what? what?

Saturday started strong with a spin class at “Just Results”.  I hadn’t planned on spinning this week but late Friday J-Dawg emailed to say “Let’s go spinning tomorrow.”  So I went.  I spun.  Spinning is weird for me.  I really LOVE the workout but because I don’t hear well (one of my eardrums is backwards.) it is a real struggle for me to hear the instructor.  At one point she was talking to me directly and I didn’t even realize it.  Ugh!  One of the best parts about spinning is the awesome workout music played loud.  Sadly I cannot hear two things at once and the music takes precedence.  I don’t always catch the timing for the jump sequences but I do ok…I think.  I am not going to stop spinning, it’s too much fun.  In fact, I am considering investing in spinning shoes so that I can “clip in”.  Any recommendations?

Phil, Bonk and I watched “What If” on Saturday afternoon.  It’s an Indy film starring Danial Radcliffe (Harry Potter).  We all liked it, there was enough humor to keep it moving.

"What If"
“What If”

Sunday was supposed to be a run day but my stupid neck was throbbing…sigh.  When it gets that bad I really can’t do anything physical without a lot of pain.  I started the day grocery shopping and doing laundry, jealous?  Then J-Dawg texted asking if I was free for lunch….um YES!  We went to our favorite, the “Cruisin’ Café” which is part of a local antiques store.

No rubber biscuits here!
No rubber biscuits here!

They serve the best food there, you can’t go wrong.  The antiques store always gets dressed up for the seasons and holidays.

Happy Halloween!
Happy Halloween!

Right now Autumn and Halloween are making an appearance.

Remember that pulled calf muscle from last week?  Well I didn’t!  Not until I started running on it again.  Monday’s plan was just an easy 2 miler.  At about ¼ mile that darn muscle started to knot up good!  I pulled over and gave it some extra stretching but by then the damage was done.  I kept on going telling myself that once I got fully warmed up it would loosen up again…never happened.  Oh well, it’s all part of being a runner, we learn from our injuries.  I know that I need to rest my calf more so that it will mend completely. That said, I have decided to bail on the Apple Harvest 5K this coming weekend.  This particular race is just not important enough to me to risk re-injuring myself.  I am calling it a season.  It was a tough one for me, mostly because I was only able to get in two races due to injury.  At the same time, it was also a really great season for me!  I ran my first 10K at a very respectable time and buoyed my desire to push myself even farther.  My sights are now set on the “Surftown” half next Summer….doing it!  Now I just need a training plan.  I hope you will stick with me as I try to figure it all out .

The Goal

Tuesday was National Coffee Drinkers day!

Just pour it in a cup.
Just pour it in a cup.

I got myself back to Sue’s boxing class on Tuesday evening.

The bags won!
The bags won!

I had not been since JUNE, Yikes!  Needless to say, class won!  J-Dawg met me there, it was her first time ever in this class and she can’t wait to go back!  You should come with us next time!  Not only is it a fantastic workout but it’s FUN!  Sue and Lori keep us laughing while still providing tons of instruction and support.  Plus, there is usually a super cute puppy wandering around…nothing wrong with that!

What the heck kind of yoga pose is that?
What the heck kind of yoga pose is that?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

  • What is your favorite movie?
  • Current goal(s)?
  • How do you mix-up your workouts?
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Happy to Cheer

The Hartford Marathon is less than a month away!  I am looking forward to watching it from the sidelines.  As much as I enjoy running finishing races I have never had any desire to run this one, no matter the length.  October is really an ideal month for running a long race like the Marathon.  The temps will probably be cool, which most runners love.  Although, New England IS a wild card!  Last year it poured throughout the entire race…love/hate.  April is another good month for cool temps with the bonus of longer days.  So why not plan the Marathon for April?  SNOW!  It snows in New England fairly regularly all Winter.  Then the snow melts and re-freezes overnight.  Know what that makes?  ICE!  Trying to train for a marathon, or any distance of length on icy sidewalks is neither ideal nor recommended.   By scheduling the Marathon for October the runners have the entire Spring and Summer to train on less dangerous terrain.

Why don’t I want to run the Hartford Full, Half or even 5K?  Simple, I fade drastically in the Fall.  The early days of Autumn are the worst.  I don’t know the reason.  It could be the realization that we are about to be closed up indoors again for a number of months.  Or because the daylight has taken a sucker punch all of a sudden.  Despite the wonder that is New England in Autumn I truly have no desire to pursue anything for those few weeks leading up to November.  That said, I am very much looking forward to cheering for my fellow runners as they cruise on by mile 8 of the half!  Every year Dana and her neighbors set up an unofficial water station where the runners pass at the end of their street.  I am going to try my best to get on over there to help out before the roads are all closed.  It is always so great to experience people/strangers cheering for you while racing,  I hope I can add a little pep to some steps!

In Other News:

Thursday was a run day.  I set up Runkeeper and Pandora on my phone and headed for the hills!  After a little more than one song Pandora suddenly shut off!  Pandora can be a jerk that way sometimes.  Then I was stuck listening to myself breathe with an occasional update from Runkeeper.  I had a slow start heading UP…UP….UP but then I built up my pace and was in a pretty good zone heading down a long straight stretch of glorious downhill.

A little hilly
A little hilly

Runkeeper confirmed that I was averaging a decent pace (for me, everyone’s different) of 10:36.  Then all of a sudden a woman about my age (maybe a little younger) and general build (a little thinner) cruised on past me!  The nerve!!  Naturally my competitive instinct kicked in and I picked up my pace….until…oh no…I pulled a muscle in my calf.  Sigh.  This happened to me once before, also on a downhill.  I think I sometimes get a little over-excited by the coasting speed on the downhills and push just a little too much.  This just re-confirms how important it is to listen to our bodies.  After all, who knows better what they can and cannot handle?  Yes, it is okay to push ourselves in order to better ourselves, just be careful not to overdo it so that you end up sidelined.  Take it from me, rebuilding lost fitness is tough!

My hairdresser gave me a TON of parsley from her garden.  Bonk decided to garnish herself…she’s so goofy.

Tasty
Tasty

I had to pull over to take this picture on my way into work one morning.

No Words
No Words

This particular spot on my route can be very dramatic at times.  That fog is coming off the river.

Phil likes to put chocolate milk in his coffee >>shudder<< He had a mishap in the store.

Ouch!
Ouch!

The bottle slipped out of his hand and landed on it’s head.

I had to open the coat closet for the first time since Spring this morning….hrrmmpphhh 😦

I'm not ready!!!
I’m not ready!!!

That’s the latest, thanks for stopping by!

  • Do you mentally race while you run?
  • Favorite season?
  • What are you doing this weekend?

Meet the Peeps!

I realized earlier this week that we are more than half way through the year between cruises!  I cannot express how much I enjoy cruising with my friends aka; “cruise peeps”!  Would you like to meet them?

Peter is our travel agent.

Call me.
Call me.

The planner

There are a lot of in’s and out’s to planning a cruise and Peter navigates them all.  He does such a great job of putting together an awesome trip for us every year.

Dana is Peter’s wife who we jokingly (sort of) refer to as his unpaid intern.

Dana, why don't I have a picture of just you?
Dana is on your right, she doesn’t stand still long enough for many pictures.

The Organizer

Keeping seven or more people all moving in the same direction is a task unto itself and Dana is AMAZING at keeping us going, doing, being where we want to go, do and be! We know it’s like hearding cat’s Dana, and we appreciate everything you do!

The whole cruising thing started years ago when Dana and I were out taking a walk one Saturday morning.  I was lamenting that I really wanted to take a vacation but because Phil’s job prevents him from doing so I was going to have to find a friend to accompany me let me tag along with.  I told her that I was open to almost anything but was sort of thinking about a cruise.  Without hesitation Dana replied “I would like to go on a cruise” and history was made!

That first year the Cruise Peeps consisted of myself Dana and Peter.  To our great delight we were seated with some soon to be awesome friends at dinner.

Christine

True Happiness!
True Happiness!

The Explorer

Ironically Chris lives just a couple of towns over! It’s not everyday you meet a new buddy while floating around the Caribbean!  Chris was travelling solo when we met her.  She gave herself the trip as a special treat.  It doesn’t matter how many times we have been to any particular port of call, Chris will find a new adventure every time.  She loves to explore and learn about the native cultures.

Marilyn

We don't have
They don’t have “Fluff” in the mid-west.

The Daredevil

Marilyn is amazing!  She has no qualms about trying new things.  On our third or fourth trip we were aboard the “Allure of the Seas” which is currently the largest cruise ship in the world.  There is A LOT to do on this ship.  We were all out exploring the decks one morning when I turned around to find Marilyn getting harnessed and helmeted (helmeted? is that a verb, to helmet?) so that she could fly on the zip line.  There was no preamble, no planning, no hemming and hawing…just doing!  You may think that a zip line on a cruise ship isn’t very scary, but it is a full SIX STORIES up!!  This woman has GUTS while at the same time there is a quiet elegance about her.

Bill is Marilyn’s Husband.

Giddyup!
Going UP!

The Friend

I almost tagged Bill as the “Class Clown” because he is so good at keeping everyone laughing. In reality Bill is much more than that.  Yes, he can make anyone laugh but that is because he wants everyone to have fun.  Bill keeps an eye on everyone in our group, whether they are one of the regulars or someone joining us for the first time.  He is not afraid to laugh at himself and can take a jibe as well as give one.  Like his wife, Bill is willing to take a risk now and then.  He is up for any (almost) adventure but I never see him quite as happy as when he and Peter are taking off on jet skiis!

Outta here!
Outta here!

Al is Christine’s Brother.

Do you see what I see?
Do you see what I see?

The Observer

Al joined us the third year we all traveled together and has been hooked ever since!  He has the ability to watch, process, and then proceed with determination.  Al lives for adventure and frequently leads groups of people on Kayak trips in and around Connecticut.  As a group we have all enjoyed watching those brave enough to attempt the “Flow Rider” onboard the ships.

ummmmmmmmm..
ummmmmmmmm..

Al doesn’t just watch…he does!  There are times when Al is content to sit on the sidelines and observe, but when he wants to take part, he doesn’t hesitate!

Steve and Christine have been buddies forever.

Here I am!
Here I am!

The Wind

Steve has only had the opportunity to join us on one trip but we are ALL hoping that he will be able to come back SOON!  Steve is an explorer.  As much as he enjoys relaxing by the pool chatting about the topic du jour, he is equally entertained by exploring the ship.  I get this…the ships are AMAZING!  We nicknamed Steve “The Wind” because, like the wind, he will disappear without notice only to suddenly be right there again.  Steve is a great fit in this group of happy travelers, we hope to see him again soon.

Then there’s ME!

Smile
Smile

I guess I would designate myself as;

The Photographer

Like Steve, I love exploring the ships. One of my favorite times is the first full day on board.  My internal clock still has me rising early so I grab my camera and go exploring.  This is the best time for Ship pics before the risk of unwanted photo bombs.  Once I fill up on the ship stills I am free to snap pics of my peeps and their antics.

A whole lotta awesomness...Chris was off exploring.
A whole lotta awesomness…(Chris was off exploring). Claudette in the light blue joined us once.

I am always so blown away by the sheer beauty of the Islands that we visit, I have a hard time capturing it all.  Truly, my photos do not do justice to these places, you are just going to have to come see for yourselves!  Peter can hook you up!

Antigua
Antigua

Once at home I put together a calendar for my peeps to both remind us of the fun that we had as well as tease us about what we have to look forward to!  There is a LOT to look forward to!!  I can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Those are my peeps and they are awesome!

  • Ever Cruise?  Want to?
  • Who want’s Peter’s number?

This Too Shall Pass

I cannot tell a lie, I have not been feeling super jazzed about running lately.  Don’t worry, the feeling won’t last.  I have been here before and I am sure I will be again.  A few things are happening simultaneously that are trying to derail me.  First and foremost, my stupid neck!  Some days I barely notice it and others it just plain hurts. Right now I am in a hurting phase….this too shall pass.  Second, I have been a busy bee over the last couple of weeks and I am sort of worn out.  The sore neck and the too tired to blink feelings seem to travel hand in hand…hmmmm….is there a lesson here?  Finally, Autumn is fast approaching!  While I do love the cooler temps and the colors of Autumn in New England, I have always started to feel a little blue right around this time of year.  Again, it will pass.

I had an epiphany while running one day last week.  Being pooped after work I decided to run a flat course.  The thing about running a flat course is, it sucks.  No wait, hear me out!  You see, not only do you not have any hills to conquer, (we all know that conquering the hills really spikes those endorphins.) you also do not have any hills to coast DOWN.  The downs are great not only to give you a chance to catch your breath, but also to increase your foot turnover, aka speed.  Running is as much mental as it is physical. That extra little push of tearing down a hill is going to keep the smile on your face a lot longer.  Just make sure you keep control…no somersaults!!!

The Randoms:

After walking with Dana, Chris and Julie Saturday morning I ran a few errands then headed over to J-Dawg’s pad.  Last week when we were in Northampton visiting Jenn’s daughter we wandered into an awesome art supply shop.  They had an entire room filled with fancy papers…so cool.  We purchased a package of random samples to goof around with.

This was a great purchase!
This was a great purchase!

We laid out all of our supplies….

some supplies
some supplies

…and went to town!

Town
Town

Some people visit over coffee, we visit over art.

Done?
Done?

Okay, there was coffee too.

C-Dog was not inspired.

Done!
Done!

This sucker fish was staring at me while I was waiting to see Lori on Friday.

Are you mocking me?
Are you mocking me?

The turkeys came wandering past the window while I was folding laundry on Sunday (I know, you thought my life was all glam!)

Gobble....gobble....
Gobble….gobble….

Hope you had a great week!  Thanks for stopping by!

  • Do you lose motivation?  How do you regain it?
  • Artsy? Fartsy?
  • What was the best part of your week?

Tattoo Day

Sunday was a day of adventure.  J-Dawg and I hopped in her car and headed north.

Northampton, MA
Northampton, MA

Jenn’s daughter Hannah was having a Birthday!!  Her one request…a tattoo.

This does it all.
Pull the trigger.

Jenn agreed as long as she was there.  So off we went.

Hannah and her girls were busy with school stuff for the morning so Jenn and I got to wander around town a bit.

Cool stuff inside.
Cool stuff inside.

There seemed to be owls everywhere I turned.

Whooo are you?
Whooo are you?

Then it was time to pick up the girls.

The Quad at Smith College
The Quad at Smith College

We stuffed as many as we could into the car and headed off to grab some lunch.

I can still taste the pesto.
I can still taste the pesto.

After a short walk to “Bang Bang Body Art”….

Bang Bang!
Bang Bang!

… we got Hannah signed in…

Hannah's girlfriend Haley was with her all the way.
Hannah’s girlfriend Hayley was with her all the way.

…. then we waited…

Not what I imagined a tattoo parlor to look like.
Not what I imagined a tattoo parlor to look like.

…and waited….

I love this train!
I love this train!

…finally it was Hannah’s turn!  There were too many of us to all go in with her.  Sadly I was not able to see the work in progress.

Then she emerged with the BIGGEST smile on her face.

Beautiful Badass Girl!
Beautiful Badass Girl!

The tattoo that Hannah chose is a Yiddish saying.

I would run in the streets.
I would run in the streets.

The translation is “I would run in the streets”.

Imagine for whatever reason you cannot do or be what you want to do or be. There are many nuances to this, from physical ailments to religious and political oppression. Then someone asks, “what would you do if you had the freedom and capability to do anything?” The answer….”I would run in the streets”.  Hannah told me that she chose this saying as a “gentle reminder”.  Take it as you will.  This tattoo is not for you or for me, it is for Hannah and Hannah alone.

The funniest part of the day was right after Jenn popped out with a look of absolute horror on her face.  Her concern was that because the phrase was in Yiddish the artist would not know if it was backwards or not.  Neither Jenn nor I would know if it was backwards either!  Fortunately Hannah’s friend Sophia who is also in the Yiddish studies program was there to confirm that the direction was correct….whew!  For extra confirmation, Hayley understands enough Yiddish to be able to confirm that it was correct as well.  Dodged a bullet there Bang Bang!

  • Any Tattoos?
  • Favorite phrase?

Running Spirals

Where am I?!  This was the exact thought in my head as I was running on Tuesday afternoon.  Because the temps were in the mid 90’s with crazy humidity I took off with the intention of staying on a mostly shady route.  I had decided to run hills for a shorter period of time than usual.  I knew where I was and I knew where I wanted to go (home) I just couldn’t quite figure out how to get from one to the other.

There's no place like home.
There’s no place like home.

Good grief!  I had also opted to leave my giant phone at home and instead took my much smaller mp3 player.  Silly me!  If I had had my phone I would have been able to figure out where and when to turn.  I was only a few minutes from home but I had turned into a neighborhood that I believe was laid out on a Spirograph board.  Remember Spirograph?  I sat drawing spirals for hours as a child, but I digress.  This was not my first venture into this neighborhood but it WAS coming from the direction that I chose on Tuesday.  I hope the neighbors had a good laugh when I came to one intersection and ran a few paces down three different streets before finally choosing number four!  Oh yes I did!!  Fortunately I made the right choice and found my way home again….whew!!!  Note to self always bring your phone when exploring a new neighborhood!

Wednesday was scheduled to be an OFF day but after sitting behind a desk all day long I was feeling antsy.  The weather was questionable with thunderstorms looming.  I decided to take a walk on the treadmill but once I got out there I realized I had a whole lot more energy than I thought. I made the executive decision to run some sprints instead of walking…just a little different.  I keep ten pennies on the dashboard of the treadmill for running sprints.  Here’s how it went down:

All at an incline of 1.0

  • Three minute walk at 3.4 speed.
  • One minute sprint at 6.5 speed
  • One minute walk at 3.4 speed.
  • One minute sprint at 6.6 speed.
  • One minute walk at 3.4 speed.
  • One minute sprint at 6.7 speed

You get the idea.  I kept ramping up the speed until I got to 6.9 and then stayed there to the end.  Every time I finished a sprint interval I would move a penny to the other side.

Pennies as counters.
Pennies as counters.

The plan was to run ten intervals but once I moved that last penny I only had about five minutes left to get to a 30 minute total workout so I added a couple more intervals.  I finished with a three minute walking cool down.  If I had planned all day to run sprints I probably would not have been so into it, but because it was just an “In the moment” decision I really enjoyed it and felt great for pushing myself!

I am so happy that Jenn decided to join my gym “Just Results”, you should join too we will have so much fun together!  Jenn has taken some of the classes as a drop in but Saturday was her first official class as a member.  We attacked the 8:30 am spinning and burned up a bunch of calories!

In Other News:

I was in Pier 1 earlier in the week and saw this guy.

Whooo doesn't love Owls?
Whooo doesn’t love Owls?

I really love this painting, especially juxtaposed against all of the furnishings as it is here.

That was my week, thanks for stopping by.

  • Ever get lost while running?
  • Do you love owls?

Holiday Weekend

The Labor Day weekend has been a quiet one for me.  Consequently there is not a lot to report.  Most mornings involved a book and a big steaming cup of black coffee!

More please!
More please!

I took Friday off to make it an extra long weekend for myself.  I have been feeling really burned out lately.  I realized that the only time I have taken off in months has been for various doctor appointments.  Now it is Labor Day and I feel like I missed the entire Summer…so sad.  I actually slept until 7:06 Friday morning…that is HOURS later than my usual 5:15.

...just five more minutes...
…just five more minutes…

I spent the day on Friday running errands, but the fun kind.  I went to Michaels and stocked up on some art supplies.  I also went over to Home Goods for a gift for a friend.  While there I noticed “Party City” has opened in that particular shopping plaza.  I think I am happier than I should be about this fact.  We had a Party City in town years ago and I loved it for Wrapping Paper, etc.

Saturday was walking at the reservoir with Dana and Joey.  ALWAYS a good time with those two!

Sunday I had planned to take myself for a three miler.  I had not covered three miles in one shot since June and I was a little anxious and excited to try it this day.  Happily the weather was perfect for running.  The temps were in the high 50’s and the air was clear and dry, Yay!

Here we go...
Here we go…

I parked at the high school which would have me starting and ending flat with rollers in the middle.  I felt good all the way around!  The most fun part, (let’s face it, if running isn’t fun then you shouldn’t be doing it.) came near the end of mile two.  I rounded the corner to discover the sprinklers, the ones that cross the sidewalk, were still spraying.  I knew that I could run through them without melting. After calculating that my phone was safely tucked under my shirt and on my left hip while the spray was coming from my right I forged ahead.  While running through sprinklers (about six of them) is refreshing in the moment, once you pop out on the other side all of that moisture warms up really quickly.  Now not only was I soaked but so were my sunglasses.  I was currently on a section of sidewalk that is badly buckled and even caving in in spots.  The sun was right there!  I couldn’t take off my sunglasses and I was having a hard time navigating through the water droplets on my lenses.  While focusing on all of this I suddenly noticed that I was coming up on the parking lot where I had left my car!  I was DONE, I did it, score!  3.1 miles without ever wanting to take a break.  I stopped at the car, grabbed a swallow of Gatorade, and then just for good measure ran a lap around the track.  I’m back!!

As strange as it may sound, I have a hard time finding slippers that I like.  Don’t judge.  When Zulily was offering “Muk Luks” not long ago I decided to stock up!  On Sunday a box of slippers arrived at my door, what’s better than that?

Ready for Fall!
Ready for Fall!

I pulled out my painting supplies on Monday and messed around a bit.

Meh
Meh

Ultimately I was not happy with anything that I turned out, but that’s okay.  It was still great to sit outside and enjoy a quiet morning.

That was my weekend.  Thanks for stopping by!

  • What did you do this past weekend?
  • Slippers,  yay or Nay?
  • Are you artistic or crafty?