Balancing Travel – Part 1

I love to plan my vacations. It creates great anticipation for the time I’ll happily take off from work and home.

In 2013, I relied on serendipity —meaning, a “pleasant surprise” or “fortunate happenstance” — instead of a plan. By September, I still had no plan. Out of desperation, I booked a trip to an island I’d been to years ago. While I enjoyed being with my friends and I relaxed, the island itself was as unmemorable the second time as it was the first.

So, at the beginning of 2014, I started researching. I thought about combining Sicily with Tunisia, but Tunisia still seemed unstable. I looked for festivals and yoga studios in Europe. My research led me to a yoga retreat in Albir, Spain called La Crisalida. (The name means “chrysalis,” as in the transformation of a  moth or butterfly.) This yoga retreat looked like it would deliver the kind of experience I wanted, and in a lovely setting:  yoga and meditation, exercise, and clean and healthy food.

I built my two week vacation around the yoga retreat. Instead of going directly there, though, I took a friend’s suggestion to spend a couple of days in Madrid. Then, I plotted my other destinations within a slice of Spain from Madrid to the Mediterranean. I balanced city life with beach time; solo time with social settings; and freestyle days with planned events.

I planned my vacation to hit all the right notes.

First Stop:  Madrid (Balancing Travel – Part II)

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The Minimalist’s Running Plan

Let’s be clear… I hate to sweat.  I practice yoga because, initially, I’d believed that yoga wouldn’t make me sweat—you glide; you step in, out, back; and, you stop.  Most of the time, you’re still and breathing. Of course, I discovered that not all forms of yoga are placid calm. Running, on the other hand, will make you sweat—every time!

So, why on earth did I agree to run in a 5-K race?  My friend, Leslie, got me into this for a good cause.  I really need to work on saying “no!”  Nevertheless, July to September seemed like plenty of time to get in shape for the run. Siblings, Kim and David, laughed loud and often about my running anywhere for any reason. (I last ran at age 15 — my legendary run from second to third base that resulted in a bloody split chin, stitches, and an immediate end to my athletic career. Even worse, it happened in front of a boy I liked!) A few words of caution: never announce a bad decision to the world, for you will be held to it!

Before I could hit the road, I needed the right shoes.  As it turned out, in spite of sticker shock over the cost, buying the Asics was the easiest task. Next move: put on the shoes. OK, they felt great, so I decided to run just a block to test my ankles that almost always get shooting pains from even trotting from house to car.  The test was successful and enough for that day.

A co-worker told me about training guidance called “Couch to 5-K” from The nine-week, three times weekly training schedule looked like so much work; although the running gently increased in time and distance during each practice and throughout the nine week period. I’m sure this is a wonderful training program for most highly motivated beginners. But, I know myself.  When faced with the prospect of that much consistent practice, I would run one day and think about it the other two. Not good.

Leslie stepped in, suggesting the two of us run at least one day a week before work. The result was what I call “The Minimalist’s Running Plan.” Each week, I would do one run with Leslie, one run on the treadmill in an air-conditioned gym, and one yoga class.  The Minimalist’s Running Plan was more in keeping with my modest goals: finish the race upright, and breathing. You could say I set the bar too low, but I knew better!

At long last, the day came when the race would finally be in my rear view mirror. In a field of 350 runners, I placed 249, finishing (upright and breathing) in 44 minutes, 56 seconds!  I had met my goals!  Today, I continue to run — reluctantly — once a week with Leslie. I can bear at least this much if it is a social activity and not organized training for a race.

Now, if I can just practice saying “no” a little more often, I’ll be more balanced, not to mention more comfortable!


Running Shoes