Monthly Archives: February 2013

Bloggy Switcheroo!

For the past month or so I have been working on updating the blog – it will still be Cape Island Runners, but without the clunky “wordpress” in the URL and some fancy upgrades (legit banner!, more tabs!). I’m super excited to unveil it, but before I do,  I need some time to finish importing this site to that one without the added work of creating new blog posts.  So gonna take a quick break,  jump into a phone booth and pop out a new and improved CIR! I’ll post the updated address on this site when it is ready (hopefully in a week, no more than 2, she says with the naivete that comes with thinking something techy will be easy-breezy!).

See ya on the flip side!

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What I Saw When I Ran Wednesdays

For those of you who read food blogs, you will often see a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Same idea here, except it will be what I saw when I ran on Wednesdays. So take a peek at what my orbs observed and then add your own experience!

While waiting for the vet to call and give me the go-ahead to pick up Popsters, I decided to add to my WMA run list with one that was on the way. Peaslee Wildlife Management Area is well-known as a bird, butterfly and dragon/damselfly hotspot and now I can also say with authority that it a great place to run. Especially if said run precedes a visit to pick up your sick rabbit, who is totally freaked out, and upon his release you are given a bill substantially higher than the already jaw-dropping estimate you were provided a few days prior. Extra especially if his treatment is not yet done (more worry and more money), they still don’t know how it will turn out and he seems less mobile than ever due to his arthritic back legs and bandaged front one.  It’s definitely a good place to go to get your stress level to zero so you can experience the full effect of jacking it up, lol.

In any case, before all that happened, this did (it is now 10:23 pm and I am just getting settled and having dinner so apologies for no captions tonight):

South side of Peaslee!

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Ok, maybe one caption. When I brought Pops home, he was quite agitated. Part of this must be what he has gone through, part of it is that I was putting him in his cage, in the house, neither of which he is used to. He and Keebs usually live out on the porch,where they have free rein. But for his recovery, I thought it would be better for them to be inside. I tried to introduce Keebs to him, but he got aggressive with him. So for now, they will just have through the cage bar visits and we'll work back to normalcy, if that is even possible. My poor babies.

Ok, maybe one caption. When I brought Pops home, he was quite agitated. Part of this must be what he has gone through, part of it is that I was putting him in his cage, in the house, neither of which he is used to. He and Keebs usually live out on the porch,where they have free rein, and only go in the . But for his recovery, I thought it would be better for them to be inside. I tried to introduce Keebs to him, but Pops got inexplicably aggressive with him. So for now, they will just have “through the cage bar” visits like Poppy is locked up in the big house and Keebs is his loyal visitor. I might have to get them mini-phones to talk through.

What did you see on your run today?

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Cape Island Spotlight – Lisa Rumer

spotlight imageCape Island Spotlight” will be an occasional series about runners I know and love and think you will too! Runners are an interesting breed – a little quirky mixed with a little masochist mixed with hard work and hard play makes for some of the most fun people I know!

Here, I’ll show you…

Lisa Rumer

lisa biking

I think of Lisa as my mama hen as far as racing is concerned. I first got to know her in 2004, when Lil Sis was working at the Ocean City Fitness Center. Lisa welcomed us into a group of women who all worked out together, training and competing in road races and triathlons. She is that incredible mix that is so hard to find – someone super talented yet very open with sharing with her time and experience to help others along. As you can see from the picture above, Lisa is all business on race day… but the rest of the time? She is one of the nicest people you would ever hope to meet. On group bike rides, she was the one that would make sure no one got lost, pedaling back and forth between the groups that inevitably form to make sure everyone was ok. She is the primary reason I never learned to fix a flat – although she taught me multiple times, she would just as easily take care of it for me! She is a great cook and has fed me many a night when my own culinary skills would have left me high and dry (aka eating cereal for dinner). And she takes care of everyone in the same way – from her own family of Carrie and TJ, to their extended one of aunts, cousins, grandparents, to the larger Ocean City community, Lisa is someone we all turn to for inspiration (she really is one of my favorite runners to watch, her form is efficient and beautiful) and encouragement (I did my first tri because of her and started running harder because I saw through her that road running could be a place to push myself and try to reach my own potential). Check her out:

Who saw the runner in you, ie how did you get into running?

I guess that would be my dad. I’m not even sure how it started, but when I was a kid, he would take me out – I would run and he would bike next to me. Then one summer, he signed me up for an Ocean City Rec Run. I think I was 9. There was no running attire back then and I remember I had on my huge glasses and wore a Mr. Peanut shirt, jeans (not even jean shorts) that I kept up with a huge belt buckle! This was an event for kids – it was prior to Fenton Carey and they were just testing out whether a kids run would work. It was a 1-mile run and my clearest memory is thinking it took awhile to get to the turnaround cone. After that, I ran it every summer that it was offered, plus some other races. I remember I was in 8th grade when I did one where they forgot to put the turnaround cone for the .5 marker and we wound up running a mile out so they gave us 2 medals for the 2 miles we ran when we finished!

I had just started girls track the year before and during school I got called down to the office. I was really nervous, thinking, “what did I do?” But it turned out they just wanted to give me a letter from the high school girls track congratulating me on a recent run (ed note: that she had won) and asking if would I run for her next year?  I was like, “yeah man, somebody wants me!” so I did– but I remember I got terrible shin splints that first year! I wound up running all four years in high school for all three seasons (ed note: cross-country, indoor track, spring track). I did not run in college, which turned out to be one of my biggest regrets in life. I had a boyfriend at home so I always wanted to come back to see him.

By the time my sophomore year ended, I had gained 25 pounds so I took up running again. (ed. note: I want pictures!!! Lisa is so sculpted and petite I just cannot imagine her with 25 pounds on that frame!) I earned my degree in recreation administration and when I was about 26 I got a job at the Ocean City Fitness Center. About this same time, I started doing road races and triathlons. There were a bunch of us that were pretty hardcore – just a great a mix of people that worked really hard.

Running is my forte but I enjoy all three disciplines of triathlon. I believe that cross training has really helped me be an athlete and it makes it more enjoyable. There are days that your body feels like doing one or the other so that helps with motivation to keep training.
How long have you been pounding the pavement/trails?

I started when I was 9 and I am 47 now, so 38 years.
A moment where you said to yourself “oh my god, I love running!”

Oh, that is so hard…one of my favorites was one of the first times Carrie and I did a race together. It was the Broad Street Run. We ran together the whole time and I remember thinking “we are running hard!”. I just loved that feeling of really working hard and doing it together.

A moment when you said to yourself “Whose idea was this again? Why in the world am I doing this!?”

Oh boy, one would be the Miami Man Triathlon, international distance in 1994 (ed note: .6 mi swim, 22 mi bike, 10k). The run was excruciating! I said to some “older” woman who was probably in her late 30 (I was in my 20s) “Come on, let’s go!” and man, did she kick my ass! That run was so hot and I was working so hard and by the end I was thinking “that was the worst run ever!”

Running adage that is not true for you (i.e. they say to avoid running on a full stomach, but Lil Sis can house a hoagie and be fine to run immediately)?

I pretty much follow all the rules. *laughs* I do always have one drink before race day – either beer or wine. I have it with dinner and it is a bit of a superstition now!

Prefer to run alone or with partner/group?

Umm, I enjoy both. There are times that I am like “it is so nice being out here” , being away from everything but other times that I really like running with people.

Favorite winter running gear?            

My Nike running hat – it’s royal blue. It’s not too heavy, not too light, covers my ears, love it. Even if it is almost too warm I will wear that hat.

Bucket list race?

I would really love to do one more national championship triathlon at international distance. It will be in  Milwaukee in 2013 and it stays in the same place two years in a row. That area does not really appeal to me so I’ll probably wait until it is somewhere I want to go!

Would you (or have you) ever do a bare it all (ie naked) run?

Yes, I would. It would have to warm enough though! My co-worker was visiting her son out west and was on a duck boat and saw a naked race going by!

What is your favorite race distance?

The 10k

Do you run on vacation or take a break?

We always run on vacation. A memorable one was Jamaica – I was running on dirt roads with just the goats out and guys driving by yelling “Hey mon!”

And you know something really interesting that I have noticed at work? (ed note: reminder, Lisa works at the Fitness Center in Ocean City, a prime tourism location on the Jersey coast) 20 years ago, the attitude of most visitors was, “I’m on vacation, I’m not doing anything!”. 10 years ago it was, “I’m on vacation, I get to work out! This is great!”  And then the last few years it has been “We’re a family on vacation, what can we do together?!”. It’s been really cool to see that transition.

What is a running ritual you have that makes other raise their eyebrows?

Umm, nothing weird, I am a pretty by the books runner. I have my drink the night before, race morning  I usually have a banana with PB, and then I do some squats and jumps right before the gun goes off.

Advice to fellow runners?

Stay loose. Running does not feel good when you are tense. So physically, make your body relax.  While running, I think to myself, “fast without tension” and also “good arms”  to remind myself not to let my arms cross the center line of my body. It’s amazing how bad your form can go when you are tired and equally amazing how much energy you can get back if you just adjust your form. When I’m really hurting, I think “breathe slower and deeper” “stay relaxed” and “foot cadence”. When racing, I constantly think about form and that is what gets me thorough the entire race. I think a lot of runners would improve if they worked on focusing on what their body was doing as they run and race.

What is your favorite post-race indulgence?

Whatever I can get my hands on! I pretty much indulge all the time, so there is nothing specific I wait to have after a race. It is more like indulging while feeling that feeling of success!

Weird, random fact about yourself?

I have this reoccurring dream where I am trying to run and can’t move! I am using everything I have to move even a little bit.  I am just trying to move one step forward but I can’t. Eventually I get on the ground start trying to pull myself forward and I can’t. I think it is related to anxiety.

Thanks so much Lis! Lisa is the race director for all the races that happen under the City’s sponsorship. If you have never done the Mayor’s Labor Day Race, the OC Tri or (my personal favorite) the OC Half, you really must! She puts on great races – very well organized, excellent food after, door prizes in many cases. The best!

Since the first photo of Lis is of her fierce racing self, I wanted to also include on that is more in line with the Lisa we see day to day – friendly with a huge smile on her face:

Lisa and Carrie, my running heroes and one of my favorite couples around! I did a Spotlight on Carrie a few months back, check it out here if you missed it the first time around!

Lisa and Carrie, my running heroes! I did a Spotlight on Carrie a few months back, check it out here if you missed it the first time around!

Anyone have questions for Lisa?

 

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Valentine’s Hangover

If you are like me, you might indulge a bit too much on holidays like Valentine’s Day. And if you did last night, you won’t get any lip from this chickie! As someone who keeps her considerable sweet tooth on a very short leash, I fully give myself over to the sugar monster on occasion and run free in the land of sugarplums and lollipops. Side note: I can’t get behind the whole “just have a tiny piece of chocolate every day to stop you from overdoing it!” so often espoused in ladies’ magazines. Well, what the hell is the point of that?!? For me, I prefer to avoid unhealthy food the vast majority of the time but on special occasions love to dive in, chow down to my heart’s content, and then to my liver’s, ears’, eyeballs’, frontal lobe’s, uvula’s, spine’s and even excised appendix’s content!

The next morning, however? Not so great. I usually wake up with a nasty sugar hangover and no appetite for a day. There is only one thing that makes me feel better, and I bet you can guess what that is…reruns of Full House! lol, just kidding, it’s running, of course (although Full House can play a complimentary role in your recovery, no doubt).

The trick to this remedy is to get the dosage right – this will not work if your planned workout is a long run, speed or tempo workout. Sure, you’ll be able to get through it, but you probably will feel the same or worse after. For this application, you need a short, easy jog around the neighborhood where you are focused on things like “huh, I did not realize you could have that many garden gnomes in one yard” or “I wonder what it would be like if that Russian meteor hit here, like, right now” and not things like perceived effort or Garmin splits.

So if you can still feel the sea-salt caramels rattling around your innards, take it from me – it’s likely not the first thing you would think of to help that belly but a short jog later and you’ll be a new man/lady/other (hey, we don’t judge here at CIR).

In other news, these things happened:

1. I went to my magical chiropractor, Dr. Greenburg, to address some lingering issues I have in my groin (hmm, that sentence could go a few ways). He ran a bunch of tests and thinks that the issue stems from a misalignment in my knee. He adjusted it and I will go back next week for a follow-up. In the meantime, he directed me to “go for a run” because we need to see how my leg feels after the adjustment. Finally, doctor’s orders that are easy to follow!

2. You may remember that Poppy (one of our 9.5 yr old bunnies) had some health issues in the late summer, which he recovered from. Unfortunately, a few new problems have cropped up and I am having a hard time figuring out how to help him, if he can even be helped and where we go from here. Positive thoughts for Popsters are appreciated.

poppykeebs

Poppy is on the bottom, Keebler is the snuggle bunny on top, in one of their favorite sleep positions.

Did you overindulge and need a Valentine’s Day hangover cure?

Have you hugged your pet today?

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What I Saw When I Ran Wednesdays

For those of you who read food blogs, you will often see a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Same idea here, except it will be what I saw when I ran on Wednesdays. So take a peek at what my orbs observed and then add your own experience!

I had another killer commute/meeting combo today and since I am back to my weather stalking ways, I was afraid that I would not get my run in after work (a midday run was possible, but sometimes our staff meetings don’t break for lunch so did not want to risk it) since the prediction was for afternoon/evening rain. I had to leave the house at 730a, which meant I was going to take a page from Sean’s running handbook and rock the pre-dawn run! Or at least, attempt to… I stayed up late last night making Lil Sis’ favorite Valentine Day cookies for her and some friends and set my alarm for 545a with high hopes but a healthy degree of skepticism that I would actually heed its call.

I don’t know about you, but I know within about .21 seconds of the alarm going off whether or not it is going to be easy to get up on an early day. I have no idea what makes the difference – did I wake up in the right part of a sleep cycle? did I know that a run would be the best part of the day? was I feeling inspired by Sean and wanting to be as badass as him? No idea, but whatever the case I did not need the 2 snooze cycles I had given myself as a buffer and up and out I went! Here is what I saw:

Not much to see at first - this is the light from my headlamp :) The sun joined the party soon enough...

Not much at first – this is the light from my headlamp 🙂 But the sun joined the party soon enough…

Oh my, that is better!

Oh my, that is better!

My imagination loved running with this image - a farmhouse with just a few warm lights on inside, just waking up for the day. In my mind, there were a few people in colonial garb pulling fresh bread out of the oven inside that kitchen. Likely, right?

My imagination loved running with this image – a farmhouse lit from within by a few warm lights. In my mind, there were people in colonial garb pulling fresh bread out of the oven inside that kitchen. I’m pretty sure that if I knocked on the door that is exactly what I would have seen, right?

Environmental rant of the day - this is EXACTLY what I am talking about when you see my mouthing off on FB about how I don't agree with using Xmas trees to stablize a beach. This is what happens more often than not  - a row of random trees, just chilling on the beach, looking as out of place as I would at a Fashion Week. They are collecting no sand and just become an eyesore. If this were a fashion magazine, the trees' eyes would be blacked out and "DON'T" would be stamped across it.

Environmental rant of the day – this is EXACTLY what I am talking about when you see my mouthing off on FB about how I don’t agree with using Xmas trees to stabilize a beach. This is what happens more often than not – a row of random trees, just chilling on the beach, looking as out of place as I would at Fashion Week. They are collecting no sand and just become an eyesore. If this were a magazine, the trees’ eyes would be blacked out and “Fashion DON’T” would be stamped across it.

Any chance I could just sit on this bench all day, I wondered? The answer was no. :)

Any chance I could just sit on this bench all day, I wondered? The answer, alas, was no.

I did not see this while running, but seriously could not handle their adorableness and had to share! My boss Kathy made these for our co-worker's birthday. Can you even stand it??

I did not see this while running, but seriously could not handle their adorableness and had to share! My boss Kathy made these for our co-worker’s birthday. Can you even stand it??

And while we are on a sugar kick, here's a picture of the cookies I made - Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Love the one you are with - doubly so if that just happens to be a box of chocolates :)

And while we are on a sugar kick, here’s a picture of the cookies I made – Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Love the one you’re with – doubly so if that just happens to be a box of chocolates (or a tin of cookies!) 🙂

What did you see on your run today?

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My sister, myself

You know what helps you miss your hubby a little less? Sister time! I long for the days when Lil Sis and I lived within a mile (and sometimes much closer – in the same house or on the same block) of each other and could pop in and out of each others lives a the drop of a hat. I love living in Cape May so much, but one of the prices to be paid is having my sis a 45 min car ride away. Granted, this is not exactly the other side of the planet, but to me it feels awfully far. We have done really well over the last year, taking turns hopping on the parkway and carefully figuring out dates and times we are both free. One result of the distance is that it makes days like today special. What once would have been a normal Sunday hang out has becomes something more – a few hours to connect to a person that means the world to me.

How did we spend it? As is so many times the case, running and talking 🙂 When people see us together, they often comment that we never seem to run out of things to talk about. How could we?! With shape-shifting lives that we could not have imagined as two little girls growing up on Tiverstock Drive, there is never a shortage of things I need her opinion on, need comfort over or want to hear details about.

We decided to go for a run on the boards (no surprise there). Lil Sis prepared by drinking moonshine last night and nothing for breakfast today (no surprise there). I told her we would run 3 but squeaked an extra mile out of her (no surprise there). We had a fantastic time, content in our sister world, lockstep in body and mind. Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same (happily, no surprise there).

Ohh, a new mural since the last time I was here - pretty!

Ohh, a new mural since the last time I was here – pretty!

This is the kind of winter day I can get behind - bright, blue sky, low wind, reasonable temps. Very nice, winter, very nice.

This is the kind of winter day I can get behind – bright, blue sky, low wind, reasonable temps. Verrrry nice, winter, very nice.

Even the gulls were digging this day! Tons in the intertidal zone and right offshore.

Even the gulls were digging this day! Tons in the intertidal zone and right offshore.

Gotta touch the turnaround point! We swapped gloves today - I was trying out one of her pink Lululemon mittens (that Rocelle turned her on to) and fell in love! Sadly, the only ones I could find online were all black ones. But I want the girly ones! *stomps foot*

Gotta touch the turnaround point! We swapped gloves today – I was trying out one of her pink Lululemon mittens (that Rochelle turned her on to) and fell in love! Sadly, the only ones I could find online were all black ones. But I want the girly ones! *stomps foot*

Sissy also likes touching this rail for the heck of it - just one of those weird runner things. Not weird are her socks, which proudly proclaim "BACON" for no particular reason. They make me smile.

Sissy also likes touching this rail for the heck of it – just one of those weird runner things. Not weird are her socks, which proudly proclaim “BACON”. They make me, and everyone who sees them, smile.

Remember when I was talking about the salt water taffy machine last week? Well, clearly I could not resist a trip into Shriver's to see if the machiners were running. Coinsidering it is the middle of February, I am guessing the demand for taffy is at a yearlong low, but I still gazed longingly at my beloved machines!

Remember last week when I was talking about the salt water taffy machine? Well, I could not resist a trip into Shriver’s to see if they were running! Considering it is the middle of February, I am guessing the demand for taffy is at its yearly nadir, but I still gazed lovingly at my beloved machines!

Lil Sis loves the bench at 18th Street at the end of a run to take in the day, be grateful for the life she has and, in times of strife, to remind herself that everything is going to be all right. It was hard not to believe that on a day as beautiful as this.

Lil Sis loves the bench at 18th Street at the end of a run to take in the day, be grateful for the life she has and, in times of uncertainty, to remind herself that everything is going to be all right. It was hard not to believe that on a day as beautiful as this.

What are some of you favorite winter routes?

Do you run with your sibling(s)?

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My pain, your gain

I’ve been back to running for 3 weeks as of today, yippee!! I am still taking it easy, building up slooowly but really feel the worst is behind me. So this is the part of the movie where the main character sits at her computer, gets a dreamy look in her eyes and we hear a reflective song (some Kamikaze Hearts, perhaps?) while she thinks back over the past 2.5 months and what she should have done differently. You know how they say that failures are the best way to grow and learn lessons? That may well be true, but you know what I think is even better? Avoiding the whole failure thing in the first place by learning from other people’s goofball mistakes! So with that in mind, here are some failure-avoiding tips for you all 🙂

What I Did Wrong, Part 1: I woke up with a sharp pain in my groin the morning before the marathon. It felt a lot like a nasty pain I sometimes get in my upper back that can be resolved with a trip to the chiro. I chalked it up to race nerves and went about my day- which included driving all over the place buying last minute stuff for the race, even though shifting and getting in and out of the car made my leg howl. I walked all around the expo and then GD and I walked to dinner that night. As a long-distance runner, I have a well-honed  ability to block out pain – not so much in my regular life, where I am a grade A top choice wuss, but in my running life it comes very naturally to me. I blocked the pain out all day and hoped ignoring it would make it disappear. It did not.

What I Should Have Done: As soon as I woke up and felt that pain, I should have re-routed my whole day. Everything I did that day could have been avoided or I could have asked someone else to help me with it. When I recognized the pain as something I have felt in another part of my body where it has successfully been treated with an adjustment, I should have made an emergency visit to a chiro. I then should have completely stayed off it and determined if it was going to be runnable the next day.

What I Did Wrong, Part 2: I woke up with the pain better on race morning , but by no means gone. I should have seriously considered not running the race. This was not an option that I entertained for even one minute. I ran the race, plowing through even when the pain kicked in at Mile 13 despite many milligrams of a pain reliever.

What I Should Have Done: Seriously considered not running the race. I am not saying I would have been able to actually stop myself from toeing the line, but I should have at least had a frank discussion with stubborn me and really considered what running on it would mean – namely a long recovery period afterwards. Knowing now how hard it was not to run those 2 months, in the future I will certainly consider DNS as an actual option.

What I Did Wrong, Part 3: Crossed the finish line and let the adrenaline take over. I walked around, chatted with friends, walked to the hotel room, spent about 30 seconds on a foam roller, had lunch and got in a car to sit for 2 hours.

What I Should Have Done: Realized that I was intoxicated by a  runner’s high and immediately taken steps to reduce the damage I had just done to my body. I should have gone straight to the massage tent, iced, foam rolled and stayed off my feet as long as possible. I should have done some gentle stretching and gone for a short walk later that night and the next day.

What I Did, Part 4:  I went to work ( because we had a staff meeting in central Jersey) and sat in a truck for 4 hours and in a meeting for 6. I made no attempts to make a massage or doctor appointment on that day or any of the 30 after it (ie FOR ONE MONTH!!)  in part because I was in denial, in part because I was too worried about money (DUMB!!).

What I Should Have Done:I should have taken off work on Monday. I should have made an appointment for an ART massage, a sports massage, a chiropractor or even the ortho the very minute I woke up on Monday. I should have channeled Lil Sis’ attitude towards money, and I quote,  “it’s only little green pieces of paper floating around”.

What I Did, Part 5, in which the protagonist finally gets a clue: After much crying and pouting, I accepted that I would need a good long rest. I went to the ART therapist, chiro and sports doc multiple times. I swam. I baked. I foam rolled and used a heating pad (ice did not seem to do anything on this one, a first for me. It is usually a go-to miracle maker, but not this time). I visualized myself being ok and running footloose and fancy-free.

What I Should Have Done: Excatly that. Sheesh, took me long enough!

I’d like to think that this will help you make better decisions than I did if you are faced with the same dilemma race morning. Hell, I’d like to think it will help ME in the future if I ever find myself in the same place again. It’s a lot to ask of myself (and you) to learn from our own (and others) mistakes but, damn,  wouldn’t it be something if we could?

What are the biggest lessons you learned while recovering from an injury?

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What I Saw When I Ran Wednesdays

For those of you who read food blogs, you will often see a “What I Ate Wednesday” post. Same idea here, except it will be what I saw when I ran on Wednesdays. So take a peek at what my orbs observed and then add your own experience!

My work schedule today called for me to drive 2 hours north, take part in a 1 hour meeting (which was actually really interesting and worthwhile but the drive kills me!), then drive 2 hours south only to get sucked into the hurricane that is the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy – oh my, the jockeying for habitat restoration money is a sight to see! Anyway, my morning meeting’s focus was Stafford Forge Wildlife Management Area (or WMA as we call it in the biz, pronounced “wama”, rhymes with Alabama. You are welcome for some fancy govermentese to impress your friends with!). I knew a mental break was needed between all the driving and the Sandy tasks that were waiting for me at the office, so I decided a lunch run at the WMA in question would be just the thing I needed to get through the afternoon. I was right! Gorgeous property that I need to further explore… and it also made me realize I should make more of an effort to see our state WMAs. I am familiar with some of them, but there are heaps I have never even heard of! Might try to make it “WMA Wednesdays” around these parts as often as possible!

Time to get our WMA on!

Time to get our WMA on!

Stafford Forge has a lot of old cranberry bogs on site, which are just gorgeous

Stafford Forge has a lot of old cranberry bogs on site, which are just lovely!

Hi birds! I *think* these were Greater Yellowlegs. I saw them on the way out and on the way back I think I heard the GY call, but could not connect the two for sure. Either way, nice to see some birdies out and about!

Hi birds! I *think* these were Greater Yellowlegs. I saw them on the way out and on the way back I think I heard the GY call, but could not connect the two for sure. Either way, nice to see some birdies out and about!

Great trails to run around on - I tried some of the smaller ones of this main one, but they were a bit too undulating to be comfortable, like mogul running. No thanks!

Great trails to run around on – I tried some of the smaller ones off this main one, but they were a bit too undulating to be comfortable, like mogul running. No thanks! The main trails were just perfect tho’.

Fire is an incredibly important part of the Pine Barrens ecosystem. We all grew up with Smokey Bear telling us "only you can prevent wildlifes". And did we ever! Fires were suppressed so long and so well in the Pine Barrens that we fundamentally started changing the system! Whoops!

Fire is an incredibly important part of the Pine Barrens ecosystem. We all grew up with Smokey Bear telling us, “Only you can prevent wildfires!”. And did we ever! Fires were suppressed so long and so well in the Pine Barrens that we fundamentally started changing the system. Whoops! Many pine trees, like Pitch Pine, rely on fire to open their pinecones so they can reproduce and without fire, oak trees began to get a foothold.  Frequent, small, natural fires (like from lightening strikes) also help keep the understory neat and tidy instead of being overrun with vines, leaves and branches that will fuel a fire into a huge event (which can be very dangerous for the humans living nearby). Today, forest ecologists purposely set “controlled burns” to help keep the forest healthy and keep the fuel level on the forest floor low. The black on these trees indicate there was a fire here, but I am unsure if it was of the natural or controlled persuasion. I suspect it might be natural because the burn line is often lower on the trunk of the tress I have seen that were controlled burned. I also vaguely remember a huge fire in this area from a few years back. Any opinions or memories of this?

Winter and I did pretty well today - there was some ice, but also plenty of water, which meant the temperatures were comfortable enough for me to really enjoy this run!

Winter and I did pretty well today – there was some ice, but also plenty of water, which meant the temperatures were comfortable enough for me to really enjoy this run! Good compromising, winter!

What did you see on your run today?

 

 

 

 

 

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Philadelphia Distraction

Yesterday was a weird mix in the Kashi/GD household – as you may recall, GD was laid off from his job last July. A week and a half ago he was offered a 2-month contract job where he would be paid pretty well, which would give us a little room to breathe. So far, so good…the catch? The work is in the Gulf, roughly ~900 miles (as the crow flies – the only measurement acceptable in our avi-loving household) from the Point. After discussing it, we decided that it was too good an opportunity for him to pass up. So yesterday, he packed himself, his pants under his pants, his optics and some Mentos and flew off to greener pastures. I am so proud of him for making the right decision for our family, but barely 24 hours into our 2.5 month separation (he already has another gig that he committed to for the first 2 weeks of April in Colorado) and the combination of that pride swirling around with ache of missing him is proving a potent mixture indeed.

These next few months are bound to be interesting on a lot of levels, not the least of which being that I am suddenly thrust back into a bachelorette lifestyle.  There are definite negatives to this, one of the most notable being that GD brings color and light to my life, and it is already dimmer without him.  But since he is going to be in the Gulf whether or not I pine for his around-the-house antics, I figure it will be best to embrace the time alone and make the most of it.

I started immediately (I’ve never been one to wait around to put a plan into action, lol). After dropping him off, I filled the rest of the day with Kashi-centric activities. Here’s what happened:

A last look of GD as he headed into the airport. He gave me a last wave and blew me a kiss - at least I think that's what happened, it was hard to make out through my tears.

A last look of GD as he headed into the airport. He gave me a last wave and blew me a kiss – at least I think that’s what happened, it was hard to see him through the crying.

So  what to do to dry my tears? Casual run in Center City, of course! I really enjoy these runs since the majority of the time I run in the city I am racing and a bundle of focus and nerves. There is not much time for sightseeing, which is a shame because combining that with running is a real delight, as evidenced below:

City Hall never fails to impress me.

City Hall never fails to impress me.

Entrance to Chinatown, so festive!

Entrance to Chinatown, so festive!

What could be better than escaping the cold, dreary streets into a warm wonderland of sights and smells??

What could be better than escaping the cold, dreary streets into a warm wonderland of sights and smells??

Valentine's Day chocolates! Yummy!

Valentine’s Day chocolates! Yummy!

While poking around the stalls, I got majorly sidetracked at this one. When I lived in Ocean City, it was not uncommon for me to go to Shriver's candy store and stand in front of the salt water taffy machine, finding it hypnotic. There is something about the repition that I found really soothing and the same was true for white choclate pretzel covering guy. I just could not walk away! I finally did when he finished the last pretzel of the tray.

Whilst poking around the stalls, I got majorly sidetracked at this one. When I lived in Ocean City, it was not uncommon for me to go to Shriver’s candy store and stand in front of the salt water taffy machine, finding it hypnotic. There is something about the repetition that I find really soothing and the same was true for white chocolate pretzel covering guy. I just could not walk away! I finally did when he finished the last pretzel of the tray, feeling calm and refreshed. Cheapest therapy on the planet!

Last stop was the grand center of Macy's. I am not much of a shopper, but I love going into this store because I feel like I am in an old-tyme movie where shopping was a downright expedition! "Department stores, what a novelty!", thinks my old-tyme self, as I pat my hair, hoping every strand was in place.

Last stop was the grand center of Macy’s. I am not much of a shopper, but I love going into this store because I feel like I am in a black and white movie when shopping was a downright expedition! “Department stores, what an adventure!”, thought my old-tyme self, as she self-consciously patted her hair and straightened her skirt.

I finished the run with a stop at the Philadelphia Runner store, then made my way over the bridge to Whole Foods, where I attempted and *maybe* succeeded just a little bit in drowning my sorrows at their amazing food bar. Ahh, bar-b-que tofu, come to momma!

Do you ever sightsee while running? What have been your favorite places to run and see?

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28-Day Blog Challenge – Link Love!

28DBC

I am planning some big changes over here at CIR (of the visual sort, not thematic – this isn’t suddenly going to be a blog about a giant rubber band collection, lol) and when I saw that Katy Widrick was hosting a 28-Day blog challenge, I thought it would be just the thing to keep my progress on track. The way is works is simple – Katy has laid out 28 things that you can do to improve your blog – each day you try to do one (and it’s super chill because you can do something from the list or something you think of) so today I am kicking the ball off with:

  • Write a post that includes links to five other posts that you found interesting

I read blogs for a few years before starting my own and seriously just dig them. I love reading people’s race reports, hearing about their weight loss/weddings/birth stories, trying out their recipes (read: sending GD a link with the recipe in it for him to cook for us) and in general getting a glimpse into other people’s lives. I am constantly amazed by how much people will share and really appreciate that aspect of blogging.  I guess it has some of that reality TV appeal to it – getting to be a fly on the wall of someone else’s life but without all the scripts, producing and general fakery that comes with those shows. Blogs are probably a little like radio – you can’t see the audience, you just cathartically type away on your keyboard, hit “publish” and share yourself with the world. The result can be really raw and a joy to read.

Here are five posts that were interesting to me, for reasons big and small. I tried to pick a cross-section to give you an idea of the types of blogs and posts that appeal most to me. Check them out, I bet you might like them too!

MomJovi – I found Mom Jovi through another blog I read,  Meals and Miles, because she posted something about Disney. Having grown up in a Disney family, I clicked on through and stayed because I really enjoy her wit and style of writing. Here is a beautiful memorial to her grandmother, Nam, that I was especially moved by.

Young House Love – Lots of people my age  are popping out babies like it is going out of style, so I have read my fair share of birth stories and truly do enjoy them all – it is, in the most cliche way possible, truly a miracle. I like this one because it was dramatic but everything ended up ok (whew!). I also like YHL in general because they are the kind of people GD and I will never be – DIYing  all over the place and creating all manner of cool stuff. I like to pretend that I, too, will one day salvage a cabinet from a thrift store and turn it into a super cool fridge for a kid to play with and clicking around their site lets me fulfill that fantasy!

Peas and Thank You – This blog is an example of a place I find recipes. I like Mama Pea – we may not agree on religious beliefs, but I sure do love her dogma on healthy food! Lots of good ideas on this site – here is a link to some delish burgers GD and I eat fairly frequently.

A Woman in Motion – During training, I spend quite a bit of time reading people’s race reports. They help keep me super excited and motivated and I usually learn a lot from their experiences. There are entirely too many RR’s that I love to list them here, so I figure I will link to the type species, that is, an example that personifies everything I heart about RR. This blog is written by my friend Sherry. She has not posted as much recently, but that is the beauty of blog archives – you can keep on learning from people even when they are on breaks! Here is what I love about hers: she is fast so that motivates me, she is Type A so I can identify with her experience and she is detail oriented so I feel like I was there (note: you can never have too much detail for me – I am not a fan of 1 paragraph RRs that basically say “I had a great day, it was super hard but fun!”. To me that is a given, give me the deets!!). Here are two to sink your teeth into: Philly Marathon in 2011 and Ironman 70.3 Florida in 2010.

Freiday Bird Blog – This is my friend Don’s blog and is typical of the kind of nature blogs I read – even though I love the outdoors, I tend to gravitate towards health and fitness blogs and when I read a nature-y one it is usually something local. Don’s is a straightforward bird blog that features the interesting things he spots as he is out and about. There was a post last June that especially moved me. The first few images are a little graphic if you are an animal lover, so be forewarned. But he was able to capture the first few hours of a Piping Plover’s life -and  it’s untimely demise at the hands (claws?) of a crow, the thorn in every plover’s side at Cape May Point State Park. Oh, crows, you are the bane of my existence!

I probably won’t keep you all updated on every goal I reach this month, but you’ll likely see the 28DBC challenge pop up now and again. If you have your own blog, consider joining!

What are some of your favorite blog posts as of late?

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