Summer Smiles and Vacation Miles

Gulfport Beach, FL

Summer Vacations can be a lot. A lot of fun, sun, family time, adventure, excitement and very low on exercise and healthy eating. But we try. It’s the heat and humidity that defines exercise on vacation for me. As it is right now, it’s melt-me hot in some parts. Now, you would think this Caribbean gal is accustomed to and even enjoys the sun and you would be right. As long as it doesn’t involve direct exposure like sunbathing and running, I can do sunshine. In fact, I love sunshine since I’m no fan of cold weather. But I’m also no fan of tanning or bearing my flesh to the toll of direct sunshine, so imagine that my family decided on a week’s vacay in Southern Florida to celebrate my birthday. I can recall going to Disney something like 10 years ago so forgive my poor memory in agreeing to that crazy plan. I don’t know if it gets any hotter anywhere else on God’s earth, maybe the desert, and if so rest assured I won’t be going. Ever.

The heat and humidity was wild y’all!  I mean we were on the Gulf so I knew the water would be warmer than what I was used to but no one told me it was going to be soup out there! Y’all, I’ve never felt anything like it and I practically grew up on the beach. But then that was the Caribbean Sea and not the Gulf of Mexico. Like wow! I’m still regrouping but I will say that I was able to brave the heat and get a couple of runs in – early a.m runs of course, which more than likely kept me alive. I’ll be honest, first I had to talk myself into getting up and then talk myself into lacing up my running shoes and stepping out the door. It didn’t matter what time it was, there was a blanket of heat awaiting me out that door. I seriously considered running in my bathing suit but figured I would only be able to stay on the beach so opted for clothes. Running on sand is no easy feat for any long distance.

The weather itself was quite startling with major mood swings. We would go from bright and sunny skies to thunderous clouds in a heartbeat with the prevailing threat of thunderstorms a daily thing and rain quite common. What remained quite consistent was the very warm ocean water. Whether we went swimming at night, out on a boat ride, or stayed in the ocean for sunset and through the threat of thunderstorms and drizzles, the water didn’t get any cooler. Even when we went jet skiing far out in deeper waters with dolphins about it stayed warm. Despite this we had a great deal of fun and I remain super pleased with myself for braving the heat, the late nights into early mornings with insufficient sleep, and the prevailing vacation mood to find the determination to run anyway. This is the same determination I embrace for every marathon – the surety that, as long as God wills it, I will finish what I start and no obstacle will stop me.

This perspective has served me well over the years both in everyday life and in running. I determine a course of action and follow though to the very end. No flaking for me. And that’s just the kind of attitude I need to take back to the city and back to my training plan. Because it’s still on friends. I’ve determined to run my best Chicago marathon this year and it’s going down by God’s grace. Ready, set, let’s run this summer!

Summer’s Running, So Should You!

Wow..Summer huh! Who can explain this crazy weather! There have been few really hot days so far but a lot of others; everything from a drizzle and overcast skies to torrential downpours and thunderstorms, all under a thin veil of humidity. Overall though, it’s been a runner’s paradise so yours truly is not complaining. Wait a minute! I’m actually raving about the weather! Now that hasn’t happened in recent times, so it must be making me crazy as well! Whatever though, if I get to run to the tune of its randomness and have fun while doing it then that’s quite a feat these days.

For instance, last Saturday amidst the annual summer streets event held here in the Big A, we had the fortune, or misfortune, depends on which side you’re on, of running some 15 miles in an epic thunderstorm. I was so hopping glad it wasn’t in 90° sunshine that even with the prevailing humidity, when the rains eventually let up some, I couldn’t complain. Additionally, the Saturday prior we also got caught in a torrential downpour out in Brooklyn. Before and since then, I’ve had many rain-run encounters leaving me sodden (as the Brits would say) but quite the happy runner. In case you haven’t already guessed, I love running in the rain – thunderstorms are a favorite of mine.

So whilst there has been that enjoyable element added to the summer of 2018, the standard marathon training is in full swing. For many of us racing in the Fall or those with early September runs, now is the time to hop back on the training wagon. And if ever there was a time for an impromptu run, now is the time. Quick, before summer, and free time, and nice weather, and get-out-of-your-box adventure runs are gone. Living in New York is pretty amazing on its own but it’s doubly so because of the amazing opportunities for getting out of one’s comfort zone. A gazillion chances exists to push oneself to try new things. I’d wager that wherever you are there are similar opportunities for those with the urge to make something meaningful of what’s left of these summer days.

Here are some slightly off-beat suggestions to help you to that point:

  • Tag a friend for an extreme racing event – for example; a mud run, an obstacle race, or a slightly tougher warrior race and get your fun-o-meter up there.
  • Run a 5K – it requires minimal training.
  • Do a charity run or walk and make an impact – there are various good cause events hosted throughout the summer, like the Susan Komen Walk to Fight Breast Cancer.
  • Sign up for a sporting or exercise event that incorporates a form of exercise and something fun or relaxing, like a yoga retreat or a surfing workshop. Make sure running is part of the deal..kidding. Or not.
  • Run a half-marathon, a marathon, or an ultra. You knew it was coming! Just be sure training is part of the plan. The goal is to have fun while pushing those perceived limits, not getting injured.
  • Make any of the above a destination race/ experience by traveling somewhere new to add a slightly different -maybe cultural- twist.

I’m just saying. Why should summer just roll on out of here without you putting your stamp on it. All to often, we are so caught up in the day-to-day drudge, barely getting by, and not fully living and engaging with life and those around us. Wouldn’t it be something if this summer was the summer we decided to live out loud.

Spring into Action on the Trails

Running TrailOh yeah..beautiful, luscious, picturesque Spring is here! Goodby to the treadmill, to freezing nose and toes and layers of clothes!

It’s such an exciting time for us runners and outdoorsy people. However, if you live in New York, it may be a few more days before you feel that magical, spring-fever-energy that craves adventure, as we rally to push a winter that will not leave gracefully, out of here.  But if you’re anything like me, you’re already hearing the call of the wild; though it’s more likely that after the winter we’ve had, you’ll settle for warm sunshine and cool temperatures to start with.  Just the thought of Spring though, I’ve seen those colorful buds pushing their way through the still-cold ground, brings to mind outdoors: fresh air and dirt, and green and birds, and its got me thinking… Trail Running.

Spring presents the perfect opportunity to get so much done beginning with those exercise and running goals we had from the beginning of the year. So what if it means getting those rain boots & ponchos out, you gotta give and take a little. From long walks to long runs to hikes, rock climbing, cross-country runs, obstacle and fun races, and my favorite, trail runs; there are just so many ways to get your run on, and what’s even better is that you can get the entire family involved, from your five-year old to grandpa and yes..even the dog; everyone loves Spring.

So grab your gear, your running bud and your camera, because you just can’t let such gorgeousness go by without trying to steal and savor some, and let’s figure out where our running adventures can take us this Spring.

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