Friday, June 28, 2013

Treadmill Play

Treadmill Play.

I knew I wanted a good sweat, big endorphin boost and a decent amount of calories burned down.  I also knew that I woke up too late to run outside before my husband left for work so my options were to hit the treadmill while the kids were lost in imagination, schlep them all to the gym so I could get a workout in or wait until tonight (no thanks! It's Friday...I'd rather enjoy a beer with my husband).

I chose treadmill.

But how to avoid the boredom of a treadmill when you're not training for anything specific but still want a good workout?

Switch it up!

Today I alternated between 2 min fast (my fast is now what my goal marathon pace used to be only a few months ago) and 2 min easy for 4-5 miles. I followed this up with some lunges, core work, etc.  and now I'm smiling inside and out.  Awesome benefits!!

1.  The miles seemed to go by so much faster.
2.  My heart rate got up there! And then came back down with the easy portion.  Good fat burning.
3.  I sweat a TON!
4.  My legs were happy to feel the faster pace without having to endure it for too long of a time.
5.  I'm so much happier than I was before I did the workout!
6.  And I didn't have to pack the kids up to go anywhere.  My daughters just continued dressing their little brother up as a girl for the performance they were working on.  By the end of my workout, my son had make up on, was wearing a dress and heels and was working on his high pitched voice to go with the dance he was learning.  Good grief! The stories we will have to tell.

One sweaty happy mess!  Mission accomplished!
Favorite Treadmill-Play workouts?  Maybe switching up the elevation?  


Sunday, June 23, 2013

When Marathon Training in Vermont....Stop and Have a Beer on the Run!

If there is one thing that I'd say my husband and I do best in our marriage it would the supporting of each other in our goals.  When we know that a goal is important to the other, we stand by them and do what we can to help them get to where they are going.

Starting his engineering business
Thinking of career change


My husband has stood by me through every big goal I've set for myself.  He's been there for all of my marathons and he's the first to encourage me to set the bar higher in everything so that I don't limit myself.  We've always done this for each other.  And now that Boston is over and I'm not training for anything specific, it's his turn as he trains for his September marathon with the goal of a Boston Qualifier.  I'm behind him all the way.  He's spent almost the last 2 years recovering from some really awful plantar faciitis after his first marathon with me (untrained at 3:24) and then his BQ attempt only a couple months later that resulted in a 3:20 and injury.  Too much too soon!  We all know how that ends up.  Now he's back and running stronger and SMARTER than ever.

I do admit, if he BQ's and we both get in to run Boston 2014, I'm not so sure that  having both of us training for a marathon with 3 young kids will be all that conducive to a life outside of running!  In fact, if he qualifies (which I think he will), I might just sit back and support him training for Boston.  I might be the one to go as the spectator this time since he has done it for me the past three times. We shall see when the time comes.

In the meantime, here we are on our 12 day road trip with a husband in the midst of a rather successful build up in his marathon training.  We've hit Washington, D.C for 2 days, NYC for 2 days, Boston for a Red Sox game, New Hampshire for a stay in a log cabin in the White Mountains for 2 days (my favorite!!) and driving through the absolutely beautiful and charming state of Vermont today.  Then we head home.

So, just how does one marathon train through all of this driving and traveling?  Easy.  We are lucky enough to travel with our best travel friends who just "GET" this type of lifestyle.  They were fully on board when we stopped on the side of the road today outside of Killington, VT to let the guys husband to run 14 miles to Woodstock, VT while my friend's husband mountain biked back to the ski resort and down to meet us.

Approximate drop off point before we continued on to Woodstock.

While waiting, we relaxed with the kids in Woodstock.  I took the older kids to a creek to make boats out of leaves and wade through the water while I read and she waited with our boys who were sleeping in the car.  It was just a normal part of our travel routine...our usual stretch of hours so that the guys could get their endorphin fix.  Now, if I were marathon training too?  Yikes, I'm not sure how that would happen.  That would be a lot!

Waiting with the kids in Woodstock, VT. Cute town but everything closed so early! There was a creek to play in and plenty of places for the kids to run and play.  Not to mention the buildings and shops to just look at.  So quaint.  

As I was waiting in Woodstock today (adorable town btw!), I was starting to wonder where my husband was and when he'd be back.  He finally showed up, jumped in the creek to wash off so he didn't stink up the van, and we drove to our hotel for the evening while he shared details about his run.  His 2x11 minutes at threshold were all around a 6:30-6:40 pace.  Impressive and on track for his goal.  Check. Check.

Then he showed me a picture he took on his run before he started the hour of easy running. It was of him standing at the Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater Corners, VT with a Long Trail Ale in his hand.

What??! When did he have time to do this??!

When in Vermont.... Stopping at a brewery in the middle of a long run isn't the typical fueling strategy.  But I suppose it is a good story to tell.  After all, when we we be in Vermont again?  Who knows. 

Apparently, he figured that if he was going to be running past this brewery in Vermont with all these cyclist who just finished their century ride, that he MUST stop to have a beer before continuing on.  Just to say he did.  This is an adventure after all!  And he DID kick butt on his threshold portion of the run.  When will we be in Vermont again?  Why not?  The picture made me laugh.  The old Amanda with a baby in tow, lots of sleepless nights and our kids way younger and more work might have been a little irritated and stressed out but it only took me a second before I high fived him and told him how awesome that was.  What an memorable part of his AWESOME training run in beautiful Vermont!

So, here we day for him as we travel back to Asheville, North Carolina.  We'll probably spend the night in West Virginia, do a bit more swimming and splashing in creeks along the way, and soak it all in.

Cheers to Travel, Training, and Supporting each other as we go!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Not much reading happened here but I did get to read a few paragraphs while the kids played in Central Park with their dad.  

Not a whole lot of running going on in the Runninghood world but there has been quite a bit of living going on.  Lots of seeing the world, tasting parts of life that I've never tasted before or that I'm seeing again much later in life, and seeing landmarks through the eyes of my children.  There's surely a side of me that is feeling like a kid again with child-like wonder as my family and I travel parts of our country that are mostly new to us as west coasters.  My heart and soul have been full of that feeling that comes to me during travel and I've been reminded again of just how much travel can change and grow us.  I've been reminded of how much it allows us to see our place in this world in such a different way.  As we walk the streets of Manhattan, I've thought much about my 2001 and 2009 travels to Thailand and how big the world felt.  But at the same time, it felt so much smaller in a way.  Traveling shows how much we really are all in this LIFE gig together as a human race.  We are all just LIVING.  We are all people in our own spot on this planet making our way through life.  We have our own paradise...our own slabs of wonder and magic.  We have our corners and hangouts that smell of HOME to us. What one thinks  as congested, polluted, and overwhelming, another might think of as rich, vibrant, and ALIVE.  Travel is so good for a perspective shift.  I love how it opens my mind and heart to so much.  It just stretches me!  I love this stretch! If I think of all the things I could spend my money on by choice and for pleasure, it would hands down be travel.  I'd rather wear all the outdated clothes around (or just the same workout clothes over and over again), carry around a totally NON-designer purse, live in a smaller house where my kids want to share a room, and still use a car that I bought a decade ago if it means that I have more opportunity for travel!

One of my biggest wishes is that these adventures are helping our kids gain an awareness and appreciation for the world.  I hope they will always live a wide-eyed, open to magic and wonder kind of life as they continue to grow and experience travel with  us. I hope they grow up to feel powerful in making change, caring for all life and seeing the world through a broader lense than just the bubble they live in. I know that part of the reason I'm so wide-eyed and hungry for travel and seeing the world is because I didn't get to do much of it before the age of 18.  This worked in my favor when it came time for me to leave for college...I've traveled much and often since then.  And with great appreciation and thirst.  I hope my kids will always have this as they grow up even though they will be given so much more opportunity for travel than I ever had.

My thoughts after yesterday's day in NYC:

Traveling with kids: AWESOME! But an incredible amount of work. I saw so many places that I would just like to do with my husband next time...benches to sit, corners to linger, rocks to write and read on, trees to daydream under, cafes to dine in, streets to stroll...but there was no sitting, lingering, strolling, daydreaming, leisurely reading and writing today...not with 3 kids in tow in NYC.

Despite the drop in running mileage, my Brooks Pure Flows have certainly racked up quite a few walking miles between Washington, D.C and NYC.  And I've promised them some beautiful trail running near a lake and a log cabin in New Hampshire to make up for all the pollution and population!

Miles of driving
read alouds in the car
family journals,
    capturing the parts we never want to forget
sunsets on the road
Virginia mountains silhouetted on the horizon
fields of fireflies
history around every corner
moments of solitude in the midst of being in a city thick with life in every corner
Long walks in Central Park
Swinging in the heart of NYC
Standing under Abe Lincoln,
Running past war memorials, people snapping pictures, life rushing past,
     feeling gratitude and reverence
Promises of new adventures tomorrow,
     land we've never seen before,
     tastes we've never tasted
     and memories that are waiting to be made
Hoping that it is as much of a gift for our children as it is for us


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Quieting the "What's Nexter" and Embracing Balance

Living a full and rich life really is a balancing act for me.  I think just the act of seeking this balance with the things we find most valuable in life is part of living with purpose and intention.  But even seeking this balance without over thinking is a balance.

Some of my balancing acts:

*  Being present and being intentional about what's next
*  Living with our heart as a guide and with our mind determining what's realistic
*  Guiding our kids and letting them lead the way
*  Thinking and feeling
*  Relaxing and Working Hard
*  Holding on and Letting Go
*  Dreaming big but staying grounded
*  Slowing down and knowing when to surge ahead and seek new opportunities
*  Taking risks and choosing SAFE
*  Being open and vulnerable and knowing when to set big boundaries with people
* Reflecting and just being okay with "not thinking too much"
*  Training for a big goal and being content with just taking things one day at a time
*  Having a voice and sharing our lives and quietly listening and observing the world
*  Spending time with kids and allowing them to just play and entertain themselves while I take time to myself
*  Learning from the past and making plans for the future
*  Being conscious about discipline with what we eat and just enjoying foods that taste good even if they aren't good for us
*  Letting rules govern our world and knowing when to abandon rules and set our own

I woke up this morning feeling a good sense of balance and control over life.  As I was making lunch for my daughter to take to soccer camp, listening to music, drinking coffee and enjoying the sunshine coming through my kitchen window,


It feels good to feel balance.  Having balance in my life helps me feel present with my life.  And it gives me a sense of control.  I like this feeling of being in control. Don't we all?  However, it was only yesterday that I had to take a step back and realize that I was already starting to let that "What's Nexter" in me start making plans for the future before I've even had a chance to just enjoy THIS page in my book.  I started thinking about career, further education, where we'd live in a year, and so much more.  For crying out loud Amanda!  You just settled here in North Carolina.  ENJOY!  RELAX!  Be in the moment.  Take this summer to just soak up being a mom, spending time PLAYING with your kids, squirting your son with his water gun, not having a big goal on the horizon, traveling, eating good food, reading, sitting on your porch, wearing workout clothes all day, making new friends, getting sunkissed and
stretch of
Stay at Home MOTHERHOOD.

Because it's going to go way too fast!

So, I got my What's Nexter to simmer down and go back to her cave for awhile.  Instead of working towards "What's Next", I'm going to focus on the "What's NOW" and trust that the time will come when things will unfold just as they should. The "What's Nexter" has been working overtime for a good long stretch in making so many new changes and big events happen in life:  this move to North Carolina, training for two marathons, getting my kids settled in a new town, creating a social network here, etc.  I think it's safe to say that I can give my "What's Nexter" a vacation and just ENJOY some LIFE for a little bit without feeling lazy and unproductive.  I'm never going to be the kind of person that just lets life happen to her without being intentional and conscious about the goals I have for my future (near and far) I'm thinking I need to just pull up a chair and CHILL.  For a little bit anyway.  I'm sure it is only a matter of time before I'm finding the next mountain to climb.  In the meantime, this valley sure is lovely!

Living Fully truly is about balance though.  A good balance. The kind that so often comes naturally if we are being true to ourselves.

Speaking of balance, my time of letting my kids just BE is officially over! Time for some redirection...

What "Balances" do you work for in making your life what you want it to be?  


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Some New Goals for My Today...My NOW. And Bring on the PULL-UPs!

Goals Goals Goals.  As far back in my life as I can remember, I've been a goal-driven person.  When I was a kid, I might not have known that the things I set in my mind to work towards were even called "Goals" but I had them.  I've always had something in my head and my heart that I wanted to strive for.    To go along with the goals I've set for myself has been quite a heavy dose of REFLECTION and this has been KEY for me in being able to accomplish the things I set out to do.  As I continue to work towards things that I want for my life, I've always been able to take a step back and see myself from another perspective. I can see where I'm struggling and where I need to make changes.  I can also see the progress I've made along the way...taking the time to notice this progress makes me want to keep going!  Many times I set goals that only last for a short while before getting scraped.  And sometimes my goals continue to hold for months and years.  No matter how long I sit with a goal, having them always makes me a better me.  

Recently I've felt such a pull to take a step back and start fresh with some goals.  Things have just been moving so quickly and it seems as if every day, every week has been FULL with changes and NEW NEW NEW with this move to North Carolina.  Now that things are settling into "normal" and this place feels more like home, I've had a chance to sit with my old friend REFLECTION and think about where I'm at with life and myself and where I want to be.  

Some new Goals for my TODAY...for my NOW:

  • Connect on a deeper level.  So much of me craves connection and an opportunity to share my life moments with those that I love and miss but a huge part of me has been craving an equal amount of privacy or rather a closer knit social circle. Not sure how I will go about doing this but taking time for e-mail, phone calls, special "I'm thinking of you" text messages", filtering my facebook audience so I'm connecting with less people and more with the people that truly care.  
  • Be PRESENT and engaged with my kids without phone or other distractions nearby.  
  • Read more books.  I have a reading list for the summer and it looks like this will be my summer of classics.  I'm done with Jane Eyre and on to a book called Silas Marner (almost done) by George Elliot.  Excited for the next one.  
  • Enrich my MIND (again, more reading along with visiting museums, writing, having more meaningful conversations with friends, etc.)
  • Stay off FB way way MORE...limit times that I check Facebook, e-mail and other social media outlets.  And share less and with limited people.  
  • Use my Gifts.  Volunteer, connect, being open and conscious of giving of myself to the world . 
  • Continue to reflect and set goals.  This is a goal in itself.
  • Get in touch with my spiritual side that has been neglected lately.    
  • FITNESS.  I have no real running goals right now other than to run often and running what I feel like running.  Some days this will be 5 miles and other days only 3.  But it is so wonderful to not be training for anything specific.  One of my biggest goals with fitness in addition to a healthy lifestyle (diet, staying active, etc.) is to continue to build on strength.  I've been doing lots of: Lunges, push ups, hill running, dips, abs, pull-ups, etc.  My body is shouting out a big "THANK YOU" for the drop in mileage and just more of an overall balance to my fitness routine.  
  • One of the goals I've set for myself this summer is to do 10 full pull-ups by the end of the summer.  Right now I'm at about 6 to 7 but I have some work to do with not bringing my knees up.  I'm not entirely sure of the "Proper" form for a pull-up but I plan to make sure to have that down by the end of the summer.  I think that instead of doing pull-ups every day, I might break it up to 3 times a week with 3 sets of pull-ups (as many as I can do).  Many times,  I walk by my pull-up bar and I  make a point to pull myself up on the bar and hold myself up for as long as I can last before continuing whatever it was I was doing.  It helps that the bar is in my kids' bedroom door frame.  Below is a video of my 6 pull-ups from last night and almost 7 today.  You'll notice what I mean by my knees coming up.  But here's to making progress!  10 seems like a lot more than 6 and 7 when it comes to pull-ups.   

Are you a goal driven person?  Do you write your goals down or just keep them in your mind?  What's one of your biggest goals in life right now? 

Tips for doing proper pull-ups? Feel free to critique my form.