Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bella Knows Best!

OK, Bella is more than a dog.  She truly is part of the family.  She runs with us, she hangs out with us, she plays with us.  She does not live on the couches or beds, but she is a family member in every other way.  With that said, I’ve learned a lot from her.  Usually, our lessons take place during our runs together on the trail….

Wag your tail – Smile!  Even if you’re not feeling it, smile!  Fake it ‘til you make it.  It really does work.

Smell the roses – I love to play with speed on my runs, but sometimes it’s just nice to smell the roses.  Today's 4 miler started before 8:00 am, however the temperatures had already hit high 80 degree temperatures.  There’s just no need for speed or hill work or anything more than a slower run during these temperatures.  Even Bella skipped past the hills she normally attacks.  She chose to run alongside me for the whole route.

Trust your nose – Sometimes Bella “tells” me through the power of her nose that something is amiss.  Whether it’s a deer she has sniffed from afar or a human she doesn’t take a liking to (rare, but she’s smart in that she knows who’s good or sketchy).  Since our noses are not quite as keen as dogs’ noses, we do have our “gut” to trust.  You know, that feeling you get when you sense something is wrong.  Trust it!  Take a different route on your run or cross the street.  Never give yourself the opportunity to regret not trusting your gut.

Such focus!

Act like a puppy – So many people who meet Bella for the first time think she’s much younger than she really is.  They mistake 5 year old Bella for a puppy.  That’s because she acts like one!  She can’t contain herself when she greets people – especially some of her BFF’s. 
Yup, that's me playing the role of 6 year old

When hot and faced with a body of water, swim!  This could mean running through a sprinkler during a hot run.  For Bella, it means we stop at one of her two swimming holes on our trail run.  It’s worth the time spent.  She retrieves sticks, swims about, and basically frolics in the water and comes out with a new spring in her step.

Bella with a new friend
Know when to hold’em; Know when to fold’em.  Bella’s definitely feeling this heat.  As we try to go out and play (i.e. throw the Kong, she retrieves, rinse and repeat 200 times), the heat and humidity sends Bella indoors and straight to the fan after only a couple of throws.  She knows when she needs to slow down, rest, or cool off.  We can definitely learn by this behavior!  It’s hard to listen to our bodies when we’re trying to run a certain distance or run a certain pace.  When the heat is this intense, there’s nothing cool about passing out or vomiting because of too intense a workout in too hot of a day.

Celebrate life’s little pleasures.  In June, we hiked Mt. Moosilauke in the White Mountains and found snow at the summit of this 4000+ footer!  We stopped and threw snowballs and, though I wondered if Bella was seasonally confused, she sure remembered what it was and what to do with it. 

Today’s little pleasure for me is a day off from work.  My only planned activity today?  Just be.  I think I can handle that.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Heat Miser

I grew up watching “A Year Without a Santa Claus” and was always entertained by the brotherly competition between the Heat Miser and Snow Miser –

I’m far from being entertained by this heat!  I know, I know….'tis the season for hot, sticky, humid weather.  For long lines at ice cream shops.  For timing long runs to begin by 4am.  For carrying (or planting) fluids during any distance over 3 miles.

I hate to whine about the heat because, let’s face it, very soon it will be snowy January again and we'll be back to dressing in layers for the Derry 16 Miler!

Me, Sue @ Derry a few years ago...brrrrr!
So for now, I will continue to try to embrace this heat wave we’re riding, continue timing my runs for cooler times of day, continue to hydrate before, during, and after my runs, and continue to incorporate swim stops for Bella's portion of our runs.  It’s certainly better than ice, sleet, snow, and freezing temperatures.  For me anyway!

How are you managing the heat?  Is it impacting your running?


Friday, July 12, 2013

It takes a village (a race report, a new job, and humility)

On Sunday, Scott and I ran the Mad Marathon up in Waitsfield, VT.  Since we were using it as a training run, there was no pressure for time or a particular performance.  That’s what it said on paper anyway.  As Scott and I left the Start Line behind us, we found nothing but hills – BIG HILLS – as we covered the 26.2 miles of beautiful VT.  I quickly watched my pace move from 8’s to 9’s and then from 10’s to 11’s…..  All that great stuff on paper?  Right, it got in my head.  The course was hard and the weather was warm and humid.  

"Live" elevation chart!  Legit hills!!!!

If you watched the great photo/video montage that Scott put together, you probably noticed nothing but smiles from me.  Lots of the time, I was indeed smiling.  

But there were some pretty lousy moments as well.  Here’s where Scott came in.  He laughed, he joked, he goofed around and he fed me ice.  He reminded me several times that the goal of that day was to use the race as a training run.  I think we’ve all been there, where we just can’t get out of our heads or out of a particular mood.  It took awhile, but it finally happened.  Between Scott’s constant efforts and other runners’ encouragement, I finally found my mojo a little over half way through the race.

Around mile 20, a big piece of humble pie was delivered to me by another runner.  During one of the out-and-backs where we were heading towards each other, she crossed the road, gave me a high five, and happily encouraged me, “You’ve got this sister!  And I’ve got only 3 chemos left!”.  Wow.  Just wow.  I can’t articulate the effect that had on me. 

Scott and I finished with smiles at 4:28:50/51, hugged, collected our medals, and went off to have our 2nd free beer –

Longtrail beer at mile 23....CHEERS!
I’ve also been busily interviewing for a new role at my company and happily accepted the offer when it came my way recently!  I’m joining a new group and taking on more responsibilities and couldn’t be more excited!  It felt “time” to make this kind of change.  And I’m thrilled to be able to do it at my company and not have to leave for a new opportunity.  Again, Scott helped me talk through the pros and cons, reminded me to remove the rose colored glasses and really weigh my decision carefully. 

Whether a marathon or a new job, it's not my accomplishment to celebrate alone.  Many long runs have included Scott or friends and have helped me get stronger/faster or just have a more fun run.  I may put in those miles and finish my races with my legs, but so much of what I accomplish is because I have such tremendous support from Scott and my friends and family.  The same with my new job….I did all the work during the interview process and ultimately, its mine to now go perform (eeek!), but having Scott and others close to me to talk it through with and force me to think hard about my choice contributes to my success.  I'm excited about this new opportunity!!

It really does take a village and I’m so fortunate to have a village and so happy that I recognize the strength “my village” gives me every day.

Monday, July 8, 2013

I've gone MAD....

Mad Marathon, that is!!  This past weekend, Scott and I spent the weekend in VT and ran the Mad Marathon. We used this race as a training run and ran it together. Hence, lots of pictures and a couple videos, courtesy of Scott –

Race report to follow, but you might be able to guess from the sopping wet shorts in the pictures just how humid this day was.  And those hills….. More to come!