Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


After all, isn’t it all relative?

Grizzly Ryder

I’m not like a lot of my friends. Half Marathon, 21K/13.1 miles is my distance. I don’t run “long” and I don’t run “fast.” The folks I measure myself against and admire run much faster or much longer than me. It’s silly that I sometimes feel insecure measuring myself against them.  After all, isn’t it all relative?

For some, 21K is hella far.  For others it’s just a moderate training run. To me, my average 9++ minute-mile is slug slow. To some, that seems fast. Does it really matter how fast or how far? Should’t I just appreciate that I have what it takes to drag myself out of bed early every weekend morning when others are snug in their beds?

A more experienced bike racer friend once advised me; “If you’re not moving forward you’re moving backward.” He was referring to positioning oneself within the field of riders, but the statement works for life in general. With that said, I imagine we should wake up every day and push to make ourselves better than we were the day before. Move forward so to speak. Be your own “better.”

I write this post because I recently finished my first race of the season. It was 17k. It was hilly and it was beautiful. I ran slowly up hill and I ran fast down hill.  I got passed a lot on the first climb, but I too passed people going up and then I passed people going down. I passed people who had passed me earlier in the race and I loved that feeling. I was out there on this day for no other reason than because I wanted to be. I expected only to finish feeling proud of my accomplishment, for having taken steps to keep moving forward, to better myself. In the end I found that in spite of myself, I’d managed to finish first in my age group and better than halfway through the total field of women. I beat men & women many years younger although I’d been beaten by many more than I beat. My lesson; a reminder that my typical measure my success is out of whack. It had no place here on this day and it really has no relevance what so ever, as… success is relative, specific to any given day, situation, imagination.

So, go out and run/ride, whatever… do it because you can and because if you aren’t moving forward you’re moving backward. Remember, how you measure up in your own mind doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you get out and do it… Do it every day and do it to the very best of your own personal ability. You may just surprise yourself one day.

P.s. My pal Pen raced this day as well. Pen was one of the very first people over-all to cross the finish line. And, Pen even stopped before the line to pick up her 3-year-old son Max so they could cross together. Nice job Pen! (Is it any wonder why Pen is at the top of my measuring stick?)


Motion Starved is 1 year old today!

One year ago today I launched Motion Starved. It started with my friend Skinny Scott giving me a blog for my birthday in November of 2010. See, I’d been talking about using a blog format rather than the standard website to promote my business and share my knowledge, but I never expected to have one handed to me all set up and ready to go. “Yikes” I thought, “now I really have to get my shit together!”

So then it began, I started coughing up words of wisdom in a massive effort to feed and inspire the motion starved soul in all of us.

If you’ve been reading this past year you’ll be familiar with the people who have contributed to the success of Motion Starved. Bear with me as I take a moment to thank them now.

To Scott, words cannot express how thankful I am for all that you do for me, every day. I’m touched and deeply honored to be your friend. When I’m rich I’ll build you a special town just for Vegans.

To Michelle (aka GP-2011). Thank you for letting me practice on you, for all your creative genius, your support and mostly for all the times you’ve enthusiastically followed me into the depths of potential imprisonment.

To Dawn for being the best friend I never actually met, for your daily challenges, encouragement, advise and your infectious positive spirit. I so look forward to drinking wine with you on the moon.

To Pen & Mo for keeping me in check and for always pushing me, for your support, and mostly for appreciating that life is all about the stories. Without you I’d have far fewer really good ones! Long live the AB’s.

To Dora, your comments keep me on my toes and your support is appreciated more than you can know. Mostly, thank you for being brave enough to call me out when I make a really bad spelling error. The world thanks you for that!

To the rest of you, I say THANK YOU for following and friending, for reading and for working out with me! I am incredibly thankful and greatly appreciate your spending time with me. Without you I would have no purpose and God forbid might have to get another dreadful advertising job.

So there you have it. I’ll stop here and invite you to review “The Annual Report” that WordPress put together for me. It details how Motion Starved did and what it did during 2011. It’s actually very interesting and kind of funny, although I learned that the post most viewed was the one about having a crooked butt crack. Not sure how I feel about that.

Happy New Year my friends!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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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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Sometimes you gotta just suck it up and dig deep.

I have a really nice house with a really nice yard, a really needy cat and lots of good friends, all of which are constantly calling for my attention. If it’s not one thing it’s another, the cat vomits, the lawn needs mowing, friends need calling. There’s always something to do. My point is, it’s hard to get out and do things that require more than just a little effort. Specifically things that take a significant amount of guts, or offer a challenge.

For example; last weekend Penny and I participated in a trail run/race that took us up 3,000 feet in the air within the first 3.5 miles. After that we still had to climb another 2,000 feet. Translation; up, up and up till you think you might puke, then down, around and up some more. Pen took second place in spite of the fact that she has a full-time job, two babies, a husband, a house and a very needy dog. Pen did so well because she dug deep and sucked it up. She knows no other way.

This weekend SarahSwitchblade participated in something we call The Double Dipsea. It’s another trail run/race. Translation; it dips from a mountain top to the sea and back up again, hence The Double Dip-sea. Switchie took first place in this torture fest. To my knowledge she didn’t puke, although my guess is she thought she might, more than once. Switchie too has a house, a bike racer husband whom she supports, pets, a job and all that.

When my Dad rode his bike across Iowa a couple of summers ago he didn’t wear socks with his Topsiders (not exactly “proper” cycling shoes). The ride was 7 days, and 500 miles filled with wind, rain, heat, pork chops and corn. Dad’s ankles bled the whole time. At one point I said “Dad! Your ankles are bleeding!!!!” Dad said, “What? No they aren’t!” Given that Dads ankles looked like hamburger, I then realized that he was sucking it up, doing what he need to in order to complete his challenge, so I shut up. Dad, has a very big job, a very, very big house, a wife, a not so needy dog, a cat and 3 grown, problematic children.

I know stepping outside of your comfort zone is hard. It’s hard every time you do it. It’s hard for me, for Pen, for Sarah for my Dad, for everyone. We’re all everyday people.

Remember, it’s not about “winning” something, it’s about making the effort, having the experience, or in my case, the story. Because in the end, it’s all about the stories!

(Am I right Pen? Switchie? Dad?)


“Do not crawl on the stairs”

Because I can

I was almost defeated by the six little words, “do not crawl on the stairs.”

I lay in bed Saturday morning thinking, I don’t have to go, I could just say I went. The rain was pounding, not even my cat was bugging me for her breakfast. It was 5:30 am, I didn’t need to be up for an hour but I couldn’t sleep. I lay there trying to convince myself that it wouldn’t be that bad. I had been fine all week, until I read the “race information packet.” I skimmed the pages looking for something that I didn’t already know and then I saw it, “ you may run, you may walk but do not crawl on the stairs.” What? Crawl? Why would anyone crawl on the stairs? Was this event so tough that it brought people to their knees, requiring them to drag their half dead bodies up the steps? Holy shit! What had I gotten myself into?

All night I thought about those six words, “do not crawl on the stairs,” over and over they swam in my head. Finally I pulled myself out of bed and found the coffee-making gear. Two massive cups of Peet’s later and I was feeling better, although my legs had begun to shake. I texted Penny to asked her, “Why do we do this again?” Immediately Pen responded with “because we can.” It was seeing those words in the window of my phone that calmed me down. She was right. Because we can. I could do it, the feeling of relief almost made me cry.

As my oatmeal brewed Mo offered last-minute words of advise and support. My support crew had come through once again. I was calm and ready start the insanity!

Entering the underground parking garage at 555 California was not as smooth as I had imagined. Between the pouring rain and the fact that every car entering the structure had to be searched, there was a bit of a delay. However, once cleared by the Bomb Sniffer Dude I was free to enter the concourse and stand in the rain along with thousands of other nervous people waiting to retrieve our race numbers, timing chips and the coveted, event t-shirt.

The start was smooth. Racers went off at 7 second intervals, you walk up to the line, they snap your photo, you hear, beep, beep, beep and when you hear the loud BUZZZZ, that’s your cue to go like hell.

Off I went, trotting up the cement steps, gray, gray, gray all I could see was gray. I refused to look at the floor markers on the wall, they would mess with my head. It wasn’t until my ears popped that I looked at the marker, I was on the 24th floor. Wow, almost 50% done. I then realized that I was someplace high up in the sky. It seemed strange for some reason. I looked at my watch, 8 minutes.

I picked up the pace and passed a Fire Fighter in full gear having a hard time. Yikes, I thought, good thing there’s no fire.

At some point a dude in baggy drawers entered the stairwell from a water station, for some reason he was under the impression that I might like to chat as we climbed. I decided this was a good time to get a sip of water so I ditched into the hall hoping to lose Baggy D.

A quick sip of water and I was off again, up, up, up and then, damn, there was Baggy D. I put the hammer down to get away and began to notice a steady stream of raspy, gasping sounds rapidly approaching from down the stairwell. As the racket bared down on me I kept my eyes straight ahead looking only at the grey steps. Then, a huge foot wearing one of those shoes that look like a foot appeared to my left. Fat treaded toes attached to a leg that took two steps at a time. The next thing I saw was a muscular rear-end, then, as rapidly as it appeared, the foot the rear-end and the gasping vanished, never to be seen or heard again.

It was after being passed by Big Foot that I really picked up the pace. I came upon a Fire Lady wearing shorts and her big Fire Lady jacket looking like she’d seen better days; again I wondered what goes on when there’s a fire. I looked at the floor marker, it read 50th floor. Holy shit, only two more floors? It must be a trick (I really did think that!). But alas it was no trick. I arrived at the 52nd floor, somebody immediately said, “smile” I looked up, they snapped my photo and I trotted down the hall into the Carnelian Banquet Room to a throng of clapping, cheering, photo snapping people. It was over. Time on my watch said 14:20, unofficial time (official time, 14:00!). Not bad, I thought.

I’m glad I did it. It was fun and for a good cause. I’ll do it again but next time I’ll go a little faster knowing that I won’t need to crawl. That’s my only regret, I finished the race with gas left in the tank, or money left in my pocket as Laurel used to say (but that’s a story for another day).

When I got home I looked at the event t-shirt for the first time. It was bright cherry red; the usual sponsor logos covered the back. The copy on the front read “I climb because I can.” Words to live by…


“Why do we do this?”

I’ve been looking through my old race reports trying to find the answer to that question. I remember driving home from many bike races with Penny asking over and over again, “why do we do this?”  The only answer I can remember coming up with was “because we can.” The fact that we could do something that most people didn’t have the nerve to attempt made us who we are. If we gave in and acted “normal” we wouldn’t be the people we are, and in spite of the never-ending torture we had fun, made life long friendships and learned more than anyone can imagine.

This is why I am confused. I don’t understand why so many of you are having a hard time making the commitment to succeed physically. Every day someone says, “I’d really like to loose some/run a/ride a ­­­_____ someday.” Someday? When is Someday?

Let me ask you, every day you have things that you need to get done, correct? You do your best every day to clear your to-do list, you go to work, feed the kids, see friends, laundry… Those things are your priorities, your daily commitments or “goals.” Some of those things are fun and some you do because you have to. Either way you succeed because you’re committed.

Why is it not the same when it comes to achieving a fitness goal? Are you afraid of making a fool of yourself and failing? Are you afraid it will hurt? Maybe you fear that it will infringe on your social schedule or time with your family?

Seriously, when was the last time you heard of someone making a fool out of him or her self while attempting to better themselves? Yep, if you decide to cut calories or train for an event it may cut into your cocktail hour, but it’ll open new doors that will more than make up for the ones it hinders. The pain, yep, pushing your body does hurt a little but it’s not that bad and it really does make you stronger, healthier and hotter!

Maybe you should think of your goal is just another thing on your daily to-do list.

Example; say you sign up for the Fight for Air Climb. With that you know that you need to build your endurance so that you can complete the event, and climb 52 flights of stairs. So, on your to-do list goes the daily tasks that you need to accomplish in order to get yourself to event day. It’s the same mindset you use for making dinner. On your to-do list is the question of menu, shopping list, grocery shopping, cooking and finally achieving your goal of eating dinner. See, it’s easy!

Don’t over think it. Decide what you’d like to do. Figure out the steps to get there. Take the necessary steps and don’t stop till you get there. All you gotta do is commit, focus, succeed and celebrate!


Code Yellow!

I gotta go!

I know a guy that once worked for one of those package delivery services (you know, like FedEx or UPS). One day he had to go to the bathroom so badly that he simply could not hold it anymore.  With no public restroom in the vicinity he was forced to empty his bladder into one of those (previously unoccupied) padded envelopes, as he hid from view in the back of his delivery van. While this story makes me laugh every time I think of it, I can definitely sympathize.

As a former elite bicycle racer with many hours in the saddle I know all to well what it’s like to be on the edge of dampening my drawers.  In the sport of bike racing there are skills that one learns allowing them to take care of such matters sans stopping your bike. Such skills are not easily mastered and in my experience used only as a last resort. Kind of like the situation above.

The bottom line is (no pun intended), we’ve all been in situations where we had to “go” and there was no designated place, to go. On that note I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about the dos and don’ts of “going on the fly,” or “Code Yellow” as I prefer to say.

First of all public urination is against the law. While in the countryside it’s more acceptable than in town, it’s still illegal.  National Parks may seem like the country but they are not. It would be bad to get caught going in a National Park. Be aware and be as respectful as you can while committing such an act.

Find a spot out of view of others. We don’t need to see you, it’s not that funny! Please don’t leave paper or other “business” lying around. Take it with you or burry it. Also remember, if you expose yourself in public you can be put on the sex offenders’ list.  That can’t be good!

My friend Penny just reminded me that it’s also advisable to check for poison oak prior to dropping your drawers in the bush.  A case of poison oak on your undercarriage can really put a damper on things.

If you want me to teach you how to pee while riding your bike I can do that. However, it’ll cost you…