Thursday, August 18, 2016

Five Reasons I Love Living in San Diego

This past Wednesday, August 17th, marked the 5th anniversary of my arrival in San Diego. It seems like so long ago and just like yesterday all at the same time. There are times I feel like I've been living here forever and then times where I still feel like I'm only here on vacation. It's a strange sensation, for sure. And while I'll always be a New Yorker at heart, I have definitely embraced the San Diego lifestyle.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on five things I love about living here. Before I get to it, I'm linking up with the Friday Five link up hosted by Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run.

Here are five reasons why I love living in San Diego:

1. The people. I have met some amazing people and made some amazing friends. You may be surprised to know this, but my first friends here weren't runners at all but fellow moms of multiples. Before we moved here, I joined the North County Mothers of Multiples to connect with some local moms. It was the best decision I made. They welcomed me, my husband, my then 5-year old son and my then 4-month old twin girls with open arms and helped me acclimate to a whole new world: living here and dealing with twins + one! In addition to those wonderful mom friends, I've met some other amazing people, both runners and non-runners alike. With no family here, I would be lost without them. Friends that are like family make living here better. Thank you. There are too many people to name individually but you know who you are :)

2. The running community. When I first moved here, Running Skirts had a shop in Encinitas and had a group run during the week. I went one week and instantly felt part of the running community here. Everyone there was friendly and welcoming. I was so out of shape from having the girls that I couldn't keep up with everyone but one of the employees stayed with me. I'll never forget it! From there, I joined the San Diego group of Moms Run This Town and have made some amazing friends. Not to mention the Dirt Devils, San Diego Ultra Running Friends and Run North County. Personally, it's been amazing but professionally, as a running coach/sports nutritionist/personal trainer, the fitness community here is like no other. There is no better place to work. I have loved every minute of working with my San Diego clients!

3. The trails. I have to admit, I was a pretty novice trail runner when I first moved here. There are only a handful of trails near where I lived in the DC area and while they are beautiful, they aren't very technical. It was quite a shock to start running the trails right outside my door. But I have loved learning the trails here and love that I can take my pick from technical, steep climbs in the mountains to soft lagoon trails that lead to the ocean. While I don't love the critters we encounter from time to time, I absolutely love everything about running the trails here in San Diego! And I must give an honorable mention to the coast. I am able to run along the Pacific Ocean coastline any time I want and it's pretty fantastic. Between the coast and the trails, I am in a runner's paradise!

4. The weather. I mean, really. San Diego is known as much for its beaches as it is for its weather. You can run here year-round and get your fair share of Vitamin D on the regular. Granted, we have issues with drought and wild fires in especially hot and dry conditions (like this week) but overall, it's an amazing climate that you quickly get used to! I have lost every ounce of my ability to withstand cold weather. I'll never forget the first winter we went back to New York after moving here, I had become such a wuss. I couldn't understand how I ever survived an East Coast winter and it had only been a year since living through one!

5. The races. We are lucky here in SD that there's usually a race every weekend somewhere within a 30-minute (or less) drive. I've done quite a lot of the local races and have loved getting to know my new county through them. I've also loved being able to easily travel to places I've wanted to race such as Los Angeles, Arizona and Las Vegas. And as my kids get older, it will get easier to explore even further. I can't wait!

While I will always miss my East Coast roots, friends and family, I have loved getting to know San Diego. I know how lucky we are to live here and I feel so grateful to have made San Diego my residence for the last 5 years. Whether we stay here forever remains to be seen but for now, it's home.

What do you love about where you live?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Five Things I'm Most Excited About the Summer Olympics in Rio

pic courtesy of NBC
The 2016 Summer Olympics begin today! That's right, the highly anticipated and already infamous Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony is tonight and I simply cannot wait. Like most sports enthusiasts, I love the Olympics. The sports, the athletes, the history of the host city and memories of past Games are all equally exciting. The Olympics have always been a part of my family's life in some way and I have fond memories of watching the Games with my parents and brother. My family and I would go camping every summer and I clearly remember bringing a dinky TV with us during the summer of the 1984 Olympics. We couldn't really see anything very well but it was exciting, nonetheless. Especially the women's marathon, as this was the first year it was permitted. Perhaps that was when my love of endurance running was ignited! Now I get to share my Olympic excitement with my own husband and kids, which is super fun. With the Rio Games starting tonight, I thought I'd share the Olympic events I'm most excited to see.

Before I continue, I'm linking up with the Friday Five link up hosted by Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run.

1. The Opening Ceremony. The official opening of the Olympic Games occurs when the torch is lit in the host city and it is always a sight to behold. Rio holds a special place in my heart because my husband and I went to Rio, Iguassu Falls and Buenos Aires back in 2005 as a "last hurrah" trip before we started our family. We had such a blast in Rio. The people are wonderful, the beaches are beautiful and it's going to be so exciting to see how they put on the Games. I know there has been a lot of negative press, but I'm hopeful that they'll pull it off. And I cannot wait to see the flamboyance that only Rio can present.

A preview of the ceremony - pic courtesy of CNN

2. Michael Phelps. One of the greatest athletes of all time is back. We are big Michael Phelps fans and were able to follow his career pretty closely while we lived in Maryland. In fact, our son dressed as Michael Phelps for Halloween back in 2008. Can he add to his amazing medal count? He is the most decorated Olympic athlete with 18 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals. That's right, 18 gold medals. We are cheering for him, that's for sure.

3. The Marathon. The Olympic Marathon is always exciting and this year will be no different. I was lucky enough to be in Los Angeles to see the Olympic Marathon Trials. I am so excited to see Meb Keflezighi, Galen Rupp, Jared Ward, Amy Cragg, Des Linden and Shalane Flanagan represent our country. Let's only hope these amazing athletes will bring home some hardware! Really, I'm excited for all of Track and Field (which now part of the blanket title "Athletics," which includes track and field, road running and race walking events) and will be glued to my TV and phone so I can see as many events as possible.

4. Gymnastics. While I only did gymnastics for a couple of years as a kid, I am so inspired by these amazing athletes. They are so freaking strong! Both the men and women are so captivating to watch. Their strength, beauty and grace are just fantastic. Did you know that the US has earned the gold in the individual women's all-around competition for the last three Olympics? Yep, we won gold in Athens, Bejing and London. Can we do it again in Rio?

5. The Stories. I am such a sucker for the stories behind the athletes. I mean, who isn't? The hard work, dedication and sacrifice these athletes and their families have made is just awe-inspiring. To add to the amazing legacy of the Olympics is this year's Refugee Olympic Team. The International Olympic Committee established the refugee team to raise awareness of the refugee crisis around the world and the millions of people who have had to flee their homes due to war, natural disaster or disease. There are 10 athletes on the team and they will be represented by the Olympic Flag and the Olympic Anthem during the Games. I'm already crying.

Do you love the Olympics? What are you most looking forward to in Rio?