Last summer I took a job with Parks Canada. I have been working towards changing my career and I believe guiding and interpretation, as well as living closer to forests, is in my path. I didn't get the job I wanted but I was offered Campground placement. (update from winter 2020: this summer I start as an interpreter!)
My first day: my housing wasn't ready so I was put somewhere else for an unknown amount of time. I had sent my measurements ahead of time for a uniform but there wasn't one that fit. (it would be several months, almost to then end of my contract, before I got proper pants that fit)
Also I had underestimated how isolated I would feel, I was more than an hour from any town and I worked with a very small team. I was told before I chose this location that people either love it or hate it, ha ha ha I thought "ill love it, won't it be nice to just go out to the woods and be alone" I knew there was no cell service on the highway, but oh thank god there was some internet at my cabin or I think I would have gone totally insane. Ultimately the thing that threw me the most was that I was going to work alone on all shifts. And on those shifts I would be doing up to 3 hours of driving every day. And that most of what I would be doing was cleaning outhouses and emptying garbages.
Now don't get me wrong, this section of wilderness is beautiful, special and unique. I tried so hard to love it out there but it took me months to feel at all settled, I was so lonely, and it didn't help that the weather all summer was terrible.
The biggest thing I could recognize is, I have some mental health issues to address. I need to be better at being alone, at controlling my emotions and dealing with disappointments.
Because barring everything that I have written here: nothing bad happened. The people were nice, and it really is so beautiful out there. I do know now that whatever position I go for in the future, I need a town close, socialization, and to not be so far from my husband.
Now for some good stuff!
I really have enjoyed representing Parks Canada. The visitors love talking to me, and I with them. I was always happy to sit and have a chat, telling them things to do and see, share the wildlife sightings. Later in the summer there were a lot of questions about the Rampart Creek wolf attack www.outsideonline.com/2401179/wolf-attacks-family-banff-national-park, as that campground was one of the ones on my route.
But honestly it is an honour to represent my country in such a beautiful part of it, and from all of what I learned this summer I am much more prepared to work in a visitor centre or as an interpreter.
And there were some things that happened in the summer that were truly awesome. I saw so many bears, but on one of my last days I saw a cinnamon colour bear in Ramart Creek campground. It was snacking on berries and then swam accross the river. It was a rare moment where I was alone with the animal (in my truck) Throughout the summer almost every bear I saw was surrounded by cars and people clogging the highway and I would have to call it in and ask everyone to move along. It was often a stressful part of the day, but this bear and me were on our own, it was quiet and peaceful. Another day I saw a small grizzly in a lunch area and had to get everyone to get in their cars. The grizzly wandered off, but a warden showed up and took me for a little walk in the woods to show me what the bear had been eating and doing and how to see the evidence. That was a great day too.
Another interesting thing about the summer was as soon as I was in my uniform, everyone assumed I had been on every hike in the area. This was just interesting, because I don't think anyone seemed to assume at all because I was larger that I would not have done all the hikes, it was such an automatic response that if I was in that uniform I just must be they type to have done it. That was cool.
If I really step back and look at it, even on my worst days out there, something wonderful or beautiful was there every day. I would eat lunch alongside a deer, early mornings loading the truck I would often be visited by our local rabbit eating its breakfast, the fantastic clouds and morning fog that completely hides the mountains until it burns off.
Pictured above: same location, morning clouds vs sunny afternoon. Amazing eh?
We had many baby birds that we got to watch learn how to fly, there were endangered Little Brown Bats that lived in our roof, and their babies were also out learning to fly. And remember how I said it never stopped raining? Well that led to an unprecedented mushroom bloom, and left the forest floor looking like the coast and just like a fairytale.
Above photos: I took so many photos of mushrooms. Alberta is a dry place and ive never seen so many growing here. I don't know what kind any were, I dont pick them. I just awed at them for weeks.
It was also so quiet and dark at night, especially with the clouds and rain. Just dark. I would drive home in the evening towards the campground I was living at and see the haze of the camp fires. It was comforting and felt less lonely.
I got to help with a rescue effort of an injured climber and watched a helicopter land in the campground, which was so loud and pretty cool. In another instance, one of the women I worked with had mice living in her car, and we knew there was a weasel in the woods, so we were trying to figure out how to let the weasel in the car to catch the mice! ha ha.
There was a wonderful wood stove sauna that employees had built, for employee use.
I worked conflict resolution, one evening helping 2 parties that had both thought they booked a site and were arguing about who would get to stay there. I helped them go from anger to sharing the site and having a wonderful evening together.
There was a loon love story, did you know Loons mate for life? We cheered on the two locals when they found each other. Thinking, good for you.
Overall this summer has been much the same as the rest of my life lately, personal confusion, job dissatisfaction combined with beauty, blessings seen and unseen, and learning.
I had strong moments where I had to step back and appreciate what I have and what I am working towards. Ive been angry and unsettled, largely as I have often talked about on this blog, around not being able to have children. I want change, I want to move on, and this was part of it. Change isn't easy. Figuring out life, and how you want to live it, isn't easy. But my incredible freedom to do it, and my privilege in life for where I live is my blessing.
Pictured here: Upper Waterfowl lakes. A 5 min walk from the cabin I stayed at. And on any night without rain, a wonderful place to spend an evening just listening, or reading, or chatting with other people that had wandered there.
So that summer is over, and Parks has hired me again! This summer I will be in Banff Townsite at the Cave and Basin Historical Site. I will be a Heritage Presenter. And I do believe my experience last summer is what allowed me to finally secure an interpreter job this year. It was worth it. And looking back, even just writing this, I can see more of what was so good about the summer.
This year I am trying to embrace winter more, be more hygge and enjoy hot drinks, slippers, blankets and cozy warm light in the evening as well as get out into the cold air and participate with nature in the snow. I started with January 1st going for a hike up tunnel mountain with a friend of mine, and then spending a few days in Banff with my husband and going up tunnel again.
Its very different climbing up in the winter as the snow really changes the hike. It was even greatly different the two times I went as there was quite a bit more snow the second time. Its not like that in the summer, the biggest change you may see is mud.
I have planned to hike every second Monday for the next few months so I hope to post a few more things about how the winter is different and also just some awesome ice picks!
Above: My lovely husband finally out on a hike with me :)
Anyone that follows my instagram knows that last summer was all about Tunnel mountain in Banff for me. I went up it 5 times. Its the first summit I have ever made and I was so proud of it, even though its small. What funny is I have done several hikes that were much longer and I have gained 4 times the elevation BUT I had never stood at the top of a mountain that I had walked all the way there. It was a total paradigm shift. And I wanted to share that.
So I proposed a couch to summit series of walks and hikes to my instagram followers. Much like the push up challenge earlier in the season, it was easy for people to say they were interested but not so easy to get people to show up. I ran city meet ups to walk and swim all summer and had only a few people regularly attend. I went on several hikes but usually it was with my brother or one or two people who regularly were going with me anyways. I was disheartened. I am training to become a guide and I wanted this summer to be all about that, turns out I was getting a little taste of how hard it is to get going with these things. I know I have been that person who signs up and then doesn't really go.
But still, I had people coming. And I made a few really good new friends.
And we still made the trip to tunnel in August and I guided 4 ladies to the top. What a perfect day of chatting on the drive and getting to know one another. Beautiful perfect weather. The smoke from the wildfires had somewhat cleared so the view was better than some other summits this year. And then we all high fived at the top knowing we had showed up and gotten ourselves there!
Then hot springs and well deserved lunch.
I will be doing all this again this year as I attempt to go work for Parks Canada (hey parks Im for hire!!) as well as plan another series. You see I am aiming for the Everest basecamp trek in 2020 and I have to get some serious km's in, cardio training, summits and pack carrying in multiway treks so that I can do that trip in one piece.
I will be putting this together soon and posting about it here and on instagram for people to sign up,
I want to go with as many of you as possible! I want to meet new people, practice my guiding skills and teach you all of the amazing things I have been learning all about the past year!
I hope to see you soon.
I will start by saying that I love kayaking. I love it on open water lakes, on the ocean, on rivers. For me its a deeply rewarding activity in the athletics involved and the calming nature of being out on the water.
Now the number one problem I have with going kayaking is a I live in a really landlocked city with very little water around. Because of this kayaking requires a lot of pre-planning as you have to load all the gear onto the car and then drive to the water location (if you are going down river you need to cars) And then it takes a while to get started and to finish as you have to take the boats off the car and get all setup. Really none of it is hard it just takes a lot of time so the activity takes planning and usually will consume most of a day.
This year I had finally got my shit together and called our city reservoir to book a spot to store the kayak at the water that we have in the city here. That way I could just drive over anytime with my paddle and lifejacket and go for a paddle without too much time invested and in theory that would help me go more often, BUT they are doing major repairs on the reservoir this year and they were not offering rentals, so my plan was defunct.
All that to say is that this week, late in August, was the first time I was out kayaking this summer. I have had a pretty busy summer of guiding classes, vancouver island trips, swimming, biking and hiking and I just have not gotten around to going for a nice paddle. But last week my dad and I got it together and drove a little out of town to Ghost Lake reservoir and ended up having a nice 4.5 km paddle. I could really feel that a summer of swimming and doing push up challenges have helped my paddle muscles as I felt much stronger than when we last went out last October.
The awesome thing about getting in your boat is that you cease to have to follow a path and you can get into little hidden beaches and up to interesting shore lines that would be very difficult to get to any other way. Also its awesome the way you just glide accross the water, and that you dont use your legs (*well not primarily, there are some paddling activities that you use your legs, and you are always kind of using them to balance) so its a very different activity than most for movement.
We met a few characters on this trip. The first was a woman with a blow up kayak taking 2 mid sized dogs out with her. She laughed that it was her first time taking both dogs and we may have to rescue her. She also told us she goes paddling there a couple times a week and recommended where we should paddle. Next when we got to our turn around point there was a small beach and woman sitting there eating lunch. She was so incredibly fit she was just fascinating to look at, with my journey to really build muscle and get stronger for sport I have appreciation for the work I know she put it in to look like that. She chatted for a minute then jumped on her stand up paddle board and paddled off (if you have not tried that sport yet you should know that it requires great balance to look cool and casual while on those boards) Then on our way back we had an old man call us over to the shore, he had a rickety boat and a very long grey beard and he wanted to show us a fossil he found in the lake. He had a brief conversation about fossils in the area and was a funny guy. As we left him he shouted to us "do an old man a favor and go enjoy your life"
Overall it was such a great day, and instead of feeling sad I didnt kayak more often I just have to remember that there is only so much time and its hard to fit all activities in. I should be proud of what I have accomplished this summer and the best thing about kayaking is that I can do it until the snow sets in, so could possibly be going well into October.
Thats the plan as the weather and my work schedule makes it harder to do all the other fun summer activities, we will paddle into the crisp fall.
Until next time my little boat.
Dealing with plantar fasciitis and some strained hip issues, I was not able to walk far distances. We stopped many times on this small hike, I had to remove my shoes and soak my feet in a freezing river to take down the swelling and numb them. I was not yet a hiker here, most of the steps I had taken were on a track or just day to day life. Getting out this day was painful but amazing, I had really forgotten how beautiful and quiet the mountains can be.
It took some time, stretching and considerable pain before I could walk normally again. But I got there. But walking normally again was just back to the beginning. What to do now.
For as long as I can remember I have greatly struggled with heights, mostly avoiding them. I have had many a panic attack in a car on a mountain road, on a high bridge or occasionally on a building. But that's the thing about heights, you can often just avoid them. And although that works, sort of, it kept me from doing some pretty awesome things, seeing some amazing sights and joining in with friends and family adventures. My brother had all but given up on me, and I don't know exactly what sparked him but he decided to start trying again to get me out there.
Now I COULD post a great "success" picture where I look cool and confident. Standing in beautiful light and you could all ooh and awe and tell me I look strong and brave, but I think its more important to show the picture below. You can see me unsteady on my feet, fretting and worrying, and my brother being patient and helping me down. Feel the ground he will say, solid footing, bend your knees. Take sure steps.
This will all take a while to sink in my friends, but the most important thing he will say over and over again is DON'T make decisions out of panic. Calm down, breathe, make decisions because they are smart.
Well its now July 22 2013 and my Brother has asked for the same thing, but this year he doesn't just want me to challenge heights, he also wants me to put some distance in. So the challenge was the Plain of 6 Glaciers hike to the Tea House at Lake Louise, to date this would be the longest hike I'd ever done. I was worried, its not only long, I would also gain some elevation and I didn't know how that was going to feel. Honestly, I do not know if I had ever really done a hike like this before this time, but if I had it was when I was much much younger....like maybe in a backpack getting carried up by my dad ha ha.
Over and over again people would stop and tell me to "keep going, you are almost there!" and then the walk would continue, I felt hopeless like it would never end. Finally I just sat down and cried, I told Chris I didn't think I could go on, and then a woman came around the corner and said "keep going, you are almost there!" I looked at her with my tears and just whined "do you know how many times I have heard that today? I don't think I'm ever going to get there!!!" She took my hand and said "no really...." and we walked around the corner and there it was. The Teahouse. I was so proud of myself, I had done it!
And this is a beautiful hike with a wonderful full working Tea House at the end where you can get a snack and rest. I was so happy to be here, we drank tea and cheered to the new royal baby and then we headed back. At the end of the day I was so tired and sore but I knew I had accomplished something and started to quiet that voice....or at least tell it that it was not always listened to.
In this year I had been in a car accident and it had caused my back to flare up again, I had to leave work in such pain one day and by the time I got home (it was out of town, so it was about an hour and a half) I could barely move. I was sobbing in pain, and I would spend months in physio trying to stretch it back out and heal it. So for my brothers birthday this year I was cautious, I didn't want to further hurt myself. He was understanding and we decided to take the gondola up Sulpher Mountain, not a terribly big mountain but I had never been at the top of a mountain as far as I could remember. Now this is a very man altered attraction, there are rails and walkways at the summit but I still thought it would be a good exercise for me to start to understand how I would ever get myself up a mountain under my own power. And, in all honesty I was scared of the gondola! But up we went, sitting with a girl visiting from Germany who was alone, so we had her be part of the day and she is in many pictures :) It was a fun ride, I got a little skiddish but one of the things I like about things like gondolas is that they just keep going without needing me to make it go. So even if I get scared I am going higher and there is no quitting! Like a roller coaster, once you are strapped in there is no going back.
I realized over the past few years that the reason I am so scared is that I don't trust my body to be strong enough to hold me. I worry that I will just collapse, or trip, or just get dizzy and lose balance and tumble down the side. So going up, even with all the railings and safety measures of Sulpher mountain, I still felt unsteady and uncomfortable. So I was able to feel comfy enough just standing in one spot, but I found as I tried to walk around I was still uneasy. The funny part is that I partially know now that in most scenarios I'm in, a little fall would not be devastating. That I was building the consequence in my head because it had never really happened before, I didn't really know what would happen if I fell.
I'm glad I went up this, I realized that once I healed I really did want to get myself up to the top and I felt like I gypped myself a little by taking the gondola. Now at this time I didn't really think I would be walking up any mountains any day soon but the idea was planted.
I was feeling much stronger by now, largely healed. But this was when I really started to gain weight, I was heavier than I had been in a long time. I had suffered a few miscarriages and the second had affected me deeply, also that car accident the previous year had left my boyfriend with a significant concussion. It had been a year of healing, I went through terrible guilt and depression over the miscarriages, and through this I just packed on a lot of weight. My boyfriend slowly recovered from his head injury, unable to work or go to school. But we had realized after coming through all of this together that we were really a team and I was engaged to be married in August. By summer I was starting to feel better, just a little more open to life and going on, but I was left in a new place where I was a little embarrassed that I had gained all this weight again.
By now it was a given that Chris's birthday would be a hike, and this time we took my dad. We went to a hike he recommended to Peyto Lake, a short easy hike to a beautiful view. This is the kind of view that is so lovely but can get to my irrational brain, and I got to see where some of my defense mechanisms come from. One, my dad is very nice to me but he lets me off the hook easy when I complain or I am scared, and two my dad was also scared. My dad is an awesome guy, very supportive and loving, but sometimes that support is letting me quit. So I have to let him know to push me, that I am getting better at being truthful if I need to stop, and he can push it, and I may cry, but that's ok.
I can count on him, but this has been his journey as well. He struggles with heights more as he ages and doesn't trust his body anymore, just as much of my fear of heights is about me not trusting my body.
On this day I truly did appreciate the beauty, I wouldn't go all the way to the edge, but I could look out and not panic. This was not steep and the area to stand and see the view was wide and flat. So I really could just take it in. What a feeling! AND! I was fatter and I got myself there. It feels very different to achieve this when I was so much larger. I had kept moving more the past year as I healed and I was able to accomplish this much easier than previous hikes. I didn't even really panic. And I had earned this view, which was so much more rewarding than the gondola the previous year.
I was self conscious for a few reasons but one was that my hair was thinning, and I had responded to that by shaving the side and bleaching the shit out of it, I like looking back at these years and remembering all these hairstyles ha ha. But also seeing my body change year to year, and knowing how I felt about it. Looking back now and knowing how I will struggle with accepting this new weight, how stuck its going to feel and how it inspired the whole of Adventureish, I don't know, maybe it was a good thing that I went through this all. That I struggled, that I continue to struggle. I'm growing and I can see that clearly by this year. The biggest difference? When we started my brothers birthday adventure it was really the only hike or adventure of the year, and now? Well 2016 would be a big year for hiking and getting out there, getting scared and moving through it. I was finally ready to start heading out on adventures without Chris (and with Chris but not only on his birthday!)
This was a big big year for hiking. I had booked the west coast trail with my husband for our one year anniversary and we were in training for it by lugging our heavy packs on many hikes. I started hiking with some differently people and I went to Vancouver island 4 times! I was starting to feel a little better, and I was realizing how healing nature can be, how good it feels to work and reach a goal. How much further I could go than I ever gave myself credit for.
So 2016 is a 2 part story here, July 22 and July 31. Because the west coast trail is another story, and what I am talking about in this whole article is how important this tradition has become and how it has inspired me and expanded what I thought I could do, and how having someone believe in me, push me and most of all have great patience in me is how I got it done.
Alert! Alert! YOU ARE GETTING TOO HIGH!!! YOU DONT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!! TAKE US DOWN!!!! Thats the not so little voice in my head, the one that doesnt want to listen, that just wants out. But I don't want to listen to that voice anymore, I know that if I start to recognize it and let the panic pass that I can move through it. And the more times I prove it wrong the further that I get.
But a little bit higher and the panic started again. This time my brother made me answer "what SPECIFICALLY are you afraid of?" I realized that past just being afraid of falling, what I was truly afraid of, was being stuck, not being able to get down.
So he said "ok then, lets go down a little and practice" and we did.
And when we did I started to feel better, I started to learn where my real weaknesses lay. I also learned more about how to just ask for some help.
We got to the first open view on the mountain and I froze again, this may just have been the highest point I had ever been in my life. I felt good about it, I knew we were no where near the top but I was mentally exhausted. I just knew that I didnt' have a lot more left in me and I felt pretty good about where I had gotten too. I was scared to tell Chris that I was done for the day but when I did he was supportive. He said he was really proud of me for pushing through. And we would do this again, and I would get higher.
Below: in the pink is from a little higher on the second attempt a couple weeks later.
July 31: Plain of 6 Glaciers tea house (second round)
This was one of the first hikes I did a second time. Before I went I told myself all the stories from when we had climbed it in 2013 for Chris's birthday. I expected it to be very hard, for me to have a lot of panic attacks and to just be exhausted.
But we went anyways, and as I hiked it, I remembered it....but also it felt so different. I just kept waiting for it to get really hard, I kept expecting we would turn some corner and I would panic. I kept thinking I would likely get exhausted soon and need a rest.
But then, just all of a sudden, we turned a corner and we were there.
And I had not panicked, I had not even got all that tired, and it had not felt all that hard.
It hit me like a ton of bricks how far I had come. The true measurement of growth. The real knowledge that perception is reality, and you can change your perception.
And I just started to cry, the great release.
It was so overwhelming and surprising and it made me cry. My husband was with us and he didn't quite get it, he had yet to really see that panic, he hadn't been with me on the previous hikes so he didn't quite understand how far I had come.
But Chris sure did.
And he was so proud of me. He took this picture, which became one of my first on Adventureish when I would start it a few months later. This moment was the inception of Adventureish. Its as raw as I can be. To show you what I look like when I completely surprise myself, when I am proud, when I turn a corner and the world looks different on the other side.
Wow we made it this far!! I know its been a wonderful journey for me. I'm glad you are still with me. These next two years are filled with new growth that I have been sharing with you on this site. I began Adventureish in the fall of 2016 and have been documenting most of what I have been doing with dealing with fear and overcoming anxiety, getting stronger and calling myself an athlete. If you have been following me then you know that I am now a climber.
After I got back from the west coast trail I had an idea in my head, and that was that I wanted to try climbing. I went for the first time on my birthday, its what I asked for from my brother. Shortly after we took a class together and we were hooked. And so for his birthday in 2017 we took an outdoor class.
This was an interesting couple days as it stretched what I could do as a climber and slammed me with a bunch of new lingo and skills (many of which I have now forgotten, and I will need another class) I didn't get to actually climb much and it was a reality check that I was going to have to put in more work to move from the indoor walls to the rocks. I just wasn't quite strong enough. But it was still such a successful day, the people were great, my instructor was so supportive. I did learn a lot.
At the end of the day we were coiling rope and my brother said "stop, the light is perfect. Trust me, you are going to love this picture" and its now been my most shared photo. Some days I feel its misrepresenting because I haven't been outside climbing since and I really didn't get very high this day, but most days it makes me feel amazing- because I WAS THAT WOMAN, thats me. Right in it, just going for it. Facing fears and trying something new. There for myself and instead of feeling bad that I wasn't strong enough I felt inspired to work, to get stronger. And I have.
2018 (current day)
Here we are, its now Chris's birthday in 2018 and we were off to do Ha Ling again. The goal this time was the tree line, (thats the point where the trees stop growing and its open rock) its about twice as high as I had been before.
The night before I was up puking and felt so sick in the morning I considered cancelling, but by now I know myself well and I suspected that this illness was at least in part (if not totally) nerves. I also knew that I could trust my brother, if I got there and I was sick and couldn't do it, he wasn't going to be mad. He was going to be happy I tried.
So off I went.
And up up up.
After all this writing you think I would be better able to explain how I felt going up but I haven't had as much time to process. It was honestly the strongest I have ever felt. It was not without struggle, I had a few panic attacks, I cried a little, I continued to feel sick, I had to stop and I almost gave up many times. But I pushed through it all and I kept getting higher, and the higher I got the more I knew deep in my gut that I wasn't giving up. That I was going to get to that tree line.
AND I DID!!!
When I got there I did not feel all that great. I was really tired and scared looking out to the view. I told Chris I promised that I was going to be able to reflect on it and know how great it was, but right at that moment I was so worried about the trip back down that I just couldn't focus.
He as usual was patient and offered that we would go as slow as we needed to, stop whenever I wanted. I could literally hold onto him the whole time if I wanted. And hold on I did and we headed back down, and after I had descended a little and seen that I was going to be ok, I began to flood with the realization of what I had just done. I had doubled my highest point. And I had done it with so much more grace than I had showed in what looked like smaller challenges.
you don't have to wait to be small to do big things.
Do them now.
Like in yoga:
Be in this position until you feel the stretch, and wherever that is, this is the perfect place for you.
And as you do not feel the stretch any longer go a little deeper until you feel that stretch again, and again this is the perfect place.
Wherever your stretch is, that is perfect.
Its a perfect place to start.
Starting Monday May 14, myself and 2 other ladies on instagram are going to be participating in an accountability and support 30 day challenge. As a group we decided on push ups.
The challenge is listed below so if you are interested in joining here are the details:
If you have any questions at all please message me through my contact page or my instagram and I hope you enjoy watching us but I hope even stronger that you want to join!
See below for the Push up challenge goals:
Since I was a little girl I have loved the pool. Into my adult years I loved riding my bike to a pool in the evening and swimming laps. When I took swimming lessons I ran through the levels so quickly that I was at full lifeguard training by the time I was 11 and I had to stop because I couldn't take the next class until I was 16. At this point in my life I thought I wanted to be a lifeguard, but by the time I had hit my late teens a lot of things had happened. Many of the dreams of my childhood took a backseat until recently, as I navigate my 30s I realize deeper that the core of the things I loved as a child are deeply implanted in my mind and I still love them. Much of the emptiness I feel in adulthood seems to circle around times where I abandon this deep root of where I came from and what I love from then.
I live in a deeply landlocked city where rivers have been my only outdoor swimming source. I love all water but because I grew up here it seems the icy cold un-swimmable glacier lakes bring deep comfort and the flowing river is my most relaxed and enjoyable water. But the pool, the pool is a place I have always felt at home, where ever i have lived i have found one and made it my place to go. But when I moved to my current location 5 years ago the pool down here closed for 1 year to do renovations, right after we moved here. So i lived here for 5 years and didn't ever go, i don't really know why that first year left me unattached to that pool, but weirder was I just stopped going swimming all together. I keep telling myself that I am a swimmer but yeah, I have gone barely at all for 5 years. I mean I have gone for a float in the river, played in wave pools, swam in the ocean, floated lazy rivers...but swimming laps? Nope, didnt do that at all.
5 whole years.
Its funny how getting older makes that seem like a smaller about of time, like teen me could have never imagined not really swimming for 5 years. That was like a third of my life back then. But thats the weird thing about getting older, time is different. And its very easy to let it pass and not realize how long its been. But it keeps popping up, why has it been so long? Why am I not going?
Im not sure at all, the past 5 years have been weird and although I live in a nice neighborhood I just dont deeply jive with it, also I have been working a job I dont like for all that time. Another thing, we have been dealing with infertility and somehow that has been life encompassing in some ways.
Last night I finally went swimming. As soon as I was in the pool I remembered, swimming is where its at. My body remembers how to do it, I am still strong. I dont have the cardio I need to really kick it into high gear but I will get there.
Swimming is a great activity enjoyed by all athletic abilities and all ages.
Its cheap, its doable by almost all, it requires very little gear and to me its so relaxing, even when I am working hard doing laps-that little bit of help to defy gravity is a great counter balance to all the fighting gravity that I do at the climb gym.
I tell ya as well, if you want to just feel comfy with your own body, a pool change room in the morning with all the old ladies buck naked and not given a shit at all, that will help you.
So I think its time I just try and learn to love the pool by my house, its only 2 blocks away. I will visit a few times on different days and different times and see when is the best time to go. Im sure its going to be great there.
Maybe if I buy a new bathing suit that will help.......yep. I think so :)
Mental preparation is great when it comes to stepping out and doing some adventure sport but also important is what you do before and after to take care of yourself physically.
Before an activity make sure you have proper fuel, meaning make sure your stomach is not empty. Food gives you energy you need if you want to have the steam to go a little further or a little higher. Food is just as important in post, you will have used up some stores but also you have worked your muscles, eating something with high protein (protein shake, meat, nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans) post workout will not only reduce the pain you may feel the next day it will also help your muscles get stronger. This will make what you did have more effect on your strength in the future.
The next is warming up. If you are going from a long car ride or a day sitting at work, you need to warm your muscles up before you put them to work. Swing your arms about, roll your neck side to side, do a couple jumping jacks, stretch your legs and generally just wake everything up. This will significantly reduce stress on your body and help avoid injury. As important make sure you stretch it out when you are done. If your feet are swollen hit them with some cold water or elevate them to decrease swelling. Take an Epsom salt bath to ease sore muscles. If you have been running or anything else that significantly raises your heart rate, then walk around and keep moving but slower, allowing your heart rate to decrease slowly.
Hydration is also key. Bring a water bottle and use it.
If you take the time to take care of yourself before and after you will have a shorter recovery time, reduce chance of injury, increase mobility and just have an overall better time.
This post is going to get straight to the point of a few things that I am experiencing that are likely to do with being heavy for a long time. Its body stuff, may be a little TMI for some. Read on knowing im about to talk about whats happening with underwear, and body hair.
I have been heavy a long time, and I knew some day that would come with consequences. I expected I would get diabetes or high blood pressure, or maybe need a new knee or something along those lines. So far none of those things have happened, and the things that have happened were so unexpected, un talked about and have caused me much mental anguish. They have made me more self conscious than my weight ever did.
Those three main things are: incontinence (mild leaking) hair loss on my head and hair growing on my face
Whats in that purse?
This little purse is now in my bag at all times. It contents are feminine wipes, an extra pair of knix underwear and a plastic bag.
I have yet to see a doctor about this but I am experiencing a little leakage on and off almost all day long. Im working my kegals and drinking less but its not getting a lot better. Now I have found that the knix line of underwear is unbelievably comfortable, comes in an XXL that actually molds to my body shape and it helps as it works for periods as well. Absorbs like 2 tsp and supposedly dries fast....but i dont see the drying when the leak is bigger, which is why I now always have a second pair of underwear.
The other part of generally incontinence is the smell, which the underwear helps with, but when I switch to my second pair I use a wipe as it just helps me feel cleaner. Sigh, its been something to get used to an was expensive to throw away all my underwear, but I am very grateful this product exists.
*The side note is that these underwear are great for working out or hiking as they are wicking and comfy and will keep you mostly dry. They have a whole other line thats just work out and biking undies. I recommend them as they are cheaper for us Canadians than the thinx/icon line and I just like them better.
All that being said, it was very hard to admit this, but its such a common problem, and like many female body issues we often dont know that and feel alone. The image that we are shown of the ideal woman is definitely more than just skinny, she smells perfect, has thick mostly straight hair with lots of body, she has no facial skin variations, big eyes, no hair anywhere but her head, no wrinkles, no lines, no cellulite, she smiles all the time and is tall, but we are all getting to know more and more that she is not only not the norm, she doesn't exist. Many people will have some of these qualities but no woman has no hair, no lines or folds, no smell.
Its hard to balance who we actually are with who we are sold we should be and I aim with every word I type on these pages to add one more story of how I really am to join the voice saying, its ok.
Still, it doesnt make it easier that i pee my pants sometimes.....
and it really doesnt make the next thing any easier.
So now number two: Hair Thinning.
This has been the saddest thing for me. I have felt such a loss of femininity as my hair gets thinner and thinner. I don't know how to style it and I dont' get how to cut it. I don't want to dye it or use heat products as I don't want to lose anymore which means that I have had to grow in my grey hair. And I am mostly Grey.
I still have not come to terms with either of these things but even writing all down here is helpful as being honest is so very important in getting it out of my head and into a public space just takes the pressure off of the secret.
My hair was always a little thin but its curly so that never showed. I, like many women, got a lot of my identity from my hair. I dont really know whats causing this, the doctors for all their knowledge say "well you are fat and getting older" well thats not exactly what they said, but pretty close to what one said. Basically its that my hormones and body are out of wack and my hair changed. Its likely connected to changes in progesterone, estrogen and testosterone.
The really cruel joke of this imbalance is this: As I lose the hair on my head I grow it on more and more places on my body. Mustache, chin hairs, side burns, hair on my stomach, on the tops of my feet, on my fingers, growing out of my nose. Sheesh! Is there no end to the places I can start growing hair on my body?
But still once again, this is not an un common problem. Just not one we talk about enough.
I remove all the hair and never tell anyone that it grows, not even my husband. And I style my hair on my head the best I can that it never shows how thing its become in some areas. So people are surprised when I tell them.
I dont think you need to just succumb to it all and go hairy (though if thats your choice then go ahead and do it!)
Im just saying lets talk about it ladies. Lets get it out in the open.
I can grow the beginnings of a beard.
But I checked...I still have a vagina and lord knows I still get my freaking period so I am pretty sure I am still a woman.
We all are.
Of course we all want to fit in, but sharing this is fitting in. The numbers are high, you will find friends here.
I am a grown woman and I don't know how to do my thinning hair and I pee my pants sometimes.
Things they don't tell you might happen but they really really should.
Lets all continue to spread this conversation.
This is a follow up to a previous blog as posted here current-goals-and-how-i-have-set-myself-up-for-success.html
The summer here was weird, really hot and smoky as fires got out of control in the province next to us. Food prices went up, we had to leave our house for 3 weeks as it was repaired and had a funeral to attend in Manitoba, a long drive which took 5 days unexpectedly. Also the food plan service we were subscribing to was sold and no longer offers the weekly plans like we were doing.
We were successful in a month of meal plan eating. The meals were delicious but the heat and smoke affected me greatly I don't know that I had any more energy than before. Overall the cooking all the time was good but I felt stress. I dont know why I can't seem to balance out the pressure, instead of feeling better about making better choices I beat myself up about the bad choices I made.
I want to try the plan again as what I am trying to figure out the most: my rational vs irrational mind.
I know beating myself up is the automatic reaction and what I am trying to figure out more and more is how to battle that automatic and make more logical choices.
So instead of calling August an eating failure I am just going to go forward and make some better choices for September.
As for our step goal, I found it hard to be outside in the sun and the smoke and although I walked fairly regularly I did not always hit that 8000 step goal. And I did very little hiking.
It was not exactly the same summer that I planned but it was what I wanted in that I am testing certain things to see how I can create a system that works, that I can keep up and that is healthier for me.
The fall plans are tricky but they involve a lot of work so we can save up money. And I hope a lot of climbing and yoga.
I need to focus on my mental health and balance.
I will set up some new goals and check back in, but for now I am deep in a tech week at my theatre which means long days of nothing but work.
there are facts and then there are emotions. This is as honest as I can be about my struggles and triumphs.