Tax Law Tuesday

No running for me yesterday since I had my tax law class. It was probably a good thing since my legs were still feeling heavy and a bit store from Monday’s run.

Class was so-so, we had an open book exam that I managed to fly through rather quickly. Though seeing the rest of the class take almost the entire exam period makes me nervous that I over estimated my knowledge of the material. However unlike my classmates I had pages flagged and I spent less time searching. That could have either been a good thing or a bad thing. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of open book exams. Perhaps it’s because my undergraduate professors had a tendency of making the open book/take home exams incredibly and unnecessarily difficult; I ended up having to study as if it was a regular closed book exam. Time will tell next week when I get the exam back.

In terms of training, I didn’t do anything incredibly interesting. I did my walk at lunch and got a good brisk mile in. I also rolled my quads before class since my quads were sore to the touch in a couple spots.

It was as soon as my quads have been in quite a while so I spent a lot of time slowly going over the couple hot spots I had. I have a friend that foam rolled the other day but said she didn’t want to put too much weight down, so it was more like a massage. Internally I was thinking why bother than. I know that foam rolling can be incredibly painful, especially when done right after working out/running which is something I am working on being more consistent with; but if you take the easy way it won’t be nearly as effective.

I do not like the theory of “no pain, no gain” however in regards to foam rolling I feel that pain is the best way to make gains in muscle healing which will by extension lead to gains.

To round out my rest day, Jesi and I hit up Joann’s to get supplies for her costume. This weekend is the town’s Heritage Day Festival. Yep, it is just like those small town festivals you see on Hallmark movies. Her child care center has a Wizard of Oz themed float, Jesi is dressing as Glinda. I will be one of the Lollipop Kids complete with large (Styrofoam) lollipop.  We shall see what 20 yards of pink tulle and some fabric glue with get us.

Not the most exciting day, but my body was definitely relieved to have a rest day focused on recovery and taxes.

Happy Running!

Super Fast Miles Before Choir Practice

Regina was hiking on the AT trail and Becky was at the beach so I was on my own for my Thursday run. Jesi was working until close, unlike Wednesday it was planned, and then we were going to grab dinner before choir practice.

I had roughly 45 minutes to run, shower and then head out. I wanted to make sure that I had a quality run rather than a quantity run. My training plan had me at four miles, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get a decent run in plus accomplish the other things I had in mind.

I decided instead to do a really good and solid thirty minute run. I accomplished amazing things in those thirty minutes. I ended up with 3.34 miles in about 33 minutes. I felt good and energized, albeit slightly out of breath. Which is something you never want when you are getting ready to sing for an hour. However the time to relax and have a nice dinner with Jesi helped recenter my breathing and my mind.

I did a little bit of hill work interspersed in the speed work. I feel like part of my success was my marathon play list some how ended up on shuffle. The order that I’m use to hearing music was jumbled. Because my music was unexpected, I found it easy to maintain pace because I never knew what was next. Usually I would mentally say I was going to slow down after the current song, only to have an incredibly upbeat motivational song come on making me feel like I couldn’t stop.

I wouldn’t want to always run with shuffle, I find that the regimented list helps keep me maintaining race pace. But it was a happy accident that yielded fantastic results.

What do you do when you your music list gets all jumbled? Do you stop and fix it, like I contemplated, or do you keep running?

First Day Back Grind

First day back from vacation is ALWAYS challenging. Getting back into the routine of being at a desk and wearing dress clothes is a chore. Thankfully, my boss was on the road so I was able to get the key aspects of my job completed and could catch up at a little more relaxed pace than I had anticipated.

My first day back was a little more relaxed and low key than Jesi’s. Jesi was pulled in a multitude of directions to solve problems and issues. I’m not sure that she even had enough time to catch her breath between issues. In my attempt to remain positive about things and look at things with a more optimistically pragmatic approach I viewed the unexpected necessity to walk home from the office as a good thing.

Jesi was stuck at her job until 6 PM, which would have meant me being at the office until 6:30 PM or even 7 PM. I was frustrated because being at the office that late meant not only would I potentially be stuck in an alarmed building after a 12 hour day, but I ran the risk of not getting my training miles in.

After some consideration, I made the ultimate decision to walk home from the office. I was scheduled to do 4 miles that day and thought that a 5.25 mile walk with brief case and lunch box would be a sufficient substitute. I viewed it as a way to kill two birds with one stone…I get my training in and  I get to be home at reasonable hour.

Probably the only thing I would have changed was not walking home in the hot afternoon sun in a dark navy blue dress shirt. Also, I realized how shot my under the desk lunch sneakers were. I felt my shins twinge around mile 3, which could have been that I had to do some off the beaten path walking to avoid traffic.

I wouldn’t want to do the walk home on the regular, and certainly not with a brief case in tow, but occasionally and better planned out it’s a good way to end the day.

Have you ever had to get creative in how you smashed together training and commuting? What did you have to do?

Happy Running!

Leaving On A Jet Plane

It’s always bittersweet to head home after vacation. There’s always the the sadness of leaving such a relaxing time but then there is the excitement of going home. Returning to routine, in case you haven’t figured it out I’m a very routinized person. I am content to do the same things day in and day out. Don’t get me wrong I like to have adventure and I like to try new things, but more than anything I like to be at home with my wife doing our old married couple routine.

There was talk of going to the pool in the morning before we left, but we were worried that we wouldn’t have time to enjoy the dip in the pool because we would be so focused on what time we needed to leave. Plus I really didn’t want to travel with a wet bathing suit in my bag. We instead just took a relaxing more and visited for the last few hours we were there.

We made it safely through security, complete with magic wands and turkey sandwiches and settled in to wait for our flight. The weather the entire week had been perfect! We had a few passing showers that resulted in MAYBE a dozen drops of rain before passing buy. It seemed ironic that our last day of vacation it rained the entire way to the airport. It stopped long enough for us to board the plane and back away from the terminal, only to return again with a vengeance. We sat on the runway waiting patiently for about an hour before we were cleared for take off.

The delay resulted in me experiencing an airplane bathroom as an adult. I must admit they seem far smaller than I remember. I was worried that my elbows would inadvertently hit something and I would eject myself, bare assed, onto the runway. I now wonder how Casey Neistat is so easily able to change into his pajamas when he initially boards the flight. He is either smaller than I realized or he has far greater flexibility than any human outside of Cirque de Soleil should have.

The delay allowed Jesi and I get some serious headway into our respective books. She is currently on the fourth book in the Harry Potter series while I am making my way through Give Me The Ballot; a fascinating read on the Voting Rights Act in America.

Since I typically make Tuesday my rest day, and knowing that I will hit the ground running (literally and figuratively) once we return I savored the last day of vacation know that my last few weeks will be strict adherence to the training plan.

The week was an amazingly wonderful respite that truly rejuvenated me and Jesi. We had fun and laughter and great adventure. But as always its wonderful to return home to Casa Bellfrey.

Magic Kingdom

8 miles! We walked 8 miles! After spending the day riding rides and watching the amazing fireworks over the castle. We also got a chance to see the Electric Light parade before it makes it way back to Disneyland.

14249935_10154605773149175_3889844645462222531_oIt was a super fun day with only slight issues of anxiety for me. Large groups and confined spaces make me tense and when they are occurring simultaneously I border on panic. I know, I know then when in the world did I go to Disney where those two instances happen on the regular? Seeing my wife’s reaction to the castle for the first time definitely made it all worth while. Also hearing her scream and swear like a sailor when we road Space Mountain was an added bonus as well.

By the time we made it back to the tram after walking, riding and souvenir shopping we had put in roughly 7 miles. However the wait for the tram to take us back to our car was going to be at least 45 minutes. Rather than wait around and risk being even later arriving home, we decided to just walk back to the car.

While I didn’t get running miles in today, making the decision to walimg_7407k despite the level of fatigue we were all feeling was an empowering feeling. I tried to keep a brisk and consistent pace and took the opportunity to view it as a training experience. Even though I didn’t run, and I probably could have, I still took the route that was going to better me overall in terms of athletic endeavors but also healthful endeavors. In reality, that is the ultimate goal of my marathon running is to be healthy.

Happy Running!

 

 

Beach Day

Sleeping in has never felt so great! The last few days of sleeping past 8 AM after going to bed at a reasonable hour has been so incredibly rejuvenating. I made the conscious decision not to run today. My legs are feeling heavy and tired from the standing and walking from our time at the parks, and tomorrow will provide to be equally as long.

Jesi seemed when surprised when I said no to running because we are going to the beach. As a New Englander, her experience with beach waves is pretty limited. The Cape never sees the huge swells that are common in southern beaches. I knew that our time at the beach and in the water would be spent body surfing and fighting the waves as they came rolling in.

We both spent significant time spewing salty water out of lips and and equal amount standing back up after being knocked down. Particularly humorous was when Jesi for some reason decided to punch the wave in frustration and was then promptly knocked on her butt by the wave that came from her left. In my defense, she was laughing before I was.

I’m finding the time away from running is making me equal parts anxious and relieved. Anxious because the marathon is mere weeks away and I need to get the miles in. My body needs the miles and the practice and consistency. But at the same time there is a bit of relief because I am so focused and concentrated on the goal. It’s ironic that the thing that makes me anxious is the same thing that I find relieving, two sides of the same coin for lack of a better term.

I am finding that even when I am not running I am thinking about. The time spent relaxing, I was reading and watching videos and learning new things. There is always comfort in my geekyness. It helps to settle my nerves. I’m also relieved because even though I have taken a slight step back during a crucial time, I recognize that this time off is important on some levels.

I have a tendency to become addicted to things rather easily whether they be good, bad or in between. For me to be able to take a step back for just a brief time and recenter myself and re-balance myself with the rest of my life is a huge help. My addictive tendency drives me for both good and bad reasons. Taking a little time off and refocusing my attention on my wife and just reconnecting has been an even bigger help than the miles that I am missing.

Setting aside the philosophical, I knew that to do ten miles and then go battle the waves after walking some distance on the sand would only end up shredding my legs; potentially injuring myself. In the end my greatest fear is that I will get injured during such an amazingly productive training time. History has proven that I am prone to tendinitis as well as issues with my knees and hips. Part of my acceptance of my rest is an overall fear that I will be injured if I continue forward in such a no-holds bar focused manner. The goal for me is to actually get to the start line and then make it to the finish.

All in all, it was a great day. Super fun day at the beach that is heralded as the Shark Bite capital of the world. Thankfully I neither spotted sharks or was bitten by one so I would say that the day was a win-win. Besides I got some cross training in and spent time with the family.

Happy Running!

 

 

Where Were You?

After a couple days hitting the parks, Saturday was spent relaxing. We slept late and had a hardy breakfast. We all enjoyed some quiet time at home just reading and relaxing and visiting. Our trip to the pool was cancelled due to a thunderstorm that never materialized. But by the time the clouds cleared and we realized the storm had blown past, it was dinner time.

While my blog posts typically run the day behind with today’s blog usually being about the previous days events but  I feel remiss not acknowledging that today is September 11th. In fact it is the 15th anniversary of September 11th. The news has been filled with stories and retrospectives. The children of those lost are now beginning high school. Monuments and memorials are being built. Documentaries are being made that further expand on the events to include the events in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. A generation of children are beginning school that will learn about the events of that day because they weren’t born yet.

It is an emotional day for our country. Personally, the day holds its own set of emotions. Those emotions heightened by the fact that the family we were staying with lost a family member and quite a few friends on that day. When discussion September 11th the question that is always posed, in some way or another is: “Where were you?”

Everyone that answered has such clarity of detail. They remember the day in such minute detail as if it was just yesterday. I am one of those people. I can’t remember what I wore but I remember that I was in geography class. I had arrived on campus and made it to class; my fellow classmates were all whispering about the news huddled together. We started to talk thinking for sure that class would be canceled. Classmates were calling parents and friends that worked in New York.

Surprisingly enough our professor did not cancel class. I like to think that it wasn’t any ill will but rather just a complete and utter lack of comprehension of the magnitude of what had happened. Perhaps because we had all lived through the bombing in 1993. And the bombing in Oklahoma. While those were tragic events and rocked the nation, they were no where near the scale of the events of that morning. There was no realization that the world as we all knew it was irrevocably changed.

At the exact moment the second tower was hit we were beginning the lesson on San Paulo and South America. I often wonder what that day would have been like if cellphones were as much a part of our being as they are now. Would we have known sooner what had happened? Would the images that so horrified us as we gathered after class in the student center been seen sooner? Would there have been tweets and posts and status updates? Instagram photos with filters?

What would the experience been like other than a group of 15 girls anxiously awaiting the end of a laboriously long lesson so that we could get to our friends and talk about what happened. While we didn’t know exactly what had happened, we sensed that this time was different. We were frustrated that our professor didn’t feel that same sense of urgency.

When class ended we quickly left the classroom and found a large group in the auditorium that was down the hall from our class. On the large screen was projected CNN. The room was packed with all seats and floor space taken up. There were silent tears and loud sobs. But in that moment there was a closeness. A camaraderie. I had never been so grateful to attend a small college. It was in the shared spaced that we learned that there had  also been other planes.

There was fear that there were more. There was fear that the military base that is located near the college would be a target. As a tactical location for communications and biological warfare, the base was a possible target.

That year my Mom and I had moved from our long time home after a painful divorce and taken a small apartment down the street from the college. Between the apartment and the campus was my mom’s job. I left campus and made my way to the store where Mom worked. I spent an hour as the entire staff huddled around a radio listening to the horrified news. They had yet to see the images that I had seen on the news.

After hugging Mom and all her co-workers, because for some reason we all felt compelled to hug, I made my way to the apartment. I realized quickly that I should have walked since the half mile drive took me over two hours. The military base, which was literally feet past the entrance to our apartment complex, had put up a barricade which blocked the entrance to the apartment. The combination of the blockade and the base personnel that had been called into duty resulted in traffic that moved so incredibly slow. Though despite the waiting, everyone sat patiently. There was frustration but there was no horn honking or gestures. No yells of “hurry up”. None of the activities that one would expect during a traffic snarl of such magnitude.

I briefly thought of turning around and parking my car at mom’s store and then make the trip on foot but I realized the traffic on the other side of the road was almost as equally slow due to the major high being shut done. Frederick is situated literally in the middle of multiple military installations and roughly 45 minutes from Washington, DC and the White House. Also, we are a little less than an hour from the site of the Pennsylvania crash. Our little sleepy down was for lack of a better term on lock down.

bal-baltimore-9-11-lookback-pg-018Once I made it up to the barrier it took me an additional 15 minutes of explaining to the solider that I lived in the apartment complex they were currently blocking. It was only after showing my registration, licence, student ID and pointing to my balcony that overhung the street was I finally permitted to enter. Once in the apartment I stepped out on the balcony and waved to show the soldiers that I was in fact a resident. I will never forget the fear of seeing two tanks literally parked in front of my house manned by soldiers with large weapons.

I called Mom and said when her shift ended not to drive home that getting into the apartment was a nightmare. Even as a pedestrian she had to show an ID but it was less time and explanation to make her way in than driving. Our apartment manager tried in vain to have blockade moved back just the 5 feet needed to enter and exit; but due to safety protocol the blockade stayed in place for several days. It was frustrating but reassuring all at once.

Personally, I remember what a troubling time it was setting aside the events of that day. Mom and I had only been in the apartment for a couple weeks after having moved from a large home with a yard to a small urban apartment. Our lives were in such upheaval already that the events of the day added an even greater sense of fear of the unknown.

We also realized that sense of upheaval we were feeling when combing the days events with the previous personal events was so incredibly minute compared to the lives of thousands of others.

It is strange that after 15 years I can’t adequately put into words the feelings that day invoked, and continues to invoke. It was such a frightening time that was followed shortly by the Anthrax attacks. That was made even more unsettling because the originally accused scientist lived in the building next door to ours. After finally settling down and no longer having tanks in our front yard, we then had FBI agents going through trash and camped out in our parking lot. Additionally, the military base that ran the testing was the very same base that was outside of our apartment.

I believe the entire series of events shook the world I knew and felt safe in to the core. I think like the trauma of injuries, your brain never quite allows you to remember the incident, my brain has somehow protected me from fully delving into a place in time that was so fraught will pain and anxiety.

While my experience was so small compared to the rest of the world, but yet I still feel as if I may never fully be able to express the enormity of that time in our history and the events that followed, but it is a day that I will always remember the grief I felt for my country while also feeling pride that we joined together as a nation. I will always remember the fear that followed but also the strength the resulted. But most of all I will remember where I was and how grateful I was to be surrounded by so many friends.

Peace and Love,
JJ

 

 

 

 

Tickets to Hogwarts Express

Another fun day at the parks. This time we ventured away from Disney and went to Universal Studios. My all time favorite reading series is Harry Potter. I started reading it in college, initially I thought it was a kids series but quickly became enthralled in the story. I typically reread the series once a year. I must admit that I haven’t seen the final installment of the movie, I saw the first half of the final movie but have yet to watch the final, final episode. Part of me feels that watching it somehow means the magic is over.

Jesi isn’t really a reader, she prefers lighter fare than my usual academic type books. The size of the books alone made her flee from Harry Potter for our five years together. However this year she decided to pick them up and quickly fell in love. Her newly found love of reading is adorable. Part of the decision to get a two park pass for Universal was so that we could experience all of the majesty that is Harry Potter.

It was amazing. We bought wands. We went on rides. We looked at windows and shops and all kinds of things. And we walked, not quite as many miles as yesterday but still walked over six miles.

While we didn’t fall asleep in the car on the way home, we were still wiped from the sun and adventure and walking of the day. While Friday is typically my rest day, I used the 6.75 miles towards my training miles for the week.

As a non-running aside, I ran into my ex. The heart break that resulted from that relationship started me on my fitness journey and eventually opened the way to my wife. It was incredibly jarring to run into someone you least expected to see, that you really never wanted to see again, in such a joyful and happy place. Her presence at the park did sit quietly in the back of my brain. Mostly because our paths kept crossing. We never actually interacted or spoke, but I would spot her and her family across a crowded shop or when exiting a ride.

For all of my irritation that she would be there, there was a small part of me that was glad that she saw me. Looking as healthy as I ever have. With a beautiful wife and having a good time with family. I don’t wish her any ill will, and truth be told I am now immensely grateful for her selfishness and dishonesty because without it I would not be where I am today.

I thought it was an interesting lesson to be presented with. I was gently reminded albeit in a slightly startling fashion that I have come a long way. That I have achieved much. That I have surpassed anyone, including my own, expectations of what was possible. And most importantly I found myself and a beautiful wife and best friend along the way.

Back to the regularly schedule running related blog…

While I didn’t get my miles in from running, I definitely got them in enjoying the adventure of Hogwarts. I promised Jesi that as soon as she finishes the books, we will go back so she can fully enjoy everything after having completed the total story. Not to mention we can take our wands with us and try them out, since we were total geeks and got the interactive “magic” wands.

How do you manage training on long vacations? What tips have you discovered for balancing vacation and training?

Happy Running!

Every Person Comes Out Tired

When I first went to EPCOT in 1990, I was told that EPCOT stood for Every Person Comes Out Tired…and boy did we. Being the geek that I have always been, I wanted to see all the things and learn all the technology. I must admit that 26 years later, little has changed.

We were up and out too early for my to start Thursday with a run. My intention was to run upon our return home from the park. However between the Florida sun, the 7 miles of walking and the thrill of the rides combined with falling asleep in the car on the way home, there was no running on Thursday.

I was frustrated and somewhat beating myself up for my lack of focus, but realized that I managed to get in 3 miles more than my plan called for. While I understand it’s not the same type of training and endurance, there is something to be said for being on your feet for 9 hours in the sun.

I tried instead of beating myself up to use Regina’s principle of time on your feet. Regina feels that while the mileage is important, it’s equally important to train your body to be up and moving for extended periods of time. I have got to admit, that EPCOT certainly qualifies for for that philosophy.

It was fun to explore and see things as an adult. The time roaming the park really brought back memories of my 10 year old self wandering around and  just taking in everything that so enamored me as a child. It was still just as magical. Plus I got to go on the rides that my grandparents weren’t as thrilled about letting a 10 year old try.

While I didn’t get my miles in, I definitely came out tired.

Happy Running!

 

Humid Florida Weather…at 8am

Nothing like a hot humid run in Florida…at 8 AM. I was amazed that while the temperatures were in the low 70’s, the humidity caused me to sweat like it was in the 90’s.

However, despite the weather I got up and went running. I was stiff from the hours of sitting. Not that the flight was long with there was the hour ride to the airport, the couple hours waiting for the flight followed by the two hour flight there. It was just a lot of cumulative sitting and my hips and legs were aching to move. Well they were aching, not sure the exact reasoning for it.

I set the goal to maintain my training plan on vacation and was glad that the first day  I started out with a run. I know that I may not being able to hit my exact mileage marks with all the park hopping we will be doing, but I am focused on getting out and about to ensure that my training miles hit the necessary marks.

The run itself was pretty decent. I find that runs in unfamiliar places sometimes don’t go quite as well as the familiar. The area wasn’t entirely unfamiliar, I had run in the neighborhood five years prior, but there was new construction and a few roadways I don’t remember seeing. There were some points of steep inclines, which I focused on taking slow and consistent maintaining my form as best as possible. Traffic was a bit of a factor since the sidewalks had to be avoided due to sprinklers. I did my best to hug the curb area, but cars seemed to not to take notice or care that they had ample room in their lane and no opposite traffic approaching.

Despite the traffic and running past the house when I returned, apparently in Florida EVERYONE has a palm tree in front of their pastel colored stucco house with garage and small front porch, I had a great run and was able to enjoy the pool and relaxing that are part of vacation.

Happy Running!