Plants First, Fish Next

The original intent of this journal was to chronicle the trials and tribulations of the struggling twenty-something, as I searched for love and happiness in the small city-burb of ManchVegas, NH. Now, I'm thirty-something, I've found love in many forms, happiness in even more, and now the struggle is just... well... life. And finding time to do the million and one things I want to do- including writing.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Year in Races (For Thanksgiving)

This was meant to be posted on Thanksgiving, but it was a full day of visiting My Runner's family in VT.  
Thanksgiving 2010 marks one full year since my very first official race. I took some time to look back on the year, the races, and the memories (briefly) for each run.

11/26/09- Feaster Five Road Race
5K, 31m18s
HUGE race- over 10,000 people there.  I ran with Pocket (a bit- she ran the 5mi option), and got PIE!

12/12/09- Beaver Brook Winter 5K(ish)
4.5K, 27m34s
Pocket dropped giving My Runner her number, snow covered the trails, first time I thought I would puke from running.  Also my first "official" race with My Runner.

2/14/10- Frozen Shamrock (Wild Rover Race 1)
3mi, 27m45s
First solo race, first run after undergoing PT for my hip overuse injury. Thought I would die when ipod ran out of batteries, finished smiling instead, got BEER!

2/27/10- Cladagh Pub (Wild Rover Race 2)
4mi, 39m10.5s
First run with Dad! My Runner was there too- was an unseasonably warm and sunny day (ran in a t-shirt) for Feb, got BEER! Got more beer and lunch at Murph's while My Runner got to know my Pops.

3/14/10- Hynes Tavern (Wild Rover Race 3)
5mi, 49m5.5s
Ran fighting rain and St. Patty's day hangover. Too cold, damp, and tired to stay for beer.  Set a mileage marker with this race.

3/20/10- Shamrock 8K (Dolphin Challenge 1)
8K, 51m50s
In VA beech with Pocket and My Runner. Gorgeous day, fun run, got FOUR BEERS before being coerced into more drinks at a boardwalk bar.  Gin Bloody Marys are pretty awesome.

3/21/10- Shamrock Half Marathon (Dolphin Challenge 2)
13.1mi, 2h30m34s
Longest distance run ever (had only run 6 and change).  Ran with a Bloody Mary most of the way. Took photo at mile 7 to commemorate the distance breaking point. Shared post-race beers w/ My Runner (who ran the marathon) on the beach.

4/18/10- Muddy Moose
4mi, 41m49s
First run after (initial) ankle injury (hockey). Not kidding with "Muddy"- still get dirty feet when I wear those sneakers. Some of my favorite run pics come from this race.

5/29/10- Pineland Farms 5K (Trail Running Festival)
5K, 34m38s
First run after secondary ankle injury (EMS trail fun run). Felt horrible- almost every step a struggle. Beer at the end helped a bit... at least the weather was nice?

5/30/10- Pineland Farms 25K (Trail Running Festival)
25K, 3h:43m:10s
Ran with the Strongs for almost four hours- they became true family in that time. This race is my distance record to date.

7/4/10- Clarence Demar 5K (GMAA)
5K, 29m52s
Super hot run in South Hero VT with My Runner's Pops and Lil Bro. Still feeling super out of shape, but set a 5K PR.

7/9/10- Hillsboro Balloon Fest
5K, 34m09s
After a pre-race browse down the midway, shared these miles with Puma as MC ran in her first official race and My Runner encouraged her husband GC along.

8/22/10- Moose on the Loose, Relay (Team Thespians)
10mi (2.5 mi), 1h34m30s
First relay, first race after re-re-injury of the stoopid ankle. G. ran 1st loop, Pocket ran 2&3, I finished 4th loop. Celebrated the 1 year anniversary of Pocket's first official race.

9/26/10- VT 50, Relay (Team Patriot)
50mi (12.3mi), 9h30m22s (2h20m)
Team with Dad & friend Ed, shared my 12mi leg with My Runner and Gilly, as well as pacing My Runner through (most of) the last 3 miles.  This race was more of a challenge to prep than to run- too much pressure on myself.

10/10/10- Harpoon Oktoberfest Road Race
3.6mi. 32m34.5s
Big group this year, with the Strongs, My Runner, Puma, the C's and more.  Enjoyed many, many Harpoon beverages on tap during the Oktoberfest party after the run.

10/16/10 - My Dogs Are Barkin' 5K (Animal Rescue League of NH)
3.4mi, 29m 47s
A fund-raiser for the Bedford Animal Rescue League, Face (who's on the board of the ARL) volunteered for the event and got to see me into the finish line.  This was the ARL's first 5K and they landed more than 300 entrants- pretty darn good!  Also, there were LOTS of cute doggies.  :-)

11/25/10 - (VT Turkey Trot)
5K fun run, 30m 8s
This run is a true family fun-run, with no numbers and no perks.  Families are $10 to register.  My Runner and his dad have been doing this run for longer than he remembers and it was great to be a Team Robert member this year. 

Here's to many more runs and many more adventures.  I'm thankful for my family, my friends, and the fact that most of the people I know fit into both categories.  Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Shape Up Or....

While I wasn't paying attention, my life kinda fell apart.

I haven't been running.  Here and there a few miles, but maybe once a week.

I haven't been saving.  Well, I have money going to a savings account, but I'm also spending and using credit, so it amounts to the same thing.

I haven't been eating well.  I've been eating WELL- but not healthily.

On my day off this week I did some deep cleaning in my apartment.  I purged old and ill-fitting clothes (including going through the sock and underwear drawer), organized both closets, scrubbed the bathrooms, scoured and vacuumed the floors.  It was a good day- cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of junk I don't need made me very up-beat and happy.  It's obvious to me now that I felt my life lacking in structure, but wasn't sure how to articulate it.

Just one day later I was feeling so unsettled that I had an emotional breakdown in traffic.  Sure, no one likes traffic.  Usually I'm able to hold a certain amount of zen about it.  Yesterday, no zen, only Zuul.  I was so frustrated that once I was finally OUT of traffic I started crying.  That's not the sign of a well-balanced emotional state.

Last night I ran with My Runner and a group of others.  I wanted to run hard.  I wanted to push my lazy body and make it pay for it's inactivity.  But this was also a social outing.  Internally I fought between staying with my friends and running for me.

This morning on the way to work My Runner kept asking me if/why I was upset.  Wha?  I didn't feel upset.  I was fine.  Just fine.  I got the "... okayyyy...." and rightly so.  Of course I wasn't fine, but I wasn't even admitting to myself I wasn't fine.  How could I admit it to anyone else?

I'm not fine.  There are very basic aspects of my life that have no organization.  Chaos reigns.  I'm on the verge of tears for the smallest things.  And no, I'm not PMS-ing.  It's time to organize, purge, and regroup.

Back to running at least three times a week.  Every other Wednesday is a group run at this point, plus at least once a month I'm either doing a 5K or a longer group run, but that's not enough.  I want to be strong enough to snowshoe this winter and not hurt myself.  We're planning a trip to Mt. Katahdin in ME which is a rigorous hike.  Running is the cheapest and easiest way for me to stay in shape to do the things I want to do.  Now that I have a headlamp, running in the evening is a bit safer.  Time to break out that mace for my solo runs and see if anyone's got a spare reflective vest kicking around.  (Anyone got a spare reflective vest kicking around?)

My spending moratorium is back.  Again.  Expenses shall be limited to groceries (not "food"- lunch out is not a qualified expense), gas, and bills.  I do, of course, have a few exceptions (like baby-soul eye-cream), but this is THE plan.  I will keep my goal firmly in front of me, and since it's concrete I will share: a new car.  By May I'd like my credit card paid off, and about $4000 in cash (savings combined with the sale of my car), so I can put money down on a new Honda Fit (or something similar).  Currently I pay between $200-$250 to my credit card, but since I keep using it a bit it's not going down as fast as I'd like it.  I can get a car payment under $300, so I'd simply be replacing my credit card payment with a car payment.  Considering how often my Cabrio has had issues, I think this is a solid investment.  This means putting off purchases I had planned on, like a new laptop, a hair cut, and some new dish towels, but eh.  I'll live.

I'll be eating right.  And by that I mean eating poor.  I have PLENTY of food in my house.  The only groceries I should need are fruits and vegetables- I have enough protein and grains to get me through at least mid-December.  I'll give making bread another try- it was never AWESOME but it was generally edible.  Leftovers are not just a staple, but THE staple.  Creatively using ingredients is something the best home cooks do, and I have enough of the basics down to spread my wings.  Hell, I might even find a new awesome dish (amongst the awful failures and mediocre offerings).

The final aspect- accountability.  If I make my choices public then I must be accountable for my actions.  Looking back to when I was training for a half-marathon, I posted my runs all the time.  I won't do that, but I will start publishing my miles (look to the sidebar).  I will post about my kitchen experiments.  Maybe make a game show out of it!  What would YOU do with a can of black beans, a bag of frozen mixed veggies, and rotini?  You have almost every condiment imaginable, especially spicy ones.  Go.  And when I get to reward my good spending habits with test drives, I'll let you know what I think.

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