31 May 2010

One Year Update

It's been over a year since I arrived in Europe with a big grin and a pair of running shoes...but that day, and the 133 that followed, still seem so recent. Every day, I'm reminded of the experiences I had out on the road: I can hardly get through a conversation without some anecdote coming to mind...of a place I visited, of something I learned, of a lifestyle I was exposed to, or of a person I met. I hope my mind will always remember these things, just as my muscles remember every time I lace up my shoes and head out for a run. I think the reminders will always be there...although some will surely (and in some cases, hopefully) fade away: so far though, I just can't seem to lose this backpack tan. Ridiculous as it seems, it has been there constantly since my trip, even though I've only very recently been on another run with my backpack.

One of the many things I have missed is this blog, so I thought I'd come back and give a long overdue update on how things have been going since I returned to my "normal" life in the US of A...here's the compressed version:

I spent some time with my family on the west coast, and shortly afterwards caught a plane back to New York City. Once there, I took a job working for an artist to pay the rent while I worked on my graduate school applications. I found an apartment and moved my things out of storage (finally, a larger wardrobe!) and got back to basics (or back to the grind, depending on how you see it). I kept up running around 70-80 miles a week, despite living in one of the worst places for running ever (New York is great...Bushwick, Brooklyn sucks). I at least had a massive supply of chocolate milk powder always waiting for me...

The combination of relatively "bad" runs (I did get out and go on some good ones a couple times a week...with people!) and living in a room with no windows/sound insulation turned me bored and halfway nocturnal for a while...but after some months, things started falling into place and the change did me some good. I was accepted to Princeton's architecture program, and will be spending the next three years working to gain my Master's there. To celebrate the change, and to make the physical transition from one school to the other, I went on a three-day, 75-mile run from Columbia in Manhattan to Princeton, New Jersey with the same trusty setup I used when I was in Europe (hence the backpack tan re-boost). I also recently ran a PR in the New Jersey half marathon on a very hot day...and as a result, am now in the very elementary stages of training for the Chicago Marathon in October...my first "real" marathon. These exciting bits of news happened so recently and close together, that writing them so briefly doesn't really seem out of place...I just saved you the relative feelings I went through by not typing a thousand lines of ellipses at the beginning of this paragraph...

Two weeks ago, I suddenly moved all my things back into storage and took a greyhound bus to Pittsburgh. I met my oldest brother there and together we hit the road in the '68 Corvette that my dad bought back when it was new. I got a flat top haircut and made my first weak attempt at a mustache so that we'd look era-appropriate as we drove west along "Route 66." It was a great trip, and despite some engine troubles, we made it to California in about a week...driving about the same distance I covered on foot last year.

Now I'm with my dad again, hanging out and working at the ranch...in the same place I was the last time I made a post to this blog. I'm back to running on mountain roads, enjoying the fresh air and gasping for it at this high altitude. Two days ago I got caught in a hail storm during my run and had a pretty painful uncovered four and a half miles getting back home. The weather looks like it's starting to clear up though, and I'm looking forward to a good month or so here before I head east again in July.

As to the future of this blog, I must admit that I've had many thoughts of a revival...but I don't know if or when exactly that could happen. I do keep finding myself on Google maps, examining what lies between Amsterdam and St. Petersburg...

I hope you've been doing well, and until next time...happy running!