I can do (really) hard things

I am linking up with Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice, Erika at MCM Mama runs and Patty at My no guilt life for Tuesdays on the run, where this week’s topic is Something new running has taught me this year.

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2016 was an outstanding year for me when it comes to running. But the biggest take away is that I can do really hard things. 

I have been running for over 10 years but my first half marathon was in April of 2015. I had never done any longer distance, never used a training plan, never run more than 3 days a week.  While I never back down from a challenge, don’t lack in self confidence and know how to make a plan and stick to it, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I could run a marathon and live to talk positively about it.

Well, fast forward 18 months after that first half marathon and I have since trained for and run two marathons (Paris race recap here, and the New York marathon recap here). Of course the race is hard, but so are the months leading up to the race.

  • Researching a training plan
  • Anticipating the plan / finding a coach
  • Running 3 to 4 days a week (or more)
  • Taking care of my body so that it can carry me through to the end, uninjured
  • Consistently doing a dynamic warm up and stretching after my runs
  • Adjusting life so that I could train correctly (less social life, more sleep)
  • Changing my eating habits
  • Running alone at zero dark thirty
  • Explaining 1 000 times the benefits of the run / walk method (and that yes, it is ‘legal’ to walk during a marathon)
  • Trying out racing & fueling strategy for such a long distance
  • Doing several long, slow runs that lasted up to 5 hours
  • Running 26.2 miles

And I did it twice this year.

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This experience has spilled over into the rest of my personal and professional life. I figure if I ran a marathon, I can do pretty much anything, no matter how tough. So when I start to get overwhelmed, down on something, want to complain that something is hard, don’t know how to attack a problem, I just tell myself… I can do hard things. And I am confident I will make it through. Because I trained and ran 2 marathons in a year.

What has running taught you this year ?

My wintery week

It was a fantastic week here on this side of the Atlantic. Here are 10 random reasons why (in no particular order).

  1. The weather was fabulously wintery all week. Cold (low / mid thirties which is cold in France) but sunny with bright blue skies. We don’t get many days like that here. Gray is usually the Parisian color from November to March.20161129_125601
  2. Five workouts. I ran Monday & Tuesday, did a chest / back workout Wednesday, leg workout Thursday and arm / shoulder workout Saturday. I am incorporating some HIIT workouts also. As part of the workouts, on Wednesday I did 200+ push ups and on Thursday 100 burpees. Feeling strong.
  3. Had dinner with friends. Time goes by so fast, and it was great catching up. We decided to eat out, which meant that neither of us had to cook.
  4. Did some Christmas shopping with the teenagers. We had fun trying on headsets, testing out perfume, picking out clothes.20161203_130208
  5. Spent all day Sunday with my gang. We went to Reims for the day as there was a Christmas market. We ate out, took our time, looked at the stands, and enjoyed the Christmas atmosphere.20161204_112402
  6. We wandered through the Reims Cathedral which is one of the most famous in France. It is known particularly for its smiling angel. If you look at statues, they are usually quite sullen. There happens to be one angel with a big wide grin. fb_img_1480870512931-01-120161204_121104-01
  7. We put up our Christmas tree. We have a fake tree as we like to enjoy it for the whole month of December. We have never had a real tree, I am sure our place is too warm for it to last a month.20161203_060721
  8. I signed up for my second race of 2017, a 10K mid February. I have a 5K in February also.
  9. Travelled to Switzerland for work. Nothing feels more like winter than a decorated, cold Swiss city.
  10. Made a big decision. If you missed my coffee date post, I announced that I am going to stop blogging come January. It has been three years and I have loved every second. I love the positive energy. I love the sense of community. I love the friends / virtual friends I have made. But I need some time to do some other things in my life. So will my break be permanent ? I don’t know. I am aiming for at least 6 months and then we’ll see.

And that’s a wrap !

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia at Hoho runs and Misssippipiddlin for their Weekly Wrap. While it was cold here in France, these two lovely ladies were in Florida with Marcia, Wendy, Darlene, Judy, Karen & Mary Beth having a girls weekend. #jealous !

Does it feel like winter where you are ? 

Ever feel you needed to take a break from blogging  ?

WeeklyWrap

 

 

 

Virtual coffee date : December

Hello December ! As always, I am happy to catch up with DeborahCoco and the rest of you for this month’s virtual coffee date. So grab a chair and let’s catch up.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I love the month of December. I love the decorations, the lights, the cold weather, the atmosphere, the Christmas music in all the stores and seeing friends and family. I am usually pretty good about not letting myself get overwhelmed. We don’t go overboard on presents and I am very picky about the parties I go to.  I want to enjoy the month, not feel like I am sprinting through it.

Over coffee, I would tell you I like to indulge in yummy treats December but I am very intentional about my choices. If you read my blog regularly,  you will know I have been working with Amanda Tress since mid August. She does on line boot camps and fitness programs and I am currently on my third one. I have toned up, slimmed down (reduced belly fat !), gotten stronger and learned more about nutrition and correctly fueling my body and workouts. So, I can indulge a bit but the program keeps me accountable and on track during the holidays.

Over coffee, we might chat about running (duh). If you haven’t read my NYC marathon recap, you can read it here. LOVED.EVERY.SECOND. I am also loving the fact I am NOT following a training plan at the moment. With Amanda’s on line bootcamp, we run 2 days a week along with full body workouts or weight lifting , both which can be done at home. This is suiting me fine. I think I needed a mental and physical break from so much running. I prefer running in daylight, at lunch time and on the weekends rather than getting up at zero dark thirty.

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If we were having coffee… I would tell you that despite this small break, I am looking forward to running more once the new year comes. I haven’t buttoned down all my goals yet, but I have already signed up for 2 races in February, a 10K and a 5K, and am eyeing several half marathons. Maybe working on my speed will be my 2017 goal.

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Over coffee I would tell you that I am off to the States this week. I have to be in NJ for work from the 12th to the 14th, so I am heading up to Maine to see my parents the weekend before. I am just hoping it is not too cold because I am not equipped for a Maine winter anymore.

And finally, over coffee I would tell you that come January I am going to take a break from blogging. January 1st will be my three year blogversary. These past 3 years have been amazing and I have met so many great people, but I need some down time. I want to spend more time with my husband and my girls, and take up some new activities. Those first months of the year are also when I travel most for work. And in all honesty, I need a bit of a social media detox. Will my break be permanent ? I don’t know. Will I blog now and then ? I don’t know either. It is such an important part of my life now, that of course I am a bit scared. But the timing just seems right.

It was great catching up. What would you like to chat about over coffee ?

Do you look forward to December ? Do you feel overwhelmed ?

How do you stay on track with eating and not over indulging during the month ?

Ever felt like taking a blogging break ?

My Parisian weekend

My weekend was very busy. Since I am not training for a big race, I didn’t have to worry about what I did, where I went or what I ate ”because I had a long run to do”. It was a welcomed change.

Saturday :

I have been wanting to spend time in Paris for a while. I don’t actually live IN the city, but about a mile outside.  So when friends asked us to go to a conference on Saturday afternoon, we jumped at the opportunity. Firstly, we met them for lunch in a typical, Parisian café.

This atmosphere never gets old, even after 25 years here :

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Our two friends volunteer for the Paris Historical Society and once a month they give a conference on the history of water in Paris, which takes place at the Maison du Fontainier (Fountain House, where the person responsible for the fountains used to live). It was fascinating. The conference takes you through the history of the aqueducts in Paris, how water was brought to the city, when and how the Seine was used, etc. You visit the building where the aqueducts arrived and where the water was stored before being distributed to the city.

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The only downside is that it was cold & damp, both outside and inside, so that evening it took me a good 2 hours to warm up.

Sunday :

I went to vote in the right wing primary (our Presidential election is next spring). For all French elections, there are 2 voting rounds. One with all the candidates who have met the criteria to participate, then a second round between the top 2. In France you don’t have a candidate list that you check off, you have pieces of paper with the candidate’s name and you need to put one into the envelope. The old President, Sarkozy, didn’t make it to the second round (he came in third) so it was between Alain Juppe and Francois Fillon. Fillon won. I also have French nationality, so I have the right to vote.

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After voting, I ran. It was quite chilly.

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Sunday afternoon we took a cruise down the Seine River. In late November and December, if your company is of a certain size, they often organize some kind of Christmas event for their employees and families. This year, my husband’s company organized a boat cruise on the Seine with a magic show and activities for the children. Even if our kids are older, we thought it would be fun.

It was a small paddleboat that took us on a 2 hour cruise.

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Going past the Louvre.

Needless to say, I slept very well Sunday evening  ! As you can see in all the pictures, it is gray in Paris, but also damp and relatively cold. Winter is coming.

Otherwise, my fitness activities of the week were nothing special. I worked out four days, three of those were weights or full body, and I only ran once.  It has turned cold here, and the mornings are dark until almost 8:30 a.m. So my motivation to run in the morning has definitely diminished. Some lifting, as well as planking, push ups, squats, and HIIT home workouts are definitely working for me at the moment.

That is a wrap !

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia at Hoho runs and Misssippipiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Did you  have a wonderful Thanksgiving ? 

What do you think about voting with papers with the candidate’s name ?

WeeklyWrap

Five post marathon runfessions

I am linking up with Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice for Runfessions. It is that time of the month to get everything off your chest.

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This coming Sunday will be 3 weeks since I have run the New York marathon.

I runfess….

I am still on my marathon high. It was such a once in a lifetime experience. I broke down and bought ONE photo. I would have liked more but the full package was close to 90 dollars. I paid close to 30 for ONE photo, but it was so worth it.

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I runfess that I feel I still have bragging rights. I have proudly worn my NYC race Tshirt….

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….and may have even brought my medal to work to show my colleagues.

I runfess I am very up in the air about a next big race. I am happy to have no training plan but am itching for a goal. I should say I  NEED a goal. I don’t function well without one. I feel loss and like I am floating. But I runfess I am feeling frustrated. There aren’t any races that really strike my fancy in the spring. The Paris half marathon is the weekend I will be away at my global conference, beginning of March. And most of the iconic Parisian races are in the fall. For the moment there are 2 half marathons on my radar, but neither are in / around Paris.

Annecy Lake half on  April 30. This is a huge lake in the Alps and the half marathon runs along the water for most of it. It is a 6+ hour drive from where I live so I would have to make a weekend out of it. Working on my husband who thought he would get out of coming with me to race weekends in 2017. Ha.

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The other option I am looking at is a half marathon around Azay le Rideau. It is in the Loire Valley and would be much closer. But I have wanted to go to Annecy for years. Decisions, decisions !

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I runfess… I do not like running 5Ks, but have signed up for one, in my home town in February. It was either that or the 15K. The 15K is two loops, which I am not particularly a fan of. So I 5K it will be.

I runfess that I have not thought about signing up for another marathon. In the future ? Maybe but for the moment, no interest.

And because it is Friday, and I have five runfessions, I am excited to join Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup!

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Have you ever brought a race medal to work ?

How long after a big race or accomplishment, do you think you have bragging rights ?