Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Still making progress

It has been two weeks since i walked due to health problems. I discovered the chest pains were nothing to take lightly. My exercise level was increasing to fast and my body was not given proper time to rest. So now instead of the very real desire to pull off five milers I'm back to timed walks not mileage. It is truly hard to admit the things I enjoy have to be limited. I'm also
a water person and if the oil spill makes its way to my coast sea activities will be added to the list of things I have loved and lost.
So as trek girls contest comes down to the finish line I'll still walk and keep active because in time
my strength will build. Along the way to the challenge I have met wonderful folks from all corners of the country and all ethnicity's. As the saying goes it ain't over the good times are just starting!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blue Crab Festival

I have to admit something terrible this week, I'm gaining weight. I'm not talking muscle either but rather FAT! I have been biking more of late than walking as the days turn to a steamy ninety degree and the rains come like monsoons. This gain is due to excessive eating of bad foods. I knew once I gave up on vegetarianism my body would rebel but I had no idea I would.
I actually only eat fish and once a month chicken now but after three years as a vegan I was not doing well. It cost big time to eat healthy and money is tight. When I could afford it I ate well and did worry about the cost of healthy items. As the economy and business became worst I have used more and (gasp) frozen and canned foods. This has taken a toll on my body. I will have to work on processed foods because over the last two years I had been making everything from scratch. It is not a long journey back though I still am able to move about but I will have to find high energy foods to make up for the hunger that is building due to my increase exercise.
On the bright side I manage to walk six miles this weekend at the Blue crab festival and I resisted the erg to buy some greasy fried sea treasure and chow down. Instead I brought some lemon water and the idea that looking as I walk will pay off later. Okay that last part is so not true because I was not going to walk at all knowing I was to attend this festival. Instead of good parking I walked a mile from my car which was parked on a bridge. After that hike I just continued the trek three times through the event and then walked the long way back up the hilly bridge. So in the end I got a workout I didn't want but needed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Positive thoughts

Last week the battery in my car died, talk about poetic justice in a large way.

I was not going to walk because I had way to much on my plate. Of course the day after this terrible thought my car would not start and a neighbor had to give me a jump. One week and more exercise than I expected (riding my bike)has lead to an amazing discovery about myself.

I'm stronger mentally than I believed myself to be thanks to logging over 100 miles on my bike. I could have stayed home and run the treadmill but I needed to get out and take care of things so off I went. My walking schedule decreased but my fitness level increased and that's exactly what I needed. I learned a lesson about wishing something on myself too. Never let negative thoughts ruin your path to a better road. I decided I didn't want to put in the work and the lord showed me a better way despite my own sabotage.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Twenty Mile Club

I did it ! Yesterday I pounded out twenty miles on my bike and ran/walked for one mile. I felt good the whole time and to be honest I almost killed myself because of it.
I had not planned to test my ability to finish a biathlon Thursday. It happened because the map I was reading neglected to include some important details.
I picked up a riders trail map from the local bike shop while having my racing seat replaced for a more comfortable WIDE butt model. Oh happy day, these new gel versions are sent from heaven I can not sing my new seats comfort enough. Although the shop owner told me the new heavier seat would slow me down I went for cushion power.
Anyway the map lacked some big details,the major one being designated bike lanes. The route to a local park was marked as having a bike lane but that wasn't true. I spent the whole trip riding in the street with bad drivers. For a short distance I tried the sidewalk but never in my life have I been on sidewalks literally coated with broken glass. As my rider continued I missed a short cut in thanks to no notation on the map. There actually was a hidden entrance to the park off road marked only by two foot yellow poles in the woods. Since I missed it I ended up pushing five extra miles to the parks main gateway. Only after talking to a recreation worker did I discover the bike trail ran through the woods. I thought about taking some of the trails but I have to be honest. I noticed an archery club and saw several white men walking around with bow and arrows through the woods. I said to myself heck no your not riding on these trails and end finding stray arrows.
My fun trip to the park to exercise turned into a twenty mile haul sprinkled with a one mile walk.I road the loop a few times and then the idea to use the day as a test for the bike portion of a race hit me. I made my way back using a different route which was up hill for eight miles and then level the rest of the way. I start running out of fuel but instead of listening to my body I insisted to myself it was a mental block. It wasn't, I had not eaten properly and because I was putting a tremendous amount of strain on my vital organs mainly the heart it revolted. Fifteen miles in a chest pain that was more of a slight tightening so I stopped and walked one mile. I then began riding a slow easy pace back home.
I always make sure I have plenty of fluids but neglected the fuel a mistake that won't happen again as I'm not into suffering. I usually leave home with at least something to eat in the form of fruit or trail mix but since it was to be a short trip I never bothered.Hence bad planning will send you down a dead end road.I have now crossed the mental block of wanting to compete but not mentally feeling I can. I took the hills,the streets, curves and the heat with no problem.I did it all on a heavy older model mountain bike and no a road bike which I have not owned in years. My excuse was I did not want to spent money on a bike I may not use much. A heavy bike has no place in a road race it just to slow and tiring.I 'm now ready to make the investment. I love off road cycling but I see myself doing more time on the black top for now.I relearned the importance of diet even when I have no desire to eat and most importantly I discover nothing is impossible it you keep working at it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

In Motion

I'm still walking but it's getting harder as the days become hotter.
Hopefully my schedule will be able to accommodate early morning walks but if not the treadmill can be dusted off and put to use. As summer rolls in I'm looking forward to five mile walks and a ten mile bikes each day. I'm working on the swimming but everything in time. I will be using triathlon season this year as a major motivation. Next on the to do list is renewing my state park pass the joy of training off road always appeals to me.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Still pounding the pavement

okay if they call big male runners clydesdales what are women. Heck I love those darn horses, my favorite is Scottie. Having been to see them more than once but I never imagined I would be clunking around parking lots like one. Wait unlike them I'm not moving fast but you get the picture.
I am really busy with work ventures this week so that's exactly where my walking is taking place. My body is hurting too, it's more than likely my change in diet. I have been a vegetarian for years but recently I feel the need for some protein because daily exercise is back in my life. My body is just running out of energy.
Oh lord, yesterday I looked at some fried chicken and this g.r.i.t almost wrapped my lips around it. Anyway I will have to make some time to redesign my diet. Burning all these calories is sending me to the nutrition depleted house. You better believe I'm looking forward to the weekend for a good meal. I hear a state park calling too, maybe I'll go fishing and run the beach.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lucky Day13

I had planned to hit the bridges today but instead I helped my mom conquer her own get moving goal. It's amazing that only a year ago she was bed ridden and given no chance to survive a mysterious illness that has not been explained even to this day.This amazing woman got up excited to be alive and for the first time in six months left the house with me to go to the farmers market.

I made sure to park as close as I could to the entrance as moms balance is not that great. We walked arm and arm about a fourth of a mile around the parking lot before she was ready to get back to the car.On the way home we stopped to shop and she was able to make it around the grocery store without my assistance. I can't tell you the pride I felt in seeing my lifetime shero do something she hasn't been able to do in three years! I was so inspired that I walked myself today too. Mom waited in the car as I made my way around river walk . It was also the MS walk and I ran smack into the middle of them on my trek. Lots of families, coworkers and a good deal of people of color took part. My pace was slowed a bit by the size of the crowd on the route but it was wonderful just being out and about. My mother came back from deaths door today and ever day that I walk I will carry her struggle and victory with me. God is good everyday amen.

Doing just enough Days 9-12

I spent week two resting my sore body and walking at a slow pace. I think I became over zealous and pushed two hard in the past month and it all caught up to me. I must remind myself to train wisely and for the betterment of my health.Lately I've been pushing to make it to a certain point at a particular time rather than training to build endurance. So the most important thing to me this past week was simply the fact that i did walk. I really wanted to make the trip downtown and enjoy myself on the riverfront but it was not to be. If I went shopping it was the perfect time to circle the parking lot a few times or stop at a neighborhood park instead of doing the river walk. I now know that running is not beyond my ability at this stage of my quest because I conquered that mental block last week.
What I seemed to have learned is, I'm not physically ready to run yet. My weight is still an issue and my body is telling me slow the pace down or I will make you sorry. So for now my walks remain at a steady but slow pace.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dangerous and STUPID move Week two Day 8

On Fridays trip to Green cove I passed a hiking trail and made a mental note. I actually stopped in to the parking lot and saw a sheriffs deputy. I asked him some questions about the trail and he informed me to just stay on the path. People have gotten lost but they had taken unmarked routes through the woods and become confused. I took his advice and decided someone needed to know where I was before I went marching off.
Sunday I woke up with Black creek on my mind and decided to get my hike on.
I forgot to check the weather but when I looked out the window it was sunny.
I left a note with the parks name, what entrance I would be at and time i expected to be back on the refridgerator.
In the time it took me to stop and get some food items for my hike the sky
had become cloudy. I figure even if it rained it would not last long and i was prepared if it did anyway. I started off okay and then I did a bad thing, alright a dumb a#$ thing. The first path ran towards a lake but it did not run along side of it like I had planned to go. Just as I realized this an old white man was walking back up the path and I ask him about the trails. He said he didn't know the one I was looking for but he knew the other trail and he would walk back that way me. Who does stupid things like that, not me oh wait I did. So now I'm following some old man through the woods and he is pointing out the various trails. I didn't get a bad feeling from him and I bet he was wondering the same thing about me to. We parted ways once we got to the point I was looking for but just thinking about how I'm following this guy in unfamiliar territory had me searching for answers about my mental health. I don't trust folk and I talk about people who walk/run with ipods for the very reason. You can't be stupid and unaware in fact most people are killed within ear and eye sight of well traveled paths. I'm admitting to this stupidity because I had become to relaxed and assured I could get myself out of the situation. As an avid camper I have relied on guides, friendly hikers, and strangers you name it to make my way through national parks. Those days are gone and lucky for me the lord saw fit that I did not run into a serial killer, rapist or whatever. Old doesn't mean harmless they are the crafty ones. Even though I take my bible everywhere and prayed before I left the car you can bet I was thanking the higher power that day for taking care of babies and fools like me. Oh yes the rest of the hike turned out good I got my water shot and left with more than a hiking memory.

Saturday get your bridge on day 7

A business trip two hours down the road from home brought me to Melbourne. One of the nice things about Florida is you can travel in any direction and you will find liquid gold. The ocean comforting and that's why if the opportunity is there I'm walking insight, around, over, or next to it. After I took care of what I was visiting for I did just that. I first drove through a park that just didn't have the right feeling, I wanted challenging then it hit me. I took 192 down to the causeway and headed for the bridge to get my cardio on. If you have ever walked a bridge you know the up side will kill you just enough to make the down hill portion feel like you have been rejuvenated.
I have taken on this monster before and it really is no match for some of the bridges I walk but it is steep. On this day I felt a change though, the area itself has been hit hard by the recession making the town feel really depressed. I walked alone but a scattering of other people could be seen walking to. Then out of know where it happened I want to call this the tea party effect. It seems people now feel they can yell and scream anything they want to because thier own lives are in the tank . I encounter so many horn honkers and one idiot who leaned out a raggedy white bronco and shouted the n work. That is brevard county for you still red neck to the core but you can find those type of morons anywhere.
It was around 4:30 pm when I started and warm ,I guess high seventies with no wind. It hasn't gotten quit as hot or humid in north Florida yet so believe me I was feeling strained as I made my way to the top. I made sure not to push but I also gave myself a decent workout added to the fact I enjoyed the view of sail boats , people fishing, and just being out and about minus encountering a knucklehead or two.

Walking The big Blue Giant Day 6

One thing I can say about Jacksonville is that I do she black women out walking on the regular. I'm not talking about a few but perhaps the most i have seen
in Florida. This town is not a walker or biker Paradise by any stretch of the imagination but we have a spirit of can do here that is awesome. So I was not surprised on Friday to spot three sisters in the bank parking lot walking during their lunch hour. I encourage them to keep it up and gave them the girl trek website. After running around a bit I stopped at every ones favorite big blue
box store . I got myself a cart and went up and down every isle from the garden shop to groceries. Imagine what I looked like on the cameras going up and down the same isle twice and then just leaving. Yes I did! Hey can't say I didn't walk and I will be honest it was no piece of cake. I got my thirty minute workout and really was not in the mood to buy a single grocery there.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I stopped at a local restaurants biker night and walk the strip mall and around the party lot. I learned we have many a outlaw biker in my area and a few you just don't want to ask any questions! My course took me less than twenty five minutes to complete which I attribute to the approach of dust and the big mosquito that tried to make me dinner. I'm right around an eleven minute mile and hoping to move up to five miles a day next week.

I felt like a day trip so on my way back from running some errands I stopped in Green Cove. I'll admit not much to see at the springs that the city takes its name from but I did manage to walk around for awhile to check out the rest of town.
I was surprise to find a hiking trail along the way but it was to deserted for me to walk alone. I asked a sheriffs deputy how far it went and when he responded to the next town and people have gotten lost, so I decided to come back at a later date. I make a point of always letting someone know where I'm at and if anything was to have happened I would have been gator food before they found me. Oh well I now have a location to check out at a later date. One of the things I'm most enjoying about this challenge is taking in nature.The treadmill no longer appeals to me like the outdoor life. I'm also working on uploading the pictures I have been taking, now that's truly a task I'll have to become more vigilant about.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


The hardest person you will ever have to over come in your life is you,
just think about it for a second or two.We all think we know what we are able to do but how much more are we capable of doing when pushed.I found out recently when i demanded more from myself then I expected
to ever find the strength within to pull out.
On Tuesdays I walk with a group that is a mixture of triathletes,walkers and runners. This is a big deal for me, I have been dealing with issues like motivation. Since joining this group I know that someone else knows I'm not out putting in the effort to accomplish the goal of doing a 5k and mini Marathon and that keeps me pressing on. It also is be a good thing to push my pace beyond that comfort level of a slow leisurely walk. On Tuesday that is exactly what happened to me. Some of the group showed up late and we went through quick stretches and then off we all went.
The runners and one biker headed out on their separate ways followed by three walkers. I knew I was in trouble because I'm short and the other two ladies were tall with long strides. I kept up at first but by the time I got to one of the turn around points I felt tired and void of energy. My calves started to burn, my pace slowed and I was thirsty. So when I saw the parking lot I called out to them I was done. As I walked to my car I saw a lady with a shirt that had a saying on it in fine print and one word in type large enough for me to read, it said "Quitter". I have often heard there are no coincidences. I thought about it as I retrieved the bottled water and began to walk a little to cool down. Before I even knew it i hopped back on an adjacent track and walked two loops to loosen up. I felt good and warmed up and decided to just finish what I started. So back on the path
I went alone but speaking to other walkers as I passed by. My group of runners passed me on the way up the bridge and shouted get going and I did. I passed the walkers too telling them I decided not to quit. I was feeling inspired on the return route. As I walked towards the top of the bridge something grabbed a hold of my Psyche and I made up my mind I would jog back. All the way down the hill and around the path I made my feet move in small running steps not walks. I didn't care who heard me as I said out loud to myself "keep going, keep going" repeatedly. I was moving slow but moving just the same. When I came into eye sight of the group they were saying I need to pick it up. I continued at out of shape pace but I made it! I knew in my heart I couldn't do it but I reached into my soul to overcome myself. I do it, I stomped on the wish I could do it me and exceed my goal of just finishing. My advice, just inspire yourself to do what even you sometime doubt is possible yet. The good lord has made us all stronger than we often believe ourselves to be. With God all things are possible and I certainly have been calling on him during these walks of late.

Paving Paradise can be nice Day two

Day Two.
It has been a long and rather cold winter here in Florida. In fact for the first time ever I ran the heat on full blast for days on end.So it was a real pleasure that first week of April brought with it some of the most beautiful seventy and eighty degree days. Then came Monday and the temperature hit eighty outside which meant my car was ninety after baking in the sun all day. It was unbearable even with the sunroof open and all the windows down (air condition burns gas). So I made a beeline home
to seek the coolness of my neighborhood and all it's trees. I was almost home when I realized I didn't take my walk,my heart sank. I was going to have to skip a day because there was no way I would be driving to any area in rush hour traffic just to huff and puff. I was passed the exit to the on ramp anyway, surely I could just walk extra the next day. Well two lights down from that thought I realized the next left would take me past the local mall. Anyone who knows me understands the disdain I have for shopping. Still when in a crisis those paved over combinations of boxed stores and greasy spoon eateries come in handy. I jumped in the turn lane and headed to the strip with all it's distraction. I find a good space
by the sporting goods store and made my way to the entrance to the mall. Surely I looked like a crazy standing in the hallway of Dicks stretching and pushing off against the steel beams as a audience of black folk seated in the mall waited for the group they were with to come out of Dillard's.
I didn't care, I was on a mission and not even a mall packed with unholy terrors out on spring break would stop me.
The walk wasn't bad but the temptation was a little great at first. The smell of food or rather grease and onions always gets to me. I won't even talk about the fact it was so hot an ice cream shop had a line out of its door. I found myself walking briskly past all the triple scoops of chocolate pistachio waffle cones people were holding, only to hit the two dollar cupcake place at the next turn. I had not even made the food court yet and already Aunt Anne's lemonade and pretzels started calling my name,but I ignored the mall. I knew one time around this particular
place would make a mile so I set my sights on four trips. Exercise takes my hunger away so thankfully by the half way point I was over the assault on my senses. By the time I hit the food court I was giving quick no thank yous to the Asian food samples and a guy from the pizza place who tried to tell me I should reward myself with a slice of something.This sister kept rolling in fact I as I cruised into the third lap I was getting faster. Just in time because after two the hot dog store has a two for one sale
and that part of the mall was filling up fast with hungry families.
I can't emphasis how great it felt for the ordeal to come to an end. The fourth tour was a charm, I was tired and ready to make my way back to the parking lot.
As I exited a father and son stood eyeing a kayak hanging from the rafters just outside the door.Surely we would not miss these places if main streets could be rebuilt. Oh wait the new malls are designed to look like main street with parking at the doors, fountains and valet parking to certain restaurants. Well it served my purpose at least on Monday walked in the comfort of air condition and lived to share the experience.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Sunday Treking Day One

I do not have a routine for walking yet and when it comes to Sundays that often is a problem. Traditionally that's the day I refuse to do anything on the internet and try to at least get in some just me time void of human interaction. So I found myself in the kitchen 4:30 am Easter morning preparing dinner. Under normal circumstances I would have cooked the day before but I was not in the mood. Instead I prepped everything on Friday so that on Sunday all I had to do was turn so knobs on the stove and hit a timer. Okay maybe it wasn't that simple but it was a quick walk through. My plan was simple, finish up chef duties in time to honor the Florida tradition of Easter sunrise service on the beach. I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by taking a walk down the beach after mass and not worry about finding a parking space at the park.
Oh how wrong could I get, one of the greatest evils in all the world are electric stoves! I love gas heat but living in hurricane country it's hard finding it in most residences. Outside of powering up the a BBQ grill that form of joyous cook is sparse. Don't get me wrong there are neighborhoods here that have gas but they are few and far in between. I personally could not rest with 100 hour winds blowing those big old tanks around anyway, so I stick to professional sized grills just not this Easter. That's why it took three hours to cook what should have been a hour and a half meal. Having completed that task I took the time to eat around nine to avoid being hit by the smell of ham and who knows what else might cooking around the area I was walking.
I made it out of the house by ten and headed straight to the water. I have been walking bridges and river walk for a few weeks and was kind of glad that there were actually a few people out and about. I did my stretches and got about a forth of a mile before seeing one sister who was a runner powering back to her car listening to the ipod. Right behind her came another sister with a t shirt that read run run run but she was walking. Now I don't know about other folks but in this day and age I refuse to listen to music while out walking alone like these ladies. I feel you need to be alert when milling around especially if not in a group. Outside of the exchanged good mornings we said nothing but the third lady I run into at the top of the "hill" wasn't wearing an ipod and I was able to spark her interest in the trek challenge and give her the web address. Hopefully she will be out power walking again soon. I will be honest I cut my walk short and only did half the route which took about forty five minutes.
On the way home I could not resist stopping at a local park and walking it's loop too. The draw of a yoga class under a patch of oak trees caused me to slow down and listen as the instructor encourage the participants to find center. It really was a peaceful spot the azaleas were in full bloom against a back drop of boats sailing across the water. The lure of a couple fishing was to much to resist. I made my way over to their spot and asked what they usually catch. The answer, anything from catfish, bass, trout or whatever passes through. They were really excited about the 27 inch bass caught a few days before.I think I walked another twenty minutes taking in families as they picnicked and rope walkers trying to tight walk from one side of the park to another between oak trees. Yes it was a happy Easter although it was also the anniversary of Dr Kings assassination. Now that I think of it just me time is the perfect time to walk.

Monday, March 29, 2010

GirlTrek Florida Style

Last year when i decided to start training for triathlons I came across the girltrek web site. I wanted to make the commitment and join but life got in the way and I stopped training. This year as I celebrate a time of change and renew my resolve to become active again I took the plunge and signed up. I have found a running group but am open to walking with my sister walkers around Florida. I not only want us to walk in groups and as individuals but also in a girltrek show of force. If women of color see each other out there walking there is no telling what change we can make in our communities. So here is my very public pledge, I'm going walking around the state and I want you to join me. Stay tuned for details as I change direction to bring along some sister friends with me on my journey to fitness.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm Back !

New directions are a good thing and that is exactly what I have decided
to do at this stage of the game.Late last year I searched the Internet for groups to join for both cycling and running. Lucky for me I found a group that has a little of both located in the town I moved to. Unfortunately it was a cold winter here and I did nothing but lurk until the cold freeze broke.
So last month I pulled my old mountain bike out of storage and replaced the small race type seat with a much larger "big gal" gel cushion version. What a relief, I might not be the fastest but I will be training on old betsy until I have reached a fitness level. I then broke out my hiking shoes so I could wear them in on some new trails I have discovered. My search continues for a good pair of running shoes though.I also started walking a bit and it has made me see what i need to do when putting together a fitness plan. Oh but most importantly I actually showed up for a group run. Okay they ran I walked but I felt really good about just making the effort. Next up is setting that schedule for April and setting up some realistic goals for 2010.