What’s up buttercups? Happy Wednesday 🙂
Hoping all of you wonderful humans reading this had a great weekend and are having a good week thus far!
I headed North to hike on Sunday with Laura (the Explorer). We frolicked our way up Mt. Jackson and I had some good deja-vu moments of my recent hike up Jackson in November. The difference? Laura and I didn’t have to break through 1-3 feet of snow the entire hike and let me tell you my hips were uber happy about that.
This is my first hike since a jaunt up Mt. Tecumseh December 16th, so a month and a half! Reality check: 1.5 months isn’t THAT long, and there isn’t anything wrong with a break.
It felt really goon on many levels to be back hiking in the mountains. Jackson in particular feels like home a little bit inside as it was my first 4000 footer, and a regularly repeated summit. The more I hike, the more I become in love with the HIKING more than the SUMMITING. Summits are stellar and gorgeous and feels like a pat on the back. But, hiking, the whole process of base to summit, that’s where the magics located.
It feels as if I didn’t even take time off, I think because I love it so much. I was able to just do other things with my time and know that I would get back hiking when the bod was ready and that the world would be ok. Going to use my experience of six stress fractures from mainly my teen years to say how I was able to calmly not fully lose my shit when I could barely walk for two weeks because of the hip in mid-December. I said fully lose, there were most definitely some minor meltdowns sprinkled in.
In a way, this all feels like I’ve been taking an off season per se. This is a topic I’ve been placing some solid mental energy on lately – rest and cycles of rest. As a previous competitive jump-roper that had an off season, a weightlifter that cycled programming and rest weeks, and a biker that heads out for less miles in the winter months than summer – hiking is the thing that wasn’t being cycled. While summer might have more aggressive miles from time to time, winter places different stressors on the body (e.g thermoregulation, the trail warrants different muscles to be utilized, heavier pack, ect.).
If we pull it back a notch:
The moon has phases
There are seasons
Us ladies have cycles
While I feel like a total badass hiking a ton in the winter, I’m choosing to keep it dialed back a level for the next few months. Historically I’ve found where some hikers love and prefer winter hiking, I dig it but my body hates it. I forced it last year and felt sore/pain (in not normal ways) more often than not. And, you know what, doing something that my body doesn’t feel good doing just isn’t worth it for me anymore. Longevity > instant gratification at this point. Total trial and error learning process. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE hiking, thoroughly enjoy pushing my limit and have since I was about 4 years old, and heading to the mountains for the sake of wandering in the forest feels so deeply right… It has changed my life trajectory, provided me so much space for healing, and allowed me to develop a new relationship with my being and grow new friendships. I wouldn’t trade it for the damn world.
And, that’s the thing. Pushing through body signals because I want/need to hike isn’t worth it for me right now. I would rather hike less in the winter and allow my body time to just be a human and sleep a little more, do a little less physically, and then be out in the mountains multiple times a week Spring through Fall, than push push push year-round but always feel sub-par, or get injured and have to take indefinite time off. Been there, done that, over it.
As someone who used to workout 2-3 times a day 6-7 days a week, being able to take a moment and evaluate where I’m at, what my body is telling me, and re-navigate to be able to heal whatever niggle my hip was getting is really awesome. The fact that I used to just push through pain until I ended up with a stress fracture, other injury, or taking time off and subsequently using super unuseful coping mechanisms, and I just took 6 weeks “off” where I spent most of my time working on personal development, other areas of my life, and enjoying some walks and solo yoga sessions (hi, #misophoniaproblems)… Well, it feels really good inside.
Progress is a process but it’s so worth the potholes and speed bumps.
In other news, I rode the bike Monday and yesterday as both days were in the 50’s here in New Hampshire and let me tell you it was magical. Biking was one of the things that seemed to be highly pissing off the hip, and after the last two days I’m happy to report that things are feeling light-years better than mid-December, but there’s still a niggle and that’s my cue to dig a little deeper into what’s really going on.
What’s “cooler” than being able to hike and bike is that I’m not finding myself in a position where I feel like I need to do them all the time right now. I enjoy both… they bring me joy, smiles, friendships, understanding, and fulfillment. No longer do I need to work out obsessively, do all the things all the time, or be a badass as a means to make myself feel better.
I’m finding more and more that my intentions for my life are shifting. The shift in a way parallels what I’ve been actively doing or taking action on the past couple of years but I’m now feeling it, gravitating towards it, pursuing it.
My primary intention is to live in a way which supports my being physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Yeah, that means I forfeit or give up or sacrifice some winter hikes, winter bikes, hours which could be spent being “productive” for sleep, eating a little more when I’m hungry because I realize it’s my tendency to under eat when stressed, do all the self-care when my mindset is there and accept that it’s totally kosher when I need a nap to escape the world or need two therapy sessions in a week to not explode internally.
The whole personal growth game ain’t always sunshine and rainbows.
Moving from a fear-based, emotionally driven, auto-pilot way of living to a place where intention, mental space, overall health, and healing are the main focus – IT IS INCREDIBLY TERRIFYING.
Realizing this – the fear behind changing my ways in order to support myself vs. support my fears, to adapt and accept, to just go with what feels good and ditch what needs to be ditched for now as now doesn’t equal forever.
It feels a lot like past experiences.
IT IS TERRIFYING to adapt and accept, to ebb and flow.
But, with this experience right now I’m reminding myself that I’m in remission from an eating disorder, I got my period back naturally after losing it for three years, I competed in jump rope with hip dysplasia, I almost have a college degree with misophonia where my main trigger is typing.
I’m going to keep keeping on and keep keeping it real.
Life can suck.
It can also be incredible amazing.
Sometimes, these are just facts, and other times… it’s how we view the hand we’ve been dealt during a certain time.
My currently reality doesn’t equal my worth, it doesn’t mean I can’t hike this summer which historically goes much much much better than winter, and it certainty doesn’t mean I can’t look at the positives of not being able to do what I love as much as I’d prefer to.
It just is.
I respect myself enough at this point in my life to understand and accept that it just is what it is and to work with this.
Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have.” — Robert Holden