Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Not Working Out and Headed to Oregon!

 This week I have not worked out. It must be from that slippery slope when I missed a bike ride last week.  But actually I had this in mind. I leave Thursday for a visit to Emily in Oregon.  It is a quick trip with a lot of traveling time and I know it is going to be GREAT but exhausting. I arrive there at 2 in the morning my time and back home after midnight and having to work the next day. I don't want to go into the trip exhausted which getting up at 4:45 to get a workout in does to me.  This is going to be a very hectic week with parent conferences two evenings, the regular work day and all that goes with that. I am not sure why I have so much to do and am having such a hard time keeping up but for the first time I am really having trouble fitting it all in.  I could workout after the conferences are done but that is well into the evening.  I need some time just to do what needs to be done at home.  Wednesday when I don't have conferences I need to finish packing.  I don't want to head to Oregon stressed and exhausted so I am giving myself permission to take 4 days off. I know I will be working out in Oregon - running and hopefully biking. But I am also telling Emily that whatever we do will be great.  No expectations - just some time together. Although I really really really want to go to the coast if you're reading this, Emily.

What will I do in Oregon?  

Will it include race spectating? Very likely

Will it include skydiving?  Not a chance
but it's been a long time since I posted a skydiving

Will it include me on a bike?  Here's hoping!

Will it include Emily and I running and taking
pictures of each other?  That could certainly happen.

Will it include cupcakes?  Well, if not cupcakes, some kind of baked goods.

Will it include some spectacular Oregon views?   That one's a guarantee!

3. I did get in a cold ride on Sunday. It was 43 degrees. I wore a skull cap, my full gloves, bike shorts with pants over and a long sleeved top, a jacket and a wind jacket. I was just fine. I am writing this to remind myself of what worked. I almost didn't go (that slippery slope) but got myself out there and I was glad I did. It was very bearable and actually quite delightful!  I have not been getting high miles in like I did last October.  I think the whole a lot to do at work (weekends  too) is part of it.  But something is better than nothing. 

What I am Reading Wednesday

1. I finished Orphan Train - an easy and enjoyable read.

2. I have also read The Running Dream - a young adult book that I would highly recommend. A track star loses her leg in a car accident and has to deal with all that comes with that.  Excellent, excellent, excellent especially for all of you runners out there.

3. Since I will be traveling soon I got my Kindle back out and am downloading a book or two.  I have started a "book" but I really and truly so prefer a real book.  I like to hold a real book, look at the cover, see how far I am (don't worry I know about the per cent thing on the Kindle).  The book I started is My Husband's Secret. Well, actually I started several books as I downloaded many samples. I do like that feature. This is the one I finally settled on as the first chapter  kept me interested.

 Any recommendations for books I should download to read in airports and on airplanes?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ten Great Things About Triathlons

Triathlons are done for me this season so I'll have just dream about them and look forward to next year.  Why do I love them so much?

1. Triathlons are just plain tremendously, fantastic fun.

2. I have not been injured since I started doing triathlons after spending part of each year "out" for a few years in a row.

3.  They build your confidence as you race in a discipline you're not good at or comfortable in.

4. They get you out of your comfort zone as you attempt that new sport you would ordinarily never race in.

5. They get you out of your comfort zone as you swim in open water  that is stressful for so many reasons. (maybe I'm not making this sound like fun)

6. There are so many stats when you are done.  If you aren't happy with your swim time, maybe you are thrilled with your bike.  Maybe you improved your transition.  Something in all those stats is bound to make you happy with it's improvement.  I love this!

7. I would never enter a bike race yet I love bike racing. Triathlons give me a chance to do it.

8. You can say, "Of course, my run wasn't fast. I had already swum and biked."

9. Triathletes are very friendly and it's a chance to meet even more new people.  I almost always make new friends before the swim as I seek to  calm my nerves.  I have certainly discovered I am not the only one out there who is not confident in all 3 sports.

10. And it's worth repeating. Triathlons are just plain tremendously, fantastic fun.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. We went on a field trip today.  It started out quite good but then not so much.  My students' behavior was not what it should have been and made the day rather stressful when it should have been great.  We talked about it when we got back and tomorrow we're going to come up with ideas for a field trip contract.  Can't hurt to try.  Everyone agreed behavior could have been better. You always feel badly for those who do follow the rules and represent the school well.
A day in the woods should be pure delight full of new
learning and discoveries.

Look for the bird one of the students discovered.

This relay was a favorite that brought forth many broad smiles.

Today I learned how to measure the height of a tree with a
simple clinometer.  Pretty cool!

2. Today was freezing. I got up early to run and it was 27 degrees. IN.THE.DARK.  Which seems colder to me!  I wore more clothes than I have worn in quite some time. But that was nothing compared to what I wore on the field trip.  I knew we would be standing around outside for hours with no break. So I got out my long underwear. I wore heavy socks.  I had on thickish pants.  Then I wore a long underwear top, a long sleeve shirt, a 3/4 zip top,  a lightweight fleece jacket and a down jacket. Sounds ridiculous but it worked. I also wore mittens, a headband and a turtle fur.  
My plan was to ride my bike after school but I was THRILLED it was raining.  I was chilled for awhile and had no desire to go out biking. Will I get that ride in this week?  Who knows?  The weekend is supposed to be cold but then I can at least wait until the middle of the day when it is somewhat warmer.

3. I have discovered that I really like my in the dark early morning runs.  Once a week is enough but it's a nice break from my after school trips to the gym.  Today I was able to catch up (sort of) on a few things since I didn't bike after school and I had already run.  Next week is going to be very busy with parent conferences  and getting ready for a trip to the Pacific Northwest!!!  I'm telling myself it doesn't matter AT ALL what workouts I get in next week.  Are you anal about getting all the workouts you expect yourself to get in?  I am trying to get  better at realizing the world won't end if I miss one or two.  I just need to keep enjoying running, biking and swimming. I have no big races coming up which is making running more enjoyable right now as I have no need to get in long runs.  It's been too busy to get in long bike rides which I enjoy but that's how it is.  

I really got off my original topic with that last one........those fun in the dark runs.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I just finished two books including my gym bag book so I have two new books that I've barely begun.

The first one is We All Fall Down by Nic Sheff.  Christa loaned me this after I read that she had it on her WIRW post.  I already read Beautiful Boy by his father and Tweak also by Nic.  I was fascinated by this story of a "middle class boy" hooked on meth and how his family dealt with it.  When I finished those two books I instantly went on line to see what had happened to him.  Had he stayed clean?  This book answers some of those questions I assume and when I went to look this one up I found yet another one has been written.  Generally at the gym I walk/read for .2 before I start running. Today this book caught me right away and I went farther both at the beginning and end of my run. Plus I took a reading break in the middle.  If you choose to read this I would start with Beautiful Boy and read them in the order they were written. I had heard both father and son interviewed on NPR before I read any of them and I must say their story and the heartbreak involved captured my heart right from the time I heard the interview.

I am also reading Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline which also captured my interest right away.  I had read a different book by this author I enjoyed.

I just looked in my book where I record info about a lot of books I read. It turns out I have read 4 books by this author.  The one I read first and that I liked a lot was The Way Life Should Be.  I also read Desire Lines and Sweetwater which I put DRA next to which means Don't Read Again - not a resounding endorsement.  I also have read Bird in Hand which I liked but didn't get the Excellent code that The Way Life Should Be got.  
Here is what Amazon says about this book.

Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

So there you have it. What are you reading on this Wedenesday?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mohawk Towpath Byway Duathlon

Heather came back to spectate (and shop) and Darlene
came to spectate and take pictures!

Man I love to race especially when a bike is involved!  I loved today's race although I wasn't crazy about running twice.  The distance was short so doable but I like the whole swim/bike/run thing. But today was waaaay too cold so running twice was the ticket.

As usual I stressed over what to wear for the temperature.  It was a bit more complicated knowing I would sweat on the run and then be colder on the bike before sweating on the run again.  I wished I had worn my biking capris.  I ended up wearing my arm sleeves and a jacket, my tri shorts and a headband.  I was completely fine in the shorts and was glad I didn't have my capris after a very short time.  I ended up not even wearing gloves on the bike but did leave my headband on under the helmet.  I'm stylish that way.
I'm starting on the run, rather cold at this point.
I can pick myself out in this pic near the back.
Coming in through this pretty entrance.

It's almost time to bike!

The run was 2.2 miles with a very steep hill to go up but also one to come down.  I was well toward the back on the run.....but not last.  I felt fine and was eager to get on the bike.
My time was 20:26.  I was 109/123.  Ouch. I was near the back.     Mile 1 was 9:24. Mile 2 was 9:49 and the last .2 was 9:26.
I'm off, getting ready to go by those chatting women.
At this point I'm tired and wishing the race ended without a second run.

When I first started biking there were two ladies abreast chatting that I couldn't get by. Really?  In a race?  I passed them as soon as the road was straight and never saw any of them again.  I passed what seemed to me to be a lot of people biking. A few of us traded places back and forth but in the end only two of the people I passed, repassed me and stayed ahead.   I felt great about my bike ride. I kept my effort up and loved the scenery, the roads, and all the racers.  There were hills but both up and down. It is a route I would love to ride more often.  I did feel myself visibly fade a little the last two miles.  Small hills seemed big but I tried to pick it up and passed one more biker.
My time was 1:04:16..  BUT this includes the transition to get the bike and after the bike before the run.  I think my actual bike time was 1:01 something.  My pace was 15.5 for 16 miles.  I was 82/121 bikers.  This feels great to me - Only 2/3s of the way through the pack.
I'm heading out to run watching some of the bikers I passed
come in.

I feel like I'm hardly moving.

My legs felt like rubber when I started running.  Last year my second run was much slower than my first and I expected that to happen again.  Right away two of the bikers I passed, passed me on the run. I thought that was just the beginning of a long line of runners passing me. BUT it didn't happen. No other runners passed me so I kept my new position I had earned a biker.  I could see the runners who went by me and was feeling great about that. In the end my second run was barely slower than the first.
My time was 20:56.  I was 91/122,  Mile 1 was 9:44. Mile 2 was 10:02 and the last .2 was 9:27. 

Turning 60 has been rather lucrative when it comes to age group prizes.

Darlene, who came to spectate and take pictures thought I was third in my age group so I hung around. When they announced the third place finisher and it wasn't me I got nervous.  Then the second place went to another racer.  When they said my name for first place I was thrilled!  Age groups do rock and turning 60 has been great!

Overall last year I was 1:47:58.  Looking at the clock in the picture it looks like my time this year was 1:45:39.  Nice improvement!  I was 87/122 - thank goodness for the bike for moving me up some. I am sure some of you think I'm nuts to be pleased with this placement but I am.  It is much better compared to others in the race than last year, my time improved and it was much more fun with pleasant weather.
As always I do like to race.

Note: Teams are included in the stats right with the people who did both. That seems a little strange to be measured against people who only ran or biked although I am sure they could have done both and still been ahead of me.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I always like these posts when others do them so at least this week I'm going to link up and join in.

Mud Sweat and Gears Next 3326 Miles by Joe Kurmaskie

I may have blogged about this before I have been reading it for so long.  It is my gym book which means I only read it at the gym and only when I am warming up or cooling down on the treadmill. I love the book and asked for it last Christmas as I had read another book by the author about a cross country biking adventure with 2 of his boys.  This time 3 boys (one a nursing baby) and his wife are along. It is a GREAT story with a lot of humor and heart.  I highly recommend it.

The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs is the book I am reading most of the time now. It is taking me forever in my reading world.  It is not grabbing me as some of her books have. It is chick lit, a genre that I admit appeals to me.  I am not sure if this one really is not as good as  her others or if it is that I have finally joined the Breaking Bad party and that is calling to me louder than my book is.  Breaking Bad is getting about an hour a night and by the time I am reading I am just about asleep!
I am on Season 2 and have so much left to watch!!

Reading anything good to recommend?  Any tv series drawing you away from reading?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Jaxon Places In HIs First 5K!

"Yes, I am the bomb.  Not only can I jump but I am also very fast."

Jameson had asked me to be on the lookout for a race for us to do. When I saw one that involved dogs I forwarded it to him and he immediately responded, "Yes!" So I picked him up Sunday morning and we got to the race in plenty of time to register.

There were lots of people there with their dogs and a good vibe in the air. People about to race with their dogs seemed to be a happy bunch.  I was surprised at the number of people there without dogs also. There were many races in the area this weekend and I wouldn't have chosen this one without Jaxon.  

We head off to the start. Jameson had NO idea what Jaxon would do. He rarely runs with him as Jaxon often just refuses to go.  I have first hand experience of this from when I took care of him one weekend.  Jameson thought he might be going half a mile and having to turn around.  Jaxon might refuse to run.  He might be scared when the path was next to the road and cars were nearby.  He said it was fine as it was a good cause (Chase Away K9 Cancer 5K)  regardless.  

Jaxon looks a little hesitant although of course he has no idea what is going on.

It was a gorgeous morning and the walkers are waiting up on the hill.

Jaxon started back quite a ways but he should have been closer to the front.  Who knew?

All of this race was on bike paths.  They were hillier than I expected. At one point we went through a golf course I had no idea was there.  I had a very slow first mile and then did pick it up a little.  I wish I had gone faster that first mile.  I hate being over 30 minutes but it is what it is.
Mile 1: 10:16
Mile 2: 9:49
Mile 3: 9:19
.12: 8:27

I guess I certainly negative split it.  And I would say the first mile was the hilliest!  But no complaints. I was racing on a gorgeous fall day with my son and his dog and many happy racers.

Now I need to get back to Jaxon.  He was the second dog in his very first 5K!  Yay to the best dog ever!
Overall I was 61/163.  But many people probably don't usually race or were running slower with their dogs! Certainly a fun day and a race I'll go back to.