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And the leaves that are green turn to brown November 16, 2014

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Fall in DC really is beautiful, though it tends to be short-lived.  It seems like this fall will be no exception.  Frankly, it didn’t even feel like fall until right around Halloween, and then this weekend, less than two weeks before Thanksgiving, felt more like winter.  The leaves are in big crunchy piles on the sidewalk, it is dark when I leave for AND come home from work, and folks have broken out their scarves and knee-high boots – so, I guess there’s no mistaking the season.

Some animals prepare for winter by hoarding.  In our household, we seem to be doing just the opposite – we have decided to buy a house, so we are thinking about what we can eliminate, reduce, and streamline.  While that process unfolds, I find myself looking and feeling a lot like the many neighborhood squirrels – like I have packed on extra heft to protect myself from the impending cold.  I have been exercising less and less – not only because other things have been more pressing, but also because I seem to have lost the inherent drive to better my body.  Is it unreasonable to think I might get that drive back during the short, cold days of winter?  Past patterns do not give me hope in that regard.

In any case, I will write here when I can – about training, yes, but also about life in our new neighborhood, as we put down real roots and try to become a part of a larger community.  Perhaps our neighbors will turn out to be running partners, or I will find that biking to work is more rewarding on the new route.  Who knows?  Anything is possible.

And, of course, there is always spring to look forward to…


Running Up(s) and Down(s) September 4, 2014

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
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The downer is that I decided not to run the Marine Corps Marathon this year (booooo).  As thrilled as I was to win a spot in the lottery, the summer turned out to be way busier than I was anticipating, and training fell by the wayside.  There was no way I was prepared to run 26.2 miles, and I didn’t want to do it unless I could really do it well.  The good news is that MCM has a deferral program, so I paid a fee to guarantee my entry in the 2015 race.

So, what am I going to do to ensure that 2015 doesn’t go the way of 2014?  First things first, I had a consultation with a personal trainer last night – I think losing some weight and incorporating strength training into my fitness routine are both excellent ways to make progress towards next years race(s).  The workout was TOUGH, and I am still hurting today, but my miserable excuses for push-ups demonstrated that I need to get some expert help and not just focus on cardio.

Second, I am going to try to have a BLAST at Ragnar DC next weekend – hopefully, that will kick-start my get-back-in-shape campaign and renew my love of running and fitness.  Even reading some blog entries and recaps of last year’s DC Ragnar has started to get me in the spirit – so look for a post in the near future about things I am looking forward to (and hoping to do differently) during my second relay experience!

Holiday ho-hums December 6, 2013

Posted by bettyjoan in Running.
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I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but my motivation for exercise has been seriously sapped.  I absolutely SHOULD be working out – not only did I overindulge during Thanksgiving, but marathon training has officially started – yet I always find excuses not to.  Work is crazy.  I’m tired.  It’s too cold.  And so on and so on…

This weekend, we will be attending our first group run with Team In Training – it’s only 5 miles (see, I can’t be THAT far removed from running – I still use “only” to describe 5 miles), but hopefully it will provide a much-needed spark.  The social aspect of exercise always gives me a bit more of a boost!

Perhaps it’s a good time to start thinking about my 2014 goals – after all, 2013 is almost over, and the new year provides a nice (if a bit cliched) backdrop for self-reflection, evaluation, and target-setting.  Should I be focusing on weight loss?  Running a PR?  Getting back into yoga and/or cycling?  I think I will spend some time thinking about what I want to accomplish, and then I can come back here and jot everything down for accountability.

Till then, I will simply strive to enjoy this weekend’s TNT activities and carry a refreshed sense of positivity and enthusiasm into a new training season.

Let’s Move! March 17, 2013

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The words “moving” and “movement” have been in the news a lot lately, what with the First Lady’s initiative to end childhood obesity through exercise and nutrition.  I’ve been using those same words quite a bit recently as well, though my context is somewhat different.  Because, you see, on February 23, I packed up a couple of suitcases and moved back to Washington, DC.

Of course the move was job-related, and I’m not going to get into those details in this forum.  But, I have been here for three weeks now, and I can definitely confirm that moving – the relocation kind, anyway – is one of the most stressful life events there is.  We are getting a lot of help from my employer, which certainly takes the anxiety down a notch, but between selling our house, finding an apartment, figuring out how to move the critters, and remembering little things like address changes and utility shutoffs and where in the goodness gracious we stored our important documents, it is enough to keep you up at night.

At this point, we are progressing as smoothly as we possibly can, with me and the cat here in our nation’s capital and husband and the pupster still in Atlanta.  I’m sure the rest of the process will flash before our eyes, and we will be one big happy DC family soon enough.  Until then, our race schedules will likely get tweaked and our training routines will probably suffer – and I don’t know what will become of this blog.  I hope to pick it up again soon, refreshed and renewed and race-ready for this new phase of our lives.

Weather or Not to Train February 18, 2013

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Uncategorized.
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You may have noticed that posting here has been kind of light.  Part of that is due to some personal/professional flux – more on that in a future entry.  But really, more than anything else, the reason for my lack of navel gazing is my lack of training…and my lack of training is due to HOLY CRAP, DID YOU KNOW THAT IT IS WINTER OUT THERE?!?!?!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that I live in Georgia, and winters down here are practically like summers in places like Buffalo and Vancouver and Nome.  But dammit, my blood is all thin and stuff, and I don’t live in Buffalo or Vancouver or Nome (why would anyone, for that matter?).  I live in Georgia, where it is supposed to be warm all the time and we aren’t supposed to have to worry about things like wind chills and full-face warmers.  It is really hard to get my happy ass on a bike when I know I am going to be frozen from head to toe within 5 minutes of starting to ride – especially when cycling isn’t a great joy for me anyway.

The kicker is, our next event is St. Anthony’s, an Olympic distance triathlon in St. Petersburg, Florida, on April 28.  That makes motivation even harder, since I know that the weather in St. Pete in late April is not exactly going to be wintry.  I know, anything can happen, but let’s be real – it’s going to be lovely and fabulous and everything you wish for when you sign up to do a race in Florida.

The good news is, I have at least been keeping up with the swimming component of training (the only part that is climate controlled), so at least I (probably) won’t die a watery death.

How does everyone else stay motivated when the weather’s got you down?

Summer running, happened so fast (or not) July 19, 2012

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Well, judging by the record-high temperatures, summer is definitely here – and shockingly, I’ve actually done some racing!

Back in mid-June, I ran the ATC Braves Country Fathers Day 4-Miler.  I didn’t have any specific goals for the event, having never raced that particular distance before.  The course was challenging, with lots of ups and downs, but the weather was great and the finish – right on the warning track, inside Turner Field – made all of the elevation changes worthwhile.  I saw a few friends and felt very strong overall, and I finished in 39:57.  A sub-40 minute 4-miler (just barely, but still)?  Yep, I’ll take that.

Then, before I knew it, it was July 4 – and in Atlanta, that means the Peachtree Road Race!  I love Peachtree – it is such an amazing tradition that is unique to my city, and it gets me excited every year.  Though, to be fair, I’m not sure what I get more jazzed about – actually running the race, or watching the coverage on TV after I get home!

Setting goals for Peachtree is tricky – after all, you are running with 60,000 of your closest friends, and it is usually crazy stinkin’ hot.  Combine those factors with a very challenging course, and you have less-than-ideal conditions for a PR.  However, after a marathon in April and a pretty good streak of faster running (for me, anyway), I was hoping that I could get my Peachtree time down closer to an hour (for reference, I completed the 2011 event in 1:10 and change).

The morning of the race, we took MARTA to the start and then went immediately to our corrals (F for me and G for hubby).  We timed it pretty darn well – we didn’t have to stand around for long before we were off and running.  I took off pretty quickly and darted around the many, many, MANY people who had no  business being that far up in the corrals (start placement is based on qualifying times, so theoretically you should be running with people of similar abilities).  The first few miles were awesome – I was running a really solid pace, but I didn’t feel like I was overexerting myself.  I took water at each opportunity, and I smiled at all of the folks who had gathered to watch the madness (they say there are usually 150,000 spectators).

I was really feeling good going into “Cardiac Hill,” and I moved over to the right side of the road so I could see my favorite part of the race – the Shepherd Center patients.  Well, that turned out to be the WRONG idea if I wanted a faster time – my emotions got the better of me, and I started crying when I saw all of the men and women with spinal injuries out on the sidewalk cheering on all of the runners.  It was incredibly motivating, of course, but crying and running don’t mix – my heart rate was all over the place, and I had to really slow down and then walk for a bit to get things back in working order.  Finally, I pulled myself together and had a strong final mile, and I was thrilled to cross the finish line a little faster than the previous year (1:07:23).

The post-Peachtree weeks have been pretty lame as far as running.  Actually, they have been lame in terms of exercise in general – I have been in a bit of a slump, and I have entered the time of year where I travel a lot for work.  I am starting to feel heavy and bloated and out of shape after my most recent business trip (wrapped up just this afternoon, in fact), so I’m hoping I can muster up the gumption to start a better workout streak.

Next up, unless we schedule something else – Bike MS and Ragnar Tennessee!

In a slump October 7, 2009

Posted by bettyjoan in Uncategorized.
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As you can probably tell by my lack of posts, training hasn’t been at the top of my priority list since the triathlon season wound down (for me, anyway–for some folks it JUST finished).  To be fair, I did get married and go out of town for business, and life in general is as busy as ever.  But really, the basic, bottom-line truth of the matter is that I am in a slump.

I haven’t been on my bike since July.  The pool?  Please.  I signed up for a half-marathon in November, thinking that it would spur me to work on my running game, but I haven’t done more than 4 miles at a time since my last tri.  I am feeling unprepared for my upcoming race, but more than that, I am feeling fat and lazy (though I know I am truly not either of those things) and unworthy of the “triathlete” title.

Have y’all (if there’s anyone still reading) ever found yourselves in a similar situation?  Did you find a way out?  How?