Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.

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Hey now… It’s Work Out Wednesday!

Not the duckies I saw but nice photo!

If you haven’t already guessed, I love animals. I do. It’s because they’re so simple and real. Not fake or mean, they’re intuitive and loving (even the ones that might eat you, are only doing what’s natural to them). They’re so completely sweet and real.

Yesterday, while trundling* through The Presidio, I spied a mamma duck and about 6, of her fresh, out of the shell, fuzzy-little baby-chicks. The sight was so heart warming that I nearly cried. What made me feel even sappier was a sight of a young fellow who had appointed himself crossing guard for the waddling family.  As the ducks slowly negotiated the hot asphalt, the young man stood far enough away as not to startle the group, yet keep oncoming traffic to a calm, slow stream. As I passed I asked if he would like any assistance but he declined and promised he’d see that the ducks got safely across the busy intersection and on their way to wherever they were going. As I trundled off I wondered where they might be headed, maybe to visit the Yoda fountain I hoped. They’d be safe there.

Here’s my suggestion for today, Work Out Wednesday. Go find some wild life. It’s out there. Dogs don’t count but cats do as they roam free (for the most part). Take a walk, run or a ride, go some place where you might find some critters. All you have to do is find a park. A dog park will do but while you’re there look for some pretty birds or bugs, even gophers count. There are lots of ladybugs and bees flying around these days. They all count. Just pay attention for a change and enjoy what you see. Take a second to stop and watch. This might sound silly but trust me you’ll return home feeling better than you did when you left. And, you may see something really amazing! Like my duckies!

I’d love to hear your Work Out Wednesday Wild Life Report so please feel free to share!

May the force be with you…

P.s. Tomorrow is Bike to Work Day. Mo will be greeting and feeding visitors at the Ferry Building Energizer Station in the morning. Go see her, I’m going around 8.

*Trundling is a Kelleyism for a slow run or jog.


She let the boys eat her dust

I’m not really a horse person. I feel badly that horses are forced to haul around heifers like me for the purpose of our recreation. They always seem so sad.

Anyway, in spite of my horse apathy I‘ve found myself attempting to “ride” a horse once or twice in my life. A few years ago I agreed to go on a 4-hour ride over the coastal mountains of Marin, and along the beach. Sounds like fun if you’re a “horse person” but for me it was absolute hell. I literally prayed (and I ain’t a church goer) for the entire 4 hours. After the ride my legs seized up so badly that I couldn’t get up from the dinner table. No shit. My mother had to come over, help me up and lean me against the wall so I wouldn’t fall over. Another time I hopped on the back of some poor weather-beaten horse while on vacation in Mexico. Some how I managed to spook the creature, who then knocked the 10-year-old Mexican attendant up against the fence like he was a rag doll.  I don’t plan to get on another horse. Been there done that, moving on now.

Sunday night on 60 Minutes there was a segment on a horse named Zenyatta. If you don’t follow horseracing you’ve probably never heard of her. Zenyatta is the greatest filly in horse racing history and is the most accomplished female athlete of our time. She is a queen in the sport of kings.

Zenyatta’s racing style was to start the race in the back of the pack and then as she came down the final stretch she’d fire off her rockets and pass all the other horses. They say, “She let the boys eat her dust.” Her style was graceful, kind and driven. It’s been said that she would only go fast enough to beat the boys not humiliate them. Zenyatta’s drink of choice, Guinness. No kidding, she’d have a drink with her trainer most evenings.

Zenyatta is the sort of creature I aspire to be. Watch the video even if you aren’t into horses. It’s kind of heart warming.


Hot slithery love

Photo by bejdigudi-zlati

Snake Love

Earlier this week I was trundling along the path that parallels Baker Beach and runs along the road traveling from the beach up to the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was late morning and there was lots of warm sunshine beaming down.  As I moved up the path I began to see fat, appetizer-sized lizards running all over the place. From the path to the road and to the brush again.  Dozens of them. Frankly I can’t remember the last time I saw a lizard that big outside of the zoo and so many of them at once.  They startled me at first and then I started to worry that I’d smush one or worse, smush one and slide on it twisting my ankle again (I can hear the lectures now).

Then, just about the time I was cresting the hill and getting over my fear of a lizard slip and slide I spied a garden snake quickly slithering off the path to get out of my clumsy way.  Ack! I hate snakes, talk about jacking your heart rate up! Thankfully the poor thing saw me coming and ran off as I screamed.  That was the second time this month I’ve come across a snake on the trail.  My friend Dora was with me the first time, that time when I saw the snake I jumped behind her as I screamed.  Guess that wasn’t very nice, using Dora as a shield.

Anyway, in the newspaper this past Sunday I read an article titled “Looks like year of the snake, again.”  The first line in the article is, “Sex can be dangerous, even with the softest of hearts.” That’s what got me reading.

The gist is, with all the rain this past winter there are hordes of little animals running around out there. Something about high soil moisture gives rise to high reproductive success for everything from mice up to rabbits. With that, there’s lots of good stuff to eat for snakes especially rattlesnakes. Plenty of food and the effects of the warm spring days trigger chemicals in the brain that say, get busy making babies.  In this case baby snakes. Apparently the slithery links like to love eachother right out in the open while soaking up the warmth of the heated ground. According to the article, not even an earthquake could distract a snake while absorbed in “relations.” Point is, they won’t see you coming so you gotta keep an eye out for them. Riding your bike over, or stepping on a rattlesnake is gonna send you to the hospital. But you know that.

I’m not too worried about this rattlesnake business. I like seeing the animals. Not the snakes so much but the rest of them. Just keep your eyes open.

Consider yourself briefed.

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Yikes, critters in my path!

I was walking along Crissy Field the other day when I spotted a crowd of people standing around a pile of sand.  As I walked past one of men said to me “what is that?” He was pointing at a gopher that was popping out of a hole in the sand. I chuckled and said, “it’s a gopher.” A woman then said, “What do we do?” I chuckled again and said, leave him alone.

Further down the path I began doing some walking lunges.  Just then a dog that had been walking behind me with it’s owner started barking.  I stopped and looked back to see the woman scolding the dog.  She then apologized for her dog’s outburst.  I appreciated the gesture but knew that I was the one to blame, I had frightened the dog by my sudden change in movement.  I then asked the woman if I could say hello to her dog, when she agreed I knelt down to the dogs level, put my hand out for him to sniff and said hello. The fluffy fellow then ran up to me and licked my face as I pet him and explained to Dude (that’s his name) that I was just exercising and that he had no reason to be afraid.  The woman was very thankful and happy to have encountered a person who understood that her dog did not mean any harm.

It was at this point that I realized that some of us become confused when we encounter strange critters in our path.

Here are a few basic rules I thought would be worth remembering.

Basic human etiquette

  • Don’t hog the entire path.
  • Bikes yield to pedestrians and both bikes and pedestrians yield to horses.
  • Don’t litter & pick up your doggie doo.
  • Smile or nod at those you pass. Be nice.

Dogs in your path

  • You really should not bug dogs too much.  Don’t run up to a dog or approach them. Let them come to you. If a dog comes up to you to have a sniff, let it. If you want to pet the dog ask the dogs owner if it’s okay. Sometimes they will say “no,” but most of the time the owner will be happy to let you have some doggie love.  First show the dog the top of your hand (fingers closed under). Once you’re sure the dog is friendly, open your palm to so it can see that you have nothing hidden in your hand. Get down to the dogs level (squat down) so you appear the same size and it’s not intimidated by a larger animal (that would be you). Never put your face down by the dog’s mouth unless you’re pretty darn sure it’s friendly.

If you encounter a horse on the trail

  • Communicate to those on horseback as you approach. If you’re approaching from behind, warn them of your presence before you pass. All you have to do is say, “hello, nice day”. Just let them know you’re there and that you’re friendly.
  • The rider should reign the horse to the side, allowing you room. When a horse is passing you, step off the trail to give the horse plenty of room, but remain in plain sight. When you’re passing a horse, do the same.

If you see a coyote

  • Give the coyote space. Do not approach the coyote. They say if you see a coyote you should scare it so it will go away. Wave your arms around, yell at it and throw rocks.  I’ve run into coyotes in the middle of the city as well as on the trail. I’ll admit I stop in my tracks but never have I had to throw anything or yell.  In my experience the poor hungry soul will just walk away on its own.
  • Take note – There have been some episodes of coyotes going after pets so put dogs on a leash so your pet will not be enticed to chase after the coyote. The closer your pet is to you the safer it is.

In the end – Enjoy your encounter with the critters. I leave you with a quote from John Muir.

“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.”