26 things about running my first marathon

  1. The first marathon I ever ran was the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas.
  2. I did most of my training after school on my school’s track.
  3. Track and boy’s soccer practiced after school too. They all thought I was crazy.
  4. Especially the track coach. She doesn’t like me very much.
  5. My official time was 4:55. Just under 5 hours.
  6. My starting corral was corral #6.
  7. The marathon started at 7:00 AM. (Thanks mom & dad for getting up so early!)
  8. The race expo wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be.
  9. I wasn’t going to tell anyone I was going to run a marathon. It was going to be my private secret.
  10. But then I told my cross country coach because I needed brownie points. She told the rest of the team. Oops.
  11. I started making plans to run the marathon only a few weeks before the actual race, so I had a bit of a short training cycle.
  12. Kristy posted on Facebook that I was running a marathon. Apparently one of her 50 cousins is basically a professional marathoner. (I also found out that another one of her cousins is a big cheese executive at Disney, but those are the odds when you have 50 cousins.)
  13. My cross country coach made us run a half marathon (13.1 miles) for a grade, but I loved it so much I decided I wanted to run a full marathon.
  14. I ran the marathon in Brooks Glycerin 14 running shoes. I only got them a few weeks before race day, so I had just enough time to break them in.
  15. My bib number was 1518.
  16. At 16, I was the youngest person to run the race.
  17. 2017. The year of my first marathon.
  18. This was technically the age you had to be to register for the race, but they made an exception for me.
  19. Since I decided to run the marathon on a bit of a short notice, I decided not to try Gu or any other energy goo stuff.
  20. I ran the whole marathon on water, Powerade, and a Clif Bar knockoff from Aldi.
  21. “I’m not 21 yet, sorry…” (There were a TON of random people giving out beer or tequila shots along the course.)
  22. My longest training run was 22 miles.
  23. After my 22 mile run, I tapered for 2 weeks leading up to race day.
  24. The race was hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be.
  25. Yes. Of course I wore my neon orange hat for the race. Safety first, people!!
  26. The marathon was on February 26th, or 26/2/2017. Coincidentally, a marathon is 26.2 miles.

Brothers Point on the Isle of Skye

One of the most memorable hikes we did on our year abroad was a hike on the Isle of Skye out to Rubha nam Brathairean (Brothers Point in English). Although it was a bit strenuous, the views made it all worth it.

Brothers Point

Brothers Point

There was no shortage of sheep on this hike!

There was no shortage of sheep on this hike!

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Brothers Point

Brothers Point

The weather was a bit fickle, we really enjoyed this hike and the beautiful views. Because it isn’t very well-known, we had no problems with crowds (except for all the sheep!). We only saw about 5 other people the whole time we were there.

If you want to do this hike, try to pick a day with nice weather as certain parts can be a bit steep and dangerous. Make sure you look up exact directions on how to get there, because it is a bit hard to find. Definitely wear good hiking shoes, especially if you want to go out onto the peninsula.

-Karissa

Things you’ll need in Scotland!

We arrived in the Edinburgh Airport in Scotland two days ago, and in this very short amount of time we have noticed that the weather here in Scotland is very bipolar. It might alternate between rain and sun three times or more in an hour, and since the weather doesn’t respond very well to counseling or psychotherapy, you have to just roll with the punches.

Given the notoriously un-cooperating weather here in Scotland, here are a few things you might want to pack for a trip into the Scottish Highlands:

Rain & Hiking Boots

Seriously though, it’s worth the space in your luggage. (tip: you could just wear them on the plane ride) I shipped my rain boots back to America ahead of time, so now I only have my hiking boots with me. I really regret that, because everywhere you go here, it’s either raining or extremely muddy. However, hiking boots are quite necessary if you’re planning to walk or hike long distances, as the terrain is very rocky.

Rain Jackets & Umbrellas

You will most definitely want a good quality umbrella and jacket here, seeing as it is raining almost half the time. Rain pants and rain covers for backpacks would be very useful as well.

Warm Clothes

It is now July, and it is still freezing cold. Some of the rooms in our rental home don’t heat very well, so we have to dress warm even when we’re inside. Warm pajamas and extra scarves, hats and jackets are a must-have, even in the summer.

If it think of anything else, I’ll add it in later!
-Karissa

Highline 179 (the coolest thing to do in Austria)

Written on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 7:00 PM

I just jumped in the car after doing one of the coolest things I’ve EVER done. I walked across a bridge suspended above a highway in Austria. It was awesome.

Deciding to stop in the village of Klause, Austria was a very spontaneous decision. We had seen the bridge on our way into Austria, and as we drove out, we decided to stop and check it out. It was going to be eight euros per person to go onto the bridge, but it looked interesting, so why not? Definitely money well spent.

I don’t have a love of heights, but I definitely loved this bridge. It was long and skinny enough to sway a tiny bit every once and a while, but it still felt very safe. The floor of the bridge was a medal grid, with the square cuttouts only being about one square inch in size, so I didn’t feel like I was going to drop something important and have it fall onto the highway below. The sides of the bridge also had metal mesh part way up, but it wasn’t high up enough to block the view.

We crossed it at the perfect time. It was in the late afternoon at about 5 or 6, and it was partly cloudy. The sun wasn’t shining right into our faces, and the lighting was perfect for pictures. The entire bridge is a photographer’s dream!

The bridge runs above a valley, from one mountain to another. There is a large highway running through the valley, so you basically get to walk above it and watch the cars drive beneath you. On the first mountain there are some really picturesque fortress ruins, but since we were running low on time, we didn’t get to see them up close.

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view from the bridge

view from the bridge

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the fortress ruins

the fortress ruins

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looking up at the bridge

looking up at the bridge

If you ever get the chance to go onto this bridge, definitely do it! Bring eight euros and save plenty of time to see the castle ruins as well!

Watch the vlog below, or here on Youtube!

Pompeii, Italy

Photo Gallery (click on any picture to view in full size)

Positano, Italy

Gallery – Click to enlarge!:

Watch the Vlog!!

Naples, Italy – Start of our Italy Trip!

We’re not big on cities anymore, so we only spent one day here. We flew in to the Naples Airport in the evening and then we took a bus from the airport to our hotel, which was conveniently located right near the train station. The next day we got up and went to Museo di Capodimonte and Naples National Archaeological Museum. In the afternoon we hired a private driver to drive us to our rental apartment in Sorrento!

Gallery – click on any picture to see it full size!

Watch the Vlog (in HD!) 🙂

More quick posts coming up later this week!
-Karissa

Greece

I’ve been wanting to shake things up for a little while now, so for this trip, I decided to try a different approach to blogging. I made three different vlogs, one for each city that we visited.

Here are some additional pictures that we took throughout the trip! (Click on any picture to go into slideshow mode!)

Athens:

Delphi:

Corinth:

We visited Corinth and Athens the last time we lived here in Germany, so Delphi was the only thing new for us this time around. Both visits were amazing, and getting to go back was truly a blessing. Greece is very different from most other European countries. You’ll notice right away that everything is much more relaxed and go-with-the-flow. There are stray dogs and cats everywhere and many businesses open and close when they feel like it! This sounds crazy, but it makes it feel much more relaxing that way.

We looked through all the pictures from our first trip before we left, and I thought it would be fun to “remake” one of my favorites.

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Crazy how time flies, isn’t it? The first picture was only six years ago…

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment! 🙂

Paris in Snapshots: Day 5

Since today was the last day of our trip, we had to visit the Eiffel Tower one last time:
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After this we packed up and rode the train back home!

Updates about our Greece trip coming up next!

-K

Paris in Snapshots: Day 4

Beginning the day in the Tuileries Garden:

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And then Musée de l’Orangerie (with lots of impressionism!):

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On to the Louvre (for the second time):

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The Regent Diamond

The Regent Diamond

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Colonnes de Buren and the Palais Royal Garden:

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Day 5 later this week!

-K