Making the effort … to see the shadows.

The Boo Hoff Trail in the shadows.

Another week that feels as if it were a month. Do you ever have those weeks? Maybe it is we cram too much in each hour of each day, too much scheduled, or it is just the pace of life in 2019. A mostly good week that ended with my third training trail hike/run in the dark. Today’s hike was in a more agreeable temperature but not the perfect 50 -60’s that I am dreaming about. My hiking buddy and I started out on the trail with our headlights at about 5:00 AM. Not much talking in the beginning, just trying to breathe as we ascend up. I did notice about 30 minutes in that I wasn’t anxious or even thinking about some of the fears that I had before on my previous hikes in the dark. Amazing what facing your fears, bringing them out in the light can do. The rising light in the sky would stop us both in mid-sentence as the hike continued. The turn around point for me was a Spring Energy gel washed down by lukewarm water and a smile because now we would run. I have not gotten strong enough to be able to run up the 1600 feet (3.5 mile) or maybe my mind has convinced me of that. This trail is more technical so I definitely will need my confidence and maybe a third lung if I intend to run it completely. As we were running down the trail we saw that the rising sun had cast glorious shadows along the terrain and that got me thinking. Do we honor the shadows like we should?

The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say. Gregory Macguire

All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow. Leo Tolstoy

The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy in the shadows. Brene Brown

I recently enjoyed an outdoor photography workshop where this idea of taking pictures of what is in the shadows was discussed. It surprised me when the instructor right from the beginning had us taking photos in the shadows not in the light. He then talked about showcasing the shapes and darkness that the shadows cast and that it can enhance the composition of a picture. I now see that the intensity reaches another level for both the lightened area and the dark. I believe that shadows can truly enrich a photograph.

The balance of light and shadow.

Light and shadows add a sense of balance, and balance is what we all should be striving for…. Right?

Exercise for the week – 21 miles running/hiking, 1 day weights & balance, 1 day jump rope and one legged exercises.

Meal Prep-Baked Crusty Bread, Steel Cut Oats (will add toppings of fruit), hummus & veggies bowls, Pizza Zucchini bites, & Salmon (3 ways- plain, Pesto, spices)

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!

Here is something to leave you with ….

This is NOT me and hope it is NOT you 🙂

Making the effort use our time wisely!

What a crazy busy week and fun packed weekend! And how did I get it all in? My answer is.. By Planning and Making the Time. I had decided this year that I wanted to actually see some of these Ultra Races I have been a fan of in person. I had participated in the Antelope Canyon Half Marathon this spring and got up super early before my race to cheer the 100 mile race participants at their start. My other excuse was to get the lay of the land for next year’s 50K I hope to do (I have signed up). I had also heard about the AC100 (Angeles National Forest) and the Kodiak 100 (Big Bear) which are literally in my backyard and I have no excuse not to make time for, so when I was looking at this summer I knew I had to block off time for these events. The AC 100 I ended up volunteering at and the Kodiak 100 I was able to watch this weekend in person up at Big Bear Lake.

Perfect segue into … Time Blocking. Have you heard of it?

Time Blocking is a methodology which can help you become Ultra Productive ( wink wink 🙂

Time Blocking is a type of scheduling that can help you manage your time better. Instead of working with the clock, you can focus on finishing tasks one at a time. This will help you limit distractions, and not put such an emphasis on when you will do something but that you will complete within a time frame such as a day or week. It never fails that when I try to stick to a hourly schedule I get interrupted and end up having to push back tasks anyways. This type of plan to me is more realistic and less self sabotaging.

Now all the reading I have done on this subject has mainly been about Time Blocking for Work/Personal, but it got me thinking. What if it was just for our Healthy Habits? I remember the blackberry and the leather covered organizer I use to carry with me everywhere and I do miss it. I think we have to gotten away from this style of organization over the last ten, fifteen years or so and it sounds like “Time Blocking” is a cry from those of us that crave order and need help to keep focused, to bring back something more updated.

So to get started, in your calendar simply block off a specific or generous amount of time to preform your healthy habit ( running, meditation, biking, massage, swimming…), a healthy “To Do List”. By scheduling a block you are prioritizing the healthy habit, giving it as much weight as a project at work or an appointment with the dentist (boy I am just cracking myself up over here). Here are some tips:

  1. Get tools- There are a ton of Apps that you can use – such as TimeCamp, ToDoist, and Wunderlist…
  2. Prioritize- For the day or week, list in order of importance and block the time of day when you know you are the most productive.
  3. Be able to adjust. We cannot predict our day so we need to be able to be flexible and know that as long as we get the task done that day or week that is good.

Now back to my beautiful weekend. What a race! I was lucky enough to see the some of the elite finishers for the Kodiak 100 and was humbled and definitely geeked out a little. There is a new course record for the 100 mile set by Rod Farvard in 19:31 and it was his first attempt at this distance. For the 50 mile race the first female finisher, Katie Asmuth just happened to be the 2nd place finisher for the 50 mile race overall… that was Crazy Good!!

Needless to say I am so happy I made time for this getaway weekend. I plan on planning more of these…lol! okay enough already!

Exercise- I had a minor shoulder twinge in the start of the week that left me waiting until the weekend to do any major exercising. I was able to get in 16 altitude miles- 8 trail miles with elevation and 8 road miles. & 1 day of weights.

Meal Prep – Grilled Turkey Burgers w/ rice, Shrimp, and roasted broccoli. At my time share where I stayed there was a nice big grill so I brought some items to meal prep for the week.

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!!

Making the effort to…. to improve the composition of our health picture.

View of Santa Monica from the Los Liones Canyon Trail

I am using the word Composition in the title of this week’s blog as a synonym, referring not only to the reference in photography (went to an awesome workshop) but also for the picture of our individual health. I have written about the health exams I have had recently and a few still in the process. The results will give me a better composite of my health. I had the following labs: CBC w/differential platelet, Metabolic panel, Lipid panel, Thyroxine Free, TSH, Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy, Triiodothyronine (T3). The results from the CBC and Metabolic were right in line. The Lipid and the Vit. D results had me more concerned only because Vitamin D levels have been known to decline with age and had been low the last time I was tested. I was happy to see that my levels were with in normal range but will continue to take the Vit D3 supplement. My Total Cholesterol has always ran high due to my high HDL(High density lipoprotein) count ( 95, range is >35). The view point out there is still that a high HDL is beneficial. HDL helps to remove LDL (Low density lipoprotein) cholesterol from the blood and transport it to the liver where it can be processed and eliminated. I am use to my total cholesterol number being higher but unfortunately this time the LDL was above the recommended range. After speaking with my physician we decided that I will be adding oatmeal to my everyday diet until my numbers are within range. So, if I had not taken the tests I would not have this information and I would not be making these small changes to positively effect my health. I have also scheduled a food sensitivity and a micronutrient level test.

Composition literally means to put together, so when you think about the composition of your health, you need to think about all the elements that effect your health. If we look at how to improve the composition of a picture, photographers look at techniques or simple guidelines like balance, leading lines, texture, symmetry, depth of field and so on. Let’s use those techniques in another way. Balance can be associated with eating and exercise habits, keeping on track most of the time but allowing a few special times when a treat or a rest day are necessary. Leading Lines, keep your focus and follow the path you set for your self. Texture, keep it interesting in your eating and exercise. No one wants to eat boiled chicken and salads every day or only run on a treadmill 1/2 hour every day. Symmetry or order can be as simple as cleaning out closets or making your bed every day.

This picture has a different subject matter but a better composition than the picture above!

Had a wonderful day at the Outdoor Photography Workshop up on Mt San Jacinto and learned that I have much to learn.

About 20 Miles of Trail Running and Hiking, 1 day of Weights and 1 day of Yoga. Meal Prep: BBQ Chicken, Quinoa Tomato & Kale Salad, Corn Muffins and Matcha Tea.

Have a Happy and Healthy Week!