Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

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!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Tale of Two Winters

It’s only December 20, so I realize it’s far too early to base the entire winter on current mild temperatures. 

BUT, we’re still a long way from last year –

Scott and I headed up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire on December 12 and planned a nice 9 mile run on the trails of Lincoln Woods.  While Mount Washington was displaying a nice layer of white, the trails of Lincoln Woods had only a trace amount of snow sporadically dusted throughout our trek.

It was fun to be able to easily run the trails without slipping on ice or having to be layered up to the hilt to accommodate for freezing temperatures.  We’re already planning a Christmas trail run and will embrace the warm temperatures while we can!

Mount Washington...where the snow belongs!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Unconditional Love

Even when it’s raining, we walk (or run)
Even when it’s snowing, we walk (or run)
Even when it’s frigid cold out, we walk (or run)
Even when it's hot and humid out, we walk (or run)
Even when I’m not in the mood, we walk (or run)
Even when it’s dark out, we walk (or run)
Even when I’m old and grey, we’ll walk (or run)
Even when you’re old and grey, we’ll walk (or run)
Even when one of us isn’t here anymore, we’ll think back to how much fun we had walking (or running)

For today, we…..

Ran, walked, threw sticks, played, swam, flirted with two dogs, and rescued the almighty stick out of a thorny morass (fortunately not ripping my tights to shreds).   Best of all, we smiled.  The.Whole.Time.

Left:  Attacking the almighty stick         Right:  Pooped puppy..mission accomplished!
Every day, Bella teaches me the power of unconditional love (and gets my butt out the door!!).  Dogs rock.

Friday, December 18, 2015

It’s a wrap!

Wrapping presents?  Not yet.  Wrapping up a full week?  Absolutely.  And toasting its end with a Sprite J

I headed up early Monday morning to spend a few days in our VT office.  More than half of my team sits there, so I try to get up there once per month.  Afterall, you can only connect so well via phone and webex.  As I wrote earlier in the week, my team “made me” attend their Body Pump class.  Though I felt a bit like a fish out of water, I was excited over how good it all felt.  This level of burning/shaking muscles doesn't usually accompany my longer, slower runs.  Of course, the burning continued a day or two later!  But that, I expected J

My timing for my VT trip was impeccable, as I was able to attend our department holiday party in VT as well as the one I had already attended in MA.  Party double dipping?  Yes please!  A few of us piled into one car and headed to Church Street.  If you haven’t strolled Church Street in Burlington, VT, you should.  Whether you check it out by registering for the Vermont City Marathon (which I highly recommend!) or stroll the area during the holidays, you won’t be disappointed.  Our only miss was we were one minute late for entry to the chocolate shop. 

Another well timed event was Mom and my annual cookie-palooza.  We spent all day the Saturday before baking cookies.  Mom created beautiful gift bags that rivalled the cookies as the gift!  So, a box filled with yummy cookie gifts accompanied me on Monday's trip as well.  Everyone loved the cookies and the decorative bags with the pretty charms attached.  Mostly, they seemed touched that I thought of them.  Some were surprised that they were homemade.  This is my favorite gift to give.  

Wednesday found me headed home mid-day, happy with my visit and already missing my 5 minute VT commute.  Sigh.

What I hadn’t planned on was picking up the icky stomach bug that’s been ravaging my VT colleagues.  By Wednesday night, I felt lousy.  Thursday morning was worse.  Rarely do I call in sick.  This day, I did.  I couldn’t imagine the commute, let alone a full day in the office.   I let the team know, put my out-of-office on, and went back to bed.  Boy did I sleep!  Later in the day, I queued up last week’s episode of Homeland.  It was a true sick day.  I barely looked at Facebook and never looked at my email.   Hence, my beverage of choice this evening:  Sprite.

So here we are at Friday.  I’m not 100%, but definitely heading in the right direction.  I’m looking forward to recharging over the weekend, including wrapping gifts, digging out my running shoes, planning some races, and watching some football.  Though word on the web is there’s a bug making its way through the Patriots….hm, don't tell me this will become flu-gate?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Out of my comfort zone

During a staff meeting with my team, my VT members let me know that I would be joining them at their lunch time Body Pump class during my next trip to VT.  I have friends who take Body Pump classes, but I never have.  Enter next trip to VT….

I packed my usual work out stuff and added several more items because, after all, I have no idea what one wears to Body Pump class.  I wondered what this class would entail, if I’d be able to keep up, if I’d look ridiculous, if…if…if….  Then I realized I was being ridiculous worrying about it.  So once I talked myself out of finding an excuse for not going, I started to look forward to it.

Today was that day. 

I ended up wearing a light pair of running tights and a loose fitting running shirt (the kind given away at a race) and was perfectly comfortable.  Jody and Katelyn steered me to the room and helped me get set up.  This is the part I would’ve found a little overwhelming had I attended on my own.  Having buddies there to show me the ropes was so helpful!  I knew enough to go small/low weight to start; I didn’t want to overdo my first weight bearing exercise class and never want to do it again.

The music was great, I had plenty of room to call my own, the room was cool and comfy, and the instructor had a good vibe to her (though I have no one to compare her to).  I kept up for the most part, making just a few slight modifications to a move or two.  This runner has only ever focused on running.  Period.  This Body Pump concept both intrigued me and scared me.  And I have to admit, I think I did OK.  And I even….liked it.

Of course, tomorrow should tell the real story.  Whether I can lift a pen or drive a mouse will be the true test...