Monday, August 16, 2010

Motivation is just a plane ride away

These past few weeks have been quite leisurely, thankfully. After the bar, I needed some serious downtime and I got it.

I spent a week in my favorite city in the world, Seattle. Being in Seattle simply makes me happy. When I wake up in the morning, I smile and everywhere I walk, I smile. Seattle is my happy place and I make every possible effort to get out there as much as possible.

I go to my favorite bar, and I enjoy an adult beverage or two and I look out at the marina and just let my thoughts go. Going to Seattle is really an act of mental cleansing and I make the most of it.

It also allows me to run around the city and explore (though, frankly, I've seen most of the city by now). I went for a run one morning that took me to Safeco and Qwest fields (home of the Mariners and Seahawks, respectively) and I ended the run at Pike Place Market right in front of the guys who throw fish all over the place. The air was crisp and there wasn't much foot traffic so I just ran anywhere there was a walk signal. I felt like I could have run forever. And, if I hadn't had to check out of the hotel, I probably would have run another hour or more. It was just of those mornings. That morning, I remembered how much I loved to run.

I was also fortunate to stay with some friends in Green Lake, about a 15-minute ride from downtown Seattle. Green Lake is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Seattle. It's a little hippy-ish, which is fine with me. But the part I love is the 3-mile man-made lake with beautiful runnings paths around it.

We walked around the lake a couple of days and were able to choose between a gravel/dirt path and concrete. There were tons of bikers and people pushing running strollers, as well as a ton of runners. It was nice and cool as we strolled around the lake and the days were beautiful.

My second to last morning in Green Lake I decided to go for a run around the lake. From their place to Green Lake, around the lake, and back was about 4 miles, which was fine. Again, it was a little chilly and rainy but I couldn't have cared less. I kept a decent pace and stayed off of the concrete while I dodged others.

One of the things that I miss from New Hampshire is the lack of running paths in my area. Sure, you can drive to some, but they're not in my backyard and you can't walk or run to them. Having such a beautiful area so close to my house would be heaven.

Then again, if I want heaven, I may just have to visit Seattle again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Letting a run go every once in a while

I am a creature of habit. I believe in self-discipline and holding myself to goals that I set out. That self-discipline helped me immensely in law school when I could have been watching TV and playing video games all the time. (Truth be told, I did a lot of both over the last 3 years.)

But while self-discipline is generally a positive thing, I have found that I have a tough time moderating it. It's the old saying: moderation in everything, including moderation. Instead of giving myself a break and running or biking another day, I go out and bang out the miles even if I'm not feeling up to it. Again, that's generally a good thing, but it creates absolutely no flexibility into the schedule to allow for, well, life to sneak up.

It's almost like the movie, If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium. If it's Tuesday, I'm running or biking. And I'm doing that whether it's hot or cold, raining or sunny, thundering or snowing. And I do it because it's on the schedule. If it's not on the schedule, I don't do it.

During the bar, this type of discpline was critical. My days were heavily structured and scheduled, so I put exercise into the schedule and stuck to it. But, as of late, I haven't had much of a schedule as I have had a couple of weeks off.

And you know what? It's actually OK to miss a run or bike ride. It's OK to change it to a different day because your stomach is upset or there's something else to do. I know it doesn't sound like much of a revelation to most of you, but for me, it's like the first I've ever heard it. We're so funny that way, aren't we?

But with everything else, I can't let too many runs or rides slide. I still need to hit the road as often as possible and get my miles in. At least for now, I just don't have to be so incredibly rigid.

I guess there's a first time for everything.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

End of the Bar as I know it (and oddly, I feel fine)

Last week marked the end of a very, very long 8 weeks of studying for the bar exam. If you're not familiar with the bar exam, it's a 2-3 day exam including 200 multiple choice and a bunch of essay questions. Even after you pass law school, you can't practice law in the US unless you pass the bar exam (and subsequently get sworn into the bar). So from late May until the last week in July, if I had a spare moment, it was pretty much taken up with bar study.

I took the exam last week over three days so that I could take both the Massachusetts and New Hampshire bar exams. The good news is that it went well. I'm not all that superstitious, so I think it's OK to say that it went well. Even if it's not, I felt good about it and that's because of all of the studying I did to prepare. It's a good feeling when you feel like you studied too much.

During the exam, I made a concerted effort to get out and exercise 3-4 days a week. Sometimes I was biking and sometimes I was running. It helped to clear my head at the end of a long day of studying or to get me ready for even more studying. I only got to work out once during the week of the bar exam (with travel, etc.), but I'm going to give myself a pass on that one.

I now have my life back which means that I'll have more down time and even more time to exercise. I start a new job in late August, so I have a few weeks to veg out and just enjoy not having anything hanging over my head, except for the results of the exam, I guess. For what it's worth, I hear about NH on September 24 and about Mass. in late October/early November. Don't worry: I'll keep you posted!

I also did my first spin workout last night. I have to tell you: I both loved and hated it at the same time. Really, it was great and awful. It was also nothing like riding a bike. They do all sorts of weird standing poses and riding and lean different ways, etc. I had a very tough time balancing myself when I was standing on the bike, which is a good indication that I probably didn't set up the bike correctly.

But boy was it a workout! I'd love to know what kind of calorie burn I had, but one thing I know is that my burrito for dinner was calorie neutral. After a steady diet of Diet Sunkist, string cheese and hard pretzels during the bar study period, I'm very glad to have a day where I'm largely calorie neutral. I need to start eating like a human being again rather than a bar student.

It feels good to feel human again!