Exploring the New and Old

When I went to college here the first time, I really didn't take the opportunity to explore everything this town and this area had to offer. I really struggled with depression and anxiety during my college years, and without a doubt that contributed to my lack of interest in really having anything to do with it. By the time I graduated, I was itching to leave. I even finished my Bachelors + Masters in 4 years because I couldn't stand to be here any longer.

A couple weeks ago I admitted how nervous I was about living here again, since it was less than stellar for me last time. But oh, how times have changed! I am having SO MUCH FUN exploring the things I never did before.

One of the things I was most worried about was running and tri training (#priorities). I was not interested in fitness (or really anything other than being a fatass lazy bum) at all when I was here before.
Proof: I gained 15+ pounds by the end of my last year and was the heaviest I've ever been (Spring Break during my grad school year).
I honestly didn't go much of anywhere that I couldn't get to by car or bus. Our last year here, Ben and I bought some bikes on Craigslist and I think I rode mine exactly one time. I got to the first hill and noped right out. Of course, since then I've learned what a joy it is to explore a place on foot or two wheels and that's just what I've been doing!

On Monday I went on my first Blacksburg run. I drove from my apartment to campus because I thought it would be fun to run by some of my old haunts! Campus is divided into a residential side and academic side, so even though I've been on campus on the academic side I really have no reason to go to the residential side. I actually haven't really spent a lot of time there since I was a freshman. I started at the library and ran (up a hill right off the bat) by my ex-boyfriend's freshman year dorm, where I came to move him in and then thought my life was positively O-V-E-R when I had to leave him there. I ran by my freshman year dorm.

I ran past the gym - which I would be surprised if I made it to even 10 times my entire college career - and got a good laugh at the irony of that situation. I ran down the sidewalk where I used to walk from my dorm to Chemistry class freshman year. I ran around the Duck Pond, where Ben and I had our photos taken immediately after getting engaged on the Drillfield a couple hundred yards away, and where I had never even been to before we took our pictures there (right now Becky is unfollowing me for being the worst Hokie ever ;)).

I was so nervous about this first run but I enjoyed it so much. It flew by!

Wednesday was my first attempt at a brick workout here. I braved my fear of riding alone in traffic to ride the 2.5 miles to the Huckleberry Trail. which is a paved trail almost 6 miles long from Blacksburg to the neighboring town of Christiansburg. I had only been on the Huckleberry one time before (Becky is definitely unfollowing me now), only for about a quarter of a mile, and only because I had friends who lived near it so we hopped on it to walk to a football game once.

It turned out to maybe be one of my favorite bike rides ever. Everything was so lush and verdant! The views were amazing. I don't know how I lived here before and hated the mountains. Now I just look at them in awe, like is this real life?!

I don't always take bike selfies, but when I do, I make sure someone is behind me to catch me in the act
The run I went on afterward was...not my favorite run ever, not by a long shot. The apartment I'm staying at is on top of a hill, so the first ~2 miles were downhill and the next 2+ were uphill. It got so hard at the end that I stopped right at 4 miles when I got to the entrance of the complex. Normally I'd run the extra ~.25 mile back to the apartment but there is a huge hill leading up to it and I figured I'd had enough hills for the day. Did I mention yet that it's hilly here?!
Last week's run in Portsmouth: 5 ft elevation gain
This week's run in Blacksburg: 189 ft elevation gain
And after all that, my pace on the Blacksburg run was only 4 seconds/mile slower than my Portsmouth run last week. I just don't get me sometimes.

This run took me past the Papa John's where a creepo employee once CALLED ME to ask me out after I picked up my pizza (he got my number from their computer system....like I said, CREEPO!)...past the street where I lived in my first off-campus house...past my senior year apartment...past the townhouse where Ben lived when we first started dating...

The more time I spend here, the more I realize that I'd forgotten more than I actually remembered! So far I'm having a great time exploring both new and old places. Funny how a place so familiar can feel like a whole new world!


  1. Oh yeah there is definitely a difference between living someplace and actually experiencing a place. I'm happy to hear that you are enjoying yourself the second time around :)

  2. Hahaha don't worry no unfollowing here :) All that matters is you're going/doing it now!!! Gosh this makes me so nostalgic for running in blacksburg! Minus the hills. Oh those hills. Ugh I also hated running past the papa johns and dominos - lots of times I just wanted to stop and grab a pizza haha.

  3. Glad you had such a good evening!! I'm glad that you're enjoying VT so much better than the first time around :)

  4. Oh the joys of hills...go get it girl !

  5. I loved reading this post because it just makes me realize even more that where you're living or what you're doing, etc is more about your attitude than anything else! Love the bike selfie too...both you and the view look great!! :)

  6. LOLOL @ caught in a selfie. It's happened to all of us.

    I'm glad you're getting out there and enjoying!

  7. I used to hate hate hate hills (I think I've told you this before, I dunno) but I had to learn to love them since I live on one, and I could run mayyyybe 2/3 of a mile from my front door in any direction, tops, before having to go uphill. They're not my favorite thing now, but I definitely like them a lot better than I used to... because what goes up must come down :) and also, booty. (Have I said all this to you? I feel like I have. Whatever.) Also, super cute selfie. ALSO, I get a kick out of thinking about how much I used to hate hiking with my family, getting dirty, trails, all that stuff. And now there's almost no other way I'd rather spend my time. Crazy the changes life takes us though, huh? Have a great weekend :)

  8. So cool that you even ran on the hills. Im sure with time it will get much easier for you but I feel your pain. I get shin splints from flat land so no hills anytime soon for me!

  9. Yay! I am so happy for you! This makes my heart so glad because I know you've been so nervous about everything! So glad The Lord is blessing you in this state! seems like you're exactly where you're supposed to be.

    Loved your comment about exploring campus on your run. Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to forget that I'm running that I miss the beauty around me.

  10. We are moving back to our college town, too and are already having a lot of the same feelings when we visit to look at houses! We didn't venture too much outside of campus so it's funny to feel like we've already lived there but also we never really "lived" there if that makes sense! Glad you are enjoying things!!

  11. Oh my gosh at that Papa Johns story! Definitely sounds totally creepy but what a funny memory! I'm so glad you're having a good time so far being back & that you're finding so much joy in the new (old) place! I'm sure it's amazing to see how you've grown since you were last there! Gorgeous pictures!

  12. It's amazing how time changes things isn't it. So happy your settling in and enjoying your new/old town.

  13. That looks like such a nice trail! It's good to see that you enjoyed your bike ride :)

  14. I'm so glad you're enjoying being back it looks like a great place to work out :)

  15. That is so so amazing. Look at the difference a couple years can make! You're like a fitness guru now ;)


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