Catching Up

Remember that blog that I used to write?  I pretty much stopped writing it because, well, I guess I felt like ‘who really cares what I have to say?’  I am not a professional runner or trainer by ANY stretch of the imagination, it is simply something that I enjoy and have a little bit of experience doing. Many of you have asked me to start writing again so I guess you are interested, and I truly appreciate that!

My plan is to try to give you one or two posts a month (maybe more). Some posts may not have anything to do with running or fitness and others will. Cool?

Let’s catch up!

The Fitness Front:

I changed gyms. It’s true and I am not thrilled about it believe me!  I had been going to Lori and Sue’s gym for years but between some changes that they had to make and some that I had to make it was no longer convenient.  I am not going to share the name of the gym that I am currently using because frankly, I am not crazy about it.  I do however enjoy the ‘Bodypump’ classes that they offer and I love being able to workout with my buddy Nancy!

I had stopped running for a while because I was battling allergy induced asthma.  I won the battle and am back on track!

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“Hey There!”

How do you feel about layers?  There is such a fine line to having the right amount that will keep you warm and not so many that you start to overheat. I think I was right on the money today!  The temps were in the low 30’s so I went with a thick tech sweatshirt and running vest along with both a hat and gloves.  I don’t really like wearing hats or gloves but some days require them. The rule of thumb is to dress as though it were ten degrees warmer than it is.  I ran a little over two miles with zero breathing issues Yay!

I hope to enter a couple of races this year.  I have not run a race in over a year and I sort of miss it.  Just to be clear, the only person I am racing is myself!

As I mentioned above I have been taking ‘bodypump’ classes.  If you are not familiar ‘bodypump’ is a weight lifting class set to music.  Nope, not dancing around the room with weights on our shoulders, get that image out of your head. The music is there mostly to keep the tempo of the lifts and time the sections ie; legs, arms, back, etc.  I have been wanting to build my upper body strength for a while now and this class does the trick.  I am still using relatively lite weights but I have seen improvement.

I have also managed to make it through a few ‘Zumba’ classes without hurting myself or anyone around me.  ‘Zumba’ is nuts!!

In Other New:

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Phoenix for business.

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Cacti

I had never been to the desert before so this was an interesting trip for me. It is very brown. I saw a lot of lovely conference rooms!  Really though, the resort that we stayed at was beautiful!

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Lazy River

The food and banquet facilities were equally wonderful.

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Thirsty?

This was the first time I had ever seen cacti in their natural habitat!

Although I have seen palm trees on many occasions, these were pretty impressive.

We finished up the week with “Western Night”.  We all donned our plaid flannel shirts and jeans and sat down to eat some tacos!  It really was a fun night watching a bunch of Insurance Geeks learn to rope and such!

 

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For tonight’s theme….PLAID!

All in all it was a fun yet busy week. I got to know some of my co-workers a little bit better and was able to put faces with names.  The best part is always hanging out with my buddies who just make me laugh all day long!

The bunnies are all well, here is Felix watching tv with us one night.

 

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Snuggle Bunny

 

There you have it!  That is the teeny tiny nutshell of what I have been up to.

  • What’s new with you?
  • Have you been to the Desert? 

Thanks for dropping by!

 

 

 

 

Beatrix

What do you listen to (if anything) while you work out? Like many, I prefer happy up beat music when I run down the sidewalk.  Occasionally a comedian pops in which is a nice break but I can’t take listening to comedy for my entire run.  Why are people laughing when I am working so hard?!  Lately I have been favoring podcasts while on the treadmill.  Let’s face it, treadmill’s are just boring so something a little headier than the top 40 helps to pass the time.  I became a history buff as an adult and was delighted to discover two history based podcasts.   One is called “History Goes Bump” which is fun and interesting in a slightly twisted sort of way, topics include haunted lighthouses and the like.  The only problem is “History Goes Bump” is difficult for me to hear….I need a better Bluetooth speaker.  My favorite podcast is “The History Chicks”.  I find their choice of topics a little bit off-center from the norm which is right up my alley.  For instance, they are not repeating everything that we learned and subsequently have forgotten from our High School History classes.  (A deep apology to all of my high school history profs!!)  Instead they talk about the likes of, Mary Todd Lincoln and Madame Curie.  Recently the topic was author Beatrix Potter!  Are you kidding?!!  Beatrix was my very first favorite author!  I spent hours and hours and hours  listening to my Mom read me the stories of Peter Rabbit, Tom Kitten and the rest.  Ultimately I learned to read myself and spent too many nights reading the Beatrix Potter stories way past my bedtime.

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Beatrix Potter and “Kep” (Courtesy the National Trust)

I have always appreciated the ability to disappear into a story, become part of it in my own way. While tromping along on the treadmill one particularly drizzly day I realized that it was Beatrix who played a huge role in that!  She had a knack for making those furry little creatures come to life.  I learned that she studied her pets closely and learned their patterns, personalities and idiosyncrasies .  She also studied their physical make-up but I won’t go into that, it’s disturbing.  Moving on!  Thank you Beatrix (and Mom) for feeding my love of reading, learning and enjoying a world outside of my own!  Thank you for creating and allowing me to live in a world beyond my own vision and to cherish those stories.

 

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Peter Rabbit

As much as I try to avoid treadmill workouts, these new (to me) podcasts are making me almost (ALMOST) wish for the cold winter days that put me on the mill.

Randoms:

Autumn is Falling upon New England and with that, Halloween.  Halloween has never been an especially fun Holiday for me, even as a kid.  However I AM a fan of Sugar Skulls!

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Sugary Sugar Skull, Score!

After indulging in a very necessary cookie one recent afternoon I came home to find that my new running gloves had arrived!

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These will make me run very fast!

Why am I so enamored with Sugar Skulls?  The best explanation that I have is ……just because.

Speaking of indulgences, a certain local chocolate store is celebrating their 70th anniversary!

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Soooooooooo gooooood!

I spent five years behind the counter at Munson’s as a young adult.  Congratulations guys!!

A little extra exercise was necessary after all of these treats recently.  Some of my co-workers and I travelled downtown and raised some walls for Habitat for Humanity.

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“On Three…”

Six hours of pounding nails in the blazing sun equals a healthy exhaustion.  We were the first crew on the project and managed to erect two of these walls.  When all is said and done there will be six more homes which will mimic those in the background.  This organization does some really amazing work with some really amazing people.  If you have the opportunity to take part in a build, do it, you won’t regret it!  Just be prepared for HARD WORK!

  • What do you listen to, any podcast recommendations?
  • Sugar Skulls, yea or nay?
  • Have you ever been on a Habitat for Humanity project?

Thanks for visiting, enjoy your day!

 

 

Ride Along

To paraphrase Snoopy, “It was a hot and muggy morning”. Apparently it is Summer here in New England!

As much as I enjoy taking myself for a run it is just to warm.  J-Dawg and I have been biking about once or twice a week.  At least on a bike you create a breeze.  Plus, there is the added bonus of traveling through lot’s of scenic landscapes.

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This will be even more beautiful in the Fall

We typically travel South for a little more than seven miles. We then turn around to round out our ride at 15 ish miles.  Yesterday however we decided to head North and explore the great unknown.  The ride consisted of many comments such as, “oh, I know where this comes out” and “oh, this is near…”.

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That tunnel goes under a super busy road, I never knew this picnic area was here!

One of the benefits(?) of travelling North was that we were required to climb a few more substantial hills than we are used to.  While the flat, shady stretches are the preference (really downhill is the preference) the hills are what build muscle and stamina, and I’m all for that!

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Ironically, heading towards Florida involved MORE uphills than Maine!

While much of the trail is shady, there are intervals of sunshine.  Once we start moving into Autumn and the days grow chilly I am certain we will be relishing those sunny spots.  Yesterday however we were embracing any shade we could find!

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Hey J-Dawg wait up….I’m taking a picture…wait!!

Because of the high heat and humidity yesterday we shortened our ride to 12.5 miles……WITH HILLS!  Burning calories and enjoying nature, that’s how we roll!

Random News:

I had to miss boxing class two weeks in a row due to various obligations and let me tell you I am really anxious to get back to it!  I introduced another buddy to boxing a couple of weeks ago and she fell in love with it too!  Such a great workout, de-stressor, class!

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Sue does NOT approve of my gloves 😦

Riding and punching is not all I have been up to however!  My friends at work have gotten me hooked on “Game of Thrones”.  I have only just begun but I can sort of follow along with conversations now…sort of.

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Does this make me a “Gamer”?

Do you like sushi?  I want to, I really do!  It is a healthy, cost effective meal and I keep trying it but honestly….ick!

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I want to like you!

On the other hand…Mangoes!!!!

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True Love!!

 

 

  • Do you watch Game of Thrones?
  • Sushi, yay or nay?
  • Mangoes?  Please say Yay!

 

 

What I Have Been Doing

How is your Summer so far? I have been having a ton of fun!  Between running, biking and boxing the endorphins have really been flowing!  A couple of months ago I was only beginning to get back into a workout routine.  Somehow I feel it is tougher to start over than to begin for the first time.  I suppose that is because I know what I am capable of and just want to be there already!  I am still trying to get my running game back…UGH it is soooooooo haaaard! Feeling humbled for sure.  I have decided not to take part in any organized runs this season, I am just not there yet.  That’s ok, I have plenty of other activities that will kick my butt just the same.

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Love the view!!

Last Summer J-Dawg and I had multiple conversations about going for a bike ride. We talked the talk but we never actually pushed the pedals.  This Summer we have made good on our promise to get moving!  Sadly I do not have pictures of our first outing….it was a bit of a train wreck to start, involving slipped chains and flat tires.  Phil to the rescue!!  I am telling you that guy can fix anything!  Once we got going it was a blast and we have since been hooked! Not only are we riding on the weekends but we have now incorporated after work rides into the mix.  You should join us, it’s fun!

 

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Do you like my hat? It’s new!

One day this past week I had planned to go for a run after work. J-Dawg asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride instead.  Sounded good to me, so off we went heading East.  After I got home  Phil texted me a picture a ginormous (really spellcheck?  that’s a word? ginormous!) black bear not a quarter mile from our house!  If I had gone running instead of riding I would have headed West instead of East and run right into him!  (or her…Phil didn’t stop to check) .  I know that black bears really don’t care about humans but I would prefer to NOT run right into one, just a personal preference.

 

In addition to running and biking I have also been boxing at Sue and Lori’s gym. Sue is such an awesome instructor who manages to build a great workout while still having fun!  I will also be incorporating a few personal training sessions with Sue into my routine beginning next week.  Stay tuned…could be another train wreck!  I joke, Sue would never let that happen!

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These are serious bags!!!

Even though I am not running as much as I used to, I am still active and honestly, having a blast!

Phil’s mechanics remain in his employ.

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Chief Taskmaster!!

Have you seen these?

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NO!

I have a world class sweet tooth but these flavors on goldfish crackers are just wrong….shudder.

Otter would like to know how you are spending your Summer?

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‘Sup?

Enjoy!

Back on Track

I realized today that on this day a year ago I was running my first and only 10K road race. That race was by far one of my favorites! For a few minutes I felt a little melancholy about not having raced since then.  You all know by now that I had some set backs that sidelined me. I realized today however that I ALLOWED those set backs to sideline me and in essence I sidelined myself! I know, deep right?  Well no more! I am back on track! I am pleased to report that I have started working out again regularly and the endorphins are plentiful!

The decision to start regular workouts again was not a conscious one.  Not really.  Although, I had been feeling sort of lousy (always tired, etc. ) and knew that I needed to do something about it. I popped back into the gym a couple of times, and took myself for a few short runs.  I think the big turning point was last weekend when J-Dawg asked me to join her on a bike ride.  As you may recall the bulging disc in my neck was most painful when I was on my bike.  I was hesitant to test it again but after having ZERO pain for months I decided to suck it up and quit whining!  Off we went!

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I’ve missed you!

We had a great ride! Over hill and dale…well no dales…what is a dale anyway?

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We are fortunate to have this beautiful trail to explore!

We conquered over eight miles of the scenic Farmington Valley!  The best part….my neck is 100% A-OK!  J-Dawg, when can we ride again!?!!

Going forward I  plan to continue pushing myself.  I will be diligent about making healthier food choices.

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I spy fruit salad in my future!

I will get back to the gym more often and yes, I will continue to run!  I am registered for a 5K coming up but I have not decided yet if I will go forward with it.  Probably!

I will also continue to hop on my bike and take off now and then!  Because I can 🙂

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Care to join me?

Otter is trying to lead by example.

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“Just hold that grape, I’ll get to it”

You wouldn’t know it from this picture but Otter loves all fruit!  Felix is a bit more discriminating, and Lefty will only eat bananas….weirdo.

I hope you had a great weekend!

  • What is your favorite warm weather exercise?
  • What is your favorite warm weather food?

Re-Running

You haven’t heard from me much this past Winter because, frankly, I was taking a break from running.  It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t even enjoyed, but it was necessary.  After being diagnosed with a bulging disc in my neck last Summer I lost a lot of my running/exercise drive. I tried to keep up with my routine but sadly, it became a chore.  Just after the New Year I had a spell of vertigo.  It was short (one day) but super scary.  I had NO desire to take off on the pavement for fear of “spinning out”.  A daily dose of Claritin seems to have cleared up that little problem AND I am happy to report….NO PAIN in my neck!  I don’t know why, maybe the prolonged downtime, but I am stoked!

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When you are underwater this is how you tell your guide that you are “OK”…..seemed appropriate 😉

 

I now need to start all over, but that’s ok!  I have already logged a few run/walk’s….slow progress is still progress right?  Something that has occurred to me lately is that I am no longer as interested in the organized race scene.  I have registered for a few and I may still take part in some.  There is a good chance that I will blow off some if not all of them.

The reason I am not interested in the organized races anymore is because I don’t feel that I need them any longer.  When I started running five years ago I used those races to prove to myself (and others) that I could complete the distances (5K and 10K).  Now that I have completed a number of races, I know that I am able and no longer feel the need to prove myself.  It’s all good!

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Not all of the races that I run award medals….it’s a problem.

 

Where do I go from here?  THAT my friends is what I am trying to figure out.

Do you remember when you first started running? Or biking, dancing, mountain climbing….whatever your passion happens to be?  I do!  I was out taking a leisurely walk and for some reason decided I wanted to run…so I did!  That first step was easy because it was unanticipated.  I had no running goals, I simply enjoyed the run.

After years of organized races I started to feel burnt out, which is probably why it was so easy for me to take the long break that I did this past Winter.  I am looking forward to enjoying the run again!

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Who knows….maybe you will see more pictures like this one!

Dana sent me some fantastic pictures from our last cruise.  This one made me laugh, we were mimicking the running shoe photo that we did a couple of years ago.

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I am at six o’clock….do you like my shoes?

Now that April has arrived we are expecting snow…..welcome to New England!

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A beautiful Azalea from Phil’s Mom!
  • What have you been up to lately?