Five Finger Run

5 Fingers

The winter has been full of it’s fair share of couch lounging with an occasional bike ride or yoga workout. Certainly nothing consistent!

When the weather turned nice I worked out in the yard and called that good. Not only did it get something accomplished, but it got me outside and physically active. Yeah, like that was a real excuse not to do a good workout!

Today isn’t exactly a pretty one, but it’s not raining either. It is grey and damp. Sidewalks are soaked from last night’s showers. Puddles are sitting at street corners asking for your spare change so they can lose it in their muddy depths. Dogs are stuck at home because their owners just don’t feel like taking them out.

That’s what kind of day it is today.

Somehow against all the odds of the day I got out for a run! Ok, I woke up cranky and pissed at the world, but hey, it made me break a good sweat!

The last time I went for a run I was wearing my old sneakers that I had hiked a couple hundred miles over the Appalachian Trail in. Comfortable, but still sneakers. Sneakers have a tendency to make my heals jam into the ground and the rest of my feet to follow with a slap.

So instead I wriggled into my KMD Sports (Vibram Five Fingers), enjoying their light weight and the way they force my stride to change.

The first few blocks (maybe 10?) were easy-going, getting used to the feel of running on the balls of my feet instead of my heals. Then I cranked it up. One and a half blocks sprinting, half a block walking. Alternating between the two until running one block was all I could muster and then I’d have to walk a full block just to catch my breath again. My toes were wet, calves on fire and my chest was burning as if a dragon was breathing into it at every breath. The feel of flying though was such an amazing feel that I know I will do it again in a couple of days. Landing softly on the balls of my feet and pushing off again without having any hard slam of my weight being thrown down onto the concrete through my feet was the most amazing thing a runner can have I think. I haven’t gone seriously running for a couple of years now, but why didn’t I think of running barefoot or at least just running on the balls of my feet instead of the heals like I’d always done?

The day was miserable but the run was exciting. I got that rush of endorphins that comes from a good powerful workout, and that’s all I needed for the rest of the day to be one of the best in this grey showers filled April.

Garden Life Under the Clouds

We had an amazingly long stretch of warm weather here in Portland, especially considering how early in the year it is. We were decked out in shorts and t-shirts, running around barefooted and working on our freckles. Seeds were planted in the garden, weeds were pulled, the dog was walked and now we are living under clouds again.

Peas

The rain is good for the garden, that is sure. There are seedlings popping up in many places, though never quite fast enough for my impatience. My fear right now is that I might have inadvertently pulled up some seedlings while pulling the weeds. I guess there is no way to know for sure.

Some of my peas have come up nicely, their young tendrils making delicious accents to my salads, along with Rosemary flowers and a few kale leaves from an over-wintered plant. I am excited to eventually have my own lettuce to make my salads out of, but for now I am happy to be able to pick my own fixings.

It is amazing how fast the weeds grow though! It seems that I pull handfuls every time I step outside! If only they were all edible, then I could eat them as I pulled and they would not go to waste. Mind you, having them added to the compost pile keeps them in the garden cycle and so they are not wasted.

And the rain? Fortunately the days are still fairly warm, so getting wet is not completely miserable, and it means I do not have to drag the hose around to water the garden! There are always good ways to look at things. Yesterday when I got drenched while out on a walk with Marin and the dog, I was still grateful for the rain, as it brought the city streets a little bit closer to smelling clean. There still was not the fresh clean aroma of dripping moss-covered trees, salal and soggy pine needle strewn earth, but at least there were a few negative ions in the air and the smell of asphalt was subdued.

ReTread

With all of the bicycle commuters here, the bike shops often have old tires in inner tubes piled up outside waiting to be large enough in number before taking to the dump. If someone wishes to take them off the hands of the shop, then those persons are more than welcome!

Seth and I took a number of them.

With a little creativity and some holiday decorations picked up at thrift stores, we turned them into Christmas wreaths. Mountain bike treads made beautiful accents behind bright ribbons and winter greenery, while wheel spokes worked great as hooks for hanging the wreaths by.

We were able to sell a number of these ReTread Wreaths as a bicycle friendly craft fare, but still had a few left over, so when we came across a cheerful statue already adorned with a toque to keep it’s bronze head warm, we thought a little holiday cheer would look good too!

ReTread Decorations

Please Walk

Only here in Portland!
Only here in Portland!

Drizzle is a common occurrence here, and surfaces often turn into dangerous obstacles over which to ride bicycles and sometimes even when just walking. We were out exploring a walk/bike path over in Vancouver, WA the other day and saw a sign notifying persons of one such smooth surface. Neither Seth nor I had ever seen a sign quite like it, so of course we had to take a picture and now I get to share it with you!

 

Soggy Toes

Wind hit the house in gusts, slamming drops of rain into the siding like sand in a prairie storm. Nestled under the bed covers down in the basement, we hardly noticed the weather until……. Marin pooped out her diaper.”Eew yuck!”

Seth took the job of cleaning his little girl up while I set about changing the bed sheets. That’s when my bare feet made contact with soaking wet carpet. Not damp, soaking!

As almost every parent out there knows, nightly excursions out of bed are a norm that you learn to deal with without getting too out of sorts, but who wakes up to wet carpet?!!!

Squishy floor

The wind through the night had blown rainwater against the house, letting it drain down the outside of the cement wall until it found a fault to seep through, leaking out across the floor, covering my side of the “room”.

Come morning, Seth slipped into shoes and retrieved my boots so I could escape the soggy wetness that was below my side of the bed.

Good morning Portland!

Trickle in the bedroom

Biking Trio

Having done extensive research on the proper age of a child before taking him/her for a ride on a bicycle, we came to the conclusion that “one year” sounds right if putting your little munchkin in a trailer or seat.

But what about on your back?

We have a wonderful baby carrier that is designed for infants, holding Marin’s head nice and close to my body, so muscle strength in her neck or lack thereof is not an issue.

On this one particularly pleasant fall day, we bundled Marin up warm inside her one-piece rain suit (in case the weather changes on us) and took off on an easy jaunt up to the top of Mt Tabor.

I started with Marin on my front as that is how I carry her every day, but before long Seth helped me switch her to my back, making it easier in me while riding. With frequent stops to check in on her well-being, we discovered that she quite enjoys going for rides as the few bumps and vibrations that make it through my body and up to her along with the fresh air have a wonderful sleep inducing effect.

Fresh air + bicycle movements = sound sleep
Snuggled tight, she’s like wearing a custom backpack.