Terms of Addiction

they’re worse than the cats!

Addictions are bad, right? The very term indicates the inability to stop, the ever-increasing quest for the source of our dependence. It means we overdo whatever it is that we are doing, and that we can’t stop doing “it.”

My “it” is running. A running addiction? Is there such a thing? I have never thought I had a particularly addictive personality, at least not for the “normal” things. One glass of wine? Yup, I’m done. Drugs? Why on earth would I want to lose control of myself? How would that make my life better? Hmmm, seems like my OCD may have saved me there.

But books, those I am addicted to. My favorite authors, my favorite genres, I can’t put them down. I would read until 1 am to finish the book, then end up going into work groggy the next day (not that different from my hung over co-workers, I guess). And now running. At least I don’t run in the dark, so no grogginess there! Just the inability to move easily the day after a hard run.

What are the signs of a running addiction? These are my symptoms:
 I get jealous when I see other runners when I am working or driving
 I measure hills, wondering if I could conquer them
 I look at the scenery when I am driving with the thought, “this would make a great run”
 Reading what other runners are doing make me want to go out and do that too
I go through withdrawal when I am prevented from running by weather or happenstance
I plan my week around when I can run

Are you addicted to your sport? Are your symptoms the same as mine, or do you have others? And, really, do we care if we are addicted?

If we are 90 lb runners, made of sinew and bone, then yes, we need an intervention. And fast. But as I am at least 40 lbs away from that, I am not going to worry just yet. I am, of course, not the first person to delve into the idea of a running (or exercise) addiction.

In one article  the authors–Adam Goucher & Tim Catalano– compare the actual 7 signs addiction to how they feel about running. In it, Goucher & Catalano point out that when runners say we are “addicted,” we are not in any way making light of “real problems people addicted to substances or detrimental behaviors like gambling face.  Rather they are trying to communicate their passion for running and how much of their lives revolve around making sure they get their next fix.” Check out the article to see if you really do have the 7 signs of addiction.

And if you do, then check out this article to make sure your addiction is a positive one! Everything, even our exercise, can devolve if taken to excess. “The exercise addict has lost his balance: Exercise has become overvalued compared to elements widely recognized as giving meaning in a full life — work, friends, family, community involvement — in short, the fruits of our humanity.” Happily, although I do check off several of the addiction sign boxes, I still have a positive addiction 🙂

I still have days when I just don’t wanna!

 

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Weekly Rundown

This has been the quickest month! Every week I am amazed it is time to write another rundown. I have my Urban Raid coming up, only 3 weeks away now! And I still need more upper body work. I better get on it.

Monday: mostly off. Monday does seem to be the day I want to take off after working the last week. I did do 20 minutes of yoga, mostly to stretch out my sore muscles.

Tuesday: I got busy Tuesday! Watching my favorite motivator, American Ninja Warrior, I dragged out the treadmill. Doing some speed work (hah) I did a 5 minute warm-up, then did three 10 minute bursts of 6 MPH (as fast it will go) with a minute break in between. I did have to slow down to 5.5 MPH for the second burst, but the third was the easiest and I was back up to 6 MPH. I really do need some miles to warm up! Finished up with a 7 minute walk cool down.

Wednesday: Busy again. Took Bruce out for the mile run today, figured it was only fair. He was sooooooo slow on the last third, I could barely run. He definitely needs more practice. Guess I will have to make it a regular thing. I believe I heard a loud thud when he hit the floor in the library. Did 25 minutes of yoga afterwards, including some strength poses that I have been avoiding recently as I have been doing stretchy poses more. In the afternoon I went out and tacked up Charby. We worked on the road, there’s been some heavy rain and I was relatively sure that the ring would be tragic. She did a great job as always; Christopher Robin yelled like he was being tortured, even when we were right in front of him, during our 20 minutes of work. What a goober.

Thursday: Did a short, 2 mile relaxing run. I feel that I have been doing a lot of these recently, probably because the heat is not encouraging to push my limits or run too far. In the afternoon it was Christopher Robin’s turn to come out and play. I want to point out right away that Charby only yelled twice during our 30 minute session–no torture there. I tried to do some trust work while I was on him, but he reacts much better when I lead him to scary stuff–you know, lawn chairs and watering cans. After 5 minutes of circling and patiently coaching him, I got and led him to the chair, and then down to the garden. I hopped back on after circling the garden and rode him back past the scary stuff, then out on the road to do some regular training.

Friday: Had a fun time with my friend Amanda, she took me to a public obstacle course she had found with her boyfriend. I was a bit concerned about my Raid, I haven’t done any monkey bars since my playground days. I had a blast!

    

Although, not too impressed with the height of the net 😉

Saturday: Daisy’s turn for a run again. We went a bit further, did about 1.3 miles. While she bounced around the room (these runs don’t tire her out) I did a new ball/core workout from Pinterst. Oh wait, I attempted some new ball exercises for my core. Did not exactly perform them gracefully. Added in some arm weights too. Enough that I felt it the next day for my abdominal and arms. What a lovely feeling.

Sunday: Blah, rainy day. So I pretty much did nothing. Watched tv, went to see my husband’s Gramps, then came back to watch more tv. Gotta say, I have no regrets!

 

Motivation

 

What’s this? Could it be equality? An admission that everyone who exercises are not size 4 dolls with perfect musclature? I love it! 

Who’s that girl?  For the August issue of Women’s Running, we shot Erica Schenk in one of her favorite places to run: Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. The New Yorker, who has been a runner for 10 years, shared her thoughts on our cover shoot and the accompanying feature, where she shows off new running gear for women with curvy frames.*

I feel that there are several parts of both the Huffington Post article and the various articles in Women’s Running that are perhaps more eloquent than anything I can write about this subject, so quite a bit of this article will quotes. And, of course, there will be links to each article so you can read each one in its entirety.

For so long we have been faced with monthly exercise magazines covered with models with seemingly unattainably shaped bodies. I have respect for women who have the will and determination to get to that shape and maintain it. But let’s face it, a lot of that is based on genetics. No matter what I do, I won’t look like one of those women. I know, I was a size 4 in my early 20s. And I still had a pot belly and large thighs. Just  a smaller pot belly and large thighs 😉

I spent years trying to regain the glory of my size 4 days. Now I know what my body shape is and I accept (most days)  it. I exercise for the feel, not the look. It is a good feeling to reach this point.

Instead of focusing on what running does for my body, I now focus on the joy it brings to my life—like this moment in May when I had the pleasure of pacing my little brother through his very first half marathon.

It’s important to remember that runners come in all sizes—and healthy does too. You look fast when you’re striding down the street at top speed. You look fit when you’re holding a plank with perfect form. You look healthy when you’re making the best decisions for your mind, body and spirit.
Jessica Sebor, Woman’s Running, Why everyone can be a Runner

We all make judgments when we see other humans. I think it is a natural instinct left over from days when we had to pick the cream of the crop (tribe) for a mate that would keep us and our children safe, and which other tribe women might be a danger to our getting that mate. Ok, that was a bit simplified. But when we lived in caves, we lived off instincts and thought completely different. I have been trying to control my “judgements;”  in that after I make that snap judgement, I try to think of a good (re:nice) reason that the other person looks that way that spurred my judgement.

Of the many misconceptions that exist about plus-size people, the notion that they don’t care about fitness is one of the most narrow-minded.**

I can’t even lose my last 10 lbs. How on earth can I sit in judgement on people who need to lose more? It is so difficult and takes so long. The effort, the will to keep going and not eat what they shouldn’t for YEARS! And the huge amount of media and social pressure that tells them they should be able to do it.  So I encourage anyone who wants to run–or exercise in any format–to go for it. It will be hard. But find something you enjoy, and you will miss it when you take a day off.  If you don’t like what you are doing, try something else. And the heck with anybody else’s preconceptions.

“some women believe that since they have curves they can’t run or shouldn’t run. Running is for every body, any time.” –Erica Schenk**

As Taylor Swift says, “haters gonna hate.” Just do what you enjoy & ignore the naysayers

*womensrunning

**huff post

Weekly Rundown

A very good week. Weather was mostly convenient, and my legs were mostly strong. I did a progressive week, making each run longer than the last. My Friday run made me very happy because, well, we will get to that….

Monday: a day off–sorta. My friend Amanda and I went for a walk. Only 1.36 miles, but it was fun in our capital park. Lovely tall trees spaced out among the paths and many squirrels to entertain us. In the afternoon I played with Charbie. Still warm, so we just worked on some long-lining in the ring.

Tuesday: another Daisy run.  That little puppy does love to go. We did the same mile, and she just had a blast. I did 23 minutes of free yoga (so mostly stretchy) afterwards.  Later I played with Christopher Robin. Our long-lining did not go as well, he seemed to think he should have a say in where we go! We backed about 200 ft up the hill, which was really Charby’s fault. He was fine until she hollared, then he thought he ought to go back. But we worked it out in the end 🙂

Wednesday: really off. Really.

Thursday: 2.28 miles first thing in the morning. I tried something new with the horses this week. I want them both to be comfortable in the barn, so I moved Christopher Robin’ bucket inside and ran a line through the barn so Charby couldn’t be mean. As with most events with these two equines, the experience was a non-event. She looked at him, food dripping from her mouth, with her large brown eyes; and then went back to dinner. He is more cautious, placing only a foot and his head inside to eat. Eventually we will get his whole pony body in there! So today I fed them, then released Charby when I came back. In the afternoon I decided it was cool enough to put a saddle on her and make her do some work. We did 35 minutes out in the ring.

Friday: ah, my busy day! I have explained before about trying to get perfect timing to run out to meet my mom when she comes up to ride. Today I wanted to run 4.o miles, so I left at what I thought would be an appropriate time. I decided as I was running down hill (after that first mile which was mostly uphill) and getting a ride back, I should try to improve my times. So I ran a bit faster. My 1st mile–the uphill–rather depressed me at 11:49. I ran harder after that, and got 9:43 for my second, which was only the second sub-10  minute this year. So I pressed on and got 9:39 for the third. Well, this is a good trend! The last mile, which is actually the flattest, with a bit of an uphill, I got 8:56. First sub-9 minute mile ever! And still no mom. Flushed with my success I decided to start walking back instead of running on. Which was a good call, as my faster pace and the slower traffic on the highway combined to have me walk 1.23 miles before she caught up with me. Then we rode. And excellent day all around!

Saturday: a serious lack of motivation! It was 4pm before I decided I better do something. I did just over a half hour of my weight training with my core yoga.

Sunday: my husband and I were going to Portland to see the Tall Ships that had come in on Saturday, check out my other blog for pictures. Such beautiful ships. I did get out early again, while the beasties were eating; and ran 2.02 miles. Have to say, between Friday and the strengthening on Saturday, first mile was very slow.  Then I loosened up and the second mile was much better.

A very good week!!

Learning the curve part 2

 

A blog from my previous blog host site, thought it might be worth posting here, I doubt it was read that much on the other site! This is from last fall, and does follow my post Learning the Curve. Fortunately my road is in much better shape and I have again learned where to run going down the road 🙂

It was not a good day at work, and coming home to a run was a wonderful thing. Getting out there in the fresh air and focusing on making it up the next hill can really put problems in perspective. Or at least make you forget you have them. I seem to be doing a “progressive” week: started off at just over a mile, then just over two, and today I did just over three. Guess I know how far I will be running this weekend.

My “middle region” has been giving me fits this week, and I had trouble finding my stride again today. But as I ran down the dirt road and crossed onto the hardtop, it got easier. I decided I was finally relaxing and picked up my pace a bit. However, when I returned and hit the dirt again, once more I had problems. It then occurred to me that I can blame my town.

We moved onto this little dirt road in 1982. The town seemed to forget it existed except around tax time. In the 80s, there were only three houses on our road, so I am not sure I can blame them.

We were the last in town to get plowed, and that usually after my parents called the gentleman in charge of plowing to explain he had forgotten us again. We once had a spring storm that carved out a three-foot chasm in the road just above my parents’ driveway. It took several days to fix. Good thing we live on a loop so we could still get out!

Over the years, our road became more popular and now we have 10 whole houses on it.  They still drive by our road when plowing and come back when all the tarred roads are done to plow us out. But they grade the road a bit more often to get rid of the potholes these days.

Suddenly, however, our road has become a flurry of activity. They tarred the end of it. That was a surprise when I came over the hill in a run last week. Just an apron leading into our road. I’m not an engineer, so not sure how that helps. They widened the road a bit on that hill too.

But the big news was the granite they blasted out just above my parents old driveway. The road is at least twice as wide there now. Apparently, they are trying to prevent erosion and any other three-foot chasms (we only ever had the one). Then they graded the road. And got a bit slap happy with it. The rocks rolling around my road right now are huge. It’s like running on a gravel driveway and constant focus is needed to not twist an ankle. And they changed the crowning. I can’t find my stride because running where I am used to it is not where the road is flat now. Argh.

Now I have to figure out where to run all over again. And I can’t ride Charby on the road because of the rocks. Imagine having four bare feet on those rocks and carrying someone on your back.  Our back fields are slippery and wet due to the lovely wet snow we got two weekends in a row. Looks like she will be getting a vacation. Somehow I doubt she will complain.

Weekly Rundown

Weeks are going by so quickly. Feels like I was just complaining that last week was a wash! This week definitely went better, although Mother Nature kindly graced us with actual summer weather towards the end. Which is lovely if you have time to go to the beach, or cleaned up the boat (which we haven’t). But for outdoor work, there was a lot of sweat involved.

Monday: in an effort to beat the heat, I went to the local Rail Trail around 8 am and went for a 3.28 mile run. The trail had a lot of shade, and it was a nice run. Afterwards I spent the morning with my friend Kate. She is the one who locates graves for families, so we went to our local Veteran’s cemetery to locate two. It is a really lovely cemetery, and there was a service going on while we were there; we got to hear a 21 gun salute. In the afternoon I took Christopher Robin out to the round pen to do some work. He was a bit resistant, but I blame the heat and the flies. Couldn’t really blame him!

Tuesday: I worked my arms and core with a combination of yoga and weight lifting (I will at some point add this routine to the Drills page).  The first time I did this, I did 1 rep of 10. This time I did 2 reps of 10, and was surprised how well I was able to do it–I don’t want to say it was easy, just that I was able to do it well.  My arms and abs are starting to show a bit of definition, which makes me very happy. And hopefully my arms will be strong enough to pull me over the obstacles in my upcoming Raid! In the afternoon I decided to play with Charby. Instead of riding, since it is so hot, I put the long-line on her. This is basically a harness like for driving, but I walk behind her instead of having her pull a cart. It is just a different way of working with her, engaging different parts of her brain.

Wednesday: so humid. My phone app said 97%, not sure just how accurate that is but it certainly felt like we were walking through a fog. So I took the day off. I did take Christopher out later, when it was  a bit cooler, and tried long-lining him. I don’t know if horses just instinctively understand driving/pulling, or if he was trained earlier in life; but he took to it like a duck to water. He was so good, and had no confusion about why I was behind him instead of next to him or on him. He especially liked when I stopped to talk to a neighbor and he got to mow her lawn.

Thursday: this was a little bit of everything day. I realized that I hadn’t been taking Daisy out much, so I thought we should go for a run. I told my mom that I was taking her out for a mile, and she was concerned. Maybe we should just walk? Wouldn’t it be too much for her? Of course, I wasn’t going to pull her off her feet, if she needed to walk we would. Yeah, right. That little dog pulled me for the first third of the mile. Then the hill did slow her down just a bit. I had to convince her to turn around at the half mile point, and she trotted home just full of beans. She bounced around the living room while I did my yoga before finally settling on a chair. It didn’t seem quite as humid, so I threw a saddle on Charby and made her do 33 minutes of  work in the ring. She wasn’t as enthused as I was, but, as always, she did everything I asked her too.

Friday: I knew I had to get out early before the heat. But I didn’t wanna (insert whiny voice here) Somehow, I came to the conclusion that doing my flat drills would be better than doing an actual run. What was I thinking? Even at 7:30 am it was humid. My drills included walking in between rather than the running recovery I usually did. Otherwise, I would have been quite nauseous. The horses did get a day off, which I am sure they appreciated!

Saturday: finally, I got ahead of my mother! She was coming up to ride again, and once more I ran out to meet her. I have been trying to get to the end of the road, but she seems to have a lead foot and I never get as far out as I want. Of course, I didn’t start until 9:00 am, she leaves her place at 8:30 to get here around 10:00. So, hot already. I took a bottle of water with me this time. I am seriously considering a camelbak for my longer runs. It wasn’t a terribly long run, 4.4 miles. But it was long in heat! I was quite happy to see her car coming towards me. But: I made it past my goal–which turned out to be 3.97 miles. After she picked me up and we had coffee, we went out to play with the horses. We picked a strip of road (the flat strip I use for my drills) to ride on, since it was shaded and the ring would not be. The horses were excellent. Christopher Robin gave me probably our best ride yet, with no “discussions”, no head-shaking resistance when I asked him to trot, and he responded very well to the rein cues to pull him in a bit when we were trotting. Progress!!

Sunday: off. Ok, not really. More wood moving and garden work. Came close to 90 degrees, so that kept us drinking water.  In an effort to get more upper body strength, as well as be helpful, I had my husband give me a lesson on splitting wood. That was highly amusing for him. But I did manage to split some of the logs. And we moved  in more than a cord and a half of wood. That should help keep us warm this winter.  While he was sawing and loading the trailer, I worked in the veggie garden. Then I helped unload into the wood shed. And do some splitting. Oddly enough, by 3:00 pm we were both whupped. The horses got a day off. It was just too hot to make them do anything. By 8:30 it was still  in the 80s. We finally got the A/C put in the bedroom, which definitely made sleeping better.

healthy running

There has been a lot of buzz recently about whether jogging is or is not actually good for you.  I look at this research with a grain of salt. There always seems to be some research saying that this or that is not good for us…then the next month, it is good for us. Do milk or eggs ring a bell?

This was a long-term research project, and there are some interesting facts found in it.  The researchers, from the Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, found that running can be good for you, but not at speeds of 7 miles per hour and over. Running each week a few times at a moderate pace will improve your health and help you live longer. But overdoing it with high speeds won’t offer those same benefits.

It is important to emphasize that the pace of jogging corresponds to very vigorous exercise,” researcher Dr. Peter Schnohr said. “When performed for decades, this activity level could pose health risks, especially to the cardiovascular system:  if your goal is to decrease risk of death and improve life expectancy, jogging a few times a week at a moderate pace is a good strategy. Anything more is not just unnecessary, it may be harmful.”* 

Dr. Schnohr said there seems to to be an “upper limit for exercise dosing that is optimal for health benefits.”* So what does that mean to us? Well, for me personally, this is clearly not an issue yet. And unlikely to be. I may, at the outer limits of my goals, want to pursue a half-marathon. If I get over 30 miles a week, I would be very surprised. But some ultra-marathoners may be concerned. Both the speed and amount of jogging may be an issue for them. On the other hand, I know some older runners that have been running for years that are very healthy. I wonder if genetics of the people studied affected the results. It can be amazing that what is good for one person can be incredibly damaging to another.
The study has pointed out that light and moderate joggers do have lower death rates as compared to people who don’t jog at all. Dr. Schnohr,  who is the lead author of Dose of Jogging and Long-Term Mortality, said that excessive exercise for long period of time can be linked with diastolic dysfunction and coronary artery calcification. It can also stiffen the walls of large arteries. The study came to a conclusion that one to 1.4 hours jogging each week is best to reduce mortality but with no more than three days a week. Further, the study figured out that the people who jog between one hour and 2.4 hours in a week had 71% lower risk of dying as compared to the couch potatoes, who don’t exercise at all.Running for mere five to ten minutes provides several health benefits, revealed a new study. People usually believe that it is important to run long distances to stay fit. However, the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, has shown that running for even five to ten minutes significantly reduces the chances of heart attacks and strokes. Dr. Duck-chul Lee, of Iowa State University, the lead author of the study, said people who ran for less than an hour a week were found to have benefits similar to those of running for more than three hours a week. “Running may be a better exercise option than more moderate intensity exercises”, added Lee.**

So what I am hearing is those of you who are just starting out and running short distances are more likely to live longer! Oh, wait, there’s more:

About 25% of participants said that they ran each week to stay fit. Of them, greatest health benefits of running were sought by those who ran for more than six years, helping them to have 50% less chances of dying from cardiovascular disease.**

Ok, running isn’t bad in moderation? But there are limits to the benefits if you go overboard. But what is overboard?There are too many overlapping numbers in this report.

The US Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines  had recommended exercising moderately for 150 minutes or briskly for 75 minutes a week. But the new research has debunked that belief, showing that same benefits of running for longer time and intensity can be gained by running only 30 minutes a week as well.**

So, running is good. But not in excess. That pretty much describes everything, doesn’t it? Milk is good, but not two gallons a day. Pizza is ok, but not every day. Aspirin is good for your heart, but can thin your blood too much in excess. Common sense seems to be key here.

My mile speed doesn’t put me in the danger zone either. The report suggested that jogging should be done at a slow or average pace. This average pace was described as five miles per hour.**  That is actually about where I am right now. I am trying to improve my speed, but  I will going to be lucky to do 9 minute miles sometime in the near future.

I think, in the end, that this report doesn’t mean much to me.  If I want to run an ultra or a marathon, then I would take it into consideration. But there are benefits to running that this report doesn’t address. The mental benefits, for one thing. Running is my stress release–and I can’t be the only one who feels that. Running also makes me feel strong as I conquer new hills and distances. It improves my self-image. And it does help me lose weight, which is good for me. If I can run 5 times a week at a half hour or more, I will consider my time well spent 🙂

*www.digitaljournal.com

**http://www.mainenewsonline.com/

Weekly Rundown

This was not one of my better weeks. I think I might still have been tired from overdoing the previous Friday and Saturday. And then on Tuesday my recurring monthly visitor arrived (boys, close your ears). That is never a particularly effective week for me. I pretty much called it a wash at that point. Not that I didn’t exercise for the rest of the week, I just didn’t stress over how long or how hard I was doing it.

Monday: This should have been a clue for how the week was going to go: I had absolutely no motivation. Even though Sunday had been a nice rainy day with nothing to do besides watch tv. I did stir myself to ride Charby in the afternoon. I took her out to the ring and we managed 35 minutes of fun. Christopher Robin got to come along too. The first time I took him out when I rode Charby, he was, let’s say, excessively disruptive. So I put him in the round pen while I ride. He has been better, so now he gets to come along.  Sometimes he follows us around the ring–exercise for everyone!  Feeling better after spending time with Charby, I came in and did 19 minutes of yoga.

Tuesday: Pushing myself out the door, I managed a 3.84 mile run. In the afternoon I took Christopher Robin out to do some ground training. I had a whole plan going on, but 2 minutes down the road the deer flies zeroed in on us. I took him back to the barn and sprayed him, then decided to just work in the driveway. I had gotten horse food that morning, so my car was still down by the barn. Silly boy, I led him past where my car usually is parked and he was terrified of the hosta plants. If only I could have gotten a picture of this pony giving the hairy eyeball to a plant. I mean, I do have a Sum and Substance hosta, each leaf are probably two feet across. But it wasn’t going to leap out of the garden at him and he certainly thought it was! Then we were off to the garage area. That always gives him the willies. So many odd and strange tools and smells. We would go a few steps, then I would talk to him until he willingly stepped forward a few more before he got nervous. The tractor in particular seemed like a huge predator to him.  Our session was only about 12 minutes, but he showed down by the garage that he is trusting me to take care of him even in the scary areas, so I figured that was good for one day.

Wednesday: off! So sweet.

Thursday: I refenced for the horses so they had more grass to munch on. Two hours and many, many deer flies, not to  mention broken brush clippers, we were good to go. I also walked the length of the fence line and clipped all the brush that had grown up and was shorting the electric fence. Afterwards (and here I am quite proud of myself) I threw the bareback pad on Charby and took them out to see the new area. Could have taken them weeks to find it by themselves! Since I was on her anyway, I spent 24 minutes practicing my posting without stirrups. I am definitely getting better at it.  I love that running strengthens my legs for riding, and riding does the same for running 🙂

Friday: a quick 2 mile run first thing in the morning. I am trying to get back to running right after feeding the horses. The longer I put it off, the less energy I have for it. In the afternoon I took CR out for a ride. In 30 minutes we had 5 “discussions” about whether he really wanted to go in the direction I wanted him to go. Each time, after some circling and backing up (I finally figured out how to get his back-end going the direction I wanted to go), we would continue as I asked. As my mom says, some day he will throw in the towel and just go in the direction I want him too. At which point, she suggested, I better not fall off in surprise. Its unprofessional.

Saturday: My husband finally got 2 days off. So of course we had a ton of work to do clearing trees. I did some ab based yoga (20 minutes)early before making us some french toast. Which we then worked off with several hours of chainsaw-ing (him) and brush clearing (me). I had planned to ride Charby in the early afternoon, but some friends showed up and she got a pass. And I got a great night with friends.

Sunday: More hours of brush clearing. And wood stacking. My husband continued with the chainsaw and I moved A LOT of brush. Excellent arm and ab work: arms from dragging the brush and abs from bracing as I tossed it on the ever-growing pile. Not mention squats as I had to pick up the wood to stack. Tree was big enough I could only carry one piece at a time. Dang short arms. After waiting out the heat of the afternoon–summer has finally caught up with us–I rode Charby. She was rather pokey, so I cantered her right off. She always perks up after a canter, waiting for the chance to do it again. Everyone likes to run, right?  I did lose her attention when CR decided to go back to the barnyard, but we still got a good half hour ride in.