Monday, December 15, 2014

Sudden Transformations & the Genesis of Adventure

There's always this mix of loneliness, fear and unbridled excitement that spells the start of a good adventure. It grows out of a desire to get away and a growing feeling of introversion. Then I hit the road: my truck, my notebooks, music, and anything I might need to go trail running.

I always throw in a couple cute dresses, crazy tights, and sexy shoes just in case. For exactly what, I'm rarely sure. Perhaps for an equally exciting extroversion: a full on exploration of a city. It may be passion that drives me to leave the comfort of my home and the ease of a city, but it's that need to connect that drives my return, if only briefly and colorfully. 
I grew up not being able to tolerate spicy food and one day in my late 20s, as quick as a hawk swoops up a mouse, I realized I couldn't get enough of spicy food. My tolerance for mouth burning excitement generally far exceeds anyone else's that I hang out with. I'd rather have my food too spicy than settle for lackluster mildness.

Even faster and more intensely than bland food needing to be spicy, something more cathartic struck today. I instantly needed to explore the icy, snowy mountains. I must explore them. I was driving south after running on the PCT where it goes over Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascades when I realized I'm ready to explore winter in the mountains on foot, perhaps on skis as well. 

I've always loved the heat, the desert and running with next to nothing on. Running on the beach and above the surf, or in it. But all of a sudden, inspiration hit in those icy steps on the PCT and I want to run up cold mountain veins, camp on the soft snow with icy winds biting into my tent and feel the life that is all around me. It seems like one would find death and loneliness in the frigid mountains, but I know better. 

The mountain is life. The gale force winds are its breath. Trees poking out of the billowing snow are a sign of the warmth below. And I'm a light that travels up the mountain illuminating it for others to see its beauty. 

More on these topics later, for now, there are miles to drive along the Columbia River Gorge, a squished banana to dissect, and cold camping in the back of a truck with a teething, grain free puppy who is being potty trained. 

Some of my personal necessities for road tripping: 
Running shoes
Dancing shoes
Jet Boil
Single cup coffee pour
5 gal jug of water
Sleeping pad
Tent and/or truck with canopy
Sleeping bag
iPod, earphones
Ultimate direction Jenny Vesta for shorter runs & UD Fastpack 20 for longer ones. 
UD hand bottles 
Good coffee & mug
Puffy jacket
Colorful yoga tights
Yoga mat
Dr. Bronners soap
Good book
Running shorts & tights
Cute dress, tights, sweater
Long socks and short socks (really loving sockwell wool compression socks, cool patterns)
Trucker hat for those no shower days
Knife & nail polish
Almonds, almond milk, apples, canned salmon, hearts of palm, and poke whenever possible.

Want More?
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Get in Killer Shape with 200/100 Daily Challenge

After more than a year, I still love this workout I created last October 2013 because it's so damn simple you will do it every single day. Why does something simple mean you will do it every day? Because that is what you must do to complete this challenge and there's no excuse not to do something that only takes 10 minutes. For 30 days. Here is the workout. Remember, it is a daily challenge.

Consistency trumps intensity or duration. Clearly duration and intensity are good, but if you set a goal for yourself that is too hard to attain daily, you won't do it consistently.  So here's my challenge to all the runners out there, again back for 2014:

200/100 Daily Challenge

Simple: Every single day you do 200 reps of core/abdominal work and 100 reps of upper body work, in addition to your regular running routine.  You can do reps of anything you like, that's where the magic lies. You can change it up every day or weekly. But you must do 200/100. We're counting on you.  I did the workout the past 2 days when I put in loooong workdays on my feet and just wanted to curl up in bed with a good movie.

For some of you, this is going to be really tough. If that's the case, ease into it with a 100/50 challenge. For those of you that it's really easy, be sure to slow down on each rep and feel free to add more reps, just don't add so much that you don't want to do it consistently. The beauty of it is that on a day when you don't want to do it, it only takes 10-15 minutes. On a day when you're digging it, add some extra.

Here are some ideas for what you can do in each category:

200s: Focus on your core strength
bicycle legs (I do these as double tap elbow across to opposite knee, and switch)
plank (use 1 sec=1 rep)
kettle bell

100s: Focus on upper body
kettle bell
tricep dip

Also check out this awesome site: 22 Scientific Core Exercises for some new ideas. This website has hundreds of exercises for mountain athletes to build strength with links to videos/descriptions: Mountain Athlete Exercises.

IMPORTANT EXTRAS to add on if you can:

2 minutes of plank (continuous). If that's too hard for you, you can give yourself a little break by temporarily going into downward dog. But try to keep doing it for 2 full minutes. 
I do 2 minutes of plank face down and 1 min on each side (side plank). 

Credit: 57 Physique

One legged Squats
10 one legged squats (on each side) or 20 reg squats if that's too hard. Tone it down if it hurts your knees. Keep your form!! To make it easier, start with fewer reps. If you cannot keep your form it's better to do as many as you can do with good form and slowly build up. 

Credit: Running with Jack
Do you have any exercises you particularly like? Share with us. 

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