Mommy Wants a Timeout

In which I contemplate absurd moments in parenthood, occasionally attempt to refer to myself as a “triathlete” while keeping a straight face, and maybe post some random pictures of stuff I’m knitting

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

My Big Year…(Or, A Post About Birds and Running)

You know, as in “The Big Year,” that movie with Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black? About birding? This is my post about birds. Birds and running, actually, or how birds make running interesting (to me, anyway) and therefore much more tolerable.

The reason I’m thinking about this topic is that I received a round of applause from motorists along my running route last week, and it had nothing to do with my attire, my speed, or the fact I was NAILING my tempo pace just a day after a long, hard bike ride. No, they were clapping because I stopped running to jump off the sidewalk into the busy street, stop traffic, and herd a crowd of ducklings across the street after their mother. (I’d tried to talk her out of crossing a moment before, but she was determined. “Don’t do it, you stupid duck! The lake is on this side of the road! Think of your children!” She didn’t listen, she just quacked in agitation and tried to waddle past me.)

I’m sure we were a comical picture, me trying to hustle along these ducklings who were so tiny they kept falling over trying to run away from me. Once I got them safely over the curb on the far side of the road, (Have you ever watched very small ducklings trying to hop up on a curb? It took each of them at least three tries.) I looked up and saw drivers and passengers clapping for me. I gave them a wave and started running again with a smile on my face that lasted the rest of the run, even as I tried to salvage my tempo pace.

It was the second run in a week that was slowed down by my fascination with birds, especially baby ones. On Thursday I stopped in the middle of an 8-mile easy run to take this picture of Canada geese with a big group of goslings; 8 or 9 if I counted right.

Not the best quality picture...My eyes were still dilated from the ophthalmologist's that morning.

Not the best quality picture…My eyes were still dilated from the ophthalmologist’s that morning.

I’m lucky enough to live and run near greenspaces that are filled with different creatures that entertain me. Here is my “Big Year” list of birds I’ve seen during this year’s training:
1. Red-tailed hawk
2. Great Blue heron
3. Red-winged blackbird (these guys sing to me while I run…I love it!)
4. Mallard duck
5. Northern coot
6. Spotted towhee
7. Flicker (These woodpeckers are one of my favorites)
8. Robin
9. Scrub Jay
10. Junco
11. Sparrow
12. Bushtit
13. Crow
14. Seagull (They must be a little misguided, since there’s a mountain range and at least 60 miles between here and the ocean)
15. Anna’s hummingbird
16. Goldfinch
17. House finch
18. Chickadee
19. Wood duck
20. Barn swallow (While I was running along a path beside a blackberry hedge on one side and soccer fields on the other yesterday, a couple of these guys started swooping in circles around me. They stayed with me for over a quarter of a mile, crossing right in front of me. At first it was kind of fun. Then it got a little creepy…What was their game, anyway? I never figured it out.)

I’ve also seen a few other species I haven’t identified, since my Field Guide to Birds of North America is too heavy to fit in my hydration belt pocket.

All these birds, along with the occasional rabbit, raccoon, deer, or gopher entertain me while I’m running and cycling, and help me appreciate the surroundings I get to train in. And if a photo opportunity or a chance to do some animal rescue interrupts a workout, I’m okay with that. I’m doing my best not to take my triathlon hobby TOO seriously!

Dogwoods in bloom...Another beautiful sight captured while on a run!

Dogwoods in bloom…Another beautiful sight captured while on a run!

My Legs Were on Hawaiian Time…

Well, this post is a little overdue. Our Kaua’i trip happened back in early March, and I promised to post pictures and a full report when I got back. Life constantly seems to interfere with my best blogging intentions…

Ahhh, Hawaii. Probably my favorite place in the world. This was my first visit to the island of Kaua’i, and also the first time we felt the kiddo could keep up on some fun outdoor activities. And keep up he did…through hikes that had me huffing and puffing, a pretty long kayak ride, and some quality beach time.

In contrast to last year’s trip to Maui, when I had a pneumatic boot protecting my injured foot, this year I was in good shape for running and swimming, and was looking forward to doing both in the new scenery. Unfortunately for me, my legs seemed to relax into that comfy “Hawaiian Time” as soon as we got there, and resisted all of my attempts to encourage them to move faster than my long, slow run pace (even though I never ran longer than 4 miles.) Blame jet lag, blame the warm weather and humidity, or the early-morning, pre-coffee timing, but the running was nothing to write home about. I did, however, see some beautiful sights on some of those sunrise runs:

I'm never up this early at home!

I’m never up this early at home!


An endangered Hawaiian monk seal taking a nap.

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal taking a nap.


I didn’t limit my lower-body workout to running. Hiking up hills is great exercise too!

Checking out the Waimea Canyon views

Checking out the Waimea Canyon views…


This guy's always eager to explore!

…pretending he’s on Mars…


Heading off for a canyon hike

…and heading off for a canyon hike


One of my favorite hikes: the shoreline next to Maha'ulepu Beach.

One of my favorite hikes: the shoreline next to Maha’ulepu Beach.

Oh, and there was some swimming, too, although I must admit I’m always so fascinated by what I see under the water I rarely concentrate on getting a workout in. I’m not comfortable in a snorkel mask, though, so I get lots of practice holding my breath!

Poipu Beach Park

Poipu Beach Park


DSCF0844

We also took a kayak tour up the Wailua River, followed by a hike to a “secret” waterfall in the jungle (not so secret, judging from the hordes of visitors that hiked in shortly after we arrived!) I did earn bragging rights by being the first person present to jump (or wade, slowly) into the water and swim to the falls. Even in Hawaii, waterfall pools are…umm…refreshing? Bracing? Freakin’ cold, more like. Nothing like Oregonian winter-white gooseflesh to make me look fantastic in a bathing suit!

The lush greenery along the Wailua River

The lush greenery along the Wailua River


Hiking along the river to the falls

Hiking along the river to the falls


Not a bad place for a (COLD!!!) shower!

Not a bad place for a (COLD!!!) shower!


Couldn't convince this one to go all the way out to the waterfall with me. Wimp.

Couldn’t convince this one to go all the way out to the waterfall with me. Wimp.

My husband took a helicopter tour of the island with my dad and brother…By all reports, it was amazing, but I’m both too chicken and to prone to motion-sickness to have joined them. Oh, and speaking of chickens…They are EVERYWHERE on Kaua’i! Just part of the local character…

Some local chicks...

Some local chicks…


And a baby daddy?

And a baby daddy?

As much fun as we had on our visit to Kaua’i, there were a couple adventures that will have to wait for the kiddo to get a little bigger and stronger…

We'll kayak the Na Pali coast someday. Until then, this is as close as we'll get.

We’ll kayak the Na Pali coast someday. Until then, this is as close as we’ll get.


This trail is calling us, too...An adventure for another time!

This trail is calling us, too…An adventure for another time!

So there’s the briefest vacation report I can manage…Better late than never, right? And because I can’t get enough of baby birds (more about that in a future blog post) I’ll leave you with this parting shot:

Adorable (and endangered) Hawaiian Nene.

The adorable (and endangered) Hawaiian Nene.

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