Wait! Ok…go on now with multiple exercise opportunities!
Start with a bicycle ride along the Baltimore Harbor waterfront Continue reading
Every once in awhile, you challenge yourself beyond what you think you are capable. You push the limits, and there is still a reserve to push harder. You consider the “Q” word, but somehow manage to talk yourself out of quitting. You think the worst is over, only to find you need to push yourself even more. You wonder what provoked the need for such a challenge? Or, maybe you just don’t realize what you have signed up for.
We had signed up for the Blue Ridge Half Marathon in the dead of winter. The days when the temperatures were in single digits, the outdoor runs were slim to none and signing up for something that was advertised as the “worlds hardest half marathon’ seemed like a way out of the winter doldrums. We live at sea level in Maryland. Our altitude of 300′ with hills that might reach 1/4 mile at most is plenty challenging. Yet, we were drawn to an event that claimed to reach the stars. Words that touted 2 mountain climbs with nearly 4000′ of elevation change drew blank stares. Fixated by the claim of the worlds hardest half marathon – well, I had to see it to believe it. In that blissfully unaware cold winter day, sitting at my computer with a hot cup of Joe – I clicked on the “Register” button. Now, all I had to do was to convince my running partner to do the same. Fortunately she didn’t read the fine print. Continue reading
Many people consider the Chesapeake Bay as the waterway that divides the Maryland mainland and the Maryland Eastern Shore. However, hidden in the geography details, is a small island. Kent Island. An island where the “Q” sisters rule. Sisters Quaint and Quiet.
It is also a splat of land where the terrain is sculpted perfectly for runners. Perfect in my world translates to flat terrain, off road running trails, unbelievably scenic views of the Bay and roadways mostly devoid of traffic. Welcome to the karma of Kent Island.
Somewhere in February, the arctic air took over Maryland. With temperatures in single digits and winds that put the “real feel” even colder, my exercise wardrobe morphed from running tights and windbreaker jackets to ski parkas, ski pants, sheep lined boots, and goggles. And no, I wasn’t skiing.
I “get it” that my neighbors north of Maryland – are faring much worse. I can’t even begin to feel their frozen pain. Yet for 2015, Maryland has become ‘one’ with Canada. Can’t we just start an early spring? But no. That little groundhog from Pennsylvania (Phil) had other plans…
It all started when my running partner was running late for our rendezvous in Bethesda.
With 15 minutes of spare time on my hands, I wandered through the Barnes and Noble bookstore. With no particular agenda (other than to stay warm for 15 minutes), I pretended to be a customer. Meandering along shelves of books, and stopping now and then for some pretend interest. And then I stopped cold in my tracks.
There is was. A book with a photo of healthy vegetables on the front and a title that was calling my name. “Paleo for Beginners”. And if that wasn’t enough – it opened directly to page 95. A recipe for Chocolate Chip Strawberry Muffins. I suddenly needed to “go Paleo”. Sold.
Today, I will run the Charleston Half Marathon – which is a charity running event that supports the Arts in Charleston SC. We left our campground in Mount Pleasant by 6AM – for a 30 minute drive into downtown Charleston. At 36 degrees, I was expecting to be cold, bone cold while waiting outdoors 1.5 hours for the 8AM start. I was thrilled to find that the Burke Middle School was open to the runners, and all 4300 of us piled inside to stay warm.
This is where I met Rosanne – a lovely lady in her early 50’s who is a cancer survivor and has run over 30 marathons and a few Iron-Man triathlons. She was quite inspiring and engaging and I nearly forgot that I was preparing to run a half marathon. With 10 minutes before the race starts, I said goodbye to my new friend – and stepped outdoors. Brrr. I was wearing too many clothes for running – but I really need to stay warm at the start. Aaah, the runner’s dilemma boils down to how much clothing to wear. Continue reading
We are seeking a winter reprieve to 20 something degree Maryland temperatures, and choose Charleston SC as our destination. What’s not to love about Charleston? A big city, with a small town southern charm. Oh – and it should be warmer than Maryland.
Our southern mini-vacation began with a good old fashioned ice storm. The kind of ice storm that starts in the south, aligns itself directly with the I-95 corridor, and dares us to really really really want to make this trip. We do. And, it’s a long one. An ice storm from the south translates to just enough ice and snow precipitation to barely coat the roadways, with show stopping multi-vehicle accidents. For some, this is a very bad day. For us, it means more time on the road. More time to dream about reaching warming temperatures. Continue reading
With temperatures rising to 32 degrees and a rain-sleet storm heading in our direction – I had a mid-day window to get in my 10 mile run. I’m wearing my usual wintertime running outfit — long sleeve moisture wicking shirt, thin insulated jacket, lined sweat pants, wool socks, mittens and a bright orange cap. Born-n-raised in upstate NY, I should be able to handle 32 degree weather.
After the first 3 miles of hilly terrain – I had worked up some steam. Apparently not enough steam. I was passed by an older man wearing t-shirt and shorts. That’s right – wearing summertime clothing. The last I checked, it was still winter in Maryland. And he zoomed past me. Continue reading
If I learned anything at all about training and running the NYC marathon – I could sum it up as an adventure in discipline. But now — 2 months after running the 5 boroughs of NY – I’m ready to balance that discipline with something else. A new strategy – at least for the next 30 days. Impromptu. Now, it might not sound like much of a running or exercise strategy – but it resonated for me. Less planning, more in-the-moment, winging-it, dance in it type of theme. Finding new ways to keep the flames hopping in my metabolism fire-pit. So – let’s see what this looks like so far:
January 1 – New Year’s Day: No running, no exercise, Nada. I admit – I was a bit nervous not starting out the new year with some round of intense exercise. At first I thought this might not be the best way to start out a new year. But then re-framed that thought around the theme of re-balancing and impromptu. Rest is good. Rest is healthful. Rest is part of training. I’m deciding in the moment – that today I will rest fully – and without guilt. And I did.
January 2 – Noticed a detour during a Tundra Bike workout – and decided it was worthy to explore. It was an abandoned airplane landing strip for the locals. Maybe not, but that’s my story. It’s a long wide road, never noticed before, and next to the BWI airport with lots of room for airplanes. Sounds like a landing strip right? And – why else would it be called Park and Fly? Continue reading
My day had the makings of ‘busy’. The novelty of laying low for the holidays was quickly wearing off – and an impromptu family gathering at my home later in the afternoon had me scrambling. The house would need some tidying, quick stops to the grocery store, cooking and entertaining. And all of that simply means — the workout must begin somewhere around OH dark hundred.
The necessities of a busy day translated into the need for a good kick-start, efficient, cardio blaster workout. I was ready to proceed with “same-o”. That same-o route, that I knew would get the job done. At 0700 – my creative mind has not kicked in. Thought ruts are deeply entrenched. Thankfully – my Workout-Partner-In-Crime (WPIC) Jill had this angle covered for me — and suggested that we mix some new route with the old route. And maybe a twist on the format could evolve? Continue reading
Day 10 of my thought rut challenge fell on Christmas Day. Initially I had planned to run a half marathon – a virtual run for charity. This would be a new adventure – running 13.1 miles on Christmas Day. Never have I done that. However, the gift and food coma thing took over earlier that I anticipated – so I allowed myself to take off an entire day from exercise. Mostly. Squeaked in a little 2 mile walk. And followed that by way too much food consumption. It is what it is.
Day 11 of my thought challenge had me curious about a recent injury to my left hamstring. It occurred at the end of a tempo run. I was lucky. It wasn’t a debilitating injury – but more of a wake up call. A wake up that I needed to be spending more time strengthening and stretching before and after I run. A wake up call that I took seriously. I do not want to be sidelined from running. Period. Continue reading
It’s day #8 of challenging my thought ruts – and I wasn’t quite sure what would appear. With a day of slow steady rains – the notion of visiting the indoor public pool suddenly sounded appealing. Somewhere in the midst of 5 months of marathon training – I lost all sense of exercise balance. The kind of balance that changes up your routine. The kind of balance that has you wearing out one part of your body – while the rest goes on vacation. The kind of balance where you wonder if you have forgotten how to return – to homeostasis. The kind of balance where the preferred exercise of choice is running above all else.
Today I opted to rediscover balance. Just a little. To see how it felt. To try it on, wear it around and see if I liked the fit. To see if balance is all that necessary. And, to see if I even remembered how to swim. Continue reading
Today’s adventure was breaking through a running route rut. A rut of running the same 1-of-5 courses, the same route, the same general area, or the same roads or anything that has the bottom-line sensation of ‘same-o’.
It’s the weekend – so my running adventure is joined by my partner in crime – Jill. Apparently Jill forgot it is “winter” and we had to rendezvous for the Annapolis run (a different city from our regular runs) by 6:30AM – meaning the alarm goes off at 4AM – and breakfast is inhaled by 5:30AM. Sigh. Sleeping fully will occur another day.
When I first started my Thought-Rut slash Holiday challenge as a way to close out 2014 – I wasn’t sure I would have enough thought ruts to last 16 days. For the record, I had at least a dozen ideas to test drive – just for today! Amazing how thought ruts come out of the woodwork once you set them free! But alas, one challenge to my thinking per day. So today I opted to challenge my thoughts that it couldn’t be done. There was no way I could hula hoop AND bounce a tennis ball on a tennis racket for 1 full minute. No way.
Despite my best efforts, my workday overflowed into my “me time” – forcing my workout to go indoors and pushed late into the afternoon. Generally that combination would lead to procrastination of my workout for another day. But I gave myself this challenge to break my thought-ruts for the remainder of 2014 – and knew you would be holding me accountable.
So the next best thing to an outdoor workout — is 1 hour of indoor training on my Elliptigo, which is setup on my trainer. In the winter, I keep my Elliptigo indoors for workouts during especially cold and snowy days. In the summer — she gets to ride free and loves to tackle all the hills that bicyclists with fancy pants train. I can always count on my Elliptigo to get my heart rate humming, while the rest of me turns into a puddle. Normally – that would be the end of my aerobic workout – but not today.