Welcome to Mona's "Orient Express" Blog
Walking with Purpose
"Short legs = A lot of steps"
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Monday, June 11, 2007

Words of Wisdom

Whenever heading out for an extended hike, walk or bike ride....make sure your iPod playlist is long enough to make it through the journey.  I found myself on a 1.5 hour training ride only to find 1.2 hours of music.  Hating to stop, I kept riding to the sounds of anaerobic breathing.

(For the record...because I know Jeri will make a comment.    Yes, I do bike with my iPod...mainly to deaden the sound of my hard breathing.  But I keep the volume low enough to sufficiently hear surrounding traffic and wild creatures.)

Kate...any suggestions aside of a full-face helmet, how to keep the bugs out while on a nice long road ride?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

2 Weeks to Go

I have less than 2 weeks before the bike race.  I had a great week enjoying several training rides while mixing it up with Ultimate Frisbee, some great walks and hiking and tennis.  The weather has warmed this weekend but somewhat muggy making it more difficult to find motivation. All I feel like doing is napping.

An attempt last Friday to extend our mountain biking ride was cut short as we encountered a sow and a cub on the trail about 75 yards away.  They quietly moseyed along but I was quite content turning around and heading back home.

Uh oh...time for a nap.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Squiggly Finder

Well..I had the honor of being this month's Squiggly hider.  Tough job based on the trail I selected.  There weren't actually a whole lot of places to hid a big water bottle...concealed from dogs, squirrels, people units, bears and any other curious animal creature.

I was so inspired by the opportunity I wrote a poem for part of the clue set along with some digi photos.

Here's the poem.  The photos can be seen at Heather's Start Walking site https://uascentral.uas.alaska.edu/online/portfolio/jnhlr/start_walking

Squiggly got slightly restless,
  And ventured to a farther home and place.
Trees and water and a glacier,
  A location with lush and beautiful space.

 The trail takes you "west,"
  But the Squiggs is hidden well.
You'll have to use your senses,
  Don't curse Mona's name and yell.

10 minutes down the trail,
  If you take a leisurely stroll.
Claim steps while you're hiking,
  And fill your healthy soul.

Enjoy the green and freshness,
  And count your lucky stars.
If you cross the second wood bridge,
  You've gone just a little too far.

Have fun and enjoy the journey!


Thursday, May 31, 2007

What a Great Week!

Okay...the week's not done yet...but I'm finally back on the exercise trail.  It's very exciting.

Yesterday, I joined the WIN sponsored walk with 7 others and Stephanie, our walk leader.  We were joined by a few sprinkles but that didn't dampen our spirits.  It was fun and even included a lively discussion about pony kegs.

After work I got in a great training ride on my bike.  Two very nice ladies (who didn't look like they were riding very hard) passed me on the my way to the glacier.  Then again, they were on road bikes (skinny tires) and I was on my hardtrail mountain bike with commuter tires (not so skinny tires).  I finally caught them on my way home...after one of them flatted.  I had a night cap with Ultimate Frisbee.  My team, the Corndogs, lost...badly. 

Tonight I hit the gym for some weights and then did hill repeats on my bike to gain more strength in my legs.  Slow but methodical...I really tried to focus on finding a rhythmn and maintaining a constant cadence.  I'm also trying to overcome my fear of the big ring (i.e. hard pedaling) on my bike.  This will take some time to get use to.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

Hooray!  After almost 3 weeks of minimal activity, I slowly started exercising again.  I joined a walk with Stephanie who is leading the WINS walking group at noon.  I got back on my bike last week for 2 easy rides. 

I quickly became motivated to start riding more because it doesn't seem to aggravate the calf and it allows me to train again.  I'm more motivated now because I need to train for a 24 Hour Mountain Bike race in Whitehorse which is less than 1 month away. 

Last night, I made my first trek up Eaglecrest Road...a 5-mile hell..I mean, hill climb.  I thought I was going to die from the burning sensation in my quads and my lungs.  Thank goodness I wore my iPod as I really didn't want to listen to my own hard breathing.  But I was quite happy after it was all said and done.  It was a great training ride! 

Tootles for now!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Injuries Suck!

Ooops....did I just type that injuries suck?  Well...it's true...they do.  About a week and a half ago, I was playing tennis and was going for a ball, when all of a sudden something didn't feel right in my calf.  It wasn't a pop or anything immediately painful...it just felt wrong.  Within a few minutes, I felt the muscle tighten up into a big ball.  Game over.  I immediately went into action by icing first.  When I got home, I went to the RICE method...rest, ice, compression and elevation.

So I don't typically equate pain to being a bad thing.  I've trained hard and experienced serious muscle soreness for several days.  The difference this time was that it was something different...it "didn't feel right" the moment it happened.  It was completely out of the ordinary. 

I've been out of commish for a week and a half...and will go another week of rest (or longer) to give my calf the rest it needs.   Consider the discipline this requires of me since it's now the start of outdoor Ultimate Frisbee season, the singles tennis ladder is in full swing and I'm suppose to be training for a bike race. 

It's all tabled for good reason until I can return to exercising pain free. 

Ta ta for now!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


motivation, n.

b. orig. Psychol. The (conscious or unconscious) stimulus for action towards a desired goal, esp. as resulting from psychological or social factors; the factors giving purpose or direction to human or animal behaviour. Now also more generally (as a count noun): the reason a person has for acting in a particular way, a motive.

So have you ever found yourself totally demotivated from any form of physical activity?  I must admit, even myself who is rather active, can occasionally find nothing appealing.  I actually went through this not too long ago and decided my routine had gotten stale and boring.  When this occurs, I will either try something new (like a new group fitness class), return to something I haven't done in a long time (I recently returned to the treadmill), or I'll just take a mental break which is what I did a few weeks ago.

For me, as long as it's fun, it's typically motivating.  When it stops being fun, I look to something else to mix it up. Now that the Juneau snow is finally melting and temperatures are warming up, I will look to more outdoor activities like hiking, biking and maybe even some Ultimate Frisbee. 

My recommendation to folks out there...find what you like and go with it.  Try new activities for variety.  You might be surprised!!  Don't like working out alone?  Find a buddy to do things with.  But most importantly, have fun and enjoy the journey.

Peace...I'm out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ready! Set! Go!

Honestly, I had no intention of participating in the Orient Express Walking Campaign.  I'm already pretty active and keep exercise as a high priority.  While I totally supported the program in spirit, for myself all the tracking seemed like too much overhead.  And no, the jacket, bag, etc. weren't big enough carrots.

So what got me to change my mind?  Literally, it was the opportunity to earn a Kate Wattum MyPres and MyChancellor Series.  Kate, you rock!!  So as of Monday, April 16th, I'm officially in. 

A couple of observations:

1) I started tracking using the conversion charts, but I'm losing serious daily steppage (Is that a real word?) by not having a pedo-unit.  Drats!  I better get on that.

2) For every one step Jeri Cary or Heather Swanson take, Mona gets two steps.  (Finally!!!  I have found a benefit to having legs of a 4' 11 3/4" person)  Sorry ladies!

3) The silliness of the paper dolls was all the 'inspiration" I needed to get involved.  It's all about having fun while enjoying the great benefits that come from a commitment to ongoing exercise.