Well we arrived safely in North Carolina, and I was so ready for the change. The weather here is AWESOME. Everything is in bloom and it is BEAUTIFUL.
I explained to my cousins that I was in this "who wants to get active" program, and that I needed them to take me to a park today, so that I could get in a 45 minute walk. While I think at first they thought I was nuts, afterall, I am on spring break, and should be in "dont do a thing, just sit around and relax" mode.
But, they were easily persuaded and I was excited that EVERYONE decided to come along! They have this FABULOUS park near their house, and my cousin Michelle walked with me, while her husband David was with the kids watching them ride their bikes. Their son decided today was the day he was going to learn to ride with out training wheels, after seeing his cousin Eloise ride her bike without any . After about 20 minutes of trying, he got the hang of it! HE DID A GREAT JOB!!! He learned to ride the big boy bike, no training wheels! WHOO HOO!! It has been a GREAT first day of Break!
Looking forward to the rest of the week, going to new areas and staying active with everybody!
I've been forced to change up my routine this week. I've been running the same route around my apartment complex since the start of this program. It's made it easy as it was a great way to gauge my progress. The loop around the complex was exactly 1/2 mile. It was close to home and I could easily keep track of my pace. But, for the past two weeks, the roads have been getting repaved. So I've been venturing out and exploring new routes. Depending on the time length of the run, I've been running in one direction for the first half and turning around at the midpoint to try and get back in the same amount of time. I've had no idea how far I actually ran until afterwards. I've seen success in meeting the challenge of maintaining the same pace for the second half of the run. Unfortunately, the pace has been slower because I've been apprehensive about going out to far in fear that I won't make it back in time. I've gone from about 8: 35 per mile to 10:00 per mile!
As far as the cross training goes, I'll be getting more than my fair share in the near future. I'm going to be working for the Pittsburgh Pirates new minor league team as their mascot. It's been awhile since I've put a costume on, so I'm looking forward to getting back out there. The sweating should help with my weight loss. I've just got to be careful to keep the diet going and not fall back on ball park fare.
This has not been a good week. The weather has turned cold and windy, and to top it off, my 5 year old has been sick and had to stay home from school Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We are leaving for Spring Break tomorrow, so just lots to get done, no time to do it when caring for a sick child. I found myself again, back on the treadmill (instead of outside)working out in the evening when everyone is settled in for the night ( when I am exhausted). All I really want to do is just go to bed myself. I just am so unmotivated to do anything after 9 o'clock at night. The last three days have been challenging to say the least. I found myself three nights in a row debating from the main floor, do I go UPSTAIRS and just go to bed, or do I go DOWNSTAIRS and get on the treadmill. Decisions decisions. I did choose to head downstairs all three nights, and can still say that I have never missed a training day. I guess that's a good sign, that I felt that "tug" to just go exercise and get it over with. I feel a certain level of commitment since I am on a "team". The "old" me would have just said "oh well, I can always work out tomorrow".
My daughter Eloise has passed her cold on to me, so I was glad today was a rest day. I am feeling miserable. With laundry and packing, it hasn't been restful. Tomorrow we leave for North Carolina, where we will be until Easter. I'm praying for good weather, and have packed my daughters bike, so she can ride along side of while I'm training. Hoping to find some wonderful trails and much better weather. I still wonder why I live in Chicago.
I did not pack my scale, so it will be interesting when I get home to see if I have lost any more weight. It is always tough on vacation, especially when you are going out to eat. I just have to remain focused, and remember my goals. I WILL FINISH THE RACE!
Today was weigh in day! I record my weight every Monday morning . I was pleased with myself to find I am down a total of 9 pounds since the beginning of this "who wants to get active" challenge! I realize its not a lot of weight, but I think that the 1-2 pounds a week slow weight loss, will help it become permanent weight loss. So, that means since this was the end of week 4, and I met my personal goals, I get my reward! ( see original blog called "incentive needed) I am going to schedule a massage for later in the week!
And, at this pace, by race day hopefully I will be down a total of 15-20 pounds! I'm happy not only about the weight loss, but just in general, my overall mood and disposition has changed. I feel happier and healthier, and I actually WANT to excercise, and I make it a priority. Its been great having my kids walking with me. We were at the zoo last weekend for a few hours and walked ALL OVER! The best thing that happened recently, is that my 5 year old daughter Eloise brought home this picture that she colored at school. A couple times a week they do this assignment called "write and draw". They get a piece of paper, which mostly is blank, but has a few lines on the bottom. The idea is for them to think about what they did recently, write a few sentences trying to sound out the words, and then color a picture to illustrate their sentences. (this is kindergarden, mind you)
Well, her previous papers had been " I went to grandmas house" or " we made pizza for dinner". The one she just brought home though is the KEEPER!. It says " I WENT FOR A WALK WITH MOMMY, MADI AND JAKE!. She was referring to last weekend when I took her to the nature trails, along with my older daughter Madi, and her boyfriend Jake. We walked on the trails for about an hour, and Eloise must have enjoyed that time spent together so much, it was on her mind when it was time for the "write and draw" station at school. I am so excited to see the change not only in ME, but in my little daughter! So, I scanned her coloring page. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (I'm the one on the far right with the dark hair) Notice that we all have big smiles on our faces!!! (We are walking on a blacktop path by the way) I LOVE THIS PICTURE! (click on the word "permalink at bottom of post, and then "attachment " to see it! Its called "walk001"
OK fellow "who wants to get active 2010" participants!! Do you know what today is! Thats right, its MARCH 18!!!
That means we have ONE MONTH until our Run for Water Races! Keep up the training! You are all doing GREAT!
One month in to this program, and I feel so energized! My clothes are fitting better, I've got a spring to my step, and someone even told me that "my face looks smaller!" (which I am going to take as a wierd compliment??!)
I know today was a "rest" day, but I was out in the yard this afternoon with my husband, son, and daughter, and we actually played soccer for about a half hour or so! The weather is getting so nice, I just want to be outside ALL THE TIME!! I might actually purchase a pair of shorts sometime soon! My legs are getting so much excercise now, then don't look like tree trunks so much anymore! And I might actually seem some definition from where my calf ends, and my ankle begins! It won't be a "cankle" anymore! Oh, Dare to Dream, huh?
Well, I will be at the CHICAGO race one month from TODAY! Give a shout out! Where will YOU be??
OH MY GOSH!!!! I JUST LOGGED ON AND GOT THE NEWS!!! TEAM WALK IT OFF- YOU GUYS ARE ALL AWESOME!!!! Can you believe we are all getting Omron Pedometers!! Thank you all SO MUCH for helping our team with this big accomplishment ! Keep up the GREAT WORK! I wish we all lived closer and could go out and celebrate!! So do something fun, and post a picture on your next blog!!
In honor of making it nearly halfway through the program, I present you with the Halfway There Training Challenge. I want to see who can get the most people to join them for a single training session. Show the people in your life how exciting it is to be active! Invite your family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, even your entire congregation to join you for one of your workouts. You must take a photo for evidence and post it in the blog. You have until Monday the 29th to post the photo. And yes, there will be a prize.
This was just not my week for training. My entire body is aching!
I didn't go as hard as I would have liked because of the blisters I got from ice skating. They weren't terrible, just big enough to be slightly irritating for Monday's run. But it turned out that blisters would be the least of my concerns this week.
Before this week, if I had been asked about my take on stretching, it would have sounded much like NBA basketball player Allen Iverson and his take on practice. Yeah, sure it's a good idea, but it isn't always necessary! And when I did stretch it was only for about a minute or two total. But my body has been screaming with aches and pains for my neglecting any sort of stretching this week.
On Friday morning, I woke up with very little desire to get out of bed. That was partly due to my aching lower body after some cross-training sessions with a trainer at my gym. He thought it would be a good idea to put me through a boot-camp style workout focused on resistance training. Who knew some giant rubber bands could inflict that much pain! I've found muscles that I never knew existed!
The other reason I didn't want to move from my pillow was the realization that I had symptoms of a head cold. My nose has done more running in 48 hours than I've done with my legs all week! I didn't want to neglect the schedule so I stuck with my Saturday run. But I was hesitant because I wasn't sure how to handle running with nasal congestion. Then I remembered that Mark Remy had the remedy for such a situation in his book, The Runner's Rule Book. The book is a humorous read on all the un-written rules about running. In rule 1.18, he describes the Farmer's Blow, a technique to clear mucus from the nostrils while on the run. This may be a little too graphic for some, but I thought it would be appropriate to share his technique:
1. Breathe in through your mouth, like your gasping.
2. Lay a forefinger against one nostril and compress firmly.
3. Purse your lips.
4. Turn your head slightly in the direction of the open nostril and exhale forcefully through your nose.
5. Repeat with other nostril, if needed.
Let's just say I didn't have beginner's luck on my first attempt at the Farmer's Blow. I didn't take into account that I was running into the wind!
If there was one thing that saved me on my runs this week, it was the purchase of the greatest product for those runners with thicker thighs. If you're like me, I would highly recommend an investment into an anti-chafing stick. When I was walking this week, I was a little slow because of stiff muscles. But thanks to this product, I was happy to not look like I just got off a horse!
Yesterday after my daughter finished a.m. kindergarten, I loaded up her little bike in the back of my car, and we drove to my favorite training spot, the wonderful South Trail (not to be confused with the non-existent and ever elusive North Trail). I love this trail because it is marked every 1/2 mile, and has benches every so often to rest. And its a very scenic trail.
My daughter was excited to be going with me! She recently brought home this flyer from school, and it was an "exercise log". For every 30 minutes of exercise the children do, they can mark off a square. When she has all 50 squares marked off, she can turn it in to the teacher, who mails it to the program sponsor, which happens to be an outdoor water park! Any child who submits the completed form, gets a free pass to the water park for this summer! This is a Win / Win ! Now she wants to exercise every day, and is a little reminder for me! "I need to exercise today Mommy! Could we go ride our bikes? YOU BET! So, now we have our daily bike rides together, and I love the quality time we are having (and the fact she is getting outdoors, and away from the television set!) And we started doing other activities as well. Silly as it may be, I am exercising like a 5 year old!!. We've been roller skating, we've been skipping, we've kicked a soccer ball around. We've even hula-hooped! Yes, I can actually fit in that thing! Although the old hips don't move like they used to! I used to be a champ at that thing, and could make it go round and round forever. Great was my embarrassment the first time I tried it again, and it dropped right to the ground! After a few try's, I got my groove back ( a little....)
So yesterday after school, I took my 5 year old with me to the South trail. I did a walk/jog while she rode her bike a little ahead of me. I wasn't sure if she could do the whole loop actually. It was 2.4 miles. She was fine for the first mile, then we sat on the bench to rest. Then we made it a little further, before another rest. Had to stop to walk her bike up the big hill. Then finally finished the loop. She was so proud of herself. "Was that 30 minutes mommy? "Can I color in another square?" YEP! It was actually a little over 30 minutes. I had brought a timer with me, and started/stopped when she was riding, or resting to make sure she was actually riding for the full 30 minutes She loves exercising now, and I love having "my little reminder" at my side.And I also know that when I take her to the water park this summer to celebrate her victory that I will look much better in my bathing suit!
Ok, I've got to be honest. I am still recovering from yesterday's fiasco. Getting on an unmarked " trail" that led me to the middle of nowhere, with out a coat, with out water, with out a cell phone. Pure stupidity on my part. And it was downright dangerous. What was I thinking!!! I guess I thought since I had done so great on the South Trail, I was ready to take on the world!
I am still sore. I ache all over. I even skipped out on my Zumba dance class today. I needed to recover both physically AND MENTALLY! Somebody/ Anybody- please re-iterate to me how ignorant that was for me to even THINK of doing something like that. Seriously. I am ready for your verbal bashings. I need it so that this really sinks in how stupid that was yesterday. See original post "search for the north trail" if you have no idea what I am talking about.
So yesterday the weather was fairly nice (about 48) and I decided to go to this new park area that was supposed to have a 2.4 mile south loop, and a 1.4 mile north loop. I figured, if I could do them both, it would give me a pretty good idea of what my time will be in the 3.7 (6K) on 4/18. I was so excited to be in this new area and try out these new trails!
I parked the car, looked at the map that was posted at the beginning of the south loop trail, stretched out for a few, and was off!
It was fabulous! I LOVED the south loop.
I started with a 5 minute walk, then jogged for 15 minutes, then a 4 minute walk, then jogged the final 8 minutes til I crossed the finish line. So, a 2.4 in 32 minutes. I was very happy.
And the trail was really pretty, so lots to look at as I was training. Nice ponds, some soccer fields, pretty wild grass fields , a wetland area and a natural prairie restoration area.There were several other people out on the trail. A happy "hello" was said every time you encountered someone. And the best part, all along the way, there were mile markers. Well, actually ever 1/2 mile. So I could tell how much I had gone, and how much further I still had left.
When I finished, I stopped back at my car, and logged the time and distance on a sheet of paper,. I was really warm by now, so I shed some layers, left the heavy jacket behind, the cell phone, the water bottle, etc. Then I checked the trail map again, and went across the street to what I assumed was the north loop. Although I did find it odd that nothing was marked like it had been on the south loop. But it would only make sense that the South loop was on the south side of the road, and the north loop would be on the north side of the road. Right?
So, figuring I did the 2.4 in 32 minutes, I could certainly knock out another 1.4 in the same time or less, allowing me plenty of time to get my 5 year old picked up from kindergarten. So , off I set!
I was "power walking" on the trail, and it began up a hill, then past some soccer fields, then took me past some corn fields, hmmm... I thought.... this should be curving back at some point soon. Still, I pressed on. Huh, don't see any homes in sight. Don't see any people. No bikes, no dogs. Where exactly is this trail taking me? Up a big hill, winding around, now down the hill. Ok, this is getting kinda scary.I checked my watch. I've been walking for 30 minutes already. Shouldn't I been done? But I've been going north this whole time! OH NO! I'm starting to panic. I will never make it back to my car in time to get Eloise from school. Now I'm getting cold because I had left my jacket in the car. I couldn't call the school to let them know I was going to be late, I left my phone in the car. Fear is setting in. Where am I? Ok, calm down. I am coming up to some kind of building. There are two buildings down there at the bottom of this hill. What are they? Oh my gosh, it is an Animal Control Building, and the other one is a Water Treatment Plant! I am definitely NOT on the 1.4 mile "north trail". I don't know where I am, ok, I see a subdivision off in the distance. Maybe the trail goes through that housing area, loops around and brings me back to my original starting place. NOPE! All of a sudden, the trail ended. Just stopped! Just like that! Boom- DONE!. It ended in the parking lot between the two buildings. Boy this is a stupid trail. I hate this trail. I will never take this trail again. Ever. I am now standing just a few feet from a two lane road ( which fortunately had guard rails) and some train tracks. Ok, get your bearings.
Then a train came by. A train. OK. What route does that train take? THINK. THINK! OK. Got it! I know where I am now.WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING WAY OVER HERE? I AM NO WHERE NEAR MY CAR! Ok, calm down. I just need to head East, and I can pick up this one road and go south, and I can get back to my car. This was a very scary moment. I was jogging again at this point, knowing I was pressed for time. I was going to be down to the wire to pick up my daughter. The "Panic Mode" kicked in. Although I was so sore and tired I had been out for over an hour and a half, it seemed like I had the adrenaline to be able to keep pushing, knowing I had to get back! It was nerve racking to say the least, to have to be running along side of the road. But I finally made it to my car, and drove like a bat of of you-know-where to my daughter's school. My fingers were frozen, my face was sweaty and purple (from running). My heart was still racing. Everything ached. My ankles, my calves, my thighs, even my rear. So much for this nice little 1.4 mile "North loop". I hated that "trail" or whatever the heck that was. Maybe it had been part of a bike path at one time, who knows. But it is the "trail that leads to no where!" now.
OK, I am at the school. Yes! Eloise was still there!, The teacher looked a little irked like "Don't you realize I need to each lunch, lady?" or "The afternoon class is probably already on their way! " "Can you please pick your kid up on time ??!" I didn't bother explaining to her that I had been foolish enough to go out running alone, on an unmarked, unfamiliar trail, with no jacket, no water, no phone. I was just glad to be back home, with my daughter safe in tow. Several safety lessons learned that day!!! (And I still never found the north loop!)
Hi Team Members, I am Farel Hruska, the National Fitness Director for Stroller Strides, guest Active blogger and a mom of 3 girls. I was asked to post on this week's theme of finding time to workout because, for everyone on this team, this can be one of the biggest hurdles! The best advice I can give you is to change your mindset from IF I will workout today to WHEN I will workout today. Your time to train needs to be treated as an appointment you would not break. Think of it as a very important person who has scheduled a meeting with you and you wouldn't dream of cancelling on them. YOU have to be that important! I am fully aware that when you haven't been active before, it is tough to suddenly change your way of thinking...it will be a day to day transition but stay focused. For my fellow moms on the Bye Bye Baby Weight Team, your commitment to your workouts is especially important. The main reason is for your sanity! Be a little "selfish" and treat the body that created your amazing children with care and love. Most of your day is spent caring for them but when did you put a fraction of the attention you give your children to yourself? If it changes your focus, think about how working outis for your kids...they get a more patient, relaxed and happier mom when you care for yourself!
Stay focused and driven, Active Teams! I am virtually cheering you on! If you ever want to email me directly, feel free: firstname.lastname@example.org
Okay so I didn't follow the training schedule as written this week. But I did it with the best intentions. Knowing that Sunday was scheduled as a rest day, I rearranged my workouts so I could fit in a pre-scheduled cross training. My wife is a youth director and needed my help in chaperoning a group trip to the local ice rink for an outing. I thought I could get in a lot of work with some laps on the ice. But I didn't take into account that this area is still feeling the effects of a Winter Olympics hangover...and for good reason. Our local rink has seen a sharp increase in people wanting to learn how to skate and what better place to learn from some of the best, because the rink is the training home to 2 figure skating pairs teams. The teams of Caydee Denney/Jeremy Barrett and Amanda Evora/Mark Ladwig shocked the figure skating world in taking the top 2 spots at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and went on to represent the U.S. at the Vancouver Olympics.
With all of their success, it's great to see such an interest in people looking to get active. There were lots of little kids out their trying their hardest to follow in the footsteps of these Olympians. A lot of little girls crowded around the middle of the ice trying to master the artistic spins. But more often than not, the triple lutz looked more like the triple clutz! And then there were the boys, in their brand new hockey skates. Watching some of them was like watching the misfits in The Mighty Ducks movies.
Because their were so many people on the ice, it was difficult to call my time on the ice a "workout." I thought I could get a really good cardio workout in but the pace of the crowd was very slow. I would venture to say that I could have gone faster sitting in a tube floating down a lazy river! When I did see some open ice I wanted to just break free from the crowd, but I would just end up catching up to the back of the crowd. And worst of all, I now have some small blisters from the skates I wore. Going into this week's runs, I'm really apprehensive as I don't know how these blisters are going to impact my efforts.
Ok, so I am borrowing this idea from my 5 year old, who is in her first year of girl scouts. I'm sure you have all been hit up at some point in your life to purchase girl scout cookies.How can you say no to the thin mints or the tag-a longs?? Well my daughter Eloise came home from her scout meeting a few weeks ago, all fired up to get out and SELL SELL SELL! You see, the troop had set a goal, that if EACH girl sold at least 120 boxes of cookies, then the whole troop was going to get this big pizza party. Well everyone wanted to sell the 120 boxes, because if the troop didn't get the party and it was because of YOU, everyone would be mad. And no one wanted to be "that kid" that made the troop not get the party.
BUT, in addition to the goal that the troop had, each girl was asked to set her OWN personal goal, and was given a list of "prizes" that they earned, as they reached the next cookie sale level. For example, sell at least 12 boxes, get a patch. Sell 50 boxes, get a bandana. Sell 100 boxes, get this statue of a panda. Sell 125 boxes, get a t-shirt. Sell 150 boxes, get a stuffed panda bear, sell 200 boxes, get a t-shirt for the stuffed panda, that matches the one that you earned! And it went on and on, all the way up to 1000+ boxes, where you could get digital cameras and even an i-pod!. So, the more you sold, the more rewards you got. You had the pressure of meeting your own personal goals, and also the troops. Bottom line= work hard, get rewards!
So, I thought, why not try to incorporate this into the "getting active" program that I am embarking on. Ok, so I don't have a "troop", but I have a "team". Maybe there is something we can do if we all meet our challenges? I realize we all live in different states, so maybe we need to get creative here. Maybe everyone email me a picture of themselves at the finish line of their race, and I photoshop them , and put all of us together in one " Team photo" that everyone can get framed?? Ok, open to suggestions here.....
Alright, but what about my personal goals and rewards. The idea is to make sure the goal is achievable, and the reward appropriate. (no, I don't want a pizza party, a patch or even a stuffed animal!)
Here is what I came up with, breaking the 8 week training program into four 2-week segments.
Finish the first two weeks, never skipping a training day, never forgetting to fill out the log, never forgetting to blog, encourage my team mates, and lose at least 1-2 pounds. Reward= go get a pedicure! (cause my feet gotta be getting sore, right?)
Finish the second two weeks, (same requirements about not missing a day, etc), lose at least an additional 2 pounds. Reward= Get a massage! ( by now, my whole body would enjoy this, not just the feet!)
Finish the third two weeks, (same requirements as above), lose at least another 2 pounds. Reward = I'm thinking a new pair of jeans! You never know, I might be down by 10 pounds by now, and getting a pair of jeans in a smaller size would be AWESOME!
Finish the final two weeks of the 8 week program- are you kidding me? The reward is that I am going to cross that finish line, with a big smile on my face. AND I think we get a T-SHIRT along with our entry!
And to top it all off, when I reach my final goal for my weight loss, I'm going to buy myself a BATHING SUIT!!!!!!! Can you believe it!!
So, I challenge you all to join me, keep pushing yourself, set goals, and reward yourself for meeting and exceeding them. YOU CAN DO IT!!
p.s. in case you were wondering, my daughter was tied with the troop leaders daughter as the TOP SELLER for cookies, the troop exceeded their goal, and they get the pizza party! Lots of happy 5 years olds!
With all the excitement of the Winter Olympics, I've been really excited about training. Yeah, I know a native Floridian of my age and ability has as much of a chance of one day making the Winter Olympics as a snowball's chance in he--, but it certainly helps to motivate when you see people living out their dreams on the world's biggest stage.
I've been running occassionally before the start of this program, but my first run under this program suprised me. I managed to run 2.5 miles in 20:42! I felt a ton of energy and even thought about going a little further. But with the understanding that there's a method to the madness of this training process, I held back.
On Tuesday, the wife treated me to an early birthday present. We went to the specialty running store and I got new shoes! The store experience was incredible. They took a blueprint of my foot to see where I put the most pressure and to look at my arch. Then they put me in a neutral shoe and had me run on the treadmill where they conducted a video-taped gait analysis. Up until now, I always went with the lightweight shoe. I thought that since I was already carrying more body weight than I needed to, the last thing I needed was to lace up with bricks on my feet. But from all the stuff they put me through, I found out that when I run, I pronate- meaning that when my foot lands, it does so on the outside of the foot and rolls inward. The solution was to put me in a shoe that provides stability when my foot strikes the ground.
Thinking that the community pool at my apartment complex was heated, I chose swimming for my cross training. NOT the best idea I've ever had! Turns out the pool isn't heated and central Florida was in the midst of a cold front. So I followed up my polar bear like training with a few minutes of relaxation in the hot tub!
On Wednesday, I learned just how old I am. It was a hectic day with lots of stuff going on. I almost forgot about my training. At 11:30 that night, I laced up my brand new shoes for the first time and headed out. I didn't want to mess with the training schedule in the first week. The results were nothing like the Monday run! I was running into the wind and trying to break in new shoes that weighed significantly more than I'm accustomed to. But at least, I looked good doing it. Near the end, my legs felt like twigs about to snap. Maybe it was the heavier shoe, or running into the wind, or that extra slice of birthday cake, but I was much slower with a time of 20:24 for a total of 2.25 miles.
On Friday, I went up to Tampa to check out the scene of a health and fitness expo for the Gasparilla Distance Classic- Tampa's biggest marathon event. I figured that if I'm going to do one of these one day, I wanted to see what all the excitement was about. I can only imagine what standing at the starting line in April is going to feel like, but if it's anything like the excitement surrounding the anticipation of the event this weekend, I can't wait!
As far as my dieting goes, I'm seeing some great results. A couple of weeks before, my wife and I started on the South Beach Diet. As I weighed in this morning, I am down 24 lbs. from what I weighed in at on New Year's Day!
With all of the temptations and distractions, this week, it's been hard to find consistency with my schedule and diet. I'm sure that over time I will find ways to handle these issues a little better. With that being said, it's hard to find a reason to complain, because the results I've seen so far have been incredible.