Friday, October 30, 2009


The Halloween festivities in Schroon Lake started today when the elementary school kids paraded down Main Street in their costumes. This was, of course, my first time witnessing the event, and I was pleasantly surprised by some things I noticed, such as:

  1. Unlike our suburban New Jersey school, the kids are allowed to wear scary and/or violent costumes. Now, I'm not saying that we should glorify violence or anything, but, come on, it's Halloween. It's supposed to be scary. Sorry, but there's no way a Disney princess can scare off an evil spirit. I was happy to see a couple of first grade vampires, complete with dripping fake blood.
  2. The kids went out and interacted with the people in town. This was a very nice change from doing loops around the school parking lot. People who didn't have children in school came out and watched just because it was fun. Let's hear it for inter-generational connections!
  3. The businesses along Main Street got into the spirit of Halloween. Business owners and employees dressed up, came outside and handed out candy to the kids as they passed. These same businesses regularly support the PTSO and the booster club. I appreciate businesses that give back to the community (and I remember that when I shop).
  4. My six year old has a new girlfriend, whether he wants one or not. Apparently she found his Iron Man costume very appealing. That's so cute.
Since Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, I've been really happy to see lots of decorated houses around town. I'm looking forward to taking my son trick-or-treating tomorrow. My teenage daughter will be out there tomorrow night, haunting town with the rest of the after-dark crowd until the midnight showing of Zombieland.

Next year, when we are settled in the new house, I am throwing a Halloween party. This year I'll just enjoy my kids' Halloween.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Running and running and running...

Startup of half marathon runImage by via Flickr

Today I completed my last run for the month of October. During the month I ran just over 38 miles. Not an impressive total compared to those training for marathons, but huge for me. In fact, it's the most miles I've ever run in one month.

For kicks, I looked back in my training log to October of 2008. Last October I "ran" 6.7 miles; most of those miles were walking. I had just started a couch-to-5K program, and at the end of the month had built up to actually running 6 minutes out of 30. Most of the comments I'd made read something like "I hate running." It was almost silly, but I stuck with it, because I wanted to do a triathlon.

The plan worked.

Today I ran 3.4 miles, slightly longer than the 5K distance. It was easy - just a short mid-week run. And I enjoyed it. I saw a quail, a couple of deer and a woodpecker. I planned the evening's yoga class in my head. I thought about lengthening my stride, and how I could improve my speed. When I was done, I felt good.

I like running.

One of my goals for 2010 is to finish a half-marathon. Another goal is to do a handstand. Looking for the "couch-to-..." program for that.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

There are pine needles on my yoga mat

Adirondack MountainsImage by stevesheriw via Flickr

The Adirondack mountains are covered in pine trees. They are beautiful now, providing contrast to the brown leaves of the hardwoods. In a couple of months their snow-covered branches will sparkle. At their roots are blankets of needles.

As much as I love the pine trees, the needles create a housekeeping challenge. Everyone who comes in, be they human or canine, brings pine needles with them. I sweep needles off the floor daily. This is just part of living in the Adirondacks, and I've accepted it.

I have the same problem at the yoga studio, of course. It seems every time I am in downward facing dog I notice I needle on my mat. I am working on my three-legged down dog because I am compelled to pick the needle off my mat while holding the pose. I am bothered by anything on my mat that doesn't belong. This is my perfectionism spilling into my yoga. Perfectionism comes with the ego, and the ego doesn't belong in my practice.

Perhaps it's time to take my yoga off the mat and out into the pine needles.
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Nice day for a swim

...and a bike...and a run. So what if it's 43 degrees?

I set up my transition area for the Lake George Triathlon wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt and I wished I had my hat and gloves. It was cold! My teeth were chattering as I hung around with the group at the "special" bike rack. Our hybrid and mountain bike tires didn't fit in the fancy road bike racks, so we got a small rack all to ourselves. At least it was right by the bike and run exit.

UPS had brought me a new Xterra wetsuit ten days before the race, but I never did get to try it out. Going into a race with untested equipment is a big no-no, but after my disastrous swim in Lake George in June's North Country Triathlon, I figured it couldn't get any worse. I got into my wetsuit about 20 minutes before the first wave started and I was glad I did. I finally stopped shivering.

When my wave was called, I waded out into the lake and got a pleasant surprise. Despite the wind and waves, the lake was warm! The water temperature was almost 70 degrees and it felt like swimming in a heated pool. My wetsuit worked great, and I really like the extra buoyancy. I wasn't swimming fast, nor was a swimming straight, but I was swimming. I finished the 1600 yard swim in 41 minutes, which isn't fast but was nearly a 1 minute per yard improvement over the June swim, when it took me almost 35 minutes to go half the distance.

I made the run into transition and stripped off my wet suit. A couple of minutes later I was on my bike and cruising along, slowly. I hadn't trained enough for the bike, and my hybrid was no match for the road bikes. I resigned myself to being last, and enjoyed the scenery. It was a beautiful ride through bike paths and quiet roads. I got passed by most of the folks who got out of the water behind me, but I was still smiling from the swim and just kept pedaling. I didn't even stress out when I dropped my chain half-way up a killer hill. Finally I finished the ride and left my bike in transition to face the run.

The run was two loops with lots of hills. Since I was so far behind, most of the other racers were on their second loop when I started. I just smiled at the people who were passing me and telling me we were almost done. I was tired from the bike, but I knew I could do the 6 mile run and just kept going. On my second loop I passed a few people who were walking, so I didn't finish dead last.

It wasn't pretty, but I finished my first Olympic distance triathlon. I've got my finisher medal hanging on the wall right in front of me, and I'm proud of it. I'm looking forward to next season, with a goal of improving my time in both races.

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