The Drive

After our moving day, we had a restless night in a Sprinhill Suites. The children slept ok, but Matt and I had trouble shutting off our minds even though we were physically exhausted. We got up the next morning to begin the better part of our ten hour drive.

In the future, I will try not to begin a move halfway across the country on the morning of a winter storm which brings us through Pittsburgh the day of a post-season Steelers vs. Ravens game. Icy rain was our companion for a good part of the morning. I70 was closed due to trucks de-icing and spreading sand on the road. There was also a three car pile up. Seeing a minivan fully loaded with belongings, missing doors and hauled on a flatbed gave me pause. That could easily have been us.

Despite the poor driving conditions, the ice made for a pretty backdrop to our drive. The trees and grass were glistening and the freezing rain made the otherwise brown vegetation a pretty mauve color. The soundtrack of the 80’s helped keep me awake and alert as the highway passed me by.

We took our time and made it as far as Toldeo, OH (Maumee, really) on the second night. The traffic, weather, and loaded vehicles did not make for an easy drive. We checked in to another Marriott property and headed to the Outback just through the parking lot. It was the only restaurant that did not require driving. We waited for quite a while on “date night” but enjoyed our dinner.

We found a better position for Goldie on this leg of the trip. Buffered by a prized bottle of homemade smokey jalapeño sauce, the bowl didn’t leak at all. Goldie even got to see the inside of several rest areas due to the frigid temperatures in the parked car.

Back at the hotel after dinner, the kids swam with a bunch of other kids staying in town for a hockey tournament. The exercise was great after being cramped in the cars all day. I thought I would sleep better the second night, but my mind was still whirring. I ended up in the small roll away and got a few hours of sleep in the wee hours.

We were all excited to be on our way Sunday and made it to Michigan in good time. Unfortunately my GPS took us on the scenic narrow route to our rental home and my van and lapsed winter driving skills did not quite make it up the narrow winding hilly road. Thank goodness for a good friend with a Ram truck and a tow rope.

We finally and happily made it to our new temporary home. The setting on the lake is lovely and the house is cozy and warm. Even both of our cars have a space inside the garage. We are adjusting to cold and snowy weather, but are happy to be among old friends.

The moving truck is due tomorrow and because of the narrow road, adjustments were made for a shuttle truck rather than the semi. The boys begin school and all three will be in full-time Spanish Immersion. We have enjoyed “camping out” on air mattresses but are all excited to get furniture and belongings tomorrow. We will also get to reclaim out dog who has been living at friends since Thanksgiving.

Henry has plans to move back to Maryland soon and he surely speaks for us all when he says he misses our old life and house and friends. Change isn’t easy but we are all doing well with the challenge.

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Back to Basics

Day 1 – I realized over the weekend that I was almost 130 miles away from my goal of doubling my 2012 bike mileage so this morning after the school drop off, I rode my bike on my trainer to close the gap. I rode 12 miles and did it pretty easily even though I have not ridden my bike in weeks. Apparently it is just like riding a bike as long as you are doing some form of cardio.

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After the ride, Jack and I went on our hiking trail. It was a nice day and we encountered a few others with the same idea. On our way to the woods, I ran the quarter mile down hill and also did some running along the trail. At one point in the not too distant past, it was all I could do just to hike down and back up the trail so I really have made progress.  I spent some time thinking about my friend’s mom and the one year anniversary of my brother’s death which is coming up this week. Walking always centers me and brings my spirituality to the surface.
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Day 2 – I took the boys to school and made a quick trip to my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe’s. Matt was working from home so we could go to the funeral later in the morning. Since we were going to be gone a long time that day, I made the decision to take Jack for a walk in the woods before getting ready. I also made the decision on this walk to focus on my bike and these long walks for a bit, since getting any exercise at all during this season is difficult for me. I have never been diagnosed but I suspect that I suffer from some form of seasonal depression. I am more likely get out and do things that I really love. I will continue to do some running, but it is much easier to get on my bike in the house during the cold weather than go out for a run that I am still struggling with. I have not quit running and still plan to do it, but I will walk and bike regularly through the cold dark days.
Day 3 – I volunteered in the kindergarten class today and went my my quarterly hair cut. When I got home, I took Jack for a short walk.
Day 4 – This  morning I met up with a friend and that headed home for a walk in the woods before getting the boys.
Day 5 – Even though my twelve miles of riding earlier in the week was pretty effortless, I did pay for the lack of biking with a sore rear for a few days. Today I got back on my bike and rode another twelve miles. I will make it to my goal by the end of the year. After today’s ride, I have 102 miles to go.
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After the ride, Jack and I did our hike. The walk in the woods that I regularly do, used to take nearly an hour one way several years ago and has since been cut in half. It is a true measure of my fitness progress over the years. I still have a long way to go, but I have come a long way. I have made it a habit not to try to get the closest parking spaces. Instead, I park farther away from entrances to avoid the crowd of traffic and to get a longer walk in.
Day 6  and Day 7 – We had a busy weekend filled with activities for the kids and get-togethers with friends so I did not get any formal workouts in. I did some laundry and cleaning which counts as activity in my book. I also ran some errands which I typically avoid on a weekend. I had planned to do a hike by put the cold weather was a deterrent.  I am doing well staying away from holiday treats so we will see how the year ends up.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I have much to be thankful for and hope that you do as well.
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Camping and planking and running too

Week Ten
Day 1 – Jack and I had a wonderful autumn walk in the woods. It almost feels wrong to count it as exercise, but when I am huffing up the hill at the end and come home sweaty, I know I worked hard.

Day 2 – I just came home from one of my best runs ever. I ran as far as I could, and while it still isn’t a mile, I pushed myself further than I have ever gone. I alternated shorter walks between longer runs for the rest of the time for my 2.25 miles.

A friend asked me last week what injuries I was focused on and why I thought intervals were better for me. I am not sure I articulated it very well to him at the time, but I realized what it is today. I am worried about all injuries and realized today that after running for a while my form suffers. I start to roll my ankles and feel myself stepping funny. The SECOND I notice it and I have difficulty correcting it, I stop and walk until I feel like running again. I believe for me, poor form may lead to some injury. So while I am still not running a mile, I am still running. That is more than I was doing less than three months ago. That accomplishment alone makes me feel proud and keeps pushing me out the door.

Day 3 – I volunteered today and didn’t exercise but for those of you following my squirrel adventures, I have another to add. I was walking to my car from the school when I heard a loud sound. I looked up startled and saw that a Squirrel had leapt or fallen onto the hood of the car parked just in front of mine. From the sound, I was pretty sure it was injured and the car was damaged. As I gingerly walked toward my own car, I jumped again when the squirrel ran up a light pole. I certainly got my heart rate up!

Day 4 – I had a great run and was able to go just a little further than Tuesday. Since today is Halloween and I have NO willpower when it comes to candy, I also took Jack for a short hike. This is the beginning of my yearly struggle with overeating and the holidays. I usually end the year ten pounds more than the beginning so I am really going to work on avoiding that this year.

Day 5 – much of the day was spent preparing for a camping trip with my Cub Scouts, but I also started a 30 day plank challenge. Here is the link to the details: http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/30-day-plank-challenge I especially like how the challenge starts at your fitness level and focuses on proper form. I will be taking the remains of our Halloween candy to the camp out, because I don’t need any more.

Day 6 – I did not get an official workout in, but we were camping and I was loading and unloading heavy things, setting up tents and camp and got plenty of fresh air and some exercise. I planked in the tent before bed. Tonight is the official end to Daylight Savings Time so I get to lay on the cold ground for an extra hour trying to sleep.

Day 7 – We broke camp, took down tents, loaded cars and then unloaded everything when we got home. I wanted to go for a run, but after checking for ticks and showering, I really needed a short nap. We walked around the neighborhood handing out “scouting for food” bags. It is part of a food drive we do every year. I ran a little (two blocks each way) after dropping my youngest off for a play date and on the way to pick him up. This is the first week since starting that I have’t gotten three runs in, but I really needed the rest since I rarely sleep while camping. Last night was no exception. I did stretch and got my planks in after a meeting of the Mold Task Force. I am hoping for a good night’s sleep.

Week Nine – Intervals Beat Injuries

Day 1 – My dog and I walked for an hour or so in the neighborhood and did about four miles. I love walking especially in the Fall. The air is brisk and the foliage is amazing. I wish I had time to walk for hours.

Day 2 – I do not love running. I thought I would be further in my conditioning than I am. I still can not run continuously for a mile and I was feeling discouraged today. I focused on form and breathing and used the poles as markers. I am still running/walking 2.25 miles in just under 30 minutes. The cool air goes right to my lungs but I am still out there. I will keep running.

Day 3 – Today was my big volunteer day but I got some stretching in. Any activity helps.

Day 4 – Another running day, groan. I got out there even though I just wanted to hibernate and eat. I made myself productive by doing laundry and stretching while watching a little tv. Then I got out and did my 2.25 miles. I ran a little better/faster than Tuesday. I felt good getting out especially since I really did not want too.

Day 5 – Jack and I went out for a good hike in the woods near our house. I am still on the alert for squirrels especially since My kids tease me that squirrels hate me. The other day I got hit on the head with some acorns and they said it was squirrels throwing them at me.

Day 6 – We were gone all day at my nephew’s confirmation so I did not get any exercise in. We had a nice day with family and good food grilled by my brother.

Day 7 – We ended up with a rare Sunday at home so I got my run in. I pushed myself and ran several lengths to every one walked but at various points had to take long walks. I know from my treadmill run last week that I am doing a good job at hitting my target heart rate for my age. I still felt somewhat discouraged by my progress until I read an article and had a conversation with a friend. The friend, thanks Shawna, pointed out that I am not as young as I once was and it is better to do the interval training than to get hurt. I am out there trying, which is more than some 45 year olds. The premise of the article was that it takes longer to form exercise habits than previously thought. Exercising three times a week may take as long as six month to form the habit! So my new mantra is “Intervals beat injuries” and I am still getting out there. I have been running three times a week for nine solid weeks and walking or doing other exercise as much as possible besides the running.

It isn’t easy getting out and running and I don’t know if I will ever love it, but I am going to give myself a year to create what I hope will be a lifelong habit of interval training at MY pace.

Week Seven and the Running Tramp

Day One – I got up this morning and put on my running clothes. I want to run Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week because my friend is visiting for the weekend and we want to walk or bike. I went to wake up the kids only to hear the familiar barking/honking sound of croup. My middle son would not be going to school. I fed everyone and got the other two off to school and took Will to the doctor. His lungs were clear but he had an ear infection.

While we wandered around Target waiting for his prescriptions, I saw a mini exercise trampoline. I had been thinking it might be good to get one to “jog” indoors without the cost of a treadmill. I could run and watch tv! I could also get workouts in during bad weather.

After dinner and getting the two youngest in bed, I decided to open up the box and put together my trampoline so I could still get my Monday run in. Luckily my ten year old has mad skills after putting together dozens or maybe hundreds of Lego creations so he helped me decipher the directions and figure out how to use the “spring tool”. His way worked much better than mine.

Then he went to bed and I jogged on my trampoline while watching last weeks’s Grey’s Anatomy episode. I ran this way for 40 minutes which is about ten minutes longer than my outdoor runs. I don’t think I was as hot and sweaty but I felt muscles ache (especially in the gluts) that I haven’t for awhile. It was definitely different than running outside, but I think I got a good workout in.

Day Two – I went for a walk today with Jack. We walked in the neighborhood for about 70 minutes. I stretched those sore gluts.

Day Three – I ran outside but it was hard today. I am not sure of my actual pace, but I did my usual 2.25 miles. I had to walk more than I did my last run. I don’t know if I am tired from the walk yesterday or just a little sore from my trampoline run.

Day Four and Five – It is raining cats and dogs so I did not get outside to exercise. I could not get myself to exercise inside either. I feel very tired. I am also upset about some extended family issues as well as continued mold in my kids’ school. I helped Matt and Nate pack for their camping trip.

Day Six and Seven – My good friend Claire is visiting and we walked both days in the drizzly weather. Saturday we walked four miles per hour for one hour and Sunday we walked a little longer at a slower pace. We had the dog and Claire was wearing Fit Flops because she had some gnarly heel blisters. Claire also got me to log my food into MyFitnessPal. We did quite well over the weekend with our food and drink choices. Gone are our days of squirt cheese product and Ben and Jerry’s pints. It helps to have friends to encourage and motivate me on the path to fitness.

Week Five and the Dangerous Squireel

Week FIVE
Day – 1 Today is Monday and I did not plan to run but managed to get in a hike with my dog. We went in the woods for about 45 minutes. We both enjoy these nature walks.

Day – 2 This is the first day that I have kept track of my time and pace for a couple of weeks. I was stunned that I had cut almost a minute off my time per mile. The fastest that I have run so far was just over a 13.2 minute mile. Today I ran 12.2 minute miles. I am running much more of the time and I pushed myself harder than I have recently. I am running 3 to 4 times per walk at least in the beginning of the run. By the end, I am walking more, but I am still going the same route and doing 2.25 miles. I also walked about 1.5 miles with the two younger boys in the afternoon while the oldest swam for an hour. Then we went to the park.

Day – 3 I was supposed to volunteer at school today but had a sick child at home. He was sick in the night and had a slight fever, but I believe it was a reaction to having two teeth pulled yesterday afternoon. My middle son has inherited my overcrowded mouth and will possibly have more baby teeth pulled prior to some orthodontic work in the future.

Day – 4 I started my run out by running 5 blocks! That seemed like a huge accomplishment. Our neighborhood is called Hillandale so there are quite a few uphill portions that I am not running yet . I ran most of the flat and downhill parts and walked when I was going uphill. There is a big hill toward the end that I ran part of. One day I will be able to run the entire way. I am not sure that I will manage it at the end of six weeks, but we shall see.

I always seem to do a hike with the dog on the same days that I run and today was no exception. I feel sorry for his sad face when he sees me go out without him. He sees the sneakers and knows that I am off to stretch my legs. Today was probably the scariest and funniest hike I will ever take.

Often when I hike in the woods, I worry about coming into contact with the wildlife. We have seen deer, fox, copperhead snakes and various other critters down there. Today, a squirrel jumped from a tree onto my back, down to my leg and took off running in one direction while I took off in the other. Wen I could breath normally again, I realized it really was funny, but I hope it never happens again.

Day – 5 and 6 I am combining these two days because I did no exercise to speak of. I must admit, I have not been stretching as regularly as I did initially and my goal is to return to that habit.

Day – 7 I set my alarm for 6:30 am so that I could get my run in before taking my son and his friend to the pool and then going to church. At this point I am running most of the flat/downhill portions and even short distances uphill. I started out by running four blocks, walking half a block and then running four more before walking just over a block uphill. I encountered two deer on my run, but luckily no squirrels! It was a beautiful fall am but I felt a little of the burning throat again that I did a couple of weeks ago. When I got home I felt like I just couldn’t clear my throat. It eventually went away. I did a little stretching and used the foam roller, but probably not enough. I plan to stretch more in week six and do some biking.

Running Week Three

Week THREE
Day 1 – well I am still at it, but today I did some stretching and little else.

Day 2 – today was a run day but I also fit in three short walks. One to walk the dog and two walking my kids to the bus and back. The boys ride scooters so I pulled the wagon first filled with backpacks to the bus and then with scooters and helmets back home.

I opted to not keep track of my pace but did my usual 2.25 miles. I am still using the electric poles to do intervals but today ran two lengths for every length walking. After the first mile, I had to take some longer walking breaks but still managed to run at least two lengths at a time. The last couple of times I have really been focusing on posture and form and try to engage my whole body instead of just legs.

Day 3 – I did some minimal walking but didn’t get to exercise much as I spent a great deal of time at my kids’ school and had lunch with a group of friends. All of us sent our youngest child off to kindergarten this year and we were comparing notes on our school year and lives.

Day 4 – why did I think running was a good idea? I dreaded my run today but prepared for it by stretching and using the foam roller. I am now running about two lengths and occasionally three (between the electric poles) to every one walking. I am focusing on posture, foot placement and breathing. My right leg is always shorter when I go to the chiropractor so I focused on stretching that leg out and letting the left leg follow. Each time I stopped to walk I didn’t think I could run again, but I did. I run until my heart rate and breathing are up before walking. I kept track of my pace today and I am a bit faster at 13.19 minutes per mile. I am pleased with my progress and plan to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

As a cool down, I took my dog for a two mile hike. We barely made it home before a torrential rain came through.

Day 5 – there was no walk today as I was back at the school and then running errands to prepare for a 10th birthday party for my son. It is 1:10 am at the moment so I hope I have the energy for my am run. At least the heat wave broke. No more 90 degree days until next summer I hope!

Day 6 – It is Saturday morning and I am hosting a small birthday party for my son later in the day, but I got up and went for my run. The weather has turned much cooler and it was 60 instead of the 90 it was earlier in the week. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for a run. I started out running a bit more than walking but at some point my throat started burning and I felt like what I can only describe as a “stitch” in the back of my throat. I could still take deep breaths and my lungs seemed clear, but this phenomenon used to happen to me regularly when I tried to run. I am not sure what caused it. Is it pollen, leaf mold or just the difference in air temperature? Regardless, I did my 2.25 miles but I wasn’t monitoring my pace. I just ran. Thirty minutes later, I got home and ran around for he next ten hours or so. It was a great way to start a very hectic day.

Day 7 – Today, I am not running, but I am riding my two-wheeled love on my trainer in the basement. I haven’t ridden my bike in two months, but I have wanted to add it to the cross training mix since I started running. I was afraid that I would really be sore and didn’t want to set back my running so I waited for a few weeks. I am not planning to run again until Tuesday which is two days away, so I decided that today is a good day to get back in the saddle. I am more than half-way to my goal of doubling last year’s mileage on my bike. I have just 125 miles to go until December 31 and since I usually bike at least 10 miles at a time, as long as I bike at least once a week, I should be able to accomplish my New Year’s Fitness Goal. I. Can. Do. This.