Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Random Bits

  1. Andrea , nicknamed Andie, had not chosen the straight and narrow. A thief, a drug mule, a check forger, she had several pages of references attesting to ...

    This is from the book I am a character in.  Emily, my daughter, bought "it" for me at a charity auction - the chance to be a character in one of Archer Mayor's books. He is a Vermont author who lives in Brattleboro.  Most of his books are set near there and in other parts of Vermont. It is an ongoing detective series where you follow along with the lives of the characters.  He was an author I read and I'm a big reader so this was a perfect gift for me.  There is no guarantee as to what character you'll be and mine was rather minor and a bit of a low brow bad ass.  Tons of fun for sure.  They do put your last name in too.  My students were very excited and wanted me to read it but not really a book for the age I teach!

    2. I drove to Dead Creek on Monday to see the snowy owl that everyone has been seeing.  Well, no go.  I did not see it.  I'll try again as I would so love to see one. It's not  that close so I'll have to find the time another day.  

    3. Guess what we got?  Another kitty - still nameless at this point. He couldn't look more like Simba.  He is a rescue cat and it feels good to have given a cat a good home that was living in a cage at the humane society with pit bulls right under him.  He's got to be happier here with just two kitties to get used to. They're all settling in and while not friends yet, there's nothing too dramatic.  Expect more pictures!

    4. I have a race this weekend.  I have done the Polar Cap 4 Miler for several years now in Lake George, NY. It is often freezing!  The route is changed and I am not sure what to expect.  I hope some of the speed work I have been doing on the TM pays off in a small way!  I'll get to see Darlene and go to Target.  

    5.  Lots, lots, lots going on at work.  I'm going to need to be spending major weekend time on projects.  Monday I get observed which I am never relaxed about. I spent a lot of time last night getting ready for that.  I don't want to be running around the room looking for stuff and not have all my ducks in a row.  But I'm basically ready so I CAN enjoy the race and all that goes with the trip.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Long Windy Run

Saturday I was back out there on my new route that is full of long dirt roads and steep hills and then more steep hills.  For most of the run I was fine.

It was cold.  T came with me and she loved the route in spite of my not so fast speed on it.  There are times I think I could walk it faster but I am determined to "run" those hills.  It wasn't a particularly pretty day.  It was neither sunny nor snowing at that point.

Let me get back to the it was cold.  T usually dresses lighter than I do. She told me she had on 4 tops, two pairs of pants and two socks.  So I added more and off we went. At first I thought I was overdressed but as soon as we hit the wind I was glad of all my clothing.  The trouble was going up all those hills made me sweat a lot and I was drenched on this very cold day.  When we headed into the wind I decided my hat wasn't enough and I was thrilled that I had a top with a hood and the hood came up too, never to be taken off.

When we reached the top of the road of many hills we turned left out of the wind. The problem was we would be turning around and heading right into it.  The second problem was I was trying to get 9 in so we would be going farther before we turned around which meant we would be heading into the wind for a long time once we made that turn.


Sorry, I thought that was worth repeating. When we turned around we were going down Quaker Street forever. It was down but I was too cold to appreciate the down hill plus I was watching where I was stepping - no sprained ankles for this lady.

But finally we turned and things were so much better.  I was beginning to get tired but it wasn't until the very last turn that it really hit me. I was exhausted. It was only 1 more mile from last week but suddenly felt like much more.  I didn't know exactly what would be 9 and did not want to look at my Garmin and see less than 9 because I knew in spite of my exhaustion I would go 9.  But it was 9.16. T said, "But you want to finish the .6 right?" because I always do.  I immediately said no and headed up my driveway. The fact that I didn't run .4 more to round out my distance speaks to my tiredness more than anything.

I would have plopped exhausted on the couch  once I got in the house but I was so wet from all my sweating that I just headed for the shower.

When I thought about it later I am going to blame at least some of it on being sick this week.  I was in bed for 3 days.  Once I was up I felt better but couldn't believe how tired I was. I almost fell asleep in the dentist chair!!!!! So no wonder.  I recovered some as the day went on but couldn't stay awake for all of the Breaking Bad episode we were watching (Walt is not a very nice person.) and was in bed at 8 on a Saturday night.

I finished my week with the swim I missed due to being sick. I wasn't sure if this was going to happen but it did and it was great. Relaxing.  Satisfyingly tiring.  Heaven in the hot tub with my book!

Some of you asked about when I was a character in a book as mentioned in my last post. I promise I will get to this this week. I had blogged about it once upon a time but I can't find it - probably part of a TTT post.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reverse Bucket List

I saw this on Happy Fit Mama and loved it and decided to do my own. As she explains:

Essentially, it’s a list of all the wonderful things you’ve already done. Not the ones you WANT to do.
It isn’t supposed to be a brag or a “look at me and the special things I’ve done” list. It’s just a bit of reflection and an attempt to stay focused on the positives. Sometimes, we fall short of our own expectations, or we see others who’ve far exceeded the expectations we set for ourselves. For a second, we can forget how awesome we are.
Accomplishments are something to be proud of but they do not determine your value. A Reverse Bucket List should make you feel motivated and inspired to be the person you want to be.
So here I go:

1. I have run and biked beside the ocean multiple times.
2. I have raced in many scenic places.
3. I have been to Europe twice.

4. I live in a beautiful state and thoroughly enjoy it's beauty.
5. I have ridden my bike 100 miles.
6. I have run 5 marathons and many many half marathons.

7. I have raced in 9 triathlons which I started doing when I was 59. 
8. I swam in a murky pond for one of the triathlons.

9. I have been white water rafting.
10. I have been to many pro golf tournaments.
10a. At one of the golf tournaments I had eye contact with Arnold Palmer.  I stalked him for all 18 holes.
11. I grew up skiing and picked my college based on nearby ski areas.
12. I have lived in a different country. (Okay, it was Canada but that counts.)

13. I have been sky diving.
14. I got my masters in education early in life at the best time for my family and career.
15. I once received the teacher of the year in my district. (feels a little braggy, but hey, I did)
16. I began my fitness journey after having my gall bladder out. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

17. I raised $1415.00 for St. Jude's when I turned 53.  This was the year my mother died and I ran a race in her memory and gave to a cause she believed in.  
18. I have hiked up Mt. Mansfield, the tallest peak in Vermont.

19. I hiked up Pikes Peak, a far taller mountain in Colorado.
20. As a "race walker" I won some races.
21. I am a character in a book.

22. I am willing to drive a lot of miles to do a race I want, even a 5K especially if it is with a family member.

23. I hope to keep discovering a passion for things as I have for biking, running, swimming, triathlons.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Registered for the York Harbor Half!

I'm registered finally for the half I've been training for.  I needed to fully commit as I'm spending so much time on the training it didn't feel right to not be registered.  The weather could be iffy in March but the scenery will please as it is in York, Maine my home away from home!  My training is going great but I need to be careful when I visit in February that I don't step in any potholes!  No repeats of last year's sprained ankle please!

I was reading this book during my warm up at the gym (before my pace run) and there were a couple of times I was nodding or laughing as the writer was really speaking to me.  

"I feel like I've never owned my swimming stroke outright.  I've merely leased it and it's under a constant threat of repossession.  If I miss more than a few days in the pool someone from the sheriff's dept. with a gun on his hip will knock on my door with foreclosure papers and I'll be underwater in a big way."

There are worse things than being caught in a draft zone in the world of triathlon, like getting eaten by a shark for example.

The first one is so true and the second one is part of the reason I avoid ocean tris like the plague.  Continuing with the book theme......

I also just read this and I think I'm a little late to the party but wow!  It is certainly not a feel good story but what a story it is.  Here is one Amazon review.  I highly recommend this book.  
Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2010: From Laura Hillenbrand, the bestselling author of Seabiscuit, comes Unbroken, the inspiring true story of a man who lived through a series of catastrophes almost too incredible to be believed. In evocative, immediate descriptions, Hillenbrand unfurls the story of Louie Zamperini--a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie’s plane crashed into the ocean, and what happened to him over the next three years of his life is a story that will keep you glued to the pages, eagerly awaiting the next turn in the story and fearing it at the same time. You’ll cheer for the man who somehow maintained his selfhood and humanity despite the monumental degradations he suffered, and you’ll want to share this book with everyone you know. --Juliet Disparte

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cross Fit (not me) and A Lovely Sunday Run

This was a crazy busy weekend and I am so glad I have tomorrow off!

Saturday I got up at 3 to get ready to go to a Cross Fit Competition in NH.  Since I know NOTHING about Cross Fit it is a good thing it was my son competing. My husband and I picked him up about 4 and we were on our way.  Jameson tried to fill us in as to what would be happening.  Part of the reason I wanted to go was to learn more about this thing that my son is so passionate about.  My # 1 reason was to support him but so much wanted to have a clue when he talks about it.  Jameson was home sick the day before including the lovely vomiting bit so he wasn't at his best. There was some debate about not going but in the end he decided he had paid and he'd give it a whirl.

A lot of people from his gym (box) were also going.  This competition was for first timers but as so often happens people entered who had been in many and walked away with some prize money they didn't deserve.  Sad.  Jameson's first event involved riding a bike that he said was very difficult.  It was short but intense.  They then lifted 115 pounds multiple times and then did a certain number of burpees. If I misspell things don't be surprised.  My husband thought Jameson should get extra credit as he had to lift so much higher than all those short guys!  All things had a time limit.  Jameson did make the time limit in this one. Unfortunately there was only one other guy in his heat so not a lot of energy to feed off.  I was certainly impressed.  I had no idea how strong he was.

For his next event he had to lift again (He was disappointed to do the same thing again.  He said there are many things they could have chosen rather than repeating) and jump up on this box many many times. I CANNOT IMAGINE.   This was tougher for many people for sure.
Love his shoes!

The rowing event was last and this is what he did best at and naturally it was his favorite.

Then it was time for  a LONG drive home. We had noticed it snowing hard and there was a lot of heavy wet snow on the road.  My husband was driving and it was nasty. Southern NH was a mess. Heard later there were over 50 accidents. The interstate was bumper to bumper and we were going 20 mph. Saw a car on it's side.  So that slowed us down more than a little until we got back to Vermont with no snow. Crazy.

I actually can't wait to go watch this again.  I would like it to be closer to home but..... I was very proud of my son and what he can do.  Amazed actually!

Sunday I got out for that run I've been wanting to do. I did the same route as I did a couple of weeks ago with a little tacked on.  Next weekend I hope to do 9 so I'll throw a little more yet on.  It was not too cold and snowing lightly.  My kind of weather.  I didn't take as many pictures as last time but here are a couple.
My new favorite road...

Close to home....

Having a great run!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mish Mash

I'm still trying to change up my running somewhat but the weather is making that tricky.  We have had so much ice, ice, ice!  I can handle the cold. I can handle rain. But rain and thanks. So last Saturday I went to the gym in the first time in maybe forever.  It was long run day.  Could I do it?  I had planned on 8 on my new wonderful route but that wasn't to be.  So I went in with the attitude that yes, I could run 8 miles on a treadmill.  I warmed up and off I went.  I upped the intensity every song and before I knew it I had gone 5 1/2 miles and was now running the pace I run for my speed work.  I stopped to use the bathroom (one of the great things about the gym). When I came back I had lost some of my mojo and what had been pleasant and easy became hard. I started backing down the pace for each song but it wasn't happening as fast as I wanted.  Of course I could have just changed it but I had a plan and I wasn't changing it.  I hadn't taken any walk breaks but it was time now.  With a couple of walk breaks and knowing it would end at some point I did make it to 8.  I actually made it to 9+ but I RAN 8.  That is my maximum run on the TM. Will it stay that way? Who knows?  I seem to be having some fun changing it up on the treadmill these days.
icy driveway, reading at the gym 

Sunday I decided to change up my swimming. When I sprained my ankle last year I did a lot of swimming and went to the Edge in Burlington a lot.  It's fun to use a different pool at a different time of day.  When I go there I can follow the swim with a hot tub time with a good book.  Heaven!  Then a visit to Jameson and Jaxon.  A very successful change!

As the week has gone on.......more treadmill.  I am really hoping to get out this weekend. In fact I WILL get out this weekend!

We did some fun science experiments at school this not about running but it's hard to write about running on the treadmill too much!  Boring!  So here are my kids working ever so faces so I feel fine putting these on here!

How many drops of water do you think a penny can hold?  You might be surprised!

One last thing but not a small thing at all. Today I lost a very dear friend to cancer. She fought the hard fight but unfortunately didn't win it. Sharon was a colleague and a friend.  She was a quiet person but willing to try most things.  I did a fair amount of traveling with Sharon. She was also willing to join me in a few races even though she didn't really like racing.  She was always ready to go on a bike ride and other fun adventures.  Sharon was the least judgmental person I know.  The world has lost a very special woman.  

Racing with me and some of my other favorite people.

Rocking our tutus at last year's Making Strides Against Cancer

Easily my favorite shot - in a tacky t shirt shot.

Enjoying a glass of wine on our deck in the Outer Banks.

Life brings unexpected tragedies.  Enjoy each and every day.  Trite but true.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Running is Fun Again

This picture has nothing to do with running - at least lately.
It is in Burlington on the bike path I love to bike and run on.
It was taken last week during the extreme cold.

1.  Not biking can make you fall in love with running again.  I am enjoying running like I haven't for quite a long time.  I am still only running 4 times a week with just one swim thrown in for now. I thought about increasing the running to 5 but I think one less day a week has been good for my body.

2. I am officially training for a half even though I haven't signed up for it yet. I haven't trained since I sprained my ankle last winter and took forever to get over it.  I have done a couple of speed sessions and surprisingly I am not finding them too hard.  My plan also includes pace runs which I haven't done because I did a race - the mother of all pace runs, long runs  and tempo.  The long runs are easy at this point, I am running more than the plan calls for.

3. I am enjoying the gym especially because it has been soo soo soo cold!  I don't know if the gym is crowded because of New Year's resolutions or the extreme cold. But crowded it is.  My gym has plenty of treadmills though so I have had no problem getting on one.

4. The last five weeks I have done a run each week of 6 miles on the treadmill. That is HUGE for me.  It makes my typical 4 mile days seem much  easier. I don't think I have ever run farther than 6 on a treadmill.

5. I like training for a half at this time of year because it is not interfering with long bike rides.

6. I had another good outdoor run on Sunday. The temperature was mild and I got a very pleasant 7 miles in, one more mile than I had planned on doing when I left my house.

7. I saw the below on Facebook and loved it.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Route Never Taken Turns Out To Be Wonderful

When Emily was home over Christmas she said to me with some derision in her voice, "You have found  the flattest route in town."

I replied with awe at myself, "Yes, I have."

To say we had different perspectives is stating it simply.  I live in a mountain town and finding hills is easy, finding flats is not.  So wasn't I more successful to find the harder thing?

But she kept encouraging me to give the back roads a try in spite of the hills.  I thought maybe I would but then came the ice storm.  So I waited and attempted it this weekend. I actually thought it might be delayed for another week because of the cold (last night it was -20) but it warmed up considerably and this morning was a balmy 4 above.

I have run on most of these roads before but seldom and in nicer weather. I have always gone in the other direction also. But today I took off on a sunny morning, camera in hand and lots of clothes on.
(Two layers of pants, three layers on top, a hat, a turtle fur (which did not work well- at times my face was seriously cold) and of course mittens.

First of course I ran down my driveway. I even took some pictures here even though I have countless other times.  At the bottom of my driveway I turned right instead of left.  The first two miles are on a road I do run on a lot and I do like it. It is dirt and particularly scenic in my opinion.  I did an out and back because I wanted to get 8 miles in and knew I would need to add miles somewhere. It is easier to add some in the beginning if possible.
It was cold but oh so pretty!

I'm not sure what caused the pink marks.

On a summer day there would be cows on the hill.

This barn could be in Vermont Life, a magazine, that
always has wonderful pictures.

Then I started up the hill.  I ran this hill on a regular basis one summer when I was getting ready for a relay I was part of. One of my legs was up a mountain road.  But I stopped after that. Emily told me it wasn't that steep or long. Well, she lied as it was both.  You are surrounded by trees and there is not much view but I just did it.  About half way up the road it opens up and you can continue or go to the left down a dead end road.  That road I had never biked on or run on.  Emily had said it was mostly flat and yes, it was.  It was also my favorite road of the day.  (not because of the flat but it was so pretty and serene)
This is where you come out of the woods and it opens up.

My mountain.

Going down the dead end road.  

It opens up and has great views in one direction.

I turned around at the end of the plowed road and came back to the "main road."  I again headed up the road knowing eventually I would turn and be heading downhill for a change.  I did wonder in this section if I was getting frostbite.  My face felt quite cold and the turtle fur was frozen rock solid and was useless.  I wasn't particularly cold other than my face.
About to head up again.

Not as long or steep as the first one but not

  The horses must have 
some pretty thick coats.

I always like this road on my bike.

Now I head down the road. I debate going farther and straying from my original plan but I want to try new routes so I turn at the bottom of this hill and go on a road that is dirt and not travelled much by cars.  At some point on this road I check my watch and realize I won't get the 8 in I want.  
The sun is going in and out now and it's starting to get windy.

The river changed drastically in the last couple of days
and looks more than a little cold.

You can't see it in this picture but the ice/river  is green and quite pretty.

I keep going past my house and do get the full 8 in before I am done. Between running slowly and taking lots of pictures I was out there for quite a long time but I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this new route.