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Weather It’s Hot or Not

WeatherThe noon time sun has been brutal this week with temperatures falling well into the 90’s.  Factor in the heat index and it feels like 100+.

Having said that, you might think it’s acceptable to bail on my daily lunch runs. 

                                        NOPE.

I can only cut myself so much slack when it comes to exercising.  And, I’ve already given myself a pass to avoid the dreadmill and gym when possible.  So, basically, my default option is the great outdoors.

If I also give myself a pass when weather conditions aren’t ‘ideal’, I’d be spending way more time than I’d like on my rump instead of breaking a sweat.  Not acceptable.

That leaves me pretty much operating like the U.S. Postal Service.  Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will keep me from sticking to my routine.

               I may be slower.

                        It may be less intense.

                                    I may cut down on the total time.

                                                     But, the job gets done.

                                                                     And, I’ll feel great about it.     

There you have it.  You can expect I’ll be out there the rest of the week armed with water, a ton of sunblock, and positive thoughts to power me through it.  And, if you wanted to send good vibes in support of a cool breeze on my route, I wouldn’t mind at all.  🙂

Small Victories

ThumbsupTo achieve big life changes, it usually requires that you hit a number of tiny milestones along the way. It’s on this path where you can distracted, veer off course, and sometimes find yourself stopping altogether. 

Of course, it’s also along this path where you can discover yourself, pick up new tricks, and firm up some really good habits. 

Having said all that, last week was a good week for me.  I had 6 solid days of small victories.

Eating Right.

Exercising.

Keeping my head in a positive place.

So, I’m off to a good start.  And, on my way to ‘two weeks making a habit’.  From there, the sky’s the limit.

How about you?  Anything specific help you to hit your goals and stay on track? Do tell.

Living Life

LoveLifeKnowing that we would have a long weekend to play with, my husband and I decided to set aside 2 days for ourselves.  Last Friday and yesterday. 

Let’s call them date days. 

Days where we would throw out our schedule and do nothing but fun stuff – for no reason other than just because. 

On Friday, we hit the movies, grabbed a bite to eat, went for a drive and wandered about until we missed our little guys and it was time to go home.   

Yesterday, we opted for a scenic drive up to the Seacoast where we enjoyed a long walk, splashed around in the water, and checked out a new place for lunch. 

It was great. 

On our drive, my husband summed up what I was thinking well when he said, “Think back to 1996 when we met, would you have thought that it would have led to this place?  To such a good day together”.

The answer – probably not.  I would haven’t guessed what life had/has in store for us.  The mostly good.  And some of the bad.

But, the date days and his sentiment remind me to appreciate the moments.  The times we can spend together.  The blessings that we have.  The memories we can make. 

In the end, it’s about living life.  So, why not try to love it? 

We only have one, right.

Tearing Down the Excuses

Winter Wear - HeadshotI’d rather be outside than in a gym.  I barely tolerate treadmills (interesting blog name considering, right?).   The weather in New England has been brrr-tastic and has included sheets of ice on the walkways and streets. 

Add these things up and you have the recipe for bailing out on workouts. 

WRONG ANSWER.  This lady is passing up on the excuses.

This last week, I focused on proving to myself that no matter what the conditions outside…..I could still get er done. 

First, I had a 3-day indoor workout string – in my not so attractive basement and in the tiny gym at work.  These sessions included running 12 miles, getting in free weights, and giving the elliptical a spin. 

Then, this tanktop-wearing chick decided to pull together a medley of winter wear borrowed from Punky Brewster’s closet to take a pass at running outdoors in the cold and around the ice. 

Winter Wear - Rest

And you know what?  I did it.  And it wasn’t too bad.  In fact, it was kind of nice.  Plus, I got to entertain pedestrians and drivers who were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of my multi-colored outfit. 

Now that I’ve removed this mental roadblock, there’s no stopping outdoor workouts this winter.  How about you?  What have you done to get out of your own way lately?

8 Hours

Headband Yesterday, my husband and I were signed up to run the Hangover Classic in Salisbury, Ma – with the option to polar plunge after the race. He was doing the 5K. I was doing the 10K.

But life happened. The boys were up late. And, sadly we missed the event.

I could have so taken the easy way out without batting an eyelash and skipped a run altogether. But instead, I geared up and made a 6.31 mile date with my treadmill.

I think it’s my longest indoor run. But with beaucoup snow out in the neighborhood, it wasn’t happening anywhere but in my house.

So based on advice from my husband, I loaded up the iPad with season 1 of Breaking Bad..and distracted myself while I got my 10K in. Good news – it was over before I knew it and I felt great about it.

The lesson learned is that where there’s a will, there’s a way. And today my will got it done.

Now for the bit about the 8 hours. From the time I jumped on the treadmill at 11:30 to after 7:30 at night, I was sporting this mighty fine sweat band I got for Christmas (excuse the poor quality night pic). The old one that I loved disappeared last year and I was so glad to see a replacement from Santa this Christmas.

That’s it. I love it.

Feeling Accomplished

Excited Before the Race

After working up to it for more than 2 years, I’m proud to say that I finished my first 13.1 mi road race this year at the Bay State Half Marathon out of Lowell, Ma.  And, on top of that, this was also my longest run EVER… by almost 2 miles.  Not bad, right?

I’m quite pleased with what my body was able to do that day.  And now I know that it can handle whatever I decide to dish it.

But, back to the race…and some of what went down.

First, I have to say that this was the most organized event I’ve ever attended. 

It started on time down to the second.  Routes were clearly marked.  There were plenty of volunteers.  They spoiled us with runners’ services like bag check +a wide mix of post-race yummies.  It might be because this marathon and half marathon are Boston qualifiers.  Not exactly sure, but I was a fan of how it was managed. 

As for the race, my goals were first and foremost to finish it. To run the entire distance.  To come in between 11:30 – 12:00 average pace. 

To make sure that happened, my strategy was to keep the pace at 11:30 the first 8 miles and then to use whatever was left in the tank to finish out the distance.  So, did it go as planned?

NOPE.

I was afraid that this might happen and it totally did.  I got so excited about being there and about being surround by other runners that I started off much faster than I had planned. 

Here are my splits:

Mile Average Pace Fastest Pace During Mile Total Run Time
1 0:10:41 0:10:03 0:10:41
2 0:10:45 0:09:37 0:21:26
3 0:10:39 0:09:25 0:32:06
4 0:10:22 0:08:24 0:42:28
5 0:10:52 0:09:46 0:53:20
6 0:10:14 0:07:59 1:03:34
7 0:10:50 0:08:49 1:14:24
8 0:11:24 0:09:06 1:25:48
9 0:11:43 0:10:17 1:37:31
10 0:11:38 0:08:54 1:49:09
11 0:11:57 0:10:30 2:01:07
12 0:12:25 0:09:32 2:13:32
13 0:12:00 0:09:31 2:25:31
13.25 0:10:15 0:09:34 2:28:07

Coming off the starting blocks a little faster than I wanted, I started feeling it and slowing down after mile 8.  To make it to the end, I had to mentally keep myself psyched up and ignore my tired legs as much as possible.

Fortunately, I was able to hang in there and make it to the end with these results:

Let me tell you…I felt soooo accomplished going over that finish line.  13.1 miles.   A distance I had never run before in my life.  At a pace better than my training times. 

Ok – so it’s not my fastest pace but it’s not bad considering I had a c-section 4.5 months earlier and I had only 3+ months of training for the year. 

As my husband so logically put it when I complained about only beating out 150 people (1100 people were faster and some even walked parts), I had just beat Di’s best time and I beat everyone who didn’t and hasn’t run a half marathon.  Damn, that guy is smart. 

And here’s the moment of sweet success captured by my husband who was waiting for me with my boys at the finish line. ❤

I’d like to close with a few memorable moments from this road race.  Once again, I’m amazed by the sense of community among runners and how we’re there for each other. 

  • Thanks to the young lady who happened to cross my path at mile 4 while going uphill.  She threw out a “you’re doing great” as she went by and then settled in front of me with a shirt that said Don’t Be Last.  It’s like she knew that would bring the point and the finish home for me.  I kept plugging for miles because of that.
  • Props to a spectator at mile 3 who was holding up a sign that said “Keeping going …it’s all about spirit.”  I used that after mile 8 when I started to get tired along with “your mind will quit long before your body ever will”.
  • Love the young kids sprinkled throughout the 13 miles who threw out their hands for high 5’s.  They made the run fun and threw me a boost of energy with every slap!
  • And finally a HUGE CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH to a female runner who came across me at mile 12.5 where I started slowing down and was thinking about walking.  She grabbed my arm just in time and said “Oh no! Keep going…you can’t do this when you’re less than a mile away from the end.”  And, she was right.  I would never have forgiven myself.  She paced with me until we hit mile 13 – where she knew the excitement would carry me the rest of the way.  I owe her a lot. 

All in all, this was a fantastic experience and I’m so glad I decided to do it this year -whether I was ready or not.  The good news is….I was ready!  Learn from me..and do that thing you’ve been putting off for whatever reason.  You’ll feel great about it after it’s done.

New Traditions

Before the 2010 Race..Brrr.

Back in 2010, I ran my first road race on Thanksgiving Day – the Feaster Five in Andover, Massachusetts.

Thousands of people turned out that day with their families to take part in the event.  Adults, young children, babies in strollers, even pets.

You had the option of walking or running a 5K or 5 mile course and at the end of it all…you got an apple pie for your efforts.  Now that’s an incentive! 🙂

I was amazed by how many people set aside the time to participate on a pretty big holiday.  And, now I realize how great an activity this really is for any family. 

You’re together.

It’s healthy for everyone involved.

And, most importantly, it’s a ton of fun.

So this year, my husband is joining me in the event and next year we plan to bring along our boys in a jogging stroller.  (Though I’ll need to get in some hill practice before that day comes)

There you have it – the start of a new family tradition.  One that hopefully sticks with us for a very long time. 

And the big BONUS – you don’t feel so bad about the delicous turkey day feast you’ll enjoy after burning off a few calories in the morning. 

Question – have you started any new traditions recently?

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