A Slacker I Be

Well. I have been slacking.

Not only have I not posted in, you know, forever, I have not been as motivated to exercise. Wonder if the two are connected? I mean, this blog is kinda my accountability. I am going to guess the answer to that is a resounding yes!

But, just in time for all that yummy holiday food, I am back!

I have a new treadmill, and Runner’s World is doing a holiday run streak from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Thirty seven days of running. The suggested streak is you commit to just a mile every day and then do whatever more you can as time/energy allows.

I did the spring streak and really enjoyed the sense of accomplishment at the end. I think this time I am streaking 2 miles a day. I feel that part of my problem of not running as much is that I allowed myself to get into the habit on running only a mile before work. Not that I couldn’t run more, either time or energy-wise, it was just easier to convince myself that was all I needed to do.

I think that a 2 mile commitment will get me back into the running mode. And back into a bit more shape! I admit that running is not quite as fun as it was since it is not quite as easy as it was. Just lets me know where I need to go!

So before I go to family to eat, drink an be merry this Thursday, I will be running at least 2 mile 🙂

Lessons I learned from trees

I am always happy out in nature. But I have a particular affection for trees.

I love being in a forest, and will lag behind everyone else snowmobiling as I take in the trees. I love texture, and trees have tons of that. Craggy bark, smooth bark, light bark, dark bark, curling bark. And leaves! Smooth, fringey, delicately shaped or large and bold, with varying shades of green. In the fall I am truly am a distracted driver when all the gorgeous burgundys, oranges and golds appear. The variety of trees living and growing side by side is a lesson in itself for us.

don’t be afraid to be the first one to change
-or maybe-
don’t be afraid to stand out

as Jeff Goldblum likes to say, life will find a way.
Even after falling or being cut down, these trees continue to put out fresh growth each year.

You can’t always get what you want
I love birch trees. The color, the fringy leaves, the curling bark. My town is littered with birch, I took this picture less than half a mile from my house.
However, I don’t have any birch trees on my property!

you can thrive anywhere, regardless of your surroundings
unique beauty comes from adversity

Weekly Rundown

Ok, it seems I am not a reliable blogger during summer months. Frankly, it’s because I am so exhausted! After the busy weekends, I come home after my ten hour days and I don’t even open my computer. I am starting to look forward to winter so I can sleep 😛

Fine, I am not really looking forward to cold snow and ice. But I am already drinking Pumpkin Spice coffee. I do love fall. The brisk air will re-energize me. The cool nights we are already having at marvelous for sleeping, although having to wear a fleece around the firepit August 10th does seem a tad early.

I am only two weeks behind now, so I am going to do a two-fer:

7/29-8/4

Monday: I started off the week with weights. I don’t particularly like weights. But I feel that they are necessary. I did do 2 reps, but only of 15. I separate the reps with my 3-way plank (push-up frame, then one handed on each side), which I have been doing with weights to increase the difficulty of the T Plank. My favorite part of this workout is finishing with five minutes of yoga stretches.

Tuesday: a quick mile run on the treadmill to start my day.

Wednesday: off

Thursday: Another quick mile before work.

Friday: Long workout on the treadmill while watching American Ninja Warrior. So easy to run on a flat treadmill while watching amazing athletes make impossible leaps and climb 30 foot spider chutes. I did 46 minutes, running 4 miles and then a .80 cooldown, slowing to a walk by decreasing speed with each tenth of a mile.

Saturday: A nice ride on Charby early in the morning. I have been tackling actual ring work, instead of wandering up and down the road. I did take her out around the field and then back to the ring every couple rotations to keep her interested. Later in the morning we took a ride downriver to Boothbay for lunch before coming back to anchor for the last set of fireworks on the Kennebec for the summer.

Sunday: off (mostly due to exhaustion)

8/5-8/11

Monday: I had planned a morning run, and even put out my exercise clothes for it. But I just wan’t feeling it and took time to watch the news with coffee before work instead. When I got home I did yoga instead. I admit that I usually do yoga in front of the tv, but this night I turned off everything, took off my glasses and did most of the moves with my eyes closed. So very relaxing. And perfect after a long day.

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: I did a slow treadmill mile before work. The weekend prior and the workweek was catching up to me, and I was feeling just a tiny bit tired.

Thursday: I had taken the day off for a long 4 day weekend, so I actually got to run outside. It seemed to inspire me, as I ran a PR of the two mile course. My first mile was slow, only 10:40, but I kicked it up for the second and ran 8:54. That’s practically treadmill speed!

a beautiful evening cruise in Boothbay

Friday: a nice easy ride with Charby out in the ring before we loaded the boat and headed to Boothbay Harbor for the night. We joined some family members from Colorado, and had a marvelous time cruising with them around after dinner.

night settles over the harbor as we settle at our mooring

Saturday: a great 4 mile run around the Harbor. I have actually run in Boothbay enough that I wanted to try something different, so I ran across the footbridge and turned right (usually I head left to go back to town) to go out to the point. Found some gorgeous old houses and a massive flock of ducks down a dead end road. Thunderstorms were threatening, so we headed back early. I did get a 10 minute kayak around an island. And we only saw a few flashes of lightening on the way back.

Sunday: Weights and treadmile mile early. Tried to ride Christopher Robin, but he was ornery and we settled on training instead. I still got to spend time with him 🙂 More boating on the Kennebec in the afternoon.There is a long tradition of the Whatever Race, where people would put whatever contraption they thought would float and trying to get from Augusta to Gardiner. In the mid 2000s, the powers that be decided it was a not particularly safe endeavor and discontinued the event. Not to be stymied, there is now a “Float Downriver” from Hallowell to Gardiner. Kayaks, canoes and any manner of pool floatation is welcome. We generally go up in our boat to watch the participants. I think most of them make it……

there was definitely a line of willing participants
yes, that would be a floating dock. Also the floating bar and dance floor…..
a little concerned about the decision to put a children’s pool in as a raft.

a new toy

I have a Fitbit. Of course. Doesn’t everyone??

I started with a low end tracker supplied by the hospital when I joined their fitness tracker program. I quickly became addicted to beating my steps from the previous day and decided to invest in my own, better, tracker.

My first one was a Misfit. It only tracked steps, and had a low profile, with a decorative, copper face that lit up around the edge as you made your way towards your daily goal. It wasn’t an obvious tracker, and I really liked it.

But it needed batteries, as opposed to being charged, and I started going through several batteries a week after about six months. And they weren’t all that easy to replace.

About two years ago, I started researching. There’s Garmin. Fibit. Apple. Motiv. And a whole bunch more! Apple was an easy out, I don’t have anything Mac. One friend said she had a hard time syncing her Garmin. So I took a leap on Fitbit, which a majority of reviews favored.

I got a Blaze smartwatch, which was the newest version that summer. And I love it. Two years in, there are no scratches on the face, much less a crack. May I remind you I run, lift, ride horses, boat, and do all sorts of barnwork? It works well, tracks a bunch of stuff, doesn’t require daily charging, and I can change the watch face on a whim. Not to mention the band. There are so many bands! One to go with every outfit, just like shoes (I may be a bit of a shopaholic).

There is only one drawback. It isn’t waterproof. My arm unexpectedly and repeatedly got stuck in the river about a month ago, and I have noticed–while it still actually works!–that it needs to be charged more often, and doesn’t hold the charge well. Before it conks out on me, I have decided to get another. The only other issue I had with it was that it never got my milage correct. When I run the Rail Trail, there are markers every quarter mile. My exercise app on the phone is always very close in mileage–like maybe 200 feet before or after the marker. If I ran 4 miles as recorded by the phone and markers, my Fitbit would say I might have run 3. Still not a deal breaker, as I have other methods of tracking distance.

Of course, I am going with Fitbit. The app is easy to set up and use, and after a piece of tech works for two years with no issues, I am going with the same brand. Due to the reason I need a new one, I am getting a Versa, which is waterproof. Now I can wear it kayaking–the Blaze was left on dry ground when paddling.

But which one? There are three versions . Special Edition, Versa, and Lite Edition. For rather varying prices. Special will do everything the others do, plus has a chip for paying for items without your wallet. The Lite does the basics, but you can’t download music on it (300 songs fit on the other versions), and you can’t play on-screen workouts.

After some thought, I went with the Lite Edition. No matter what, I will still be using my phone as I exercise (although I have hope that the Versa might be better at tracking distance), so I have music on that. And I don’t tend to do pre-recorded workouts. So paying the extra $60 for the regular Versa didn’t seem worthy. And I am not a fan of wallet-less paying (things are just too easy to hack), so I certainly didn’t want to shell the bucks for the Special.

Now I just have to wait til next Wednesday for it!

Fitbit Versa Smart watch Fitness smartwatch

A Weekly Rundown…..

…or two…..or four! I went on vacation at the end of June and that seems to have included my blog 🙂

a glimpse of the early morning fog lying over the Sheepscot River

Instead of doing my usual rundown, I think I will just hit the hi-lights of the last couple weeks. And pictures. I have lots of pictures!

Week One: This was the week of my actual vacation. If you ignore the fact that I worked a full day on Monday and a half day on Friday, that is. But we got our annual trip in to see the Windjammer ships come in Boothbay Harbor midweek, and unlike last year, the weather was obliging enough that we could stay the night and watch the fireworks. And I got to go for a nice 3 mile run around the harbor the next morning.

love running across the wooden footbridge 🙂

I didn’t do anything too exciting for exercise, except I decided that I wasn’t going out on the road enough and getting hill work, so I put my treadmill on the incline for the entire week. And my legs were so tired running around Boothbay!

Week Two: My running streak ended on July 4th. I wanted to keep streaking, but I know myself. If I accidentally broke the streak a month down the road, I would be crushed. I decided to end on the scheduled date and do another streak later on. I did get my first kayak of the season in, finally, and it was a doozy. The way out was easy and beautiful. On the return, the wind picked up and there were whitecaps on the river, which, with the wind, did a darn good job of keeping away me from my intended goal–our dock. Got a great arm workout!

a vistor to the marina

Week Three: I did some speed workouts on the treadmill (without an incline!). It happened a bit accidentally, on Monday I ran a 7:35 mile. Then on Wednesday I did 2 miles in 15:10. So of course on Friday I had to see if I could do 3 at a similar pace. It was 22:40 because I was lollygagging on the first mile and had to speed up the last. I actually took three days off from exercise that week. I don’t know if the speed workouts were tiring me out, or if all the boat time we have been spending on the weekends is wearing my out. I am guessing the latter. On Sunday we took the boat out with the dogs. They only got a short trip with us last year, so the all day ride was a new experience for them–and us. They were so good! Daisy didn’t like chop at first, but by the end of the ride she was an old hand. Bruce just claimed the cabin and hung out for the day.

I believe he thought it was his boat!
while Daisy decided she liked to drive

Week Four: Monday began the week off with a bang. I did a “recovery” mile in the morning, which amused me since my “easy” treadmill miles are now done at 7MPH and in 8:35. Someday, maybe I can do that on a road! We had a record 159 patients come through registration at the lab that day, and I was pretty tired to start the week. I did manage to exercise the next two days until Thursday, when I realized I had not planned a day off. Back to work on Friday: went for a 4 mile run on the Rail Trail (not with 8 minute miles) during my errand trip and rode a pony when I got home. Had two great rides that week, Christopher and I went out back a new way by ourselves, and that went fairly well; then a short ride on Charby Saturday. We kept it short since Saturday was supposed to be the hottest day of the summer, and it definitely lived up to the hype. My husband and I took the dogs in the boat and headed for the coast. We learned that Bruce adores swimming and Daisy gets to her belly and then says no thank you. We swam a little bit too! Maine’s chilly ocean seemed pretty nice. Sunday seemed just as hot, and after trying some house work we decided to go for a refreshing kayak.

We went out in the boat every weekend, sometimes both days even if we hadn’t planned on it. I got in the habit of riding a horse each morning on the weekends, early before we head out for the day, and running my errands and cleaning house on Fridays. Daisy has gotten walks, I’ve done at least one day of weights each week, sprinkle in some yoga and it has been a wonderful summer so far.

Weekly Rundown 6/10-6/16

Two weeks into my running streak and I am still loving it. I do, however, feel that the “I need to run a mile” mentality means I am only running a mile frequently. I definitely need to up my milage a bit. I am also hitting the treadmill wall, which means once I hit a mile on the treadmill I am soooo ready to turn it off. If Mother Nature was a little kinder, I would be able to run outdoors more. Not that I am looking forward to hills.

Monday: the quick morning mile–although I did slow it down and use 9:30 to do it with a little walk cool down after. I planned an evening walk with Daisy, but between weather and life she just got a snuggle instead.

Tuesday: A little faster mile, in 8:14.

Wednesday: a bit more of a workout in the morning, I did the quick (8:23) mile and then did 2 x 10 reps with my weights. I had increased my weight, so I decreased the reps to start. In the evening I took Daisy and Bruce for a brief 10 minute walk. We didn’t go quite as far as I had planned, and I was glad since Bruce was favoring his leg as we neared home.

Thursday: I didn’t get to run before work, but I was determined not to break my streak, so I got on the treadmill after work and did a mile and a half at an easy pace before starting dinner.

Friday: a fairly nice day! Finally. I went to town to get groceries and ran 5 miles on the rail trail. I was happy that I did them in 48 minutes and they felt pretty good. Somehow Daisy’s walk got lost in the shuffle of the day, but I did get to ride Charby–out back in the ring, no less–for 20 minutes. The bugs were not too pesty, and she seemed happy to get moving. If only Christopher Robin hadn’t wandered through the ring in our path at random….

Saturday: I took it easy, and did a medium (8:43) mile on the treadmill, and then 2 x 12 reps with the weights. I am planning on increasing the number in the rep by a couple each time until I am doing the same I was with the lighter weights. In between my sets (I do three arm and two leg moves in a set so I always working while the other muscles rest), I do my “three-way plank”. I start in plank, with my hands resting on the weights. Then I do a one-hand plank with the other hand stretched up to the ceiling with the weight. Definitely working my core more with those heavier weights. I was doing a slow five count, but I decided I need to up that too, so I am doing a slow ten count.

Sunday: a morning ride on Christopher Robin. He didn’t spook like he did the previous week, but he was a bit obstinate, particularly about trotting. Unfortunately for him, I am more obstinate! We had a good ride, because he really is a good pony. I had to do some errands first, so I didn’t get to run until later. I have to say, the break that lets your muscles relax and get sore from the first exercise makes the second set of exercise oh so much more difficult! My 2 mile run was hard. I took Daisy for a 2 mile walk for recovery and had to keep her

Weekly Rundown 6/3-6/10

Finally, nice weather!

The trees and bushes have popped out green everywhere, grass suddenly needs to be mowed and everyone’s mood is improved by the blue sky.

Monday: a slow mile (almost a day off) early before work. I wanted to do slow, so I set the treadmill for 6 MPH. Gotta say, it is hard not to speed up. I mean, I know I can do it faster and be done, so it is more difficult to not do just that! I had planned on riding that night–I really need to ride more–but ended up walking Daisy. We did a relatively easy mile in just under 17 minutes.

Tuesday: 2 miles before work, a bit faster. I set the speed at 7 MPH and tried again to not touch it.

Wednesday: finally, a quick mile! I played with the speed as I ran and finished the mile in 7:45. I was supposed to do weights and yoga when I got home, but that did not happen. Life gets in the way.

Thursday: another 2 miles in 16:23, so not quite as quick. When I got home I took Daisy and Bruce for a little stroll down to the bog below our house. One thing I really noticed while he was gimping around on three legs is that Bruce is out of shape! He had never enjoyed walking (far), but I think he needs to build some muscle. So the occasional half mile walk will be good for him. This night we went about a quarter mile–gotta work up to it. He did enjoy it. Notice the waving tail 🙂

They walk so well together. Except Daisy would like to go a little faster…..

Friday: errand Friday again. So once I spent all my money (food for us and the horses), I ran on the Rail Trail. I did 4.05 miles in 39:52, which I was fairly happy with. I wasn’t aiming for speed, I was aiming for 10 minute miles, which turned out fairly well. When I got home I took Daisy for a nice recovery walk–although there were a LOT of hills involved in the recovery. But we did just over 2 miles and it did take 38 minutes.

Saturday: started with riding Char early and took her out back to see if it had dried up any. It had, but the mosquitoes had taken advantage of all the water and they were brutal. Every time we went near shade, she came out covered in them. Fortunately, trotting seemed to keep us ahead of them, but we only lasted 15 minutes. I figured that since I had done 1 mile on the treadmill Wednesday, and 2 on Thursday, I should finish the trifecta with 3 miles. Since I had been working on speed on the first two workouts, I did the 3 miles in 23:45; with the last mile being the fastest (that I have so far this year, actually) at 7:35. I finished with a .25 mile cooldown.

                          The view from Charby. She is such a pretty horse.

Sunday: started my day with Christopher Robin. He was feeling frisky, spooked four times *sigh* The last time was at a vicious white dandelion puff (he doesn’t like white, for some reason) glaring at us from roadside. But we had a good ride, and saw both wild turkeys and a bunny out on the road (neither of which were spook-worthy). I followed with a very slow mile–it felt pretty good, but when I hit the first hill I backed off because I thought I should be tired, and that just ruined my time. I did get to take Daisy for another 2 miles, up to the top of the hill where we can see all the way to Mt Washington in NH. And we could! Haven’t seen it much so far this spring with all the rain and clouds.

Streaking On

So I am two weeks into the running streak. I have done a minimum of 1 mile every day–and I just beat marathon length! How sad is that it took me almost two weeks to run over 23 miles?

On the other hand, I have finished a marathon!

How am I liking it, you ask? I love it!

We will see how the next two weeks go. But I don’t feel any of the fatigue that I had during my other challenges. The Burpees, in particular, I counted the days.

But, so far, I have no problem hopping up, putting on my running gear and hitting the treadmill before work. Longer runs on the weekend are still enjoyable. And my knees are not complaining yet.

So I will streak on!

Weekly Rundown 5/27-6/2

Last week seemed so quick! It was still dreary, but warmer. I got to walk outside during my break almost every day. And my running streak started. 

I don’t run every day, I usually plan to let my knees rest before stressing them again. But I was curious to see if I (my knees) could do it, and hey, it’s only a mile! After doing a Burpee Challenge–two, actually–and committing to yoga everyday for a month, it seemed like it was time I did a running challenge!

Monday: Memorial Day, so it was a day off from work. I hopped on Charby early (6:30 AM) again, and rode on the road for 20 minutes.  She was surprisingly cooperative before her breakfast. The Runners World Streak started, so of course after my ride I did a simple 2 mile run. My legs are going to be super strong after riding without a saddle and then running. It didn’t bother them as much as the first time 🙂 Improvement already!

Tuesday: a quick run before work. Since I am running everyday, I decided I should focus on form and speed while on the treadmill. I ran my mile in 8:38, which isn’t terribly speedy, but a good start. 

Wednesday: another mile before work (in a similar time), with a set of squats and heel raises after. Burpees seem to help my knees, I think they strengthen the muscles and tendons. I figure squats and heel raises should be a similar enough movement to help as well. Still doing Burpees too–but heel raises and squats are easier.

Thursday: and another quick mile before work. I usually start the treadmill at 6.0 MPH and work my way up in speed, but I decided to try starting at 7.0 and seeing if knocking out the minutes it takes to get to 7.0 from 6.0 helped my time. It seemed to, as my mile was 8:13.

Friday: I had to go to town for errands, so I decided I might as well run on the Rail Trail.  I took Daisy for a quick walk first, so she wouldn’t feel too bad about being left behind. We did a brisk 1.4  miles in 22 minutes. After my multitude of errands, I ran 4 miles in 39:26 on the Augusta end of the Trail. It was a difficult run, I guess my legs were tired. Imagine my surprise when my app informed me I’d had the best time for a 5K (29:55) so far this year.  After two more stops, all I really wanted to do was go home, put everything away and eat. What I got to do was go home and pull porcupine quills out of Bruce. Apparently he tangled with a baby that morning, and we hadn’t noticed as the pieces sticking out were white in his white fur–and he didn’t act like anything was wrong. Fortunately, there were only about eleven, and since it was a baby, they were fairly small and flexible. Not that that made his leg feel any better.

   
                 Glad he didn’t meet Mama.

Saturday: Following my plan, I got on Christopher Robin nice and early and took him out. He was happy to explore, and we went further down the road than I had planned.  I followed that with 18 minutes of good stretch-y yoga, then we headed out to hang out with our boat for the day. It was cloudy, but warm (ish) and dry, and we got a lot of projects at the marina taken care of before taking her out for a short ride and dinner. How fun to run up the river five minutes, dock and walk to the restaurant. Definitely a better commute than a car.


The sun finally showed–in time for sunset!

 

Sunday: Still warmish, but not dry. I took Daisy out for a walk and it started sprinkling at the end of my driveway. Deciding not to be put off, we kept going. By the time we reached the top of the hill, it was a bit steadier, but at that point I was annoyed at the weather and we were walking, dang it! So we did just a hair over a mile, and not even that fast–17 minutes. Daisy didn’t mind, she trotted along happy as could be. I came back and ran my mile (in 7:55, apparently that rain got me fired up), did some Burpees and weights. Since I seem unable to convince myself to do more reps (I really don’t like weights), I chose a heavier dumbbell.