Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

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….



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lucky 7 (a puppy post)

We brought Bella home at 7 weeks old.  Today, she is 7 years old. So much changes, yet so much stays the same.  She’s still very much a puppy at heart.

I had fun reflecting over the photos of Bella through this 7 year mark.  Hope you enjoy -



Happy Birthday Bella!!


Friday, January 30, 2015

Finding Fun

A couple of quick videos to share with you to show where we girls find fun amidst the New England winter!

On Sunday, I hijacked my friend Sue and we ran Boston Prep 16 miler in Derry, NH.  Known for its ridiculous hills, runners gravitate to this race each January to use as a Boston Marathon prep race.  Neither of us are running Boston this year, but do have Maine Coast Marathon on our agendas!   Typically the coldest day of the year, Sunday wasn’t as cold as usual.  I’m cold in July, so still don the face mask, but overall a good day!


Today, Bella worked on her “snow dive” and has pretty much perfected her form.  She lives for her Kong and will find it under any weather conditions.  My video talents are nowhere near the quality and creativity of Scott’s, but it’s a cute one nevertheless!

video


Where are YOU finding fun during the winter?


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Comfortably Uncomfortable

Recently, I caught a post that read something to the effect of, “if you’re in a running funk, go outside and run in challenging/harsh weather….that will make you feel badass”.  I wish I could remember who posted, so I could thank them properly.  Today was that day for me.

Enter…challenging/harsh weather:


I’ve been struggling with my Monday through Friday running schedule, which hasn't helped my fitness or my confidence.  Long commutes, trainings/meetings, long commutes.  Rinse and repeat.  I can most certainly jump on my treadmill when I eventually return home, but by 7:00 pm, I’m toast.  I did get two stints on the treadmill this week, in preparation for my long run today.  Then I awoke to the frigid weather.  No fear….layers are here!

I layered up tops, bottoms, and even put the fleece inserts in my mittens.  Facemask, new winter hat, and some additional face protection (lube) rounded out the preparation.  I had a course charted that would keep me fairly close to home at all times.  I’m not usually a “cut my run short” girl, but I like to be cautious with that anyway.  Before any over thinking could take place, I took off.  First loop:  six miles.  Second loop:  eight miles.

It took me two miles to warm up.  Not too bad.  Somewhere in mile three, I saw another runner.  Yay, I thought, I’m not the only crazy runner out today!  Runner wave, quick hello, and probably each thought the other was completely badass.  Yes, I’ve trained my inner voice very well.  As I finished up the first six miles, I continued on past my house – definitely had no intention of stopping for any reason.  Just too cold!  Now I had the eight mile loop to contend with.

Most of my run was honestly OK.  I was cold at times, but I had layered well and my facemask did its job.  It froze up, creating a nice “face cave’ for me.  My fingers and toes had completely warmed up and were in it for the long haul.  The wind was sporadic, but usually I had some protection.  Usually.

During miles nine to ten-ish, I stumbled upon all of the wind tunnel areas (no protection, sheer wind, brrr).  I got very cold again and just worked hard to keep my pace and keep warm-ish.  I wasn’t going fast, but figured the faster I ran, the faster I got home, and the faster I could warm up.  During these miles, I also got a little tired and hungry.  I had packed a second GU (took one at mile five), but seriously, I was just too cold to deal with opening the bloody thing!  By now, my Gatorade had developed into a “frozen margarita” consistency.  Alcohol…hmm, that surely would’ve warmed me up.  Note to self.

All in all, I describe this fourteen miler as a “comfortably uncomfortable” run.  The cold and wind were harsh and uncomfortable.  The frozen Gatorade a slight annoyance.  But not the worst run I’ve ever had.  A combination of preparing physically (i.e. layering up) and preparing mentally (i.e. getting my brain around the cold) was the key to today’s successful run.  And the key to strengthening my “badass runner” image.  I’m comfortable with that.