Monday, January 28, 2013

mixing things up

It has been SO cold.  So cold that I have been trying to come up with other workouts or just getting to the gym so that I don't have to run outside in the wind and freezing, freeeeezing temps.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not tough when it comes to being cold.  I'm a giant wimp.

All that being said, I still had a 15mi run looming over me on Saturday.  A friend was going to join me for 5mi of it, but as we started out, getting just .25mi down the street...we just couldn't do it!  The wind was cutting through my layers and felt like pins and needles on my cheeks.  We decided to just go to the gym.  It was not a hard decision.

So how does one tackle 15mi at the gym and stay sane?  Well, for me it included 5.9mi on a treadmill (with my friend on a mill next to me), 4.22mi on an elliptical, and another 5mi on a treadmill.  I know that miles on an elliptical don't count as much as on a 'mill....but really I just couldn't stay on a treadmill for 2.5hrs.  I couldn't!  I feel good about getting the miles in, even if I did so in a round-about way.

Yesterday, I absolutely wanted to get outside so I bundled up and took off for a walk around the lake.  I was rewarded with a gorgeous sunset!  Have I mentioned lately how much I love where I live?!  :)

Today, I was going to head to the gym.....buuuuuuut, it was snowing....and I really just wanted to go home and watch Downton Abbey.  But before I rewarded myself with the latest episode I got to work on the Jillian Michaels yoga video again.  (I didn't get too far before my roommate came I paused it and decided to just make dinner instead, haha!)  While watching our favorite Monday night dating show (yes, okay, I watch the Bachelor...don't judge me!), I used my balance ball for an over all arms/legs/core workout.

It's been kinda fun to mix things up once in a while.  I can get so stuck on just running miles and miles that I forget what it feels like to do other kinds of workouts and how good I feel afterward.  I suppose this is me convincing myself to mix things up more often...  :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

flashback friday - european vacation #4

Today I give you three photos.  They're all at the same location, so I figured - why not?!  We had just visited Luzern, Switzerland, and were heading toward Interlaken.  We stopped off at a tiny little village called Brienz.  The town is known for it's expertise in wood carving.  Everywhere you look are various things carved out of wood.  You can even try your hand at it, I have a picture of Carly testing her skills but thought I'd embarrassed her enough for now...and there are more of her to come.

Can we just pause for a moment and look at those socks?!  Up to "there" with our sneakers...Oh, the late '90s/early '00s were unkind to us, fashion-wise.

So the pictures are of Lake Brienz, or Brienzerzee.  The thing about the lakes in Switzerland is they are one of the most gorgeous places I've seen.  This bright blue-aqua color pooled at the bottom of mountains that rise straight up, covered in trees.   The pictures absolutely do not do it justice.  I think I took about 30 pictures of this one place, I couldn't get over the beauty of it.  If you find yourself touring Switzerland, make a point of stopping off at some of their lakes.  You won't regret it!

This lovely lady in the picture to the left is my Aunt Mary, my mom's sister.  She and my Uncle Tom were on the tour as well.    I snapped a really funny picture of both of them sleeping on the bus as we traveled, but I would never post that here...

In running-related news, instead of going to the gym last night, I tried a Jillian Michaels yoga video.  Holy Jamoly.  It totally kicked my butt but all the while I thought to myself, "I will do this again and I will get better!"  Did you know that her version of yoga has its own type of burpees?  Neither did I, but I do now...  Tomorrow is a 15miler!!  I have a friend joining me on the last 5-6 so I don't just give up and quit.  Accountability is key!!  Let's hope this "noreaster" is a non-event as predicted!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

one hour

I cannot be the only one to notice that, depending on what the activity, an hour can either drag on forEVER or it can seem like 5min.  It's an interesting phenomenon.  This thought became apparent to me last night after I spent (a little less than) an hour on the treadmill then watched an hour of Downton Abbey.  Bet you can guess which felt like which...

Here are some hour-long things that seem to last forever:
  • 4pm-5pm on a work day - especially on a Friday
  • 60min on a treadmill (we've established this already)
  • the last push on a looooong road trip - I just want to be home already!
  • time spent in a lecture on a subject of no interest to me
  • on a date with someone you don't really care for (not that this has ever happened to me...)
  • watching a slow-moving movie
  • sitting in traffic
How about some hour-long things that go by too quickly:
  • coffee date with a good friend
  • 6mi run outside on a nice day
  • an episode of Downton Abbey
  • time spent in a good book
  • a work meeting with really fun co-workers
  •  an awesome worship service
  • getting a massage (or so I've heard...I've never actually had one.)
Do any of these resonate with you?  Is there something I've missed?  Don't be afraid to comment!  :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

good news, bad news

In the last post I mentioned I'd be attempting to run a half marathon on a treadmill while at the retreat I attended this weekend.  Well, did I do it?  I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news:  I did run 13.1mi (plus a bit more) this weekend!
The bad news:  I didn't do it all on the treadmill...or all at once.

While I had every intention, I realized once I arrived at the gym in the hotel that it is also an actual gym facility...not just for hotel guests.  Which means it shut off at 60min and since there were others waiting for the 'mill I decided it would be incredibly selfish to use it for another hour.  So, I only ran a little over 6mi while on the retreat.  Not bad, but not what I wanted either.

In the hopes of running at least 13.1mi over the span of the weekend, I set out for 7.1mi yesterday.  It was cold (24deg plus windchill) but I'm happy to report, I ended up with 7.73mi for the day.  I wasn't feeling super great for some reason (I think I haven't been drinking enough water these days), I kept going and was pleased with the distance.

You may be wondering how this affects the 12 in 12 goal.  Here's the thing:  it doesn't.  While I'd hoped to run ONE half each month, I've run more than that!  You recall in October when I ran 2 halves in 2 days.  And you'll remember in December when I ran a full marathon.  Also, I have a marathon planned for April and two more halves in May.  By my math that is far more than 12 in's more like 16 in 12 (if you count each half of each marathon).  I will happily allow one of my other bonus halves count for January, thank you very much!

Have you ever had to amend a goal? 

Friday, January 18, 2013

flashback friday - european vacation #3

My poor cousin...  Here is a picture from our lunch stop in Titisee, Ger.  It's a town and lake located in the Black Forest.  While in a tourist shop, Carly and I tried on traditional hats - I'm wearing the ladies hat, she has on the mens version.  Lovely, right?!  This was still only the second day of the trip...we've got a long way to go. 

I remember not enjoying the food too much on this trip.  It was usually some indistinguishable kind of meat (typically in sausage form) and lots of potatoes and rice.  We didn't typically have many vegetable options - perhaps some peas or green beans thrown in at the end of the buffet line.  Here at our stop in Titisee, I remember getting the option that was most familiar (again, some kind of sausage).  I was not much for getting outside of the box when it came to food.  I liked what I liked and that's what I liked.  I'm better about that now, but it's still easy to default to my favorites. 

Totally unrelated to Flashback Fridays, I wanted to let you know what was going on with my training (because that's really why you read the blog on Fridays...).  I've been totally slacking these past few weeks trying to give my right hip a break.  It's really been sore and I'm not sure why - no I haven't gone to the doctor...  But there has been no pain the past couple days so I'm hoping it was nothing serious.  Famous last words.  Tomorrow, is HM # 9 - wow!  I can't believe we're almost done!!  To mix things up, and because I'll be at a retreat and a bit nervous about running 13.1mi in a place I'm not familiar with, I'm going to attempt to run the whole thing on a treadmill.  What?!  I know, I'm not sure how this idea came to me...but I thought it would be interesting to do something different.  I'll let you know how it goes!  After this we only have Feb, March, April (a FULL!), and May (just to cap it off).  I'm so excited that it's almost over!  :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

a friendly psa

I am a road runner.  What I mean by that is I don't typically run on trails or many places where there are not drivers zooming past me as I pound the pavement.  I run against traffic.  I run on sidewalks whenever I can and they are at least halfway decently maintained.  I wear bright, reflective clothing - even in the daytime.  I am sure to look drivers in the eye to get their attention before I begin crossing in front of them. 

Even with all this precaution, I still worry that someday it is very possible that I may be hit by a driver not paying attention.  Truth is, there are a number of times when I nearly have been.  I had an overwhelming sense of worry yesterday as I was doing my 10miler.  I was running on a sidewalk, against traffic, but the sidewalk was right against the road, there was no little grass-patch buffer.  I started imagining a minivan (in my imaginings its always either a minivan or SUV...) coming around the corner and jumping the curb and running me down.  (Full disclosure:  I'm a catasrophizer - I imagine the worst in situations, probably in part why I don't like to fly...)  I started to imagine how I would react, could I jump to the side fast enough to get out of the way?  What would I do if they did in fact hit me? 

I realize this is incredibly morbid and most people don't think this way...but I've read a few stories recently about drivers not paying attention and hitting runners/walkers/cyclists.  One described a woman running on the correct side of the road (facing traffic) and being hit from behind - in this case the driver hadn't sufficiently cleared off their windshield of frost. 

So I ask those of you who drive to please put down your cell phones, check your email/text/facebook/instagram when you are no longer behind the wheel and keep your eyes open for those of us who you share the road with.  I promise to do the same when I drive.  I'll get off my soapbox now...Thanks for listening and putting down your phone.  :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

flashback friday - european vacation #2

I know, I know.  I'm a couple days make up for it, I'm giving you two pictures today!  Lucky!

The first is during our layover in London's Heathrow Airport.  I'd never been on a trans-Atlantic flight so I didn't realize there were a few perks awaiting you on the plane, kind of like a swag bag for flying.  :)  A few things in the swag bag:  sock, pillow, blanket, toothpaste/brush, and these fine lookin' eye covers.  I admit I didn't get much sleep on the plane (movies on a plane?!) but did take a nap during the layover before we boarded our next flight to Frankfurt, Germany.

After a night in Frankfurt, we headed out to begin our tour of the Heart of Europe.  First stop:  Heidelberg, Germany.  Heidelberg Castle to be more specific.  The only reference I had for Heidelberg was the catechism that I had to learn during Sunday School as a high school student at my church.  I knew nothing of the town or the castle.  Turns out the castle has one of the largest drums of wine in the world, and back in the day (like waaaay back - 1500's) wine-makers had to bring wine to the castle as a tax payment.  Huh.  There's lots more info I don't know about the castle (or schloss, if you prefer) but you can find more historical info here.  Shockingly (or not so), I played the goof while touring the castle.  There's one in every crowd...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

where does yours come from

Motivation.  Sometimes I just misplace mine and can't find it.  Truth be told, sometimes I don't look all that hard.  But when I know that I absolutely need to get something done, I try my best to find some.

Take today for example:  I knew I had to run at lunchtime.  I packed all my gear.  But when it came to lunchtime, I didn't want to go.  I knew I wouldn't get a run in tomorrow and there is no time to get one in after work.  So I started looking for motivation. 

Today, I found it on - I've mentioned this website before, it's like Facebook for active people.  I read through a few posts of people I don't know and was motivated to get off my bum and go for a run.  It helped that it was 40deg and sunny today...

Typically, when I don't feel like running I look to other runners for motivation.  Either I'll try to spot some on my way home from work and think, "If they're doing it, I should too."  Or I'll do what I did today and scroll through posts on dailymile.  Or I'll try to find a buddy to join me (which I tried to do today to no avail...).

What motivates you? 

Monday, January 7, 2013

a full spring schedule

It was my first full week back at it after a three week hiatus.  I dare say it went pretty well!!  I logged 25mi including an 11.38mi long run on Saturday.  I was thankful to have the help of a good friend during the last 5mi. 

Remember the whole 12 in 12 (half) marathon journey that we're on together?  I know it's been a while since I've mentioned it...  Well, I'm happy to say I have the rest of my races planned out!  Here is the schedule.  Feel free to join me at one, two, or all of these.  ;)

January - Winterlude Women's Retreat Half Marathon - Jan 19th - (Completely unofficial and running this on my own.  Since I couldn't find one that was legit in January, I decided to do one during free time while on a retreat with my church ladies.  Oh, and it's on the Cape...hello, beautiful, even in winter!)

February - Half at the Hamptons - February 24th - I have done Hyannis a couple of times so I figured it was a good year to find a new February Half.  I'm looking forward to this one!

March - New Bedford Half Marathon - March 17th - Happy St. Paddy's Day!  I've heard about a big hill at mile 13 on this one...should be fun!

April - Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon - April 27th - Notice there's no "half" in front of the word marathon...that's not a typo.  My brother decided to run his first marathon this year, and what kind of sister would I be if I let him do it alone?  

May - Big Lake Half Marathon - May 11th aaaaaaand Boston Run to Remember - May 26th - I wanted to cap the year off by running the same one I started with (Run to Remember) but I have a couple of friends who wanted to run one in the spring as well (it had to be on a Saturday since one of them works on Sundays) so that explains Big Lake.  I mean, I might as well go out in a big way, right?!

Whew!  I'm tired just writing them out...  I'm not sure yet what the fall will bring (perhaps NYC?!) but I think I've got enough on my plate for now. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

flashback friday - european vacation #1

I'm bringing it back.  Flashback Fridays were a lot of fun so I figured we do it again...this time with a European flair.

Back in August of 2000, my cousin, Carly (pictured here), my mom and dad, aunt and uncle, and I went on a trip to the Heart of Europe.  We were gone for 2 weeks, visiting places like Heidelberg, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Berlin, and more.  We also were fortunate to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany.  It's a 5hr long play, in German, about the last week of Christ's life on earth. The whole town is involved in some way and it's only put on every ten years.

But let's begin at the beginning.  I don't like flying now, but I didn't mind it back then.  One bad flight and I haven't like it since.  But I digress...  Here we are on our British Airways flight from Detroit to London.  Remember to be kind when looking at these photos...the '90s had just ended, Britney Spears and N*Sync were still popular, gas was $1.26/gallon, and The Perfect Storm had just been released in theaters.  Keep in mind that I worked at a tanning salon (hence the way-too-tan skin and bleach-blond hair).

Also, keep in mind that we didn't have such things as "digital cameras" or "iPhones" back then.  These are legit photos in a photo album.  Forgive the obvious fact that you can see the plastic.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

it wasn't horrible

We are in the midst of a cold snap of weather here in the Northeast.  It was 7 degrees when I got in my car this morning.  The highs only reach into the low twenties.  Depending on where you're reading this, either it's not cold or its deathly cold - it's relative.  To me, it FAH-reezing.  And not the weather to prove any mettle I may have by running outside in.

Despite it being Jan 2nd and the thought of the gym packed with resolutioners, that's just where I went after work last night.  I haven't been to the gym in probably 8-10months...because we all know how much I enjoy going to the gym.  (Sarcasm.)  When I arrived, I was pleased to see the parking lot surprisingly emptier than I'd anticipated.  There was plenty of cardio equipment available.  Where were the hoards of people resolving to get into shape this year?  Not at the Woburn Planet Fitness...

I hopped on a treadmill for 30min, then because I can't bring myself to stay on that any longer, I jumped on an elliptical for another 30min.  I thought about doing a bit of strength training since I had no where else to be...but I really wanted to go home.  Maybe I'll resolve to do strength training in 2014...but who am I kidding?  This might be the year I really do try yoga.

As much as I dislike going to the gym, last night was a pleasant experience.  I liked mixing it up and doing a couple different workouts.  If the weather this winter keeps going like this (or - horror of horrors - we get more snow) I'll be back at the gym to mix up my workouts sooner than I think!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

i feel better

Yesterday was my first run in three weeks.  And it felt great!  Well, it felt good...  I was a little slow and getting used to the frigid air will take some time (hello, burning lungs!).  But as I was running I thought about how good it is to do it.  No matter how slow, fast, or in between.  I run because it makes me feel better, in more ways than one.

I feel better mentally.  Running seems to put things in perspective.  When I'm out there, I think a lot.  I pray a lot.  I don't listen to music so depending on the length of the run, I've got lots of time to think through things going on.  No matter how I felt the run went, I'm always in a better mood when I finish.

I feel better physically.  Well, duh. 

I feel better about myself.  I've said before I don't run for anyone else but myself.  There's no one that I'm trying to impress.  But I am pretty pleased with being able to do something on a daily basis (and run crazy distances) that I never thought I could do.

I feel better spiritually.  Sometimes through the routine of my days I don't connect to God the way I want to.  Even by working at a church!  When I'm out running in creation, I can't help but appreciate it and feel more connected to God.

I know running isn't for everyone, but if you've been looking for a way to just plain ol' feel better, give it a try.  Or go for a walk.  Anything to get unplugged, get outside, and get some exercise.  You won't regret it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

by the numbers

Let's take a look back at 2012 based on a few numbers:

1141.5 - miles run
4 - pairs of shoes
13 - official races run
1 - unofficial half marathon (June)
2 - marathons
3575 - dollars raised for The Respite Center
1 - marathon PR
88 - degrees on the day of above PR
134 - blog posts
164 - times I ran around Lake Quannapowitt (made up estimated)
20 - days since my last run

Yeah, it's been a while.  But you know what?  I needed it.  I was feeling pretty dog gone burnt out after the Memphis Marathon and knowing I've got a really big year ahead of me (another two marathons - more about that later), I knew I needed some down time.

And it's been great!  Except for the fact that I've be indulging in a few too many Christmas goodies and will seriously have to reign things in.  But that will begin tomorrow, or I guess, today.  And it will include my very first run of 2013 and training for the first marathon of the year.

Happy New Year, friends!