Life: Summer days

Hello friends,

It's 'hair in a bun' every day humid, and where's the slip-n-slide hot!

It's been a h.o.t. summer in America. The World Traveler's reaction to 'real feel' of 113F/45C yesterday, at 11am in Northern NJ, made me smile.

Last summer I sorted through my grandma and great-grandfather's 100+ photo albums.  While removing blurry photos and multiple versions of the same photo,  I was rewarded with a few gems.. like this one.

Summer of 1973: this is Bush Lake, my childhood lake/home base when not playing near Nine Mile Creek.  These balancing bars were located mid beach, I'm looking towards the snack shack, the swings are to right.  I worked so hard to stand up and not fall, was so proud in this photo.  Look at the teenagers below me, a great summer moment captured on film.

Do you remember swings that swung so high you thought you were flying?
Metal docks with dozens of Sunfish seeking shade?
Life before central air-conditioning? 

I made a few changes over the weekend, after visiting a blog organized in a meaningful way. You know I love anything that let's me organize (ha). 

What changed? IF you happen to visit my blog you will find my favorite social media vices highlighted:

- Goodreads listed to the right (currently reading & 2015 books read)
- Tabs at the top for:
     {Instagram} most recent 24 photo's (1000+ in four years, yikes) 
     {Books + Podcast} all things yesteryear

May I suggest following me on instagram and goodreads for real time life updates?  Sign up for email blog updates (less than 10 a year) and you are connected - it's that easy!

I wonder what blogging will look like in a decade?  

The World Traveler's BIG 5-0 is this year.  I'm planning an epic island celebration.

We secured this island in January but now the planning begins. It's similar to planning a wedding, with several details to finalize.

Countdown: 87 days

Last night I started reading The Rocks, written by Peter Nichols.  I just know I'm going to enjoy it.  Set in Mallorca in 2005, traveling back to 1949.  A part of the world that I adore, perfect for summer.

I have read about 25 books for pleasure this year. 

Hoping you are enjoying summer as much as I am this year.
~ much love, Mari

Running: my cape is in the wash

Hello friends,

Last weekend I ran the Morristown Superhero half, dressed in something fun, embracing the superhero theme, but run friendly.

There were four of us running the event: my running friend, her husband, his brother, and me.  Batgirl, Batman, Green Lantern, and me… Supergirl.  

Race day:
I stepped out the door to 78F, 90% humidity, no clouds. 2:10-2:20 was my BRF's goal.  The humidity would drop to 50% within an hour of the start, and the pace wasn't an issue.

Note… the weekend before we added one last long run to our schedule.  My usual weekend run, the yellow trail.  A five mile loop that we ran twice. She paces us on the trail, running single file. During the last mile, I tripped and rolled my ankle.  It was bothering me all week but only for the first few minutes of the day.  This let me know it wasn’t serious but to be gentle all week.  Saturday the pain was worse, on race day I couldn’t put weight on it as I climbed down a flight of stairs.  After 5-10 minutes, the pain is gone so I self diagnosis a strain. I will run and then take some time off to let it heal.

I got this.

The starting line:
To get to the starting line, we had to walk through the racers lined up at the front.  I guess something happened last minute to cause the situation (strange right?). We just stood off to the side and waited for the 2:15 pacer to run by, and then joined to crossed the start line.

Here we go!

The first six miles offer several hills and no shade.  My 10:30 miler BRF surprised me by running fast.  I remember thinking to myself that we will slow down, she doesn’t run this fast.  I was fine with the pace but my body wasn’t happy the hot/sticky start.

Looking back I wonder if having her husband running (his goal was 1:40) brought out a competitive spirit... which I totally support.  Of the four miles we ran together, we didn’t talk so I knew she was demanding a lot from of herself (she talks, I mostly listen).

I separated from her at mile four.  My ankle didn’t feel great, I was mentally prepared for 2:10, and the heat was draining. I dropped back to a pace that felt good and kept running.

For me personally…. this was the best decision.

At mile seven I heard a woman behind me let out a whimper.  We had been running straight into the sun for about a mile, just minutes away from three miles of shady trail.  One look at her told me that she was having a bad day, so I decided to stay with her for a few minutes.  She told me that she was struggling with the heat.

I learned that her name is Rachel. She started running a few years ago, after the birth of her fourth child. She held a tiny pink t-shirt in her hand, and her feet were on fire. I wasn’t leaving her side.

My costume didn’t have pockets, so I decided to run with a handheld water bottle. I had 2 GU, gum, and SPF lip balm in the zipper pouch.  I gave her a GU and had her drink my water.  I refilled the water bottle at the next water stop. 

With no medical in sight, I ran silently next her, asking for a thumbs up/down every few minutes.  It was a terrible day for runners.  I saw at least six people on stretchers, all with issues much more serious than Rachel’s.  We walked. We jogged.  My goal was to get her to a water stop outside the wooded trail, hoping there would be medical care.   I couldn’t leave her in the woods.

She told me she had to drop her daughters pink t-shirt she held for ten miles.

I stayed with her until mile 11, handing her off to medical. She kept apologizing for slowing me down, and I replied ‘thank you for letting me run with you.'

My BRF had a personal best, finishing with 2:03, I finished 2:15.  These three miles will forever be on my short list of running experiences. 

The next day:
My friend called to see how my foot was, the pain now an all-day dull ache.

She told me, in a kind voice, “you’re a better person than me. I don't think I would have stayed with her.”  I understand what she meant, there were plenty of people around us but I wasn’t trying to qualify, was running alone, and this was a fun run for me.  I just know how much I would have appreciated the kindness of a fellow runner. Something you experience in the 10 miler group of a marathon.  It starts around mile 18.

What's next? 
Local 10K's this summer, and I have entered the lottery for the 2016 London Marathon...

Life: Hello May!

Hello lovely friends,

Can you believe it's May?  It was 84 degrees on Tuesday, will be 80 today.  Warm weather has me running at 6AM, a trend that will continue until fall.

I have been so busy, wanting to catch everyone up on life, how I'm spending my days, what I'm planning, etc... I write posts in my head while running, or walking the dogs, but haven't found a way to translate my thoughts into a post. So here's a quick update.  

April highlights:
- re-entry from Europe... three weeks of laundry, mail, etc.
- construction is done in the basement, shifting to decorating, buying bar-ware, etc...
- with the pool table moving downstairs, I claimed the empty room as my workspace. I painted it in two days and decorated it with a collection of old favorite items gathered from within our home (translation... free).
- an old friend came to stay for a week, lot's of laughter, shopping, eating
- NYC day trip to shop
- a day trip to explore the streets of my hometown
- I'm training for a half marathon
- hosted a party for 75, planning, cooking everything from scratch, including homemade potato chips(!)
- the world traveler was in the hospital just days before the party
- many days/nights socializing with friends, attending lectures

After photos: 
Here are a few photos from the project that consumed my free time, over the last three months.

Welcome to our 'Aspen Modern' design: a place to relax and watch a movie, entertain, or take a sauna.  Complete with a full bath (TV over the urinal), a golf simulator and a cigar/poker room for the men. The world traveler's escape.

The second photo is my new office.  Opting for a flat workspace vs a desk for now, with space to store yarn and books to read.  It faces the backyard, replacing the street view for wilderness.  I love it. 

Listening to:
I have been busy listening to a few new podcasts that have led me a slew of new blogs. 

- Gretchen Rubin has a new podcast about happiness and organizing {yeah for me}
- Pure Green Podcast - interviews and all things organic
- One Part Podcast - interviews, recipes, self exploration/improvement stories 

Goodreads: I'm always updating books I can't wait to read, what I'm reading and short reviews.  You can find my '2015 books read' listed to the right, or click here to connect/see what's piquing my interest.

This week I'm listening to Brain on Fire.  A book I want to devour but I'm only listening while walking the dogs.

I'm half way through It's You.   I love how Jane Porter pulls characters forward, a thread connecting several novels.

So far, I recommend both!

Looking forward to:
Like many, I'm getting ready to plant the garden this weekend.  This year I'm adding strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries plants.  I just need to find a home for them, for the best growing conditions.

We will prepare the deck this weekend (stain, plant flowers, etc.) and enjoy a late evening BBQ to celebrate our efforts. We also have a new outdoor space this year,  with the basement finished we are going to set up the patio for the first time.

I'm running in the Superhero Half Marathon in two weeks, in a costume!

In June, I have a girl's weekend planned in Nashville.

Then my focus shifts to planning our next big event.  We have rented an island in October to celebrate the World Traveler's 50th birthday.  Imagine water filled days and starry nights on the beach, a fire pit, good friends, and family.

While I love, love winter... I'm ready to embrace long summer days and cool nights.
Much love, Mari