mental health, perspective

Just 11 Days

It was the wee hours of the morning. 4:00 am to be exact. The loneliness set in. My partner in crime was whisked away yet again for 11 days. These days seem manageable in isolation yet in combination lies the challenge. 

The void that lingers. 11 days. 22 days. 33 days. When a year passes and you miss far more days than you have the sadness sets in. How much was missed? How much made the cut? Was it enough? Some weeks it’s a Monday that you feel the toll in life hit. Other weeks the sleepless worry hits on Tuesday. Sometimes it hits more than one day. It’s a vicious cycle.

Sometimes life puts obstacles or signals in your path to test your strength: to test your resilience. Sometimes these barriers seem impossible yet we find a way to push onward. I’m in the midst of reading the latest royal book, Spare. It’s odd to think about the word spare in the context of the book. A spare child. A spare heir. A spare to discard. No matter how many pages deep I am in the book, I will be forever held up by the word spare.

My life doesn’t have spares. I don’t have spare kids. I don’t have spare friends. I don’t have spare time with either. I don’t spare any part of my life. That means the time I miss can’t be spared at all. Oh the quandary of that latter statement.

How do you count time when you can’t spare time? You don’t. You wander through empty space as if time wasn’t associated. A wading of sorts. You are there but not really there. The shell of you is present but the mind space has drifted somewhat to a space in time that is all-inclusive of your special people. Drifting or wading through memories of past and memories to come in the future.

The book speaks to losing a mum. I have a mum. A mummy. A mommy. I certainly don’t have a spare mommy and I am certainly not a spare to my kids. Rather I’m present just like my mom. No matter the challenge I’m there. No matter the challenge she is there. But one day will Mommy always be there? The sad reality is no. For now I won’t spare my time as mummy or with mummy for it is valued. For those of you who don’t have that opportunity with your mum, my heart hurts for you.

With grief many occupy head space with memories of those lost but not forgotten. Sometimes that includes a mom. I reflect on this as a mom I know lost her battle with cancer this week. Her time wasn’t spared. 

Many include the missing in future plans honoring their memories. Holding on to the happy times together. I do this often. My nephew. My dad. My good friends. Those gone too soon due to death, but there are others who leave for other reasons. Maybe a big move to a new city. Maybe an experience of a lifetime overseas. Maybe even a work obligation causing one to live elsewhere temporarily. Time away. A void that may never be replaced.

I may lose 11 days today. 22 days the next cycle or 33 the next round. What makes this particular trek difficult is the unknown. How long does time sit in this stage. Does it continue for infinity as it does with one who dies? Does it keep looping in terms of days or weeks as it does now? I can’t stay lost in the empty space of consciousness. I must shift.

As 2023 rounded the corner I shifted from the dullness of being lonely to a new mindset of lonely. One that isn’t perfectly designed as I’m in it. I’m just more aware. I’m conscious within the subconscious. I’m trucking through new obstacles in a different way. I’m not sparing time as time can’t be spared. People can’t be spared. Those important will never be spare at all. I’m valuing the front and center and focusing less on the loss(es). 

None of us can reverse time. None of us can spare or bank time. Every week I will be present in my own little ways. Avoiding spare time. Spare people. Forging ahead on borrowed time. If there is such a thing.

adventure

Top 10

I decided to write with more pictures and less words to showcase my top ten pictures from traveling to snowy Park City, Utah. Hoping you will enjoy the refreshing photos of the outdoors and their quick captions.  These photos are in no particular order.

This is a view I enjoyed from the eyes of one of my snowboarders. I didn’t take the lift to the top of the mountain thus I enjoyed this simple yet beautiful view. I smiled big knowing my people were enjoying their time on the mountain living the snowboarder life.

The best decorated and tasty sugar cookie with fabulous hot cocoa from the chocolate shop in town. A quaint little stop to snack, get warm and socialize after a day outside. This captures the sweetness of my trip.

The path through the trees when I was snow shoeing or snow walking as one of my teen travelers called it. These trees were amazing and the picture doesn’t even capture their beauty. The Aspens are the state tree and a fun fact is they have a dusty coating on them that is like a powder which can be used as a natural sunscreen. Just a fun fact I learned.

The path to nowhere as it looks. The simplicity of this photo is what I like about it. The grey skies before a snow fall.

The sunrise over the white barn. A barn we passed each day where you can see cross country skiers in the pasture at all hours during the day. A fun spot to remember.

A night picture from my balcony on a snowy weekday. The ice dagger hanging from above. The light shining on pathway illuminating the fresh powdered covered walkway. I hear the wind howling through the photo like it was today. A snowy memory.

Haynes Ranch. Founded in 1932. Pure bliss via a snowmobile. This photo shows the blue skies and the gateway to 40,000 acres of land and wildlife. Yes we saw moose.

This view was so amazing in person. A view from the ranch we snowmobiled. The blue skies were so welcoming after days of grey skies. 

Fresh powder. Bright sun. Beautiful trees. That is all. Simply amazing and breathtaking.

The snow tracks. The blue skies. The sun shine. It was only 1 degree in this photo. Frigid cold yet I was still enjoying the outdoors.

It’s hard to pic just 10 photos but it’s great to have a picture post to look back on.

adventure

Fat Tires

A new adventure was on my list for today. It involves big fat tires. A little snow. Some stamina. A positive attitude. A fabulous guide and the perfect terrain to conquer. Today’s adventure is snow biking. 

I had zero expectations. I knew it would be hard work but other than that I just wanted to give it a try. The scenery was amazing. The downward trek through the switchbacks was my favorite part of the ride. I loved the wind in my face and the feeling of freeness from the climb. The thrill of the whole adventure or what’s next was what I liked. The unknown.

The initial leg was the hardest. Getting used to the terrain. Learning the bike gears and really just how to pedal in snow and breathe. It’s really important to balance both. Too much too quick will gas you out. Too little will make fall over. It’s a process you have to figure out. It’s also a process to adjust to the harshness of the seat itself.

Once we had the hang of things we shifted from the wide trail to the narrow trail to climb the mountain. The trail isn’t straight up which is good news, but it means you have to zig zag your way up. That equates to lots of sharp turns, inclines, more work and so much more. As you get higher and higher the trail becomes less traveled. This makes it harder to follow the trail and not veer off course. With less tracks to follow the path gets narrower. The line you must adhere is extremely thin and not forgiving.

The porcUclimb trail was the hardest for me. It was the height of the climb. I was hot. Yes, hot in 20 degree weather. The air was taxing me as I huffed and puffed my way through the switchbacks and tree limbs. This is where I wiped out not once but twice. The word wipeout makes it sound awesome but it was really more of an I lost my track and tipped over. Nonetheless I ended up in the snow and had to brush off and move on. Much like life.

Soon enough I was at the top. A little water break. A little time to catch my breath. A few photos and time to reapply the heavier layers for the descent. This was the Downward Dog trail. My favorite and most thrilling ride. No spill on the decent. One close call but no wipeouts. I definitely rode down much faster than I went up. All and all the trek was close to three hours of awesomeness and hard work. I was so proud of myself for conquering a new form of fitness and embracing the experience itself including the cold. There were no complaints about the beautiful views in every direction.

Some fun sights along the way were the trail signs. Getting a little history on the area. The people watching. Seeing young families to older folks to young couples moving along via bike or cross country skis. I also saw so many different dogs with their humans. They all seemed to love running in the snow. They had a freeness to explore yet they stuck with their humans. From German Shepards to little mini doodles. I saw a good variety of dogs. This of course meant plenty of yellow snow, which I avoided.

I don’t know that I will ever be in another cold place to adventure out on a fat tire bike up a mountain but I can say I enjoyed my adventure today. I didn’t get to see any moose or deer but I did see their droppings and tracks so I guess it wasn’t my lucky day to see any wildlife.

If you at ever in Park City, Utah in the winter give snow biking a try. It’s a great option to try something new.

adventure

First Timer

I’m a first timer. A virgin of sorts. New skill. New form of fitness. New level of cold. New land to explore. New. New. New.

I guess I should let you in on the secret. I’m wearing an apparatus that I thought was going to resemble a tennis racquet on my feet as I trek through snow. To my surprise I had something more modern and practical. They call this snowshoeing and I’m paying for this form of torture just to say I did it! I must be a little nuts but I love completing unique excursions whenever possible.

I obviously love to share my stories in case one may want to try said activities. I also like to catalog my crazy adventures for the years ahead when I am not physically or mentally able to complete such crazy things. So here goes. Snow is on the forecast for today 1-3 inches. Cold temps and strong winds. That is just the start.

I’m layered up and ready to tackle the unknown. The initial climb is a few switch backs that get the heart rate going while you get used to your new footwear. I loved the bottom of mine. The claw-like bottom gives you so much traction in the snow. It was definitely an experience.

Hiking through the trees was my favorite part. Every corner was a little different. We traveled around a mine site and learned a little about the area history. We hiked near cliff hanger house that was being built with million dollar views. We got pretty close to an avalanche area and saw how the path changed.

I didn’t use poles for my hike but my pal did. I’m sure I could have benefited from them but I felt the traction from my snow shoes gave me the stability I wanted. I guess I opted for less baggage on my trek. A little more vigorous than hiking is what I would explain. If I lived somewhere cold I think I would definitely have a pair of these to kick around town in.

This view was amazing although the picture doesn’t do it justice. The skies were grey today due to the stormy weather but the climb yielded some amazing views of the city and the ski trails. If you are ever in this area, you should give snow shoes a try. Just because.

fitness and nutrition

A Year of Endurance

52 weeks. 52 workouts. Some as short as a half hour. Some as long as 90 minutes.

Learn how to manage your energy. Focus on your pacing. From easy to comfortable to moderate to hard to very hard to sprint. Can you figure out the difference? Then, can you apply it?

As it is with most of my challenges, the number one rule is just show up. Many of these workouts were done early in the morning on the C2 bike at the gym. Often, I opted for them when none of my friends could make it to CrossFit or when I woke up extremely early and could fit it in before class.

And I’ve made it to the end. 52/52. The program is designed with initial tests and retests. How did I progress? In all of the tests I took a solid percentage off of my times from last January. Almost a minute in some cases.

Many days I didn’t feel like it. Many days I struggled. Many days my paces were slower than what they should have been. But I kept at it. I did not quit.

And honestly, the real sense of victory came on a recent fat tire snow bike ride. A lot of the first 90 minutes of the ride were up, up, up. Gentle inclines to moderately steep. All of it on SNOW. Keeping in mind this is a klutzy girl who actually fell off the bike before we even made it out of the parking lot, I was pretty anxious about riding on snow. But once I got the hang of it, I was all good, especially going up. I could just keep going with a few breaks here and there. Even figured out most of the uphill hairpin switchbacks. Being able to do long endurance outside of the gym is a different sort of test, and one I feel I passed with the high five at the top from our guide.

There are many in the SP endurance community that are on their third year with no misses. Will I continue? Probably, but I will also probably branch out into other bikes or rowing or running. A goal to think about. For now, I will smile as I relish the rewards of just showing up, time and time again. A new badge in my app and a medal in my mailbox. All it takes is once a week. Just keep doing it. Give what you have that day. Consistency really is key.