What I did on my Christmas break

One of the perks of being a teacher is still enjoying a longish Christmas break.  This year, I enjoyed my break even more because I had two days more than my kids did.  Even if the time was pretty much spent doing the Christmas shopping I'd neglected earlier in the month (year), it was still nice to have a breather and some time to myself.

Of course, when you have a significant break, there's always the pressure to do something.  You hate to waste a good two week vacation (if you start hating me, just go back a year in my blog to where I was crying every day about my job and read until you like me again) with just sitting around.  Of course, you also hate to make yourself crazy with go-go-go so that you're more exhausted when you go back to school.  It's a delicate balance.

Rather than keeping a good balance, though, my break was something of a feast or famine.  The first half was all holiday prep, no exercise.  The second half was, well, busy.  I actually logged about 20 miles of running the second week, which is...about 20 more miles than I'd run since Pere Marquette.  Sad.  On the plus side, this week I didn't get one of those emails from Daily Mile saying "we miss you!" that have been so frequent.

Did I mention I just signed up for a 50K? This is not an auspicious beginning.  Or maybe it is.  Time will tell.
12/24: 4.2 mi trail run with friends, two of them first-time trail runners, who I think are now hooked.  Very cool.

12/26: Mountain biking with my brother and a friend. 

12/28: 5 mi trail run with friends, both of whom are stronger runners than I am.  Hang on, try not to die. 

12/29: 4.5 mi morning run with friend, his farthest run so far.  First time I've run on roads/paved trails in ages.
4.1 mi evening trail run with Patrick.  This was supposed to be a shakedown cruise with my new Garmin (finally!), but just my 17 year old and I were home and he wanted to watch a movie together.  The Garmin could wait.  We didn't run til a little after 4:30, and it didn't occur to me that I might need a headlamp til I was almost there.  Oops.  We basically ran through the dusk, though it was getting mighty dim towards the end and I almost put my eye out on a branch sticking out.


12/30: Husband's work holiday party. I win a new video camera to accompany the new Kodak PlaySport that I got for Christmas.  I also possibly get the vodka/cranberry juice ratio wrong when pouring my own drinks.  Whatever the case, I have a really good time at the party.

Yeah we were headed home at 10:02.  Because we're party animals.  Old ones.

12/31:  Patrick and Wade are kind enough to wait for me to roll out of bed and meet them for a trail run.  The only thing my presence added was (possibly) comic relief and a large dose of schadenfreude on their part.  And lots of breaks while they waited for me to catch up. 

1/1: Abandoned by Jeff and J, who got tickets to the Rams game, I lazed around the house, read two books (well, finish Unbroken and read Dean Karnazes' Ultramarathon Man), and then met up with Amy for some more trails.  4.2 miles.  I feel like I've never run before.  The Garmin is great fun because I can see how far we've gone and great un-fun because I can see how non-far we've gone and how slowly.

1/2: Winter, which waited until January, reintroduces itself to our area with 30mph winds and temps in the low 30's.  I decide frostbite is no reason to skip our traditional family New Year's hike, so we head to Marquette Park, stopping on the way to show J the Robert Wadlow statue. 

I guess this would be my "hurry up and take the damn picture!" face

Replica of a chair made for Robert Wadlow

Actually, I figured that once we were on the trails the hills would block the wind.  This would have been the case, but the one trail with a lot of rocks--the part my 8 year old loves most--is on the river (windiest) side.  The first mile takes us about an hour as we stop at nearly every rock outcropping for him to climb.

Sharing from my camera

Sharing from my camera

Sharing from my camera
Look how fun this is...I'm not cold at all...no that's not my teeth chattering...

Sharing from my camera
If you look at the river, you can see the water blowing.  That was some strong, cold wind.
I was happy that we got a chance to get outside and do something together, but this was definitely one of those family outings that will be more fun in retrospect than it was at the time.  It was freezing cold, and I was reminded that hiking in the cold is very different than running in the cold.  Then there was the matter of my sweet child who, once the rocky portion was past, wanted nothing so much as to go home.  He relented when mommy's head started spinning around.  We made it a total of 3.5 miles.  Our moving time was about 1.5 hours, but it probably took us twice that with all the stops.

In the drive to and from the park, I got to play with Snapseed, a cool photo-editing app that I got after Neil
gave his facebook friends a heads-up that it was free in the app store this weekend.  Fun!





  1. Sounds like you had a super fun busy break!

    That photo editting app looks way cool - off to check it out...

  2. Looks like fun despite the wind and icy temps. Snapseed looks cool!

  3. You signed up for a 50K!!!! Wow! That's awesome! Me too....but it scares me a little. When is it?

  4. For ultras, from what I've read, Time On Feet is more important than anything else. Keep up the consistency!

    I use Picnik for my photo editing.

  5. I think you achieved your balance, from what I see. Do you like the video camera? Looking for one...

    I have my hubs holiday party on Fri. night. The 14-miler the next morning should help me remember to keep it in check (I hope!).

  6. Hope your re-entry this week goes smoothly and you can continue to enjoy the trails. I haven't run on anything but paved so far. Kind of worried about falling and getting hurt on a trail.

  7. Schadenfreude - Awesome! first time I've heard that one.

    What did you think of UltraMarathon Man? I read it too. I didn't get much out of it other than a lot of "hurray for me!"

  8. Worlds tallest man died on my birthday. Well, at least 26 years prior to the date.

    Fun pix. Keep kickin'!

  9. I love how active your family is!

    I'm similar to your 8 year old. I have trouble passing climable rocks without climbing them.

  10. Great hiking report. That overlook of the Mississippi is certainly a beautiful part of Pere Marquette.

  11. Oh snap, I'm gonna need to check out snap speed. You were busy those two weeks. Thanks for your comment earlier it was nice.

  12. Looks like a fun ap.

    You were brave to brave that bitter wind! I was a big baby today in our cold. It's pretty much the coldest it has been yet and we are so not used to it.

    Hope your son is doing okay from his surgery. It sounds tough. Hang in there.

  13. I got that same camera last week!

    missed on the app...boo

    enjoy your last few days off
    school is back on Monday here and i am ready for it

  14. Sounds like you had a pretty nice break and got some nice runs in too. After a break that long I find I don't have time to work since I have a new routine :-).

    That had to be a miserable hike. I wasn't able to warm up when I tried to run in that nasty wind.

  15. Looks like a great break. I love long drives and hiking! and I love your miles.....we need to be DM friends!

  16. I'm technically still on break until January 23 (the wonders of college teaching - even if I am at a conference this week and doing my own research the rest of the month), and I'm embracing that same mentality. The first couple weeks was all about holidays and traveling, but now? I'm enjoying diving back into training!

  17. I think teachers earn every nanosecond of their breaks, so I hope you lived it up at least a bit (I would have napped lots). I like the idea of the traditional New Year's Hike. Might have to initiate that this weekend.

  18. I totally agree with Terzah!

    I love your photos! It looks like you had fun! :-)

  19. Slacking the year away, as always I see! :)

    The hike looked...cold, but pretty! So cool that your son really enjoys these things with you guys, he has the adventure bug that his momma has!

    Glad you enjoyed your break, I know us teachers really get recharged during this time and it's much needed :). I can't believe you read a book and a half in a day. I've been reading mine for about 2 weeks and am on page 30. Maybe it's the contents of the book..."Wheat Belly" isn't as exciting as adventure or endurance running books! Ha.

  20. 50k's are great! you'll love it and since you do so good at crazy challenges I bet you will eat this one alive.

  21. Thanks for the 50K training plan link! It's great!

  22. I LOVE the idea of the ABC book. What a great idea. Then I could take it to school and read it to my students as an educational book rather than a bragging book!
    I showed my photo race book to them because I had it at school to show some friends. They kept telling me to show my students so I did - a pretty fast showing which they liked because many other teachers are in it. One student's mom was in it. And then one kid asked me if I had ever done a triathlon and I was able to say - "No, but I'm going to."

  23. It looks like a very cold day!
    Glad you enjoyed your break, my wife is a teacher too and tomorrow is her last day off.
    I am working with a similar program for the pictures: it is amazing.


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