What dog doesn’t love a long walk?  Why not shake things up, get out of the neighborhood and go for a hike?  Orange County has fantastic open space and park areas where you and your four-legged friend can spend time on the trail. Today we are going to focus on gear and preparation for hikes with your dog.

 

Trail Etiquette and Regulations

 

Not all Orange County Parks or State Parks or dog friendly. We will review local Orange County Dog Hikes in the near future.  It is important that dogs be kept on a leash at all times.  I recommend that the leash be no longer than 6 feet and that good old-fashioned leather or webbing leash be used (not a retractable leash).  This ensures that your dog is close by (for his safety and the safety of others); also, a retractable leash failure on a hike can result in a lost dog.

 

Always be cognizant of your surroundings.  Pay attention and watch for approaching people, other dogs and children (especially if your dog gets excited, nervous or aggressive).  Not everyone appreciates a sniff or slobber from a strange dog!

 

Hydration

 

We have a black lab, he may have been a fish in a past life, and I have never seen a dog drink so much water!  It is important to ensure that you bring enough water for both you and your dog.  Never rely on streams, lakes or ponds for your dog to drink from (unless you bring a filter with you). Dogs, just like humans, are susceptible to giardia.  Giardia is a bacterium that causes gastro-intestinal distress. Turner (our dog) was on the receiving end of a nasty bout after drinking from a puddle formed by reclaimed water used for watering grass.  Trust me, you don’t want to experience the awful upset doggy tummy that goes along with giardia.

 

Water filters range from about $50 to $200 depending on the brand, filtration system, model and capacity.  Unless you are going for a multi-day hiking trip, packing extra water and a collapsible bowl is probably the best way to ensure your dog has enough water.  Alternatively, the Ruff Wear Palisades pack has a built-in hydration system.

 

Cooling

 

Dogs pant to lower their body temperature (one reason ensuring your dog has enough water is so important).  However, there are other measures you can take to help your dog keep cool on the trail.  The first, and most obvious, is to hike in the morning or evening hours when the sun is not at its peak (be aware that early morning and late evening hours are also the time that predators are most active, so extra vigilance is required).  Alternatively, you may consider the kool collar to help keep your pet cool.  Also, for dogs who seem very heat sensitive (like Turner) you might try the Ruff Wear Swamp Cooler dog vest which allows for evaporative cooling of your dog.

 

Paw Protection and First Aid

 

Dogs paws are pretty tough.  But they aren’t always as tough as the terrain you’ll be hiking on. We found this out during one hike after a very long 6 mile hike in Colorado, our dog tore open a pad.  Unfortunately we didn’t have any booties for him and he had to limp the last mile back to the car.  One option to address this are Ruff Wear’s Dog Boots.  Unfortunately, your dog probably isn’t going to like these, so it is best to do some trial runs around the house and neighborhood before trying to use them on the trail.

 

Just as you should be prepared physically and mentally to deal with an injury to yourself or others on the trail, it is part of being a responsible pet owner that you prepare yourself to treat and injury to your dog on the trail.  Consider bringing a first aid kit with you (there are pre-packaged versions on Amazon), ask your veterinarian for suggested supplies and be sure to review a book such as Field Guide to Dog First Aid by Randy Acker, DVM or attend one of Petco or the Red Cross’s dog first aid classes.

 

Hiking with a dog can be a very fun and rewarding experience.  It is also a good way to make sure you both get an uninterrupted nap in the afternoon! With a little bit of thought and preparation, you can be fully prepared to tackle the trails.

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About a week ago we posted about Paddle for the Cure.  As we’re only a few weeks out, it is time to start some specific training on and off the water to be ready for the event.  Paddle for the Cure isn’t a race, but if you want to complete the long paddle (4 miles) it is probably a good idea to put in time out on the board as well as in the gym.  Those workouts will focus on overall fitness as well as injury prevention (the most common injury for new paddlers is rotator cuff injury).

 
Pre-habbing for Shoulders
 
Shoulder mobility and stability is essential for paddling efficiency and injury prevention.  As we age, shoulder mobility tends to decrease.  In order to counter act this try the following exercises:
 
1. Lie on your back, clasp your hands behind your head and touch your shoulders to the ground.
2. Lie on your back  and place a lacrosse ball underneath you and roll the ball between the C-5 and T-2 vertebrae.  (Right side for right arm, left side for left arm).  Move your arm in a swimming motion, find the sore spots (this may be painful given your overall flexibility).  As an alternative, place the lacrosse ball between you and the wall and do the same.
3.  PVC bar pass over.  Grab a PVC bar (or broomstick), place your hands in a snatch grip (hold the bar with arms straight, making a “v” shape over-head so the bar is approximately 3 inches overhead).  Move the bar from waist level in front of you, slowly overhead and behind until it touches your lower back.  Keep thumb and fore-finger in the same position on the bar.  This is also known as “shoulder-dislocates” and you have probably seen baseball players do this during batting practice.  The key is to keep your chest puffed up and don’t hunch your shoulders.
 
On-board Fitness

Workout 1

 
Paddle 20 mins, for distance:
Every minute on the minute, perform one of the following in rotation:

  •  20 pushups
  •  20 over head squats (use paddle as bar)
  •  20 “flutterkicks” (lie on your back, hold paddle over head, a few inches above the board)
  •  ”Warrior pose” for 1 minute
 
Workout 2
 
Paddle for 1 hour at a conversational pace.  Every 5 minutes do 30 seconds of short-quick pulls with the paddle or long-hard pulls with the paddle.  On short pulls, the paddle should enter the water approximately 2 feet in front of you and you should remain relatively upright.  On long pulls, the paddle should enter the water 4 feet in front of you and you should bend significantly at e waist to power through.
 
See this video for paddling technique basics http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mHGHEtcJI0A&feature=related
Gym Fitness
Paddling is a full body workout.  It requires the paddler to use strength while maintaining balance. The best strength training for paddling are exercises and groups of exercises which require active stabilization (not curls kneeling on a boss ball) and incorporate compound muscle movements.  Barbell complexes, kettlebells and Olympic lifts are fantastic.  Get ready to get super-fit (don’t worry women, this doesn’t mean bulky).
Workout 1 – Barbell Complex
Do the following exercises grouped together without setting the bar down between exercises:
  • Straight-leg dead lift
  • Hang power clean
  • Overhead press
  • Overhead squat
  • Back squat
  • Barbell good morning
  • (Bring bar back down I front of you)
  • Bent over row
The overhead press will likely be the limiting lift weight wise.  So choose. Weight at you can do 8 repetitions with (for me it is 50 lbs, for my husband it is 135 lbs).  You can do this 3-4 times per week.  I recommend switching between 3 sets of 5 repetitions and 3 sets of 8 repetitions (using lighter weights for the 8 repetition workouts).
Workout 2 – Kettlebells
Do 50 repetitions total of each of the following (you can break up the repetitions anyway that is necessary).
  • 1 arm swing
  • 1 arm snatch
  • 1 arm clean
  • 1 arm press
  • Goblet squat
There are a number of great videos on you tube demonstrating these exercises.  Try googling Pavel or Dan John on kettlebell and barbell complex technique.
See you on the water!
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Recent medical studies have demonstrated the benefit of moderate sun exposure on overall health.  Vitamin D receptors in cells, receptors in the epidermis as well as the role Vitamin D plays in immune system health and gene expression, it is obvious that having adequate amounts of Vitamin D is important to our health.  However, the primary source of Vitamin D for humans (and the most effective) is exposure to sunlight.

There are several issues associated with this (over-exposure which we’ll discuss today) and under exposure which we’ll discuss another time.
We have all seen them.  Active, healthy, outdoor enthusiasts who have the body of a 25 year old and the skin of a 65 year old!  So how, do we, as outdoor loving adventure enthusiasts prevent ourselves from looking like a baseball glove?  There are two key aspects to limiting and dealing with sun damage: moderation and supplementation.
Moderation
The best and most natural method to dealing with sun exposure is to limit exposure to the sun during times when the sun is the strongest, either by covering up or by shortening exposure time (or a combination of both).  Spending most of your outdoor time in the early to mid morning and evening to dusk will allow you to forgo sunscreen and enjoy the suns rays and absorb vitamin D.  Alternatively during high-sun times, the judicious use of lightweight long sleeve cover ups, a hat and sunglasses will do wonders to protect your skin.
Supplementation
Two types of supplementation will allow us to effectively deal with sun exposure, oral supplementation and dermal supplementation (I.e., sunscreen).  The use of oral supplementation such as taking fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids) drinking tea (anti-oxidants) allows our bodies to deal with increased oxidative stress, free radicals and DNA da,age that go along with over-exposure to sunlight.  Studies have shown that the ingestion of lycopene (found in tomatoes) provides significant protection against sun burn and sun damage (try 3 tablespoons of tomato paste daily in one of your meals).
The use of sunscreen is important.  The most important use of sunscreen is likely in your daily facial moisturizer, shoot for an SPF of 20-25 in your daily face product.  For beach days SPF 30 applied every 2-hours should do the trick.
The use of these methods should keep your face and skin looking as good as your body.  Please remember to visit the dermatologist regularly and have your moles checked for early signs of skin cancer, as early detection leads to substantially increased survival rates
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That is fantastic, really, it is.  The honest truth is that fitness is just one small aspect of most people’s lives. Unless you are a professional athlete, outdoor clothing test subject or come from a long line of distinguished philanthropists, you probably work…a lot.  You also clean, buy groceries, run errands, go to the dentist, go to family get-togethers, get the oil changed in your car, attend school plays, watch TV, sleep, read and stop to smell the roses (for only one second).

 

Most of the time, there are enough hours in the day to stay fairly fit, have some alone time and get the obligations out of the way.  But, there is one small problem.  You really, really, want to do a triathlon (or a marathon, or hike Mt. Baldy, or race mountain bikes, or climb El Cap., etc.).  In order to accomplish these things, training is important, but so is everything else.

 

Good news, everybody, training for endurance events doesn’t have to be a long slog. There is a growing body of evidence that indicates that high-intensity intervals over short durations can deliver the same improvements in fitness as long aerobic workouts (chronic cardio).  Furthermore, it seems, that the application of shorter workouts to endurance events results in a lower incidence of injury, lower levels of oxidative stress and inflammation as well as increased levels of overall enjoyment (once the workout is over, not necessarily during…).

 

So what does that mean, in practical terms?

 

Assuming you have a “reasonable” level of experience swimming, biking and running:

 

If you want to do a sprint triathlon, 3-6 hours of training is adequate per week.

If you want to do a half-ironman, 6-10 hours of training is adequate per week.

If you want to do an iron-man, 12-15 hours of training is adequate per week.

 

How is this possible?  The key is to focus on quality, high-intensity workouts.

 

Swim

  • Swim long once per week.  This swim should be no longer than 60 minutes and focus on feel and technique with some interval work.
  • 2-3 other swims should be interval focused. Limit swims to 30 minute maximum (i.e.,10x 100m or 20x50m)

 

Bike

 

  • One long bike ride per week (2-4 hours) outside
  • 2 or 3 30-60 minute interval sessions (on a trainer or in spin class is ideal, check out sufferfest videos for inspiration)

 

 

Run

  • NO LONG RUNS…Seriously, no runs over 2-hours
  • Runs should be 30-90 minutes of hard work.
  • Run workouts should consist of:
    • One interval session (12x200m or 4x800m or 6x400m),
    • One hill workout (5-10 .25-.5 mile repeats)
    • Two “long-ish” runs (2-3 mile circuits for up to 90 minutes)

 

Lifting/Mobility

 

In order to reap the benefits of low-volume high-intensity training, it is essential to ensure your body can keep things together over a sprint, medium or long-course race.  Strength/resistance training will allow you to maintain form as fatigue sets in. Mobility work is also essential to maintain flexibility and prevent injuries (foam rolling, lacrosse ball trigger point release, yoga)

 

Mental Preparation

 

Here is the tricky part:  Belief in your training.  Leading up to a long-course triathlon mental preparation is critical, you will not have had the opportunity to test yourself on a 200 mile bike ride, 2 mile swim, 26 mile run (and that is a good thing).  As long as you are prepared mentally for the task you are about to undertake.  I suggest visualization, meditation and yoga.

 

One disclaimer, the swim in an Iron Distance race is daunting.  Failing on the swim can easily lead to death.  Please, know your own abilities, practice in open water, do an open-water swim course that focuses on fear mitigation.  Panic in the water kills.

 

Now get out, crush some intervals, accomplish something BIG and get fit in the process.

 

For more information on high-intensity training try the following (these articles have great links to the studies which support the information above):

 

http://robbwolf.com/2012/09/21/10-ways-ironman-triathletes-avoid-chronic-cardio-self-destruction/

 

http://www.lavamagazine-digital.com/lavamagazine/201112?pg=154#pg154

 

https://www.marksdailyapple.com/why-we-dont-sprint-anymore-plus-a-primal-health-challenge/

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Sure, the Disney half marathon was the most fun I have ever had, with the most number of awesome surprises. And yes I PR’d the San Francisco half in the coldest weather they had ever experienced. And the year before I was preg with my daughter my friend Shannon and I ran an ass kicking fast (for us!) 4th of July 5k.

But sometimes there are runs that mean more then just fun, fitness and PR’s.

Some are reminders of the fragility of life.  Runnincentanni 5k rung is more popular then ever right now, and so many people sign up for the big races each year as a milestone, or to check something off their bucket list.  It has become more common to see races that have been put together to memorialize loved ones. To run to raise money and awareness to cure, diabetes, leukemia, you name it.

But sometimes there are races that should be so important but don’t capture the publicity of the bigger races. The 1st annual Cetanni-Cottle 5k honors two local marines that were killed in action on March 24, 2010. This 5k will help raise money for their kids college tuition. We are a country with the largest military spending budget in the world, and yet many of the families of soldiers that are victims of war do not get compensated or taken care of the way they should.

If you can make it on Sunday the 24 please do. If you can’t make it and can donate. Please visit the website.https://centannicottle5k.webconnex.com/registeronline

 

 

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We have had some gloomy days this past week here in SoCal, which honestly makes me want to curl up with a warm cup of tea and a good book on the couch. Reality check… I have a three-year-old daughter and a 100-pound lab that make that vision nearly impossible. But it’s alright, being a Colorado native, I grew up knowing and loving most of mother nature’s elements (wind would be the exception). I am grateful to live in a temperate climate to enjoy almost year round outdoor activities; rain definitely won’t keep my family inside!

Remember jumping in puddles? Why does that just have to be a memory? My daughter and I grab our rain boots and jackets and take the dog on a puddle hunt. Yes, we all need a warm bath/shower afterwards, but it’s totally worth it when we’re breathless running from puddle to puddle. Trust me, when it comes to running, I need as much motivation and distraction as possible. If there isn’t a margarita on the line this time, at least I enjoyed some quality kid time with a decent running work out!

Grab your mountain bike when there is a break in the light drizzle that fell earlier in the day and enjoy the tackiness of the dirt. When the rain is light, the dirt gets slightly tacky, which helps improve your lines; it’s honestly my favorite way to ride. If the rain picks up into more than a drizzle, stay off the trails though. Once the dirt turns into mud, all your accomplishing is rutting out trail and creating erosion to the surrounding greenery.  That just leaves a headache for following riders once the ground dry’s out and can result in closing access to Mountain Bikers if the trails sustain damage.

Paddle out and enjoy yoga on a SUP board. What’s more relaxing than being on calm water, listening to rain, and performing yoga? Granted you need to acquire SUP skills and yoga skills to actually make this relaxing, but honestly, just being on the water and sitting on the board is relaxing and will help you clear your head!

Go for a hike. You won’t believe how fresh your surroundings smell and your senses will be invigorated. Find a good spot that gives you an amazing view at the top.

So, stay off the couch and get moving, because there is plenty to do outside when it’s raining! Just make sure you have the appropriate clothing to stay [mostly] dry.

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Geez, with all the Insanity,turbokick,  Crossfit, supermega SUP yoga, BMX-badass, Warrior Dash, it’s no wonder the average person feels too intimidated to get involved in an activity or join a fitness group or gym. The barrier to entry for fitness is so high, you practically have to be a navy seal to even take a “beginner” class. I LOVE when people tell me they modify or “scale” burpees… WTH… seriously? what if a person can’t bend and touch the ground? What if they cant hold their body weight? Then what are you modifying? It may be that some exercises and activities are just entirely unnecessary for certain populations.  And you know what? That is ok.

When was the last time you just took a walk? weather you are super ultra trail runner fit? Or A big surfer or the average Jane who has some lbs to lose. Just put on the sneakers and walk out the door. STOP… notice how that first wind on your face feels,    start walking… right foot… left foot… right foot… left foot… take a deep breath in notice how your feet feel in your shoes. notice every detail of your breath and body and everything around you as you simply walk. Connecting in nature thru a walking mediation can bring you so much peace and joy. It can change the way you view your body and your fitness. It can whisper encouraging words “I CAN do this, I CAN be fit”  It can also whisper “Calm down, you don’t have to be Hercules to get enjoyment out of your body and activity”

Don’t be intimidated to get involved, find something that you enjoy, something that you might even learn to love and start, and practice every.single.day and never ever ever give up. ;o)

Take a simple walk to get in touch with nature

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