Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Not a lot to say – but it’s all good!

Things are going fine; no complaints.  My health and the health of my family and friends is all good.  My running is feeling like it’s back on the upswing with a solid 20 miler last weekend and even stronger 18 miler this weekend.  Work is ridiculously busy and getting busier every hour, but even that isn’t a bad thing – as long as I maintain my balance.  Yet, I haven’t really had a lot to talk about.  Is that a bad thing?

Spring is finally showing signs of making an appearance after all and the Boston Marathon is just two weeks away.  It’s all good!  Although I wish I was running Boston this year, I’m very happy to be volunteering this year.  I’ll be part of my company’s entourage by manning the water stop at mile 7.1 in Framingham.  Because our water stop is so early on the course, it might be hard to see Scott or any of my other friends running in the masses, but I’ll do my best!   

We’re not big Easter people, but I hope all of you who celebrate Easter or Passover are having a lovely one.  We spent the day doing very random but enjoyable things:  Scott ran his long run while I drove about supporting him, I revived my spare room painting project so spent a couple hours doing that this morning, we joined Scott’s family for lunch, grabbed ice cream and “beach pizza” at Salisbury Beach after lunch, took Bella for a long walk/hike in the woods, continued painting when I returned home, and then plopped myself down to write about it all.
Ice cream pose with Scott & niece Kristin (recently engaged!!)
Tomorrow is five years since Scott brought Bella home to me.  I thank him every day.  I love this dog. 
Notice the stick Bella's carrying is longer than she is!
I hope you’ve all had a great weekend, great run, and, even if you don’t have a lot to say, I hope it’s all good J

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Texting Auto-Correction at its finest

I've come to rely on texting.  Like most people, I believe the auto-correction feature has a mind of its own - so I don't rely on that.  Check out this short exchange between my hubby and Friend.  Setting the stage, Friend left Scott a new beer to try….

Texting is really free entertainment.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

And just like that….

….my confidence is back!  Going into today’s 20 mile training run, I was nervous.  That’s an emotion I don’t usually have pre-long run, but today was different.  Lately, I’ve felt so many aches and pains and mysterious twinges that I really worried that I wouldn’t finish.  And having missed my first scheduled 20 miler two weeks ago, I just wasn’t feeling confident.

I started out at 9:30 pace and stayed here for two miles.  During those two miles, I did the “check” – shins, quad, all-other-running-relevant muscles – CHECK.  From there, I fell into a pace that stayed pretty consistently in the 9:15 – 9:20 range.  Perfect.  The pace felt good and more importantly, my muscles weren’t pissed off.  Joy!

Because I’m always cold, I was pretty layered up as usual, including my face mask.  But it really was a gorgeous day out there today.  Less wind than yesterday and the bluest sky I’ve seen in awhile.

My planned pit stop at home was perfect too, signifying mile 13 and a fresh grape Gatorade #2 and pretzels.  I then turned to go back out the same way I came to conquer the 7 mile loop.  The key with planning a stop at home mid-run is to not think about it – I just head right back out.  I repeat, there is no thinking allowed.

By the beginning of my 7 mile loop, I knew I had this today.  I kept an eye on my watch to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid at this point and   kept on pace.  Much like last week’s long run, I tried to stay cognizant of my pace without letting it rule my run.  Monitoring/feeling pace takes practice, but I seem to have a knack for it.  Once I honed in on my pace for today, I “guessed” it would average in the 9:20 range.  And I got 9:20 even.  No, that does not mean I strive to be a pacer at a race someday (I don’t know how they carry balloons/flag/whatever to lead their pace groups – blech!).

So 20 miles is finally in the books for my Spring marathon!  Best of all, I feel quite good.  Today could’ve gone a few different ways, but I knew once I got myself a plan and then got my head into the plan, I’d stand a chance.  Today’s run provided the confidence boost I needed.  Let the domino effect begin….

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick’s Day Randomness

I’ve never been into parades or drinking green beer, but I hope all of you who do are having a blast doing so!  My day has been pretty quiet and that’s A.O.K with me.

Today was my first long run since just before leaving on vacation (Mar 1).  I had my first 20 mile training run scheduled for last Sunday, however Mr. Norovirus had other plans.  I really never got dressed and spent most of that day in a horizontal position.  Enough said about that (shudder).

But with all of that said, I resisted the urge to make up for lost mileage.  I’ve still got three 20+ mile training runs that will prepare me for Maine Coast Marathon in a mere 8 weeks, so I’m honestly not worried.  Originally, I had 16 miles on today’s agenda, but decided 13 made more sense.  If by chance I felt remarkable towards the end, I had a plan that I could implement to add the 3+ miles back in.  Not surprisingly, “remarkable” isn’t a word I would describe today’s run as.

It wasn’t bad either.  I headed out into the windy 20 degree temperatures with my trusty grape Gatorade and a few gels.  I decided I would practice staying in a pace range.  After being all over the place with pace during some recent runs, I thought today would be the perfect day to practice.  I honed in on a 9:00 – 9:15 pace and kept my eye on my Garmin while trying to feel the pace with my body.  I’m happy to report that I stayed within that range for almost the entire 13 miles and ended up with an even 9:00 average pace.  A couple times I was heading in a faster pace range; other times I had gotten into a bit more lazy pace range.  Both times though, I felt the change.  It’s cool to “feel” the pace and find that you’re spot on (with the Garmin).  It was a good focus for me today and insurance that I wouldn't overdo and end up with an injury.

Post run, I had a second breakfast of waffles, topped with my favorite Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup.  Yep, not that interested in real maple syrup (I know, gasp!).  After taking the world’s hottest and longest shower, I got on with preparing for a nice partial-family pasta dinner.  “Partial” because the others already had a more appropriate St. Patrick’s Day corned beef & cabbage type of menu planned and our invitation was last minute.  Next time!

So with meatballs simmering, a hot fire in our pellet stove, and sore-in-a-good-way legs, life is good!  I am faced with a challenge though.  My sweet tooth shut-off button continues to be broken and I bought these gems for dessert –

There may or may not be a few missing.  Don’t judge.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Vacation Report - Punta Cana

Phew, it’s been a crazy few weeks around here! 

We recently returned from a glorious island vacation in Punta Cana.  We hadn’t visited the Dominican Republic before, so were really looking forward to new beaches and new ways to relax.  We got all that and more. 

Our beautiful beach
The weather was just about perfect, the beaches were the most beautiful I’ve experienced thus far, the excursions we ventured on were fun, educational, and relaxing.  We toured the mountainside and caught a glimpse of life away from the resorts.  Sugar cane, cigars, coffee, chocolate – we got to learn how all are harvested/processed.  I was particularly interested in the coffee beans, since my employer is a bit of a coffee giant around our parts. 

What's a vacation without a self portrait!!
We also took a speed boat out to a natural pool (a sand bar out in the middle of the Caribean Sea) and then to Saona Island, enjoyed Rum & Sprite, a barbeque, merengue dancing, relaxing, massages.  After hopping back on a catamaran for the return trip, we danced, drank more Rum & Sprite, laughed, relaxed some more….

View from our catamaran
Our resort had an expansive campus, so we were able to cover some decent running mileage without ever leaving the resort complex.  One day we ran a very sweaty 5 miles and a second day we ran 4 miles.  I felt “off” for that second run on Friday and hated holding Scott back, so I stopped at 4 and insisted he continue at his own pace.  He quickly did so and returned; then it was off to the beach!

Did I mention relaxation?  We both read two books each, which lately is a rare event.  When I’m home in my normal routine, I don’t remember to stop and relax, to lose myself in a book, or just day dream.  We loaded up on Kindle and physical books, so had plenty to choose from.

Remember I felt “off” during that second run?  That was apparently my first clue to what later would find me getting very intimate with this –

Hello Norovirus.

I’ll spare you the gory details.  At the risk of sounding melodramatic, that may have been the most violently ill I’ve ever felt.  Scott fell ill about 12 hours after I began.  Just in time for our travel home.  I still don’t know how we got through that 11 hour day of travel, with both of us securing plastic laundry bags courtesy of our hotel.  Just in case.

Exactly one week later, I’m just now feeling human.  I haven’t run since that Friday 4 miler at the resort and can feel I've lost a few pounds.  The dizziness, nausea, headache, loss of appetite, and exhaustion gripped me and refused to let go until today.  On a good note, I’m definitely feeling better, I’ve held onto my tan, we’ve turned the clocks ahead, and Spring is almost here.  My appetite for food as well as my appetite for running has returned and I can’t wait to get back out there.

In fact, I’m starving for a good run!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Oh how I've missed you!

Hi my bloggie friends!  Been awhile, but I spent a good part of one week preparing for vacation, and the second week actually on vacation in Punta Cana.  So no worries….I’m still alive and kicking!

I’ll leave you with a teaser picture I took in the Caribean Sea.  My vantage point was a catamaran that returned us from a day excursion to Saona Island.  Yes, a little slice of heaven.  More to come soon!
Hope you're all surviving the last bit of winter!