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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Page 365...

How has the time passed so quickly?

I feel like just yesterday I was sitting at the Cape composing that last blog post.  I've kept up this domain over the years in the hopes that I'd come back to it and I'm hoping with the dawn of the new year, I might commit to some writing.

2016 has been quite the year.  I saw a post on Facebook yesterday that turned 2016 into a horror movie.  In the world at large, it certainly wasn't the best of years.  I fear what the next year will bring with a Trump presidency and a world in, if not chaos, flux.

But for me, 2016 has been a pretty special year.  January was fairly quiet but only because I was getting ready for February.  At the beginning of the month, S threw me an amazing party surrounded by friends and family as a way of saying bon voyage - and on February 15th, I stepped on a United flight to Shanghai.

I spent the next 4 weeks helping the Shanghai Disneyland team get their Guest research up and running in preparation for the Grand Opening in June.  I also got to travel to Harbin in northern China for the ice festival and to X'ian to see the terracotta warriors.  Upon my return, S and I made the decision to build a house in Lake Nona so during the 6 weeks I was home, we scouted out a site, picked a floor plan, signed a contract, and started making preparations to sell our little bungalow downtown as well as my condo in Hunter's Creek.  Phew.

May 2nd came quickly and I was back to Shanghai for 3 months.  It was incredible!  The city is very Chinese and yet very European.  My friends and I had lots of adventures throughout the city when we had time off.  Over the three months, I also got to explore Beijing (hello Great Wall!), Tokyo (Disneyland and sushi!), and the Yellow Mountains.  S joined me in the middle of July and we continued my adventure with sightseeing in Shanghai and venturing to Hong Kong, Cambodia, and Viet Nam before returning to Shanghai and the long trip home.

That short paragraph above does not even begin to convey the amazing-ness that was May through July although it was slightly overshadowed by an abrupt return to reality in August when we had to pack up our house in preparation for closing on September 16th.  By the time we returned, both the house and condo were under contract and M had found a great townhouse to buy.  We sold the condo on August 8th and got him settled then we scrambled to finish storing all of our stuff at Mom's, M's, and Mom's friend Joanne's house.  As of August, only the footers had been poured on our new house, eek.

We moved to Mom's house (while she was still in Connecticut) on September 4th and have been here ever since.  Mom returned on October 28th and it's been, uh, rather cozy ever since. 

So I sit here at my mom's breakfast bar on December 31st, thinking about the past year and what the next year might bring.  2016 was a weird one - the world is in a lot of pain but there were good things that deserve celebration as well.  January 13th marks (supposedly...) our closing date on our new house - that's the first milestone of the new year.  My hope for 2017 is less pain, more joy - and more adventures.  There will always be challenges that we cannot control but at the end of the day the year will be what we make of it - let's make it a good one.

Time to turn the page...

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The little things...

S and I are up in Cape Cod for a long weekend.  Finally, a chance to relax (for the most part - I hear the shop vac running in the basement...) rather than do any major construction!  It's way too short a visit but at least we got here.  It'll have to do until our time here later on this year...

Last night, we went to The Flying Bridge in Falmouth for a lobster dinner.  Oh yum!  You really have to be okay with getting messy in order to capture all that lobster-y goodness.  Totally worth the effort!!

While we were eating, I mentioned to S something that I had been thinking about a lot lately.  We're both pretty ambitious and driven people - personally and professionally.  All too often, I notice us saying stuff that starts or ends with "when we get here" or "when we do this" or "someday I want that".  And there is always something - a boat, a pool, a bigger house, special trips - and I feel like we're forgetting that our life is pretty darn great the way it is currently.  We've got solid jobs that we worked our butts off for, a gorgeous house, our health, our family and friends, our menagerie, a COTTAGE ON CAPE COD for goodness' sake...I'm afraid that we forget to be satisfied with and appreciative of what we have.  I don't want to miss out on life's enjoyments big and small.  I'm certainly not advocating being complacent - that's not where I'm going with this.  I just want to make more of an effort to enjoy and be thankful for what we have IN THE MOMENT.


And so, this morning we took our breakfast out to the jetty down the street from our cottage and had ourselves a picnic while we stared out at the water and down the beach and reveled in a gorgeous, sunshine-y first day of summer.  It was glorious and simple and peaceful - and just what I needed.  It's the little things.  In this case it was a cranberry muffin and a huge Dunkin' Donuts coffee with the love of my life.  Nothing earth-shattering but we paused.  It's a start.  Life is good.

Monday, April 21, 2014

#BostonStrong

I ran Boston in 2005.  And no, I didn't qualify to run it - I had an exemption number.

Cool story on how I got my number...I ran the Hartford marathon in the fall of 2004.  As part of my "swag bag", I received a subscription to Running Times - a much tinier, much more local version of Runners' World.  I was reading my first issue of this primarily New England running magazine here in Orlando and I came across an article about a father/daughter running duo written by the daughter.  As I got to the end of the article, I realized that I KNEW THE FATHER...well, sort of.

Mr. S was an associate of my dad's - I'm not really sure how they knew each other - and at the time was very involved with the Falmouth Road Race.  Have you had the chance to run Falmouth??  It's A-MAZING - 7.1 miles between Woods Hole to Falmouth.  I ran it first with my dad and twice more after that.  I hope I get to go back someday...but I digress.

Mr. S was the dad in the story and when I remarked to my dad (and my best running partner) about this, Dad immediately called Mr. S to catch up.  He was very surprised that I had seen the article and as my dad related to him my marathon adventures, Mr. S threw out THE QUESTION - "well, would she like to run Boston?  I've got a couple of numbers."  My dad's response?  "Um, let me think about that for a moment - YES!"  And so I ran Boston.  As a side note - I did my undergrad at WELLESLEY - aka the "Scream Tunnel" at the halfway point so Boston was in my blood...that didn't make me faster but what I lacked in speed, I made up in heart.

The whole experience was incredible and I have the utmost respect for the race, and the course, and all the qualifiers - really, all the runners.  My marathon PR at Boston stood for 6 years - until 2011 when I ran Savannah.  Eight marathons and Boston is still (and always will be) my favorite race.  My heart hurt for what those people tried to do to Boston last year but I knew the race and the city would come back better than ever this year. 

Fast forward 9 years...today I ran for Boston.  How far, you might ask?  A whopping three miles...but I ran.  I'm a long way from running 13.1 let alone 26.2 - and over 15lbs heavier than I was in my last marathon - but today I started the climb back.  There's a lot more muscle on me than there used to be because of CrossFit but there's some extra fluff as well that I need to work on.  What more appropriate day to begin again than on the most glorious day for running in the whole year?  I might be limping by tomorrow...but you have to start somewhere.  We shall see where it leads...

For now, it's sleepy time...back to the box in the morning...#BostonStrong indeed!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Shoes!!!!

I'll start out by say - I never win ANYTHING.

I read lots of different blogs - several knitting/crafty ones,  paleo ones, and general healthy lifestyle ones.  One of my favorites is Housewife Glamour - Heather is originally from Central Florida but has been transplanted to the great white north (okay, Detroit).  Her blog is a mix of running and other fitness related endeavors as well as healthy eating and general life stuff.  I look forward to reading what's on her mind each day.

Back before the holidays, she ran a contest to give away a gift card for design your own Reebok shoes.  I have been wearing my Nano 2.0s to crossfit for over a year and I thought it would be fun to be able to design my own - and I like contests - so I entered.  I didn't think anything of it (reference: I never win anything...) until the day after the drawing when Heather tagged me in a post saying that I had won.  WHAT?!?!?

My gift card arrived soon after that and I started thinking about what I wanted to design.  Decisions, decisions...S recommended that instead of Nanos, I go for Olympic lifting shoes since they were the shoe that I'd be LEAST likely to buy for myself if I had extra spending money.  I have needed them but I hadn't been able to fully justify the expense yet.  So, after trying on a friend's shoes to check for sizing, I went to work designing my perfect pair of Olys.

Three weeks later...they have arrived!!!!!

Behold...pink and purple and green and blue and...okay, I went a little overboard.  One friend even described them as a unicorn pooping skittles.  But I LOVE them!!!



I am so excited that they're here!!!! S helped me bake them that night so that they'd mold to my feet and I was ready to go for my workout on Thursday.  And then we did bench press...lol...didn't quite need them for that.  I did get to wear them for front lunges during the WOD though and I could definitely feel the additional stability.  I know we'll do back squats tomorrow - there are PRs in my future.

Thank you, Heather, for hosting this contest!!!!!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

We interrupt this blog...

Yeah, it's been a pretty crazy week...I still owe you "all" (lol...I think I had two pageviews yesterday?) an explanation of the "wool" part of my name but not today.

I've been at my mom's house all afternoon and evening.  She lives about 20 minutes from me and S so it's a quick trip.  The reason for the visit though has been less than awesome.  You see, my dad passed away almost two years ago and today was the day that we were finally ready (really, are we ever actually ready?) to clean out his closet and drawers.  Talk about emotional overload...

We carefully looked through everything and separated it all.  We're donating most of his things to the veterans' association but there were some things that we chose to keep for ourselves.  I got his army shirt and bowie hat, a couple of scarves that I knit him eons ago, a UCONN basketball sweatshirt, and his Yankees cap.  We also found a random red bandanna that we could only conclude belonged to Maggie, his black lab.  That'll be a gift to our girl Nittany when I get home tonight.  I found some superfine gauge sweaters that will look awesome on M and which he loved when I showed him.  We're all trying to find some little piece of Daddy to hold on to.

We had also promised Mom some help in the "to-do" list department.  She does a great job maintaining her house but there are some things that she needs our help with.  For instance, as I type I'm actually updating her TomTom navigation.  M and S are in Mom's sewing room installing the TV that we promised her.  M has also hung some pictures and tightened a horizontal blind frame that was banging on a door.  It's that type of day.  It'll be another day just like it tomorrow and that's okay.  We all help Mom whether we're her daughter, her son-in-law (S), or her son-that-she-never-had (M).  I'm grateful for these wonderful men in my life.  They take good care of us.

The four of us miss Dad tremendously.  It's been a very long two years but more of that another time.  January marks milestones - the day he went into the hospital for the last time (1/1/12), the last time we talked with him (1/17), his birthday (1/18), the day he drew his last breath (1/29).  So, more thoughtfulness for later.  For now, I raise a cider and monitor the TomTom update and go to see what's next on the list.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Why "Workouts"?

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When I graduated from college in 1995 (Go Wellesley Blue!), I graduated with quite a bit of extra weight on me.  It wasn’t that I was inactive in college (I played 4 years of rugby – 7 seasons in all), it was that I was clearly compensating for the activity with way more food than I needed, lots of pizza and beer…

I arrived at my first job overweight and out of shape and I knew something needed to change.  That November, I joined Weight Watchers and started doing a step aerobics video that I bought at my WW meeting.  You know how folks often gain weight between Thanksgiving and Christmas?  I was so fed up with my weight that I joined the week AFTER Thanksgiving and managed to lose 7 pounds before the new year.

When the snow melted, I decided it was time to get moving outside.  My dad had been running for years and he encouraged me to try it out.  I had rebelled against the idea of running from point A to point B for so long but gave it a try.  I was hooked!  Obviously I wasn’t breaking any speed or distance barriers but I was getting out there almost every day and putting the miles in.  I ran a 5K that May and my dad suggested that we run the Falmouth Road Race together that August.  So we did!  And we crossed the finish line holding hands…that was just awesome.

In 2001, I ran my first half marathon and in 2004, I ran my first, second, and third full marathons.  To date, I’ve run 12 half marathons, 8 full marathons, and countless 5Ks and 10Ks.  I’ve run for years with Marathonfest from Track Shack and the friends I’ve made through the program are amazing.

Last fall, my running-partner-in-crime moved away about the same time that I started Crossfit.  I felt my running mojo beginning to disappear slowly but surely.  I joined Marathonfest for the winter session but only showed up a time or two…I just wasn’t that into it.  My other running friends were getting faster or running different intervals (or both!) and I was jazzed about the strides I was making in Crossfit.  I thought it best to step away so that I could miss running for a bit and remember why I loved it so much.

S and I started Crossfit in September of 2012 and really committed ourselves in January of 2013.  I love, love, love Crossfit!!!  It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (which includes training for a marathon while planning a wedding!) but it is extremely satisfying.  The workouts are intense and varied but we’ve got benchmark workouts that we do at regular intervals to gauge improvements.  There is nothing like getting a PR (personal record) on a lift or finally semi-mastering a certain gymnastics move.  I’ve got a loooooong way to go but I’m certainly stronger than I was last year or even 20 years ago.  I think that’s pretty cool!  I’ve also started Crossfit Endurance which combines elements of CF with running.  My coach is bound and determined to make me faster and he pushes me in every workout.

So – that’s the “workout” part of this blog.  I was never a team sports person growing up (except for rugby – but that was a lot of beer combined with sport) but I discovered fitness once I graduated from college and strive to make it a part of most days.  Sure, there’ve been stretches of time where I have sat on the couch a whole lot more than worked out – but I always come back to exercise as a natural part of my life.  I’m proud to say that I haven’t had one of those stretches since I had foot surgery in April 2012 – and you can bet that I was on the treadmill, elliptical, and exercise bike as soon as my foot doctor gave the okay!

Tomorrow…what the heck is up with the wool?  And maybe some pictures?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

More Goals!

S and I started Crossfit in September 2012.  We now go 4 to 5, sometimes 6, times a week.  We’re active members of South Orlando Crossfit (best box in town!) and even though the workouts regularly beat us down, we have never been stronger.  I’ve made huge improvements since I started but there are some particular goals that I want to accomplish in the next year.

Double-unders: If I have to go through another year of doing 3:1 single-unders in our WODs, I’m going to scream!  Time to practice those dubs!!!!

14# wall balls:  I’ve got some issues reaching the 9 foot target with a 10# ball, let alone a 12 or 14.  Another skill that takes a lot of practice – the problem is, I don’t enjoy them in any way, shape, or form.  They have an uncanny knack of showing up in our WODs though so practice I must.

Pull-ups: For as long as I’ve been working out, I’ve wanted to be able to do a pull-up SO.  BADLY.  I’ve been using bands since I started doing crossfit but I’ve been looking forward to the day when I don’t have to.  Slowly but surely I’ve progressed from the thicker to the thinner bands.  We had a max reps unassisted pull-up challenge at the box a couple weeks ago and for the first time I did THREE in a row.  So, in the next couple of months, I want to be able to regularly do unassisted pull-ups in our WODs.

Improvements in my lifts: I’ll admit I get a little jealous of the girls at the gym when they lift WAY more than I do.  In 2014, I want to be comfortable and proud of what I can do rather than comparing myself to others.  That being said, I’m looking forward to lifting more in the new year!

Lifting goals:
  • Back squat – 1 rep max at 160; currently at 135
  • Deadlift – 1 rep max at 240; currently at 200
  • Overhead squats and snatch – I’m less picky about weight here!  I’m more interested in improving my form and getting more comfortable putting weight over my head. 

Running/endurance: This one is simple – get faster!  I want to run a solid 26 minute 5K.  I plan to keep up with the CF Endurance classes so Coach Christian can keep kicking my butt into shape.

Wow, okay, I guess I have a few Crossfit goals this year.  I’m ready for them!!!!

Other stuff I want to do this year…
  • Make sure our investments are correctly allocated – It’s never too early to start planning for retirement!
  • Nurture our marriage – I love S to the ends of the earth and I want to make sure that we devote as much time and energy to each other as we do to everything else in our lives.
  • Write our wills – Not fun to think about but my dad’s death put it in perspective how much we need to plan for anything we can.
  • Read – My list on Goodreads is long and eclectic.
  • Sew – I have a kick-a## sewing machine that is languishing in my craft room along with two partially finished quilts.
  • Scrapbook – I’m waaaaaaay behind on life documentation but I’ve got tons of supplies and pictures on our computers.
  • Knit – There might not be a sweater in me this year but I’m looking forward to lots of socks, a few shawls, who knows what else!

I’ve definitely got a full year ahead!  This is only the beginning!