Sustainability is the key to all facets of life...whether it be farming and gardening, camping and kayaking, or simply living on this planet from day to day.

Campers, hikers, and lovers of the outdoors have been doing it for years. We call it 'leave no trace' ~ leaving things nicer than we found them ~ in essence, the very same philosophy that we learned as little children but, which sadly, for many has fallen by the wayside as life just keeps getting busier and busier and as the world keeps moving faster and faster.

Slow down for a moment and sit a spell in the rocker on the front porch as I do my best to return my own life to those simpler times.

Enjoy your visit, come back as often as you like, and feel free to bring a friend every now and again~


"We never really grow up, we just learn how to act in public." ~Bryan White

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Baby Steps to the Mountaintop

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward." ~ Chinese Proverb

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When we think of seasons and new beginnings, we often think of Spring.  It's only natural, I suppose.  However, new beginnings may occur at any time of the year and if we wait for spring to come, we only spend our autumn and winter thinking of short days, cold weather, and dreariness.  I planted garlic and onions the other day.  I won't be harvesting them any time soon, but if I want to have something to harvest next year, I needed to get the bulbs into the ground now.  So many things are like that.  

Today is also a day of new beginnings for me.  

I am 54 years old.  I will be 55 in the spring.  Just like my garlic, I don't want to wait until next spring for my own new beginning. I want to begin now so that I may reap the benefits of my fall and winter work in the spring.  

Today, I have begun a new journey.  I have been creeping toward this path for a while now, but today is the day that I have decided to make it official.  I am publicly putting my goal out here and will be video blogging my journey.  Mostly, just to hold myself very accountable for I know that with the days getting shorter and the weather getting cooler, I will be able to come up with far too many excuses NOT to progress toward my health and fitness goals if I just keep it to myself.

This is not about getting svelte and sexy...though, if that happens along the way, there will be no complaints from me.  It is about getting fit.  

I have made some pretty crappy eating choices along my life's path and I have been quite blessed that they have not caught up with me...yet.  While so many of my friends take so many medications to deal with chronic health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and the like -- so far, so good for me.  But...I also know that this cannot continue forever.  I am probably already past the point where my luck should have run out, so I have been drinking Mountain Dew on borrowed time.  

Food and activity are the best kinds of medicine.  So...with no magic bullets and nothing but commitment, good sense, and hard work...I will begin. 

I want to be able to hike to the summit of Deer Mountain in June.  

I have big plans for next summer.  If all goes as I hope that it will, I will be spending about ten days in Alaska -- kayaking, camping, hiking, and exploring.  It should be a wonderful trip! However, if I want to make it a really good trip, I need to be in better physical condition.  Today is my daughter's birthday -- a day of joy and happiness and new life.  So...what better day to start working toward a healthy start than today?

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In the hiking information about the area, Deer Mountain Trail is listed as "more difficult" because it has some pretty steep vertical rises in a very short distance.  This will not be climbing that involves rappelling, ropes, and all of those things -- but rather hiking to the top with a fully loaded backpack of camping gear, spending a night or two on the mountain, and then hiking back down.  If I tried to do it today, I'd be huffing and puffing and gasping for air a few minutes after I started. 

So...not in just a figurative sense...but in the literal sense...I have a mountain to climb and I plan to do it in about 9 months.  Along the way, I will need to incorporate daily changes to my lifestyle.  

It's a mountain, but it is not insurmountable.  

One of the units that I teach my middle schoolers is Goal Setting.  I teach them how to write a SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time bound) goal, to plan and prioritize the steps and resources that they will need to accomplish that goal, to foresee possible obstacles to reaching that goal, and to have strategies in place to keep those obstacles from stopping their forward progress toward their goal. 

I guess it's time to put my money where my mouth is, eh? goes.  
My SMART Goal:  To hike to the top of Deer Mountain in June 2014 where I will camp, explore, and enjoy the wonderful view!  
Resources needed:  
Health and fitness.  More specifically -- a cardio plan, a strength plan, and an eating plan. 
  • Cardio Plan:  Couch to 5 K Running Plan  I picked this plan because it looks as though even someone like me who has not run since high school should be able to achieve success.
  • Strength Plan:  I have two jobs, plus a small business, plus a life.  I know already that going to the gym is something that won't work for me and I don't do well with 'rah rah' group fitness stuff.  It's just not me.  My plan is to do home based weight training with free weights, patterned after the Strong Women Concept. 
  • Eating Plan:  My plan of choice is the Recipes for Repair: Anti Inflammation Diet  In addition to helping me to become more fit, this program will also help with the arthritis that I already have.  I have been doing a lot of reading about anti inflammatory diets and, even if I were not planning to climb a mountain, it's just a good idea to get as close to healthy, whole, non-processed, non-inflammation inducing foods as you can.  
As they say, each journey begins with a single step.  In my case, we're talking baby steps because I have been somewhat sedentary for a very long time.  

It will be a challenge, but it will be worth it in the end -- as most challenges are.  

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I am also video blogging this, as well, to keep myself accountable. (Yes...I do realize that I said that it was 2014 -- but it's not.  I guess I'm just planning ahead!)

The first two are from this morning.  The third one is from after my 'run' (using the term quite loosely, I must confess) this afternoon.  I actually ran.  Slowly...but I did it!

Here are the stats from today's C25K Run.  I love the app!  I loaded it onto my phone this morning and all I had to do was click "Day 1".  It kept track of my time and distance with the GPS on my phone and told me when to 'run', when to 'walk briskly' and when to cool down.  It is very cool.

Here is my baseline and starting point:
10/27/2013  4:10 p.m.  Completed 1.05 miles.  Pace.  17:35 min/mile.

It's a start.  I worked hard, but I felt great afterward!

Before I close, I would be remiss if I did not thank two people who, whether they realize it or not, have been complete inspirations to me:  Julie Hendrix and John Radtke.  Each of them has lost more than 100# over the 1-2 years through no magic bullets -- but just through good, healthy eating choices and hard work.  Following you both on Facebook has been more motivating than just about anything I can think of.  You two inspire me more than you will ever know.  Thank you!

Oh...and just so you know... next year, no photo credits will be necessary.  They will be my own photos...taken from the top of the mountain.  

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