Category Archives: new things!

The Best Things in Life

After a lengthy hiatus from posting the normal “life” things, here’s a little update that changes a Lot, in the best kind of way.

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The best things in life…

They teach you the truth that nothing changes unless, or until, you do.

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They give you everything you were looking for, when you weren’t
even looking.

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They come when you least expect them.

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They show you the best version of yourself.

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They provide you with a new gauge for how “good” it can really be….

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Great, in fact.
Perfect.

The best things in life define your instincts, so the phrase “when you know, you know” suddenly makes all the sense in the world.

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We had already seen the Cherry Blossoms (Friday morning), but he insisted we go back (on Monday). “Because now they’ve fully bloomed”, and there wouldn’t be as many tourists and “Meg will probably want to see them again”, too.  So, alright fine, I’ll go to the November Project-DC next week and FINE, twist-my-arm, we can go back for another sunrise on the Tidal Basin to marvel at this city we call home.

FINE, fine, fine. That does sound like my kind of start to the week…

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We got there right in time to park the bikes and check out the sun rising by Jefferson’s memorial. Well done, sir!

What I did know: it was the perfect spring day and this place is much more enjoyable when the sidewalks are calm and the views are all yours.

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What I did not know: Meg was along to play photographer, and he had something burning a hole in his pocket!

(I also did not know how appropriate my outfit choice of the morning was! Spread LOVE, a la LGF.) 

We casually walked along the water, snapping a few photos, before he stopped me in just the right spot, to ask a little question…

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4.14.14 engaged

YES, of course I will! I can’t imagine a life with anyone but you.

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And that’s all for now.  :)

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Filed under DC, new things!, pictures, random

{Marathon} Training Tales: Joy is…

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”        Marianne Williamson

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Marathon week has swiftly arrived!

This cycle went quickly since it started in late January and left me with about 10 weeks to figure out this whole HR-based, MAF, aerobic training stuff. I’ve dissected more runs and heart-rates and science-y things than all four previous training cycles combined! At one point there was a LOT of information swirling around in my brain.

Now, it’s just time to let it work. To let it go and see what happens. It’s time to remember that I trained for the process, not the medal (not even sure if we get one of those?). I trained this way to try a new approach with a fresh perspective, for the lifestyle that accompanies the choice to attempt a(nother) marathon. To ask some questions, and move in a different direction (or at different speeds, with different HRs n’ such!).

To grab that joy of running…

simple rules

Joy is…going to the track and doing those very specific workouts.

On the track, I feel more dedicated than anywhere else. You have to seek out this exact location and get here to do this exact, specific, run. I’ve never been much of a “track” runner before – for those exact reasons, having to do something so specific and prescribed and boring  – so it stands out to me.

This cycle involved a  few trips to the track for MAF tests, and one final visit yesterday for some pace testing. I got one last lap (400m) to “unload”! And with that, I ran to toe the line of all-out and you-still-have-a-race-to-run and to turn corners with a stupid-silly grin because whoa, this cycle was a good one.

Joy is…the little rush of looking up your schedule for the week.

I put this entirely in someone else’s hands. The only specific requests I had were: “I’d prefer not to train by HR only” and “I like to do long runs on Saturday”.  So, I got half of what I wanted! But some prayers are best left unanswered; if you want different results and experiences, you have to DO something different.

There were no two weeks alike; every time I logged onto Training Peaks with anticipation – what’s next? What do I get to do this week??? The first time I saw “the big mama” I spent the rest of the week excited for Saturday’s adventure.

( If first-marathon-me (circa 2010) read that paragraph
there would be eye-rolling for days. )

Joy is…asking questions, learning about a sport you love.

Joy is…visualizing that Finish Line clock & banner.

Joy is…realizing you’ve stepped so far forward you’re suddenly in Race Week.

With this week comes the good kind of nervous, slowly seeping into the muscle fibers. I wrote to my coach that it’ll come on strong tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday; the anxious-excited that starts to slowly drip adrenaline into my system every single time I think about the starting line, mile 15, or 21 or 25 or 26.1 and THE finish line sight. The running, all over.

It’s the type of nervous that gets you to that mental place you need to be – just enough fear, because it will hurt – without totally derailing the physical+mental readiness. That feeds your legs all of the juice they’ll need to push past their perceived limits. And that flashes your goal time across that mental clock over and over AND OVER, until you just know you’ll chase it no matter what.

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Joy is chasing a goal.

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Filed under Goals, learning, marathon, new things!, running, training

Training Tales: Recovery Running

Today checked the third run-box in as many days, defying any logic my previous training approach would have justified. In another life, I would have been behind the steering wheel with directions reading “Caution: Detour! Turn right, rest after the Long Run (LR)!”

A recovery run? Wellll, that’s the short-cut to injury! So much running!
Take it easy!

Flash forward: barring the 24-hr flu/food-poisoning mongrel that wreaked havoc last weekend, I’ve run for 30-60+ minutes after every LR for the past 6 weeks. Lo and behold, all systems are still functioning.

Not only does my schedule include a weekly recovery run, it tacks onto the fatigue with “1 hour, easy” every Monday. I’ve come to appreciate, and actually look forward to, these routine runs so much so that there was no skipping it today. Snow day? Forecast of 5-10”? Better get out there early, before it piles up!

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Mission accomplished.

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FIRST order of business: I had to run the LR differently.
Because the coach (and oh so many running experts) says so!. 

The LR should be done at an easy effort and ‘conversational pace’; slowing the ‘normal’ run pace by 30-60 seconds  doesn’t always add up. We have some intuition assessing how a run may ‘feel’, but that’s (more often than not) clouded by expectations and ego. It’s easily ignored when X + Y doesn’t equal Z  in our mental math.

Enter: the HRM. That thing doesn’t lie! It tells you exactly how your body perceives effort, in real time. On some days it’s your friend, while others it is your ego-smashing foe. Either way, you have the harsh truth right there on the screen.

Every LR has come with very very specific instructions. Pace and mileage don’t make appearances; I look only at “HR” and “Time”.

just goSource: Greatist.com

SECOND, I had to be inquisitive.
Because I’m a questioner and I need logic behind these things!

While the LR should be taxing and working to increase endurance, it should not slam on your brakes. It should not leave your legs so completely trashed that you can’t fathom the idea of running the next day. (That’s what a race-effort is saved for!)

Consider my former self’s mind blown.

When you take the LR easy (as defined by your perceived effort and/or HR zones – pick your flavor), your aerobic system gets a good looong workout. And when you’re training for a marathon, the aerobic system is your very best friend. Work it, work it!

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Some perspective: a 400m sprint is run 99% anaerobically. GO GO GO – breathe if you find time!  A marathon is run 99% aerobically. Oxygen is along for the ride

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If you can save just a little bit of energy and effort for the day-after a LR, you can go at it again. You can run on tired, but not trashed, legs and increase your resistance to fatigue (e.g. the Hanson Method). You can have a little chat with those muscles and be like “Hey, remember what it feels like to reach mile 23 and convince yourself to keep going despite every single part of you screaming to PLEASE STOP?”… “We’re training for that moment, right now.”

And this may be a game-changer. I still have 5 weeks to train, check boxes, refuel and recover. But I can tell you that in many ways my mentality has shifted; a recovery run may be your Ace if you play the cards right*.

*This assumes a runner who has no previous injury that prevents running consecutive days in a row. Above all, do what works for you.

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Do you include recovery runs in your training? Why / why not?

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Filed under learning, marathon, new things!, running, training

Because I’m Happy

With winter woes, snow-covered tracks and newly discovered levels of exhaustion seemingly behind me, this Friday calls for a little Happy dance. If you haven’t listened to this song yet, do so now and I’ll be here waiting for you as you enjoy 3 minutes and 53 seconds of musical + dancing bliss.

(Yep, way behind on the times here, but whoa Pharrell, NICE WORK.)

good day

In the spirit of Friday and having a good day and Pharrell’s intoxicating tune, here are a few thangs that have made me pretty damn happy as of late:

The HAPPY Dance Video. Yes, I’ll watch it again as I jam-out here.

LEGOs, in movie form.  Genius. Also, Emmett, let’s hang out.

UpWorthy.com shared one of the biggest contributing factors to happiness,  according to the science that is “measuring” happiness (?). I’ll venture to assume music comes in close in second-place. You’re welcome.

Handstand practice, in the office. If you can convince your coworkers to join you, and us, it’s just one minute per day. And here’s a step-by-step guide. If there’s a wall, there’s a way!

Tony’s Burpee Burner. I think Tony might be Emmett’s alter ego.

Running, specifically with this in mind. Wineries, sunshine, springtime and a finish line – all in one weekend? Yeah, counting down the days!

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What would be on your list, as of late? Share the web-searching and/or music-listening love! All eyes and ears.

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Filed under about me, new things!, random

Once Per Year…

Go somewhere you’ve never been before.

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intention vs. habit—-

Eat at a new restaurant; run a new trail; spend a weekend in a new nearby town or relatively far-away city; show your eyes something unique, wherever or whatever it may be.

Break out of your habits, routines and comfort zones.

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I wasn’t in marathon-training mode when I planned this trip, and I won’t be while I’m on it either. (It’s cool; Coach-approved n’ all!) Instead, I’ll be roaming around Nairobi, Masai Mara and Amsterdam with a heavy backpack and a light step. I’ll soak in some sunshine, because it’s a wonderfully warm 80* there (and a surprisingly warm 45* in Holland), and try not to taunt any wild animals.

puma pantsYes, I know that pumas are native to the Americas.
“Lion” just doesn’t work here.

These explorations are for running if/when we want to, wandering streets and African deserts, catching up with the best kind of friends, tasting new flavors and forgetting, for whatever amount of time you have, that there are responsibilities waiting for you. They’re not going anywhere -  we are.

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Where are you going? Or, where do you plan to go soon?

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Filed under about me, Goals, new things!, random, travel