Vancouver Boating, Bicycles & Rainy Walks / Colorado Eldorado Canyon Run & Rain Aftermath

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To catch up on my periodic journaling of training experiences:

Vancouver, BC. Be it known that I skipped the hotel fitness center in Vancouver BC, and opted for family whale watching, walks in the rain, and bicycling in the sunshine.

On the whale boat I could have sat the entire journey and monitored the Pacific waters for sea life. But I spent some wonderful time holding my child and working on fixing on distant, relatively fixed points to avoid symptoms of motion sickness as we motored over the waves to where the whales were spotted off the coast.

Going up to the boat’s viewing roof, I found that riding those waves in a rain coat afforded me a nice, standing core exercise trying to stay balanced on the boat, minimizing dependence on the rails.

Movement with Forces training came into play staying out in the rainy, windy sea weather and exposing myself to the wet cold for a time. Cold, wet sea weather is a force.

Another force encountered was the motion of moving in circles on my feet on the top deck relative to the boat’s forward, swell-riding motion. The circling was to scan the ocean’s surface for whales and other sea animals, while keeping balance, orientation, and trying to mitigate motion symptoms. This was a unique experience. I might have slogged through it, jetting along with the experience incidentally, and trying to avoid the elements as sources of discomfort instead of sources of mind-body training.

Instead I decided to consciously engage the ride as a crossing of training dimensions, and I thoroughly enjoyed it while witnessing the stunning beauty of the NW coasts and isles. Along with others I got to share ocean air and space with killer whales, humpbacks, sea lions, porpoises, and varied seabirds. The salt on the air, the relaxing of the boat’s fellow riders, and the graciousness of the husband-wife captain-naturalist team really enhanced our day.

Our walks in the rainy city gave us many chances to negotiate the architectural inclines, hilly city blocks, and wall tops as we used our feet to move through the concrete, glass, and steel mountains. The sea air blowing between them was a bonus. After much cool weather walking about, you can imagine that fish and chips, coffee, and hot chocolate called out to us a time or two. Let me also recommend the practice for parents of safely holding hands with your child in the city, and swinging him over the lines, manhole covers, sidewalk designs, and props found along the city course. I think switching sides and getting both arms in on the child swing is a good practice. Teaching city safety  and enjoyment awareness at the same time is a bonus. During these walks, sudden footraces are known to break out, too. Race you to that monument — to that hydrant — to that vent – to that tree…

Our bicycle outing was just plain fun in the sunshine viewing the mountains we hadn’t been able to see for the clouds for three days straight. And walking some sandy, shelly, mossy, and very clean inner beaches came with the cycling trip through Stanley Park.

We had no time to hit all the most advertised destinations, but we saved a list for another time if it comes available.

To counter the experience of sitting on planes, trains, and automobiles, I used the symmetrical carrying and lifting of luggage, treating it as if I were carrying kettlebells, and keeping the exercises with it closer-in and less conspicuous so as not to embarrass family too much. This included lunging it, squatting to lift it, shrugging it, variable one and two armed rows, curling it, shouldering it, and the like. Same with the carry on back pack. Luggage that I carry is often between 35 and 40 pounds, and serves nicely as a clunky kettle bell by the top handle. I also kick it up with my foot when putting it on wheels and pulling the handle out to pull it. Sitting in airport seats I am able to do wrist curls with my luggage, propping wrists on knees and grasping the top handle.

Trips can afford more than in my laziness I took advantage of.

Rocky Mountain Photo Journal: Seven Miles Dedicated to Snoopy’s Citadel


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Now Available at Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness

It’s official. Click on the book cover icon at the upper right side of this screen, and you can go there. The E-book will be available in about one week. For now, it is print on demand, with some extra cost of production. I tried to set as reasonable a print price as possible considering all factors. You can also click here:

Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness

Farm Your Training Day: An American Dream of Sustainable Personal Fitness

Excellent Link for All Outdoor Athletes

The U.S. Search and Rescue Task Force website is a great resource for outdoor athletes, fitness enthusiasts, photographers, journeyers, naturalists, outdoors people, campers and more. Have a look:

U.S. SAR Task Force Site.

Knees, Ankles, Metatarsals and Toes…

One versatile training aid I like is the balance disc. For me, it provides fluid, varied and continuous opportunities for warming, limbering and strengthening the lower legs, core balance muscles and stabilizing connectors.

Here are some general training options for the balance disc and similar training items. And here are some balance training journal articles you may wish to add to your library. A balance disc is not the only product for balance, of course, but one I focus on here because I’ve used balance discs to advantage.

PHOTO EXAMPLE: The FitBALL balance disc



See Also: ALL MANUFACTURER’S and / or SELLER’S disclaimers, instructions, recommendations and warnings for inflation, use and maintenance.

Some ideas and Guidelines:

The way I work on the balance disc depends on my sense of feel in the moment but generally begins with a need to loosen, warm up and strengthen the muscles, stabilizers and connective tissues surrounding my knees, ankles and my feet. It can come before and after other training. It can be a focused form of training all in itself, not just a warm up or after training stretch.

I start by standing on the disc for intervals of time. I use it on one foot, both feet, and or one knee or both knees. Some will use it in chairs to improve circulation and core muscles while sitting. I try to increase the amount of time I stay on the disc, whether still and in control, or wobbling, adjusting, shaking or losing my stance and stepping off. I go for symmetry in time training both sides.

This functional training device may not be for everyone, but I have personally found it helps to gradually work and loosen lower body muscles and connectors that can become tight, inflexible and glued-up throughout the lower body.

Generating Power with Water

generate energy and change

Move mountains with water.

We are mostly water with women’s bodies being 55% H2O and men’s about 60%. Children are more and babies have the most water onboard.

Water is is a powerful element, and it is in us.

Water can move mountains. Water makes our bodies pliable, flexible, functional and strong. Water supplies our muscles as they work. The brain is 70% plus water.

When you think of power or strength training, think in terms of work that you could do that you might otherwise have abdicated to a machine.

Think in terms of gradualism, moving from light to heavier resistance. Use your sense of feel, learn proper form and go only to resistance levels that are safe for you and feel right, even if they may challenge you some. How much challenge you can handle is a judgment for you and your physician to come to, but once you do, you can move mountains with water.

Today was one of those days when water moved heavy materials from the Earth.

The specifics of this training evolution will come in the M7 Adaptive Fitness Guidebook due out in December before Christmas. It is a way to strength and power train intensively without overloading joints, staying functional, and combining muscle groups in the process. And, it is affordable, simple and easy to access. Yet it is just one method. It is also fun.

Back Country Observation Skills Can Help In Other Areas of Life

On my way to the mountains last Saturday morning I saw the alerts on the overhead smart signs: CHILD ABDUCTION. STAY TUNED TO LOCAL MEDIA. I wondered what I could do, hence the last post.

This morning, I wondered what else I could do and thought about how back country observation skills can help us not only choose better routes, be safer, spot refuge, and stay oriented to where we are, they can also make us better observers in other contexts and settings.

Here are some observation factors we can all practice and exercise in the back country that could also be used to help us spot facts that could timely help find a missing person, remember possible sites of interest for later search, and many other signs and relationships. This 20 example list is just a start:

1. Noting names or numbers of reference points for location and orientation, as in numbers of features on a ridge between to obvious high points. Or, the number of creek passages across a trail we’re on. Keeping numbers on time. And so on.

2. Seeing and remembering cover, refuges or hiding places that may serve to protect us if weather turns dramatically worse. Or, that may contain animals. Or, that may contain a person or persons!

3. Noting tracks. Variances in tracks, sizes of tracks, type of tracks (human, animal or vehicle).

4. Noticing changes in flora or grasses. Tamped down flora, broken stalks or branches. Obvious new or old pathways through grass, game trails, and permissive approaches to hiding places in the forest. Thick or thin forest.

5. Noticing litter, gear, garments, jewelry, and other personal items dropped or discarded. Noting their positions with relation to land forms and features such as precipices, water or thick forest.

6. Noticing spent cartridges, evidence of ax or knife usage and the age of these.

7. Learning to use the sense of smell combined with awareness of wind direction and patterns, and combined with stillness and listening.

8. Learning to listen carefully and identify remote noises: engines, engine types or sizes; stress on engines (uphill travel?) etc., thunder, blasting, aircraft, and so on.

9. Learning to be still and notice movements out of the ordinary in a scene or from a vista.

10. Learning to note and remember vehicles seen in parking areas, license plate origins, stickers, decals and even LP numbers in case they may become useful.

11. Learning the signs of wildlife predators, such as those shown on this excellent piece on mountain lions.

12. Learning to spot foolish behaviors in other back country travelers, especially if they’re leading kids into the back country.

13. Learning to observe, notice and check into things that are out of place, rather than ignoring them.

14. Periodically silencing one’s own movement and noise to listen up to everything around us.

15. Noticing slopes, their degrees, and their loads. Soil around rocks and boulders routinely erodes or softens enough that rocks break loose. Being aware of what’s above and being prepared to get out of the way is key. Same with snow loads, and the avalanche conditions as one would learn in avalanche safety courses to avoid death or disability by avalanche.

16. Noting weather changes and the timing of these.

17. Watching for remote lights in the dark, or reflections in the day or night.

18. Noting smoke, cinders by smell or sight, or recent burning by smell or sight.

19. Noticing land features in which it would be easy to get lost or lose personal items.

20. Listening for and distinguishing human sounds and voices from animal sounds in the forest. Some animals make sounds that resemble human voices sometimes, which can be kind of unnerving. Here is a site for learning animal sounds. It’s fascinating even if you never go out.

That’s all I have for now. By our observation skills we may one day save a life or protect someone from harm, including our loved ones or ourselves.

listen see file remember

We never know what good our observations may do.


PLEASE PASS THIS ON. When it comes to keeping a lookout, outdoor fitness, sports and training enthusiasts cover lots of ground, terrain, streets and other paths. That’s why I’m re-posting and linking to information to become familiar with the Jessica Ridgeway case, and other recent attempted or active abduction facts so that more eyes and ears can expand the lookout beyond the limits of current searches.Below are descriptive facts on more than one case in the region.

Click here for continually updated blog on latest in authorities’ attempts to bring Jessica Ridgeway’s murderer to justice.

Also, here are links to relatively recent incidents of attempted or active child abductions together with descriptions of vehicles or persons where available. Any of the facts noted may lead to discoveries that could protect children and help law enforcement. One happened Monday in Cody, Wyoming and the FBI is studying that one for similarities.

Cody, Wyoming abduction: Arrested.

Arvada, Colorado attempts: royal blue sedan; link to story for composite sketch.

Iowa abuction: similar age, gender to Jessica. Active case over 2 months since disappearances.

Sheridan, Colorado attempted abduction of 2 year old in June. White van and see story for sketch of suspect.

You may find other attempted or active abduction stories by your own research. Be advised, children aren’t the only ones, in 2010 at Ketner Lake in Westminster, Colorado, a man reportedly tried to abduct an adult female runner using a chemical on a cloth.

Things Are Looking Up: Taking Intervals Into the Mountain Zone

When a windfall time bloc opened up my Saturday morning, I was on the road for the mountains by 6AM. Snow fog and freezing drizzle cut visibility in the foothills and I nearly turned around. In another ten minutes, the clouds started breaking. It was a blue sky day above 10,000 feet, although it was below freezing with some winds, so I layered up.

You may have hills where you live. You may have only one hill where you live. Your only hill might even be your driveway. Or maybe a setting on a treadmill. It’s no matter. In my mind, any incline you can go up may be classified as your mountain zone. Bleachers, stairs, stadiums and grass hillocks can work well too. We can be resourceful.

Today I ran intervals on slight inclines, levels and downhills, and hiked the steeper, rockier or trickier terrain. There was more hiking than running, but like a good training entree, we season subtly. We don’t dump the whole canister of salt in the training soup that makes up our very interesting training lives.

Today I was able to interval hike-run 6 miles, gaining about 1500 feet, carrying a light 20 pound pack. I took 2 Gu Energy packs, 1 Tuna package, a hydration system with a few liters, and planned my time frame according to my supplies. It was a great time. I saw two quiet Ptarmigans, bubbling brooks, soaring cliffs and spires, and massifs all around.

When I am on flat land, I see mountains in the clouds, or depth and height in the skies. Inspirational perspectives are everywhere to be found.

SAFETY: Consider that training in high mountain elevations and backcountry carries with it serious risks and dangers to those who are prepared much less those who are underprepared or unknowledgeable. Get a check up with your doctor clearing you for exertion at altitude, and get training for movement in the mountains. Go out with certified mountain guides. If you can’t afford that, go with more experienced hikers and / or mountaineers. Meanwhile, most mountain clubs recommend “Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills” as a classic introduction to mountaineering. See my Good Reads link.

Be extra observant, know where you are, where you’re going, tell a few people your planned route, sign trailhead registers, even tell rangers in the district you’re hiking in. START EARLY and PLAN AHEAD. Dress in layers of wicking fabrics, not cotton, or else sweat will build up in your clothes and freeze if you get into some cold weather. You’ll need extra water, enough appropriate food, a first aid kit and means of communication.

After all of that, I’m sure you’re happy with your driveway, treadmill or stairs. For me, it’s worth the tedious preparation, and that becomes more routine also. Hills and mountains are a great resource. I hope your weekend has been so good you can’t put it to words.

an underrated experience