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Improv Workouts from Beach to Forest April 13, 2013

Filed under: exercise,hiking,injury,running,walking,writing — Susan @ 4:03 pm

I’ve been traveling for the past couple of weeks. Working out has been severely curtailed, although I’ve tried to keep up with the minimum of “twenty minutes of something- anything!” as much as possible. I feel my body sort of weakening.

I got on a plane just a few days after finishing the Oakland half. My hip was already feeling pretty wonky. But then sitting on a plane for 6+ hours, then sitting in a car for another day, then a bunch of writing – and more sitting – it’s been orthopedically tough. I have only really had one run since I left California on March 28th- a shivery cold run in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

Brrrrr. But pretty.

Brrrrr. But pretty.

Since then, a few hikes and many beach walks. The first beach walks on soft sand were kind of excruciatingly painful for that hip.

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I tried to get an appointment with the local physical therapist but that didn’t work out. I ended up going to a sports store, one of the few little shops open during the winter season. Near the front door, a wire basket with a sign “Used Softballs $1.” That was pretty much one of the best one-dollar investments I ever made. I brought that baby home and rolled the heck out of my hip. OWIIIIEEEE. But good owie. Necessary owie. The ball rolling has made a huge difference. After the softball sessions, the beach walks ended up being a lot less painful.

Insert under hip, and ROLL. Ow! Yay!

Insert under hip, and ROLL. Ow! Yay!

This week I’ve made a complete change of scene – back to California. I had one day at home and I was so glad to get back onto my “home” trail a few blocks from my house. Ahhhh.

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Then on Thursday, I relocated to a friend’s remote cabin/barn/cathedral in the woods. Kind of amazing. We are miles from anywhere. The forest here is stunningly peaceful, beautiful. Yesterday I took a hike and explored around. Today I took another one. I was feeling like, this is nice, but it’s just not ENOUGH. I found a little clearing and did a bunch of 100-set invisible jumpropes on the soft pine needle floor. It was really cushy and comfortable. I worked up a tiny little sweat. I hike along a deserted logging road. Did I mention there is nobody around here for miles and miles? I took off my shirt. Because of that. The sun felt so nice.

Little trees growing in the road

Little trees growing in the road

I am not normally someone who walks around in a sports bra. Yeah, you can do that if you are young and buff and such, but not if you are an over-50 somewhat mushy, haven’t-done-weights-in-too-long kinda gal. I poked at my upper arms as I walked. This did not make me happy. I picked up some thick branches that were almost logs. Maybe 5-10 lbs or so. I lifted and pressed as I walked. That felt good. I put it down and did some more invisible jumpropes. I did some hill repeats, carrying the log thing. I was having fun jumping and hauling logs around in the woods in my sports bra. Hahaha.

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I got back to the cabin (after getting just semi-lost and bushwacking my way back) and felt better about my level of activity today. It was fun, improvising it up out there in the forest.

I’m looking forward to getting back home next week. To doing some night swimming at the pool with my buddy Lily. To getting back to seeing my trainer now and and again.  To having some fun at a Nia class.To working my way back up to another half marathon in June.

Traveling is good. It brings you out of yourself and the dailiness of it all, to seeing things in a new way. I’m grateful for my forest workout today, for feeling free under the trees and the sun.

 

Re-Sparked December 29, 2012

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It’s been a long time since I blogged. Whew. I was in the midst of the Health Blog A Day Challenge when I seriously fell off the bloggy wagon. It was a combination of suddenly getting a HUGE influx of work combined with having a few days of feeling stuck with the blog prompts. At some point I just threw in the towel and haven’t had a chance to look back since then.

The holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) really threw me, schedule wise. In the past, I’ve either been working super part time OR at a nonprofit OR in the academic world. All of which equalled a big break around the holiday times. I was able to shop, organize, cook and clean, wrap and mail. But I used to spend entire days dedicated to those activities. This year, for the first time ever, my schedule got super ramped up right around Thanksgiving. I was suddenly working many more hours, many more miles from home. I would come home exhausted, fall into bed and do paperwork in my pajamas, pass out and do it again. I knew, however, that this crazy schedule was limited. I just had to keep it up until Christmas Eve.

We spent most of Christmas day in our pajamas. We had no dinner guests so we got up late, opened stockings, made our traditional brunch (Mexican baked eggs and Juniorette’s to-die-for cinnamon rolls), opened presents, took a nap, slowly prepared for dinner (which included a no-work honeybaked ham), ate dinner, then went to see the Hobbit (yay).

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The next day we flew to Sundance to meet up with cousins and to take part in some epic, gorgeous snow. It was the first time in weeks (months) that I wasn’t scheduled up like crazy.

I spent two days snowshoeing (which I LOVE) in the most amazing, powdery, fluffy, gorgeous snow ever. Also heck of a workout.

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It was a good reminder for me. To do what I love. To move in a way that makes me happy. Always good to return to this.

Yesterday afternoon I had the biggest treat. I got to meet up with my dear dear friend Shannon, who was one of my very first blogging friends. Back in the day when I was still anonymous, she was always there encouraging me, supporting me and telling me I could do it, whatever It was. So many times she would Tweet or comment, “I just love you Foodie!” and I’d feel so cared about.

Soon I will be meeting up with one of my other oldest and dearest blogging friends – Carla, aka MizFitonline. When I started blogging four years ago, she was one of the only “superstars” who reached out with genuine interest and kindness, for which I will be eternally grateful. I am so excited to welcome her to my part of the world as a neighbor. Sorry Austin – your HUGE loss is my ecstatic gain.

(by the way, world – you can get your own fabulous piece of MizFit by checking out her BRAND SIZZLING NEW E-book “How to Build Muscle and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind” here – I can’t wait to read it! Maybe on the plane home!)

Today I pondered whether to go out for one more glorious snowshoe hike, or to stay snuggled under the down comforter to do what I haven’t in so long – reading, writing, contemplating the icicles.

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The latter won out and I am so glad. I’ve needed down time for so long, to return to my bloggy roots, to take some time to just lie around and contemplate all that is good.

 

Day 16 #NHBPM What’s Unusual About this Picture? November 18, 2012

Filed under: 30in30,good things,hiking,walking — Susan @ 5:45 pm

Day 16 – Friday, Nov. 16

Create a comic strip about your health / life / community OR
Use a picture or video to inspire a post

I know, I know, I’m two days behind again. Weekends can be tough. So this is Friday’s post coming to you on Sunday. I have to say I am getting a little bit weary of the blog posts every day. But I am hanging in there and today will be my catchup day.

This picture is from today’s walk with Mr. McBody. We went up to the beautiful woods near our home. This picture is unusual because we are very rarely up there together. Usually he is riding his bike and I am running. I don’t like bike (trail) riding up there much.  It’s too bumpy and there are too many obstacles (ie people and animals and other bikes) for me. He doesn’t run anymore. Back in the day, when we were younger, he was the serious runner and I was the couch potato. Somehow in the past few years it seems that now I am the runner and he does… other stuff.

Today he suggested that we take a walk up there together. It was so nice. Afterward we went down to the Farmers Market together. We ordered our Thanksgiving turkey and had some lunch and walked around our little neighborhood. Normally that is something I also do alone or with Juniorette or sometimes Junior. So that was another nice thing.

Later this afternoon we are going to the movies. (Lincoln) All of this is not at all our norm. I am used to rushing here and there, meeting up with my various peoples. He spends a lot of time hanging out and being with Mama McBody (who is MY mom, not his).  Today she was off at church and we had the nice opportunity to spend an unrushed Sunday together. A little sad that this was remarkable. But it was awfully nice.

I think it’s healthy to slow down and take a walk sometime instead of a run or a challenging bike ride. And nice to do it with someone you love.

 

Event Recap: Yosemite Snowshoe Hike! February 13, 2012

Junior and me under a Yosemite Falls rainbow

I can’t believe it’s been more than a week since returning from my TNT Yosemite event weekend, and this is the first chance I’ve had a minute to sit down and recap it. I have to do it today before the memories completely fade!

I have to say that this experience with TNT was completely unique from all of my other seasons. Instead of facing the Big Weekend with some degree of anxiety, dread, fear and adrenaline, I went into this one thrilled to be going on what felt like a weekend vacation. In beautiful Yosemite! Yay!

At sort of the last minute, Junior and her housemate F joined me for the weekend. Junior hadn’t been to Yosemite since she was about eight years old and she was very excited. We arrived just in time to get to the snowshoe fitting and then the Send-Off (pre-event) dinner.

honoree flags

The mood at the dinner was festive and relaxed. People had made flags with their honorees’ names on them and they were draped along the wall, a good reminder of Why We Were Doing This.

"Take a picture at 11:11 wherever you are"

Coach Carolyn gave us our instructions for meeting up, carpooling to the SNOW at Badger Pass, meeting up with our respective guides, and taking a picture at 11:11. We were divided into four groups based on exertion level. I was in the “Mighty Mo” or ‘moderate’ group which would later prove to be not-so-moderate, but still just right. I had just done that Tinkerbell Half, and was about to re-enter triathlon training, so I didn’t need to prove anything at this hike.

candle ceremony for honorees

We did a little candle lighting ceremony and then blew them out as a symbolic gesture to “snuff out cancer.” We were thinking about one of our honorees, my mentor’s husband, who had been planning to come to Yosemite, but was in the hospital back home following some complications. It was a reminder of Coach Carolyn’s words about life not always going as planned. Randy had grappled with deciding to come to the event weekend, but the doctors had reassured her that her husband would be safe and cared for in the hospital. This lady has been through so much.

When we woke up, these nice mats were outside of our hotel room doors:

put a little lump in my throat

my mentor Randy at breakfast

After breakfast we drove out to Badger Pass. Yosemite is so breathtakingly gorgeous, pictures can never really do it justice.

We got up to Badger Pass and there was SNOW! We put on our snowshoes… which took about half an hour of grunting, moaning and dealing with buckles and such. Finally… ta da!

Just call me BigFoot.

Then we split up into our respective groups and headed out with our guide. UPHILL. Going uphill on snowshoes at 7,000 feet elevation is… well, it’s no walk in the park. I was winded after about twenty yards.

It was also pretty darn cold, in spite of the sunny weather. Here’s teammate Dorothy holding a hand warmer packet up to her frozen nose. Nose warmer?

warming up the nose

Up hill!

At 11:11am we found ourselves near what looked like a giant flaming snow cupcake. You see how my mind works.

cupcake in the snow

Here’s our trusty guide Zach, who was infinitely patient with our sometimes high-maintenance (ahem) group of women.

poles in the shape of "11:11" Get it? LOL

We got to the top of the ridge and had us a nice lunch break on the sunny rocks. This is not something you get during marathons and triathlons!

rock sunning

It was so pristine and beautiful up there!

coyote tracks in the snow

On the way back down, we separated out to do solo meditations for a few minutes. I found a tree to lean on and just soak up the peace and quiet for a while. It was one of my favorite parts of the whole hike.

ommm...

We got back down to the lodge after about five and a half hours of snowshoeing. Which felt “just right” in terms of a damn good workout, a beautiful hike, but not horribly painful. I had gotten a good day’s work in there.

When we arrived down to the Valley we got the sad news that Randy’s husband had been transferred to the ICU and was in very grave condition. My buddy Jon volunteered to drive her down to the hospital, over 4 hours away, so she could be with him right away. This is what team spirit and our mission is about.

Jeannette, Randy and Jon

The rest of us celebrated the end of our season and our hikes, thinking of them and sharing a moment of silence.

The next morning we walked up to the beautiful Yosemite falls for some photo ops.

go team!

Then it was the amazing Ahwahnee Hotel for their insanely delicious brunch. What a way to wrap it all up.

so beautiful

mmm... dessert buffet!

With this event, I earned my Team in Training Triple Crown pin for participating in three different sports: marathon, triathlon and hike team. It felt good.

Badger Pass, Hike Team, Triple Crown!

Hike Team was very very different from other “endurance” events but it was a welcome change of pace and something I’d definitely do again at some point. They have incredible hikes to the Grand Canyon and other stunning locales.

In final news, I’m almost….. almost… almost... done with my fundraising. But not quite. If you’ve enjoyed reading about this very unique and different type of training, please consider dropping a few dollars into my Leukemia & Lymphoma fund. I’d be so very grateful.

I’m not fundraising for the Triathlon team this season because I’m mentoring the team and will be putting my efforts toward supporting my mentees. This is the last chance you’ll have to support me and my amazing team until… next time. ;-)

All in all, it was a beautiful, active, inspiring experience. I recommend for anyone who is interested in being part of an active team that’s working for a good cause. Thumbs up.

 

 

Hellooooo 2012! January 3, 2012

I decided to bring 2012 in with an active bang. On New Year’s eve day, the hike team went for a hecka long hike up and down Mount Diablo. It’s only an hour away, but in 25 years I’ve never been there. The views are pretty amazingly beautiful. However, I was not feeling my best. I think we hiked about five hours and the last couple were a real weird struggle for me. Straight uphill. First I was getting shooting pains in my right ankle. I was wearing my old ankle brace as well as using an orthotic in that shoe. My ankle really did not feel happy going up steep inclines. I was a little freaked out when the pain started because we were a good two hours from the parking lot (uphill). But after a while it subsided, and then the other stuff started. Nausea, stomach cramps, light headedness. Oh man. It was really one of the worst hikes I ever did, physically.

pretty views

Nature Guy found the world's biggest pine cone!

One of the mentors gave me some pita chips to get some salt into me. I think after a few hours I can get really sensitive, hydration wise. Even if I’m drinking a lot of water (which I was) if I don’t have salt and electrolytes, I can get really messed up. I was trying to be conscientious about the water but clearly it was not enough. I felt crappy the rest of the hike and when I got home, I had to just hop in the shower and into the car and over to San Francisco for my NYE dinner date and to work at friends’ comedy show. (which was awesome)

When I got up (at 6am!) on New Years’ Day, I was still kind of running on empty. I was feeling kind of tentative about doing the 10K run I’d signed up for, but I was meeting my Hike Coach (who was racewalking), another friend, and a bunch of buddies from my Tri team. I didn’t want to miss that! I promised spouse and self that I would rest, turn around or quit if I felt yucky.

GO team! Yahoo!

I didn’t really have any huge goals regarding the race, other than finishing without feeling like death. It’s a good thing that I didn’t have a good look at the race course before starting, because it would have scared me a LOT. The middle of the course was just one giant hill. Steeper or as steep as Mount Diablo.

Wow that was one heck of a hill.

I ended up walking pretty much all the way up and most of the way down. I saw a lot of runners FLYING down the hill and it scared me to death -you could break your neck so fast like that! So I was pretty cautious.

The awesome thing is that they had a great aid station at the top of the hill, which was the 10k turnaround. Sports drink and all kinds of edibles – including my favorite, salty pretzels! I took a big cupful and a big handful of pretzels. And you know, the second half of the race felt fantastic. I felt like my body was in perfect balance with fluids, salts and nutrition. The magic combo, once again!

I sure didn’t beat any speed records (especially due to the hill) but I finished feeling strong.  Coach Carolyn cheered me into the finish – she had walked that 10k twenty minutes faster than I did, running! She is a real force of nature. I met up with my other buddies and we got our medals and our (YUM) Haagen Dasz ice cream bars (what a great post-race treat!). We then discovered that Katherine had come in first in her age group – how awesome is she!!

Yahoo! Medals!

Go Katherine! Won her age division!

we all scream for ice cream!

So it turned out to be an awesome way to start the New Year. But man, I was pooped. Last night I went to bed right after dinner. I wasn’t sure if I was exhausted from the dual workout, or partly sick, or…

Today I barely moved. I spent the day paying bills and filing stuff and generally keeping a low profile. I think I need to learn a little bit about pacing myself. :-)

 

Looking Back, Looking Forward December 29, 2011

I’d say that 2011 was overall very positive for me, health and activity-wise. Here’s a peek at what went on last year:

January:

first snowshoe adventure, New Mexico
2nd year as Weight Watchers leader
2nd “Healthaversary” Party

February:

I took my first of two trips to Baltimore last year!

running in the snow
meeting the awesome Roni for the first time!

March:

The “Fight for Air” Stairclimb with Sabrina
View from the top: 110 flights up!
Oakland Running Festival Twilight 5k THE NEXT DAY!

That was quite a weekend.

featured in story in Oakland Trib about running after injuries

April:

Trip to London (here on Abbey Road)
and Paris (Notre Dame)
Good thing we walked a lot because typical breakfast = croissants and cheese

May:

My first Bay to Breakers. CRAZY!

Yeah, people run naked. Why??

100th Anniversary medal was pretty nice

Major highlight of 2011: Fitbloggin!

MizFitOnline herself! I love Carla.

Best. Roomies. Ever.

Thank you Roni!!

June:

Nia dance party for my friend Audrey's Bday

July:

NorCal Fitbloggin' Local Meetup

of course there was tons of awesome food

signed up for Team in Training to do my first triathlon!

met the best training buddy EVER

August:

started riding a bike after 20 years

started swimming after 18 years

September:

A few bumps and bruises

Learned how to put on a wetsuit

Look, Ma! No hand!

October:

Dealing with the mental game

"Stories of the Body" Retreat at Santa Sabina

giving the course a test run

practice "mini tri" with paper medal

November:

Featured story in local paper

Holy moley, I did it.

Joined the TNT Hike/Snowshoe Team

Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot with WW folks

December:

Las Vegas Santa Claus 5k!

Looking back, I have to say I feel good about it. That was quite a year. I kept pushing myself and finding new and different things to do. I think that’s the name of the game. Keep going. Keep improving and challenging.

What’s in store for 2012? I’m starting out with a New Year’s Day 10k run. Then I’m doing the TinkerBell Half Marathon in Disneyland with my two daughters (fun!) on January 29th.  February 5th is the TNT Snowshoe Hike in Yosemite (prettty!) and then I’m diving into a new season of triathlon training, this time as a mentor. I can’t wait to get back to training again!! Would you like to be on my team and become a triathlete in 2012? Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can!!

What did you do in 2011 for health and fitness’ sake? What are your plans for 2012? I want to know!!

 

I’m Ba-ackkkk! December 26, 2011

Wow, I did not mean for this hiatus to take this long. I didn’t mean to take a hiatus at all, but it just happened – due to holiday overwhelm, work work work, a little laziness, and little funk. All of that together means a very long gap since my last blog post. I’ve missed blogging! But I just haven’t felt like I’ve had even a minute to get my thoughts together, let alone post. So this is going to be a catch-up post of all that’s happened since I wrote last.

When we were last together (virtually), I had just started hiking with the TNT Hike Team. I’m still on the team! and since then I’ve done some amazing and beautiful hikes around the Bay Area, all on trails I’ve never hiked on before. Which is pretty amazing, considering they are all within an hour drive of my house. Most of the hikes have been in the 3-4 hour range, which is pretty substantial.

Nature Appreciation Moment

Nature appreciation moment

Sunol Wilderness: breathtaking!

lunch break at Rodeo Beach hike

me and buddy Jon at Rodeo Beach

Can you see the Pacific Ocean? Wooo!

Inspiration Point hike

I did a couple of goofy events, including the Weight Watchers Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot (my third in a row). It was POURING rain that morning but it felt good to get out and do a wet little 5k walk with some other leaders and members.

trotting turkeys

Another thing I did was go to Las Vegas over the first weekend in December. I’d originally booked that weekend for the Las Vegas Marathon, but at the time I hadn’t known I was going to do the triathlon. I knew I wasn’t ready to do a half marathon quite so soon. But I went for a fun weekend anyway and ended up participating in the Great Santa Claus 5k, which beat the Guinness World Record for the most running Santas in one place! Ten thousand Santa Clauses was pretty surreal and hilarious (and very Vegas). The Santa suit (including beard) was included in the registration fee. It wasn’t my best run by far, but I did finish and it was a great way to get back into it. Sort of. Ha.

Getting suited upTa-daa! Ho ho ho!

Wow, that's a lotta Santas!

Greatest cheerleader ever

Run, Santas, Run!

Even though I wasn’t running the Las Vegas Half, I knew a lot of people who were, so it was the first time I went out and cheered for a marathon. That was an amazing experience. I made a sign and stood out in front of our hotel. There was a water station so I immediately got to work passing out cups of water. The crazy thing is that it emptied out in less than an hour. That was rather unimpressive. Having to tell people, “One more mile to water!” Ugh. I also heard some nasty rumors about many many people puking after the race, and that the water we’d been handing out had come from fire hydrants. I hate to think that was true.

Sadly empty water stop

I got to meet the fantastic Paola who started running with Team in Training in LA this year. She’s got the bug! She’s hooked! I got to see her both coming and going, and when she came back around on her return loop, I got to walk with her towards the finish. It was great to finally meet her after being blog/Twitter buddies for so long. I was carrying my favorite “If your feet hurt, it’s because you are kicking butt!” sign. I have to admit, after seeing all the cold runners out there in the dark (it was the first nighttime marathon) I was kinda glad I hadn’t signed up myself. Kudos to all those who finished!!

Did I mention it was FREEZING?

The other thing that happened is that I was officially invited to become a mentor for the Summer TNT Triathlon Team! Me and Lily! YESSSS! We are so excited. My awesome mentor from last season, Annika, is now going to be one of the training coaches (and she will ROCK it). The team is going to be training simultaneously for the Wildflower Tri (which sounds hecka hard to me, very hilly!) and also the South Maui Triathlon (YES). I think my plan is going to be to do the Wildflower Sprint Tri in May, as well as cheer on all my teammates for the Olympic, and then do the Olympic Tri in Maui. Good plan? I think so. I am so pumped!!! And I really do feel like I need an Olympic triathlon do-over. Doing the Marin County Tri was an incredible experience, but I learned a LOT and I am ready to put that learning to the test. Plus I am so, so, so ready to train with the team again. I am ready and excited to be a mentor. We will have a new coach this time, who sounds scary. “He’s intense.” More intense than Haakon? OMG!

Our tri team had a little reunion/holiday party a few weeks ago and it was so awesome to see everyone again, tacky sweaters and all. I miss them!

Go Team Holiday Sweaters!

Lily with our team honoree, Izzy Faith!

Coach Haakon and Vince both have impeccable taste.

These weeks since the triathlon have convinced me that I really do need a team or group of some kind to keep me going. I’ve had some workouts, but they have been few, far between and wimpy. I give up way too soon when I’m alone. I have a hard time starting and a tough time going if I feel the slightest ache or twinge.

Today I tried out a new group: the local WOW team. I met them through Coach Michelle and they’re really cool – about helping women to be fit, mostly through running and walking, for their whole lives. I like their philosophy a lot. Today I met up for a group run. There were about 15 women there at the Berkeley Marina (foggy but pretty). Anyway, the plan was to run for an hour. We started with a 5 minute walk to warmup, then people were going to run 30 minutes out and back. When people started running, I immediately had this thought “I’ll just walk” but then I remembered that I’m allegedly doing a half marathon in a month. I started running too and one woman just happened to be at exactly my pace. How awesome is that! We ran together the whole way and it was really pleasant and distracting. For the first couple miles my feet were SCREAMING at me and I know that if I’d been alone, I would have just plain quit. But I noticed the second mile, they were hurting less and by the third mile they felt just fine. We ran just a hair under 5 miles at a pace I hadn’t run in many months. I was so excited and felt so good when I finished, that I came home and signed up for a New Year’s Day 10k. (wanna come with me?) Yay! I’m ba-ack!!!

 

 
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