Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Summing Up 2008

My dear hubby commented the other day how this year started going downhill mid-June. How true! Here's hoping for a healthy, happy, friendly, and positive 2009.
  • January - "took the plunge" and decided to start training all-out for Xterra with a goal of Nationals and Hawaii
  • Mid-June - crashed in Richmond, VA at the Xterra Regional Championship -- ended up with a brain trauma and quit racing for the year.
  • Mid-July - Rick's 90-year old mother moved into the Assisted Living Center
  • July - December - Rick and Jill spent just about every weekend cleaning out that 90-year old's home.
  • October - Jill's mom had a mild heart attack and ended up with open-heart-surgery getting a triple bypass.
  • October - early December - Jill helped her dear old mother recuperate
  • December - started thinking about the year-in-review and goals for 2009.

And what's in store for 2009?

  • Jill has to learn to roll her kayak and USE that roll in the river.
  • Jill will race maybe 3 races -- all Adventure races with a team mate so she doesn't do anything stupid and crash.
  • Jill turns 50!
  • The organic garden will be bigger and better than ever.
  • Jill will drop 6 pounds, Rick will drop 10 pounds (I promised him I'd learn to roll the kayak and keep rolling if he lost the weight and he's doing it 'cause he REALLY wants me to roll my boat! Hey, I just realized he didn't promise ME anything if I lost the weight!)

And what goals do YOU have for 2009?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Its been 70 Days

October 19 was the last time I was on a bike outside. Jake (Jake the Snake my cross bike) had cobwebs on his spokes! But I dusted them off, and took him for a spin on Saturday. 18 miles, 12mph avg (now that's some average, huh!), and I was wobbly only for a little. Donna, I'm not so sure if you know what you're getting yourself into racing with a near-half-century old, menopausal, retiree. Can't wait until I try to climb a mountain or two. That should be fun. (?!) Oh the joys of losing fitness. Maybe a cookie or chocolate bar will help?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cookie Withdrawal

Oh the torture.....Rick nor I ever expected withdrawal symptoms after all the cookie and sweet-eating came to a close. We both ate the last of the cheesecake, rice pudding, and cookies this morning and are showing signs of the inevitable illness -- irritability, anger, the shakes, argumentive, searching the cupboards and frig for a leftover tidbit of sweets --- anything. We even put cinnamon and sugar on buttered toast to try to satisfy the taste buds. Didn't work. Is there a Cookie Eaters Anonymous?
(pssst... he doesn't know I have a stash in the freezer... and I'm not telling him where I hid the organic, raw vegan chocolate either! Ha!).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Getting Back Into the Groove

It's all Donna's fault! Well, I can't totally blame Donna -- The Fine Art of Cookie Consumption certainly played its part too. Dang cookies. The weight gain was minimal, so it shouldn't be a problem to drop it. (Ha... who am I kidding?!) The motivation has (finally!) returned and I got my groove back. Training Peaks had an interesting blurb on new year's resolutions and losing weight, and how most folks don't stick to it, and how its important to pick the right goals. I especially liked Resolution #3: Pick an event as your long-term goal Since Donna and me agreed to sign up for the Savage Adventure Race, the arse is finally moving again. But this time will be a little different - no training plans, training logs, or heart rate monitors - just getting the heck out and enjoying it. Oh, and maybe getting in shape and dropping some cookie pounds in the process.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

Merry Christmas everyone!

Everybody pauses and stares at me

These two teeth are gone as you can see

I don't know just who to blame for this catastrophe!

But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as it can be!

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,

my two front teeth,

see my two front teeth!

Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth,

then I could wish you"Merry Christmas."

It seems so long since I could say,"Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!"

Gosh oh gee, how happy I'd be,

if I could only whistle (thhhh, thhhh)

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,

my two front teeth,

see my two front teeth.

Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth,

then I could wish you"Merry Christmas!"

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Fine Art of Cookie Consumption

There are actually two methods of consuming cookies – both focuses on athletic performance. Throughout the racing and training year, refined sugars and sweets are replaced with gels, energy bars, and drinks. At the onset of the holiday season, the mere scent of sweetness missing all year is intoxicating. Will I OD? Will my system crash? Will I gain an ounce? Because deprivation of refined sugars are dominant 363 days of the year, when that single day (or two) of sweetness arrives, the moment must be savored and treasured. First, is the choice of cookies – Chocolate Chip with Raw Cocao Beans? Pecan Tassies? Or maybe the family recipe of Banichas (walnut rolls)? Once the decision is made, tiny crumbs are then broken off and eaten one at a time taking at least an hour, melting each morsel in your mouth and savoring the flavorful delight. The taste buds start to OD. Shit… will have to take a break until the next one. 4 total cookies are the max – one of each flavor – spread out over a two-day period. The end of the 2nd day is bittersweet - the enjoyment of holiday cookies is undeniable, but so are those 2 ounces (not one this time). Time to crack down - big time.

And the second type of cookie consumption?

Make a glutton of yourself and eat as many as you can as quickly as you can in a two-day period since you know you’ll be deprived again for another 363 days of the year. Call your friends and neighbors – did they bake? How ‘bout your mom and dad… make them bring any cookies they made along to the Christmas luncheon so you can eat theirs too. How ‘bout your 90 year-old mother-in –law. Did she get any cookies as gifts from the church at the assisted-living center? Excellent… eat them – she doesn’t really need them since she gets three cooked meals a day AND coffe, tea, juice anytime she wants! Raid your co-workers cookie trays too – make sure you track down the leftovers from the holiday gathering. Eat them all – hoard them for the day after Christmas. 10 pounds isn’t THAT bad to take back off.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Doin' the Chilli on the Half Century Mark?

I told Rick earlier this week, I think I'd like to do a race ON the day of my 50th birthday in 2009. And he said, "yeh, right...what are the chances there's a race ON your birthday." Well guess what Ricky, one of my favorite races is on my 50th! The Chilli Challenge. The Chilli Challenge is very fun Adventure Triathlon only 45 minutes from home -- biking 20 miles (back roads - some dirt road), kayak 2 miles (flatwater), and a lovely trail run around a lake for 5.25 miles. I might do the Red Mo Downriver Kayak race too the end of March -- that's a bunch of fun. Gonna plan some races to motivate me -- its working!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Musterin' Up Some Mojo to do One Race in April!

Guess what? There's one single race on my schedule next year!! How 'bout that! I'm going to attempt to do the Savage, a short adventure race put on by GOALS-ARA. This race was near the top of my favorite and best races list. Problem is, I haven't been riding, or training, or doing a whole lot of anything for the past few months related to the muscle and endurance power needed to get through one of these races! Crap! Hopefully, once the next two weeks are over, I can muster up some mojo to start focusing on getting in semi-shape again to do this. My team-mate Miss DW, a.k.a. (Donna Weiser for those that didn't figure it out) always makes it fun -- even when she starts cussing and bitching and whining and moaning -- that's what makes it funner! " I got F____ Perpetual all over the place !!!!" Damn that was funny last year girl (not at the time). So give me thoughts on getting motivated to train. Miss D has her dear hubby to get her movtivated, and of course having Michaux State Forest surrounding you certainly helps. No driving anywhere, no gas, no thinking too much about it -- just put on the lights and head out the front door. I'm so jealous. Last evening was beautiful and I really wanted to do a nighttime thing but was scared! Of what? S.K.U.N.K.S. Yup, they're scary enough to keep us indoors at night. Seems my little neck of the woods is being over run by skunks and they LOVE raising their tails and squirting a little at whatever may scare them. ARGH!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Counting Carbs - For My Mom

My mother met with a dietician and diabetes educator yesterday. Since her open-heart surgery, her diabetes and her sugar levels have changed; thus, she now needs to take insulin with every meal to counteract the sugar levels. The interesting part of the trip is something near and dear to all of us crazy, active people - counting carbs. Her carb counting will differ greatly from ours though -- she needs to count them to adjust her insulin injections. I can tell you, a 71-year old diabetic doesn't get excited about having to look up carbs in a book and write them down. I tried to settle her a little and advise that eventually, she'll memorize them and she can easily "guess" at many of the things she eats since her menus are fairly simple (meat and potatoes, maybe some spaghetti every now and then). Poor thing, she never, never thought about food like this before -- she didn't even know that meat has no carbs. As easy as it is for us, that's how hard it is for her. Puts a new perspective on "counting carbs."

Friday, December 5, 2008

See You in the Backyard

Since a whole lot isn't happening on the exercise/fitness front of late, and the routine has become rather boring with trips to the YMCA and trainer workouts, there won't be many posts over the winter on this blog. BUT - be sure to visit my almost daily posts at Seems my focus and priorities have shifted a bit, and I keep coming up with things to write about on the green scene. So visit me there for the latest on book reviews, the garden (planning right now), my views on the issues surrounding the enviornment, food, organics, etc.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Its Getting Harder and Harder and I'm Doing It Less and Less

Funny how that do less and less, the weight goes on more and more, and you continue to do less and less and the weight continues to go on more and more. Its a friggin vicious circle! Yup - me and Arnold. Of course I don't have the excuse of being Governor to blame my weight gain and lack of physique I used to have. Darn. Ok, I may be exaggerating just a tad, but I am doing much less than in the past and I have gained about 7 pounds now. Life took on a different direction the past few months since the big bike crash. Shortly after that crash in June, my 90 year-old mother in law moved into an assisted living center and Rick and I have been cleaning her home out ever since, little by little every weekend. We're happy to know the light at the end of that tunnel is growing very bright and we expect to have an empty house by New Years. So if you know anyone that wants a cheap ($60,000 range), cape-cod style house in Millersburg, look us up. And then my dear mother had open-heart surgery the end of October and lately I've been spending some time with her. Please read my other blog post on eating from a diabetic's perspective. Wow... we don't know how lucky we really are to just eat and not think too much about it. So that brings us up to today. Now that its cold, Rick and I have been spending time at the YMCA and I've also been chuggin' away on the trainer a little bit. We both aren't into the cold scene anymore unless there's snow on the ground. Rick's already been checking out WHITEGRASS in West Virginia who already had over 40 inches of snow this year! Why can't that be us. Rick DID make a New Year's resolution though... to lose 10 pounds BY New Year. I'd like to say the same, but I tried for one week and wasn't very good at it -- in fact I gained another pound. Geez.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lazing Around

It's a year ago next week that I was already planning the 2008 race schedule. This year? I'm planning my garden - ha! It'll have organic potatoes, corn, onions, and beans - lots of beans so I can toot my organic heart out. Oh, that's to go on my other blog. Back to the active, healthy stuff. No, I haven't been thinking much at all about racing next year. In fact, I'm contemplating giving up running 'cause lately my bladder doesn't seem to want to keep it inside the bladder everytime I try to run. Lovely. And the bike? What's that. Rick and I haven't been outside on a bike since October 19. So next year's race schedule may be questionable. I mentioned in a previous post that Rick was ok with me doing an adventure race or two, but right now I'm not in the mood any more -- especially if I quit running. We'll see. I'll let you know when the garden planning is done. Doesn't Rusty look comfy? That's how I look most of the time now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Philadelphia Marathon

Yesterday was the 15th running of the Philadelphia Marathon along with a half, 8K and a kid's race. These races pull a heck of a lot more people than any race I ever entered -- Over 7,000 in the full marathon and over 5,000 in the half. What made me look? I actually know 3 people that raced it and one of them is my nephew! The first is our famed Xterra Chic from Bryn Mawr - Sue Ann Clark. She finished in 3:50 -- an 8:47 pace! To me, that's incredible -- I can barely run that fast when I'm going all out let alone do it for 26 miles?! I'm in awe. And my nephew? Guess I never mentioned there's a runner in the family. I guess I never knew it either! He did it with his girlfriend, Katie. Her and Justin both did the half marathon and it looks like she did it in 2:23 and Justin in 3:05. I'll get details on Thanksgiving. And for you Carlisle folks, here's a guy you might know: Josh Beck was 25th overall!!! He raced 26 miles in 2:35 -- a 5:54 pace. That's not human. Full results are here. Reading all this makes we want to go run a mile or two.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On the Trainer for More Than Fitness?

As the cold months approach and the trainer starts getting its workout, I find it timely that the latest issue of Mother Earth News has a BIG article about Making Electricity While You Exercise. Yup - they are talking about a set-up very similar to the trainer set-up we all love and use all winter long. Ellsworth Actually had this same set up at Interbike in 2007. SEE THE VIDEO FROM INTERBIKE HERE. It sure makes sense to me to actually USE that energy we expend in a hour or so of pedaling. But don't expect too much in that hour of energy - one hour of pedaling produces about 100 watt-hours. That’s about enough energy to power:
A clock radio for 10 hours
A 15-watt compact fluorescent light bulb for 6 hours, 40 minutes
A laptop computer for 2 hours
A 19-inch LCD TV for 1 hour, 40 minutes
A toaster for 7 1/2 minutes
An iron for 3 1/2 to 6 minutes

The article claims one hour of pedaling is worth about one penny -- that's $.01 cent. Geez - you'd think we'd be worth more than that for an hour's worth of pedaling. The article didn't get into exertion or force, so I'm sure the possibility exists that you animals will generate more power than the average joe sitting on a bike for an hour. And where to get the equipment to hook up to your bike? Wind Stream Power is the primary source, manufacturing home sources of power since 1974. (They have other cool stuff on their website too -- but it ain't cheap!) It'll set you back about $1,000 for the set up to generate power from your bike. Is it worth it? Maybe. You tell me!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Can you guess what this is? We couldn't either. Rick was a little surprised I picked it up. There were three of them, lying in the center of a bankside path to the Lehigh River. I believe they were some sort of seed pod that opened, but then again they could have been alien seed pods and now I have one in me. Not sure. I feel like there's an alien in my body -- sluggish, lethargic, tired -- just waiting for something else to happen. Maybe its just taking time to work that saturated fat from raw milk and butter out of my system. Hmmm? The day in Jim Thorpe was nice. The rain stopped just enough for us to hike along the river for about 1.5 hrs after we ate lunch and walked a little bit through Jim Thorpe (very cool town, by the way). No great physical workouts though, just leisure time. We're both showing our ages of late with our workouts - slow, easy, and when we feel like it. Just another of life's stages.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Weekend Celebration

Saturday is our 4th wedding anniversary. Yes, we got married a little late, after living together for 16 years prior to that. My dear hubby is my soul mate, my best friend, my “better” half and he’s smarter too. And I adore him - especially since he agreed to take me to a vegetarian restaurant to celebrate the special day. But its rather convenient that the veg restaurant is at his favorite place in PA at the moment -- Jim Thorpe and the Lehigh River. So we'll be scouting rapids yet again. This will be about the 10th time we rode bike (or maybe hike if it rains) on the rail trail and stopped to look at rapids. But that’s how Mr. Brown learns a river. He did this for the Tohickon Dam Release and by golly, he knew the creek when he finally kayaked it and was able to predict each rapid and what it would be like. So the anniversary will be spent in Jim Thorpe at an artsy fartsy vegetarian restaurant on Broadway called CafĂ© Origins, then we’ll be heading off to the Lehigh Gorge State Park for a little bike riding on the rail trail from Glen Onoko to Rockport and return, or if its raining, we’ll don the rain gear and hike to the river and look at rapids.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Irony - The Healthiest Diet

This is way to ironic after my last post on being confused on diets. I picked up my latest read, "The Spectrum" and the first Chapter states:
"By now, many people are thoroughly exasperated by the seemingly contradictory information they read about what a sound nutrition and lifestyle program should be. Nowhere are the claims more conflicting than in the area of diet. "

W.O.W. And the author of the book is the same guy that guided Rick to a 40 pound weightloss 7 years ago... and me to vegetarianism -- Dr. Dean Ornish. I believe, just possibly, HE may have the healthiest diet. Why? He calls it a lifestyle change and its SO recognized after 30 years of proven research and studies, that several insurance companies including Medicare, pay for the plan as part of preventative medicine because the plan is saving the insurance companies millions of dollars. His plan is proven to reverse heart disease, lower cholestrol, lower high blood pressure, reserve type 2 diabetes, and prevent and treat prostate cancer and breast cancer. By practicing his preventative measures, there's less hospitalizations, thus huge savings all around. I'm sold -- again. And I think I can adapt this to local foods too -- or at least buy from a local store that sells organics made in USA. The diet stresses exercise, meditation/yoga, and below is what you can/can't eat. He doesn't restrict calories -- eat from the first list until you feel full.

The following can be eaten whenever you are hungry, until you are full:
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fruits -all
  • Grains
  • Vegetables

These should be eaten in moderation:

  • Nonfat dairy products -- skim milk, nonfat yogurt, nonfat cheeses, nonfat sour cream, and egg whites
  • Nonfat or very low-fat commercially available products

These should be avoided:

  • Meat of all kinds -- red and white, fish and fowl (if we can't give up meat, we should at least eat as little as possible) . Ornish's latest book, the Spectrum, allows fish 2 times a week.
  • Oils and oil-containing products, such as margarine and most salad dressings
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Dairy products (other than the nonfat ones above)
  • Sugar and simple sugar derivatives -- honey, molasses, corn syrup, and high-fructose syrup
  • Alcohol
  • Anything commercially prepared that has more than two grams of fat per serving

Note - very low fat; and that's where critics balk at Ornish. Most feel 10% fat is too low. But remember, Ornish is reversing and preventing diseases and this is what works.

What to Eat for Health - Thoroughly Confusing

I've had it. Too many books and too many opinions have officially confused the hell out of me. Food is all that's on my mind lately. Eat local, don't eat processed, eat whole foods, don't eat saturated fat (but that eliminates a bunch of local staples like MEAT, MILK and EGGS!), don't eat meat, don't eat salmon or tuna or shrimp, grow it all yourself, don't eat the Nature's Promise organics - its from China, make sure nothing is from China. ARGH!!! And if you don't eat meat, you still have to buy it because you're husband eats it. Maybe we shouldn't eat at all. For the past 7 years, I trained, raced and tried to eat the best foods to maintain a healthy diet to endure the training and racing. Carbs, protein, fat, calcium, iron and of course calories were tracked on a daily basis to assure the proper ratios and RDA were being met. At first I tried it as a vegetarian and was tired nearly constantly, then I added lean meats and felt pretty good. One year I actually dropped about 8 pounds. How? Lowering carbs and eating lean meat at nearly every meal, keeping calories under 1500 per day, and exercising like a mad woman. Then I quit racing and tried the vegetarian thing again (for the environment), but got fat -- mostly on the local meat, milk, and eggs. Now what? Is it ok for the enviornment if you eat local meat (but its making you fat Jill!)? And then there's my idol -- Vegan Rob (Rob Lichtenwalner) who manages to do ultra-endurance sports and maintain his strict Vegan diet. To me, that's the most intriguing diet of them all (VEGAN) -- BUT, does he do it local? How can he do that and still stay vegan? Is there a food processor in Lehigh Valley that processes tofu and soy products? (or in PA for that matter). If so, fill me in! But then again there's that dirty word -- PROCESSED food. Something I read (huh, imagine that) that we stay away from. At the BASH this year, I met a really cool dude that actually cooks for Vegan Rob and his menus sounded aboslutely delightful -- but are they local? He used to work on an organic farm so many of his foods were just what a Vegan orders -- vegetables which are easy locally. But is Vegan the most healthy? So there's the question of the day. What, EXACTLY, is the most healthful diet? And can any of these be adapted locally. Here are some that claim to be the most healthy - but can they be local and non-processed?:

Paleo Diet (lean meats, seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts)
$3.57 a Day healthful diet (Beans, Lentils, Fruit, Vegetables, walnuts)
Eat Food, not Too Much, Mostly Plants - Michael Pollen's Philosophy
Mediterranean Diet (includes an ad for McDonalds).
More from NY Times on the Mediterranean Diet - are they telling us something?
And to add to the confusion - choosing the right diet - all the kinds of diets out there. I even more confused now.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Exercise - Circa 1983

Long before I knew Rick, and long before many of you could ride your new bike with training wheels, TV shows on aerobics became the fad. Jane Fonda started it with her VCR tapes and others followed suit. Yes, I had (and still do!) the entire collection from Gilad to Jane to Susan Anton. One show, in particular, was popular in 1983 and 1984 called the :20 Minute Workout. Bess Motta was my hero - she went onto to have a tiny part in a Terminator Movie (of course Arnold killed her). The routine took only 20 minutes and that was it for the day. There was timer counting down the workout as you followed girls doing stretches, jumps, skips, hops, and ending with more stretches. The camera crew was really enjoying themselves the entire time (shots between legs, cleavage, etc - you get the picture). Thinking back, THAT was the exercise of that era. Aerobics. On hard floors in scantily clad attire. Yup, I still have my leg warmers too. And Bess Motta? Well, she's 50 now, check how she looks today -- BESS MOTTA.COM. My, how far we've come. Ha!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Not Even Open Heart Surgery Would Stop Him

My hubby Ricky is a die-hard, obsessed kayaker and he ran the Tohickon Creek today - while my mother was recouperating from emergency open-heart, triple bypass surgery less than 24 hours ago! The nerve of him, huh! So my plans to hike/ride bike next to the creek were squashed as I did my daughterly thang and visited the hospital with my dear 78 dear-old dad. Rick was pleased with the Tohickon trip and portaged one section (this picture), and swam once. And my mother? She's as tough as nails and is already up and walking. Nutty weekend with lots of changed plans. Next week or two will be goofy too as she comes home and gets back on her feet.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What's On Tap for the Weekend - Tohickon!

It's become an annual trip for Rick and I -- the Tohickon Creek Dam Release every November to watch the crazy kayakers jump over rocks (yes, they do that!), spin, surf and flip over in rapids. They do it in the Spring too, but the November trip has been on our calendars for 3 years now. It's in Ralph Stover State Park, near the Delaware River just below Allentown, PA. Here's a press release on the event - its quite the happening East Coast ordeal in the whitewater world each fall. The past couple years we went to watch, take pictures, and video our friends that have been doing for a while. Rick nor I ever felt we had the skills to do this Class 3 creek -- until this year. Rick's doing it! I'm SO proud of him and know he'll be just fine. He's been studying that video he shot last year and feels like he knows the river and what to expect. He's been rolling, rolling, and rolling and never missing all summer. That's the trick to any whitewater river -- if you get in bigger water, you better your chances of flipping and you need that roll to "save" yourself. Or in my case, you just pop out the boat and "swim" and end up losing your paddle and floating down a rapid, bumping your knees, arms, and whatever else along the way on rocks and ending up with black and blue marks all over your bod. NOT cool - and certainly not the skill for a trip like this (thus, why I'm not going!). But Rick's ready. He's hooked up his buds for the weekend - Tony Labato, probably Tim Garland, and group from the Harrisburg Canoe Club (Lee Thonus et al) and Donna Mummert is going in a duckie (an inflatable kayak). And me? Well I'll be enjoying watching them all from the comfort of my bicycle seat on the dry, WARM shore line. There's bunches of press releases on it -- here's DCNRs also. And here's Rick's Pix from past years.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Biggest Loser - for Kids

And its at the local Elizabethville YMCA! Well not really, but they could start filming there if they wanted to get a good show going! Hubby and I are back into the Tuesday/Thursday routine of stopping at the YMCA on our way home from work. We arrive around 4:45 and start our workouts shortly thereafter. Somewhere around 5:00, the gym fills up with a group of about 10 or 12 nine to twelve-year old kids. They laugh, giggle, scream, kick, holler, jump, push, fight and generally act like kids -- taking over the equipment for a good portion of the time Rick and I are trying to workout. I keep waiting for one of them to fall flat on their faces on the treadmill as they speed it up more and more and more to see how fast they can make it go. Keep in mind, the Elizabethville YMCA workout room is about the size of a large bathroom - its close quarters (construction is underway to triple the size of the workout area). Even noise-blocking headphones don't drown out this mayhem. At first, we were both fairly irritated, but now that we've gotten used to the commotion and know it ain't going away, we're ok with it. The personal trainer is in charge of these kids and he's really doing a good job getting them into a routine of physical fitness. He takes them into the gym, then looks to see if there's room in the workout room and if there is, sends them in there for workouts on the weight machines or cardio equipment. You see, these kids are ALL alot like the folks on Biggest Loser. Everyone of them is overweight and not just a little overweight. They are visibly chunky and pudgy. And they are just kids! Its sad to see, but at the same time good to see the trainer working with them. Here's an interesting article on overweight kids in America. Did you know 15% of children are overweight? Rick's grandson, Jenson, is a good example. He's 13, and I can't call him obese, but he's noticeably pudgy and guess what his favorite food is? Yup -- McDonalds. I'm sure he's hot for the Burger King that just went in too. But have no fear for Jenson - his mother is a nurse and knows about nutrition, so she's working with him. It could just be hereditary also -- Rick was a pudgy kid too. But when the kids get that taste for processed burgers and fries (and realize its SO cheap!), its hard to break them of that habit. Interesting topic.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our WW Kayaking Playground Close to Home

This is a picture of the Dauphin Narrows. Its located in Dauphin County, about 5 miles north of the state capital of Harrisburg. The Susquehanna River narrows between two mountains, creating a faster than its normal lazy flow among rocky outcroppings; thus, the ultimate training ground for perfecting skills for whitewater kayaking. My hubby and I spend a bunch of time here in the summer - at least once a week during daylight hours (its already ended for the season), and weekends too when there's no flow anywhere else due to low rainfall creating low water levels. Right now, Rick is keeping is skills sharp that he's worked on all summer by paddling in the narrows for his final (maybe) river run of the year -- the Tohickon Dam Release on Nov 1. Jill will be hiking and watching from the river bank for this one.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

49 today. Barf.

I feel like shit. I'm losing fitness. My muscle tone is pretty much gone. I'm totally in perimenopause and wake up soaked and then I'm bitchy all day. The lights are going out at night earlier and earlier (so even less exercising). I started WALKING for exercise at lunch. That's pathetic when I have a shower in this building (too lazy to drag stuff and change and I HATE being rushed and I PEE my pants running so I'd be all pissy on river front). Blah. Blah. Blah. Happy Birthday to Me.

I DO love my husband tho. He's keeping me focused. He so sweetly reminded me how GOOD I looked the fall/winter of 2005-2006. And THAT's because I was at the gym pumping iron 3 days a week for an hour at time. He knows what I need. What would i do without him? Thank you Ricky Brown.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Last Whitewater Paddle of the Season

Today was the last White water paddle of the season. It was on the Lehigh River at a higher-than-normal release level -- about 1240cfs. All summer, we paddled at about 750 cfs, so 1250 was considerably bigger. After 3 years of only one flip (because of someone running into me), today I swam twice (for non-paddlers, that means I didn't get a combat roll and had to "escape" from the boat by taking off the skirt and "swimming" to safety -- not something you really want to do in rapids). My detailed report is below. We joke about Dave Geesey -- a really good paddler who never seems to mess up; thus, the "Dave Geesey School of Paddling."

When I signed up for the Dave Geesey School of Paddling, it seemed like the right thing to do -- eloquent, smooth, controlled, and precise handling of the boat-- never needing the Rick Brown School of Learn-to-Roll from a Video and winter roll sessions. The curriculum said all these paddling moves would come naturally with time -- and they sorta did for 3 summers; except for the one time an unnamed paddler kinda rammed me in the side of my boat pushing me up on a rock in the Nescopeck and dumped me in the water (and the other time in a foot of water in the Dauphin Narrows never really going "under" - does that count?). I can't say the paddler interferce was technically a "swim" since it wasn't my fault. 1240 cfs in the Lehigh River is just a little bit bigger than the 750 cfs I've grown accustomed to all summer. Those lessons taught in the DGSP were practiced repeatedly all summer, and the summer before, and the summer before that. But there were two lessons I either wasn't paying attention, was stoned, or skipped. They were the lessons on what to do when you hit rock, and what to do when you go over a bigger-than-normal drop with a bigger-than-normal wave at the bottom of it. I've seen the DGSP lesson on rocks -- boof, slap, slide, and grab it with your hand when all else fails. And I've seen the drop, kick, and punt moves off ledges too. So I officially flunked those two lessons and it showed today. The first was at triple drop. Tony went over the ledge so nicely -- just like HE went to the DGSP. "I can do that -- I did it two weeks ago", I thought. Wrong. 1240 cfs caught me off guard and over I went. Did I even think about that Rick Brown School of Learn to Roll? No. I thought of where is that handle and get me out of here fast. The next lesson I didn't learn was in No Way. Drat...I'm at that same spot as I've been at three times this summer and there's NO WAY to go! Today my boat decided to sit sideways on a rock with the slant of the rock putting the upstream edge IN the water. Imagine the thoughts of the DGSP running through my head as I hung there for about 20 seconds figuring out what the heck to do. Plunk. Upside down again. Double Drat. Now I get to float down the remainder of this rapid. Thank God for the Magic Boat guiding me - I probably would have tried to stand up like a rafter. Oh, and thank God for the absent minded forget-my-PFD, "Jeff", who so kindly picked up my paddle that some absent-minded paddler left fall out of her hand. I'm now going to write the DGSP and ask for my money back. And the Rick Brown School of Learn-to-Roll from a Video? Sometime in January - Cumberland Valley School District.

If the Season Would Have Went as Planned....

If everything would have went as planned when I started training for Xterras this season, you'd be reading about my trip to Lake Tahoe. Last weekend was the National Xterra Competition in Lake Tahoe. In 2005, I was pulled from the water after not being able to finish the swim portion in turbulent Tahoe waters. I thought I'd try to go back this year until that fateful day at the Richmond Xterra Championship. Drat. Four of my racing Xterra friends qualified this year -- Christina Bohensky, Sheena Perry, Sue Anne Clarke, and Sarah Lichtenwalner -- but none went. Maybe next year girls so I can read about you all? One other Xterra female racer from the Philadelphia area, Val Hardin, was on the start list, but I didn't see her name in the results. So I couldn't even read about her (she usually wins -- incredible athlete). The race this year was all about Cancer-stricken Xterra Pro Jamie Whitmore and it seems everyone was racing for her. Read all about it on her blog - its moving.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What's a Team?

Interesting question raised by Sheena the ponderer - stop being so intellectual! My last post proudly proclaimed Mr. Brown is ok with me racing on a "team." And that begs the question, what is Mr. Brown's definition of a Team? To be more specific, Mr. Brown's term of "team" is like a team of beach volleyball players -- always side-by-side and moving in tandem to win the match. One looks out for the other and they watch each other's moves all the time. No, a relay team won't qualify -- its too individual. AND, the many mountain bike teams I've been on over the years also do not qualify -- again too individual. So forget the 24 hour or 12 hour mountain bike venues. What he liked about the "team" concept as in adventure racing (team mates must always stay within a certain distance of each other) is someone is there to catch me when I fall 'cause we all know how I get a little tipsy now and then. Does that answer your question Sheena?!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Next Season Already?

Yup....its on my mind already. Maybe its because I didn't get enuf racing in this year... maybe its because I'm having severe racing withdrawal... maybe its because I'm already getting way too fat and need to think about doing something about it... or maybe its because I have THE most WONDERFUL husband in the world who told me he's ok with the idea of me RACING ON TEAMS next year! Only the easy stuff though, and only if I don't go and get training crazy on him (i.e., no plans, no coaches, no heart rate monitors, no schedules to follow and mostly no getting nutty when I can't get out and run or ride) and only if its with a team. The Savage and Cap City are already on the list. Now lets see.... how do we juggle managing an organic backyard that's gonna be quadruple its size next year AND fit in some training.. oops... I'm not supposed to be getting crazy about it. ha!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Summer on the Lehigh River

Every other weekend, since about mid-July, my hubby, me, and sometimes some of our paddling friends - Wayne Davis, Barb Sears, Jenn and Judd Kulas, Donna Mummert, Sam Mummert, Tim Garland, Tony Labato, Dave Geisey,and some of THEIR friends would make the trek to White Haven and paddle the 7 mile stretch of the Lehigh River from White Haven to Rockport. It was always a release weekend of about 750cfs. 750 actually is mild... the river is barely 1 ft at some spots, but there are some holes too. The 750 cfs would make it roughly whitewater class 2-3, leaning more towards the 2 at most spots. This was RICK'S sport of choice, and after my bike crash and being laid up for a month, I told him HE can call the shots for the rest of the summer and this is what he chose. But I enjoyed it too. We always take a "lunch" break (usually a CLIF bar), and we usually stop to surf some good waves. Well, Rick and friends would surf, I watched. It would take about 3-4 hours to do that stretch, and it was a decent workout for a Saturday afternoon. It doesn't help the bike legs, but who cares at this point! I paddle a Wavesport Diesel river running boat, and Rick paddles a Wavesport EZG60 - more of a playboat that maneuvers well around rocks.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

You are Exercising Your Brain Too!

After a brain trauma accident, one tends to "think" about head issues a little more than normal. And I found this interesting article on how exercise makes your brain grow -- particularly the cognitive and memory region. I don't think I ever mentioned to anyone after my bike crash, that the doctors put me on a trial drug which I'm still taking called Citicoline. It's a naturally occurring substance in the brain that researchers are discovering when taken in large doses, helps repair damaged brain cells and improve function. For years, doctors felt when a brain cell is damaged it's gone forever. But no more -- your brain can be fixed! And for all my exercise-obsessed friends, just think, your heads are growing, bigger and bigger with each pedal stroke. Ride on!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My New Training Partner

Yup -- a blind mouse! Poor little thing came staggering onto the patio during a trainer session, and entertained me for about a half hour before he parked it at my front tire. Guess he was tired. It was SO sad! I was actually wishing one of my cats was out to put Mr. Mouse's misery to rest. Of course I teased and tantalized him. I felt bad afterwards.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Race I Missed - Capital City Challenge

Three cheers to my adventure racing team mate, Donna Weiser and her Team, Lynne Fickes and Lynn Reinhart at the Cap City Challenge in Harrisburg this year. They were second! And rumor has it the other teams on the Heim Construction Team did quite well this year -- a couple firsts and seconds! They are all rocking an rolling. Full results are here. Look for Heim Construction. Lots of Pics here. Its a fun race, and I'm sorta sad I missed it, but very happy Donna did well (again!). Here's a shot of her team, and a shot of the hardest challenge - getting up and over a 6-foot slippery log. Nice job to all!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

If I Wanted to Waste Some Money

I could easily waste some money on one of these bikes. I'm not a big follower of the bike frame scene, but apparently these have been on the market for a couple years and are taking the hardcore mountainbiker world by storm (or the folks who don't know what to do with their money!). Its a Jeff Jones bike. They are always fully rigid and typically singlespeed although you can get gears. He got the front fork design from a 1930's bike - how cool is that! There were two of them at the BASH this year and they are immediate attention getters -- very sexy lines, and of course titanium is always worth a second look. Here's a good blog post from a semi-local dude on these bikes - "Todd." I can't say I foresee one of these anytime soon... they average between $5,000 and $9,000! Astonishing. I'll have to make DEAN suffice for now, and he doesn't too bad of a job - although comparing the lines of the two looking at these two pictures, the DEAN is definitely not sexy - but serves the purpose well. Maybe a little facelift and he'll be good as new.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Weiser's Seating Arrangements

This is SO cool... one of the campsites in Weiser State Forest now has stone seating. Rick said someone obviously had a lot of time on their hands. Its very noticeable...we were riding, and these "chairs" stuck out like a sore thumb at this campsite. Couldn't help but stop and snap a few... and of course rest a while!

The Mountain Bike BASH!

A LOT has been going on... even though you'd never know it with my lack of posting on this site! Actually, there's been a few more updates than normal to the Rattling Creek Blog which is where I've been spending a good bit of time the past few weeks. Rick and I volunteer with trail maintenance in Weiser State forest, near our home, to keep trails open for Mountain Biking, and each year our local mountain bike club, the Rattling Creek Singletrackers, holds a "festival", so to speak, to ride those trails. This weekend - Sept 11 through the 14th, is the BASH, and we've been clearing trail the past few weekends to be ready for the riders. Most of my "exercise" (note.... not "training" any more!), has been hiking a couple miles on weekends. I, of course, am the one to carry the chainsaw -- it just couldn't be any other way! I'll get to ride on Saturday, but for the most part, my job at the BASH is registrar. I'll post some pics next week if I get a chance.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Long Time No Post? What Up?

Sorry for the delay...not a whole lot going on right now with the R&R factor in high gear now that racing and training is officially and truly gone. Rick and I have been spending every weekend kayaking and also doing trail work in Weiser State Forest, on the Rattling Creek Trails. We're making sure the trails are good to go for the upcoming Rattling Creek BASH. And my workouts? Ha! What's that... a workout??? Actually, I'm still attempting to do that one-hour a day gig, but yet another slight injury prevented that from happening this past week. I overturned my ankle last Sunday so I stayed off the foot-thang all week. But this week should be back on track.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Female Triathlete Dies from Bike Crash

This story SO brought tears to my eyes in many, many ways. A female traithlete was near the end of her 34 mile bike leg of a triathlon and crashed on a downhill, breaking her neck. The story is here. She was paralyzed, and would nod her head yes, that she wanted to die. The family pulled the breathing tube, giving her her wish.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tour de Millersburg Criterium

Something different this time around -- a CRIT! We know the promoter, the course, the area (Rick's hometown) and it was a georgous weekend so the racers came out in numbers. Over 200 racers signed up for the 12 mile time trial, the 1.5 mile crit, and the 18-mile road road (totally 96 miles for the Cat 1,2,3 guys). I found it interesting that not 1 person was "local," In fact, the winner of the crit was from Belize! Shane, the promoter, updates his BLOG quite frequently, so read it for his view of the Crit -- he's quite the promoter and really does his selling thing quite well on his blog. The Crit itself - Rick and I never saw one. A roadie Rick works with who has raced crits, used to say to tease Rick "mountain bike racing is boring." When the racers made that first turn in this huge peleton of about 50 riders, and they were all leaning the same way, at the same 30+ mph, yes, there were goosebumps. Holy hell they go fast and stay close together. There was only a couple of minutes that a lead group broke away, but for the most part the group was constantly together. A FAR cry from mountain bike racing. It was the speeds that floored me. I don't really know how fast they were going, but the Porsche pace-car was stepping on it most of the time to stay ahead of them. Rick and I enjoyed watching it and will likely watch again next year. We ran into two locals whom said they would have liked to race the 18-mile road race today, but couldn't because you had to sign up for all three stages. So they would have been our only "local" hope for entry into this race. I'd really like to see a local in it someday - the townies would really enjoy watching locals too. Hmmm.. maybe in the women. ( HA! -gotcha!) Millersburg is a quaint little community that when they hold community events, everyone comes out and enjoys it -- this was no different. The race was well attended, well staffed, and well organized. Kudos to Shane March! I was impressed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Did He Bite You?"

Those were the words out of the DOG OWNER'S mouth after she called her dog off of me. No... he didn't attack - but boy was that scary. I'm running this time. And I'm on a normal route. I go by the house to get to my loop, and pass the same house on the way back thinking dang she got a bunch of dogs. She's always had a beagle for her husband's hunting, but today she also had an irish setter and "Snarly" I'll call him. But I didn't see him until after I'm past the house. About 100 yards later I hear the toenails on the road first -- then the barking and snarling. And I'm talking hair-raising, teeth-showing growling and snarling. This dog meant business. I stopped dead in my tracks and turned around and pointed at him and sternly said "BEHAVE. GO HOME. BEHAVE." And he stopped! Phew...I'm saved. Whoops - no I'm not. He really wanted to take a chunk out of me. There was just something about him that was a little scary. Finally, the owner yelled his name and he turned around and went home. She yelled "did he bite at you?" And I said no...but he wanted to. Homeward I went. About a half hour later, she called me! She was SO worried the dog bit me. When she yelled at me and the dog, I was about 100 yards away and it was kinda hard to hear each other. So she just wanted to make sure he didn't bite. Diane said he gets a little nippy sometimes but usually stops when you yell at him (he did). She highly recommended pepper spray and don't be afraid to blast him! Turns out the dog is young and a take-in and he loves to chase cars and motorcycles. Guess he likes people on the run too. The family are very nice folks. If they all could be that caring! I used to say when I retire I want a dog...that thought is out of my head forever! I'll stick with my kitties.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Complaining About Olympic Coverage of Events

Ok, I admit we don't have that new-fangled TV from a cable or satellite, and the only channel we can watch is NBC (Channel 8) and its fuzzy 'cause the antenna is getting covered by some weeds that I haven't been able to get out and pull, but why can't that one major network provide a little more coverage of the many events going on at the olympics? I've had just about enough of 4 days of beach volleyball, 4 days of swimming in every shape, form, and manner, and 2 nights now of gymnastics and sychronized diving. WTF!? Today, is whitewater kayaking finals -- in the middle of the afternoon!! Wouldn't it be nice to show bits and peices of it tonight in primetime? But No....its not on the schedule. We NEED to see even more swimming and diving. I'm so bummed. I think I'm done watching unless they decide to change up events. I'd like to see the triathlon too -- or even mountain biking! But that would certainly be asking way to much. Bastards.

Monday, August 11, 2008

If I Was a Mountainbiker....

And I was looking for the ulitmate race to do (besides some of those 50, 60 and 100 milers) this would have to be it -- the Trans Rockies. And VisitPA's own endurance Queen, Michelle Stopper, is riding it this year. She's on a co-ed team with Tim Dougherty. What a gal.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Olympic Break

So is everyone sitting on their asses glued to the TV like I am watching the olympics? What a show - what incredible athletes. Of course my favorite is that 40-year old swimmer. Geez, that's really old, isn't it! :)))))

"Could You Call Your Dog Please"

Boy dogs piss me off -- especially when they stop you from riding and won't let you move. Bastards. I planned on getting out on a nice 20 mile road ride today to figure out if I can still ride. I went a route I always go and the one farm must have gotten two new dogs. The one didn't count - it was a chiuahua (I think), but the other was some sort of rottweiler (my FAVORITE dog!) and it seemed kinda friendly at first. But being skittish after crashing on one dog and having another bite me in the calf, I stopped to make sure the rotty wouldn't do anything weird. He started circling me! Bastard. And everytime I'd try to go, he would come after me and start barking a little more. I kept yelling at him because that seemed to keep him backed off enough that I wasn't fearing for my life (HA!). After about 2 minutes, I think the owner heard the ruckus and came out and I politely said, "could you call your dog please?" And he did, and the dog immediately went home. The chiuahua was just watching and followed the rotty home. Bastards.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Pro Racer Jamie Whitmore Update

Several months ago I posted about Jamie Whitmore getting cancer. Jamie is a Pro Xterra athlete that was diagnosed with cancer back in March. They removed a baseball size tumor from the base of her spine and took a bit of nerve that caused her some loss of movement in her one leg. They've since found a 2nd tumor and removed it...taking an entire butt muscle rendering her pretty much no longer able to race professionally. Her blog is a must read.

Rethinking That Favorite Race

While I still think CAP CITY CHALLENGE is my favorite local race (within one hour of home in Central PA) when taking into consideration all factors surrounding the racing scene and what I consider important, I can’t help but agree with the “Wise” comments on the picking of your favorite race post… if you only do one a year, why not make it a favorite and/or memorable, an epic, and not worry about the cost, or the distance, or anything else! Its really all about the fun-factor while getting some exercise anyway isn't it?!? Sooooo…. I'm rethinking that one race and what it would be. Two main ingredients -- a TEAM thing and multi sport are definites. So that means Adventure Racing. Hmmmm my favorite adventure race of all time would have to be: PA Wilds 100 (it was a one-time two-day stage race in Northern PA that covered 100 miles - awesome event ) ... or maybe the Krista Greisacker 12 Hour Adventure race, or maybe the Savage .... I can't pick one! They all rock. Goals ARA really puts on good races and I'd surely continue to consider one of their races. The Krista (picture) was truly memorable -- three racers and their packs and 3 bikes in a canoe for 8 miles of low water! OMG that was tough. In reality -- in the grand racing scheme of things these days - I'm such a dreamer. But we can dream, can't we?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pick One Race as Your Favorite

If you were forced to pick just one race as a favorite, which would it be? Simple task? Good for you if you immediately had a race come to mind! I'd love to hear what they are in the comments. Its really not a simple task if you factor in all variables. I imagined if I was allowed to race just one race a year, what would it be and I had an awful time deciding! First, I had to break the races I've done into categories since they all differ with varied types of training leading up to the race (yes, Rick made me realize there's really something wrong in my head doing all this - but I used to do these different types of races for "training" purposes):

  • Mountain bike - cross country
  • Mountain bike - endurance -individual
  • Mountain bike - endurance Team (12 and 24 hours races)
  • Xterra
  • Triathlon - road - sprint or olympic distance
  • Off road triathlon - sprint or olympic distance
  • Running -5K
  • Running - 10K
  • Trail running - 5K
  • Trail running - 10K
  • Cyclocross
  • Ironcross (it simply ain't nothing like a "real" cyclocross race so it gets its own category)
  • Kayaking
  • Adventure Racing - all lengths
  • Adventure Tris (i.e. Chili Challenge)
  • Off road Duathlon

It was kinda of easy to pick a favorite within all the above categories, but the goal is ONE favorite. So...onward to the analysis. Here are the other factors to consider:

  • Training - how long, how hard, availability of training needs (i.e., access to a swimming pool). What does the training do for my physique?
  • Team vs Individual race
  • The Fun Factor
  • Road vs off-road
  • Appropriate Age Groups - I really hate racing out of my age group. I'll settle for MASTER women if that's all I can get.
  • Travel time to races
  • Cost!

Ok...all factors are laid on the table. Elimination time:

  • Xterra and triathlon races were first to go - (WHAT?!) - they are far, expensive (sometimes needing an overnight stay) , my swimming sucks, and the pool is not always accessible.
  • XC Mountain bike next to go. I just always sucked at it!
  • Endurance Mtn Bike and Ironcross - no age group breaks for women! (although the Wilderness 101 has a MASTER women of over 50 which is enticing).
  • Running and duathlons were eliminated - I'm not a runner! and I pee my pants too much.
  • Road tris and races were eliminted - my preference is off-road
  • Cyclocross was eliminated - it just hurts too much.

So what did that leave? Adventure Racing! It's looking like the winner will be the CAP CITY ADVENTURE CHALLENGE. Its close to home, has all three sports I love, is team-oriented which are FUN, has a MASTER women division, and training in all three sports is not boring at all.

And the runner up was the Chili Challenge. It got second because its an individual race and the bike section is on road.

So there you have it - my favorite is the Cap City Adventure Challenge.

More Than an Hour Today

Read the post below this one first so you know what I'm talking about...

Bike Trainer = 45 minutes (I LIKE the trainer -- I won't crash on it... teehee)

Trailwork carrying the Chainsaw for 3 miles = about 3 hours. (Rick's having sacroiliac issues so I wouldn't let him carry the chainsaw).

I'd say I got my one hour minimum in today! Yeh. Finally feeling back on track. Tomorrow is a 45 minute run and weights. Yeh - in advance.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

One Hour a DAY - EVERY DAY

For 7 years, my old bones have gotten used to a daily bout of high-energy activity but the last few weeks were similar to that pre-7-year period - I would be happy if I gardened and got my heart rate up - that's exercise isn't it? Well, no. Not at ALL. I've been reading up on what is the standard on exercise -- what is the minimum amount of activity needed in a day to be healthy. At first I was finding that most literature will tell you 20 minutes of "vigorous" activity (heart rate gets up) 3 times a week, and/or 30 minutes of "moderate" activity 5 times per week. Yeh! My gardening IS beneficial! It turns out that that amount of activity is garbage - don't believe them. These amounts will simply maintain your health where you are at when you start that 20 minute routine. That amount of exericse won't increase or improve anything -- muscle strength, your ability to fight disease, weight loss -- it simply allows you to hold your own so your health doesn't further deteriroate. I've since found out to become more healthy, the standard should be 1 hour a day. Scientists claim if you exercise 1 hour a day on top of everything else you do (using stairs, walking to car, etc) in a day, you can improve your health through a multitude of benefits. To maintain optimal cardiovascular health, a good body weight, and a favorable body composition, we really ought to be exercising at least an hour a day. And they are talking "vigorous" movement, not moderate. Most of you reading this are already doing the good deed of an a hour day and you KNOW the effects -- congrats and keep it up! I used to know it too... I seemed to have forgotten the past month. I AM a slacker these days!

Here's an article on the effects of exericse on muscles and bones as we age. And this article talks about how aging doesn't slow us down, lack of using our muscles and exercise does. My dear old dad is living proof of all of this. His job his entire life has been training, driving, and caring for standardbred race horses. His daily work routine involves being active -- using his muscles. He's now 78, and claims his job kept him healthy all these years. He uses his muscles everyday and he's not slowed up at all yet. He's my inspiration.