Ashland, Auburn, D.C., Fishers, Ironwood, Nice, Tallinn + Verona
Races you'll love running + weekly recommendations
As I write this to you on the afternoon of July 26th, it has just begun raining cats and dogs here where I’m visiting my parents, in Augusta, Ga., cooling off what’s been a very hot week. I’ve been able to get in some runs while I’ve been here, along the city’s Augusta Canal trails, which have proved to me that I actually can run in the heat — though I’m still not sure I’d recommend it 🥵
Augusta is my hometown. I was born here, just a few miles from the house where my parents still live today, and I live just a couple hours away in Atlanta now. A number of people I know have made multiple cross-country moves during their lives, giving them the experience of really soaking in different parts of the country, different cultures in different corners of our world.
But me, I feel sometimes like I’ve been more like the black bear, the species that stays within just a few dozen square miles its entire life. Is that a good thing, or not? There are things you learn from staying in a place for a long, long time — like how odd it is, if you’re a southerner, to put ketchup in the refrigerator. It goes back up in the cabinet, where you found it 😉
Lately, I’ve been reading a book by Laura Dave, the author of the bestselling suspense novel The Last Thing He Told Me, which came out a couple of years ago. This one, Eight Hundred Grapes, is one of her earlier novels, about a young woman named Georgia Ford, who’s on the brink of getting married to her fiancé Ben — until she discovers that he’s fathered a child with his ex, and didn’t tell her.
The story plunges us into her struggle as Georgia goes back home to Sebastopol, Calif., where her father runs the vineyard and winery where she and her brothers grew up. Only he is about to experience a break in his story too, as he has decided to sell his home, his vineyard, his barn, everything — where he did everything by hand, eschewing the factory farming techniques of the big winemakers — to one of the big wine companies in nearby Napa.
Georgia goes home in more ways than one. She’s spent the past few years living and working in Los Angeles and planning a move to London, but now she’s drawn back home, to the earth where she and her brothers helped with the wine harvest every year, reliving old memories — because soon, they’re all she’ll have left, after her father sells his farm.
What has struck me as I read this is how home is a character in the novel, how it speaks to the reader not through words, but through sounds, smells, memory and sight. The look of the sunlight streaming through the trees, the sound and aromas of the grapes when they’re ready for harvest — it all paints a picture of a place Georgia suddenly, desperately wants to get back to, because she’s on the verge of losing it.
I think about this because I live in a city that’s big and bustling. It’s a city we think of moving away from at times; but at the end of the day, there is something magical, with an almost gravitational pull, about our home and neighborhood that keeps us drawn together there.
How do you feel about home? Have you moved a lot? What does home mean to you? Do you leave often, only to come back?
I’d love to know. As always, keep in touch and let me know how your running/life is going — and have a great, great run out there!
🏃 To run
🏟️ Verona Run Marathon + Half. Perhaps most famous as the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this Italian city along the Adige River offers up stunning views of the city center and long stretches along the Adige, the famed Piazza del Erbe, and past the first-century Roman amphitheater in the heart of the city. You’ll cross over the bridges across the river a few times during the race, and finish back where you started, under the the arches of Portoni della Bra. Set for November 19, 2023.
🏰 Tallinn Marathon + Half. A gorgeous run through the capital of Estonia, starting from the part of the city known as Old Town of Tallinn — which has stood since the Middle Ages and today is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site — and then heading out onto the city’s streets and walking paths, including stretches along Tallinn Bay, past Freedom Square, Stroomi Beach Park and the “the infamous Patarei Prison,” organizers note. Set for September 8, 2023.