No plans, man.

When I go home I scramble to see as many people as I can….and then sometimes I say screw it, and pretend I’m not even coming home at all.

I did that this past weekend and spent the bulk of my time with my parents, mom in particular.  We went to Hillside Farms (which she somehow has never been to!!!), Braces Orchard and Dymond’s Farm. We bought apple cider donuts at Brace’s, perused pumpkins at Dymond’s, and spent a lot of time dawdling around Hillside, where a goat peed right when I was trying to take its picture, sheep ate of my hand, and mom finally found a little slice of Western Mass life in her own back yard.

She always laments the fact that we have so much at our fingertips out here: locally grown fruits and veggies, locally made drinks and food. It turns out that Hillside carries such things, and I walked away with a nice big mason jar of kombucha, mom with a sense of where to go for finely crafted cheeses, garlic, and snacks.

Photos after the cut!

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A good six.

If ever there were a time my faith in finishing the half marathon were restored during this training, it was yesterday, when I ran my first 10K.

Sure, it was only a half of what I’ll endure in October, but I ran this shit with ease. I ran 5 miles without stopping before I finally did break to walk for 10 seconds – and then I ran non-stop again until I hit the finish line.

During a time when my training has gone down dramatically (reason being there are more miles to squeeze in time-wise every week, and I’ve run the biggie of 10 so feel like that was a big hurdle), I needed to know I could still go strong at greater distances. Apparently, I can. So, yay!

I ran the Roller Coaster Race at Six Flags in Agawam, two rounds on a 3.1 mile loop that took you from inside the park to up the slanted walkways to get in/out of the park, through the streets of town and then into the back entrance of the park, where you ran alongside Bizarro and comic-centric backdrops, before making it back through the main strip.

When I picked up my packet the night before the race I was pretty stoked – there was a race shirt! There was a bib! The race shirt said RUNNER – oh my god, does this mean I’m official?!

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I’d also have Boy waiting for me at the finish line, a first.

We all compacted ourselves at the start, and for a good 30 seconds after the gun went off I was crowded, then broke away as we snaked up a small hill to head out of the park.

It got crowded again on the exit ramps because there is only so much space, but I didn’t let that discourage me. As we ran out through the parking lot I found myself keeping pace with another girl; we’d alternate in falling back a little, but would always catch up to one another. She has no idea, but she was great motivation.

We ran across a street and into a little neighborhood area, then back into a Six Flags lot, which ended up taking us back into the park. That was a little daunting, as it was on uneven gravel and cracked rocks, so I was more concerned about not twisting an ankle over anything.

Back into the park, past Bizarro, and into the main strip, with the finish line in view – but I was only halfway done. As a 5K was also an option, the 10Kers had to run the loop twice, and as I crossed the start I looked frantically for Boy – I needed some inspiration. I found him, phone at the ready for pictures. I smiled and gave him a little wave, and he smiled back, and I got so amped up that for a good 30 seconds after I saw him I felt nauseous and thought I was going to puke, buuttt that soon passed, and I was back up the exit ramp, still running strong. And, I later found out, he caught a good one:

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LOOKIN’ LIKE A REAL RUNNER AGAIN, FOLKS.

I was all the way back into that little neighborhood part when my left leg started to cramp. Painfully. I didn’t want to do it, but I had to stop running and walk it out – however, I had made it FIVE MILES, NON-STOP at that point. Hell. Yes.

As I neared the finish line I kept my speed steady, and as I crossed and grabbed my medal I could see I was at the one hour mark – not a bad time for my first 10K, and right around what I was hoping for.  My official time was 1:01:14, putting me in 70th place out of 147.

My first medal. My first 10K. My first time feeling like an honest runner.

Oh, Brooklyn. I am SO coming for you.

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Peace.

This morning I came into work a little early to set up a new modem we got so our internet runs smoother. While I waited for it to boot up, I walked into the library, where my boss has an insane collection of books (mostly cookbooks, but many other types). I sat on the couch and took a breath (previously I was dealing with fallout from the lost wallet debacle and my lack of  a debit card and access to any money), and this is what I saw. How could anyone in their right mind not find peace from this?

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A win, and a loss.

I absolutely love when people visit us. I’m so in love with where we live that I cannot wait to show it off. Amherst, Northampton, Hadley, Holyoke, Springfield, whatever. All of it.

I was really excited, then, when my cousin decided to come visit me with her little girl. I met them down by the Dickinson house after they took a tour (and after I ran 6 miles with Sally!), and we had lunch at Judie’s, then went to see the goats at Maple Farm, and finally finished up with a trip to Trader Joe’s.

Cutest kid ever? Right here. And she had me cracking up! Right before we took this picture – which was by the goats – one of them made a weird snorting noise and she turned around and said, “Ew! Which one of you farted??”

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While we were at lunch, I pulled my wallet out and she saw my license and said, “Is that you?” and I told her yes, why, did it not look like me? And do you know what she answered?

“No. It looks like Demi Lovato.”

HI NEW FAVORITE PERSON EVER.

I had a fantastic time, and I hope they come back soon. It’s always so cool to hang out with cousins I grew up with, especially when they’re touting around a mini me.

The not so good thing? The aforementioned wallet is now missing. I have no clue where it is. I’ve called all the places we went to yesterday and even the Amherst police, but to no avail. So now I’m canceling all my cards. Ugh.

Oddly enough….

Honey. Honey is what alleviated my sting pain.

I read about it after a Google search and just wasn’t sure, but when I expressed my findings to Sally, she immeadiately said, “I have some honey,” and so there was really no reason for me not to do it.

A small dab on the stung area, and in an hour I felt like nothing even happened. Then after work I went for a run.

Irony.

Ow?

I got stung by a bee last night. And now my foot looks like a hobo trying to hitch a ride on a train.

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The little bastard got caught between my flip flop strap and foot when I was walking Link, so in the span of what felt like 18 years but actually lasted probably 20 seconds, I had to kick my shoe off, pull the bee off me and toss is, then yank the stinger out. All poor Link was trying to do was take a shit.

I was stung when I was small, stepped on a bee getting out of my kiddie pool – and I DO NOT recall such blinding pain. Boy was trying to take care of it for me and I was nearly hyperventilating and actually tearing up.

It throbbed all night and kept me up. I put a baking soda/water paste on it, which resulted in the mark being gone – so now I look like an asshole and a liar when I say I got stung.

It’s not swollen or red, but VERY sensitive and has a dull ache. Literally every shoe I have hits that spot, so I padded it with TP and a hanky, hence my hobo chic.

What the hell, you guys. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN. WHY AM I SUCH A BABY.

Well, I asked for it.

Going into the half in Brooklyn, I’m to raise $1,200. That’s a pretty daunting amount, but I came up with a genius way to do it while tapping into the personalities of my lovingly teasing friends and letting them make me suffer a bit: for every $10 someone donated, I counted a quarter mile. My promise was to add up all the quarter miles donated from Monday morning to Friday at 5, and run the total mileage.

It started slow. I kept posting the link. And then, well…it got a little crazy. I ended up with nearly $500 and over 11 miles – we don’t even run that in half marathon training! At the advice of more experienced runners, I capped the miles at 10, which was 3 more miles than the total distance I’ve run at once to this point. Then I ran it this morning. And I made it.🙂

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At mile 5, I felt like I wanted to die and couldn’t go on. Then at mile 6, I caught a second wind! I found the end of the bike path and, unfortunately, it was only 4.some miles, so by the time I turned around and got back to the starting point I had a mile where I had to pretty much run in circles, covering previous tracks to make it to 10. Mile 9 is when it started to get annoying, but I made it to 10! I felt such a rush, and so accomplished. It helped knowing I was going to post a screencap of my route and time on MapMyRun to prove I did the mileage – I didn’t want to disappoint! It was also great for me mentally to know that so many people had supported me in this journey, both in the way of donations and words of encouragement. It got me through it.

And then I came home and I slept. Heavy. Like, I was drooling.

A huge part of the motivation came from my shirt, bought for me by Sally and themed to our team, Nacho Fastest Runners. “Run now, tacos later”? Yes, please.

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Travels well.

At almost three decades old I have had a lot of vacations in my life, and all have been special in their own way. How could a time period when you have no work or actual responsibility to worry about not stick well in your mind?

For some reason, vacations I take with Boy stick VERY well. There are times I still get pangs for Ybor City and Tampa, as during those days we did some of the coolest thing I’ve experienced to date. Our cruise was no different; we went to San Juan, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk, and I will never forget any of it. I’m actually coming off of this vacation DEPRESSED! I just want to be back on the ship and on those islands. We had such a great time exploring and spending quality time together. Can we book our next one yet?

Some trip description to follow, with loads of photos. Cut!

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