Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ability to be grateful at all times


Grateful that I got through 14 miles of this last weekend without slipping and sliding –


Grateful for this gem that made me smile in the midst of the snow and rain on that run –

Grateful for a friend who asks, “Wanna run 17-18 with me at the beach” and runs 20 with me instead -

Grateful for cool scenes on a 20 mile run (more snow falling; snow where there should be sand) –

Grateful for an opportunity to stretch out my hamstrings post-20 miler (no choice here….beach house still plowed in) –


I won’t pretend to have enjoyed all aspects of this winter’s training, but as long as I stay open to the good things that are happening around me, I am grateful.

I’m even more grateful that it is officially Spring.  Now, go away snow.  My gratitude for you is on thin ice.  No pun intended.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Take THAT Mother Nature

The weather just didn’t look good heading into this weekend.  No two ways about it – I’d be running in the rain and/or snow OR running on the treadmill.  I chose the rain.

I could’ve gotten cranky about it, but instead I decided to take the chill approach.  I had errands to run, so I did that first.  I picked up my new glasses, grabbed a few things at the store, and headed back home.  By 9:30, I was heading out the door to run.  A slight drizzle greeted me, which was better than what was forecast.  And in my mind, heading out into drizzle is much better than heading out into steady rain.

The steady rain joined me at about mile 5 and stuck with me for the remaining miles.  But I felt pretty good.  I was already wet and I was moving – so I didn’t feel all that cold.  Until mile 10.  Got some good wind in the face that delivered the steady raindrops like missiles into my face.  No Bueno.  But even that passed pretty quickly.  I was also pleasantly surprised at how courteous the drivers were this morning.  Just about all of them slowed and/or swerved away from me to give me room to continue running.  Even the driver who splashed me in my final mile had tried to avoid me and the puddles.  A for effort anyway!

I didn’t really know what to expect today.  I headed out with a plan of my 8 hilly miler and figured that, if I felt good after that, I’d keep going.  I felt good, so I kept going.  I brought a GU and took it at mile 6.  I got wet and I got cold, but overall, I had a very decent 14 miler.  Now, off to thaw out in front of the pellet stove and have about 5 of these….


Anyone else brave the elements today?


Friday, March 13, 2015

C’mon Spring…and Running Mojo!

I know I’m not the only person craving temperatures above 40 degrees.  Or willing the still very high snowbanks away.  Or keeping my fingers crossed that the aforementioned snowbanks don’t melt too quickly and end up in the form of water in my basement.  Or wishing my running mojo would return as quickly or quicker than Spring itself.

Ever since the magic of GhostTrain, I’ve slowly settled into a running funk.  I ran Wolf Hollow ½ marathon (trail) a month after my 100 miler and felt fantastic!  I was still riding so high and was thrilled having nailed 13.1 miles with some decent speed after so many months of training to be slower for Ghost Train.  So of course, I registered for more races!  I set my sights on Boston Prep (aka Derry 16 miler) in January, a 6 hour trail race in March, a ½ and full marathon weekend Challenge in May, and finally, a 50 miler in late May.  Reality?  Burn out.  Big time.

I quickly found myself falling behind in my training for Derry.  Because it is known for its “16 moderately challenging hills”, I focused on hills.  I got out there and ran the miles.  But I was losing steam fast.  Luckily, Sue was on the fence about running the same race, so with a little more coaxing from me, I had a partner for race day!  We ran a solid race and were happy at the end.  Yay us.


As soon as I registered for TARC Spring Thaw in March, I realized I had a more important commitment that same day – our niece’s bridal shower.  Wouldn’t miss it!  Fortunately for me, my disappointment in missing this race has been tempered by the fact that the trails are still snowy and not very conducive to running.  It’s OK, my money isn’t wasted and is going to a good cause.

So I now focus on Maine Coast Challenge in May.  I’m registered for the ½ on Saturday and the full on Sunday.  I get a fancy jacket with 3 finisher medals when I finish the Challenge.  This race weekend was strategically planned to help prepare me for Pineland Farms 50 Miler a couple weeks later.  Based on the way my training has been going (or not going), I decided last week to change my race to the 50K distance instead.  Immediate relief. 

I’m sure I’ve whined  talked enough about my commute, the weather, and general winter blues, so I’ll try not to bore you.  The fact remains, there are times when the universe seems to conspire against us and training just doesn’t materialize as planned.  Winter blues, almost-record-setting snow, life commitments, long commutes, business travel….they add up.  As the snow melts and Spring starts to peek its head out of the remaining snowbanks and bottomless pot holes, I’m feeling a glimmer of hope that warmer weather is indeed coming and my running mojo just might return with it.

Now if I could only run to work…




Sunday, February 22, 2015

Minimalism = Mindfulness?

At the beginning of 2015, I shared some goals that I wanted to work towards to become a better me.  Mindfulness was the term I used.  Checking in on myself two months later, how am I doing with that?

Not bad.  Could do better.

Lately, I’ve felt the need to disconnect a lot more than usual to consider the 'could do better'.  Oh I’m not going into hiding or retreating to my own island (though, if there is any time I would like to be on an island, it is now…brrrr).  I think this feeling to disconnect comes along with my realization that I may not be as mindful as I thought I was.  Or that improving my level of mindfulness was as easy as I thought it would be.

Ironically, one of the things that is helping me with this goal was discovered by being connected - on Facebook.  Yup.  I came across a page called BecomingMinimalist.  And it’s really changing the way I think, consume, and prioritize what’s most important.  The author, Joshua Becker, writes very thoughtful and purposeful articles that really get to the core of clutter, space, consumerism, the things that hold us back, etc. 

Like the island analogy, I’m not throwing away all of my possessions.  This is not a revolutionary change I’ve embarked upon, but more of an evolutionary change.  I've been scrutinizing more closely the things I have, why I have them, and why I keep them if not using/wearing them.  I wrote about Medals4Mettle recently, which is just one awesome outcome of my recent attitude shift on 'stuff'.  It all started with a statement I read in one of Joshua’s articles that went something like if you’re looking for more containers to hold  your stuff, you might have too much stuff.  Hmmmm….

Tonight, I piled all of my running clothes on the bed and it sure was a big pile.  Some race shirts never worn.  Some others worn beyond their life.  One pile to Salvation Army and one pile to the garbage. 
Off to Salvation Army bin!
So what did I get out of this and the medal effort?  Lots!! 
  • I feel more organized.  Clutter, whether dusty collectibles or extra clothes, feels like noise to me. 
  • I now have a smaller pile of running clothes that actually fits in my drawer.  And, it’s all clothing I wear to run, without being buried by clothing I don’t wear.  With that said, I can find everything I need when I need it.  Simple as that.
  • I no longer have duplicate finisher medals just collecting dust and buried by newer medals.
  • Spending the hours organizing this pile and organizing medals has meant I’m not mindlessly perusing the internet.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I still do that too.  But mindfulness is not achieved by doing that.  I’m a work in progress for sure.
  • Someone else can get some use out of the clothing and medals I no longer need or use (or in some cases, ever used!).
  • I feel inspired and energized to tackle another project!

In addition to the great feeling of having cleaned or organized something, I also find myself thinking differently about how and when I add stuff to our household.  Not naturally a big shopper, I don’t feel as impacted by potentially not shopping as often.  But the notion of ‘less is more’ has resonated with me more than ever these days.  I just don’t want to spend time washing/drying/folding/ironing a bunch of clothes I barely/never wear.  I’d rather spend that time writing or reading or just….being.
  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter running sights

Usually, I see very few others on a long winter run.  Aside from other runners or ice fishers, it’s usually pretty quiet on my long runs.  Today, there were a few runners and one man walking a dog.  The rest?  Tons of people on their roof tops or on ladders, working hard to clear the feet of snow from their roof tops.  Seemed like every other roof was being attended to.  Yikes.


This isn’t your ordinary winter here in New England.  Not a sprint.  Not even a marathon.  More like an ultra.  (Doesn’t everything always go back to running??)  This roof shoveling/clearing is legit.  Roof collapses are occurring daily.  More snow is falling as I type…


In addition to the roof efforts, all other sights continued to be snow related today.  Many were preparing their properties for more snow or widening their driveways or breaking down the snowbanks that make backing out of one’s driveway impossible.  And with all of this activity came comments from the peanut gallery, “Go faster!” or other goofy comments. 

Rounding out a 16 mile run, I was tired.  A rough night last night (felt sick) left me more tired than usual.  Then add a bunch of cold and hilly miles.  At approximately mile 14, I waved to some people working on a roof.  One of them waved as well and yelled, “Hey, how’s it going?”  So I replied, “Having just as much fun as you are!”.  OK, maybe I’m not as funny as I think.  But truthfully, running is much more fun than cleaning off a roof. 

I am kind of biased.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Medals4Mettle

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE my finisher medals.  I’ve registered for races because the finisher medal was irresistible!  Quebec City Marathon medal lit up,  Maine Coast Marathon medal showcased a stained glass flair to it.  Since 2002, I’ve been collecting many medals; mostly half marathons and marathons.  Interestingly, the ultras I’ve run have handed out creative forms of medals that depict more of the trail mentality, such as a cowbell (Pineland Farms 50K) and a railroad spike (Ghost Train 100).  Regardless of the form, I love them all!

This is what happens when there are 2 runners in the family!
Recently, I discovered Medals4Mettle.  Started in 2005, its mission is “to provide an opportunity for endurance athletes and runners to pay it forward by enabling the gifting and awarding of earned medals to others who demonstrate similar mettle, or courage, as they face life's challenges. Nearly every dollar donated goes directly to buy ribbons and pay minor expenses associated with our 501c3 public charity. Each of our dedicated staff is an unpaid volunteer and we network by email and conference calls from our homes and personal offices around the world to accomplish our mission.”  (http://www.medals4mettle.org/history.html)

Tonight, Scott and I sorted out our finisher medals we were donating, removed the ribbons as instructed and prepared them for their packaging and shipment.  Medals4Mettle affixes special ribbons before delivering to the recipients.

Always earned....never given.
Lastly, Medals4Mettle affords you the ability to deliver a medal attached to a specific recipient.   Since I don’t have a specific recipient, I thought of the next best thing.  My friend Meaghan’s brother Jason was taken by cancer as a young child.  So I will donate/dedicate my medals in honor and memory of not only Jason, but to all young children who are bravely fighting cancer or other life threatening or life changing diseases.  

Their mettle trumps any finisher medal I have or ever will earn. 



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Did you know...

Did you know...that negative temperatures without wind is actually runnable?  (I didn’t say it was comfortable….)


Did you know...it took my toes approximately 3 miles to warm up?


Did you know...snowbanks, if tall enough, can provide protection from the wind?


Did you know...Sportslick is truly the ultimate skin protector?  Ghost Train 100 miler tested and approved – no chafing.  For real.


Did you know...this is a normal example of a mailbox found during the Northeast winters?


Did you know...to distract myself, I rate the fire hydrant shoveling efforts?  So get shoveling….you never know who’s watching!


Did you know...there’s endless beauty on a long run during the Northeast winters?


Did you know...that even Bella is experiencing snow exhaustion?


Did you know...regardless of the weather or road conditions, Jordan’s Furniture delivers?


Did you know...we’re bracing for yet another blizzard? 


Did you know...I saw a lot of this on my run this morning to prepare for the next 12-18” of snow?

Did you know...it took approximately 1 minute into my run for my bad mood to be frozen away? 

Cheers to all of us who are trying to run through or around this hellacious winter we’re having!  Now if this “glass half full” attitude doesn’t freeze….