There are so many things that go into a trip of a lifetime. One thing that has occurred time and time again, however, is the unsolicited same advice: ENJOY THE JOURNEY! It almost seems trite and meaningless. But it really is not. For me, having allowed my fitness and health to spiral downward until I was so sedentary that the motorized grocery store cart left me begging myself to give in to it, I really have had a journey that can be measured along the way. Lately, I have had situations presented to me that MAKE me see what the journey has been and is becoming. Here is the Latest:
I arrived home on a busy Saturday after being at the Honda dealer for three hours, followed by getting my father set for the week. (I do that every weekend.) I was looking forward to a friend’s 30th birthday party and two days of rock climbing camaraderie to round out my 2011 Labor Day weekend. (It started by a round of Golf on Friday). But as I pulled up to my house, I saw that someone (who shall remain nameless) had come over in my absence, unannounced, and filled my driveway with boxes. My reaction was “what the HECK?” As I looked over the boxes I was perplexed as to why this stuff, after two years away from where they came, would be landed here. It was almost all stuff that was shared back in that time. So, I got mad. Real mad. The mean kind. Then I tried to figure out what to do. It all wreaked of cigar smoke, so I was not about to take it inside. I looked for a haul away service. Nothing. I thought of hiring some people at the Nursery, but that creates other issues for me, not to mention that at three in the afternoon I am guessing nobody was hanging around waiting for work. Finally, I called a U-Haul company and reserved a truck for Sunday morning.
So here comes the part that actually redeems me a little for my initial mean thoughts and anger. But first a little table to show the reader from whence I came:
- 2002 – started law school. Worked and school with no exercise. Very over weight.
- 2006 – graduated law school at my heaviest weight ever; could not carry books to class; grocery shopping difficult. Short walk from car to store exhausting
- 2007 – Decided with a friend to do 5k’s. First one nearly killed me. Was sore for days. Took over and hour and forty-five minutes to finish.
- 2008 – now doing 5k every month and even added a 10k walk at Valley of Fire. Also added golf in as an activity. 18 holes very hard to complete even with a cart.
- 2009 – Met some Kayakers and started Kayaking. They invited me to the rock climbing gym. I went. First outdoor hike with them to climb was Cut Your Teeth at Red Rock. Again, nearly dead by return. HARD approach for the big girl.
- 2010 – decided I wanted to do the Everest Base Camp Trek for my 50th (2011). Family very opposed as too soon for me to physically be prepared. Suggested 2012 as a target. Still kayaking, golfing, hiking, bowling and going on climb hikes to take pics.
- 2011 – Started CrossFit at Max Effort to accelerate fitness and be ready for the 2012 trek.
So, now that the map is there it is Sunday morning, September 4, 2011. I have a truck, a driveway full of boxes, and as long as I was at it, a garage that could use some cleaning. I looked at it like a workout. Lifting, throwing, walking, bending. It was all there. I loaded the junk that was left here on the truck. then did a proper clean out of my own stuff in the garage. Off to the transfer station I went. The unloading was lots of tossing. Heavy stuff. I could feel my lower back getting fatigued and I had the epiphany. The one that inspired this entry into WhelanTrek. THIS is the journey. I don’t need to focus on why this stuff arrived on my driveway. What is REALLY important is that I could take care of it. Before the reformation of ME, as the chart reveals, I could not have thought of doing it. Instead, it was an annoying task that resulted in a good workout and proving to myself that all this hiking and CrossFit is making me far more able to live my everyday life. Sure, it is getting me ready for Everest Base Camp too. But along the way, my quality of life is far better. My future is bright for the last 1/3 of my life as well.
This week has been very hard on my back. For some reason last Saturday it just started hurting on the left lower portion. I took my usual Alleve and rested it. A few days later it felt a little better but the concentrated pain area had shifted to the right. I have stretched and tried to help it work its way out to no real success.
Back in 2004, my weight was about 70 pounds more than it is today. I was sedentary…working at a desk all day and going to law school classes at night. No exercise. My back was so problematic that I could hardly carry my books from my car to class. Trips across parking lots were as if I were a pioneer looking across the vast and open plane to the destination at the edge of the horizon. When I would go to the grocery store, I found myself looking long and hard at the little electric carts…..but for me, I felt that would be giving up.
I graduated law school n 2006. By then I was not working and was studying for the bar. Again. Very sedentary and no core strength to think of. Small tasks were made huge as a result of poor fitness and a “bad” back. I could not walk far. I could not stand for long periods of time. I could not sit long. It was not a good time for me.
Fall of 2007, a friend of mine and I decided that a good way to be sure we stayed in touch would be to do a 5k walk every month. Most of them had a one mile element and that would be a starting point. So, we signed up for the 2007 Candlelighters walk for childhood cancer. The day of the walk, my back ACHED. I took some meds and…well…a bit too much. When we took off, I was hunched over and we were definitely going to only do the one mile. But we missed the 1/2 mile turn around and were over half way through the 5k before we realized it. At one point, I had to tell my friend to stop talking to em for a while because I just had to try to make it through the walk and was hurting too bad. We finished. It was ugly. And we were definitely last.
We signed up for another…and after that another. And more. And soon we even signed up for a 10k in the Valley of Fire. Finally I was moving and doing something besides getting closer to crippled. And I liked it.
I even began spin class! There were setbacks, and my knee ended up requiring surgery. See, I had added golf to the mix too and was doing an awful lot given the weight I was carrying. But days after the surgery was at the 2009 Fatboy 5k. I went and though I could not walk it, I was there while Stacey did. And I was excited to get the leg going and get moving again.
By this time I was walking 5 and 10ks, golfing, and never even looking at the electric cart at the grocery store. Then I started working at my current job, where some co-workers talked about Kayaking. I love the water and had been in the desert about 11 years by that time. So, I decided to give that a whirl and LOVED it.
Got my own kayak and absolutely enjoy every minute of a kayaking day. That added yet another activity in to help improve my health as well as my quality of life. As a result, I have met tons of people with whom I really enjoy hanging out. They all also did something else I never thought I would EVER want to do…..ROCK CLIMBING! So, I got a harness and some climbing shoes and started going to the indoor gym with them. It was really fun and so I started going regularly. It is good for balance and it is also a great time to visit and get some social time in for the week. I don’t climb a lot and really have stopped for now to get some more weight off. But I still go on the outdoor climbs so that I can hike and take pictures of my friends. It is so quiet out on the walls and peaceful. I love the time outside and the wonderful exhaustion that comes with a hard scramble and hike in and out. Today I find my weekends filled with hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing going to rock climbs or anything else that comes up. I bowl on a league for fun and I do CrossFit at CrossFit Max Effort in Las Vegas. I really have so much better a life than I did back when my back determined to limit me. I am writing this today because this week’s back pain reminded me how far this path has taken me. From looking at an electric scooter in the grocery store wondering if, at 45 my life had come to that, to eying Base Camp at Mount Everest at 51.
A new phase of my trek prep has been underway for about 2 weeks. I have joined Las Vegas CrossFit (which is now CrossFit Max Effort) in an effort to break through this fitness issue I have been facing, I got a personal trainer at the gm and he and I have been hard at if for 6 sessions. It is hard, hard work. A different concept than anything I have done in fitness before. It is fast and intense and the goal is to improve. Again. Faster. Improve. There are no gym heads here that give off the BARBIE ONLY, IN MY GYM crap at the gyms I have tried over the decades. Just a desire to work and improve individually. I will begin the class sessions after two more with Vili. I am PUMPED!