Monday, March 30, 2020

Social distancing mean physical distancing

Short and socially distant
We are now 19 days into self-isolation due to Covid-19. The state is under a recommended shelter-at-home order, (mandatory here in town), with an exception for essentials -- including trips to the grocery store for food and pharmacy items, and limited outdoor recreation. In 19 days, I've only gone out a few times. Most days are spent indoors reading or doing household tasks. Some, (ok, most), days are spent in my pajamas.

I managed to get out for a quick ride on Thursday and was shocked to see crowds of people walking the beach, or congregated in the parking lot, as if life were normal and this was just an extended holiday. Few were adhering to the six-foot recommended "physical distancing" guidelines. Ugh. People! Seriously!

We are getting rain for the next week (plus) which means fewer people will be out and about. I'm hoping to regain some motivation to get out for a short run. These have been endless days.

Six Feet, Minimum

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Solo rides, Social distancing

Solo ride
Like everyone (most, many) in the Commonwealth, we began adhering to social distancing guidelines and self-isolation in mid-March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mike was in Tahoe skiing until the 11th and then began working from home soon after. The Swampscott Schools closed on on March 12th and will remain closed until April 7th May 4th, at minimum. Obviously it has upended Chip's senior year. Aside from an occasional walk or solo ride, I've had zero motivation. We're all hunkered down.

Will, who was home for college break the first week in March, returned to the University of Michigan campus on March 6th, only to have classes cancelled and moved online March 11th. (Frustrating.) He initially decided to stay in Ann Arbor to focus on his coursework and maintain his studies -- but the situation in Michigan deteriorated quickly and he flew home last Thursday. He's been in quarantine separate from the rest of the family since.

March came in like a lamb and out like a lion this year.

Wide open spaces

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Run, not walk

Running dates with Mike and Chip
Despite little snow on the ground, I've been cycling a lot less than previous winters to make room for running. Honestly, I don't know how my squad trains for triathlons season after season because doing a brick workout, (in this case, run and bike), on the same day exhausts me. I can't say I've been lazy this winter, but I have been tired. Mike and I have had weekend running dates since last Fall, and there are times when I want to skip the run before he motivates me to head to the track anyway -- as long as it's above 35 degrees. That's my threshold and I'm sticking to it! On a few occasions, Chip has joined me.

It was exactly a year ago that I stepped up my running game to train for Alaska, and it took me four months to be able to run beyond a 10K. I don't have any run or cycling events on my calendar this year, but will start filling that in soon. It's always helpful to have targets.

Run cool down at the beach. Cold.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020

Marblehead, Ohio

Fireflies on the Water, Kusama, Toledo Museum of Art
We've been "lucky" with the weather this year, depending on your perspective. On the plus side, the warmer temps and lack of snow has meant clean streets, allowing me to get out for road rides and training runs. (More on the running situation later). On the downside, it's been an ominous indication of climate change and that's worrisome.

Twenty one
But with January dragging, and absolutely zero snow on the horizon, I made a plan to drive out to Michigan to visit Will for his twenty-first birthday. 21! Of course Murphy's Law kicked in with a winter storm arriving the very day I left for Ann Arbor, making that fourteen hour drive tougher than it already is. I ended up in Westlake, Ohio for an overnight, giving me an awesome opportunity to visit the amazing Toledo Museum of Art the next morning. Such a beautiful museum.

After killing time at the museum while the boy wrapped up his Friday classes, I grabbed him in Ann Arbor and back tracked to Ohio. We spent the weekend near Lake Erie and Marblehead, Ohio. (How could we not?) Lake affect snow and ice covered much of the ground, making running nearly impossible, (I did pack my running gear), so it was a somewhat low-key weekend. We did a little exploring, driving around the Ohio countryside, stopping at a few small towns, really impressed with the friendly people and beautiful snow covered farmland... we love Ohio! It was a great escape.

Happy Birthday, Will!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

January being January

Sunday snowshoe Nike
We’re only three weeks into January and the winter has just been dragging along. It’s been too warm for trail rides, (unless you ignore the damage it does to the trails, which I can’t do), but too cold for running. Sort of. Mike and I still have our weekly run dates and I try to squeeze in a run or two during the week, but haven’t really gotten back to my mileage from the summer. That’s ok, though.  It’s still only January. Still.

Last weekend we actually had snow(!); which has been oddly absent this year, so went snowshoeing in lieu of running. It was fun! We headed over to Lynn Woods, stuck to the main trails, and did not get lost. I’m calling it cross training.

Snowshoe date with my honey

Friday, January 3, 2020

Turning the page on 2019

Keep moving forward
Farewell to 2019. It was a good year but also heartbreaking too. I know many friends are eager to turn the page on the year. I’m only sad to see it end because quite honestly the years are speeding by too quickly and I just want life to slow down. I look at the boys, in a hurry to grow up — Will, turning 21 in a few weeks, (and reminding me he’ll be “legal” soon. Uh huh.) Chip, 18 and ready to fly the coop, awaiting his college decisions. I just want to stop the clock for a while and stay in this moment a little longer.

This year was definitely one of gratitude — especially of  Mike and the boys who I love to pieces, and of the genuine friendships I have. I rode a lot less this year, but I stepped up my running game to train for an event in Alaska that didn’t quite work out. That endeavor ended a friendship, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ no regrets there.

Aside from the drama, I had such an amazing adventure in Alaska amongst the mountains, glaciers and fjords — that little Jeep took me places! And it’s true I was afraid I’d run into a bear on the singletrack in Kincaid, or on my hike out in Hope, but that only added to the exhilaration. I can’t wait to go back!

My friends pick me up emotionally and literally — including Ingrid, out in Hawaii (who came to Boston for a few days before I left for Alaska); Team Horsefish, who call themselves bitches but they’re the best people I know; and Amy and Jennifer, who I found waiting for me at baggage claim, (with coffee), after 20 hours of travel from Anchorage — again, Best. People. I. Know.

Maybe I could have ridden more, or ran more — the back half of the year fell apart on me — but I’m o.k. with that.

Family, friendship, love and laughter. I’m grateful for all I have. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Merry Christmas!

O Christmas Tree, Marblehead style

Friday, December 20, 2019

Busy December

“Art” on the trail.
Since Amy and Jennifer both purchased new mountain bikes recently, they’ve been eager to ride before it gets too cold and the snow arrives. It’s been a busy time of year and I haven’t found time to get out on the trails as often as I’d like — and part of that is due to the early winter transitional period where we’ve had some snow but the local trails aren’t quite frozen enough to ride. A few days ago I got a text from the girls to see if I would meet them out on the rail trail for a quick spin. I had just enough time to meet them for a short out-and-back. Hopefully we’ll be able to ride more often after the holiday season ends.
Cold ride with Amy and Jennifer. Fun!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Running to the end (of 2019)



Hard to believe 2019 is coming to a close. I haven't spent a lot of time on the bike this year, compared to the last two decades, but that's only temporary. I fully intend to get back on the bike this winter and work on strength and conditioning. I haven't chosen any cycling events for 2020 yet, but I have a few in mind.

Mike and I have been chipping away at our C25K program, and I ran the Peabody Law Enforcement's Torch Run 5K for the Special Olympics last weekend with the girls. It was cold! I'm definitely a fair-weather runner.

More to come in 2020!

Last run for 2019

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Coffeeneuring 2019, Control Card


Between my posts on social media (Instagram) and those here on my blog, recording my Coffeeneuring Challenge rides by pen and printed control cards felt redundant. I downloaded the control card file but opted to summarize the basics here in one shot.

Ride Number: 1
Date: 10/16/19
Mileage (total): 8
Location Name: Java Sun Coffee Roasters
Address: Atlantic Ave, Marblehead, Massachusetts
Drink: Tea with almond milk, honey
Ride note: Out before the storm. A nor’easter is approaching.

Ride Number: 2
Date: 10/24/19
Mileage (total): 18
Location Name: Atomic Cafe Coffee Roasters
Address: Cabot Street, Beverly, Massachusetts
Drink: Iced Chai Latte, Italian sugar cookie
Ride note: Single-speed. Beautiful day. Dropped bike off at Centraal Cycle post-ride to get the gears fixed.

Ride Number: 3
Date: 10/26/19
Mileage (total): 11.5
Location Name: Lincoln’s Landing
Address: Humphrey Street, Swampscott, Massachusetts
Drink: Hot coffee with several refills, chicken salad wrap
Ride note: Ok.. I slipped on the floor, landed on my ass, and wiped out the table next to me. Quite a scene. I don’t think I can show my face in there for a while.

Ride Number: 4
Date: 11/2/19
Mileage (total): 9
Location Name: Periwinkles Food Shoppe
Address: Loring Ave, Salem, Massachusetts
Drink: Medium hot,  Large iced, with almond milk. And quiche
Ride notes: Salem ride, (trail and Forest River area.) Met my sister at Periwinkles for a coffee chat. I had one too many coffees. #caffeineoverload

Ride Number: 5
Date: 11/7/19
Mileage (total): 14
Location Name: Starbucks-to-go
Address: Pleasant St, Marblehead Massachusetts
Drink: Venti iced, with almond milk.
Ride notes: Too nice to stay inside, I took a coffee to go and headed to the harbor.

Ride Number: 6
Date: 11/15/19
Mileage (total): 16
Location Name: The Blue Canoe Cafe
Address: School Street, Marblehead, Massachusetts
Drink: Almond milk cafe latte with with CINNAMON
Ride notes: Another gorgeous day! Looped out to the beach and lighthouse, met Betty at The Blue Canoe for coffee.

Ride Number: 7
Date: 11/21/19
Mileage (total): 9 MTB Trails
Location Name: In the wild, on a park bench at Bradley Palmer State Park (Willowdale)
Address: Linebrook Rd, Ipswich, Massachusetts
Drink: Coffee with almond milk cream from a Hydro flask at a park bench.
Ride notes: MTB trails with Amy (new bike for her!) before the sun went down. Fun times!

Seven for seven, Coffeeneuring 2019 complete

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Coffeeneuring Ride 7, in the wild

Coffee in the wild. The hot coffee felt good on a cold day.
Coffeeneuring 2019 wrapped up today with Amy R. as we hit the trails at Willowdale State Forest for a late afternoon ride. Amy and Jennifer both picked up new mountain bikes last weekend and today was her second time out. Of course she’s a powerhouse on the trails, so I was happy to just keep up. (It is no secret I’ve let my fitness slide since July and I’m just now starting to get it back. Hills are still a grind for me. Are they ever not?)

Riding with Amy was really fun and I was grateful she knew the trails. I would have been lost for sure — and with the sun sinking fast, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to get lost. It was a fun ride!

An hour and a half later my (tubeless) rear tire completely flatted about 500 yards from the parking lot. (I’ve been needing to replace that tire for a while now, so wasn’t surprised it finally gave out.) We walked it back to the car, grabbed my backpack containing mugs and a hydro flask of hot coffee, and warmed up with a post-ride brew. A perfect ending to a great day.

Coffeeneuring 2019 is complete — I’m now 4 for 6 on this annual coffee ride challenge.

Into the woods we go!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Turkey Chase 5K

22 degrees is too cold for this
Post-run coffee and cool down-warm up
OMG it it took a lot of effort to head to Danvers at 7 a.m. for the Turkey Chase 5k in sub-freezing temps. It’s much too cold. While I should have been able to run the full 5K had I stuck to the original C25K training schedule I’m following,  I’m only now into week 5 (not 8) of my training plan. I’ve repeated a few weeks. It’s been a slow and steady rebuild since October.

The race went well — I followed my scheduled workout (8 min run, 5 min walk, repeat) for the first half+, and then ran with a friend of KHaff’s (Pam M.) for the second half. Pam was also doing run/walk intervals, 90/90, so that worked out well and I enjoyed her company.

Back at the finish, I met up with friends for some coffee and finish line festivities. Judy placed first in her age division and got a medal. Yay! Fun morning and I’m glad I got out of bed.

Irony is finding wild turkeys roaming near home after
 running the Turkey Chase 5K

Friday, November 15, 2019

Coffeeneuring Ride 6; The Blue Canoe Cafe

Almond milk cafe latte with a cinnamon explosion
The Blue Canoe, Marblehead
After a ridiculous week of cold winter weather, the temps finally crawled out of the twenties and thirties to end the week on a high note. I dug out my cold-weather gear and headed for a ride around Marblehead and met Betty at the Blue Canoe for coffee. We chatted forever, catching up on this month’s news ranging from the serious, (Will’s former football teammate committing suicide), to the mundane, (I need to fill in the holes in our foundation because we have mice). Somehow 90 minutes felt like 30 as the time slipped by.

George patiently waited while we had coffee
Spectacular day, Riverhead Beach
After our lengthy chat fest, I continued on my ride out to Devereux Beach and the lighthouse before heading home. (Roughly 16 miles total — I’m not riding far these days.) The weather was ahhhh-ma-zing and it’s surprising how warm 35 degrees feels once the twenties arrive.

Coffeeneuring Ride 6 is complete... just one to go,

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Coffee-To-Go, Coffeeneuring #5

Harbor view and Starbucks
Temps were in the 50s this afternoon for a loop around Marblehead Neck and Old Town. I originally planned to stop at The Blue Canoe on my Coffeeneuring ride today but, A). it was just too nice outside to stay inside a coffee shop and B). I left my cash at home when I swapped jackets. Fortunately there’s a great Starbucks in town, (with a local vibe), and I was able to run in for an iced coffee, using the Starbucks app on my phone!

With my Grande Iced snuggled nicely into the water bottle cage, I headed down to the Fort Beach area to enjoy coffee al fresco. It was low tide, the rocks were warm to sit on, and I could have stayed there for hours watching the seagulls dropping and eating mussels on the rocks ahead of me. I love the harbor in the fall. Such a perfect day!

Fort Beach, aka Flat Rock Beach, Marblehead Harbor
Crowninshield Island aka Brown’s Island, Little Harbor