ALL the pants!

The weight loss journey is full of ups and downs (so to speak). A couple of years ago, I was going horseback riding in Glacier National Park, and one of the facts I had to enter on my reservation form was my weight. These things seem unrelated, but unfortunately, when I originally signed up for the trip, rather than my ACTUAL weight, I entered my goal weight. Seemed like terrific incentive at the time. Less so, after I later had to admit … “Uhhhh … I’m gonna need a bigger horse.”

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Now, I’m getting ready to go on my extreme adventure, and I’m at it again. I’ve been on Weight Watchers for several months, and while there continues to be, quite literally, many ups and downs, the trend is downward. For the last couple of years, I have made extensive use of leggings, stretchy skorts, and comfy maxi skirts. Deep in my closet, structured pants collected dust.

Last night, I decided to give it a go.

Reluctantly, I tried on the first pair of dusty pants, and they FIT! Eyes round, my mouth in a surprised “o”, I tried the second. They fit, too! And a third. I whispered, “all the pants”. This continued for the fourth, fifth, sixth pair of pants. By living alone, I am free to fully express myself in the privacy of my own home. In this case, I likely saved someone a call to the psychiatric ward, as I danced in my closet, wildly giggling and shouting, “ALL THE PANTS!” over and over.

All this time, I didn’t know. I didn’t need stretchy fabric. I didn’t need to go shopping. I just needed to eat lettuce!

A wild retirement ride …

I turn 55 next year. All of a sudden, my future plans seem not so distant. I’m ready to construct the foundation for what I hope is going to be a wild retirement ride. So I made a list. The list had two columns: “what makes you feel good?” and “what makes you feel bad?”. Walking outside with a good camera feels good. Playing games on my phone feels bad. Yoga feels good. Drinking too much wine feels bad. Hiking feels good. To become immersed in the comment section of a political Facebook post feels bad. And so on. To do more of the former and less of the latter will, inch by inch, get me closer to my goals. It will bring me closer to being the person I want to be.

Travel, write, photograph, repeat.

That’s what I want retirement to look like. To do this, I need to be financially sound. I need to be healthy; to be able to move my body with ease. I need to be strong; to be able to hoist my kayak and make good use of my hiking boots. Balance, strength, and stamina came without effort in my twenties, thirties, and forties. The fifties? Not so much. It’s gonna take some work.

So, I tackled the feel bad line item “too much TV” this week. Often, I don’t fully engage in a program when it is on. It’s just background noise. A distraction. So I approached “too much TV” in the same way I approached my list. What feels good? What feels bad? “This is Us” feels good. “Real Housewives of Orange County” feels bad. So I pulled up the Scheduled tab On Demand, and started deleting. Instead of “The Voice”, I will prepare a good meal. Instead of “Chicago Fire”, I will go to a yoga class. Instead of “Below Deck”, I will go photograph some fall color. I’ll call a friend. I’ll explore an idea by writing about it. I’ll investigate some local hikes and lace up my hiking boots. The possibilities are endless.

Do more of what feels good. Do less of what feels bad. Now, this is something I can get behind.

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Half crazy?

It’s been three years since I ran my last half marathon. That year, I ran three. Next year, I am going to celebrate my double-nickel birthday by running again. My fourteenth half. My first since they reconfigured my foot.

I thought I had lost my mojo.

But a friend’s recent first race inspired me. She looked so bright and shiny … and happy when she told me about the event. It brought back so many memories of miles, blisters, camaraderie, and my favorite post-run beverage, chocolate milk. Recently, I heard about a race series that runs through the national parks … Zion, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons. And Yosemite! Memories of Yosemite run deep. My family camped there when I was a child, and I can still conjure up that musty smell of our army-green tent that I loved to poke when it rained. My first backpacking trip; standing atop Half Dome.

So I registered for Yosemite, got back on my treadmill, and started to run. I had forgotten the rhythmic Zen of running. I had forgotten how gratifying it was to sweat your hair wet. But this week, I remembered. The voices of former coaches and running partners echoed … lean forward … shorten your strides … quick feet. I’ve got some work to do, and I have 225 days to do it. This week, I started with 30 minutes. One third jogging, two thirds, a quick walk.

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Fifty-five. I hope to get a PR. And I’m gonna wear a tiara.

 

Athlete Wannabe

Interesting epiphany today. It looked like a lovely morning to ride my bike in to work. And it was. There’s a steep climb that parallels I-520, and at the “summit” is an intersection where bikers gather, waiting for the light to change. I’ve always viewed myself as a bit of a fraud … an athlete wannabe. I apologize for being in the way, scoot over … give all the “real” athletes the right of way. Well, today it pissed me off. One of the serious bikers, in full-on racing gear, tried to cut me off. We made eye contact, and I gave him “the look”. You know – the stink eye that moms give their children when they’ve gone too far? He yielded.

I thought about this on the ride home, and starting thinking about the things I’ve been able to accomplish with my imperfect 51-year old body. Three triathlons. Bike MS. STP. The breast cancer three day … twice. Fourteen 5Ks. A 10K. Ten half marathons. The survivor mud run. A 35-mile hike to climb Yosemite Half Dome. Hiked Hanakapi’ai Falls. It really is remarkable how your head controls your body. Tonight, choosing to think of myself as an athlete made me feel strong and powerful. I got in to a rhythm that shaved about twenty-five percent off my typical time home. I know I’m not the only one that races on, feeling like an impostor. But you’re not. And neither am I.

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How many calories does catching a mouse burn?

Mousecapades

Day one … Let me start by telling you that living alone has its perks. You get to watch trash TV, like America’s Next Top Model and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. You get to have cereal for dinner, or even just crackers straight from the box. But … you also don’t have anyone to do the dirty work, like “disappear” spiders. Or sympathize with you about the dark streak that scuttled across the kitchen floor while you innocently stand checking your email. (Yikes!) Alas, I find myself unable to “off” the critters. The spiders are cupped and set free. Now I find myself with a humane live trap from PETA to try to snare my furry little rodent houseguest. Wish me luck. At least there was nobody there to hear me squeal like a girl…

Day two … After completely emptying my pantry, vacuuming up 47,000 “pellets”, bleaching the shelving, throwing away a ton of food, and protecting what’s left in plastic bins, I am feeling significantly less charitable toward my little rodent friend. Dude shat in my Kitchen Aid! If he (or she) outsmarts my humane PETA live trap again tonight, it’s curtains. He (or she) will not get another one of my weekend days. Instead, perhaps a little D-Con appetizer…

Day three … Mickie has officially been re-homed. This, after a midnight run (in my pajamas) to the slough by the trail. I’m a pretty tough girl. Been through some $h1t. But I can tell you that releasing a house mouse in the dark … at close to midnight … while it’s raining (did I mention I was in my pajamas?) … next to some strange dude that has seen fit to park by the trail … while Mickie scuttled around my feet … can elicit a girlie-scream that I just did not know I had in me. I am totally stopping at the hardware store for some D-Con. No more Mrs. Nice Guy.

Postscript … I previously mentioned the strange dude in the parking lot on my midnight run to “deliver” my house mouse. I began to think about this from his perspective yesterday. There he was, minding his own … shall I say, “business” … and this car comes CAREENING in to the muddy parking lot at top speed, completely ignoring the potholes that wildly rocked the vehicle, spewing puddle water from its tires. The car screeches to a halt. Door bursts open, and this pajama-clad woman explodes out of the car, holding some (unidentifiable) object at arm’s length. She races in to the sodden, wild grass, leans over for a minute, then begins dancing in a wildly erratic manner. She screams. An other-worldly, blood-curdling shriek. Races back to the car, jumps in. PEELS out of the parking lot, again ignoring the potholes. Man says to himself, “WTF?!” So, mom … I don’t think you had to worry about me being out by myself in the middle of the night. Would you approach this woman?