Sunday, February 22, 2015

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

It was time for my weekly hike.  My husband had to work and my daughter spent the night at her grandparent's house.  Everyone else had other plans so it was just me and the puppy for today's adventure.  I was totally okay with that.  I was looking forward to being able to just be with myself and do what I wanted and see how I did.

I decided to do a trail I haven't done in over 2 years.  When I first met my friends Josh and Wendie we started doing hikes together.  They were, as they always are, supportive and encouraging with me as a I was struggling to make some big changes.  We did a hike that involved a long uphill with switchbacks to get to the top of Dimple Hill.  I was pretty sure I was going to die.  It was really hard for me and I struggled the entire way up that dam trail.  Everything hurt, my muscles were burning and I couldn't breath.  Every step was a struggle.

I haven't been on it since.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't want to feel that way again.

I was afraid.

Which is kind of silly when I really think about it because I didn't die going up that hill and I made it to the top which means I was successful.  But memory is a funny thing and every time I thought about that trail all I could think of was the struggle.

The last few weeks it has been bugging me.

I keep thinking about that dam hill.

I decided it was time to conquer the fear.

Today was a good day to do that since I was on my own.  I haven't really talked about this with anyone, not even my husband.  I actually didn't realize how much that hill had become a monster in my head until just recently.  Nothing really brought it up.  I didn't have a big "A ha" moment.  I just realized as I was planning where I wanted to go each week that I would avoid getting to Dimple using  Dan's Trail, because it was too hard.  Then I started thinking about all the really hard and steep trails I have done in the last three months.  That made me wonder if maybe Dan's Trail wasn't as bad as I remembered.

Since I had spent a few years avoiding this trail I wasn't absolutely sure where it was.  I knew the general direction that I needed to go and I figured that if I couldn't find it I could just retrace my steps and go back the way I came.

I was blessed with another amazing day.  It was cold and there was a big wind in the trees.  But the sky was blue and the sun was shining.
What a beautiful day!!  I worked on running on the downhills and walking on the uphills.  Even ran some uphills.  :-)

Somehow I missed the turn for Upper Dan's Trail.  But I managed to find the trail for Lower Dan's Trail.  That just meant I got a longer hike and more uphill.  Lower Dan's Trail was really pretty and I enjoyed being somewhere that I had never been before.  I also saw the trail that leads to Chip Ross Park.  I may have to do that sometime this summer.

The trail came out at a junction of road and trail and I found the entrance to Upper Dan's Trail.  I don't know how I missed it on the way down.  I was probably taking pictures or laughing at my dog.  She had a great time today playing with sticks and pine cones.

So now I'm on the trail that I remember.  I was a little apprehensive.  I had some struggles last week with the hills on my 10k trail run and had to keep stopping to rest.  I was worried that I would have to repeat that.  Then I laughed because who cares if I have to stop?  Nobody.  I'm all alone and if I need to stop and take a break then you know what?  I'm going to stop and take a break.

As I am walking up the trail I am thinking about he first (only) time that I went up this trail.  I was with people that I was just getting to know and already appreciating them greatly.  I was with my husband who has always supported me and believed in me.  I kept remembering how I felt that day two years ago and how miserable I was.

I kept waiting to be miserable.

It didn't happen.

I kept going.

I kept waiting for it to get bad.

It still didn't happen.

That got me thinking about what I have done the past two years to make the experience up this one hill be so drastically different.

Two years ago I was at my very heaviest that I have ever been.  I hadn't been running for a few months, and when I had been running I avoided hills like they were the plague.  Running was hard enough, why add more difficulty to it?

Today I am about 40 pounds lighter.  Not carrying that weight helps a great deal I am sure.  Because I made a decision to not run this school year while working and finishing grad school I have been focusing on weekly hikes.  I have gone on a hike every week since the middle of December.  A lot of them have been hard or long or hard and long.  There have been big steep hills on a lot of them.  And I did them all and had a great time.  Sometimes with big groups of friends and sometimes with just my husband or my daughter.  I was so down on myself about not running during the week that I didn't realize all that the weekly hikes were doing for me.

Today I felt strong.

I did stop about two thirds of the way up to use my inhaler but other than that I just kept moving and and a nice steady pace.  I wasn't running but I felt good.  It made me happy.

Then I started thinking about what I want to do when I'm done with grad school.  I found myself realizing some things that will affect how I exercise for awhile.  When I first started running I ran to feel better and I would challenge myself to run a little farther each time or run a little faster each time.  I enjoyed the feeling when I knew that I had done better than I had done the time before.

Training plans are important and I know I need to use them for some things I have in mind.  But for awhile I think I'm just going to run to run.  I'm going to enjoy the journey.  Stop and take pictures.  Be happy if I did better than the last time I did a particular hike or a particular route.  I'm going to continue to enjoy what I am doing.  In my efforts to push myself to certain goals, and then not reaching the goals in spite of the hard work I ended up making myself miserable.  I have a demanding job that has a lot of goals and deadlines that must be met.  I have been involved in grad school for the last year and a half that has also had a lot of deadlines and expectations.  I am enjoying my hiking because it is whatever I want and I do it however fast or slow I feel like.  No training plan.  No time expectations.  No pace expectations.  I'm just out and about and I'm moving.
The Bench
The first time I went up Dan's Trail I wanted to stop at this bench.  I mean just stop.  I really thought about sitting on that bench and just waiting for everyone to come back down and get me.  I didn't think I could make it to the top.  This is just a couple of switchbacks to the top.  I kept going that day and made it to the top of Dimple Hill.  

Today I got to that bench and I was fine.  I was not hurting and I was not miserable.  I was slow.  I was working on my breathing but my body was not screaming at me.  That is a GREAT feeling.  
Another beautiful day in the Mac Forest.
We sat on the bench at the top for pictures and a break.  We earned that rest.  :-)
Bailey felt I needed kisses.  She wasn't too interested in posing for a selfie.  :-)  
We headed down the hill and started down the road back to the car.  I decided to go on the road so that I could try and run the whole way.  It's about 2.5 miles and I did run, slowly, the entire way back to the car.  I was proud of myself because I was tired after all the uphills but I kept going.  I wasn't even worried about how slow I was going.  I was moving!  :-)
All tuckered out after our adventures.  
I'll be doing this again.  :-)
I found trails I have never done.  

I conquered trails that I had been avoiding because I was afraid.  

I remembered that often the things I fear are bigger in my mind than they are in reality.  

I remembered that I don't always have to be working on the next goal.  Sometimes I just need to enjoy the moment.  

It was a good day.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I Got Lost!

Happy Valentines Day!  I hope that you had a wonderful day.  I know I did, from start to finish.

A few weeks ago Joe found a trail run at the coast on Valentines Day.  They had a 25k and a 10k.  He wanted to do the 25k.  I figured that I could do the 10k and treat it as my weekend hike.  I asked Meighan if she wanted to do it too and she said yes.

We got up and were ready to leave for Newport at 6:00 a.m.
Ready for Adventures!
It was a nice drive over to the coast.  I always enjoy car rides with the family.  It's a time to talk, laugh, discuss silly things or serious things, play music, sing and just be together.  This ride was no exception.  As we got closer to the coast we could see that the clouds were burning off and blue sky was showing.  It was going to be a beautiful day!

Packet pick up was supposed to be at 7:30.  We had directions to where the race was supposed to start.  According to the directions there would be signs directing us to where we were supposed to go.  The race was partly on some private property so the signs were supposed to be helpful.  Except the signs weren't there.  We managed to find the right road but were unsure of exactly where to go.  We stopped and asked a woman for directions.  She was helpful in letting us know where to go.  But she did not look very happy about us being there.  When she told us where to park she asked us to please not park on the grass.  She really, really, really didn't want anyone to park on the grass.

We worked our way up to the top of the hill and made sure that we didn't park in the grass.  There wasn't anyone there.  Hmmmm, packet pick up was supposed to be at 7:30 and now it's 7:35 and there isn't a soul in sight.

A few minutes passed and a car came zipping up the road and the grass!  It was the person in charge and he quickly was unloading a table and supplies from the back of his car.  We had to laugh about him parking in the grass.

We walked over to a hill and checked out the amazing view.  Wow!  I have mentioned before that I live in an amazing place but it really is breathtaking.
View of the ocean to the west.
View of the sunrise to the east.
My girl.  She loves me.  :-)
My Valentine, I love this man so much!!
Joe and Meighan being silly.
Two of the best people to spend a beautiful day with!
LOVE this girl!!
More people began to show up, but no one else parked in the grass so hopefully the woman will be okay.  :-)

We went over and got our race bibs.  You know it's a small event when the list of people signed up is less than one page long.  This was the first year for this race (we could tell).  The man in charge said that he had forgotten the signs for the road, oops.  But most of the people who had signed up were from the local running community and knew where to go.

Another person who was helping with the event gathered us all together and started describing the route.  You go down this hill and then come up this road, take a right and then follow that trail, blah, blah, blah.  Joe raised his hand and asked if there were signs or markings on the trail because there was no way we were going to remember all that.  The gentleman reassured us that we wouldn't get lost, the trail was easy to follow and well marked.  (Famous last words!)

The 25k and the 10k started off on the same route for a few miles.  We took off and headed down the road.  I was almost immediately in last place.  :-)  It made me laugh.  My knees have been hurting a bit lately and steep downhills can hurt if I'm not careful.  Plus I really don't want to fall down so I tend to take it slow and watch my feet.  I had one lady that I could still see so I just followed her.  We ended up back on the gravel road and I eventually caught up to her.  But as we rounded the corner we could see a road that went to the right with no signs on it or the road we were on that went back to where we were parked.  Hmmmm.  That didn't seem right.  So we went up by the cars and asked the lady that had passed out the bibs where we were supposed to turn.  She said it was the road that went to the right below.  The lady I was with quit.  She said forget it and walked to her car.  I turned around and walked down to the road that went to the right.  I followed it about a quarter of a mile and it opened up into a big flat area with about five trails leading off of it.

None of the trails had signs.

There were no signs of trampled grass or footprints in the muddy areas.

This is not a good sign.

I said eenie meenie miney mo and picked the trail to the left.  I went for about another quarter mile and came out to another trail.  This one had arrows but there were leading back toward the direction of where the race started.

That doesn't seem right.

Now what should I do?

I'm standing there on the trail trying to decide which way to go and I hear the sound of a Mule.  Basically a small vehicle that can haul stuff and has two seats.  It was the owner of the property and he was marking arrows on the end of the run.  Uh oh.  I'm at the end of the trail.

He says to me, "Wow, you are almost done, you must be really fast!"  HA!  Not so much.  I tell him that no, unfortunately I got lost.  I describe what I had done and he tells me he thinks he knows where I messed up.  He will take me to where I missed my turn.  I hop in the Mule and we take off.

I had started to get frustrated when I was standing there trying to decide what to do.  I had started to get mad that I was going to either not do the whole 10k or I was going to be WAY behind everyone else.  So much for trying to see if I could do well with this.

And then my rescuer showed up.  And suddenly I didn't care.  It was a beautiful day, I was having an adventure.  And I was going to enjoy every moment of the adventure!!

Back on the right track!  
My rescuer is off to mark more trails.  
My rescuer offered to take me farther up the trail to make up for the distance that I had gotten while I was wandering around.  I said no.  I wanted to do the entire route the way I was supposed to.  Besides, I was having an adventure on a beautiful warm, sunny day on the Oregon coast on Valentines Day!

There were some big hills.  I mean, really, really big hills.
Not a big fan of hills.  lol

The hills were hard.  The first couple were hard but doable.  I just took it slow and steady.  It was so beautiful so I enjoyed stopping and enjoying the view. (And the opportunity to catch my breath!)

Have I mentioned that the day was amazing?  Warm, sunny and gorgeous!  In February, at the coast, in Oregon!  Crazy!

The trail worked it's way down to the river and then I started passing the 10k people that were already heading back to the finish.  At this point I had put in almost 4 miles.  I figured I was about a mile farther than I should have been if I had stayed on course.  Everyone I passed smiled and waved and told me good job.  I love the running community!

There are always things to see on the trail.  I wasn't alone on the trail, even when I was all by myself.  

I love the texture of the forest.  Everywhere you look there is different texture, light, movement and beauty.  

I then had to run on a road that was flat for awhile until I reached a small park and then I did a loop in that park and headed back to the trail that would lead me back up to the the finish line.  

The single track trail that I had come down was a lot different going back up.  I was tired and starting to hurt.  I reached the point of a 10k on my Nike+  and the result wasn't too bad.  
Pretty decent considering all the hills.  
But then I really struggled.  That single track trail was deceptively steep and I was running out of steam.  I had to stop a lot to rest.  My glutes were burning, probably a good thing since that meant I was engaging my glutes when I went up hill.  I have been having some issues with my IT band the past few months and about halfway up this hill it really started hurting.  I think I must have stopped to rest at least five times.

Single track from hell.  Ugh! 
But I kept moving forward.  

I had come this far and I wasn't going to quit!

I got up to the top of the single track trail and followed the arrows.  I knew I was getting close to the finish line because I was where I had been standing when I was rescued.  I also knew that I couldn't have gone much more than a mile extra when I was lost. 

Then I come around a corner and see an arrow that is pointing to my left.  I look over and there is this super steep, clay track that is about a quarter of a mile up.  Well, shit.  One foot in front of the other.  Getting to the top of that little (but super steep) hill was probably the best part of the day.  It was hard!  I was tired and pooped but I did it.  

I got to the top of the hill, came around the corner and there was that gorgeous view.  And the finish line.  I had done it!  

Here are pictures that Ardor Adventures took and posted on Facebook.  Pretty fun!
This is before I got lost.  :-)
Joe did awesome in his 25k!
Like mother, like daughter!  Meighan got lost too.  We will both do better next year!
Meighan finishing up.  
My 10k + more.  Almost done.  :-)
Pretty awesome view to finish up with!
25k Trail Run.  Stud! :-) 

Hanging out at the finish!
The day didn't go as I had planned.  The trail was MUCH harder than I had anticipated.  But I had a blast and was able to push through the difficult parts and enjoy the run and the day.  I'm proud of how I did push through AND I'm proud of keeping a good attitude throughout the day.  I would have really been hard on myself last year and ruined the day, in my own head anyway.  

So it was a successful day on so many levels. 

It may not be every ones idea of a perfect Valentines Day.  But it was totally perfect for me!   

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Running Because It's Fun!

My professors have been stressing the importance of self care while we are going through our practicum.  As I said in my last blog, I had decided to make a weekly hike a major part of my self care plan.  I would go with family, with friends, or by myself but I would go.

I have this amazing group of friends that are so encouraging and supportive.  I treasure these friendships tremendously, as I'm sure anyone who has read a few of my posts can tell.  I also have the most wonderful husband who loves me and believes I can do anything I set my mind to.  Which is good because sometimes I don't think I can and he reminds me that I can.  He is starting to gear up his training for Ironman Canada in July but he is making a huge effort to include me in that training by working his training schedule around my hiking days so that we can do something together.  I'm not sure he knows how much that means to me.  

I planned a hike with my friend Kristy and then let people know what we would be doing in case their plans coincided so that they could join us.  Joe decided to ride his bike over to where the hike was going to start and then hike with us.  Josh and Wendie were hiking too but were planning on hiking the uphills and running the downhills.  There were others out and about on the mountain working on various training plans.  Sometimes it's just fun knowing we are out there at the same time, even if we don't see each other.  

When Wendie told me about her plan to hike up and run down the hills I started thinking.  Hmmmm, I wonder how I would do if I did that?   I wonder how far ahead of me they would be?  This may not seem like crazy thoughts but considering how little running I have done it seemed a bit out there.  I didn't say anything to Joe or Wendie because I didn't want to feel like I had to try and keep up.   

We were doing the vineyard loop and chose to head up the right hand side.  Going this direction has us going uphill at the start and again at the end.  We hiked and talked and laughed all the way up the hill.  Josh and Wendie took off running at one point on a short downhill and then doubled back to meet up with us again.  I still hadn't decided what I wanted to do.  I knew that Kristy and Joe would stick with me if I just kept walking, especially since I hadn't said anything about running.  I think there was a part of me that was testing out how I would feel about being "left behind".  There were no  "poor me" or "I can't do this" thoughts in my head.  I really have turned the corner on that, glance at it once in awhile in my rearview mirror but it's not front and center anymore.  That's a pretty great feeling.  
Kristy was worried that her pack was too bright.  You hardly notice it if you are with Joe and his bright yellow pants!
The road doubled back and started heading back to the Saddle.  Here begins the downhill.  Decision time.  I decided to start running and just see what happened.  After all, the worst thing that could happen would be that I went back to hiking.  Oh darn, hiking in the beautiful woods with my husband, my puppy and my friend?  Tough deal.  :-)  I figured it was a win/win at this point and took off.  

I was at the back of the group but not way, way back and that was kind of fun.  I managed to keep up decently and overall felt good.  I was am still working on not using my inhaler and really concentrating on regulating my breathing.  Because I haven't been running I just listened to my body, focused on my posture, my breathing and how it felt to be running.  

It felt good.  

It felt fun.  

It has been a long time since I just ran because it felt good and fun.  It made me happy.  It's been a long time since running has made me happy.  I was with people I love, my dog was being a silly, happy puppy and I was running....just because I wanted to.  No agenda, no race, no training plan, no pace requirement.  

Just moving. 

Pushing myself.

Because it felt good to push myself.  

We got to a hill and Wendie started hiking.  Thank God.  I was loving the running but it's been awhile so I was happy for the break.  Each time we started running I worked a little harder at trying to keep us with Wendie.  She sets a quick steady pace.  (Hoping that by the time summer gets here and we can run on Thursdays together I can keep up with her.) :-) There was a couple of times that I was able to keep pace with her for a short time.  I even ran up a couple of short hills.  It was fabulous.  I was pooped!  I had a blast.  :-)  
I had taken my phone out of my pocket and must have hit the pause button on Nike+ on accident so it didn't get my pace for the last mile where I was really trying to see how fast I could go.  And I had been fiddling with the settings on my Garmin watch and messed something up so it recorded the time we hiked but that is all.  At first I was bummed and then I wasn't.  I focused on how it felt instead of what the numbers on a read out said. 

It felt good just to be moving faster and I was so excited by the fact that I did SO MUCH better than I thought I could.  I may not be running on a regular basis but the weekly hikes and staying active at work have kept me from having to completely start over.  This gets me excited about getting going again in April.  And the majority of my Nike+ showed that I had negative splits on every mile of the hike and that includes the first half which was all uphill.  Winner!  :-)
It is so easy to spiral into negativity or depression and it often takes time to dig your way out.  For those of us that struggle for time to time with depression it can take a little more time to do that.  Having patient, supportive people around while digging out of the hole you have created is such a blessing. 
It is also easy to spiral up into happy and positive energy.  The light feeds off of itself in much the same way the dark does.  But it's such a better experience.  Things are a lot chaotic for me right now. Juggling work and practicum and family is a lot.  And in spite of that I'm really in a good place.  My husband has been Ah-May-Zing about letting me have my "I'm completely stressed out and can't do this" crying jags and then kicking me in the ass and telling me that I can and will do this.  That's just part of how I handle stress and I am fortunate we have been married long enough that he knows exactly how to handle me when I'm like that.    Well that and the occasional migraine and a really bad case of zits.  Geez, I feel like I'm 15, not 45, with pimples all over my face. And in spite of the stress, and being super busy, and only getting to hike once a week, I'm happy about where I am with my health and exercise.  

I'm doing the very best I can with the time and energy I have right now.  And it's enough.  There will be a time when I can do more and that will be fun.  But right now I have cut myself a TON of slack and am enjoying the feeling.  I have learned to be happy where I am at right now.  That doesn't mean I plan to set up camp and live in this place.  But it's nice to know that I can focus on other aspects of my life and still feel like I am making progress in my health in small ways.

Last summer I was feeling guilty for not doing EVERYTHING at an amazing level.  I ended up feeling like I was doing EVERYTHING at a crappy level.  When I let some things go and focused on the things that needed my full attention things got better.  When I stopped worrying about what I thought everyone else thought I should be doing to be healthy (did that make sense?) things got better.  My journey is not going to be like other people's journey.  I have no idea where I want my journey to go but I'm excited about all the possibilities.

Last week a friend texted me about my hike up to Fitton Green last week.  I told her that I did good and that it was a really steep hill.  I said I didn't know how all you crazies run up that stupid thing.  She said something along the lines of I could do it too, just have to work at it.  I laughed.  The thing I realized and is now crystal clear is that I don't WANT to run up that stupid hill.  No desire.  Not my challenge, not my goal, not my obstacle to overcome.  I have routes that have hills that I do want to run up.  Trails that I think that I might be able to work at running more and hiking less.

But I don't want to be an ultra runner.

Or a marathoner.

Or an Ironman.

I just want to be a healthier me.  I don't know exactly what that is going to look like later but the decisions I have made about my health are right for me and where I am at right now.  The things listed above may eventually end up on the "I want to do that!" list.  But right now I'm just going to enjoy cheering on all the crazies that do want to do those amazing things.  I will live vicariously through them and be proud of all that they accomplish on their journey!

Three and a half weeks of my practicum done.  Only (ha!) seven and a half to go.  :-)  I signed up to do a 10k trail run next week at the coast.  Can't wait to see how it goes and enjoy the day.  My sweet daughter is doing it as well.  Joe is doing a 25k.  I LOVE that we are doing these things together!

Life is good.  :-) Via Pinterest.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


You never know when something you say impacts someone else.  You might say something in passing or at on a whim and it directly affects how the person listening feels.  Sometimes those words are discouraging and sometimes they are just what you need to get moving!

I had decided before I started my practicum that I would work really hard at trying to hike every weekend.  That way, every week I would get out and move.  Part of my "self care" plan to survive the 11 week internship.

Saturday was a long day.  I was trying to catch up on bookwork so that we can get our taxes done.  Something that I had kept putting off because of school and now there was no option but getting it done.  I also got a call from someone important to me who is going through a rough time.  So hard to have people you love in pain, especially when you really can't do much to help other than keep them in your prayers.

I basically had talked myself out of doing my hike on Sunday.  I had to be home by noon for a webinar for my class so if I went it was going to have to be early.  It was going to be raining.  I was really tired and would love to be able to sleep in.  None of these things were unreasonable thoughts.

Then I'm texting my sweet friend Wendie, who is on vacation in Hawaii.  We chit chat back and forth for a bit and her last message is this:

That's all it took.  I had told Wendie my plan for dealing with stress during the 11 weeks of practicum.  She just assumes that I will make it happen.  That kind of unwavering belief is very special.  I kind of expect it from my husband.  Getting it from a friend feels like a bonus.  Being held accountable is a good thing.  But the best part for me isn't that she held me accountable.  It's that she didn't even realize that I was wavering.  She totally knew I was going to get it done.  There is no way that I could not go hike when I have that kind of support behind me.

So this morning I drove to Corvallis to meet up with Joe who was just getting off of work.  I brought the dog, who was so happy to be going, even in the rain.  We spent some time in the fire station laughing with the guys before Joe changed and we took off.  Bailey loved getting all the attention from the guys.

We headed out to the Bald Hill parking lot off of Oak Creek.  There are several short options from there or one long and steep option.  Joe gave me several opportunities to pick the shorter routes.  I decided to suck it up and do the longer, steeper route.  He also gave me an opportunity to turn around early since I needed to be home and cleaned up for a webinar for school by noon.  I said no to that as well.  We did the entire seven miles.  It was steep.  The last time we did this hike was with our group of awesome friends.  It was summer and it was hot and I really struggled with breathing.  I had to stop several times to catch my breath and rest.
Love the mist through the trees.
Joe and Bailey on Fitton Green.
Walking in the clouds. 
This time was cooler, obviously since it was January.  But that being said, I was able to keep moving at a slow and steady pace.  I didn't use my inhaler, I really worked at keeping my breathing steady (which took a great deal of effort during some parts).  It is about three miles of uphill and the hill is fairly steep for a lot of it.  We ended up with a total of seven wet miles.  The dog was a happy mess and Joe and I were cold.  But I was pretty happy with how I did overall and I enjoyed spending the morning with my best friend.  It was a good morning!

Last Tuesday I had a doctor's appointment in the morning to go over some things and possibly do some blood tests.  I had taken the day off of work so Joe came with me and we snuck in a hike on that day too.  I got two hikes with my hubby this week where I got him all to myself.  Feeling a bit spoiled!

Tuesday we did the same hike that Meighan and I had done on Sunday.  One of the things I love about hiking in our area is that it never looks the same!  The beauty of the forest is amazing.  Doesn't matter if the sun is shining, there is fog or if it is pouring down rain.  It is so beautiful!
Bailey thinks she has to go sit on this bench every time we hike up to Dimple.  :-)
Bailey and Joe at the top of Dimple Hill.
Totally different view from Sunday, but still incredibly beautiful.
I'm down to nine weeks of my practicum.  So far so good.  Last week was a bit rough in places but I survived it so that is a blessing all in itself.

Looking forward to when I have the time and energy to run again on a regular basis.  That day is coming and that helps me get through the rough spots.

Today as we were watching the Super Bowl and texting with friends that are near and far I realized how connected I am to some very special people.  We literally are spread from coast to coast today and yet I felt like we were together.  Laughing, talking, harassing each other.  It made me happy....and encouraged.  :-)

One of my hopes for this blog is that by being honest about the frustrations and the joys of the journey towards becoming a healthier me I will encourage someone else to keep moving forward.  That I will encourage someone to not give up even when it is hard.  That someone reading this blog will realize that even if they stopped for awhile, they can get back up again and keep going.  Because that really is the lesson I am learning.  My goal is to get healthy physically.  But I think I have learned so much on this journey that I am getting healthy in my heart too.  Self esteem, attitude and all those other things that are often difficult to hold onto are better every day.

Who encourages you?  Have you told them lately?  I will be making sure that the people that have encouraged and motivated me through the tough stuff know how very much I value them.

Life is a miracle!!
Thank you to all that help inspire me!  The list is long and filled with amazing people!