Today’s Happy Note: Tree climbing with my sister. Or at least attempted tree climbing. Either we have grown or the trees have shrunk. I think it’s the former.
I wish that those could be real classes. Other fantasy classes of mine:
- Learning How to Please Your Mother (10,000 level)
- Adventure Travel: Pretty Birds Edition
- Experiments in Oatmeal-Making
- Cuddling With Ducks and Other Cool Animals
- How To Use a Fax Machine Without Going Crazy/Why Are These Dinosaurs Still Being Used
- Why Stars Are Pretty
- How to Date (Remedial Version)
- Studio Art: Clay, Pastels, Collages!
- Marine Biology for People Who Don’t Know Anything About Biology And Just Want to Scuba Dive with Exotic Fish
- How Best to Use Your Wok
I could go on but I’ll spare you. What fantasy classes would you dream up? Or is it just me who thinks of these things? After all, it is already well established that I’m off the charts in geekiness ratings.
Exercise: A most breath-taking two hour trail run one on of my beloved Michigan trails. And there were no snake encounters! Only moles, squirrels, and butterflies. Wildlife success!
I took pictures for you!
Winding trail. This trail is spectacularly hilly. I’m talking quad-busting-long-squelching-I-want-my-mother-to-carry-me-up-hills. I think I ran 11-12 miles but it was probably the actual output equivalent of several more.
My favorite segments of the trails. Meadows. That’s all I have to say. And look at that sky!
Iced Oatmeal Raisin Luna Bar snack photographed while running. I’m glad I am able to put my talents to good use in this world.
Not exactly sure why I look like such a man here. Whatever. You win some you lose some.
I like trail running because…
- I feel like I’m flying.
- Nature tends to provide endless entertainment (squawking sucks! shiny turtles! tiny pink flowers!)
- The challenge keeps you on your toes
- There is something freeing about it: the up and down and fast and slow and rocks and roots and grassy patches — all of this gives you, briefly, a new outlook on the world.
Lessons in trail running…
- Always make sure someone knows where you are going. If you have never been to a certain trail or park, try to go with someone. If you can’t, then study the maps and stick one in your pocket if possible. I always carry my cell phone and an emergency snack as well.
- If you get lost, don’t panic. Look for a trail marker or a fellow hiker or runner. Bring extra layers in case you are out later than expected. If you are very lost, try to follow a stream or a road.
- Be prepared to let other runners or bikers pass you. If there are mountain bikers, be careful; they often come around curves on narrow paths very quickly.
- Respect the wildlife. If there are a million trilliums or marsh marigolds, it’s probably fine to pick one, but don’t go pulling things out of the earth, leaving trash (and yes, goo wrappers are trash), or displacing anything natural.
- Animals live in nature. There, I said it. It is highly unlikely that they will bother you. Be kind to them.
- Watch your footing! Rocks and roots often seem to come up out of nowhere. I fell on my face at one point today and I am an experienced trail runner who has run this particular trail probably 20 times.
- Bring kleenex for bathroom emergencies.
- Be kind to other runners or walkers. Say hello or wave or smile.
- Wear sunscreen if need be or a hat or sunglasses.
- Make sure you have appropriate footwear, i.e., good running shoes or even special trail running shoes.
Anyone have any additional tips?
Now for the smoothie-making lesson. Mmmmm.
This is my post long-run breakfast. A blueberry-banana smoothie topped with a wee bit of shredded spoonfuls cereal (weird name, no?) and a slice of seedy toast with pb.
Why, you ask, is the smoothie in a bowl. Because all things — and smoothies especially — taste better when eaten out of a bowl with a spoon. This has been scientifically proven.
What’s in this smoothie? Frozen blueberries, half a banana, half a cup of vanilla soy milk, half a cup plain greek yogurt, about half a cup of water, amazing grass berry amazing greens (only tasted a faintly grassy berry taste!), and six large ice cubes. Pure and delicious.
My smoothie is ready for her close up.
Why I like smoothies…
- Nutrition, volume, and taste all rolled into one.
- Smooth, cold texture is perfect for summer
- Easily customizable! Choice of fruits, milks or yogurt, nuts, protein, flavorings, etc.
- Can be both unglamorous, portable meals OR fancy sit-down meals, depending on how your “plate” it.
- They’re fun! Who doesn’t like eating/drinking/slurping a smoothie.
- Include ice or frozen fruit or both. It helps with the volume and that classic icy-but-not-icy texture.
- Also experiment with protein powders or gums for better texture/volume.
- Play around with fruit and flavor combinations! And yes, fruit is pretty much essential. Options are endless: blueberry-banana, strawberry-rhubarb, raspberry-peach, mango-vanilla, peanut butter-banana-chocolate…
- Don’t be afraid to try some seemingly random things: throw in a few cashews or a spoonful of peanut butter or cinnamon or almond extract or coffee or tea or mint or lavender. Have fun with it!
- You don’t necessarily need milk (of any sort). Sometimes I like the texture that results from a few spoonfuls of greek yogurt and a cup of water. You could also try coconut milk or water or even frozen yogurt for a treat. In the summer, peach ice cream is an amazing smoothie ingredient!
- You don’t need a vita-mix, although you may want one. I have a proctor-silex which works fine for everything except banana soft serve.
What are your smoothie tips and tricks?