Kayaking for Perspective

18 06 2014

If you read any running magazine, you’ll hear the term ‘cross training’ at least once or twice per issue. But it isn’t just doing innumerable sit ups or weights, which, at least to me, can get old really fast no matter how nice the music is. There are so many other sports you can incorporate into your fitness routine, and better yet, fun weekending plans. If it’s hot and you’re a swimmer, hit the pool, or if you’re a hiker who loves leaf viewing in the fall, grab those hiking boots and hit the trails. Or, if you’re like me and happen to have a brand spanking new kayak, head down to the river and get paddling.IMG_20140614_095535049

And that’s what I did not once, but twice in the one day I had on the river before being packed up and reminded that, oh yes, I do happen to have a job and responsibilities…and laundry. For having been out of it most of last week (too busy and distant to hit the gym to train and too zonked at the end of the day to want to bother), it was a wonderful change of pace and really helped me fall back into my fitness groove, it seems, for the rest of the week.

For instance, I was concerned with speedwork for most of the past four or five weeks, as well as outdoor training, as a prep for the 5k race in July. The thermometer here in Maryland is already regularly soaring and I’m still the cool-weather-loving chick who’ll wilt at the very idea of sunshine. But for all that I achieved a bunch, like beating my personal best to get to a 9.12 minute mile, losing five pounds of unnecessary weight, gaining a lot more in muscle, and running outside without collapsing, my endurance tanked, and getting to only two miles was a trial each and every time I got on the treadmill. Running wasn’t enjoyable; it was work, and that wasn’t what I was doing this for. The goal for the race was and still is to simply get through it, to start and finish and do as well as I could despite less than ideal conditions, not to beat a certain time or make a personal best. This is the first race, after all, and the only competition I was identifying was against my unmitigated laziness that was still telling me to get back on the couch.

So I took today easy and aimed not for a best time, not even a good time, but just to get from mile 0 to mile 4 and stop only because I wanted to, not because I needed to. So as the best marathoners will tell you, I started at a pace that felt, after weeks of running full out, insanely slow, and kept it slow. And you know what? I made the four miles with a smile and probably could have kept going to five without a problem. So I’ll pat myself on the back tonight and couch surf it with Game of Thrones and call it a good job.

Next week I’m aiming for five miles at an easy pace.

Care Packages and Box Turtles

11 06 2014

This and last week have been absolute madness. I’m told it’s like this every year before summer begins for schools: all planning, coordinating, cleaning and so on. And then, quite randomly, we had a box turtle come visit us.


So that’s why we’re delayed.


Folks were out again last weekend and I got it into my mind to make a care package for a friend in the Navy. Or rather, to bake brownies and make sure I didn’t eat the entire pan. What wasn’t sent out west was taken to work Monday morning and lasted maybe two hours there before being devoured by our ravenous teachers. While I’d tweak the recipe a bit next time (i.e. remove the foil so I’m not picking it out of my dang brownies while trying to eat them), overall they were a good choice.

The oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I was not so fond of. Too much cinnamon and too little oatmeal, maybe. It made for a soft cookie, but not to my taste. Then again, I’m more a sugar cookie girl.IMG_20140607_124008148_HDR

Recipes are here:

Fudge Caramel Brownies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Will be out of town next weekend, so probably no posting. Or maybe something with pictures of me falling out of the kayak. Who knows?


Soup and Silence

31 05 2014

IMG_20140529_184549540_HDRMade soup while the folks were out. This is the recipe, with slight modifications. All I gotta say is, pared with some french bread, it’s really good. Looks pretty too.

Made chicken korma, too, but it wasn’t as good. The potato wedges were, however. Made with this recipe with old bay instead of paprika.

Other than that…Just been fretting over the dog and trying to keep to a training regimen. Been having a lot of trouble getting back up to running 3.1 miles and I’m not sure why. I thought it was allergies, but even indoor runs are proving difficult.


25 05 2014

IMG_20140525_210249130_HDRBegan something new. Survived last week to get to this upcoming (which involves a holiday break and two personal days off, plus two days substituting at a totally different school).

Slept forever, ate too much, slept some more, ate some more. Today’s been really chill and slightly guilty. In real life running training for the 5k has been a misery with allergies (and I have no idea how people survive with worse ones than mine apparently are, but kudos to them), and my performance has suffered a lot for it. Must press on, though I think tomorrow I might end up just going to the treadmill at the gym and calling it good.


Arrrrrgh and Ahhh!

17 05 2014

I signed up for my first 5k race last weekend. It’s in July and I have two months to get acclimated to the idea that while being out-of-doors is gonna suck, the reward will be worth it.

The fact that it’s a themed race will help. Can you guess what it could be?


I feel like I should be investing in some kraken-themed socks or something.

In other news…There is no other news. I worked overtime this week and started another night class for certifications of various uses. Yes, I finished a (corrected) ‘<3′ and am trying to get the willpower up to start something new.

I’m thinking bats. Bats are summery, right?


In an interesting side note, my class has been ‘studying’ bugs, and since I happen to have a collection of butterflies of my very own, I’d bring some in. While the adults were a bit squicked out, the kids were very hands-on and very excited. So that was a plus to an otherwise long and chaotic Friday.

Next week, all my Eric Carle bug-themed books are going to class. The Very Quiet Cricket still makes noise (after over ten years of manhandling), which the kids’ll get a kick out of.

Rule #1: Cardio

10 05 2014

I’ve made no mention of this previously, but I’ve gained some weight since moving back home and have made several attempts to rectify it. So far, not much has happened. So far, I’ve had problems with things like this…


The enemy has been fighting the fight long and hard, but at last, now that I’m running regularly on the treadmill (averaging 10+ miles per week), I’m seeing results. And today I ran my second 5k on said treadmill.

What’s the secret? A getting-now-famous app called Zombies, Run! I’m into season two now and just today I listened to the episode Canada, which happened to feature an idol of mine, Margaret Atwood! The famous novelist and poet! The neat thing is, the game is as hands-free as anyone exercising would want, but it’s entertaining, dramatic, and you can pick your own soundtrack (which took me a few tries to figure out, but it works great when you do). Running is something I look forward to now, and while the bakery section is still dangerous territory, I’m pretty sure now that I can burn off those extra cals with a couple good runs.

And good thing. Teacher Appreciation was just last week! Flowers and cake for all.

Which was actually kinda nice, I gotta admit.

The rest of today (that is, when my run ended at 10 am), was filled with rain, embroidery mistakes, and a Resident Evil Marathon. (One day soon I’ll work on a project that’s new and interesting, I promise! Wednesday maybe!)


It’s a gift for a friend who’s just survived her first year of PhD coursework. Grats, Dr Mojo! (And then I picked out that mega mistake, cursing all the while).

Margarita Cookie 5k

4 05 2014

IMG_20140503_221922093I ran my first 5K on the treadmill. It was a slow run, but for the 40-odd minutes it took to get from start to finish, I did not stop nor slowed down. So I’m delighted. And somehow not in pain, either. My muscles finally caught up to the demands, I suppose.

As a reward for doing awesome, I decided that I’d eat whatever I wanted for the rest of the day. Which was mostly takeout Indian food from the grocery store, but it was also a couple of these fabulous sugar cookies with real buttercream icing. Like this one, the margarita, topped, of course, with sugar crystals around the rim. Victory really is sweet.

Now I wait for my feet to get with the program. Breaking in new shoes while training for a real-life run is a pain, but it’s necessary. Even with the blisters, the shoes have been a good investment. Almost right away I noticed how much stabler my steps were, and that’s helped my surety in working out.


Beth Morris

A second year student studying Fine Art at Cardiff Met

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