Staying Active Without a Gym + Weekend Stuff

Last week I did not go to the gym.  Not once.  And yet it’s Monday morning, and my legs are still a bit sore from the week’s activities.  When we joined a gym a few months ago, part of me thought, “Why are we doing this?  We don’t need a gym…”  While the gym is very helpful in staying healthy, it is far from necessary, especially now that the weather is warmer.  Here’s how we stayed in shape last week, outside the gym:

Monday:  Rest

Tuesday: Weight circuits in living room (AM,)  Spikeball with friends Michael and Lisa (PM)

Wednesday:  Running- 30 minutes, intervals

Thursday:  Weight circuits in living room (AM,) Ultimate Frisbee (PM)

Friday:  Running-60 minutes

Saturday: Shopping with Andrew (his legs are twice as long as mine… I practically have to run to keep up with him ;-))

Sunday:  Frisbee Golf

It was a week full of Andrew’s ideal workouts–those in which you play.  I have grown to really enjoy playing Ultimate Frisbee;  it’s like a sneaky speed workout with lots of sprints over the course of ninety minutes.  Plus, the game itself is a lot of fun, running aside.  When I woke up Friday morning, my legs felt good, despite lots of prolonged sprinting the night before, so I decided to proceed as planned with my long run.  I am trying to be disciplined about building up my mileage, and I did not want to change my plans for potential soreness.  The run was a success, but as the day went on, my legs became sorer and sorer  (<–is that a word?  More sore?)  Saturday, it was just embarrassing 😉

Friday night we went to dinner and played putt-putt with our friends Amanda and Diron.  Andrew won, I lost by a long shot (or I guess, a series of short shots ;-),) and Amanda and Diron landed somewhere in between.  We had a great time!

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On Saturday we went on a quest;  we’d been feeling the need for deck furniture ever since this happened back in April:

DSCN7829Kitchen chairs and TV trays… classy 😉

We checked a few stores before finally finding what we wanted at Target.  (Is there anyone out there who does not love Target?  I have yet to walk in the store and walk back out without spending at least $50.  It’s a beautiful place.)

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Aren’t those chairs fun??  Andrew was so excited to find a tall set.  That evening, he went to a baseball game with a friend, so I had the night to myself and was eager to use the new patio furniture.  Every now and then it’s good to have some “me-time.”  For dinner I made bruschetta with french bread, fresh mozzarella, tomato slices, and basil from  our garden, all heated in the toaster oven.

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I have since decided I might live on this food combination for the remainder of the summer. 🙂

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Dinner + new magazine + Mike’s Hard Cherry Lemonade in a wine glass to look more sophisticated (hah!)… excellent 🙂

Sunday afternoon we played Frisbee/disc golf at the University of Richmond.  I’d played once before, but determined yesterday that this game is an excellent compromise for Andrew and me:  it’s essentially taking a walk with a competitive objective.  I don’t know the history of the game (and for the sake of what I’m about to say, I’m not going to take five seconds to research it ;-)), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it started when a wife dragged her husband on a long walk through a park;  suspecting he might be bored, he brought a frisbee, throwing it as they walked.  From there, the only step is adding a few targets.

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We had a great time until a thunderstorm rolled in and ended our game early.

And, as usual, Monday arrived too soon.  Have a great day!

How do you stay in shape without a gym?  Do you ever incorporate “playing” into our workout routine?

Cape Charles (Memorial Day Weekend)

As we drove across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Saturday morning, I thought about the popular get-to-know-you question:  Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?  Then I thought, God bless Virginia, because I don’t have to choose.  Mountains Friday, beach Saturday and Sunday.

Andrew’s dad and his girlfriend recently purchased a house at Cape Charles and have been working hard to renovate it before summer.  The house is finally live-able, and this weekend we helped them move furniture from Richmond.  Saturday afternoon, after moving all the large pieces into the house (plus lunch and a 2-hour nap…hah!), Andrew and I set off the explore the small town. Unfortunately, at 60 degrees with 20 mph winds, it was not a great beach day, but we were content to walk around in sweat shirts. 🙂

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Cape Charles definitely has a small-town feel.  There is only one street with stores–a few restaurants, a pharmacy with a lunch counter, a hardware store selling everything from paint to hula hoops to cleaning supplies that may have expired in 1987.  Outside most of the shops, locals sit in rocking chairs, greeting passerbys.   It was charming.

After dinner Saturday night, we caught a beautiful sunset over the bay:

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On Sunday morning, I went for a short, easy run; my primary motivation was to snap a few pictures before too many people were out and about.

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I saw an otter (that Andrew tells me is a muskrat…) swimming in a pond!  Walking closer to the water I thought, “Either this is an otter (muskrat,) and this is going to be awesome, or it’s the biggest snake I’ve ever seen, and I’m in big trouble.”  Thankfully, it wasn’t a snake. 😉

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For lunch, Andrew and I walked to the Cape Charles Coffee House (where I had also grabbed a coffee at the end of my run :-D.)    On Sundays they only serve breakfast, which suited both of us just fine!  Andrew ordered the egg platter, with scrambled eggs, bacon, and fresh fruit (including local strawberries!,) and I ordered the Belgian waffles, which came with fresh fruit, whipped cream, and sausage links.  The waffles were huge, and other than Andrew helping me with the sausage, I ate every bite.  I was pretty hungry, and it was so, so delicious!  I wish I’d taken a picture!

On the way to lunch we passed this pretty blue wall.  This is what happened when I asked Andrew to model in his red shirt:

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How did I get so lucky? 😉

After lunch we packed up our bikes and drove to the nearby National Wildlife Refuge, then Kiptopeke State Park.  The NWR had paved or fine gravel trails, but not many of them, and the state park had lots of trails, but most of them were grassy and tough to ride through.  Still, between the two, we spent about two hours on our bikes exploring.

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The marsh overlook at the National Wildlife Refuge

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The Bay Overlook at Kiptopeke State Park

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I’ve said this before, but I rarely notice our height difference until I look at pictures… and then I think it’s hilarious.  I look like a child on the bike.  😀

We ended the afternoon with some beach time at the park.

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By the end of the day, we were completely exhausted.  I think we were in bed by 9:30!  It was an awesome weekend, despite the cooler weather on Saturday.  We drove home early Monday and spent most of the day resting and watching Arrested Development on Netflix.

…And I continue to be thankful that I don’t have to choose between the beach and the mountains. 😀

What did you do for the Memorial Day weekend?  Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?

College House Reunion

First, I apologize for being MIA for the last week;  it was pure laziness rather than busyness.  I am back!

Last Sunday-Monday I got together with my college housemates.  There were five of us that randomly lived in the same dorm suite our freshman year, and we quickly became best friends and rented a house together for the rest of our time at JMU–the Dollhouse.

Amazingly, all five of us still live in Virginia, so it’s not impossible to reunite a few times a year.  This week we traveled to Norfolk and stayed with Leah.  Before I left Andrew asked what we had planned for our time together, then said, “Wait, let me guess:  eat breakfast and talk…go to a coffee shop and talk…eat lunch and talk… find another coffee shop and talk…”   😀  It’s true; we’ve noticed that when we get together, we just talk as we move from one eating establishment to the next.

We all arrived around noon Sunday–two of us from Richmond, two from D.C.–and immediately drove to a coffee/sandwich shop near Leah’s apartment.  Then we walked around by the water for a bit.

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…And Sarah decided to test-sit a stranger’s boat…after climbing over a locked gate to reach it… 😉

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After a while we found a place to sit by the water and enjoy the day.  And talk.  And laugh. And talk.

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Leah, with Kate’s help, reenacted a scene in which she fell while on a run and was groped (she suspects intentionally) by a homeless man who helped her back up.  Hah!  (Leah, don’t kill me for posting this photo… you are hilarious :-D)

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From the water we headed to the grocery store, then back to the apartment to make dinner:  quesadillas and bell peppers…

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…+ homemade salsa and sangria

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I’d also like to mention that our quesadillas were vegetarian because, while none of us are vegetarians, we all decided that the packages of raw chicken were just too gross to touch, and we’d rather go without.  Andrew’s mind was blown by this, but it’s one of the millions of reasons that I love these girls. 🙂

It was a beautiful evening so we ate dinner on the back porch, then talked for hours about life and love and pranks we pulled in college (and a few we’ve pulled since…)  Then ate ice cream & half-baked cookies.  Then talked until we fell asleep.  Glorious. 🙂

Monday morning, Leah made us waffles with a strawberry syrup, all from scratch, with strawberries she’d picked herself.  It. Was. Delicious.  After breakfast, Hannah and Sarah went for a walk while Kate, Leah, and I went running.  If there are two things the five of us share, it’s a love for food and a love for fitness. 😀

After running/walking, we cleaned up and drove to the beach!  We took lunch to go from a cute sandwich shop and ate on the beach.

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It was awesome.  Beautiful day… At the beach with my best friends…on a Monday.  All I could think was, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”  Complete in-the-moment contentment.

That is, until Leah turned around and said, “Uh, check out those clouds…”

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To the East: perfect beach day.  To the West:  rain clouds of doom.  We sat in the sun and denial for a little longer until I finally said, “You guys, this really is coming towards us.  It’s probably already raining on the car.”  We packed up, and after trying to wait it out in the car, gave up and headed back to Norfolk.

In our final hours together we parked ourselves back on Leah’s porch, ate pizza (yes, I ate more dairy this weekend than I have in two months,) and squeezed in a few more laughs.

I miss these girls like crazy when we are apart, but thanks to regular life-update email chains, we are always able to pick up where we left off when we do reunite.

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(Our one, super-grainy, self-timer iphone photo group shot ;-))

Dollhouse ❤

Running: When Turtles Snap

Friday morning I almost lost a finger to a giant turtle’s angry jaw.  I set off on my long run–a full 60 minutes at a delightfully slow pace–and as I approached a semi-major intersection outside our neighborhood, I saw a man standing in the street, just off the sidewalk, taking pictures of a turtle that had made its way into the road.  The turtle was massive–its shell was literally the size of a toilet bowl lid.

“Whoa!”

“I know!  I don’t want it to be run over, but I’m not touching that thing.”

“Hmm.  How much do you think it weighs?”

“15 or 20 pounds?  But look at those claws!”

Yes, I saw the giant claws.  Yes, I know that snapping turtles snap.  I’ll be honest; the image I had (…had…) in my head of snapping turtles biting was that of a cute little turtle holding onto someone’s finger–maybe a bit painful, but more annoying than anything else.  (I just Google image searched different variations of, “snapping turtle bite cartoon,” and none of the results are even close to the mental image I had.  Snapping turtles look like monsters.)

I did not want him to be hit by a car, and I didn’t know if he could get out of the road fast enough.  What if I picked him up from behind?  He couldn’t reach my hand with his mouth, and those legs would just slowly flail, as turtle legs do, right?

 Wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I approached from behind, put my hands on the shell, began to lift, and <SNAP!>  In one impossible motion, before I had him far off the ground, he jumped–yes, jumped–spun himself 180 degrees, and lunged at me with his beak.  I let go, stepped back immediately, and said to the turtle, “Well, good luck, buddy!” and I resumed running.

That night, as Andrew and I approached the same intersection on our way out to meet friends, I began telling him the story.  I told him about seeing the giant turtle and how the man said he would not touch it.  At this point Andrew interjected,

“Uh, yeah, you do NOT mess with snapping turtles!”

“…Wait, why?”

“Because they will bite your fingers off!”

“…Off?”

“Yes, off!  They are nasty animals!”

“Hmm.  I didn’t realize that.”

A quick Google search confirmed that, yes, snapping turtles will bite your fingers right off.  They have sharp teeth that cut rather than crush, and their jaw strength is comparable to that of humans.  Who knew?  (Andrew, and probably all of you.)

Then I started thinking, “What the heck would I have done if it had bitten off my finger??” I do not handle blood well (<–This is the understatement of the year.  More on that another time.)  I do know from a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy (absolute medical truth, right?) that fingers can be reattached.  But what if it was in the turtle’s mouth?  I obviously couldn’t risk losing a second finger to retrieve it.  Oh, it could have been so bad.  I am incredibly thankful that I’m not paying for my ignorance right now!

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(Source)

“We need to enroll you in a class about which wild animals are safe to pick up if found on the side of the road.  Not snapping turtles.  Not lions.  Not tigers.  Not bears.  Let’s just say, none of them.” -Andrew

Am I the only one who didn’t know snapping turtles could bite fingers off?  

Weekly Workouts and Colorful Veggies

Happy Friday, everyone!

Last Thursday I wrote about creating a workout schedule;  having a plan helps me, well, stick to the plan rather than delay (or skip) workouts.  I’ve done my best to follow the schedule this week, and as a result I have had some excellent workouts!  Here’s what my week looked like in terms of fitness:

Saturday: Yard work (with the world’s worst lawn mower)

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Run-30 minutes, chased by a dog

Tuesday: Weights- 30 minutes (This workout from one of my favorite blogs!) + Walk (20 minutes)

Wednesday:  Run- Intervals (Warm-up + 1 minute easy-30 seconds hard-30 seconds sprint + cool down)  Wednesday PM: Yoga

Thursday: Weights- 30 minutes

Friday: Long Run- 60 minutes*

(*About to happen)

So far, so good!  I am feeling well worked-out.  Also, this week I started reading Eat & Run by Scott Jurek.  Scott is a phenomenal ultramarathoner and a vegan, and now I am feeling some serious motivation to a. run longer distances and b. eat lots of veggies (not run an ultramarathon and become a vegan…don’t worry, Andrew. 😉 )  It’s an awesome book for anyone seeking inspiration!  In fact, it inspired last night’s side salad at the Storey home:

DSCN8156Lots of colorful veggies 😀

Have a great weekend!

What was your best/favorite workout this week?  What was the most colorful thing you ate?

 

Running: When Dogs Chase

Yesterday… was glorious.  I took my first day off in three weeks, and I didn’t do anything I didn’t want to do.  I slept in (until 7:30,) blogged, ran, used a gift card for a massage, watched Netflix, and had dinner with Andrew when he came home from work.  The most stressful part of my day was my easy, 30-minute run.

I picked a familiar, relatively flat, out-and-back course through the neighborhoods near my house.  About a mile into the run, 100 meters ahead, I saw a woman running toward me with her dog.  Then, another dog–a Collie–ran out of a yard, barking at this woman and her dog.  I heard the woman yelling, “Go on!  Get out of here!” but the dog continued to bark and run alongside them.  Suddenly, the Collie turned towards me and began sprinting in my direction, still barking.  Oh geez.  I stopped immediately, bracing myself for whatever impact I was about the receive–paws, teeth, whatever.  The dog slowed as it came nearer, and at this point the woman and her dog were just across the street from me.  The Collie’s attention shifted back to them, and I continued running, glancing behind me a few times to make certain I wasn’t being chased.

On the way back, at roughly the same place the event had occurred, I noticed movement in my periphery.  I turned to the right and saw the Collie sprinting toward me once again.  Again, I stopped.  This time, he stopped too, and stared at me.  I lunged a bit toward him and said, “Go on!” He barked and ran backwards a few paces.  I continued running, hoping the dog would stay put or lose interest, but after a few seconds I heard, ptptptptptpt (<–the sound of four paws hitting the pavement at running speed.)  I turned around, took a few running steps toward the dog, and again he stopped and barked.  This continued for about half a mile, until he must have lost interest.

While I don’t think this Collie was particularly aggressive, being chased by a dog while running is very scary!  Unless it’s a dog that you know, you have no idea if it’s going to jump on you, bite you, or just keep you company.  Once, a few years ago, I was running on the sidewalk of a major road by my apartment.  It was raining, and I came up behind a woman walking her two (very large) dogs.  I was about to say, “Excuse me,” as they were occupying the entire sidewalk, when one of the dogs turned and saw me.  Because it was raining, none of them had heard me coming, and I must have surprised the dog, because he and his brother both started snarling and jumping at me.  The woman and I both stopped;  I took a few steps back, my heart racing at the near attack.  I think the woman was equally terrified (startled, anyway,) and yelled, “Next time, speak up!! We didn’t know you were there!!”  Dogs.

Aside from that, my day yesterday was wonderful and relaxing.  Plus, we had a super-food dinner:  Salmon, kale, and quinoa with tomatoes and herbs from our garden.

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Yum.

I hope you had a great Monday as well!

Have you ever been chased by a dog while running?  What do you do when that happens?

Today

April 16, 2013.

The day after the horrific explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

The 6th anniversary of the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech.

What can be said on a day like today?  I feel tremendously saddened by each of these events, and equally inadequate to write about them.

Here’s what I know for sure:

In the Gospel of John, chapter 16 verse 33, Jesus tells us, “…In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart;  I have overcome the world.”

I don’t know why these tragedies happened.  I can’t say what good will come from them.  I don’t know that I’d be able to restrain myself from punching those responsible in the face, if given the opportunity.

What I do know is that we have a God who loves us more than we can fathom, and that He has already overcome every ounce of evil in this world.  In Him alone we can take comfort.

Please join me in praying for those who are grieving today, those who are remembering in sadness, and those who are on the road to recovery.  Kristin Armstrong said it well:  “The road ahead is long.  But little do they know, [runners are] good with that.”

 

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Monument Avenue 10k 2013

On Saturday I went head-to -head with the Monument Avenue 10k, and… here’s how it went down:

Friday afternoon Gabe and I went to the race expo to pick up our numbers, t-shirts, and lots of free samples.  (Gabe is a girl, by the way, in case I don’t know you in real life :))  That evening I laid out my race outfit, just to make sure I had everything together.

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We had Gabe and her boyfriend Jeff over for a pre-race, pasta dinner (brown rice pasta for Andrew and me, whole wheat for Gabe and Jeff.)  Using a basic canned tomato sauce as the base, we sauteed in olive oil some mushrooms, garlic, onion (saving some without onion for me,) and ground beef, then added bay leaves, basil, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme and let simmer for a while.

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The pasta + salads + garlic sourdough toast made an excellent meal!  We ended up eating on the back deck because it was such a beautiful night.  It might be time to purchase some deck furniture…

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Yep, we set up four TV trays and took our kitchen chairs outside.  Hah!  A little ghetto, but it worked 😀

After loading up on carbs and getting a good night of sleep, it was race time.  The weather was absolutely perfect: mid 50’s and sunny.  To avoid traffic and parking issues with local races, my preferred method of arriving at the starting line is to drive close, and then bike a mile or two to the start.  It’s a good warm up, and it reduces the risk of arriving late due to traffic and/or parking (which I did once, and ended up running a mile to the start of a half marathon, which started while I was running there.  Stressful to the max.)  Anyway, we parked about two miles away, where Andrew was planning to spectate.  The course is more or less an out-and-back on Monument Avenue, and there’s a large, grassy median where Andrew stood so he could catch us around mile 2 and then again at mile 4.

Gabe and I met up, made our way to our corral, and before long we were running!  Our plan was to start slower than goal pace (which, to run under 50 minutes was about 8:03 min/mile,) then make up the time in the second half.  There’s a strong tendency on race day to get caught in all the excitement and start running too fast, so we had to make a conscious effort to hold back a little.  (Andrew’s thoughts on this plan?  “You should start running fast, run fast in the middle, and run fast at the end!” ;-))

We ran the first mile at an 8:08 min/mile pace.  Mile two was 7:59 min/mile.  When we passed Andrew we were going strong!

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Why are so many other people in the photo looking at the camera?  Because Andrew was yelling, “Goooo!  You’re running so fast!!!  Run faster!!!”  😀  My mom and Walter came to cheer us on too, and we saw them at the halfway point!  It’s always so great to have people rooting for you!

We ran mile 3 at an 8:04 pace.  Somewhere in the next mile, Gabe told me to run ahead.  I yelled at her to stay with me, but at some point I looked back and couldn’t find her, so I kept going (we talked about this scenario before the race… it’s what she wanted. :))  Soon after that I passed Andrew again and gave him my best, “I lost Gabe!” face:

IMG_4314Some people look really attractive when they run.  I’m not one of those people.

Mile 4– 7:57 pace.  Mile 5– 7:47.  At this point I had made up the lost time from the start and felt confident that, unless something crazy happened, I’d break 50 minutes!  My legs and lungs still felt strong.

Mile 6 I ran in 7:31, and the .2 home stretch took about 1:37, which means…

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I BROKE 50 MINUTES!!

Kind of crushed it, in fact 🙂  My official time was 49:00.  My average pace was 7:52 min/mile.  I was ecstatic (still am, really.)  Gabe finished in 50:41, which was a PR for her, so we were both very pleased.

It was a fantastic day, and I am so relieved to finally break that darn 50 minute mark.  Time to set some new goals and keep running!

Race Week Workouts + Thoughts on Yoga

Tomorrow is race day–time to see if all my training has been enough.  To be honest, I am not feeling entirely confident I can achieve my goal of breaking 50 minutes for the 10k.  I know I put in some great training runs, but I started a little late, and my legs have felt achy in the last week.  I’m going to do my best to push the doubts out of mind and just go for it tomorrow!  I can break 50 minutes.  I can break 50 minutes…

The week leading up to a race is tricky in terms of workouts.  I try to strike a balance between working out enough that I don’t lose any physical fitness, and resting enough that I don’t wear myself out before the race.  Here’s what my week looked like in terms of workouts:

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Run- 30 minutes, easy

Tuesday: Weeding the yard (Don’t even try to tell me that’s not a workout.  It’s like doing squats for two hours [we had a lot of weeds ;-)] )

Wednesday AM: Run-30 minutes, easy

Wednesday PM: Yoga- 60 minutes (more on this later)

Thursday: Walk-30 minutes

Friday: Rest

In the few days leading up to a race, I’m pretty sure resting is more beneficial than any workout!

About that yoga.  Andrew and I have started taking a class at our gym on Wednesday nights (we’ve been about five times so far.)  Prior to this, I’d taken a few yoga classes here and there but always preferred a good 30-minute run to an hour of thinking about breathing and trying not to laugh.  A few years ago, in an attempt to be proactive about relaxing and controlling stress, I bought a yoga DVD.  I did it a few times in my living room, but I’d always fast forward through the 5-minute “warm-up,” which consisted of lying on my back, breathing, and thinking, “I don’t have time for this…”  In retrospect, I think I may have been missing the point. 😉

Recently we decided to give it another shot (Andrew had never been to a class or fast forwarded through a DVD.)  After a few weeks of consistent yoga, it turns out we really enjoy it!  That doesn’t mean we are good at it (we are not,) but we do find it rewarding, and it actually is a very good workout.

While we are becoming more comfortable with yoga, we still have a long way to go–I know; it’s not really a destination, but we’re definitely newbies.  Inevitably during each class there is at least one situation that makes us giggle.  It usually happens when the teacher gives an instruction that, whatever she meant to say, arrives at my ear sounding like this:  “Lifting your right leg to the side, wrap your left arm around your ankle twice, right arm on blue, left foot green, and lean back.  Breathe.”  😉

Without fail there is also always some instruction given for which I think, “I must have missed something;  it’s impossible to look at the ceiling from my current position.”  I come out of the position to look at the instructor and discover that, yes, yes it is possible to look at the ceiling from that position.

Additionally, Andrew and I are potentially the two least flexible people on the planet.  This week in class we did a lot more stretching/flexibility positions than usual, and it was painful–not so much physically, but painful how bad I was! (I know, that’s not really what yoga is about.)  At one point she instructed us to sit with our legs in a wide straddle and lean to the right.  I thought, “Lean to the right?  Or lean over my right leg?  For you it’s the same thing, but for me the two are very different.  I have like a 90-degree angle going on…”  I was thankful that most people in the class could bend over and touch their faces to the floor so they couldn’t see me essentially sitting up straight. 😀

The verdict:  We are sticking with it.  At the very least, it is a great means to improve our poor flexibility!

With that I am off to rest…well, not workout, anyway.  I am going to the race expo this afternoon with my friend Gabe to pick up our numbers and race packets (and get free samples!  Gotta love race expos :-D)

Anyone else racing this weekend?

New Shoes and Muddy Trail Runs

I purchased a new pair of running shoes over the weekend, and yesterday was the day for their debut run.  The weather was so beautiful that I decided not to waste my run on a treadmill, or even the neighborhood roads–I drove to a local park to enjoy the trails.

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The weather was so beautiful, in fact (70 degrees and sunny,) that I blocked out the memory of all the rain we’d received the day before.  A few hours of sunshine aren’t enough to dry a day’s worth of mud, as I soon discovered.

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The trail started out nice enough–shade, soft surface, roots and logs to hurdle–but soon  those logs became bridges over mud puddles.

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Thankfully, I had a fair amount of success keeping the shoes clean, with the exception of a few mud splatters.

I love being in the woods, mud and all.  It reminds me of my childhood, when our house backed up to some fantastic woods.  Every chance we had we’d play there with all the kids on our street, building forts, jumping over creeks, attempting to catch tadpoles with “fishing rods” made from sticks and long grass.  Every section of our woods was named too:  Skull Fort, the Lagoon, Nazi Crossing (there was a swastika spray-painted on a tree and what we swore was a grave nearby.  It was unwise to visit that area alone. )  When the neighborhood on the other side of the woods began to expand, we would rip the neon orange ribbons off the trees, certain this would sufficiently confuse the builders, and we could keep our woods.  <Sigh>

All that to say, I love being in the woods.  Sitting, running, hiking…it’s all very therapeutic, I think.

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My less-new, now broken-in shoes agree. 🙂

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Are you a fan of trail runs, or do you prefer to stay on the roads?