Outdoors, finally

I got my first outdoor run today!

Daisy and I walked out a mile, and ran back. We managed to run down a long, steep hill without incident (downhill is still harder than uphill), and Daisy managed to not stop suddenly in front of me with the result of me tripping over her. 

I did manage to pace myself better than she did, as she led me the first half  mile and I led her the last quarter-mile. All in all, an excellent start to our running season.

I expect this is a good point to announce that I am aiming for a 5k on Memorial day. I’d like to do a couple this summer, so that seems like a good starting point.  I know I did the obstacle course last fall, and it was fab (definitely going to try again this year); but I didn’t run it.  So I am pretty excited to get out and do a straight up road race.

Daisy and I attempted our first after-snow walk. I was worried she wouldn’t be warm enough (especially with the windchill) walking through the ice and snow. I was also worried about sliding on the ice and snow myself, and injuring my knee more. It isn’t good with sudden movements or weight slamming down on it. Glad to say we both did great, thereby expanding our walking season. I did get her a new coat, and I do have some Yaktraks on order from Santa–we will see what he brings!

What did I do?

Yup, I did that. Ok, I will do that–I am registered for the September 17

Eleven inflated obstacles over 3.1 miles. Yippee!

Don’t worry, our team has a CCU nurse on it 😛  And the obstacles are inflatable, how hard can it be?

More on that stupid question later 🙂

Thursday

From dawn to dusk, what a beautiful day!

When I went out this morning it was foggy, and just becoming light. The sky was a solid gray that seemed at once very low and yet endlessly high. And rising above the dark silhouette of a tree the crescent moon glimmered in the gray.

Made me wish that I had a better camera than my iPhone. Mother Nature is being her usual capricious self, and it is actually unseasonably warm for us right now. The sky turned to a wonderful blue for our day, and windows were opened every where

After work and a solid four hours on the couch–my, I was tired!– I went out for my run right before dusk. Clouds were moving in low across the sky, but when I climbed my first hill the sun slanted across the field to highlight the burnt oak leaves clinging to the trees. The wind came up, and I was suddenly running through a flying cloud of leaves. I felt so exultant in that moment, I had to throw out my arms!

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!

 

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: 

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 🙂

 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……

 

 

 

 

Finding Soldiers

I went out with my friend Kate yesterday. She is a cemetary hunter, by the name of StoneHunterBabe. If you need a grave of a relative found; there is a website, Find A Grave.com, where you can leave a request for help. People all over the world look for those requests in local cemetaries and post answers on the site. Kate searches cemetaries in our mid-Maine area, and yesterday I got to help her. We went to a national soldiers’ cemetary, Togus. Until yesterday, I had never given much thought to the cemetaries our fallen soldiers lie in, besides that fact that we all know about Arlington. The system was started in Sept 1861, overloaded with Civil War casualties, the government ordered a national cemetary system to be enacted.

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Togus is quite a nice cemetary, it backs up onto a VA building and there are paths all through the woods for the employees and visitors. Kate and I went for a walk on one of the paths before getting down to business.

A nice place to enjoy the day, albeit a little wet

A nice place to enjoy the day, albeit a little wet

Kate had a list of gravesites to find, so the first thing we (she!) did was look them up at the site locator. Each grave stone had a letter and a four digit number to indicate location.

check out the purple coordination :)

check out the purple coordination 🙂

After finding the sections of the cemetery our soldiers should lay in, we were on the hunt. First we went off to section E, which was easy enough to find. It was a bit more difficult from there. Many of the stones no longer have the numbers on them to help us easily locate the stones. It came down to finding a stone with a number and trying to figure out what direction the numbers would go and see if the gravestone we were looking for was in the direction.  We got an excellent walk in, hitting sections E,F,K,L,H and I!

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It was a marvelous day for the walk, and the search. We found 12 out 14, which was a good percentage I think. After finding a site, Kate made notes and took pictures. While she did the technical stuff, I wandered around and took pictures.  The cemetary is very well taken care of, and has some pretty memorials scattered about.

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I have always had the greatest respect for all of our veterans, and it was nice of Kate to let me tag along and learn more about how we treat our fallen heroes. Plus, learned some really interesting names 😉 Including one gentleman named Napoleon Bona…go ahead, finish that name, I know you want to!