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Thanksgiving Day Run

26 Nov

My son, husband, and I flew to Austin, Texas on Monday to spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s parents and family.  The entire week was wonderful – lots of time to relax, eat delicious Mexican food, and spend valuable time with my in-laws and extended family.


One of the best parts of the whole trip was that my husband and I were able to sneak away for a beautiful 8-mile Thanksgiving Day run.  I can’t remember the last time we were able to run together (sans baby!).  Most mornings I run before my son wakes up and we alternate running and watching our son on the weekends.  


We were in Smithville, Texas, a small, rural town about an hour from Austin, and the site of numerous well known movies, including Hope Floats and The Tree of Life. I wasn’t sure what the road conditions and traffic would be like – but hoped that it would allow me to go on a couple of runs during our 3 day stay.


It could not have been more perfect.  The homes in the area were all situated on large plots of land – ranging from 54 acres (where we stayed) to over 300 acres – which helped keep the vehicle traffic to a minimum as the homes were few and far between.  The roads surrounding the home were a mix between gravel and pavement with light patches of grass along the edges (perfect for running).  The weather was amazing all week – sunny, mild temperatures, and minimal wind. 

Miles of empty road to run!
And though there wasn’t any company on the road, there was more than enough observing our workout from behind the barbed wire!!
We started the run around 930am.  It was already close to 60 degrees – perfect weather for a short, relaxing recovery run (this was my first run since my 60k on Saturday!).  We even had a little extra company for the first two miles as my husband’s cousin decided to join us to work up an appetite before the Thanksgiving Day feast.  

My body needed a couple of miles to loosen up, stretch out, and work through some of the kinks that seemed to have lingered from the 60k last Saturday.  But within 2-3 miles, I started feeling like my old self again and was able to zone out and enjoy the run.  I love running along the boardwalk in Staten Island, but there was something so special about running that close to nature on Thanksgiving.  
My favorite part of the run was seeing a mama Texas Longhorn nursing her baby (the simple beauty of it almost made me cry!) and Old Glory flying high at various wooden posts along the road. The two sights made me thankful for the family that I have – and grateful for those that are defending that very flag and what it stands for. 
It was a perfect way to spend Thanksgiving morning!  And a fantastic way to work up a hearty appetite for the feast that was to come later that afternoon!
Hope everyone had a happy, safe Thanksgiving filled with laughter, family, and lots of great food!!

Who or what inspires you to run?

6 Oct

As part of the 5 Borough Challenge, my fellow participants and I were asked “Who or what inspires me to run?”.   At first I thought this would be an easy question to answer…I decided to use this morning’s run as time to think about my answer.
Each morning that my alarm goes off, there is something different pulling me out the door.  My inspiration to run each day changes – depending on the day, the week, or my current life situation.  For example, when I was pregnant, my motivation was that I wanted to remain in running shape.  I can’t imagine how hard it would be to get back into running if I took months off during my pregnancy.  Knowing that running even a few miles each day (regardless of how slow I was moving) was a success and an accomplishment, was all the motivation I needed to head out for my run.  After I gave birth to my son, my inspiration quickly became to get back to my previous weight and running ability.   My motivation to run (and push myself when I’m already out running) increases when I am signed up for a big race; I find that knowing there is a race marked on the calendar gives me that little extra motivation to push myself those last few miles or last 30 seconds of mile repeats.
Of course, there are mornings when the motivation to head out the door is simply that I probably shouldn’t have eaten that 3rd piece of pizza and most certainly shouldn’t have eaten the 4th the night before, or that I started – and finished – a pint of LaRocca’s Italian Ice.  Or it’s because later on that day we are going over my mom’s house for Sunday dinner with all of my sisters and their families/significant others.  In most families, this is a normal meal.  However, going over my mom’s for “Sunday macaroni” really equates to the average Thanksgiving dinner.  And that’s not even touching on the amount of dessert that inevitably appears (seemingly out of thin air)  on the table (see photo below – this was at a recent family get-together).  So my run in the morning is more of a precautionary measure for my waistline – and it allows me to eat all day guilt-free!!
However, there are always two constants that serve as my inspiration – my newest and greatest is my son, AJ.   I want to be healthy and strong for him as he grows up; I want him to look at me and be proud that I ran while I was pregnant with him; I want him to come to races and be proud as he sees me cross the finish line…I want him to grow up seeing that daily running/exercise is normal and healthy.  My husband, Paul, and I already are astonished that at 9 months he is repeating things he sees us doing and we know that it’s only going to get more pronounced as he gets older.  We want him to look to us for examples of a healthy, active lifestyle.
And second, at the very core of my inspiration to run is the simple fact that I love to run.  Running is who I am and who I will always be (God-willing that I’m physically capable!).  I have always enjoyed starting my day off with a run – no matter how short, easy, or slow that run is.  During these runs, I  think about the day – what chores  I need to get done, who I need to call or email, and what I am making for dinner.  It helps create order in my life and allows me to return home with an organized plan for the day.