Boundless

I have written before about how much I enjoy American Ninja Warrior and the fact that I find the athletes inspiring. I found two more athletes that are, I think, even more impressive the ones the attack the Ninja obstacle. What do they do? They run. And run. And run. Sounds simple, right?

 

While the obstacle course tests agility, strength and will (something I still love and find inspiring), these guys are running Endurance Runs all over the world.  These are multi-day races that can be over a hundred miles.

The races are captured in a series following the runners, Paul Turbo’ Trebilcock and Simon Donato.  The series airs on Esquire, although I yet to see a current episode. I found it wandering through the channels in the morning hoping for something to watch.

The first race I watched was in Cambodia, following an ancient path called Khmer.  At 142m, it was run in six stages. One runner, a young woman, had to be airlifted out after she went into  shock overnight. She had ‘overrun’,  far exceeding her body’s ability and not replacing her electrolytes. She had in fact drank a good deal of water, but it didn’t have the electrolytes her body needed.  A good lesson for all of us, no matter how far or often we exercise!

what a gorgeous place to run

Endurance running, usually of fifty miles or more, have become very popular. But Simon and Paul are tackling the eight most difficult in the world. One was across the Sahara desert, which had incredible vistas. It was incredible how small these humans looked trekking across the desert.

 155m of heat and sand…and beauty  

One  of the things I love about this series is the attitude of the runners. They are all willing to help each other, it is more about the effort and companionship than being the first to cross the finish line–although they all want that too, of course! But good sportsmanship is the rule of the race.  And strength  of will the top most need.

“…it’s not the physical side I’m worried about, it’s about controlling your fears, because  we are all afraid of things, and tackling these challenges give me a sense of accomplishment, not necessarily for getting to the top, but for actually getting on the wall and controlling the fears….”
                                        Simon Donato

                                                                              Turbo and Paul

 In these eight races, they do a bit more than run. Some are bike races, and some are kayaking. But the majority are run, and run over extremely impressive terrain and distance. The two that stand out to me were the Scotland and Mongolian races.

In Scotland the race was twenty-four of the highest mountain peaks in twenty-four hours. The views were breathtaking, but the trails were back-breaking. It was one of the harder races they tackled.

The Mongolian race was a Sunrise to Sunset, racing 100km around the mountain in the length of time it took the sun to ride the sky.

  dawn painting the sky as the runners start

Check out Paul and Simon’s travels for yourself on the Esquire channel,  or at Esquire.com.  Between the personalities and the views, this show is fun to watch even if you don’t plan on running a step.

 

Weekly Rundown

Now here is a surprise: my week did not go to plan. It was a good week in all. I am not quite sure where I went awry. I do know the ten-hour days on the weekend did not entice me to exercise. I was just too tired in the mornings to contemplate actually getting on that treadmill. Coffee and cuddling with Daisy sounded so much better.

Monday: off. This was a planned day off. So something went to plan 🙂

Tuesday: treadmill run. Another plan come to fruition.  I actually came home and sat for a bit, and ran around 4:30. As you may remember, once I sit I tend not to get back up, so I was pretty happy with myself.

Wednesday: off. It was supposed to be a treadmill run, but I was just not feeling it.  Was there guilt? Certainly. Did it make me get on the treadmill? Nope.

Thursday: Treadmill run. On schedule! I actually didn’t get to the treadmill until 5:30, so once more I was proud of myself for not saying it was too late and calling it a day. And I extended my time by another song, and a bit more speed. So it was a good day in all.

Friday:  yoga. Another day to plan! Usually my freeform yoga lasts anywhere from 18 to 23 minutes. Imagine my surprise when I finish and it was 31 minutes. I didn’t do many more poses, which means I am holding them longer. A very good thing. And it did feel marvelous. Yoga is just such a rejuvenating exercise.

Saturday: okay, here is where the plan really went off the rails. Originally Saturday was going to be a day off, but since I took Wednesday off, I planned on doing a make up day. But once I was in the chair with my coffee and Daisy, getting back out seemed just so hard. Until I was forced to do so to feed the horses, and then my day began and I had to get ready for work.

Sunday: off again. Ah, I hate to even type it. Same as the day before, the coffee and Daisy just sucked me into that chair.

Tune in the same time next week to see if my plan was followed this week! It is bound to happen at some point 😉

Gearing Up

We all made our resolutions and now it is time to follow through with our fitness plans. What is the first thing we need? Well, gear for our chosen sport of course!

And here is my words of caution: don’t go over board.

You love Wii tennis, and decided that you need to take up actual tennis. After buying all the necessities for tennis, you realize you couldn’t hit a real ball with a four-foot racquet.  Now what?

   +   +    = 

Or you get talked into a Polar Bear Dip (you crazy person, you) and realize you love the water.  Instantly you buy the best bathing suit ever and a year’s membership to the local Y; only to find you sink like a stone to the bottom of the pool.

Now, I am definitely not saying don’t try something new. But also to try moderation.

Can you play tennis in your sweats and sneakers? Yes. Will you look as cool? Probably not. (No one looks cool learning a new sport anyway)  Do you need a racquet? Yup. (Although you can probably rent a racquet until you find out how you like the game in the real world)   The biggest expense would then be the lessons, and that is the one thing you probably should spend the money on.

And I am not suggesting you try swimming at the Y with your beach bikini.  But maybe a decent regular suit until you decide you are ready for the Olympic trials. Or your first Triathalon. Or just when you realize you really love it and will be there three times a week without fail.

I went out and bought a bicycle once. Had to have it. Spent all my birthday money on it. Didn’t take too many rides  to realize I really didn’t like bike seats! That bike spent a lot of time in the garage.  So when I started running, my first shoes only cost $30. And each year they have cost more. That’s ok, I know I am in it for life now 🙂

I’m not suggesting that when your exercise-fanatic friend cleans out her closet you need to take her leftovers. The one thing I do suggest on spending a bit of money on is the exercise clothes. Most can be used for a variety of sports, so if you change your mind from yoga to kickboxing, no problem.

And, I have learned, it is good to keep your exercise clothes separate from your regular wardrobe. After running a couple of times in one of my long sleeve tees, I wore it to work. After I warmed up a bit, I realized I smelled. Well, I didn’t smell, but the tee did!  All the running tees immediately went into the exercise shelves so I didn’t wear them to work again.  A lot of the newer sports fabrics are made to not retain the sweat scent after washing.

 So go crazy and buy those  wild pants,the more you love them, the more you will want to wear them!

Weekly Rundown

I tricked myself this week: I aimed for six days and I worked out five 😉 Sometimes you just gotta fake yourself out to get it done.  I seem to be remarkably easy to trick.

Monday: After getting out of work on time, I came home and changed immediately. I find the longer I wait after I get home the less likely I am to exercise as planned. This is an issue on days when I get out late and really just want to eat lunch first. But this time I did my yoga. It was the Candlelite Yoga, and took about 37 minutes. I focused on deepening into the stretches–sometimes when I do the Candlelite I just use it as a relaxer rather than an actual workout. Today I worked it.

Tuesday: Another day out on time, and although I was pretty hungry, I made myself get out there. It was a beautiful, if chilly, day when I started, but the wind came up towards the end; making me glad it was near the end! I was doing my hill drills, and the five sets turned out to be a hair over three miles.  That is the longest I have run in a while, and I was pretty happy with myself that I managedto do it well during my drills.

Wednesday: day off. Here is where I derailed a little bit. I had planned a rather tough workout that I hadn’t done before, and I was resisting it. I came home and ate, and made excuses and finally admitted I was taking the day off.

Thursday:  my actual planned day off, as I worked both jobs. I knew I wasn’t going to do anything when I got home!

Friday: So cheating again, as I had bookended my day off with that tough workout, I did 21 minutes of free yoga. Must have done it right, however, as I made my arms and back hurt the next day.

Saturday: with a ten-hour day ahead of me, and a snowstorm on the way, I didn’t have a lot of time in the morning. I did squeak in 15 minutes of stretching yoga before heading out the door. One of my favorite standing poses is Tree pose. Perhaps it is my affinity for trees that makes me enjoy being one? Regardless, this is a great pose because it is adaptable to everyone. One can start with the raised foot against the other ankle and work it up the leg as one gets stronger.  A chair can be used for balance as well if needed. In the full pose, arms should be raised above the head, hands stretching up as one foot is pressed into the thigh of the other leg.

    “one thing we all want more of in life is balance, and tree pose can help us with that” 
                                                                                –Sara Ivanhoe

Sunday: a day off from work! How lovely.  I helped cleanup from the snowstorm and cleaned off my hay barn with the roof rake. Great for my abs and arms, but short, only took about 15 minutes. Later I helped bring in the wood–weight lifting! Finally, I got organized and did that workout I had been avoiding all week.  And what do you know, it wasn’t that bad. Took about 30 minutes  to do one circuit. This is a workout I found last year in Fitness magazine, and I can’t even tell you how much it hurt the first time I did it.   It has a Mon, Wed, Fri set and a Tues, Thurs, Sat set. I did both together–that’s what I had been avoiding.  It’s nice that I was able to do it so much better now! Next week, 2 circuits 🙂

 

Epiphany!

Those of you who have been following along will know I just don’t like running on a treadmill.  Part of my joy of running is being outside. The wind, the sun, even the occasional rain drop. Just letting go of the rest of the world as my feet slap the pavement.  A treadmill just doesn’t compare.

But I missed a lot of running last winter, so I decided I better suck it up and run on the thing.  First I tried in front of the tv. That didn’t work. I barely made it ten minutes, and twenty was torture! What could I do if even having the tv to distract me was unbearable?

Then I had an epiphany.  I decided to just get on it and run in the library, which is where it had been stored. Instead of setting a time, I decided to run for four songs. And I hid the console under a towel (useful for that sweat) so I couldn’t watch the minutes creep by.

And it worked! I ran for the four songs, which equaled just about 21 minutes, and walked out for one more. I ran like I do on the road, letting my mind wander. I worked on my form, keeping my core strong and light.

Still not as good as running outside, but definitely doable. I think I will be in much better shape this spring 🙂

Weekly Rundown

It was a Gold Star Week! Not only did I have a plan, but I followed the plan.
And I worked out five days–for the first time in months.

                                                                          So, gold star for me

Monday: starting off the week slowly, I took Monday off 😛

Tuesday: my breakthrough on the treadmill!  Some of you may have heard me complain about how much I hate that thing, but I have finally figured out what works for me! (that will be the focus of my Thursday post) I did 23 minutes, a slow start but a start nonetheless. And I did it late in the day, as I worked and then went to see the Star Wars movie with my friend Kate…did I mention how freaking awesome Star Wars was?  Can’t even express how much I loved it.

 

Wednesday:  off once more.

Thursday: I was so impressed with myself, I didn’t hit snooze! I got up at 4am, and followed the plan. Which was to get on that treadmill again, only 18 minutes but still enough to wake me up and energize me for the day. Feels sooooo good to know I did it, instead of lazing around; my whole day goes better.

Friday:  29 minutes of free yoga. I worked on both strength and streeeeetchy poses. It was a great workout, felt both wrung out and relaxed when I was done.

Saturday:  more running on the treadmill–19 minutes this time. A bit later in the morning as I didn’t have to be to work until 7am.  But it was another ten-hour day, and the first three hours were unbelievably busy. I was glad I had started the day off right.

Sunday: a short but lovely 18 minutes of free yoga. I focused on the stretching,  knowing I had another long day ahead of me. Although, as a side note, I am finding my ten-hour days aren’t really any worse than an eight-hour day. And being busy makes them feel like they fly by. Guess it could just be that I like my job! I  worked on opening my hips and stretching the rear muscles, those are the first to tighten up when I run.

 My favorite  way to end just about any workout,                   the Lotus Pose.
Why? It stretches out my hips, and focuses my posture. It is also a good jumping off point for side bends, forward bends (that is what really opens the hips),  and twists.  And it is just plain relaxing–probably why it is a favorite for meditation.
So this is the pose I suggest this week. For beginners, if your hips are really tight, sit on a towel to get into the position easier. Straighten your back–remember to tuck your tummy to support the back– so you are sitting up nice and tall, and take some deep breaths, relaxing your shoulders-you don’t want them up around your ears.  Hopefully you will feel all your stress melting into the floor.

 

 

Resolute Resolutions

I  recapped my year on my other blog, FicWriterwithablog  Wednesday. 2015 was a good year, and I can’t wait for 2016 to start rolling. So now I guess I need some resolutions for 2016.

My first resolution is to write ahead!I need to get myself breathing room between my planned post dates and the writing so I don’t miss the postswhen life interferes. Because lets face it, life interferes a LOT! I definitely need to do that for both my blogs.

For my writing blog, I have some specific hopes: I want to return to my longer fiction piece once a month. Unfortunately, when I tried that last year, I didn’t seem to manage it. I am going to try harder this year.  So check in on the first Wednesday of each month to see how I am doing. I also have a few ideas for a couple new features to be alternated through my Tuesday posts, and of course Cliche Sunday will continue!! I am looking forward to rejoining the group for Friday Fictioneers and Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, since I haven’t been able to write my flash fiction pretty much for the holiday season. Ah, the unused ideas….

For my running blog, I also have some definitive ideas. These are focused more on my exercise rather than my blog posts. No more blaming Mother Nature, I am going to run on the treadmill this winter and keep in shape for the spring. I will, I am sure, still complain about Mother Nature.  My biggest goal: I want to do two obstacle races this year.  I loved the Urban Raid, and I want to try the Insane Inflatables this year as well. I would also like to do an early 5K in the spring to get me motivated 🙂 In all my free time (hah), I also need to work those two beasties out in the barn more. I need to ride and do more ground work. Riding after running and vice versa is hard on the legs–but, oh, what legs I will develop. And my secret shame: I can’t do a pull up. My goal in 2016 is to do pull ups. No goal on how many, just that I can do them.  One addition to my blog that I am going to add is a favorite yoga pose on my weekly rundown.  I think everyone can do one yoga pose….then another…and then you might be enjoying the benefits of yoga 🙂

Now that I wrote all this down, I need to get out there and follow through. I hope you all will keep me going this year!

Weekly Rundown

Finally, a rundown that actually includes running! Who knew? Not quite where I want to be yet, but moving in the right direction 🙂

Monday: off. Unplanned, of course.

Tuesday: will you be surprised to find out I took Tuesday off too? I took some serious naps on Monday and Tuesday, and as I slept well each night, I do believe they were much needed.

Wednesday: yoga. I am doing free yoga since I am mostly doing it in the morning while the hubby is watching the news. Pretty happy with the fact that I get up and do it before heading off for the day. My dad tried to make me a morning person for years, so I bet he is happy somewhere too. Or he’s laughing as I hit snooze at 4am!

Thursday: off again. I had to stay at work for the full day as someone else called out, and that just kinda made it difficult to exercise as I planned. Ah well.

Friday: New Year’s Day! Which meant I had it off and could plan my day around my exercise, instead of trying to fit the exercise in among the events of my day. So I ran! Just a two-mile, slow and steady, but it felt pretty darn good be out there. I followed it up with 20 more minutes of yoga, much to the chagrin of my shaking thighs.

Saturday: a brisk walk with Daisy. I haven’t taken her out recently, and she was rearing to go. It was a beautiful morning, blue sky and bright sun. It was a great way to stretch my legs after the previous day’s run. Daisy and I just did 1.06 mile, but that fast little pup pulled me along in 19:12 minutes. Might have been faster if not for the bathroom breaks (hers, of course!)

Sunday: my first 10 hour shift at the hospital. I knew there was NO WAY I was going to do anything when I got home, so I did my 20 minutes of free yoga first thing in the morning. I have been doing more standing poses, and I just added the dancer pose back in. I love that pose because it focuses on balance (there’s that standing on one leg thing), stretches out the thighs (excellent after running or high knee cardio), and stretches out the arm and shoulder too (great for those of us who sit at a keyboard all day). For anyone wants to try it,  I suggest deep breathing to center yourself first, and keeping your eyes focused on one point. Don’t try to over stretch into the full form if it is difficult at first. Before you know it, you can be in the full pose if you keep at it! Perhaps not at a beach…..but still 🙂