Exercise – Hiking socks for those TOUGH days! Grrrr…

Let’s face it, winter can challenge our exercise routine. Below zero temps outside force us to stay inside. Some people can walk in place to a video, for me that is B-O-R-I-N-G. I just can’t do it. I’d go insane.

I introduce you to the perfect sock I found for TOUGH days. Yes, when I saw this sock, I thought – it is the answer. Wearing a mean scary bear on my feet would motivate me to weather the storm, right?!

One of my daughters was on board, she loved it. The other one said, “But he looks so scary.”

To which I replied, “That’s the point! Sometimes we need to push ourselves. Take control, “tough it out,” motivate ourselves in a funny way to brave the cold weather. These bear socks do that – LOL.”

Have you ever worn the Darn Tough brand of sock? Made in Vermont, U.S.A. They are the Mercedes of socks. Yes, smooth, light, slick and high end. Oh, and colorful. As soon as I put them on I could tell the difference from my less expensive socks. I was ready to climb the mountain.

However, something was wrong, seriously wrong. They were so narrow. Yes, so tight fitting. I double checked the package. It’s the right size. Why so narrow. I imagined how the Chinese women felt years ago when they bound their feet. So, I need to call the company and sort this out.

Some good news. If you look at the packaging, it says, “Guaranteed for Life!” That means there is hope for an exchange. Maybe a Men’s Medium? By the way, my feet are normal size, nothing unusual.

Their website is amusing. Funny that they need to say they don’t guarantee one sock lost in the laundry, a sock being burned or animal destruction. I’m sure there are other disclaimers. They do show some of the returned socks. Definitely worn – with love – not sure about that, but worn, for sure.

We have great weather for walking, but snow is headed our way. No more time to write. I’ve got to call the company, get a new pair of socks – PRONTO!

Listen to David Goggins on Spotify, he gets you motivated!

Happy Exercising!

Exercise – Who says walking is boring?

Anyone thinking of Rudyard Kipling’s, “Jungle Book” right now?

Kudos for creativity and humor.

We have ALL accumulated “things” that need to be given away, thrown away or repurposed.

I admit… sometimes I enjoy walking, but there are days when “trying” to get 10K steps in is a “real chore.”

Imagine seeing this TIGER on my walk.

Suddenly, I perked up!

I had decided to walk in a different neighborhood. So glad I did.

That tiger gave me the extra energy I needed to get my steps in. I just couldn’t stop smiling, such a clever idea.

I also thought of a child coming home from College and seeing their favorite stuffed animal in a tree, not sure how well that would go over. Of course, maybe it was a child who put the tiger in the tree. So many scenarios.

Walking CAN BE interesting, right!

What have you found on YOUR walks?

BAD Hiking socks!

I like walking/hiking. This year, I needed some new hiking socks. Due to COVID restrictions, I was lazy and did not go to a sporting goods store. I was at Costco in November and I was in luck. They had these great looking bundle of socks, 4 in a pack, great price. As you see from photo, they looked like a good quality pair of socks and the color was pleasing. So, I bought them. They’ve been comfortable.

Fast forward three months. This is how my socks look now. Really worn out. I thought if I need to see a foot doctor, I would just show him the bottom of my sock. He could determine from that how I am walking, and where foot pain is coming from.

In the past, I leaned toward Smartwool and Darn Tough brand of socks. They are very pricey, no question, but they last for years. Personally, I think the Smartwool run a little narrow.

Well, this year I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Quality of socks does make a difference if you want to use them for walking/hiking. These socks from Costco are nice socks, but they were meant for every day minimal walking.

So, GUESS where I am headed today? YES, Smartwool shopping!!

Spring is here, ready to get back out there and walk. The weather is finally warming up. I’m also searching for some good podcasts to listen to as well. Any suggestions, please share.

Happy Spring!

Fitness – The dreaded HIP pain!

Well, I was over zealous in my squats. For a few weeks now, doing squats was fine. No pain. I take that back, I mean, I had some normal “exercise pain,” which means our routine is WORKING, but no severe pain. UNTIL a few days ago. Walking was fine, but stairs…*#!&

Holy Moley, I suddenly felt like a 90 year old woman. Where did that left hip pain come from? I had obviously aggravated something. I immediately knew I had to stop the squats, but I have been on a rhythm. It’s always annoying to be in a routine, get an injury, and then either be side lined or have to refocus a workout in a different way.

I decided I would walk more, that should be OK, right. WRONG, I was fine until mile 3, when I got to the start of mile 4, my hip was on fire! It was saying, “What the heck are you doing?” I did chuckle to myself. OK, ok, I’ll ice YOU (the hip) when I get home.

On to YouTube for hip pain physical therapy. There are a lot of great videos on stretches that target the outer hip. Also, I liked one guy’s take on this. He said that doctors always say REST. His opinion was that stretching is critical to lengthen the muscles and tendons for quicker recovery. I agree. If we become sedentary, then one day turns into 6+ months of inactivity.

So… I’ve been BENCHED for a little bit!

Next time I’ll take those squats SLOWER! Lesson learned!

Virtual walks… Italy – it’s FUN!

When COVID hit last year, we were finding new ways to exercise. Suddenly, virtual walks became really popular. I just did a virtual walk in Ireland with Fleet Feet. I liked it, it motivated me to log my miles every day, not fall behind.

When that walk ended, I took a break for a month. I noticed that without the challenge, I lacked the same motivation for walking. I walked, but not with the determination. It does HELP to have a challenge. Add friends for accountability – perfect!

My friend told me about The Conqueror website. Being Italian, I had to sign up for the St Francis Way challenge. I’m enjoying the walk and looking up new cities on the way from Florence to the Vatican in Rome. Some of the towns are really small, not many people.

In case you are wondering, I am not affiliated with The Conqueror website. Just sharing. The Ireland Fleet Feet challenge was nice, but not easy to log the miles. So, helpful to share with each other. If we are going to spend $$, good to find the BEST virtual site out there.

Now, putting gym shoes on, heading to CONSUMA, ITALY. Looked it up, many things to see/do: wineries, vineyards, castles, zip line, religious sites, art galleries and more.

Of course, a GELATO at the end of the walk!

Exercise – don’t forget the headphones…

I was heading out the door to exercise. I needed a pouch to put my headphones in. Look what I found. I knew one day I’d have a use for this crab pouch. My daughter gave me this pouch. I immediately liked it, but wondered when I would use it. TODAY was the day!

I’m on the hunt for good workout headphones. They are hard to find. The simple ear bud ones, don’t work for me. They keep falling out of my ear. So, I found these Powerbeats headphones. They stay in my ear, but they are a little too snug – like a suction cup once they are in. I worry about the volume with them being so snug.

For now, they do work, no question about that. Off to walk.

ENJOY the weekend!

Dreaming of Paddling — When I am not shoveling snow.

We had a record 18 inches of snow. After shoveling for 2 hours, all I could think about was being out on the water. Spring is coming, isn’t it? I found these two great magazines.

Paddle World had spectacular photography featuring trips around the world for paddle boarding, kayaking and/or fly fishing in a kayak. Personally, I think fly fishing would be more relaxing standing in the water. However, we’ve got to try new things, right.

Paddling Magazine had interesting articles too. Their focus was more on latest equipment, etc. So, you need both magazines. One for dreaming of that International destination and the other for the basics.

I kept seeing the abbreviation of SUP in different articles. I was annoyed, what did it stand for?

GUESS WHAT – so easy, SUP stands for Stand Up Paddling. I could hear my brother saying, “Use your head, you ding-a-ling.” I laugh when he acts superior, secretly knowing that he probably didn’t know what SUP stood for either. Brothers have to irritate their sisters in some way, so they can laugh when they know it worked.

I haven’t tried SUP yet, but I did canoe on a Dragon Boat Racing team in Seattle. That was fun. About 12 people to a canoe. Great exercise. So, why kayaking and paddle boarding now. I like going out on my own timetable.

In case you were curious, here was an article from the Paddle World magazine. This article talked about paddle boarding in Hamburg. They suggested bringing your own blow up SUP. I looked up the cost. Paddle boards are expensive, prices range from $900 to $2,000, so you need to be serious about this sport.

I still have a lot to learn, but I do have my life vest already. That’s a start! LOL – and it’s not the orange ones we had as a kid, so at least I won’t stick out as a real beginner — there is hope for me!

Spring is almost here. What outdoor fitness challenge are YOU thinking about?

Fitness Virtual Challenge – IRELAND

January 2021 – The start of a new year, it’s time for a fitness challenge.

My girlfriend was on Facebook and found this Run West Ireland – Cancer Fundraiser – Virtual Challenge. It was a no brainer to sign up. We love Ireland, happy to donate to cancer and need to exercise. A win/win all around.

Here’s how it works. Race Duration: January 18 – May 31. Miles: 502; however, you can sign up to do less. Doing the math, as I signed up for the 502 miles, it seems I need to walk about 5 miles a day. It’s hard to find 1.5 hours a day to devote to exercise, but that will be the challenge.

They have a Facebook group page, which is nice. So, there is some camaraderie and then other perks along the way. I clocked my 5.6 miles in today. Feeling good.

So the race begins!

Fitness: Resistance Bands

Staying at home, I have been learning new exercise techniques. I’ve never used resistance bands, but I heard how great they were. So, I bought some, see photo on the left. I gave them a try.

I was not impressed. I put the band on my legs. First off, the band was so tight, I thought it might cut my circulation off. Once in place, I found that the band would not stay in the wide format, instead it kept scrunching up and the elastic would pinch my legs. NOW, exercising is painful as it is, without being snapped by a rubber band every 10 seconds. You can see, they do look like large rubber bands.

My daughter was visiting. She said, “Hey Mama, I didn’t realize you were using resistance bands.”

I said, “Well, I am not anymore, those bands are way too painful.”

This is when she enlightened and told me I needed better resistance bands. I couldn’t imagine how they could get any better, but I put my trust in her.

WOW – was she right! She showed me her 4KOR resistance bands, pictured on the right and had me try them out. What a difference.

The 4KOR band is wider and made of a soft elastic type material. It’s still snug enough to offer resistance, but didn’t pinch the skin. Now, when I did a squat and walked to the left and to the right, I focused on the pain of the workout, not the pinching of my skin.


Having the “right” workout equipment is critical!

Walking -> Meditation -> Listen to Podcasts by “Meditative Story”

Walking_Meditative PodcastsThis weekend I was looking for some new podcasts to put on my Ipod for walking. I came across this great one called, “Meditative Story.” We go through phases in our walking career. Yes, times when it is nice to be out in nature and hear the birds chirping. Then other times, when we need to be entertained. Walking 3-5 miles gets a bit boring (my opinion) and why not enrich our lives.

So, I was thrilled to find these podcasts. Each week they have a person who shares “their story” with us. For example, I listened to Jule Hall share his story of being in prison and how it felt to be locked in his cell, the sounds he would hear, going outside, finding he felt safe in the chapel, he learned to meditate.

While he was telling his story there was meditative music playing in the background. The Host, Rohan (lives in Scotland), has an interesting voice and periodically interjects a comment here or there with the meditative music playing in the background. It’s very soothing to listen to.

Also, we just happen to be in quarantine, so this particular podcast I could relate to. I’m looking forward to walking now, so I can hear the next story…

Give it a try!

If you know of some good Podcasts, please share.