Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


The sun setting a touch earlier each day is a sure sign of the ending of summer…

Empty boxes are a promising sign of moving into our new home…

An important unpacked sign of celebration…

An exciting sign of an upcoming race…

A grateful sign of the love of friends….

A welcome sign of our new “home sweet home”…

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ode to the 20 miler

No matter how many marathons or ultras  I run, the 20 miler always symbolizes “legit training”.  Since I’ve been trying to make myself a morning runner lately, I’ve racked up more weekly mileage than usual.  I’ve had a couple of 18 milers, but today was the big 20 miler.

This training cycle has really had more of a “get back in the saddle” focus.  Today’s 20 miler was the first of that distance (or greater) since my accidental ultra in January.  After that, all hell broke loose (in a good way of course) in the form of our move to NC.  And then our move to NH.  So this cycle has found me rebuilding not only fitness, but muscle – including mental muscle.

There are times when I feel like I’m painfully plodding along a 5 miler and I think back, “C’mon Lees, you ran Ghost Train 100 in 2014… can run 5 now”.  It’s great to reflect and even to use that reflection to further fuel today, but it can also be a bit of a downer when it reminds you that your fitness/stamina have taken a nose dive.  It sure is a journey.

Fret not!  Enter today’s 20 miler.  It wasn’t super fast and not my strongest, but hey, long runs aren’t supposed to be (not in my world anyway).  Today was about the basics:  getting up and out early, eating/drinking to prepare (I opted out of the free hotdogs at work on Friday – yay me), and most of all, keeping myself moving through 20 miles.  I nailed all three components and have the spent legs to show for it. 

Add all the recent Olympic moments and my first run this week in a group run setting and I can’t help but get jazzed about running again.  Getting back in the saddle has had its frustrating moments, but overall, I’m enjoying the journey and believe that that enjoyment shines through.  In fact, I found myself smiling during today's run.  Can't beat that.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


There’s nothing more recharging than unplugging.

Tonight, this was our backdrop to an evening walk/hike.  There’s no real elevation, but the trail is rocky/root filled, so that’s why I feel like “hike” is appropriate.  What isn’t seen in the picture (too far away to capture), was a beaver swimming mightily across the pond, and a loon hanging out a short distance from the beaver.  We later heard the singing of the loon. 

We also came across this tree.  After the other night’s ferocious storm, we wondered if it was struck by the crazy lightning.  Check out the vertical “stripe”

The trails are Bella-approved! 

Trail time is the best time.  Time to unplug, to talk, to swim, to think, to reflect, and to recharge.

OK, ready to tackle tomorrow!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Checking the Box

I’m extremely task oriented.  Right down to creating nice, neat little checkboxes on my myriad of lists.  Yup, that’s me.  It serves me well for the most part, keeping the last couple of inter-state moves organized for one.  Checking the box feels like winning to me and provides a sense of satisfaction that I’ve accomplished something.  

Trying to balance the “to do’s” with other more “warm and fuzzies” is a constant challenge I often struggle with.  It’s not that I don’t want the warm and fuzzies, but the checkbox is enticing.  It begs to be drawn neatly, only to be checked off with a bold checkmark.  Some warm and fuzzies from this past weekend...

Mom and Kenny came to visit and stay the night on Friday, so we jumped into my car and headed to dinner. 

After a nice dinner, we were ready to show them our new house, until this happened –

Apparently, I should have had “Change original car battery” on my to do list!  Lucky for us, a nice family pulled into the restaurant lot and, before heading in for their dinner, tried to help us via jumper cables.  Also lucky for us, we have AAA, so when their jump didn’t work, AAA took care of the rest.  With so much bad behavior in the world, it’s reassuring when strangers try to help strangers and AAA goes out of their way to get you a new battery and get you on your way.  Even without the neat checkbox.

Later on in the weekend, Scott and I were returning from working on the new house when we were distracted by the sky.  We were tired from the day, but oh that sky!  We chased down the sunset, knowing it would be a brilliant one.  It was worth the chase and the time spent –

Warm and fuzzy isn’t supposed to fit neatly in a check box, so I will continue to balance my need to “check the box” with continuing to capture and live in these moments.  Moments much more beautiful than a check box!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Doing, dirt, and demolition

I love doing things around my house.  Whether it’s weeding, painting, planting….I love doing it all.  Very rarely do we hire people to do for us.  This weekend found me reveling in my new yard, including weeding and cutting grass.  This weekend also found me agonizing over paint colors for both interior and exterior.  This included a couple of last minute color changes for a bedroom and a knock on a stranger’s door.

Driving to work each day currently, I pass a house that has the color scheme I want.  Scott took a picture of it and we proceeded to try to match the colors.  After a number of color samples purchased, we weren’t close at all to matching the magical colors.  I may love to paint, but I find the paint color choice process extremely frustrating.  After all, it’s a big commitment and not cheap.  Scott decided to knock on the door of this house that I want to emulate and asked if they wouldn’t mind sharing the name of the colors.  The owner took Scott to his garage and let Scott take pictures of each label of the paint cans.  Scott thanked him profusely and added, “I’m pretty sure you just saved our marriage!”. 

Thank you for sharing your colors!

The weeding and grass cutting is a lot more natural to me than picking out paint colors.  I can spend hours weeding – I just find it relaxing and immediately gratifying.  Add a freshly cut lawn and that’s home.  While I was weeding and getting my fingernails grimy with dirt, I came across this little guy.  And I mean little.  He was maybe 1 inch long.  Cute, in an alien sort of way.
Cute Newt!
In preparation for the paint crew (we ended up hiring a company since the job is huge), we demolished the kitchen counter top.  

Cross training!
Since the cabinets will be painted, it made sense to remove the counter top now.  Once we add granite counter top and new hardware to cabinets, I expect this kitchen to go –

No weekend would be complete without a good run.  Scott and I ran 15 miles yesterday in the rain.  It’s hard to focus on running, since we have so many other things tugging at us right now.  But there’s this matter of a couple of races coming up that require some sufficient training.  And the running helps keep the head clear while we tackle the house tasks.  So, “doing” continues to include the all important running! 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Climb

I recently stumbled upon this quote on someone’s blog (can’t remember whose, so forgive me!) and it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

“The summit is such a small piece of the mountain. Most of the beauty and wonders are experienced during the climb.”

Last I wrote, I was working hard to acclimate to my new surroundings and my new job in NC.  I was excited about new adventures, new friends I would meet, and the new home I would eventually retire to.  Well, to make a long (or maybe three months) story short, it just didn’t fit.  We did have some fun adventures and we did meet some new friends, but something just wasn’t there for us.  Not sure I can or ever will be ever to fully articulate it, but honestly, I don’t need to.  It wasn’t a bad experience; it was just that – an experience.  I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  Because that move from North to South is what ultimately brought us back North to a place that feels like it was patiently waiting for us to arrive.

…and we have indeed arrived!

In late May, we packed our stuff once again and headed home.  We had some scary mechanical problems that could have been disastrous (lost brakes & steering!) had Scott not taken command of the truck when he did.  Phew!

Since our move back North, I have jumped into a new role at my new company, have found a running club (about to join!), have found some lovely running routes, have registered for a trail race and for Clarence Demar Marathon.  And as of last week, we closed on our new home! 

What’s so interesting to reflect on is how I didn’t feel like I had to work as hard this time (refer back to beginning of post “I was working hard to acclimate”).  The pieces have and continue to fall more naturally into place.  It hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns (wink to Bonnie on this reference if you’re reading this!).  It’s uncomfortable starting a new job and meeting new colleagues and figuring out your dance with your new manager.  It’s hard to learn a new town again and have to use your navigator/phone to find your way home. 

What isn’t hard is letting yourself be in the moment and not having to try so hard and feeling like you belong to a community again.  What isn’t hard is being closer to our families and friends.  What isn’t hard is feeling relaxed enough to sit and write – for the first time in three months.  

So while there are many beautiful summits to reach, I’m truly embracing and enjoying the climb from my new perspective and from our new home.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Own Private Holiday – Marathon Monday!

I’m pretty sure my new manager and coworkers would not understand if I profess Monday the holiday I know it is.   After all, I’m now living in NC, where Patriots Day is not celebrated and the Boston Marathon is not as highly revered.  No fear, I’ll be representing Boston even though I’m physically far away! 

  • I’ll wear my jacket from my first running of Boston in 2010
  • Better yet, when I enter work that morning, I’ll place my jacket on the back of my chair for all the world (or at least my immediate coworkers) to see
  • I’ll most definitely run on Monday! 
  • I’ll likely find myself super motivated and sign up for Umstead 100 some little race
  • I’ll peek in on live streaming whenever possible (thank you technology!)
  • Most fun of all, if I can’t be running….I’ll stalk runners who are running Boston this year via the Athlete Tracker J
And although there won’t be any Boston Marathon fanfare where I’m living now, I think my company does have a little Boston Marathon in them……at least based on the blue and yellow flowers planted at the front entrance AND this car parked in the lot today (get it….BQ###!!!!) –

Happy resting and hydrating friends who are running!  I’m excited for you!