Archive for January, 2011

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making new tracks

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

January is coming to a close, and it has been a wonderful, albeit snowy month. I have made it through with flying colors! 2011 is well under way, and I feel very hopeful about the goals I am setting for myself this year.

I have been back in the swing of full-on exercising for 6 weeks now. Here is a look at my routine which has now become practice:

In the last 42 days I have run 24 times (averaging 5K runs with extensive hill training/uphill walking mostly on the treadmill), cross-country skiied 2 times, and shoveled 4 times. That’s 30 days of exercise out of 42. Not bad… an average of 5 days a week. I am pretty darn happy about all of this.

And not because I suddenly look amazing. Because I don’t. Progress is slow. As it should be. It takes time and continued dedication to achieve real, long-lasting new fitness results. As a runner for several years, I know this. I can go long periods without consistent running and my body doesn’t completely cave. But the same is true if I crank it up again—it takes my body a little while to catch on that I’m stepping up my game. But my body is always ready to respond.

The results will come. But that isn’t the big motivator for why I am running again. The real reason? I just really wanted to feel better mentally. Running makes me content. It is so easy to forget how powerful exercise is for the mind. And as soon as I am back in the routine, I remember how good running makes me feel.

I do feel good. Pretty darn amazing, in fact. And this is running’s biggest reward.

Now I want to keep on running and treating my body well. This is where I want (and need) to be!

Back in September I wrote out this goal list for myself. But I wasn’t in the right place at all mentally to commit to it. It took me about 3 months of wading through the muck in my mind along with trial and error to figure out how to balance work and life demands and prioritize being good to myself.

It wasn’t easy. But it can be done!

I am running and sleeping better (getting there!) and eating well and drinking tons of water and very much enjoying the present moment. Even in the middle of evil winter.

As for the reading part? Well, sheesh, that’s a fun problem… twist my arm, I will just have to start tackling this goal. Winter is the perfect time to curl up with a good book.

We can all make new goals. We can have a bad day, bad week, and even bad months or longer. But we CAN make baby steps toward better, healthier choices. And continually renew these commitments.

What changes have you made? What has been successful for you? What has been hard?

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Posted in Let's Get Physical, The Daily Balance | 5 Comments »

smack dab in the middle of winter

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Helllloooo from cold and snowy New England! There really is not much to report, sadly. Or, I suppose, not really sadly? It’s pretty much a winter homeostasis here. The work week is pretty much the usual work week. I get up and go to work and do my thing. I come home and I go for a hearty run on the treadmill. I eat dinner and hang out for a bit. And then I obediently head off to bed, even if what I really want to do is stay up late poking around on the computer.

I am trying very hard to establish and keep healthier, more holistic habits for myself in 2011. And that means lots of exercise, eating well, and making a conscious effort to get more sleep.

So far, so good. I am officially on Week 6 of my little renewal plan. Yeah, I started this re-commitment back in December for good measure. It’s pretty boring, I won’t lie. It’s a whole lotta routine. But I have to say, I forgot how much I like this routine. I used to be so good at it, but I had fallen out of practice. But, much like riding a bike, I picked it all right back up!

And I am feeling so much BETTER. I am sleeping pretty well. I wake up fairly easily. I have increasing amounts of energy each day.

And, get this… I am having these wonderful moments of pure, unabashed joy. Yeah. In the middle of winter. Hibernation time. Sometimes it’s when I am in the car driving to work. Sometimes it’s when I am huddled in my cube. Sometimes it’s right after I get off the treadmill and I’m stretching in the shower. Make no mistake, I get these momentary bubbles of real joy. Quite near bliss.

I have to think it has everything to do with exercising and sleeping more. My body craves these two things. More and more. Even if I am super tired and cranky after work and I don’t want to run. I do. I throw on my running clothes and I go.

And I feel so much better after.

In other news, it’s snowing outside right now. Another 4–8″ of snow due to fall overnight. I have to get myself off to bed so that I can wake up and shovel out before work.

And so it goes…

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Posted in The Daily Balance | 2 Comments »

frickin’ freezing!

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

It is reallllllllllly cold right now in southern New Hampshire. Bone-chilling, suck-your-breath-away cold. The kind of cold where your nostrils stick together and you get a dry little cough if you’re outside for more than 10 minutes.

Which is precisely what happened to me when I stepped outside to snap a few photos at sunset today.
january sunset

I was trying to convey two things:
1) We have a sh*t-ton of snow going on. It snowed again last Tuesday. It was around 6″ of icy, heavy snow which made for fun after-work shoveling. And then it snowed about an inch on Thursday. And then it snowed another 6″ on Friday. I had trouble getting out of the driveway to get to work. My car just couldn’t get traction. But after some stealth shoveling coupled with a healthy dose of cursing, I was able to finally get out. Friday night after work was also spent shoveling more icy, heavy snow.

Side note: Snow shoveling is quickly becoming part of my weekly workout routine. Which I do not mind. It’s such a great way to exercise and breaks up my running regimen. We’ve had close to 35″ of snow in 2 weeks. And rumor has it another huge storm is headed our way on Wednesday of this week. It just keeps coming. It’s kind of funny to plan out my runs for the week and schedule them around potential shoveling.

2) On the positive side of things, the sun is setting a little bit later each day. Today it stayed light until just about 5:30 p.m. This is progress!
january sunset

The snow banks lining our street are quite high, and my front bushes are absolutely buried. I do hope that the bushes will fare okay through all of this.

And now back to the cold… the high today was around 16°F. And that’s not factoring in the windchill. And since the sun went down, the temp has fallen steadily. It’s just after 11:00 p.m. and here’s the latest:
january cold

Yeah, 3.9°F is COLD. The overnight low is expected to fall well into the minus territory. Brrrrrrr!

I am so thankful that I washed the sheets today. I am very much looking forward to bounding into bed with clean sheets and making a cozy little blanket nest to keep warm overnight.

So, that pretty much sums up what last week was like. Cold. Snow. Shoveling. Sleep. Repeat. It’s that time of year.

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cross-country skiing

Monday, January 17th, 2011

The weather this weekend in southern New Hampshire was awesome. Cold but not brutally freezing. Instead it was clear and sunny and bright. Around 27°F. And with 20″ of fresh snow on the ground, it was finally time to set out and go cross-country skiing!

We live about a three-minute-walk away from a vast network of trails. It’s pretty fantastic to walk out the front door with our skiis and get going.
cross-country skiing

Craig and I bought skiis years ago at a local ski-swap. We scored a great deal and are so happy we made the small investment. Cross-country skiing may well be the most relaxing and yet vigorous winter workout.

You find yourself balancing in whole new ways, using muscles you forgot you had, and working up quite a sweat even though you aren’t huffing and puffing. Cross-country skiing is a total body workout where you are able to really feel present. You tend to forget that your heart is pounding and that you’re actually exercising. Perfect!
cross-country skiing

Anywhere you can find woods or a trail blanketed with snow, you can strap on your skiis and go. One of our favorite spots is a rarely-used rail bed near our house.
cross-country ski

We also frequent trails along golf courses.
cross-country ski

But my favorite place will always be in the woods, under the canopy of snowy trees. That is where I feel most alive. The surroundings are ethereal and breathtaking. This weekend we followed a trail along the Merrimack River, and we saw 3 bald eagles soaring overhead.
cross-country skiing

Am I sore today after 2 days of cross-country skiing in a row? Absolutely. It kind of hurts a little when I laugh. But that’s just my body waking up in winter. New activities are great to shake things up and keep winter interesting!

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winter wonderland

Friday, January 14th, 2011

We survived our biggest snowstorm of the season thus far. Roughly 20″ fell on Wednesday, wreaking havoc on the work commute and making for a very long day of slow travel followed by a hearty shoveling workout.

When I went to bed on Tuesday night, the flakes had just started to fall, and it looked like this:
before the NH snow

When I woke up on Wednesday morning, we already had about 8″, and it looked like this:
NH snow

And the snow just kept coming and coming and coming. Craig worked from home on Wednesday, and snapped some great shots of the great white blanket.
front maple

front of house

side of house

snow door

Craig did the first round of shoveling late afternoon. When I finally made it home from work safe and sound, I headed out to do the second round of shoveling. So much snow… EVERYWHERE!

looking toward covered beds

Somewhere out there toward the fence is my garden. Buried!

front of house

The path to the mailbox is clear!

shoveling the driveway

High, high snow banks!

plow

There goes the plow. Sadly he didn’t get anywhere close to our driveway.

extra shoveling

We live on a corner and the plows never quite make the turn to get close to our driveway. Thus, we have to shovel out an extra 4 feet or so.

After it was all shoveled and done, I chilled out on the front stoop. So beautiful out. Everything silent and still and enveloped with fresh snow. Good night for a little post-shoveling scotch.

snow and scotch

Well earned.

Did you get any snow this week?

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Posted in Household Management 101, Let's Get Physical, The Daily Balance | 1 Comment »

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