Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tomorrow.... It begins

This is it.  After months of lead up, the 24-week training program begins tomorrow.  How does it begin?  With a "rest" day.  Apparently, SGK knows about Mondays!  The program requires walks Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday with other training Wednesday/Friday and rest on Monday.  And, I got new shoes to kick it off right.  Thanks to the guys at New Balance Richmond for their help and expertise.

If you've been following this blog, you can surely tell from my lack of writing that I've been a lazy bum lately.  Since I am absolutely dedicated to walking the full distance in September, the laziness is over and the training is on like Donkey Kong.  Thankfully, each of the four walks this week only need to be three miles.  Those I should be able to do, but the other workouts.......?

Wednesday I am trying Aqua Zumba for the first time.  I've taken the "land-based" class by this instructor many times and it kicks butt.  Hopefully, the water version will do the same, but help me ease back into regular training.  Friday I'll take Body Pump for the first time in several years.  I used to take it almost every day and am pretty psyched to be back at a gym that offers Les Mills workouts.  I'm guessing that the walks this weekend will be quite "ouchy" after the six billion squats I'll do Friday.  That's okay, I need it.

Any CCPS employees who don't know about Midlothian Athletic Club (MAC) should check it out.  They give us a sweet corporate rate and have amazing facilities.  I love the outdoor pool for summer and the indoor one for classes.  Plus, the hot tub is amazing and so are the instructors.  I'm so glad to be back!

I did go for one walk this week.  Monday was gorgeous and I took a quick hike at Point of Rocks/Dodd Park in Chester, VA.  It has an amazing boardwalk over the marsh and is so reminiscent of South Carolina.  I really do miss the smell of Pluff Mud and this was pretty close to the real thing.  For those of you who don't know what I mean:

"Pluff mud [plŭff-mŭd], noun, A mixture of dirt and water indigenous to the marshes of the South Carolina Lowcountry, with a distinct odor that’s endearing to locals, but off-putting to tourists and redcoats."  Courtesy:

If you're in the area, this is a park you don't want to miss.  I saw such a fantastic array of birds, including a huge Blue Heron and beautiful Red Winged Blackbirds.

That's all for now, but I promise to check in again after Aqua Zumba.  As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Let me explain...

My last walk was March 9 in Warrenton, VA.  It's a nice, paved, local trail that is part of the Rails to Trails system.  My mom and I did the 3-mile down and back with no big issues.  But, by the time we got home, my shin was really hurting.  It turned out I had shinsplints from my lack of stretching, and I've been nursing them ever since with stretches, ice, and special exercises.  I'm feeling better now and will be walking again Friday.  Hey!  Looks like I learned yet another lesson.

So, here's a run-down of what's happened since I've been away.

Tuesday, March 11 - My fundraising event at F.W. Sullivan's.  It was great of Sully's to let me use the space and the vendors were awesome.  Unfortunately, only a few people came.  So, the event was a bust as a fundraiser, but I did make some great connections in the networking field.

Thursday, March 15, I had an interview with a great local business.  I'm going to do a few days of shadowing with them this spring and will hopefully be a great fit.  This could combine a few of my absolute passions and I'm really excited about the possibilities.  I'll tell you all about it after I know more.

The problem with following one's passion is that it rarely pays well.  If I'm going to leave teaching, I have to make up the difference somehow.  So, I brainstormed a bit and talked to my husband about possibilities, and think I'm going to try something really scary.  I'm hoping to start my own tutoring business for students in Math 5 - Algebra.  I might add on Math 3-4 and more high school courses later, but I want to start in my comfort zone.  So, this could be my last year in the public school classroom!  I'm going to give it a year and then reevaluate my position.

Friday, March 16 was the start of VCU's part in the A-10 tournament.  For those of you who don't know, I'm a bit obsessed with Ram basketball.  I watched that game with my mom and talked to her about my ideas for the business.  At that point I was still pretty unsure of the idea because it just seemed too risky. And then we got Chinese food.  This was my fortune:

 That was all the sign I needed!

Saturday and Sunday were great days, full of friends, fun, and basketball.

So, now I'm looking forward to Friday.  I have a 3-mile walk planned through the Museum District of Richmond and then I'll be watching the first round of the NCAA tournament.  Hopefully, I'll only have time for a short walk Sunday before the next game!

I'm ready!

Monday, March 3, 2014

All in a Richmond Winter

Yesterday was GORGEOUS.  People were everywhere in flip-flops and tank tops.  Richmond was basking in the 75 degree weather and I was eager to start my walk.  My plan was for 6 miles and I was prepared with water, Gatorade, and roasted almonds for my "after snack".  Daffodils bloomed, robins hopped, and spirits were high.  This is a walk I've blogged about before, so I didn't take pictures.  I just set off with all the others out there enjoying the weather.

At mile four, it started to rain.  But, my walk trainers say we have to prepare for rain, so I was glad for the opportunity.  It was my first official rain train and I appreciated the refreshment.  Carrying a pack while walking in the sunny seventies makes a girl pretty warm and the rain was nice.  Plus, I only had two miles to go, right?  Not surprisingly, the traffic dwindled with the continuation of the rain, but I kept on.  I didn't really have a choice considering I had to get back to my car.  But still, I was pleased with myself.

And then I was at mile six.  But, where was my car?  Where was the finish line?  There wasn't anything familiar in sight, but the trail continued, so I kept moving.  Then it was mile seven.  And it was still raining.  And still no car in sight.  UGH!!!  So, I stopped for a selfie...  The result was a bit crazy, but I'll share.

Finally, the end was there, and I was finished.  My shin was angry and I was exhausted, but I got in 7.5 miles.  The rain continued off and on, I cleaned myself up and went to sleep early, and woke to a call that school was cancelled for snow.  That's right.  Mid-seventies one day and 20's with snow the next.  That crazy lady, Mother Nature, gave me a couple of snow days to recover.  She's my new bestie!

One thing these walks give me is time to think.  I realized on this hike that I never blogged about Mid-Lothian Mines Park.  It was a walk I took after school one day when I was in a particularly foul mood. It's beautiful and very accessible.

Amusingly enough, it was the park's fowl that made the trip so enjoyable.  I was just fascinated by the ducks.

I stopped just before the bridge below to watch the birds.  The picture above is of the Mallards that dive bombed me because they thought I had food.  It really was so much fun to be standing there with the ducks landing on the water around me.  But, they weren't the ones I was captivated by.

At the other end of the bridge, I saw ducks similar in size to the Mallards, but with white heads.  While I was watching, one dove under the water, presumably for food.  That's not strange but, as I watched, it didn't come back up.  Of course, eventually it did, but it seemed to take forever.  So, the next time it dove, I counted.  Twenty seconds that thing was under water!  I was amazed.  But, I figured I should start moving again, so I continued with my walk.

When I got to the end, it had only been 1.8 miles.  I wasn't too pleased with that total, but I was tired.  However, I decided to turn around to go the other way around the lake.  You know, to get a different point of view.  I am so glad I did!  When I got back to the bridge, I saw something I've never seen before in "the wild"... otters!  That's right, there were two otters swimming around between the bridge and the shoreline.  It blew my mind.  I tried and tried to get pictures of them, but the squirmy guys kept ducking under and were a bit too far away.  So, I walked to the other side of the lake and sat on a bench to take it all in for a bit.

It was the most relaxing time I've had in awhile and I am so appreciative to have found this spot.  What a great place to unwind after a stressful day of working with "tweens" and dealing with school politics.  The short stroll was only about 2.75 miles, but I'm sure to be back soon for the wildlife and sunset.

So, once again this training has taught me a lesson.  When you want to give up, but know you still have work to put in, just turn around and go the other way.  Changing the point of view may change the whole walk.  And, you just might see some otters!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Feeling Better

It's been a rough couple of weeks.  But, even with the impending snow storm, signs of spring are everywhere and I'm starting to feel like myself again.

I apologize for the lack of writing, but I haven't had much to write about.  Three weeks ago, I was supposed to complete 13 miles during the week.  I did zero.  Two weeks ago, I was expecting 14 miles.  I got 2.75.  Over this last week (ends tomorrow) I planned for 13.  So far I have 4.5.  I'm planning 6.5 tomorrow and I hope the weather cooperates.  If it happens, I'll have 11 miles for the week.  Progress will be made!

Today started out with breakfast at an old school "lunch counter" with the biggest omelet I've ever eaten.  Midlothian Apothecary is fantastic and I can't wait to stop in for lunch and a milkshake; I hear they are amazing.

Cute, right?

Today's walk was just that, not a hike. That's okay since I'm out of practice.  It was a GREAT day to walk along the James River right here in Richmond.  We are lucky enough to have a decent park system along the water that makes for beautiful views.  A couple of friends joined us and tons of people took advantage of the sunny weather.  Thanks to Kelly and Todd for spending their morning with us.  We've never taken one of these hikes with anybody else and the miles flew by while we chatted.  We took lots of pictures, so I'll just upload some of them.  Notice the icicles on the falls.  It was chilly!

 The Boulevard Bridge (Nickel Bridge) with The Carillon in the background.

Icicles hanging from the branches stuck on the falls.

Like I said, it was a pretty walk.  Tomorrow's won't be pretty, but it will be effective and the day is supposed to be warm in front of the coming storm.  I enjoyed my romp through Woodlake last time I did their 10K trail, so hopefully it will work for me again.

While I haven't been walking much, I have been working on fundraising events.  I'm looking forward to happy hour and shopping for a cause at F.W. Sullivan's Canal Bar & Grille on March 11.  If you can come out for the fun, it starts at 5 pm.  If not, please check out the links below and, if you're in need of any products, please buy through my parties.  If you can't come out that night and you don't want to buy anything from the links, it's no problem.  I have several events planned between now and September!  Of course, if you'd like to help, don't live in the area, and don't want to buy anything from an online party.... just donate using one of the many links on this page :)

Here are the fabulous products and party links:

Great products for entertaining in your home.  I LOVE their sangria mix and several of their cheese ball recipes.
Shop using this link:  Tastefully Simple Direct Link

Beautiful bags with all types of colors and fonts to embroider and personalize.  I have one bag for school, another for workout clothes, and two thermal bags.  They are super durable and look great.
Shop using this link:  Thirty One Gifts Direct Link

Open-style locket necklaces and bracelets you personalize with your favorites.  These are always a hit and I can't wait to make one to commemorate my training, fundraising, and amazing journey.
Shop using this link:  Origami Owl Direct Link

Body wraps, supplements, moisturizers, and more!  These products make you shine inside and out.  Shop using the link below and comment that it is for my party.
Shop using this link:  It Works Direct Shopping Link

Thanks so much for any support you can offer.  
Hope to see you soon!