Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.

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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


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 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.


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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?

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Lanterne Rouge

Kelley's Red Lantern

It’s not whether you win or lose it’s how you play the game, right? Well, we don’t always feel that way but it’s true. When I was racing bikes I heard one of my teammates husbands say to her as we were leaving for a race, “don’t come home if you don’t win.” He’s now her ex husband, I believe.

In bike racing an award is given to the last rider to finish the race, it’s called The Lanterne Rouge. The idea behind the Lanterne Rouge is to celebrate finishing the race rather than giving up. Riders often compete to come in last rather than just near the back as the rider that comes in last is remembered, while those who finish a few places ahead are forgotten.

The term Lanterne Rouge translates to Red Lantern and is derived from the red lantern that was placed on the caboose of a railway train.  The engineer would look at the light from the engine to make sure that no cars had come uncoupled.

In life, as in athletics hanging on is not easy when things get ugly. It’s much easier to give up, but where’s the challenge and sense of pride in that? Finishing what you’ve started and giving it your best effort is a major achievement and worthy of praise.

In my life I have taken first place, I have taken The Red Lantern and I have given up. I’m very proud of my wins and my last place finish, but I hugely regret the times I gave up, and the things I have not been brave enough to attempt.

Lets remember to celebrate the effort, as well as the outcome. As one of the Race With The Bus participants said to me as he was walking away, “we’re all winners.”

Happy Humpday!

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I got Mob’d

A week ago Sunday, my scope said that last week was “going to be all about karma.” I got a little nervous, as I’m not always a good girl. Then I thought about it and thought… yea, I’ve earned some good karma! I’ve done some nice things for people in the not so distant past, so… YES… this should be a good karma kinda week (I figured, think positive).

Anyway, as the week rolled on I kinda forgot about my scope, and then magically good things really did start to happen. It was kind of freaky!

I won’t bore you with the details, but basically the one thing that I wanted to happen was for my Run With The Bus race to turn out well, for it to get Motion Starved some attention and to meet some nice people.  All of which came true.

If you read Fridays post you know how the Bus race turned out, if you didn’t, read it now. What you don’t know, is while literally begging for help to promote the race, I got the attention of the folks at, how it happened I have no idea.

If you don’t know Scoutmob, they were born from a love for the locally owned businesses that make our city unique, and the hard-working people who make it all happen. They wanted a chance to work with and promote folks like me, but also a way to tell our stories. Scoutmob is a way to get curious urban explorers like you, out and about and exploring the city… all with the incentive of free mobile deals.

The way the deals work is very simple, if you see something you like, you claim it and then you use it. Like old-school cutting a coupon out of the paper and then redeeming it. You don’t pay Scoutmob anything. Plus, their site is super cool and they work hard to bring you new, fun and interesting things, not just any ol’ thing. That’s where I come in…

It was crazy karmic, I got an email from a nice Scoutmob lady telling me that she liked what I’m doing and since Scoutmob likes to promote people and places that they find curious, they wanted to help get the word out about my style of workouts. With that, they’ve given me a little space in their daily email that goes out to many more thousands of San Franciscans that I could ever hope to reach at this point. The little ad links directly here, to Motion Starved, Scoutmob gets nothing out of this deal other than the satisfaction of getting me some attention and helping their fans find something new and interesting.

The moral of the story, maybe there is something to karma or maybe it’s that hard work gets rewarded, or maybe it’s, do weird things people will notice you. Who knows…Bottom line is, come workout with me. Tell me you’ve been Mob’d I’ll give you 3 classes for 30 bucks.


P.s. Check out they’re all over the country. Not just SF.

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OMG! Why did I sign up for that?

Around and around we go...

I have a client who’s running her very first 5k and it’s in just a few weeks. Currently, she’s pretty calm, but experience tells me that the night before her running debut she’s gonna wonder what the hell she was thinking when she signed up for such a thing. We all do that, we do it no matter how many times we race, participate in a competitive event or sign up for something that’s new to us. It’s just the way it works.

My advice to my client and to the rest of the world is to remain calm. Freaking out uses valuable energy that you’ll need later.

If you were smart, you’ve trained and planned well for your challenge. Perhaps you even scoped out the course, or spied through the window of a dance class so you’d know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. You read the event information packet ahead of time and you have all your ducks in a row. It’s anticipating surprises that freak us out, I think. Maybe you remember when I did that stair climb in the B of A Building for charity a few months ago, I got all freaked out because at the last-minute I read a note in the race rules that said “do not crawl on the stairs.” Just reading that set off all sorts of horrific thoughts in my head. I imagined that people become so exhausted that they had to crawl to the finish. In the end, I found that I was being very silly as the race itself was a piece of cake (because I trained for it!).

With that, my best pre event suggestions are as follows:

  • Get yourself completely ready a few days before your event. Make sure your cloths are clean, have good food in the house, read all the event info, collect your race number/chip everything you need so the last few days you can chill.
  • It’s important that two nights before your event you get a good night sleep. You may be anxious the night before making for a less than perfect nights sleep so focus on two nights before. If you have a good sleep two nights before, the night before you’ll feel less anxious.
  • Eating the night before. Frankly I never recommend stuffing yourself the night before. No matter how far, or what it is you plan to do. Remember, the more you eat the harder your body has to work to digest it. When your body works hard it gets tuckered out and can affect your sleep.  Remember, you don’t want to carry around a pile of pasta in your gut while you attempt to race. Get what I’m saying here?
  • What to eat the morning of your event can be tricky. The rule of thumb is, eat 2-3 hours before your event to allow your body time to digest the food (and so you don’t yack it up). That can be a problem when your event is in the early morning. From years of experience I’ve found that I can stomach oatmeal w/raisins & walnuts a couple of hours before seriously exerting myself. But, that’s come with years of trial and error and now I stick with just that. The most important thing I can tell you is that you need to practice eating just as you would anything else. As you train, try different foods and at different times. Not only will you figure out what to eat, and when to eat, you’ll find out what foods give you most energy. It’s trial and error.
  • Bottom line, never try anything new the day of the event. No new food, drink, lotion, shoes, clothing, nothing! You have no idea how you’ll react to it so don’t take the risk. As far as shoes are concerned, it takes 2 weeks to break in new shoes so if you need new shoes get ‘em early (bike shoes too!).
  • Lastly, have faith in yourself. Trust that you’ve trained and are ready for this exciting new challenge. As you lay in bed the night before say to yourself: Okay, self…this is how this is going to work… you’re gonna have a good night sleep and wake up feeling great. You’re gonna get to the event and you’re gonna go, go, go feeling great the whole time. Everything will be smooth and easy, and you’ll feel unbelievably great when you’re done.  It works every time. Trust me.

Now, go make me proud…

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Independence = freedom

Chilly water, only the brave dare...

During my workout class at the beach tonight, I spied a notably chubby 30 something fellow stripping down to nakedness, aside from his remarkably tight swim trunks. I peaked at him as he dropped his trousers, hoisted off his shirt and stuffed them into an equally over stuffed backpack. As he wrenched on his fluorescent orange swim cap I found myself commenting to my clients about how he needed to join our abdominal workout. You see, this fellow wasn’t the sort that most of us would find suited to bare himself in public and certainly not wearing such an ensemble. He was quite a chubbster, clad in gear that only emphasized that fact.

As the snarky comments slid from my lips I immediately felt horrid. Who the hell was I to say such things? This fellow was proud and clearly not affected by the “rules’ of the world. He was living his life and doing as he pleased. For this I should be giving him props and envy his moxie.

To the chubby fellow I say, “You go boy.” I support your independent ways and I apologize for my shallow thoughts and snarky words. I confess to you that I’m a woman who swims only to keep from drowning, and frankly, I could use a few ab exercises myself. To you I say, live and let live, may the force be with you, and you’ve inspired me to take a plunge into the ice-cold bay in my less than appropriate swimming costume (that’ll be a story for another day).

To the rest of the world, may you all enjoy a wonderful, safe, Independence Day weekend. And if you happen run into someone who’s not exactly the way you think they should be: Stop for a second and look past the exterior, you might witness something inspiring.

I’ll be back on Monday, until then, travel, celebrate and exercise safely…

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Happy Monday

I’ve decided to take a “Personal Day” today. I trust you understand. It’s been a long weekend.

In my absence I suggest you consider partaking in some sort of lusty act. I’m talking about stretching your horizons a bit. Look into a Poll Dancing class, Massage for Couples… you get the picture. Run with it!

I’ll be back tomorrow…

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Stuff is just stuff but what’s the etiquette on borrowing?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I’m missing some things that I could really use about now. I guess I could ask for them back but I don’t think I should have to. I guess it’s just me, I tend to return the things that I borrow and I forget that not everyone thinks like that. You see, I once drove 100 miles out of my way to return a book.

Anyway, I was curious about how others felt about the etiquette of borrowing so I decided to ask Google. In the end I found only what I already knew, but managed to forget.

  • If you loan something out, don’t expect to get it back. If you cannot live with that thought, don’t make the loan.
  • If you borrow something, treat it as the most precious and valuable item on the planet. Even if it’s just a paperback book. Return the item promptly and heaven forbid, if you lose it or damage it, tell the truth. Then move heaven and earth to repair or replace it while apologizing profusely.
  • It is very important to remember that whenever we borrow things from others, it is essential that we promptly return the said item, without waiting for the day when the owner asks to collect it. At that point, the owner may already be irked or annoyed.

Somewhat satisfied with my findings, I’ve decided to let my missing things go, after all I don’t have to dust them anymore (I hate dusting!), and if I decide that I can’t live without them, I’ll simply go shopping (I love shopping!).

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend, see you on Monday…