Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Trail Running with My Dog

Nice easy 3-mile trail run on Sunday with my dog. I have a moderate difficulty trail near me (moderately technical for me, super duper easy for the lab). I felt like such a kid. Climbing a steep hill. Running over rocks and roots like little hurdles. And enjoying seeing how happy my dog is to just be in the woods. Awesome afternoon and made me realize just how cool running can be when you're not training for anything!

Now if I could just have a break from all this rain...I'm not a duck...!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Trot 2010

Fun morning in spite of the downpour. The game plan was to take B in the jogging stroller, while Meg snapped action shots, but Mother Nature caused our plans to change at the last minute. With the rain not letting up, I went solo for the mile run. If I knew I was going to be solo, I would have gladly run the 5 miles in the rain - seriously! Nonetheless, I was given the thumbs up/good luck by my girls and off I went to get wet for a whole mile. Cue dramatic music! I finished in a blazing 8:05 (blazing for me). I didn't even feel like I was pushing, but I must have subconsciously wanted to get out of the rain! 8th consecutive turkey trot and the coffee with B and Meg was just a wonderful bonus afterwards (as was the polar bear sugar cookie!).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Feeling Centered

It's only Wednesday and I am feeling relaxed and all body parts are feeling recovered. Yesterday I attended an Ashtanga yoga class. I left class feeling so centered and balanced (translation: too tired to lift my arms or get out of my chair) that I didn't even feel the slight bit stressed or frustrated sitting through a day long union contract negotiations session. Amazing. This morning I contemplated canceling my pre-paid hot powerful yoga session due to the early morning time of 6am. Glad I didn't (and glad i pre-paid!). It was challenging and exhausting, but damn if the coffee didn't taste better after a nice hard session (t.w.s.s.). Another added benefit of this morning's class is I found another instructor I really enjoy.

Even better, my Achilles is no longer feeling sore and stressed. It's been difficult not running. I've been like that dog in "Up", but instead of saying "squirrel", my family just has to say "runner" and I stop dead in my tracks and stare!

Tomorrow is my 8th consecutive Cleveland Turkey Trot. I'm only running the mile with B in the jogging stroller (she's too young to resist my co-opting skills), so I'll get a sense of how well the healing (or heeling lol) is going.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holy Toledo, Batman! Thanksgiving's Upon Us!

Tonight as I assembled my youngest daughter's contribution to her preschool's Thanksgiving Celebration, I was dumbfounded that Thanksgiving is almost here. Seriously, where did 2010 go? We all know Thanksgiving is just that slippery slope we slide into Christmas and New Years. And here in the north, it also signals the beginning of snow, wearing yak trax, and making up excuses of why it's too cold to run!

So what did we assemble? I always sign up for dishes that ALL ingredients can be purchased at Target. We made a Thanksgiving Blessings Mix - think Chex Mix with Bugles (little horns of plenty, you know). Can't get much easier than that!

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to everyone!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Eco-Friendly Morning

With B in the jogging stroller, we ventured on our trip to do our weekly grocery shopping. So we walked (versus driving) the 2-miles round trip and had them stuff to the rim our reusable grocery bags. I was quite a sight to see on the way back chugging two overweight bags on each shoulder, but I got in a nice morning of exercise, enjoyed some quality time with my daughter, and was kind to the environment. Good start to my day!

How have you been Eco-friendly this week?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Beauty of Doing Something Different

Today I swam. Not far. But I just let my body get reacquainted with the smoothness of water and it felt good. I have been running and racing practically nonstop since January, trying to check off as many states. While I gained multiple states...I began losing my love for running. It started to become work. I also wasn't able to fit in swimming, biking or weekly yoga sessions...causing me to lose balance. So I'm stepping back...and over this holiday season I'll be swimming, biking and doing sun salutations in small doses...and running, but because I want to, not because I have to.

See you out there!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Race Report: Rhode Island 6-Hour Ultra

Well, I did it...I tackled my longest race mileage to date. I did not complete a full 50k, but I did complete 27.012 miles. And I have the shirt to prove it.

The course: a 2.7 mile loop, run multiple times. To complete a marathon, you had to run 9-3/4 loops. The 50k required 11-1/2 loops. The catch, you had to complete a full loop in order for the marathon and/or 50k time to count.

The schwag: just a shirt and a medal. But that’s ok, I don’t really want to drag a bunch of stuff back in my suitcase anyway. Oh and hammer gel sample.

The story: There was a slight delay in the race start due to repositioning one of the markers. The location was Warwick City Park near the airport. And even though I was minutes from the airport, I felt completed secluded in a beautiful setting with the waterfront as my backdrop. The course was “rolling” and had a wicked bad series of three hills on the back side of the loop. The downside was that I had to tackle the hills at least 10 times! Ouch! The front of the course had many ups and downs, but also had long, steady inclines, which were tough on the quads and glutes. The course was very winding, and I learned a new body part could hurt. From all the pivoting around the curves, my hips really took a beating.

I have had the opportunity, through all these races, to run a variety of courses: point-to-point, out-and-back, figure eights, and now a loop. Each has its pros and cons, but I have to say I liked how running a marathon or beyond, broken down into manageable sections, really made the course must easier to run….at least until the 8th loop when I was done with the SAME course!

Meg sat in the car between laps, which generally lasted a half hour/loop. She would hop out of the car, see what I needed, act interested, then hop back into the car to warm up. My first two “laps” I waved and smiled at Megan, calling her “pumpkin” and telling her it was a nice day out. I shall call this my “happy mom/runner” stage. Everyone goes through this at the beginning of a race - that euphoric feeling. My third lap was a request for half of my ginger Larabar, followed by the other half at the end of the 4th loop. The end of the fifth lap was a shout out for Tylenol (13 miles were completed at this point and time to load up on the “performance-enhancing” drug called Acetaminophen). I was keeping a nice easy pace until the 7th mile when I lost 2 minutes on the loop. This is where I turned into “tired, just-give-me-what-I-need” mom. The 8th loop I only slightly waved at Meg, but she said it was more like, “Don’t talk to the hand” kind of motion…not really a wave. When I started my 9th loop, I grunted, “I’ll be finished soon.” When I hit the 10the lap, the poor girl only got a nod with, “See you in a few minutes.” Oddly enough, I PR’d in this race finishing the marathon in 5:06:21. Nine minutes better than my June 2010 Grandma’s Marathon finish and nearly an hour better than my 2007 Marine Corps Marathon time. Yet, sadly, I didn’t really care. I was tired of the whole running thing and, quite honestly, I just wanted to hang out with my daughter at Nordstrom’s, checking out the new Ella Moss tops, and drinking coffee drinks (which we did post-race).

When the race was over, Megan took me over to the beach area and we sat on the bench listening to the shore, the waves, the birds and it was beautiful. Best of all, I had changed into my uber-comfortable hot pink crocs. So even though the race was not terribly exciting, the weekend with my daughter was amazing and unforgettable. I love running, but my body and mind needs a little downtime. This will only last a couple of days...then you'll find me running on the bike paths in no time.

Oh, I hit the 1,000 mile mark at the end of the race!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pumpkin Turns 17!

This past Saturday, November 6, my pumpkin turned 17 years old! I can't believe it. Her presents included tickets to the April 2011 Lady Gaga concert, some much-needed gift certificates, and a little Marc Jacobs necklace from her sister. She picked Players for dinner so she could have her favorite pizza - bacon with feta cheese. I thought in honor of her birthday, I would spotlight the last 8 birthdays since we've been in Cleveland - that, and I can't seem to get the scanner to work to scan the birthday photos pre-2003. Technology...a curse and a blessing. Enjoy watching Pumpkin grow up - I sure have!

Birthday 2003 at the Japanese Steakhouse

Birthday 2004 in New York City

Birthday 2005 with new skis and ski boots

13th Birthday 2006 at the Drake in Chicago, which included a trip to Tiffany's

Birthday 2007

Birthday 2008 in her Brady Quinn Jersey (before the "trade")

Birthday 2009 eating Lobster in Maine

Birthday 2010

Happy Birthday, Pumpkin! Love you :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What a Week

While in taper mode, I've had time to catch up on important news announcements. Yes, there was an election. But did you also know that:

1. Little Wayne got out of jail. Michael Phelps will have new tunes to swim to...and or me to run to as well.

2. New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys have announced a new tour. Really? Sad. Just. Sad.

3. Kim Kardashian is not seeing Lebron. Good for her.

4. Charlie Sheen has filed for divorce. I'm sure Denise Richards is feeling vindicated now.

Other news: pumpkin had a birthday (separate post with memory lane pics to come) and a rock-on 10-miler accomplished. And snow. We had our first snow today. I loved it, but that will change by January!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Quick, Delish Weeknight Dinner

This is one of Megan's favorite meals and takes about 20 minutes to make!

1. Boil one bag of frozen cheese ravioli

2. While ravioli is boiling, sauté diced chicken in garlic and olive oil.

3. Combine ravioli and chicken breasts with 3/4 container of reduced fat Buttoni pesto (or your favorite pesto).

Serve with salad and/or garlic bread. Delish!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Rhode Island Fun Facts

The excitement of the 29th state is mounting. So in honor of checking off this family’s 29th state, below are some “fun facts” about Rhode Island. After all, this is a family blog – so it’s got to be educational, too!

• It was the last of the original thirteen colonies to become a state.

• Rhode Island never ratified the 19th Amendment regarding prohibition.

• Judge Darius Baker imposed the first jail sentence for speeding in an automobile on August 28, 1904 in Newport.

• St. Mary’s, Rhode Island’s oldest Roman Catholic parish, was founded in 1828. The church is best known as the site of the wedding of Jacqueline Bouvier and John Fitzgerald Kennedy in 1953. Wedding details can be found here .

• Rhode Island has no county government. It is divided into 39 municipalities each having its own form of local government.

• Rhode Island’s official state name is Rhode Island and Providence Plantation. For those of you following today’s news, go here to learn more about why Rhode Islanders are voting this election for a name change.

• The era known as The Industrial Revolution started in Rhode Island with the development and construction in 1790 of Samuel Slater’s water-powered cotton mill in Pawtucket.

• The White Horse Tavern was built in 1673 and is the oldest operating tavern in the United States. What a beautiful and historic place!

• Lastly, in honor of election season: Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, established the first practical working model of Democracy after he was banished from Plymouth, Massachusetts because of his “extreme views” concerning freedom of speech and religion. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams publicly acknowledged Roger Williams, as the originator of the concepts and principles reflected in The First Amendment. Among those principles were freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of public assembly.

While in Rhode Island, we'll be visiting a couple college campuses since pumpkin is exploring colleges during her junior year. Looking forward to visiting Providence and nearby Newport. Exciting stuff! Now I just have to make sure my super comfy Brooks Adrenalines can carry me to the finish line so I can enjoy this lovely area!