Tuesday, September 25, 2012

White Bikes

Bike for Iris Stagner, photo by Libby Cluett
You may have seen them along the side of a road, and wondered, "what's up with the white bike?"

A memorial for a cyclist seriously injured or killed, white bikes or "ghost bikes," are put up near the scene of an accident to remind motorists to drive safely.

This is a ghost bike for our friend Iris Stagner, a cycling safety advocate, who lost her life last week riding her bike home from work.  The cause is still under investigation, but early reports indicate the motorist may have been medically-impared.  Regardless of cause, the result was tragic.  Iris was a board member for Bike Texas and passionate advocate for safety and a volunteer in our Texas Mountain Trail program.  At the request of her family, Bike Texas established a memorial fund.  You can read more about the fund here.

So when you see a white bike, think safety. Cyclists have a right to the road.  Want a refresher on safety tips as a motorist? Watch this video


Want to review some safety tips for cyclists?  Watch this video:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Running Alone and Getting Motivation from Others

Great running clothes! Stonewear
Designs Olympia Tank, Rockin' Short
Click to get a closer view!
Sometimes it is helpful to take a look back, so I'm posting this October 27, 2008 entry from an early, early, early blog of mine.  At this point, I'd been running about five years....and so much has changed since then!

Instead of running in Van Horn's incredibly special cemetery, I now run on a protected ranch road.  And I often run with Monte, since he moved from Houston to live in Marfa.

And since we lost my friend Iris last week in a cycling accident, I've added her name to the short list:  Dara Torres, Dr. Charlie, Sadie of Houston of names I chant to motivate myself during the hard runs.

October 27, 2008
"Today was a banner day. I topped my 2007 mileage total by passing 700 miles, so the rest of the year I'm marking virgin territory. Even though I tend to log the miles by myself, I'm usually not alone when I run.

There are people I tug along with me, people who inspire me to keep running:

Sometimes I chant with each footstep: Da-ra Tor-res, Da-ra Tor-res, Da-ra Tor-res, for the 41 year old swimmer who, when interviewed after winning a team gold at the Olympics said, "never put an age limit on your dreams." Yes, exactly.

Sometimes I conjure up the image of Dr. Charlie from Fitness Camp, the 91 year old--yes, that's right--cyclist donning his helmet and getting on his bike. This year, instead of sleeping in his little tent as he had in every previous year, he'd sleep in the bunkhouse with the younger guys.

Then there is the seemingly indefatigable Sadie, the 70+ year old marathoner in Houston, who is always out at Memorial Park.

Monte is a good coach when we run together and when we're apart, too. When I'm feeling a bit lazy and say I'm taking an extra day off, a simple "huh" over the phone will sometimes motivate me to get out there anyway.

But lately, there have been two older guys out at the cemetery watching me get my mileage in. I don't know their names, but they're friendly and we sometimes stop and talk a bit.

On weekends, a portly guy brings Pepita, his honey colored Pomeranian for a walk through the cemetery. On our first meeting, Pepita is happy to see me, running to me to catch a pet and listen to a bit of sweet talk. But this little pumpkinseed is serious about her walks. On the second round she won't stop, determined to keep up the pace, eager to keep her little legs in a blur.
She clearly has work to do. Her owner mostly keeps up with her; he's working off the extra pounds at Pepita's pace.

I came to know the other guy, also an older Hispanic gentleman, when I admired his family plot. It is well groomed, and I asked about the handmade cement planters and benches and the paintjob on the concrete curbing around it. He startled me a few months ago, when I heard a painful wailing across the cemetery. At first, I thought he was in trouble, or crying, as he was shuffling slowly and then I realized he was singing. I could pick out one word, "corazon" or "heart," so maybe it was a sad song of unrequited love. Since then we've talked, or tried to. I can't quite understand him as he lisps, has just a few teeth and a very small English vocabulary. But he's warm and happy to see me. And when I'm back from traveling, he comments that I've been away. Now I smile when I hear him sing."

Do you like the Stonewear running clothes?  They're great...and they're letting me try part of their winter line as a Stonewear Grassroots Ambassador this year. 

Pictured is the Olympia Tank (enough support for me, but suggested for yoga and walking) which I've actually worn to some laidback business meetings--yes, it is that stylish--over a nice skirt or their Liberty Skort.  I really like the princess seams and the detail at the neckline.  This top is a hard worker, yet graceful and feminine.  And the Rockin' Short is the perfect weight for fall weather, when you want something substantial as a bottom, but wearing pants might get too warm. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Want to try some YOGA...in your own home, or just about anywhere?

When I feel "stuck" and in a rut, and want to try something new, I log onto my laptop and browse Hulu.com's new "Health and Wellness" offerings.  This is a GREAT way to try out new fitness routines--yoga, pilates, cardio, or dance workouts--and you can do them anywhere.  That means you've got some privacy when you try something new--privacy of your own home or if you're traveling, in your hotel room.  And you know what?  It's free.
Want to focus on ab work, or relaxation, or upper or lower body?  There's a workout there for you.  Watch the video through first, to make sure it is a good match for your fitness level and capabilities--take good care of yourself, always.
When I travel by car, I try to pack my yoga mat, so I'm always ready.  But yes, I've also been known to stack hotel towels on the floor for a makeshift alternative! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Eating Healthy on the Road

Hyatt Place is offering a Hummus Trio plate on their new menu!
I'm on the road up to two weeks in a busy month, and it can be a challenge to maintain healthy practices.

Let's face it:  some days all I want is the comfort of a warm chocolate chip cookie.... am I right? 

Knowing this, knowing my weakness, I try to nip all temptation in the bud and plan ahead:

If I'm driving, I fill a small cooler with veggies, small containers of milk, yoghurt to snack on, and I try to book a hotel with a small fridge in the room.

I also tuck these into my suitcase:

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew packets (unsweetened varieties!)
packs of instant oatmeal
dried fruit pieces and/or nuts
small camping bowl and sturdy plastic utensils
paper towels or napkins
individual bags of tea

Just part of the breakfast spread at the Hyatt Place El Paso
Airport location--fruit, plain and berry yoghurts,
cottage cheese and a variety of fruits
That way I can always control at least one meal a day--breakfast--by heating water for oatmeal and coffee in the room's coffee maker. Some hotels offer great breakfast items, making it easy to eat well, and  not indulge.  One of my favorite places to stay in this regard is Hyatt Place, and the El Paso (Texas) Airport location is a good friend of our Texas Mountain Trail organization.  In fact, they were our first property to participate in our cycle-friendly program!  Yes, they offer indulgences at the breakfast spread that's included with the room, but there's also stonecut oatmeal, juices, cereals, fruit and yoghurt.  Easy, peasy.

Our El Paso Hyatt Place location is among the first 15 nationwide to roll out a new menu with some healthy options, including salads, soup/salad combinations, and my new FAVE go-to dinner item: (pictured above):   

Hummus Trio $7.75  A trio of Red Pepper, Roasted Garlic and Basil Pesto Hummus, served with Kalamata Olives, Pepperoncini, Fire Roasted Peppers, Warm Herb Flatbread & Carr’s Crackers

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Great Travel Dress

We're so happy to be in partnership with Stonewear Designs, a wonderful made-in-the-USA women's clothing company specialising in looks for active women. Texas Mountain Trail Executive Director, and Stonewear Design's Grassroots Ambassador, Beth Nobles, tests the Riva Dress.
In front of El Paso's historic
Plaza Theatre (click to get
a closer look)
"The Riva dress fell out of my suitcase wrinkle-free--I had been on the road a few days already--and just slipped it on.  Rarely I get such a perfect fit.  It was soft and moved with me all day long, from a public speaking engagement in the morning to bopping around in El Paso's downtown cultural campus and museum to museum in the mid-day sun, to dinner at the end of the day.  The knit was light enough to breathe from the cool morning temperatures to the late afternoon heat, and the long sleeves protected me from the sun."
 "Gorgeous color (now that I've got one in Pomegranate, I want one in Snow and one in Black!) and this is a dress that can take me anywhere.  I'm on the road about half the time, and the Riva is appropriate for visits to the State Capitol, nice restaurants, business meetings and speaking engagements."
View a slideshow of our visit to downtown El Paso wearing Stonewear Design's Riva Dress!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Green, green, green!

Much of the country has been suffering through drought, including our beautiful Far West Texas, however lately we've been blessed with rain and our entire region is greening up nicely.  Now's a GREAT time to get out on the trail!  Here are some shots taken on Friday in Big Bend National Park, along the Lost Mine Trail.


Here's a link to the park's webpage on mountain hikes in Big Bend's Chisos Mountains, including the Lost Mine trail we took on Friday!

And hikers in Guadalupe Mountains National Park or Franklin Mountains State Park, have you logged your miles in the Peak Fitness Challenge?  Do so, and you could win prizes...so far we've all hiked 635 miles!  This is a free, fun challenge for everyone, with VERY easy to VERY challenging hikes in both parks!  Sign up here, and join our facebook community here!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why get your exercise outdoors?

Sure, you can stroll through a mall to get your exercise for the day, and some days the weather calls for it, particularly if there's lightning or ice out there. 

But if you stay inside for all your workouts, you miss a bigger experience, and we daresay a better experience.  There's a big big world out there, and we're not alone.  Take your time on the trail, and you can pick up clues about the animals that share the trail with YOU.

The best time to see wildlife is typically early or late in the day, but even if you head out in midday, you may see tracks in the sand.  This morning we saw bird tracks, lizard tracks, mouse prints, and pronghorn tracks. 

So take your time when you're out there, and look down!  What do you see?