Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Making tracks

I just looked out my office window and saw my snowshoe tracks in the snow. For some reason they surprised me. Seeing them I had concrete evidence that I actually have been getting out on my snowshoes every day. That I've actually been going somewhere.

And, for some reason, I find this comforting.

I've been fighting my 30 Days of Snowshoeing commitment and am kind of mad at myself for creating the challenge for myself. I haven't wanted to get out every day and snowshoe. It's cold outside. I don't like putting on my snowpants, my hat, scarf, gloves, jacket. Perhaps because I'm doing the challenge alone, unlike the 30 Days of Biking challenges where hundreds of other people biked every day and helped motivate each other, I don't really feel like it matters that I'm doing this. And I've lost momentum and motivation and simply want to sit inside and read a book. Or sleep. Or watch Monk and Cake Boss on Netflix.

But I keep snowshoeing. Every day. Even when I haven't wanted to. And though many days, especially the last few, I have resisted getting out there, once I get outside and start moving I am happy to be out on my snowshoes and am glad I made the effort.

Today will be Day 19 of my 30 Day challenge. And as soon as I wrap up a few things in my office I will get out there and make more tracks in the snow. Because, I tell myself, it's good for me to get outside every day, especially in the winter. I need the exercise. I need the sunshine. The fresh air.

And I said I would do it. So I will go.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2,011 in 2011

I've been thinking about milage goals for 2011. Last year, I set a goal to ride my bicycle 500 miles and when I surpassed that goal I set out with a personal challenge to complete 1,000 miles of exercise by the end of the year. I managed 914 miles, most of which were bicycling miles. I feel good about this especially since I'm not an exercising person at all.

At least I wasn't an exercising person.
I guess at this point I can think of myself an exercising person.
Because in 2010 I actually made exercise an almost daily part of my life. And I like it.

I see the year ahead as an opportunity to continue being active. I have found that doing mini challenges like 30 Days of Biking and my own 30 Days of Snowshoeing help me stay on track. And, even though I didn't make my 1,000 milage goal in 2010, I found that putting that big number out there kept me exercising. I've also found that tools like Dailymile have greatly helped me keep track of my progress and motivate me.

Yesterday I got an email from Dailymile stating that I could view my personalized exercise report for 2010. So I did. And it felt good to see the report, to see that starting from April when I started Dailymile, I biked, walked, snowshoed and ran (very slowly) a total of 914 miles in 2010. It also states that my exercising efforts burned off 293 donuts and 15 pounds of weight. Well, I'm not 15 pounds lighter but I'm not 15 pounds heavier, either. It was great fun to see the report, to see my average miles in a month, to get a visual of my progress.

So I've been thinking about milage goals for 2011. At first my goal was "Bicycle over 1,00 miles in 2011 - dare I say 1,500? 2,000?"  But now I have decided on something more concrete. My goal is to bicycle, snowshoe and walk a total of 2,011 miles in 2011. I want to do the majority of those miles on my bike but it's not likely I'll be biking much until spring. For now, I'm snowshoeing every day in January and fitting in some long walks and am planning to get my bike on a trainer and put in some bicycling miles indoors

2,011 miles is a big goal. I may not be able to make it. That's okay. I'll keep working toward it.
So far this year I've snowshoed and walked a total of 15 miles.
It's a good start.

Only 67 days until Spring!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

30 Days of Snowshoeing

I've lived in Minnesota all my life but have only tolerated winter. Oh, back in junior high I was in the cross-country ski club and spent some time outside having fun. And back when I had horses I would bundle up and ride in the dead of winter. And before that I remember looking forward to winter, to the freshly fallen snow, and spent a lot of time playing outside as a kid. I distinctly remember playing school outside at my Grandpa and Grandma's farm once. My cousin, Sara, and I made desks out of snow and used icicles as pencils. We must have stayed outside for hours. Or maybe not. I do remember having fun, though. And I do remember loving snow.

I have many other good memories of winter yet for the last dozen or so years, okay maybe twenty, I've done my best to stay inside once the cold set in. Yet having kids has slowly warmed me up to winter. Rose and Ryan love to play out in the snow and in the past 10 years I've gotten out there with them and gone sledding and trekking outside. And now that I have snowshoes I'm getting out there and having fun, too, and I'm kind of liking winter.

A couple of days ago I decided to create a 30 day challenge for myself - 30 Days of Snowshoeing. I did two 30 Days of Biking challenges last year so figured I could handle another 30 day challenge. I decided to make January 1st my start date so, as long as I kit up and head outside soon, today will be Day 8 of my 30 Days of Snowshoeing challenge.

Assuming we have snow on the ground all month, and I'm pretty sure we will, I think I can meet my challenge. I have nothing to lose (except maybe some extra Christmas weight) and might just gain a greater appreciation for Minnesota winters in the process. After all, when you're not shoveling snow, driving through a blizzard or stuck in a ditch, Minnesota winters are awfully pretty.

We have woods full of snow-covered trees like these...

Yep, that pretty much makes going outside worthwhile.

Off I go...

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Good Start

We've had a good start to our New Year.

You see, for Christmas we decided to get the family snowshoes. We were so happy bicycling with the family last year that Owen and I wanted to keep going. But in Minnesota it snows - a lot! - and I really didn't want to ride in the winter and don't think the kids would be willing to either. But we wanted to stay active, to enjoy the winter wonderland around us, to keep doing things together as a family.

Cross-country skis, we thought, were an option but kind of a costly one once we all got skis, poles, boots and gear. Downhill skiing was another possibility, though more expensive than cross country with lift tickets and all. Add to that having to drive a half hour or more to the nearest ski hill.

So we decided to get snowshoes for Christmas. They are relatively inexpensive and we can snowshoe right in our backyard and surrounding fields. The kids had expressed interest in snowshoeing before. I've done it some and enjoyed it. We wouldn't need much by way of special equipment or clothes - just snowshoes. So Owen and I set out to get snowshoes for everyone for Christmas. And, to kick off our snowshoe ownership with style, we decided to the kids on a mini snowshoeing vacation up north.

So a few days after Christmas we loaded up our van and headed up to McGregor, Minnesota, about three hours north of our house, and settled in at our neighbor's cottage for some time away from work, from school, from home.

We played games. We ate yummy food. We hung out with the neighbors and their friends. We stayed up late and slept in.

And we snowshoed. 

We snowshoed on Lake Minnewawa and in Savanah Portage State Park under a canopy of snow covered trees. The scenery was beautiful. And even though it was cold, we had fun.
Rose, Myrna & Ryan snowshoeing in Savanah Portage State Park

And on New Year's Eve, though the kids were getting kind of goofy with tiredness, we all stayed up until midnight to ring in the New Year - the first time we've all welcomed the new year together. 

Snowshoeing. Family time. Games. Reading. Relaxing. A Happy New Year. A Happy Family. 

Life is good.
And 2011 is off to a good start.