30 Days of Experiencing Nature: Day 20- Let’s Get Physical

Fitness is not just eating right. Nor is it just exercising. Fitness is a beautiful symphony of eating right to fuel your exercise and exercising to promote other healthy habits. Exercise doesn’t do us much good if we aren’t nourished, but if we don’t move, we won’t see amazing results. Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. Continue reading 30 Days of Experiencing Nature: Day 20- Let’s Get Physical

30 Days of Experiencing Nature: Day 19- Just Keep Swimming

I considered taking the day off from Experience Nature to talk about my adventures in dental care, but I did have a chance to get outdoors today, and I want to focus on that.

Knowing I wouldn’t have the chance to workout after my dental appointment (they bring out the big guns for me- lots of drugs, lots of needles, lots of drilling), I went early to Pilates and then for a longer swim in Goss Lake. 

I’m swimming more frequently for a couple reasons. My shoulder and knees are still acting wonky. My knees not nearly as bad as my shoulder. I tweaked it way back in November, got a cortisone shot, and now it’s worn off. So, basically, back to the pain I had before I got the shot. I’ve been using the cannabis oil tincture on my knees, and it seems to be working pretty good. I don’t notice any difference on my shoulder. Lifting weights, and doing lots of different movements only seems to agitate my shoulder, and sometimes bothers my knees. Even Pilates is pushing it a little with my aches and pains. But swimming? Doesn’t bother me a bit. So, if I’m looking to do some cardio workouts, and my normal workouts are aggravating injuries, then swimming is the way to go.

Another reason I’m swimming more is I’m training for the Whidbey Island Triathlon the end of July. “But PJ, you said your knees and shoulder hurt, are you going to do the crazy biking and running, too?” No. That’s what my teammates are for. Philip is an AVID cyclist with the fastest bike and the fastest times on the island. Sam runs 6 or 7 minute miles. Repeatedly. 

All I have to do is get down to a 12-13 minute 1/2 mile swim, and we will be not just the fastest relay, but the fastest course time ever. But last year I didn’t even break 15 minutes. I don’t know what happened, but I felt like I choked in the water (not literally, I would have drowned). I’m bound and determined not to let that happen this year, so I’m swimming. As much and as often as I can.

I have a schedule (YAY! LISTS!) for my swimming days, and it allows me to swim 4-5 days each week. I also have a schedule for when and how to up my progression to work up to a 12 minute 1/2 mile. My first week I would swim out as far as I felt comfortable (some days I was the only person at the lake- it’s an eerie feeling to be alone in the water, where no one can hear you if you scream for help), and then try to swim the entire way back without stopping, or the course of one full song on my aqua iPod.

My progression was going to have me increasing duration (by measure of songs) where I swam non-stop and then progress my intensity during songs by swimming fast for one song, then 2 songs, and finally giving my all for 3 songs. It works out if I continue on this schedule to have me full on Beast Mode for 3 songs the last week before the Triathlon.

But then today, I went swimming with two other ladies. We just happened to get to Goss Lake at the same time. We all just happened to be going for a swim. We didn’t swim together, though. Me, with my agenda and iPod went in one direction while the other two started swimming straight out in another. When I finished my set, I looked out and those ladies were swimming all the way to the other side of the lake!

What the? Why was I trying to figure out distance by a fracking song? Especially when some songs are 3 minutes and others are 5? I can easily figure out how far it is to swim clear across the lake. I can time myself better that way too. By the time the race rolls around and there are markers in the water, I will be more accustomed to swimming the distance rather than the guessing game I’m playing now.

So now I’ve updated my schedule.

  • Week 1 (this week)- Swim to other side and back. Three rest stops allowed. One on the way to other side, one at the other side, and the last one on the way back. Try to swim at least 2 consecutive songs on either trip without stopping.
  • Week 2-Swim all the way to other side without stopping, rest for at least one full song (hopefully a short one), and swim all the way back without stopping
  • Week 3- Swim all the way (there and back, like a hobbit) without stopping, any speed you like
  • Week 4- Swim all the way there with a speed of Fast for one song, recover/base pace for 2 songs. Rest on the other side, and then swim all the way back with same speed pace
  • Week 5- All the way. Swim one song fast, two songs slow/recover
  • Week 6- RACE WEEK- All the way, maintain fast one song, recover one song.

6 weeks until the Triathlon. 6 weeks to make a commitment and possibly a habit of swimming when I am able to. It’s a great workout, easy on the joints, and keeps me connected to my Sacred Space.

Just keep swimming, and I’ll see you at the lake!

Kayaking: An Experiment in Conservation Fitness

This past weekend was very much a Conservation Fitness weekend. Bowling for Rhinos on Saturday. Sloth Army on Sunday morning. Then to round it out, Chris and I tried out kayaking in the afternoon.

We’ve tried kayaking before. We’ve done kayaking on Whidbey Island before. It was years ago, and we were considering getting kayaks to go on adventures around Washington. So we decided to rent a couple and try it out. Only, we tested out kayaking on one of the worst days to do so- 4th of July weekend, in the afternoon, on an incredibly windy day.

That time did not go well for us.

But that was before. Nowadays, I know the owner of Whidbey Kayaking Company. She’s part of my Sloth Army. I must have told her a dozen times I would come by and do some kayaking. For whatever reason, I figured this time, I’d follow through.

My husband and I showed up at the marina ready for a cool day on the water. It was not a cool day, though. It was a gloriously warm day.  Typically I am not the biggest fan of the sun, but paddling out in the Puget Sound, which is a refreshing 50 degrees right now, I was willing to tolerate it for the occasion.

May is whale watching season. The grey whales are out and about, and I was hoping to catch sight of one. Unfortunately, they had been spotted earlier in the morning, and lightning was not likely to strike twice. It didn’t. But we did observe a curious seal pup checking us out. And we even saw a group of seals hanging out together. It was an odd sight, since seals are more or less solitary.

Throughout the two hours we were on the water, our guide (my friend, the owner), pointed out tons of interesting aspects I didn’t know about Whidbey and some animals. I’m not much of a bird-nerd, although I’m not opposed to learning more. So when Krista shared how murrelets (a smallish water bird in the Pacific Northwest) were indicator species, along with pigeon guillemots, I was intrigued.

If you want to know how an ecosystem is holding up, you can take a look at key species in the environment. Thriving birds indicates a somewhat healthy food web.

Wow, the day was tacking up to be fun, fitness oriented, AND educational!

While kayaking is considered something of a leisure activity, I definitely got a workout in. Krista showed us proper technique for paddling, which if you do right, should work your core more than your arms. After two hours, my obliques and abs were shouting loud and clear “WE HAVE BEEN WORKED OUT!”

It was a beautiful day, and we were glad to have taken Krista up on her offer to join her. It made up for our first kayaking experience, but more than just having a good day, it was connected to my philosophy of Experiencing Nature.

With Conservation Fitness, I strongly urge each of us to explore the outdoors, to experience nature. It can be a hike, a walk in a park, or visiting a zoo. But I think the best way to experience nature is in your element, being active, and gaining a better appreciation for the natural world.

My element is water. I am so at home with water. The ocean calls me every time I go near her. But I don’t spend as much time as I’d like in the water. Swimming and other water activities are not as common in Washington year round as other regions. But kayaking. Wow, that was an experience. Still isn’t something I can do day in and day out, but it definitely is something I consider part of my Sacred Space. It’s something I will try to do again, as well. Maybe as a reward for completing certain tasks.

After kayaking, I was thoroughly exhausted. It was a wonderfully productive weekend, and I look forward to more adventures with conservation fitness.

Find Your Sacred Space

This past month has really been sending me signals to work on Experience Nature segment of my book, specifically in the area of Find Your Sacred Space. Because all this month I have been inundated with events and incidents revolving around my love of the ocean. Tonight was no different. I watched a movie that literally broke my heart. It’s called “Chasing Coral” and if you have Netflix, do not saunter to your television or computer. I urge you to run. RUN! And watch this important documentary before it’s too late. Continue reading Find Your Sacred Space

Back in my Element

This weekend has been a great reminder of how powerful finding one’s sacred space for fitness can be. I participated in two activities over the weekend that got me back in my element. And I can’t wait to return, again and again and again. Continue reading Back in my Element