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Running: thank you thief

The NYC marathon is in 41 days. I have just two long runs left, then I get to.... taper!

I had a few not so great things happen last week, but nothing to impede training:

One day last week I woke up with two knots, in my left calf and bum.  I tried running with my compression sleeves.... the knot disappeared.  After my run I sat on the brick to apply pressure to the knot in my bum... with the brick.

Today I'm knot free, whew.

Sunday morning I posted this to my running group: I run on a rock, knot and root dirt trail, in a park with a pavilion/benches where runners store water, fuel, sweatshirts, etc (honor system). Yesterday someone stole my water/refuel and GU, creating a physical challenge as I ran 12.8 miles on 8 ounces of water... climbing 1,500 ft... and an ever bigger mental challenge wondering who would do this and why.

I haven't had a bad run, blister, or muscle pull yet this training cycle... so in a strange way this was a valuable experience as I prepare for NYC. Thank you thief, this experience can only make me mentally stronger.  

This week: Friday I'm driving about five hours to Cape Cod, with friends.  Two of us are running the Zooma half marathon, then we will sight see, enjoy the beach, take in a sunset, bliss.  I'm being kind to my body, focusing on nutrition and rest.  

Miles planned: 4, 4, 3, 6, 13.1 

Looking ahead: I signed up for the marathon lottery last November, a cyber Monday deal.  I've spent almost a year with the idea of this run.  I'm starting to look beyond November 2, to long walks, watching movies while I do cardio.  

What is your favorite workout at the moment? 
Do you use Fitbit (or a similar system)? I'm curious to see if the iwatch takes off.

Life and books, an update

Hello friends,

I have the windows open, with a cool breeze filling my home as I enjoy a cup of tea.  Fall has arrived.

Tomorrow I start a knitting class, to learn to make socks.  I have knit a few pair of socks, but struggle with 1-3 point needles, so to boost my confidence I'm taking a class.  The store owner will teach both the loom method and traditional 'in the round.'  I have a stockpile of sock yarn, and can't wait to wear handmade socks around the house.  Wish me luck!

What I'm reading:  I bought three books this weekend, The Forest Feast (cookbook), Five Days Left, and Big Little Lies.

I read Every Day over the weekend. I keep trying to read YA since many of my friends are teachers, and their passion for YA isn't lost on me.

I tend to compare time travel books with The Time Traveler's Wife, and Outlander, which are filled with so many details, depth.  I did enjoy the Every Day, the overall plot and the ending left me wanting more.  If you enjoy YA and time travel... you will like this book.  my goodreads rating: 3 stars

Synopsis: Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.  

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Last night I started Five Days Left.  I can't put it down, sneaking time during the day to read a chapter.  Have you read it?

Synopsis: A heart-wrenching debut about two people who must decide how much they’re willing to sacrifice for love.

Mara Nichols, a successful lawyer, and devoted wife and adoptive mother, has recently been diagnosed with a terminal disease. Scott Coffman, a middle school teacher, has been fostering an eight-year-old boy while the boy’s mother serves a jail sentence. Scott and Mara both have five days left until they must say good-bye to the ones they love the most. Through their stories, Julie Lawson Timmer explores the individual limits of human endurance, the power of relationships, and that sometimes loving someone means holding on, and sometimes it means letting go.

I hope you find time to take a walk with a friend, unwind with a book... enjoy the transition to a new season.

Books I can't wait to read!

Most of you know I loved Her Fearful Symmetry and The Time Traveler's Wife.  I'm currently reading Every Day (about a boy who wakes up every day in a different body), so the first two books mentioned below appear to be perfect choices for me.

I believe in 'ghosts,' not the idea of them but believe they exist.  I have a friend who owns an old schoolhouse turned into a cafe in a small town in Minnesota, with a ghost.  She pushes pots off the counter and slams doors.  It's a really good story, one for another day... 

Michel Faber... I love his writing and devoured Crimson Petal on holiday.  I can't wait to get lost in the language and depth in which he writes.

I hope you have a few books you are anxiously waiting to read this fall, the excitement of buying a book the day it publishes, opening the spine and getting to know the characters... it's divine.

What are you reading this fall?

Rooms (publishes Sep 23): Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. 

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

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The Cure for Dreaming (publishes Oct 14): Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud.

These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women.

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The Book of Strange New Things (publishes Oct 28): 
Peter, devoted pastor, dedicated missionary, and loving husband to his wife, has just accepted a demanding and perilous new job. He's to travel to a new planet, Oasis, to work for a mysterious corporation called USIC. 

He's tasked with reaching out to the indigenous race, to make sure they are as peaceful as they seem. Resolutely devout and strengthened by his letters from Bea at home, Peter undertakes his job with complete focus. 

Peter is suddenly faced with an impossible-and dangerous-decision: to follow his faith, or follow his heart. His life depends on it.

Travel: visiting Hamburg

Hello friends,  Last month I flew to Hamburg for a long weekend, to explore the city and  celebrate a friend's birthday.

We arrived early morning Thursday, taking a red-eye from NYC to Germany. 

Hamburg is a bicycle city, women in dresses, men in suits... they bike to work.  It's such an odd sight, at 7:30am, to see 50+ bicycles at a stoplight when you look out the taxi window.

After dropping off our luggage and enjoying a European breakfast, we climbed to the top of the church tower behind our hotel, a lovely 360 view.

I remember seeing Lake Alster from the tower, it looked like it was ten miles away but was less than a mile walk from our hotel.

Later that night we went to Hamburger Dom, with a group of eight.  Upon first sight of the Gladiator I knew I had to ride it, a 162 meter high speed drop with spins. The men rode the bumper cars four times.  An evening filled with laughter. Great memories!

It rained all day Friday, making it a good day for a ferry tour of Lake Alster (and the canals). Arriving at the lake, it was pouring, we saw an expo setting up and realized there was a 100 mile cycle ride happening while we were in town... filling the streets with tourists.

It may sound strange, but this town is similar to Manhattan.  There is a lake/park like Central Park, a shopping district; it's a tourist town with dining and Pubs on every corner.  It's also a walking town, so I was able to explore churches, tea shoppes, run, etc... just like I do in NYC.

Saturday we were invited to visit a container ship that arrived in Port overnight.  It was interesting to see how they move the containers, load them, weight balancing, navigation, and the personal quarters for the crew. I have a new appreciation for how goods travel the globe.  In the evening, we attended our friends 40+10 celebration.  We left around midnight, the dancing continued past 3AM!

Sunday we were off to Denmark.

A few facts about Hamburg:
- Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany

- Home to the second largest port in Europe, touring this part of the city brings a new level of awareness to how goods travel from point of creation to landing in our homes.

-  WWII was not kind to Hamburg, with bombings (the aftermath is still visible), and about 15 miles outside the city is one of the larger concentration camps.

- The climate is oceanic cool, with temps rarely over 72F/22C. August the warmest month of the year, it often rains, and rarely snows.  We avoided rain showers up to four times a day.  It's dreary when the sun isn't out.

- It's one of the most affluent cities in Europe, and as a visitor you feel this, a quiet pride with a focus on quality.

- It's a water town, with canals stretching from the port, into the depths of the city.  I'm told these canals served a purpose years ago.  Ships would travel into the main port, on boats too large to go any farther...  goods would transfer to smaller boats that fit in the canals.

- There are over 2,000 bridges throughout the city.
- A red light district that's wild and crazy.

If you are planning a visit to Hamburg, three days are enough to explore and learn about this history rich city.

I'm blessed to have visited the hometown of a good friend, and thankful the timing worked; we added this trip to the front an already planned holiday to Switzerland.

Life: hello Charlie!

Hello friends,  Just a month ago I was planning a trip to Europe, now I'm home.

When traveling, I embrace the backpack approach... pick a city, do a little research and go.  I never plan, choosing to ask locals for recommendations. More to follow on my summer adventure, I returned home with stories and memories to fuel me as I plan my next adventure.

How are you? Did you travel? Run? Try something new? Drop me an email/comment to share anything and everything I missed!

Reading: I read a lot this summer, a book a week which is a lot for me. Thankfully goodreads is a global site... letting me keep track of books I read, adding new titles along the way.  I tried to add a few sentences to share my thoughts after reading a book, visit goodreads for more details. 

Spring/summer reading: Of the books listed below my favorites were: Freud's Mistress, A Paris Apartment, On the Island, and Accidents of Marriage.  Titles like On the Island and Adultery spark emotion while reading them (a book you won't soon forget), others were light fare for summer.

Have you read any of these books? Did you read anything I should add to my list?  

This week: Other than the usual post travel stuff I'm planning my next home improvement project, and started a new afghan yesterday.  I'm reading Cutting Teeth

Have a wonderful week - don't forget to unplug and enjoy life!