Tuesday, September 2, 2014

9:57 PM
You know its been a good day when you get back to your campsite after a full day of running, beaching, and bouldering and find the 8 warm pizzas and ice chest of cold beer that have been delivered by two hot men on road bikes. That moment was indeed the exclamation point to an awesome weekend spent in the mountains - one that was planned many months ago and executed, not without hitches, but with an abundance of good humor last weekend. Rolling back down the hill into reality yesterday I contemplated the top five reasons that one should pretty much always say YES!! to a trip to the mountains...

1. You have no excuse. It hardly ever makes sense to leave the Bay Area on a holiday weekend, what with traffic and such. It makes even less sense to do it during the first few weeks of school when everyone is still transitioning to new schools and routines and when work decides to ramp up. Couple that with, say a 4 month old baby who doesn't sleep well at altitude, or a 6YO who just fell off the monkey bars and fractured her elbow, or a weekend of single parenting while your husband moonlights in the ER and there are a million reasons why none of us should have made the trek to the mountains. But we did - and even if it took us seven hours because we say, lost our keys for 1.5 hours in the gas station parking lot, or had to stop to soothe a crying baby every 30 minutes, or had to sit in bumper to bumper traffic checking out the eccentra heading to Burning Man - WE MADE IT and most of the headache was forgotten once we rushed head first into the clear water of the lake and breathed in this view...because, honestly, there is just something about being in the mountains.

Worth it every time
2. It is an opportunity to train with elite workout partners.  When beautiful trails and strong legs abound, there is no better way to start the day than on a long run with friends.

6 Mamas + 9 Miles = 90 minutes of FREEDOM
Or on a longish hike with some adventuresome kiddos who typically find no boulder unworthy of a scramble.
Ain't no Mountain High Enough
3. You get a fresh perspective. The world looks different from a mountain top. It feels different after a swim in a cold, clear lake. It smells different among towering trees and strong breezes. It tastes different after a heart-pounding run and a day spent playing. Get out and feel that difference for yourself and don't be afraid to try something new - who knows what you might be capable of.

Moving Mountains (Because No One Ever Told Me I Couldn't)
4. You score some sweet bonding time. I love spending time with my kids. I don't love that most of the time that I spend with them during the week is impacted by the demands of work, school, commuting, activities, chores, laundry, cleaning up, etc. The best antidote I have found to this craziness is to focus on getting as much quality family time as possible on the weekends - not at home where we are constantly confronted by the near-endless to do list, but as far away from those constraints as possible. At a distance and a pace where, for example, my endlessly active 3YO can...

Paddle with me to the ends of the Earth
And then still fall asleep on my chest
Those moments don't happen as often in the presence of phones, computers and piles of dirty laundry. They do, however, happen in the mountains.

5. Free range kiddos do better in school (and life). I read a great article recently about the benefits of getting your kids outside in nature, early, often and always. The benefits include improved health, self confidence, creativity and problem-solving skills, reduced stress, and increased creativity and concentration. Watching a pack of kids invent a complex game that involved everyone (ages 3 - 8) in an elusive hierarchy, spanned two sets of boulders and a good chunk of forest, included rocks, sticks, colored chalk and lots of happy shrieking and running and you have your own set of empirical data on how freakin awesome it is to get outdoors with your kids. The best part is they are almost entirely self-entertained and amazingly less accident prone and more resilient than you normally give them credit for, which means you can actually have a nice conversation with a friend while casually getting a visual on them now and again while they rid the world of ...
Tree Monsters!!!!
and Swamp Creatures
Last weekend definitely felt like a solid last hurrah to close out summer. Thankfully for us, the weather only gets nicer in the Bay Area in the fall so by no means will this be the end of the adventures or Fitcations. Especially as long as I have these two in tow:

To learn more about my Fitness Project, please contact me at Mommytasker@gmail.com, MommyTasker.com, or connect with me on Facebook.


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