The last normal thing

Those which I didn’t realize would be significant:

  1. A birthday party centered around chips and dips
  2. Going to a sold out show at a local theater
  3. Jokingly arguing with my grandma on the phone
  4. Winning big at a night out at the casino
  5. A three-hour pottery class
  6. A mini shopping spree and new hiking boots
  7. Canceling a first date because I was too busy (and stressed)

Those that I will celebrate next:

  1. Hugging my family and friends
  2. Seeing any live performance
  3. Eating food from a street vendor
  4. A night out at the Red Sox
  5. Shopping for fun and not alone
  6. Riding a train
  7. A first date – in person

10k of awesome

Yesterday, mum and I ran the 43rd Boston 10k for women – currently sponsored by Reebok but originally the Bonne Bell race circa 1977.

When it started all those years ago, it was one of the only all-women races in the country, and today it still holds the title of the longest running one on the east coast. Last year we saw a woman with a “42 years” sticker and were impressed – then we discovered that she started the race and was its first organizer! Yesterday we found and thanked her again – you rock, Dusty Rhodes!

This was my 4th year running it and mom’s 8th – we missed 7 years because my work retreat at my last job was always on this weekend, but now we are BACK and were ready to rock. We trained this summer and especially this fall, as our hiking season waned – exploring new parts of the rail trail, doing interval workouts, and running more days a week than I have in a long time. I also learned how much I need a warmup to really do my best – 10 mins is enough and makes such a difference in terms of how easy that first mile is!

Race day was beautiful – the sky was clear blue during our warm-up yoga, the temps were rising, and the puddles from last week had all evaporated.

We were so happy to be out on the course – we weren’t even worried about mom’s cell phone which was lost, because we had convinced ourselves it was just forgotten in the car (mega thanks to Kat for coordinating its safe return and being so helpful when we did realize it was missing hours later!). We ran with a similar pack for most of the race, and had hundreds of people behind us (reducing the risk that a cop would dare ask us to move to the sidewalk like last year, though we had our enthusiastic “no thank you”s planned again). The water stops were plentiful (1 per mile!) and operated by very enthusiastic college and high school students. On the bridge, we passed the winners and wheelchair racer coming back the other way – such amazing athletes! Molly Huddle, who won, is 35 to second place’s 22. So impressive!

Also impressive: our pace! Our goal was to beat last year’s time and we were pacing way ahead of that (no splits – see phone issue…). We knew if we kept it up we would crush our goal and that powered us through the last .2 miles.

In the end, we cut 4 minutes off our 2018 time – down to 1:28:41! Such a great ending to such a solid training season and fall in general.

Bonus points for good food from the tents, finding mom’s phone, and my first-year roommate Jill finding ME while stretching. 15 years after we first moved into North Rocky together and we’re still friends!

Mom and I were so happy to be in the sunshine together and fit enough for this and whatever other challenge may come our way.

In summary – get back on that course, set a goal for yourself, and run until your heart sings!

Mountain Day remembered

A belated post – backdated to reflect reality!

Mountain Day 2019 was a rainy, gray day – I knew in my gut that it would be that day, despite the lack of great hiking weather. When I saw the official announcement, I immediately scoped out ice cream locales in Boston – and only found one on Newbury Street.

Where were my Camberville folks at??

Before my roommate, MoHo Sarah, left for the day, I asked if she would help me host something closer to home and she thankfully said yes. Thus I added an event in Davis Square for 18:37, the standard meeting time.

By that afternoon, dozens of spots all over Boston had been added to the list and I wasn’t sure if anyone would come to mine – but Sarah and I headed to the square anyway with my Mountain Day hat to help people recognize us.

It worked! 15 people showed up, most of whom live within 10 mins of the square and thus are our actual neighbors. We all shared delicious ice cream – I got apple cider sorbet, so good!

We made new friends, connected again with old ones, found career and social connections. Four of us stayed until the air had turned cold and we were shivering between words.

I love my Mount Holyoke pals and our Mountain Day traditions – see you all next year!

Being a good neighbor

This week, I went to my first-ever community meeting. You would have thought that as a Leslie Knope fan, this would be a weekly occurrence for me / I would be running these by now, but in fact my progressive city usually operates in such a solid way that I’ve been able to focus my energy on local nonprofit work.

The big, dramatic thing that finally made me change my mind?

Traffic safety

In the year since I moved closer to Tufts, I have been a part of or close to such traffic danger that I never knew was happening down the road. I’ve called 911 for witnessing car accidents in the rotary twice. I’ve had countless cars almost hit me on a crosswalk (usually because drivers were texting). After being on crutches, I realized the terrible weight we put on pedestrians at the benefit of cars (with blocked crosswalks and bus lanes and so much more, which is more than an annoyance when you’re struggling just to stand).

And I now run with a reflective vest in honor and awareness of Allison Donovan, a woman who was mowed down in a crosswalk by a drunk driver right outside the elementary school where this meeting was being held.

For all these reasons – and the tragedies we can prevent – I sat on a hard metal folding chair, wearing said reflective vest, on this Wednesday night. And you better believe that before the night was done, I also put in my name to join the city’s (soon-to-be) pedestrian safety committee.

Being there really showed me why this matters – even if I don’t have kids in the schools or a permanent residence here. Our city belongs to all of us, but we have to show up to really make sure our voices are being heard.

Go to your own local government’s meetings and tell me how it goes! Then maybe let’s run for something together?

Choose your challenge

If you’ve ever met me, you know I love a challenge. This whole blog was built on the idea of challenging myself to try new things before I turned 30.

So it should be no surprise that I try to find a new challenge for basically every month. Whether it’s my no sugar challenge or the 30 day shred I just completed as my broken foot healed (more on that later…) or a promise to send more snail mail, I like to have something new to aim for.

January’s challenge is something I’m sharing with a hundred thousand plus other folks in the form of a 30 day yoga quest à la Yoga With Adriene.

My goal is to keep myself moving in these darker winter months, gain some flexibility, and see what it would be like to really have a yoga practice vs my usual drop-in mode. I’m going to try to complete all 30 sessions, though I might push back the days slightly like if it’s really nice running weather and I don’t have time to do both. I’ll just pick it up tomorrow (a skill I learned and loved from the Shred – finishing is much more important than streaking for me!).

Today was day 3 and I’m starting to see how this might feel – and loving it. It helps that my mom and sis and even a few coworkers are doing it too, and we chat about our favorite parts (and where we think her dog goes when he leaves the screen).

Are you one of the many in this challenge too? Have you set up your own goals for January and 2019? Share and let’s support each other in this bright new year!

Alis grave nil

I just got back from DC (on a 6 am flight because Meg and I are ridiculous) – highlights of my trip including snuggling a friend’s new baby (Ollie!), seeing the Burning Man exhibit at the Renwick (fascinating even if I’m not totally shipping it), and eating breakfast – ok, and then also wine – with Meg at the all-women DC social club, The Wing.

This place is a pastel Instagram dream. I’ve never been into one of the “good old boys” social club but I’ve read about them in many Victorian novels – if they channel a theme as well as this place does, I can completely understand why the chaps would never leave.

From velvety easy chairs to a wicker and pink cafe to phone booths named after feminist badasses, The Wing is a remote workspace, common room, spa, and lecture hall.

It’s a millennial’s paradise – from the avocado toast to the rosé happy hour to the signs everywhere reminding you to register to vote. Plus the “powder room” features luxury hair and body products (for free) and has robes and slippers in addition to usual shower offerings.

My personal favorite: THE LIBRARY. Thousands of books (color coordinated, one of my favorite nonsensical design choices) all by and about women, that you can browse in person or check out for a month at a time. Be still my nerdy heart!

In theory there are plans for a Wing in Boston in the not too distant future. Given how awesomely powerful this space was, I’ll definitely be checking it out when the time comes. And for now I’ll just pop in when I visit Meg and make her borrow #allthebooks on her account.

(There’s a lot more to this idea beyond how beautiful this place is – check it out on The Wing’s website. Their slogan – and this blog title – roughly translates into “Nothing is heavy for those who have wings.”)

The move

On Tuesday, I moved for the first time in 8 years. It. Was. A. Trip. Only emotionally and logistically because my new apartment is a mere mile from the old one, but it has still been my home for nearly the entire time I’ve lived away from my parents, so will take some getting used to.

What I lost

  • A suction cup for the shower caddy
  • The battery to my alarm remote
  • Weirdly large hall closets
  • Cable
  • A 250 step commute

What I gained

  • The ability to sleep with the windows open to the sound of trains and rain (now that I’m not on a first floor facing the street)
  • Built in exercise in the form of stairs and a twelve minute walk to the T
  • Front and back porches
  • An oven that holds a temperature (I hope!? Stay tuned for confirmation)
  • A chance to see all my (TOO MUCH) stuff and start to think critically about how to pare down to what really matters

Do you have any “new home” tips my new roommate Sarah (from Mount Holyoke) and I should take into account for this new place? Share them here!

7 things I learned in 2017

When I saw 2017 from afar, I was terrified. Turning 32, entering the year with a different president than the one I worked so hard for, and an unknown future for us all. Now, as we kick off 2018, I feel more certain that things will be ok – and that we, and I, have the tools we need to build the world we want. Here’s what I learned in 2017 that makes me think that the year ahead will be even better than the last.

  1. There is power in numbers – and in single actions. I cashed in my flight to DC, which I had bought on the idea that I would be joining for a historic female inauguration, and instead my friends and I rallied on the Boston Common on January 20th. What I saw there reminded me that I was not alone in my pledge of #resistance, and that we had the power to change history.  At the same time, my work with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Advocacy team showed me that even one phone call can make a difference, when it comes to winning over legislators’ hearts and minds. Individually and together, we can’t stop fighting.16174925_10100337868241235_2668692051169580450_n
  2. Failure is sometimes an option. As if 2016 didn’t teach me this enough, I got a nice big dose of humble pie at my first ever craft fair in November. I was so sure that my state embroideries were going to fly off the shelves, I was mentally calculating everything I would buy with my profits. And then, the fair itself was… terrible. I got to spend two days with my mom and best friend, Katie, but DANG we sold almost nothing. I didn’t even cover my materials with the income I got on those two days. I did get to see some old friends and send some NH love into the world, and then had more luck selling at a gift shop in town, but first I had to be taken down about 5 notches from the success I had pictured. I am very glad we did it – it was important to see what the outcome could be! – but it will be some time until I venture into that realm again. Oof.
  3. You need less than you think. Technically I learned this one twice or three times. The first, when I joined my mom and her friends in a quest to get rid of 465 things in September, as in 1 item on 9/1, 2 on 9/2, etc. I found so much stuff I didn’t need lying around. Previously, I learned this when we went without a fridge for almost two weeks this summer and yet managed to stay alive. And then for a final dose, I learned it again when I lost my wallet in a parking lot over Thanksgiving and had to exist on borrowed cash for two weeks while everything was replaced. My wallet eventually found its way home, but going without taught me a) how much I usually spend and b) how little I actually need.wallet_pic
  4. Never underestimate the power of family. Obviously my life is basically this over and over again but recently I got even more reminders, like when my mom jumped in as my Halloween date when I got ghosted by my planned +1, or when my dad gave me the exact right pep talk at the exact right time, or when my sister and brother-in-law canceled on their New Year’s Eve plans to hang out and play board games with me when I was sick. They are truly the best.
  5. You walk less than you think you do, so keep trucking.  My mom and I got FitBits together and love to use them to challenge each other and track our running and other nerdy things (like which way to the subway is actually shorter). But one thing it showed me is that we walk WAY less than we think we do, and you actually have to work at it if you want to get 10k steps per day while having a full-time desk job. Here’s to hitting my goal more days in 2018!
  6. Eat more vitamins. Just, do it. You’ll feel better. That is all.
  7. There are new adventures in my own backyard. Some of my favorite moments in 2017 were finding new exciting things in places I already loved. That includes a Segway tour of DC (my dad’s birthday gift to me!), an awesome hike in the Whites with my mom, sailboats in the Boston Harbor, walking on the ice at our lake house, hosting murder mystery parties, the epic adventure of officiating my childhood bestie’s wedding on a Cape Cod beach, finding the best Indian food in my sister’s neighborhood… and more! 2017 reminded me that sometimes adventure can be closer than you think. And sometimes, you need to hit a new continent every now and then…


What did you learn in 2017? What are you hoping to learn in 2018?

Happy Mountain Day!

Just when you think the world needs some cheer – it’s literally my birthday and Mountain Day all rolled into one!

Here’s a snap from my latest peak, Mt Pierce. My run this morning (a birthday tradition) wasn’t quite as scenic but it did have beautiful fall morning sun filtered through golden trees. A reminder that even when the world is losing its mind there is beauty to be found, and we can let it inspire us for good.