We were super lucky last weekend and hit the weather jackpot. Sunshine. Lots of sunshine with temps in the 60’s. It was a perfect weekend to explore our neighborhood. We recently found out about some local county parks that boast easy trails along the water. Finding something scenic in New Jersey is no easy feat. Trust me.
We were pretty fortunate to run across a site dedicated to South Jersey Trails. I had been looking for a comprehensive site for quite some time and had been pretty unsuccessful until I stumbled across this gem. A guy from New Jersey hiking and reviewing trails….with a toddler in tow. Perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. If you have a toddler, live in New Jersey or wonder what else you can do on Saturday other than go to Target, than you should check out this site.
We stopped by Amico Island and did an easy 4 mile hike while the toddler spent the better portion of the morning napping. We looped around the trails twice and stopped to hunt deer tracks for a while. The hunting paid off as we lucked out and easily spotted a pack of more than 20 deer grazing. I was feeling pretty grateful at the time that my toddler was sleeping as to not frighten the little white tailed beauties.
Excuse the grain but this is all you get. I am sure if you squint really hard though you can make out the deer, no?
The following day, we took the toddler out for a nature walk. This time we let him run wild on the trails. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend. I am looking forward to more weekends like this.
Last May, I started the C25K and ran my face off over the summer. As a result of all the running, nursing and lack of proper nutrition, I was dehydrated. I gained 45 lbs when I was pregnant but lost a whopping 60 lbs last summer. It was not intentional. My hair was falling out. My clothes were falling off. I felt fine though. I didn’t even recognize how much stress my body was under. I didn’t run to lose weight. I ran to improve my physical and mental health but failed miserably.
I was stuck last summer.
Lately, I have been stuck on the rest cycle and I’m okay with it. The winter was long and cold. I loved it. I ran intermittently whenever the mood struck which was rare. I took a long break from running. I actually contemplated giving up running.
Then, spring came knocking at my door. I answered. I find that we are spending more of our days outside now. My son could possibly spend all day, every day outside. It doesn’t matter whether we are raking leaves, hanging out in the yard, taking a walk in the stroller, exploring nature or running rampant on the playground. The outcome is always the same: sheer joy!
So, I have decided to pick up where we left off last summer and start running again. We have already hit the trails running. It is just as good as I remembered it.
It was 18 degrees today. I decided that today would be a fine day to go for a run.
I was right. It was.
I used to despise winter. It is bitter and dreary. The absence of sun and warmth feels depressing. I used to spend my days in an office without windows. I never saw the sun. I arrived at work before the sun came up and barely arrived home before it had set. This scenario made for a very long and uneventful season. One in which I longed for spring to arrive.
Winter exudes it’s own peaceful quietness though. I am beginning to experience a beauty of winter that I have not seen before. Today, we bundled up and enjoyed an afternoon run. It was 18 degrees outside. The lawns were covered with snow leftover from the weekend. The river was partially encased in ice. The sky was gray and overcast as it is on most days. It is so bitter and cold these days that we have the streets to ourselves. It is peaceful.
These days are pretty spectacular for us…dreary skies, bitter temps and all.
Tuesday morning. A snow storm is pending. The television is off. All the channels have been encrypted. I cannot watch the news. I cannot see the weather forecast. I don’t know how the roads are or what is headed our way. It’s 8 am. The sky is overcast and gray.
By mid-morning, the snow arrives. From the warmth of my dining room, I am watching the snow cover the pavement, the cars, the trees. Hours pass. It snows. My husband comes home from work early. We spend the day inside. It is warm and cozy. It is quiet except the sound of our voices. The sound of laughter. There are no distractions beyond what is happening in the present moment.
This is my reality now.
The only sounds in my house now are the sounds of laughter and the voices from those that live here. The television is no longer a participant in our mornings. No news. No weather. No morning talk shows. No interruptions from people that don’t live here.
We have lived this life before. A life without any television at all. We lived this life for almost a year. It was quiet and blissful. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. A new television came into our home quite some time ago and some local television channels tagged along with it. Nothing that really distracted from our lives. Some local news and some football. It was enough to change the landscape of our days without ever really noticing.
Our lives have changed once again. We have lived this life before and are living it again. This time, we are bringing our toddler along for the ride. Our days look more like this now….
I’ve logged more than 35 miles in the past 6 weeks. For some of you, you may log that in a weekend. For others, you may not have logged that in the past decade. I’ve logged it in the past 6 weeks and I’m still going.
I took a brief hiatus when I went searching for snooki and the situation at the shore but now I’m back. Back on track. My little tootsies are pounding pavement. Well, pounding pavement makes it sound like I’m marathon training. Let’s be honest, I’m lightly jogging at best. In fact, I was too lazy to do the distance training so I chose the timed version. I knew that it would require less running technically. Lazy, right? Nah, I’m stil doing it….that’s all that really matters. You can’t burst my little Nike inspired running fest where I pump myself up every morning chanting “just do it”.
I’ve also completed my 200 squat challenge. Easy peasy. Just in case you thought I was going to sweep that under the rug my friend.
Like a boss.
To be completely honest I’m not really running. More like jogging. Maybe speedwalking. Better yet, kind of like a cross between crawling, skipping and walking with a dash of jogging. Just a disclaimer in case you thought you were going to find yourself reading a post about my marathon training schedule. You’re not.
When I referenced running it was more like I have an intention to run rather than I am actually running. I do have running sneakers though and I fancy them quite a bit.
I’ve downloaded several couch to 5k apps on my phone but haven’t really ever used them. They have just been hanging out waiting for me to get motivated. I’ve found my favorite at run double. It provides verbal commands to make the run easier while tracking your distance and averages your pace. It also has an amazing number of features outside the c25k program.
I’ve done the c25k program multiple times in the past and never finished. Too hot, too cold, too dark, not enough time, etc. I figured that since I’m home every day it would be a good time to actually start and commit to the program especially since I found my self sedentary during pregnancy. I am just days shy of being 7 months post partum and am feeling physically great. I’ve found the momentum to really dedicate time and energy to our diet and wanted to supplement my diet with a healthy dose of physical activity.
I was an avid runner….2 decades ago. What I loved about running: endorphins, being outside, time alone. I know, I know. So cliche. How come I can’t say that I loved being thin or having kick ass glutes or something? Honestly, that’s not why I ran. That’s not why I want to run now either. I’ve lost the baby weight already so this has nothing to do with weight loss but everything to do with the crazy runner’s high one gets from long distance running. It’s moving meditation for me and something I am looking forward to.
With scenery like this, it’s hard to imagine not being able to meditate while moving.
These are my running companions who are bound to hold me accountable and keep me motivated.
Cheers to good health!