Learning to Walk

When we first got Zip he hated to go on walks.   It gave me pause because I picked my little terrier because of their energy level and my desire for another walking partner.  I have blogged previously about his lack of outdoor experience and it turned out that this was part of the problem.   He really did not know how to walk.   When he walked his legs went every which way.   They did not move in conjunction with one another. He spent untold amounts of energy in forward momentum.

He has now learned how to walk.   He has found his rhythm.  Now he begs to go on multiple walks each day.   I have found my walk partner.

He wants to know why we have stopped.

He wants to know why we have stopped.

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Spring in Montana

Oh this week has been a classic spring week in Montana.   We have had unseasonably warm days and now we have had snow and ice.

Taken Tuesday.   Things were starting to green up, though Mt. Fleecer will have snow until August or September.

Taken Tuesday. Things were starting to green up, though Mt. Fleecer will have snow until August or September.

Tuesday was absolutely a beautiful Montana spring day.    Friday we had rain all day and I could see the snow line slowly creep down as the day passed.   By dinner we were above the snow line.   Saturday we woke with overcast and by late afternoon we were back in the snow belt.   Sunday It was winter again no holes barred.

By Friday we had rain and then snow.   This was taken Saturday on my walk.

By Friday we had rain and then snow. This was taken Sunday on my walk.

We finished our first 5K in 55 minutes.  Love that snow in the background

In Spite of It All Life Goes On

This weekend here is suppose to be nasty. You can read between the lines for that to mean rain, snow, wind and temps in the 30’s.   Yesterday I curled up and stayed in all day when Mother Nature dealt me a crummy hand.      Today I when I woke up to snow/rain I  said “UP YOURS” and went on about life.     This morning I did my first 5k of the season.

This one was a special one as it was a charity walk for the local shelter’s animal fund.   Albert’s Angel Fund is a local charity  that helps pay for medical expenses for adoptable animals that the local shelter might not otherwise afford.   I love the idea of the partnership of the shelter and the AAF.    Years ago our rescue dogs, Max and Charlie, used to get pledges and annually complete the Walk for the Animals, a fundraiser for the shelter they came from in Minnesota.   Today’s  walk  was a natural fit for me.

If it had been nice weather there would have been no question about participation, but with the rain/snow mix, the wind and the thermometer screaming 34 degrees I was not sure what the turn out would be like.   Heck I was not even sure if RangerSir would participate or not.  We got ourselves ready and out the door before we could change our minds.  The field was full of hardy souls dressed for spring in Montana, the rest of you may call it winter clothing.   There were folks of all sizes and ages, just the dogs were.   Probably the most interesting dog we saw was a Komondor, which I had never seen in person before.    There were also Corgie, Dachshund. Bloodhounds, Yorkies, a 3-legged Pomeranian, Giant Schnauzer, and any thing else you can imagine in between.  The family who parked next to us captured the essence of the field.   They had a little teeny tiny dog of Chihuahua  origin, a large elderly dog of Golden origin, a very young infant in a stroller, a short small mom, and a very tall dad.  See them unload from their rig  and make their family race ready made me glad I had not been a wienie and stayed home.

We finished our first 5K in 55 minutes.  Love that snow in the background

We finished our first 5K in 55 minutes. Love that snow in the background

Here are a couple more pictures taken during the race.     This was the 5th year for the race.   In the first four years of the race it has raised over $13,000 for Albert’s Angel Fund.   Not sure if the turn out will allow us to stay on target, but every bit helps and the race helps to raise awareness.   It was fun to watch the faces of folks in cars to see a mass dog walk.

Look at the puff winter coat.   The rain/snow made focusing a little difficult.

Look at the puff winter coat.

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We walked in a wide right-of-way.

Now as I sit here blogging at home four hours later we are getting the snow that they predicted and yes they might be right it could accumulate an inch before it is done.   Sure am glad the walk is over, but glad I was part of it.

Looking off our deck to our shed and chicken coop.   The snow is coming down.

Looking off our deck to our shed and chicken coop. The snow is coming down.

 

New Shoes

shoes

As I train for this year’s races I am forced to deal with the idea that my shoes are on the downward side of being serviceable for another year of races and distance walking.   Shoes if you wear them to walk around for a day of shopping only wear out when they burst at the seams and fall apart.   If you use your shoes for fitness then there is a definite time when they no longer provide the kind of support and protection you need from your shoes.   It all depends on what you do for fitness, the time you spend the the shoes, your feet and yes even your body (how you stand, your gait, and even your weight).

There are lots of guidelines when to replace your shoes, but if you use them for serious running or walking you know when they start to loose their effectiveness and it is time to replacement.    That is the easy part.    The hard part is fining a new pair of shoes.    In the runner’s world the running shoe is constantly evolving and their are hundreds if not thousands of models out there.  I can’t imagine how you pick a new shoe if your model has been discontinued.

If you are a serious distance walker it is much harder as there are not many shoes made specifically for walking.    Walking is significantly different body motion than running and the shoes are just as different.   Putting on running shoes and walking a half marathon doesn’t really work.   I have had many sports fitness stores convince me otherwise and I have sent many perfectly good running shoes to Goodwill after blisters and other foot problems training wearing those shoes.   I have learned my lesson and restrict my purchases now to shoes designed for just distance/fitness walking.    So I am back to my favorite maker of walking shoes and weighing out current model one looks best to plunk my hard-earned cash down on.   It is time to start breaking in a new pair of walking shoes.   My feet are telling me to retire my current pair.

Smart Training

Harley my  personal pacesetter.

Harley my personal pacesetter.

Once again this year I plan to walk a half marathon or two.   The first one is early in the season and it is time to get serious about my training schedule.   One of the hardest parts of getting ready is training smart.   Not only do you need to find the right training schedule to prepare you for race day.   On the other side of training smart involves safety.   I always think of a woman who was nabbed when running  in Northeastern Montana.   There is nothing you can do to prevent a nut who wants to nab a woman, but there are lots of things you can do to put yourself at the least amount of risk.  Some of the things I do to help my odds:

  • Don’t walk before the sun is fully up.   
  • Wear your reflective safety vest
  • If you must wear headphones, don’t wear them blasting.
  • Walking with a dog, even an ankle biter will can alert you to things you might miss before they are upon you.
  • Let someone know when you leave and should be back.
  • Don’t walk the same time and place every time.

Don’t let fear be your excuse not to get out there, but be smart.

New Treadmill-Yeah!

I happy to report that I found a replacement for my treadmill.   I had been watching Craig’s List since my last one lost its mind.   I got my last one for under $50, and it was clear that I wasn’t going to get one this time for such a deal.   Saturday I got lucky, and found one that I felt was discounted enough from the original price, and the amount they were asking was something I could live with.

It is now home and I am happy to report that on those days when I can drag myself out into the wind and cold I now have a treadmill to fill in for my daily fitness requirement.  It is quieter than the last one and the numbers on the electronic panel are large enough I can see my progress without glasses.      No more excuses.

Terrible Timing

My treadmill’s feedback brain died.   It is absolutely the worst possible timing.    It will be another few months before those new year’s resolutions treadmills start hitting the classified ads or Craig’s list.  In the meantime the days I can’t drag myself out for a walk in the cold I will be walking on the treadmill, never quite sure how far I walked.   It isn’t a real big deal since I know my pace after all these years of walking.   But as anyone who has ever done treadmill, will verify, there isn’t much more boring that a treadmill. I use that little feedback on the dash to help keep me moving forward.    This hiccup isn’t going to stop me, but I am going to be looking for that “steal of deal” on a treadmill with a working brain.