Tuesday, August 19, 2014

To Sum It Up

It's list time again! This edition's prompts come courtesy of The Chalkboard Mag's "In My Gym Bag" column and were inspired by yogis Tara Stiles and Jodi Guber Brufsky. Here goes:

Name: Jillian Pereira

Moment I fell in love with fitness: I think I fell in love with sailing first, and that was after getting over being really and truly afraid in the boat. That said, I remember the moment I slid up onto the rail and steered the way I was meant to for the first time -- I must have been eight or so -- and I was completely exhilarated. Sailing, by the way, is more of a workout than people might expect.

Favorite active-wear staples: Lululemon Wunder Unders and headbands like Sparkly Soul, Sweaty Bands, and Fit Happy. I'll wear any race shirt to run and whatever's clean and comfortable for yoga. Gap Fit tanks and tees have been my saving grace throughout this pregnancy. I might keep wearing them after.

Favorite fitness footwear: Saucony Kinvaras for all paces of walking and running, and my way broken in Rainbow flip-flops to and from the yoga studio.

I stay inspired by: Reading, mostly. Blogs, columns, health and fitness interviews, websites and magazines, as well as social media, to be honest.

Most unexpected item in my gym bag: I don't think I keep anything too weird in there... you'd probably find some piece of jewelry that REALLY shouldn't be in there from a costume change. Whenever something's missing, that's where I check first.

Must-have gadgets: The Garmin 405, the MapMyRun app, DailyMile.com, Athlinks and my iPhone. I like to log.

Favorite way to hydrate: Juice! This week I'm hung up on carrots, beets, apples, lemon, and strawberries on ice. I also keep a big water bottle next to the bed and on my desk at work.

Favorite post-workout fuel: Potato chips and a PB&J after a long run, homemade juice or Blue Print Cleanse after yoga.

Cause I am most passionate about: Cancer causes. The cures are out there, but funds are needed to repurpose, uncover, or reveal them. Before my current position, I worked for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and later, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.

Favorite quickie workout: I'm pretty guilty of not working out if I can't do it "for real," mostly because I hate washing and drying my hair, so it doesn't seem worth it for a quickie. Terrible, I know.

Healthiest daily habit: Sleep! I go to bed ridiculously early for a good night's rest because I don't function well on too little sleep.

Personal fitness tip: Do what you love. Truly. Why torture yourself if you're not having fun? I used to try to bring my husband running with me, but it's really not his thing... so I turned him onto golf instead. That way, he can hit the driving range while I fit in my long run. See what I did there?

5 things on my bucket list: Go somewhere exotic on a yoga retreat, run a sub-4:00 marathon, cheer my kids on in a kiddo race and likewise, get to see my kids and husband cheering me on in a race of my own, have my writing published, run more marathons overseas, maybe in India so my in-laws can get in on the fun.

Advice I would give my 16-year old self: It gets better. You'll find your people and your place. Be yourself, no apologies.

On my workout playlist: It's a scary place because I love pump-me-up music just as much as like, "lite" slow jams. This morning on my walk I heard Goo Goo Dolls (Come to Me), Pitbull (Wild Wild Love), A.R. Rahman & K.T. Tunstall (We Could Be Kings), Sarah McLachlan (Ice Cream), Jay Z (Young Forever), Enrique (Bailando), KONGOS (Come With Me Now), Sarah McLachlan (World On Fire), American Authors (Best Day of My Life), annnnnnd Shakira (Waka Waka) So embarrassing. I'm really good at building cohesive playlists for parties and long runs and such, but this one was definitely out of the ordinary.

My current mantra: In honor of Baby P's upcoming birth, I've been meditating on this one: "I am fully prepared by nature to have this baby."

Choose a few and join the fun in the comments!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Yoga in the Park

One piece of my daily routine is scanning a handful of my go-to websites for morning headlines and catching up on the news. These include theSkimm, NBC News, The Boston Globe, The Everygirl, and occasionally, the New York Times... though, admittedly, I most enjoy the lifestyle/travel/fluffier stuff in the Times.

A few weeks back, in my morning read of the Globe, I came across an article highlighting some upcoming outdoor workouts, including one hosted by Food + Wine magazine, called Yoga in the Park. I shot an email to a couple of friends, emailed my RSVP, and started counting down.

Thursday night I lined up my mat in a grassy park next to my friend Caitlin and proceeded to smile for an hour straight, stretching, twisting, and balancing through as much of the vinyasa flow as I could manage with 8-months of baby growing out front. (Okay, so there was minimal balancing, if we're being honest.)

We've had a beautifully cool summer here in New England with warm, sunny days and chillier, comfortable nights. Thursday was no exception. Just a block from the harbor, we benefited from a nice, light breeze and Goldilocks-perfect temperatures. Our teacher, also named Goldie come to think of it, is well known in the Boston yoga community and for good reason -- she teaches a creative, energetic, and downright fun class.

What I most enjoyed about class, aside from trying some different poses and unexpected flow, was that Goldie advised that we embrace the noise and hub-bub of the city sounds around us, instead of trying to block them out. Instead of trying to get so deep inside myself that I disappeared within my surroundings, I tried to listen with really fine-tuned attention. I worked on hearing the individual sounds that made up the din instead of simply hearing traffic or chatter.

With all of my senses, I absorbed the world around me; with my eyes, noticing a beautiful, confident yogi a row ahead, without a mat and toes entangled -- no, planted -- in the grass around her. I felt as though I sat at the table alongside a group of young professionals ordering another round at a patio bar across the street. I felt cool, then warm, then cool again, peeling my sweatshirt off and later snuggling back in, when the sun dropped and temperature dipped.

Thursday night, I soaked up the sense of community I have so missed over the past seven months and wondered how I could bring it home with me and replicate it each and every day. I was reminded -- gratefully -- that yoga is a practice, perhaps never a mastery. I sensed and considered the way the way that at the same time, yoga makes me soft and yet, strong. I savored the shift that has taken place: that a yoga class is an opportunity for me to return to my mat, to re-familiarize myself with the practice. It's familiar now, and comfortable in a way that feels like it's mine, not like it's easy. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I'm still here.

Hi lovelies. I'm still here! Still here... but sitting still, unfortunately.

I don't think I've run since I last wrote and I'm starting to think my running days might be on hold until after this baby arrives. After 30 super easy weeks of pregnancy, the last several have hit me hard, which is not a complaint, but a reality. I think my belly has (finally) doubled in size and I've certainly put on more weight in the last month than the first seven or eight (also, finally). The result, thanks especially to my sort of compact 5'3" frame, is what I assume to be some pretty intense crowding and hard core tenderness pain in my ribs. That discomfort combined with some newly established insomnia that cropped up two weeks ago, means that if I manage to sleep at all (which has been rare), it's generally fairly shoddy sleep with lots of groaning and rolling from one side to the other. Full disclosure: I never thought rolling over would be a legitimate challenge. In my head I had decided I could dodge that bullet. Fail.

In any case, waking up to run in the morning, or finding myself comfortable and alert enough to manage anything after work has been a challenge.

So, long story short, I'm still here, but not really running, which makes for a pretty boring blog when that's more or less (more, mostly) the focus. There's just not much to say about running (around the world or otherwise), when you haven't been lacing up the sneaks.

Is there anything in particular you'd like to hear about? I'm planning a third trimester recap for next week (since I'll be 36+ along by then and make no promises after) and also aim to do some yoga write-ups between now and d-day "b"-day (especially since I'm looking forward to a cool yoga event in the city tomorrow night), but I'm happy to indulge anything else you might be interested in.

Comment below with special requests!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Feature

Watch this video and then don't bother trying to hold back the urge to go for a nice, hard, joyful run. Take me to that forest, please! One thing I've been really craving since it's such a no-no during pregnancy for someone as clumsy as me (I would think, at least) is a solid, picturesque trail run. Maybe in spring.


So, a couple of things: What are your excuses? What are your reasons? What moves you?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Recent Rundowns

No, fo' real -- I told you something weird was going on. I didn't want to stop for a rest day yesterday. Loving the love of running, but my gosh, I hardly recognize myself anymore! (And that's a loaded statement in and of itself)

Even though I'm pretty sure yesterday would have provided the most spectacular summer running weather of all time (it was low 50's and clear at 5:15 AM), I stayed in bed and got an extra couple of hours of fitful sleep and gave my legs a day off. Luckily, this morning was almost equally beautiful and in hindsight, Wednesday was a super long day and it's a good thing I got even a little bit of extra shut-eye.

To back up a little bit, Tuesday night I joined the Colonial Road Runners for the weekly 5K fun run that I've been enjoying so much all summer. The thermometer dropped methodically straight from my office to the start line, so I was much more pleased than last week when it hovered stubbornly above 80 and I moped in bed. A win-win, really.

The very cool thing about my run this week was that my new buddy, Thomas -- the kid who has been running with his mom that I made small talk with a couple of weeks back -- totally paced me! His mom decided to actually race the run, since Thomas is more familiar and comfortable with the route and his ability now, so I found myself plugging along up the mile one hill either right behind or alongside him.

Looking good! I exclaimed when we hit the one mile poster. The last time we ran, he expressed that he didn't want to walk until he made the first mile. This time he cruised past and kept going, after replying, Thanks! You too! I love how quickly even a child (tween?) can be swept up in the camaraderie that running generates.

I followed him down the mile two hill, a couple of yards behind and made the turn to the two-mile poster a handful of seconds back. He stopped to walk a couple of strides from there and, despite the fact that I'm really basically a stranger, was so proud of him for running an entire extra mile straight from the last time we raced.

Since the race ends with a mile uphill, I ended up passing Thomas about halfway up (because I'm still strangely comfortable and fairly strong on hills) and finished with an average of sub-10:00 pace, my best CRR 5K performance since the first Tuesday in June. 3.35 miles in 33 minutes flat. I'm not bragging or especially proud -- just grateful. It took me 2 1/2 miles to chase you down, I teased to Thomas at the finish line. He smiled... smirked maybe... and I have no doubt he'll beat me next time.

This morning I woke before my alarm, sometime around 5:30. I checked headlines and emails on my phone and debated going back to sleep. I lounged a bit, noticed how comfortable the cool air was, lounged some more. A little while passed before I rolled from bed (it's a scene these days, the literal act of getting. out. of. bed.), but I threw on shorts and a top over my belly support band, laced up, and hit the road.

The sunrise was beautiful, the effort was appropriately tough (some mornings my legs just feel tired), but I cranked my tunes and put one foot in front of the other. I fit in 3 1/2 miles before work and actually made it out the door on time. Truly miraculous.

On another note, for local friends, check out these free upcoming classes, offered as part of the second phase of the Boston Parks Summer Fitness Series.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A really weird thing is happening.

How was your weekend? I know there was a lot going on in my happy little network -- summertime is crazy and everyone in New England books right up with all sorts of cool activities and vacations -- and my weekend flew right by.

Friday afternoon I toured a couple of daycare facilities for Baby P for when I go back to work this winter (sob!) and laid low around the house because Saturday afternoon (after a haircut... my very favorite indulgence) we hosted a cookout and had to get everything prepared and cleaned up for company. Luckily, Sunday was a low key kind of day until I had to work in the evening, so there was enough time to recover before jumping back into the work week, albeit on a Sunday night.

The weekend (extended a touch on both sides to include Friday and Monday) also doled out three solid workouts -- or solid by my current standards being just over 33 weeks pregnant. Friday morning was actually straight up perfect: comfortable... maybe even cool running conditions before work and 3 1/2 miles at a 9:46 average pace. It felt like an effortless, enjoyable jaunt and one of those runs where I would have liked to keep going for forever.

Sunday morning the weather was a bit iffy, forecasters were predicting nasty storm conditions that never really came to fruition, although the sky certainly threatened, so I kept it close to home with a 2 1/2 mile loop. Shockingly (like really and truly shockingly), I somehow managed to maintain a 9:30 pace, with my second mile clocking in at an is-this-really-possible? 9:10 minute mile. Honestly. Flabbergasted. I ruminated that it's really sort of impossible that I'm getting any faster at this stage of pregnancy, so I might just be regaining a little bit of sure-footedness, or confidence. I'm still watching my step (constantly), but perhaps not so obsessively that it's literally slowing down each and every stride.

This morning, after a shoddy night's sleep and waking at 5:30, I rolled out of bed (groaning a bit, I'll admit it) and headed out to move since I have a work event that will keep me late tonight. Unfortunately it was soupy as hell even though the temperature was only in the mid-70's, and I felt each and every step. Truly, it was as though my confidence from Sunday morning was all-out teasing me with each and every step. The humidity and sleepiness had me completely shot, but I made it 3 miles anyhow, so not a bad way to kick off the week.

So, as I alluded to with the name of this post: a really weird thing is happening.

I think that in the last few months I've fallen even more in love with running than ever.

Yup. Even the slower, shorter version. I am thoroughly enjoying it, instead of just having to do it. It's interesting because right now might be the most opportune time to opt out or make excuses (even if some of them might be valid), but instead of skipping workouts I'm making choices to accommodate them by going early in the morning or late at night, or taking a walk when it's too hot or I'm too tired to run. I've cut my mileage to comfortable distances, but skip the negative self-talk about not going further or pushing harder.

In the midst of all of this happiness and optimism, I find myself itching to race, to train "for real", and to log longer miles. I'm craving it. Who knows how possible or likely or desirable that will be come September and later fall, but it's exciting to see how well integrated running has become in my life.

Running throughout pregnancy was a challenge I posed to myself and one I sort of always aspired to... I think I wrote about it as a "someday" thing in my 2013 wrap-up... but it's something I've actually completed for much simpler reasons: it feels good. It makes me happy. I feel empowered. Not a bad way to kick off a week.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Feature


What did you want to be when you grew up?

I've always wanted to be a writer, yes, but I'd be lying if I denied my obsession with becoming a ballerina, despite a total lack of charisma on stage, wicked short legs for my 5'3" frame, and a love for carbohydrates. 

I mean, have you seen Centerstage? Am I embarrassing myself? But Zoe Saldana is like a legit, well-respected actress and force to be reckoned with on the red carpet now. It's sort of like I was ahead of my time.

Every once in a while I come across a ballet-related story while perusing online and so for awhile I've been stockpiling. For some reason, I decided today is the day to share with all of the other ladies and gents daydreaming of spectacular hand-stitched tutus, destroyed feet, and the seemingly ultra-glamorous life of studios, stretching, and Swan Lake.
  • Probably the most spectacularly over the top jewel box of an apartment I've ever seen (This is Glamorous)
  • Capturing the drama of hair, makeup, and costumes. For the love of hairpins. (New York Magazine)
  • And, in case the drama was in doubt... not at the Bolshoi. (New York Times)
  • Modern ballerinas, and what happens when they take scissors to their in-studio looks (Huffington Post)
  • An inspiring, impressive lady who defied the stereotype of eating, dressing, and lazing around for two (The Today Show)
  • Another one from Mary Helen Bowers, on "getting" a ballet body (Harper's Bazaar)
  • Every little girls dream: Sarah Jessica Parker and Ballet (AOL On)

Any wannabe ballerinas out there? What did you want to be when you grew up?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer

Last night was the first time since being pregnant that I really, really had to call off a work out because of the weather and really, really didn't want to. Most of the time the weather and my mood seem to work it out so it's no big deal, or if the weather is treacherous, I don't want to go in the first place, but last night I was itching to run, wanted to get out with the club, and had to admit it was just too hot.

Since it was a Tuesday, my running club had their weekly 5K close to home at 7 PM. Temps were still hovering around 90 when I left the office, but eased down into the 80's over the next hour. As the clock ticked past 6:00, I refreshed my weather app over and over, trying to will it down, but by the time I had to leave, I had to admit that 84 degrees was not my self-imposed threshold of 79 and can the run.

Yesterday was a sort of mediocre day. I felt pretty lousy, very overtired, and completely distracted. I'm going home to see my family in New Jersey for the weekend in a couple of weeks and feel a little bit like I'm the kid in school with senioritis. In the absence of running, I lounged on my bed for a few hours reading and eating Tostitos, antsy and grumpy. Finally, around 7:30 I decided to suit up and head out for a walk.

Nik was out at a work event, so I got to rock my about-to-disintegrate-right-off-my-body, 10-year old UNH sweatpants. They're my favorite, but maybe not the best option for a 2.5 mile walk in 82-degree weather. It was sweaty.

They say walking provides many of the same benefits of a good run and that is no joke. Hallelujah. It was still super hot, but at least I was able to move.

I ended up in bed early, got a decent night's sleep, and woke first around 5 before dozing until my alarm at 6. I bounced out of bed to get dressed before I could think too much about it or fall back asleep and thank goodness I did because the weather outside was spectacular. The sun was rising gently (as opposed to aggressively, as I would describe it's mid-afternoon shine right now) and along with 72-degree temperatures, a nice, light breeze was blowing.

It was perfect. Peaceful and comfortable with that magical kind of half awake haze. The air was fresh, the breeze felt nice. Everyone I crossed was friendly. It was just what I needed and reaffirmed my decision to hold back last night in the very best way.

I ran the same route that I walked last night, comfortably and very, very happily. Within hours, it was over 90 degrees again, so I was even more pleased to have gotten out early for a much needed dose of endorphins.

32 1/2 weeks and hanging in!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Feature

Yeah, yeah, yeah... RE2PECT. Epic, classy, legendary... the Derek Jeter goodbye tour at the All-Star Game. Yada, yada. The ad is cool and I was this close to sharing it... until I saw this Jimmy V Award acceptance speech from Stuart Scott.

Honestly, I didn't realize Scott even had cancer, but having spent every single morning of my childhood getting up for the 6:00, 6:30, and 7:00 AM airings of SportsCenter before school, he holds an especially special place in my heart.

Photo via
Video via
Years ago, when I worked for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training, a longtime Team member said how much it bugged him when people used the phrase "lost their battle with cancer," because it sort of implied they hadn't tried or fought hard enough -- obviously not the case. That really stayed with me, so when I heard this quote from Scott, it was especially poignant:
“When you die it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
This video, which was the lead-in to Scott's award, is pretty fantastic in and of itself. It gives a really good sense of the how, why, and way in which he lives. Just some food for thought (because shouldn't we all strive for that always?) on a Friday afternoon.


And just because lists are fun and easy and I'm in hyper-nesting, list-making mode, I'll wrap up the week with Tina's suggestion from Carrots 'N' Cake

25 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About Me. (It's my favorite part of US Magazine)
  • I’m happiest when running. I mean, I'm pretty darn happy doing just about anything with my husband, too, but that seems like a cop-out answer.
  • … especially if it involves a surprise water stop visit when Nik drives the course to check on me or if it's where I grew up at the shore on one of my favorite stretches of boardwalk.
  • I’ve always wanted to do the unexpected. It's what inspired me to run my first marathon. I like to prove people and expectations wrong.
  • My husband and I love Formula One racingVermont Cremery Cremont cheese, taking walks in our neighborhood, and spending Sundays slow-cooking and watching football!
  • I was a terrible soccer player growing up.
  • My first job was babysitting, but my first real paycheck came from The Arbors, my family's senior home where I worked as a waitress.
  • I could probably eat nectarines or a White's Bakery cupcake every day. The definition of balance.
  • I stole ... ??!?! No seriously, I've never stolen anything. Ask my sister about my black tank top though and see "I'm still mad..." below.
  • I was born on the same day as George H.W. Bush and Anne Frank.
  • My all-time favorite film is anything by Wes Anderson (especially Rushmore) followed closely by Finding Neverland, if we're going in a completely different direction
  • I do a pretty mean Indian accent. Better than my husband. Who is Indian.
  • I’m still mad at my sister for jacking my favorite black tank top in high school. She won't fess up, to this day.
  • I met my husband at Fenway Park.
  • I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I had one job where it was my official title, but now it's just for fun. Nulla Dies Sine Linea.
  • I’m not afraid to take on a ridiculous challenge or dare! I ate an orange whole, rind and all, because my 10th grade bio teacher said I wouldn't. Bad idea.
  • I make the best stove top popcorn.
  • I have almost no ability to drive by pan-handlers without giving. Except the chick outside South Station who says she's trying to catch a bus home to Western Mass in the same intersection every afternoon
  • I always cry when I watch "A Four Year Old's Bucket List.Oh my gosh. Every. Single. Time.
  • I’m a Jersey Girl, but I don’t really care [at all, even a little bit] about pork roll. Gross.
  • I spent 4 months in Galway, Ireland during a semester abroad.
  • I wish my folks were as into Facetime as I am. It's so much more fun to SEE who you're talking to!
  • At 5, I was deeply in love with Dire Straits "Woo Hoo" song (Walk of Life and yes, really) and playing dress-up. Old habits die hard.
  • I believe if everyone had an ice cream cone the world would be a better place. Seriously, who would fight with an ice cream cone in hand?!
  • I can’t stand one-uppers.
  • Whenever any of the Bourne movies or Italian Job are on, I’ll watch.

  • Play along! Hit me with one or three or ten of these in the comments, and have an OUTSTANDING weekend.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    Simple Pleasure

    People. I have not been holding up my end of the bargain around here (i.e. actually writing) and I apologize! In part, my running life hasn’t been particularly interesting. In [another] part, I vowed this wouldn’t become a pregnancy blog and honestly, that part of my life has been sort of consuming. Still, I’ve resisted post after post after post because that’s not really what this little world is all about, or at least it wasn't supposed to be.

    I was thinking about it this morning, debating whether I really just don’t start ruminating until the middle or late miles of my usual runs pre-pregnancy or if my brain is actually just completely preoccupied right now, either with baby thoughts or don’t fall down mantras. Maybe 2 ½ or 3 ½ miles just isn’t long enough to get the juices flowing and synapses shooting? 

    Weekly 5Ks with my running club have been a really outstanding way to skip the thinking, minimize the hyper-concentration, and simply socialize on the go. They were right to classify the series as fun runs because they got it just right. After attending my first run or two earlier in the spring, I volunteered to bring water each Tuesday night in July as a sort of a personal guarantee that I'd show up. I love when tricking myself actually works because, wouldn't you know it, I'm actually starting to recognize other runners each week!

    The weather has been super muggy this week, but last night dipped below 80 at the start of the run (which has been my arbitrary personal threshold), so I counted myself in. I was a little anxious about the prospect of thunder and lightning because it was looking kind of dark (and in the end it held off), but no one else seemed concerned, so off we went.

    One thing I'm really enjoying about these outings is how many parents I see running with their children. There are a couple of dads who push their kiddos in jogging strollers, a woman who pushes two toddlers in a double-jogger, and a handful of women who run alongside their elementary-aged children. It's awesome and as I joked to one woman last night, it's exactly what I'm trying to impose on our baby in utero. 

    Two weeks ago there was a 13-time marathoner running alongside her son, who was probably 11 or 12. It was his first 5K. The course is unique in that it's pretty hilly, with miles one and three both on inclines. The boy was trucking along with encouragement from his mom, alternately walking and running for the first mile. How are you feeling, she asked again and again. We can turn back at the first mile marker if you want. He continued and finished the run in about 40 minutes. They were back for a second try Tuesday and I asked if it felt easier this time around. He said it did, and that he usually played baseball and hockey, but wanted to try out running with his mom. His mom shared that she got her love for running from her father, which cracked her son up. Funny to picture your grandpa running, huh? I asked. Totally, he answered. Around the time we split up, the boy was telling his mom that he wanted to make it to the first mile marker without walking. I was pumped to see him meet his goal and, later in the night, take two or three minutes off his finishing time.

    A second duo included a turbo-fit mama and her 8 or 9 year old daughter in matching outfits. I only really saw them from the start and finish, but the smile on the little girl's face as she rounded the bend to the finish line, taking off from her mom to sprint to the end was absolutely priceless. Runners who had already finished gathered near the clock, cheering her in, and the confidence and joy on her face was something I hope will stay ingrained in my own memory. Her expression encompassed how much fun running is supposed to be, but also a look of accomplishment, pride, and unabashed happiness. It reminded me of the impact that sport, teamwork, and camaraderie can have in a child's development.

    Coincidentally, it's a look I suspect I wore on my own face only minutes before. I passed the three mile marker and a couple of runners who had finished and were out running around with their kids. Bring it home, mama, one woman exclaimed. BIG smile! another encouraged, of the completely silly grin I know was spread from ear to ear. Two volunteers clapped as I turned the corner and the run coordinators and club members gathered at the clock cheered and encouraged me across the line. 

    I felt so lucky to be out there and in such great company. 

    No deep thoughts, no muddy diggers, but the very simple pleasure of getting outside to play.