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.

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…

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.

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.

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.

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!

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?

January ~ A little bit of everything

I knew my miles would be a little off as we were going on vacation; however I hadn’t planned on 2 feet of snow and 5 consecutive snow days. Oops ;). The treadmill and I are working on our relationship and it’s getting better.

January brought a lot of different weather on my runs. Most of my runs were in the 30 degree range and often with some brutal winds. We did run in single digits once and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Luckily after the frigid run, we went on vacation and ran in warmer weather. I jumped back into it when we got back and luckily the temps were in the thirties. Then came the snow ;)

I have accepted the treadmill and have had two good runs at the gym. It looks like the treadmill and I will be friendly for the foreseeable future. With a little luck, the roads will clear up and I’ll be outside soon enough :)

How was January for you? Do you have a treadmill or rely on the gym? What’s your favorite distance to walk or run?

Fitness on vacation

I’ve written before that I don’t generally plan to exercise on vacation. Fitness is literally my job and I think vacations are important. The more classes I teach, the more I’m making my own fitness a priority. For me, it’s all about running and yoga.

While I had no intention of running on our island days, I did have the goal of running to celebrate my birthday! We were in Old San Juan on the morning of my birthday and I wanted to run along the wall to the fort. I also wanted the family to join me. Ironically, I’m slower than all of them and they agreed to go at “Mommy Pace”.

It was better than I imagined! Of course little legs had to walk a little, but it felt great to be running in warm weather :). It was peaceful and we were able to appreciate the scenery!

After we boarded the ship, we had a different plan. No elevators! We took the stairs everywhere and it was a lot of climbing. The boys were often a flight ahead of us in either direction. Going up those 7 flights to get back on the boat was surprisingly more work than one might think.

The youngest and I attempted the track on our day at sea. Oh my wind! It was intense so we did just under a mile and called it a day.

I have yet to mention our amazing upgrade. As we were checking in online we realized the room number was wrong. We looked it up and Celebrity had moved us to a family veranda stateroom. What a deck!! It was the perfect place to relax and do sun salutations each morning. I was shocked at how tight my hamstrings were. I’m sure a combination of sitting at the beach and all the stairs. Nothing a few salutations couldn’t fix. ;)

Otherwise, we simply explored! We spent each day at the beach and always went for a walk. Each beach had its own personality and wildlife to explore!

Do you exercise on vacation? What’s your favorite beach activity?

Holding steady through December

December is one of those months that’s simply difficult to accommodate fitness. This year, I was determined to keep running a priority while I could. I knew once the kids were home for vacation, all bets were off.

After a cold start to the month, it was pleasant by the end. I even snuck in a quick neighborhood run the day after Christmas and it was actually warm. Of course, now it’s cold; but I’ll save that for another time ;)

Being consistent through November and most of December was really paying off in both my level of comfort and speed. With the kids back in school, I’ve been trying to get back on track.

We are traveling next week, but planning a family run. Otherwise, I will probably give my body a much deserved rest. I hate the thought of losing progress, but I also know I abuse my muscles regularly and they need to rest.

Were you able to stay active through December? How is the weather where you are?

I post all the pictures from my runs on Instagram :)

New Year, New Race, New Distance

A run on New Year’s Day? Heck yeah! Run my longest race to date? Of course! I know, who am I? I’ve always thought people who ran on New Year’s were overachievers. I mean there are 364 more days to exercise.

Then, I became one of those people. It all began when I was randomly looking for 10Ks in the area. Turns out, they are hard to find! I came across this New Year’s fun run and mentioned it to my husband and friends. Everyone was in!

My friend and I decided to tackle the 5.7 mile course. We’ve been running longer distances and it seemed like a good one to try. I got there early with my husband and friend. This was the first time we were seeing the course as it wasn’t online. I’m not going to lie – 5.7 miles looks A LOT farther when put next to the 3 mile loop.

Because it was a fun run, there were no numbers and no official start. Basically, the course was marked and you could head out when you wanted. The longer distance had an earlier start and thankfully the event was hosted at a hotel as it was a windy 32 degrees, but sunny ;)

My friend and I set off in a group, but I was quickly alone. This race was ALL mental! I remembered my headphones (thankfully!) and enjoyed my music. The scenery was pretty and the cold wasn’t bothering me. I was very aware of distance and pace.

By the third mile, I was less in my head and along for the ride. I felt pretty steady, but was definitely looking for those mile markers! There was a long, uphill portion at the end. Many people were walking and it was crowded. My legs were done and I sooooo wanted to walk. I didn’t. Pride stepped in and pushed me through!

I got a little slower with each mile, but I maintained a 10:34 pace. Definitely the fastest I’ve maintained for that distance. I wanted to finish within an hour and I came in at 59:43. It’s not a lot under an hour, but it’s still under an hour :)

The best surprise at the end was seeing my husband and friends! I thought they would still be running because they had a later start time. Turns out they went with an earlier group and ran their course. We hung out and had some water. Then it was time for the plunge. No thank you! Of course, we did watch. I feel confident in saying you will never see me plunge in New England ;)

Afterward, we ventured out for lunch and a celebratory drink! It was a perfect start to 2015 :)

Have you done a polar plunge? Do you exercise on New Year’s?

Flexibility vs Mobility

I hate the word flexible! Almost everyday, I have a student tell me she’s not flexible. Here’s the problem, flexible is subjective. I am more flexible than many people but not at all flexible for a dancer.

Somewhere along the way, it became a reason to not try. If we let flexibility, or lack there of it, become a reason not to do something – we lose mobility. For example, if we don’t reach for our toes because we can’t touch them. We lose mobility in our hips that allow us to pick things up off the floor.

If we don’t work to extend our legs off the floor, we will shuffle our feet walking as we lose mobility in the hip flexors. The same is true for reaching up, to the side, etc. We need to work our joints, tendons and muscles in all directions to keep them fluid and functional.

I realized while teaching that any exercise perceived to require flexibility caused many to shut down and stop trying. Once I changed the focus to mobility and sometimes fluidity of movement, the effort changed.

I believe that one can gain mobility just as one can gain strength. There are many thoughts on stretching before or after exercising. I enjoy stretching so I often do it after a workout, but it doesn’t have to be a separate entity.

Many exercises require mobility. Of course yoga and pilates, but so do dead lifts, burpees, jump squats, shoulder press, chest fly, and lunges to name a few. Sometimes we just need to change our focus a little and the benefits of our fitness program increases greatly!

Do you consider yourself flexible? Has it stopped you in the past? What’s your favorite exercise that increases mobility and strength?