What I Wore {post 72}

Wow another week in the books.  And next week is May.  Time flies.  Here are a few more outfits.

Black & Blue Fit & Flare Dress

I found this dress, which is a tank style, at a sale online at Loft.  They were giving an additional 40% off all sale too.  It was about $40 and unfortunately I don't see it online anymore.  I love it but the tank top won't do in March, so I wore my black cardigan and a skinny blue belt that I found at the NY & Co. outlet a few summers ago (which just happens to match the blue in the dress perfectly).  I wore black tights and black patent Mary Janes.  I liked this outfit a lot. 

Fair Isle Sweater & Gingham Blouse

Do I look annoyed in this picture? Well, more annoyed than usual?  I was.  This was a snow day on the very first day of Spring.  GRRR!!  I wore my coral gingham blouse under a fair isle print sweater from Target from last year.  Skinny jeans with my Hunter boots ... done.  And grump.  

Loft Black Knit Dress

Proof that every woman needs a great fitting black dress. I found this at Loft on sale (it was around $30) and it fits great.  I wore it with nude patent heels but it could easily be dressed up for a night out.  And it's knit, so it's forgiving and flattering and comfortable.  

Have a great weekend. I'll be back on Monday with a race recap from my first, and only!, marathon in 2015. 
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The Rainbow Connection

It's no secret that I like rainbows.  I like them because they're colorful and beautiful and also because of the associations with unicorns and sunshine and hearts and let's not forget glitter and sparkles.  But recently, I had a total epiphany about rainbows and what they mean to me. 

can you see the rainbow through the clouds? It's like where's waldo
On the way to school the other day, it was pouring.  And not just pouring, but teeming.  Just full on rain.  As we got a little closer to school, the rain stopped and we could see peeks of sun through the clouds.  My sweet little girl said:

Mommy, there's gonna be a rainbow soon ... I don't mind the rain.  Because sometimes there's a rainbow after and rainbows make everything better.

Now, to be clear, at age 7, she was absolutely talking literally and not metaphorically, but I thought about what she said, and I realized that her sweet little summation of rain and rainbows was without question a metaphor for my life.  You see, I've spent a lot of time in the rain lately.  

A few weeks ago, I posted about my "Spring Break-down".  I was kind of kidding.  But I was also pretty serious.  Work was out of control.  Training was busy and frustrating. I contracted the flu, which took a good two weeks from which to recover.  And to top it off, I lost a cousin who was in her early 40s to cervical cancer.  Her death happened quickly, without much warning and unfairly.  She was young, happy, kind and had the biggest heart.  We said goodbye to her the day before Easter, and it profoundly affected me.  I was struck by how many people came to say goodbye and by the overwhelming sense of love and loss in that room.  A close family friend sang a lovely song during the funeral service.  I have no idea what the words were, but her voice was sweet and soprano and beautiful ... and tinged with tears.  The most beautiful thing about that song was not the words or her voice or her courage in singing in front of a room filled with people; the most beautiful thing about that song was how completely filled with love it was.  At a time when no words could assuage the sadness, no action could "fix" what happened, the simple act of singing a beautiful song was an almost tangible expression of love.  The song itself was the rainbow in deluge of grief.  

The rain has continued to fall and I've worked my way through it.  One of the most upsetting things has been the shift I've felt about training.  Running has always been, and will always be,  my soul sport that brings me joy and happiness and catharsis no matter what.  Yet, my runs were not doing that.  They were stressing me out.  They were annoying.  I was on one of my recent long training runs, and at one point thought to myself, "why am I doing this? I'm not having fun. This is not fun."  Now, anyone who runs or trains knows that not all workouts are fun.  Some are tough.  But at the end of the day, if you consider it a net "fun", then you're good.  My workouts were becoming a source of stress.  I was viewing them as a chore.  I wasn't loving running.  And that would not stand. That was not OK.  Because what is the point?  That's when I realized it was time for a reset.  Not a "rest" but a "reset".  Funny how that one little letter changes the word completely.

I need a reset so that I can simply enjoy swim-bike-running for the sake of the activities themselves. I have been training for, and have accomplished, huge goals over the past few years.  Those goals are, and always will be, a huge part of who I am.  And I still have a ton of goals left in me.  But in order to reinvigorate and reenergize my love of the race, I need to step back and stop training.  I won't stop my activities. But I am not racing for awhile.  I have the NJ State Marathon this Sunday and Devilman Sprint Tri the following week. After that, I have nothing on the calendar until November.  I need a reset.  I need to step back from the structure and the rigor of a "training" schedule and simply enjoy the sports.  I need a reset, not a rest.  

I want to try new things this Summer.  Trail running, more kayaking, yoga, hiking and -- gasp! -- walking.  I want to hop in a lake and just swim without regard to how long or how fast or how far.  I want to wake up on a Sunday morning and say "hmmm, how far should I run today?  let's do ... 10!"  I want to challenge myself to be more spontaneous and more relaxed (and yes, I recognize the irony in what I just said).  But part of being in the rain has been this focus on a big goal and the race, and the loss of the simple joy of my daily runs.  I want to get that back.  So taking myself out of the training schedule cycle is the way to do it.  I need a reset, not a rest. 

Don't get me wrong: I love racing. I love training.  I love schedules.  It's a big part of who I am. And that has been reflected over and over as I've told people who know me about my plans to take the summer off from competition.  My former mother-in-law kind of gasped when I told her!  And those reactions are wonderful, because it shows me how much a part of my life racing is.  I chatted with my coach, who is fully on board.  We've agreed to start working for Boston 2016 in August.  But, in the meantime, I need a reset, not a rest.  

This is a very long way of saying once my two races coming up are finished, I won't be posting as many training recaps here on the blog, but will be focused more on experiences.  I will certainly get back to a more regimented schedule in the Fall (and I will be ready for it). But the Spring and Summer will be about new adventures and experiences.  

And back to rainbows, because everything comes back to rainbows.  After my little one pointed out the possibility of seeing a rainbow, and after I dropped the kids at school, I drove through three rainbows.  Three.  One Rainbow. Boom! Two Rainbows. Boom! Three Rainbows. Boom!  The picture above is one of them.  I have to think it meant something.  All of these rainbows.  All of this hope.  All of this promise that even though the rain was here, now "everything will be better."  I believe it will.  On recent runs, I've thought a lot about the fact that I am lucky - ever so lucky - to be able to run like I do.  That I am here to see another Spring.  That I can smell the sweet flowers and the fresh grass and to move and feel fast.  I'm moving onto my rainbow stage from the rain of the past few months, and I am so very happy.

I will leave you with my favorite lyrics from the song that's the title of this post, "Rainbow Connection".  I have this song on a handful of running playlists (sung by Kenny Loggins) and I love it when it comes on.  These particular lyrics of the song always make me cry:

What's so amazing
That keeps us stargazing

And what do we think we might see
Some day we'll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me

This is me to a tee: despite it all, despite the rain and the sometimes unbelievable sadness, I'm still stargazing and searching for rainbows.  I'm hopeful that the next few months will help me find them. 

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Spring Break[down]

Yes.  The blog is on Spring Break.  While I'd like to imagine the blog (and myself!) going down to Cancun and drinking frosty frozen concoctions, getting tan and making questionable and regrettable decisions, it is really just an issue of time and the complete and total lack thereof.  I've got a million things going on right now with no time for much of anything but survival.

Be back soon swoon.   

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What I Wore {post 71}

Friday!  Last Friday in March! Who can believe that?  I am ready for a good weekend and a great race on Sunday.  I'll be sure to report back on Monday or Tuesday with a full race report.  

Printed Shift Dress

I found this sweet dress at the j.crew factory on sale.  I really loved the modern print and the fun shift style.  I kept things simple and wore nude patent heels and a long gold necklace.  Hair was back because it was time for a haircut and that's how I roll. 

St. Patrick's Day! Green Top, Black Pants, Black & White Accessories

I wore this top last year on St. Paddie's Day too.  I love it.  I found it at the Banana Republic outlet a few years ago.  I wore it to work with black pants, black flats and my black & white pearl necklace and black & white Dalmatian printed belt.  Easy.  

Striped Top & Taupe Pencil Skirt

I've had this pencil skirt (from the Limited) for 3 years now.  I found the top at TJ Maxx for about $15.   It's funny because in real life, it reads more blue than red, and in this picture it seems a bit more red!  This was a very simple outfit.  And comfortable too.

Have a great weekend!  Spring is in the air! I know it. 
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2015 Training: Week 12

Ahhh ... March.  You've got to love a month (and in this case a week) when you experience all four seasons.  This week was crazy.  We had cool, cold, warm and hot.  And snow.  6 inches of snow!  Thankfully, it didn't affect my workout, but it really did make me mad.   Like Unikitty* mad.  *hint - theme!- there will be more cats in this post! 

Week 12 [March 16-22]:  5:35:33 hours (35.5 miles)

Monday:  rest day
Tuesday:  walk/run
Wednesday: speedwork
Thursday: easy run
Friday: rest day
Saturday: long run - 20 miles
Sunday: walk/run

The Workouts

Monday I really enjoyed the rest day.  I was feeling pretty good despite my 18 mile run the day before.  

Tuesday was a walk/run - easy 5 minute walk, 35 minute run.  It was about 45 degrees when I left the house.  And by the end of the run, I had rolled the arm warmers down.

Tuesday was also St. Paddie's Day!  Who enjoyed a black and tan? This girl.

Wednesday was speedwork. I had a busy morning, so I opted to do it at the Y after work and on the treadmill. It was fine.  Nothing crazy.  The volume was lower than in weeks past, so it felt like a little gift.

Thursday.  Easy run, but it was cold again.  It felt like a kick in the teeth after the warm temps earlier in the week.  Obviously I am thrilled.  

Friday was a rest day and thank goodness, because it snowed this day.  Grrr.

Saturday I had a long run of 20 miles.  I went to my son's basketball game at 8:30 and ran when I got home.  Thankfully the temps warmed up quite a bit, so the snow was melting and the trail was clear.  The run was 20 miles, all endurance pace.   It was a great run for most of it, but at the end, I struggled.  I will illustrate in the best way I know how - with kittens.  The first 16 miles, I felt like this:

There were even moments of this:

Then once I hit mile 16 or so, something changed. There was a shift. I felt a little like this:

And then, those final 3 miles, I was like this.

Here is how I actually looked post-run:

Pretty hot.  

And here is what got me through those final 3 miles: knowing a Sprite was waiting for me.  Oh and I got new sneakers! I love them.  I've continued to buy my ruby red Sauconys since I first found them in June, and I think it's time for a change.  The new blue suits me just fine.  

Sunday was a very easy workout.  I was sore from the 20 miler, but this one felt good.  15 minute walk - then 5 x 4 min run/1 min walk - then a couple minutes walk. 

This week is not so bad training wise, and it will culminate with the Love Run half marathon on Sunday.  My coach has me running about 5 miles before the race.  Here's hoping this one is a good race!
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