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Meltdown Milestones

Yet more snow here, which isn’t that terrible but bad enough to curtail most outside activity (well, running, mainly).  However, I have achieved two more milestones this week.  First, I finally ran the equivalent of here to Boston – 920km – which was the last place on my list when I started setting myself targets last year.  It’s only taken me 14 months to get there!  So now I need to shoot for the full 1000km (only just over 57km to go as of today).

Secondly, today I ran my fastest mile ever, in 8 minutes 21 seconds  😀  I should say that this was on the treadmill and with the knowledge that I was going to stop after that mile, so I don’t expect to be repeating the feat in a longer race at any time.  I also probably shouldn’t have then gone straight into a Chisel class with a huge emphasis on legwork, but hey ho.  I can still walk at the moment.

So I am feeling quite accomplished.  I think I have earned the new running shoes that should be arriving here tomorrow. For the first time I have bought a second pair of the same shoes, because they are THAT good.  They are the Saucony Virrata 2, which are spectacular because of the zero heel drop which gives a more natural running position (or summat like that, I almost sound like I know what I’m talking about don’t I?).  Anyway, the first pair have been awesome so far, and despite not needing a new pair just yet they were on sale so I’m buying them as a little celebration of my recent achievements and putting them away until I really need them.

I also bought the Oh She Glows cookbook as it was so good.  Other finds from the library during my snowbound hibernation have included Ready to Run by Kelly Starrett and Eat & Run by Scott Jurek, both of which I picked up on a bit of a whim but have found surprisingly enjoyable.  Ready to Run is not really about running but more about mobility and stretching to fix all sorts of niggly aches and pains and to therefore improve one’s running as a result.  It’s also very enlightening for anybody who is deskbound and hunched over a computer all day, which I hope not to be but expect I will be again by this time next year.  Eat & Run is a memoir by a guy who is an ultramarathoner and a vegan, but in truth I don’t think it would matter what the subject was, he just sounds like a nice chap and writes so well that I’d probably enjoy reading the phone book if he’d written it.

Oh and my Meet Me on Mars medal finally arrived too.  It’s HUUUUUUUGE, which you can probably tell from this photo:

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It is so heavy, I’m not quite sure where to hang it yet, as I think it will pull down anything I try to put it on.  Something for me to consider during the next round of snowfall then.

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Snowbound

Day five of an unexpectedly extended weekend due to snow, ice and historic low temperatures for these parts.  We don’t have it quite as bad as Boston, but the state has been paralysed, with all local schools and a large number of businesses closed.  The enforced hibernation has been pretty positive here at Stateside Towers.  I have been kept inside and driven to use Satan’s Hamster Wheel (the lovely treadmill) for a couple of days, which in itself is depressing and usually demotivating, however I used the opportunity to measure my pace accurately and push myself further for a few stretches during my run, resulting in a new 5K personal best of 27:10, knocking more than a minute off my previous record.  Go me!!  I don’t think I‘ll be repeating that time again easily as I needed somewhat of a lie down after it.

I usually use my weekdays as an opportunity to try out odd and adventurous new recipes when there is only me to poison.  Stateside Husband has been at home with me this week so he has been subjected to all my experiments (and there have been a lot, as I have been trying out recipes from a cookbook I borrowed from the library that has to be returned in two days).  We were both pleasantly surprised to find that he enjoyed all the recipes, I didn’t poison either of us, and we now have a selection of new breakfast, lunches and dinners to add to our menu.  Needless to say, I am going to buy the recipe book now.

In other news, I’ve signed up for a number of races this year so I now have twelve months of events to train towards.  As well as repeating the same races from last year, I’ve added a few new ones in to keep it interesting.  I’ve also signed up to Meet Me on Mars, which is a virtual race where everyone’s mileage is tallied up and the goal is, not surprisingly, to run all the way to Mars.  I had an amazing start in January, running 75 miles towards my original 2015 goal of 500.  Meet Me on Mars is giving me even more motivation to keep up with my mileage throughout the year, although I expect my monthly totals will get lower as the weather gets warmer (which is hard to imagine right now…).

So the weather outside may be frightful but my plans for the year are quite delightful.

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I am a Runner

A stranger asked me today whether I am a runner.  I thought about it for a few seconds.  I’ve made it to the end of a number of races over the past eighteen months, in not too shabby finish times, but there are a lot of people a lot faster than me.  I’ve recently got to know a bunch of people who frequently complete 50km ultramarathons and triathlons in spectacular times.  Next to them, I feel like a bit of a fraud, like I’m not really doing it properly.

Then I thought back over the past twelve months, and the fact that I covered a total of 460 miles according to my tracker.  Not bad really.  My goal for 2015 is to get to 500 miles.  Also, just before this conversation with the stranger, I had covered six miles under my own steam in an hour.  That’s actually pretty impressive for anyone to do.  So, yeah, I am a runner.  Thanks for making me realise and accept that today, stranger.

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The Doors – It’s Christmas!!

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Last one of the year (unless the neighbours pull off a surprise New Year’s Eve one…)

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Lazy Bum

Well I have been really lazy recently when it comes to blogging about my running (or anything else), even though I haven’t been too lazy with the running itself!  I’ve been keeping a tally all year of how far I’ve actually run, partly to help with my training and partly to know when it’s time to buy new running shoes 😀  (which I have just been treated to!) .  I also set myself a goal to see whether I could run as far as New York before we actually visit the city at the end of this month (in fact, in eight days time…).  Having never run a lot before the start of this year (I only started running in July 2013), I didn’t know whether or not this was achievable.  However, I’m pleased to say that I managed my goal (580km) on 12th October, a full six weeks ahead of my deadline.  And here are my new shoes to celebrate (no doubt there will be more excuses for a party when we travel to New York!):

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The Doors – Halloween

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Slightly late, but here is the neighbours’ door for Halloween.  I’m starting to think they’re not really trying any more, considering the astonishing amount of crazy Halloween decorations you can buy in this country.  So, to give more of a flavour of how it’s done over here, these are the pumpkins that the hubby and I carved this year:

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The Doors – Fall

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Well, we waited aaaaaaages for a new door decoration and this was, quite frankly, underwhelming.  I’m going to assume it’s a kind of “holding” decoration, to bridge the long gap between Independence Day and Halloween.  I’m expecting great things for the next one!!

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The Doors – Independence Day

 

 

So after a nail-biting wait (we don’t get much excitement round these parts) the neighbours have finally changed their door decoration.  The bad news is, it will be the same now until after 4th July so I have aaaages to wait for another new one (yes I am THAT impatient).  The good news, however, is that it’s a really spectacular homage to Independence Day (for Brit readers, I’m talking about the day that Americans celebrate leaving British rule, not the day the aliens blew up the White House, although the 1996 film is actually the first result that comes up if you Google it).  I think this door neatly encapsulates, in miniature form, the kind of celebrations and decorations that we can expect in seven weeks’ time.  Americans are incredibly patriotic and proud, and we Brits could do with adopting a little more of this positive attitude.  Anyway, enough of this idle chitchat – have a look at this!

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The Doors – Easter

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For me, Easter revolves around chocolate.  I don’t know why, but the same make of chocolate tastes infinitely better when it has been made into a large hollow egg shape instead of a small horizontal bar.  There’s presumably no science to back this up, but it’s just true.  Sadly, the powers that be in America have long ago ruled that chocolate with any kind of inedible thing inside it (such as a plastic toy, so think Kinder Egg or pretty much any Easter Egg) is potentially highly dangerous and therefore traditional Easter Eggs as we Brits know them are contraband!!  Living in a country that seems to pride itself on hideously unhealthy and oversized snacks, in my opinion it’s a crying shame that the one sweet treat we get denied here is the humble, innocuous Easter Egg (oh, and the advent calendar too actually, the only concession I would normally make to being festive).  So this year I again have to make do with the neighbour’s eggcellent door decoration to see me through the season.  It’s a cracker.

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The Doors – St Patrick’s Day

Well the neighbours have not let me down so far.  I have no idea why Americans go so over the top for St Patrick’s Day. This year a number of TV sitcoms even seem to be doing Irish-themed specials.  I think it’s the day that they celebrate most fervently of all, if they can take a break from proudly declaring how their great-great-great-great-great-great-step-grandfather-in-law’s windowcleaner’s cat was one sixteenth Irish.  I feel quite bad when I point out that it’s not celebrated anywhere near so much in Ireland itself.  Anyway, this is the neighbour’s fantastic front door:

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More leprechaun-based shenanigans to follow shortly….

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