Running the Army Ten-Miler

On Sunday, I ran my fifth Army Ten-Miler. Last year’s was in Kuwait, and I was anxious to run the official race in Washington, D.C. again this year.

This year’s race was extra special. It was hot. And humid. When I woke up it was 75°F and the humidity was hanging at about 94%.

About 25,000 runners showed up to run this year and the first wave started at 8 a.m. At 10:08 a.m., a little more than an hour after the last corral starting running, the course was altered. The race was also officially downgraded to a “recreational run.” Finishers were sorted into three categories: the first who finished before 10:08 ran an official Army Ten-Miler; the second ran 10 miles, but finished after 10:08 and received an “unofficial time” for their “recreational run”; and the third got credit for running, but didn’t complete the course so did not receive a time.[...] READ MORE.

Why I Solo Adventured to New Mexico

In my line of work, summers tend to be pretty much off limits for personal travel. It’s our busy season, so while everyone else goes to the beach or jets off to faraway lands, I’m in Virginia, working more weekends than not and dreaming of fall-time travel adventures.

By the end of August I was tired but itchy for a new adventure. I hadn’t traveled anywhere since Italy, back in the spring, and my wanderlusting bones were aching. Bored and alone on a Sunday night, I poked around on Buzzfeed and found this quiz. After more than 20 years of using the internet I still can’t pass up a good internet quiz. Especially when it promises to tell me where to go for fall travel if I only plan my perfect day.[...] READ MORE.

Bonus Adventuring to Murano & Burano

We thought it was time to go home. We’d spent almost three weeks scampering around Italy, starting in Rome and meandering our way north to Venice. Everything was packed, we had comfy travel clothes on and we were ready to go home, ready to be in one place for more than a few days.

We took a boat to the airport, checked our bags, had one last glass of wine and got in the line to board the plane. It was a bittersweet moment. The trip we’d spent our lives dreaming about was coming to an end. We had some feelings.[...] READ MORE.

Cursing Sheep at George Washington Birthplace National Monument

The views are great, the rangers are great, the hikes are great, the tour is great and the pigs are great, but the sheep at George Washington Birthplace National Monument are assholes. They’re direct descendants of the original Washington sheep and it’s made them incredibly arrogant. I spent 10 minutes leaning over a fence rail attempting to get a decent look at them. They wanted absolutely nothing to do with me and opted instead to hide from me in the shaded front of an outbuilding.[...] READ MORE.

Eating My Way Through Dushanbe

When I went to Tajikistan, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew the basics, like how it’s a land-locked country in Central Asia. I could find it on a map, knew it was bordered by Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China, that it used to be part of the Soviet Union, but that’s mostly it. But, I didn’t know what it would feel like, or look like or be like.[...] READ MORE.

The Way Memories Feel & Amman’s Roman Theatre

Memories are neat. It’s neat the way they attach themselves to sensory triggers, like the way a smell will take you back 20 years to a specific place and time, like the foyer of your grandmother’s house, or the way the sound of a sprinkler can transport you across decades to a neighbor’s backyard where you spent hours running around in the water as a kid. It’s neat the way a song, one you haven’t heard in years, can take you back to your first break-up, first kiss, first road trip, first whatever. Suddenly you’re there, back in that moment, transported over miles and years, to some specific moment, seminal or otherwise.[...] READ MORE.

Taking the Tour at Manassas National Battlefield Park

In the past few months, I’ve managed to visit something like five National Park sites. They’ve all been tied to a historic person or event and I’ve tried to participate in a ranger-led walk or tour at each one. Sometimes, that’s the only option if you want to really see the site, especially if it’s a historic home or structure. At other sites, there are oodles of options, from hikes, to driving tours or interactive displays. For me, when I visit a historic site, taking the tour has always proved worth it. Yes, I could read the wikipedia page or the official website, but it’s so much easier to have a ranger tell me about it, live and in person with gesticulating included directing me to actually look at what they’re talking about. And that’s why I showed up at Manassas National Battlefield Park just in time for a guided tour of Henry Hill.[...] READ MORE.

How to Spend 20 Days in Italy

I’ve wanted to go to Italy for as long as I’ve known I was Italian. So, pretty much always. It’s been on my bucket list for actual decades.

When I was deployed last year, along with John, my (now ex-)boyfriend, we started talking about trips to take after the deployment. He’s Italian. I’m Italian. We’d both always dreamed of visiting Italy, so Italy it was.[...] READ MORE.

Running the Patrick Henry Half Marathon

I ran my last half marathon three years ago, almost exactly. It was August. It was hot. It was humid. The course was flat, at least, but I was miserable. I hit my goal, inching across the finish line with absolutely nothing else to give in just under two hours. But I hated almost every minute of that race. I swore I’d never run another summer half again.[...] READ MORE.

Badass Lady Boss: Visiting the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site is only about a mile and a half from my house. It’s my most local National Park. Still, it took me more than a decade of living in Richmond, Virginia, before my first visit, in 2015. I went again this past weekend, with out of town friends.

Before my first visit, I’d seen the name Maggie L. Walker around town. I knew the very basic of basics. I knew she was the first African American woman to charter a bank, that there’s a school named after her in Richmond and that her home is a National Park unit.[...] READ MORE.

That Time I Fell Over & Smashed Myself While Running

I’m clumsy. I trip over everything, even things that aren’t there. My toes are often stubbed. My ankles are weak and have the tendency to roll in a way that looks (but mostly isn’t) painful. I whack my head on things a lot, too. On my kitchen cabinets, on my car door, on my dining table.[...] READ MORE.

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