Into the Wilderness

A few weeks ago, I went on a hut trip. I’ve never been on a trip like this, had heard about them and thought it would be fun. Now, I happen to know people who do this every year and I thought, why not have a girls weekend doing something quintessentially Coloradoan? In the winter, it turns out that this is a serious backpacking endeavor. The snowshoe in is 7 miles long, and you have to carry everything except the kitchen sink (and dishes) Everything else goes on your back. In my case, it was 35 pounds of gear, clothes, food, meds, everything I would need for 2 nights in the remote wilderness. 

In the weeks leading up to the trip, I planned on snowshoeing at high altitude every weekend to get ready and in shape. Lofty goal as it turns out as I managed exactly 2 snowshoes and one hike. As our departure date approached, I grew more anxious knowing that I only had whatever conditioning I had built up in the gym to rely on getting me through the trek. By the time I had to pack and meet my friends, I was wishing for a blizzard that would keep us home, and keep me from certain failure.  Unfortunately, we are not that lucky here in CO this year, and the day dawned sunny and unseasonably warm. I packed up my gear and headed to my friend’s house with trepidation.  We drove to Carbondale  with a few others, and the whole way up I got pep talk after pep talk. 

See, despite growing up at high altitude, it kicks my ass every single time. Any hike starting at 9,000 ft is guaranteed to see a Geochick dragging along at a snails pace while people 20 years older than me practically run by me on the trail. This hike starts at 9,000 ft, finishes at 11,000 ft and over 7 miles, the last 2 miles contains 1,000 ft of the 2,000ft total of elevation gain. 

After spending the night in a hotel, re-packing my backpack on the advice of my friends, shedding another pound or two, the next day, we started the hike on a blue sky sunny day where the sun, sometimes a friend, began to turn into our foe, relentlessly beating down on the first 5 miles of road making me sweat buckets under my heavy pack.

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Once we got to the final 2 mile hill, I welcomed the chance to dive into the forest for some coolness. The steepness of the switchbacks slowed us all down, saving the mountain goats of the group, and we slogged on, one foot in front of the other, stopping every 5 or so steps to catch our breath.  

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Finally, after 5 hours, we made it, exhausted, hot, and sweaty, and treated to these views

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It was totally worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Anti-Resolution

I've been thinking a lot about how to approach nutrition and habits given that it's the new year. I always feel like I SHOULD be tracking on MFP. I SHOULD be making sure I eat 120g Protein a day. I SHOULD try a dry month....

SHOULDS make me crazy and feel like a failure. So, for this year, I'm working on changing that mindset more than anything. I've decided to stay the course focusing on eating well, fueling for workouts, and not stressing out about the drinking thing. A couple of recent revelations have steered me in this direction:

1) I've learned that most of my family on my bio dad's side are alcoholics. I am not. I drink more than most people, I guess...but not to excess. I've never felt like I needed to drink in the morning, and I've never been late/missed work/got a DUI because of alcohol. Yeah. I'm fine. I need to stop beating myself up about it.

2) I spent the back half of last year not really tracking, and when I completely fell off the wagon (ahem, Christmas cookies), it was noticeable how crappy I felt. My body tells me when I've had enough, and I need to learn how to listen to it. Obsessive tracking doesn't make me pay attention to how my body feels or is reacting to whatever I'm putting into it.

There you have it. The Anti-Resolution. 

When it Rains...

I had this whole post written previously and then hit some random button that deleted the whole block. Awesome. That about sums up how things are going right now. Although, until a few days ago, I thought I was feeling better and now that I've been at a full dose instead of a half dose of my meds that was taking the edge off. But....really....probably not. Sometimes that stuff is smoke and mirrors and things happen indicating that I'm not well all things considered. I think this is more anxiety than depression because I have energy, I'm doing my normal routine stuff and enjoying activities. I feel like I'm in high alert much of the time though...so...anxiety. Case in point, on my travels, I had a couple of eff-it nights, once by myself and once with colleagues. I drank too much and gave myself a hangover. And, if I'm totally honest, having a slight hangover on the weekends has been a somewhat regular occurrence over the past few weeks. Not doing well = coping.  

A few updates to put this all in perspective from my last post:

I traveled two weeks in a row - one shorter trip and one long trip that got longer when my flight back was delayed by 3 hours and I luckily managed to get on a flight that left a mere 2 hours after my regularly scheduled flight. That was a bummer.

 I called my uncle and had a good talk with him. There is definite dysfunction in my bio-family and two of the four brothers passed away from alcoholism (my bio-dad passed away in 2005). I learned a little bit more about bio-dad and the family, and probably the most jarring was being told that I look like my paternal grandmother. Also that my middle name was her first name. Not sure if my mom ever told me that. I have the number of the other brother, uncle J and it seems that he and Uncle B don't communicate very much. In fact, it sounds like Uncle J's wife has been the searcher for me and my brother. She's the one who found my F-B page. 

My gym is having a challenge and I'm pushing myself harder physically than is typical. It's awesome feeling stronger and noticing that I'm building muscle. In fact, it's kind of been a life-saver keeping me from going too far down the rabbit hole and giving me a concrete goal to work towards. That being said, I've now been moved to tears while working out. Guess there is a lot of crap surfacing.

The Integrative Pain PT seems to be helping. My second appointment showed less screwed up muscles than the first. It's hard to explain how it works because it's all neurological based and they do tapping and probing of areas of the body to make the nerves fire correctly. It all feels like voodoo, but then again, I'm pushing myself hardcore in the gym and have yet to backslide into pain. The stretch has had a lot to do with that too, it's been two weeks since my last one and I'm noticing that I don't have to treat as many trigger points with the handy dandy lacrosse ball.

X's and Z's behaviors are going downhill probably due to developmental leaps on Z's part at 2.5 and X's looming end of kindergarten and birthday all around the same time. Awesome. We're doing as well as we can, but the yelling has increased and neither S nor I are being great about using better discipline techniques. That's just an on-going journey through therapy and overcoming our instincts. Ugh.

And...now for the big news.....

We're buying a house.

We weren't planning on buying a house yet.

Here we are, 2 months out from closing, frantically moving up the landscaper, finding a carpet installer and addressing all the little shit we've been putting off forever. How does this happen, you ask? Or maybe you don't, because it does happen, much like infertility. In our case, it's analogous to the couples who think that it may take a while to get pregnant and then *bam* pregnant on the first month. 

The rest of the story is that we have been coming around to the idea that this neighborhood is not ideal for our family. We looked at the NY Times Race Map, and our neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods are 90-96% white. Also, it's a pain in the ass to get to X's and eventually Z's school even though it's only 3.5 miles from our house. From our current location, it can easily take 20 minutes in typical traffic and more in heavy traffic because of the number of major congested intersections we need to get through. After talking it over we decided to start looking around at neighborhoods around the school and while they are still 80% white, they are adjacent to more diversity overall. There's a higher percentage of high density apartment and condo housing and all the shopping areas in those parts are more diverse.

Well, S found a listing of a house that piqued his interest and that I brushed off because it was further away from the school than I wanted to be (but an easier 10 min drive compared to our nightmare 20 min drive). It was also more than we wanted to pay as we'd like to make a lateral move financially, not take on a bigger mortgage 20 years out from retirement. Then, the price dropped to our range, and S called me while I was traveling to say he thought we should get a Realtor and look at it over the weekend. I was surprised because I have never seen S get excited about a house. When we looked at this house we are in now, I was the one who pushed putting in an offer, he was still on the fence. This was totally different. He was excited to see it, and I was the one thinking that we'd see it and realize that we'll be able to find something similar when we are ready. Obviously that didn't happen. I took one step into the house and it took my breath away. This is the closest I could get to a dream house without designing it myself. I'm excited to decorate it, and even more excited that the loan will be the same as ours now for a house and yard that are literally twice the size and three times as nice. Best of all, I told X's therapist about the house location and she approves of our choice for X and our family overall! There you go, a little more stress for the summer....

 

 

The End of an Era

 

I officially resigned from Jazz.ercise.  I haven't had so much as an inkling to even take a class, it's like my brain has finally moved on. I tried quitting before, but that lasted less than year and I re-instated my franchise thinking I was refreshed and ready to teach forevermore....

Fast forward another 5 years, and I changed jobs, putting myself in an exhausting position at work that requires a lot of energy and more travel. When I tendered my resignation at the center last Fall, I don't think I thought I'd actually quit for real, but here it is. I did my last set of taxes for my business (in which I made a whopping $2k a year, but still have to pay taxes!) and I sold my microphone to a friend of mine when hers died. Now I need to trash all my notes and figure out what to do with all my routine DVDs. Maybe give them away to new instructors, maybe toss them in the trash. I'll have a half empty desk once I'm done with the purge. 

I don't feel much of anything, maybe a little sad, but at the same time, I think I worked through a lot of stuff these past few years of teaching. I always struggled feeling like I was a good instructor, and had a really hard time with the students who were constant critics, often forgetting to focus on the students who loved my classes. Over the last few years, I finally got to a point where I didn't care as much and I knew I was a good instructor. I was having fun teaching classes and not berating myself over missed cues or forgetting routines (yeah, it happens). I also started having chronic injury issues that were getting to be difficult to fix. The repetitive nature of what I was doing, and not being in a position to modify while leading the class seemed to be leading to chronic tightness that my chiro couldn't work through as easily. He started telling me a year ago to quit and find something else based on how many times I would have to see him with an acute pain, and then I got really sick a couple of times, including Influenza. Over and over, I heard, "you're doing too much, you need to get rid of something." It took a while to listen, but I finally did. 

Jazz.ercise is an experience that I'm grateful for. I'm glad I pushed myself to not only become an instructor, which was way outside my comfort zone, but that I stuck it through for 13 years. It helped me maintain my fitness, but it also helped me in my job. When I gave a technical talk last year at a conference, it was surprisingly void of nerves. I've never eschewed public speaking, but I've always done it under the cloud of stage fright complete with sweaty palms and shaking voice. Finally, that seems to have ebbed and I've gained a lot more confidence being in front of big groups. 

These days, I go to a gym where I'm swinging sledgehammers, jumping on boxes, lifting weights, and generally getting my ass kicked. I completed Project Management training and a Leadership class at work, and I'm starting to work on big changes in the way I do things to make a $200+ million project successful. Things are happening, and they're happening fast. It's the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one. One in which I kick fitness and my career path into high gear with a new gym and a clear desire to reach the higher echelons of management in my organization.

Stay tuned....