Sunday, May 08, 2011
The theme from Mr. Ed drifts through the mind. Yesterday after my maintenance consultation I took a drive up the road to a State Park, and bought my sticker for the year. Now I can get back in any time I like, at least this year... bike, walk, jog, skate, sled, swim, see the plays... or, sign up and go on a trail ride.
When I got to the stables, I read the sign: purchase tickets at park office. So I walked back to the park office, leaving the car in one spot the whole visit. I asked about the trail rides and found out you can only reserve for the actual day! And you can only reserve by phone at ten a.m. for the spots left among the horses they are taking out that day. So, pretty tight deal.
And... they had a spot available on the 1:30 p.m. trail ride. Two hours away, I thought, checking my watch. I hadn't intended on staying out too long, but... why not? If the work team thing doesn't come together, I'd actually have achieved my "get on a horse" wish, if I just signed up right then. So, I did!
I walked the loop around the park, figuring out where the various venues were. Pretty cool place, really. You know, for all that I live less than 25 miles from this park, I'd only been there once before. I have no idea why not... perhaps because the park was developed during the 15 years I lived in other states? Perhaps because I don't get out enough.
I got to the stables early, and one of the wranglers beckoned me to come on up to the fence and stroke the horses that were tied on that side as they got ready. I did so, talking softly and petting them. They had their names on their halters and they were all beautiful. Palomino, Paint, Appaloosa, roan, grey, bay... stockings, stars... lovely, patient, some frisky, a couple liked the attention, a couple shied away.
A little later a happy and somewhat noisy group of foreign "kids", I'll call them, arrived, the bulk of the riders. And a family with a couple of little girls. And me. We listened to the safety speech, were offered safety helmets, and then they chose who would go on which of the horses.
The head guy had asked me when I came up and was petting horses if I was riding out with them today and which time. I'd told him. He put me on Toby, one of the more "independent" minded of the string. Apparently Toby used to work as a wrangler's horse, and therefore wasn't quite as accustomed to being just a horse following the horse in front of him. He needed to be "reminded" from time to time not to sneak up on the lead wrangler's horse and nip. I was kind of flattered to be given a mount that required some level of interaction. Otherwise, have you really been on a horseback ride?
We got to see a wild turkey in the woods. Lots of birds singing, great views. And when we got back and dismounted, I kind of floated back to the car and drove home with an incredible sense of peace in my soul.
Oh, and those of you who gripe about doing hip abductor exercises? If you ever go riding, you'll be glad you did them!
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Every so often, I have to preach to myself about rewards. Why is that? Because I tend to forget to give myself the little rewards and savor them. And I sometimes neglect to follow through on the long-promised bigger rewards, "because something more important came up."
Rewards come in all sizes, of course. Those of us with food issues historically think of rewards in terms of banana splits or whatever our favorite high-calorie indulgence might be... and since food is cheap and available, fast to grab... guess what happens if we don't give consideration to appropriate rewards, large and small?
So... part of the learning process of "acting as if" we were fit and healthy people (on the road to actually becoming the same)... is learning to choose rewards that are meaningful and appropriate to the victories.
Meaningful is a very personal thing... it should be something that gives YOU joy, not something someone else thinks of as a reward. It should be something that you actually label as "I did XYZ, and this is my reward!" "I stayed on my food plan for three weeks... I am buying this scented candle and lighting it to recognize I'm worth it!"
The big ones? I have been promising myself a massage ever since I hit my half-way point... what, 18 months ago? I never booked it! Even now! And until just now when I wrote this, I had kind of forgot I promised that to me... let's put that on the to-do list: schedule that massage.
But right now, the big focal point of the reward scale is the trail riding thing. Today, after my maintenance consultation, I intend to drive out to a nearby state park and investigate scheduling and rates. My work team (several of them, anyway) have said they will go with me... it's just one of those day trips, for those of you who asked, but it's something that's been on my list for a while.
And I even voiced it in front of other people... after I finish the half marathon... I'm going to get on a horse again! It's been 30 years. It's time. So... that's today: reward planning and the next steps to implementation.
What's on YOUR list of rewards you owe yourself?
Friday, May 06, 2011
I have to admit I have not done a vision statement or collage. I toy with my goals and aspirations, but a concrete written "here's what I want my life to be like in 5 years"? Nope. It's kind of like that exercise they gave us in school: "what do you want to be when you grow up?"
Seriously, though, when I reach a finish line, that is the next assignment: reassess, re-evaluate, and envision what to do next. Because if I DON'T have a vision of SOME sort, I subject myself to aimless wandering or the force of habit, which lasts only so long.
That said, what *do* I want my life to be like, five years from now? Well, pretty much what it's like now! Maybe a bit more organized. But pretty much as it is.
Meaningful work, safe home, sound nutrition, an active and strong body... contact with my family, siblings, nieces and nephews, son and his wife... OK, maybe grandkid(s) - but that last is not within my control.
This led to making my Vision statement that was required for a work wellness program: "This is the me I want to be for the rest of my life." And that's a fine maintenance vision.
Thursday, May 05, 2011
So... here it is, four days later. We crossed the finish line. We got that tremendous rush of accomplishment. I celebrated, and I got back on my program. But... I'm not training for a half marathon any more. I'm thinking about "what's next."
There are some things that are constants:
1) I will keep taking my stress-busting walking breaks at work. This is something that continues to serve me well, and in more areas than physical fitness. They help my mind work better. They give me time to think, to reason away any anxiety that may be arising from the work day, any pressure or stresses.
2) I will continue my nutritious eating plan. Because I just plain feel better when eating well.
3) I have started increasing my strength training, which had kind of taken a lesser role while training for that half. I'm feeling the need.
4) I'm cherishing the many possibilities:
Will my next training effort involve a bicycle? I started pumping up the tires.
Will it involve a "nesting" - something around the house or yard? A lot of things have been neglected while I spent time training... but I need something that will inspire me... my eyes wander over my home, seeking, seeking.
Whatever it is, right now I feel good about it... it's out there somewhere... the next dream.
5) And there WILL be a reward. I've promised myself a trail ride, and several work mates have said they'll go with me. Yes, on horses!
Spark on, my friends... the journey is not over just because one crosses a finish line!
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Some days I wake up and don't want to: this morning was one of them. I used this analogy of walking at the bottom of a swimming pool, as I'm impeded by what my body is doing to deal with "the aliens". Yes, those allergens that populate the world. They are cumulative.
This morning at 4, my 24 hour meds that I took yesterday morning at 6 had clearly been overwhelmed. So, I went through several stages of "jollying myself along". You see, one advantage of being more mature (read older) is that you do kind of know what's coming next with things you've lived with for a while. What I do is I start thinking of what is on my work agenda.
Usually I conclude that it's too important to shrug that off. I may stay in bed a couple of snoozes worth, but then I go into the routine: acting as if I didn't feel like this. Because I know that if I do that for a while, I might stop feeling like this. I move at a much slower pace, and allow myself to do so... I jolly myself into the shower. I take a headache pill, and the allergy pill when the 24 hours is up. I jolly myself into preparing my lunch. I jolly myself into fixing breakfast. By the time I finish breakfast (now)... I'm feeling better. The meds have kicked in, the hot shower has helped, and thinking about the good things I wish to accomplish today has helped, too.
Giving myself permission to move slower today, to listen to the body's needs, respect them, but not blow them out of proportion, is vital. For some people, moving slow is EVERY day. I think of people I know who deal with long-term illnesses or disabilities. For me, it's just during some intervals. If they can keep on keeping on, so can I.
I can live and enjoy even days walking at the bottom of the swimming pool, with gratitude.
Turtle on, people!
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