WOW! Today is the day after seven months working towards my 5K goal of being healthy! Twenty days before the race has always the critical crunch time were habits could slip or go extreme. I decided to caution on the side of not over doing it, but still keeping a watch on diet leading up to the morning of the fun run.
Here is the twenty day recap before race day…
How was I successful?
After all the celebrating the 4th of July with an all American BBQ, it kept the rest of the days in check with adding a little more fruits and veggies at all meals. The food trucks at work did not call to me at all, but the awesome chicken salad did! The weather here in Seattle has been interesting again. Some days it has been overcast, and other days it is sunny. Even on the overcast days, I still was able to get out and exercise.
What didn’t go so well?
During the last twenty days there has been some stress of moving to a new job (more coming on this transition later). Seems like most of the past months I have been dealing with stress in general. At some point by the end of the year I may finally get a handle on the job stress. Stay tune for that!
how I am feeling?
Feeling I can finish strong in the 5K! Feel I still have some improvements to make as I continue with my healthy habits.
How I kept motivated?
Motivation over the last twenty days came more from the fact I will be running around the ballpark and get to see a baseball game after completing the fun run. Also what motivated me is I get to support a cause close to my heart and have fun doing it at the same time.
The month of June is the month of birthdays in my family which means cake galore! I mean eating Trader Joe’s chocolate cake three times this month is overload when you think about it. Also June kicks off the summer BBQ season which means all the lovely healthy stuff appears on the grill with the not so healthy stuff. Yet as the days dwindled down until the 5k run in July, it was crunch time to get ready for 3.1 miles around T-Mobile Field. Which also means I did indulge in a ballpark hotdog while watching the Mariners play on my birthday weekend.
Yet June was a stressful month with all the changes again happening in my life (it has become a pattern in my life I am trying to break). Stress is never easy to, and when you are under it for a long period of time it does things to you.
So lets dive into it…
How was I successful?
With the opening of farmer’s markets and the abundance of spring produce, I have no excuse not to eat my veggies. At work I found a way to keep the salad eating thieves away from my lunch and had more days of healthy eating then last month (150 days). I started to take my lunch outside when the weather is nice and get those much needed vitamin Ds.
At home I have started eating more of the Mediterranean diet then Whole30 stuff for dinner each night. Deep down inside I have always had a thing for authentic Greek and Italian food. After reading countless scientific studies, the Mediterranean diet will whip you into fighting shape by eating it for four days you will become 6% speedier in running then when on a western diet. Good news for my 5k!
Spending time with friends helped with some of the stress. As I have pointed out in a blog post earlier this year, baseball fields have a way of letting you forget the stress of the outside world a few hours. Spending those hours with friends made it better. Spending time with nature as well lead to a few moments where stress melted away for a little bit.
What didn’t go so well?
Stress did not go so well this month! I have noticed a pattern lately since starting this commit to healthy, and that it how I handle stress. I’m not talking stress on my body through physical means, but through mental and at times spiritual means. A part of being healthy is have a healthy coping mechanism for handling stress, and I need to figure this out real fast. I realized there was been time I almost lost my sh!t or cried at work. Maybe it is the BS I’m dealing with or I just need a real break.
Also Mr. Oreo made the whole eating healthy hard when I spotted these in store!
Oreo now has dark chocolate double stuff Oreo’s and these are dangerously good! I mean I could eat the whole pack in one sitting if I could. Also they pair well with Rose, which is also millennial’s dream.
What can I do differently?
One: I can start getting a hold of my stress and managing it better then I have recently. It maybe just the fact I am starting to burn out again come summer time. Two: really keep myself from going down the rabbit hole of stress eating with Oreo’s or other baked goods. Three: self-care needs to be a priority again.
How am I feeling?
Stressed out and need to figure out how to not be all the damn time. But, at least I feel better about my continue progress of committing to be healthy.
What motivates me?
Still progressing towards my goal of finishing strong at the 5k in July and mental, physical health as well.
Where do I go next to hike? A question most natives to PNW ask themselves when summer rolls around. Finding great hiking trails with or without a lot of people are abundant around Western Washington. Here are my favorite hikes to do.
Mt. Baker National Wilderness
I believe Mt. Baker national forest is a best kept secret when it come to tourist. To think you are very close to Canada you can throw a stone over the border. Yet very few people I know want to explore this hidden gem in plain sight.
The story goes this beautiful mountain and her surroundings were the pride of Washington until the faithful day in 1980 when she erupted. Thirty five years later the surroundings are starting to come back in a beautiful array of color.
This is the popular hike to take for those living in the Seattle area. The trail can become crowed on weekends during the warmer months, but if you get there early in the morning, you will not have as many people on the trail.
Goose Rock is a trail very few people know about. This trail head is located in the Deception Pass Bridge parking lot. Most people turn left towards the beach, but if you stay right, the trail climbs to a high spot to see out over the Channel and out to the Salish Sea towards San Juan Islands.
Hiking is a rewarding experience many people in the PNW thoroughly enjoy. Last summer I had the opportunity to experience hiking in remote, alpine regions of Western Washington. When I first started out on the big adventure last summer, I failed to realized I may not know what I was up against. I learned the hard way on a few occasion.
What I failed to realized turned into an adventure within an adventure. Here are the things I wished I knew before hiking in the alpine.
Altitude sickness is not for planes:
I have spent most of my life at or a little above sea level and only experienced altitude sickness when in Tanzania. I should have listened when my own body started to struggle with keeping water and a granola bar down. Breathing started to become harder as I climbed further up the mountain, and the dizziness set in when ever I had to exert more energy to get over a log. I thought I was out of shape, but this is not true.
Lesson: Hiking takes a lot of effort to reach the end point. When hiking in alpine mountain regions, you have to take your time going up, and really tune in with what your body is telling you before it is too late. I was lucky it did not get to this point, but it could have become a major medical emergency.
Beware of snow:
Sheets of ice is more like it! Snow can be found in areas in the middle of summer. Avalanches still happen in the summer as they do in the winter. I recall a moment when hiking up to Fremont Lookout in Mt. Rainer National Park last summer where what sound as a gun shot going off in the distance followed by the sound of a roar alerted everyone in the hiking group of an avalanche sliding down the side of the opposite mountain side! Not to mention slipping and landing hard on a snow cover rock or worst falling into a craven or a lake! You may want to have a snowball fight, but be warned, they hurt when it hits you!
Lesson: Be aware of the snow around you. Falling and breaking something is a danger no matter how prepared you are.
Toilet paper is your friend:
The one time I decided to forgo the toilet paper was the time there was no toilet paper to be had! Normally I would carry a role of toilet paper in my pack, but the one time I forgo it was at a trail head outhouse where there were no rolls left by other hikers. Thank goodness it was not while in the Olympic National Park (mountain goats smell urine and can result in a deadly encounter!), but in Mount Baker National Forest. Hiking up the trail and air yourself out is not the best way to start a hike.
Lesson: Always pack a roll of toilet paper while hiking, traveling in a remote area and road trips. I had mine in Tanzania, but for some reason, I did not have one in the wilderness of Washington!
Wildlife, they are not always afraid of you: The sound of marmots whistling at you is a warning to other marmots of your present, but a deer, bear, cougar or any other such animals, are not afraid of you. I will not forget the time a hiking group left me alone out in the open when a deer suddenly bolted upright and headed into the trees sensing a predator. I at the time sense something was not right, and that a bear or cougar was in the area. Fear of knowing at any moment those two animals are not afraid of you is scary. Imagine hiking down the side of the mountain with just a headlamp and see a bear or worst a cougar in your path. These animals think you are the prey.
Lesson: Be aware of your surroundings, and take caution when hiking through bear or cougar country.
Alpine lakes are cold, proceeded with caution:
When there is snow present, there is a lake or river somewhere near by. Lakes in alpine regions are cold-hypothermia cold. Most alpine lakes are fed by snow or glaciers melting, making these lakes crisp, cold and deadly clear. Swimming in them should be done with caution if not ever. On a hot sweaty hiking day in the summer they are inviting, but not all alpine lakes are the same temperature, and each one you encounter will feel different. Having your body submerged in for one minute can cause hypothermia to the body. I remember standing in such lake up to my wast, and started to not be able to feel my legs!! It was difficult to get out of the water, and took ten minutes of rubbing my legs to get the deathly white color to a living flesh color. The rest of the hike back down to the van was painful.
Also, the water is not exactly safe the drink either from a glacier stream, river or lake.
Lesson: Just dip you hot sweaty feet into the water instead of the shoreline and treat the water you pull from the lake if drinking it.
Storm clouds are in your face:
I will not forget staring face to face with a dark black cloud on the Johnson’s Ridge Observatory Trail at Mount St. Helens. Being high up with little to no treeline protection can mean anything can happen in a split second. Scary when the cloud can have lightning. Hurricane Hill in Olympic National Park I remember how fast those clouds moved across the landscape, and how one minute it is a nice sunny day with warmth to a few seconds it is blizzard conditions and the temperature drops to freezing. A simple rain jacket is not enough, nor a simple baseball cap and even the fleece jacket does not keep you warm. Hypothermia strikes by lightening or anything nature throws at you can become life to death situation.
Lesson: Be prepared for all-weather conditions and pack winter clothing when hiking in higher regions of the mountains not matter if it is an eighty degree weather day. Dressing in layers that can be easily shed during the hike or put on is your friend.
Go Girl can be a lifesaver: Men have it easier than women when needing to go on a backcountry trail. Men just go off into the bushes without much thought, but us women, we need to find a secluded vulnerable place to do our business. After having to (TMI alert) pee off a trail stripping to be half-naked, and almost if not peeing on ones self, is just too much work (and cold wind blowing on your bum). Not to mention some other hikers just don’t get it why you are crouched down in the bushes!
Lesson: Get a Go Girl to use for hikes where the nearest outhouse is miles away, and you can discreetly just go behind a bush.
Wildfires: Where there is smoke, there is a fire! This is not something I learned the hard way, but it was always in the back of the mind. Hiking in the alpine and backcountry regions of the mountains during the late spring through the fall can put hikers into the path of a wildfire. From an old fire lookout, I saw a two (one-off in Canada, the other in Eastern Washington) wildfires in the distance burning in the opposite directions from me. Still, to see the smoke hanging in the air, it was a sign to start back down to safety in case the fire decided to switch directions.
What to do: Always check conditions before leaving on the hike, being aware of the surrounding area, and when you smell smoke, see it or hear it, move fast away from it. See this link for more information: Dos and Don’t s of Wildfires.
Once you hike in the alpine, you are never the same again!
This summer go enjoy a backcountry hike, and don’t do what I did!
What more could be perfect then spend a birthday at the ball park? After all I did spend two months hammering out a four part series about it. The birthday ballgame was the Seattle Mariners vs. LA Angles, and it was little league day. During game pauses, the camera caught many of the kids dancing to the music on the jumbo screen. This made for a very entertaining day.
Thirty two years never looked so good! And a great start to another year of anything possible when you looked at this view from the beginning of the game. Just by the view we had great seats! Even eating one ballpark brat, countless handfuls of white cheddar puffs, and a few peanuts, I just could not beat how good it felt to pig out for once (training for the 5k is hard at times). Next month I will be running around this field for 5k so I look forward to “running” the bases.
I’m so thankful for these wonderful friends who made the day fun and exciting! Even with the seats being in the sun, we all some how survive the heat and may have sunburns to prove it. Also the arrow pointing to me is in reference to the other girl on my left is my birthday twin.
The game was interesting with at least one home run by the Mariners, but alas, the Mariners lost to the Angles. Maybe at the next ball game I attend the Mainers will win! Keeping fingers crossed!