Rollin' and Tumblin'

This morning I tripped on a root and took quite a spill while trail running. Usually I am quite attentive while running and very deliberate about picking my feet up for exactly that reason. This morning, however, I was listening to an audiobook while running and I suspect that that was the culprit - I was running on autopilot and not paying enough attention to roots and rocks on a particularly technical downhill segment.

I'm fine, though, just scraped up a bit. Lesson learned: audiobooks and trails don't mix. Music and trails do mix. Nothing in my ears but the sound of nature mixes best of all!


Summer Track PRs

This summer I have been participating in a summer track series at UNC's Belk Track. Every Wednesday the Godiva Track Club gets together and holds a track meet alternating between "long" nights and "short" nights, featuring events of slightly longer and shorter distances respectively.

Having never run track before, I have been using these events as opportunities to work on speed and also to meet other runners in the area. Running 5,000m around a track for time would be mind numbing, but doing so in the spirit of friendly competition with other runners is not only fun but also motivating.

The Belk Track is a very nice international-style track (slightly wider with gentler turns) with a very soft running surface. I have been taking advantage of this great facility to transition from running in Vibrams to running completely barefoot. At the start of the summer I tried running one or two events barefoot but now I am running the entire night barefoot, only wearing my Vibrams to/from the car. It feels great (The only consequence is that, by the end of the night, the bottoms of my feet are very Carolina blue - does that make me a true tarheel?) and perhaps now I can try some other, less forgiving surfaces barefoot as well.

Because I've never run these short and middle distance events before, I am setting new PRs each week, which is always encouraging. I'm sure that won't last but I'm enjoying it while I can! Tonight was the last "long" night of the summer track series and here are my PRs:

200m: 27.69s
800m: 2:37
1 Mile: 5:52
5,000m: 20:14

We still have a few shorter distance meets left so I'll hope to set some more PRs on the flat track surface before returning to the very hilly road and trail races here in the Research Triangle.


Authentic Mediterranean Food in Arkansas

Katie and I just returned from a long weekend in Hot Springs, Arkansas for my cousin's wedding. Hot Springs is a small town about an hour outside of Little Rock, the state's capital. You wouldn't expect it to be a hotbed of international cuisine but, if our weekend was any indication, it most definitely is!

My mom's sister married into a large family of Greek-Americans who still have strong ties to their ancestral culture. When children in this family are married, it is an excuse for a veritable feast of Greek food - and my cousin's wedding was no exception! We had spanakopita, tiropita, lamb, and, of course, baklava. The wedding and reception were great fun - Katie even tried her hand at Greek folk dancing - but the best part was definitely the food!

The very next night my dad's side of the family got together for another feast - this one Italian. Pepperoni arrostiti, fried zucchini, and my grandmother's incomparable rigatoni with meat sauce (and a vegetarian version for Katie). Nonna may be gone, but she will always live on through her cooking - and through the [loud!] gatherings of all of her children and grandchildren.

Something I love about the US is how you find pockets of international ancestry and culture tucked away in all kinds of random places. Most of us are proud to be Americans but we're also proud of our roots - our delicious, delicious roots!

Congratulations to my cousin on her marriage and many thanks to her for providing a reason for us to dine so well all weekend!