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.

20160723_104609
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…”.

20160723_112923
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!

20160723_111723
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!

20160723_110551
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!

20160724_094059
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.

20160716_085442
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!

20160703_120037
I want to like you!

On the other hand…Mangoes!!!!

20160724_105219
True Love!!

 

 

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

 

 

Advertisements

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.

20160528_121849
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!

 

20160622_182739
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!

20150929_170958
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.

20160619_142248
Chief Taskmaster!!

Have you seen these?

20160612_070922
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?

20160626_074316
‘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!

20160528_121849
I’ve missed you!

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

20160528_122156
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.

20160605_170618
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 🙂

20160528_125308
Care to join me?

Otter is trying to lead by example.

20160605_171956
“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!

20160402_081219
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!

20160402_081448
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!

DSC05627

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.

Image-15
I am at six o’clock….do you like my shoes?

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

20160329_073004
A beautiful Azalea from Phil’s Mom!
  • What have you been up to lately?

Cruising Week!

Last week my cruise peeps and I boarded Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas and sailed off into the warmth and sunshine!  “Cruise week” has always been my favorite week of the year (at least for as long as we have been cruising) and this year was no different!

DSC06042

Our first day on board was a sailing day.  It is always nice to start out with a sailing day so that we can get our bearings of the ship and also relax from the travel (and luggage schlepping) of the previous days.

DSC05907

Our first stop was Grand Cayman.

DSC05995

My peeps all went off in different directions while I opted to stay on board.  I am not comfortable wandering in the ports alone, especially a port I have never been to before. Once a wimp always a wimp! I found it remarkable that we never dropped anchor.  There is a coral reef in Grand Cayman that could easily be damaged by an anchor.  Captain Martinsen explained that while he has dropped anchor there in the past it is such a precise and time consuming task that in the end it is easier to work the engines.  All of these ships are just “hovering” on the surface…..amazing!

DSC05994

Honestly, having almost the entire pool deck and hot tub to myself for most of the morning is one of my favorite things.

DSC05927

The second stop this year was Jamaica.  We have all been to Jamaica a bunch and I think we were all a bit, well, tired of it.  Been there, done that, bought the Tee shirt….literally! Even so, Jamaica was beautiful!  While the rest of the peeps travelled to “Red Stripe Beach”, Dana, Peter and I wandered through the port village and got our shopping on.  Yup…bought another Tee shirt!

DSC06009

Finally we reached Haiti!  I love Haiti, it is by far one of my favorite ports!

DSC06183

We were greeted by a parade of Wave Runners and recreational water craft.

DSC06030

Royal Caribbean just signed a 99 year lease with the town (city?) of Labadee, Haiti.  There is so much to see and do in Labadee.  Three years ago Christine and I took a boat tour up the coast and we both enjoyed it so much we repeated it this year.  Bill, Marilyn and Al joined us this time as well.  Here is just a small glimpse of that tour.

DSC06058
Captain John

Did you know that “Haiti” means ‘many mountains’?  The highest mountain in Haiti is 10,000 feet while the highest in Labadee is about 3,000 feet.

DSC06125
A common sight, making charcoal to be used for cooking.

The Haitians speak both French and Creole.

DSC06075
A sample fishing net…the real ones are more than ten times this size.

As we motored along we encountered a number of fishermen.  They were excited to show us what they had caught that morning, including this “white crab”.

DSC06089

DSC06100

Because there is no refrigeration the fishermen have to hustle their catch to town to sell.  This is after spending the day in the blazing sun and catching MAYBE two or three fish.

DSC06114
Fishing boats, the sails are made from bed sheets.

DSC06112

Our captain was quick to point out this boat full of women.  Apparently it is rare to see ONE woman in a boat never mind ALL women!

DSC06107

This Island is available for anyone to rent….you just have to get there and bring ALL of your supplies!

DSC06091

Voodoo is still practiced, the last time Christine and I took this tour we learned that this is “voodoo rock” where the locals come to practice.

DSC06118
Voodoo Rock, the tiny one on the left.

There are currently over 450 shipwrecks off the coast of Haiti…the coral reef and sand bars are responsible.  While pointing to a twelve year old shipwreck  Captain John told us that the wrecks don’t last long. Folks from China etc,  will pay the Haitian’s  to retrieve the metal and other sunken materials from the ships.  The sunken vessel in question was a large cargo ship that had been reduced to a skeleton.  (Too far to photograph) Captain John told us that it would probably only last a few more years before the last pieces were carted away.

DSC06072
Sandbar

We then pulled into the cove which leads to Labadee Village.

DSC06150DSC06154

Captain John told us that you can catch a water taxi at any time.  One of our passengers asked how you got a hold of the taxi, did they carry cell phones?…..really guy?  Captain John replied, “you wave”.

DSC06153
Water Taxi
DSC06141
No Cell Phone Here

We then returned to our port and enjoyed a yummy bar-b-que.

DSC06061

Our final day was another sailing day, which like the first is a great way to unwind.  As always the shows and the food and the overall experience were phenominal!

DSC05964

DSC05936

DSC06207
Eva and Krystina, our Waiter and Assistant Waiter. The Crews aboard these ships are out of this world!!

DSC05948

I cannot wait for next year!

DSC06008

  • Have you ever cruised?
  • What was your favorite port?

 

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!

DSC05832

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.

DSC05849

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?