Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Own Private Holiday – Marathon Monday!

I’m pretty sure my new manager and coworkers would not understand if I profess Monday the holiday I know it is.   After all, I’m now living in NC, where Patriots Day is not celebrated and the Boston Marathon is not as highly revered.  No fear, I’ll be representing Boston even though I’m physically far away! 

  • I’ll wear my jacket from my first running of Boston in 2010
  • Better yet, when I enter work that morning, I’ll place my jacket on the back of my chair for all the world (or at least my immediate coworkers) to see
  • I’ll most definitely run on Monday! 
  • I’ll likely find myself super motivated and sign up for Umstead 100 some little race
  • I’ll peek in on live streaming whenever possible (thank you technology!)
  • Most fun of all, if I can’t be running….I’ll stalk runners who are running Boston this year via the Athlete Tracker J
And although there won’t be any Boston Marathon fanfare where I’m living now, I think my company does have a little Boston Marathon in them……at least based on the blue and yellow flowers planted at the front entrance AND this car parked in the lot today (get it….BQ###!!!!) –

Happy resting and hydrating friends who are running!  I’m excited for you!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Crawling my way back!

April 4th signified one month since uprooting ourselves from MA and moving to NC.  That month included the road trip to NC, my first days/weeks at my new job, a business trip to IL on my first day, finding my/our way around our new city, and helping Bella acclimate by finding some areas that she loves to romp around.  That month did not include the endless list making, the packing, and the anxiety over what we were tackling.  We’ve been in go-go-go mode since late January, when we listed our house in MA until just recently when we unpacked our final box.  With all of that go-go-go, running took a back seat.  Let me rephrase that:  running took a seat in the trunk!  I am now in that uncomfortable place of crawling my way back to a fitness level that makes me feel strong, both physically and mentally.  It’s not easy and it’s not fast, but it will happen. 

Last night, I re-watched the great video Scott put together of my Ghost Train run.  Not only did re-watching it give me a good shot in the arm from a running perspective, but it also gave me an incredible lift as I reflected on my awesome friends who were such a big part of my success there, and who I miss terribly.  Watching it also awakened some hunger pangs.  I thought back to how strong I felt, how confident I felt, and how positive I felt.  I’m hungry for that.

Which then lead me to registering for some races!   In a couple weeks, we’re running Rocky Fest10K, which is a trail race intertwined with a music festival.  This past weekend, a new work friend and her boyfriend invited us to join them on a ‘trial run’ of the course.  It’s a decent course, with quite an ascent up a bald face section, culminating with a breathtaking view from the top.  I may bring my phone, since the view is too nice not to capture.  

As we’re becoming more acclimated to our new area, we’re discovering more trails, more races, and more like minded people who don’t look at us running and gasp, “What are you running from?!”.  We’ve also become friendly with the local Fleet Feet peeps (and have contributed generously to their profit margin) and joined them on one of their Saturday morning training runs.  Today, I registered us for CharityChase Half Marathon which takes place in our new city.  This will likely be my last race before I turn 50.  I’m not putting a lot of pressure on myself to win the thing, but I’d love to leave my 40’s on a high note. 

TableRock Ultra is another race I’ve had my eyes on.  They’ve done away with the 50 miler this year, but 50K with ~6000 foot climb is still a pretty daunting challenge! 

So, there’s plenty to do, see, explore, and run.  Oh, and crawl.  Lots of crawling going on as I build back up to where I know I feel and operate best.  Sore, tired, hungry all the time…..combined with happy, clear headed, positive, peaceful.  Yup, I'll take it. 

I hereby embrace my inner crawl.

Friday, March 18, 2016

City Tour…by Ambulance

I’m typically pretty low maintenance.  No prescriptions, no health issues, no real complaints.  This week however was not a low maintenance week. 

To back up, I spent last week (my first week at my new job) flying to Chicago.  I conquered O’Hare like a champ, didn’t get lost (though the car rental place almost sent me off with an expired registered car!), and had a good week getting to know my teammate and partners I’ll be working with.  I didn’t really have time to explore Chicago, but I’m sure there’ll be other opportunities.

So this past Monday was to be my first day in my NC office.  Ah, but my “low maintenance” body had other plans.  Enter:  Kidney Stone.  Evil.  Pure evil.  As if the excruciating pain wasn’t enough, I didn’t know what was causing it and that was scary.  And, I was in a new city.  And, we didn’t have a doctor or any idea of best hospital to go to, etc.  When you’re in that much pain, vomiting, and shaking in a sweaty mess, you call 911.  Or, you yell to your husband to call 911.

The inside of an ambulance is not where I expected to be touring as a new resident of NC.  But there I was at 3:00 am Monday.  I remember the EMT asking questions of Scott and of me that were going down the path of heart history….what??    Fortunately, there was no issue there (though they had a hard time getting temperature and blood pressure) and it was later confirmed through CT scan that the little bastard kidney stone was there.  I spent Monday in bed and NOT at work – yes, that felt like a sure fire way to move up the corporate ladder (not!).  They gave me pain medication and anti-nausea medication, since my kidney stone was too small to actually do something more invasive about it.  I went to work Tuesday, feeling exhausted but without pain.  Once the pain stopped, it was over.  As if it had never happened.  Oof.

Tuesday, though, brought on a head cold.  Now, I don’t get sick too often, but here I was throwing down kidney stones and a nasty head cold back to back.  What happened to “low maintenance Lisa”?  Like a good new employee, I worked the rest of the week, stoically sitting at my desk, fully drenched in leaking eyes and nose.  Yeah, I was pretty hot.  A hot MESS that is.

Tomorrow, Scott and I are registered for the Get Your Rear In Gear 5K for Colon Cancer Coalition.  I’ll probably walk it with the girls I’ve met at our apartment complex.  I’m grateful the kidney stone episode passed quickly and I know this cold will too.  I’m also grateful the kidney stone episode didn’t hit while I was travelling to IL and Scott was road tripping it to our new home in NC.  Even if I crawl at this 5K, I’ll be grateful to be out of bed and moving again.  Touring our new city by foot is much better than touring by ambulance!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Different Kind of Calm After A Different Kind of Storm

About one and a half months ago, I accepted a job offer that would relocate us to NC.  Our news came as a surprise to many, but Scott and I had been talking about changing things up for some time.  We couldn’t have fathomed the intensity and velocity of this change.  During this brief period, we –
  • Listed our house we've lived in for 26 years (for me, 39 years!)
  • Celebrated Scott's 50th birthday by island hopping Marco > Sanibel > Captiva
  • Sold our house
  • Packed and purged (did I mention 39 years?!?!?)
  • Made impressively monstrous to-do lists
  • Connected with as many family and friends as possible
  • Resigned from our jobs
  • Prepared for new job
  • Found/secured temporary housing in NC
  • Completed first road trip to NC
There were things we missed, things we had to reprioritize, and things we simply had to let go of.  Running took a major back seat.  Eating well was a challenge (we celebrated any meal not found between two pieces of bread).  Due to the crazy pace and moving parts, sleep was hard to come by.  We were extremely lucky to have engaged a phenomenal broker who helped sell our house so quickly, and to find an apartment that fits us as well as it does.  We are so grateful to have family and friends so supportive of our adventure – even though it meant we’d be farther away.
As I write this post, I am curled up on our only piece of furniture in our new apartment.  And I’m actually hand writing it because I have no computer and no internet (to post later).  The apartment is completely quiet; no TV, no internet, no Scott, no Bella.  I went for my first solo run earlier, ate dinner in solitude, and at 6:00 pm, ran out of things to do.  Weird.
This will be short lived.
Tomorrow, I start my new job.  I begin by jumping on a flight to Chicago.  Hey, if you’re going to live out of suitcases, does it really matter which city or state you’re in?  For now, I will soak up the solitude and quietly celebrate having survived the last one and a half months of a hectic, emotional, scary, and exciting rollercoaster ride.  Tomorrow, I meet new people in another new city and start a new chapter in my career.  Friday, I return to NC, where Scott and Bella will be waiting for me.  And the solitude will be replaced with the wonderful sounds of home.

Friday, January 8, 2016

You really DO get more with honey than vinegar!

Last week, we did a little shopping online and on Wednesday, everything showed up.  As I went through the 3 packages, I quickly realized that something was amiss with the REI package.  What we ordered?  A birthday present (so not revealing!) and a couple of other things.  What we got?  Not what we ordered.  Bummer.

I called the REI customer service number first thing this morning and got a personable and helpful person to help me.  Through our conversation, I realized it might be easier for me to return the wrong items to the local REI that’s on my way home from work.  The customer service representative also checked the store inventory and confirmed our items were in stock.  Win!  Furthermore, she let me know that she was sending me a $10.00 REI gift card for my troubles.  Win X 2!!

A quick stop at REI on my way home today, I kept my fingers crossed that all would go smoothly.  It did!  The cashier apologized for the mistake and went out of her way to make things right.  I walked out of the store with exactly what we wanted and in plenty of time for that person’s birthday.  Win X 3!!!

I’m not perfect and certainly don’t always handle things perfectly, but I’m so glad I didn’t go into this with any curt attitude.  Everyone makes mistakes…even REI.  Solid proof that you do get more with honey than vinegar…including some fancy new VT Darn Tough Socks!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Sounds of Silence

Our first measurable snow fell recently and quickly became a glazed sheet of ice.  Though pretty, it sure is a challenge to walk on it.  As I wrote about here, I was able to benefit from placing screws in my shoes to successfully navigate 50K worth of trails last week.  Bella, on the other hand, doesn’t have that option.  So the icy covering is really a challenge for managing her basic need of going to the bathroom.  She slips and slides and has quickly snubbed any idea of venturing out into the backyard as she normally would. 

Plan B....

This means I’m taking her for more frequent, formal walks down the street….morning and night.  At first, it’s a pain to get us both dressed at 9:30+ at night, but it’s also the most quiet time of the day.  The sky is crystal clear, showing off its brilliance in stars. The cold air and snow combines to create a "muffled" sensation, where it sounds like….nothing.  Not a peep.  It's peaceful.  

I'm kinda diggin' it.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Accidental Ultra

Moe, Melissa, and me pre-run
A week or so ago, Melissa mentioned she was running the GAC Fat Ass 50K.  I’ve had my eye on this local trail race for a few years, but weather, injury, or just timing always prevailed.  I responded that I was interested, but would likely run 3 loops of 6.2 miles each.  Melissa planned on running the full 5 loops (50K) but seemed happy for the company for however many loops I had in me.  Sure, count me in for a few!  

The icy, crunchy snow was tough, but was quickly trampled by runners.  The sun was super bright and so, even with the cold temperatures, it melted some of the snow and ice accordingly.  Enter mud!  Scott drilled some screws into my running shoes and I think that really helped today.  I never fell and never really even slid.  Melissa and Moe (a good friend of hers, who I also know from working together twenty years ago – small world!) slid and/or fell.  Fortunately, no one seemed too bruised or battered.  But a fall is a fall and generally disarms you for a little bit.  I am happy to report ZERO falls for the day.  Win!

Drilled screws work!!
As each loop passed, I continued to feel good.  I resorted back to my trusted jelly sandwiches that worked so well in other ultras, enjoyed some potato-ish soup and other various goodies at the aid station.  And oh my God, that aid station.  It was jam packed with food!!  A couple of caramel GUs (because c’mon, they’re awesome) and a couple of salt tabs, washed down with some Coke and later, ginger ale provided the perfect diet.  I felt fueled and mentally OK.  So I kept going.

Somewhere during loop #4, I knew I was going to keep going for the full 5 loops.  My legs felt the miles, the hills, and the traction-less trail, but the weather cooperated and I was having fun.  So why not!  We finished at 6:26 and toasted some chicken soup to our accomplishment.

Now you understand the title, “Accidental Ultra”.  While I knew there was a good chance Melissa would make me do all 5 loops I’d want to see what I had today and try to complete the full course, I also wanted to make sure I stayed injury-free and healthy.  My legs will scream at me later, but mentally, this was a huge boost for me to tackle this distance today.   I feel so happy and grateful to be able to physically and mentally jump in like I did today.  The Fat Ass mentally definitely helped, with its no-pressure, run what you want, bring food as your entry fee, right in my back yard, and all around great all keeps me coming back for more.   

My 2016 is starting off on a good foot (screws and all)!

Chicken soup toast....CHEERS!