One of the biggest challenges in this marathon plan of mine was sticking with the training after I got back to the United States. One week into my return, I can happily say I’ve still made all my runs. My training plan, which was a couch-to-marathon-in-five-months, calls for three small-ish runs during each week (4-6 miles, generally), one cross-training day, two rest days, with one long run on the weekend. It wasn’t so difficult in Africa when it was (mostly) always lovely and I was up with the sun most days. I had a nice little routine going there.

Now that I’m back in Seattle, I haven’t found that groove again. One of the reasons, in my mind, is that it’s a much different running environment. In SA, I would run along rural two-lane highways and it wasn’t uncommon not to see anyone for hours at a time. I liked that. Here, running in an urban environment, it’s much different. Over-enthusiastic dogs, broken pavement, and stoplights are just a few obstacles with which on has to contend.

The Burke-Gilman Trail along Montlake Boulevard  (

When you overcome those, though, you’re treated to some amazing views. On Sunday, for example, I did a quick 12-miler before the Seahawks game. I started in Capitol Hill, north to Portage bay to the Montlake Bridge, by Husky Stadium, onto the Burke-Gilman to the Children’s Hospital, and back along the water. One wouldn’t generally drive on any of these streets, but they reward you with some amazing vistas.

The highlight was stopping at the Garfield High bake sale for a bottle of water and an oatmeal cookie. They thought it was a bit odd to stop for a cookie 10 miles in; however, I couldn’t think of anything else I’d rather have at this point.

It’s amazing the effect of food on long runs. I don’t know if you really need it physically, but a handful of trail mix (or a cookie) after 8 miles is just about as heartening as a cup of chicken soup when you’ve got the flu.

Why I’m Running:

I want to raise enough money to sponsor two promising African ladies: Elaine and Mandisa.  It costs $80 so sponsor Mandisa for one month of Imagine Scholar costs — this amount pays for her transport, healthy food in class, school supplies, and many other things. For Elaine, it’s $78. Lump those two together and you get $156/month. Multiply that out my 12 months and you get a very achievable fundraising goal: $1,896. Please donate at my Crowdrise page here:

Weekly Statistics:

Miles run: 30.37 (193.80 total)

Average speed this week: 6.3 MPH (fast!)

Calories burned: 4,434 (27,818 total)