Living Minimally

It’s hard to believe I’ve been back in New Jersey for 10 days.  It’s been an adjustment to life, weather and just getting back into my regular routine.

I didn’t have to stay 6 weeks in Montgomery.  I did have to go down, but I could have driven back solo while my husband finished his course.  I could have driven down, did what I needed and drove back to New Jersey (driving close to 4000 miles in 6 weeks). Instead, I chose to drive down once, stay there during the quiet weeks and drive home together.  That way, we could drive one car, stay together and it would be more enjoyable that way.

When we moved to Alabama, I packed everything I would need in two suitcases.  We weren’t sure the exact time frame, but you can live out of a suitcase for 2 months.

To be completely honest, I was nervous to go down there.  As I mentioned, I left my job for 6 weeks.  I didn’t know anyone in Alabama.  While I had things to do, it definitely was not as much as living back in New Jersey.

But I wanted a risk, new adventure, and challenge.  I told myself: if I had lived in the middle of nowhere, Texas, I could make it Alabama.  Thinking out loud and truth be told, despite the constant tornados, I liked Alabama.

Living in Alabama taught me a lot how to live minimally.  I learned I have far too much clutter here in New Jersey.

Essentially, I lived out of a suitcase in a two room hotel for 6 weeks.  In the hotel, we had a kitchenette but no oven.  It wasn’t bad, and we were able to eat healthy and make do without it.

So how did we go from too much stuff to a suitcase full? 

Lucky for my husband, he has two work uniforms.  Then he needed about 2 regular clothing outfits. Since he was running and training for his marathon, he brought more shoes than I did. Realistically, he could have probably lived out of a backpack…As an over packer myself, I could not.

Downgrade:

Do you really need 5 pairs of black leggings? Sure, the material might be slightly different or the pattern but is it necessary?  I brought exactly 10 outfits that could be paired differently.  Different tops and different pants.  I brought three pairs of leggings and did laundry every few days.  I grew to love that clothing enough that I won’t be wearing any of it for a few weeks now that I’m home.

When I got home, I had even forgotten I owned certain leggings.  At that point, I realized I had too much stuff.

We Learned New Simple and Basic Recipes:

We didn’t have an oven.  So we were forced to cook the majority of foods from a pan or the microwave.  For example, one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables is by roasting them.  Roasted beets are delicious!  Instead of forgoing beets at all, we decided to try something new and boil them.  It worked out just as well and honestly it’s something I’ll do back in NJ too.

So while living in a 2 room hotel for a while wasn’t ideal, it did teach me a lot.

When I got home, it took me about a week, but I downsized and donated a lot.  What were some questions I asked myself:

  • Race Tshirts: Does the shirt have meaning to me?  Did I PR? Do I like the shirt, if it wasn’t my favorite, it was donated.
  • When was the last time I wore an item?  If it wasn’t in the last full calendar year, it was donated.
  • Do I have multiple of the same thing?  Base layers are great, but do you need 4 pairs of nearly identical black leggings?  I couldn’t even remember all of the similar styles I had.
  • Running Shoes: As someone who works in running retail, I had over 20 pairs of shoes.  I’m actively running in 3 pairs right now! I kept one model of each brand, and donated 13 pairs.  It feels like a fresh hair cut.

I’m happy to be back and I don’t regret staying down in Alabama for the full six weeks.  I learned a lot about myself and what was truly important to me.

Questions for you:
How do you figure out what to keep or donate?
What are some tips you have to live with less clutter?

 

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Training: Back to the Cold

Last week was a solid week of training.  My easy runs felt good and I had two quality workouts. Since the Mercedes half marathon was more of a workout, I recovered quickly.  Not that I’m complaining…

Monday:  Easy 60 minutes at McAlpine Park in Charlotte
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: 12X2 minutes with 30 seconds rest
Friday: Easy 70 minutes
Saturday:  Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: 2X4 mile tempo (6:42 pace)

I didn’t race this week and I probably won’t next week.  Due to weather, February is typically a “drier” race month in New Jersey. I’m happy to get a couple of quality weeks of training under my belt as well.  My next major race is the Shamrock half marathon in about a month.  That will be a race to hopefully test my fitness.  Incase you are interested, I wrote about my 2017 Spring Goal Races here.

Speaking of New Jersey, I’m having a hard time adjusting back to the climate.   When I left, we hadn’t had a lot of cold days and now running in the 20s feels difficult.  It’s quite a shock from the drastic humidity of Alabama.  So if you see someone running around in a parka, it might be me.

Workouts:
Thursday: 12×2 minutes with 30 seconds rest (average 6:15 pace)

I appreciate my workouts are rarely the same.  This is one of the better workouts I’ve had lately.  I’m back to doing workouts on roads and I felt good

Sunday: 2X4 miles (6:42 average)
This workout intimidated me.  The goal pace was 6:44.  I did the workout on roads and it flew by.  I never felt amazing but I was able to make the pace.

This week will be similar.  I’ll just crank through workouts and get them under my belt.

Posts from the Week:
Mercedes Half Marathon
Saucony Freedom ISO Shoe Review
Love Yourself

Questions for you:
How was your week of training?
Where is your favorite spot to workout?

Training last Week: Travel and 5k (18:42)

Training last week clicked off well. I ran what I needed to and got the mileage in.  I don’t have any complaints about the week.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes (9:20 pace) Core
Tuesday: Easy 7 miles (8:40)
Wednesday: Workout Core
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes (9:05 pace)
Friday: Easy 60 minutes Core
Saturday: Workout: Polar Bear 5k (18:42)
Sunday Easy Mercedes Course Preview
Total: 59  miles

Easy Runs:

My easy runs were slower than usual last week but it was also humid. Most of the days last week were either running in 100% humidity or the rain. I didn’t feel bad or injured, but the heat change was noticeable.

Wednesdays Workout:
4X60 seconds (average 6:00)
1X10 minutes (6:33)
1X3 minutes (5:56)
4X60 seconds (average 6:10)

The workout was definetely different and a nice change. Something I do like about my coach is that he doesn’t give the same workouts weekly. I’m not doing 10x400s each week hoping to see improvmeent, or worse comparing myself when I don’t.

As far as execution, it was one of my better workouts in the last few weeks.
Polar Bear 5k (18:42):

My husband and I decided to take a road trip last weekend. We went to Atlanta and then Birmingham. We have been to Altanta a few times, so we stayed away from the touristy things. We stumbled upon a 5k and when we went there, I was shocked! It was a 1000+ person 5k and we weren’t expecting that. I had a workout that day of 2X5k at 6:45 pace.

I ran the first 5k at 5:58 and the second at 6:50. It was a lot faster than planned.

My splits were 6:00, 5:55 and 5:58. I ran a smart race and I’m happy with it. It was a moderately difficult course and I’ll have a recap soon.

This workout is more mentally challening than anything.  The second 5k is always extremely difficult to get out there. It takes a lot of mental pep talk after a race to get back and run hard by yourself again (I’ve done this workout a couple times: Haddonfield Road Race and Run for Jack). I didn’t want to interfere with racers and I ended up running part of the workout in a hilly neighborhood.

We swung by Birmingham on the way back and did the last Mercedes Course Preview Run.  While the Merecedes half won’t be a goal race for me, it was nice to check out the course.  I didn’t realize it was as hilly as it is.

In summary, it was a good week. The next two weeks are bigger race weeks for me with the Double Bridges 15k in Pensacola next weekend and the Mercedes Half Marathon the following.

Running Related Posts from the Week:
How to Run with a Significant Other
Running Books I’m Reading

Questions for you:
What is the biggest race you’ve ever done?
How was your week of workouts?

Training Last Week: 400s and Moving

Greetings from the Cotton State. As most people know, I have relocated to Montgomery, Alabama for the next few weeks. While it wasn’t what I anticipated doing in 2017, sometimes things happen. Even though I’ve been here less than 24 hours, I’ve had a positive experience.

So how was training last week?

With working, packing and moving, training took a back seat. I still ran but life was more important. To be honest, I’ve been in a funk with running. My guess it’s a combination of having several runs in pouring rain and 30 degrees or bitter wind. Running in that weather hasn’t been the most pleasant but I’m hoping a change of scenery will also help.

Monday: Easy 60 min run
Tuesday; 10X400s warmup/cooldown
Wednesday: Easy 65 min run
Thursday: Easy 70 min run
Friday: Easy 65 min run
Saturday: 12 Mile Long Run
Sunday: Easy 65 mins
Total: 63 miles

Workout: 10X400s with 90 seconds rest

As most people know, I generally do my workouts on roads. Back in New Jersey, I didn’t have access to a track, plus I race on roads. My pace for the 400s averaged about 6 min/mile pace. I would have liked to be faster but my legs didn’t have it. I finished the workout feeling meh. I wasn’t confident but I wasn’t overly upset either.

The rest of the runs were easy with nothing major of note. I always enjoy running in Central PA and did my long run out there.

The plan for this upcoming week is to continue trucking along. (Isn’t always the plan?) I’ll be getting used to a brand new (life) schedule and brand new running routes. Neither of which I mind but it will effect training.

Posts from the week:
December Training
Run for Jack 5k (18:30)
Runners You Might Encounter this Winter

Questions for you:
Do you do workouts on roads or on the track?
How was the weather where you are?

Next Stop: Montgomery, AL

As you read this, I am on the 1000 mile road to Montgomery, Alabama.  I’ll be living there for the next 6 weeks. montgomery, alabama

Due to my husband’s job, we will be residing down there for the next 6-8 weeks.  It came up last minute so instead of mentioning it when we found out (about 3 weeks ago), we chose to keep it quiet.  With anything in the military, things can change last minute, so you never know.

We told family and a few friends but other than that we didn’t tell a whole heck of a lot of people.  But if you don’t blog about it, it never happened right?

Of course, I feel guilty that many people will find out via this blog post or Facebook, but it all happened so suddenly.  I enjoy living in New Jersey but six weeks is not a long time in the grand scheme of things.

As most people know, I work in a running specialty store.  Luckily, January and February are the quieter, so it wasn’t as big of a deal for me to need the time off.  I am lucky RunningCo. is good to me.

So I guess there isn’t much more to say.  I’ll be in the Montgomery area for the next 6 weeks. I’ll be relatively busy but if you’re local or have any recommendations for the area let me know.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get down to Pensacola as well as Atlanta for at least a day or two.

Questions for you:

Have you ever had a short term move?

Have you ever been to Montgomery?  Do you any have recommendations of things to do?

Vacationing to Dallas

Last week I went to Dallas, Texas.  The race was less than 90 minutes, but we did plenty of other things that weren’t racing too. Together with my husband as well as my inlaws, we discovered several fun and exciting things to do.

So first, Why Dallas?

The December time frame (weather wise) is a typically good in Texas.  As long-term readers know, I lived in Texas for a while. Although last week was much colder than anticipated New Jersey received it’s first snowfall, so it’s hard to complain.

Second, both my husband and I like BMWs.  He drives a 1980s BMW, while I drive a 3 series.  Since this is BMWs first title-US race, it seemed like an awesome idea to run.  The weather, timing, and title sponsor all suited us!

So with that, we arrived the Friday before the race.  Here are some of the things we did and ate.  All of which I would recommend.

We stayed in the Magnolia hotel which was beautiful and close to the race start.  We didn’t mean to find a hotel within walking distance but lady luck was on our side (this has never happened and probably never will again).

magnolia hotel view

Some of my Favorite Food:

Whiskey Cake at the Whiskey Cake

I heard this was one of the best cakes in all of Texas! It’s a rich cake made with Whiskey.  The cake itself did not disappoint and the homemade whipped cream on top was perfect. If you’re looking for a nice place to hang out, grab a drink or meal Whiskey Cake is delicious.

whiskey cake plano

 

Campisi:

If you are ever in Dallas for a race or just like Italian, Campisi is great.  They were initially opened in 1946.  For a business to still be here, means they are doing something right.  It was exactly what I wanted before a race.

What we Did:

Expo:

The BMW Dallas Marathon expo was a lot of fun.  There were plenty of activities to do including test driving an I3.  Of course, I wish they let you test drive an I8 but apparently they don’t put 100k+ cars out for testing.  I don’t get into real “fancy” cars but this would be my dream car if I had one..

BMW i8 half marathon dallas

My father in law, myself and Tim all signed the runner wall and got a nice photo next to it.

signing bmw dallas wall

img_2312

And we wouldn’t be there without my mother in law, Greta, so we needed a photo with her too. bmw dallas half marathon

Museums

I hadn’t thought about it, but I didn’t realize JFK had been assassinated in Dallas.  We walked though the Sixth Floor Museum which was a great (but lengthy) museum.  They give you a headset, and you feel like you are there.

Hiking:

hiking dallas texas

As most people know, my husband and I do enjoy our fair share of hikes.  We found a short Mountain Bike area to hike around.  All of a sudden, we found ourselves surrounded by various bike pieces and road signs in trees.  It was the most random and bizarre part of the trip.

hiking dallas texas

And of course, plenty of relaxation!  The problem with going to a destination race is you want to explore and “do everything, ” but before the race, you need to rest your legs and after a race you just want to nap.  We had a great time doing a little bit of everything.

Dallas is a fun city, nd I would love to go back sometime.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to Dallas?

What is something fun to do in your hometown?

Mini Trip to Upstate New York

Last week, my husband and I went on a mini vacation through Upstate, New York.  Those who have been reading LOLZ blog long enough, know we both went to college in Upstate. While we have both been to New York since neither of us had been that far north since graduation. When we left last Sunday, we had no plans and played everything by ear.  After getting home from the Run the Bridge 10k, we just packed the car and drove north.

First, we drove to Lake Placid.  I hadn’t been there since January of 2011.  Last time I went to Lake Placid, it was -30 (not an exaggeration).  This time it felt like the Caribbean and was between 30-40.me running lake placidLake Placid and the Adirondacks are beautiful.  My husband and I both miss it so we spent a day hiking.
hiking in the adirondacksWe went to the Adirondack Loj and spent time hiking there.  It was much colder in the mountains, and I was glad to have mittens, a hat and winter jacket.  We even saw snow on the ground.  hiking in the adirondacksAfter spending a couple of days hiking in the Adirondacks, we headed west to our alma maters in Potsdam, NY.  It’s crazy to think over five years ago, I started LOLZ blog in Potsdam.  potsdam new york

A day in Potsdam was enough.  Honestly, I’m four years out of college, and my friends have graduated, so there isn’t a whole heck of a lot up there for either of us.  A day was enough.hiking in the adirondacks tim and i

We headed down to Syracuse and spent the day enjoying that and meeting up with one of my closest friends (and well known “interneter” (is that a word?) Heather.  We met up at one the local breweries, Empire.  I’ve been to Empire several times and have had a positive experience every time.Heather and IFrom there we relaxed and ran in one of my favorite Upstate, NY parks, Onondaga.  I’ve run several races there, most noticeably, the Lake Effect Half Marathon where I was able to raise 2500 dollars for Ophelia’s Place as well as win.  That race still holds a lot of memories for me and is one of my favorites.  I’ll eventually get back there to do it one year.

The trip was such a great time.  My husband and I enjoyed visiting.  Upstate New York will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I went to college, met my husband, began to love running and made many of my adult friends.

It feels like such a blur since living in both Potsdam and Oswego.  Even though it has only been three years, it seems like a different lifetime ago!
Questions for you:
Where did you go to college? Have you been back to visit?
Has it snowed yet where you are?