Sunlight and you

It has been eons have gone by with hominids enjoying the benefits of the sun. How, and in what ways? Let’s see –

Agriculture, hunting, gathering, pro-creation. Yes, the sun has the ability to help in all of the above items. It helps the soil enrich itself, along with the rain for you to grow crops. The land, and the crops feed the wildlife, which in turn feed, and fuels us.

Thus the wildlife with which we’ve cultivated our livestock, and wild game for nourishment for such a time prior to gains. The gathering or harvesting of our agriculture has placed food on our tables, plates, hands for us to grow as a species to become what we are today.

Procreation, yes the ability for our species grow has helped us to also nourish our ability to be able to have off spring with a healthy immune system that we can thank our beautiful Sun. Vitamin D has shown to be one of the most incredible substances on earth that we can really not be without.

We get it through our wonderful first line of defense, the skin. We absorb it, and cherish its wonderful sensation on all of our being. We feel happier, feel energized, and at times euphoric on very cold, frigid days when we can not even imagine functioning. We grab a beach towel, and head to the beach, park, backyard just to lay in it to have us soak it up and feel like a new human being.

Above it all it is FREE!! Go get your Sun on people If you have a dark pigmentation stay out longer.

Summer is here!!! It is time for you to recharge that low Vit-D storage and be healthier. No sunblock, just the un adulterated sun baby!

Sun on!

G

p.s. A study here you can read up on Vit-D

link – https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/12/2794/htm

Virtually

The drop phrase for 2020 is ‘Virtual’. Yup, you read it right. I began to see this as a trending subject mid year 2019 while training for some races in the U.S. Virtual racing was not starting out, it was gaining speed.

Run to the Moon, run across the U.S., and all virtual. Solo, partnered, or Team. You choose how you want to do it as long as it gets done. Run, train, run, sign up, get a virtual and printable certificate of completion and some cool swag. Maybe even a really nice collectible medal to boot, or trophy if you raced in an Elite category.

I don’t know about you, but lacing up and pinning my bib on race day and walking into a starting line with other runners to gauge my competition – nothing like it in the world! It is however our reality. Would I race as I’ve raced before? Yes. I maybe alone on that starting line, but it is my choice how I live my life.

I love going for my runs, training in the park alone or with my fiance. I get weird looks now as I did before this ‘pandemic’ was here so I’m okay with it. I’m not okay with people being socially isolated, and not having a true outlet. Yes, I have made a choice to be active and to remain active regardless. Others have also made a choice to not be active. I get it. We are adults and as such we live with our choices, and also be it as it may die by them.

Being active provides me the opportunity to be healthy both mentally, and physically. How can we reach out to others to have what we have? Well, all it takes is honestly a wave when you’re running, or a funny remark while you’re suffering in the park while you workout to show that there is something that seems doable, or attainable to anyone because you made them feel like a human, made them smile or even laugh and now they’re intrigued about what you are doing.

There may be a possibility of them watching How To videos on exercise without equipment, or finding a running club or even ‘Virtual’ coaching. That’s where I come in, yes I do virtual / Remote coaching. Have been doing it for some time, and it is not going to go anywhere anytime soon. It’s actually going to pick up momentum as time goes by.

So, what are your thoughts on ‘Virtual’ coaching, racing? How will you motivate yourself, then others to help them become better versions of themselves in this environment we find ourselves in?

I’ll see you soon,

G

p.s. I’m actually contemplating signing up for some virtual races. What are you running/racing this summer?

Opener – Transitions

Summer/Fall 2019

Catching up and boy there is a lot to write about. Writers block hits hard. I honestly view such statements like that with a little skepticism and brush it off thinking that how hard is it to put things on paper ‘a la’ blog post?

Well I can truly state as a matter of fact that no matter how much there truly is to write about I found it difficult to sort subject matter in order to start filling in the blanks. Ever try to go grocery shopping with half the list in your pocket, and which list you were to grab for what specific grocery store to start with makes it a little hard. Yeah yeah I get it. Go to one place, and grab everything and that’s that.

Not gonna happen, and as usual scatter brain happens more often. Glad I’m not in advertising for I’d have lost my job. Now with a little more effort this time around I have found that slowing down and scribbling ideas here and there have helped to paint a bigger and clearer picture. This is one of those clear picture moments.

I had started a running program at Cf Spero gym, and had been increasing distances, drills, and skills for the runners to prepare them for them running a half marathon, or 10k in the trails in the coming October race. Most had rarely if ever ran in a true trail so I asked them out on the team in the Cook County Forest Preserves near Palos Park, IL. This is an expansive trail network, and many a mountain biker and biker, and trail runner loves to train in all year around.

There are easy trails, moderate, and the hard trails. It’s not as hilly as other places I’ve raced before but you can surely train your heart out here if you’re smart. Getting back to my runners…. we had a plan of attack. Step one was locating our location, and trail head. City folks looking for an opening in the woods…. it is a blessing that these trails are well marked, but with late summer early fall setting in there has been good over growth due to rainy season here so on the trails, and the footing was challenging, and trail signs are hidden on a few turns so keeping your eyes peeled was step two.

Their first run in a trail was a success! Officially this was a five miler and some gps watches show it to be around 5.5-6 miles. Either way success. Lessons taken away that day:

  1. Gym shoes are just that, for the gym
  2. Heel striking isn’t going to get you anyplace faster, just more tired
  3. Trail shoes save lives (sliding backwards on muddy slopes averted) unless you’re wearing #1
  4. Hydration packs need to have water in them to work
  5. Hydration bottles can also be lost during your run while wearing #1 and not averting #3
  6. 5 mile loop is not a straight out and back ( you can’t fit triangle in square)
  7. Having electrolytes to take ‘during’ run is negated if you leave them in pockets
  8. Share the trail motto is lost on bipedals with pedals
  9. Skirting danger going up hill while said bipedals think they’re in Moab
  10. You can run, relax, zone out, and be happy on a trail. Racing or training.

See, I’ve made my first top ten list. 💥

I do believe that sharing such experiences with other people help to foster a sense of belonging and comradery few other things can. Sure you can knit in a group, but can you do it while running a 10k in beautiful sunlight and friends along? Nope, those pesky needles will get you every time.

Trail race #1 – Ragnar Northwoods in Wisconsin 9/21/19

Have you ever run a race when it’s so hot you never stop sweating? How about a race that is just plain humid all of the time that you’re just soaked without even trying to get sweaty? I see a few heads bobbing and hands are up yelling Amen!

We had a blast! The village has a fire pit going all day long, and even before we started our first run we stood by this heat only to see steam bellowing out from our bodies due to the humidity clinging to everything on us. You can only imagine post runs around the fire laughing our butts off telling our tales and drinking coffee, eating at the craziest hours, and trying to help the next runners for their leg.

Have you ever run a Ragnar trail race? Fun! Three loops consisting of 1) Green – short 3.1-4 miles b) Yellow – 4.1-5 miles and c) Red – 6.1-7 miles. Technical difficulties do differ on each depending what part of the country you race. I met up with my Ragnar Kentuckiana team from 2018 and we just had a better time in general.

Man oh man, we had a blast! Eight runners, tents, coffee everywhere and very nice Runners village. Food trucks, and since I’m always hungry while I train, or race this was my utopia for the weekend. Oh, did I mention they had beer?

My fiancé, Brian, Natasa, David, Laura, Annie, Becca, and I rounded out the Spero ‘Gio’s wrecked runners’ crew. Yes, they aptly named the team after me. How kind…lol

Some of us are experienced runners, and some not so much. However they got into the groove of running that they forgot that it is not as treacherous and difficult as they had made it out to be while they were out there in nature on all times of the day. The trick was just to keep their wits about them especially at dusk and overnight runs are mentally draining. They spooked the wildlife more than the wildlife spooked them during those night runs, but they don’t believe it when to,d that fact. They’ve sworn that the heard a wolf, bear, or Sasquatch on the trail with them this night runs.. lmao! But, you just never know right?

Pre-Race
9/19
Rear – Laura, David, Natasa, Brian
Front – Nene, Annie, me, Becca
Team – Gio’s Wrecked runners

Finished – but not over. We had one more race to do in October and back to training when we got back.

Fall / Winter Trail Racing

Well coming off the trails in Wisconsin we dialed in our trail running skills in Palos Park Trail System once more to keep our momentum going. Running more than 10 miles on the trails while being more efficient and effective on our running speed and cadence. We had a few new runners for this late fall race in Galena, IL Oct/19.

On this weekend we had the option of three distances. A 5k, 10k, or half marathon. Five of us raced the half while four more raced the 5k. Nicely groomed trail, and almost flat and shaded. Late warmer temps had runners shed their outer shells and ran fairly fast on this little trail.

Coming from the Northwoods with minimal rest and recovery I thought I could tackle this 1/2 marathon without skipping a beat. Well, not so fast my body was telling me very early on. Half marathoners staged first on this 27F morning and I was not a happy camper. Cold, and feeling very stiff we started our run. Sun was peeking out between he trees only teasing us with some light and zero warmth.

My hat, shell, and gloves stayed on when we hit a few icy bogs on the trail and knew right away that this was gonna be a rough one if I hit these bogs, and I’d feel colder if I did. Not my ideal running situation while I was just getting warm. Well, to no avail with runners somewhat tightly situated on the trail some of us hearty souls took one for the team and sloshed through those bogs and kept on cruising. Feeling cold, it took me to the 10k mark to finally shed my shell and stash it in my pack somewhat.

The shell stayed on my shoulder straps and it would not budge. Upon shedding the shell I began to feel my Right IT bad fire like crazy. No build up of discomfort or indication of hip tightness at all just boom! Here I am big boy! Whatcha gonna do!? Well, I continued to run, walk, stretch, and repeat that process around a half dozen times to stretch and curse my tight hips, all the while I hydrated to stem any possible cramping that may arise from this. I thought long and hard about just walking the rest of the distance, but I was not gonna give in and just walk.. I made up my mind that I would finish regardless of my discomfort.

I made it back to the start line and knew I had 5k left. Regardless of the hobble, shuffle, and pain I would not stop to stretch until I crossed the Finish line. When I did finally cross that line I was fatigued, and in pain. We took our medals, some pics, and then I tried to walk a few steps (26 total) to the top of the bridge / sidewalk to grab some food when at the first ten steps I took my body lit up like lightning bolts on both IT bands bilateral knees and hips. My body was having none of this stair climbing nor walking in general. So, what did I do? Heck I walked with Nene next to me for 800m to the restaurant and finally sat down to drink as much coffee as possible not caring about anything else except that there was food coming my way and I could relieve my pain with copious amounts of coffee until we walked 1200m back to the car and head back to the hotel to take a Hot bath. Purchased epsom salt, and Skor chocolate to take the edge off. Yes, cho-co-late! My pain killer of choice.. I have my type of meds and you have yours. 😛

Post bath what would any sane human do? I’m not sane so we went to a distillery that a friend referred me to and had an adult drink. Man did it hit the spot. No, not buzzed just felt the warmth inside that was missing and we headed back to the the hotel and then grabbed some food. Time well spent.

Would I do this race again? You bet! I love Galena, and plenty to do there. This year we’ll sty a bit longer and have great time to enjoy the festivities they have after the race. Halloween weekend with parade, and costume contest to be had.

L-R- Gio’s Wrecked Runners
Eleni, Tom, Nene, me, Aurora
L-R: Gio’s wrecked runners
Aurora, Eleni, Mark, Nene