Getting back in the proverbial saddle

Hi there!

Ooof. Almost the weekend! If you’ve been following my blog, you know that it has been a crazy couple of weeks for me. I spent all summer working to save up, and I am just now finishing up my fourth week of law school. Crazy. And it has been so fast!

I am getting into a rhythm, though. I created an obsessive Excel spreadsheet schedule dictating study times, workout times, etc. I also am still drafting (a bit late, but I feel like law school is a valid excuse!) a training schedule for my upcoming (drumroll please!) HALF MARATHON!

285Yep, I decided to take the plunge. This summer during my long runs for my Tough Mudder training, I thought: “Hey… I could add a few more miles!” I am excited but also very nervous. The race is mid-November, which does not leave me quite as much time as I would like, especially because I have had a bit of difficulty starting up. That said, I actually think that the goal of a half marathon will be very good for me in this crazy time – it is a tangible goal that engages a lot of the skills I will need for law school, too. It’s a cliché, but they all say law school is a marathon after all!

After my iPhone died on my last long run (the poor thing is too old and tired to track my long runs on a GPS-enabled app anymore), I knew it was time to update. So I went ahead and bit the bullet, and got the most budget-friendly (as well as most pink) GPS watch Garmin offers: The Forerunner 10. I saw a number of other running bloggers use it, so I figure it would be a good product to start up with… Especially because I can’t shell out $250 for a GPS watch right now.

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Hamming it up for a goofy selfie with my new Garmin and my beloved TM finisher tee.

My cute little watch (did I mention it’s pink!?!) accompanied me on my first run in a long time today. I forgot to set up the auto-stop feature, so my time was even slower than it would normally be, but either way it was definitely a challenge today. I only did about 3.5mi, but after weeks of stress and physical and mental readjustment with virtually no running (only occasional strength training and yoga), my body simply could not go fast. It could, however, as it always manages, endure just fine. I was slow slow slow, but I felt happy during my run and amazing afterwards.

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Brutal – but I’ve got to start up again from somewhere! And also figure out that auto-stop feature…

It was so lovely running through my new neighborhood – I love my new home! I live in a really diverse part of Boston, which I really love. As a first-generation American, I am always thrilled to share my space with other people from/with family from different countries, who speak different languages, and who practice different religions.  Just today, for example, I got to pass so many joyful Orthodox Jewish families heading out to celebrate Rosh Hashanah together! Happy New Year to all those observing, by the way 🙂

Where do you like to run?

What do you love about your community?

Peace, sweat and love,

G

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It’s been a while…

Hi friends!

It has been a very long time since I’ve posted – it’s been a rough couple of weeks. Not only have I been working a lot, but also I’ve been trying to prepare for and then actually making my big move into the city! But – it’s done! I am now the proud owner of a new Boston apartment 🙂

Needless to say, my teensy student’s budget necessitates a certain amount of creativity when it comes to acquiring different home necessities. I know I should’ve been posting more, but forgive me because I was scouring Craigslist for cheap vintage furniture. And completing my much-anticipated Tough Mudder. Oh, yeah – and starting law school!

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Things are finally getting settled. The girlfriend and I have almost all the requisite home items (with a few comical exceptions, such as a bed) and are working on decorating the space to make it our own.

We even jumped back into our couples workout routine! We ran a 5k this past weekend, on Saturday, at the Franklin Park Zoo. It was a really small event, but it was fun and a really cute idea. Running through the zoo is perfect – both of us love the zoo! It was actually a pretty rough race for both of us, as I hadn’t worked out in the 2 weeks since my Tough Mudder between being dunked into the craziness of law school and the awful thing that is September 1st (move-in day) in Boston and she also hadn’t had much time on her hands. We took it a lot slower than we normally would have, but from what I heard, so did virtually everyone else – it was HUMID! It was positively soupy out, much to our chagrin. Everyone finished the race soaked and breathless – we were no exception.

I need to start getting back into my old workout habits. It has been a difficult transition to a new home, the intensity of law school, and overall a huge life transition to find a schedule. I actually sat down the other day and made an obsessive schedule on Excel, something I actually think is vital to stay on top of the heavy work loads. I’ve obviously carved out my gym time – now to create a training plan!

In between studying and brunching (both are necessary), I promise to post my Tough Mudder recap – it’s been a long time coming!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

Thrifty, busy, and moving forward

Hi friends!

Sorry it’s been so long. I have, of course, been super busy. I’ve been nannying or working late at the restaurant, so I feel like I haven’t had a chance to have much “me” time to blog, relax, sip tea (and wine)… And finally today I get to after a busy weekend! Thank goodness for a free evening – I just want to go to the gym, blog, watch a little TV, and go to bed early. Because I am an old woman.

This week has also been kind of crazy because *drumroll please* I have finally sorted out law school stuff! I am very happy to say that after careful consideration, I have decided to move forward and officially become a member of Boston University School of Law’s class of 2017! 

The decision makes sense for me, for a number of reasons. Staying on the waiting list was an uncertainty I couldn’t afford – I am not willing to sacrifice decent housing at a very slim set of chances. I want to start off my law school career with stability – no couch-surfing or juggling things last minute while I’m in that crucial first few weeks. Logically, BU Law makes sense. But emotionally, it also makes lots of sense. I don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere in Ithaca, and BU Law means I will be able to live with my girlfriend in an apartment in the city that many of my friends (from Wellesley and elsewhere) call home. And I am not far from my little brother and even parents!

So. obviously, this is exciting… But it also means that I have gone into full manic planning mode. And I love planning. But it is also my weakness.

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But in the midst of setting up last-minute doctor’s appointments and contacting Boston realtors, I am so glad to come home to my teensy corner of the webiverse. It is so cathartic for me to write here and share the little things in my life that make me happy… And read those things that make others happy!

The past few weeks I’ve allowed myself little treats while working hard to save up for this next year. As you know, I am obsessed with bargains! Thrift is my gift 😉 *eyeroll at myself*

I signed up for the City Sports “Insider” program months ago, and it’s great because I get a little chunk of change back at the end of every period. This time around I bought myself some replacement straws for my Camelbak and some cute hairbands from Moving Comfort with the couple dollars off I got (because who likes wearing just the plain ugly elastics on their wrist? not me!).

How do you treat your self (it doesn’t have to involve retail!)?

Looks much nicer on my wrist when I'm trying to look nice but still have access to an emergency hair tie!

Looks much nicer on my wrist when I’m trying to look nice but still have access to an emergency hair tie!

I also couldn’t resist a Lululemon visit when I was in the area – I just can’t help myself from checking their “We Made Too Much” section (fancy way of saying “sale”).Found a 105 F singlet discounted in this bright pink color. Fun! The sales girls told me I could buy a size larger than I normally take (I’m a 6 at Lulu and there were only 10’s and one 8 left), so I did. It’s a bit looser than I’d like, but it works just fine. It is very light and breathable – necessary for a sweatball like me :3

Image via Lululemon.com

Image via Lululemon.com

I was able to put my new singlet to the test recently when I embarked on my longest-ever run yet this past Saturday! I was working until late at the restaurant, and didn’t come back home until well after midnight, dead tired and sore from being on my feet for 6+ hours. I wanted to run in the morning when it was cooler, but I was just too tired! I let myself have an easy morning, a little nap, and set out for my run around 11.

So it turns out that running around noon – the hottest part of the day – is not my favorite. Don’t advise it. Nope. Especially if you sweat like an out-of-shape 45-year-old man like me. Two miles in, I had to stop in the shade for a minute and desperately chug from the little bottles of my hydration belt. This was my face:

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Definitely wanted to skip this run altogether. Definitely wanted to turn around from that point and just run 4 miles. But wanted to finish what I started more. So I braved the New England humidity and hot summer sun and sweated out those 8 whole miles. At the end, I looked like I had taken a shower and then immediately put clothes on, but I was proud. My longest run ever! I took it slow and steady (especially with the heat/humidity), but still clocked in at just over 11’00” – not as bad as I thought! I’ve definitely got to give a shout out to the amazing volunteers on the East Bay bike path of Rhode Island – they had a free water station that saved me on those last two miles. I was super dehydrated despite the presence of my hydration belt – two 10 ounce bottles weren’t enough on a day like that!
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2014-07-12 12.49.44A very busy, thrifty, productive, but victorious week indeed!

What did you accomplish this week? This weekend?

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

5k foam fest recap!

Hi friends!

If you remember, I owe you all a review of my most recent race – the 5k Foam Fest! For those of you who do not know or do not recall, my Sweat Pink ambassador position with Fit Approach allowed me to join Foam Fanatics – a group that allowed me to participate in the race free of charge in exchange for help with publicity and ultimately a review of the race.

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I signed up for Foam Fanatics thinking, “Hey! Free entry to a race that seems pretty cool, I’ll take it.” I also figured that it would be good prep for my Tough Mudder training – like a much less intense, cuter little cousin to the now infamous race.

As a New Englander, I attended the Boston-area event. Unfortunately it was far away from where I live, but I understand that only so many spaces can hold such a large and elaborate event, and that it was meant to serve the greater New England area. The race was held at Kimball Farm in Haverhill, MA – something that I actually thought was a plus despite the distance for me personally. During the race I heard some people complain that the mud smelled and whatnot, which I thought was kind of silly. It is in part a mud run, after all, and that’s how mud smells! Then again this is coming from the girl who loves barns and cleans up after horses, so I’m not sure.

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Muddy and happy 🙂

The poor people organizing the New England Foam Fest, however, ran into problems with the town of Haverhill last minute and were told that they could not provide on-site parking for participants in the race. Ultimately, that meant that participants and spectators had to park at an abandoned greyhound racing track in Seabrook New Hampshire and take a “15 minute” (it was really 20-25 minutes) drive to the race site on a school bus. As you may imagine, this proved problematic during an event with thousands of participants. The lines for the shuttle were extraordinarily long, and I estimate that the shuttle ride plus the wait for the shuttles to and from the race site added an unexpected two hours to the total time I spent on this adventure. Unfortunately, the people at 5k Foam Fest really didn’t have too much of a choice – it is just unfortunate that this controversy with the town had to happen a mere 2 weeks before the event. 5k Foam Fest also issued a public apology via their Facebook page for the confusion. That said, this was honestly the only thing that I was bummed about. The race itself, once all was sorted out, was awesome. The helpfulness and flexibility of the staff on this undoubtedly stressful day for them also did not go unnoticed – they let me join a later wave with a smile when I (along with at least half of the other participants) arrived too late for my original assigned “wave” due to the transportation issues.

The 5k Foam Fest surprised me, but in the best of ways. Though free entry was awesome for me as a broke student, none of my other broke student friends could afford to drop $75-90 on the entry fee, so I was forced to do the race alone. Most people, understandably, did the race with a team or at least a buddy or two, so I was not looking forward to going it alone. To my delight, the race was so much fun that I didn’t even mind that I wasn’t part of a tutu-wearing team! Going stag was not an issue in a race devoted to fun, community, and healthy challenges. I smiled and laughed my way through the course.

The event is publicized largely as an athletic, but mostly just fun experience. I would agree that the race is more about fun, community, and laughter than simply athleticism. That said, it was still a physical challenge – I have the scratches and bruises to prove it! The course itself was quite hilly in parts, and like all other types of trail running, was much more strenuous than a road race (though easier on the joints, I suppose). Virtually everyone, including myself, ran-walked the course – the steep hills and injection of various obstacles at different points throughout the course really made it necessary. I did end up running most of it, however – those hill workouts paid off!

The obstacles varied widely, but each one was totally fun. Honestly there was not a single obstacle that I did not enjoy. In fact, I might have actually enjoyed what appeared to be one of the least popular obstacles – the ascending cargo net climb. I was really into the ropes-heavy obstacles, as I love climbing things and have done some rock climbing in my day. For a number of others, this appeared to be a big source of anxiety! I myself am ever so slightly afraid of heights, but I promise that this obstacle is nothing to be afraid of. I highly doubt it would even be possible to truly fall – it seems to me you would just get tangled in the net if you lost your footing.

Best of all was the fact that these muddy, dirty obstacles (I’m looking at you, army crawl under ropes!) were followed up by bursts of foam. At one point I was caked with mud and then with foam – I likely looked like I had been tarred and feathered. 5k Foam Fest also set up professional photographers at nearly each obstacle on the course – another awesome perk! They will be sending out high quality photos to runners soon. I imagine with the huge number of participants that such a task will take some time!

In the meantime, I have a few photos of my own to share from the event, courtesy of my adorable parents who accompanied me and excitedly cheered me on. They were only able to get photos from the last leg of the race, which ended with this epic inflatable “Death Drop”. Again, I’m slightly afraid of heights, so this obstacle was the only one that really made me nervous. But I closed my eyes and just went for it, and it was of course fine and fun. It was pretty unexpectedly exfoliating, though… All that dirt kind of acted as a high-speed scrub O.o

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My parents were so excited that they didn’t really seem to understand that it was a race and that I actually still had to run the rest of it, and that it wasn’t actually a photo shoot. Whoops!

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My parents trying to pretend I’m a fitness model or something.

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Soaked, muddy, and pushing for the finish!

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for too long after the race because, as I mentioned earlier, everything took WAYYY longer than expected and I had to get to work in the early evening! The event was fun and cute, though, and immediately after crossing the finish line the staff gave us protein bars, water, our finisher medals, and directed us in line to our t-shirts. That was really well-organized and convenient – the transition was seamless and really appreciated, as I was hungry and thirsty and didn’t know where to go! They also handed out giant sponges courtesy of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, one of their primary corporate sponsors. Admittedly this form of advertising was highly useful considering how muddy I was. I also got my choice of Mike’s Hard – appreciated after all that!

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The race swag was also pretty great. The medal was really cute (plus I love when races give out finisher’s medals!), emblazoned with their “Get Filthy Clean” slogan. The t-shirts were nice, too – not your standard unisex t-shirt. They had specific men and women’s cuts, and even though the t-shirt was cotton/poly and not a technical fabric which would be preferable for working out for sweatballs like me, it was super cute and I will definitely be wearing it when I’m out and about or doing one of my less sweaty workouts 🙂

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All in all, a really great time. I would definitely recommend this race to anyone that was interested! It is suitable for a variety of fitness levels, but anyone who wishes to compete should definitely work on some strength training even if they plan on walking the course in its entirety. And for the broke students and such out there – don’t be too scared off by the price tag! There are always coupons. In fact, I have a coupon code for you right here! Use my personal code “FF3316” to get $5 entry at any race location across the U.S.

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In the meantime, from the folks over at Foam Fest, I leave you with this fitness tip.

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Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

In one week: 5k Foam Fest!

Hi friends!

Hope everyone had a good week. I have been just chugging along per usual, trying to work and save up money and continuing my training.

Hit a running milestone with my Nike+ during my hill run earlier this week!

Hit a running milestone with my Nike+ during my hill run earlier this week!

Hit another milestone with my Nike Training Club app.

Hit another milestone with my Nike Training Club app!

How my Nike+ currently looks – just short of 350 miles since I started running last summer! 😀

How my Nike+ currently looks - just short of 350 miles since I started running last summer!

As part of my training, in exactly one week, I will have the opportunity to enjoy the 5k Foam Fest in Haverhill, MA! Apparently, there was a rumor going around that the event would no longer be held or would be switching locations – this is false! The event will still be happening next Saturday in Haverhill. In fact, you can use the code “HERETOSTAY” if you decide to register last-minute for the New England 5k Foam Fest! Otherwise, use my personal code “FF3316” to get $5 off the race at any location!

I really, really look forward to the race – should be super fun! In the meantime, I’m going to keep it slow and steady with this race, taking life one step at a time. Just like Tina Belcher.

qOTcuvI

 

Is there really any other way to approach anything, training or training bras alike? 😛

Peace, sweat and love,

G

Weekend recap + training

Hi friends!

Hope you all had a great weekend – I know I did! I’m so, so glad that the weather out here was so nice. Happy to be able to go outside and soak up some sun!

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Major New England love right now! 😀

Another great thing about this increase in me time is that now I have more time to prepare and pick out good food! On Saturday a friend and I went to the Providence farmer’s market and browsed through the delicious local goods there. I came home with local pickles (ate the entire jar already), assorted macarons, and some delicious ginger chèvre for my family. Definitely plan on going back next weekend! I love love LOVE picking up fresh food and cooking – having more time to breathe means rekindling my love for cooking/baking/food prep!

Kale chips! Will definitely be making (and rapidly eating) these all summer.

Kale chips! Will definitely be making (and rapidly eating) these all summer.

In addition to enjoying sunshine and fresh produce, I’ve continued with my training for the 5k Foam Fest and of course August’s Tough Mudder. A friend of mine wants to run a 5k together (we ran our first race together a year or so ago this summer!), so I might add in another event somewhere in there, too.

I’m also looking to run longer distances in my training for TM, so I was considering doing another longer race too. There is a 10 miler in Newport this summer, but right now I’m on the fence about signing up. We’ll see! If I can get someone to do it with me I’d be more eager to register. I think it might help break up my training, but don’t want it to be another source of anxiety.

In addition to my time at the gym and on the road running, I’m trying to make more yoga time. My new obsession is finding free or “community” yoga classes – ideal for someone on a student’s budget! And of course who couldn’t use more time on a yoga mat? This is a summer of prep and self-care, that is for sure.

I’ve drafted a TM training plan. Thus far, here’s what it looks like:

TM training plan

This is subject to change, of course. I’m excited but nervous – hope my DIY plan is up to par!

Any former Mudders have any other suggestions/tips for me? Or any other folks knowledgeable in this area?

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

Upcoming races and national running day

Hello lovelies!

Hope everyone had a great day yesterday for National Running Day – and that you got a run in if that’s your thing! What do you run for? 🙂

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I hadn’t been on a run since not long after my 10k.. yeah. 2+ weeks no running! With the craziness of everything, I haven’t really been working out much at all. This week, the first normal week in a while, I was finally able to get back to a more normal routine and start training again (if you’ll recall,  I’ll be doing a Tough Mudder come August). Yesterday, as it was the first day back in a while, was a short run with a friend. It felt less than great during the process (do first runs back ever feel good?), but post-run I was sweaty and feeling great.

Finally put my Sweat Pink laces on my shoes! Just in time for National Running Day :)

Finally put my Sweat Pink laces on my shoes! Just in time for National Running Day 🙂

I ran again today, this time inside (I don’t like running in the rain!), and got in a solid 3 miles at a good pace. Felt infinitely better than yesterday! After a bunch of strength-training workouts (upper body on Monday and lower body on Tuesday), the motion of the run actually felt like a massage to my sore muscles. That and some quality time with my beloved foam roller has really helped my aching glutes and thighs.

But before Tough Mudder, I am excited to announce that I will be competing in a different race later this month. Through my partnership with Sweat Pink, I have been given the opportunity to run in and review a 5k Foam Fest as part of their “Foam Fanatics” program! The race looks totally awesome, and should just be an all-around fun time. Don’t believe me? Check out their awesome video below:

This should be a ridiculously fun way of prepping for my upcoming TM!

I will be running, climbing, and crawling through their foam-filled obstacle run on June 21st at 10:30 in MA. Come join me! As a Sweat Pink ambassador and a Foam Fanatic, I’ve been given a discount code available to ANYONE. Just enter my unique code “FF3316” at checkout to get $5 off your entry fee to any 5k Foam Fest nearest to you!

And for those of you in areas whose 5k Foam Fest races will be put on later than June 21st, make sure to come back to my blog and read my review of the race 🙂

Peace, sweat and love,

G

Spring in my step

Hello!

It is high time for another post. Don’t think I had forgotten!

Today in Boston it reached 70 degrees. Do you know what that means? Everyone was in full-on tanning mode, in shorts and t-shirts like it was mid-July! I’m so happy that it is finally getting nice out – it’s been a very long and harsh winter! Cheesily, I must remark that this long and harsh winter’s melting away into a late spring mirrors my own senior year. Basically, after spring break’s sunshine and acceptance into law school, I am emotionally pounds lighter than I was in the winter!

What I want the rest of my senior year to be.

What I want the rest of my senior year to be.

My training thus far for my upcoming 10k has been going really well – I have been consistently faster and stronger than I have been in the past! If you recall I have run a 10k before, so this will be my 2nd one. I have been doing really well during my speed workouts, and even set a new (indoor) 5k PR for myself! I can’t say exactly what my goals for this 10k are at this point in my training (besides finishing with relative ease and comfort), but I would really love to come in at under 10’00″/mile. I know that doing that with my 5k is one thing, but twice that distance is another for me. By the time the first mile or two have gone by, I’m rapidly slowing down if I’m running off a treadmill.

That said, I was able to get in the longest run I’ve been on in a while outside today with the gf because it was so gorgeous. Maybe even too gorgeous… I was so thirsty! I have a great Nathan hydration belt, but I discovered it doesn’t work very well on my body. I think those things are really meant for men and women with curveless bodies, not someone with a lot of junk in the trunk but a small waist! Luckily, my gf fit much better into the belt, and we were able to bring along much-needed hydration for our 6 miles. We felt great afterward! Running outside again is key for me, as I haven’t been able to do much of that until recently, and the uneven surfaces, dips, and inclines are something you can’t do as well on a treadmill! As I type this I’m goofily wearing compression calf sleeves under my jeans 😛

Evidence of spring - finally!

Evidence of spring – finally!

The Rec Department at my college also adorably hosted a “Spring Day” today, and there were so many cute dogs (we all know about my animal obsession… right?). They had fun little crafts and activities, so the gf and I went to say hi to friends and grab some free swag because I am like a Depression-era grandmother in my dedication to free things. Included in our swag were green Wellesley rec sunglasses, little gym towels (perfect for sweaty old me), and tons of energy bars (Luna bar, Clif, and Kind) and even a Gatorade table with free gel chews packs and drinks. More snacks are always a necessity for me – I always get hungry at work between lunch and dinner!

Speaking of food, because I am a totally obnoxious “foodie” who Instagrams pictures of her food, I need to share pictures from last night’s date here. Yes, I know I am a tool. No, I will not stop OR give you a bite! That means that I can provide you delicious pictures like the one below from last night’s date with the lady:

Korean stone bowl with tofu, rice, veggies, a fried egg, and slightly spicy and sweet sauce drizzled on top. Don't tell me that's not internet-worthy!

Korean stone bowl with tofu, rice, veggies, a fried egg, and slightly spicy and sweet sauce drizzled on top. Don’t tell me that’s not internet-worthy!

I’m going to have a busy day tomorrow – lots of homework to do, and I will be participating in the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s Walk for Change in the AM! Pictures and a recap to follow.

Peace, sweat and love,

G

 

Monday Updates (Mupdates?)

Hello!

In between doing laundry and my readings for tomorrow’s class, I decided to edit the “Races I’ve Run” page. Check for my review of the St. Pat’s 5k! How’s that for some speedy turnover?

I’m hoping to get a gym session in today, though I will not be running. Despite the fact that I now have awesome new shoes, I still never gave myself the time to properly heal, so I’m going to take at least a week off of running. My next race isn’t until May (I’ll be running the Newton 10k), and I won’t start training for it for another 2 weeks. I may or may not run another 5k in April – the Day One rape crisis center in Providence is holding one, and I would love to participate if possible. If I find the time I may very well sign up! It’s a cause I definitely care about, after all.

In the meantime I am going to be snuggling up to my new(ish) foam roller.

In the meantime I am going to be snuggling up to my new(ish) foam roller.

We’ll see how many posts I fit in this week – this weekend I definitely won’t be able to, because I have *blargh* a double horse show weekend. That means an equestrian competition on both Saturday AND Sunday, and the Sunday one is our home show. So that means that we’re going to be scrubbing and sweeping our little arms off making sure everything is perfect and organized. I love the ponies, but double horse show weekends are rough. Wish me lots of sleep and hot tea!

Me by the end of the weekend

Me by the end of the weekend

In other news, media featuring cats is a great way to communicate feelings.

Peace, sweat and love,

G