Weekly Rundown

Another week flown by. I don’t feel inspired to write about this week, as I just managed to muddle through it. After three days off the previous week, I set a stern goal of not slacking. However, my body didn’t agree with me and my determination made me exercise, which was great, but the runs were simply not that fun ūüė¶ But another week awaits, and I can only hope my body will get it in gear!

Monday: started off the week with yoga–real yoga. I have been doing Candlelight yoga, one of my fav sessions, in between the strength training and running leading up to my Urban Raid. Candlelight yoga is a lovely, slow, stretchy yoga….and kind of a cop-out on an exercise day. I did my Fat Burning Yoga instead, which is a ¬†twisty, sweat inducing DVD that left me feeling wonderful.

Tuesday: a short, fast run of 2.04 miles.

Wednesday: off

Thursday: deciding that I hadn’t run more than 2 to 3 miles while prepping for ¬†and recovering from the race, I decided I needed to up my mileage. My body wasn’t so sure and we argued all the way through my 4.02 miles. Fortunately, I won and I did manage to (slowly) run the whole way.

Friday: Daisy run! I think my little pooch may have gained a bit of weight, so she will be getting her runs in more. It was a slow 1.44 mile run, she had to sniff and sniff and sniff. Silly puppy.  I followed it with more yoga, this time Love of Yoga. Another  harder, sweat inducing DVD that left me wrung out and feeling marvelous. In the afternoon I went out and put an actual saddle (as opposed to the bareback pad I had been using) on Charby. It was a lovely ride, and she was happy for the attention.

Saturday: I had to go to town for errands, so I decided I might as well run on the rail trail. I did 3.17 miles in an ¬†rather average time, and got to chat with a fellow runner who was training for a half-marathon as we ran along. Obviously, I shouldn’t talk while running as I said I didn’t think I was going to want to do a half, but I was thinking about a 6k……argh. Of course I meant that I wanted to do a 10k, which is a hair over 6 miles. Must be the bouncing that jumbles my brain ūüėČ Later in the day I pulled Christopher Robin out of the barnyard and gave him a nice spa day. I did make him work with me in the driveway for a few minutes afterwards. He behaved, so he must not have minded too much.

Sunday: more roofing. After we had cleared all the shingles off two weeks ago, we had been waiting for a nice Sunday to put the metal on the roof. ¬†Starting at 7am we went at it. We had gotten several of the panels up by the time help arrived around 1pm. With the help we got a lot done–although we have at least one, if not two, days worth of work left. We finished for the day around 5:30pm. It looks wonderful, and I can’t wait to hear the snow zooming off the roof all winter….wait, yes I can!!

Back to Basics

Part C: Form and Determination.

Running well is a matter of having the patience to persevere when we are tired and not expecting instant results.
-Robert De Castella

There is one week a month where I just slow down, and I have no choice about it.  Then I have to work around the fatigue and focus on just getting it done. I suppose I could just do yoga or ride. But I want to run, so I do.

I took some extra days off last week, so I am not cutting myself any slack this week. Today I decided I needed to take a long run, having not done anything over 3 miles for several weeks. Oh, it was tough; 4.1 miles, and I didn’t take an easy route. Four hills on the way out–which I got to run down on the way back ūüôā –and another three on the way back. What was I thinking?

Well, that is when determination comes in. I am truly not¬†sure how I kept going the last mile, my legs wanted to walk but I just wouldn’t let them. I had decided a turn around point ¬†before I started, but I had to keep making deals with myself.

The humidity had gone down (yay!), but it was still nice, sunny and hot out. I told myself if I got to the top of a particular hill, I could turn around. But, then I would be going downhill, so  I might as well keep going. When I was sweating, if I just got to that next patch of shade, I could go back. But then it was cool and breezy, so I might as well go a bit further.  I did that all the way to my original goal; but, boy, was I glad to turn around.

Everyone has their own level of determination. And it grows with each success. A couple of years ago, I would have turned around the first time I thought of it. But by pushing myself, I know how good I feel about it afterwards. And that adds to my determination for the next time. How do you decide to be determined? The answer is in the question: you decide.
The dictionary defines determination as: The act of deciding definitely and firmly; firm or fixed intention to aachieve a desired end.

“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.”
-Tommy Lasorda

Don’t confuse it with motivation, because they are separate entities. Motivation is a¬†“motivating force, stimulus, or influence; incentive; drive.” Motivation is what makes you want to ¬†exercise: weight loss, endorphins, that upcoming wedding, whatever. ¬†Determination is you deciding to get out of bed and go running, and then making yourself do it. Or deciding on a 4 mile run and completing it. No matter how slow the miles might have been.

Now, you are determined, and keep running those slow miles. How do you make it through? We all develop our methods, or we stop. I have one friend that loves aerobic HIIT sessions, but gets bored running. She doesn’t run that much because of it. I never get bored.

First, I love the outdoors and the miles pass under my feet as I gawk at the pretty pond or the marvelous shape of that tree. Second, I write. ¬†Specifically today, this post and then a story I am working for my other blog, FictionWriterwithablog (shameless plug, there). That works very well to get me up the hills: while I am working on a particular turn of phrase I don’t pay attention the hill.

And when that doesn’t work, I focus on my form. ¬†I love running with the sun behind me so I can see my shadow. Running with good form that I can see reflected in my shadow encourages me.¬†There are several benefits to working on form. First, you are much less likely to strain something as when you are tired form is usually the first to go.

Have a sore lower back after running?¬†¬†Strain is placed on the back when you don’t keep your tailbone tucked, which makes the core support you instead of your back, particularly up a hill. It’s the reason that I do so much core work, since I am prone to lower back issues. And usually when I am tired and going up a hill, I have to make sure my tailbone is tucked. This also makes you use your thigh muscles more going up the hill: thus my drills.

Another issue I have found recently is my arms. I don’t know why, but I find I am developing “zipper arms:” my arms cross my midline (or zipper) while running. This is a waste of energy, plus the twisting motion is not good for any part of your torso. ¬†A good fix for this to cup your hands loosely, and turn them up (like you are catching water with each hand) or turn them down. Personally, I find turning them up is better. If I turn them down it tends to make my elbows stick out to the sides, which puts more pressure on my shoulders with each swing. ¬†I cup my hands with my thumb and forefinger (my yoga background is showing), with the palm facing up. That generally straightens my swing out–I just have been having to fix it a lot recently.

As I have said before, everyone finds the balance for them that makes good form. But there is a basis to work off of that will help you find it; and prevent injuries while you are finding that form.

The fastest way to hate running is to hurt yourself. ¬†And there are definitely things you don’t want to be doing:

thanks to running.about for the quotes.



Weekly Rundown

Well, maybe I didn’t bounce back from last weekend as well as I thought. For the first time in recent memory, I actually took three days off. ¬†I don’t think the humidity helped my energy level either. Again, 80% humidity might be great for beach-goers, but it doesn’t help my resolve at all!

Monday: off

Tuesday: busy day. Went to town for an interview, then got my hair cut (love my hairstylist!!) and played in town with Kate. When I got home in late afternoon, I managed to inspire myself do yoga. I did a Love of Yoga session, which is a DVD by my fav, Sara Ivanhoe. And it is actually work, so I am glad I did it.

Wednesday: another very busy day. Ran just over 2 miles first thing in morning, then headed over to my Aunt’s in the next town for an adventure with her. We headed up to her camp upstate to deliver a dresser. It was fun, I had never been to their camp, and I rarely get to spend so much quality time with my Aunt alone. After a 2.5 hour trip up, .5 hour in the camp and a 2.5 hour scoot back (after 20 minutes with my in-laws who live in the area), I was home again. Fed the horses, hugged the dogs and out the door 5 minutes later, on my way to a Pampered Chef party at my hubby’s aunt’s house. We had a grand time; not only do they show us product from the line, but we get to use while making something yummy to eat. And then we ate it ūüôā

Thursday & Friday: off. Guess Wednesday was the nail in my tiredness coffin. I did hop on Christopher Robin to just sit while he was eating, been so long since I had been on a horse!

Saturday: back on track. Ran a slow 5k, stretching out my legs.  I took Charby out for about 20 minutes, just letting her wander. Sometimes it is just nice to hang out with the horses. CR followed us about as we went around the pasture. He was probably afraid of us leaving him and the  wild turkeys getting him. When I went out to feed in the morning, Christopher was on high alert. Took me a while to figure out I could hear the turkeys gobbling out in the pasture. Either he has never dealt with them, or he has forgotten. He is so silly.

Sunday: we finally got around to taking down the other half of the dead tree by our power line. A storm took down the first half for us (landing it on our hay barn. Not a good thing). It was nerve-wracking watching hubby taking it down, because it was dead and could just collapse the minute the chainsaw ¬†touched it. But we were lucky, not only ¬†did fall in the right direction, but it missed the hay barn on one side, and the gazebo on the other. And no one got hurt. Yay!! In the afternoon I bestirred myself (couldn’t take four days off) ¬†to do some more yoga.

Weekly Rundown

Urban Raid week!! I hate race week, because  I never know what exactly I should do for exercise. I mean, I have only had two race weeks so far. I look at what other athletes do, but it is so varied. I guess it comes down to figuring out what works for each of us.

Monday: Ran into Augusta in the morning, so I did a fairly fast 2.5 mile run on the Rail Trail. I forgot my headphones of course. I decided that as would be simply passing people, keeping my music on at a low tone would not be too rude.  Nobody frowned at me, so I guess it was ok. I did my first sub-10 minute first mile: usually my first is the slowest.  I did a slow(er) half, then pushed it again for the last mile. It was a good work out.

Tuesday: I was a slacker. I am sometimes! Took the day off.

Wednesday: Decided a good stretch was in order. So I did my Fat Burner Yoga, and it felt marvelous! Haven’t been doing as much yoga recently, at least not the stretchy kind, I have been focusing on my strength training for the Raid. ¬†Need to do a bit more, I guess.

Thursday: Did my Daisy workout–1 mile run with her, then my arm/core workout. ¬†That has really been working well for me, so I will be continuing that–gotta get ready for the next one, you know!

Friday: I originally planned on taking this day off, to rest before the race. But then I took Tuesday off. So I decided to do a nice, easy run on the rail trail. I was going to town to have a girls day with my friend Ellen, so I thought I would run first. My Aunt was in town from Florida, and I had invited her to dinner. Which meant cleaning. While I was at it, I decided to do a deep cleaning. You know, the kind where you move everything and clean under it? Then rearrange a bit? After getting all dusty and sweaty (humidity) I took a shower. I was in the shower, realizing how good it felt, when I decided maybe I shouldn’t run. Three hours cleaning, then I would be running around town shopping and gossiping, then my aunt for dinner….I would be pretty tired the next morning at the beginning of race if I kept pushing it.

Saturday: Race day! Since I already posted on the event, I won’t rehash it here. Except to say I loved it and I can’t wait to do another ūüôā

Sunday: Up nice and early! At 6:30am my husband started discussing the possibility of tearing all the shingles off the front side roof so we could get started on metaling the roof. We did the back side last year, but ran out of time and help before we got the front done. ¬†By 7am we were started gathering ¬†tools and supplies. I learned two things: ¬†I don’t mind being on a roof at all, and I bounced back pretty quick from that race ūüôā

So it begins!


We didn’t get to put metal, on but we tarped it around 5 pm and called it a day. ¬†We both slept well that night. And I guess we will be working up there again soon.

Urban Raid

The normal Monday Weekly Rundown has been bumped for a recap of my Urban Raid last Saturday. Not only did I make it, but it was sooooo much fun!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I can’t wait to try it again next year.Maybe my nephew will actually talk me ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† into a Spartan run. ¬†

We walked the course beforehand, which was great for the nerves to see all the obstacles first. My team mates and I had plenty of time as we had to get there at 8am to get our race packets and we didn’t run until 10:04. So not only did we run a 5k and leap ¬†and climb over obstacles; we walked a 5k first. ¬†It was a lovely warm-up and gave me the opportunity to take pics of the obstacles and the views: located above Portland Harbor, it was a beautiful location.

We went back to the car after picking up the packets and then hit a coffee shop. ¬†So when we started walking the course, we didn’t quite start at the beginning.

Thus, I have no pics of the first three obstacles, which consisted of a tire field (hopping through like football players), then a set of hurdles set on traffic cones, and another tire field. I liked that the fourth obstacle was Munjoy Hill itself. It was neat that the Raid team used the terrain of the city as an obstacle. Of course, since my team mates were my neighbors, and I believe you are all familiar with the hills in our area,  Munjoy Hill held no fear for us.

The fifth obstacle was the sandbag: located in front of a circular garden, as we came up to it we saw people disappearing around the right side of the garden and coming back around the left to return the sandbags. Easy, right? What you couldn’t see until you were ’round the garden was the hill you had to carry it down and back up. Not too long, but for someone who picked up the “boys” sandbag instead of the “girls” ¬†bag (the boys’ was twice the girls’), it was longer than it had to be!

 Tire drag: pull up a small incline, carry it back down (so the next person could drag it back up!)

  Team Mate Kate checking out the Steel Crawl

 Cargo net crawl: those crawls were a nice break before darting up that steep incline!

                  yes, I went over those!! And easily too. Thanks to those pre-runs with Penny on
the obstacle course.  And those monkey bars in the back ground too. Then
one more set of the hurdles ūüôā

 The view beyond the monkey bars

Nate and (most of) Kate  

Me and more of Kate!  And what a view behind us. The day was simply perfect.

A set of tractor tires, cones, then tires again.   Nate showing how to flip that tire! The tires were roughly 50lbs apiece, which felt a bit heavier at that point in the race.

 I gave up on the rope and used the ladder, while Kate kept trying.

 Going down was a blast! 

The nice gentleman telling me the other side of the net was lower to get on. What do you think he meant by that?!
Kate & I scampered right up! And back down again.

Last! I try to figure out how I was going up and over this wall:
 Fortunately, the end panels had rock-climbing holds on them, so I used the black support to hop up on them and over I went! Proof:
Heading under the arch–and towards water!

Lots of stretching, water and a snowcone (thanks to the Winter Kids organization for handing those out) and I was ready to go again….well, maybe not. But I definitely want to do it next year. And maybe a few more. I hear there is an Inflatable Obstacle Course 5k next month……





Oh Dear

it’s almost here! 5km with 16 obstacles. What was I thinking?!

The Urban Raid is two days away and I might be a little nervous. I got my email with the course:

Oh my. Tractor Flip? Do I have to flip a tractor? I mean, it looked easy in Cars. But I’m not a car! Marine Hurdles? I am soooo not a Marine. About the easiest thing I can see is the run up Munjoy hill.

Ok, it’s not that bad. Tractor flips are really just flipping a tractor wheel.¬† I got that. Marine Hurdles?

¬† Not so sure I got this, I am only 5′ nothing tall. But maybe with momentum?

Cargo net crawl? I think my lack of height will be helping here! 

Cargo net climb: Bring it on!

¬†Cone ¬†bars? Well, let’s hope my klutziness doesn’t kick in. Ditto with the tire fields.

Sand Bag–that’s just like a feed bag, right? Of course, I don’t usually lug them up hills and back ¬†

And the deal is for every obstacle you can’t finish, you must do 10 burpees:¬†

I foresee a lot of burpees in my future ¬†ūüėČ

Weekly Rundown

A day late, but here I am! My excuse is that I left the house yesterday morning at 8am, ran around town all day, came home for an hour and a half (forgetting to do my post as I sat staring at the tv rather blankly) before going to get hay when Hubby got home, then coming home to feed the Hubby and myself, and barely got a Birthday greeting off to my brother before succumbing to my day.

Monday:  mostly off. All I did was work with Christopher Robin in the round-pen for about 20 minutes. He so adorable (although I do change my mind about that later in the week!)

Tuesday: I only did a short run, so I pushed it as much as I could. Did 2.04 miles in 21:38, which wasn’t bad considering it was 89% humidity and dew point was 65. Rather felt that I was swimming while I was running. As usual, my second mile was faster than the first, but my first was my best time so far this season for that particular mile.

Wednesday: a fun day! Started with a short yoga for abs in the morning, then headed out with my friend Kate. We went to a wilderness park nearby for a walk. This particular park is great because you walk through the woods then end on up the shore. ¬†The ocean breeze was marvelous, and the smell, oh. I love the sea air.¬† ¬† I had been there once before, and it was my idea to go back. I had no idea how far it really was. I promised Kate that it was probably a 2 or so mile walk. ¬†So, 4.14 miles later, we made it back to the car! It was a beautiful day, and we had lunch down on the rocks by the ocean. ¬†And we both slept well ūüôā

Thursday: a busy day– started off with a short 2.14 mile run, took off from the driveway going the opposite way from my last run. And, again, my fastest mile going that way–the 80% up hill route– so far this season. Yay! I am definitely getting faster, which is funny, because I was actually doing that as an “easy” run. ¬†Afterwards I went down to Portland with my¬†team-mate Penny again to run the obstacle course. It was just us today, her daughters were unable to come with us; so we went through the course twice a bit faster than last week. I could definitely tell I had run beforehand. I was glad I had done that, since I will be running (hopefully) during the Raid, and I needed to know how that would feel. In the afternoon, I took Charby out back and rode her in the ring for a half hour. I have been using my bareback pad, it seems lighter than a saddle for them in the heat. And it is great for my legs not having stirrups ūüėČ ¬†At least, that is what I keep telling myself.

Friday: oddly enough, I was tired Friday. Hmmmm, I wonder why? I went out for a nice relaxing run, 3.89 miles. Not fast at all, but I just wanted to stretch my legs out and that it did. I wanted to go out to work with Christopher, but my national Certification test for being a Medical Admin Assistant was the next day. I have been studying for the last two weeks, but I decided it was more important to continue studying than ride. I said that a lot the last few days: I can ride on Sunday, I can read on Sunday, I can sleep on Sunday!

Saturday: up early and took a final practice test, then hit the road to the testing center. Three hours later I was free and my brain was fried. Went home and hit the couch for a bit. Too wired to actually nap, but it was nice to lay there and not have to think. In the afternoon I did take Christopher Robin out for a ride. Enter the “he is not that adorable.” I took out Charby with us, leading her while riding him, but when we got there I unhooked her. She was so cute, she followed us for another minute or two until she got bored. Then she went back to the barnyard, and I lost CR. He was so concerned about where she went, and when we hit the corner closest to the barnyard lane, he refused to go further. We circled and circled and here’s the thing with his pony brain: he gets so focused on not doing what I want him to do, we could go over a cliff before he noticed. After a few close calls of being where we shouldn’t be, I got off and took him to the round-pen for some lunging. Having worked out some energy (I hoped), I got back on. He was just the same. So I got off and walked him around the entire field–away from the barnyard to prove I was in charge–before taking him in. I was happy that I kept my cool the entire time and just talked to him in a soothing voice trying to calm him down. Didn’t work, but at least I didn’t make a bad situation worse by hollering at him.

Sunday: ah, Sunday. Took the day off. Well, except for the wood I stacked after Hubby split it (his arms hurt that night!). And cleaning up the barnyard. And hacking a path through the brush so I had a path to the top of the hill where I could pick blueberries. And picking said blueberries–and some blackberries I found on the way back down.
                                                             yeah, through that-uphill
Then we took the tractors out and tried to level out my riding ring a bit. I was going to ride that pesky CR again (plan B: keeping Charby out there!) but I crashed on the couch. Imagine that!

All Posts

Thanksgiving in August

This is a post I put up last Thanksgiving (when I was on a different host site), and if they can have Christmas in July, why can’t we have thanksgiving in August? It is always good to remember how you are blessed. ¬†I changed a few things; as my life has changed a bit since then and I have also expanded my thankfulness. ¬†

As some may know, I don’t have a job right now. ¬†At first it was terrifying in this economy to have that paycheck yanked out from under me. But it was a blessing. I was able (thanks to the unemployment the state agreed to bestow on me) to take a breath and decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. I haven’t really thought about that since high school, just floating along from one retail job to another. This fit me fairly well, as I truly enjoy people. Customer service is my milieu. But, as hackneyed as it may sound, I want to help people. I am tired of selling them stuff.¬†

Thus, these are things I am thankful for:

It is Thanksgiving, and I am thankful: I am thankful that I live in a country where I don’t have to worry about my home being bombed while I am at work, I am thankful that I live in a country that is not being invaded by an army led a dictator, I am thankful that I live in a country that is not being ravaged by disease. (I do wish I could be thankful I live in a country that rogue idiots aren’t taking weapons of mass destruction into public places and killing innocent people, or that homelessness isn’t increasing or that children aren’t starving, or that a person’s skin color didn’t affect how they are perceived)¬† I am thankful that I have a home, and a family and husband who love and support me. I am thankful for my animals who lavish me with affection and trust. I am thankful that I have my health and am able to follow my exercise dreams. I am thankful I have friends¬† who support me and¬†keep me grounded–not to mention having loads of fun with. I am thankful that I was able to get some schooling and change my life’s trajectory in the working world.

Sometimes I think that, amid the diverse and acrimonious politics and social unrest we inflict on ourselves, we sometimes need to remember what we have. It’s not that our world is perfect. ¬† We have many issues and a multitude of diverse ideas on how to fix them. But if we have a roof over our head, family that cares and a job to help pay for said roof, we have so much more¬†than many of our fellow humans.¬†

So maybe we can’t shop at Williams and Sonoma for that $200 perfect pan, or at J. Crew for that snappy $350 jacket. But we have a home to sleep in and a family to share it with. That is all we really need ūüôā ¬†I hope that you have that, and realize just how lucky you are.

Weekly Rundown

Another week over! July was definitely the fastest month ever. And I am starting to really look forward to Fall. Not only is it my favorite time of the year–the colors, the scents, the air! But I am looking to better weather for exercising. We have had marvelous weather for all the beachy people. But not so much for riding or running.

Monday–I had to go to town in the morning; and, again, I have been having issues getting myself out there first thing to exercise. So when I got home at 11ish, I made myself get out there and run. Even in the heat and humidity, I managed 4.3 miles–slowly. ¬†In the afternoon I took Charby out back to work in the ring. We took one turn around the field before the flies chased us right back out. We did about 20 minutes on the road instead.

Tuesday: Yoga day! I did my fav Fat Burning Yoga, which I haven’t done in a while. I was surprised how easy it was on my muscles, I guess all my weight training is working ūüôā ¬†I was going out in the afternoon to do some ground training with Christopher Robin. I needed to cut some of the larger weeds in our roundpen, so I went to my shed to grab the clippers. Big mistake. As soon as I swung the door open, there was a cloud of yellow, then something punched me on the nose. Dang! That hurt. And I have to admit to being such a wuss that I let the yellow-jacket sting derail my plans. I thought about taking CR ¬†out on the road but I didn’t really know what to do with him, so I fed the beasties and called it good.

Wednesday: Pulled out the treadmill and did my treadmill drill: 5 minute warm-up, then (4) 10 minute bursts, with 1 minute rest and then 5 Burpees before the next burst, and each burst was incrementally faster.  That was one more burst than last week, and I am thinking next week of doing 30 seconds rather than a minute of rest. Or more Burpees. Or both? Just 10 minutes of play with CR, the bugs chased us in again. But he remembered a lot even though it has been a few weeks since I had him out there in the roundpen and was very well-behaved. He is such a love.

Thursday: off!

Friday: went to the obstacle course again with one of my teammates that will be running the Urban Raid with me. She brought her two daughters and we had a blast. Little warm up run around the park, then we went through the course twice. Happy to say the monkey bars were easier the second time around ūüôā ¬†Then we did a little retail therapy for the girl’s back to school clothes. A wonderful day all around.

Saturday: Back to my arm and core drill after an “almost” mile warm up with Daisy. It has been so hot that I only ran the road until we ran (literally) out of shade, then turned back as I didn’t want her to have to run in the sun and heat.

Sunday: ¬†A hot day again. No “formal” exercise, but I did clean the barnyard up (three wheelbarrows full, thank you very much Charby and Christopher Robin) and then weedwacked around the house. Once I finished that, I helped with dragging more wood in. I don’t think we are going to be cold this winter. And what a good workout–squats and weight lifting. So good I managed to take a 2 hour nap in the afternoon.