Category Archives: Exercise

Salzburg run

While I’m a big fan of public transport while exploring Europe, my favorite mode of travel when I’m visiting a new place remains my own two feet. Other than having a personal tour guide, I can think of no other way with which to become familiar with a city. I love setting my own pace, having the freedom to impulsively take a turn down a street that beckons and stopping for a drink or bite to eat when the urge hits me. Plus, it’s free!

Visiting four cities in 11 days makes for a lot of walking, but it has also taught me that I need three days in a new city before I feel an undeniable urge to run. It’s something about achieving a level of comfort and sense of where I can get in a few miles with limited risk from cars or other potential dangers, I think. Of course this means that I’ve thus far into my trip only had a single run. I’m trying to not chastise myself touch for my lack of exercise, since I have been walking my ass off. I find a glass of wine or two and a pastry helps with that guilt.

In Salzburg I had a chance to run along the Salzach River. There’s a great path for pedestrians and the view was pretty sweet. I initially ran north on the west side of the water and as the miles passed, the scenery became increasingly less populated. I went with my gut and crossed a bridge to the east side at a point when I felt my opportunities to cross the water were becoming less frequent. It was hard to turn away from the Schloss set high on the hill which had been enticing me to continue north, but I was rewarded by the views from the new to me east bank of the Salzach.

I ran, as I always do in a new place, with the knowledge that I might not ever have this same opportunity. My health and physical strength will gradually (I hope!) decline, the opportunities to travel may diminish, perhaps the weather won’t be as inviting as I’ve often been fortunate to experience…whatever. Lots of things could happen to prevent me from lacing up my Altras and hitting the sidewalks, but not that particular day. That day, I ran and my heart, eyes and legs all appreciated the effort. It was a terrific run and will be a wonderful memory forever.

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Filed under Austria, beauty, Europe, Exercise, favorites, running, Summer, travel, vacation

Pigeon tears

I’ve taken a lot of yoga classes over the years, both locally and while traveling. My favorite classes have been the ones which are a challenge and push me to a new place physically. Thanks to soccer being suspended for the holiday weekend on Saturday, I was able to make it for the first time in weeks to one of my favorite classes, Aaron’s 11:15 Vinyasa, at The Hot Yoga Spot’s Latham location.

Despite managing to get there early and the light attendance, “my” spot on the left side of the room was already taken when I entered the studio. I unrolled my mat as I close as I possibly could to my usual space for a moment before changing my mind. No, I decided, I wasn’t going to force my way to a place where there wasn’t room. I picked up my stuff and moved to the opposite side of the studio. The universe was telling me that I needed a new perspective.

Yoga instructors seem to each have their own philosophies and the language they use can vary quite a bit. One message I’ve heard repeatedly, though, is about how certain poses can stimulate an emotional response, something I had never before experienced. I mean, of course, I’ve felt frustrated or encouraged by my practice, but never before have I felt the way I did Saturday.

The class was hard with lots of core work as well as flows that I found difficult. My chaturanga always feel like it needs work and I couldn’t stick eagle on one side and it was hot and I hadn’t slept very much…and I felt so damn tired of having my time on my mat co-opted by situations outside of the room, outside of my control. We moved into pigeon on the right side and I went into the pose with surprising ease. I bowed low, and rested my forehead on my mat, breathing in and out through my nose, releasing.

The tears came so fast that I didn’t have time to even consider leaving the studio. All I could do was let the fuck go.

I’m not really a cryer, but those tears weren’t going to be denied. As I silently shed hot tears I was powerless to stop, my heart and soul surrendered to sadness. I couldn’t change the circumstances which had caused my sorrow, but I could accept the situation for what it was – a position that I entered willingly which had stretched me to a place I had never before been, but that I had the strength from which to move on. Class over.

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Filed under aging, Exercise, love, musings, Observations, relationships, secrets, yoga

Processing

I’ve been on a Rolling Stones kick recently. Maybe it was that tribute band I went to see a couple of weeks ago at The Hangar. I listened to them all the way on my run today from home to Troy, where I met my neighbor at event and caught a ride home. It wasn’t the easiest run I‘ve ever taken and parts of the route were new and a little unnerving to me, but I don’t regret a step of it. It was a gift to be outdoors with the air on my skin and every scent encountered along the river pleasant.

I ran in South Troy for the first time, which was kind of cool since I had made a brief cameo just yesterday at my friend Mary’s birthday. You know, Mary Panza from South f’n Troy. She’s my oldest upstate friend and I was thrilled to attend her celebration yesterday and to give her a gift. Not just “a gift,” but the most perfect gift – one I had seen at Elissa Halloran’s and immediately knew it she belonged with Mary. 

Giving Mary to Mary was the perfect demonstration of how much more joyous it is to give than to receive. That is a true gift.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and it’s caused me to struggle with writing a bit. I’ve been purposefully keeping myself busy – attending events like Champagne on the Park and working extra nights, such as last Wednesday at the annual Troy Arts Center Gala. But, today, there was that run from Albany to Troy which gave me a long time to think things through and I believe I’m getting closer to being unstuck. At least for now.

Life is so unpredictable. Who really knows what’s next? With things in such a state of flux, is it even worthwhile to try to figure it the fuck out? Just keep running…

I’ve been examining how I’ve grown from situations I’ve faced, and have to admit that I just don’t yet have the necessary perspective to understand exactly what happened. I know I’ve changed and learned new things, but haven’t yet determined at what cost.

Taking the time to process stuff is critical. It’s comparable, I think, to pain management. You have to be aware of it, understand that you can’t hide from it and stay on top of it before it has a chance to overwhelm you. Eventually, though, you need to move forward with what comes next. This song just might help you with that.

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Filed under aging, Albany, beauty, birthdays, Exercise, favorites, friends, musings, Observations, relationships, running, sunday, Troy, Uncategorized

Seneca 7

Three days post-race and I’m thinking I may have peaked in terms of muscle soreness. Since I can’t really run for another couple of days, I’ve got a little time to share my first relay race experience from an event I participated in the last weekend in April. You know, that spring weekend when it legitimately snowed…

The Seneca Seven is a seven-member team relay race with a course that goes completely around Seneca Lake. The race is divided into 21 legs with each runner taking 3 legs. I was runner 4 with a total mileage of just about 9 miles. I had requested hills and my generous teammates indulged me by giving me a terrific climb of approximately 300 ft over 3.5 miles for my second leg. Honestly, it really wasn’t that bad but don’t tell my teammates!

Before I got there, though, there were a lot of group messages on Facebook and far too many details to be communicated and managed. Seriously, organizing 14 women is truly like herding cats and there’s a reason that this sort of event is one that I’ve not experienced before – it’s too much work for too little running. Not taking into account any of the time prior to our departure for Geneva, N.Y., the race absorbed 36 hours of my weekend and I ran less than 10 miles. That’s negative math for me.

But, the positives? There definitely were some. I really enjoyed riding in the van and getting to know the women who were on my team. We had some fun for sure and I’d happily hang out with any of them again. The course was beautiful, even in the snow/rain mix with which we had to contend. I haven’t been to the Finger Lakes in years and Geneva looked like a perfect spot for a summer weekend spent enjoying the outdoors as well checking out some of the restaurants and shops that line the charming streets of town.

There are also tons of wineries and breweries that I’d be happy to explore, maybe even on bike. The roads generally have wide shoulders and I think the riding would be awesome.

img_4974One of the best things about the race came after the 12 hours we spent on the course. Apparently, there was some controversy about this year’s race shirts. It seems that some folks were offended by one of the images on the shirt, an image one of my teammates had questioned because we didn’t understand what it was depicting. The image, a swoop of yellow hair with a line drawn through it represented Donald Trump and was included, according to race officials, because of his lack of support of environmental issues.

While some might say that politics don’t belong in races, I disagree. Personally, I hesitated before committing to the Shape Half Marathon last month because I’m not a fan of the event’s media sponsor. Choosing to participate in an activity can be interpreted as supporting a cause or endorsing a person and I don’t generally do that lightly. I’m not sure that I’ll do this particular race again, but I will proudly wear my new shirt.

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Filed under Events, Exercise, friends, Observations, road trips, running, Spring, Uncategorized

Seven Sisters Trail Race – 2018 edition

My legs are so sore that I expect them to be purple, like a hard-earned bruise. Or, at the least, beet red because they’re angry with me because of the abuse I inflicted upon them yesterday when I completed my third consecutive Seven Sisters Trail Race with my lunarb*tch, Chrissy. Man, I am hurting, but, just like yesterday, I’m smiling.

There’s something about this brutally challenging event that keeps us coming back even though we know 1. exactly how hard it’s going to be, 2. we’re never going to remotely competitive and 3. it’s a 90+ minutes drive that commences way too early in the morning. I think they call it being a masochist adventurous. Going into the race yesterday, we both had agreed this was our last time. There are other races and challenges and we’ve been fortunate to avoid injury on a course that is pretty damn perilous. But….

We arrived in Amherst at 7:30 a.m. and felt relaxed. The morning was crisp and bright and we got to witness a couple of fox kits romping on the hill near the parking lot. It was almost a reminder of how fun it is to be outdoors and in the woods and running. We ran in the last wave and found a pace that had us moving forward but without haste. There were photo opportunities to be indulged and the views were clearer than we’ve ever seen them. It was a spectacular day weather-wise and, in general, the conditions were ideal.

The 6 miles in didn’t register as too difficult. I felt pretty good and enjoyed cheering the returning elite runners as they made their way back with remarkable speed. Everyone we encountered was friendly and encouraging. It isn’t really possible to describe how extreme this race is – the areas that are steep and woven with tree roots and shale, the sections where you literally have to scramble using feet and hands, the parts when a missed step could result in a really negative outcome…it’s absolutely wild! 

Things fell apart a bit for me in the last couple of miles when I ran out of water and my legs were completely depleted of spring. There was nothing left – other than the ability to keep moving forward at a snail’s pace. And smile.

Following the race we returned to the excellent market just down the road, Atkins. We ate everything we wanted to and brought stuff home, as well. Today, my muscles are tender in a profound way – and not just my quads and calves. Nope, my forearms hurt, as do the sides of my ribs. There’s a little sunburn on my neck, too, but overall I’m good, despite my traditional trail-run-left-ankle-roll at mile 8 or 9. No permanent damages, just a lot of joy and pride in an accomplishment.

That beautiful mug is the best race swag!

When I had my third (and biggest) baby I said “I’m so happy that I never have to do that again.” The Seven Sisters, bitches that they may be, haven’t quite compelled me to say the same about them.

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Filed under beauty, Events, Exercise, favorites, Flowers, friends, Hiking, Uncategorized

Running for the sun and in the rain

6C2FD511-7AB1-4E36-82A5-F281E1249DEFWhile I don’t maintain a formal bucket list, I have long thought that I would like to take part in a race in NYC. When an elementary (!) school friend contacted me a few months ago about the Shape Half Marathon, I knew I had found my race. The price was a little extravagant, and the media partner wasn’t really my cup of tea, but the course was appealing and I’ll pretty much spend a weekend in NYC anytime – even if it means I have to run 13.1 miles!

Spring has been a long time coming in the northeast this year, which only made Saturday’s forecast of sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s that much more appealing. The race, however, was being held on Sunday morning, which had much less favorable forecast. Our only solution was to soak up as much sunshine (and carbohydrates) as possible pre-race, which we did as we walked and ate our way around the city. 

2D0952C4-C7CD-44AE-A311-9A4631FD6C42Race day dawned dry, but cold. We cabbed the 30 blocks to Central Park and spent the 45 minutes or so before the start working hard to stay warm. It was a raw and miserable morning* and I regretted not adding gloves or a warm hat to my racing wear.  My legs were trembling from the cold for the first mile and it wasn’t until the 3 mile mark that my hands felt warm, but, I was running a race in NYC and somehow that made it ok. My favorite parts were when we were on the east side of the park with views of the Guggenheim and the Met, the area at the northernmost part of the park and all of the daffodils and flowering trees in bloom. It was spring in NYC!

51F7B6B0-B3DD-49A1-91BD-9B948EB8075FThe hills of the park didn’t register too much on my radar, but my pace was slow and comfortable, except for that last mile which felt like 5 miles. I didn’t have much kick left to finish strong, but I managed to get across the line in 2:23:09 with a bathroom break and multiple water stops. I was in the top half of my age group and that satisfies me. After the race I wrapped up in my first foil blanket and caught a train back to the hotel for a gloriously hot shower. Next race: The Seneca 7, a 77 mile team relay in the Finger Lakes. Let’s hope for a sunny day!

*although not as raw and blustery as this year’s Boston Marathon. Man, those runners are warriors!

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Filed under Events, Exercise, Flowers, friends, NYC, Observations, road trips, running, Spring

Do something that scares you

Yesterday I did something that scared me. And then I did it again. And again and again for a total of four times. The first time I did it, I was slightly less frightened than I had been on the chairlift. I don’t like heights. Actually riding the chairlift made getting on and off the chairlift (2 things that always prompt me to feel anxious) seem pretty mild in terms of fear generated. I was so afraid, as I rode the chairlift up to the top of the mountain, that I couldn’t even look behind myself to see the view. I tried to snap a photo without turning my head on my way up the mountain, but it really didn’t work out too well.

I went skiing by myself. In Vermont.

Why would I do something that makes me feel so fearful? What’s the point of pushing so far outside of my comfort zone?

Because the sun was shining and the air was fresh and I had a voucher that made my couple of hours cost practically nothing. Because none of the friends I was “weekending” with wanted to come. Because the mountain was 15 minutes from the hotel and hardly anyone else was there so late in the season. Because I wanted the experience. Because I couldn’t see the view until I reached the top of the mountain.

I took the green one on the left.

During my four runs down the mountain, I saw the weather change three times. I  navigated around the icy spots and basically remained in control of my skis most of the time. When I fell, after sliding a fair bit on the slick snow completely out of control, I figured out how to pick myself up. It was a challenge and I did it.

I went skiing by myself. In Vermont.

 

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Filed under beauty, Exercise, Random, road trips, skiing, Spring, Vermont