Running ~ 2 years, 725 miles and many smiles

Running Oysterfest, Cape Cod

I know that time flies by – I blinked and our oldest turned 10! It was two years ago that I began running, but it wasn’t until this year that I truly got it. Running isn’t something I have to do, it’s something I want to do.

When I began running, I only used the treadmill. Being outside seemed SO MUCH harder. I had trouble setting my pace and breathing seemed impossible. The treadmill was consistent, no need to worry about the weather or really even my pace. I just did it.

Races were awesome. Funny how the outdoors didn’t bother me when we had numbers pinned to our chests. It was fun and social.

I started off embarrassed. My lack of speed and stamina kept me to myself. I was very aware of what I wasn’t good at. There were times I wasn’t even good at the mental game. I would negotiate with myself and sometimes it worked and other times it didn’t.

I kept with it. Honestly for the races ;). Then it changed. I had running friends. I began running outside. I got the running bug.
2014 race collage
I still love putting that number on (you would think I place – I SO do not) and having the collective experience of the race, but now I have found that feeling on a regular basis. I share my runs with my friend and we’ve experienced a lot of different weather. There was the insane downpour (emphasis on insane) and below zero temperatures. We’ve run along snow banks and really hot and humid days.

The online community has been huge. I know people complain about those who share their accomplishments online, but it is nice to cheer others on and to be cheered on. To see others out doing the same thing with completely different weather and scenery. I even find myself thinking, I would love to run there.

I actually think about running in different locations. My running shoes have begun making it onto the packing list. We ran on my birthday in San Juan and I’m planning to run on our next trip. My perspective has completely changed.
Running in San Juan
Of course, I used to think that anyone who runs for fun is crazy. I couldn’t comprehend people choosing to run a mile let alone more. Now, I am one of those crazy people. I am beginning to consider myself a runner.

It isn’t about miles or speed, it’s an attitude, a desire. I enjoy lacing up my sneakers and most days look forward to my run. I’ve even found a short route that I can sneak to in between classes.

It isn’t always great. Some runs downright suck. They don’t feel great and it’s a mental and physical struggle. These runs are infrequent enough that it’s ok. I am in the process of getting back outside and finding my routine. Somehow, it’s not daunting. I know I’ll be slower and not go as far. I also know how to build it back and that it won’t take forever. By the end of April, I should be back to my normal miles and I can’t wait.

Has your exercise experience changed?  Do you enjoy being with friends and family while exercising?

Simply Kid Chefs: Black Bean Empanadas

  Last week, we wound up with a much needed quiet weekend and our oldest took over the kitchen.  He thumbed through Carla Hall’s cookbook and decided to make black bean empanadas.  Funny as he hardly ever eats black beans when I cook them ;)

The recipe makes both the pastry and the filling, which is a black bean picadillo.  We gave it our all, but had some trouble with the cream cheese dough.  I should have checked the recipe before committing, but I didn’t.  It calls for a stand mixer and we don’t have one.  We were able to fudge our way through with strong arms ;). Ultimately, we made four rounds and used tortillas for seconds. 

The filling was really easy and the chef was able to do most of it (I sliced the garlic).  He is really learning his way around the kitchen and I am filling more of a supervisor/photographer role.

Here’s the chef hard at work… 

 

The empanadas were rich and not our youngest’s favorite.  He’s anti-beans so it wasn’t too surprising.  The chef enjoyed it, but wound up breaking it in half to have a little less dough.  I think in the future we would try a different dough or use tortillas. 
Most importantly, it was fun spending time with the chef as he worked in the kitchen. He has gained a lot of confidence and rarely needs me to reach anything for him :)
Do you like black beans?  What is your favorite black bean recipe?

My first aerial yoga class

I have wanted to try aerial yoga from the moment I found out about it!  It simply looked fun.  Yes, it requires strength, flexibility and letting go of fear; yet it seemed so freeing.  As adults, we don’t hang upside down too often.

There is one studio on Cape Cod, Heels Over Head, that offers aerial yoga and I decided to check it out.  I was a little nervous as I had no idea what to expect.  The studio was warm and inviting.  I loved the decor and felt comfortable immediately!Aerial yoga at Heels Over Head

Class began and I felt a little anxious. I wanted to do it right and I really didn’t want to fall on my head (I had promised my husband I wouldn’t).  We began in mountain and then became comfortable with our silk. We started with some cat and cows, plank and downward dog.  It’s different with the material, but also the same.  It was comforting to have familiar movement patterns.

Then the feet came off the floor.  It wasn’t so bad coming from downward dog.  My hands were on the floor and the sling felt supportive.  Then it was time to go backwards.  This one was a little harder.

Once I was there and my feet were off the ground, I realized I hadn’t fallen on my head and it was pretty fun!  We came in and out a few times and tried some different variations. I became more comfortable with each try.

Gazelle at Heels Over Head

I knew that the more I let go and trusted myself, the better it would be.  It’s funny how the more we know we need to let go the more we hold on.  Once I let go, it was awesome and I was able to try different poses.

The thing about being upside down or completely focused on balance – you have no idea what anyone else is doing.  I couldn’t begin to tell you who chose to be upside down or what variations they tried.  I was completely within myself in my space.

It isn’t all upside down ;) I really enjoyed trying the pigeon, warrior and split variations.  The material allows for a different dynamic in poses I do all the time.

Savasana is always one of my favorite parts of class. This was even more true in the aerial class.  You are hanging in your material, like a hammock/cocoon, it is peaceful and amazing!!Savasana in aerial yoga

I can’t wait to go again!  I think it would be fun to do a private session with a group of friends – to laugh and try different poses together :)

Fitness should be fun and allow you to face certain fears within a relatively safe environment.  We all have different comfort zones and it is really freeing to step of your comfort zone!

Have you tried aerial yoga?  What form of fitness makes you the most nervous?

 

Simply Kid Chefs: Paella with chorizo, chicken, shrimp and mussels



Our youngest took over the kitchen at the end of a fun-filled weekend.  I brought him cookbooks to thumb through while he was snuggled in the living room.  He yelled into the other room, “I picked seafood paella”.  My immediate thought was, from which cookbook?  I was hoping it was Carla Hall’s cookbook because she gives great instructions and I was going to need it!  Thankfully, it was Carla’s book.
I was a little nervous about this one on different levels.  First, I wasn’t sure I could cook a paella myself, let alone help an 8 year old.  Then there was the issue of everyone eating it.  It would be a lot of work and a lot of food if the kids didn’t eat it.
All along, I have decided to let the kids try a recipe even if I thought they wouldn’t eat it or it looked difficult, so we went for it!  We wrote out the list and were able to find everything except the rice.  We used arborio rice and substituted chicken thighs for the whole chicken in pieces. We also followed Carla’s tip and used turmeric in place of the saffron ;)
We read the recipe several times so we understood the timing and prepped everything before turning on the stove.  The chef did most of the work.  I chopped the onion and slit the chorizo to peel the casing (we were not perfect with this one, but it worked fine for us), and I cut the habanero chile (we used 1/4).  He did most of the cooking but I stepped in to remove the chorizo and chicken.  I also helped nestle the chicken back in and place the seafood.
Here’s the chef…








I was surprised at how easy the dish turned out to be.  Like everything it helps to be prepared.  We were able to move along and follow the timing pretty easily.  I was a little worried about the rice and it came out perfectly.  We have an electric stove and I was weary of the blast of heat at the end.  It absolutely worked!
The dish was delicious!!  The chef loved the mussels and went back for more.  Both boys found the chorizo a little spicy, but the beauty of so many meats, there was something for everyone.  The oldest focused on the chicken and wasn’t the biggest fan, but he ate it.
There was a ton of leftovers!  This is definitely a great dish for a bigger group and won’t keep you trapped in the kitchen ;)
Have you tried a paella?  What’s your favorite cookbook?  Do like cookbooks that give thorough instructions?

More snow = fewer miles

So February……..Not only did I drop from the blogosphere, but my miles suffered as well.  I have come to terms with the snow and the cold, but is it too much to ask for some sunshine?

With snow days and delays, our schedule has completely changed.  It went from being a lack of schedule to a new schedule.  We now have a school day routine, snow day routine and delay routine.  What began as being stir-crazy has become a snuggly reality.
There has been playing outdoors, board games, screen time and yes, squabbling.  It has been a lot of together time – the good and the bad ;).  The same could be said for my running.  The treadmill and I have seen the good and the bad.  My miles were way down, yet more than February last year.
This snow has to melt sometime and I am more than ready to get outside.  This is the first time I have truly missed my runs.  I am actually craving them!
In the meantime, I am thankful to have access to a treadmill and a warm home.  Time to watch movies, play games and shovel ;)
What’s your favorite sign of spring?  How do you feel about the treadmill?  What’s your favorite board game?

When your big race is canceled

Over the fall, I began increasing my mileage with my friend. She was training for a half marathon and it made sense to increase my miles too. I was no where near a half marathon, but really enjoying our 6 mile runs.

My friend signed up for the Hyannis Marathon which offers a half marathon and 10k option. She was doing the half as a part of the Cape Cod Half Marathon trilogy. I thought it would be great to push myself for the 10k. I even talked my husband into running the longer distance. A few other friends were joining in and we were all excited to run this race.

Then Cape Cod turned into a snow globe. We don’t even have as much snow as Boston, but it is a lot and the roads are still pretty bad. Of course, it keeps snowing. Seriously, an inch, 4 or 6 just for fun inbetween storms.

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All of the snow has made training more difficult. The roads simply aren’t safe and that leaves my friend the treadmill. Of course, we don’t own a treadmill and the gym has to be open. Safe to say, training hasn’t been ideal; but I’ve stuck with it. I was so excited for the race to get outside on the road again!

Yeah, apparently the roads that are unsafe for training are also unsafe for racing. Go figure ;). The decision was made Monday to cancel the race. That’s right, no reschedule. No other 10k available. No half marathon trilogy. No Boston qualifier (doesn’t affect me but I feel for those that it does). This is a big training race for Boston and many runners have been left out in the cold.

Runners are resilient and will continue to train. A local running store is offering a free fun run in a few weeks. We hope to get out there and get a 10k under our belts, but it isn’t the same. There is something fun and exciting about putting on a number and crossing the start and finish line. There is magic in seeing that clock as you push it for the finish line.

That opportunity has been lost for the moment. I have begun looking for other 10k opportunities. Honestly, it is a hard distance to come by. There is one option on the Cape that happens to coincide with the 5k the boys are hoping to run. Another option is in Boston, but is on Father’s Day and in the middle of youth sports playoffs.

We will continue to look for races and train. For the moment, it feels a lot like when this happened…

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So close, yet not there ;).

In the meantime my friend and I have traded in our sneakers for ice skates while the kids are on vacation.

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I’ve also been having fun taking part in an Instagram yoga challenge. The canceled race will become a bump in the road, but it stinks at the moment.

Have you had a race canceled? What is your favorite distance to race? Has the snow canceled an event you were excited for?

My yoga was missing practice

I have been practicing yoga off and on since I was in high school. When I first stepped on my mat it was all about ego. I was young, flexible and strong. It didn’t seem challenging and I didn’t see what the big deal was.

In college a lot of people were doing power yoga and it was incorporated in our dance classes. Again, it seemed like ok exercise, but I didn’t get the mental aspect or frankly even try. I liked pilates because the movement pattern was similar but I didn’t feel like I was faking the mental part.

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I began taking yoga again after having the boys. It started as once a week and grew from there. One teacher talked a lot about ego (while staring at me) and I began to back off a bit. I began to really go with the flow. Simply do what was asked and be in the moment. I bounced around to different classes and really enjoyed them.

Now, I take classes when I can. They are often gentle and perfect following my workout. I always felt if I was practicing a specific pose it was my ego taking over and I was devaluing my practice. I am learning that like everything, there is a balance. I can’t expect to master difficult poses without doing them consistently. I realize that asanas (poses) are only one part of yoga and somehow seemed like I was cheating the other arms of yoga by focusing on one aspect.

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I have an old mat in the house (my good ones live in the car ;)) and I’ve begun taking it out everyday (being snowed in helps). It’s only for a few minutes here and there. I’m realizing that it does ground me and energize me. Depending on what’s going on, I may have to try a few times and really set my focus.

The boys are used to me doing random exercises around the house and think nothing of it. Our oldest walked around the mat talking away and didn’t even look twice. Our youngest has decided to join in the fun and has been trying new poses with me. I’m pretty excited to see where it goes!

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One thing I love about yoga is it allows for continual growth and that’s why it’s called practice :)

Do you practice yoga? What’s your favorite pose? Do your pets join in the fun?