Days 111-112 – Happy 40th Birthday Earth Day

22 04 2010

I didn’t realize that just weeks before I was born in 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated. How are you celebrating?

This New York Times article: On 40th Anniversary, Earth Day is Big Business talks about the irony in the commercialism Earth Day now inspires. Like the banner ad I saw: “Celebrate Earth Day with Sun Chips!”

I don’t remember knowing about the holiday in its (and my) early years — even though I grew up with quite “earthy” parents. So at least now — probably because of the marketing campaigns jumping on its band wagon — my kids know about it — and how it relates to recycling, planting trees and turning off the lights (but the last one scares them).

If Anna wasn’t dressed in a Colonial Times costume today and it wasn’t raining, we would walk to school in celebration. If Zach didn’t have a kindergarten concert tonight, we might have a “garden dinner” instead of fast pizza. And if I didn’t work from home, I swear I would bike to my office!

I do plan to run 8 miles (on legs still sore from yesterday’s Exhale Core Fusion DVD), transplant dozens of daylillies from my neighbors overflowing beds and spend time working on a project for my solar client.

As luck would have it, Earth Day and I are both Taurus — an Earth sign. About.com says of Earth element people (also Capricorns and Virgos):

“Those with Earth signs often seem to inhabit their physical bodies which can be described in new-age terms as ‘grounded.’ Whatever their ground is — whether it is a high-rise office building or rural cottage — they’re sending out feelers through the senses. One expression of Earth sign qualities, and I’m envisioning a hippie chick here, might be someone who is easy-going and languid, aware of the local flora and fauna, often have leaves in their hair or dirt on their hands. They’re intimately attuned to the dance of nature, and love to spend time outdoors…Earth signs are here to shape, manifest, cultivate and revel in Earthly delights. Their gift to others is bringing form to ideas, making them a balancing partner for an idle dreamer with potential. They tend their own garden, and inspire others to make the most of theirs.”

As we both get older together, I hope Earth Day and I can influence my children to be the planet’s best inhabitants. Surely if I just plant enough daylillies and buy Sun Chips they will get the message!

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Days 103-105 – Time out

15 04 2010

Wow am I behind on my blog… Long enough that friends are checking on me to see if I’m okay (thanks Wendy!). The good news is I’m still exercising (late night Classical Stretch Tues., 5 mile run Wed. and Exhale Body Sculpt DVD today). Also good that my SmartCoach training plan scales back a bit this week with three 5-milers. The bad news is I am over-swamped with work.

When the kids were tiny, I worked late, late nights. 2 a.m. was a common bedtime, with painful 6 a.m. wake-up calls from my toddlers. This worked okay for years, because I could spend most days with them and hope to catch a nap with them in the afternoon (ok, Anna might have been watching Dora the Explorer while I drifted, but we got through it). And then, they started spending more time at school, I started working daylight hours, and lost my night owl adrenaline.

On Tuesday, I worked late into the night sifting through my media database to i.d. contacts who might care about luggage with built-in solar panels to charge iPhones and laptops. A very cool announcement (check out CNET if you’re really curious) from my solar client, but one that I had to email to hundreds of reporters at 4 a.m. Mountain time. Yep – I was up with the coyotes.

Proposals, deadlines, meetings, articles, pitches, reports…the center of my last three days. Not to mention spring sports season is in high gear. Swear I try not to overbook my kids, but afterschool activities are just overlapping in April/early May: ballet, baseball, soccer (x 2 kids), art, karate, glee club — whew — it’s a workout just getting everyone to the right place at the right time.

On a time-keeping note, a highlight of my week was getting a new sports watch to replace mine that died mid-run last week. $9.99 no-name model from Target (think I mentioned I lose electronics regularly), but it’s pink and just might make me faster. If it only came with extra time to read the directions…

Other good news — more than 1,000 clicks on my blog. Thank you everyone for reading and inspiring me (yeah Christy on the D.C. Cherry Blossom 10 mile!).

And finally, I give you the song that makes my 6-year-old move it like a hula dancer, and is #34 on my half-marathon playlist: “Shake Your BonBon” by Countdown. If you’ve met my son, you have to play the preview on iTunes and picture him leading the family butt shaking competition in the living room. Enough to wake you up for a 5-mile run every time!





Day 93 – Workouts a la carte

3 04 2010

Home from the mountains today, I wanted to nap, but needed to exercise. I tried the only Exhale Core Fusion DVD I haven’t done yet — Body Sculpt. 10 minutes each of upper body with hand weights, then abs and, finally, very relaxing leg stretching.

“These are probably the most difficult ab exercises you will ever do,” said Exhale Fred as he told me to put my legs on the wall and hold the top of the crunch — pretty much forever!

In spite of some trembling core muscles, I am liking the Exhale Core Fusion series, because you can put together multiple 10-minute workouts specifically for body parts that need work on any given day — and to fit the time you have. With 30 minutes ’til the dinner oven timer rang, I skipped the thighs and glutes today knowing my legs were tired from skiing and that I needed to save those muscles for tomorrow’s long run.

A warm Easter Sunday in the forecast seems like a great day to get back into my sneaks for 9 miles — fueled by the Cadbury cream eggs we will be having in the morning: breakfast of champions!





Days 82-83 – Wacky Wednesday

24 03 2010

“It all began with that shoe on the wall. A shoe on a wall…? Shouldn’t be there at all. Then I looked up. And I said, ‘Oh, MAN!’ And that’s how Wacky Wednesday began.” So goes the Dr. Seuss library book we picked up yesterday. Quite fitting for a late March snow that cancelled school and my husband’s flight — but turned to dripping slush in the sun by 4 p.m.

Temperatures tumbled back toward freezing Tuesday with the heavy, wet snow falling all through the night. Thanks to my bothersome cold, I traded a 2-mile run for Pilates — trying out my newly arrived Pilates Plus DVD. An Exhale three-DVD set from Amazon also includes Thighs and Glutes and Body Sculpt. Fifty minutes of Pilates was tough with lots of core work and good stretching.

I finished Born to Run the other night and think anyone who runs should read it. True stories about amazing endurance runners are hard to put down. It also ties in anthropology (why we might literally be born to run) and examines the history of running shoes that may be limiting our ability to run without injuries. It mentions Chi Running and other proponents of mid-foot striking and barefoot running. I’m not ready to chuck my shoes (if it ain’t broke…), but the midfoot strike makes sense to me as I up my mileage and try to limit wear-and-tear on my feet.

Since my husband practically cries walking through the living room after running, I’m obsessed with ways to heal and prevent foot/knee injuries. Finding similar answers is what started author/runner Christopher McDougall’s journey that lead to his book, which is now on Scott’s nightstand. I’m trying to get him to deal with his plantar fasciitis instead of just hoping it goes away. Sent him this Chi Running article that has good info on the subject.

McDougall even brings coyotes into his book listing them among animals that can run up to 40 mph, but don’t have endurance. So I’m thinking if I do see one I just have to chase it until it’s tired the way our carnivorous ancestors may have worn out their food on the hunt. Humans evolved to breathe for the long run, while even the speediest animals will tire out.

We didn’t see any wildlife sledding in the soccer field across the street today. Just our 40 mph lab who chased her tennis ball for two hours straight. Hopefully we wore everyone out on this snow day filled with arts, crafts, forts (indoor and outdoor varieties), hide-and-seek, baking cookies, movies and sledding. I’m now totally out of ideas. The munchkins are on their own for entertainment while I pop in a Firm DVD. Time for an outside run tomorrow assuming there are no more wacky shoes on the wall!





Days 72-73 – Elevation and motivation

14 03 2010

Unlike our typical ski weekends, a fun weekend with friends and our families at a beautiful house in Grand Lake near Rocky Mountain National Forest does not require burning calories. It does include consuming calories as part of the agenda!

Jo-Anna encourages me and my blogging/exercising mission on a daily basis and was not going to let Saturday be my first day off in 2010 even if we were on a holiday. (She happens to be the same friend who has kept me triathlon-ing for five years…so I need to thank her.) We went for a walk and talked at 8,000+ feet before lounging on the cabin deck in the sunshine. That counts in my book for daily “moving” — at least while you’re on vacation — if not exercise.

Supportively, Jo-Anna knew there should be more and was willing to try the Exhale DVD I had dutifully packed. We changed into Pilates pants, cleared the kids’ toys from the living room and rearranged the couches. After technical difficulties — no batteries in the DVD remote, so we couldn’t get past the intro — we resorted to attempting to stretch on our own.

This, too, I count as better than nothing — even though I don’t do near as many repetitions or hold my body correctly without instructors. I tried to show Jo-Anna my new Exhale moves — only a great friend wouldn’t laugh!

Today, we headed home driving 75 miles through dry, then snowy, then icy (Berthoud Pass), then rainy and finally dry again conditions as we came back to the Denver prairie. To make up for yesterday’s almost-a-rest day, I stuck to my half-marathon plan’s 8-mile run — also in dry, snowy, icy, rainy conditions.

During an hour and 20 minutes, I have never seen such changing weather. The only thing that makes running in freezing rain welcomed is when you’ve just been pelted in the face by hard snowflakes in the wind.

What made the long, wet run bearable were the Born to Run chapters I read in the car. If you’ve haven’t read the book or heard of the Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run, check out the race website… 50 miles out and back on Colorado Rocky Mountain forest trails and mountain roads going from 9,200 to 12,600 feet — for 30 hours straight, through the night, in the cold and changing August weather!

If you complete the race in less than 30 hours, you get a silver belt buckle… that’s it…and to say you are a surviving ultra-endurance runner! Living here, I’ve heard a lot about this race and the amazingly impressive, crazy people who attempt it. Reading more about made me embarrassed to call my 8 miles a long run.

For 8 miles of changing weather in my neighborhood at only 5,200 feet I thought about how anyone could possibly get her mind and body to go 92 more miles — uphill — in the dark. I really could not let myself complain…or feel worthy of a special buckle just yet!





Day 69 – Don’t forget to exhale

10 03 2010

50 degrees at noon, but snow flurries by 4 p.m. Good day for 50 minutes of Exhaling in the living room. Third time for the Exhale Core Fusion DVD for glutes and thighs was not a charm — just as challenging as the first time. Shaping myself into a pretzel AND lifting my bent-behind-me leg for several repetitions caused a burn in a rarely used backside muscle.

On a more pleasant note, walking Zach to school today, I noticed daffodil stems peeking up in a south-facing front lawn! A highlight of my day as I impatiently wait on the north-facing side of the block for spring to come. March and April are really long in Colorado with cold days — and often snow — interrupting spring’s progress. Guess it’s a fair trade-off for the winter sunshine we enjoy.

I need more spring weather to keep me on the running train. After last week’s taste of near-60 degrees, I’m ready to pack up my winter layers for a while. Maybe I should add a countdown to Mother’s Day, when it’s finally safe to plant annuals and the snow birds come back to Colorado.

In the meantime, I’m holding my breath … waiting for spring.