Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


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Take things in small bits

Falling Tree

Ever look at a photo of yourself and think, “gawd I look bad,” or some variation on that theme? I’m guessing that we all have. No matter how good you might look to someone else, we always seem to find something we don’t like about ourselves.

While I don’t subscribe to self-loathing thoughts, I do feel that we can learn from photos of ourselves.

For instance, the photo above is of me attempting a “Tree Pose.” While I’m no yoga master, I know enough to recognize that my form in this particular photo leaves something to be desired. I know better than to make the errors I made in this effort and I’m one of those people who feel that form is everything.  In my mind, you should strive for good form in everything you do. In athletic endeavors, form is as important as speed. You can’t go fast unless you have good form. This is a rule I live by. So, you can imagine how disappointed I was to see this photo of myself looking like a lopsided tree rather than the strong, Zen form I was attempting.

With that, I would like: Each of you reading this to find one recent photo of yourself that exposes something that you disapprove of. Then, I want you to make an effort this week to fix what you see. It’s just for this week. Sure, the changes you might want to make may need longer than a week to revise but taking things one week at a time is a start. I say lets take things in small bits. Large goals or changes can be intimidating. For now, all I’m asking is that you focus on one thing, for one week. You can do anything for a single week! Right?

So, for me, I have a list of things about myself that need revising but for this week (based on this one photograph) I’m going to focus on my yogic form, specifically my “Tree Pose.” I’ll do some research to confirm, but I know that my head should be centered and that my foot should never rest on my knee-joint (can be above or below). I know that my hips should be facing forward rather than the one hip that is scooching inward. While I realize that most of you reading this can’t imagine why I am so concerned about my Tree Pose, I want to remind you that we all have our issues, and for the purpose of this post, this is mine. So, look at some innocent photos of yourself and find one small thing to work on this week.

Are ya with me?

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This is your chance to put the hurt on Kelley

Not my comfort zone

Hi! I know you’re out there, I can see from the site stats that quite a few people are looking at this site. I don’t know who you are, but I know you’re there, and I know that you’re from all over the world. That’s pretty cool. I just wish I had some idea of who you are, are you “old,” young, fit, wanna be fit? Are you male or female?

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter who you are, but frankly I’m getting a little bored trying to figure out how to inspire you, and I hope you’re not bored as well. I’m thinking, we need a challenge. Something to kick-start my creative juices and fire us all up for “Cookie Eating Season.” What do you think?

Here’s what I suggest: A fitness challenge. You and me and anyone who wants to join us. It can be anything, just as long as it gets us out of our comfort zones.

You know what a comfort zone is right? It’s a place were you feel comfortable, I don’t mean your bed, it’s a state of mind. Example; I have a tendency to run/ride/workout at a certain (not so impressive) pace. A pace where I feel very comfortable. I don’t push myself out of that comfortable zone, so I rarely see much improvement in my fitness.  The only way to get outside of that zone is to try a new sport, do something completely different or push yourself way past your perceived limits. Shake things up. Understand?

Back to the challenge, the challenge can be anything, a daylong challenge, week-long, or month-long. A running challenge, stair climbing, rope jumping, you could challenge a certain number of squats or some other exercise, a dance class, anything you like. Make it something realistic but challenging, and remember you gotta do it too. What do you think? Play with me?

If you win the challenge, you get a $10 iTunes gift card and lots of props. If I win, you say nice things about me to everyone you know and I keep the gift card.

Lastly, since we can’t do this challenge in person/together (unless you’re in San Francisco). We’ll need to play fair and trust each other. For fun, I request that we share photos or perhaps a little video, something to show the challenge in action, just for fun, no big deal!  I won’t post anything unless you say it’s okay. I promise you that!

So… who wants to play? Who wants to be the first to challenge me? Don’t be shy, be brave! What do you have to lose?


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What motivates you?

What motivated him to do this?

I’m motivated by fear. I sign up for tough fitness challenges because the fear of pain and failure motivates me to get off my ass and train. When I look in the mirror and see my hiney sliding down the backs of my legs, the fear of a pancake butt motivates me to do the dreaded step-ups (although it seems gravity moves faster than the rate at which I can do enough step-ups).

It’s pretty basic or me. It’s about my selfish, personal fears. Nothing more.

I need your help — Tell me what motivates you. Acceptance? Health/fitness? A smaller pant size? A person? An event? Use a fake name if you like but help a gal out. I need inspiration. If you can’t say what motivates you then tell me about something that inspires you.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Kisses…


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Learn from Aunt Kelley

Banana Slugger

This is going to be a short lesson today because I can’t really type. It’s a long story but basically I burned the top of my hand really badly (second degree style). Then, I went hunting for Banana Slugs with my nephew and let a couple of slugs crawl on my charred hand, getting really dirty and slimy. The next day I went swimming in the kinda gunky Russian River and, lo and behold I woke up this morning with a hand so swollen it’s close to twice the size of the other one. Not a pretty sight as you can imagine.  With that, I’ve spent much of today freaking out in one way or another while watching doctors marvel at the mess I made of myself.

Anyway, looking back at the events of the last few days it seems pretty clear where I went wrong, but at the time I was having too much fun to worry about something that “might happen.” The lesson for today is don’t be a dumbass like me, be respectful of your body when you wound it. You can really mess yourself up. Take my word for it, or if you like I’ll send you a photo of my oozing elephant hand (that may never be the same again because of my stupidity).

Have a good weekend! I’ll be back Monday with something more chipper (unless my hand explodes).


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The coolest thing to hit two wheels

Stop!

If you know me, you know that I’m an absolute snob when it comes to bicycle handling skills and simple road etiquette. Having been somewhat of a damn good cyclist in a former life, I’ve seen the good and the bad side of folks on bikes. In fact, my nickname used to be The Bike Nazi. Why? Because I have zero patience or respect for folks exhibiting poor, or unsafe bike handling skills or simple etiquette.

While bicycle handling and etiquette are each very large issues, one of the most concerning is the lack of respect for the common stop sign. Declining to stop when required is not only a safety issue but an unfortunate missed opportunity to practice ones handling skills (trackstand, getting in and out of pedals…) and the building of fast twitch muscle fibers (they help you sprint & move quickly).

Rather than going any further, I suggest that you read the article below. I’ve lifted it from Katie Kelly at MillValleyPatch.com. Katie has captured my personal thoughts re: the stop sign issue perfectly. We ask that you read it and spread the word.

Stop! Braking news!
How the coolest thing to hit two wheels is likely already at your fingertips.

It’s a growing cycling fashion statement, a training tool, and an indicator of riding prowess. No, it’s not the latest GPS device or power meter. It’s stopping for red lights and stop signs.

It’s all the rage, and all the cool kids are doing it, from national championship winning bike racers to downhillers to commuters. What may have started as a countywide crackdown against red light runners is evolving into a habit that quickly differentiates between Marin locals and those passing through, the experienced and those trying to show off. The difference? The experienced, skilled crowd stops for stop signs.

And it’s not just cops sending the message.

“I confess, I used to do it,” says Sean Fekete, of San Rafael, of yesterday’s trend of rolling through stop signs. “I’m cruising along, don’t want to stop and then start again.”

Today, whether riding after work on a fixed gear or blazing down a mountain on his downhill bike, stopping for stop signs has become part of Fekete’s regular riding style.

Why the change?

“I was riding a lot with a bike racer, and she was stopping at all the signs, so I just did it because she was,” says Fekete. “Later, I was working with a local coach, and his rule was that if you ran stop signs or red lights, he wouldn’t work with you.”

Fekete is just one of a growing number of Marin locals who feel intense annoyance at those who don’t stop.

“It’s lazy and disrespectful,” he says. “If you want to ride without having to stop, enter a race. Why give pedestrians and motorists even more reason to hate us?”

“I see people blowing stops signs so often now,” says multi-masters track national champion Pete Billington, also of San Rafael. “It is really frustrating when the same people complain about cars not respecting bicyclists.”

What sign running cyclists don’t realize is that not only do they stand out to the crowd as either inexperienced or dangerous, they’re missing out on a valuable muscle defining training tool.

“Stopping at stop signs really is a good opportunity to develop strong core muscles and even sprinting technique,” says Billington. “The tendency to swing the bike from side to side during a sprint is just wasted energy and practicing hip drive and forward acceleration is critical to developing top speed.”

Throw that at the next newbie who screams “On your left!” at the next stop sign.

How to Stop for Stop Signs

We asked Officer Paul Stromoski of the Ross Police Department what exactly cops are looking for when it comes to stopping for stop signs. You may find yourself surprised at how easy it is.

1. You don’t have to put a foot down. Come to a complete stop, yes, but it’s okay to stop for a split second, and then continue on. “Nowhere in the California Vehicle Code does it say cyclists have to put a foot down,” says Stromoski. But if you’re unable to maintain a track stand (balancing your bike at a complete stop), then obviously, you should, especially in a situation as described in Tip #2.

2. Give motorists and pedestrians who were at the intersection before you the right of way. This is Driver’s Ed 101, and yes, it applies to cyclists. Yield the right of way to those who rightfully have it and you may suddenly find your self within an intersection of allies. Who wouldn’t want that?

3. Cops want to see you physically turning your head to look in all directions. “You might think a peripheral look from the corner of an eye is enough,” says Officer Stromoski. “But we’re looking to see your helmet actually moving. It’s the only way we know you’re really looking.”

These are three tips that can spare you from expensive traffic fines or from drawing attention to yourself as an absolute novice. They could even save your life. And who knows? They may even help you get to the podium.

P.s. Thanks Mo, for bringing this article to my attention.
P.s.s. Thanks Katie, for sharing your words.


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Ultra insanity

Did you hear about the woman who attempted to swim 103 miles from Cuba to Florida this week? Her name is Diana Nyada, she’s 61. The swim was expected to take about 60 hours but she was pulled from the water after 29. It’s too bad she didn’t reach her goal but they said, “Her will was stronger than her body.” Can you imagine? Regardless, you must respect the massive effort and acknowledge her success, short of her goal or not.

Last weekend Penny and I went for a trail run in The Marin Headlands. As we trundled off I noticed that there was an organized race going on. When we crested the summit of our first climb I spied a fellow staggering toward me. It was his race number that gave away the fact that he was participating in the event. Normally I would never bother someone during a race but this chap looked like he could use some love so I asked him how far he was racing. He said “100 miles.” After gasping I asked, how far along are you? “Mile 98”  (although he was wrong, I knew the finish was at least 5 miles away. I kept my mouth shut though). Thank God he was almost done, he looked like he was about to fall on his face. Poor thing!

A few seconds later a couple more 100-mile racers trotted toward us. They were behind the other fellow, but seemed like they were having a better time of it. At that point Penny said something to me that I can’t completely remember but it was to the effect of “don’t you feel insignificant?” She was referring to the fact that they were “running” 100 miles and the most we’ve ever managed is 13, plus a few yards. For a second I kind of did feel small.  I had only panted my way through 3 miles of a 6-mile run and those folks had been running since 7:30 am Saturday morning (it was now 9am Sunday morning, they’d been running for over 25 hours sans sleep, and had at least an hour still to go).

It only took me a split second to snap out of feeling insignificant, I thought to myself: NO, I don’t feel lesser than those folks, those people are nuts! Why would you run for that long? Or, why would you face shark-invested water and insane current like Diana Nayda did for days? I’d be so bored doing the same thing for that long that I could never invest in the physical part. I did feel bad for not understanding.

My solace came as I realized that most likely not one of those 100 mile racers or The Swimmer Lady would think that racing a bike in a pack of 60 at high-speed around tight corners or riding as fast you can up the side of a mountain is at all sane. They have their way and I have mine. That’s what makes the world go around and it seems to work pretty well in most respects.

With that I say: A very impressive job to all of you Ultra Endurance Athletes, I admire your patience and drive. To those of us who dance to a different beat, let us also celebrate our efforts. We’re all different and one of us is not better than the other, just different.

Cheers…


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Get outa the road!

I am George... go around me

This is George, George gets tired sometimes and when he does, he stops in his tracks and lays down. It’s pretty funny, but that’s because George is a dog with an impressive attitude.

It’s a little different for the rest of us, we’re expected to be a bit more mindful and to stay out of the way of things that might run us over or need to get past us. I bring this up because living in the middle of a tourist, and outdoor-life mecca I often risk my life (become annoyed) trying to get from one place to another either on my bike, running or walking.

We’ve all experienced it, folks walking or riding along in front of us only to stop dead in their tracks when they simply feel the urge. Never mind that you were right behind them.  My grandmother once fell down an escalator because some dork stepped off the moving contraption at the top but then just stood there. Granny had no place to go but down. After that Granny never got on an escalator again.

My favorite maneuver is the dude that blows past you on his bike or on foot only to slow down once ahead because he just used all his energy to pass. Now you’re forced to get around him. Even better are the hordes of people (not always tourists!) perched on bikes that like to stop in packs blocking the road or even in an intersection. WTF is that?  Get out of the road dummies! Oh… and getting a flat tire on your bike is no excuse to block the path. Find a safe place and move out-of-the-way of anything and everyone that may be headed toward you!

Consider this a friendly reminder. Be smart, be responsible and respect thy fellow public. Okay?