bienvenidos a Barcelona

I arrived in Barcelona less than 48 hours ago!


So many sights, sounds, people, colors, shops, bars and bikes.

I can’t quite wrap my head around what my life will be like here yet, so rather than trying to piece together a coherent thought, I’ll simply share a few pictures from yesterday’s visit to the Boqueria market …

Rows of sweets:

boqueria sweets

Candied & spiced nuts and dried fruit:

boqueria nuts

Big ol’ figs:

boqueria figs

Of course, I’m already eating my weight in cheese, bread and serrano ham, and I’m discovering that the cava flows like water here.

cava in Barcelona

I do believe that tumbler of cava is the size of my head. Don’t judge.

I haven’t gone running yet, but I did walk around for nearly six hours yesterday. And if this rain ever lets up, I’ll be happy to jog in my new neighborhood and see if I can get good and lost.


Have any recommendations for places to visit in Barcelona? Do share!


note to self: you are not 17 anymore

I’m in California at my parents’ place for a few days, and I ran a short, hilly route that I used to knock out easily in high school.

Oh my word, I struggled today. So, so much. Gasping for air, practically wheezing. And the most embarrassing runner problem of all: I had to walk. More than once.


Guess that 5-day trek in Peru didn’t do as many wonders for my lungs as I imagined. And guess I need to find some hills in Barcelona to kick my butt.

Speaking of, the Barcelona countdown is at 4 DAYS. (!!!)

And I just got an email with my apartment details for the 5 weeks of the program. Super stoked to be living 4 blocks from Sagrada Familia in the Eixample neighborhood, right off of a main tree-lined avenue. Here’s a little glimpse via Google Earth:


Can’t ya just see me jogging through those streets? ;)

it’s getting real

Can I share a little secret?

I am loving the fact that I haven’t had to step foot in an office all month.

Not working is goddamn blissful.

There! I said it!

Instead, I’ve traveled, started prep work for the TESOL certification course I’ll be taking in Barcelona, spent lovely long evenings with friends and enjoyed waking up without an alarm.

You know what’s also great about schedule-free days? I can go to the gym at whatever time suits me – and work out as long (or as little) as I want. Today I even took a yoga class. YOGA! When’s the last time I did that? (Can’t remember.)

Sigh. It feels wonderful.

I’m leaving for Barcelona in one week, and it’s all becoming oh-so-very real. Like the kind of real where I’ve broken out in giggles more than one time in the middle of the grocery store, or while sitting in my car in traffic. Not unlike this:


I’m just too silly excited to contain it.

And the kind of real where my eyes well up with tears whenever I have a Portland Moment.

Port·land Mo·ment: proper noun. A particular instant whereby I’m reminded just how quirky and significant and fucking awesome the city of Portland & its people are. Usually involves a restaurant patio, an IPA, a bicycle or a baby wearing cool shoes.

I’m going to miss Portland.

Even if I’m only gone three months.

Especially if I’m gone more than six months.

But, I’m ready to DO THIS. Bring on the Spanish wine, daily siestas, midnight strolls and Mediterranean beaches. Bring on the communication challenges, new friends and churros con chocolate.

Know anybody traveling in Spain this fall? I’d love an introduction! 

back in the states (but not for long)!


I’m back in Portland after a crazy memorable 9-day trip to Peru. I’ll post some pics and thoughts on the trip soon, but in the meantime, I’m stealing this post idea from Shut Up + Run and sharing my answers to 10 running questions:

1. Best run ever: Think it has to be the Helvetia Half Marathon on June 9 of this year. It was the only half marathon I’ve done in the last five years, and I really committed myself to training. I was super pumped with the outcome, and loved every mile of the race. (It helped that it was perfect weather, too.)

Helvetia Half

My friends came out to cheer for me. That was pretty rad.

2. Three words that describe your running: Goal-oriented, inconsistent, moody.

3. Your go-to running outfit: Nike shorts, Pro Compression socks and a neon tank top.

4. Quirky habit while running: Audible breathing that likely drives runners around me crazy.

5. Morning, midday, evening: Morning to midday runner on the weekends, evening runner on weekdays. (I’d really like to be a consistent morning runner, though. I just love the snooze button too much.)

6. I won’t run outside when it’s: Dark. (Unless I’m doing an overnight relay.) I like to play it safe and run during daylight (or head to the gym and use a treadmill, if it’s after dark).

7. Worst injury & how you got over it: IT band syndrome, and I could have gotten over it much faster if I’d understood what it was at the time. Instead, I took a ton of time off running and switched up my workouts. Now, when I get IT band tightness, I know not to freak out and to instead spend a lot of time with ice, my foam roller and yoga mat.

8. I feel most like a badass mother runner when: I upload a run to Garmin Connect and see splits that surprise me. Also, when I set my eyes on a runner up ahead and pass them in  a race.

9. Next race is: Aw, shit, I don’t know. I’d meant to do the Portland Marathon, then scrapped that idea when I decided on the über awesome plan of relocating to Barcelona (in LESS THAN 10 DAYS). Once I get settled in, I’m going to try to find a race in Europe. Maybe another half marathon? With the teaching program I’ll be doing, I don’t know that I’ll have a lot of time to train for anything longer, at least not at first.

Park Guell

Think anyone jogs in Park Guell? | flickr photo by poeticaldistractions

10. Potential running goal for 2013: I’d like to run a race (any distance) at a sub-8:00 mile pace. I think it’s doable for a 5K, but wonder if I can make it happen for an 8K or 10K.

Plus 3 bonus questions:

1. Favorite pre-run snack: Banana and a big scoop of peanut butter

2. Favorite post-race meal: Guacomole and beer (or a chocolate milkshake!)

3. Favorite running soundtrack for long runs: Podcasts or books

Your turn: Pick some (or all) of these and answer them about your own sport or workout of choice.

getting back into shape (I hope)

After a summer full of parties, camping and many cocktail hours (and an upcoming very busy October), I’m looking forward to taking care of my body in September. Eating more consciously, making more room for running.

Perhaps I won’t get in super high mileages, but I do want to push myself.

I got back into the swing of things with a 6.8 mile run yesterday. It felt a little slow, but also pretty glorious.

I did a 7 mile hike the day before (at Larch Mountain), and I’ll be hiking again tomorrow. (Why, yes, it’s wonderful to not be going into the office. I’m pinching myself.)

With the extra free time I’ve got now and a trekking trip to Peru around the corner, I feel pretty freakin’ blessed.

And you’ll have to bear with me if my posts are short and sporadic these next few weeks; until I find my “permanent” home in Spain, I won’t have much dedicated online time, so I’ll be posting on an impromptu schedule.

I’ll make it up by sharing spectacular pictures, though. :) Like this one of Mt. Hood, as seen from Larch Mountain:


that thing called running that I miss

In that last few (more like several) weeks, as I’ve been planning for my new adventure, running has taken a backseat.

Instead, I’ve been packing, making trips to Goodwill, meeting friends for drinks, eating my weight in chocolate and wondering how many jars of peanut butter I should stow in my checked luggage to Barcelona.

It’s a good time. But I’ve been feeling a little on edge.

Excited and anxious and loving this time in my life, but also … edgy. That’s the only way I can describe it.

And I realized today it’s because I MISS RUNNING.

I do!

I’ve managed to fit in a few 5-mile jogs here and there, but it’s been a long time since I did a tempo run or a hill workout. Long runs? Forget about them. (Oh, yeah. And remember that upcoming little race, the Portland Marathon? Now that I’m leaving for Spain on Sept. 26th, it’s not happening. That’s another reason that I completely backed off my training, but I neglected to mention that here. Oopsie.)

For a couple weeks, it felt glorious to take the pressure off of myself. I’d started to begrudge my running schedule, and I welcomed lazy, indulgent days. (I was also dealing with an IT issue, but I pretty much used that as an excuse to go way overboard in the resting department.)

But, now? I’m ready to get my base back. I miss breathing hard, sweating hard and feeling like a badass. (Yes, a hill workout makes me feel like a badass. I don’t care how silly that sounds.)

I miss eating well because it fuels me (versus eating too much and feeling sluggish).

I miss looking at my Garmin and being pleasantly surprised by the progress.

I miss jamming to my favorite songs and head-nodding to other runners.

I miss the pavement!

Tomorrow’s my first completely unplanned day in a long time, and I’m excited to get reacquainted with my running shoes.