Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Almost every summer this happens: the time when I have to give up on most hiking, running and gym plans because of my job in wildland fire.  I don't make it to the fireline as much as I used to anymore.  I tend to end up managing helicopters and helibases, a position which could lead to the dreaded "helibutt" if you let it.  I'm not letting that happen but what is a person working 12-16 hour days to do? Enter the maintenance phase.

When at home, fire crews allegedly get an hour a day to work out.  However, it often doesn't happen, because the phone is ringing, pilots are showing up, and fires are lurking.  If I get to exercise, it's more often than not cut short.  Some people just give up, and it would be easy to do.  If you are used to exercising for an hour or more, it's hard to adjust to half an hour or less and feel good about it.

This is where I have to take a step back and look at the big picture.  Sure, a 3 mile run isn't going to burn a lot of calories or improve my fitness at this point.  Lifting weights sporadically instead of on a schedule won't build muscle.  But if fitness is a journey, this is just a little while spent at the station.  As fall approaches and then as winter comes, there will be time to get on the workout train again.

So if you need to, embrace the maintenance phase.  If you can only run for half an hour, really enjoy that half hour.  Look at everything around you (I surprised some bears the other day on my run).  If you can only lift weights once in awhile, try a new exercise.  There will be time to go back to more intense exercise when you can.  Enjoy the break!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

RIP Mollie

Run free, Mollie. I'm so sorry that this is the world we live in now, where a young woman like this can't go for a run and be safe.

Mollie found

Mollie Tibbetts

Friday, August 10, 2018

Cissus what?

I looked at the web page skeptically.  The joint supplement on it had great reviews, but would it work for me?  What was cissus quadrangularis, its main ingredient, anyway?

I turned to Dr. Google.  Apparently I was late to the party on this plant.  It's a vine that grows in parts of Africa and Asia, and has been used for years in traditional medicine for speeding up healing of fractures, reducing inflammation, and pain relief.  Some studies suggest it also helps with menopause symptoms and with weight loss.  I clicked and bought it.

I've been pretty lucky; with my career and all the hiking and running I do, I've had relatively few joint problems.  Still, I've had two knee surgeries, and I get aches and pains here and there.  I've tried glucosamine and MSM in the past, and I *think* they worked, but I could never be really sure.

One day this winter I limped home from a short hike in the snow.  An odd knee pain had surfaced.  It was intermittent, never showing up when I ran or used the elliptical, only during hiking, and not every time.  Some people would go to the doctor, but I like the wait and see method.  I took some of the supplement, not expecting anything. 

In about 3 days I could tell the difference.  I went hiking and backpacking.  My knee didn't hurt.  In fact, my whole body felt a lot better.  When I stopped taking it for awhile, I felt the twinges return.  

Now I have some other firefighters taking it, and they report the same experiences.  I give out samples from my stash, because I believe it works.

The supplement I use is called Joint Mobility, from 1st Phorm.  I'm a rep for this company, but this isn't a sponsored post.  If you buy from this link here I may get a small commission from your purchase and you will get free shipping.  

If you start using cissus quadrangularis, let me know what you think!
this is what the plant looks like.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Trainer Tuesday: Working out (when you really don't want to)

I get it.  Some days I just can't face the gym, and a run seems much too arduous.  Excuses are easy to come up with: it's too hot, too cold, too rainy, something hurts.  Sometimes it really is time for a break.  Other times, it's just laziness and inertia.  Here are some ways I work through it.

1.  I lift weights, but it's not my favorite thing.  Sometimes I get to the gym and try to think of reasons not to do it.  When that happens, I tell myself I'll just lift for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, I know I can keep going and I rarely stop. 

2.  I move to a different part of the gym or use machines I rarely use.  This really helps with boredom and motivation.

3.  I decide to run for 30 minutes.  I know I can do just about anything for 30 minutes.  After that, I allow myself to stop, but by that time I sometimes decide to keep going.

4.  I make plans with somebody.  For a few months this spring until we all got busy, I met two women twice a week to work out.  There were times I really didn't want to go, but I didn't want to let them down.  Once we started exercising, my motivation returned.

5.  I put my workout clothes on in the morning.  If I'm already wearing them, I pretty much have to exercise, don't I?

6.  I do something that doesn't require a lot of space or props, like a circuit or card deck workout.  I don't have to drive anywhere to do this, or commit a lot of time.

7.  I watch TV or read a Kindle book while using the elliptical or stationary bike.  If it's a good book, sometimes I'll go longer than I planned.

8.  If all else fails, I go for a walk.  It's still exercise. I'm doing something, even if I'm not going all out, and it's a good mental break.

Any other good tips out there? I hope everyone has a great workout today, no matter what you do (or don't) do!
I don't feel like running...but I'm going anyway.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

psychic connection

"Be careful of bees today," I told Cindy as our squads parted for the fourteen hour shift.  "I dreamed you got stung by some."

"Whatever," she shrugged, grabbing her pack.  It was early, and we had been working this fire for a long time.  Every day we would dig line, and every day it would blow out.  We would fall back to the next ridge, and do it again.

The night before, I had a fireline dream.  In it, Sean was chosen to run a saw.  This wasn't always his job on the crew; we had three primary sawyers, and he wasn't one of them.  If we needed a fourth saw, there were several guys who could be picked to operate it.  Sean was one of them.  Our sawyers always picked their own swampers, rotating through crewmembers.  This person followed the sawyer all day, clearing the brush the chainsaw cut, and carrying the sawyer's gas and oil. In my dream, Sean chose Cindy to be his swamper.  She turned over a log, and bees swarmed out, stinging her. 

Cindy appeared at the crew buggies at the end of the shift, a glare on her face.  "Don't ever dream about me again!" she ordered.  "Sean ran a saw today and I was his swamper.  I turned over a log and there were a bunch of bees there.  I got stung a bunch of times!"

Coincidence? Or something more?

Recently, a young woman who lived near me went missing in our town, along with her vehicle.  There was a lot of speculation.  Did she run off, or was she taken by someone? "She's in the water," I said to my coworker.  "No, she went off the road somewhere," he said.  This was a far more likely scenario.  There are lakes and rivers around here, but it would take some effort to drive into them.  It was more probable that she had driven off one of our many mountain roads.

The next day, her car, with her inside it, was found mostly submerged in a murky pond.  Coincidence? (RIP Alex).

Everyone is probably a little bit psychic.  I've had other experiences I can't explain, other dreams that have come true, things that I just "know."  I'm sure this isn't too uncommon, but I'm interested: what about you? Have you ever had a psychic experience?
I don't have a picture of me being psychic, so here's a mountain goat.