Oh October

I keep thinking, next month will be easier, it won’t be as busy. The reality – life is busy. September was the beginning of school and sports with a trip at the end of the month. October began with one trip ending and travel in the middle of the month.

November doesn’t have any travel, but the holidays are upon us. Any parent knows we are entering crunch time. All of this shows me how hard consistency in miles really is.

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Luckily, I was able to hit my goal of being consistent in October. I am pretty optimistic about November. If I can maintain my schedule while the boys are in school and know I might be shorter on miles over Thanksgiving, I should have success.

There’s even a chance I’ll log more miles in November. The key for me is to keep showing up to run with my friend. She is preparing for her first half marathon this weekend (how awesome is that?!?!) and keeps me on track.

Our runs are an appointment on my calendar. Maybe there will be more for longer distances in the future. So far, I couldn’t have predicted where my running adventure has gone and am along for the ride 🙂

How do the holidays affect your fitness routine? Are you consistent in your activities?

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Running with friends

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When I began running, it was all about me. I didn’t want anyone else running with me. Sometimes on the treadmill was ok because I could go at my own speed. I wasn’t responsible for anyone else’s workout.

Now, I hate running by myself. I’ve been walking on the treadmill to keep moving and often clear my head before teaching a class. Running has become social.

I love it in the summer when I run and walk with friends at the track. Again, it’s like the treadmill. People can go ahead or slow down at their own pace, but we are all there together. Somewhere along the way, running with friends has become a huge highlight of my week!

It’s my “me” time, the equivalent of meeting for coffee. I don’t know when this happened! There are so many strange phrases coming out of my mouth. For example, “it’s only _ miles” or “I wish I brought my running stuff on vacation”. The craziest was this past week.

My running friend and I had scheduled a 5 mile run on Friday afternoon. Her daughter wound up being home with a stomach bug (life of a mom) and she had to cancel. I was genuinely disappointed. I looked at my husband and said I can’t believe how bummed I am about not going for our run.

On my way to teach, I thought of a friend I might be able to talk into joining me. The running gods smiled down, because there she was running on the treadmill when I got to the gym. I mentioned going for a run/walk in her neighborhood AND she said YES!

I was psyched! Of course the weather was cold and wet. It was supposed to clear, but typical New England – it didn’t. I called after my last class to see if she was still game and she was! We ventured out for a 3.25 mile run/walk.

Her long legs made her fast and we only walked for a little over .25 miles. It was great 🙂 We chatted along the way and I found myself explaining that I love getting out and catching up while running.

I can still see the irony as a friend last year told me how great it is to run and talk. I thought she was CRAZY! Who can run AND talk, that’s just insane. Somehow, this has become my reality. I love running with friends. The mileage is secondary to getting out and catching up.

Not to mention, it keeps me accountable. I’m not going to be the one wimping out when the weather isn’t perfect or I don’t feel like it. I have an appointment, somewhere to be and someone counting on me.

I am capable of motivating myself to workout, but why make it less fun? As the winter months approach, I may be stuck back on my own. Right now, I plan on keeping it outside and with friends as long as it’s safe.

There is nothing like the fresh air and quality time with friends.

Do you exercise with friends? What has surprised you about leading a healthy lifestyle? Do you prefer being outside or inside when exercising?

Oysterfest ~ Friends, Hills and Fun!

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Last year, Oysterfest was one of our favorite races. It was far more challenging than we had realized going into it, but we ran with friends and attended the festival when we were done. Who doesn’t like live music, seafood and a beer with friends after a difficult race?

I had remembered last year was chilly pre-race and thought a lot about clothing options. I went with capris, t-shirt and light weight sweatshirt. My husband had a hat on the counter and I thought to grab my own (best idea of the day).

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We enjoyed a pretty sunrise on our drive down Cape (which is actually north) to Wellfleet. We drove the course before picking up our numbers and there were those hills as we had remembered. Somehow, they had grown to mountains in my memory. Driving them, they didn’t seem as scary.

We picked up our numbers and met up with our friends. As we bounced around to stay warm and did a little yoga pose for fun (and stretching) we chatted about last year’s race. We were excited that my husband had his watch on this year and we would know what the elevation is.

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There are three hills in this out and back race (so you climb and descend 6). The race began at 7 feet above sea level. The first hill is 61, the second 55 and the third 57. No wonder my quads were crying for mercy 😉

I ran the first part of the race with my running buddy. She keeps me working hard to keep up and I always feel pretty good. It was running with her that I had my best time in August. I sent her ahead near mile 2 as I knew I needed energy for that last hill.

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I felt pretty good going into the race. My running has been funky this month with travel, but I’ve still put in some decent runs. Hills are difficult to find on the Cape and it’s hard to be ready for them. I remembered feeling strong on them last year and was hoping for the same success.

It seemed I was ready to give in and walk just as we reached the top of each hill. No matter how big the hill was, the top came at exactly the right moment. I was able to keep trucking and enjoy the down hill that much more.

As I ran and warmed up, I took my hat off. I watched people peel off layers expertly. I kept going with my long sleeves which I was thankful for at the finish. The cold wind took care of that heat as soon as I stopped moving.

Luckily, we all brought a fresh change of clothes and pulled a Clark Kent in our cars before walking up to the festival. Sadly, I have an old iPhone (new one has been ordered) that doesn’t hold its charge and I didn’t get any pictures from the festival.

In the end, I finished the race in exactly 33 minutes, shaving just over 3 minutes off last year’s time! If I’m honest, I was hoping for 4, but am happy with 3. It’s been fun to re-run a few races and have something to compare it to.

What’s your favorite post race activity? What fall festival is your favorite?

500 miles and counting!

500 milesAs I approached 500 miles from when I began tracking mileage in April 2013, I looked back at a few posts. The one that struck me was my one year recap and how surprised I was to hit 246 miles. That was in March and here I am at 500 miles with the same surprise.

I began to wonder why I was so shocked. Did I really think I would quit? Was I expecting to be one and done? Honestly, I’m not sure.

It’s not my personality to only go half-way. I’m always in it to win it and maybe that’s it. I knew I wouldn’t be winning any races and thought I would throw in the towel.

I am here to say I have survived not winning. I have survived and embraced cheering others on. I have survived being, literally, in the middle of the pack.

Somewhere along the way, I began to love it. The feeling of accomplishment, camaraderie, and fun. As each mile passes, I feel stronger and more comfortable calling myself a runner. I’ve even missed it when I was away – who knew that could happen.runner

I have loved each goal I’ve worked for and right now, I like just doing it. I enjoy my time on the treadmill (you read that correctly) and truly love running outside with my friends. It is a time to relax, reflect and laugh.

If you had ever told me I would talk and laugh while running I would have had you committed. Yet, here I am on the other side. Somewhere along the way, it became a lifestyle and a part of me.

As I write this, I wonder if I will feel the same at 1,000 miles or some other huge milestone. All I can say, is I can’t wait to find out because at some point in the future I will hit 1,000 and more miles.

I can’t believe everything this adventure has brought so far and I can’t wait to see where it goes!!

Have you surprised yourself by sticking with something after reaching your initial goal? Do you track your progress? What’s your favorite fitness/healthy living accomplishment to date?

Am I still running?

Yes and no. Running is often the first part of my workout routine to go by the wayside. My teaching schedule has been heavy and the kids have been home. I was still sneaking in at least one run a week.

The treadmill had been boring and my legs were feeling pretty heavy. This week, I went to a local shoe store that is known for running expertise and helping you find the right shoe for your foot. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I’ve read a lot about heel strikers vs mid-foot strikers and the impact of cushioning or no cushioning. I had no idea what I needed. I have flat feet and was feeling the impact in my hips.

Asics GT2000 were the sneakers I wound up with. I was told I would notice a difference immediately. I was not disappointed! I had no pain in my hip and the run was great!

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I went back to intervals and that’s helping with treadmill boredom. 30 minutes goes by a lot faster when focusing on one or two minutes at a time. Today, I walked for one minute (at 3.5) and two minutes jogging (at 4.5) for the first ten minutes. Then I went to 4.7 for the next ten minutes and 5.0 for the last ten. I felt great and really enjoyed it.

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We don’t have a race coming up and my goal is to keep running. I am not looking for anything specific. This plan helped get me going in the beginning and I’m going back to it for now. I’m hoping to find an outdoor run that I will jog the entire time.

I’ve learned how important it is to keep moving. Pushing yourself takes as much practice as the muscles and cardio. It is so easy to slow down and cop out. The intervals give me a sense of work/reward. As I did in the beginning, I’ll play with my walking and running time. Previously, I added a minute of running a week. I will keep you posted on my progress 🙂

How do you handle treadmill boredom? Do you have trouble pushing yourself? Have you gone to a local shoe expert?

Where does the time go? Six months of running….

I can’t believe I began my running journey six months ago! Like most moms, the summer presents a fitness challenge. With the kids home and a busy schedule it can be difficult to find the time to run. Here is how the last three months went…

Expanding our circle…

In the last three months, our son took a running class and a few of our friends have joined us on our running journey. It’s always more fun when you have a group. My friends and I connected on our Nike+ running app, now we can see how everyone is doing. There have definitely been days that I went for a run to make sure I stayed in the hunt. It has kept us all talking about running and cheering each other on!

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You can run anywhere…

While our son was taking a track class, we joined in the fun and used the track too. Twice a week, we walked and jogged the track during his 90 minute class. We logged a lot of miles and had fun doing it. As school started, I went back to the treadmill. At first, I had trouble adjusting to being inside but I’m finding my stride. I continue to struggle with finding time and started running outside after a weekly meeting. These runs have been beautiful and I love it!

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Racing…

We have run two 5ks in the last three months with another one coming in October. With a different training schedule, I didn’t know how it would translate to the course. It worked out great. Being outside taught me how to set my pace and logging so many miles at the track helped my endurance. I finally made it through a 5k without walking 🙂

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Just keep moving…

The key moving forward, is to do just that. Keep moving forward. I am finally finding a new routine. I have managed to sneak in running four times a week. This allows me to go shorter distances when I have to and further when I have the time. There continues to be good days and iffy days, but it is still fun and provides me a feeling of accomplishment. I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring!!

How is your journey?

Viva 5K! Becoming comfortably uncomfortable

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Today was our second race and our first 5K. Thankfully, it was not as hot and humid as the last few days. The first race was so much fun, I was a little nervous that this one would be a disappointment. Luckily, I was wrong.

I hadn’t run outside since the last race and we didn’t know the course. We left the house a little early so we could drive the course and get a feel for it. Once we were registered and had our numbers, I began to feel less nervous. We saw some familiar faces and the nerves were mostly gone.

A few people ran with me for short distances. I am still slow and need to walk from time to time. They went along when I needed to walk and regroup. While I wanted to keep up, it was nice to see different faces. It definitely helped the race go by faster.

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Running continues to teach me how to worry about myself and not compete with others. I am extremely competitive and have shied away from running as a result. I (like many people) don’t like doing things I’m not good at. This is magnified by the fact people assume I’m faster than I am. Along my journey, I have become strangely comfortable in my ability (or lack thereof).

I can’t say enough about the support of my husband, kids, parents and friends. I have also found support among runners here and on twitter and Facebook. Support doesn’t always come from the people you expect but it is amazing to find. The Internet allows us to cheer each other on over long distances and nearby.

This adventure began as a way to get out of my comfort zone and I have become comfortably uncomfortable!