adventure

Taking the Scenic Route

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New (or new-to-me) cars don’t happen often in my life.

We usually drive our cars into the ground.  A car purchase is a big deal that comes along only once in a long while.

In my car history, I’ve graduated from sedans to minivans to sedans again.

Every car says a little bit about where I am in life.  Sedans for the independent girl paying for her first vehicle.  Minivans for the Mom of 3 carting kids and their pals and their stuff here and there.  Then sedans for the Mom looking for fuel efficiency, with some kids who can drive themselves.  And finally, as of this year all my kids can drive themselves. What a life change.  My youngest got my last sedan as her starter car.  Now what?

All the cars did have some things in common: gotta have a sunroof and a top-notch stereo.  My Mom was a convertible girl but I remember she always had problems with leaks and the mechanics of the tops in her LeBaron and Sebring.  So I stay with a sunroof.  And if you’ve ridden with me you know I like to sing loudly in the car, so my backup track needs to be high quality.

Anyway, the time came to choose a car and I lingered over the decision, as is my style.  I researched and figured out the exact car I wanted then sought it out for months.  I finally found it and after much waiting, anguish, car rentals, state line crossings, and other extraordinary measures, I bought my shiny red Jeep Compass Trailhawk this spring.

I’ve had it for a while.  I’ve tried to write about it several times but couldn’t seem to finish a post. I wasn’t sure what the story was or why anyone should care. I almost abandoned the idea to the cutting room floor.

But then last week I took her for her first true off-road ride.  I had my youngest and her friends on a weekend trip a few hours away for a lacrosse tournament. Instead of taking the most direct path via the interstate, I decided to chart a path to a waterfall hike.  It was sort of on the way but kinda not really.  It would take us off the beaten path, to a part of my state I had never visited.

I read the reviews of the hike and most of them said things like: be ready for a long off-road drive to get to the trailhead.  You need a 4×4 to get there.

And lo and behold, I have one! Yippee! Put me in, coach! I’m ready for this.

I was a bit nervous since we’ve had a lot of rain, but the road was mostly rock and gravel. We played with the road settings. I took it slow for the most part. The kids laughed as I splashed through muddy puddles.  Got some Georgia red clay on the tires and my flashy paint job. It was a long drive in and out but the hike and the experience were worth it.

I am at the point in life where I’m taking the scenic route more and more. Instead of just saying “I wish I had more time to…” (hike, chase waterfalls, stop at the sights and shops along the way), I am making the time. And no one can do that but me.   I want to see new things.  A little mud, a little rock, whatever obstacles can’t stop me from getting where I want to go.  A little prepared for anything.  I can tow things and have a few friends and our stuff along.  I can see the sun and play my beats stereo loud.

It’s a different, off-road life for me.  A little more dare, a little more fearless, a little more nothing-can-stand-in-my-way. No limits. No barriers. No exclusions.

They say the most difficult roads lead to the most beautiful destinations.  I’m embracing that as a challenge and a reward, for the journey and all that comes with it.

 

 

 

 

fitness and nutrition, hustle

Getting My Butt in Gear

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Just a few more days until half marathon time. It’s all about fine tuning and staying as injury-free as possible.

As I make my packing list, here are the most important things I’ll be sporting.

My new AirPods with my “run run run” playlist is probably my most important accessory. A birthday splurge.  I am all about the tunes while I’m running to keep me motivated (and distracted)…I’m lost without music.   I’ve been adding and scrubbing songs for months now.  From Earth, Wind, and Fire to Miranda Lambert, Elton John to Maren Morris, Madonna to Stevie Wonder and everything in between…I think I have about 7 hours of music on my playlist.  Hopefully I’m a little quicker than that!

Paired with my Apple Watch, another birthday gift that I’ve quickly grown fond of.  I love how it connects me to other members of my running group and keeps track of my mileage and pace.  I’m still figuring out all that it can do, but I’m enjoying it so far.

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I’ll admit, I’m building my outfit around the shorts.  I have tried several different brands, but I’m going with one of my pairs of Constantly Varied Gear shorts.  I am a 5″ inseam girl.  I love the comfort of them and don’t forget another key element – POCKETS!

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But which pair to wear?  I thought I would wear my colorful unicorns or mermaids, with my Sunday Runday tank top from Miles and Pace.  But, then I feel pretty unstoppable in my Thunderstruck pair with my Strong Like Bull tank.  No matter which pair, it will be CVG shorts, a tank top, and a coordinating V Sport Bra.  (In a recent update, my thighs  started leaning out in the last month, so it will be a size down plain black pair of CVGs!)

Finally, I have a little belt that I bought years ago from amazon to carry along the essentials – ID, gels, pain reliever.  It has been with me since my very first Peachtree Road Race 4 years ago. Wouldn’t feel like a long race without it.

What a difference from that day four years ago, July 2015. I’ve covered many miles since then.  I’ve shed many pounds and even some bad habits along the way.  I’ve picked up some new ways of thinking (and ok, a few wrinkles).  One thing is sure…it is a long haul, and one I still work at every day.    I don’t really believe in “before and after” shots, but there are definitely differences along the path that are worth reflecting on.

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I have made many changes between now and then.  But I still feel the excitement in this picture…this is a girl getting ready to take on the Peachtree Road Race 10K for the first time!  She is nervous, excited, and joyful all at once.

Here I am again in October 2019, facing something new with a tangle of criss-crossed feelings. The day is nearly here! So exciting! Can’t wait for this time with my running group, finally reaching the start line, when we can make our goals happen.  Pictures, giggles, and fun to follow.  And then, what will the next goal be?

 

 

 

fitness and nutrition

The Miles Won’t Run Themselves

Yup, I was going to write it – the dreaded “poor, poor pitiful me” post.

The “who peed in my cheerios?” post.

The “why-did-I-do-this-to-myself-what-in-the-world-was-I-thinking-why-did-I-sign-up-for-this-and-how-do-I-get-out-of-this-mess” post.

The ever unpopular “I can’t” post.

After some good running weeks, even a relatively successful 8-mile run that led me to write “I think I can finish this!” in my running journal, I hit an unexpected slump.  Suddenly, every run went from my usual mild discomfort to SO hard. Legs were leaden. Heat was overwhelming. The weight of the effort had me down and out. This went on for weeks. If I had the option to go to CrossFit instead of my scheduled run, I often took it. I was down to two runs a week, struggling for every mile.  I lost my mojo.

What do you do when something like that happens?  Sure, I wanted to give up at times…. many times! But I kept showing up for two runs each week.  Seeing friends on Sundays made such a difference.  Accountability to them and my goal kept me holding on by a shoelace when I was down.

Finally, a glimpse of hope.  The heat broke. There’s a huge difference between running in 95 degrees and 82 degrees.  Morning runs were even a little chilly.  A little spring appeared in my stride.  I kept going. I also broke a spell of bad sleep, which makes a world of difference.  I am back on track, more or less, a little more than a month out from our half marathon.

In the mean time, I have decided that overall, I am not a happy runner.  It is convenient, portable, and simple enough to participate in.  But, to be honest, I am bored by it when it gets longer than about 45 minutes.  It is hard on my body AND I have no desire to invest much time or energy in how to get better at it. There are too many other things I’d rather be learning or improving!

I do have to remember that there was a time (not too long ago) I would have been so proud of 15-minute miles.  I have made progress.  But I don’t see myself pursuing it once the half marathon is over.

So, for the moment, I press on.  I’m grateful for the ups and downs of training and for the goal in front of me, and the people I am sharing the journey with.  I’ll keep training the best I can, moving my legs along one step, one mile at a time.

celebrations, friendship

Full-on Festivus Fangirl

One part roadie, one part pit crew, one part media team, one part friend, five parts fangirl.  These were my jobs for the Faded Glory teams at this year’s Festivus Games.

Unlike Chick 1, I didn’t WOD in the sun and fun.  Scheduling and family commitments made competing impossible.  But I still got out and joined in for as long as I could.

My day started at 5am, just like most of the teams.  But, for my first stop I went and got my own workout in first at our home box (burpees over the rower, thrusters, and other fun times). I could have skipped, but even when (especially when!) you’re spending a lot of your time supporting others, you have to keep your own health in line.

Then it was off to the Games, sliding in with my friends to watch them work and support where I could, which led to these moments….

The roadie – Yes, I’ll carry your phone.  I’ll wear your watch. I’ll hold your bracelets.  Of course I’ll keep time for you and count down loud so you know how much you have left to go.

The pit crew – Yup, I’ll charge that dead (phone) battery.  I’ll change your oil (peppermint oil, of course, on sore hamstrings and lower backs).  I’ll drill your muscles with one of those crazy massage guns.  I’m there with your water when your engine overheats.  Creaky joints? Do you prefer Aleve, Advil, or Tylenol?

The media team – The pictures, the videos, the boomerangs. Did I get video of your snatches? Check. Boomerangs of your wall balls? Check. And THE LIFTING FACES!!!  Oh, the lifting faces. Can’t get enough of them.  Capturing the efforts and the agony.  The triumphs and the teamwork.  The small moments, the funny moments, the victories that many people miss – we even miss some of them ourselves!

Send them to each athlete, even send them to their spouses and our friends who couldn’t be there.  Those photos tell amazing stories of a time that will become incredible memories.

 

 

The friend – Just before she starts each event, I’m glancing at my partner, Milagros, and just give her the look.  The “you can do this.  Just breathe and do it” look.  That moment of reassurance between us!

Some of the highlights of the day are listening to pretty much all the competitors talk about their teammate.  In one way or another, each is fighting not to let their partner down.  To do their best, to give their all for that teammate.  This brings back memories of when I competed, and truly is one of the sweetest, most meaningful parts of the experiences.

Finally, the fangirl –  Cheering like crazy for each of them. (And all the videos with my shrill drum major voice!) Clapping from behind the lens.  “Pick it up!” I barked. Encouraging when I saw the looks of exhaustion, of near tears, of hating that stupid box, that idiotic dumbbell, that impossibly irritating kettlebell. And when I saw those fleeting looks of “It’s too hot.”  “It’s so heavy.”  ‘I’m not sure I can do anymore…” I’d get even louder:

YOU GOT THIS! COME ON!  LET’S GO!  And as others finished, they joined in the cheers. Surrounding teammates who had fought through adversity to encourage them to the bitter end.  We are fans of each other.

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What a day and a reason to support and shout for these incredible athletes.

Pushing themselves past the edge of the discomfort zone, some fighting through injuries and illness.  They showed up and WORKED.  All the training, the invisible hours, the practicing, the endless reps, heck even the no reps mattered.  It all adds up to knowing you fought like crazy to compete and give your best that day.

I’ll truly cherish wearing the #Katashi shirt with my honorary (if temporary) tattoo. That takes fangirling to a whole new level.  You’d be hard pressed to find two more fierce or fun competitors. Still gotta work on my booty game, though.

I’ll cherish the hugs and smiles and people laughing and feeling proud as they saw themselves in action. I’ll cherish seeing both first timers and “old” timers get in there to scrap with anyone who dares compete. Better bring your A game. I’ll cherish watching teams work with and for each other, and being on the team for all of them.

 

 

fitness and nutrition, hustle

Beth’s Training Track

I hear the whistle in the distance.  Faint, but getting louder, coming closer.

Half marathon. Ready or not, it’s coming.

Getting ready is the challenge right now.  Training plans, equipment questions, all of it – but mainly, finding the time to run.

I love CrossFit.  We all know this.  With work and home and complicated lives, I can’t really give much more time to fitness than I already do.  So, giving up a little bit of CrossFit time to spend more time running has to happen. It’s a temporary tradeoff in pursuit of a big goal.

One good thing about running is I can do it pretty much anywhere.  Or, it’s at least more flexible than getting to my gym at a certain time. Even still, life is hectic. It takes some creativity to fit it in.

Here’s an example of what that looks like:

In a recent 10-day span I did 4 training runs, 4 wildly different places.

First, Philadelphia.  I flew in late one Friday night, on the way to my family reunion.  Searching online for tracks and trails near my hotel, I saw a posting about the Rocky Steps.  So, I mapped a route along the Schuylkill River to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  4 miles early on a Saturday morning including the Rocky Steps (twice!).  Done. Then, off to the Reading Terminal Market for some local deliciousness.

Next, Spring Lake, NJ.  Gorgeous run on their 2-mile boardwalk (each way, for a total of four miles) just along the Atlantic, first thing in the morning with many other runners.  I looked a little out of place in my Panama City Beach shirt (air conditioned all the way up the back), but why not?  “Beach, Please” came true! Then, off to family time.

Back home later in the week, a five-mile after work slog at a park near my home.  Late afternoon, on a route that usually suits me well but this time it was awful.  I blame the time of day and the heat, but discouraging in spite of the nice lake view.

Finally, a two-mile run after a Saturday morning strength workout at the gym.  Five long hilly laps in the parking lot.  Not the most impressive scenery but the sun gave me a smile as I turned to head down the hill. Had to get it in somehow. Not every run can be beachside.

Four runs, one busy ten-day span. My training weeks will each look different.  It’s an adaptation of my summer vacation workout routines.  Making it work, however I can, whatever is needed, wherever I am.  The train continues to get closer!  I am determined to be as ready as I can be.