Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick and treat yourself.

My daughter asked me why people say "trick or treat" on Halloween. It seems there are a variety of explanations for this tradition but the explanation I offered was that the people whose house you are visiting can opt to give the visitor a trick or a treat--and most people go for the treat. This is probably true in everyday life as much as it is on Halloween.

Treating ourselves is often the easy road, the reward, the justification for doing something we enjoy, but do we really need to trick ourselves into thinking we have to justify happiness?

I spent the weekend doing both--tricking and treating myself. After spending Saturday morning tag-teaming with my husband to get all three of our girls to their soccer games on a chilly fall day, the first thing I wanted to do was take a hot shower and eat lunch. The last thing I wanted to do was lift weights and go for a run.

My rotten mood began to spilleth over onto my family so I gave myself a little pep talk and tricked myself into that workout: "You're antsy because you haven't gotten any exercise since Thursday. You're grumpy because you're tired--working out will give you more energy. You'll feel better if you just go. It will be happy hour soon, you'd better get that workout in . . . "

So, before I could change my mind, I quickly changed my clothes instead and made a beeline for the gym in our basement, put on an upbeat CD, and jumped right into a set of squats.

Before I could finish lifting, my husband and I had a small disagreement which grew into a bigger disagreement, which firmed up my resolve, and my need, to get out of the house and spend some time by myself.

The 4.5 mile run was slow but therapeutic as I vented my frustrations out loud, giving myself a little therapy and creating a little peace with my issues before the miles were up--tricking myself into feeling better, but it actually worked.

I'd essentially tricked myself into that workout and, as a result, was able to treat myself and my family to a happier person upon my return.

And, as I suspected, I enjoyed myself much more later as I sat on my beautiful patio, warmed by the flames dancing in our fire pit, surrounded by great friends, consuming good wine, as I treated myself, without guilt, to several dark chocolate s'mores.

By Sunday, I was able to treat myself again--not blowing off Saturday's workout earned me a day off on Sunday. So, instead of my usual cardio fare, I headed out for a hike in the woods to the lake, accompanied by two friends and two dogs. I enjoyed the girl-talk, the crisp fall air, the crunch of leaves under my feet, the sun sparkling on the lake, and watching my Labrador bound gleefully through the forest and leap with abandon into the water to retrieve a stick. It was a real treat for all of us.

Finally, we set out for the real "trick-or-treat" festivities--kids with candy sacks in hand, me with a Mounds Bar Cocktail in hand (treating myself again)--as we went from house to house in our neighborhood, the girls' sacks overflowing with treats.

After the kids were settled into bed, I helped myself to some of their treats, followed by my usual chips & cheese indulgence--tricking myself into thinking I'd somehow burned enough calories over the weekend to deserve all the treats.

The trick will be to get back on track tomorrow.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Rules of Fitness and Thoughts to Ponder

Do you ever wonder why it is so hard to gain and maintain fitness, yet so easy to lose it?

The inverse is true of weight loss: so easy to gain pounds, so hard to lose them.

I liken myself to the girl in the commercial who stops to eat a donut, then walks away and her backside has transformed into two sashaying sweet buns. That's me. I eat it and it goes straight to my hips.

When you ride a bike, why is it always uphill?

Why are most things that are good bad for you, and the bad things are so good?

Do you eat to live or live to eat?

Do you eat so you can exercise or exercise so you can eat?

Should you exercise to live or live to exercise?

Is moderation modern? Does everything in moderation mean everything?
Is everything in moderation or is moderation in everything?

When did time start going so fast and people start going so slow?

Can you really have your cake and eat it too?

I came across an interesting quote this week--a Hungarian proverb:
"Happiness begins where ambition ends."
Do you think this is true?

And, on Run Like A Mother's Facebook page (a great book by the way) an interesting debate was started:

A woman was training for a marathon. As she was out running in a park a bystander started heckling her and called her selfish. Really? What are your thoughts on that. I know where I firmly stand on that debate . . .

After biking 50+ miles yesterday (uphill both ways, of course) I took the day off!

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Yoga, followed by 30 minutes of lifting, then treated myself to homemade ginger pumpkin muffins (loaded with dark chocolate chips of course ;) and a mug of white tea.

Might take Luna for a walk later.

This, for me, is a day of rest.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Short and sweet

Knocked back my morning cup of Slippery Elm Bark tea, put the kids on the bus and set out for my morning run at 8:30 AM. Perfect running weather: overcast, mid-upper 60s, light breeze.

I'm usually not a morning girl, but today's run felt great; finally! I'd planned on a 3-miler and ended up with a 4.25 jaunt, complete with a few sprints.

While I was running, I focused on the 3 key elements of yoga (which pretty much apply to anything else in life): Breath, posture and core.

Post-run, fueled with my usual power oatmeal.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The hills are alive!

Yes, the hills are alive but my legs are dead!

It is so frustrating how much effort it takes to gain a specific level of fitness and how easy it is to lose it!

In the five weeks since Savageman, I have been on my bike four or five times, as compared to the 10 - 15 rides I would have taken during the same period in peak season.

The hilly, 30-mile course I rode on Saturday kicked my butt! That same course, just before the Savage race, was easy street. I have already lost the level of fitness I would need to succeed in Savage. Can hardly imagine the condition I will be in five months from now! Hopefully, muscle memory is long and I will quickly regain the lost fitness when training season rolls around again.

Today I lifted weights for 30 mins and then attempted a 4-mile run. I should have stayed home. (Or at least drank a strong cup of coffee!) I was so slow, awkward and heavy. My knees felt stiff. I think I could have walked faster. Oh well. I hope I find my running mojo again soon . . .

At least it was a beautiful weekend--sunny and 70 degrees!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Run in Color

This is one of my favorite times of year to run--crisp, cool air, bright sunny skies. Today I marveled at the vibrant color all around me; white, puffy clouds in a baby blue sky, trees in shades of red, orange, gold and green; it was a perfect day to run. Wish my body was into it as much as my heart and mind were.

After lifting for 30 mins and taking my dog for her daily mile walk and Frisbee romp, I put on my Vibram Five Fingers and ran an easy mile. It felt light and effortless. I recently read that running barefoot should account for no more than 10% of total weekly mileage.

So, after a mile, I exchanged my Vibrams for my Kenvara lightweight trainers and, light though they may be, I still don't feel as free and my knees felt tight. But, I did have some extra cushioning on the forefoot which was good because the balls of my feet were feeling a bit sore. Despite the gorgeous weather, I wrapped it up at 3 miles; for a total of 4 today.

The Vibrams are still my favorite but after suffering a metatarsal stress fracture this summer while running in them, I feel cautious. My feet are stronger but I'm still going to take it easy and stick to the 10% rule.

I've posted a photo of my favorite footwear; nappy feet and all. (I'm in no danger of becoming a foot model!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Powered by scones

With sunny skies and temps climbing into the low 60s, I can hear my bike calling to me from the garage.

It has been too long since my last ride, and before much longer it will be too cold too ride!

Temps didn't hit 60 until after 11:00 AM, and winds were steadily increasing. I may have had a few doubts about taking on a 50-mile joy ride today until my friend promised me a homemade scone if my bike and I showed up at her house. How could I resist?

So, off I went, battling headwinds, jersey walls and traffic in search of good company and yummy scones. I was not disappointed. ;)

And, I earned my evening chips-n-cheese (and wine) indulgence too!

Still she rides!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


With my last race of the year behind me, I'm slowly switching to off-season mode.

Workouts this week are much more mellow; walking and lifing on Tuesday, yoga and walking today. Still trying to get into this new groove.

In other news, will start this weekend as a health/fitness columnist for the Carroll County Times.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Baltimore Running Festival

On Saturday, I participated in the Baltimore Running Festival and hit a distance PR--6 + 1 miles; the longest run in a year (with the exception of the 3 + 5 miles I ran in July on a broken foot!)Due to the metatarsal stress fracture in July, I had only gotten up to 4.5 miles in the week leading up to Baltimore, so no chance of running the Half. I started the Half and ran 6 miles, to the end of leg 3 of the relay, and hopped on a bus to head back to the finish. However, after 45 minutes on the bus, we hit a road block and did not move. We all got off the bus to walk the remaining distance to the finish. Turns out there was only a mile left and I was running late for the rendezvous point with my friends, so, I simply ran that last mile in. It felt good to put that many miles on my feet again. Loving the Kenvaras.

Yesterday, went on a two hour hike in Catoctin State Park and spent 30 minutes lifting in the gym.

Today is a rest day; one of the few ;)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I am the Warrior

I am the Warrior
A good week. Last Thursday I biked 50 miles round trip, for fun, to a friend's house.

On Saturday, after seven months of intense triathlon training, I let my warrior braids down and tried something new: Warrior Dash. The Warrior Dash reps call it "the craziest frickin day of your life." I just call it fun; one of the most fun things I've ever done!

With my Batman shirt on, Dr. Seuss-inspired striped tights, and war paint, I was ready for battle. 500 warriors gathered at the starting line in preparation for our 9:30 AM battle to the finish. Eye of the Tiger playing, emcee counting down and twin towers of flames shoot in the air as the start whistle blows and we're off; racing through a campsite and into an open field, where the first of many obstacles await.

I crawled through tunnels, climbed over walls and scaled cargo nets; plunged into chest-high water and over rolling logs; slogged up slippery slopes and raced down technical descents. With the finish line in sight, I army-crawled through mud and leaped over fire. It was pure joy and completely primal.

The rest of the day was spent listening to great bands and drinking bad beer. Such a departure from the rest of my race schedule, and such a relief.

The remainder of the week I've been taking it easy, with a 4.5 mile run on Tuesday and yoga on Wednesday. The Baltimore Half Marathon is in two days, but chances are I will have to bail around mile six; it's just not worth a re-injuring my feet!