Saturday, November 28, 2015

If There is No Bling Did it Really Happen?

I've been contemplating why so many of us (me included) feel the need to sign up for events. 

It's pretty and it dings!
I am committed to training for life not medals in 2016. And it's a harder promise to keep than one (I at least) might think. Over the last week alone I found myself lusting over the Philly Marathon Medal (photo left) and turning my thoughts away from the Ocean City Half. 

Why are formal events and the bling that goes with them so tempting? Is it just the bling? Or is there more to it? 

Is it the challenge of training for something? Seeing the challenge through to the end? I can honestly say that's why I trained for my FIRST marathon (2008). But after I finished I felt like I needed to do it again. Why? During the Goofy races (half and full marathon in one weekend) I told Dave to lock me in the closet if I ever talked about something like that again. Yet just this weekend, I had a fantastical conversation with my brother in law, Jean, about the Dopey Challenge (5k, 10k, Half and Full on 4 consecutive days) in 2019. What is wrong with me? 

BTW, I do not have the answers to any of these questions; least of all that last one. 

I know it's not just the social aspects of training and racing because my fitness buddies and I have put in plenty of miles together just because and even organized our own events and had a blast!! No medals just fun. 

So I don't know why we do it. If you have thoughts on the subject I'd love to hear them in the comments. 

Training for life not medals has had a noticeable positive effect so far. In two months, I've rarely missed a workout and when I did it was for a reason not an excuse. I never felt 'guilty' about missing. Why? I think it's because I have nothing to lose right now. If I don't perform well in a workout there is no penalty. There is no time or steps toward a goal lost. If I go out to run, walk, bike or workout and I struggle or can't finish, it just is what it is. With nothing to lose I don't have to be perfect. Yes, I know I didn't have to be perfect before either, but the brain plays a mean game sometimes. 

Without the perfectionist aspect of training, in the past two months, I've hardly struggled and never not finished. Take that brain! :) 

-Keep smiling and keep moving
Paula 








Wednesday, November 18, 2015

If You Can't Say Anything Nice

Grandmothers from the beginning of time have been quoted "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." It's my impression that if the world took the adage literally, the Internet - especially social media - would be devoid of content this past week. Emotions are running high and the dialog is in large part not nice. The thing is, I don't think we need to take the adage so literally.

Being nice doesn't mean we all have to agree. Being nice doesn't mean we can't say what we think. We can disagree and still be nice. We can have a debate and still be nice. It's a lot harder ..... but it's possible.

Being nice can simply mean choosing words that convey our thoughts without name calling or assigning negative attributes to another's conduct or thoughts. When we add the negativity, the issues become secondary, because now everyone is focused on defending egos.

In short, I may not agree with you. You may not agree with me. I'm going to try hard not to think less of you for not agreeing with me (ego, remember?) but I'm also going to try very hard to make sure my words express my opinion of the issue not my opinion of you. If I stand a chance of having you seeing things my way (and I may not) I need to stick to selling my opinion of this issue.

Cause in the grand scheme of things, any of us could be wrong. Or may be there is no right or wrong. But we'll never get to either realization if we continue to stomp on each other.

As we move into the Thanksgiving holiday see if you can say it nicely. Whether it's about Syrian refugees, political candidates, or Aunt Esther's new hairstyle - say it nicely.

Keep smiling and keep moving
and remember to THINK before you post

T - is it true?
H - is it helpful?
I - is it inspiring?
N- is it necessary?
K - is it kind?

-Paula



Saturday, November 14, 2015

Running with Friends; No Breakfast

From the top left clockwise
Jeff, Maggi, Marjorie, Irene, Jennifer and me! 
About ten paces in Jeff asked why nothing was said about breakfast. He had a point. We typically have breakfast when we meet at the Collegeville Diner trail head. I thought about posting breakfast when I set it up but a) I had plans after and thought breakfast might make me late and b) I really wasn't sure who, if anyone, would show up for the run.

It was four weeks ago when I attempted a return to running with Maggi, Julius and Sara at Ft. Washington State Park. I survived that hour and then various things like home improvement projects, helping a friend move and parade practice kept me from trying again. On a whim, I posted an event for 8 am this morning just to see who might want to join in. In the end, there were 7 of us!!!!  Elaine and Sara missed our selfie photo attempt.

I had plans to go for an hour at 2:1 intervals. The group didn't seem to mind that and off we went. Irene and Jeff are the fastest but they managed to stay within 20 paces or so of us. Gotta love group running. The support means everything. It was great catching up with everyone and a fantastic way to start the weekend. It was nice to return to the trail where we (and many others) trained for miles and miles. Those really were good times. Not every day was easy but they were good times and memories.

I have promised not to put myself under pressure to train for anything specific. But when I asked Jeff, Irene, and Marjorie what they had been doing lately they mentioned the Ocean City Half. I WILL NOT sign up in advance but it would be fun to do that one again.

Today I managed to do all 20 intervals in the appropriate run or walk mode. My left hamstring was tight on the last 5 intervals. I stretched it out when I got home and I'll roll it out later. Maggi is a proponent of rolling every day regardless. I may want have to give that a try.

Nutrition: I had a full bottle of water before leaving the house. I carried a handheld for the run and drank another bottle on the way home. I did not eat breakfast before I left. I brought a peeled hard boiled egg and some grape tomatoes which I ate in the car on the way home. I feel pretty good. I skipped the pre-run coffee to avoid the obvious. Although on this particular route the Wawa and the Diner would have provided relief on that score.

Jeff, I owe you a breakfast run!!



Sunday, November 8, 2015

Letting Go

Warning: Long rambling post. Proceed at your own risk. 

Today I hiked with Mary and Tootsie at Ridley Creek State Park. We met at Area #16 for a loop hike on all three trails inside the main part of the park. I was using the Friends of RCSP map because I like that the trails are more clearly defined/contrasted. The coloring of the official park map is often hard to follow in the glare of the sun and/or without my glasses. 

Today we learned that the placement of the restroom symbol at area #16 is not accurate on the map. It's tough to explain in words but I'll try. The map shows that leaving on the trail as it goes alongside the restroom building will take you on a clockwise tour. It's actually the reverse. The thing that gets me is that my memory and sense of direction were telling me it was wrong. But my sense of direction (ask any family member) is generally pretty sucky so I trusted the map. I shouldn't have. In the end it didn't matter, of course. Once we realized we were not going the direction we thought we were we adjusted and hiked our intended loop in reverse of the plan. 

In other letting go moments - I am  committed to not training for any races or events in the next 12 months. I know I said that around this time last year and then broke my promise by signing up for the Super Hike as soon as registration opened February 1st. (And we know how well THAT worked out). This year I intend to mean it. To be clear, I can sign up for anything I want last minute (within 1 month of the event) but I'm not gunning for anything other than getting and staying as fit as my 55 year old body and mind will let me. If there is to be a goal it is to fight the laziness that sets in from not having an event goal. Training for life not medals. 

Well I'm happy to report so far so good. I did two body weight workouts this week (Mon and Thur) all by myself at home. Using the exercises we'd done at Bella Boot Camp I created two different routines for each day. It is so not the same doing it alone. But I did do it. Once I got past the - 'it's the end of the day do I really want to do this' feeling, it was great and I felt great after. I am determined to continue doing it while at the same time I'm really looking forward to spring when the group will hopefully re-group.

I also ran one day this week - on Wednesday - for 30 minutes.  I used my watch for the intervals (2:1) but did not look at the pace or mileage. In fact, I put the watch away without looking either. If I know the pace and distance each outing it starts to be a competition. Albeit with myself but it's not a productive competition. It's too easy to get discouraged or feel that something is wrong because one outing does not compare to another. The fact is, they just won't. Too many factors play into each one. I'm not an elite athlete training to win a race so it really doesn't matter. It only matters that I keep going. 

There is also good news about the workouts I did not do this week and last. I did not do anything the past two Saturdays. Last Saturday I worked on painting the areas that needed touching up after the window installation. Yesterday, I went to balloon practice followed by some home and Christmas shopping with Dave. And I did not fret about missing a day of working out. If you know me you may think I never worry about that (lord knows I've missed enough days over the years) but in my head it's a firestorm of debate which usually leads to self loathing and moody misery. Again, I'm not an elite athlete (I don't even play one on TV) so it's not a huge deal to switch my priorities for any given day. I can't tell you how freeing this is. 

I've also decided to try to be less of a worrier in general. Not just about fitness stuff. THIS will take lots of effort on my part but I'm going to try. I'm a first born natural worrier. My lists have lists. But the worrying only leads to conflict and doesn't produce the desired, if any, results. Sooo.... if you have any positive ju-ju to send my way this is where I'll need it most. :) 
Not enough sun for
shadow pics ;)

In non-letting it go news. We did have balloon practice yesterday. Letting go here is a really bad idea. Likely we will hear this week which balloon we will wrangle. There are 7 of us on the team this year. My college friend Theresa, who has joined us before; Therea's friend Mary, our niece Fred (aka Erin) and my sister KT and her husband JL. I am looking forward to another fun year. 

Keep smiling and keep moving
-Paula