The Power of Accountability

This year for my birthday Matt gave me a Garmin GPS running watch. I know what you are thinking, that doesn’t seem very romantic. I sort of thought the same thing.

However, when I opened the watch and realized that he purchased the version with the pink stripe and floral face, I knew I had married the most romantic guy ever.

I am a big believer that in order to feel good when you are working out, you should look good. That is why I occasionally allow myself to splurge on workout clothes from Lululemon and cute running skirts. When I was running the Disney Princess Half Marathon with my sister in celebration of her 30th Birthday, I almost leapt out with glee when I overheard another runner say “oh, that girl’s skirt is super cute.”

From that point forward, it didn’t matter if I got a person best time or even finished the race, in my mind, the race was already a success.

But back to my present – the fact Matt spent an extra second to pick out the pink watch truly warmed my heart. I think after 10 years of dating, he is finally starting to learn!

Since receiving this gift, Matt and I have gone on a few runs and I have been blown away with the results.  I now know, down to the hundredth of a mile, just how far I have run. I know my pace throughout the run, my pace per mile and my “real-time” pace during the run. I can track my heart rate and the elevation of the terrain. And with all of this data, I can adjust my pace accordingly and hopefully improve my running.

The watch holds me accountable. I no longer walk up the stairs that lead to the reservoir – I run them. I no longer get slower every mile – I aim to get faster. I no longer think I’ve run 4 miles, when in actuality I have only run 2.

I am pushing myself harder and I am getting faster. It is truly amazing what accountability does for performance.

Now, if only we could think of something like this that would help improve public education and teaching…

No Work Wednesday

Astrology is the belief that the relative positions of celestial bodies and related details can provide information about personality, human affairs, and other terrestrial matters. Astrologers believe that the movements and positions of celestial bodies either directly influence life on Earth or correspond to events experienced on a human scale. While I may not be an astrologer, or actually believe in astrology for that matter, today the stars aligned and a supernatural phenomenon occurred.

This Saturday I have to work all day at the Tribeca Family Festival; in turn I was allowed to take off a “replacement” day during the week. Columbia’s swim season is over and training is a little more relaxed for the girl. Abby decided that since there isn’t practice on Wednesdays in the spring, she shouldn’t have to work on Wednesdays (yes, swim coaches do a lot more than just coach). So while Abby’s day off is more self-imposed than mine, we were happy to have “No Work Wednesday” together today.

Unfortunately, the day did not start off to a good start. Let me back up a little… a few weeks ago, I made a delicious dinner for Matt and myself and unfortunately something spilled as it was cooking leaving residue at the bottom of the oven. Of course, this would then create a lot of smoke when I used the oven later, resulting in our hyper-sensitive smoke alarm going off, which often resulted in me yelling at Matt to get off the couch and help me shut it off. Clearly, this was not a good situation. So, I decided last night that I would run the self-clean feature on our oven in the middle of the night to resolve our smoke alarm issues. I went to bed excited to have a clean oven in the morning.

At 1:30am I woke up to the sound of our fire alarm going off. I jumped out of bed and ran into the hall, right into a cloud of ash. I started freaking out and yelling at Matt to come help (what I thought he was going to do, I am still not sure). We got the smoke alarm to turn off by taking the fan from our bedroom, turning it on high and pointing it directly at the smoke alarm. Unfortunately, the alarm was not being hyper-sensitive as our apartment was filled with the ash that resulted from the oven cleaning process. We opened all of the windows and turned on the kitchen fan. Matt went back to bed while I stayed up freaking out. I was convinced that our oven was going to explode or that the ash would set off the smoke alarms in the hallway outside of our apartment and the entire building would have to evacuate. I ended up turning the oven off and eventually climbing back into bed, my heart racing and my lungs burning from the ash.

Needless to say, in the morning, I was extremely happy that it was “No Work Wednesday” and I didn’t have to get up at my normal 6:20am time. Unfortunately, Matt did not get to participate in “No Work Wednesday” and he let me know that the smoke alarm better not be going off again tonight as he walked out the door for work around 7:30am.

To celebrate “No Work Wednesday” Abby and I decided to go to the outlets shops that are just over an hour outside of the city. This is something that I have wanted to do since I moved to New York but since I don’t have a car in the city, it just never happened. I convinced Abby to drive us to the outlets, which wasn’t too hard after she learned that there is a lululemon store there, and that brand is basically the uniform for her life.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we were in awe. As a BIG fan of deals and discounts, I personally felt as if I had died and gone to heaven. Row after row of stores awaited us, and our credit cards. At first I was so excited that I couldn’t pick a store to go into. Finally Abby suggested that we actually go into a store, as opposed to run around the perfectly manicured walkways yelling and pointing out stores.

We spent the next few hours visiting various stores; from the typical outlets like JCrew and Banana Republic to a few new ones like Crate and Barrel, Vineyard Vines, Lululemon, William Sonoma and Kate Spade. Not only were Abby and I the only Americans at the outlets, we were also the one people who weren’t dragging a suitcase (or two) around to hold all of our new purchases. It really was quite an experience, one that was capped off when Abby decided to mount the Pumbaa ride located in the food court and ask for a quarter. Never in my life, have I been in such desperate need of a quarter to only find myself with no change!

No Work Wednesday is coming to a close. It was a great day that literally started off with a bang (or alarm). And although my credit card bill will be hirer than it should be this month, I am still smiling as I sit on my couch thinking about my day, my new purchases and the slight burning sensation that remains in my lungs.