Category Archives: Outdoors

SHARING GIFT GEAR RECOMMENDATIONS

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over and done. Cooked. Now it’s time to get really serious about holiday shopping and/or winter equipment to gift oneself!

A little help here, please? Give me a shout out for some of your fav gifts or gear and I’ll be sure it gets a post.

Let me start with a few of my tried and true besties:

YOGA

MAT

Jade Yoga for best all around mat – www.jadeyoga.com – Harmony Mat

Manduka for tough and dense – www.manduka.com – any

Sankalpa for amazing graphics – www.livesankalpa.com – oh so many

ATTIRE

PRANA PRANA PRANA – love it all – www.Prana.com

Fav leggings or capris – Roxanne!

EXTRAS

Again Manduka – especially

Weighted cork yoga blocks

Enlight ® round bolster – delicious color – thrive

Align yoga strap 10’ (currently out of stock but hopefully  returning soon – extra length is useful)

There’s a chance you just might be headed to Freeport to do some outlet shopping before the year ends. If so, DO NOT MISS a Saturday morning class with my fav instructor, Terry Cockburn, at my fav studio – Freeport Yoga Company – www.freeportyogaco.com

OUTDOORS

Last night the temps here in Vermont dropped to single digits. Might be time to think more about staying warm in the outdoors.

My BEST find this year has been La Sportiva! Mind you, I haven’t gotten past the footwear, but the trail shoes have saved my life – or at least they have been so awesome they have pushed me out there more than ever. I prefer any shoe that gives me good traction as I have a way of shooting my feet out from under me on just about any vertical adventure. Log on to www.lasportiva.com, be sure you are in the US site, and check out Bushido trail runners. I hiked a fair amount this year and these babies were so confidence inspiring that I climbed outside my comfort zone.

I looked for other models for the fall season and struck out on a few that were too narrow in GTX. And then, after a long conversation with a customer service rep at LaSportiva, I took the plunge and tried the Women’s Crossover 2.0 GTX.

LaSportiva W Crossover 2.0 GTX

This boot/shoe looks like a Nordic boot with lacing and a zip closure, ankle high, warm, great traction, and instant comfort. Pricey but this will be my go-to boot for a long time, I’m sure!

PATAGONIA – Is there anything that Patagonia doesn’t have? Well, I LOVE vests – so great for layering. My 2 favorites from P. are the Nano Puff which comes in awesome colors and a very rugged, warm, weather and abrasion resistant vest called the W’s BIVY hooded vest. Check it out at www.patagonia.com.

There are SO many manufacturers and SO many places to shop. I can only scratch the surface and share my personally tested and recommended gear.

Furthermore, because they are “personally tested,” the items above are primarily for women – but there’s a man’s version of just about everything so have at it!

This is truly just the beginning of a list and, frankly, a list for someone special as one must dig deep to make these purchases. So, what about you? What can you add? Let me know. And happy shoppingJ

SUMMER ACTION

Summer is here and summer sports, vacations and events are in full swing. Here in Vermont, summers are beautiful and often too short. Who knows what this summer will bring? And, as always, outdoor activities are at the mercy of the weather – cold, cloudy, hot, humid, windy, rainy, foggy, and of course those T-storms! Athletes (i.e. all who are active) do not stop, they adjust. 

Add or subtract layers as needed, add on the bug repellant and/or sunscreen, dial it back/drink plenty of fluids in high humidity, and get the heck out of the way when the thunder rumbles. Other than that, grab the fun, play the play, indulge and enjoy.

An obvious way to beat the heat is to head for water. When a boat, paddle or swim is not an option, it’s time to be creative.

Summer Solstice SUP Yoga photo by Merin Perretta

Last weekend I participated in a beginners’ SUP Yoga Workshop. Wow that was fun! (Trust me, if I could do it, anyone could!) We celebrated the change of season as we neared the Summer Solstice and talked about the need to realign, change gears and get onboard with the new season. Simply being on the water in a meaningful and mindful way can be profound.

Hiking trails abound* and right now there’s plenty of water continuing to run off and swell the brooks and water falls tumbling down the hills. Late Sunday afternoon I had guessed correctly and my pup, Sophie, and I spent a few hours on the Cotton Brook Trail in Moscow, Vermont. It’s an easy walk/hike and, if there is no one else around, I can let her off leash. Whenever we approach some water she sweetly looks back at me as if to ask permission.  “Go swim,” sends her straight in. This particular time she found a deep pool at the base of a small falls and joyfully swam round and round in circles. Happiness is where you find it – even for a dog.

If you run, ride or swim, here are some local options for you. (see below) Choose one and go play. Or find other ways to connect with family and friends, head out solo, or join a team. Maybe, just maybe, this is a good time to leave the gym work for September and build your strength, endurance, skills and aerobic capacity in other, outdoors, ways.

A sign on Camel’s Hump.

*NEVER forget the many safety precautions for hiking adventures. Be prepared, plan ahead, carry emergency layers, food, water, first aid, and flashlight. Tell someone where you are going and, best of all, hike with another. Assess your fitness level and avoid extreme fatigue. Have a great time but be alert and sensible. 

 

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2nd Elmore Triathlon of 2017 this Thursday June 22

I’ll still allow a duathlon option for those who choose not to swim, but encourage all who can swim to try the whole thing.  The water has warmed up and the forecast for Thursday is great right now! I hope to see you Thursday for a 6:30 pm start.  Based on last event’s observations, we will have a bike mount/dismount clinic at 6:15 for all who are there and have their transition set up in time.

For Results from 6/8 and all race info see
  http://www.donnasmyers.com/elmore-triathlon-series/

Training Opportunities!
Central Vermont Runners Fun Runs are every Tuesday at 5:30 in Montpelier From the Dept of Labor Park & Ride on the bike path. 1, 2, 4, or 6 mile options–run for distance or for speed! CVR also has interval speed workouts on the MHS track every Wed at 6 pm. www.cvrunners.org. All are welcome at both workouts!

The Stowe Bike Club Time Trial series every Wednesday evening at 6:30.  I promise that it is the best way to improve your bike time in a triathlon (of course just biking more helps a lot). All are welcome for free the first time, membership requested for multiple time participants. http://www.onionriver.com/stowe-bike-club-time-trials/

For replies: My best contact remains, dosmyers@gmail.com 

 

Fitness, My Pup, and Trails in the Spring

FITNESS FOR YOU AND YOUR PUP. We need to be oh so careful about hiking New England trails in early and mid spring. Mud season is more than a messy time, it is a time during which the trails desperately need protection. Damage done to cause further erosion, destroy fragile plant growth or, at best, create ruts, might impact future enjoyment of the trails by walkers, hikers, runners, mountain bikers, etc.

Signs of spring in Vermont – with my 7 month old Lab pup.

In fact, where I live in Vermont, you will find signage that certain trails are closed until a specific date. Each year it is expected that popular hiking trails are off limits until after Memorial Day.

That being said, there are places to go – some private, some in communities. When the sun shines and the snow melts it is almost impossible to resist heading into the woods. I am fortunate and have some woods trails available to me. This year I have enjoyed them more than ever. Why?

Well, you see, I must confess that I hate the cold. I am basically an indoors athlete during the winter months (except, of course, for legitimate snow sports) and prefer to log my hours and work my training plan in warmth. But this year was different. The timing couldn’t have been better. I deliberately chose a Labrador Retriever puppy (http://heatherhollowlabs.com) anticipating that she would help me break out of my icky weather lethargy. I was right.

My chocolate Lab came home in late October and immediately we, my pup and I, were thrown into a daily schedule of frequent periods of outdoor play, training (https://www.facebook.com/One-Paw-at-a-Time-Dog-Training-423502691077111/ or see Kas Fleury https://centralvermonthumane.org/trainer-bios/)  and little walks around the neighborhood. As she grew (rapidly) our walks grew into hikes and long snowshoe outings. My challenge became finding ways to schedule my clients around outdoor exercise with my pup and not the other way around. And, if I didn’t get those hours outside, I’d pay the price with a restless Lab all night long.

Now it is mid April. She has let me know that she will dearly miss the snow as there is nothing she likes more than sliding and rolling in whatever icy patches she can find. Though she is substituting with splashy puddle play from the spring thaw, nothing will make my “hotdog” as happy as the first snowfall next autumn.

But what about me? I can honestly say I have loved being outdoors every single day in spite of temperatures, rain, wind, snow or whatever. My daily time with my pup (including her training times) has been a joy. Any time I can steal an afternoon or claim a weekend day, we head off for an adventure. She waits patiently in my office during client visits, loves to go with me in the car and makes herself quite agreeable to all we meet – sometimes a bit over the top, but always with tail wagging.

Has your fitness commitment stalled? Has your life changed and perhaps you have a vacancy somewhere or a little more time? As a fitness professional, I highly recommend adding a canine to your days (and nights), and your training plan. Your pup will require a great deal of you and no excuse will work. He or she will drag you out of bed, get you out the door and ultimately delight you with laughs and companionship as you find yourself reaping the rewards of consistent training. After all, you will have no choice in the matter – you WILL get out.

Please note – the exercise I’m talking about is not a matter of having your dog tag along with you on long training runs, but, as with children, finding ways to coordinate your work with your pup’s play. If he or she is choosing the pace, chances are you are doing it the right and safe way.

This is not to say you won’t achieve fitness gains. The unquestioned dedication to each outing combined with lengthening days and therefore lengthening times outdoors combine to enhance you and your pup’s endurance. Exploring new terrain – sometimes with unsteady footing – increases balance. Increased pace addresses cardiovascular fitness while trails that go up as well as down add to strength. You and your pup will intuitively charge ahead or relax back as needed. In your pup you will have the perfect training partner. (except, of course, when he or she stops to savor deer poop or bounds off after a skunk or porcupine – training, training, training, leave-it, leave-it, leave-it…)

 

Spring thaw.

This year I have welcomed spring anew, noticing sights, sounds and smells as my pup explores. Just today we took an afternoon off, hopped in the car and drove to some appropriate trails and dirt roads to explore. I always stop to record our outings with a few pictures and am always surprised by how big my girls is. And she is happy. Very happy. So am I.

Yes, I am committed to protecting the trails during what I hope will be a short mud season, and I will cooperate with any postings I may encounter. But I will head out the door every day. How about you?