Latvian Flag at the “Corner House”- Former KGB Headquarters. Read about it here. Another place to visit in Latvia to learn more about the Soviet Occupation is the Occupation Museum. Both places were highly emotional and makes one appreciate safety and freedom.
Last Sunday, May 18th, I ran as an invited athlete in the Nordea Riga Marathon in Riga, Latvia, the 2014 European Capital of Culture. This race was very special to me as I am 100% Latvian and it was awesome to be back in Latvia after our first trip there in 2008. I have been working hard on my Latvian language and studying the history of my ancestors and the history of the Latvian people. It is funny, I can understand my parent’s Latvian so well, but when in Latvia it was difficult for me to understand Latvian citizens speaking, I guess that is probably true in any language as accents vary. I would love to spend a few months over there to train in the beautiful parks and to take Latvian Immersion classes. We shall see!
On to the marathon, I actually didn’t really have any jet lag. I followed this plan and it seemed to work very well. The night before the race I had my Osmo Pre-Load to prepare for the heat. Race morning I had about 500 calories, plus another 350 during the race. It was a little warm and windy but I felt prepared. I feel as though the Nordea Riga Marathon course may not be the fastest course, but with the U- turns and the loop-style, it is tactical. I ran 2:40:22 for second place, much slower than I felt I was trained for, but some days are like that! I was going for the win to honor my family but unfortunately it didn’t pan out this time. I was definitely disappointed in myself afterwards. I think that is an emotion you need to have and work through and then move on! Makes you hungrier for the next.
I had an amazing experience, and met some great people while over in Latvia. I can’t wait to return to tackle this course again next year! Now it’s time to go up to the mountains for a summer of altitude training before my next marathon….CHICAGO! It is my time for a big breakthrough. 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy the pictures!
Above is the House of the Blackheads- It was originally built in 1334 and was a meeting and celebration venue for different social organizations in Riga. In the 17th century its occupants were the cheerful and industrious, mainly German merchants – the Blackheads’ Society.
St. Peter’s Church– truly marvelous.
Myself with one of the many snails placed in downtown Riga. The were movable and each one was a different color. The marathon shirts had a snail on them this year (so cute!) so I am guessing these were related but couldn’t find information. They were pretty awesome!
The Freedom Monument in the center of Riga. It is a very powerful sight and definitely makes you stop for a moment. It was built to honor soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence. It is considered an important symbol of sovereignty of Latvia. It represents the unity, independence and freedom of the Latvian people.
That’s all for now! Run Happy and never give up the dream!