Category Archives: Exercise

It isn’t always easy

Image:runwithjess.com

My body has been hurting and I’ve been avoiding running for the last few weeks. My mileage is down and I have two more races before June is over and I know it is going to be a struggle. My feet and hips have been really problematic, although generally not at the same time, and I’ve been trying to be kind to myself and accepting of yoga and long walks as a substitute for a run. It hasn’t been easy, though.

Last night, finally, felt different. I had done a fair amount of yoga over the weekend and spent every possible moment outdoors. My body wasn’t quite as achy as it had been and a late afternoon massage with a focus on those areas that have given me the most discomfort left me feeling loose. A drizzly rain on a warm evening beckoned, rather than discouraged, as I changed into exercise clothes and taking a moment to roll a little CBD oil on my hips.

I located a good playlist on Applemusic, using “Stormy Monday Blues” as my search term and scored with one that opened with Led Zeppelin and was jammed with Stevie Ray, The Allman Brothers and Albert King. I started to feel excited to get outside and the tautness in my quads feels finally like an itch to flex instead of a request to rest. I was ready.

I left my house in a light rain which eventually became steady and soaking. My feet felt pretty good in my old inserts and my hips hurt only enough to annoy me. The air smelled fresh and I realized I was smiling. Big. It isn’t always easy, but often it’s worth it.

How do you keep on track with exercise? What do you when your body protests against your efforts?

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Filed under Albany, beauty, DelSo, Exercise, musings, Observations, running, Spring

Another four day weekend. Sort of.

While it may not have officially been a holiday weekend, it sure felt like one! It started on Thursday with the first Alive at Five for the season. I shot photos on a beautiful evening down by the Hudson for a Seen gallery and it didn’t matter at all that I knew no one present including any of the bands. The sun was shining and, after the rainy spring we’ve experienced, that was enough.

Friday night was the Albany Institute of History and Art’s annual gala and it was a wonderful night. Other than the meal, all of the events were held outside on what was a spectacular evening. Unlike the situation on Thursday, though, there were dozens upon dozens of familiar faces and, along with copious amounts of wine, conversations flowed. Standing on the front lawn of the Institute and looking across Washington Avenue at the building which had been my very first Albany home, was a remarkable reminder of how I’ve grown to be a part of this special city.

Saturday began with a yoga class and flowed into a mellow day of exploring Lark Street’s annual Art on Lark. This is such a great event and, again, the weather gods provided abundant sunshine for the crowds who were browsing artwork, enjoying a bite to eat or soaking up the sounds of one of the performers providing entertainment. Like the previous night, there were so many familiar faces that I was happy to see – and photograph. The evening came with a walk for ice cream and even more music, as the open mic at Emack & Bolio’s provided free entertainment to go with my two scoops.

After yet another refreshingly cool night’s sleep, Sunday started with beer yoga at Fort Orange Brewing. Like my Saturday morning practice, this class was lightly attended but I’m so glad I went. It is always one of my favorites, especially when the “garage” gets opened up and the sun shines in. Definitely the perfect prelude to Albany’s Pride Parade.

What can I say about the Parade? Well, it was amazing and I couldn’t stop smiling. The joy radiating was overwhelming and, while the event was for many the highlight of a month’s worth of LGTBQ activities, the Pride I felt in my city was tremendous. Love is love, friends, and that emotion beamed down upon every person present as warm as the day’s sunshine. It was a fantastic weekend. How was yours?

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Filed under Albany, art, beauty, concerts, DelSo, Events, Exercise, favorites, friends, Lark Street, Local, love, Observations, SEEN, sunday, upstate New York

In Memoriam – holiday weekends and me

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Always with a cherry on top.

In the past decade there was a run of not so great holiday weekends in my life. There had been discoveries and recollections which had left in their wake a slight dread when a three or four-day holiday weekend approached. A good time for all was not guaranteed since unexpected and bad news seemed to arrive as reliably as holiday weekend sales on new cars and large appliances – and I’m not interested in buying any of those things. I’m good, thanks.

This recent extended weekend, though, was different. There was a loose plan for a quick overnight getaway in the Berkshires. Cocktails in a cool and semi-swanky bar bid adieu to the work week and hello to a mini vaca in a delicious way. Museum passes were borrowed from the public library for free admission to a museum that I’ve wanted to visit for some time. The forecast changed from rainy to sunny, a positive change that provided an obvious example of how things can also unexpectedly improve.

Strolling through farmers markets and sipping a Bellini on a sunny terrace are two of the most perfect things to do under blue skies. Especially with someone who treats you well and makes you laugh.

The weekend rolled on with a full morning on the deck with the Sunday NYT, followed by a party with interesting people and a fire which left my hair and clothing pungent with the smell of wood smoke. Spreading four bags of mulch and planting the flowers and herbs from Saturday’s market was Monday’s warmup to a five mile run – with an al fresco nap sandwiched between the more vigorous activities. The grill is definitely back in the rotation and I can’t believe I forgot how easy it is cook dinner when there are not pots or pans left behind to scrub. Ah, the almost summer vibe is strong…

I don’t know that I’ll ever completely forget the bad holiday weekends I’ve experienced, but I also don’t know that’s necessarily a negative thing. We should remember important things and lessons learned, especially when they help one to appreciate their current situation.

Memorial Day Weekend 2019 was, at last, a completely sunny, relaxing, fun, leisurely and most of all, happy, stretch of days. I hope yours was similar.*

*If it wasn’t, keep the faith. There’s always next year – or July 4th.

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Filed under Albany, art, beauty, Events, Exercise, friends, holidays, musings, Observations, Random, relationships, road trips, secrets, Spring, vacation

Sacandaga Half Marathon

Working towards my goal of 25 half marathons by the time I’m 55 has me hustling and signing up for races beyond the Capital Region. Earlier this year that meant south to Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. and yesterday I went northwest to Northville, N.Y. for the inaugural running of the Sacandaga Half Marathon. While both were a bit of a drive, I’m really glad to have experienced each of them because they were just what I like in an event – small, community supported and scenic.

The drive Sunday morning provided an array of weather conditions- sun followed by rain and finally clouds, which ended up being ideal. Parking and bib pick up were as easy as I’ve ever seen. Small races really are awesome! At the 9:00 start Chrissy and I hung towards the back of pack of maybe 350 racers and committed to simply enjoying the journey. Goal set.

The course was pretty, particularly when the lake was in view. The hills were at times slightly more aggressive than rolling, but I observed that while we may not be especially fast on our feet, we eat hills. Seriously, neither of us really change pace when the hill is an incline and I was really proud of our strength. Running Muni all winter long definitely helps.

The last hour of the run was a challenge as the sun broke through and the humidity increased. Fortunately, water and Gatorade stops were plentiful and the oranges between miles 6 and 7 were a Godsend giving me a good burst of energy to tackle the remaining distance.

This was my first long run with my new inserts and my hips felt great, but the arch of my left foot was screaming. The thought of taking my shoes off was the motivation for my last mile.  I crossed the line in 4th place for my division, but honestly I think there were only 6 of us in that particular group.

Post-Race we hit up the Sacandaga Kitchenette where we had fantastic breakfast sandwiches with a side order of hand cut fries. My ham, egg and cheddar on a roll was in my top 3 of  breakfast sandwiches ever. It was absolutely delicious and the vibe in this ultra casual spot was great. We left town with hearts and bellies full. Next up – June’s New Paltz Challenge!

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Filed under beauty, breakfast, Eating, Events, Exercise, friends, Restaurants, road trips, running, Spring, sunday, upstate New York

Don’t let a beautiful day get away

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since I spent Easter in Ireland. It feels like it was just yesterday when we stayed in the back garden until Easter Sunday became Easter Monday when the wine finally became more persuasive about us going to bed than the air was about begging us to stay awake.  In my heart it was just a moment ago.

The weather in Dublin Easter weekend was, in the vernacular, brilliant. The morning I arrived there had been a chill in the air that manifested as a moody fog, but as the hours, and days, passed the sun became stronger and the skies a more saturated shade of blue. Perfect holiday weather.

I spent a couple of days walking for hours and hours on end, to the point that I felt myself limping. I stayed fairly near Phoenix Park, which is a tremendous plot of land that sprawls into an irregularly shaped garden with a zoo, playing fields and picnic areas. There are gorgeous trails, soft underfoot, that beckon to be run upon and explored.

Perspective

One day, I took the northern piece and wound my way through meadows and wooded areas, seeing blooming trees and flowers, herds of wild deer and a cow-filled pasture. The next, I ran the southern piece on some of the most beautiful terrain I’ve ever experienced, wide paths lined by leafy trees with wood chips to cushion my feet. Magical, even with the nearly constant discomfort in my hips and feet forcing me to rein it in and not push myself too hard.

The slower pace left me with plenty of time to reflect. How lucky was I to have these hours that belonged only to me? To be outdoors breathing and smelling and seeing? Are there people who take this gift for granted?

It’s been a week now since I left Ireland.  In an odd way it feels like it was forever ago that I boarded the bus to the airport to come back to the life that I know and love. Or maybe I should say “return.” There’s no going back, just forward with appreciation and knowledge.

What you don’t have you don’t need it now

Don’t need it now.

It was a beautiful day.

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Filed under beauty, Europe, Exercise, family, favorites, holidays, Ireland, musings, Observations, running, Spring, travel, vacation

YouTube Yin Yoga

Sometimes it feels like getting to yoga is the most challenging aerobic activity of the day. I don’t really know how it happens, but I regularly show up at the studio nearly out of breath from the race to arrive at class on time. It isn’t exactly the most zen-like way to begin my practice and each time it happens I swear to do better next time, but…

The other day I left my house for a Yin class with 3 minutes to spare, according to Waze. Perfect – just enough time to put air in the tires of my neglected wagon. I pulled into Stewart’s to witness a woman pulling the air hose towards her vehicle where she proceeded to fill each of her tires, carefully and slowly. By the second tire, I knew there was little hope for my making it to the studio on time. Despite the odds not being in my favor, I waited, filled my tires and continued on my designated route until I rounded a corner and landed right in the middle of some weirdly early rush hour traffic. It just wasn’t happening. I called the studio and cancelled my reservation.

I pulled my car over and spent 10 minutes furiously googling alternative studios and other options to achieve zen. No dice. At this point, I was completely amped up and stressed, needing some yoga even more than I had 20 minutes previously. A sudden thought occurred to me – YouTube! There had to be something on YouTube that would help.

I searched “Yin Yoga” and found Kassandra whose 40 minute prop-less class was one of the first returns. From the description, it sounded like precisely what I was looking for and I excitedly rolled out my mat on my living room floor. Despite Jeter compressing a tennis ball noisily between his jaws right near my ear, I managed to ignore most everything beyond the cues given by the instructor and stayed mentally on my mat. The limited number of poses were held for a deliciously long amount of time and my body was fairly cooperative as it melted into the floor. By the time shavasana came around, I was in a much better place than where I had begun my practice.

Since the first Kassandra class on Wednesday, I’ve taken 3 others each varying between 40 and 60 minutes. The yoga style has consistently been Yin, but the focus has ranged from anxiety relief and relaxation to hip opening. Without exception, all have been terrific. YouTube yoga might not offer the same sense of shared breathing and community that comes from being in a studio, but in a pinch, it could be just where you need to be when you can’t to where you want to go.

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Filed under Exercise, favorites, ideas, Observations, Recommendations, stress, yoga

March on

F6431F52-59E4-4115-8790-FCB55B7A6F15Time is such a funny thing. I don’t know about you, but my own sense of time has changed so many times as I’ve grown older. I remember, as a kid, thinking that seasons were seemingly endless, especially summer. Summer was so long that I would have sworn the flowering bush in our front yard bloomed two distinct times. Some months, too, seemed crazy long, particularly March. It obviously isn’t the only 31 day month, but it is one that has always had a tendency to drag. Until recent years that is.

This year, I saw March coming and I was equal parts excited and already exhausted. There were four concerts, a weekend getaway with a special friend, overnights with the girls, two public performances (a friend’s turn taking on the Vagina Monologues and my own storytelling event), some medical appointments, and a half marathon. Plus that full-time job and tending all the males in my life…it was pretty insane, honestly.

 

I closed out the month with a reasonably mellow weekend with only two commitments – Friday night dinner out with friends and a Sunday late afternoon long run with the Luna B*tches, two related items if you consider the enormous serving of pasta that I’m still working my way through days later. I’m feeling almost caught up in terms of rest and household tasks and just about ready for April and the adventures already on the calendar for this month. No fooling.

Getting ready for Helderberg to Hudson!

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Filed under aging, Albany, Boys, concerts, Dinner, Exercise, friends, Observations, running, Spring, sunday