After being without power for three days, and having the boys home from school for an entire week - all courtesy of Superstorm Sandy - we are all looking forward to getting back to our regular routine over here.
Obviously we are extremely fortunate that losing power was our only hardship. And since we live very close to the ocean, and spent the day after the storm driving around to survey the damage, that became even more apparent.
The beach we spend most of our summer days on is barely recognizable, and I can't even fathom the amount of work it's going to take to clean it up. And that scene was repeated all along Rhode Island's coastline.
It was heartbreaking to see some of it firsthand. And the areas we saw actually weren't even among the worst in the state.
It definitely puts things in perspective, and makes you realize that, although losing power isn't easy, we could have been far, far worse off. I was happy to find some info on where I can donate locally to relief efforts in the hardest hit areas of NY and NJ, and will be making some contributions to that this week.
And back on the home front, we were able to keep everyone from going too stir-crazy when faced with last week's unplanned 5-day vacation. Our local Y was closed, but we visited one in a neighboring town, where we were pleasantly surprised to find that their kids' activity room rocked!
It has a climbing wall, ping pong tables, Wii fitness games, a bouncy house, and so many other great active things for the kids to do. My boys had a blast, and we plan to take the trip up there (it's about 20 minutes away) occasionally over the winter, just for a change of scenery.
And of course getting to the Y meant that I was able to get in my daily dose of stress relief, which was much-needed, with all three of the boys home with me all day.
I was also happy to not miss too many runs, because I've been working the past few weeks on building up to running 5 times a week.
The 3-day-a-week program has worked extremely well for me, and it might be hard to understand why I'd want to change things, since I've managed to run two marathons, qualify for Boston, set countless PRs, win several age-group awards, and remain relatively injury-free while sticking with the 3-day schedule. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?
The only problem is that when I think about following another 3-day training program for a marathon, it does not make me happy.
When you only run 3 days a week in preparation for a 26.2-mile race, you need to make sure that every single one of those runs really counts, which means that every time you put on your sneakers and head out the door, there's a very firm goal in mind, and very precise paces you're trying to hit, and, frankly, a lot of pressure (self-imposed, mind you, but still pressure).
And since I haven't been adhering to any sort of training program since Gansett, I've really enjoyed my running being a little less stressful. I've still done track workouts and tempo runs, but it's been nice to also have a few runs every week where I was able to just go out and run and enjoy myself.
And let's face it - running is something that makes me very, very happy, so if I can do it 5 times a week instead of 3, why wouldn't I?
Over the summer, I had more than few weeks where I ran 4 days, and over the past few weeks, I've thrown in a 5th day, and (knock on wood), it's going fine so far.
I'm going to give it a few more weeks and see how it plays out, but if all continues to go well, I'll be temporarily shelving the Run Less, Run Faster book and investigating some different training programs for Boston (one of which is the 'Own It' plan from one of my favorite running books, 'Train Like a Mother," which would hopefully not only get me over the finish line, but also get me the big PR I’m seeking).
The time is flying by, and I know that the countdown will be on before I know it, so - despite the fact that it's actually an enjoyable pasttime for me - I can't spend too much time perusing training plans before I pick one and get going on it.
But until that time, I'm going to thoroughly enjoy putting on my running shoes and hitting the pavement 5 out of 7 days every week. I still love cross-training, and I'll still do it, but I am loving my extra two days, and will hang onto them for as long as I possibly can : )