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!

 

arizona
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!

 

 

 

 

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Protection and Prevention

We have all heard the warnings about making sure we warm up before working out, but have we heeded them?  I know that I am guilty of just jumping in without always properly warming up.  Lately the warm up has proven not only necessary but also a bonus.  I think I realized it most dramatically when I took myself for a short run following spin class last week.

Having had many bouts of bronchitis in the past and even walking pneumonia once, my respiratory system is not what it once was….which really bums me out.  Now when I start my runs, especially in colder temps, I wheeze for a while…sometimes more than a while.  It is something that I have become resigned to.

As I was driving home from Spin last week I was feeling super energized and decided I had time to bang out an easy mile just to burn a few more calories.  I parked at the High School and took off down the road.  Having not planned this particular run I was flying sans music.  I quickly realized that I was not wheezing AT ALL.  Because I had just completed 45 minutes on the bike my lungs were already warm and clear.  I didn’t even miss my music because I was so thrilled to be running comfortably.

Warm-ups have definitely been added to my routine!

In addition to warming up properly we also need to cool down.  Again, guilty of rushing or even skipping the cool down.  We all know that stretching is boring and once the hard work is done we just want to get on with the day.  Let me ask you a question.  Have you ever regretted a workout?  The answer is “No” isn’t it?  The same goes for the cool down or stretch after the workout.  I am sure we have all found ourselves in mid-stretch thinking that feels good.  You know you have.  Let’s face it, stretching really doesn’t take long at all.

My Spin instructor Corrine was counseling me recently about some foam rolling exercises that will not only help the muscles that I just worked out but they will also help with my neck problem.  Everything is connected.

This is my foam roller.  The center comes out so that I have three different levels of firmness.
This is my foam roller. The center comes out so that I have three different levels of firmness.

Taking a few minutes to roll and ease so many potential pains is a no brainer!

I also roll my feet on frozen golf balls, you heard me.  As a runner my feet take a pounding, literally.  I keep a few golf balls in a plastic container in the freezer so that I can just grab them whenever I need them.  It is nothing to sit and read, watch tv, solve the world’s problems…whatever, and roll my feet over these frozen gems.

FOUR!
FOUR!

The Randoms:

The weather in these parts has been gorgeous lately!

It's so nice to have Spring come early this year!  ;-)
It’s so nice to have Spring come early this year! 😉

Every year my grocery store gives out coupons for a significant amount off of a Thanksgiving Turkey.  I got my coupon when I went shopping this past weekend.

It's getting real.
It’s getting real.

We are “past peak” as far as the Fall Foliage is concerned.  I still think it is beautiful!  Here are some pictures for those of you who don’t get to experience Autumn in New England.

Enjoy!

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That tree positively glows, the camera cannot capture all of it's splendor.
That tree positively glows, the camera cannot capture all of it’s splendor.

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There's that birch again.
There’s that birch again.
Oooo....Ahhhhh.....
Oooo….Ahhhhh…..
  • Do you warm up? Cool down?  Do you have a best tip?
  • Are you ready for the Holidays?
  • How is the weather in your part of the world?

Win…Win…Win!

Whew! I think I have finally turned the corner!  I am really feeling like myself again!  Did I just use three exclamation marks in my opening line?  I DID!  As many of you know I have been trying like mad to figure out what exercises will work for me and my bulging disc.  I have been struggling to get back that feeling of not only wanting to workout but enjoying it as well.  Here is what I have figured out so far:

  • Running – YES! Even if my neck is bothering me running does not aggravate it and once I get warmed up it even starts to feel better….Win!
  • Spinning – Yes! As long as I let my head drop down on occasion to relieve the disc then Spinning works out just fine for me. Win!
  • Road biking – Nope, the head position combined with the bumps on the road…I can’t even talk about it.
  • Boxing – Yes! I just need to be careful about some of the exercises that go along with it, like sit-ups…sadly sit-ups can aggravate the disc.
  • Mix-Fit – Kinda sorta. Some of the exercises are tougher on my neck than others. I love mix-fit so I am going to pursue it with caution.
  • Yoga – NOPE! Yoga is by far the worst!!  Too many twists and turns for my neck…not doing it and you can’t make me!  I am not sad about this, I never really enjoyed yoga to begin with. Win! 😉

For the past few weeks I have been feeling….well….blech.  I have been trying and trying to find the Anne from before the whole disc fiasco.  The Anne who loved to workout and never skipped a class or a run if she could help it.  That Anne went away back in June when my neck started hurting like mad.  Even as recently as this past Monday I wasn’t feeling it.  I made myself go for a run Monday afternoon and now I feel like I have turned a corner!  The run itself wasn’t great.  It was chilly which makes me wheeze but that’s okay.  I did it, I got out there, I got the endorphin’s flowing.  Now I just need to grab on to that momentum and keep it going!

First sleeves of the season.
First sleeves of the season.

Tuesday was Boxing with Sue.  I really dig this class….usually.  This past Tuesday no one was in sync.  The energy level as a whole was low and I myself could not find a rhythm with my sparring partner.  It was a mess!  Still, “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work.”….or something like that.  I maintain that it is the bad days that make the good days that much more awesome.

The bags won!

The rest of the week got mixed up.  I had planned to run on Wednesday and take Thursday off because I had an appointment after work.  Then my Thursday appointment got moved to next week so I decided to take Wednesday off instead and run on Thursday.  While I was driving home on Wednesday I felt like I really wanted to run so I seized on that feeling and went for a really good two miler.  Nothing fancy or far, just a good solid run that felt good.  Now that Thursday was open I thought about heading over for another boxing match but then realized I needed at least one day with nothing to run to.  Not to mention I wanted to get this post written because what would you do without all of my ramblings?  You’re welcome:-)

The Randoms:

I needed stamps so I went to the post office since that’s where they have them.  The woman at the counter asked me if I wanted the “Peanuts” stamps.  Since Snoopy is my guy that was a no-brainer.  I was laughing while walking to my car….they are Christmas stamps!!  Love it!

My Man Snoopy!
My Man Snoopy!

New England continues to Autumn.

Go New England!
Go New England!

Why are the lights on in the middle of the day?

I don't understand....
I don’t understand….

I came across this picture of a Christmas tree made from vintage jewelry.  Now I want to make one!

Love!
Love!
  • How do you mix-up your workouts?
  • Snoopy for Pres?
  • Have you started Holiday shopping yet? (I have)

Run Out Of The Rut

After cheering on all of my fellow runners at the Hartford Half Marathon last Saturday I was particularly stoked to take myself for a run on Sunday.  Now that the temps have cooled down I didn’t have to rush out the door before the heat of the day took over.   Instead I took my time with my usual Sunday morning chores, breakfast, etc.  I bantered a little with my buddy Dave who is training for his first 5K next month.  By then I was ready to hit the pavement!  It was a perfect 54 degrees out.  I donned my shorts and tee-shirt (remembering to dress like it was 10 degrees warmer.), clipped on my phone, road-id and sunglasses and took off!  As I have mentioned previously I like to change my routes from time to time to keep things interesting.  On Sunday I decided for a minor change and drove to the middle of my usual 3 mile route.  This can sometimes backfire…which it sort of did for me on Sunday.  As I was running past my house (now in the middle of the route) which happens to be on an incline, I lost all drive!  NO!!!!  My mind and body both decided that we were home and it was time to stop.  Oh good grief.  I will admit, I tanked and allowed myself to walk for a few paces.  After a sever talking to I picked up the pace again and managed to hang on for the rest of the run.   Not my best run…by far…but having room for improvement is always good.  Now I am looking forward to my next 3 miler knowing that I can CRUSH Sunday’s lackadaisical showing.  (Wow, spellcheck is agreeing with “lackadaisical”, I think I broke spellcheck.)  I have learned that I may need to change-up my routes more often so that I don’t fall into a running rut.

On a side note, please be careful if you are running or walking where the acorns have littered the ground.  They can be very dangerous.

Watch your step please.
Watch your step please.

I got myself back to “Mix-Fit” with Sue at Just Results on Monday evening!

What does Sue have planned for us?
What does Sue have planned for us?

I was nervous having not been to that particular class since June, Yikes!  After a 5 minute cardio warm-up we started with 50 sit-ups!  Thanks Sue, love you too!  This class is different every time.  Sue gives us entirely new workouts with each visit and even the number of people ranges from 4 – 34!  On Monday there were only four of us which meant…..nothing was getting by Sue.  (Really, it never does)  She had us circle the gym four times performing everything from push-ups to tire flips.  My neck was making noises but no real pain, Yay!  I have missed you Mix-Fit!

The rest of last week was blur.  Fast forward to yesterday, J-Dawg and I got our Art On!

My project
My project

I have been enamored with “Art Journaling” lately.  This is one of my attempts…getting better.

Jenn's project
Jenn’s project

Jenn actually has talent.  This latest project of hers was all about the Sass!

Autumn continues to roll in New England, here are a few images for you.  Some of these I took this morning when it was only 29 degrees out….you’re welcome. 🙂

This is the view from my living room.
This is the view from my living room.
Birch trees are too cool!
Birch trees are too cool!
29 degrees folks
29 degrees folks
.....just another Fall day.
…..just another Fall day.
Check out that contrast!
Check out that contrast!

I am going to focus on getting back to a normal routine this week.  My nutrition took a backseat this past week and Lori gave me a talking to yesterday!  Aiming for normal….maybe a little better.

Thanks for stopping by.

  • What was the best part of your weekend?
  • Do you have Fall Colors where you are?
  • Are you artsy/craftsy?

Guilt is an Odd Motivator

Guilt can be such a great motivator.  Which sucks, because who wants to feel guilty?  Seriously, if you enjoy feeling guilty…seek help.  I had planned out my workouts for last week to include a few days off.  I still need more days off than I would like but I am at peace with it….sort of….not really.  My plan included a couple of run days and a couple of gym days.  I NEED the gym in order to rebuild and then maintain my strength.  I lost a lot of strength and endurance over my Summer sideline.  Sadly, I never made it to the gym last week.  I was determined to go on Thursday.  I had the day off work on Friday and knew I would have plenty of time to recuperate.  What I hadn’t planned on was my neck acting up again.  By Thursday afternoon just the thought of driving home, changing into workout gear, putting in my contacts and tackling 30 minutes or more of rush hour traffic was too much for me.  I decided to bail on the gym….sigh.  Once I got home I was feeling SUPER guilty about not going.  I was playing the head games.  Does my neck really hurt that much or is it an excuse?  Am I just being lazy?  I can’t keep bailing or I will never get my strength back.  In a last ditch effort I changed into my workout gear, grabbed my phone (music) and hopped aboard the treadmill.  My thought was that I would run SLOWLY for just 20 minutes.  Instead of music I found an interview with the writers of the “Big Bang Theory” on my phone and watched that while I ran.  I love the Big Bang Theory.  “Raj” was a moderator and “Amy Farrah Fowler” was a guest on the panel.  I would like to say time flew, but let’s face it, I was running on a treadmill so it really didn’t.  Instead I turned my 20 minute run into a 40 minute run/walk.  I still burned over 400 calories and managed to ease my guilt a little.  I also realized that I should NOT have worked out on Thursday because my neck was KILLING me on Friday.  Oh well, live and learn….and LISTEN to what your body is telling you!

The Random’s;

I ran my car through the car wash.  Per my usual I proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon running around town with the plastic cover on the back wiper.

How embarrassing!
How embarrassing!

I feel like in the automotive world this is the equivalent of having toilet paper stuck to your shoe. Tsk….tsk.

As you know (I hope) from my last post, Saturday was the Hartford Marathon.  I stopped for coffee on my way over to Dana’s.

The condiments come pre-packed...who knew?
The condiments come pre-packed…who knew?

Once the runners started flying by there was no time to even think about coffee!  I brought most of the box home to Phil, he was thrilled!

The leaves are really starting to get their Autumn on.

Only the beginning.
Only the beginning.

This birch is still mostly green with just a few leaves starting to turn yellow.  Before you know it we will be surrounded by every shade of yellow, red, orange, green and brown.  Autumn in New England is truly a sight to behold.

Phil rescued this clock.

She's a beauty
She’s a beauty

One of his clients had relegated it to the trash heap. Poor thing.  Something that you probably don’t know about Phil is that he can fix almost anything and has a particular fondness for time pieces.

“let’s see what we have here”

He spent a few evenings carefully making adjustments and lubricating the gears.

hmmmmmm
MacGyver at work

On Sunday morning Phil got up for work, went out to the living area and was met with the beautiful chimes from the clock that was still running and keeping time! Now as I sit here typing I am listening to the graceful tic…toc…tic  behind me.  He’s a talented man!

I met a friend for lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  I was surprised to see that they had re-decorated the place complete with various murals throughout.

I am diggin' the Sugar Skulls!
I am diggin’ the Sugar Skulls!
  • How do you motivate yourself?
  • Are you handy?
  • Favorite part of Autumn?

Hartford Marathon

I did not run the Hartford Marathon but I did help cheer and pass out H2O along the Half Marathon course.  We were stationed near mile 8ish at a rogue water station.  As much as I love running in these races I must admit that cheering for all of the awesomeness  was a real blast!!  Here are a few pictures from the morning.

Game on!!
Game on!!
Here they come....
Here they come….

The first runner to pass was well ahead of the pack!

So focused
So focused

Here are some random shots throughout the race.

Doing it!
Doing it!
Lookin' good!
Lookin’ good!
YOU are awesome Linda!!  You too Bryana!!
YOU are awesome Linda!! You too Bryana!!
Getting it done!
Getting it done!
Flying high now.....
Flying high now…..

I ran next to this fireman for a couple of miles during last June’s 10K!

My Fireman friend...setting records one race at a time!
My Fireman friend…setting records one race at a time!
Whooo hooo!!!
Whooo hooo!!!
You GOT this!
You GOT this!
Last but no where near least!!  Superstar you are doing it!!!!
Last but no where near least!! Superstar you are doing it!!!!
Thanks to ALL of the men and Women in Blue keeping us all safe!
Thanks to ALL of the men and Women in Blue keeping us all safe!

I am so, so , so proud of my fellow runners!  ALL of you!  Well done!!!!

  • Did you run Hartford?  Which race?
  • If you ran last year and this year, which race went better for you?
  • How was the weather for you?