What Can Happen In a Decade? Part 1

I’m borrowing this theme from a blogger named Judy I follow whose first post on the subject is here: https://chocolaterunsjudy.com/2022/02/15/what-can-happen-in-a-decade/. I liked the idea so much because similar to Judy, I also hit a milestone birthday in 2022. I’ll focus primarily on running-related happenings in my life during the last decade but will sprinkle in some travel and personal things that happened in my life as well.

What better place to start than with my 40th birthday party in February 2012? I normally don’t throw myself birthday parties but I thought it would be fun to go indoor rock climbing and invite some friends. When I say “fun” what I really mean is I wanted to do something big for my 40th and not just go out for dinner and drinks.

I’ve always been terrified of heights but for some reason I wanted to challenge myself for my birthday and indoor rock climbing came to mind. I climbed all the way to the top of the wall while most of my friends just watched and cheered me on (a few people joined in and went climbing as well). It was the perfect way for me to say “Bring it on!” to my 40’s.

That March I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach and it was every bit as fun as I had been told it would be by someone I knew had run it. Then in June we went to Chicago for a very hot half marathon but had fun exploring the city and doing all of the touristy things like taking pictures by the bean and stuffing ourselves with Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs.

In July I went to Munich, Germany and some little towns around Salzburg, Austria. One of my bucket list trips was to see the waterfalls in Badgastein, Austria and I was able to experience them plus hike all over the area, see castles, caves, glaciers, and museums. I finished out my racing for the year at a half marathon in Newport, Rhode Island in October and fell in love with the beautiful towns in the area. That November, we got a puppy, a lab mix rescue that was definitely the calmest and sweetest puppy I had ever had or even been around.

Believe it or not, seeing this waterfall from Bad Gastein, Austria in a magazine is what prompted my wanting to go there!

2013 included my first half marathon of the year in Knoxville, Tennessee, one of my hilliest and hardest races to date that April. That June I took another epic trip that began in Seattle and from there I took a ferry to the San Juan Islands where I ran a small half marathon with almost no bells and whistles but at least it was beautiful. If the trip to Washington wasn’t amazing enough, that was followed in July with a trip to Greece, beginning in Athens and ending in Crete. The food, beaches, museums, hiking, and people were all incredible. In November, I went to Boston and a small town about an hour away where I ran my first all-women’s half marathon. I enjoyed the race and our time in Boston but when a cold front moved in the evening of the race I was glad to be going home to warmer weather.

My first race of 2014 was a half marathon through Queens in March. It was my daughter’s first time to New York City and she was young at the time so we took the obligatory trip to an American Girl store for afternoon tea, strolled through Times Square, and some other museums but weren’t able to get tickets for the Statue of Liberty. In July, I went to Maine for the first time and ran a half marathon in Portland. After the race, we visited some other cities like Rockport, Camden, and went to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. That October, I ran the inaugural Roller Coaster Half Marathon in Branson, Missouri, where I ended up with a first place age-group finish, my one and only time that has happened. I was literally in tears when I found out I had won my age group.

2015 turned out to be one of my best years of travel and began with a trip in March to what is now one of my favorite places in the world, New Zealand via San Francisco (long layover before the flight to New Zealand with enough time to explore the city). We were in the North Island and did a loop, stopping in places that were so diverse you would have thought we were in separate countries around the world. We hiked through a Redwood forest, took a boat tour of Glowworms in a cave, went to Hobbiton where it looked like the English countryside, saw black sand beaches, went to an area with hot springs, geysers, and mud pools. New Zealand- My family’s North Island Adventure/

I always tell everyone if you ever have an opportunity to go to New Zealand, JUST GO! It’s amazing! This was taken at the Hobbiton movie set.

In May of 2015, I ran a half marathon in Fredrick, Maryland and we spent some time in Annapolis after the race. I had never been to that part of Maryland but I liked the area and enjoyed my time there. Then in July we went to South Dakota for another half marathon and visited several national and state parks in the Rapid City area. I discovered South Dakota is nothing like its neighbor to the north and I especially loved Badlands National Park. September was a busy month with a beach trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and a day trip from there to Savannah, Georgia. I had been to Hilton Head before but it was a first for me to Savannah. Like Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah is also a foodie town with gorgeous sweeping trees and mansions. It made me wish I had run my half marathon in Savannah instead of a suburb of Atlanta for my race in Georgia. A couple of weeks later we were off to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere in northern New Hampshire for a half marathon (where I finished third in my age group) followed by some time in Quebec, Canada, which I absolutely loved. I ended the year by running a 5k with my daughter, her first 5k, sponsored by Girls on the Run and the spark for her love of running.

I ran my first half marathon of 2016 in March in Eugene, Oregon (not sure how I pulled out a second place finish in my age group there) and spent some time in Bend, Oregon as well. That trip to Oregon left me wanting to go back and spend time in Portland and along the coast. In June I ran one of the toughest half marathons of my life in Boulder, Colorado because of the elevation and I later caught up with an old friend who lives there. The rest of the summer was filled with trips to the mountains, Carowinds Amusement Park, and a weekend trip to Charleston, South Carolina. In November, I spent three amazing weeks in San Diego, California where I ran a half marathon, went to Coronado Beach, explored museums, went to Balboa Park and Knotts Berry Farms Amusement Park, and soaked in all of the sunsets and scenery.

A couple of days before my 45th birthday in 2017 I flew into Las Vegas (because it was cheaper than flying into Utah), spent a day just walking around and going through some of the most extravagant hotels, then drove to St. George, Utah where I ran a half marathon for state number 39. We hiked in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, volunteered at and spent the night at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, went to Antelope Canyon, and Grand Canyon National Park before driving back to Las Vegas to fly back home. In May we went to New York City and this time my daughter was able to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I ran a half marathon in New Jersey and we went to a farm with cute little pigs, sheep, chickens, and a baby calf. We flew straight from New York City to Santiago, Chile and spent a little over a week driving around the country, stopping in Vina del Mar and a lake area where we were (at least it seemed that way) the only English-speaking people in town. I would love to go back to Chile and go hiking further south into Patagonia.

After the half marathon in Utah

I was fortunate enough to experience the solar eclipse in August of 2017 in Charleston, South Carolina and it was something I will always remember. In November, I ran a fun half marathon in Huntington, West Virginia and we spent a few days in the area but I didn’t feel obliged to spend more time here since I grew up in southern West Virginia and had been to Huntington and the surrounding area many times before. My travels for 2017 weren’t over, though, as I spent about 10 days in one of my favorite places, Malta and the tiny island of Gozo. As if all of that wasn’t enough, we flew straight from Malta to Miami, Florida for a few days to stay with a friend of mine. She drove us to Everglades National Park where we took an airboat tour, which I had done before but my daughter never had.

I’m going to stop here so this post isn’t super-long and continue with part two later. Hopefully you’ll continue along my running and travel journey. I’ll just hint that great things were in store for me!

Happy running and travels!

Donna

Author: runningtotravel

I'm a long distance runner with a goal of running a half marathon in all 50 states in the US. I also love to travel so I travel to other places when I'm not running races. Half the fun is planning where I'm going to go next!

10 thoughts on “What Can Happen In a Decade? Part 1”

  1. This is a fun recap of the decade! It’s so easy to let everything blur together and then we don’t remember anything. I find that my running and travel highlights, along with my kids’ milestones, help me keep track of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I liked the idea and while it seemed like I just skimmed the surface, I had to or the posts would have been way too long. A lot really happens in 10 years! Milestones are a great way to keep track of when things happened.

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  2. So much fun! I have only a mild fear of heights & yet have always wanted to try indoor rock climbing but have never made it happen.

    I did choose Savannah for GA! It’s a lovely city.

    You have definitely traveled to many places I really want to get to still. We were lucky that my husband’s job involved travel for many years & since I worked from home before that was popular I was sometimes able to tag along! It was l8me traveling solo but having a dinner date, LOL!

    My parents are from the Bronx & I had a lot of relatives who lived on LI, plus we all love museums & theater, so growing up trips to NYC were frequent. I’ve been to the Statue of Liberty several times but it was only just a few years ago that I made it to Ellis Island! All of my grandparents (except the one born in the States) came to this country through there. Definitely gave me chills to be standing in a spot that must’ve had so much anxiety & hopefulness for them.

    Can’t wait to read part 2 & maybe snag more travel ideas. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have done so many cool things.. Oh the places races can take you. You are lucky to have your daughter as company on many of those trips as well. (My hubby hates to travel.)

    I used to go to a yearly conference and visited many cities across the US. Unfortunately that was before I became a runner.

    Now i don’t have the finances to travel much so I live vicariously through others.

    Liked by 1 person

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