Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter Wonderland

I'm procrastinating on my taxes. So far today I went for a long run, went grocery shopping, pulled the meat off a roast chicken and made stock out of the carcass. I had run out of things to do instead and had actually sat down and started my 1040 when I remembered that I haven't blogged in ages! Excellent. At this rate I can put the forms off until tomorrow.

I have gotten into the swing of running long on Saturdays. Usually my marathon training is set around my crazy work schedule and ends up with long runs whenever I can fit them in but with my very normal M-F 9-5 (ok 3:30, let's be honest, it's cold at work) winter work schedule, I have been able to meet up with the Rhode Island Road Runners for the past few Saturdays. My first 10 miler was a few weeks ago by myself down the Cliff walk and around Ocean Drive. I ramped it up to 14 last week in honor of the holiday. I met up with a couple from RIRR and we ran a great route in Jamestown from town out to Beavertail and back with a couple loops tacked on. This weekend I met up with RIRR again at their usual spot in Bristol at Colt State Park. I arrived early so that I could run a few miles before the rest of the group arrived to do 11. I wanted to run ~16 but was feeling pretty sore from this week. I fit in 3 before the group arrived and we pounded out another 11 by doing two laps of the park and a little street running. All of the runs have been great and not too cold. Saturday morning seems to be the time when the weather takes a breather. The wind dies down and the snow stops long enough to get a few miles in before it all comes back on again. The weather has been a determining factor in when and where I have been putting my workouts in. It was so cold two weeks ago when I headed out for a Friday morning 6 that I had to turn in a mile early. The next week had 7 on the docket and it was a slow, slippery, painful 7. I finally admitted to myself that I might have to find a treadmill or other workout options.
I started looking around for anything other than the dreaded T. One of the local running groups meets up at URI and uses their indoor track for repeats on Tuesdays. I drove out there last week and fit in an interval workout. It was great to focus on speed instead of footing and staying upright!
I also signed up for a circuit HIIT class at Pulse. I have been meaning to try their classes for awhile and was very happy I went. The class was for an hour on Thursday morning and was great! Circuits are fun and hectic and it's nice to wake up some other muscles from time to time, too.
And what would winter in New England be without a bit of skiing? So I have been trying to get back into it. I've managed to fit in 2 weekends and a couple days here and there at various mountains. I haven't skied very much since middle school so I'm pretty rusty but I'm getting back into it for sure.  I also haven't had a set of ski gear that was my own since high school. I didn't really ski in college, choosing to sail in the winter because I had the gear and it was cheaper, and moving to the Caribbean afterwards meant not having a lot of wintery things. The few times I've managed to be around snow I have rented gear and been pretty happy with that. Luckily I have very talented and generous friends, a few of whom have spent their winters on mountains instead of beaches. This winter a friend of mine gave a pair of K2s that were too long for her and fit me pretty well. Another friend had found a pair of ski boots at his town dump and grabbed them for his wife. Unfortunately, his wife has size 7 feet and the boots were size 10. Good for me! Finally, having huge feet has paid off! With my new skis and old boots I am rocketing down the mountain. Sort of.

All of these activities make all of this crazy snow not so bad. I would be disappointed if I spent a winter here and it wasn't snowing, honestly. They also make for very little time to do tedious things like my taxes....

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Newton, New Shoes and a New Name

Getting on a plane after a great week is not my favorite part of my job. I get incredibly melancholy on planes. Maybe its the anonymity of airports. Maybe it's coming down off of the adrenaline spike that's present in racing and traveling. Either way when I arrived back in Newport I was bummed. It was bitterly cold and overcast and seemed awfully quite after a hectic week in the islands.  My first day back I didn't run.  Now we all know I love running but I still run into the inevitable mental block that stops me from getting up early or out the door. I don't know why this is still an option in my brain, I never regret going for a run and always kick myself for not going. Still, I hit the big wall of excuses sometimes. Newton says an object in motion stays in motion and I completely agree and not just because of gravity or lack of friction. When I'm busy and have 100 things to accomplish in a day I will hit them all, fit in a run and love it. When I don't have a whole lot on the schedule everything seems to come to a crawl and I don't want to do anything at all. After a jam packed week of sailing, running and socializing my life in Newport seemed wide open, plenty of time to fit in some running, and yet I danced around it for the first two days. I did get out the door after work on Friday, the second day, and it was great. I just need to get moving and keep moving and when I run into doubt or excuses keep I have a list of things that motivate me near by.
My list includes;
-Buying new gear and trying it out
-Making a new play list and rocking out
-Racing or group runs
-Increasing the accountability by blogging or telling a friend what I'm doing

I ran Friday as a warm up for the Trail 10k on Saturday. I have started to join some running groups, or have at least joined their facebook pages. Talking about running and running in groups is a great way to find races and other activities in this area. I have never really explored RI outside of Newport or what you can get to by boat and now that I have some wheels I have been trying to get out there and run in new places. The 10k was a great example of that, through a nature area you would never have guessed was there! It was also an interesting eye opener to the amount of running gear most people have. I have always been pretty minimalist due to packing restrictions and thus I have my running shoes until they blow out. One pair. Looking around at the ground yesterday people were wearing all sorts of trail shoes, Trax, Crampons, gaters and even the racing snow shoes. As I looked down at my very comfortable, light weight, mesh New Balances I realized I could probably do with a new pair, that had a little more shoe to them. Shoe and gear envy aside, my shoes are blown out on the toe edges and have started to feel dead in the soles.  After the race I headed up to Providence to the Rhode Runner shoe store. I have seen Rhode Runner jerseys on a lot of the runners around here and they set up a few of the races and group runs and I had never been up to the store. The store has treadmills and a track for you to run on so they can analyze your pronation and what type of shoe you should run in. I already know what type of shoe I like but I seem to keep growing out of the ones I have. I loved the pair of Merrells I ran Sugarloaf in but when I went to buy another pair they were too small. I bought the next size up but they seemed too tight on my toes. Yesterday I wanted to try on some of the wide models to see what brands fit best. I tried on women's 10s and even they seemed tight in some styles so the man helping me started bringing me men's sizes. I ended up with a new pair of New Balance RC 1400s. On my way home I stopped at Marshalls to continue the credit card abuse. Middletown, Rhode Island has the best Marshalls. Ever. And on the clearance shelf because no one has feet as large as mine, was a pair of Mizuno Sayonaras in just my size! Well, I guess two pairs can't hurt!

I laced up the Sayonaras for 9 miles this morning around snowy Newport. It snowed a couple of inches last night and dusted the streets and sidewalks. It was pretty warm and I pounded out to the beaches and the bird sanctuary. I was out early enough that the roads weren't too slushy and there was minimal traffic to avoid.  Well, except for the geese!

I realized that my blog is still titled 30 for 30 and that it is time for a new name. I was hoping something clever would come to be as I ran around in the snow. or on the beach. or in Europe. oh...There it is. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

White Sandy Beaches and Plently of Snow

I have been a runner since my father took me out on the road in our neighborhood when we were little kids. I kept running through high school and college as exercise and stress relief. I played lots of sports and am a total joiner, I love activities! When I started traveling it became harder to be apart of any sports teams or clubs because I never knew my schedule or where I was going to be and anytime I was in one place particular I knew I would be leaving soon. Since running only requires a pair of shoes it was an easy thing to continue. It is also a great way to see new places, a 6mph pace is just about right to see a lot of things in a short amount of time. Little things you might miss if you were zooming past in a car. It has also turned out to be a good litmus test of the type of people in an area. When arriving in a new place I will head out on my morning run and wish every person I pass a Good Morning! It's shocking, since I'm from New England, but I like to greet people and be greeted as they pass. I have found some very friendly environments (the caribbean) and some snobby ones (San Fran) but mostly people smile or respond as they jog along. My running app has little tips for every day and yesterday it said, "Don't forget to smile at other runners. Most are friendly and don't care how long you've been running, just that you're out participating and enjoying their sport." It's true, we're all out there having a good day or a slow day or a first day, but we're out and that's awesome!

So last week I packed up my shoes and my sailing gear and headed south to Antigua. I took a plane this time and was there for a Superyacht Race. Superyacht racing is a special kind of racing. Not thrilling like AC72 sailing and not competitive like dinghy sailing but it's a whole other spectacle that I personally love to watch. There is a grand piano aboard the yacht I race on and we move that beast around the course just as seriously as we would any other race boat. It's just a baby grand after all. We had a good week sailing and I had a mediocre week of running. I managed to fit in a couple of my favorite runs and hiked the goat trail with some friends. Antigua is probably my favorite Caribbean island to run on. Many of the flights were canceled coming back into the North East so I used my extra day to run to Rendezvous and join up with a beach bbq.

Yesterday after work I bundled up and headed down to the beach. It was a beautiful afternoon and not too cold. The sidewalks are icy and the roads are only cleared to the yellow lines so there is no shoulder to run on. It makes for a good adventure and trying not to slip on the ice helps pass the time!
This morning I headed across the bridge for a 10k trail run, not really thinking through the fact that there was a blizzard last week and the woods are full of snow. The trail ran around a pond in North Kingston and was packed down for only about 1/2 of it! Deep snow running is actually pretty fun! Luckily it has been cold and the snow is still fluffy and thank goodness for Smartwool socks, feet are wet but still warm! Who doesn't love a little contrast? White sandy beaches one week and woods full of snow the next!