Just letting you know that I'm moving my somewhat random blogging over to kindazennish.com on wordpress. Come on over and let me know what you think!

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Mud Endeavor

This is an extremely late race review, Mud Endeavor Dade City was July 20th.  But it just so happens that was when I fell off the blogging wagon, and this race was too fun not to mention. Honestly it was long enough ago that I don't remember all of the obstacles or the order, but I do remember it was a REALLY well put together run, well enough that I would be happy to be in any run Mud Endeavor puts together.

This was the stickiest, muddiest run I've done so far.  There were a bunch of people who lost their shoes, some at the very beginning of the race. I was wearing my minimalist toe shoes and they lasted to almost the end of the race - then I got both feet stuck and couldn't get them out of the mud.  I had to get them out without the shoes then pull the shoe out with my hands - and I thought for a couple of minutes they were lost.

As great as that is, it wasn't what made the race so great.  I don't know if all of the people working at the obstacles were volunteers or part of the crew but they were awesome and they made the race.

The obstacles had lots of options.  For example, we had to climb several HUGE walls with 2 by 4s to help you get up.  There were 4 places to go up, each with the 2 by 4s arranged in ways to make it easier or harder.  The people working at the obstacles actually gave advice on how which one to take, how to get through the obstacles, and cheered you on.  On top of that the water stations had tons of water and it was CLEAN which I've found isn't always the case at these runs.

I ran this one with my sister. Here we are before and after, slight difference.

This is the first race I ever did that I was able to go up a rope.  I was super excited but in the interest of full disclosure it was only because of the guys helping people at the obstacle.  But I still had to put in enough effort that my arms were useless for a while afterwards - definitely something I would like to get better at.  You never know when being able to climb a rope may save you from zombies after all. 

In spite of how proud I was to get up that rope, it wasn't the hardest obstacle.  They had several, I think 3 layers of black tubes like the one in the picture below in a pyramid and you had to climb them.  The picture is of one at the park that is maybe a foot and a half wide.  The ones they had were so tall I could barely reach the top of the bottom pipe.  But what made it impossible is the fact that it had been raining the whole time, so they were insanely slippery.  Even the biggest of the guys were having a difficult time with this one.  I had to get a boost up.  Going down the other side took a leap of faith all in itself!

I think the final things that made it so fun was that it was a night run and it was just me and my sister, and neither of us are strength rock stars.  There was a series of walls we had to get over were she gave me a boost and then I came back around and gave her a boost.

We had to be the biggest nerds on the whole course but I did every single obstacle and in this race that felt like a big deal!


Dreadmill? Hardly.

I have a treadmill my grandparents gave to me that I keep in the garage but I don't use it as often as I thought I would. As most people will tell you it's boring and since it's in the garage it's also super hot; running outside is more comfortable for the most part. I taped a poster of sharks in front of it to look at while running, but it still wasn't the most exciting thing to do.  Then, it got stuck on the highest incline.  Then, it just stopped turning on.  Not good, but it didn't matter too much since I so rarely used it.

However, I live in Florida, lightning capital of the universe. The weather will be great, I get dressed for a run, get my running watch on, get the headphones from my son to listen to Zombies, Run!, walk out the door, and a lightning storm starts.  Often. So when I had the chance to get a treadmill that works for $50 I didn't turn it down.

This time I put it in my living room.  It faces the sliding glass door since it would have to be pretty much in the middle of the room to face the TV and I rarely watch TV anyways.  But it does sounds like a great thing to do while running! I can't help but think I would run a lot further if my mind was more occupied.  Sometimes I quit running simply because I get bored.

So far that hasn't happened.  I listen to music and Zombies, Run! and watch the numbers go up (calories, distance, things I don't pay attention to like carbs, how do you burn a particular number of carbs?).  Somehow just zoning out, watching the numbers change and thinking about my form the time just flies.  Maybe it's because I'm in air conditioning, maybe it's because I'm not listening to see if something is following me, or maybe it's just because it's new again I just don't get as bored or as tired as quick as usual.  I'm 100% certain air conditioning has a lot to do with it.

I still intend to run outside a lot but it's nice to have an alternative on the nights filled with lightning.  Like tonight. I can see some major benefits to both running outside and inside.

  • Running over pebbles and  the unknown makes me pay attention to my form and I think it improves my balance
  • It toughens up the bottom of my feet so I can run over different surfaces - I'd love to do more barefoot trail running!
  • Waving at my neighbors as I run by is the only contact I have with most of them
  • Passing the occasional armadillo or deer makes for a good story later
  • If I get tired of running I still have to get back home

  • Air conditioning! 
  • I am running more often because the treadmill is right there and lightning is no excuse
  • It still strengthens the muscles in the feet

Long story short?  I don't care which one is better I love having both options!


Lost that Blogging Feeling

I 'm not sure why but it seems I lost all interest in all things computer over the last two months.  I stopped blogging, stopped participating in Twitter run/healthy something chats (the fact that I like motivational twitter chats is embarrassing yet true), even looking at Facebook or surfing the net.  I'd like to say it was because I did some get off the couch and get outside challenge, but if I had tried that you KNOW I'd be at the computer every day.  Actually it was probably more the fact that at work I comb through databases most of the day and just got tired of looking at computers and of thinking in general.

Whatever.  I am not the most consistent person or the best at convincing myself I should do things that I don't wanna do (ya, that has to be said like a 3 year old would). 

I've always been kind of cyclical (sounds better than back and forth or irresolute). The same way I lost any desire to write about anything  I suddenly found it again.  I even signed up for a class, Stunt Writing for Personal Growth on Canvas Network.  Sounds kind of dangerous, it should be fun!

I haven't tried a class on Canvas Network yet but they offer free and inexpensive online classes.  I found out about them when my sister asked me if I wanted to take Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead with her.  Um, yes.  Of course I want to take a class based on surviving a zombie apocalypse.  You know you're signing up too. They have quite a few classes that look interesting but I'm going to wait to sign up for anything else until I find out whether I like these classes or not.

Well, I'm off to pick up my son.  I intend to be back soon but you know how that goes...


I May Have Found Mornings!

I am the queen of the snooze button.  So much so that it's a bit embarrassing.  I've set my alarm for 5:30 am for as long as I can remember so that I'll get something done in the mornings and for just as long I've hit the snooze button till at least 6:15. Sometimes I even go online and favorite a work out the night before that I pretend I'm going to do in the morning, which makes me feel like I tried a little bit even though I didn't. It's just so comfortable to lay around when I should be getting up!

Monday I set a date with my sister to go running on the beach. I had to get up and be there at the ridiculous hour of 7 am, after all she was waiting for me.  Mind you that meant actually getting up and driving there even earlier than 7.  But I had a great time. We saw dolphins, talked about our mud run next weekend, and generally talked crap.  I never, ever run in the morning so that night I felt like I was supposed to be running.  I even wanted to, but I know I'd regret running more than every other day let alone twice in one day.  My hips would so get me back for that.  So instead it was a glorious night of getting stuff done, (ya, glorious laundry. I never said I wasn't a nerd) messing around on the computer, and generally feeling like a senior ditch day. I knew it was allowed, but I felt kind of like I was being bad anyway.

Monday night I bought Zombies, Run! 2 (half off, now is the time to try it!) hoping it would help motivate me to run more consistently. Three times a week is my currently undone but suddenly looking do-able goal. Then just to be sure I called my boyfriend and asked him to please ask me if I had got up with my alarm  Tuesday, and if I didn't to please give me as  much shit as possible for it.  That's right, I don't trust myself so I have to drag other people into my lack of motivation.

It worked!  I got up, fed the dogs and went for a run.  Two miles with one short rest.  I should be going a lot further after all this time, but I keep falling off the running wagon and starting over.  Which is odd since I actually like running; I have a very strong streak of self-destructiveness.  It's one of those things that acknowledging just doesn't help. BUT.  I did the two miles and was back in the house by 6:02.  I didn't quite finish the Zombies, Run! mission because I was nervous I would run late getting ready for work.  I'll do the same one next time, it hurts the brain to leave it incomplete!

So long story short, all day Tuesday I felt great.  I had energy to spare and I came home knowing I had already got my workout in, I could get other stuff done. Just mopping the floors, but I was glad to get it done!

I think I may be hooked.  I'm seriously having difficulty waiting until it's time to run again even though I know perfectly well that running more often will likely lead to injury. My alarm will be set for 5 a.m. again tomorrow,  here's hoping the running bug sticks with me!


Back to Yoga!

Am I the only one who doesn't seem to be able to keep up with doing all of the things that I know I need to do, even when I'm only trying to do the things I like?

I love doing yoga, it somehow leaves you feeling relaxed and invigorated at the same time.  I don't even know how that's possible, but it is. I used to do yoga pretty much every day, sometimes as much as an hour but most days about 20 minutes.  In my humble opinion it cures pretty much everything.  Your back hurts? You're over stressed? Aching shoulders from working on the computer all day? Yoga can help that! In my case it's usually my hips that are sore, and pigeon pose and others like it are a god-send.

For probably the last 6 months I've only done yoga after a run, and even that has been getting rare.  But I found a pretty neat challenge that has me back in the right direction.  Even if I am a little late to the party (as usual).

DoYouYoga has all of the videos uploaded on YouTube for a 30-Day Yoga Challenge. I've only done the first 2 days, but I'm already hooked on yoga all over again.  I even got up only 10 minutes after my alarm went off to do Day 2 today.  If you knew me at all you'd know that is a major big deal.  I hate getting up on work days.  Funny enough I'm fine getting up early on weekends though. Go figure.

So far, after a big 6%(?) into it I recommend you try their challenge! It's a lot of fun, though I forgot what a challenge Warrior One could be.

Here's hoping that by the end of the 30 days it's easy again!


Early Morning Beach Run

My sister and I have been talking about meeting early Saturday mornings to run on the beach for months now. It has to be silly early, because she has 2 year old twins and we have to be back before they wake up. Yes, there are other people there to watch them if we weren't back in time, but you know moms are the ones who have to be up with the young ‘uns.

We finally made it out this Saturday, and I am totally hooked. There wasn't as much soft sand as I had hoped for, but I wouldn't have been able to run very far if there had been! The little bit of dry sand there was kicked my butt, as expected. But it was really fun to alternate between running on the road, wet sand, dry sand, and trails all in one morning.

An invitation to Run!

We even saw a few dolphins though of course they split when I pulled out my camera. Maybe next time...

I was a bit surprised that I was the only one running barefoot there considering a lot of it was beach; I’m beginning to feel like the only barefoot runner in the entire state of Florida. Thank goodness for online groups!

Since I ran so early, which I never do, Sunday I kept feeling like it should have been a run day. All day long I felt like I was cheating.

We’re not going next Saturday because we have the Mud Endeavor City Lights run that night, but after that this will be a definite habit. I wanted to go again the next day! Running like that makes for sore ankles though, and once a week is probably plenty to start. I’m already jonesing for the next time though. Life is good when you have things to look forward to!


How Spider Ants and Coffee Addiction Saved my Life (Probably)

I’ve decided its past time that I start preparing for the zombie apocalypse.  I’ve always been big on horror movies and especially love the monster movies, who doesn’t?  But some things have come to light lately that make me realize it’s about time to take this stuff seriously.   For instance, have you noticed the huge uptick in zombie movies? I used to be the only one, now everyone is talking about them. I figure it’s the government’s way of preparing us. Also, bath salts? Enough said.

What finally pushed me to get prepared was the little spider ants in my coffee pot.

Really, they were gross.  They moved right in to the actual coffee machine and then after a while they layed eggs or something and twice when I poured water into the top of the coffee maker spider ants came running out by the millions.  I didn’t count them, but it looked like millions. I didn’t get a picture of this unbelievable occurrence because I was much too busy waving my hands and jumping around like a two year old.

Obviously, I threw out 2 coffee pots.  I decided not to waste my money buying a new one because it seems Florida is just too weird to allow me to own one.  So now I blow 2 bucks picking up coffee on the way to work everyday and on weekends I go down to my dads’ and drink coffee with him and his friend.  His very-into-preparing-for-a-disaster friend.  Maybe you know someone like him. He’s the one who talks about how guns will be outlawed within the week (so you better go buy some), social unrest is causing a civil war next month (better buy lots), and a nuclear bomb may or may not be coming at us right now (not gonna help a bit).  But it’s all good, because unlike ME, he’s prepared. When I shamefully admitted that I run at night by myself without a gun he looked at me like I said I ran with nothing on but maybe a glow light strapped to my wrist. Where exactly am I supposed to carry a gun when I’m running?  I don’t even bring a key.

Well I HATE when someone one ups me (not really, but in this case) so I proudly announced how I’ll be just fine; I’ve been reading zombie preparedness sites. Another one of those looks.  And then he announced that when I have nothing and come knocking on his door I won’t be allowed in because I won’t have anything good to bring to the party. Well, that wasn’t the exact wording but there was mention of food.

FINE.  I will just have to prepare for my own party.  But since preparing for civil wars, social unrest and hurricanes is boring I’m preparing for the zombie apocalypse instead.  Some people better be stocking up on rum and coke if they plan on knocking on MY door!

As displayed by the fact that I’m still back down to running a mile after my last illness I like to take little steps in all things.  So my first step is to find a place to hoard water, canned goods, and other stuff to be determined.  I have a walk in closet that I haven’t cleaned since I bought the house 7 years ago and I’m working on getting it cleaned out to use a portion for storage.  It’s a bit more paranoid than my usual self but the idea of storing food and water in the sweltering garage sounds like food poisoning to me, so the closet will do.

I managed to get it almost half way cleaned out.  The goal is to finish clearing it out by next weekend and then start stocking it with very necessary stuff. Since preparing for the zombie apocalypse is almost as important as running I've decided to post updates about how the preparedness is coming. Sorry in advance.


Dog Smiles Rock

I really need to start taking my dogs for walks more often. I wish I could take them on runs with me but the fact is they seem to make a conscious effort to trip me so that’s out. The last time I took Lelo for a run with me I literally ended up on the ground. It seems adults are not supposed to do such things, there were 2 neighbors outside who saw me fly over my dog and they both instantly, casually walked inside. Wow. I must have the friendliest neighbors ever. But it did leave me laughing so hard I could barely get back up, really it's for the best that they went in.
I have a decent sized back yard for the dogs to run around in, so it’s not like they are put out by having to stay home or anything. But when the dogs see me open the closet where their leashes are kept they are instantly SO happy and excited, I really like taking them.
Usually such insanely-happy-dog-events are saved for the weekend so we can go over to the park across the road for our walks.

I think we can learn a lot from dogs, if we're willing. Take joy from the little things!  They are so excited when we go out to the car and as we get out of the car and start walking.  Everything is awesome.  Did you see that, did you smell that, did you hear that? 
I have an older dog too, who I can't take for walks anymore because her arthritis will act up and she'll have an even harder than usual time walking the next day if I take her out walking.  She has a horrible time just getting into the car some days.  But nevertheless, she gets upset when I take the other two out without her.

I finally found the answer to what to do with Lucky so she isn't always the one left home but she doesn't over exert her poor legs.  If I fold down one of the seats in the car she can get in by going from the floor on the opposite side to the regular car seat to the folded down seat and lay down there.  Since she is lying on the back of the folded down car seat she's up high enough to look out the window, but she can still lie down and not worry about her legs being unstable as I drive. She loves it!  We can go to the drive-thru at the McDonalds up the street, get me a coffee and her a cup of water (ya, she's that cool) and head home and Lucky is in dog-heaven.  She better appreciate that since I won't even take my kids to McDonalds!

Honestly it can really be a pain having dogs to take care of.  I can't pick up and take the kids somewhere for the weekend, even staying out the entire day requires calling someone to go by the house because the dogs need to go out and they need to eat and they simply need someone around. It's kind of like having 3 more kids, except they aren't welcome to go with me most places.

But at the end of the day I really can't imagine not having dogs around.  They have a simple joy for living that people just don't have, and it's happily contagious (or obnoxious as hell, depends on the moment).  If you don't believe that just show a dog a box of treats or walk towards their leash and ta-da, happiness and joy abound.

It's probably for the best that we people don't show that joy for the little things.  I'm pretty sure if I did someone would commit me anyways.


Kayaking and King

As much fun as it is to kayak on the bay I have to admit it can be kind of creepy. The water is hypnotic. You know that the little fact that you don’t see any life out there other than the fish jumping doesn’t mean there is nothing out there. There could be anything in the water, just beneath as far down as you can see. The bay water is pretty dingy so that isn’t very far down at all.

I like to paddle out and then relax in the kayak, letting the water take me where it will. There’s always a point when I’m just staring down into the water watching the patterns of the sun and the chop. I feel like I can almost see something in the water, it’s just not quite close enough to the surface to see what it is. The brownish patch sliding under the kayak could be a manatee, it could be a shark, it could be anything.

I know that what I’m seeing is (probably) the light refracted through the water, a bit of plant or sometimes maybe a school of fish but my mind always has to bring up Steven King’s short story The Raft. Seriously, every single time.

The funny thing is my friend and I where kayaking last weekend and after we passed a large patch of (creepy, oily looking) seaweed he admitted he had been thinking about The Raft too.

It’s amazing what a reach books have on how we see things. I’ve always been a huge reader and the stories I like the best have always been either scary stories or spy books. Or anything with a super-hero in it. There’s more but I’ll leave it at that.

Point being it is amazing how often in day to day life I am reminded of a book I read, a story I heard, or a movie I saw. Without all of these stories I’m pretty sure my outlook on life would be completely different.

It’s probably thanks to Outbreak that if someone coughs in a movie theater I have an instant urge to cover my nose and mouth and leave. If an old man dressed in rags at a gas station tells me I should turn left a bit down the road you can bet I’m turning right. Or, more likely, turning around and going home. I’ll sleep in my car before I’ll sleep in that creepy looking house that I just happened to get a flat in front of.

I did stay in a cabin in the woods up in Flagstaff more than once, but I did NOT open any boxes or look in any closets and if someone would have knocked on the door I wouldn’t have answered, let alone walk out into the woods to see if I could find them.

Jaws anyone?


Barefoot Ramblings (with my shoes on)

So I've been at my new job about a month now.  I get off work at 5 EVERY DAY and I'm home by 5:40 if I  drive slow.  Um, ya I'm still thrilled.  I never used to be home before 6:30 and that was the one week a month I didn't have to work a later shift. 

What difference does it make?  Well, I can do laundry and other fun stuff during the week and leave more of my weekends to feel like weekends.  That alone is pretty nice.  Today I actually took the dogs to the woods across the way for a walk, came home and ate dinner, and it's still light out.  Craziness!

I used to run the trails over there barefoot when I first started the barefoot running thing, but since I've seen signs over there for wild hog hunts and someone on Facebook posted a picture of a very, very large cat in that park.  Now I get freaked out when I hear a lizard crawling through the leaves over there. One bad thing about running barefoot (besides the occasional stepping in yuck) is I feel a bit more vulnerable. What am I going to do, kick something attacking me with my bare foot?  Great, I'll break a toe but at least it won't matter because some rabid beast will be eating my leg anyway.

I've recently realized that since I started running barefoot in January I've worn shoes a lot less in general.  I've always been one to wear shoes to work that I can kick off under my desk but these days I rarely even wear them when I go visiting the family.  I tend to take them off when walking in the rain because water makes my sandals slippery. And honestly, that makes perfect sense to do, but I never used to, I'd slip around on my shoes all night instead.

It makes me kind of wonder.  Why do people not do the sensible?  It's sometimes a bit embarrassing to walk around barefoot in public (bar hopping lets you get away with it though) just because no one else is.  I have no desire to make any kind of statement but if it's more comfortable and easier, why not?

The biggest thing I wonder is if other people who run barefoot find themselves wearing their shoes less and less?


Short Run and a Little Yoga.

I haven't been running too much lately, I've just been too tired.  I decided I'd try a mile again tonight, and I did it but I had to stop in the middle for a few minutes.  Between the heat, the humidity, and being sick the last few weeks I don't even know if I should try and run or not, but that sounds like a bit of a cop out so I figured I better!

So I did my slow mile and then looked on line for a short yoga video.  I didn't feel like doing the after run yoga I usually do so I decided to try one specifically aimed at feet instead.  After all, if you're going to run barefoot you should watch out for your feet, right? This one felt kind of silly while I was doing it, but my neck and feet where both undeniably relaxed afterwards so I can't complain!  However, it's not going on my after a run list since it is very focused on just the two areas.

Yoga Therapy for the Feet and Neck with Erica Fritch

It's been much too long since I did yoga regularly, it is soooo good for everything!  I'm going to start looking a bit harder for a good yoga video on line specifically aimed at barefoot runners, maybe I'll find something awesome.


One Barefoot Mile to Motivation

So, I haven't run since I wrote No More Excuses.  On the plus side I DID say it would be a couple of weeks before I got into my new schedule.  On the bad side, really? An entire month without running? 

I do have good excuses though. I was out of town for a week and that gave me a reason not to bother running until I got back (2 weeks down). By the time I got back my ulcerative colitis started acting up. Still is actually - you'll have to trust me - that'll keep you from wanting to go running by itself. But to be honest I'm not that sick, it's nothing but an excuse at this point.  

Today is National Running Day.  I don't know why or even what that means.  However, it sounds impressive!  So I decide that the least I could do was go run 1 slow mile.  So I did. Hmmm, amazing what happens when you try.

My mile wasn't fast and it wasn't amazing. Garmin says my pace was a 13:07 mile which is slow enough that I should probably be embarrassed to even say it in public. But I'm not. Because somewhere on the way I found my motivation.  I remembered that I actually like running and that it makes me feel great.

And if that wasn't enough?

I finished my mile and started walking home thinking I may have to do a mile again tomorrow instead of waiting a day and running further.  I was feeling very good but a still little upset with myself that I hadn't run in so long and that I wasn't running 10 miles by now. After all, if I'd been running steady since the first day I ever started running I'd be running ultras by now.

As I was walking home I passed 2 guys who asked me if I was really running barefoot.  Um, yes.  They were tough looking guys but they told me I must be made of steel to be running barefoot.  Um, me?  There isn't a steel or tough bone in my body.  But it certainly felt good to have some one mistakenly think so! As if I wasn't motivated enough after running that reminded me that running can be all about perception.  I was embarrassed to only run a mile and these guys thought I was somehow tough for running at all barefoot.

All in all it was a funny, motivating night and I think it was more than enough to get me back on the running wagon.  Too bad I can't run with a six pack of beer or I'd run it over to that house and celebrate my next mile with them!


Lessons in Traveling

I think that if I did not have kids and dogs I would love to have a job that involved a lot of travel.  I had to go out of town last week for the whole week; it was the first time I've gone anywhere out of state by myself at all let alone for a week. I was a wee bit nervous.  I loaded my Kindle with books, packed a backpack with clothes and my all important GPS and was off. 

First important lesson- if you can get away with just a backpack when you are flying it is IDEAL.  No luggage to check in and pick up and nothing to shove in the overhead compartments on the plane.  Just pushed it under the seat and was on and off the planes ( 4 of them!) easily.  Of course not even most guys are as lazy and light a packer as I am.

Second lesson - pack light but bring an extra t-shirt.  I had to wear but the tank tops I had for under my work blouses when I went out in the evenings, good thing the weather was perfect!

Third lesson I actually learned last time I went out of town - always try the local beer!  I don't really drink much beer, but I made the rule and I must stand by it.  Oh, the trials and tribulations.

My first night there I drove through down town then went back to the hotel for pizza and merlot, the second night I went to to park then stopped at an Italian restaurant for pizza and merlot, and my third night I went to The Lazy Goat for pizza and a beer. and merlot.  Is there a theme there?  The Lazy Goat is very nice, but I have to admit I wasn't thrilled with the pizza, just because it had a pesto sauce and I don't really care for pesto.  For some reason I still try it about once a year.  Seems 2013 is not the year I suddenly realize I love pesto.  Oh well.

The company was good, the service was great, and the view was awesome.

After dinner we walked around downtown a bit, I even saw one of the mice on Main.  I hadn't heard of them before or I would have gone mouse hunting!

Oh, and by the way, my last night there I had hummus and pinot noir.  Branching out!


Paddling 3 Sister Springs!

I’m about an hour from Crystal River, but I’ve only been there once. I took my mom to swim with the manatees, and that was beyond awesome. There weren’t a lot of manatees but one baby kept coming up to everyone to check us out. His (her?) mom hung out a bit away from us, I guess just indulging his curiosity without actually wanting to be around us herself.

I’ve also been to Rainbow River (same area) twice tubing and that was a lot of fun too. Lots of fish and great scenery. I thought at the time it would be a great place to paddleboard; the water is smooth and clear.

Then as part of the Tampa Bay Blogger group I was invited to paddleboard with Manatee Paddle, a company that will be officially opening their doors June 1st in exchange for writing a review about the experience. Who’s going to say no to that? We toured 3 Sister Springs on Crystal River. They also have a tour on Rainbow River which I think would be pretty nice too, offer lessons and a even sell boards and accessories.

Manatee Paddle offers two boards for the tour/rentals. The first one I tried was the Surf Imaging board, which is aimed towards the beginner paddler. It’s nice and wide. Lots of us had a child that would be sitting in front, and that’s the board they suggested. It was great, very stable even with my daughter sitting on the front.

After paddling around near where we put the boards in for about 15 minutes my daughter decided she could handle her own board, so I gave her that one and tried their SUPLove boards. Loved it! It’s narrower than the beginner board I bought so it is SO easy to steer and paddle! When I have the money put away for a second board this is definitely one I’ll look at.

Anyways, back to the tour. The gentleman who owns the business has his sons guide the tours. They started out with a quick lesson – how to hold the paddle, how to get on the board, just the very basics. After paddling around the immediate area long enough for everyone to get comfortable we headed to Three Sister Springs in hope of seeing some manatees. We toured 2 of the three springs, but no luck with manatees. The springs themselves were well worth the trip though. Absolutely beautiful! People were swimming in the springs, but I am way too much of a cold wimp so I just chilled on the board and enjoyed the scenery.

We headed back after checking out 2 of the 3 springs. The group spread out pretty far as we paddled back. My daughter and I were lucky enough to see a group of manatees on our way back. There were at least 5 of them, since it was in the bay instead of the springs it was hard to tell how many. Unfortunately we were pretty close to the end of the group and the wind had picked up enough to make staying in one spot a challenge so we didn’t get any pictures or stay to watch them too long. It was a little frustrating finally seeing them and being too far from the group to let anyone else know!

I would definitely go back and do this again. Some friends and I am planning a camping trip in the area, if it’s after Manatee Paddle opens in June we will most likely head over to rent some boards from them! We were told that the best time to see manatees in the area is in the winter months when they like to go to the springs because they are warmer than the bay. Seeing the manatees is obviously a plus, but Manatee Paddle is worth the trip even when they are not there, just for the fun and the incredible scenery.


No more excuses!

It’s painfully apparent reading this blog I am horrible at keeping a schedule. I have lots of things to blame it on – I’m tired, the kids, the dogs, the lightning outside, the list go on and on. But the number one thing that honestly messes me up is my work schedule. It can be anywhere from 8-5 to 11-8pm depending on the week.

Plus, work is an hour and a half from my house. That’s 3 hours a day, 15 hours a week just spent sitting in my car. Geez, seeing it in writing is just sad.

In a couple of weeks that will be all over! I start a new job less than 40 minutes from the house, and it will mostly be 8-5 every week! That is over an hour a day gained plus the same schedule every week! That’s a lot of exclamation points, but I’m pretty excited to be gaining all that time. I’m going to have to get in the habit of actually cooking dinner and eating it with my kids. What a concept!

I’m really excited about this but I am also a little nervous. I’ve blamed my changing schedule for my lack of structure the last few years, so now that it is no longer an excuse I’m going to have to step it up.

So, I start the new job in a week, but then in two weeks go out of town for some training. No way I’m sticking to a running schedule in a strange town by myself. But after that it’s all bets off and no more excuses. Time to sign up for a half marathon and get to it!


Keel & Curley Winery Tour

I’ve wanted to tour Keel and Curley Winery for a while, so of course I jumped at the chance to go to a complementary tour and wine tasting with the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers in exchang for blogging about the experience.  Sounds like a win-win to me!

Blueberry fields!

I actually wrote a post about their Wild Berry Fusion Wine in a infrequently updated wine blog my friends and I created ages ago. (Who knew we couldn’t drink enough new wines to blog consistently? or that by the time the bottle(s) was gone we'd forget to blog at all?) Also, I once bought bottles of their dry and sweet blueberry wines for a taste-test of my own. I like them both by the way, and also the semi-sweet. Back then I preferred the sweet, but now I prefer the dry. I would say that means my wine-tasting ability has matured, but I kind of doubt it.

All of their wines were good, but then it would be difficult to find a wine I don’t enjoy. If you prefer a wine that isn’t too sweet and dessert-y then you would love the dry blueberry and the dry blackberry. They were both wonderful; I will beyond a doubt be buying them again in the future. Since you shouldn’t really trust my ability to not like a fruity wine I’ll tell you that my boyfriend really liked both of them, and his taste usually runs the opposite of mine when it comes to both wine and beer. If we agree on a wine them you need to try it!

The Black Raspberry Merlot was really good as well. Honestly the only wine I was disappointed in was the Key West- Key Lime. It’s one of the ones I was looking forward to trying and it smells divine, but the taste wasn’t what I expected at all. However, it won gold at the 2010 Florida State Fair International Wine Competition so what do I know?

If you prefer a sweet wine them you have to get the Sweet Blueberry and the Tangerine Zinfandel. I actually called that last one candy wine, and I have to admit I was the only one at my table that really liked it. But I REALLY liked it.

The wine I was most excited to try was Monica’s Florida Frost, an ice wine. I’ve read a lot about how excellent ice wines are but have never tried one. It was beyond a doubt excellent. And the boyfriend hated it, so any dessert wine lover would be happy with it. I have to admit, my wine-snob taste buds came out (I only have like 2) and I think that it would be more enjoyable as a full glass of wine. It seemed to be one of those wines with a lot of layers, as you drink it different tastes may come out. I don’t know, but someone may have to get me a bottle for my birthday so I can fine out for certain! At $25 a bottle it is a little out of my everyday wine price range.

April 27-28th will be Keel & Curley's annual blueberry festival. It’s free admission with music and lots of food and vendors. It sounds like it will be a great family event if you are in the Plant City area. They’re even going to have blueberry wine making and blueberry farming and growing tips classes both days. I am very tempted to go Sunday just for that (and the wine of course)!

Last thing to mention, the tour was really neat.  The only disappointment was that our tour guide, Sam, said he'd join us at the wine tasing with his Solo cup and he didnt.  He was great, it would have fun! 

Sam and the wine bottling machine

Want to know what this odd looking contraption does?  I don't quite remember, you'll have to go take the tour and ask Sam yourself!


Stupid Calories. And an Armadillo

Well, I have been doing a good job eating healthy this week, but not an excellent job sticking to my strict plan. Biggest win? Staying away from the vending machine (except once, but they were baked chips!) Biggest loss? The fact that they make popcorn 3 days a week at work and as soon as I smell it popping I find myself walking away with a bag. This isn’t air popped popcorn, this stuff is worst for you than the stuff at the movies. I guess next week’s big goal is no popcorn! What the heck, start small.

I’ve never been one to look at the calories on stuff, and now that I did I wish I’d never looked! Turns out one of my bigger calorie splurge is my most-nightly drink.

• Angry Orchard Ginger Hard Cider = 210 calories a bottle (yes, one, single bottle!)

• Mike’s hard lemonade = 220 calories

• Sangria = about 150

• Captain Morgan and Coke= 127 calories for 5 ounces

Since I’m on a hard cider kick I grabbed a 6 pack of Michelob Ultra Light Cider and would you believe it is 120 calories a bottle??? Seriously. It has the word light right on the label. Not just light, ULTRA light! All the other flavors only have 95, that’s just not fair.

I can see I’ll be done with this whole reading calories thing soon. When I started reading labels for sodium and weird stuff I cut out a ton of food, if I keep reading calories I’ll just quit eating before you know it. OK, that was a lie, I like eating.

On a more interesting note, I ran about 2 miles last night. It was my first run in a bit over two weeks. It was freezing (for FL) for most of that time and I am a huge cold wimp, and then it just took me a few days to remember that I like to run.

The interesting part is I almost tripped over an armadillo! I was running along watching for whatever might be in my way in the street and this thing was right on the edge of the grass, I didn’t see it until I was about a foot from it. Apparently I tend to focus a bit too much on what is directly in front of me. That resulted in a graceless but funny side jump of a few feet. Thank goodness I my neighbors on that part of the street are rarely out!

Oh, another cool thing.(Nerdy cool, but whatever) I realized on my run last night that I am no longer having an issue with pebbles and little things bothering my feet when I run barefoot! I read that eventually that would happen but I didn’t think it would so soon. I haven’t barefoot trail-run in well over a month; I think it’s time to try it again! I just need to find a running partner, I get way too nervous listening to what sounds like a bear and is probably a lizard in the trees.


Time to Get Back to Me!

On the way home I was thinking my most common train of thought lately, I need to lose some weight. For quite a while I was down to 124 which is low enough that I don’t feel the need to change when I pull on a snug t-shirt but I still felt like I’d like to get down to 118. Why? I don’t know; that just is the number that is always in my head to aim for and I would have liked to lose a couple inches.

Then I crept up to 128 and was not thrilled but ignored it, four pounds didn’t make a huge difference in my opinion of me. Now I have been consistent 135 for a couple of weeks and I think I have finally had enough. When I got pregnant with my first son I only weighed 96 pounds, and I went up to 140 something. That was a huge weight gain, and here I am almost to that weight for absolutely no reason.

Changing jobs from unloading trucks and stocking shelves to sitting at a desk made a huge difference. But that change happened 8 or 9 years ago, I think by now my body’s used to it. I have no more excuse except that I’m eating too much and moving too little.

There are lots of things I am not thrilled about in my life that I can’t change so I look on the bright side and deal. But this is not one of those things. This is all me, my daily choices got me here and now I chose to go back to not feeling the need to wear baggy clothes all the time and not feeling bad about myself but ignoring it.

So Monday I’m going to start my first ever real diet, planning all my meals and the whole 9 yards. There are a couple of things that always get me when I try and eat better.

• I don’t want to think about what to have so I just grab a cheese crisp or even a donut on the way to work

• No accountability. I always try this on my own and since no one will even know if I cheat it makes it awfully easy

• I decide to change something and to start NOW. Yes, at midnight or 5 am or whenever the thought crosses my mind

So how am I going to avoid these pit falls? Planning!

1) For a couple of weeks I’m making food painfully easy for myself.

• Every morning I will have a whole grain cereal. If it’s a work day I’m going to have Bob’s Red Mill 10 grain cereal with just a touch of honey. It’s really good, healthy, filling and its 140 calories a serving, plus the honey.

• For lunches I’m going to make a big pot of cabbage soup just because it’s nothing but vegetables and for some reason I’ve been craving it lately.

• For dinner I’m going to have a smoothie. I always have to wait for my dinner to digest before I go running and a smoothie is few calories and not too heavy to run after drinking.

• I’m a big snacker at work so I’ll bring bags of veggies to snack on. I love grape tomatoes and sugar snap peas so that will be my staple.

2) I still have no real life accountability, but I’m going to use this blog and the online communities to post how I’m doing- good AND bad

3) Instead of jumping into this I have been planning to start Monday. Between a birthday party and Easter this weekend I know I’d be off to a bad start, so I’ll try and be smart about things and start on Monday. Plus, I’m giving myself a pass for a weekly night out. I may make up for them by fasting a day until I get down to my ideal weight, but either way I’m taking them.

Wish me luck – I’m at a place where this HAS to happen, I am just tired of me letting myself become this other person who I just do not like. I can even tell a difference in my energy level and mood from before I gained this weight.

I’m 5’2”and small boned. Starting at 135 pounds and a pregnant looking 35 inch waist, but on my way to where I want to be. Anyone else starting a get-fit, back to yourself journey? I’d love to hear from you!


Vacation day!

I took Tuesday off work to go kayaking. Why don't I do that more often?

Monday it poured and Wednesday it was windy and wet out but on Tuesday the water was smooth as glass and the weather was perfect.

We set out from the pier in Philippe Park and instead of going towards the bay we went left under the 580.  I've never gone over there before just because we tend to head towards the bay hoping to see wildlife.  Kayaking under the road while cars are breezing overhead is pretty neat.  Whenever I kayak near a bridge it makes me think of driving to work and looking over to see someone boating.   Always a wish I was there moment.

On the other side of the road is a train track you could go under and just a large peaceful area to drift in. We didn't go as far as the tracks though, I definitely want to go explore over there another time. We saw a bald eagle fly right over us; I'm always amazed to see one. 

When we headed back we had to wait to go in because a boat was being put in the water.  While waiting we saw a dolphin a ways away, so of course decided to head back out.  They never go too close but there were a few of them jumping and playing pretty close to the park. I knew we'd see dolphins since I forgot my camera!

I think that makes it officially kayaking season again, I am so glad winters are short and mild here!

After that we stopped in for lunch at the Bar and Grill we usually go to.  It's so nice to be able to stop in a restaurant still wet from the bay and no one says a word, they just point you to a table and bring coffee.  Just another positive about living in vacation land!

I'm already planning my next outing, looking for new places to set out from in the area.


Starting Where I Am

I started the 100 pushup challenge on the 4th. Tomorrow I’ll be doing the last day of week 2. I have to say, it’s do-able but brutal. It went from intervals that added up to 24 to doing 71 last night! The most in a row was 17 though. May I just say 17 is a LOT? My form kind of went to hell on the last 2 or 3. I’m going to try and do W3D3 tomorrow, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be re-doing this week.

That’s not a bad thing though. The bad thing would be to give up. Which, actually, I’ve done before. This time I decided to start easier and I am going through the plan using modified pushups. My plan is to get to the end of the program and then start over from the beginning doing regular (real?) pushups.

I always say that people should start from where they are, but the idea of actually doing it myself seems to have completely slipped my grasp until lately.

Starting from the beginning really worked for me running barefoot. I’ve skipped from the walk/run program to the run/walk program (confusing much?) in the book I bought, Running for Mortals. I have to admit I also skipped a few days here and there. But overall I have been following the plan and when I am sore I take days off until I’m not and that is really working for me.

I’m already running as far as I was before I hurt my hip and started running barefoot. I am progressing as slowly as I need to to get used to the barefoot thing and I am finding that the simple act of adding a minute of walking here and there makes running not only less intimidating, but also easier to progress.

So far the only aches I’ve had since running barefoot are my actual feet and sometimes ankles. But it’s not an I hurt myself ache, it’s an I’m using muscles that didn’t know they were there ache.

Hmm. Turns out my advice isn’t half bad. Maybe I should start taking it more often.


Pirate Booty Hunt

Went and did the Pirate Booty Hunt at Varn Ranch in Plant City last weekend. It was definitely different than any other run I’ve done yet. Three and a half miles, but I don’t think anyone ran the whole thing. The trick was you had to look for little pirate chests that could be traded in for booty.

It started on a narrow path – we had to walk because everyone in front of us was and there wasn’t any way around without being a bit pushy. But soon enough the dirt road opened up and everyone was able to space out a bit.

They put little orange flags all along the path to follow, and pirate signs that meant time to start searching! Around those everyone spread out off the path looking for the booty. My friend’s daughter found one that got her a entry to another Beach Beast run, can’t beat that!

What made it fun is the flags led us completely off the path quite a bit, through the trees and close enough to the swamp that the water was coming in my shoes. I kept my eyes open for alligators or snakes but all I saw was ample evidence of cattle that had been there. I had asked if it was barefoot friendly and was told there were no rules against it but they’d prefer no one ran barefoot. Gotta respect the people putting on the race and due to the frequent cattle bombs I’m kind of glad I did!


Cycling for Dummies (that would be me)

I have finally stopped cycling once every three or four months and started riding a couple times a week. Not seriously, just about 30 minute at a time. When I rode completely randomly I’d ride way too far and then want to die or at least not walk for a few days when I was done. I’m being a bit more reasonable now.

But here’s the thing. I can’t find ANYTHING about how I’m supposed to be doing this. I don’t know how I’m supposed to sit, what to do with the gears, or why so many people have those bikes were they lean forward against the handlebars. Not a clue.

Go Google running and you will find 400,000 plans to follow depending on your goals. You’ll find you should relax your shoulders, not cross your arms in front of your body, and hold your hands relaxed like you’re holding raw eggs. Google barefoot running and you’ll find you should NOT heal strike; you SHOULD run tall and look where you are going (not down) and all kinds of other interesting tips.

Now Google cycling. You can find how to choose a bike. Who cares? I already have a super groovy radio flyer looking bike my mom got me at Walmart for my birthday a few years ago. You can find how to change a tire. OK, that’s good stuff. I watched the videos and poured through the articles a few times. But that’s about it. Is there no particular form you are supposed to strive for when cycling? No tips and tricks, no way to hold your arms, no warnings to relax your shoulders or anything else. Is it really that easy? Just get on your bike and ride?

Somehow I think not. Maybe you have to be in a secret circle to learn this stuff. So my current goal is to figure it out. What DO you do with those gear things? One way and it’s too easy to spin the pedals, the other way it’s too hard, sounds like a losing proposition to me.

But I WILL find out. Stupid secret circles.


Eyes in the Dark

Saturday my sister called to let me know she had rented a camping spot at the lake about 5 minutes up the road and wanted to know if we wanted to go with her. Mind you she didn’t want to SLEEP there, just hang out until we were ready to go home and sleep in our warm beds.

A five minute drive and I get clothes that smell like a camp fire AND s’mores? I’m in!

After s’mores we got bored of course (no food?) and decided to drive over to the very long more-grass-where-there-used-to-be-a-lake-than-lake pier. A fun trick we’ve found since living in Florida is that if you shine a light at an alligator you will see the red reflect off its eyes, it’s an easy way to find them in the dark.

We saw one and were properly awestruck (Arizona-ans never seem to get over Florida stuff). Then it decided to check out the light being shone on it and swam right up to the pier. Very cool! Except that my mom was quite convinced that alligators could jump and tried to convince us it would jump 20 feet straight up to get us on the pier. Sometimes I think she’s crazy gullible, sometimes I think she gets us with more jokes than we will ever know.

Anyway, on the way back we saw more eyes and my dad turned the truck to watch what turned out to be a rabbit in the woods. After being silly amused at watching a rabbit for a while we turned away and saw a bobcat that was also watching the rabbit. I don’t care what state you are from, that’s dang cool. It was looking at us over a little log for a minute or two, probably thinking of how he could repay us for scaring away the rabbit.

Why is it that when I bring my camera I see pretty flowers and when I don’t I see everything else?


Seems I Needed a Schedule

I can't believe I haven't posted in two weeks. Not because I am so consistent in writing here, but because I usually write when I run and stop writing when I stop running. Which I’ve actually been doing consistently!

I have been running ever since I decided to go barefoot, just kind of leaving the house and running till I didn’t feel like it anymore. That was getting me a bit further than a mile, but not much.

I was still more in the reading about running mood than an actually running mood, so I picked up another book, this time Running for Mortals, co written by The Penguin himself. I loved his articles in Running World!

The book is greatly motivating (as expected) and it has the biggest variety of running plans you can imagine. For 5 and 10K it has a walk, a walk/run plan, a run/walk plan, a run plan, and a kick butt run plan. I decided to swallow my shouldn’t-be-existing-anyways pride and start with a walk/run plan. To make myself feel a bit better about it I’m doing the 10K plan instead of the 5K plan. I started on the 12th, and actually haven’t missed a day yet! That’s somewhat miraculous for me.

I squished and modified the first few weeks into two, and will be starting week 5 next Sunday. No further modifications though, I want to be sure not to overdo it and not to hurt myself. I keep reading that a relatively lot of people get stress fractures in their feet barefoot running and though I don’t know exactly what that is I DO know exactly that I don’t want to find out personally.

There are a few things that are making this work and helping me stay consistent when I usually wouldn’t.

• Running barefoot is new to me and just fun
• All but one night of my no-run nights I bicycle
• I’ve never ridden steadily so it’s double the fun and double the I’m actually getting better at something
• It’s written down on a paper calendar, so I get to cross each day off. I love to cross things off a list!
• The running days go back and forth between harder and easier days, so I’m not ALWAYS trying to do better than the day before, some days are just easy-breezy
• The plan calls for running 4 days a week starting this week, which I’ve never done before!

Long story short, I’m easy to amuse and always have been. But also, it’s nice to have a running plan to follow. I haven’t done that since starting running with the Couch to 5K program.

This is a (squished) 10 week plan, I’m hoping I can last the whole thing, and then move on to something a lot more running and a lot less walking. Every time I look at the plan my mind wants to start cutting out weeks, but I am going to try and follow it pretty close so I don’t end up hurting something.

Did I say I was going to keep that short?


Good Samaritans

I hate to admit it, but I am not generally a people person. People are just so mean and rude; it makes me crazy and a bit ashamed to be one of us sometimes. But as great as I can be (being human and all) at having a negative attitude someone always has to come around and change it.

Tonight I was heading out to the dentist’s at the last minute, of course. I have to drive quite a ways down a narrow, one lane in each direction road to get there and not far down it there was a car parked funny almost in the trees off the side of the road and a guy standing in the road, waving his arms.

My bad karma thought process… car jackers? An accident? Why are they making us stop when I have somewhere to be in 20 minutes and I see someone with a cell phone?

As it turned out there was an electric wire down, right across the road from windshield height to the ground as it crossed, completely blocking the road and strategically placed to cause a horrible accident. These people had seen it about a minute before we came up the road and stopped what they were doing to direct traffic in both directions around the wire. We could only pass on one side of the road so the 2 directions had to take turns to get by.

I find it amazing that there were about 10 strangers there working together to make sure everyone else was safe. After all, they too were driving somewhere and they could have just driven around it and went on.

I don’t know if I am just easy to impress or not, but it seemed like a really big deal to me.

I see people go out of their way for others fairly often here, though usually it’s for animals. There’s a lot of opportunity for that in Florida! I’ve seen a semi pulled over while the rough and tough looking driver carried a big turtle to the side of the road, people stop for ducks, deer too close to the edge of the road, even a big alligator once.

My favorite was a red corvette that whipped past me on that same narrow road. He was in such a hurry I jumped when he went by because he wasn’t even in my rear view mirror a minute before. Then I came around a corner and he was just stopped. Why? We waited about 5 minutes while a couple of sand cranes walked slowly across the road.

I saw these cranes at the lake, not crossing the road (insert joke here) but still. Kind of makes you all warm and fuzzy doesn’t it?



I've found two very strange things about this barefoot running bug I seem to have picked up. More than two if I really wanted to get into it.

The first is that a person really can have muscles they never knew existed. I could feel the muscles on TOP of my feet after my first couple of runs. Seriously, what do muscles up there even do? After walking barefoot on the trails for almost an hour Saturday and then running a mile on the blacktop Sunday my entire feet and legs up to about 3 inches above my ankles felt like your arms should after a good workout. Not aching, but certainly there. It was pretty funny actually because the rest of me didn't feel a thing. I can't say I ever experienced that before.

The other really strange phenomenon I've found is 'phantom pebbles' or sticks, whatever the case may be. It happens every single run, trail or street. I feel something stuck to my foot and when I go to brush it away there's nothing there. But I still feel it when I start running again. Makes me feel a wee bit neurotic to tell the truth.

I ran a mile and a half tonight, which is a quarter mile longer than my last run so I’m pretty happy with it.

I did brush the same non-existing stick off my foot like three times. My goal for my next run is to only stop and brush off things that aren’t actually there once per item. Neurotic much?


Running accidentally?

After I got home tonight I decided not to go for a run.  No shame in that, running every other night is a bit more than the 3 times a week that always used to be my goal that I never kept. 

After work my insanely active lab pup got me playing with her, which somehow got my energy back up to where I decided just to run to the end of the street and back for fun.  Next thing you know I had run my mile way faster than usual, just for fun.  What is that? Somehow I accidentally got my mile run in tonight without even trying.

Tomorrow is a day off and Friday, then a Saturday trail run which is just too fun to skip.  I love walking or running in the woods.  I do wish I could train my puppy to run with me without pulling since she loves the trails as much or more than I do, but that is something I'll just have to work on.

I don't know if the difference is that I'm running barefoot now, that I took a few month off, or that I'm no longer pushing myself to do anything but what I want to but somehow running has got fun again. 

Now if only I could get started with weights again!


To Push or Not to Push...

Keeping on track, ran my mile yesterday. Good thing since it's crazy windy outside tonight.  I may be on the treadmill tomorrow though because we're expecting rain and I'm not ready to run in the dark and the rain barefoot! 

I know there are two sides to everything but when it comes to running it seems like the two sides are SO far apart that one or the other should be right and the other should just be obviously wrong.  But of course it's never that easy.

On one hand I read a lot about how it's important to progress slowly to be certain that you do not injure yourself. Don't run yourself into the ground, don't run your fastest, don't run till you are ready to drop or you'll regret it the next day.  This happens to be true, there is a fine line between I had a great run yesterday and I can't feel my legs.  Or I wish I couldn't.  But taking this path means that improvement is slow.  In my case really, really slow.

I've been running mostly off but plenty of on for about 2 years and after finally getting up to a 5K I had to start over and at this point I'm just back to a mile. It's an easy mile, and I don't get tired of running at all, but I'm trying to follow people's advise to start and progress slow to avoid injury.  That's all well and good but it's amazing how hard it is, sometimes I feel like I should run as fast as I can and as far as I can just to see what I can do. But I think taking it slow is good advise for me right now because at this point the muscles in my feet kind of ache the day after running sometimes.  Not like I hurt them, more like your muscles feel after a workout that was hard enough to feel but not brutal enough to make you wonder how exercise could possibly be healthy. Running barefoot is certainly pointing out muscles I didn't know I had!

On the other hand there are people who say if you aren't pushing your limits all the time you aren't doing it right. Whatever it may be. These are the people who run a marathon after running for 9 months and people who are running ultras.  Sad truth?  How I wish I was one of them!  I'd love to be one of those people who do amazing things and who know their limits because they've pushed themselves to them and maybe even past them. I'm amazed by every one of them, and I don't understand how they do what they do without injuring themselves on a daily basis. Is it because they are physically stronger?  Just because they want what they want so badly that there is no choice but to keep pushing?

I always wonder if people who push that hard are always in pain and just ignoring it or seriously just that good.

I'd like to blame genetics, whatever it is I"m not real likely to ever run an ultra or even a marathon.  I'd really, really like to be able to say I'd done one but it would take me like 40 years to get to that mileage at my current rate and then I'd be in my 80s and what are the chances? I'd also love to rough it in Alaska, but um, it's kind of cold there.  Heck, I'm already worried about trail running barefoot in the summer because of ticks and Lyme disease. 

How do people do it?  I think it's mind over matter.  Some people's minds are strong enough to bring them past any pain and past any obstacles and right to their goal, whatever it is.  My mind tells me relax, don't worry about it.  Be happy with where you are and don't compare yourself with other people.  And that's all good, some people even strive for it.  But while those people who push themselves to the limit already know what they are capable of I'll always wonder, what if?

At least I have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc to keep me company while I ponder.


A Whole Mile Barefoot!

I had a pretty great weekend, and I'm finally feeling like I may be able to start running again. Taking it easy and not setting goals so I don't over do things is a great idea, but it's also a lot harder than it sounds. I want a goal!  But at the moment I'm still trying to keep with taking it easy since I do still have a minimal amount of pain in my hip after a run.  But it's minimal!

Saturday I went for a hike on the trails around the lake near my house, it was almost an hour of barefoot hiking and it was pretty fun.  I went with a bunch of family.  I'm pretty sure they were just spiting me when they announced they had lost the trail and just cut through the woods.  Evil? I think so.

Sunday I went for my first mile run in the neighborhood.  It felt great to finally do a run that was actually measurable.  Granted it was only a mile, but it works for me.  So for this week my goal is to run a mile every other night.  I've heard so much about how people over do barefoot running and get stress fractures that I'm a little paranoid to add much distance at a time, and really a mile is a huge jump in itself.

I used to run with my iPod, setting a distance goal and agonizing over how slow I run.  I actually lost said iPod, so I am being forced to ignore all of that and it's actually pretty fun!  So far I don't miss the music but I probably will get something to replace it. I'd especially like to try the music apps to help with cadence.

I'd really like a GPS so I can go running or hiking on the trails without worrying about getting lost that also tracks pace and plays music.  Oh, and I also want it to be cheep. So far I haven't even seen a GPS that plays music but who knows maybe I'll find the perfect gadget if I keep looking...

Any suggestions?


Another go at Barefoot Running

I decided to try running barefoot again, but since running on pavement isn’t really working for me lately I went over to the park across the street and ran on the dirt road there. My 11 year old son went with me; he seems to be developing a love for running that I am both surprised and super happy about.

When Alex runs with me in his sneakers he sounds like a herd of elephants rampaging up the street, he slams his feet on the ground so hard it hurts ME to run with him, so I didn’t know how well he’d take to running barefoot. Turns out he loves it; he says it’s easier to run without shoes. Even on a road full of shells!

The path we chose looks nice and smooth at a glance, but if you look closer it’s covered in tiny shells and pebbles. Strangely we felt them more when we were just walking then when we were running. There’s a narrow sandy path leading to the road we wanted to run on, so we wore our shoes in and then tossed them in a bag and left it on the side of the road. We didn’t want to go in barefoot because a lot of people ride horses on the trail and shoes or not there are some things I do not want to step on.

We passed a couple teenagers when we were walking in and then again after we ditched our shoes, I have to admit I felt a bit silly running down the path with no shoes on when I had just had them on a few minutes ago. I muttered something about doing an experiment to them as we passed. That got a laugh out of all of us, though probably for different reasons. I’m going to have to work on ignoring the are –you-bat-shit-crazy looks. Shouldn’t be too hard, not like I haven’t got them before.

Oh, and just to make things a little more interesting we noticed these signs on the way out. Oops.