Thursday, October 2, 2014

Well how about that!

I stopped blogging for awhile.  Maybe you noticed.  Most likely not.  For a long time the idea of blogging stressed me out.  For some reason it doesn't at this particular moment.  I looked back through my previous entries a bit, and I really like how it reminds me of little daily things I had forgotten.  I don't feel like blogging every day or posting pictures of all of my food, and as much as I always told myself I was blogging for ME, I always kind of struggled to find a voice.  Blogs have gone through so many strange permutations since I read my first weblog back when doing so required  earplugs to block out the shrieking of the modem as you logged onto "the net".  I read MySpace brain-dump blogs and that's pretty much how my blog started out.  Then when my kids came along I got into reading mommy blogs and my own kind of ended up going that way as well.  When mom bloggers became old news I started reading food blogs and brought my own blog along for the ride.  I guess I worried that I needed to have some sort of theme because the minutiae of my day-to-day life wasn't interesting enough to support a blog without a "hook".  It still isn't.  But I'm well into my 30's now and caring less and less about what others think (thank God) so I'm just going to write whenever and about whatever I desire.  How's THAT for "finding my voice"?  If I write it, it's my voice.  So there.

Today I woke up.  I took my pills.  I ate breakfast.  I drove the kids to school.

Just kidding.  Hopefully I can keep it a BIT more interesting than that.  But for real, that is how my morning started.

So now that we're back and chatting again, I feel like I need to admit that I have once again let myself go.  I had a longish depressive time over the past few months, and I just really didn't care what I ate or how much I exercised.  Depression, for me, sometimes manifests as really "down" days where I can't imagine how I'm going to get through the day and I just lay on the couch feeling sad whenever I don't HAVE to be doing something, but more often than that it's a kind of complacency.  I just.don'  Things are fine, some people live in shacks next to a river of sewage, so why should I worry about keeping my house spic and span?  Some kids eat nothing but McDonalds and my kids eat A LOT better than that, so whole wheat pasta thrown in a pot with ground beef and a can of diced tomatoes fairly often isn't so bad, right?  All my desire for self-improvement disappears.  One of the toughest things about depression for me is that you don't realize you ARE depressed until you aren't anymore and you're looking back on the past few months.  Well, that and not being able to trust your own thoughts.  That's pretty fun too.

It may be the new meds or it may just be my natural mood cycle, but I'm feeling better.  And I want to stay that way.  As long as I have the motivation and good mood to do so, I plan to do as many things as possible to keep myself this way, and I want to focus on the fact that things don't have to be all or nothing.  They don't have to be 100% perfect or a mess, there can be a happy medium.  I've been tracking my food, eating like a little angel and exercising for the past 4 days, and I know the time will come when I "mess up" but I am trying to be very aware that one mess up doesn't have to take things from perfect to crappy.  If I can get back on track then I will still end up above-average.

Jumping to what seems like a completely different topic (but what actually is a little related), we went to Colorado this summer.  The trip was nice and it left me with a desire to simplify, to live near friends, and to appreciate my mountains more.  The Appalachians may be smaller and harder to spell than the Rockies, but they're still pretty nice and between you and me, I prefer them!  And about 10 minutes away from my house is Gambrill Park, which is a really nice place to enjoy them.  There are quite a few trails up there you can hike with your dog, and my dogs definitely need exercise.  On top of that, sunlight and exercise for me and being out in nature are good for depression, so it's actually pretty dumb that I haven't been doing much hiking up there before now.

So on Monday I biked to the gym, took Bodypump and biked home.  On Tuesday I hiked with my dog Hunter up at Gambrill (2 different 1-mile trails, since I wasn't sure how long it would take a beginner like me), Wednesday I biked to and from the gym to take Bodypump again, and today I hiked with Hunter at Gambrill again.  Not too shabby!  And since Will is begging me for pictures because he wants to live vicariously through me, I snapped quite a few on my hike today.

On the way there, the mountains weren't exactly visible so I figured I'd be hiking in the mist.
There are usually mountains up there
Hunter was stoked either way.

Yes, he did try to climb out the window later.  Thank goodness he was on a leash.
After blasting through the 1-mile red and white trails on Tuesday, we decided to try the longer, more challenging green trail today.

Hunter would rather I didn't waste time taking pictures.
We walked along for awhile.  I tried to breathe in all the nature and be mindful of everything around me.
For example, I noticed that someone had been having fun along the trail.
Hiking with a dog is awesome.  Hunter loves to go down hills quickly, so he keeps my heart rate up by keeping my speed up even when we're going downhill.  Then when we're going uphill, he helps by pulling me along!

The only time we have issues is when we encounter something like this, because it either requires that I unhook Hunter's leash, crawl under the tree or throw him over it.  We usually figure it out though.
Yep, I crawled under it

Pretty view looking down the mountain

But oof!  There was a lot more mountain to go above me!
After a particularly tough hill we stopped for water (Hunter got some from a stream, I got some from my bottle).  I figured I was probably almost done.

Nope.  Only 25 minutes into my 1-hour hike.

Oh man.  I'm already as pink as my shirt.
I let Hunter pull a little more of my weight :-)

Smoky Bear.  Telling us the obvious.
We passed these cute dudes and it made me smile to hear and see how similar the Chocolate Lab was to Maxx.  I feel bad leaving him behind (he'll be my hiking buddy tomorrow) but there's no way I can handle both dogs on a trail.

Woof.  Woof woof woof woof, woof woof.

Hunter left his calling card for them.  The joys of owning male dogs.
 We eventually reached the top of the mountain, where Hunter was terrified by a statue.

 Then we took a moment to enjoy the Frederick overlook.

Ahhh, what a beautiful view.  Of fog.
Mom, I can't see anything.  Why are we standing here?
Hunter gave the statue one last suspicious look,

I've got my eye on you, you creep.
Then we got to walk back downhill!  Yay!

My favorite part of the hike, because it means we're almost done!
 When we got back to the parking lot, I was seized with the urge to maximize my exercise time, and decided to hike for 8 more minutes and check out the yellow trail a bit.

I was interested to see what this trail is like, because a bit sign said it was maintained by a local biking club.  If that was true, then maybe in a few months when I'm super-fit again I could try my hand at mountain biking.  But how on earth do you climb steps on a bike?

I've got a little more training to do it seems.  Especially since I still run into things on my bike.
 All of the trails we've hiked have been loops, and it turns out Hunter does NOT like turning around and going back the way we came.

Luckily I am stronger than him.
And that was our hiking experience today!  I have really been enjoying squeezing in an hour of exercise and nature while Charlotte is at school.  And the dogs are far less annoying when they're tired.

Hunter, NOT trying to jump out the window this time.
Keeping my motivation up for the rest of the day after working out has been challenging, but I'm getting there.  I don't have to go from a lazy bum to Olympian in one week, right?  It's not all or nothing, right?  RIGHT???

I know it's right.  I just don't always trust myself.  And even when I DO manage to know that it's right, there's still the truly believing it part.

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