Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Sunday, July 1, 2018


Today was to mark my first truly long run for 2018.  I realize it’s already July, but the last time I ran 10 or more miles at one time?  Late October 2017 at Ghost Train. 

Scott and I planned out a great day:  drive to Lover’s Key, run 10+ miles on the trails, change into bathing suits, and hit the beach.  It’s all right there, so a great way to spend the day getting it all done in a beautiful state park.  Unfortunately, my first double digit run of 2018 will have to wait another week.

I had all the excuses:  it was warm at 8am when I started, I tried to keep up with Scott, and I ate all of the wrong things (including not enough) yesterday.  Womp, womp.  I felt spent almost immediately and decided to call it a day at 5 miles and headed off to the beach to wait for Scott to finish his run.

So I'll share a couple of firsts that DID happen today…..

Scott met me on the beach with stories of seeing his first armadillo, who ended up running alongside him for a stretch.  He’s seen one before in worse shape (road kill ) but never alive and well on the trails.  I guess I’ll have to wait for my first armadillo sighting for another day.

Later on the beach, suddenly everyone was pointing out to the ocean (here’s where I’m glad I happened to have been in my beach chair).  A manatee was swimming by, parallel to the coastline and everyone jumped up to watch it.   I’m not sure if those in the water nearby the gentle giant knew what was approaching them, but hopefully they figured it was something safe, since we on the shoreline were not panicking.  Still, I might have panicked a bit (ok, a lot) if a manatee swam towards me.  The manatee was a little too far out for me to get a good picture, so I just enjoyed my first sighting sans technology.

Firsts are magical.  First dates, first sighting of xyz animal, first birthday, first child, and yes, even first double digit runs.  I remember vividly my first double digit run so many years ago, while training for my first half marathon.  Even though I’ll never have another true first, you can be sure I’ll be celebrating my first double digit run of 2018 as if it were my very first!  

Who else has seen an armadillo and/or a manatee?

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Donut Detox

I dub last week as “the week of the donut”.  Every day, donuts made their way into our office for a myriad of reasons:  Microsoft Teams demo/info sessions in the lobby, beginning of a system go-live week, the actual day of the system go-live, because it was a workday, because donuts are awesome.  Because, because, because.  It’s funny how quickly one can acclimate to something new (might be a surprise to some that donuts are not usually an everyday thing for me).  Acclimating to Florida heat and humidity has been a bit more of a process, but today showed great progress!

As I’ve written previously, I’ve been slowly working myself into becoming an early morning runner to beat the height of the heat and humidity.  This morning, I chose to forego the 4:30 am wake up call and opted for more sleep and some Saturday morning lounging.  Heading out around 9am, I figured it would be somewhat of a sufferfest, but the additional sleep and lounging was worth the later morning heat.

What happened next was a pleasant surprise and proof that I truly am acclimating to my new climate.  If you’ve been following along, you know I’m not a routine “running split sharer”, but today felt so good I had to share!  After 5 weeks of concerted effort to run consistently during the work week, to obey the early wake up calls, to adjust to the sensation of breathing through a straw, to tolerating the waterfalls of sweat, to trust the lead legs unaccustomed to the consistency, and even to pick myself up immediately after falling hard off the donut wagon….THIS>>>

My long run tomorrow should complete my donut detox.  Come Monday, let’s see if I can acclimate to a week with no donuts, shall we?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

In the habit of changing a habit

They say just change one thing and that thing will help change a habit.  So, if one thing works, how about three?

Wakey wakey!
Since moving to the sunshine state, I've quickly realized that I must become a morning runner.  Unless I want to spend every running moment on the treadmill, this is becoming my norm.

And that’s just the weekdays before work.  When I go longer on the weekend, the wake up call is closer to 4:30 am to allow for some food, a drive to join other runners, and some wake up time.   It’s just too hot during the day to get a good, quality run in.  Then, add the humidity and afternoon thunderstorms.  The risk of not getting out increases by the minute.  I know that this is normal for many, but I’m not a morning person.  The struggle is real.

Extra bonus:  I get to see both sunsets AND sunrises!

Chicken Humid Soup for the Soul

And speaking of humidity, that shit is real here.  At 6 am this morning, my trusty weather app reported humidity at 95%.  Talk about soupy.

We’re well on our way to acclimating to it, though it takes awhile to cool down post run.  I gotta believe this will make me stronger when the temperature/humidity lowers.

Extra bonus:  my skin has never looked/felt better!

Running on empty 

Coke and peanut butter toast – the breakfast of champions!  This is my breakfast go-to and one that is fairly predictable when it comes to preparing for my run.  This hasn’t been as difficult to acclimate as I would’ve thought.  Maybe it’s because I’m only running 3-4 miles during the week or maybe it’s because I’m still half asleep while syncing up my Garmin.   I still crack open a Coke (that’s my coffee) so I do get a little jolt to jump start my still-asleep brain.

Extra bonus:  no digestive emergencies and a little more sleep!

Changing any habit can be difficult, but the rewards are mounting:  I feel better physically and mentally (maybe notsomuch at 4:30 am, but definitely after running), enjoy the morning running time with Scott, revel in the gorgeous sunrises, feel like I’ve got a leg up on the day by 6:45 am, and have the whole evening after work to chase the sunsets!  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Run Down Memory Lane

As I’ve been unpacking and organizing our new home, I recently came across my past running logs.  Honing in on years 2012-2014, I recalled fondly what a great three years’ worth of running I had.  2012 represented my leap into the ultra distance, tackling my first 50 miler at Stonecat.  2013 was my prep year for even farther distances, bringing me into 2014.  2014 was the year of Ghost Train 100.  All of those memories neatly documented in my running logs.  All of those memories now haunting me.

The last two years have found me less and less focused on running.  In fact, I just hadn’t been enjoying it much.  I swore last year was the year I’d return to Ghost Train to improve my time and run it with less pacer support.  But almost from the beginning, I didn’t have the hunger.  The usual badass Lisa wouldn’t have thought twice about heading out in wind/snow/blizzard/locust attack, but not this time.  Eventually, I admitted to myself that I was sorely lacking the mental fortitude needed to train for (let alone complete) a 100 mile run.  So I downgraded my race day distance to 50K, allowing a more manageable distance and the privilege to run with two different friends attempting new distances.

Now that I’m living in Florida, I no longer have any cold weather excuses.  I’m happy to say that, more and more, I WANT to run again, but now I feel like I’m starting over.  This is where the “memory haunting” comes in.  Knowing where I’ve been is something I celebrate often, but boy it’s hard when a 3 mile run feels like torture – both in the legs and the lungs.  Yet, memories remind me that I once gutted through a 100 mile race.  But that’s what happens when you stop running.  It’s part of the process.  So what am I doing about it?

I’m getting out.  And I’m running.  It’s slow, but it’s still running.

Not a morning person, I’m trying really hard to get out at least twice a week before work.  I gain a special viewing of the sunrise, beat the heat, avoid the afternoon thunderstorms, and don’t get caught up in the “shiny object syndrome” of finding other things that just have to be done after work.  Scott’s been a huge inspiration, getting me up and out.  The other inspiration comes in the form of how I feel on those days I get up and out for a run before work - happy.  I’m even feeling inspired to register for a race…

Time sure is flying.  The time is now to get moving again, to enjoy this beautiful SWFL outdoor living, to explore the trails, and to create a 2018 running log that makes the top #3 running years the next time I “run” down memory lane!

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Gifts of Relationships

Last week, I left my job for a new opportunity in a new state.  I’ve been here for almost two years; learned lots and met some great people.  I’ve done this several times during my lifetime and find that leaving the job is the easy part. 

This change also means I’m leaving my running club/family that I’ve grown so close to over the last two years.  This is something I have never done (since this is the first time I have joined a running club), but leaving it (physically) is difficult.  Talk about relationships…running relationships are special.

Leaving relationships behind is so hard.

The last two weeks have included lots of work transition, home purging/packing, going away lunches, going away runs, and lots and lots of gifts!  My "spirited" team surprised me with balloons, cupcakes, a pineapple plant, and a collage of pictures, reflecting all of their "seasons".  Topping that off was a hilarious, yet touching, poem.

My morning commute has sent me straight into Mt. Monadnock's path every morning.  I have stowed away many sunrises, sunsets, and snow peaks into my memories.  

My friends know me well, presenting me with a perfect reminder of this gentle giant, "Mt. Monadnock 3165 Ft".  I can't wait to hang this sign in my new home (no mountains where I'm going!).

Great memory of an evening Super Moon hike up Mt. Monadnock with running friends who became much more than running friends.

Our Scores Running Club family sent us on our adventure with a pair of beach towels that we can't wait to show off on the beach.  

And just before our club run Tuesday night, this beauty: 

Gifts may come in the form of luncheons, cards, plants, and goodies, but the greatest gift of all is the relationships we build and foster and take with us along our journeys.  I'm humbled by the gifts of these relationships.  I will carry them all with me.  Always.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Hug at Hellcat

“Go get Purple….” 

This past weekend, Scott and I jetted off to Jacksonville, FL for a long weekend.  We explored the city and the beaches and found ourselves a trail race to run.  The race, Hellcat 10K/30K/50K, was held on Saturday morning and was comprised of a 10K loop around historic Lee Field in Green Cove Springs.  This is the home of the US Navy’s F6F Hellcat fighter from WWII.  The website described the course as “no roots or rocks” and “runners will go thru scenic cypress swamps with an abundance of wild life to include gators, deer, bear”.

Gators?  Gulp.

There was no elevation to speak of, which also meant the swampy areas were almost level with the trail we ran on.  I kept a watchful eye on anything resembling the aforementioned gators.

6.2 miles of flat, root-less, rock-less trails….easy, right?  Well, normally I would’ve said yes.  What’s not been so normal is that I haven’t been doing all that much running lately.  I figure the desire to jump back in, really run, and register/train for races will return.  It always does.  So for this race, I was purely there to enjoy a destination run and hang out with running peeps in a different state.

Per standard race protocol, I started out on the faster side.  With Scott running alongside, it was natural to try to match his pace.  I kept the pace for a couple miles and started to feel my lack of running around the half way mark – both lungs and legs.  I stayed at a touch slower pace for the next couple miles, praying for it to be over.  Not necessarily the run itself, but the terrible feeling of knowing I can do so much better.  So, I felt all the feelings as I continued kicking my own ass for the final two miles. 

It was at about mile 5 that Scott uttered those words, “Go get Purple”.  Breathless, tired, and sprinkled with discouragement at how I felt, I gasped, “I don’t know if I have it today”.  But of course Scott never heard that since my words were probably drowned out by my lungs screaming in protest.  So I continued running, with a new found focus on “Purple”.  Slowly, I crept up on “Purple” until I was passing her.  Finally entering the finish chute, I stopped my watch, came to a halt, and willed myself to not throw up.

Now, I’m not usually this dramatic when describing a race.  But this was how it truly went down.  Feeling out of shape, wondering if I would finish, and discouraged at even having those thoughts was a huge weight on me.  As I collected my finisher medal, I came to my senses and remembered how grateful I am to be able to run.  

I suddenly spotted “Purple” who finished shortly after I did and approached her, “Hey there, just want to thank you for being my rabbit out there.  You really helped me”.  That’s when “Purple” turned to me and said, “Oh my God, thank you so much for saying that.  Can I hug you?  Seriously, you have no idea what that means to me!”.  So along with my hard fought medal, I was also awarded a sweaty hug from a grateful stranger at Hellcat.

Seems I wasn’t the only one struggling out there. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Today’s canvas

After not running for over a week, I was grateful for Scott’s invitation to run with him along the West River Trail.  We eased into the day, starting our run at about 9am.  Initially, we drove into some rain showers but could see the sun shining ahead of us in Vermont.  We hoped to get us some of that.

And we did!  We got into a nice groove and never saw anyone on the way out.  It was a peaceful way to start the day and I was happy to be running.  The sound of the rushing West River, the brilliant sunshine, and the mild November temperatures provided a perfect canvas for our run.  

We turned around at the four mile mark and that’s when the photographic shenanigans began.  Scott has such a natural way of making the run fun.  I ended up with an additional .5 to my distance because I needed to “run back there and run towards me!” so Scott could get a particular shot.  So our return 4 miles became all about the photography and silliness.  I’ll save you from the many shots taken and just post my favorites: