I wasn’t built to be the “Outdoorsy” type!

Two of my most athletic friends were trying to talk me into taking a trail run after a snow storm last weekend.  Normally my response would have been an emphatic NO, but I took a week off from the gym to attend to some personal commitments and to nurse some nagging muscle and joint pain.  Unfortunately, the break had me feeling a little guilty for the week of inactivity, so I begrudgingly agreed to participate.

I have to admit, I was excited for the excursion as I gathered my “warm” running gear. I admired the white blanket that covered the landscape as far as the eye could see.  I had a sense of pride for being more rugged than the casual runner as I pulled up to the desolate state park, because the weather was not welcoming to the weekend warrior.  I also enjoyed sharing pleasantries with old and new friends in the parking lot as we waited for all of the folks who braved the weather to join us.  The expectation was that this would be a short, slow meander through the woods.  It was all positive up to this point.

…THEN IT GOT REAL!!!

I knew I was in trouble the second we stepped out of the partially plowed parking lot and my foot crunched into 6-9 inches of pristine loose powder covered by a half inch of ice.

My quads were throbbing from yesterday’s crossfit workout appropriately titled…the 12 days of “cossfitmas”, because you had to execute multiple rounds of 12 grueling exercises as the song goes…1 OHS…2 power snatch, 1 OHS…3 SDHP, 2 power snatch, 1 OHS…etc. for 12 exercises.  But I digress.

We didn’t even get to the tree line before my heart rate was raging past the anaerobic threshold and into a VO2 Max zone.  I was gassed by a quarter mile in and it felt like the below freezing air was tearing at my lungs!  As we got further and further away from the parking lot, I knew this was a lesson in perseverance. It was brutal!

While I was dressing in the morning, I briefly considered wearing knee high ski socks, but chose the sleeker no show socks.  It was a terrible err in judgement, because by 1.5 miles in, my ankles were purple, my feet were soaked, and my calves and achilles were strained.

At 2 miles, my two athletic friends decided to turn back and give up.  I can’t tell you how bad I wanted to turn back with them, but my ego would not allow me to turn tail and endure the ridicule of the guys who continued on.  The two runners who turned back were the only women with us on the trail.  As we continued on the run, I kept kicking myself  for not making the argument that I should go back with the women to protect them from potential bear or strangers.

I struggled to keep up with the other runners.  However, my slow pace enabled me to take advantage of the trail blazing of the fitter, faster runners.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t match the steps of the other runners gazelle like running gate, so any advantage of my slow pace was lost.

It was a challenging 5.5 mile run for everyone and it was difficult to maintain a decent pace for a good distance. There were a good number of breaks and walking stints, but not nearly enough for my liking.

At a couple of points in the run, the leaders stated that the “road” is about a mile and a half away.  That was great news to me, because I assumed the “roads” were going to be plowed.  To my disappointment, Every “road” we reached was not plowed and we had to blaze our own trail.

By the last mile, the ice, and friction from my shoes tore holes in my heel, which have not yet healed, because my wearing shoes and working out continues to exacerbate the wounds!

Finally, as we neared the end of the torturous run, we caught up to the two women from our party who had turned back and we ran into the parking lot together!  To say I was happy to reach the parking lot is an understatement.  I would compare it to finding a lost child in an amusement park! Hours of terror and a moment of elation!

Having made it through this character building run made the post run refreshments and conversation all the more enjoyable!

I’d like to say that I don’t plan on putting myself through that again, but I probably will.  It’s all part of making yourself a little better (well maybe stronger) every day.

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New York City Marathon Tips, Course Strategy and Info!

A friend shared this blog with me via my fabebook page. I am so grateful, because I have so many questions regarding logistics, strategy, and tips!

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You know the “don’t wear anything new on race day” and all the basics… now, let’s do the New York City Marathon as right as we can. I’ve done this race every year since 2008 (minus 2012 of course…!!) and I can see how logistically heavy it is for someone from out of town or doing it as their first marathon. So, here we go! Let me know if you have any specific questions in the comments section below. I promise I will answer. Also, at the end, you’ll find a list of free race week events to attend (updated).nyc marathon medal

PRE RACE LOGISTICS

Make a marathon packing list (even if you’re not traveling) and sort it all by stages, here is my Marathon Packing List to start with. Get everything in the list ready as soon as possible. I’d start one month out with this.

The expo is big (probably the biggest one…

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Further dissecting Change

I received a comment from a reader named Tina on my Change is constant post.  Tina commented that change is based on choices and coined a term she calls the 3 “C’s” of change.  Tina defines the “3C” Trilogy as…Control, Cause, and Cure. She also includes a fourth “C” (Choices) that she sometimes uses to replace “Cure.”

I provided Tina’s comment and my response below.  I thought it was a good topic for a new post, and I wanted to properly note Tina’s contribution.  Let me know if you have any reaction or thoughts regarding our definitions/interpretations of Tina’s Trilogy.

Tina’s Sept. 16, 2013 comment on my post:

Change is constant. And what a novel idea that changes are a result of our Choices. Thus, my 3C tattoo. I cannot Control things (or people), I didn’t Cause everyone’s problems ( choices did), in my situation the third C was for Cure (I cannot Cure others) – but I often substitute it for Choices.

My Response:

I like your trilogy (Control – Cause/Choices – Cure)! As with many things, it all depends on perspective. Your theory is a lot to get one’s head around and each “C” can have different meaning to different people. I tend to direct the trilogy inward.  Here is my interpretation:

Control — We can’t control things or people, but we can control our actions, behaviors, choices, responsibilities. To me, I’d say…I can’t change things beyond my control, but I can manage (or try to better manage) my life, or to-do list as best I can.

Choices — I totally believe that our choices (both positive and negative) map out the course of our personal and professional lives. Again, trying to be a little better every day…That is not to say it works every day. Some choices have a positive impact on that objective, while others have a negative impact. Either way, some choices are self-serving or destructive (at varying levels — some insignificant and some life impacting/changing).

Cure — I see this as re-assessing the actions, behaviors, choices that I made and continuing the positive actions or adjusting from the negative actions to stay on the course or path that I desire. It could be identifying that an action provided a positive result and I want to build on that progress OR It can be course-correction or dealing with the consequences of the actions I took that may have derailed me.

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Surround Yourself

Surround Yourself is a great editorial that reminds us that as we grow up, we become jaded and lose the ability to dream big like a child’s confident statement, “I want to be a astronaut.” This post is a beautiful reminder that we must continue to dream big, realize that few things are impossible, and surround ourselves with people who believe in us. I would add one more item, which is to return the favor and believe in the people who have chosen to surround themselves with people like you!
This is a short and inspiring read. I plan I trying the “Possible” game with my kids. Enjoy! ~ Mike

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Collaborating with a 4-year Old

This is a nice story of a mother sharing her passion with her daughter and giving up control to make her already impressive sketches even better!
This is a great example of changing perspective and working to remove expectations and inhibitions when dealing with a familiar situation.

The sketches are amazing too!

Enjoy ~ Mike

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One day, while my daughter was happily distracted in her own marker drawings, I decided to risk pulling out a new sketchbook I had special ordered.  It had dark paper, and was perfect for adding highlights to.  I had only drawn a little in it, and was anxious to try it again, but knowing our daughter’s love of art supplies, it meant that if I wasn’t sly enough, I might have to share.  (Note:  I’m all about kid’s crafts, but when it comes to my own art projects, I don’t like to share.)  Since she was engrossed in her own project, I thought I might be able to pull it off.

Ahhh, I should’ve known better.  No longer had I drawn my first face (I love drawing from old black & white movie stills) had she swooped over to me with an intense look.  “OOOH!  Is that a NEW…

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Fun in the Hot, Hot Sun at PSGCNJ Picnic

Fun in the Hot, Hot Sun at PSGCNJ Picnic.

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Does Length Really Matter?

Does Length Really Matter?.

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