 6 months….

Going through the break-up with Stephen made London a distant nightmare.  No, I don’t want to spend 6 weeks in England, I want to stay here and fix my relationship and rebuild my life.  I came mere inches from dropping out of the program, only sticking with it due to the fact that giving it up might be the stupidest thing I’d ever do.  Reject an opportunity like this to be a miserable wreck all summer long?  Take a minute and rethink that decision…

The program, appropriately titled “Covering the London Olympics”, consists of 6 weeks in England – 3 weeks dedicated to a special topics class Monday through Wednesday and then 3 weeks of full-time internships with a local media outlet.  I was assigned boston.com and could not be happier.  With a group of 3 other girls, we will be producing our own website linked to boston.com and I will provide news packages and video content from on-site in London.  Not too bad right?

Why I’m excited… in list form:

– London is one of my favorite cities in the world.  I’ve been twice and if I could live in any other country, England soars to the top of the list.  Italy is a close second.

– I’m spending the first week there with my family.  My dad’s itinerary already includes places like Bath, Stonehenge, Windsor and Oxford.  My sister wants to do a pub crawl with my parents.  It’s going to be an interesting week.

– Harrod’s.  The most amazing department store in the world.  I don’t even know if calling it a “department store” is really a fair way to describe it since it takes up an entire city block, including a basement level, and takes an entire day to get through.  The wine cellar alone makes me want to move in.

– I plan on traveling to other places while in Europe.  The top two locations?  Paris and Rome.  I’ve been to Paris but the last time I was there, I was 9.  I have this not-so-secret ambition to shoot a stand up in the grassy area in front of the Eiffel Tower.  I’ve never been to Italy but it’s where my family is from.  I plan on tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain and wishing for the one thing I want more than anything else in this world.  Sorry… can’t tell!

And in true Marie fashion, there are also reasons why I’m nervous…

– This will be the longest I’ve ever been away from home for an extended period of time.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big girl and I can take care of myself but I have a feeling that a bout or two of homesickness will hit me at some point.  I’ve always been very much attached to my family and friends so leaving for 7ish weeks will be tough.

– I’m scared I won’t be able to work out.  This is probably a stupid reason to be nervous since I’ll probably just suck it up and register for the gym while I’m there and run around the city, but what about dance?!  Hope my roommates don’t mind some quality stretching and impromtu dance parties in our room…

– My personal life is still a little on the messy side.  It’s not exactly ideal to peace out of the country while I feel this way but maybe the time away really will help…? Let’s just leave it at that.

– $$.  London is expensive, I want to travel and my funds are tight.  I guess I can sacrifice eating for souvenirs.  Hope my aunt doesn’t mind me bringing my laundry to her place… to do one load there costs almost 30 bucks.  I kid you not.

I think that’ll do for now. 

So while I’m in London, my iPhone will be disabled other than it’s camera function (SAD!!!!)  I will have internet and be updating the blog, hopefully more regularly than I have been lately.  I promise to take a million pictures and post them while I’m away as well as tweets and links to my work.  I love e-mails and Tweets and Facebook posts so don’t hesistate to send me any!

Bye bye USA… Cheers!

Chase the Gorilla Down Argilla 5K Race Recap

Sooooo, hi.  It’s nice to see you around here again… so sorry I’ve been neglecting my little corner of the internet.  I’ll try to get out of the bad habit of starting a post and not finishing it til weeks later… like this one.

I ran this race on Saturday, April 14th and I’m just getting this recap up now.  I don’t think I’ve ever waited this long after a race to post a recap, but I’m a busy college kid with a lot on her mind, what can I say?

Let’s just start off this post with the best news of this race: I came away from it with a shiny new 5K PR!!!

It was definitely not easy and parts of me were definitely not cooperating but I pulled it off.  I was aiming for anything under 32:00 because my previous PR from last September was 32:46.  A new PR was long overdue at this point.

 According to my Garmin, I came in at 32:01 but when I saw the official race results, I saw a pleasantly surprising 31:44 with a 10:19 pace on the list.  Saying I was thrilled would be a huge understatement.  I could’ve done cartwheels.

6:31… that’s my surge at the finish line. Never thought I’d see those numbers on my Garmin!

I signed up for the Chase the Gorilla 5K just a few days before the race.  It was one of those “I really need a race this weekend” moments and since this one ran through Ipswich, I knew it’d be great.  I convinced my mom to come with me so we were up at the lovely hour of 7am (on a Saturday morning mind you) for some pre-race festivities.  And by festivities I mean I ate two pieces of light wheat toast with peanut butter, drank some (but not enough) water and got to the race to pick up my number and a bright blue technical t-shirt a mere 5 minutes before the gun went off.

Timing has never been a strong suit.

I knew I wanted a PR and after running my 10K without stopping and getting in a few solid runs since then, I figured I had it in the bag.  Still, I was nervous.  And sore.  The day before, I decided that doing a full gym workout followed by a 90-minute Vinyasa yoga session and a 2-hour dance rehearsal was a good way to prepare for the race.  My bum was very very sore.

It was a small race of 400 or so runners and of course, a gorilla.  Races nowadays are a little bittersweet for me.  As much as I love having my mom there to take pictures of me and hug me at the finish line, there was always a special someone there who I could literally collapse into.  It was one of those things that kept me going I guess.

But I digress.

For the first time since I started running/racing over a year ago, my legs felt like lead.  I only have myself to blame for not taking a rest day on Friday, but after the first mile, they loosened up.  It was warmer than I’ve been used to running in but managed to make it to mile 2 to the water station without wanting to die too bad.   I took a few sips, dumped the rest over my head and kept going. 

By the end of mile 2, I was ready to be done.  My breathing was really heavy, my face was on fire and my right shoulder had developed a strange twinge-y feeling that I couldn’t shake.  I kept saying “32 minutes, 32 minutes” over and over as I rounded the corner to the finish line.

With Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” blasting in my ears,  I surged to the finish line, and I-Kid-You-Not did a full on leap to the timing chip platform thing to stop my timer.  Embarrassed?  Nope.

I glanced down at my garmin, saw 32:01 and had to use what little energy I had left not to burst into tears.  My mom came over with water and hugged me and even though I don’t think she fully gets the whole “running thing”, I could tell she was proud.

I feel like my body looks really strange in this picture. I need smaller pants for sure. And a non-fake-I’m-gunna-puke-before-this-race smile.

Overall, despite being a little overheated and having dead legs for the first mile, walking away a new 5K PR felt incredible and I really enjoyed this race.  It’s always fun to beat your personal time and leave what you have out there on the course, even if it’s only 3.1 miles. 

The calorie burn doesn’t hurt either.

So, what’s next?  I’m signed up for one more race before the summer kicks off.  This Saturday, I’ll be running the Marblehead Beach to Beach 5K.  For those of you just joining us, this was the first race I ever ran, exactly a year ago.  I plan on being very nostalgic.  Of course you’ve probably figured out that I’d love to PR this race too but I’ll be content of beating my time from last year, 33:38.

I want to know!  Do you run the same races every year to kick your old PR to the curb?  What is your 5K PR and what is your secret to beating your time?  What mantras do you use to get you through a tough or not-so-tough race?