A Vacation, A Baby and A 10 Miler

This past week has certainly been a loaded one.  Sunday Jason and I flew from Harrisburg to Chicago to New Orleans to begin our vacation.  I plan to make a separate post about that once I get all of our pictures loaded and sorted.  It was a very enjoyable and much needed trip.  We did plenty of walking but no running, and ate a ton of much-heavier-than-we’re-used-to foods.

Thursday morning we left New Orleans’ 70+ degree weather to fly back to chilly PA.  Our plane was taxiing down the runway when I saw my mom calling.  I quickly answered and said “We’re going down the runway, I can’t talk” to which she replied “Your sister is going to the hospital to be induced”.  I told her I would call her back as soon as we touched down in Chicago.  My sister was scheduled for a routine ultrasound that afternoon after measuring a tad small at her last appointment.  Hearing that she was going to be induced had me worried though she was 3 days shy of 39 weeks.  As soon as our plane touched down and we were allowed to use phones again I called my mom back.  Apparently one of the fluid sacs around the baby was showing a bit low so the decision was made to induce.

I texted my sister to wish her luck and found out her water actually broke at the hospital which was better than having to go through an actual induction.  I figured she would be in labor most of the night and the baby wouldn’t arrive until Friday.  My parents picked us up at Harrisburg’s airport after being delayed in Chicago for an extra half hour.  Until we arrived back at their house it was after midnight.  I instructed my mom to text any updates and I would reply in the morning since I put my phone on silent at night, but if there was any medical emergency to call Jason’s phone.

Around 6:55am Friday morning I heard Jason moan that my mom was calling him and I quickly grabbed my phone.  I had a few pictures texted and one announcing that my nephew, Weston John, had arrived around 1am at 6 lbs 4 oz and 18 inches.  I was confused why she was calling if the baby had already arrived.  I called back and apparently she thought I would’ve been up by then and she was concerned why I hadn’t texted back for a half hour.  A bit frustrated I replied that we hadn’t gone to bed until almost 1:30am!  I’m fairly certain she was just overly excited and wanted to talk to someone about the baby’s arrival.  I visited Kasey, Erik and Weston later that afternoon and then returned home to run 5 miles on the rail trail, my first run since the previous Wednesday.

After all the excitement of vacation and a new baby I can’t say I went into the Dover 10 Miler too focused today.  I treated it as a race to just finish with no time goal planned.  I figured if I average a 9:30 or faster pace that would be sufficient.  I lined up away from my dad, Todd and Armand to ensure I wouldn’t get caught up in anyone’s pace.  Jason lined up beside me but took off quick at the start.  I was reminded why if I ever choose to run a marathon, I will be running a low key one.  I loathe being trapped in groups of people when I’m running and can’t wait until everyone has thinned out to the point that I’m either running alone or only around a handful of people.

Overall the race was rather uneventful.  There was no rescuing of a kitten like the first year I ran the race.  I had some slight stomach cramping/gas pains off and on which I attribute to eating lunch a bit too close to race time.  That can be blamed on Jason who insisted we had time to watch an episode of the Prodigal Son prior to getting ready.  Fortunately it didn’t really affect my performance.  I definitely ran comfortable with splits of 9:05, 9:00, 9:09 and 9:27 for the first four miles.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw the lead guy run by before I even reached the fourth mile (he would finish in a 57-something).

At the turn around I clocked an 8:59 and was happy to break a 9 min mile.  The return was hillier and I slowed to a 9:31 for both the sixth and seventh miles.  At the eight mile my Garmin beeped a 9:43 and I got annoyed.  How dare I let myself slow that much when the hardest part of the course was behind me.  I decided running 8 miles comfortable was far enough and I would try to race the final 2 miles.  My feet, knees and hips were all a bit achy at that point – evidence of why one should not take a vacation the week leading into a long race.  I figured whether I ran faster or slower though wouldn’t matter, the aches would still be there so I might as well run faster.  I began picking people off and no one passed me in those final two miles.  I finished with a 1:32:11.  I didn’t even realize until after I arrived home and loaded my Garmin’s data that I ran an 8:14 final mile.

Jason had finished about 6 minutes ahead of me and my running buddies all ran well and finished much farther ahead of me.  I was either 5th or 6th in my age group depending on whether the 2nd place overall female is removed from the group for the winter series.  I’m trying to not focus on the fact that I ran a 1:21:40 last year.  I was much, much stronger at that time and training a lot harder.  I’m actually in about the same shape as I was in 2017 when I ran a 1:31:31.  I’m considering using 2017’s results as a guideline when setting goals for each race this winter series and hopefully over time I will get back to the kind of shape I was in last year.

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A Year of Blogging

The title of this post is a tad misleading as I actually began this blog in July 2013.  Its original title was “A little bit of this and a little bit of that” as the posts were quite varied.  I like to think they still are at times, but the blog has certainly evolved into a running/fitness dominated one which is quite alright with me.

Nov. 13th of last year I began writing one blog entry per week.  I didn’t actually formalize it as a goal until I wrote this post in December.  As I approach that one year mark I am happy to report that I have indeed written one post per week without failure.  I’m not sure I would’ve been able to do this when I first started the blog as I tended to only write when the mood struck me.  Also, not having any type of real theme to the blog made it difficult to know what to write about at times.  Now having a more focused blog means I can pull from my vast array of knowledge/experience with running if ideas are running thin.  There is also the occasional random post too if needed to fill in a week.

Interestingly enough I was blogging every Saturday for awhile then it evolved to every Sunday and lately it seems that I blog on Monday afternoons.  While some may find setting the same day of the week to blog would be easier, much like my dislike of formal training plans I prefer not to commit to something so rigid.  I find the goal of blogging once a week to be motivation enough to ensure it gets completed.

I’m sad to say that I haven’t kept  up with the other goal of writing other things regularly.  To be honest I didn’t even realize that was something I set as a goal until I reread the post from last year.  I think at this stage in my life that is too ambitious of a goal, and for now I would rather continue my goal of blogging once per week.  I may try to increase the overall number of posts within the next year, maybe blogging twice a week some weeks, but I know certain times of the year like during track season that would be too much to ask of myself.

For fun I’d like to ask readers a few questions about their own blogs – feel free to answer in the comments:

When did you create your blog?

Does your blog have a theme?

Has your blog changed over time?

Do you write anything in addition to your blog?

Do you find that you connect more with others via blogging or social media?

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Fitness Fess Ups

Inspired by Laurie of Meditations in Motion’s Runfessions, I decided to do some fessing up myself.  Mine will span the entire fitness spectrum to include my non-running workouts as well as nutrition.  I’m not sure if I’ll make this a constant type of post or not, but I thought it would be fun to write one.

My first fess up would be that I have been hardcore slacking on my active recovery days and foam rolling.  My body is quickly reminding me of it.  Some of this has been due to other plans (Friday I went to a coworker’s house to hang out after work) and some of it has been pure laziness.  It’s odd that I can find motivation to do a hard workout like running, but I lack motivation to do something easier like yoga and mobility.  All I can figure is the slower pace is boring to me.  I am going to try to do better and I made sure Jason held me accountable this morning to do 20 mins of yoga.

My next fess up would be that while I’ve gotten more consistent with upper and lower body strength workouts, my core workouts have fell by the wayside.  There’s no real reason for this as I could easily add some core moves before or after these strength workouts.  I’m just chalking it up again to being lazy.

I’m fessing up that last Wednesday I left Armand behind during our group run.  Normally we run together while dad, Todd and Scott are well ahead of us.  I was having a really good run and was able to keep up with the front pack and had no desire to circle back.  Fortunately Scott looped back and near the end of the run Armand said that Scott didn’t need to anymore.  I know everyone has good runs and bad runs, but I feel bad that my run was extra good and Armand’s wasn’t.

I fess up that I’ve been eating too much candy corn.  It’s not that I even care that much for candy corn.  I could certainly go through the Halloween season without it.  It’s just that it’s there and therefore I eat it.  Any remaining after Halloween is going to be disposed of promptly.

My final fess up is that I’m jealous of Jason’s ability to only run twice a week and still be able to build strength, speed and endurance that surpasses mine.  When he raced with me years ago he never trained a lot and always beat me and I was ok with that.  Last year when I became really fast and strong and beat him at Glow in the Grove I expected that I would stay the “better” runner.  Since he got his new shoes and Garmin this summer though, he’s a force to be reckoned with on runs particularly trail ones.

Do you have any fess ups, fitness or otherwise?

 

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Old Friends, New Bonds

One of the biggest struggles I’ve dealt with in life, multiple times actually, has been losing friends.  While sometimes this was mutual due to us naturally changing and growing apart, there were some friendships during my high school years that I grieved immensely.  I sometimes make the case that losing someone still alive is more difficult than losing someone to death.  When someone dies you’re forced to accept the reality that they won’t ever be in your life again.  When someone willingly leaves your life you hold out hope that somehow, someway that person will return to your life and it takes a lot longer to accept that they’re gone.

I think I bought into the “friends forever” mentality a lot more than most people and retained a loyalty to people I cared about a great deal more than they seemed to keep towards me.  I was also incredibly sensitive and able to be hurt quite easily.  I’m sure this isn’t uncommon among teenagers as hormones heighten emotions, new experiences open up worlds of possibilities, and everything somehow just seems more important and dramatic.  I often keep that thought in mind as a high school track coach.  I never downplay my athletes’ feelings regardless of how “insignificant” something in their life may seem as I remember (despite being almost 33 years old) how emotional things felt to me in high school.

I have been fortunate to retain a few great friendships over the years.  One friend, Lindsey, I’ve actually known since we were in diapers as my mom was her babysitter for a period of time.  She qualifies as my “oldest” friend in terms of longevity.  Ours is an interesting friendship in that I don’t know that we’ve ever considered each other “BFFs” but we’ve always kept a connection and known about the important things in each others’ lives.  We’re also each other’s go to person when a concert comes to town that we need a friend to join.  I recently attended her wedding and went to a youth football game to see her one daughter cheer, and it was a reminder that you can maintain lifelong friendships through new phases in life.

I was able to visit recently with my best girlfriend, Alecia, as her mom bought a ticket to fly her in from Chicago for a long weekend.  She and I have been friends since high school when cross country, track and a lot of the same classes joined us together.  Unfortunately we’ve spent more years physically apart (she moved to Chicago to attend college) than we have in the same state which means our actual hangouts post-high school have been severely limited.  I’m sure that’s why I go through spells of really missing her and curse the airline companies for tickets to Chicago being so expensive.  We went out to breakfast and caught up on each other’s lives and I was certainly sad to say goodbye.  Ours is a friendship that can pick back up like we haven’t gone over a year without seeing each other.  I realized driving home that one of the reasons I love hanging out with her so much is that she’s 100% focused on the conversation.  In a world of technology and mental stress it seems harder and harder to find people to truly engage with for an extended period of time and I’m glad I have that connection with her.

I have another friend, Ashley, who I have actually been coworkers with twice.  During college I worked with her at the Deb Shop, a juniors’ clothing store no longer in existence, and we both work for the same healthcare organization now.  She’s not someone I ever hung out with outside of work a whole lot, but with who I’ve always retained a good connection to nonetheless.  We were recently Skype messaging during work and reminiscing about those years at the Deb Shop and our antics when we were young and dumb.  It was a reminder of how nice it is to have people who know past versions of you, who can remind you of past fun times, things you’ve overcome, and still be able to connect to the person you are now.

While the three friends I described above came into my life during different periods, and our in person interactions have waxed and waned over the years for various reasons, they have retained their friendships with me.  The most important element of those friendships is that I can tell all 3 of them anything, and there will never be any judgement.  They accept me as me, flaws and all, and I think that is the key that allows people to grow in life and retain old friendships.  I have come to cherish my interactions with them, particularly the in person ones, even more the older I get as I realize truly connecting with people gives a lot of meaning to life.

Do you retain close friendships with anyone from your high school or college years or even younger?  What do you consider the most important element to retaining a lifelong friendship?

 

 

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2019 – 3rd Quarter Fitness Summary

I’m slightly overdue in writing up this summary but I wanted to make sure to highlight the Glow in the Grove race in the last post.  I’m curious to see how many miles I was able to log this quarter compared to the second quarter when I dealt with a hamstring injury and rehabbing it.

In July I was finally able to resume normal training after completing a walk/run plan.  I ran no races as I just wanted to focus on building my mileage back up and start running 3x a week consistently again.  I only took 4 days completely off from working out and ran 11 days totaling 46 miles.

By August I was finally feeling back into a regular routine.  I began incorporating more lower body strength workouts in my week to ensure my hamstring wouldn’t be as prone to injury.  I took off 5 total days from working out and ran 12 days totaling 56.96 miles.

In September I ran my first race since my injury and also my first trail race, the Sasquatch 5k.  It went well and helped restore my confidence that I was in shape enough to be racing again.  I also took two vacations, my annual trip to Ocean City, MD and a short stay at Tiny Estates but neither interrupted my workouts too much.  I took 5 days off from working out and ran 12 days totaling 60.98 miles.

I’m really proud to see how my miles have increased each month.  I don’t detail my non-running workouts here as I think that would become too tedious and boring to read, but suffice to say I tend to do 1-2 strength workouts a week, a core workout and 1-2 recovery workouts of yoga or mobility.  This month has been focused on increasing my long runs in preparation for the Dover 10 miler, the first winter series race in November.  I’m being reminded of just how exhausting the longer runs can be, but with each one I’m gaining more strength and speed.  While I never look forward to the cold weather, I’m excited for the winter series to start especially since it’ll be Jason’s first year running the races.

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Weekend Randomness

I love writing random focused posts.  They allow me to snapshot key things that don’t necessarily merit full blog posts themselves but that I still want to write about, and they basically allow me to be “lazy” with my writing.  So here we go…

Glow in the Grove 5k – This was the 3rd year I’ve participated in the event.  Jason joined me last year, and dad decided to join us this year.  Unlike last year when heavy rains forced part of the Hanover Trolley trail to be closed, this year the course was straight out and back on the trail with only a small portion of the start and finish in town near the recreation center.  We assumed that meant it was a full 5k course again (last year’s came to around 2.83) and were even told they had GPS measured it.  Jason and dad went out hard.  I went out comfortably hard as it was my first road race since my hamstring injury because the Sasquatch 5k was a trail race.  I actually ended up pacing close to the dad one of my track kids which was nice.  There was a breeze on the way out that was chilling my fingers and I kept flexing them to keep warm.  There was one woman ahead of me at the turn around, but she must’ve really picked it up after that because when we reached a huge spotlight I couldn’t see her in front of us.  That’s one of the only downfalls to racing at night, even with a headlamp you can’t see far enough in front of you to judge your competition.  The breeze had calmed down for our return, and I really picked up my pace during the last mile.  I came into town to “Eye of the Tiger” blaring and as no one was around me I felt like everyone was cheering just for me.  I crossed the finish line to discover that unfortunately again the course was short, I had clocked 2.85 miles and Jason’s Garmin registered 2.87 so my finishing time of 23:05 was a bit misleading.  The woman ahead of me was the first woman but also first in our age group, so she got an award and I didn’t, much like what happened during my first year of running the event.  I was expecting that though, so I wasn’t too disappointed and was just happy that I ran really strong and felt good.  Dad won his age group in 20:47 and Jason won his in 20:26.  Jason was really excited to have beaten dad for the first time and his training is really paying off.  Overall it was a really good night and we’re looking forward to racing it again next year.

Joker – Jason and I went to see this movie on Saturday.  We’re big fans of the Christopher Nolan trilogy, but when we saw the trailer we knew that we had to see this movie as well.  Joaquin Phoenix really did make the character his own, and I don’t think it would be fair to compare his performance to Heath Ledger’s Joker as each movie really has its own focus.  Personally I don’t understand the controversy in the media about this movie.  I didn’t find it to be any more violent than other violent movies I’ve watched, and not to give away any spoilers but there is no depiction of a mass shooting event.  If anything I felt the movie drove home the point that mental health is severely underfunded and poorly addressed in this country.

Home Improvements – Prior to going to see Joker, Jason and I spent the morning doing some fall cleanup.  I really wish all the leaves on the two trees we have would fall at the same time so we could just rake once and be finished, but it never works out that way.  He trimmed our hedges as well, and I went to work hand sawing some pokeweed stalks out of them.  I’m determined to keep ahead of them next year as the roots are too deep for us to dig out, and I hate that they overtake part of the hedges each year.  Sunday we went to Lowes to pick up some supplies so I can paint the window trim in our living room prior to my mom painting the room for us while we’re in New Orleans.  Jason picked up some putty to fill in holes and sand the walls in advance.  I really hate how expensive supplies are for even simple house projects.  It’s probably why I tend to doing avoid them and why to date only one room of our house has been painted since moved in 4 years ago.

Long Run – Sunday morning dad, Armand and Scott came over to run with Jason and me.  We set out from the house and ran to the high school where we picked up the Wildcat 10k course then ran back home.  It was 9.5 miles (Jason added on by running the cemetery to get a full 10), and it felt really good.  That’s the longest I’ve ran since probably the beginning of the year, and it’s not an easy course.  I took it easier than usual on the hills.  Partially so that I wouldn’t get too far ahead of Armand and partially because running 9.5 was a good enough workout that I didn’t feel a need to kill myself on the hills as well.  I was really proud of Jason as it was the first time he ran that course and I thought the slightly fast pace that he, dad and Scott were running would burn him out on the hills.  Apparently not.  We rewarded ourselves with high protein chocolate smoothies from Smoothie King and an afternoon of relaxing on the couch watching football.

Apple Pie – Friday after work I made my first apple pie.  Armand works part time at a local orchard and keeps bringing apples to our Wed. group run.  I had more than I knew what to do with, so Jason found a recipe that didn’t call for any added sugar for me to try.  I cheated and used a refrigerated pie crust and ended up using a 9 inch cake pan because I don’t have a pie pan, so the aesthetic appeal of the pie could’ve been a bit better, but fortunately the taste was really good.  I sent a piece home with Armand after Sunday’s run and he called to tell me he had finished it before he even got home and that it was very good.

Have you ever ran a night race?  Do you plan to see Joker?  Do you love or loathe home projects?

 

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Tiny Estates Trip

Last September Jason and I stayed outside of Lititz in a tiny house for the first time.  When we discovered there was a campground turned tiny house community/vacation rental place in Elizabethtown we knew we would have to check that out as well.  Our trip was considered a mini getaway but also a “research trip” as we do often talk about the possibility of living in a tiny house someday.

Tiny Estates has a wide variety of tiny homes to choose from for an overnight stay.  They host tours to non-guests as well at $15 a person, but since we were guests our tour was free.  I didn’t particularly care for sleeping in a loft at the first tiny house (the steps were narrow to climb at night and the ceiling was low), so I searched for houses offering an actual bedroom.  We ultimately decided to stay in The Vision.

We worked a half day on Thursday morning then set out to visit Lititz for the afternoon since we couldn’t check into the tiny house until 3pm.  We had an amazing lunch at Tomato Pie Cafe (I really wish there was a location closer to home), and I tried a new flatbread that consisted of chicken, onions, squash and goat cheese with balsamic vinegar.  Jason was pleased by the salmon burger he tried.  Wilbur Chocolate Co. was our next stop for treats for my parents and his coworkers then we ventured to Zest for some goodies of our own.  We made a final stop at the Cafe Chocolate for drinks before heading to Elizabethtown.

I checked in at the office and received our badge for the security gate and key to the house.  We parked and located our house which had a great spot by a fishing pond though the one house behind it was a bit close for our liking.  After checking out what kitchen supplies we had we made a quick trip to Giant for stir fry ingredients for dinner.  Our first tiny house trip we didn’t bother cooking, but we wanted to get a more authentic feel of living in one during this trip.  Jason cooked and cleaned up then we wandered around looking at the other homes and relaxed by the pond.

Friday morning we ate oatmeal for breakfast and set out to run on the Conewago trail.  I was excited to run in a new place though disappointed that there was no porta potty at the trailhead.  The trail itself was very nice with trees on either side of it for almost the whole portion we ran and farmland beyond that.  There were a few street crossings with only one major one, and they were all marked well in advance.  We logged 7 miles at an easy pace and I wanted to push the final mile.  Unfortunately my right big toe had rubbed inside of my shoe within the first mile of the run and impeded my ability to speed up very much.

We returned to the tiny house to shower and eat leftover stir fry for lunch.  Then we walked to the office for our tour.  We were the only ones touring which meant we could ask plenty of questions.  I believe we toured 5 or 6 other tiny homes, each with a slightly different layout.  Our favorite was the newly added shipping container home which we’re hoping to stay in next year.

The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent relaxing by the pond and watching episodes of Cobra Kai on YouTube TV.  We went back into Elizabethtown to Babbos to get a white pizza to bring back for dinner.  As usual it didn’t quite meet Jason and my pizza-snob standards of being Scranton quality, but it was good enough.  More people started arriving, and the tour guide had told us all but one of the homes was booked out for the weekend.  This became apparent as the WiFi slowed down and we were glad we had booked Thurs – Sat rather than Fri – Sun.  A couple and their son utilized the hot tub near our house, but we had chosen not to bring our bathing suits.  Had we known our house’s proximity to it we might’ve reconsidered.  Saturday morning we ate breakfast and checked out of our tiny house.

Our stay was short but very relaxing.  The location of Tiny Estates is perfect for anyone wanting to check out Lititz, other areas of Lancaster or the Hershey area.  It is a very quiet and rural area, but a 5-10 minute drive to places in Elizabethtown for food or shopping.  Most of the houses rent for about $135-140 a night before taxes, so they’re very comparable to an average hotel. We plan to visit again and who knows, maybe even invest in a tiny house there someday!

 

 

 

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