Active rest – my favorite oxymoron

The schedule isn’t law. When Labor Day was approaching and I was packing for a short trip to visit some family in Massachusetts, my first instinct was to bring my bike and strength-training gear (read: kettle bell) along so that I could get my usual workouts in.

IMG_2656I know that regularity is helpful, and having a schedule can keep you moving when you might not otherwise be motivated enough, but determined and self-motivated people can easily become slaves to their schedules. And there isn’t much adventure in that.

Since I’m not training for a speed or distance, I left the bike and kettle bell at home this weekend so I could take it easy – literally. I did take a yoga mat and foam roller, which turned out to be just right.

So instead of going for a solitary bike ride, I went with G and his aunt (and Pippin!) for an easy hike to see a waterfall. The waterfall was nestled in the freshest-smelling woods of the Berkshires, and although there wasn’t a lot of water at this time of year, it was a lovely spot. I climbed a small boulder on the trail down to the waterfall, and Pippin climbed boulders everywhere and took a dip in the pool at the bottom.

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The next day, I foam rolled, followed a short yoga video, and did some pilates exercises before hopping in the car to explore some more. My knee had felt off the previous week because my calves and quads were tight, and it was good to massage, stretch, and rest my legs, especially when I was spending time in the car. I’m finding that my muscles bind up tightly and quickly, and to put in a hard effort and then sit in a car would set me up for trouble.

We had a great weekend, and I’ve already gotten back to my regular workouts. I’m sure now though that whenever my knee is healed and I am training for races again, my periods of active rest will have to be longer and more frequent. I think that means that my bird and plant identification books will get a lot of use. (Which is ok. I warned G a while ago that there was a strong possibility that in 40 years I’d be walking around fields wearing khakis tucked into my socks and scouting for birds, and he responded by buying me binoculars.)

There’s so much to do and see. It’s great to feel strong and fit and capable, but the schedule isn’t everything.

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Pippin is now a literary adventure dog after visiting Edith Wharton’s estate “The Mount”.

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