Sunday, November 9, 2014

Don't Let Your Hobbies Stress You Out

For some reason, I have it in my head that to be a real athletes wake up early on the weekends to play their sports. I guess it's because I connect dedication to sacrifice. It may also be because I spent most Saturdays and Sundays from grade 6  through college waking up early on the weekends to play sports. But most adults, as far as I can see, still wake up early to participate in their favorite sport. Great. I've got one problem, though. I'm not a morning person, and I am no longer interested in waking up early. 

This is sort of a problem if I want to connect with people, because most group activities happen in the morning. But here was the problem: I would sign up for a weekend event, and then all week I would worry about waking up on Saturday or Sunday to get to my sport on time. So on top of waking up super early for work (super hard for me), I was now stressing out about my hobbies. Doesn't that go against the point of having a hobby? So after flaking out on some rides because, dang-it, I was NOT getting out of bed one second earlier than I had to,  I finally come to the conclusion that IT DOESN'T MATTER. No matter how temping and awesome those pre-noon rides look, I know they are not for me. Instead, I've got a new plan: ride when I want to. I don't know if this still makes me a "real athlete," but it definitely makes me happy. 

My plan seems to be going well so far. This weekend I woke up when I wanted to,  read the paper top-to-bottom, drank my coffee, and THEN prepped my bike and got my ride on! Happy happy!! 

This routine works for me, now I'm just working to find some others who are on the same schedule. I'm leading my first NOON group ride next weekend. Come join!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How to Combat the ALWAYS EMBARRASSING Beginner Stage of a New Sport

Let's get something straight. There's no way to learn something new WITHOUT going through the embarrassment stage.

Let's go over some of my highlights:

When I was getting to know my mountain bike, I took the front tire off then and couldn't figure out how to get it back on. A friendly guy exiting the church across the street came over and helped me out. (Presumably because I was standing there with a befuddled look on my face.)

When I started to surf, I had to use the 9 ft foam board and get pushed into 4 inches of whitewater by my instructor. I wiped out a lot. When she finally took me out to the break, my board tomb-stoned almost every time I tried to catch a wave.

When I tried to go skiing with a friend for the first time (after a few days of lessons), I lost my balance in line, knocked over the 3 dudes in front of me, and eventually got the entire lift shut down because we were all about to get decapitated by an oncoming chair.

More recently, I participated in a SUP Meetup. It was my first time not in a lesson. Basically, I spun in circles and eventually got so far behind the group that I had to be hooked onto a kayaker and towed for awhile. I wasn't tired....I was just that slow.

So, since I've not established that there's no way to skip the embarrassment stage, here are a few ways to make it less painful:

1. Accept that it will happen and practice your smile now.
2. Get a coach in order to shorten the learning period.
3. Take an introductory class....and then an intermediate class...and then as many classes as you need to until you feel confident.
4. If you can't get a coach or take a class, find someone who is obsessed with the sport and willing to help you (the beginner) out. Every sport has these people, you just have to find them. They are usually the ones who start Meetup groups or invite you to that group ride even if you don't own a bike.

Hang in there!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Women's Mountain Bike Rides on Winter Saturdays-Fairfax, VA

I found this series of winter, beginner-friendly mountain bike rides posted under on of my mountain bike Meetup groups (Washington DC Mountain Bike Meetup). It sounds like fun.

Here's the link explaining the series:

Adventure Women Book Club-Huntington, Alexandria, VA

Women's Adventure Magazine just published a list of books that adventure women may be interested in. They also have a discussion group on Facebook, but I'm not on Facebook.  Soooooo! If any women would like to read some of these books, get inspired, and then discuss them in person, I wouldn't mind organizing a meeting in Old Town or Huntington. Just leave me a comment below with your information. If we get around five people, I'll see if I can get something together. 

This is the Facebook group for interested ladies:

Here are the books suggested by WAM in this month's magazine: 
Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis
The Best Women's Travel Writing, Volume 9: True Stories From Around the World edited by Lavinia Spalding. 
Breaking the Trail: A Climbing Life by Arlene Blum
Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole by Felicity Aston 
Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods by Christine Byl 
Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog by Steph Davis 
A Life Without Limits: A World Champion's Journey by Chrissie Wellington
A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft, and Ski by Erin McKittrick
Miles from Nowhere: A Round the World Bicycle Adventure by Barbara Savage 
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed 

Couple Gets Married at Finish Line of Adventure Race

I religiously skip over the wedding announcements section of the paper, but the picture of a bride wearing a muddy wedding dress piqued my curiosity.  Jennifer (the featured bride) lost her ability to walk and see in her mid-twenties because of a rare blood disorder. When she started to recover, she promised to physically challenge herself each and every day.

She and the groom got married after completing an adventure race together.

I loved this story and just wanted to share it:

Friday, September 5, 2014

Huntington (Alexandria) Fitness Class Wish List

Let's play the pretend game for a second. If you could have any type of fitness class located on Huntington Ave, or in the Huntington neighborhood-a class that you would not have to drive into Old Town to attend, what kind of class would it be?

Here is my wish list (but I work early hours so your wish list times might be different!):

4:00/4:30 pm outdoor boot camp...but indoor in winter. Seriously, though, if enough people were     interested, we could submit an application to Custom Fitness Concepts and see if they would be willing to start a class around us. Leave a comment below with your information if you are interested.

4:00/4:30  heated vinyasa class.... (Dancing Mind Yoga-move to Huntington-thanks!)

4:00/5:00 pick up lacrosse...serious about this, though. If anyone is interested in throwing                   around or doing like a practice/workout, I wouldn't mind planning it. Maybe at Huntington park or at Jones Point?

On a side note-good job to Pole Pressure for bring a fitness studio to Huntington Ave. I'm not a dancer, but I'm happy to see fitness places moving in. :)


Friday, August 29, 2014

BooK Suggestion!-The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest

I'm always interested in learning about health and longevity, so I enjoyed listening to The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest by Dan Buettner. Buettner traveled to places around the world with the highest concentration of centenarians. With a research team, he tried to tease out the secrets of the healthiest elderly.

Each community had its own keys to longevity, but a low calorie, plant-based diet and daily, constant activity seemed to be two consistent factors. I thought these seemed like reasonable life-style changes, so I'm working on eating even more fruits and vegetables and making sure I don't sit still for too long. Both are easier said than done since I love carbs and naps and reading, but I'm working on it.

There are many more ideas and tips than the two I've absorbed, so if you've read the book, I'd love to hear about if you made any lifestyle changes because of it. And of course, if you haven't read it, check it out and see if you can pick up a few tips on how to stay healthier for longer.

Here is the author discussing some of his findings: