Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ecuador in pictures

I never posted anything about my trip to Ecuador, but I should have.  It is an amazing country!  Here are the highlights in photos...

Alpaca with a young boy

La Mitad del Mundo (equator)

Riding the cable car to hike the waterfalls in Mindo

Hiking Cotopaxi Volcano

Hiking to Quilotoa Lagoon

Otavalo Market

Random cattle


Amazing produce

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Racing Again

I finally decided to step up the start line again.  My plan was to run my first race on Jan 1st but for some reason I agreed to be part of two team efforts before the end of the year. 

I know I'm in trouble when my friend Laurie calls me and says, "what are you doing next weekend?"   She was looking to field a women's team for the USATF NE Grand Prix XC Championships and they needed one more body.  Anyone in their right mind would not agree to this when they haven't raced in a year.  This isn't some local XC race, this is some serious shit.  But, I said yes...

I started googling past results because my biggest fear is that I might come in last.  Not my usual position, but given my current shape and the caliber of women I would be racing against, it was a legitimate concern.  Then I also went back and looked up the last time I ran this race, which was in 2007.  Ugh.  

I didn't come in last but I was definitely at the back of the pack.  I ran hard.  Really hard.  It hurt, a lot.  And I still posted a really slow time.  I'm okay with it though because you have to start somewhere.  I had to throw that fear of posting slow times out the window and just tell myself to run and know that I will get back in shape, one race at a time. 

Here we are, me, Abby, Laurie, and Sarah.  We had a great time!! 

We are all running at Mill Cities Relay on 12/2.   

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Morning run vs the snooze button

How did I become this person who hits the snooze button??  
I have read numerous articles that all say the same thing ... it's not good to hit the snooze button ... but yet I find myself doing it.  I used to NEVER hit the snooze button but somewhere along the line I started and now it has become a hard habit to break.     

I started thinking about this when my alarm went off this morning and I knew I needed to get up and run.  I shut my alarm off and just laid there thinking...  maybe I'll just hit the snooze ... and then ... maybe I'll just reset my alarm for another 45 minutes and run after work ... and then wow you are so effing lazy, get out of bed!!  A morning run ALWAYS gives me more energy than the extra sleep.  Plus, I am always much happier when I get up and workout in the morning but somehow the snooze button has a way of being the devil on my shoulder saying just a few more minutes.

No more.  I will become that person who hops out of bed to go workout again.  I will break the habit.  There will be no more snooze buttons.  There will be no more resetting the alarm.  But until then, I may need a little reminder every time my alarm goes off... whatever it takes!! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How did I get here and how fast can I get out?

Being out of shape and carrying more weight than I know I should is a tough spot to be for me.  I just don't feel myself.

I have a few excuses that are legit for me not working out.  1) Injury.  2) Being sick.  3) Stress.  (Is stress really a legit excuse? I say yes.)  Unfortunately, that was only part of the reason.  I take full responsibility for not keeping my diet in check during this phase and also having several days of turning off the alarm and going back to bed or packing my gym bag to go after work and then not going.  

Well, no matter how it happened, I'm here.  And I don't like it.  I want to click my heels and instantly lose weight and be back in shape.  I want instant gratification! 

I'm giving myself 30 seconds to whine.  Ready go....  I hate the way I look right now.  I hate the way I feel right now.  I can feel the 10 lbs when I run.  I am slow slow slow.  How did I ever run a marathon?  I feel like I'm starting over.  UGH!!!!  Okay, times up....

My mother always taught me to see the positive in everything, so let's look at the upside. 
  • I can run today!  I'm not injured anymore. 
  • My body is completely rested.  I have no aches or pains anywhere. 
  • I am coming back into it during the best possible weather, no snow or ice to deal with. 
  • I still have at least 8-10 weeks before anyone will have to see me in a swimsuit (outside of lap swimming that is, and that doesn't count).
  • My motivation is coming back.
  • I have no place to go but up. 
  • I am ready to have fun doing this.

Slow and steady, the journey has begun. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Catching up on the changes and everything else

My life has been turned on it's head over the past few months.  I finally feel like things are somewhat back to normal and I can finally breathe!  Just a quick recap of events to let you know what happened to me.... 1) I quit my job after 11 years and traded it in for something less stressful.  2) I finally got released from PT and could run, but... 3) I caught the cold from hell and coughed my lungs up for four weeks straight.  4)  I saw the end of a relationship. 5) I gained 10 lbs due to not exercising during the coughing fest.  I'm not sure that anyone should have that much shit going on at once, BUT I feel like I have made it through to the other side.  Although there were a few times I thought maybe I may not make it....

I love my new job.  I feel as if I have settled in and it feels like a really good fit.  There definitely is something to be said about less stress and quality of life.
I am finally working out again.  My running is slow but I know it will get better.  Practicing patience.  I never feel normal if I can't work out so being back out there again feels great!   I made it into the Mount Washington Road Race again.  I'm pretty psyched about it even though I know it will hurt like hell on the way up.  Other than that, I have not signed up for anything else.  It feels a little weird but I really want to just take it slow and get back in shape before I pressure myself into racing again.  And of course I need to take off that 10 lbs too!!

Traveling is one of things I promised myself I would start doing this year.  So ... I took a trip to Quebec City between jobs.  It is an awesome city and I am planning another trip back up once it warms up. 

I am also planning my vacation to Ecuador at the end of the summer.  Luckily my Spanish is coming along and will come in handy! 

And, I am hoping to spend many more weekends in the White Mountains this year.  In fact, I may never unpack my camping gear!

I have one of the signs in my kitchen that says, "If you're handed it, you can handle it."  I hope I'm not handed anything else for awhile and I can just kick back and enjoy life. 

Monday, January 23, 2012


Pain.  Why do I keep subjecting myself to pain?  I’m not a masochist, I swear!  I went to see the orthopaedic doctor today about my calf issues and I think one of my worst fears is about to be realized. I have strained both my calves where the muscle attaches to the tendons.  I have always had tight calves so obviously my first question was why now?  Well, apparently it is actually because I’m getting old.  Awesome.  The doctor explained that somewhere in the 35-39 year range our bodies change over from building muscle to losing muscle.  Our bodies have to work harder to maintain what we have.  Great.  So now I’m digesting the fact that I’m old and my body is falling apart when I hear the real kicker… I can be running again in as little as 3 weeks.  Good news.  I need to go through 3 weeks of myofascial release and manual deep tissue work on my calves to break up the scar tissue and loosen the muscles.  Not just bad news, it was ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME news?!?!  I just about had an anxiety attack.  I’m the person who won’t even let the massage therapist touch her calves because they are so sensitive.  The thought of having deep tissue work done on them just about brought me to tears. As I’m driving back to work I started to think about all the things I have endured that could maybe make this a little more bearable.  Child birth?  Marathons?  Half Ironmans?  Heartbreak?  Ugh.  Then I thought, maybe I’ll just quit running.  If I quit running I won’t need to get them fixed. I sat down at my desk, took a deep breath, and called to schedule my first appointment.  At 7am tomorrow morning I am going to find out just how much pain I can handle…

Monday, January 16, 2012

The pool, swimming, running, and everything else

I was out of the pool last year for almost 6 months last year due to an injury. Having a hiatus like that usually does one of two things ... you either lose your motivation or it gives you a whole new energy. In my case, all I wanted to do was get back in the pool!

Ironically, I am now spending way more time in the pool than I would like. I have injured my calf and can't seem to get it healed up. I am now running and swimming in the pool. And as the are the only two activities I'm able to do, I am spending all my time in the pool. My skin is dry and I smell like chlorine all the time. What did I say? All I wanted to do was get back in the pool? Be careful what you wish for.

I'm not sure what is worse, running in the pool or on the treadmill. BORING!! I can do it when I have to. I have cranked out 20 miles on the treadmill, twice. I'm sure I could do a 3 hour pool run if I absolutely HAD to. But I really don't WANT to. Luckily tonight, I had three kids in my lane that kept swimming beside me and asking me tons of questions. They kept me very entertained.

I am now 13 weeks from Boston. If I can't get healed up in the next two weeks I'm going to have to defer my entry until 2013. I refuse to run Boston on half ass training.

A few other things of note...
Two weeks into the year and I have been to yoga both weeks. I really like it. And not only do I like it but I can see how it will be very beneficial for me. Definitely keeping at it!

My Spanish is coming along. I have been able to master colors, numbers, foods, and some common phrases. I am still working on time and other household items. I'm pretty sure at this point any 5 year old that watches Dora the Explorer on a regular basis speaks better than I do.

And tomorrow my oldest turns 24. Where did time go?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Life Lessons from a 90 year old

This was was read to me as the opening thought of my board meeting yesterday at the YMCA. After listening to it, I knew I had to come home, find it, and read it again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Written by Regina Brett (90 years old) of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio.

“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more.”

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Looking back and looking ahead

2012 … it’s here. I really hate the entire resolution buzz, but I find myself doing the same thing… sitting around reflecting on the last year of my life. Thinking about what went wrong, what went right, what I could do better, what I didn’t do that I should have done, what I didn’t do that I said I was going to do… and on and on and on….

Looking back…
2011 was quite a year. For starters, I turned (gulp) 40! Ugh! I’m not sure why the number was such a big deal to me but it was. I thought, I didn’t look any different (although I’m fully aware I keep looking older and older, but I didn’t look any different than I did when I was 39!). I didn’t feel any different. I didn’t act any different. All that happened was that I was officially in my 40s. I also moved into the “masters” division, which I find hilarious! One would think with the title of “master” you should instantly get faster, right?? My dad tried to convince me that my 40s would be the best time in my life. I thought he was just trying to make me feel better at the time but I’ve realized that he just may be right. I’m okay with being 40.

I had no triathlon season because of a shoulder injury. I was unable to swim or ride my bike. That left me with just running. I started my year on track and ran the Sugarloaf Marathon and successfully qualified for Boston again. After that, I went into a slump, a post-marathon whatever you want to call it and didn’t feel like running long, ever. At times I didn't feel like running at all! I did manage to run the Mt Washington Road Race in June, but that was about it. Late this summer my friend Laurie somehow convinced me to run the Philadelphia Marathon on 8 weeks of training. I thought she was crazy but it was exactly what I needed. I banged out those 8 weeks like nothing was ever wrong, lost 10 lbs, and felt amazing. Unfortunately, the race didn’t come out as planned but I was okay with it. I had my motivation back AND had a really fun road trip to Philly!

One of the highlights of my summer was hiking Mt Washington. I have wanted to complete this hike for two summers and finally in mid-September I did it. I had perfect weather … 70 at the bottom, 50 at the top, very little wind, and clear views most the way up. Hiking is just so exhilarating to me.

Things in my personal life were a little rocky at times. I won’t delve into the details but I will say that I learned this year that I absolutely do not have to put up with any bullshit and drama that complicates my life. Period.

Looking ahead …

2012 should be an interesting year all the way around. I have a few races that I’ve already signed up for, including Boston, but after that I am just going to let the year unfold and see how I feel. I did toss my name in the NYC Marathon entry. I have always wanted to run that race for fun and just take in the sights. I’ll find out later this spring if I got in.

I don’t make full on resolutions, but as I said earlier, I do like to reflect on things I think I could change. It is never anything major or life changing. I just try to incorporate things that I think would make my life – physically, mentally, and spiritually – better.

The things I would like to do more of … reading, yoga, hiking, and camping.

The things I would like to do less of … watching TV and drinking coffee. (yes, I said less coffee)

Something I keep saying I’m going to do but keep putting off … learn Spanish. This is the one thing I am committing to accomplish so stay tuned! I may be blogging in Spanish by year end.

And on the personal side … I will be keeping my life free of bullshit and drama. Life is too short and as my dad said, these are going to be the best times of my life…

Happy 2012!