Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

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...




Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rest is good

What does one do with her time when her weekend isn’t spent running? Rest!  I'm not injured, but just felt like my mind and body needed some chilling out.  So I heeded.  Rest comes in many forms and was quite enjoyable -
  
Movie Afternoon
The afternoon started with ‘Pretty Woman’ and rolled right into another 'Where The Heart Is’.  It was a perfectly lazy, chick flick afternoon of long, feel-good movies.  Add a furry pup and a pellet stove, stir, and repeat…

  
Christmas Decorating
We brought up our Christmas tree from the basement and got’er decorated.  Fortunately, the dead mouse that had called our tree home since last year stayed behind in the basement...ewww (Scott disposed of)!!  Our niece gives us an ornament each year since she was a child and last year’s ornament has a special place in my heart:  Scott hugging me seconds after I completed my 100 miler last year.

Family Hike
I may have completed few running miles this weekend, but I kept moving.  Scott, Bella, and I took a long walk/hike in some nearby trails.  We almost always see some form of wildlife and Bella usually gets some solid sniffing/playing with other dogs. Today we had both, though picture of only one -

Take-Out Treat
We treated ourselves to some of our favorite Chinese take-out.  My fortune cookie message ironically read –
Ain't that the truth!
Football!
It’s a late Sunday game, so it hasn’t happened at the time of this posting.  We’re hoping for some Patriots magic, despite their string of injured players lately.


With rest comes a craving to do something (like sign up for a race J).  Soon, wise grasshopper, soon. 






Friday, November 27, 2015

A little bit’o this; a little bit’o that

Thanksgiving Day meant a little bit’o this and a little bit’o that….

Feaster five family tradition
For the last five years, a few of us gather to walk the Feaster Five.  We catch on life, politics, you-name-it.  This year, our group was rather small, due to work schedules and due to some pre-Thanksgiving imbibing.  So, Scott, cousin Rusty, and I ventured out.  We couldn’t help but joke about how Rusty made it to the race after a late night, but not his kids (refer to imbibing).  That lead me to my hilarious hashtag moment:

#youngsterscantkeepup

(It’s mostly hilarious because I don’t tweet J)

Trail family run
After our 5K walk and the mile to start and back to car, Scott and I grabbed Bella and his Go Pro and headed out for some family trail miles.  After 25 years of marriage, I’m so grateful that my husband digs me enough to a) run at my speed, and b) try to make me a youtube star!


Thanksgiving Dinner
We’ve always spent Thanksgiving at Scott’s brother’s house.  It’s a nice afternoon of family, comfort, laughter, and food.  Lots. Of. Food.

Erin outdoes herself….


Not a bad looking brood  (and a bit silly too!) –

Day after
I love that REI is closed for Black Friday!  Love it, love it, love it.  I hope this #optoutside catches on with the world.  Frankly, I’d rather shop online after a good run outdoors, but that’s me.


And I certainly don’t look at physical altercations over toys as “fun” –


Health, family, friends, love…..thankful for it all.  Oh, and 60+ degree weather here in New England the day after Thanksgiving?  Most definitely thankful for that!

Hope you're all having a great Thanksgiving weekend!



Sunday, November 8, 2015

Stonecat Trail Marathon race reflections

I ran StoneCat Trail Marathon yesterday and it was a good day. 

Start of the 50 mile race
The weather was warm but no sign of bees/wasps/hornets that often come out on a warm November day when a couple hundred runners take to the woods.  The course was perfectly marked and incredibly well supported by fun and crazy trail runner people.  I personally enjoyed the reversed direction of the course this year, especially the downhill final mile.  And best of all, I had my trusty running partner/informal coach/BFF with me for the entire journey.  Scott runs considerably faster than I, but wanted to hang out with me for 4 hours and 56 minutes to run and make me laugh.  Who’s luckier than me?

Right about mile 20 (where we all know the marathon begins!), I came closest to “the wall” than I’ve ever felt in a marathon.  I was caked in salt, was losing my focus, and just felt off.  At marathon #23, I know when things are off and know I need to address something.  And quickly.  With the warm weather, I took extra salt tabs with me and ended up taking three  – most ever for me in one race.  At the final aid station with just about 3 miles to go, this exchange happened:

Race peep:    Hey, are you eating enough?
Me:                  Oh, you’re referring to my salty face?
Race peep:    Yup.
Me:                  (stuffing Pringles in my mouth)
Race peep:    Real food might be better; grilled cheese?
Me:                  I don’t eat grilled cheese on a good day..thanks!

He was totally right and I knew it, but Pringles were all I wanted at that point.  I moved on and kept it slow and steady.  Much like Ghost Train, I kept moving one step in front of the other.  This period of time left me reflective.  I thought about my training and where my head has been over the last several months and had this not-so-extraordinary epiphany:  Our training is what it is.  Life happens and it sometimes affects our training.  We do the best we can with what we’ve got.  Some of us are working crazy hours or frequently traveling for business; some of us have heavier home/children responsibilities; some are struggling with health challenges.  

Ultimately, we get the race we trained for.  I’m thrilled to have finished Stonecat!  I’m ecstatic I was able to meet a very loose goal of a sub-5 hour finish!  And I’m so lucky and grateful to be able to run.  There are things I want to be different for my next race, but for today, I celebrate the gift of being part of an extraordinary running community and the ability to tackle the miles and achieve my goals.  And since my goals do not include grilled cheese sandwiches, I’m doing AOK!

My wearable finisher's medal!



Saturday, October 10, 2015

Humbled

Scott invited me to run a mostly-trails 20 miler with him today.  As always, I jumped at the chance!  Ghost Train and Stonecat will be here in no time.  There’s just one thing….

I haven’t been acting like someone who respects a 20 mile distance. 

My eating’s been off/crappy/lackluster.  My drinking has been the same.  I wish we were talking alcohol, but no folks, we are talking the simple act of hydration.  Nada.  My during-the-week miles have been almost non-existent and I can list all of the usual excuses (commute, commute, and commute), but here’s another thing….

If I want it bad enough, I’ll make it happen. 

I beat myself up enough during and immediately after the run, so I’m not going to do it again here.  But suffice it to say, I’ve been seriously humbled.  And it wasn’t just today’s long run.  So, apparently I needed to bonk a number of times this summer in order for the message to get through…

Junk in; junk out. 

Message received.




Friday, October 9, 2015

She runs!

Don’t you love when things just work out?  I was able to escape work a bit early today and get a jump on the weekend traffic.  I had two calls to keep me busy during my commute, so I felt super productive.  Because I got home at a reasonable hour, I was also able to snag a hair appointment for this evening….yay me!

Know what’s even better?  My new stylist runs!

She asked me a million questions and seemed genuinely interested in my running experiences.  She shared her running experiences and then asked the loaded question:  So are you into longer distance?  Why yes, yes I am J  I told her of my 100 mile shenanigans and this seemed to really intrigue her (as it did for me prior to my covering the distance).  It was so fun to relive my Ghost Train experience!   Usually, I’m annoyed at spending 2.5 hours in a hair salon chair.  Tonight’s appointment flew by and was actually enjoyable.

We discovered we both love our Asics too.  I might keep her J




Thursday, October 8, 2015

My "rest year"

What a difference a year makes.  Last year was all about new, big goals in both my personal and my professional life.  This year?  Notsomuch.  Not bad, but a definite dip from all of the hoopla of last year…

Just the quickest snipit of 'then and now'

Everything can’t be new and exciting at all times.  And although the grass does always seem greener elsewhere, I’m not looking backwards with anything but reflection and re-celebration.  Last year was kick ass.  I’m calling this year more of a “rest year”.  Can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Rediscovering Maudsley (aka: fun on the run!)

A decade-plus ago, we spent time walking and cycling through the trails of Maudsley.  The gardens are beautiful, the bridges seem magical, and the slope down to the river….aaaahhhh.  We had only visited Maudsley a handful of times since then until recently.  A couple of weeks ago, we bit the bullet and bought a parking pass (that’s new since we first visited).  This parking pass splurge has opened up a whole new world of trails.  And no horseflies!

Today, we took the Go-Pro along and really had some fun!  We started out shortly after 7:00 am, but the humidity had already arrived.  It didn’t take long for us to look like we had been dunked in the river!  Fortunately, the mature trees provided a thorough canopy and protected us from the sun.  We weaved our way through the trails and found some new paths since our last visit.  There were a few walkers and runners out, but no real ‘traffic’ to be found.



My weekly mileage has not been good – ok, it’s been absent.  That Monday-through-Friday thing called ‘work’ really puts a wrench in things.  And boy did I feel it today.  Not only was the humidity suffocating, the hills were unforgiving to my lazy legs.  Between the Go-Pro shenanigans, the other runners, and a number of horseback riders, I had enough to distract me from my screaming quads.  Oh and the horse crap – that kept me very focused on the trail!

I’m so happy we are rediscovering Maudsley!  Its beauty in the trails, in its location (right on the Merrimack river), and in its proximity to us is worth every penny of that parking pass!  Click on the video Scott created as a result of all of the Go-Pro shenanigans…


  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Good weekend running mojo!

How cool is Scott Jurek’s Appalachian Trail “masterpiece” accomplishment this past weekend?  46 days, 8 hour trek from Georgia to Maine…..wow.  Just as I stalked Western States, I found myself in awe of this successful attempt at breaking the AT record.  While I stalked Scott’s progress, I also had a little running to do myself. 

Saturday morning found us playing on some great trails in Hamilton.  Scott and I ran “Run for the Hills” 10K three years ago when I was fairly new to trail running.  This time, Sue joined us and the three of us took on the hills on this warm summer morning. 

The “hill” reference in the race name was real.  A real rollercoaster –

A small race with few frills (though a nice shirt and great italian ice at the end!), it was a great race to have fun without any stress.  With well marked trails and volunteers stationed anywhere the trail might be confusing, I enjoyed working hard at tackling the hills.  I haven’t felt all that strong in the running department lately, so imagine my surprise when I later realized I won my age group!  When I texted Sue to tell her she and I placed first and second in our age group, she responded with, “Oh, so there were two total in our age group?”  Actually, there were only eight, but I’ll take it!  Don’t know if there was any award, but truly, the best award to me was that I felt stronger at the end than I had at the beginning.
Feeling pretty happy about my race (not just the AG win, but that didn’t hurt), I now turned my focus to StoneCat.  I registered Scott and myself for StoneCat 26.2 last week and hoped we would both survive the lottery.  I was thrilled to see we both were accepted!!  So now we have a nice trail marathon to gear up for together in the Fall.  Wahoo!

Good running mojo this weekend.  Now to keep the mojo going….



Sunday, June 28, 2015

Worth every cent

Scott and I took advantage of one of his rare Saturdays off and headed to Maudsley State Park to run.  We have plenty of trails around our house so that we normally don’t have to drive anywhere, but it’s always nice to change things up.  Maudsley is maybe a 10 minute drive from our house, so we arrived pretty quickly.  Then Scott reached for his wallet to pay the $5.00 parking fee.  Nothing.  We combed through the truck.  More nothing.  Fortunately, as we started to count the random coin collecting in his truck, we easily counted out the $5.00 needed to continue our plan!


Lots of runners, walkers, people riding horses; yet we never felt crowded.  The trails are easy and allow you to zig and zag as desired.  Even someone like me (sans internal compass) would have a hard time getting lost.  We left Bella home for this jaunt (she got an earlier trail run before we left), since she would’ve had to be leashed and that just isn’t as much fun.  For either of us.  Add the fact that there seemed to be no horseflies.  WIN.


When you’re feeling in a bit of a funk with running, it’s so great to run somewhere other than your everyday courses.  It’s also a bonus when you're following some of the most talented runners already running the Western States 100 run out in CA.  Not that our 6 miler was hard, but as I ran, I thought about the amazing athletes covering 100 miles over some very challenging terrain, elevation, and conditions.  Not sure if I have another 100 in my lifetime, but it sure is intriguing to watch the female winner finish in 19:05….I was running (or slogging at that point) for another 10 hours during my trek at Ghost Train.  Gulp.

Thanks Western States Facebook page!
Today is the second rainy Sunday in a row, but yesterday’s beautiful run along with the knowledge that some of the more mortal runners are still making their way to the Western States 100 finish line, motivates me to get out there.  I just have to channel last Sunday’s “let’s be 10” sentiment that found me splashing in puddles…


Getting a run in during beautiful or rainy conditions is truly worth every cent.



Monday, June 8, 2015

Retraining the brain

It’s so amazing what you can get done in a day – well, a weekend day that is.  During the work week, I continue to struggle (like many) with wishing my way to the weekend.  I’m aware of how negative this thought process is, so I’m trying to retrain my brain to think differently.  This past weekend, I got SO.MUCH.DONE!  And it wasn’t all of the need-to-do’s either; many of them were the want-to-do’s.

Saturday
  • I drove to Meaghan’s and shared a great 10 mile run with her.  Long overdue!
  • Lucky to score an unplanned visit with Mom.
  • Primed some trim in a room we’re working on in the house.  2 coats.
  • Dropped by Carrie’s house to wish her ‘see ya later’ as she prepares to relocate to Arizona. 
  • Wrote a blog post after a long hiatus.

Sunday
  • Enjoyed a 5 mile trail run with Scott and Bella.  Great start to any day!
  • Painted the trim that I primed Saturday.
  • Because the paint & brushes were out, decided to touch up some other areas.  White trim paint = Addictive!
  • Cut the lawn.  We have a decent yard; we're talking hours!
  • Planted tomatoes, peppers, and something in the squash family.  Thanks to Andy for the plants.
  • Planted flowers.
  • Did some laundry.
  • Wrote another blog post.  Whoa, look at me!

By Sunday night, I was exhausted.  But it was a good exhaustion.  The kind of tired that says, I can’t lift another thing but then adds, …and I’ve never felt better!  I love days where you know you’ve squeezed every bit of life out of the day.  And I love days where you go to sleep excited to begin again.  As I write this on a Monday, I can tell you I need some work in the ‘retrain my brain’ area on the non-weekend days….





Sunday, June 7, 2015

All in this together

This is what you call having the right dog for your personality/lifestyle.

This morning, Scott, Bella, and I took off for a jaunt in the woods.  A gorgeous morning, we were all excited to get out and run some trails.  No one was more excited than Bella!

Dirt, mud, snakes, frogs……all of Bella’s favorite things.  We ran 5 miles; Bella probably doubled that with all of her little switchbacks.  She slogged through the muddy areas, waded through some deeper areas, and then raced to catch up with us.  

She’s such a happy girl and a perfect part of our little family.   A little rest time and she'll be ready and rearing to go again!



Saturday, June 6, 2015

The power of missing the run

Pineland Farms was back on May 24th.  50K is no joke and Pineland Farms is a pretty solid, hilly course.  I had a great day and enjoyed my adventure.  But since that race, I just haven't had much desire to run.  So I haven’t.  Until today.

I jumped at the text invite to run with Meaghan.  I was excited to venture into her “new” town (not so new anymore to her, but to me it is), try out her roads, and catch up.  She took me on a great course, filled with steady rollers, covering a couple of towns.  We also tried some new areas (for her), now that she had a guinea pig along for the exploration.  With almost two weeks off from running, running/chatting/laughing our way through 10.3 miles was just what I needed.  Guess I just need a little time to miss it.   Simple as that.

And I'm already looking forward to running tomorrow!


How do you get out of a running funk or return from a break?


Friday, June 5, 2015

Lemme catch you up!

Can’t think of a better way to catch up over the last month-plus than to barrage you with photos!  Here’s what’s been going on….

I spent just about every weekend of May in different parts of Maine.  First stop, Kennebunk for the Maine Coast 39.3 Challenge.  Ran the half on Saturday; the full on Sunday.  Lots-o-bling!


Next stop was York for Kristin and Alex’s wedding.  She’s the first niece out of the gate into marriage…..where does the time go??


No rest for the weary!  Following weekend was spent in the New Gloucester/Freeport area to run Pineland Farms 50K!  A number of us were there to run a variety of distances.  Fun race, great friends, and another cowbell to add to my collection!


Most recently, we were willing participants in Rusty’s (Scott’s cousin) surprise 50th birthday party….fun cousin time for all!


And just the other evening after returning home from work, Bella alerted me to an uninvited guest.  INSIDE our bedroom.  The little chipmunk was trying so hard to escape, but couldn’t (screen).  Didn’t catch up with him until the next morning, when he greeted Scott on the couch, as if to say, “When you're done with your coffee, can you let me out?”


So, you’re now officially caught up!  What have YOU been up to?


Thursday, April 23, 2015

JogBra...who knew?!

Today, one of our Board members came to speak at our facility.  At first, I thought “ho hum”, until I received the invitation that included some detail on who exactly Hinda Miller is…


Business?  Meh.  JogBra?  Now THAT sounds interesting!  She even brought a prop to demonstrate where the idea for JogBra came from.  She had me at ‘jock strap’! 


Hinda is a very interesting woman who seems to have seen and done it all.  She nicely wove the story of her personal and professional life into her presentation to us and then punctuated it with a connection to our company’s mission and values.  I’ve included this link in case you’d like to read more about, but here’s what I got out of the presentation:

  • Embrace YOU; be genuine; be true to yourself
  • Anyone can be an entrepreneur – having family and friends to support “crazy” ideas (and money never hurts) is essential
  • Have your list of traits that your partner in life must have – go after it.  You’ll need him/her and vice versa
  • Women are strong and belong
  • Smile, laugh, stretch

That last bullet?  We did a lot of that at her presentation!  


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Thanks for asking!

I was fortunate enough to run Boston three years in a row:  2010, 2011, and the heat-fest of 2012.  But I haven’t run it since then.  Without fail, friends and coworkers start asking me a couple weeks before marathon day if I’m running the marathon.  Since my answer of late has been, “not this year, I’m running a different marathon”, I consistently receive the next question, “Oh, how many miles is THAT one?”.   

I could roll my eyes and I could act all important (don’t you know who I am?!?), but frankly, I’m just glad they ask!

I love when people ask about running.  Even if running is something they’ll never contemplate, I love that they’re interested enough to ask.  I remember being in such awe of runners and, as Boston Marathon time would approach each year, having such a desire to be THAT runner who could run such a phenomenal race.  Decades later, I am that runner who has run Boston, many other marathons, and even ultras.  Never thought that could be me.  Never say never.

So as I enjoy all of the pre-Boston Marathon news coverage and let myself feed off of all the social media excitement by those running Boston this year, I’m thankful to be part of this community of runners and also thankful for the non-runners interested enough to ask about the sport we love.

Soak it all in runners…..enjoy Boston 2015!



Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ability to be grateful at all times


Grateful that I got through 14 miles of this last weekend without slipping and sliding –


Grateful for this gem that made me smile in the midst of the snow and rain on that run –

Grateful for a friend who asks, “Wanna run 17-18 with me at the beach” and runs 20 with me instead -

Grateful for cool scenes on a 20 mile run (more snow falling; snow where there should be sand) –

Grateful for an opportunity to stretch out my hamstrings post-20 miler (no choice here….beach house still plowed in) –


I won’t pretend to have enjoyed all aspects of this winter’s training, but as long as I stay open to the good things that are happening around me, I am grateful.

I’m even more grateful that it is officially Spring.  Now, go away snow.  My gratitude for you is on thin ice.  No pun intended.