10 July 2020 – Hiking in the Rain

I’m heading back out to the AT today. There’s a storm coming, this weekend (literally), and it’s going to be stupid-hot. I’m going anyway. If I can survive 5 moves in under 2 years, I can hike in weather.

I found this written inside the old Dick’s Dome shelter on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. It’s become something of a mantra for me.

Also, I got a new rainfly for my hammock, so I’ll get to try that out.

I lightened my pack a bit and am hauling just 21.5 lbs with food. Add in my normal 2L of water, and it still only weighs 25.5 lbs. Unfortunately, 2 of my days on the trail will have limited water access, so I may be carrying some extra weight then.

It will still be SO much better than the 35 lbs I carried while hiking with my son last for the last section!

This is the previous end point that will be today’s starting point.

In a world where we don’t know what to expect with just about anything tomorrow, I find it SO relaxing to just be able to hike, eat, and survive. Life on the trail is so much simpler than real life.

Anyway, I’ll be back early next week. I’m sure I’ll have stories to share (and I plan to take lots of pics and maybe even a video or two!)

8 July 2020 – Live to Eat Another Day

Sometimes there are bigger things to worry about than food choices.

We still don’t know where we’ll be living in 23 days.

For now I’m trying to keep things reasonable, but I’m not stressing.

I’m mostly ready to go hike on Friday, and I’m really looking forward to getting away from everything for a few days.

I did go hiking with Little Man, this morning. We took a loop route that has 660 steps going up in the first 1/2 mile. It continues to climb for another 2.5 miles before turning back downward. Then it’s 3 miles of steep descent (no stairs) with lots of stream crossings. This makes it a really FUN trail.

Unfortunately, Little Man was struggling. We’ve done the trail before in similar conditions, but I was worried that the heat and humidity was getting to him this morning (we hit the trail at 6am to get done before it got too hot).

We got about 1.5 miles up the trail, when he was huffing and puffing and just not as perky as normal. He probably would have been fine, but I went ahead and turned us around out of an abundance of caution and all ended well.

Of course, this meant that we went up 660 stairs, hiked an additional mile up, mile down, and then came down 660 steps. My legs were JELLO by the time we hit the bottom. I’m calling it a good workout for the day.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor, nature and water

Day 2.4 – Who released the M&Ms?!?!?!?!

Spoiler alert – It was me! I was in a mood and feeling anxious and stressed, so I got the bag out of the cabinet and opened it and ate. them. all.

The good news is… there’s no more M&Ms in my pantry!

Milk Chocolate M&M's® Mini Baking Bits Topping - 25 lb.

Also, I didn’t let it ruin my whole day. I still had salad for dinner, as planned. I still walked 4 miles, and enjoyed steak tips, cheese, and an apple for lunch.

Anyway, tomorrow we move my classroom library from the school I was in this past year to a friend’s house near my “new” school for next year – except I haven’t officially been hired yet, we have no place to live, and no one even knows if school is going to start in August (gee, I wonder where my stress and anxiety is coming from!).

While we are there moving books and shelves, Hubby is going in for his interview in the area. Hopefully, we’ll both get job offers sometime this week.

I’m realizing that I’m not sure if I ever explained here, so here’s a quick recap:

We are country folks who lived in the mountains with all kinds of animals for 6 years. Then Hubby finished his degree and got a job back in the big city. We reduced the animals to 2 cats and ended up in a 2 bedroom, 3rd floor walk-up, city apartment. I got a job teaching at a school that I quickly discovered seriously conflicted with my teaching philosophy.

Things spiraled downward for about 6 months, and then…

CORONAVIRUS saved the day! (Weird, I know, but I hadn’t realized just how much my school issues were tearing me up until I wasn’t living in them day in and day out. The lockdown actually came at a sanity-saving time for me, though I’d be remiss not to acknowledge how insanely fortunate we are/were to both have secure paychecks, flexibility to work from home, no childcare issues, and financial stability. So many of my friends had a very different experience!)

Basically, we moved to the city and a global pandemic broke out, so we’ve decided to move back to the mountains (if a global pandemic doesn’t count as a sign from the universe, I’m not sure what does!). My old job is open for next year, so I hope to return to that. Now we just need to find a job for Hubby! There’s an opening, and I think he’s a perfect fit. Of course, I’m a bit biased.

Hopefully, we’ll know more in less than a week!

Day 2.3 – 1st 4th at Home

Every since I reclaimed my life back in 2015, my family has made the most of every moment of every summer. In 2017, we spent the 4th at Niagara Falls. In 2018, we were in Yellowstone National Park (where it was 24*F the morning of the 4th!!!).

No photo description available.
This is actually Glacier National Park, which is where we were right before we headed to Yellowstone.

Last year, we spent the holiday in Dallas, TX. That adventure proved more stressful than we expected. As we were leaving for the trip, we found out we would have to move. We ended up cutting our trip short and struggled with finding a place quickly enough to be settled before the school year started.

The night before we were supposed to pick up the U-Haul and move, Hubby ended up in the ER. He had a kidney stone that eventually required surgery. I scrambled to hire professional movers. They showed up on Wed; Hubby had surgery Thursday; and I started my new job the following Monday. It was a rough start to the year.

It’s 2020 now, and we all know this year is going. Hubby and I looked at each other and simultaneously said, “We’re just going to stay in and chill, this year.” We watched Independence Day and Hamilton (which was AWESOME!!).

Yet again, we have to be out of our apartment by the end of July, and we have no new place lined up. I have job, and he has a job, but there are in 2 different places (3.5 hours apart). On Monday, he has an interview in the area where I already have a job lined up. Hopefully, that will pan out, we’ll find a place to live there, and things will settle down.

If I’ve learned nothing else in the past 18 months, it that there is little point in planning, and it takes a lot to truly knock my family down. I mean really, we moved three times in 10 months while renovating and selling a separate house and dealing with Hubby’s health issue.

Also, I skipped the ice cream today and enjoyed a very healthy diet!

Day 2.2 – What do I want more?

I’m feeling snacky and the M&M’s are calling my name. I’m not answering.

About a year and a half ago, while sitting on the couch beside my husband, I announced that I wanted to hike the entire Appalachian Trail – all 2190 miles of it. I was really nervous that he would tell me I was crazy.

Instead my husband responded in the exact same way he responds to all my nutjob ideas by saying, “Ok, that sounds cool, but I don’t think I want to join you.” Sometimes (like with that first half marathon) he’ll change his mind and decide that I actually might be on to something kind of fun.

No matter what, he’s ALWAYS been supportive (which makes me question his sanity, but reassures me that I married a good one!). Sure enough, he bought me trekking poles and a lighter-weight sleeping bag for Christmas that year. Then, this past Christmas, he bought me a hammock with a bug net, since he knows I hate sleeping on the ground.

During that same time period, I realized that thru-hiking sounded cool in theory only. The idea of actually spending 6 months away from my family and missing a full year or two of teaching made me sad. I realized that I want time in my classroom and with my family more than I want to thru-hike.

I also realized that none of that changed my desire to see (and be able to say that I hiked) the entire trail. I quickly realized that section hiking is the perfect compromise! I should maybe mention that I’d never actually gone backpacking before, but I liked hiking and camping, so… it seemed like a natural next step.

My first two trips were… for now, I’ll just call them adventures. All-in-all, I LOVED them. Unfortunately, my body made it VERY clear that taking a frame meant to carry 130-145 lbs of flesh and covering it with 190 lbs in addition to a 25 lb pack was NOT going to fly! (Seriously, it’s like what my joints are meant to carry plus 70 lbs being dragged up and down mountains and rocks!) So far, my longest day has been 8.5 miles, and it was BRUTAL – like I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. My feet were so swollen and my joints hurt so bad.

This third section presents some challenges. Due to geography, water stops, campsites, etc. I need to do a 10 mile day, a 7.5 mile day, and a 9 mile day. There just isn’t any way around it. I’m going 1 week from today, and I’m SO excited – even though I know it’s going to be crazy hard.

So every time those M&M’s call my name, I’m shouting back that I want to hike more than I want that candy. Someday, I want 10 mile days to feel easy (or at least comfortable), and I want to enjoy 10 days, 3 weeks, or 2 months on the trail without having to stop to ice my knees every three days. I want those experiences and adventures much, much more than I want a stupid little M&M.

Starting Here

I could dump everything on your now, but I won’t. It would be more book than blog post and might require an index to keep everything straight.

Instead, I’ll start right here, right now. I’ve gained more than 25 lbs in the last 10 months, so I’m back up to 190 lbs. My clothes don’t fit and moving is uncomfortable again.

I’m scared I’ll miss out on the life I want to live; I’m disappointed because I feel like I’ve let myself down; and I hurt – physically ache – because my joints aren’t meant to carry this much weight.

So here I go… again.

Sugar has always been an issue for me. With the rise in popularity of KETO, going low-carb is as popular as it was back in the days of Atkins. I don’t care to go that drastic or restricted (I’d freak out and eat ALL the carbs).

For now, I’m going to reduce my carbs for the next week by skipping the bread… well, and the candy… and cookies… and you get the idea.

I’m not ready to login to MFP and start tracking everything yet, but I’m hoping to get there. Right now, I just want to make it through the next week.

You see, I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail (in small segments). I have my biggest segment yet at the end of next week. I’m tired of ending my hiking day after just 5 – 7 miles and feeling like amputating my feet would be an improvement. I hate the way my knees ache and throb for DAYS after just a few days of short hikes.

I want my freedom back! I feel like I’m being held hostage by my body.

So maybe today is Day 1. Maybe it’s Day 1808 (since I started July 20, 2015). Heck, maybe it’s Day 13,830 -ish (since I was born).

I may have had M&M’s for breakfast this morning, but I swapped out cauliflower for rice with dinner this evening and am skipping dessert. This is me, now.

I am still working out regularly (as evidenced by my sweatiness).

A really big, very stupid update

I need to share a bit of background for this update to make sense: In Sept. Hubby started a new job that required a move, but Little Man and I were committed to spending the school year at our old house. This meant we found a new house, got Hubby set up there, and Little Man and I spent the year traveling between the two places each weekend.

While this was not ideal, it really wasn’t bad, and we got into a nice routine.

Until the tenant vacated the home we own in different location (5 hours away), leaving the place DESTROYED! Throughout the months of March and April, we met at that house to work on repairs and renovations to make it livable again (This is actually a much longer story, but I’m trying to keep this poster shorter than a novel!). Traveling between THREE houses REALLY sucked, but we kept our chins up, laughed at each other’s antics and got through it.

May marked the end of the school year, so we spent the month packing up and preparing to move out of the old house. It was a lot, and after the insanity that was March and April, we were exhausted. Again, we kept our chins up and powered through, knowing that we just had to get through it and life would settle down.

We completed the move on June 4.


This was my Facebook post to celebrate being unpacked.

On June 17th I celebrated unpacking the FINAL BOX!! I was SO proud of myself, and we were all SO excited to be settling in. We had done it! We survived everything the spring had thrown at us, and it was time to enjoy the peace that was our reward. We had our vacation coming up; I have a new job in a new school district; and Little Man was excited to see his new school.

Our peace lasted 12 days.

My family spends part of each summer traveling (usually camping) around the country to visit people and places. This year’s trip was scheduled to run June 29-July 10 as we spent time with people at an amusement park, hiked up to Clingman’s Dome in Great Smokey Mountain National Park, spent time at a lake in Arkansas, and enjoyed the 4th with family in Texas, before stopping at my in-law’s house on our way back home.

As we zipped our bags and finished loading our vehicle, Hubby got an email. He read it, paled, sat down, and began swearing. Our landlord was writing to inform us that they’d been displaced from their house and needed to move back into the one in which we were living. They would not be able to renew our lease and were wondering if we could possible vacate early. They were kind, flexible, and apologetic – but it didn’t change the fact that we now have to find a new place to live and complete a move AGAIN!!!

Looking at a calendar and talking through logistics, we realized there was NO WAY we could move in August (between teacher work weeks, starting a new school year, figuring out childcare, and me teaching a new grade level in a new school, it was about 3 steps beyond what we can juggle). Our deadline needed to be my first day of work – July 29.

30 days

And we were literally on our way out the door on vacation

I made calls from the road, and we cut our vacation short, but we had no luck finding a rental home. There just wasn’t enough time. We decided to get an apartment and store our stuff for one year. It will buy us time to find a place we like in the area we want to live. It will also allow us to finish selling (*hopefully!!!*) the house we own.

At this point, I’ve found us a storage unit, have 2 tours scheduled to see places for after-care for Little Man, and we’ve applied for a 2 bedroom apartment. We’re waiting for the application to be approved and are hoping to move stuff to the apartment on July 20 and stuff into storage on the 27th, so we can turn in keys on July 28.

And that will be the end of summer.

I am exhausted, defeated, drained, and ill-prepared to jump into the school year again – let alone at a new school!

I’m hopeful that the small apartment will make all of the home chores a lighter burden (no yard work, simplified bills, less cleaning, etc.)

Hubby is amazing and has agreed to take the lead with Little Man (getting him on the bus, picking him up from aftercare, handling parent-teacher meetings, packing lunches, etc.)

I will put my head down and slog forward, one day at a time.

And eventually, someday, things will get easier again. They have to – right??!??!!

The Struggle is Real!

Remember how I said I was going to try for ONE good week on WW.

Yeah, it didn’t happen – like not even close!

In fact, when I stepped on the scale Monday, it read 171.4 – which is a 1.4lb GAIN.

I’m really questioning if WW is right for me. The points kinda don’t feel “real.” Especially since there are 0 pt foods. It feels like some foods “don’t count.” While that makes sense, in that it’s only the healthy foods that people don’t tend to overeat, it’s doing weird things to me mentally.

I’m sticking with it for now.

On a happier note, I’m thrilled with my workouts!

I’m back to running, and I’ve been strength training, too! Check this out:

  • Mon (6/17) – LIIFT 4 wk2 chest & triceps
  • Tues (6/18) – Ran 5K & LIIFT 4 wk2 back & biceps
  • Wed – rest
  • Thurs (6/20) – Ran 5K & LIIFT 4 wk2 shoulders
  • Fri – rest
  • Sat – 4 mile hike with my family
  • Sun – rest
  • Mon (6/24) 2.5 mile walk/run (This was an epic disaster of an attempt at taking my son to the park to run while he rode his scooter.)
  • Tues (today) Ran 5K & LIIFT 4 wk 3 chest & triceps

I’m kinda hoping the weight might reflect gaining some muscle, but we’ll have to wait and see.

I’ve got this

Today was a happy food day. I nailed it!

Yesterday and Monday were not so great, hence the -13 pts for the week.

Luckily for me, WW lets me “roll over” up to 4 leftover points per day. That means that if I have just 1 day this week that I leave 4 pts uneaten, I’ll achieve my goal of being in the single digits – of course that leaves me NO room to go over my points.

I do feel like today was a good day, though. For now, I’m just celebrating that!

today food log

Big Dreams

The last 2 days have sucked – we’re talking broken-down vehicle while on the way to kayak on the lake, & starting my period – SUCKED. Add in the corresponding PMS, and finding my happy place feels like trying to run a marathon with only one leg… which is something that can, and has, been done so I suppose I can and should find my happy, even if it feels hard today.

This is me reminding myself that sometimes life sucks, but that doesn’t mean it stops – which means there’s no reason for me to give up on my dreams, and the only way to achieve them is to point my toes in the right direction and keeping putting one foot in front of the other.

Where are my toes pointing? you wonder. Well here’s my list of big dreams:

When I’m sitting in my old folks home, I want to be able to remember when…

  • I hiked the entire Appalachian Trail (in segments, over many years, with my son joining me at least part of the time)
  • I ran a WHOLE marathon
  • I ran a trail race more than 25 miles long

That’s really it. It’s only 3 things, but to get there will require many years of many small steps. They require a level of fitness and physical activity well beyond where I’m at right now, and they will require my body to be lighter than it is right now. That’s my motivation to lose the extra weight.

Not to be skinny or fit into certain clothes, but to be able to run and hike long and far without destroying my joints by asking them to carry and extra 30-40 pounds (I always imagine hiking the Appalachian trail with a toddler on my back – NOT a great idea, so the toddler has to go!)

Today, I’m going to enjoy my cheesecake (Happy Father’s Day to the best Hubby, ever!)

Tomorrow starts a new WW week for me, and I WILL end the week with my weekly points in the single digits (I’m okay with it being the negative single digits, but not like this week’s “Weekly Remaining Points” of -85!