Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

The Joy of Pond Skating

We live in a temperate area that is rarely cold enough for long enough that we can ice skate outside.

And we are part of a group of adults united over many years of playing league ice hockey at the local rink.

This means that there are some among us, who, when the weather conditions start aligning, look for outside ice. If found, the phone calls go out, and people meet for a few glorious hours, maybe even over a few glorious days. That situation happened just this weekend, and my husband and I have blisters from so much ice skating.

One child went with us, skated for hours, and wanted to go back the next day. The other elected to stay home. Not a full-on family adventure this time, but a chance for the adults to play like children and the children to have choices. Joy for all of us.


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P9130797While Noah and I camped out on Table Mountain (see previous post), his sister and dad slept 24.5 miles down the road. On Sunday morning, they lined up on their tandem bicycle with hundreds of other folks who were generally not on tandems. For a race. Uphill. 4500 feet of elevation gain.

While Noah read a book at the finish line, I scrambled down a trail and intercepted the road. Then I walked it chalk in hand, writing messages. Some directly for Tom and Dana, some for other friends riding, some general you-can-do-it type messages for everyone, and a few comments on others’ messages. “Podium girls ahead!” someone wrote. So I added, “Podium boys too!”

Two switchbacks from the top, I heard my name. I turned to find Tom & Dana cranking up to me, she smiling, he sweating hard. I ran alongside for a bit, but then they went on. By the time I got to them at the finish, they were accepting congratulations from people and fruit from the snack table.P9130807

My favorite tandem team finished in two and a half hours (faster than Tom had thought they’d be) and as far as I saw, Dana was the only girl involved in the event.

It was a beautiful day, an impressive challenge, another incredible Mount Baker Hill Climb. And I was just a little tempted to try it next year.

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100_2710You may not think of going to a Highland Games as a fitness event, but in our family it is. Drummer dad spends all weekend performing with Maggie’s Fury in what becomes an endurance event taking place every other hour all day Saturday and Sunday.

The kids and their friends spend those hours dancing until they are hot and sweaty. As the Maggie’s Fury dancers, they even have particular motions for songs like “The Mermaid.” They wave their arms to mimic “the ocean waves do roll” and lie down on the ground to the line, “and the landlubbers lie down below, below, below.”


At other points they imitate highland dancers or freeform their own moves. It is another form of fun and fitness, plus keeps them active and ready for our more classic summer family adventures.

Try it out or join us this weekend for our local Highland Games.

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spring09Our regional go-to guide for outdoor “race, play,experience” info changes seasons this weekend. The spring issue, with my article on the pleasures of walking, gets posted on-line, while the summer issue becomes available to the region in print.

With hordes of visitors in town for the annual Ski to Sea relay race the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, folks from all over will get to check out the great writing and super photography of the magazine. The summer issue includes my Backcountry Cuisine article on home-packed food for backpacking and kayaking trips, and offerings on the geology of a bike tour, paddling in Victoria, mountain bike racing, and feeling at home on the Wonderland Trail. 

A fine collection of inspirations to get you springing into summer. Read and enjoy.

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If you want to get your family outside, many times you have to wean yourselves away from the tv, computer, and iPod. To this end, you might consider participating in your community’s Screen Free week or TV Turn Off week. Whatever it gets called and whichever week your community or your family designates, it’s a chance to think about how we spend our time, and take a break from all those screens.

It was Dana’s idea for us our family to participate. No screen time at home, Monday through Friday, all week this week.  She wants to go to the pool and the bookstore, her brother will bike or scooter with friends more after school I bet, and we parents will make sure to focus on family time. We get lots of that when we’re on bicycling, backpacking, and kayaking trips together, but sometimes not enough in the busyness of everyday life.

I hope we go for a family hike and solidify our summer trip plans this week. I think we’ll feel like we have more time and be outside more too. We don’t have tv, but there’s often someone at the family computer in the kitchen. Even we need to move more and watch less.

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p40100121With the kids at school and spring break for one parent, we decided the adults should get out for a rare without-the-kids hike. The weather was a bit gray, so we started in fog and rain, and got snow as we gained elevation. Oyster Dome looked windy, and we knew there would be no view today, so we snacked at the Bat Caves and talked about how all this would be a great setting for a northwest hobbit.

We also felt like we had a moment of hiking solidarity with our friend Mary, who began her 5-month trek on the Appalachian Trail today. I figure we and she were hiking at the same time, just across the country from each other. We wish her well and we’re hoping she was having better weather than we were. When I got home, I googled the weather in northeast Georgia and found 67 degrees. Nice.

While a good fitness hike for us, this would not have been as good a family hike. Cold drippy weather and sloppy slushy footing might have made this frustrating for the kids. Spring is coming though, so I hope we’ll be hiking more as a family soon. 


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p3140001Family adventure requires some level of fitness, and kids getting fit with their friends is more fun for everyone. The weekend nearest St. Patrick’s Day, that puts us at the Runnin’ O’ The Green, a local race with 2-mile and 5-mile options. In the beginning, we went because dad/husband plays drums in the Celtic-rock band Maggie’s Fury, and the group plays pre- and post-race. But for the last three years, the kids have run the 2-mile race.

They like dressing up in crazy green outfits, don’t seem to mind that it rains most years, and after they finish, they cheer in their friends, which is darn heartwarming to see. Then while everyone waits for results, the kids dance to Maggie’s Fury songs. The whole event is good green fitness fun. I’m proud of the participants and those of us who only cheer. Yep, I get my fitness in bicycling around town, but I sure can appreciate those runners.

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