Tuesday, October 6, 2015

T is for TIRED!

I missed my "M is for . . ." post yesterday and I'm chalking it all up to being at loose ends after our three weekends of travel. We got back from Alabama on Sunday night and I've been too pooped to get anything done other than the basics.

Three weekends of travel meant three Fridays of long runs. On September 18, I did a 12-miler, rolled into work for a couple of hours, then went off to Cape Cod for a beautiful wedding the next day.

On September 25, I did a 16-miler, rolled into work for a very unproductive couple of hours, then flew to Atlanta and drove on to Auburn, Alabama, for Greek parents' weekend. I was exceedingly grateful that Delta Zeta's parents' cocktail reception was cancelled that evening.

Finally, on October 2, I did a 20-miler, skipped work, and flew back to Alabama for the previously-planned (e.g., before the daughter became a DZ pledge) Official Auburn Parents' Weekend. This was the weekend that wore me out!

I got started running on Friday at 4 am, doing a loop with a new early-morning-running friend, Carianne. We knocked out about 4 miles, then she went off to work and I kept running like I was Forrest Gump. It was raining. It was cold. I took two breaks: one at the 7-11 in Burke for a much-needed bathroom break and one at 7:00 at home to say hi to Jim and the lad before they headed to work and school. Overall, the whole thing went better than I would have predicted -- maybe the Marine Corps Marathon will be the same way because I am NOT AT ALL CONFIDENT ABOUT THIS THING!

Here's a modified legs-up-a-wall recovery pose. It's legs-on-a-chair-with-a-cat. You're not likely to find this in most yoga classes.

After recovering and showering, I s-l-o-w-l-y packed my gear for our trip, saying, "Ow, ow, ow" the whole time. I picked up our drycleaning, some Starbucks, and the boy from school, and we were off!

We "recovered" the next day by hiking all over the beautiful Auburn University campus, including up to the top of Jordan-Hare stadium to watch the Tigers beat the San Jose State Spartans. Then up early Sunday morning to enjoy breakfast at the Crepe Myrtle Cafe (if you find yourself in Auburn, don't miss this place!) and back on the road to work our way home.

I was able to get a run in yesterday, but that alarm went off this morning and I knew that my cross-training swim wasn't going to happen. A lunchtime walk is going to have to suffice. Unless I can get away with crawling under my desk for a nap.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


It's Wednesday, time for a link-up with Debruns.com and the great bloggers over there. Check out what they have to say about today's Wednesday Word, which is PASSIONATE. And then come back here, please.

Deb Runs

I read a great piece from Runner's World about how running (like a lot of things) is like a relationship. It's a classic and a great analogy.

At the start, everything is new and it's a rush! It's super easy to be passionate about it.

And then you get into a routine and start to find little things that you don't like about it so much. And as you keep on with it you have to make up your mind if you're going to work with those less-attractive elements or throw in the towel.

The article pointed out that to keep things fresh, you have to treat it like you do any relationship, with
  1. Communication (listen to your body and what it's telling you! Pain? Fatigue? Pay attention).
  2. Respect (running is rigorous. Take it seriously. Don't tell yourself you are such a badass that you push way too hard and get hurt).
  3. Spontaneity (be creative and do something a little different, like break out that tutu or go run with a nice crew).
  4. Quality time (get a little mindful -- don't just rack up those miles. See the deer. Enjoy the cool air on your skin).
  5. Flexibility ("running should bend to accommodate your life - not vice-versa").
  6. Appreciation (this usually kicks in for me after I come back from an injury. Not to make you feel guilty, but there are a lot of people who would love to run but can't).
I'm not going to lie: it is really hard to stay passionate when you're in the heavy-duty part of a marathon training schedule. I admit that I've found myself breaking a lot of those suggestions in the past few weeks.

I'm grateful to the advice I got the other day from my sister, who reminded me that I'm doing this for fun. Back when I started this training cycle, I told myself that I was going to do it in a way that was kind to myself, and I admit that I've kind of forgotten that.

Just about four weeks left until the Marine Corps Marathon, and a few after that for the Richmond Marathon. I am not going to just finish those weeks and those races, I am going to love them. Passionately.

And the title of this post? I love passionfruit, too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dare to Compare?

It is Wednesday and today all of the writers linking up with DebRuns.com are writing about


I know they have some excellent things to say and if you want to check them out, do so at the link here (but then come back and read my stuff!):

Deb Runs

Even though we know that comparing yourself to someone else is almost always a terrible idea, we do it anyway, don't we? I think it's part of human nature to want to see where we stack up, to put ourselves on a spectrum.

Leo Babuta has a great Zen Habits post on comparison, explaining how it only makes you feel bad about yourself or bad about others. He proposes, instead, to appreciate where you are, and to seek to understand other people instead of judging them.

And I've got a couple of examples of comparison being really, really dumb.

First, a couple of Saturdays ago, it was the opening weekend of the college football season. Since we now have a link to Auburn (WAR EAGLE, Y'ALL!!!), I got out our Auburn flag, popped on a bright orange t-shirt, and took a selfie to send to the girl.

But before I could, she let me know how they really do it at Jordan-Hare Stadium:

Clearly, I have a lot to learn about the SEC. And my point is (besides slipping in a cute picture of my kid), trying to compare my college game day experience to hers is just plain silly.

And speaking of the SEC, I am very fortunate have an SEC guru to turn to at work now: Jenn J., who works with our students at Mason, worked at Auburn after growing up in the great state of New York. She knows a thing or two about getting used to that new culture, and has helped me immensely.

And she also suggested that I try out the yoga class that is offered at work.

George Mason University offers yoga for FREE for faculty, staff, and students, a couple of times a week. I have been at the university for several years and have been thinking about taking advantage of the class, but it took Jenn to say, hey, why don't you meet me at yoga, to actually get me there.

And I bring this up to say thanks (thank you, Jenn!), but also to bring it back to the subject of comparison. There is no easier place to compare yourself to others than in a yoga class. You're moving slowly enough that you can get a good look around. You've got plenty of other people to check out. And I can guarantee that everyone is at a completely different level of yoga-ness than you are.

In this class, we've got people who are 18-19 on up to people in their 60's. Some people are all decked out in very stylish yoga gear but most have sweats and shorts on. Some of those folks are super bendy and looking to do more inversions, while really, in some of those poses I'm like, "Oh, noooo, no this is too haaaaaard!" And I'm not sure I know what an inversion is.

And it's all okay. It is abundantly clear that we are all coming from different places and are at different levels of experience, motivation, or just plain yoga-bility. And if it's that way in a yoga class, why wouldn't it be that way everywhere?

Monday, September 21, 2015

M is for Massachusetts

Our family trip to Massachusetts was short and very sweet!

Though we were only there for less than 48 hours, we got a lot done:

  • Went to a wonderful wedding
  • Spent time with family (we divided and conquered: the boy and his Mimi went to lunch at one of their favorite spots in Hyannis, Jim and his dad took a boat out around the various bays around Osterville, and I took a trip to the coffee shop and nail salon with Kathleen and Anthony, grabbed a sandwich at my favorite place, Earthly Delights, and took a beautiful sunrise run to the beach)
  • Made it home in time to get groceries and get started on dinner last night before we all passed out from exhaustion.

And now I can't write too much more because dang it, it's Monday and I need to get to work. But here are some pics:

A view of West Bay in Osterville, along with the marsh and Grand Isle at Oyster Harbors.

And here's where I ended my run yesterday:

That is not my in-laws' house. But it's the dock they share. A favorite spot of mine up there.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why Cautious is the Way to Be

"If you take care of the little things, the big things take care of themselves."

-Anne's Dad (and Emily Dickinson)

It is time for Wednesday Word, a link-up with bloggers via DebRuns.com. (I know, it's actually Thursday, but my morning exploded yesterday and I didn't get this up then. Dang it.) Go check them out with this link:

Deb Runs

And you will see that today we are all talking about the word


Last week, we talked about being carefree, and many of the posts I read were about how people wished they were more carefree. I fell squarely in that camp, too, because it's easy it is to miss a chance at carefreedom.

But let me tell you, this word, CAUTIOUS, I can totally get behind. Because if you're cautious, you might find yourself closer to the magical carefree.

Cautious is all about the details. For instance, when I do most of my runs, it's very early in the morning. So I'm cautious. I wear a headlamp and a reflective vest, carry no music, stick to well-traveled neighborhood streets (they're a little quieter at 5:15 am, but I still see a hard-charging commuter or two), and let Jim know when to expect me home.

And when I have blisters, I wear my Iniji socks.

Because of those precautions, I'm able to enjoy a quiet, uninterrupted run that gets my day started on the right foot (no pun intended). Almost, kinda, sorta carefree!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Short Swimming is Good Swimming

And so are short blog posts.

The boy's school district has new hours this year. He does not have to be at the bus stop until 7:20 or so, which is too late for me to get to the pool, work out, fix myself up, and get to work before 9. So for the last two Tuesdays, I've gotten to the pool close to when it opens (at 6), swam until 6:45, then taken a quick, basic shower and hustled home to hang out before he goes to school.

The result is that I've only got about 40 minutes to swim (if I do a good job of getting in the pool at 6:05 like I did last week), or 30 minutes (if I do a less good job of getting in the pool like I did today). So it's like a swim snack and it's very refreshing. If you only have half an hour, you feel like you can go a little bit harder and you're not thinking things like, oh, just 35 minutes left . . .

And with the start of school, I am now sharing the locker room with a bunch of high school girl swimmers. That is a good thing because it's easy to have compassion for these ladies. They put a lot of work into getting themselves together before getting off to school. The styling implements! The makeup! It's hard to be a teenager.

A quick swim, a dose of compassion, and some swim-dorphins all add up to a pretty fantastic way to start the morning.

Monday, September 14, 2015

M is for Mix-It-Up

It's going to start getting crazy this week. For the next three (count em') weekends, the Reynolds family is going to be traveling.

On Friday, we are off to see a beautiful couple get married in a beautiful place.

The next Friday, I get to visit my sweet daughter in her new hometown of Auburn, Alabama!

The following Friday, the whole family is going back to Auburn for Family Weekend.

Making this about me for a minute (of course), this is going to mess with my long runs. My Saturday long-run plans are about to become very-early-morning Friday long-run plans and you know I hate messing with my routine. It's going to get crazy for sure.