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Posts Tagged ‘Druid on the Run’

Druid on the Run: Here we Go Again!

It’s so easy to make excuses when we want to better ourselves.  Whether it’s working on our various Druidic study programs or exercising more, people have a tendency to put things on hold for reasons that may not always exist as legitimate obstacles.

I want to be a healthier person.  I think I already eat healthier than most other people in the country, but I’m definitely a bit of a couch potato.  A few years ago, I discovered that running was actually a fun way to exercise.  It allowed me to spend time outside, spend time with my husband on a shared goal, and even experiment with a different type of trance.  Then came some very real excuses – I became pregnant.  I had an unplanned cesarean. I was a new and very tired mother. I didn’t run, or even kayak, for a couple years.  I continued to eat relatively healthy, and nursing has helped me lose my pregnancy weight.  That and chasing an increasingly active toddler have helped me keep off the pounds.

Yet I want more.  I want to feel good about myself.  I won’t nurse forever, and I want to try and maintain what I have going on!  But the excuses, gosh!  Work stress. Work fatigue.  Need to make dinner.  It’s hot.  It’s cold. Too buggy. Blah blah blah.

Last night, my husband took his turn entertaining Bee so that I could have some time to myself.  Me time is sacred.  I absolutely must have some or I will get frustrated.  Suddenly I found myself just sitting at my computer.  I was wasting my time on a social network, mind you, not working on any of my Druidic studies or even maintaining the Northern Rivers page.  I often catch myself using Bee’s nap time to lounge on the couch and watch shows that are otherwise too scary or mature for my little one.  Sometimes I crochet or knit, but usually I just relax…

Relaxation is important, but where’s the moderation?  I found myself at my computer last night, feeling a bit restless and depressed with myself.

Then it clicked – why was I just wallowing in that?  There was time in the day, and the only one holding me back at that point was my sloth shadow-self.

Five minutes later, I had my sneakers on and was out the door, stretching, then walking, then running!  The sun was setting, and a crescent moon grinned at me from above.  My legs pumped, my heart drummed – I felt so alive!  I ran with the red-winged blackbirds fluttering through the cattails.  The mosquitos couldn’t catch me!

I hope I can keep it up…  It made me feel so positive about myself and my life.

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A cesarean section is an excellent excuse for not running.  Because of that, and the other demands that come with new babies, I gave running up last year.  I still went for walks, danced when I could, and did yoga once (something I’d like to do more of).  Weretoad and I said, “next year.”

Well next year has arrived!  Now that the snow is gone, we’re on vacation, and have more flexibility in our schedules, we can work on running together once more.  Thanks to inspiration from my friend Grey Wren, today I got out of bed, told my husband what I was doing, invited him, and that was that.  Bee stayed with family so we could once more start Couch to 5K.

I was worried about the first time we tried this almost two years ago.  The very first day of Couch to 5K consists of very short intervals of running divided by slightly longer intervals of walking.  Yet the first time, we couldn’t finish.  That’s how out of shape we were.

This time, after the first run, we looked at each other and thought, “Wow.  That didn’t seem very long at all.  I think we can do this!”

And we did!

It was wise of us to start at the very beginning though.  We started to get a little winded towards the end, but we persevered and finished!  (See how I’m finding Druidic virtues in our running?)  Both of us felt amazing.  What’s more, we had a great time outdoors!  I’m very excited to take this first step towards getting back in shape.  I hope we can be better role models for Bee from now on.  I want her to see us up and exercising our bodies as well as our minds.  There’s probably something in there about moderation and integrity…

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It’s been awhile since I blogged about my physical fitness goals as they relate to my spirituality.  Too long, in fact.  Time to get back in the game!

The day after my cesarean section, the nurses and doctors were adamant that I get up to walk around.  Those first few steps were some of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but I took them and felt amazing after I did.  Exhausted, but amazing all the same.  It was akin to the accomplishment I felt after going further and for longer durations each time I went out to run last summer.

Only this time it was walking.  I never thought I’d feel so good about little baby steps.

The walking has continued, mostly thanks to my encouraging husband who pushes me as much as himself.  We both want to start running again but know I can just get up and jog.  I have to take things slow.  And so, just about every night, we’ve been going for walks around the neighborhood.  It started with simply going around the block, then up and down a couple streets.  Now we’ve widened our distance to the rest of the town.  We go a little further each time.  Last night we walked over two miles!

Baby Bee comes along for the ride, wrapped against my heart.  She usually sleeps.  Occasionally she stares wide-eyed at the sky and trees.  Sometimes she cries and demands feeding, so I’ve figured out how to do that while wearing her.

It’s important to me that I get back in shape.  My husband and I both want to run again.  My goal is to continue walking until the winter, then, hopefully ,take up cross-country skiing when the snow accumulates.  Next spring and summer, we intend to start running with Couch to 5K again.  Ultimately, I want to run in a 5K race.  I know I might not be ready by next summer, but I definitely want to participate in some of the local races in 2015.

Walking has been a great way for me to keep in touch with the local Nature Spirits.  I’m reluctant to go into the woods on my own like I used to because I feed Baby Bee on demand.  I’m equally reluctant to take her with me because of the overgrowth and the high tick count we’ve had this summer.  (Before I go back to work and things get really busy once more, I’m hoping we can go to an actual maintained hiking trail to enjoy the sights and sounds of the forest safely!)  So walks through the neighborhood have been great, especially because there are plenty of trees, a lovely park, and bridges with great views of the Indian River.  Self-improvement, time outdoors, time with my tribe – what’s not to love?

The Indian River – photo by Weretoad, 2013

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Well, here we are – the end of 2012!  Before we move into the new year, I wanted to take a moment and reflect on all the personally significant events of 2012.

1) I Spent A Lot of Time Outdoors

Although I make a point to do this every year, it’s always a highlight!  I love being outdoors, and this year I revisited a favorite mountain, kayaked and swam in lakes and the St. Lawrence River, picked blueberries in the Adirondacks, gardened on my patio, and took leisurely strolls behind my home.  I saw all sorts of plants and wildlife, and learned many new things.  Nothing connects me to the spirit world quite the same way as a hike in the forest! Photo by Weretoad, 2012.

2) I Returned to Niagara Falls

After over a decade, I finally returned to Niagara Falls.  Weretoad hadn’t ever been, and we had a wonderful vacation together.  We admired the falls, explored a tropical butterfly garden, humbly stood in awe of a Buddhist temple, and got in touch with our inner child at goofy museums and funhouses.  Photo by Weretoad, 2012.

3) More Arts and Crafts!

I continued to sew, felt, spin, and crochet.  I once more tried my hand at knitting, successfully completing two hats for Solstice gifts, and started some basic cable stitching!  My doll making improved, and I worked on some lovely pieces for artisan competitions, commissions, and vending.  I participated in a couple shows this year – the Krebashia Kingdom, a medieval faire in Northern NY, and the Liverpool Pagan Pride Day!  Both were pretty successful and I had a ton of fun.  Although I plan to keep crafting in 2013, I’m turning inward and focusing more on personal projects.  I’m going to take a break from vending for the next few years.  I won’t have time with the little one on the way.    It was fun while it lasted, and perhaps I’ll get back to it again one of these days.  In the meantime, you can still expect me to share some of my work here on the blog!  Local folk may be lucky enough to attend a workshop – I’m hoping to once more teach how to felt Ostara Eggs in the spring.  Doll and photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

4) More Family Involvement

I performed my first ever High Day rite for my family this summer.  I would have attended Summer Solstice at Muin Mound Grove, but different things came up with the family and they begged me to stay, insisting I perform the rite with them so we could all be together.  I obliged and it ended up being a very positive experience.  Some of my family even gave offerings and expressed an interest in doing it again.  Since the North Country Druidic Study Group picked up, my family has expressed an interest in visiting the Yoga Center sometime to celebrate a High Day.  I don’t expect any conversion experiences, but it’s wonderful that they opened up to my beliefs more.  It meant so much to me.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

5) I Attempted to Exercise More!

Over the summer, Weretoad and I started to run using the Couch to 5K program.  I learned a lot about endurance, what I’m capable of, and how to make homemade electrolyte drinks!  It was a lot of work and, even though our fall schedules brought our running to an unfortunate end, we were proud of what we did and hope to start again down the road.  In the meantime, I need to find low-impact ways to exercise while pregnant.  My sister gave me a pregnancy belly dancing DVD, there are yoga classes, and my old friend – walking!  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

6) Another Successful Year of Gardening!

Although I still have a long way to go, this year’s garden brought many successes and lessons.  I learned more about growing squash and hope to use my knowledge towards a better harvest next year.  No surprise pumpkins or sunflowers this year, but we did have a surprise leek!  Another wonderful achievement was getting a dwarf lemon tree and having it bear fruit!  Although my ability to garden will be a bit hindered in 2013, my husband is planning to take up many of the responsibilities.  We’ve already started by looking through seed catalogs together and dreaming about next year’s garden!  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

7) We Lost a Beloved Family Member

In mid July, we lost one of our ferrets, Puck.  She was such a sweet, mischievous little imp.  We still occasionally find things that she hid.  I felt her very strongly around Samhain, but now she’s quieted down and seems to be at rest.  I still miss her eager face each morning, and take heart in the joyful attitude she possessed right up to the very end.  I learned a lot from her, will always love her, and will continue to remember her.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

8) The North Country Druidic Study Group is Born!

In June, after finishing my graduate classes (huzzah!), I decided to finally start a Druidic study group.  I posted about it on a local FB group dedicated to Pagans and got some nibbles! I wasn’t sure where it would go, but decided it was worth trying if only to make some friends within the Pagan community. Suddenly I’ve got a core of very dedicated, interested members.  Some even joined ADF!  We’ve formed a relationship with a local Yoga Center and started to perform public rituals for the High Days.  In 2013, we’re hoping to become an official ADF protogrove!  I’m very excited for us!  Photo by Weretoad, 2012.

9) I Became Pregnant!

In November, I found out I’m having a baby!  Weretoad and I had been trying for a few months and poof!  Suddenly it happened!  Everyone in my family is very excited, and we’re happily preparing for the little one’s birth in 2013!  I won’t gush too much about it here because I seem to do that enough every other post!  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

10) I Stepped Down from Muin Mound Grove

Muin Mound has been my spiritual family for several years.  I grew as a Druid, a woman, and an artisan with them, and I know my faith is what it is in part because of these wonderful people.  Weretoad and I love everyone there, but I had to step back in order to focus on my pregnancy and support the hopeful protogrove here in the North Country.  We will always be a part of Muin Mound and they support us in our decision.  We plan to visit as often as we can, and my hope is that the North Country Druids will be strongly linked to them.  Photo by Grey Catsidhe, 2012.

As the day turns to evening, and as you prepare for your house blessings and parties, I hope you bring in much luck and happiness for the New Year.  I think Teo Bishop said it best on his blog post, and I second him in every way.  I thank you for reading my blog in 2012, sharing your opinions and insights, and all the positive feedback.  I’ll see you in 2013!

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You may have noticed a distinct lack of this topic recently.  I will honestly admit that I stopped running for a couple weeks.  At first it was because we had family things going on.  We went away, celebrated Lughnasadh…  Not to mention, it was incredibly hot.  Staying in the shade was more desirable…  Then I didn’t feel well for a couple days.  By then, making excuses was all too easy.

Last night, Weretoad and I got back into the game.  We set a time and stuck to it.  At first I felt like I wouldn’t be able to finish.  I felt a cramp.  I felt winded.  But then I told myself I could and that I would feel amazing when I accomplished my goal.  I prayed to Lugh for strength and endurance.  Suddenly, everything felt good.  The cramp went away.  We were running faster!  Before we knew it, our run was over.  I’m so glad we finished!

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Now that I’m getting more seriously into exercising and attempting to make it more of a routine, I’m thinking more about all those sports drinks people consume.  I always knew athletes drank them because, well, they are the target audience in advertisements!  But why do they drink them?  I gradually came to learn it had something to do with electrolytes.

Ok…So…what are they?  I simply had to know.  Now that I’m running, I want to make sure I understand so I can stay healthy!

First, a scientific explanation on what they are:

If you’re like me, that video may help you visualize what electrolytes are chemically…but what do they do and why does our body need things that transmit electricity?

According to Discovery Fit and Health, electrolytes “are what your cells (especially nerve, heart, muscle) use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells.”  To me, that’s super interesting.  To think that we have all these little electrical currents running through us!  That right there is magic pure and simple.  But when we sweat, we lose the electrolytes.  When exercising, we need to help our body replenish!

That’s where the drinks come in.

Because I’m 1) poor for the rest of the summer and 2) interested in natural health, I decided to look into making my own electrolyte replenishing drinks.  No artificial dyes for me, thank you very much!  It turns out that I’m not alone in this endeavor. There are a variety of websites out there with DIY recipes.  Three things they all have in common are water, salt, and citrus.  Many add sugar of some sort (especially stevia).

Fitness can mean more excuses for kitchen magic fun!

I have started to approach DIY sports drinks as I would any homemade remedy – kitchen magic!  So grab your kitchen knife and let’s make a potion!

My basic drink includes water, a bit of salt (most recipes recommend at least a teaspoon), and a citrus fruit.  Today I used freshly squeezed lemon, but really any citrus fruit would work.  A lot of athletes recommend orange.  I have not been adding sugar because I don’t think my drink needs any and, really, I feel I get enough of that.  My husband, who has pickier taste-buds, said he didn’t notice the salt and enjoyed the drink as is!  As you make your concoction, you may want to chant towards your success and fitness, or envision your healthy future and put that intention into your drink.  You can add your drink to your bottle while you go, or chill it in the refrigerator for your victorious return!

Cheers to a happier, healthier Druid!

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Since I started a running routine with Couch to 5K, and since I started to blog about it in my new series Druid on the Run, I’ve experienced a ton of support from family, friends, and readers here!  Kévin Silverstag informed me that there’s an ADF group on Fitocracy which I have since joined. One of the more flattering examples has come from Rix Boudicca in her new blog entitled Druid on the Run!  She gives me a big shout out in her first entry which is very flattering.  So glad I inspired some people out there!

Running with my husband has been the best part.  I love that we’re approaching fitness as a team.  It’s something that can develop as a hobby, and it’s awesome doing hobbies with a loved one.  Our hope is to run 5K events together, meaning we’re creating joint goals.  We support and encourage each other when we run.  The first couple times we went out, I cheered my husband on. We high-fived and kissed when we finished.  Tonight, my husband was my cheerleader.  I definitely needed it…

I can’t imagine doing this by myself and I feel blessed to have support from family and friends – especially my partner, my husband.

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