Isaac and I built an obstacle course.  We set up Harper Lee’s old balance beam at the edge of the goat pen and marked out a course through the woods and field.

The course:

Face the barn and count to 40.  (This gives your partner time to run and hide– with a water gun.)

Run through a huge pile of leaves from last fall.

Cross the balance beam.

Hurdle a tree that fell during all the rain last week.

Run into the woods and follow the path to the tree house.

Climb the tree house ladder and jump out the other side.

Run to the barbed wire fence at the edge of our property.  Cross it.

Run through the ditch that follows the edge of the neighbor’s property.  Try to avoid the briars.  There is no path, so just run.  Wherever.

Come back up at the other end of the gulley.  Cross the barbed wire fence again.

Run like a maniac through the tall grass up the hill to the barn.

Pass the goat pen and follow the mowed path to the garage.

Drop and army crawl through an obstacle.  (A piece of plywood set atop two cardboard boxes.)

Tag the pear tree.  Check your time.

*Oh, and somewhere along all that, your partner jumps out of the bushes or from behind a tree and chases you while shooting you with a water gun.  Just for an added adrenaline rush.

Afterwards, switch partners.  Continue this several times until someone is lying in the grass, red-faced and sweaty and shouting, “No more!”

For additional fun, carry weights to the bottom of the hill and run relays carrying the weights back up the hill.  (We timed ourselves and tried to beat our personal best twice.)

It was a good way to spend a Thursday afternoon, and it got us moving.  Together.

Sometimes it’s hard to get workouts in when our schedules are busy.  I’ve managed to cram stuff in (even when they were babies) the best I could.  Now that they’re older, it’s much easier, but I also like to include them when I can now that they can keep up.  Neither of them are particularly interested in running several miles, but goofy stuff like the obstacle course (which kicked my butt) is fun, and it’s a solid workout.  Like everything else, I can make it as hard as I want it to be.

I’ve been into what I call “adventure” workouts the past few months.  This is, apparently, a new trend.  There are several workout programs online geared toward fitness that, from what I can gather, intends to get people in shape for outdoor adventures rather than actual races (though I imagine racing might be included).  It’s just a little different from the ordinary race plans I’ve seen because it incorporates a lot of different movements and forms of exercise.

I have no plans to sign up for anything like that onlie– I figure I already know what to do; I just need to do it.  But the “getting in shape for adventure” aspect appeals to me because that’s what’s been driving me in my daily fitness goals for a while.  I used to train to race.  I was pretty single-minded in that pursuit, and at the time, I really enjoyed it.

But then I found myself struggling.  I wasn’t feeling very motivated– not in the same way, and frankly, my body felt like it needed a mix-up, some variety.  I’ve had way more aches and pains than I should, and I have some pretty bad muscle imbalances from years of doing the same thing.  I’m ready to switch it up.

I still love running, but I need something else to keep me going, something else to look forward to.  I think having a goal is really helpful in making myself get out the door.  But I need a different goal.

One of the reasons I run, and have for nearly 20 years, is that I want to be able to do all the things I love when I get older.  I want to hike to the top of mountains without getting winded.  I want to bike mountain trails.  Swim in rivers.  Get up and down off the floor without rolling around like a turtle who’s flipped over on its shell.  I see older people (not old, mind you, just older) who moan and groan and act like walking up the stairs is a major feat of physical daring.  That scares the crap out of me.  I don’t want to let my body be so underused that it just stops working at all.

And I don’t want to miss out on all of the beauty and magnificence of the world.  There’s a lot left that I still haven’t seen.  If I let my body go and stop using it, how will I get to see all the things I still want to climb up, ride through or swim across?

Besides, just as I don’t want to lose my mind or my spirit, I don’t want to lose my body.  I like it.  I want to keep it in working order for as long as I can.  I want to die with my boots on.

I’m practicing yoga– the best thing ever.  I’m lifting weights again.  Riding my bike.  Swimming laps.  And running through the woods with a water gun at times.  All so I can do the things I want to do, which, coincidentally, includes all of the above.

My friend Lois, at age 73, is walking the Camino with my other friend Rebecca.  Never a fitness enthusiast, Lois wasn’t sure she could do it.  But she’s doing it.  She’s been out for 37 days and has walked 356 miles.  And she’s seeing the world.  Living the life she imagined.  I tell you, if that doesn’t make you want to get out the door, nothing will.  I’ll post more on Lois and Rebecca later– they totally deserve their own post.  For now, though, I’m off with Crystal to check out the course for the Insane Terrain Trail Race in a couple of weeks.  The creek is up from all the rain, and I think we have to cross it twice.  And there’s a lot of mud.  Sounds perfect.