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Row, row, row your boat

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Last evening a very mild breeze wafting through my window caused me to look up then out. Thatís when I noticed a nice hue to the sky. Instantly, I wanted to be outdoors, so I headed for the lake.

Lake Merritt is a ten minute walk away from my apartment. Itsí got a 3.1 mile walking and jogging path, and when I donít have the time to walk the entire lake, I walk half way around. At the end of April, I started training for a 5K and I ran the lake three days a week and walked it the other days. Now Iím training for a 10K and running the lake three days a week and walking it the other days. Yesterday my training required me to run 5 miles and I did so by running once around the lake then continuing until I hit the 5 mile mark.

Iím drawn to the lake like a moth is drawn to the light. I find it irresistible. I remember a quote I read long ago that I never forgot: ďNothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.Ē The lake is where I go to walk, to run, to ruminate over my problems, to sit and meditate on everything and nothing. Last evening, there just happened to be a gondola out there. Itís a rare occasion that Iím out by the lake at the time that the gondolier is using his oar to guide his gondola on a romantic voyage across the lake. When Iíve seen the gondola in the past, I didnít have my camera, but last evening, I did.

Today I attended the Southwest Masters Regional rowing event hosted by Lake Merritt. It was early, about 7:30 a.m., and the first rowers had already begun. I studied them. I watched the women rowers warming up. They were strong. One woman shouted out orders and the others obeyed, all in unison. It was like watching a beautiful waltz on the lake. Their movements were synchronized to perfection. As they glided across the lake, I thought about how similar running is to rowing. Runners use their legs to get across the land. Rowers use their arms to get across water. Both use vast amounts of energy, both train and nourish their bodies for the purpose of performing at their best. The result is a sight to behold. I view it as a force of energy moving the human body forward.

At one point, while I was taking a shot of some pelicans on the lake,

I overheard a mother telling her daughter, who looked to be about 9 years old as they ran together, that she just needed to put one foot in front of the other and to empty her thoughts of everything and allow her feet to just float over the asphalt. Lovely thought, I said to myself, makes sense if you are a feather but it just isnít that easy. I watched them trot off together down the path and I snapped a shot.

To me, running is a process of mind over matter. Iím thinking about all the times my gradient was raised during my training and I thought, thereís no way I can run even one more step. My legs feel like elastic. Then a powerful voice takes over in my mind and says, of course you can do it. You did it years ago and you can do it again. You can, you can, you can! Fortunately, this dominant voice has been winning over the weak one that would like to quit and go get a cup of coffee while I slump into a comfortable chair. I realized today that that voice is not unlike that commanding voice of the rowers telling them how to use their oars, when to slow down, when to begin again.

Iíll continue to pay attention to that voice because itís the voice that gets me where I want to go. I may argue with it at times, I may question its authority, but eventually, I will abide by its urgings, and it will never let me down.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEPA 7/11/2011 1:24AM

    The synchronicity of rowers is amazing

Nice blog, water, rowers, family moments, a beautiful summer day....

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ZARLOT 7/11/2011 12:13AM

    Beautiful pictures... You are lucky to have Lake Merritt so close by. Very inspirational thoughts too, by the way, Clare!

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NMMAMA2011 7/10/2011 10:40PM

    Wow, what wonderful pictures and insights. You are very lucky to live near such beauty. Thank you for sharing your time at the lake with us. Just beautiful.

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LOGOULD 7/10/2011 9:44PM

    What an amazing day and such a beautiful venue. You are so blessed to be able to have such a lovely place nearby to enjoy daily! I especially loved seeing the mother and daughter sharing a run together. That's such an incredible example of QUALITY time. I'm sure that young lady will take away many valuable lessons from thetime that her mother was sharing with her today. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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Baguette is gone

Monday, July 04, 2011

Baguette, my son's Irish Russell Terrier, was staying with me for two weeks but last night, he returned to his father's condo and I had to say my farewells to him.

It was hard because Baguette has such a warm and charming personality. He's the kind of puppy who when I took him to the dog park, dog owners forgot about their dogs and concentrated on Baguette.

Baguette likes making friends. Large dogs don't scare him since he isn't aware that he is small.

Even horses are magnetized by him.

This morning, when I got out of bed, it was strange to not see him staring up at me, giving me the signal that he needed to be taken out. I dressed and headed out for my morning run and while doing so relived my walk with him the day before when we headed for the lake early in the morning to avoid the heat that was predicted for that day. Baguette took many breaks along the way because even though it was early in the morning, it was still sunny out and where there wasn't any shade, it was very warm. He stopped to admire the geese, the birds, children, adults, and the lake.

I will miss him.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RIDMYCOCOON 7/6/2011 5:28AM

    What a real sweetie pie. You have made a real friend in this little guy. He looks smart too.

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LOGOULD 7/5/2011 11:18AM

    So happy for you that you have those fond memories to hang onto and will certainly get to see your little friend again. It's remarkable how quickly our furry friends can grab a hold of our hearts and how tight a hold they have on us.

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NMMAMA2011 7/4/2011 1:48PM

    aww, I am glad you have bonded with your grandpuppy. What a lucky little dog!

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ZARLOT 7/4/2011 1:25PM

    I too missed him a lot after you took him over. He is an unusually sweet puppy!

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MARY1313 7/4/2011 12:53PM

    oh! I hope he gets to visit again soon!



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USMAWIFE 7/4/2011 12:51PM

    ah.. ask your son if the grandpuppy can come visit you more... we have a dog, belgium teurvian and a grand puppy, a rat terrier. when our son drops him off while on job interviews, the two keep each other entertained.

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Lack of sleep - no 5K run

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I was supposed to run a 5K this a.m. but when my alarm clock went off, I succumbed to going back to sleep almost instantly.

Two hours later I awakened feeling good. I had been lacking sleep the last couple of days and I was feeling it in the way I was eating irrationally. Lots of starches, not enough protein.

Because I made up two hours of sleep this a.m. I'm hoping that I won't have trouble getting out of bed to do my 4 mile run tomorrow morning to keep up with my 10K Galloway training.

My other big block is that I used to simply get out of bed, get dressed, and head on out for my run. However, I have my son's dog, Baguette, to care for while he's on vacation and though I love being with him, I had no idea he was going to change so much of what I do in my daily life. I feel like I have a baby all over again.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURIE-RN 7/9/2011 10:25AM

    It is amazing how animals can impact your schedule. We have been dog sitting for the past 10 days. They have been wonderful, but it's been eye opening how many adjustments in schedule and activity we've had to make. Glad you got caught up on some sleep.

Laurie emoticon

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ZARLOT 6/26/2011 10:52PM

    Yes, I concur, caring for a puppy is not unlike caring for a baby... :=)

Sorry you missed your run, but it's great that you were able to catch up on your sleep.

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BOLEBRON 6/26/2011 10:10PM

    Well there will be other opportunities. It seems that you needed those extra hours of sleep and I glad you got them.

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LOGOULD 6/26/2011 9:56PM

    I know just how you feel - I, too, have been lacking sleep and burning the candle atboth ends. Today, I finally had a whole (well, mostly) day off and had planned to do 8 miles, but made it two...just enogh to clear my head a little and tonight I am praying for a good long nights sleep. Sometimes we just have to give our bodies the rest they need or all the training in the world won't help because we will only be tearing our bodies down. Hope you got some rest today and sleep well tonight! emoticon

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Dining with Baguette

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Baguette is the Irish Russell Terrier Iím watching for my son while he is on vacation. I enjoy my walks with him because he gets so much attention and it gives me a chance to engage with people who ordinarily wouldnít pay me any mind.

Last week we went to the dog park. He had a great time with Bo, a dog that walked into a house whose front door was left open. The residents wondered whose dog it was so they posted flyers around the neighborhood with their phone number and when no one called to claim the dog, they kept him. Bo is a four year old terrier with so much patience that Baguette took advantage of it by wrestling with him for over an hour. When we were about to leave, I told Boís caretaker that I hoped Baguette hadnít worn Bo out. His kind response was that Baguette had given him his best day at the dog park.

One thing that amazes me about Baguette is that when I leave his bowl of food for him, sometimes heíll take a couple of sniffs and then walk away. As a child, I grew up with a Cocker Spaniel. Whenever we put his bowl of food down, he dug into it as if he hadnít been fed in weeks. So I was surprised to witness Baguetteís passivity when confronted with his bowl of food. Later, about 30 minutes or so, he'll return to the bowl and take a few nibbles then leave the rest for later.

Hmmm Ö I started to think that an interesting experiment would be to do that with my own eating. To face my plate of food, take a few bites from it, then leave it alone for 30 minutes or an entire hour, then take a few more bites. Would the scale needle move to a lower number by weekís end? I may try it and blog about that some time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RIDMYCOCOON 6/23/2011 1:27PM

    What a sweetie pie. I love the photos. emoticon
I love how dogs make us more social.

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LOGOULD 6/21/2011 10:03PM

    What an adorable and personable pooch - and smart, I'll bet, too! If you decide to try the "Baguette Diet", let us know how it goes.

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ZARLOT 6/21/2011 3:44PM

    It just might! Great pictures!

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BUTEAFULL 6/21/2011 11:52AM

    kewl experiment, give it a try, what have you got to lose? oh yeah the weight LOL

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Dog sitting and LOVING IT!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My son and his girlfriend are taking a trip to France so he asked if I would watch Baguette, his 6 month old Irish Russell Terrier. There wasnít a chance in a million that I would say no. Baguette is irresistibly cute and so outgoing and playful that I would have to be made of stone to say no. Only problem is my apartment complex does not allow pets.

Iíve been living in this complex for over ten years. I do recall seeing a cat sitting in one of the tenantís windows at one time; but that was short lived. I assume the owner of the building found out and had her get rid of the cat promptly. I have a key to my sonís condo in San Francisco, but it is nicer for a dog where I live because Iím close to the lake for long walks, close to a wonderful dog park where the dogs are actually friendly, as well as their owners.

Yesterday, we took a rather lengthy walk over to Piedmont Park. There are many people who walk their dogs in the beautiful wooded area around there. Baguette got a chance to make acquaintance with quite a few dogs that crossed his path. Since heís a pup, he gets quite a lot of attention. Women/girls melt when they see him. One man started to walk past Baguette without saying anything, stopped in his tracks, made an about face, and headed back to Baguette. ďWhat a cute puppy,Ē he said as he patted his head. He held out his hand for Baguette to nip. He doesnít bite hard, but he gets a look of fierceness in his eyes and gently settles his teeth against your skin.

We walked to Lake Merritt at 5:30 p.m. There were more people out there than I expected. Baguette loved that there were so many things to look at and people to gush over him. At one point, I stopped to sit on a bench to allow him to study the geese off in the distance. There was such a look of longing in his face. I know he wanted to be off leash, but that would have been impossible. Those geese would have had to use their wings to escape Baguetteís fox hunting speed.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOGOULD 6/15/2011 10:29PM

    He's precious - enjoy your little visitor!!!

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CATLADY52 6/15/2011 6:21PM

    What a cutie pie! emoticon

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NMMAMA2011 6/15/2011 4:44PM

    What a sweet pup! Sounds like you are having fun being Baguette's 'auntie.' Dogs are a great excuse for walking. Enjoy the time with him.

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ZARLOT 6/15/2011 11:54AM

    I love it.

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