1. Running the Navy Air Force Half Marathon
I signed up for this race a couple months ago, in hopes that it would get me back in shape. Of course, as is always true for me, I had a hard time fitting in all the required runs and didn't end up training as well as I wanted. The more the mileage crept up, the hungrier I got - really throwing off my plans to eat well during this period. Old running injuries flared up, no doubt because I was adding miles too quickly while missing important strength training exercises - so I spent a good chunk of time on the couch, icing my knees with frozen vegetables (butternut squash is my new favorite). So - when the race day finally came, I finished it (which was my only real goal), and I did it much faster than I was expecting, but still slower than the last time I ran this distance 6 years ago. I was a little disappointed that I hadn't worked harder or run faster, but mostly I was just really happy to be done.
running into the finish line
in prior years - we went out to celebrate after a race. This year, I got a nap!
2. New Exercise Plans
Whenever I finish a long race, I always feel torn between wanting to never move again, but not wanting to lose all my hard-earned progress. I'm thinking about making a mileage goal for the month of October - just enough to require me to run short distances pretty often so that I get into a more regular routine. I also know that all the running without additional strength training probably resulted in my leg muscles getting unbalanced and causing a couple typical running knee injuries, so I should spend more time building strength through other forms of exercise. (My brother would point out that another way to not get running injuries is to just not run). I'm also just so tired of running and anxious to try other things - so I'm thinking about making a goal to try new exercises and strength training classes, like boot camp or crossfit, or relaxing things like hiking or swimming. In short - I want to continue to get in better shape, but I would like it to hurt less. I want to exercise more often, but with more variety.
3. New Food Plans
I forgot that long runs make me super hungry so that I absolutely must eat everything in sight. Plus, when I was running into work and couldn't carry extra food with me - or just working through the weekend without time to prep food - I fell way off the bandwagon on home cooking, and ended up buying lots of crappy food for breakfast, lunch and so many afternoon snacks. I am really excited to get back in the kitchen. Making breakfast and lunch for myself is both healthier and cheaper than buying food at work, so I'm digging out my old favorite recipes to make in advance. But dinner has gotten interesting lately- not only does food need to be healthy and relatively cheap as always, but now we eat dinner with our son so food needs to be something he will eat (not super spicy or messy, fingerfoods are useful), as well as done before his bedtime - giving me roughly 15 minutes to get in the door before food is on the table. All of these constraints make things more challenging - so I'm kind of excited to figure out new options that will work. I think I'm finally going to tentatively embrace the slow cooker, in addition to lots of weekend prep. I have visions of roasting root vegetables and hearty soups and general scrumptiousness.
4. The Fun To-Do List
Because the weekends were spent either running or working on the house - we didn't get to do many of the fun summery things I would've liked. Now that we're getting that time back - I am super excited to get out of the house, and start crossing fun things off the list.
- Go apple picking
- Go wine tasting
- Cook something on an outdoor fire
- Take a day hike
- Go to the zoo
- See Mt. Vernon
- Celebrate Octoberfest
5. House Maintenance
Ok, I get that no one else would be excited about this but me - but all the focus on finishing up the halfbath has left the rest of the house a bit disheveled and worse for the wear. There are a bunch of regular projects, like weeding the lawn, that have been completely ignored over the past few months. There are a bunch of new projects that were created by the construction - like piles and piles of displaced cookbooks, serving bowls, and pantry items that no longer have a permanent home or construction tools and debris that are strewn about the house and garage. It's time to make the fall capsule wardrobe and put summer clothes in storage. The whole house just needs some attention. I want to sort through all the stuff to empty out things we don't need for donations and trash, and then give everything that remains a good dusting/scrubbing/reorganizing.
6. Learn and Teach Something New
So - it's been years since I was a student, but the return of fall still gets me excited about the return to school. I'm anxious to learn something new - maybe I can finally commit to actually practicing the piano and learning a new piece, or even taking lessons again. I have a million podcasts that are accumulating on my phone. There are a bunch of short term classes I would love to sign up for - a weekend woodworking class, an online photography class, a blog-based baking school - that would be a fun way to get better at something I like to do but sort of suck at. I also started volunteering back in the spring, teaching a course for GED students, which ended for the summer but is starting up again for the fall. I'm excited to get back into teaching, thinking through the material, figuring out how to present it at the right level and speed, incorporating real world examples, while figuring out how to meet standard testing requirements and other constraints. I like the challenge and am looking forward to getting back to it.
Ok- so re-reading through this post makes me sound sort of crazy/overly ambitious. I know that the end of the half marathon will free up a couple hours on Sundays, but not infinite additional hours. Even so - I am excited to do more of all of these things, and look forward to figuring out how to juggle all the competing interests, as always, in order to squeeze just a bit more into the day.