Rainy Running Mornings in a Beach Town.

How is it already Thursday?  Where has this week gone?  And how are we going to be on the road for our trip in 1 week?! Eeek, it's all coming up so quickly!  I thought I would be ready to get out of Grand Haven by the time November 7th rolled around, but now I'm not so sure. There is something extremely wholesome and satisfying about this tiny little enclave of cottages and silent beaches.  I love silence. I love quiet. I love small towns. I joke with Ian that he "kept me in Chicago" way too long, but honestly, we kept ourselves there--for work, for friends, for fun.  Now that we're though, life is pretty fabulous. 

This morning I went for a short run and spent the time reveling in how much 1) I love running (and have missed it the past 3 WEEKS that I have been sick) and 2) running in the silence is the best thing ever.  When we lived in Chicago I had to convince myself, sometimes force myself, to run on the Lakeshore path.  Between getting whistled at by men or run over my zealous moms with strollers or slowed down by families teaching their children to walk on the path, it was never an enjoyable or relaxing experience. When we moved to Chicago, I was a really serious runner.  I had worked for 3 years at Gazelle Sports and had run 5 marathons, countless half marathons and multiple triathlons during that time.  I had just finished a 1200 mile bike ride down the coast of California and was running between 80-100 miles a week.  

Yes, I know. I was crazy.  

When we moved to Chicago, though, my running totally changed.  I was once again working full-time teaching and my 45 minute twice a day commute meant that I was leaving before the sun came up and coming home, at least in the winter, well after the sun had gone down.  More often than not I found myself putting in the miles at the gym across the street, on a treadmill, filling my brain with the latest from The Kardashians or Million Dollar Listing (Don't get me wrong, there is something unbeliveably wonderful about coming home from a day of urban education to lose yourself in discussions of $5000 vanities and African marble) .  

Running on a treadmill, while helpful in the winter, just doesn't do it for me anymore, so when we moved to Grand Haven, I was excited to get back into running seriously and to start planning races and general fitness goals.  I planned to run the Grand Rapids Half Marathon 2 weeks ago, but due to the illness from Hell, I had to drop out.  Now my goals for the Winter/Spring are as follows:

--Charleston Half Marathon--January 18--I LOVE this race. I ran it for the 1st time several years ago with my good friend, Chad, and it was awesome.  Then last year I ran it again alone and it was even better, as they have updated the route to include more of the old parts of the city AND they have increased the post-race food to include fried green tomatoes, beer and shrimp and grits. 

--Hilton Head Half Marathon--February 8, 2014--We'll be spending most of January and February in South Carolina, so this also seems a no brainer.  

--Gazelle Girl Half Marathon--April 14, 2014--All girls.  All running.  All the time.  It's in Grand Rapids and it's sponsored by the best running store in the nation.  A no brainer.  

 --Grand Haven Triathlon--July 8--I did this one a few years ago. Truth be told, it's REALLY hard, not only because it's smack in the middle of the hottest part of the summer, but also because the swim is in Lake Michigan (waves be damned) and the bike is on a loooonnng stretch of Lakeshore Drive riddled with pot holes.  But it's in my "hometown" so I feel I should try it again.


That's it for now--I know I'll run more races in there for sure, but it's nice to have a few goals to look forward to and help me stay focused.  I may not run fast, but I run a lot, long and slow, and that's good enough for me.  What are some of your favorite races? I'd love to hear them!