Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Lure of the Long Run

Saturday morning was my first long run in many, many months.  And it was amazing!

In my pre-Max days, my Saturday mornings revolved around my long run.  I would schedule my run with friends, discussing distance and routes.  All the nerdy things that runners love!

I would get up early, have my coffee, lace up my sneakers and go.  After the run, my friends and I would meet at a coffee shop and just relax.  To me, there was no better way to start my weekend.  By the time I got back home, I would feel accomplished and energized.  And I still had the whole weekend in front of me!

Over time, I lost this part of my routine.  Saturday's became filled up with errands and laundry and soccer.  But this past Saturday, I was determined to get out there.  I was craving the exhaustion that comes from a really good run.

I dropped Max off with the parental units and hit the road.  I decided on six miles since my longest run, lately, has been around three miles.  It was cold as shit when I got out there but I felt so good!  I had a great stride going and I loved being outside in the quiet.  I even threw in some hills for shits and giggles!

The best part is I was done by 9am and had my whole day ahead of me.  I had all this crazy energy, so I ran errands and even repainted my bathroom.

By 9pm, I was in bed with a glass of wine and so exhausted.  To me that is the sign of a great day!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Runners Lust

I like to think of myself as a "basic" runner.  Not basic like pumpkin spice and all that shit.  Basic like I don't believe in a ton of gear to get out running.

I still have a vivid image from my first 10k.  I ran a race down in Arlington VA.  There were a couple of water stops on the course and it was April, so still nice and cool.  I passed this dude wearing a water belt, iphone on his arm, visor, sunglasses, etc.  All that shit to run six miles.

It seems so ridiculous to me.  I never run with music.  I really like to enjoy nature and the quiet when running.  I usually just lace up and go.  So to me, there are only a couple of things I spend good money on.

I obviously spend a lot of money on sneakers.  I feel really strongly about finding the right shoes for your feet.  Shoe manufacturers change sneaker models constantly so what worked last year may not work this year.

To give you an example, here was my progression in sneakers.  First it was the Mizuno Wave Riders.  I seriously hearted these shoes for year.  They were reasonably priced and fit great.  Then they changed something and I made the switch to Asics.  Mostly the Gel-1170 which is expensive but not terrible.  But then they changed something and I switched to Brooks.  They were pricey and honestly, they aren't as pretty as the other running shoes.  And everyone knows bright shoes make you faster!  I just started running again so I have been using a pair of Nikes but I know they won't work when I get up to higher distances because I need more support.

My other big running splurge is my watch.  I totally drink the Garmin Kool-Aid and I truly believe in spending a lot on a great watch.  I don't run with music thus I don't use my phone to track my distance.  So I need a watch to track my mileage.

When I first started running, back in 2007, I splurged on a Garmin 305.  I think I spent $250 on it and it was the best $250 I ever spent.  I trained for two full marathons and a handful of half marathons with it.

I finally switched to a Garmin Forerunner 10 in 2013.  I spent around $130 on that watch and was able to sell my old 305 for $50 on ebay too.  It's a nice watch but the screen is small so I can't have all my data at the same time.  With the Forerunner 10, I only get run time and mileage on my watch screen.  With the 305, I was able to get distance, current time, run time and pace.

So I am considering upgrading again.  I have two Garmin watches that I am interested in.  The Fenix 3 and the Vivoactive.  Both are expensive so I am really hemming and hawing on this purchase.  I am leaning towards the Fenix because it looks nice enough to wear all the time.  For $600 I need to really justify this purchase.  I like the Vivoactive because it looks cool (bonus) and it tracks steps and has phone notifications.

Have any of you purchased these?  Thoughts?  Want to buy me one?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Dating in your 30's

Ugh, just the title alone makes you want to barf, doesn't it?  Dating is awful.  But doing it again in your 30's is just terrible.

Honestly I never thought this would be my reality.  I really believed my ex and I would last forever.  I didn't just love him, he was my best friend.  We had so much fun together, just doing stupid things like grocery shopping or going to Target.  We would have been together forever....if alcohol hadn't happened.

But you pick yourself up and you move on.

The worst part about dating again after divorce is the baggage.  You can never trust blindly like you did when you were young.  You hold everyone back because you are afraid of them hurting you.  You (may) have a child, so you want to protect them too by not letting some rando into your life.

I started dating again about a year after we separated and it has been pretty much downhill ever since.  Given all of my experience (bah ha ha ha ha), here are my thoughts on dating in your 30's:

  1. Online dating is the devil.  It gives free license to be a dirty freak or downright rude.
  2. The next best thing is NOT one swipe away.  
  3. I don't have time for bullshit or head games.  My life is really busy between work and Max.  Just say what you think.  It really isn't that hard!
  4. If you have kids, your best bet is probably to date someone with kids.  People without kids say they understand but they really don't.  (I'm looking at you, Dude who told me to get a better babysitter so we could stay out later!)
  5. Try really hard to not take things too seriously.  The minute you overthink a text or a call, it starts to go downhill.
  6. Remember that you are worth it.  Don't waste time on someone, just to be with someone.
  7. Being alone is hard but it isn't going to kill you.

My goal during this "journey" is to just keep laughing......

Monday, November 16, 2015

Adventures on the Trail

I used to really love trail running.  When I lived in Philly we had some really great, local trails for runners.  One of my favorites was the trail around Haverford College.  

It was only about 5 minutes from my house and I used to sneak away at lunch time for a quick run. 

The best part of trail running is how much different it is from road running.  I have about zero coordination so I spend 90% of the run staring at the ground, trying not to trip.  This takes my mind off of miles and minutes.  There is less impact because you are running on dirt.  And for the most part the trail is really quiet and peaceful.

I didn't have a chance to run at lunch this week so I was determined to get up this am and run.  It is cold here in CT and super windy.  But tough tacos, quit your bitching and get out there.

Max and I hit up our local trail, the Pequonnock Valley Greenway.  This trail is really great because the path is nice and wide and mostly smooth, so I can push the Bob stroller.  Don't be fooled though.  There are still hills and Max probably weighs about 45 lbs.  

Add in all the crap we had to bring with us, water bottles, books, puppy, blankets, etc. and I was probably shoving around 50lbs up those hills.  

Right around mile two, my Garmin crapped out on me and my phone froze up.  So I was basically running blind.  And (gasp) it was kind of nice.  I knew this would be a slow run giving the stroller and the wind so I just decided to enjoy it.  

I didn't worry about my mileage or how fast each mile was.  I just enjoyed talking to Max, the pretty trees and listening to him screech the ABCs to me.  Really soothing, right????

I probably ran around 3.5 miles which is a nice, easy run.  It felt really good to get out and run early in the am.  My whole weekend used to revolve around my long runs.  So it is nice to get back to that.  But even better I got to show Max again how much I love running.

Kids learn from their parents.  I want him to see how awesome running is.  I want to be able to share my love of running with him.  And hopefully one day he will run with me!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Being the Best Alex

You may have noticed that I am a bit of an over achiever.  Please pick up your jaws.... I know you are all shocked by this statement (sarcasm obv)

I am the OCD queen.  I love a to do list like no ones business.  I make to do lists and then up date the to do list on fresh monogrammed paper.  I have weekend lists, house lists, work lists, etc.  I have long term goal lists, short terms lists...  Feel free to hate me!

So it comes as no surprise that I seriously love me some New Years Resolutions.  I write them every year and I try my best to accomplish all of them.

I have ratcheted it down in recent years though.  There is only so much free time for me anymore and I can only accomplish so much.  I try to break my goals into three areas, financial, personal and misc.  This year my misc list was all about my house.  In previous years it was about my job.

For the last three years, most of my personal goals are about my appearance.  I have really struggled with losing the weight the I gained during my pregnancy.  Obviously my post pregnancy time was really tough and weight loss was my last thought.  But I am the first to admit that I have let myself go.

This year I took the first step towards changing that.  In August I used the Isagenix 30 Day Nutritional Cleansing System and lost 9.5 lbs.  I felt fantastic after.  So much lighter and healthier than before.  I have continued using the shakes as a breakfast replacement but I know I can do more.

For 2016, I am going to try the Kayla Itsines Guides.  I feel like my fitness goals could use a shake up and I love working out.  I know it sounds weird but when I have a bad day, I come home and do a quick 20-30 min workout and my whole head is cleared.  It is my go to for stress relief and constantly changing it up keeps it fun and exciting.

I just recently got back into running which is fantastic.  But as a long time runner I am aware that doesn't tone me up.  I love it but I need something else.  I need to challenge myself and I think this is just the thing to do it.

I like planning and trying new things so I am really excited about all of this.  What are your fitness goals?  And what are you trying new?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Finding Stability

I think I can be the first person to say that 2015 has been a rough year for Max and I.  Maybe more for me than Max but either way it has been tough.

I don't like winter but I am secretly counting the days till 2016.  I know most of our issues won't go away in the new year.  But there is something to be said for a fresh start, right?

Child care has been our biggest issue this year.  I feel like Max is a ball bouncing from school to daycare to nannies, over and over again.  We have been through three daycares this year.  On top of that, we are on our 3rd nanny of the year and already it isn't looking so good.

From her aggressive texts asking for more money to her 6:30 am text today saying she couldn't watch Max, she is stressing me out.  When you hire someone to watch your child, it is like any other job.  You don't get to change your pay mid way through.  You don't get to pick the days you work.  But she must not have gotten that memo.

On top of that, you pay a fortune for a nanny so that you have constant care and you can decide when you need them longer.  I am not getting any of those benefits right now.  So why am I spending so much money?

I also start to wonder about the negative effects of him bouncing from caregiver to caregiver.  I know kids have to learn to be flexible but at the age of 3, you can only expect so much from him.  He gets attached to each daycare teacher and each nanny and then they leave him.  When he asks for them later on, it breaks my heart.

I am the first to admit that Max is a handful.  I don't ever sugar coat that.  But he is a sweet kid and really loving too.  I wish I could make everyone see that.

The problems with his childcare have caused me to have to make changes at work too.  I have had to change my job because I never know when I won't be able to go to work.  My hope is the job changes will remove some of the stress from my life.  But there is a small part of me that feels like a failure too.  I will never be this amazing business woman.  I will just be mediocre because I was held back by my personal life.

All of these things have made 2015 one of the roughest years of my life.  But on the flipside I have really learned priorities this year.

As a single mom, having a social life is really important.  Not just in the aspect of dating but because you need time to be you.  For me, finding the time to run again has been amazing.  I feel so great that I have been able to fit that back in.  It sounds crazy, but I love it.

Lastly, you have to realize what is important each day.  Homemade cupcakes for school really don't matter when you are up at 2am baking them.  Sleep matters.

Get the sleep.  Buy the cupcakes.  Wear yoga pants.  Have a dirty house.  You can even have dirty hair.  It is all ok.  I said so!