Reasons to get out of bed…

Archive for the ‘Weekend Recap’ Category

Snow Day!

So… we got a little snow here outside of Boston this past weekend:

Peanut standing up, trying to assess the winter insanity at the back door

Peanut standing up, trying to assess the winter insanity at the back door

Specifically we got around 2 and a half feet (it’s hard to tell exactly because there was a lot of wind and thus, lots of snow drifts).

It was actually really nice! My wonderful boyfriend and I both worked from home on Friday which was a good thing because the roads were all closed at 4 pm on Friday. Or Governor declared a driving ban on all roads from 4 pm on Friday to 4 pm on Saturday (or so I’ve been told… I’m not 100% sure on the end time because T and I couldn’t care less). If you were found driving during that time you could receive a ticket up to $500 and/or up to a year in jail. The reasoning being that even minor accidents can take away the valuable resources that are first responders. Emergency personnel dealing with a fender-bender can’t also be dealing with a major accident where someone is desperately hanging on to life. This type of ban hasn’t been declared in MA since 1978. Of course the following people were exempt: emergency personnel, law enforcement, utility workers, medical professionals, and the media.

I think it’s a great idea. Yes, we all live in New England and we all know how to drive in snow, but that doesn’t mean we SHOULD!

T and I took it as a message: enjoy the weekend! All of our busy-person plans were cancelled and happily replaced with days of snuggling on the couch (usually together with the addition of at least one of our cats), watching Netflix movies, or reading books. We also spent a bunch of time cooking food in case we lost power. We never lost power (yay!), so all the extra lasagna has made its way into the freezer.

For some reason this storm was named Nemo. That meant we had to watch Finding Nemo! I love this movie, I’ve probably seen it 25 times. I whole-heartedly recommend it if you’ve never seen it before.

Eventually on Sunday, we shoveled ourselves out. By “we,” I mean T did it… the doctor said I can’t shovel, but I helped clean off the cars!

It was a really great weekend of forced relaxation and bonding, even if it did drive the cats a little nutty… At one point, my little peanut tried to shovel her way out the back door with her paw, all it did was make a pile of snow on her back feet. She was less than pleased…

Really?! It just keeps going?! This is ridiculous!

Really?! It just keeps going?! This is ridiculous!

Feeling Like a Hurricane of Emotions

Hi. Remember me?

I’m sorry for the 2 week lull in posting. I promise to come back tomorrow with a real post… about running, motivation, and all that good stuff that you can typically expect from me.

Where I have been? Well, for some of the time, I was literally on the edge of civilization in Vermont (and not the correct side of civilization) for a wedding on a Thursday afternoon (who gets married on a Thursday afternoon?!) It was a nice – although “interesting” – wedding. And then we had another wedding to attend that Saturday. Yep, two weddings in 48 hours! We only have one wedding left in October and then wedding season is finally done for us this year. Yippee! I promise to update about the weddings as soon as I upload the pictures from my camera.

While in VT though, I did manage to go for a 9 mile “run” (there may have been some walking involved… I was literally running up – and then back down – a mountain). It was GORGEOUS! But it may have felt a bit dangerous as well… it was on an unfamiliar set of dirt roads that were sparsely populated. Very different from running past grocery stores and a bus stop, that’s for sure! I was gone for so long that my wonderful boyfriend was afraid that I had gotten lost, been kidnapped, or eaten by a bear… (like I said, wrong edge of civilization). But really, my phone wasn’t getting reception so I went without it. I didn’t know the time or my distance (until I got back)… I just went and enjoyed!

The other part of my absence from blogging is just because I’m a swirl of mixed emotions that aren’t interesting to process on a blog. We put an offer on a house, but a developer bid more so they can tear it down. They won. And then there is the prospect that my neurologist will be changing my generally innocuous (and extremely helpful) meds which just makes me uneasy and anxious. There was some happiness and excitement in those 2 weeks as well, but nothing worth noting yet. If things pan out, I’ll let you know. (Although, some of the happiness was the house… and we see how that went…)

See? Lame! But I should be back tomorrow to talk about a race I’m about to sign up for that will happen in 2 days… oh and there may be costumes involved! (sort of… not like Halloween costumes that Jill will enjoy… but some “extreme outfits”).

The Color Run Recap

Ugh… I’m so torn on how to write about this run… do I complain for the next 500 words because it was terribly, TERRIBLY organized or do I try to find the bright spots? Am I completely mad at the organizers or am I also partially mad at myself?

Hmmm… I guess I’ll try to both find the bright spots and tell you why it was so terrible I can’t envision myself ever doing this run again (and tell you why my brother out-law is thinking about writing a letter of complaint to the organizers).

Back story: I run alone all the time. I’ve never gotten to run a race with anyone else. It’s lonely. So when I saw the Color Run (a run where they throw different colors at you every kilometer), it looked like so much fun I invited my boyfriend’s family to join me on a team. My boyfriend’s brother’s fiance, Sarah, is a runner. She was training for a marathon happening in April until she broke her foot over the winter, which obviously effed up her training. However, she’s now healed and she’s clearly a runner, so I knew I could talk her into a 5k. I also invited my boyfriend’s sister, Jen, because she keeps starting the Couch to 5k program. Jen also invited their aunt (by marriage), Jeannie, who is only 2 years older than Jen (Jeannie is 8 years older than me) and is super, super awesome. Jeannie is also a runner and regularly does races. Jen also signed her ten-year-old daughter up for the race.

I was super excited to do something fun with my boyfriend’s family! So excited that I bought decals from runnerdecals.com and made everyone a pint glass as a little gift.

Runner chick (about 1.5 inches tall) from RunnerDecals.com

Then, a few days before the race, Jeannie dropped out because the run is 3 hours from her house and her husband is super sick and she has small children.

The day before the race, Sarah dropped out because she was feeling swamped with work (and homework) and the race was about 2 hours from her house. At this point, I’m feeling really bummed. Jeannie and Sarah are the two that I fit in with best. I also learned a few days before the race that one of Jen’s friends would be joining us. By 5 o’clock on Friday, I was trying to reset my expectations, and change back to excited from disappointed.

Jen, at one point, told me that because I was the most fit, I could run my own race and they would see me at the end. But I told her that would defeat my goal. I was there to run with them, not alone, no matter the pace. We ended up walking 90% of the course. The walking was ok, but kind of boring. Oh well, right? So that’s why I might be a little mad at myself. I didn’t have a “runner’s high” when I reached the finish line. I wasn’t proud of myself for working it. It was just a leisurely stroll… that took us about an hour… (after running the 10k though, this 5k felt so short, in the good way) 

Ok, now here’s why I’m mad at the organizers: first things first, their website is rubbish. It doesn’t have any race details, just explanations of how they attack you with color, etc. They never told us the address of the race, just the town: Amesbury, MA. For awhile, the website called it “The Color Run – Boston” which is really misleading… Amesbury is about an hour north of Boston on the NH border. Eventually they changed it to “The Color Run – New England” which is much more accurate. The website never had the start time of the race – they e-mailed us that 2 days before the race.

Next: e-mails! They sent a lot of information in e-mails, but some of the information they only sent to the team captain and she was supposed to send it to the rest of us. Hey Color Run, why? You have our e-mail addresses, you could have sent it to everyone! Plus, she didn’t know which we got and which we didn’t, so she didn’t send them to us.

Our group (plus one spectator – 6-year-old nephew) before the color run – still in the parking lot. We were team Pixel Pixies – Jen made us some really cool wings to wear.

My main complaint: traffic and parking! In many of the e-mails, they told us that “a lot of people” would be attending this race, but never said how many. They just warned us that we should carpool. They should have said what “a lot” meant. 2,000 runners? 20,000 runners?

We also weren’t allowed to park at the race (which wasn’t a loop – the finish line was legitimately 3.1 miles away from the starting line). We were assigned to a parking lot 7 miles  (and 3 highway exits) from the finish line. There was another parking lot 12 miles away from the starting line. School buses would drive us from the parking lots to the start (and from the finish back to the lots).

The race was scheduled to start at 10 am (with waves until 10:45). At 9 am, we were one mile from the parking lot. At 10:30 we arrived at the parking lot! In our car, we all carpooled (as recommended), we were surrounded by hundreds of other people in their carpools. We jumped out of the car, hit the port-a-potties (EWWWW) and hopped on a bus. We made it to the starting line around 11 (and there was still at least one bus behind us).

Jen and her friend run through orange, the first kilometer marker

The finish line was visible from the highway and there were tons of rubberneckers trying to figure out what was happening there… woo congestion!

The course was beautiful. A couple of minor hills and it was mostly along a wide river. Simply lovely. And the color zones were fun! And being with T’s niece (and his 3-year-old nephew in a stroller) was great.

One downside, there was only one water stop (in the middle of a hot day in JULY)! Quality planning…

At the finish line

So we get to the finish line around noon and the line for the buses was at least 1/2 mile long and 10 people across. We ate lunch for an hour (we had to buy a Powerade because the water at the finish line tasted like pool water – chlorine and dirt!). Then we got in line ourselves… where we waited for 2 hours. We didn’t get to our car until a bit after 3 pm.

We were too late for the “color parties” so we made our own!

Getting to the race was stressful and congested. Then we were alone on the course. Once we got to the finish line we were stranded there. The buses couldn’t even get to and from because of accidents on the highway. It was so poorly organized! In other states, the Color Run might be ok, but having us park so far away and then be stranded was a poor idea. They simply couldn’t take care of the crowds.

Our entire group (with our spectators) waiting for the bus back to our car

Their tag line is “Happiest 5k on the Planet.” Unfortunately, I would disagree…

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!

This Weather is Demotivating!

It has been too long since I last posted! And I really need to update you all on everything… unfortunately, it’s been the kind of weather that just makes me want to melt into a puddle on the floor. I live near Boston and it has been in the high 90s the last 3 days with about 80% humidity. If you’re from the south or maybe even the midwest, you’re probably thinking “…and?” And you’re right, you probably live this every day. It reminds me of a few winters ago, Florida had temps of like 30 degrees and I was thinking “so?” but that’s when I realized, they have high schools that involve court yards and crossing from one building to another… and can’t avoid the weather by just hanging out in one, nicely connected building. They don’t have all the winter gear that fills my house. 30° is cold to them! And 98° feels like death for me because we’re not equipped!

My blood is too thick, we don’t have built-in shady spots, parking garages are rare, etc. When I drove past the bus stop this morning, an older woman literally looked like she was about to faint! Ugh, it’s bad. It’s the kind of weather where we all vaguely smell of asparagus (even if we showered right before we left the house). But it’s supposed to be glorious again (in the mid-high 70s) next week so I’ll stop my belly aching!

Even though it’s been hot, I’ve been visiting the gym in my office building (it’s not a reason to delay walking to my hot car at the end of the night… no….). I’ve run 16.5 miles so far this week (and I even lifted weights for 45 minutes!). Which isn’t much for some, but it’s good for me lately.

What’s really motivating me to hit the gym? I remembered that I have a 10k in two weeks and I haven’t trained hard enough! Time to kick it up!

I promise, next week, to update you on the Haircut! (which I did do! Over 12 inches cut off!) And the Relay for Life that T and I did together last Friday. This weekend we’re going white water rafting!

Yay adventure!

I’m pretty sure I originally found this at http://runninghaiku.wordpress.com/ (check her out, she’s very funny!)

Rove the Cove 5k

I ran a 5k on Saturday. Since you haven’t heard of this plan yet, you’re probably thinking it was pretty impetuous. It sort of wasn’t, but I had a lot of mixed feelings about it beforehand. “The Cove” is a park/playground in one of the suburbs west of Boston, along the Charles River. Specifically it’s within walking distance of T’s sister’s house. She is the one who told me about the 5k… months ago. Jen (that’s right, my wonderful boyfriend’s sister and I have the same name) is the soccer coach for her 10-year-old daughter’s team. At one of the games, Jen told me that she was trying to recruit the girls on the team and their moms to all run the Rove the Cove 5k (as it benefits the community association… and I wouldn’t be surprised if the town soccer teams have something to do with the community association). When she told me this, I wasn’t quite sure if this was an invitation to join or if she was just telling me about it because she was excited. (This is where my mixed feelings about the run started.)

Back story: I grew up with a little brother and we’re almost 4 years apart. Because he is male and I am female (and because my parents are pretty awesome), our relationship was never a competitive one. We always had separate interests – with the exception of liking high school drama… but it’s not like we were going out for the same parts.

Me and my little brother… when we were little.

I don’t want to create a competitive relationship with my sister-out-law (T and I aren’t legally married, so she’s not my in-law). Honestly, I would love to train with her but she and I have very different schedules. I’m a busy bee with work and theater and she’s a busy bee with her kids’ schedules. I would love to legitimately be friends with her, but we’re in very different places in our lives. So I was very worried about stepping on her toes and signing up for her race.

In the end, I decided to do it. It cost $12 for early registration, it was only a few miles from me, and I figured if she didn’t want me there, she wouldn’t have mentioned it along with “we’re trying to get as many people as possible to sign up.” Plus, I’m really embarrassed about running a 12 minute mile at the Race to Home Base 9k and I wanted to do a run that would make me feel more confident (especially before my 10k in July).

It turned out that she and her daughter didn’t run the race (I think they might have actually had soccer game at the same time), which was a bit of bummer because I would have LOVED to have run with them, but I’ll still get the chance at the Color Run.

I’m really glad that I did the run though. I’ve never done a small run before. Only 122 people finished (another 17 people signed up and “did not finish” according to the results). My next smallest race had 1150 finishers… It was a really nice vibe though (even if I was one of the slowest, clearly beaten by a bunch of 10 year olds).

I also tend to run “fast and flat” races, and even my neighborhood training ground isn’t very hilly. This was VERY hilly though! If I added up all of the flat bits, it might equal 1/2 mile of flat. And these weren’t soft, rolling hills; these were steep, aggressive hills. By mile 2.5, my calves were ready to quit. I’m taking it as a challenge though. Part of me really wants to run the course every week until I’m good at it! One really great highlight is that Jen’s husband and 6-year-old son were out on their front porch cheering on the runners! Their house was near the end of the race and I really needed some cheering at that point. It was so nice to see them! One other highlight was around the 2.25 mile mark, a 6-year-old girl was on her lawn with a cowbell, cheering everyone on! Yes!

My wonderful boyfriend didn’t make it to this race. Unfortunately, he had to take our little girl kitty to the vet that morning. We think she cut herself while crawling under a fence. She has a cut on her back that had gotten swollen, so she had to go to the vet for antibiotics and to lance the cyst. Luckily for her, the vet doesn’t think the cut was from an animal, so she’s not quarantined from other animals. Luckily for me, she’s a little miss priss and she’s more than happy to stay inside all day (curled up on the couch) until the wound heals and her fur grows back.

(Pictured here in a cape she made for herself out of a brown paper bag)

It was a bummer not to have my biggest fan at this race, but it was for a good reason. The biggest downside was that I parked too far away from the park (there is another park right next to it and I parked on that side… oops!) so I had to run with my new, race t-shirt in my hand. I usually run with a bottle of water and the shirt was about the same size, rolled up. So it really wasn’t much of an issue. And because there were so few people, no one was in jeans or a funny costume, nor did anyone have a good sign. So I didn’t feel bad about missing a  photo-op for one of my favorite bloggers, Jill.

Oh! And because the race was so small, they didn’t give prizes to the top people in age categories. Instead they entered all finishers into a raffle. And I won! (along with about 40 other people… seriously the Auburndale Community Association are AWESOME fundraisers!) But I was the second winner, so I had my choice of the table of prizes and now I’ll get to buy myself some new clothes from a local business called The Dress Shop! I’ve never been before, but I’m excited to support a small business and for new clothes!

Oh and some other good news? Despite all the hills, my first mile was 9:25! WAY better than 12! So I’m feeling better about myself… even though my total time puts me closer to an 11 minute mile.

My final stats for the Rove the Cove 5k:
Time: 33:49
Place: 102/122 (84%)

That’s it for stats… they don’t even show the ages of the other runners (unless they are under 18) so I’m not sure how I did in regards to my age group. Based on my own calculations though (ok… I counted), I came in 44 out of 55 women (6 of whom are under 18… 3 finished before me and 3 finished after me). So clearly, this race is nothing to brag about, but I’m still glad I did it.

Run to Home Base – Recap

It’s over! Yay!

I meant to write a post about my expectations for the race, but since I ran out of time, let me start there.

I didn’t have high expectations, that’s for CERTAIN!

Reason #1: I had to wake up at 5:45 in order to make it to Fenway in time. I am not a morning person, I am the antithesis of a morning person, in fact. I wouldn’t mind if I never saw a sunrise for the rest of my life. Sunsets are fine by me! My wonderful boyfriend and I may have gotten into a little quarrel on Sunday morning for no reason other than I’m a total grouch in the morning (and he is not – he was checking his e-mail on his phone when my alarm went off). Luckily for my relationship, both he and I are really great at admitting when we are wrong/cranky/being annoying – we both quickly apologized and all was well again.

Reason #2: I was working a charity event the night before and knew I wouldn’t be home until about midnight. (I don’t pay attention to dates well)

Reason #3: I didn’t eat dinner because I was focused on the event mentioned above.

Reason #4: My training was extremely weak to say the least. I’m pretty sure I’ve only run about 4 times so far this May (not counting Sunday), and I don’t even remember running in April (then again, I don’t remember much about April thanks to finishing my Master’s thesis…)

Based on that, I wasn’t really expecting to have a great run. I was semi-planning to run 2 miles, walk a mile, run 1.5 miles, walk .5 mile, run the rest (almost a mile). I was also expecting to cry the entire time! “Why?” you ask. Because I was told that lots of our active duty soldiers at the race run in their full uniforms (complete with boots and packs). I know this sounds nutty, but active duty soldiers make me sad. I couldn’t quite explain it to T before the race, but after the race, I think I can try. I’ll explain at the bottom, I promise.

So, low expectations for the race. How did it actually go?

Better than expected. Although, as expected, I didn’t get home until midnight and didn’t fall asleep until after 2 am. Oh, and I completely skipped dinner. I had a yogurt at midnight, does that count?

However, I only walked about 1/2 mile! Not too bad! (all things considered…) I ran the slowest I’ve ever run during a race and my right foot cramped for about the first 3 miles, but at least I ran most of it!

Me and Wally (the mascot)

Race highlights:

  • The second song on my race playlist is “Shipping Up To Boston” by the Dropkick Murphies. It came on just as I rounded a corner to a beautiful view of the Prudential Center (which is quite a Boston landmark) – it seemed so fitting!
  • Another song that seemed appropriate came on just as I started to cross a bridge to run back across the Charles River and into Boston. In front of me was this gorgeous view of this city I love, and on comes This is Our House by Bon Jovi – perfection!
  • I thought there would be more of a breeze as we were going to be running up the Charles River, across the river, up the river, down the river, back up, back over, back down. Unfortunately, the breeze didn’t kick in until mile 4, it was so appreciated though!
  • I got to high 5 a man running in a kilt (um… awesome!) Now T wants to get a sport kilt so he can run in one too (especially interesting because T had back surgery four years ago and isn’t supposed to run on pavement…)

I didn’t cry while running!

Very few people ran in full uniform because it was already 80 degrees when we started. But I totally cried during the opening ceremonies. First, the speeches from the vets who use the Home Base services were really touching. Secondly, I was sitting behind a girl wearing a shirt that said “I’m running to home base [Marine Corps logo] He’s deploying to Afghanistan.”  A few rows in front of her were was a girl wearing a shirt that said “I run because he serves.” I couldn’t look at either without tearing up.

Lessons learned from this race:

  • Sunblock needs to be part of my running gear. Just because I run at twilight under a canopy of trees, doesn’t mean I race there.
  • Cross training is important! I never cross train… but my arms and shoulders still hurt where as my legs didn’t hurt at all.

Oh, and we raised a total of 7 million dollars for the Home Base Program!! AWESOME!

After the finish line and on the way to home plate, the Home Base Program had a bunch of signs with horrific facts that I think help explain why thoughts of the military make me cry. Here are some of the ones I can remember:

  • Unlike in wars of the past, Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers fight all day, every day: 24/7.
  • Unlike in wars of the part, there are no clear front lines and agreed upon battle times. Our soldiers cannot retreat to a safe place for rest and respite.
  • More veterans have taken their own lives than soldiers have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.
  • A veteran attempts suicide every 80 minutes. An active duty soldier attempts suicide every 36 hours

That’s what makes me so upset when I think of soldiers and veterans. They cannot unsee so many horrific things. Of course, I’m grateful to them for what they do and what they are willing to risk, but I feel overwhelmed when I think of those risks. It’s so easy to feel sorry for those who die in combat, but what about those who survive? They have endured trauma that so many of us can’t even fathom and yet they go so unsupported by this country that they love. We expect them to eternally be strong heroes, but sometimes I think of the internal damage they must have and it makes me want to cry and I wish I could help them. Plus, what about their families? Besides being left behind to worry about the soldiers’ safety, the loved ones also have to assimilate the changes in their loved ones personality and demeanor. They deal with the horrific traumas without even fully knowing what they are.

It’s terrible and my heart genuinely goes out to them. I’m really glad I could be a part of this. Plus, T wants to be a part of it next year, which is pretty awesome!

Final race stats:

Place 1300 (out of 1485 finishers – 87.5% – this seems really low considering I was number 1544 and somewhere in the middle of the numbers… there were 3 start waves (and a walking wave), I wonder if this was only against my wave)
Age/gender group: 204 (out of 250)
Net time: 1:07:21
Pace: 12:03 (slowest I’ve ever run in a race!)

 

Tag Cloud