adventure

Sand For Days

As part of my coastal Oregon series, this particular writing is dedicated to the amazing experience I had on the Oregon Sand Dunes. So much fun that I had to write about it in just one post. All by itself.

I really didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t visualize the beauty of the dunes or the depth of how far the dunes stretched. I did however catch a glimpse of the dunes roadside where there was an enormous hill of sand with a four wheeler going down it. I silently thought to myself no way. That is way too high for me.

We were lucky to get on the ATV tour as that was the best way to see the shore and the dunes in what I called the safest option for our trio to navigate the dunes as first timers. 30-40 mph on the climbs and the descents were so fast I didn’t even check the speedometer. 26 miles we rode round trip. Nobody flipped. Nobody got stuck. It was a success. This Bay Bridge photo is hard to capture in a photo meaning the in person view seems 1,000 times nicer. 

So much beauty. Such a thrill ride. One of travel buddies said this is definitely a top 10 experience. I would have to agree. I will definitely find my way back to this coast to tackle the dunes again. Not sure when but I will make time for sure.

We had a great guide and we even did some bowl rides at the end. It is hard to explain but you ride the dunes sideways up and down like you were in a bowl. You have to hit the right speed and maintain or your could roll! Just an exhilarating experience. This is also very different from the straight up climb to the straight down descent where you actually can’t see what is ahead of you when you then begin this descent.

This adventure covers the dunes and plenty of play time riding. From the natural bumps or jumps on the main road trail to the coolness of passers by. Everyone added flair to their personal rides with cool flags, political flags, neon lights, and so on.  Our adventure also covered the trip to the ocean to ride along the water. This was another breathtaking sight to see. The large ocean waves were just feet away pounding the shore while you zipped by. There was a fog in the air making the visibility low but the air was cool and crisp off the water. 

This adventure comes with a few $$$ on the review but if you take into account gas prices, the equipment used on the terrain and the guide it is well worth it. The family that owned our rental company was super focused on customer service which I also appreciated.

Can’t wait to come back to this coast and hit more spots along the way. Such a beautiful place to spend some time off the grid.

fitness and nutrition

Dirty Work

Summer time is a time of change.

Schedules change. Daylight times change. Eating habits change and more. I try to just ride the wave and embrace it all.

This summer has also brought a change in my workouts. Street Parking launched the Summer Grind / Dirty Work series program for the summer. These workouts focus on odd objects like sandbags, heavy weighted balls, sleds, rucksacks and battle ropes. I’ve been using my sandbag pretty consistently for about a year and I love throwing that thing around. Otherwise, working with these pieces of equipment is mostly new to me. In a time where I’ve felt pretty restless (and even a little bored) with my workout routine, this has been an energizing change.

Something different, something new. Something to learn.

Rucking gets me outside more. D-ball workouts let me slam new things down. For some reason, I feel like a badass when I do sled pushes. Different muscles are sore. Different senses are awakened. Different skills used.

It’s funny how little changes can actually help me stay consistent. Something new can keep me coming back every single day, but with renewed energy. Plus, Street Parking has me chasing all the virtual badges. I’ve been a gold-star chaser since I was a little kid. Some things never change!

What’s new in your routines? Any little changes breathing life into your healthy habits? If not, what can get you inspired to move? Hiking somewhere new? A new sport or game with friends? What small changes can make a difference in your big picture?

mental health

Chad, Again

Last week was Veteran’s Day. It’s become a recent tradition for some in the CrossFit and fitness communities to complete the hero workout Chad. I have done this one once before, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting. That seems like a decade ago in so many ways…work, family, fitness, friendship, life in general.

I skipped it last year but this year it pulled on me over and over again. I finally chimed in to my fitness group to see if anyone wanted to complete it the weekend after Veteran’s Day. I can’t decide if I was surprised or not that some of my friends said yes. In many ways this workout feels like a “one and done” but my friends are also crazy like that. We couldn’t all be there, but we had some cheering for us in spirit.

I was glad I had written about my first experience doing this workout in detail. I went back and reread my thoughts before I started. I remembered it being grueling. I remembered rushing to try to get to work (on my couch). Much of the rest I had just let go of.

This time was different, doing at a gym. This time was different, doing it with a vest…a little lighter than last time, but a weight I would not take off (no matter how much I wanted a break!)

This time was different, though, since I had friends to do it with.

Friends made the experience a bit less challenging. Was it still long and tedious? Absolutely. In fact, it may have taken me 45 minutes longer this time around. Some of that I attribute to a lower level of fitness. But some is just because we chatted between the rounds. I lost count a bunch of times. But I kept going. We were going to finish this.

Friends make hard things a little easier. This was the main lesson I learned this time around. Hard things don’t stop being hard. But the hard path isn’t as lonely. It makes me think about VFWs and other social organizations. Sometimes we need a place where we are truly and deeply understood.

Life has been challenging, lifey, whatever you want to call it lately. Things feel heavy. In some ways, time is moving very slowly. I’m not at all comparing my challenges to veterans, but I knew I had to complete this workout for myself as well. Getting something done is hard these days for me. My mental soundtrack has been less positive.

These and other friends inspire me to just keep going. Keep showing up. Keep moving. Every day won’t feel great or be the best. Some of the challenges will seem unending. But if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, I will eventually reach the goals I have. Days will get brighter. Get up, show up, never give up.

balance

Life being Lifey

Life is being extra lifey these days. War, weather, mental stresses, financial hardships, on and on and on. It’s everywhere. My work life, my personal life, family friends colleagues acquaintances are all full of it. People are messy in their best times. Now, their messiness is more like a shambles that spills out and spreads all over.

Assume people will get sick, have issues and set backs and not be able to execute. Assume extra tasks, jobs, and responsibilities are coming as a result of the balls that others will drop. It’s just how things are right now. How can I thrive, survive, persist, stay sane in light of these times?

Here’s how I am hanging on for this bumpy ride:

Eat well. There are certain things I don’t farm out to anyone. Nutrition is number one. I own every step of that process from planning it to shopping for it to cooking it to packing it up. I don’t like being off plan and I don’t always make great decisions when it’s left to the last minute, whatever I can get my hands on. I know that eating well makes me feel better and do better. End of story.

Exercise first thing in the morning. The only possible exception is Sundays. Exercise helps me manage stress and gives me a sense of accomplishment and strength right off the bat. Extra boost if I see my friends and get the social sweat aspect of life first thing as well, but this isn’t always possible. Movement always is!

Stay ahead on things, knowing curveballs are coming. Busy season is about to kick up. When I have an idle moment, I try to think about what task I can push one step (or more steps) forward. Throw the laundry in. Clean something. Stock the pantry with two instead of one. Hopefully, when deadlines come or something is needed, I am ready instead of behind the eight ball trying to juggle and patch things together. Being ahead on what I can eases my stress.

Sundays. Sundays are my reset and ready-for-the-week day. I try to protect this if at all possible. It is often the only day I start with an extended coffee time at home. I write. I pull out clothes for the week. I make lists. I try really hard not to drive anywhere further away than 10-15 minutes unless it is a soul-serving adventure. Looking ahead on the calendar, keeping Sundays “sacred” will get harder and harder as fall’s busy-ness kicks in. Even as I write this, my Saturday and Sunday has flipped for this weekend. But I still try to keep one day with fewer commitments. Go-go-go all the time wears me out.

Notice nature. Get out and immerse myself in nature as often as possible, even for a few minutes a day. Flower farming has been amazing for this. I have a couple of hours a week in our field, just cutting flowers, watching bees and butterflies, soaking up the fresh air. I keep our flowers with me at work and home so I see them many times a day. They always make me take a small mental pause and smile.

What could I add? I need to write more often. I need to stretch. I need to meditate. These fall too low on the to-do list right now and I know each of them would help. This paragraph is a challenge to myself!

These last few weeks have been a lot, at times bordering on “too much, I can’t handle it, get me out of here.” There have been times I’ve considered drinking alcohol, which I don’t do. I’ve considered massive carb-and-cheese-laden meals of things I don’t typically eat. These things float through my mind, I notice them, then remind myself what works for me.

“Self care” has been a buzzword over the last couple of years. It comes with these challenging times. Life being lifey just beats many of us down and we need to take care of ourselves. I am a firm believer that you can’t pour from an empty cup, meaning you have to keep yourself cared for before you can care for others. Self care looks different for everyone. For some, it means doing whatever you want, regardless of the craving and what it costs. For me, self care does not mean self indulgence. Sometimes it means reminding myself what my goals are and what makes me feel healthy. A cocktail isn’t self care for me. Or a piece of chocolate cake. Might feel good for a moment, but then I’m left dealing with the fallout from my own impulsiveness.

In the end, I can only try to control my own decisions, my time, and my attention. I have to redirect myself when the decisions others make upset me. Boundaries are ok to set and adhere to. I only have to explain myself to those select few people who warrant it. But for most people, “no” can absolutely be a complete sentence.

author moments

Cranky Pants 2.0

Today I did something funny. I spun the dial on my app to revisit my blog posting from 1 year ago. What was my mindset? What was I writing about? Was I even writing?

I was indeed writing about being cranky and the post was titled Cranky Pants hence the title of today’s post. Now here is my update for today. I am not cranky at all. I am feeling purposeful, strategic and I glow.

Today I had a great day. It started out with my sweat sisters doing what we love. Working out in the early hours of the day pushing our body and mind to the limits. I had some play time with my pups which always takes any stress away. I met some great people at an event I hosted and I was able to make and impact today in my work. The work that I classify as my purposeful work. The work that simply provides joy for helping others. In a nut shell, I’m floating in my own little happy cloud celebrating the day.

Now I got a little curious to see what was on my mind in 2019, pre-pandemic. Well I was writing again. This time I was writing about my new-to-me black beach bike. I still love the bike but it has a flat tire so I don’t ride it as I should and I have a newer road bike that seems to get more mileage than the beach bike. I guess this is a reminder to book a beach trip so I can pack up my bike and take for a spin in some beach town. What a fun reminder.

Ah the beauty of blogging over time. I have check in points to see if I have grown in some way or maybe I’ve been stuck in a rut or maybe I was just at a loss for words and not writing. Now that I circled back to 2018 just to see what I was up to. I was writing about dreaming. Creating a vision. Working your plan. I can safely say I live that model day in day out. Just this week I spent time planning. Preparing for big steps of progress. I use a white board to post ideas and revisit them. It’s an ongoing process. What a great reminder it is for me to spin the dial on my blog posts from time to time.

Where am I going?

Where have I been?

What have I learned?

What am I in the process of learning?

Who’s been along for the ride?

Who’s jumped ship when the waves got rocky?

When will I stop writing about stuff?

When will I publish my next big book?

So many questions.

Life is unfolding and the future is a mystery. This blog is a placeholder. A keepsake for people to read over time. For now I’m living in the moment. I’m choosing the virtual writing platform of this blog as we seem to be in the digital world right now thanks to Corona. 

This isn’t really a fancy post it’s merely a look back for me. A reflection I can openly share as I have published pieces over the years that share a sliver of me. Make no mistake when I say a sliver. My life is full of many twists, turns, and tangled webs. Some who know me well don’t even fully grasp what makes me tick or a ticking time bomb of sorts. For that reason alone you have a sliver. A glimpse. A snapshot of what’s hot or what’s not.

Until next time. Enjoy my twisted sliver of today and yesterday. I guess you will just have to visit this blog often to seen when I spin the time dial again.