Running / Travel / Uncategorized

Where I went in 2014

Wow, where did 2014 go? I started the year like most people did, with plans, goals, wishes, dreams and renewed sense of hope and determination. My goal every year is to see at least one new place. 2014 was spectacular for that!

I started in SE Asia and ended somewhere in Canada. In between, I went to South Africa and Japan, France, Italy, Spain, and Cape Town and other parts unknown. I also ran two marathons. I did fall short of my half marathon per month goal. I started out strong with a cold and icy race in January, dropped down to a 10K in February, and stayed consistent through June. The highlights of that stretch were The Fairfax and the Brooklyn Halfs. I think because they both ended near a body of water, which made me extra happy to finish. The wheels came off the bus, so to speak, in July and August for two reasons, it is difficult to find halfs in the middle of the summer and the ones that are available, require lots of money to get to. So I switched my focus to training for the Chicago and NYC Marathons.

It has now become a tradition to immediately have to travel after running a marathon. So off I went to Madrid, 24 hours after finishing Chicago. Chicago was a great experience- better than I expected in many ways. I liked the overall organization of the race and the expo (except being forced to walk through the full expo to pick up my t-shirt). I loved the runner assistance at the start, like complimentary bags to help us stay warm, bag check was the most efficient I’ve ever experienced and being able to walk right up to my coral 30 minutes before the start was a dream!!

I didn’t take many pictures of the race because my phone died literally a few feet from the finish. The finish line video shows me fussing with my phone.  My only real complaint about the Chicago Marathon was the exit after finishing. Being tossed and bumped by people waiting for their runners was painful after running 26.2 miles. People waiting just didn’t understand that every bump, tap, and brush was felt everywhere. Plus the mere size of the crowd angling for beer and reuniting with their loved ones was, in some ways, more overwhelming than the actual race. I was glad to make it out of the madness to crawl back to my hotel. So, if the organizers of that race are reading: please don’t make runners mingle with the crowds right after the race-it hurts.

I did make a wrong turn on my way back to the hotel and was forced to walk up a few stairs, I wanted to cry a bit, but I did it and I’m glad that I did. It actually helped to work out some of the stiffness that was setting in.

I can’t say I have one found memory of that race, but what stood out was seeing my Chicago friends along the course. I didn’t realize how lonely racing can be until I saw them and felt the wave of relief to see a familiar face smiling back at me. I did think I was hallucinating when I saw Elvis shimmying at some point, but it was confirmed to me the next day that it’s an annual tradition for Elvis to show up at the marathon.

Now back to my travel. I ended up in Madrid just as I did after running NYC last year. I like Madrid, I’ve been there several times, enough to know my way around the city. It is a great running city and I’ve been lucky to to have some time to take in a few sights on a run or two. But, whenever I am in Spain, I always stumble upon a protest or two and this time was no exception. I ran right into the start of a protest, and was handed a sign as if I were one of the participants and not the tourist that took a wrong turn.

So there they are organizing, handing out protest posters and there I am trying to figure out how I made the wrong turn and also trying to capture the moment.


I ended up using a lot of stairs in Madrid due to lots of wrong turns on my way to a Flamenco performance. But it actually felt good 48 hrs after the marathon, and I’ll definitely keep that in mind next time.

Here are some pics of some of the places I visited in 2014, I am looking forward to putting more stamps in my passport in 2015 and also for some exciting life advancements that are in the works.



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