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Other People Can be Awesome!

Wow… it’s certainly been awhile! I’m sorry I vanished.

What have I been up to since I last posted?

  • Well, I’ve attended three weddings (and two rehearsal dinners because my wonderful boyfriend was a groomsman/best man).
  • I did one race, which I still need to update you about! It was fun!
  • I was intensely under the weather for over a week with a super powerful stomach bug
  • And I’ve been working towards buying a house!

All big and crazy things. Although the house isn’t a sure thing yet. We had put an offer in on it earlier, and the owners chose to go with someone else who bid more (can’t blame them there). However, the other bidder had to pull out because their bank wouldn’t give them enough money to buy the house, tear it down, and build something grander that they could sell off. I’m sorry for them, but psyched for me! It’s been a bunch of work already though. I’m guessing that the seller can’t afford to keep their house, which is a major bummer and I feel very badly for them. However, it also meant that they couldn’t afford to do the proper testing required to sell a house. Which means that we’ve had to pay for all of that and we found out about an hour ago that the house failed a major test! (It’s failed a few little ones already). When I say major, I mean it will cost about $20k to fix and it’s not something we can live without (unless we have no interest in ever using any luxury a bathroom offers… shower, toilet, or sink – and I’m not the kind of girl who can give up indoor plumbing). So we’ll see… I’m not sure the owners want us to take $2ok off our offer.

However, this is a motivation blog. You don’t care about my silly house woes which will resolve themselves either way.

So let me talk about motivation. Let me tell you what has been getting me through all of this stress.

I often like to say that I find other people to be motivating. For example, when I first started running outside and was loosely doing the walk/run of the Couch to 5k program, if I could see another person when it came time for walking, I would keep running until they couldn’t see me anymore. A little crazy? Heck yes, but it really helped increase my running distances. Plus, I live near Boston… so there are always people on my running path.

Well, during this last month, I focused again on other people motivating me. Specifically, my wonderful boyfriend. When I was struggling with that stomach bug, I didn’t want to eat anything ever because as soon as I swallowed something, my intestines would seize up. I didn’t even want water. That’s just not right. He was there the entire time, making sure I wasn’t starving myself.

When this home buying thing got a little scary, he was always there making sure we were on the right track. (I hate spending money, it makes me so uncomfortable. No joke, buying a cell phone makes me want to vomit. I had my last cell phone for 8 years before finally getting a new one. I could never be a member of the iphone cult that has to get the new product the second it comes out. Makes me queasy just thinking about it.)

And I really believe that motivation can completely come in the form of other people. It’s super important to have someone in your corner even when you aren’t. My boyfriend is a truly wonderful person who is always cheering me on or taking care of me or supporting me in whatever way I need. He’s a very positive person. I think that’s really important. Negative people have a way of draining motivation from us. And that’s really not helpful when we’re draining our own motivation.

If there’s anything I can wish for you is that you have an equally wonderful person (partner, relative, friend, whatever) to help motivate you towards what you want (not what they want) when you need the extra boost.

Good luck!

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Diva Dash Recap

Let me start by saying that I LOVED this race! I’m pretty sure this is the first race where I thought to myself “Man, I can’t wait to run this again next year” WHILE still running it! It was a ton of fun and if it comes to a city near you, I recommend checking it out.

My team and I put our best foot forward for this event… and we did it in pink, zebra striped socks!

First, it was a 5k with 11 obstacles. The obstacles consisted of climbing over mountains made out of hay, dirt, and tires (separate mountains). Climbing over “jersey barriers.” Scooting through a maze that was also covered in a net around waist height (so you had to bend down to go through it). There were plenty of balance beams. We had to carry large logs for awhile. And my favorite: the thing where you have to run with your feet through tires (so you get some nice high knees) while also being hit by inflatable pink balls!

My favorite obstacle. Looking for my teammate.

On top of the fun obstacles, the course itself was pretty challenging. Some of it was on a paved road, some of it was over gravel, but most of the running was a gorgeous trail run through the woods. Obviously, this part is specific to the Massachusetts one. I like to consider myself a trail runner (although let’s be real, half of my trail is paved), however, my trail is along the Charles River and is mostly flat, flat, flat. The trail for this 5k was LEGIT! It was winding, thin, and constantly going either uphill or downhill (steeply). And we actually had to hop over fallen trees! Luckily, everyone started in preassigned waves that were separated by 15 minutes, so I never felt like the course was crowded. Absolutely top-notch orchestration, I have to admit.

Besides the actual run, there were a lot of things that I liked about this race. It was my first ever “Women-only” event. If all “women-only” events are this nice, I will totally be doing more of them. Everyone was so cordial! Plus, so many people really thought about what they were wearing. I loved it! I wish I had gotten pictures of my favorites, but let me at least describe them.

  • For about half of the run, I followed some women from a Boston Book Club, the back of their shirts read “I like BIG books and I cannot lie” (oh how I love it!)
  • There were about 20 women in aprons as “Domestic Divas”
  • There were some shirts that read: “My mascara runs faster than you!”
  • “If you run faster, you’ll get wine sooner! “
  • “Oxygen PLEASE!”
  • And one of my favorites: some women from a labor and delivery unit at some hospital (it said on the front of their shirts but I can’t remember now) had on the back of their shirts “We deliver!”

My team all dressed up. Who doesn’t love Animal from the Muppets?! Also, this is what happens when a bunch of theater nerds creating a running team…

Everyone was so friendly and encouraging the whole time, I had no idea women could all be so supportive of each other. Early on in the race, I knew I wouldn’t be the fastest, but I could try for the nicest! So anytime I was passed by someone or actually passed someone, I threw out a compliment. It was so easy! Everyone had on something cute (even if it was just a pair of socks that said “Bad Ass (with an arrow pointing up).” It was great chatting everyone up. Of course it was easier to talk to everyone because this was my first race without music. Whoa! But one of the women on my team ran my pace, so we had each other to talk to the whole time. That’s a first for me and it was awesome!

That was actually another of my favorites for this race. I ran as part of team of 10! We were a variety of speeds and we all mostly ran our own race… but with a buddy who was similar to us. I loved it!

They also have the best swag bag I’ve gotten so far:

Our swag included a t-shirt, a drawstring bag, a canvas bag, a magazine, and a Luna bar.

Plus, 90% of the vendors at the vendor fair were giving out free goodies. For example:

  • Socks from Asics
  • Frozen greek yogurt pops from Yasso
  • 5 hour energy shots
  • More Luna bars
  • Sahale Snacks – I took the cranberry, sesame seed, and honey covered almonds – AMAZING! I totally recommend them!
  • Beer from Coors light
  • Coconut water from Zico (I’ve tried coconut water a ton of times and I must be missing something, I never see the appeal)
  • And samples of about half a dozen energy or recovery drinks – most of which tasted pretty chemical filled.

There were just a few things that I think Shape could work on for next year:

  • They could use some bottles of water at the finish line. Instead we were given 3 oz dixie cups that we could fill up ourselves… dehydration was plentiful
  • On the course we were handed the same cups and we could also fill them up ourselves, on Facebook a lot of runners complained that they should have been filled up for us and I can see their point. I was running slowly so it didn’t bother me, but if I was going for speed I would have been pretty upset.
  • Something to nibble on at the finish line would have been good (none of us knew about the Luna bar in our bags). Once we realized everyone was giving out samples, it wasn’t so bad. But those first 30 minutes waiting for all of our friends to finish was a little tough without food.
  • They had a bag check at the race and I’m glad I didn’t use it (I left everything in my car), it was a total disaster!

All in all though, I would totally do this race again! It was a blast!

Because I didn’t know what the run/obstacles would be like. I didn’t go in with many expectations. I was hoping to finish in 45 minutes. I thought there would be more upper body stuff (there was really only 1). Next year, I know to be smarter on the obstacles. When going over the Jersey Barriers (you know, those large sometimes concrete road blocks, these were plastic though), I lead with my right leg on all of them and my right glute hurt like whoa the whole time. Next year, I need to switch up the leg choice every other time.

The course’s jersey barriers

Final stats:

Time: 44:53:97
Place: 3184 (out of 5489 total – thus 58%)
Division Place: 1379 (out of 2286 – thus 60%)
Pace: 14:58
On my team, I was the second fastest runner (well… tied for second when you count my racing buddy, one other women on our team beat us by about 15 minutes). I’m pretty psyched about that too!

Sunday Morning Snark – The Phone

Since yesterday’s motivation was about the joys of social interactions, I thought this might be appropriate for the counterpart’s snarkiness:

I also totally agree with the message! I’m TERRIBLE about listening to my voicemail. If I see that you’ve called, I’m just going to call you back, I’m not going to listen to the message. It’s lame, I know, but completely true.

Saturday Morning Motivation – Tomorrow May Be Better

I was trying to think of some Saturday morning motivation that balances my icky feeling from Wednesday with my feeling for today. Today I’m attending the first of four weddings for this summer. I’m really excited about the wedding today. I went to both undergrad and grad school with the couple getting married (although I’m a bit older than them, so we weren’t super close in undergrad, but we were close in grad school). So not only do I love the couple getting married (and they truly are wonderful together) but I’ll know a bunch of people at the wedding! Awesome!

Wednesday was lousy, but today should be lots of fun!

 

I hope you’re all having a wonderful day. If not, I hope you can hold on for “tomorrow.”

Good luck and have a good weekend!

Another Adventure Recap – White Water Rafting

This update is super delayed, but the weekend after Father’s Day, my wonderful boyfriend and I took my father on a white water rafting trip (along with a bunch of my wonderful boyfriend’s fun coworkers). We went down the Kennebec River in northern Maine (almost Canada) with a company called Northern Outdoors and got the trip 50% off thanks to CBS Local (similar to LivingSocial and Groupon). I really think this is shaping up to be my summer of mini-adventures and I’m quite digging it.

It was just the beginning of the heat wave, so it was a beautiful 80°. At the lodge, before the trip, they reviewed the supplies they offered for rent. They started with a paddle jacket, suggesting most people would rent that (if anything). The chest part was wet suit material while the sleeves were a light and flexible material (similar to real wind-breaker). They showed the wet suit jacket and booties for your feet. They also showed the bottoms of the wetsuit, which I think they called the “farmer john.” They said “unless you had 0% body fat, you won’t need the ‘farmer john.’ Oh and the water is 51°. Thanks for listening.”

It was the 51° degrees part that really resonated with us. We’ve been on this trip before, so we knew that during the rafting, everyone in the boat would get wet. And we knew there were multiple parts of the river you could get out of the boat and float down the river yourself.  I hate to be cold, it’s completely miserable and you can’t do much about it. As someone who also enjoys alpine skiing in the winter, I have learned that if you have too much clothing, you can always take it off until you’re more comfortable. It was worth it to us to spend the $10 and get the paddle jackets and the farmer johns.

This was during lunch on the river. You can see T’s farmer johns, the top of mine are folded down.

Very few people made that choice, and there were probably about thirty 20-something-year-old girls in bikinis on the trip who spent the entire day freezing and miserable. Especially because even the air felt cooler on the river.

We’re carrying the boat down to the river at the beginning of the day. Here you can see our full outfits with the jacket and the farmer johns. I’m second from the left, my dad is third from the left, and guide Dave is on the right.

The day was gorgeous! Everyone in our boat got a chance to sit up front, even me. The last time we went (last fall with T’s family – it was FREEZING!) I had no interest in sitting in the front and I never did. I didn’t really have any interest in sitting in the front this time either, but my dad insisted. He was totally right, you get the best view. And it’s not that the view from the second seat is much different. It’s just that the front person sets the pace, the second+ person needs to get in sync and pay attention to someone else’s rhythm. The front person can spend that extra brain power looking at the river instead of looking at the paddle in front of them.

So glad that T has a waterproof camera! (and he’s good at taking “selfies”) Here we are floating down the river (nice and warm in the wetsuits).

My wonderful boyfriend, T, told me that this is a pretty unique style of white water rafting and you won’t find it everywhere in the country. For example, one of his coworkers, Jenn spent her honeymoon in Pennsylvania and one of the days they went white water rafting. But they didn’t even have a guide in their boat. They was just one guide with the entire trip. I’m going to guess their river was a little safer. Our guide, Dave (who was in the boat the entire time and was in charge of steering), had to guide us around things like the “kayak keeper”: a set of rocks that created a cycle of spinning water that could literally drag a kayak down below the surface for good. Or he had to avoid “unemployment rock.” Inches before unemployment rock looks like some really sweet white water, but 6 inches past the rapid is a giant bolder, doing a nice job of staying hidden, but completely dry. It’s called unemployment rock because if a guide steers his boat that way… he’ll be on the unemployment line in a hot second. There are lots of things like that to this river, things you might not notice if you didn’t know what you were doing. I can’t imagine doing a river without a guide with me. Plus, the Northern Outdoors staff are all funny and very knowledgable about the area.

We had a super time! And I’m hoping to do a more challenging river this fall. 

Here my dad, Jenn, and her husband, Keith enjoy the last bit of “white water”. The photo was slightly staged… until they got spashed… those faces of surprise are real!

 Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take any pictures during the actual rapids, but it was super awesome and I would totally recommend this to anyone!

Teach Our Daughters and Sons

I saw this and just thought I would share because I enjoy the sentiment:

I don’t have children, but I still think the lesson is a nice reminder to adults as well. My personal favorite line is the difference between a “man who spends money on her and a man who invests in her,” but that’s probably because I really feel my wonderful boyfriend has invested in me (I paid for my Master’s degree, but he was a strong supporter and picked up my share of chores while I was doing classwork – investment doesn’t have to be money).

What’s your favorite line? Do you think something else should be on the list?

An Aerial Adventure!

A while ago, I signed up for an obstacle course race called the Diva Dash with a bunch of friends. One of the other “Divas” talked a bunch of us into preparing for the race by doing an aerial obstacle course. Picture a ropes course. We were about 20-50 feet in the air, secured to a wire, and trying to move along a course that wasn’t really supporting us (moving across tight ropes, 2×6 planks of wood, a series of swings made out of wood or rope, etc).

This was one of the easier obstacles, although those steps weren’t connected at all and they were more than happy to swing out beneath you. You can see some of the other obstacles in the background. The big yellow slide in the background is part of the kids playground, not the obstacle course.

To be completely honest, it was a boat load of fun! It was also so exhausting! Talk about cross training! Every muscle I have (legs, abs, arms, shoulders, back, and chest) still aches two days later! HOLY COW! I’m still audibly groaning every time I have to use my quads to sit down or stand up.

There were 6 paths to take: 3 easy, 2 medium, and 1 hard (each with maybe 18 separate obstacles). I did 2 “easy” paths and 1 medium (and that took about 3 hours). Half of our group also went on to do the hard path, but I knew my muscles had tapped out by then. I actually “fell” half way through the medium path.

Still moving… but this is the obstacle I fell on… in just a few feet

I don’t know how easy it is to see in that picture, but there is one rope on one side, another rope on the other side about 2 feet away, and then in another 2 feet another rope on the original side (ect). So the ropes on each side are about 4 feet apart. I was struggling getting the ropes to reach each other (so I could let go of one and grab the next). I thought “hey, I wonder if I could just hold on to the secured, safety wire?” (that I was hooked on to). The answer was no. As soon as I let go of the left rope and grabbed the safety wire, down I went. I was still holding onto the right-hand rope and my feet were still on the balance beams beneath me. All I could think was “I’m just so tired, I just want to sit for a minute.” But in the time it took for the 20-year-old girl to get a ladder so she could fish me out of the trees, I managed to rally some energy and pull myself back up. Once I got to the next tree, I totally sat down for about 5 minutes though. I am proud of myself for not quitting.

Hand on the safety wire… about to go down in 3, 2, 1…

It was totally fun and if I lived closer, I would absolutely go back a bunch of times as cross training! But it’s over 2 hours away…

By the time I got home, my legs were on fire and I was considering hopping into bed at 8:30 and watching movies from there because just sitting was painful. I didn’t though. And then, just to work the muscles more, my sweet, little boy kitty started foaming at the mouth at about midnight. My wonderful boyfriend was 5 hours away on a golfing trip with a guy friend… I had to deal with this all on my own. Of course my first thought was that the poor little guy had rabies and I was freaking out. Thanks to google though, I learned the more common cause for foaming among house pets is that he was trying to make himself throw up because he ate something that gave him a tummy ache. Thank goodness! He never did toss his kibble, but he did eventually curl up and fall asleep. And I was able to crash from exhaustion.

Oh, I had blood tests that morning, too. My doctor wanted to test hormone levels, so it all had to be done on a very specific day… which turned out to be the same day as the aerial adventure. So life goes, right? At 9 am, I gave 6 vials of blood (so much that even the phlebotomist apologized to me – luckily she was great at her job though, so it barely hurt). By 11:45 am, I was up in the trees! It was quite a day!

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