My cup runneth over


It’s always good to remember exactly why you decided you love an exercise. After my break–unintended although it was–from running, I gave some thought to why I enjoy it.  I was disconcerted to realize that while I could go as far, it was more difficult and slower. Thinking about why I was out there helped me get through those runs as I rebuilt my stamina.

These are the things I came up with (in no particular order):

exhilaration: the simple feel of my body working in harmony, the rhythmic landing of my feet on the road, the fresh air,  the clearing of my head as I run. These are things I can’t get anywhere else. And make me feel sooooo good afterwards.

the outdoors: you might have noticed from my other posts that I love Mother Nature. Well, I love the scenery; the tricks with the weather she plays I am not so fond of. I can spin many a moment out during my runs by looking at the clouds, or that perfect tree, or the many ponds I run by.  Fall is my favorite season, but all seasons have their charm: snowy landscapes with mysterious shapes, bright lime green of new leaves in the spring, bright flowers in the summer. I guess it is amazing I don’t trip more often!

weight loss: the reason I started running regularly was I discovered that running is the most effective way for me to lose weight. Years of aerobics and walking did not have the same results. I used to think my metabolism was slow, but at some point I realized that it must in fact be highly effective. I eat A LOT. And I have a hard time sticking to a diet, there always seems to be a good reason why I can break it and do better tomorrow.  Running helps me keep weight off even when I do bad.

satisfaction: oh, the power that comes when a difficult hill suddenly isn’t.  When you beat your best mile by 30 seconds. When your long run becomes your short run. When the race you trained and trained for was easy, and so much fun! All these things build to a satisfaction that is hard to beat.

pushing myself: my competitive side loves running. I try not to compare myself to others, because everyone is in a different place in our journey. Butwhen I see American Ninjas who train extensively to do such difficult feats, I feel the least I can do is a slightly better mile or one more rep. When my nephew runs 16 miles on a treadmill, I feel the least I can do is get out  and run–not 16 miles, but a good run 🙂 Those help with my motivation. I  am even more competitive with myself. I need to continue to improve. I am not satisfied with the same pace and races year after year, so I am always looking for something new to push myself with. It spills over into other parts of my life too, and I find I push myself harder in all the things I do.

i’m impatient: another reason I graduated to running from walking is that it takes so. dang. long. to get anywhere. As I am always in a hurry to get to the next place, whether I am working or driving, running seemed to be a natural fit!


Weekly Rundown

Another great demonstration of my tagline: my journey into running amid life’s distractions. My week started with great intentions. For some reason, that I can’t recall presently, I took Monday off. That didn’t go as well as I planned as the rest of the week also did not go to plan!

Monday: planned day off.

Tuesday: I played with Christopher Robin. We had a great spa day. There has been a resurgence of  tick season here, and I have been pulling them off the horses by the dozens.  Charby takes this with good grace, but CR is a bit more sensitive. I guess he figures the only time I came to visit was to tug and pull at him. So we had a nice day where he got brushed and loved and no tick pulling.  I then had to rewrap Charby’s foot, it is better, but still sore and occasionally weeping.  I did go for a run, 2.32 miles, but I felt it was quite slow and wasn’t that happy with it.

Wednesday: now, there was a good run. I had to drop my car off (again) at my mechanic’s (brakes are fixed, whoo-hoo!). So I did the same run as I did last week when I dropped my car off. It was wonderful, just over 3m. I stretched out on the porch with the pups after I got home, and we all enjoyed that. The afternoon was sunny and perfect to hang outside. I had such a runner’s high and bounced around the house for the rest of the afternoon.  I took Christopher Robin for a walk down the road, we went about a half mile total.  He loved getting out and was such a sweetie while we walked.

Thursday: planned day off

Friday: oops off. I had planned a walk around the hospital with a friend before I went home.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to make. And the walk from the hospital to the car convinced me it wasn’t such a bad thing. It was chilly with quite a nasty wind. Bah.

Saturday: I got sent home from work early, so I was able to do some grocery shopping on the way home. After putting the groceries away, I did 26 minutes of free yoga. I mixed strength poses with stretching poses and if felt fabulous. I hadn’t done yoga for a while and it was just a wonderful thing to do.

Sunday: another oops off. Between the rain and the house cleaning and the football game, I was not able to get to run. Still, was a busy day, so at least I know that I wasn’t lazing around 😛

Even with my distractions, I feel that it was a  pretty good week. I truly enjoyed the exercise I did manage to get in and that is rather the point, isn’t it?


Searching for inspiration

I have been wondering what to write about most of the day…and I am still wondering! Not inspiration to run, I am loving that. I had such a runner’s high yesterday after my run, I was bouncing around.

I have a multitude of possible posts in my head, but I haven’t had the time to flesh them out and do the research. Ah well, as many a famous procrastinator has said, there is always tomorrow. And the day after. 

So, until I get that inspiration (aka time), keep this in mind: 

Weekly Rundown

Sorry that I was late this week, but I got hacked yesterday. Argh! They sent an email from my account saying I was in Turkey (that sounds fun!) and I had been robbed and needed money (not so fun). They wiped out my contact list too. By the time I had reset my email, upped my security and sent emails/Fb responses to everyone I was done with the computer for the day. So here we are with the weekly rundown:

Monday: a beautiful day. I do love my fall weather. I had this idea that I could do my flat drills in the driveway, instead of out on the road. So I did a slow .5m warm-up, then my 8 drills, and a slow .5 cool down. Then I did Burpees–which was drill 9 anyway. Followed by 10 minutes of yoga stretching. Felt incredibly good afterwards.

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: long day at work, but I did manage to do some slow yoga. I have been DVRing the Muppet Show, so I watch that as I yoga. Gotta say I am enjoying the “grown-up” version of the Muppets.

Thursday: took my car down for inspection–didn’t pass 😦 But I left from there and did a 3m run. It might have been a bit faster if I hadn’t stopped to take pictures of all the pretty fall leaves. It did reinforce my aversion to stopping, I really think it is easier to keep going than to stop and get going again. And the last hill. I was so not looking to it, but I trudged up and by the top I realized I was going faster than I had been at the bottom. Wheeee!

Friday: off

Saturday: a great day! Little cooler than it has been, but I managed to run AND ride. I rode first, as I frequently run out of steam and the riding is the thing that doesn’t get done. I rode Charby, as her foot seems better. I didn’t push her, however, we just wandered around the field at a walk. She liked the attention too. At the end of the day, I went for a quick 2m run.

Sunday: in reality I think it might have been a day off. I went for a walk at the local arboretum, but we kinda wandered slowly so I am not sure I burned any calories. But I had a blast! It was so pretty, and very crisp. But the time we were done we were starving. Which worked as we went to another friend’s party where we were so over fed! With totally excellent food.

Geez, that was like a real week. Hopefully I will keep it going 🙂

Now is the Autumn of my Distraction

Forget texting or calling, for me distracted driving is the marvelous tapestry Mother Nature weaves at this time of year.

I drive down the road looking for the perfect mix of autumn colors:

the lemon birch leaves against the white bark,

the splash of crimson against the green oak,

the perfect scarlet leaves,

the sun lit amber….

I could post a thousand photos and ramble on for hours. Definitely a bad time of year for me to be driving. I think I need a chauffeur.


Weekly Rundown

Another week barely worth writing about!  I started out with wonderful intentions. But Life, it just keeps getting in the way. I managed to run Monday and Tuesday. But I had to work later the next three days, and then on Saturday I got called into work. Like last week, I will only write about the days where I got anything done 😉

Monday: Ran a quick 2 miles. Being my first run in….how long has it been? It was hard on me. And 2 miles is not really long enough for me to hit my stride. I really am a long distance runner. But I was happy to be out there running.

Tuesday: Ran my personal “5K” route. This one felt much better, and I remembered why I love to run so much. In the afternoon I pulled Christopher Robin out to the round pen and lunged him. And I mean pulled literally. He decided he wasn’t leaving the barnyard when Charby got to stay. After the first refusal I offered a treat. (I am not much on treats for  good behavior, but sometimes it is just easier.) That didn’t work, so we did some “I’m in charge” work in the barnyard–anything you can do to control a horse’s feet  (forward, back, turns) indicates to them that you are in charge of their movements. Lovely, but didn’t work. I eventually got him backed into the lane out to the field. We backed quite a ways, then turned and got our treat. Then we had to get down the lane to the pen. The 2 minute trip took 10 minutes. Ah well, he was lovely once we got there. And I rode him back in bareback with the lead line and he was good as gold.

Sunday: no running, but lots of activity! I got over 5,000 steps just cleaning the house in the morning. Love a freshly cleaned house, just wish it stayed cleaned longer. In the afternoon I helped my hubby with more fire wood. Our shed is full–yay–so he spent the morning making racks for more. We ran out last year, so he is determined we will have more than enough for this winter.  Several hours later we had the wood stacked and we were beat. After feeding the horses, I turned on the football game and called it a day 🙂

Running like a Spartan

1. [spahr-tan-ik]  of or relating to Sparta or its people.
2.suggestive of the ancient Spartans; sternly disciplined and rigorouslysimple, frugal, or austere.
3.brave; undaunted.

4.a native or inhabitant of Sparta.
5.a person of Spartan characteristics.*

Most of us know the story of the Spartans, fierce warriors renowned through the world for their prowess, minimalistic life style and stern determination.  How would one run like a Spartan?

Through mud and over every obstacle they throw at you, of course.

 The Spartan Runs are sweeping through the world, gathering athletes of all stages as they go.  Spartan runs are wonderful because anyone can attempt the race. While there are many elite runners who are looking to reach the World Championships, any runner can stumble into the “sprint” and pit their determination and will against the obstacles. The events have also have a great community feel. Encouragement of your fellow Spartan is key.

How do the Spartan founders describe themselves?

Born in the gritty green mountains of Vermont by Joe DeSena, world-class adventure racer, Spartan is a frame of mind.
Gritty. Resilient. Passionate. Spartans aren’t soft. Spartans overcome obstacles. And yes, Spartans burpee.
Spartan is a sport, community, a philosophy, a training and nutrition program – with daily advice, a podcast, a book, an activity for kids, workout gear, a media channel, an NBC Sports series, a digital magazine, and a timed obstacle race.
We offer three core races each escalating in distance, obstacle count and challenge level. The Spartan Sprint (3+ miles/20+ obstacles), the Spartan Super (8+ miles/ 25+ obstacles) and SpartanBeast (13+ miles/ 30+ obstacles). Courses are riddled with signature obstacles: mud, barbed wire, walls, rope and fire. Challenge yourself to complete all three and become part of the TRIFECTA tribe.
We also offer a kids race (½ – 1 mile), Special Spartans (for racers with intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities), and for those who looking to push themselves even further, the Hurricane Heat (bootcamp-style challenge) and the Ultra Beast (26+ miles, 60+ obstacles).**

I am fortunate that I know some Spartans, and was able to get the inside take on the races. I have mentioned before that my brother and Isaac, his oldest son, ran a Spartan.  My brother ran another sprint this year, teaming with a cousin in law. And to keep it all in the family, my youngest nephew, who is 12, ran the children’s sprint that morning. Considering how much I enjoyed my Urban Raid, I may need to get involved in this family event.

Isaac, however, ran 5 Spartans this summer! I asked him what he liked, what he didn’t like and what exactly he had accomplished this summer. Isaac said he “loves the people, the atmosphere, and likes the competition. The courses are always well done.”  He ran 3 sprints (3.2-5m), 1 super (7-11m), and 1 beast (13-15m). Preparing for these events involved Isaac pushing the family cars back and forth in the driveway, and buckets of rocks carried up hills. Truly a Spartan effort.

The fierce young man on the right with red hair is Isaac

His last race was the Beast in Killington, Vt. It was 13 miles long (that’s a half marathon!!) and had 35 obstacles to clamber over, under and through.

I am so absolutely  proud to say that out of 250 competitors, Isaac came in 17th!

Isaac said that there was nothing about the experience that he disliked. The barbed wire crawls were the most draining obstacles, with the rope climb and Hercules hoist following close behind. The Killington (the Beast) was the most challenging course.

“The hardest obstacle was the spear throw. It was on top of Killington, and it was impossible to stick it in the constant wind.”Which meant, as Isaac ran with the elite, 30 burpees:

Isaac had a good run, only 90 burpees in all 🙂

The Spartan Code:
A Spartan pushes his/her mind and body to the limit
A Spartan masters his/her emotions
A Spartan learns continuously
A Spartan gives generously
A Spartan leads
A Spartan stands up for his/her beliefs, no matter the cost
A Spartan knows his/her flaws as well as his/her strengths
A Spartan proves himself/herself through actions, not words
A Spartan lives every day as if it were his/her last

The Conquering Heroes

Weekly Rundown

This week was a bit different. When one does something for a consistent period–like exercising 6 days a week 52 weeks a year–eventually one gets burned out. Even with cross training and flexible scheduling.

This past week was it for me. I did a some yoga, probably 3 times for 15 to 20 minutes each. And, yeah, that was about it. The heavy work schedule I picked up last week probably didn’t help. But, in all honesty, this happens at least once a year.

I am ok with it. We need to give ourselves the ability to say, “I don’t just want to do that.” It is like being physically injured; you need to give yourself some time to heal. If we push through a period like that, then, just like being injured, it will cause problems further down the line.  But if we just take the dang week off, we will be rearing to go the following week.

There were two days that are actually worth writing about:

Saturday: 15,000+ steps. The hospital is quite concerned with the health of its employees, and one thing they do for us is give us all a pedometer. Its nice, has a clock and uploads to our computers. It’s also addictive. How many steps today? How can I get more?? Generally, working an 8-hr day and all my stuff at home, I get 6,000-7,000 steps in. So Saturday was a lot.  I got most of those in by unloading a trailer of wood and stacking it down by the end of the driveway so we can sell it. And then restacking after one of my ends gave way. Stupid cinderblocks! After that (and a nap, I can admit it), I took CR out to the roundpen and did some lunging and ground work.

Sunday: 19,000 steps. Yeah, I can be an overachiever. More wood, plus some cleaning around the exterior of the house. It is getting chilly here at night (30’s F), so we are in the process of getting the house ready for winter. My mare, Charby, has developed an abscess in her foot. I got the fun job of soaking her foot in hot soapy water while she was eating her morning hay. She spilled it twice, so I got some steps in going back to the house for more hot water.  I put some grain on her hay and she stayed in one place (I do learn from my mistakes! In the evening, I even brought extra hot water 🙂 ). She was so funny, she kept sniffing her foot in the bucket.  I don’t know if she was trying to figure out what I was doing, or if she thought there was food in the bucket and wondered why her foot was in the food.  I rode CR afterwards. It was the first time I had ridden him in a couple of weeks–thus the groundwork yesterday. He was awesome. He did give me some ponish tricks, but he nicely let me outsmart him. The weather outside is perfect right now–no flies, not too hot and the air feels so fresh. I do love Fall.