Thursday, June 14, 2018

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

I love this JRR Tolkien quote, and while this definitely is not a trek to Mordor, I want to talk about our little area path, which we call the Muffly Trail in honor of our friends, who discovered it and shared it with us. I love it because it's close, a bit of a challenge (258 feet elevation change, 3.5 miles), and I can reach it by walking out my front door instead of a 20-minute ride to a trail. It's all paved, (so I am getting concrete experience and not just cushy wood chips), and about 8 feet wide. Could be wider, could be narrower, not sure - I'm awful at measuring.

Dwight and I walk it together maybe once or twice a week, but more often than not we walk it alone since I'd rather walk in the morning and he is a late-afternoon kind of guy. In Nebraska??? 100 degrees with humidity to match??? He was cooling down after his walk this afternoon and when he got up from the porch, there was a literal puddle under his chair. If you know him, you know I'm not kidding. I'm debating on whether or not to rinse it in case animals in the 'hood need a salt lick.

We've seen some cool wildlife, for living in a city. Okay, the 'burbs. I've seen wild turkeys, deer, a fox, and these guys, along with assorted critters.

I saw this guy early this spring, and as I was getting closer, I thought, "Wow, that's a big bird".
Oh yeah. Red-tailed hawk. With dinner.
This bunny nest was just a few feet off the trail, and we only noticed it when the mama scampered away. It wasn't very hidden, and it was gone a few days later, so we're hoping it didn't win the Darwin Awards for Bunnies
But since we usually walk it separately, if we see something cool and want to tell the other about it, we've named the sections:

  • Switchbacks. Self explanatory.
  • Roundabout. Again, you know what this is.
  • Ted Bundy Hill. Emmy and I named this; if you're going up it and Ted Bundy pulled up in his Volkswagon Beetle and asked you to help him find his dog, you might consider the ride. Going down it is fine, but up is a bitch. Several blocks long and steep.
  • Hobo camp. This is a new path that the city built over the winter. I wandered it last year and it seriously looked like a hobo camp. Are there still hobos? Do they have camps? Clem Kadiddlehopper? It was a dirt trail that ran along the tracks, there was a fire pit, trash, underbrush, I don't know, maybe bodies... Anyway, it was scary and I hightailed it out of there. The city came and cleaned it up, paved it, and it makes the trail a bit shorter if I go that way. 
  • Power boxes
  • Bridge
  • Field
  • Big Park / splash pad. I can't tell you the number of times I wanted to shove all the toddlers aside and just get wet!
  • Tunnel 
  • Railroad tracks - the trail runs along some BNSF tracks, but there are woods and gardens between us and the tracks. And lots of pot. Or hemp. Whatever. 

this stuff grows so fast!
  • Bataan Death March. This is the last part along the tracks - at least a quarter of a mile of long gradual never-ending uphill. And just when you think you're at the end, you turn the corner and there's the Hill of Death - only about half a block but straight uphill.
  • 99th Street
  • Little Park
  • The Bench. It's a mile from the big park back to our house, and 3/4 of that is uphill. A few blocks from the traffic light, at the top of the hill, there is a sweet little bench along the trail. Last summer when I passed it there was a couple sitting on it, and I told them they had the right idea. And they said that's why they put it there! I have availed myself of it more than once. I want to bake cookies for them and leave them on their porch, I am so grateful.
Srsly. How inviting does this look???
And now time for a public service announcement. Remember that Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. commencement address floating around a few years ago titled "Wear Sunscreen"? Yeah. He was right.

I grew up in South Dakota, red hair, fair skin, freckles, and spent every day all day outside in the sun, usually at the pool. Since sunscreen hadn't even been invented, I had more blistering sunburns than I could count.

Last week I had my first visit to a dermatologist. I had self-diagnosed myself with rosacea, and since my nose was starting to look like W.C. Fields and since we were going out of town, I needed help. Vanity,  you know. Sure enough, I was having a rosacea flair, and thanks to antibiotics (oral and topical), my skin now looks as good as it ever has. But as long as I was there, she did a full body check. (I would have worn better underwear had I known.) She froze four suspicious spots (right forearm, left bicep, above my left eyebrow, and scalp), and took a biopsy of an even more suspicious one on my left cheek. Luckily it turned out to be actinic keratosis and not basal cell carcinoma, but I feel like a ticking time bomb. It's only a matter of when.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

The Day I Thought I was Gonna Die, or Adventures in Hiking

I know, I know, it's me being overdramatic. But let me tell you about last Saturday.

First of all, we are in the middle of a major heat wave. We had 78 days of January, two nice weeks of spring, and now, apparently, it's late July/early August. We're used to heat and humidity here in Nebraska, but we usually ease into it a bit more gradually.

Dwight has been busy lately but had nothing going on last Saturday, so when he asked what I wanted to do, I suggested going for a hike. And I wanted to do the full six miles around Wehrspann Lake, instead of cutting off the far side and making it only four miles. And I wanted to do it with my pack and boots. I dressed appropriately in hiking shorts, a sleeveless tech tee, my Smartwool socks, and a baseball cap. I had two bottles of water and some trail mix in my pack for us just in case we needed them.

We left our house about 9 a.m., stopped by Home Depot to pick up some mulch, but still got to the Chalco visitor's center about 9:30. You know, before it got too hot because we're prudent like that.  We decided to do the trail clockwise - again, just in case - we found we (and by we I mean I) really only wanted to do four miles and could take the bridge back.

We started out and it was gorgeous. When we came to the dam, I told Dwight that I was going to take the crushed limestone path just to have a different surface to walk on, while he continued the trail. His bright green shirt looked so pretty against the blue sky that I had to take a picture. I'd zoom in on it, but then you couldn't see how much higher he was than me.

That little speck is Dwight

And what did I see spray-painted in the gravel but a yellow arrow showing me the way. I tell you, signs are everywhere.

About a mile down the path, my tummy (which had felt a little off all morning) started getting gurgly and I told Dwight when we came to the picnic grounds I needed to use the bathroom because, well, I had to poop. I know, TMI, but hey, #keepingitreal. I knew we had a few miles to go until that spot, but when I found a bench in the shade, I needed to sit down. Dwight said, "The bathroom is only about 100 yards away", but I needed to SIT and SIT RIGHT THEN. I should have known how bad it was going to be because I didn't even pause the timer on my watch. But the stop revived me, I felt better, didn't have to poop, so we continued. We saw a sign that said 156th St bridge out due to construction but since we didn't know what that was referring to, we just went on. 

Okay, now I am thinking that doing four miles would be prudent, so we would need to take the shortcut back to the visitor center. When we got to the shortcut, it turns out that was the 156th St bridge the sign had been talking about. So, after a few choice words and figuring we'd just do the six miles, on we went.

Dwight: Are you feeling okay?

Me: I'm fine.

Dwight: You don't sound fine.

Me: I need to get to the car so I have no choice but to be fine. (Read this in a slightly bitchy voice.)

And then I started thinking that I was going to give Dwight the keys so he could drive home because my head was feeling not right. I needed shade and I needed it now. I just dropped my pack in the first patch of grass I found that was shady. (Again, not pausing my watch so my pace for this adventure was totally screwed.) I just sat there, thinking maybe I'd throw up, but knowing we still had some miles to go. Dwight offered to carry my pack but it seriously didn't feel heavy so I declined.  I have it packed right now at around 13 pounds, but it's so well balanced that it's easier than a school backpack.

Dwight knew what was happening, since he knows I don't handle heat and humidity well - especially since I've had a few rounds of heat exhaustion, most notably the time I didn't show up to the surprise 25th anniversary party that our kids threw for us. Hey, in my defense, it was supposed to be a surprise birthday party for a friend so I felt okay lying on the couch in the air conditioning after a day of working in the garden and not hydrating. Anyway, he knew there was a parking lot coming up, told me to sit and wait, he'd hike to the car and then come and find me. I didn't even argue, just started trudging off the spur to the parking lot. I found some shade under a tree, threw off my pack, used it for a pillow, and just sprawled.

When he left me, Dwight told me he'd be 20-30 minutes since he still had to hike to the car. Well, he was still two miles from the car, so I knew it would be close to 45. My brain was fried. I was lying there trying not to look like I was dying because people kept coming and going, and I didn't want to alarm anyone. Too much. But not one person stopped to ask if I was okay, which kinda surprised me. After about half an hour I felt like I might NOT die and started worrying about all the bugs that were in the grass, so sat up cautiously and tried to figure out where I was. And since my brain had started working again, I - duh - pulled up Google maps on my phone. When I saw where I was, I actually said OUT LOUD, "Highway 370. He's never gonna find me."

If you know my husband, you'll know that he is somewhat casual about carrying his phone. He had left it recharging at home so I had no way to reach him. He said he figured he wouldn't need it since we'd be together. Of course. So after an hour, having drunk all my water, I got up and walked around a bit, figuring since I felt so much better I would hike back to the car. But then I thought how alarmed he'd be if he showed up and I wasn't there, so I just stayed put. I knew he'd find me somehow, even if it meant driving to our house, getting his phone, and looking me up on Find My Phone. After another 20 minutes, I got a call from an unknown number (which I normally wouldn't answer) that I figured might be him.

Dwight: Where are you?

Me: Where are YOU? I'm by Highway 370.

Dwight: Where on 370?

Me: I don't know.

So after about five minutes, he pulled into the parking lot. When you're waiting for a ride, you can't believe how many black SUVs that look just like yours exist.

Let me tell you how glorious that air conditioning felt!

Funny end to the story: the other day we were talking about The Day Dwight Saved My Life and he said we just should've called Uber to take us to the car. And then we laughed and laughed because seriously, that would've been an excellent idea.

This is today - no ball cap, still sweaty
Buen Camino!
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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Life Lessons

For my mental health, I'm trying to stay off Facebook unless it's to read Camino-related entries or posts from one of my favorite groups, Silent Book Club. (This group reads an insane amount, and the members are anything but silent about opinions and recommendations. I thought I read a lot, but I'm on the low end of the bell curve in this group.) Also, the irony of posting this to my Cathy Shows Up Facebook page is not lost on me.

As I've mentioned, there are a plethora of groups related to all things Camino de Santiago, and I follow several of them. What to pack, shoe recommendations, how far to walk, where to stay, how to find someone to walk with, which airport to fly into, how to sew patches on your backpack, to bring makeup, trekking poles vs not, fanny pack, water bottle vs hydration pack, best bra, fastest-drying underwear, socks - well, you get the idea. Pretty much anything and everything. But one of the groups had a post by a woman, Kay Newton, about what she learned by walking the Camino. I listened to her almost-hour-long video and actually took notes. In reviewing these notes, I realized that they are lessons for life, not just walking several hundred miles in Spain. (If you're interested in reading her story or listening to her podcast, click here.)

What I learned, in no particular order:

- I can't control the weather, but I can control how I react to it. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. And since I've read the forums, I have a rain jacket, poncho that fits over me and my pack, rain cover for my pack, and a warm fleece to wear under this all in case it's wet and cold. Although I really hope to be walking in shorts and a tank top...

- Pare my kit down to the essentials, since I have to carry everything. In my case, an eyebrow pencil might be an essential since it looks like I have no face otherwise. But seriously, have you ever carried a hurt or a grudge that just got to be too much work to drag along? I have, and it was such a relief to just let go.

- It's not just the Big Goal, but it's all the steps involved too. To me, that's another way of saying it's not about the destination, but the journey, which is something I told our kids when they were little and whining about how far the trip was to Grandma's. (Seriously, try to keep three little kids entertained for nine hours one way. The six-hour trip to visit Nana was much easier.)

- Listen to and respect my body. It will tell me when I need to stop and take care of it. See my previous post about physical therapy, or check this out:

Last week
I went on a nice 6.2 mile walk with my friend and his dog. Kirk's legs are way longer than mine, the route was hilly, AND I was wearing my hiking shoes. I could feel a blister forming but did I stop to take care of it? You know the answer. I came home and told Dwight, in the immortal words of Leslie Knope, "Everything hurts and I'm dying." Next time we do this trail, I am wearing my running shoes and pre-taping where I know will be a problem.

- Enjoy the moment. Don't wait for joy; find something to be grateful for in the present. (In my notes I accidentally spelled it "greatful", which seems to fit.)

- Breathing! Especially when walking up mountains! Deep breaths calm the system down. Find your rhythm. This is actually one of the things I'm working on at PT, taking full breaths instead of the "fight or flight" shallow chest breathing.

- GOYA. This might be my new favorite acronym! It stands for "Get Off Your Ass" - not speaking for anyone but myself, but I know I can do this more.

The author of the video messaged me and asked if I had any questions. I told her the message would be so helpful for planning my September Camino, but it is basically a Life Lesson. She told me I got it (teacher validation! yay me!), and that all the answers are in front of us every day, no matter where we are. I love that.

This seems a fitting place to stop. I'll leave you with some calligraphy I posted on my Instagram account (@cathyboll) several months ago that seems to fit here.

Okay, it's a paraphrase, but you know if the Buddha was alive today, he would totally say it

Buen Camino!
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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes (knees and toes)...

...eyes and ears and mouth and nose, head and shoulders, knees and toes (knees and toes.)

[Extra credit if you sang this pre-school song in your head.]

So as I mentioned in my last post, I was prescribed physical therapy to help with some hip pain I was experiencing. I was specifically sent to Dan Miller at Healing Motion Physical Therapy because, as my orthopod said, if he can't fix me, no one can. He would analyze my gait and he takes a holistic approach to healing. As much as I don't hesitate to pop the NSAIDs, I really don't like taking pills. I sat down with Dan at my first appointment and we chatted about what was going on and what I wanted to get out of treatment, namely to be able to walk the Camino. I mean, I was going to do it no matter what, but as walking up the two stairs from our garage into our house killed, I wanted a little help for those upcoming days of >900 feet of elevation change. That's right, OVER 900 FEET OMG.

Now I am no stranger to PT. I've had four knee scopes, each one requiring a few weeks of therapy, an elbow scope (another few weeks), and rotator cuff repair (five MONTHS). These are just the post-op conditions; there have been a few other times for other issues. I am as strong and healthy as a horse (hardy peasant stock, you know), but as Dwight says, orthopaedically I'm a lemon. And I'm not even a little bit offended because it's true.

So I went in figuring he'd do an exam, check my range of motion, see what makes me say "OW!", measure whatever it is they measure, give me a few exercises, pat me on the head, and send me home. Three weeks max and bam we're done. Yeah, it was none of that. I came home and when Dwight asked how it went, all I could say was that it was like no other PT appointment I'd ever had. It was a cross between physical therapy, massage therapy, meditation, chiropracty (not a word but you get the idea), counseling, and I don't know -  magic? He watched me walk, and then he had me watch me walk, which was only slightly behind trying on swimsuits in the Things-You-Don’t-Want-To-See-In-A-Giant-Mirror category. Dan basically looked at all the pieces to see how my body is working and where the weaknesses are to be causing my hip to hurt. He talked about the body, mind, and spiritual sides of healing and how they're all connected. He could help my hip stop hurting, but without fixing what was causing it to hurt in the first place, it would only be temporary. He's teaching me very slight specific movements, really just the initiation of that movement, that help with strengthening. Dwight calls them my "mind exercises", which I'm sure is what they look like to him.

I'm not doing a very good job at explaining, but after several weeks of help, I can sleep on my side without my hip screaming, I can stand up to put on my underwear (seriously, it was THAT bad), I can walk upstairs without a handrail while carrying a basket of laundry, I've taken several hikes with my pack, and can do all my daily activities with hardly ever needing to take drugs.

I'd be lying if I said everything is rainbows and unicorns all the time. We still buy Costco quantities of Aleve. I think about how I walk and sit and move. My promising basketball career is over; squatting to dribble and move laterally while playing with my favorite four-year-old made my hip angry. I still occasionally wake up in the middle of the night, and sometimes it hurts to hike the big hills. But compared to how I was at Christmastime, well, let's just say I'm a million times better. (Okay, maybe a hundred...) I have a few more appointments scheduled so I don't feel like a Jenga tower, waiting for that one piece to be pulled out and have everything collapse. Maybe Dan will fix my golf swing - or who knows, maybe he'll give me one.

The next time I see him I will tell him I am writing this post. I want to get his okay to use his name and information. If anyone in Omaha is looking for physical therapy, I got a guy. Seriously, when I win the lottery, not only am I getting shares in NetJets and a personal chef, but I am going to go see Dan for regular tune-ups.

[Edit: Dan said by all means to share his info; he has a pay-it-forward, or rather heal-it-forward philosophy. That is, share with others what has helped me. Click here to be taken to the website. And by all means, call if this is something you can use. Now I need to go reread all my posts since 2012 in case he reads this (Hi, Dan!) and finds out that as good an actor as I am, this little corner of my world is where I don't keep the crazy in the closet.]

Buen Camino!
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Monday, March 19, 2018

The Universe is Conspiring

My last post was about when I decided to do the Camino de Santiago; this one is about the universe telling me it’s the right choice.

Yep. Google image of Magic 8 Ball.

There are several different Facebook groups about the Camino: for slow walkers, for women, for Americans, for people who do long hikes - you get the idea. Any and all questions are asked and answered. I'm usually a quiet lurker, but I had a question that I couldn’t find the answer to, namely what to do with my US passport, drivers license, stash of euros (not just daily amount), credit/debit card - all the things you just can’t lose. I got all kinds of answers from a security pouch you wear around your neck, money belt, pickpocket-proof pants, fannypack, crossbody bag, sleep with it under your pillow, sleep with it at the bottom of your sleeping bag, put it in a ziplock and bring it into the shower, you get the idea. But the best thing was that one of the respondents noticed I was from Omaha, and SHE is  from Omaha and had walked the Camino the year before, and maybe did I want to meet and chat? I couldn’t say yes fast enough! Kathy sounds as organized as I am (maybe even more so) and generously shared all her files with me: packing list, alberques, distances walked, immunizations to get, travel insurance info, etc. I have had some questions since then and she has answered 'em all. It's so nice to make new friends at my age. And her pictures! I will be having my own to share in six months, but hers were beautiful!

Then for Christmas, Dwight gave me a neck pillow that he had seen that he thought would be good for a trans-Atlantic flight, along my very own headlamp in case we want to start out early in the morning to beat the heat. So incredibly thoughtful, and I don't feel like a dork at all.

Next, my sister and brother-in-law came to my mother-in-law's funeral in North Dakota at the end of December (because nothing says vacation like a funeral and -37 degrees.) I was in their room and got a beautiful gift from Tom. This guy:

St. James the Greater and some Buddhas - because everyone can use a little serenity
He had given one to Jeanie as well, since we'll be visiting the remains of Saint James at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. And he told me to quit calling it it an action figure. Seriously though, it is one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received.

Next: I have been having some pretty severe hip pain since the middle of December, so much so that I tried to not let the kids see me walk upstairs when everyone was home at Christmas because I didn’t want to alarm them. I couldn’t hide the limp though - if you're old enough to remember the TV show The Real McCoys, picture Walter Brennan as Grandpa and you get the picture. After several weeks of this I went to see a good hip guy, and when my X-rays were “unremarkable” except for some mild arthritis, he prescribed PT. I asked him who he recommended and he said there are so many good therapists, just pick one close to me. Then he said, “Wait a minute,” pulled out his phone and wrote down the contact info for the guy who he said, “If he can’t fix you, nobody can.” That is the subject for a whole different post, though, so stay tuned!

I was walking around Lake Zorinsky on a gorgeous day about a month ago, wearing my pack for the first time that I’m taking on the trip. Two women stopped me and asked if I was training for something, since they were training for a three-day hike in Havasu. I explained what I was doing and one of the ladies said it was on her bucket list and was so excited to hear about it. What are the chances?!

Dwight snapped this unbeknownst to me. Figuring out how to tighten the straps.

Oh yeah

The last sign from the universe is quite literally a sign:

Follow the yellow arrows

I saw this on a walk in our neighborhood, and while I know they're just markings from the utility company for underground cables, yellow arrows (along with scallop shells) have been used for centuries to guide pilgrims on their Way to Santiago.

Buen Camino!
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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Movie Changed My Life

source: Pinterest

Several years ago there was a thing going around Facebook where you wrote 25 Things About Me. One of my friends wrote that a book changed her life. As much as I read, I don't think there is any one book I can point to. However, there is this movie...

A few months ago I was in Chicago and got to spend some time with my sister Jeanie. She was making dinner and, like any good guest, I was sitting at the kitchen island drinking wine and keeping her company. We were talking about how much we both like to walk, and she told me about her sister-in-law who had passed away about a year ago, and how she had always wanted to do this pilgrimage. She started talking about this movie she and her husband had seen about it, written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father, Martin Sheen. I had never heard of the movie, and only very vaguely knew of the pilgrimage route, no doubt dredged from somewhere in the cobwebby attic of my Catholic schoolgirl brain. The movie is The Way, and the pilgrimage route is the Camino de Santiago.

My own copy!

We watched the movie that night, and it may have been the wine talking, but I turned to Jeanie and said, "I think we can do this". Now keep in mind that two hours prior, this idea didn't even exist in my universe. Tom then reminded us that the accommodations are not the Marriott. All you have to do is walk 12-15 miles a day carrying everything you need for the trip, stop at villages and towns every few miles, eat good food, AND drink Spanish wine.

If you want the whole history you can google it and read pages and pages and pages, but here it is in a nutshell. There are several pilgrimage routes, with the destination being Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. The Cathedral is where the shrine (and remains) of the apostle Saint James the Greater are located, and has been a pilgrimage route since the 9th century. The route we are looking at is the Frances (or French) Way. It begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees, covers about 800 km (500 miles to us), and traditionally takes about 35 days. That is a LOT of walking. (I'd say it's a shit-ton of walking, but hey, this is a religious destination.) While I would love to do the entire route, and actually am planning on it for when I turn 65, next fall Jeanie and I are going to do the last 111 km of the route,  from Sarria to Santiago. 100 km is the minimum that can be done to earn a Compostela, which is a certificate saying you walked The Way. I'm pretty sure that people who walk the full 800 km might feel a little cheated because they get the same certificate.

If you know me personally, you can imagine that I'm pretty much researching this little journey to death. One quote I read that has stuck with me is that your Camino begins when you decide to do it. I have hiking shoes. I've been walking a LOT (okay, a shit-ton, because this is in Nebraska and not Spain and I can say it). While I don't have the backpack that I'm going to be carrying yet, I am carrying my North Face day pack loaded with weights to get used to carrying everything I will need on my back. (And apparently right now that is some  dumbbells wrapped in beach towels...)

Source: Pinterest
Another thing I read is that each person setting out on this journey needs to decide WHY they are doing it. In the movie, there were as many reasons as there were pilgrims. And despite going to Catholic high school, I do not consider myself a religious person. For me, this trip is so far outside of my comfort zone, it may as well be - well - on the other side of the world. There is a place on the Camino where you are to bring a rock or other memento from home, and leave it behind, as well as what you want to rid yourself of. Jeanie and I will begin our Camino after this place, but I know we will find our own spot to leave our rocks. Prior to that, I will be putting quite a bit of thought into what I want to leave on that path in Spain.

Another reason is that I want to prove to myself that I can do it; that I can do hard things. I was trying to explain this to my friend Debbie, and she said, "But don't we do hard things every day?" Debbie, if you are reading this - thank you. I know I don't need to go on a long multi-day hike thousands of miles from home to prove this, but I need to prove this to the chubby girl from Aberdeen, South Dakota, who never really felt good enough for anything.

So I will be showing up (just like the blog name!) in your news feed more frequently - this blog has its own Facebook page if you're interested in following.

Buen Camino!

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Head Up, Wings Out

Nine years ago, I crashed my bike (sounds so much better than "I fell off my bike") and needed major shoulder reconstruction. During the extensive rehab, I said to myself that I would never ever complain about working out again. Y'all know where this is going, don't you?

Over the winter, I've been Pinteresting great workouts and motivational quotes, which it turns out is actually easier than doing the real thing, and evidently doesn't count. After having to buy new jeans because all my old ones hurt, I decided to get with the program. You know the program; we all know the program: eat sensibly, drink more water and less alcohol, and get more movement in. I'm blaming wasting time on social media on my slacking off in these areas, and yes, I know it's ironic that I'm posing this on social media. Welcome to 2017.

I've been dutifully doing my two-mile neighborhood run-but-mostly-walk (RBMW), but this past weekend I decided to ramp it up and do a 4+ mile route. The weather was gorgeous, the first two miles were great - probably because I had decided in advance that it would be a long one. I was remembering training for the half-marathons, and was actually considering maybe doing one this fall and wondering who I could talk into doing it with me. And then shortly before mile three when I was faced with a hill that made me want to cry.

(Funny story: many years ago I said I would help my son's then-fiancée now-wife train for the bike part of her first triathlon. The route was a VERY HILLY semi-rural road north of town - State Street, for you Omahans. While I could ride pretty good distances on the flats, I wasn't - and still am not - good on hills. I actually needed to get off my bike and lie down in someone's front yard for a bit. Poor Aly, she acted cool but I know she was afraid that this overweight red-faced mom in spandex was going to die on her watch.)

Back to this weekend. When faced with the hill, I stopped, bent over with my hands on my knees, and swore at my husband who was golfing so I couldn't call him to come get me. I sucked it up, buttercup, and put one foot in front of the other and made it home. I totally would've gotten in the car with a complete stranger, though, if someone would've offered me a ride. Just kidding but not really (JKBNR). Seriously though, after lunch, a shower and a nap, it did feel really good to get out there and work. Maybe I'll look into that Des Moines half after all. Or a 5K.

Oh, and the title of this post? I've seen it on some running blogs, and it's my new mantra.

Head up, wings out!
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