Archives for posts with tag: exercise

The first time that I learned the importance of pacing, I was pregnant. The fatigue was really challenging. I was keenly aware of myself as a limited resource. I prioritized. I still ended up doing a lot but it was stressful and work was unsatisfying in many ways. Then I became a mother and it all became too much for me. I became clinically depressed, got treatment, and took a good look at my life. I was no longer depressed and with time, my energy increased and I was able to do more work than I had previously.

In 2012, my daughter was a teen and did not need my constant attention. I was working a lot at my private practice. I worked hours that I thought I “should” even though I was working more than full time hours during most weeks. I was working at a hard pace and if I am completely honest with myself, enjoying making decent money for the first time in my life.

Later in that year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I learned how quickly daily work schedules can be changed when they have to be. It was incredibly hard. Two years later, when I was done, I was still wiped out, though slowly regaining energy,  not to full strength, but to a higher level than before. I have not returned to full-time work since that time. I work about 80% of full time to allow for self-care.

Lately, I have been literally pacing myself. I am in training for a big hike. I am not naming it because it is a kind of hike and not really a specific hike. I want to increase my ability to hike uphill. I really enjoy hiking but I have avoided certain hikes for decades because I had trouble with elevation gain either due to injury or lack of fitness. I also had a fancy cardio test a few months ago and learned that although my aerobic capacity is better than average, my anaerobic capacity is less than average. I start building up lactic acid earlier than most. I wonder if this has always been true. It may explain why as a kid who was athletic, I hated running long distance and sports like soccer, which seemed like non-stop running. I am from Seattle and as you may have noticed, it is surrounded by mountains. There are a lot of steep hikes.

I am hiking a lot, gradually increasing the elevation of the hikes. I take photos, an activity I love to do, which also provides little breaks along the way. I am learning to hike at my own pace instead of trying to match the pace of others. Uphill, I am slow, but steady.

The frequency of the hiking is higher than before. I am going out 1-2 times a week to hiking areas. Sometimes I hike alone and other times I don’t. I am enjoying it immensely.

I do notice that it is a big difference in my level of outdoor activity. It reminded me of the second summer after my cancer diagnosis. I spent the first summer in surgeries, one after another, three total until the margins were finally clear with a right side mastectomy. At the end of the summer, I started one of many reconstructive surgeries. I had lost a summer of outdoor opportunities living in a place that has some of the nicest summers you will ever experience. By the next summer, I was bound and determined to live outdoors as much as I could, considering that I was still in treatment. We had a ball.

Two years ago, I was recovering from a SCAD induced heart attack and traveling to the Mayo Clinic. Last year, we were caring for my dad, who died in July.

At this moment, I am healthy and energetic, thanks to luck, exercise, healthy eating, yoga, and meditation. I am enjoying what I am able to do with this body of mine, which has been through a lot, and will be through more.  At this point, this pace is right for me.

April was wet but beautiful.

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May has been filled with splendid views and wildflowers!

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On May 25, 2012 I walked into the Swedish Cancer Institute for the very first time.  I had learned of my breast cancer diagnosis the day before and I was there along with my husband and my friend, Nancy, for a consultation with the physician who would perform my first three breast surgeries, two lumpectomies followed by a right-side mastectomy.

I remember a few things from that morning. One of the strongest memories I have is a feeling of surprise when the physician’s assistance asked me to step on the scale for my weight. To me the word, “consultation” meant “talking” and that’s what I had expected. To relieve the tension, I joked, “I have to get weighed? That’s worse than having cancer!”

Granted, I was joking but as you know jokes come from some where. Who among us have not felt defined by a number, our age, our weight, our grades, or our annual income? Most of us have at one point or another, defined ourselves this way.  And the definitions can come with a great deal of negative judgment.

As a researcher and clinician, I also know that numbers can serve as useful data. There are two properties of measures that are important in yielding meaningful data. One property is the validity of the measurement tool. A valid measure actually measures what it is intended to. When I stand in front of the ruler on the wall of the doctor’s office, the ruler actually measures my height. However, not all measures are valid at all. For example, when I walk out the door in the winter time it sometimes “smells like snow”, meaning that I am detecting something in the air that to me is the odor of snow.  This predictive measure, as it turns out is not very accurate. It is not a valid measure of snow potential. I don’t even know what I am perceiving that makes it “smell like snow”.

The scale can be a useful measure. But is it a valid measure of value as a person? No, a scale, a good one anyway, is a valid measure of weight. It is not a valid measure of general health because general health is not defined by just body weight. It can be a factor in health but it is not all-encompassing.

Just like people say, “age is just a number” it can be tempting to deal with the judgment that comes with weight and just conclude that “weight is just a number”. This implies that it has no meaning or usefulness.

My weight has been creeping up steadily over the past year. I am almost to the weight that I was before I lost my last 40 pounds, nearly 4 years ago. Based on the way my clothes fit, I can tell that I am not as large as I was at that time, I assume because I am more muscular than I was then. But I am noticing that I am able to wear less and less of my wardrobe. I’ve gotten noticeably larger.

I did a great deal of work on my body image when I was going through cancer treatment. I learned to appreciate what my body does for me. I have a positive body image. I feel strong. But I also know that having had estrogen and progesterone responsive breast cancer that it is important that I maintain a healthy amount of body fat. Right now, it is clear that I have too much.

I’ve known this for awhile. Behavior change, developing new habits, and re-developing old good habits is really difficult. Every once in awhile I get to a point at which it seems harder to continue doing what I am doing than motivating myself to change. Last week, I asked my husband to start going to Weight Watchers meetings with me. I had been doing their online program  on and off for the last 10 years. Since I have not been following the program for awhile, I thought going back to meetings might be helpful. My husband has been having a lot of back problems and I thought that his losing weight might be a positive for him, as well.

He agreed. We went to our first meeting the next day, which was last Sunday. Three days down, many to go.

Measures can help guide me to follow my intentions and commitments in life. They don’t define my worth.

 

My husband recently complimented me by noting that in a crisis, I am good at quickly figuring out what needs to be done, assembling resources, and doing it. This is true, in a number of respects, and I am grateful to have the skill and drive to carry it off.

There are some aspects of my life when this is hard and unfortunately, it is related to my physical health. I have a difficult time maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. I had coincidentally rejoined Weightwatchers a few weeks before my cancer diagnosis and had already started losing weight. I added walking at least 5 times a week a few months later, and I’ve been walking nearly every day for over two years. Since I started logging my miles on 12/2/12, I’ve walked close to 2000 miles.

I started tracking my miles as a way to help maintain my exercise program. That, combined with my renewed interest in nature photography, has helped me maintain the habit. Admittedly, I am having a little trouble transitioning to the damp part of the year but I’ve gotten out in some rather cold weather and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the outdoors. I know that I am getting my groove back.

My diet is another matter, altogether. I don’t eat a lot of sweets except around the holidays. And my gluten allergy means that I can’t eat most prepared foods anyway. However, I have been eating a lot of fruit, A LOT, and probably too much. I know that sounds silly but it has a lot of sugar in it. Finally, I know that my portion sizes are too big. I have gained nearly 20 pounds over my goal.

This all started when I decided to stop tracking what I ate every day. I stopped following Weight Watchers, basically. I was in a groove. I was ten pounds below my goal weight and walking a lot. I was really fit. I don’t know why I let myself do this. THIS IS HOW I’VE REGAINED WEIGHT EVERY TIME!

I keep restarting Weight Watchers for a couple of days but I have not yet gotten it to stick. Really, I am hoping that by writing this, I will get myself back into the long game, especially since we are in the holiday season.

I usually don’t end my blog posts with questions, but I have some. How do you help keep yourself motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

About five minutes ago, I was trying to remember why this date is important. “Is today someone’s birthday?” I looked at the calendar. August 8th. The memory came to me accompanied by a small visceral twinge. Two years ago today, I had a right side mastectomy. Last year, the date took me by surprise, too. But when I remembered, I sobbed uncontrollably, on and off, for three days.

The sensation in my pectoral muscles has returned somewhat. I can feel pressure beneath my reconstructed breast. My kittens reminded me of this yesterday when they were chasing each other around the house, tearing through the living room. They both used me as part of their race track and kept running across my chest.

My abdomen is still numb, though this continues to dissipate. The plastic surgery nurse, who had the same reconstructive surgery as me, a TRAM, told me that the numbness lasted about three years for her. I also noticed that although my body doesn’t feel the same way it did before, it feels like mine.

I’ve noticed other physical changes. Last night, my husband went out for a late dinner and a walk along Alki Point, a beautiful seaside area. Along the walk, we were able to see the downtown skyline, the water, and two mountain ranges. We walked about two miles to a restaurant on the other side of the point, ate on a balcony overlooking the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, and then we walked back two miles to where our car was parked. John had to pick up our daughter from band practice, so we were in a bit of a hurry walking back.

As usual, I had my camera with me and as usual, there were interesting photo opportunities along the way. We agreed that John would just keep walking, at his normal pace and I would stop to take photos whenever I wanted as long as I could run and catch up with him. That way, he wouldn’t be late. I have a long hate-hate relationship with running. Actually, it is just strong dislike. But I thought I could probably do it.

There was one spot that was particularly photogenic, so I took several shots. Then I needed to run to catch up with my long-legged man. It took me awhile to catch up. When I did, I noted to John, “Hey, I’m not breathing hard.” After complimenting me, he said, “What’s it been, about five years since you’ve run that far?” I laughed. “John, it’s been about twenty years since I ran that far!”

Breast cancer is awful, there’s no doubt. Cancer is powerful and destructive. It is nice, however, that healing and resilience are also powerful.

The "flower houses" at Alki Beach.

The “flower houses” at Alki Beach.

Our view at dinner. Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

Our view at dinner. Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.

 

Seattle skyline across Elliot Bay.

Seattle skyline across Elliot Bay.

I used to be a masterful list maker and follower. I made goals and got them done. Then I made new goals and got them done. As I got older, I started getting involved in large projects. I taught myself how to use Microsoft Project. I thought it was amazing. I could make multiple timelines by task and responsible party as well as define relationships between the tasks and sub timelines. I could track progress. I thought the software was one of the handiest and coolest things I’d ever encountered. I know how to build in motivators and incentives to keep progress going.

I took one of those silly Facebook personality quizzes last week, “What one word best describes you?” The result was, “ambitious”. I didn’t post my results, as I often do, just for fun. I didn’t like the answer. I’m not exactly sure why because objectively, I am ambitious. I set high goals. I have been an achiever my whole life. And I have certainly had people tell me that I was ambitious.

I used to take it as a compliment. Now I don’t because to me it connotes unnecessary competition with others and with myself. I realize that it doesn’t have to be that way but for me, it reminds me of unrelenting standards, of the sadness and disappointment I’ve felt when I didn’t live up to standards set by myself or others. Most importantly, it reminds me of times that I’ve relapsed from healthy life changes such as regular exercise and eating well, because I took setbacks too hard, losing my momentum.

Making and achieving goals is an important part of life. But making a life of setting and achieving goals is not a life I want to lead. It leaves out too many of the good, enjoyable bits. Enjoying the process of life. Making new discoveries. Finding new directions.

I have written a lot in my life. Thousands and thousands of pages. A lot of the writing I do is technical, in the past, scientific writing and in the present, psychological report writing. A few of my published research articles as well as my past grant proposals had 50-100 revisions. They were painstakingly outlined, re-outlined, reviewed, fleshed-out, referenced, reviewed, revised, reviewed, etc. Many lists were made and this is necessary for this kind of highly technical, collaborative, and competitive work.

I do not write multiple drafts of my reports. I write 1-2 drafts, the 2nd being a light edit for typos and such. I use templates to organize my reports, which include lists of procedures, headings, empty tables into which I dump numbers, and other information. The information is presented in a highly linear fashion, the same way that I’ve presented information, with very few changes, for many years.

Prior to starting my blog two years ago, I had not done any other kind of writing for decades. And then came my blog. I write what is on my mind. I may have mulled it over for an hour or two or in some cases, a number of weeks. But I don’t use outlines and only rarely do I make notes of stray thoughts I don’t want to lose. And I don’t always write what I had intended to write. Sometimes the stream of thoughts takes me to new places, some revelatory.  And as you’ve probably noted, I don’t do a whole lot of editing. I barely proofread and occasionally copy edit. Editing on a grand scale has yet to ever occur. Sometimes I later add to a post but it is not because I wasn’t happy with it. Rather it is because I am still thinking about the topic and have found more that I wish to say.

I have written over 600 posts in 26 months. I have not yet ever written myself a reminder to write a post or to have needed to schedule time to write. This may change over time and that would not necessarily be a negative thing. Right now, the freedom of writing in an organic fashion both in respect to process and content, is an amazing gift, in what had been a very linear periods of my life.

This is a mindful way of writing. Not all of my writing can be that way, nor should it. It suits the kind of writing I am doing right now, short bits of personal meanderings. Personal writing, not professional writing.

Similarly, I am not a professional athlete. But on most days I walk almost as far as I drive in my car. I have a general goal in mind in terms of distance but I let myself take different routes and walk longer, if the spirit moves me. I am also not a professional photographer. I have no technical or artistic training, just a desire to take photos, 90% of an art history degree, and a love for the outdoors.

I enjoyed taking photos with my smartphone and decided that I wanted to take better photos. I spent some time researching prices and types of cameras as well as their reviews, probably a total of 3-5 hours. Once I found a camera I thought would suit my needs and price range, I bought it. I knew that my decision may not be the best decision but I wanted to follow my interests and I figured that there are a lot of good cameras out there.

After the camera arrived, I started taking photos, lots of them. I had read a little about the operation of the camera but I really just wanted to use it and not analyze it. I have an analytic brain and I like to let it go free from time to time, like when I am taking photography. Analyzing is hard work.

Using this organic and intuitive process, I have become a better photographer. I am using my interests to guide my gradual learning of the existence and operation of the overwhelming number of features on my little camera.

Is this the most efficient way to become a good photographer? No, it really isn’t. But it is the way that is the most enjoyable way for me, right now. Yesterday, I left the house on a beautiful Sunday morning. I walked where my legs took me, which was to two parks and one community garden. It was still early so the air was crisp and there was a wonderful breeze. It was gorgeous and I took a lot of photos, a few of which I’ve shared with you.

Sometimes listlessness leads to mindfulness, a yielding of the “shoulds” to the freedom of how one moment leads to the next, almost effortlessly.

 

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My husband and I were walking the other day. He got hot and took off his shirt. John is a relatively fit man but like a lot of middle-aged men, he has a collection of adipose tissue (fat and other stuff) collected in the “beer belly zone”.

John’s father had his first heart attack in his late thirties and the one that he had at age 49 killed him. John is 48 years old and although he lives a very different lifestyle than did his father, I still worry. He has high cholesterol, which is controlled with a statin drug. But his trigylcerides are high again and his blood pressure, although still in the acceptable range, has been steadily climbing.

So the belly bothers me. It’s not as big as it was a year or two ago but it’s still there. Talking to a spouse about health concerns especially when it could also be interpreted as a criticism of physical attractiveness, is tricky. But it is really important that both John and I be as healthy as possible, especially now that we are painfully aware that physical health is not a guarantee.

I said, “John, I’m thinking that you need to do something about the fat you have around your mid-section.”

He said, nonplussed and gesturing like Vanna White over his physique, “My stomach? Look at me! I’m almost 50! I look damn good! But I am a man and we all think we look great.”

I don’t think all men think they look great. But John is one of the least physically self-conscious people that I know. He is perfectly comfortable with his body and honestly, he is quite a good looking man. And because he is not self-conscious, he won’t mind me saying that in college, he was perhaps one of the least stylish men I’d ever met. John wore incredibly thick glasses and the arms were attached with paperclips. He cut his own hair when I met him with kitchen shears, just enough to keep it out of his eyes. John’s shirts often had holes in them. But he was kind, funny, bright, studious, and comfortable in his own skin. These qualities were extremely attractive.

I admire John’s ease with himself. He is a 48 year-old man who has felt comfortable in his own skin for 48 years. I was 5 years-old when I first thought there was something wrong with my body. We were looking through recent vacation photos and there was one of me wearing a navy blue one piece bathing suit. At least two of my five brothers immediately started teasing me for being “fat”. I’ve been pretty open in my blog about my history of weight problems but I don’t think I was actually overweight until I was 12 or 13 years old, after which I lost over 20 pounds, grew, and maintained a healthy weight until I was 24 years old, at which time my up and down weight battle began. In any event, I wasn’t the slightest bit overweight as a 5 year-old!

I have struggled with body image for most of my life. And I’m not blaming my brothers but they were a layer in the onion of negative messages I received. There is a lot of pressure on girls to be unrealistically thin in our country. To be unhealthy is to be beautiful. I’ve always known this to be wrong. I was a reasonable and intelligent girl who grew up to be a reasonable and intelligent woman.

As I’ve written in the past, there was a tape that played in my head when I was overweight. As soon as I woke each morning, I felt the extra weight on my side and noticed how much closer the outline of my body was to the edge of the bed. I thought, “I’m fat.” Every morning of every day, on and off, for YEARS. And when I went out into a public place with crowds, I would compare myself to the people around me, “fatter than her”, “fatter than him”, etc. It was like a horrible, horrible tic. I knew how unhealthy it was. At times in my adult life when I’ve been at healthy weight, the tape has positive information but it is focused on weight and comparing myself to others. I knew that although a more comfortable state, it was still the trap of depending on my weight for a significant segment of my self-image. And I also knew that no matter whether I’ve been at healthy weight or not, I’ve avoided lots and lots and lots of opportunities to swim in my life because I felt uncomfortable wearing a swim suit. And people, I was an athletic girl. I even won the 8th grade award for physical education.

A few days after my breast cancer diagnosis, I gave myself a hard look. I had started back on Weight Watchers a few weeks earlier and people were asking why I would continue given that I had just learned that I had cancer. But I had already started to lose weight and from experience I know that there is a certain groove that is hard to find but once found, goals get achieved. I was pretty sure I was in that groove. Additionally, I thought it was a concrete thing I could do to improve my health at a time when I was feeling pretty out of control of my life. I decided to press on and wrote about this decision as well as my keen sense of embarrassment that a grown woman who was a generally happy person would have an evil tape playing in her head every day. I remember thinking for the first time that perhaps I needed to give myself a break for not being a perfectly self-accepting person and maybe the tape was something I just needed to accept about myself.

That bit of acknowledgement and acceptance was an important step in dealing with that negative tape. I focused on making good decisions in my cancer treatment and living a healthy lifestyle. I kept on Weight Watchers, I started mindfulness practice, and started exercising every day. I exercise by walking between 3 and 4 miles each day. I go out to walk with extremely few exceptions, every day, rain or shine. I walk in the winter when it’s dark (darn you, northern latitudes), cold, wet, and windy. I don’t really like to get cold or wet so I was kind of worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up my walking during all seasons of the year.

I was able to keep it up and I discovered something about walking in the cold, the rain, and in the wind. I could do it and if I wore good gear, it could actually be relatively comfortable. It felt powerful to be vulnerable in the elements and to still have a good time. There’s ALWAYS some interesting life out there, the birds, the trees, the flowers. Bracing wind can bite but it can also be invigorating and as I’ve learned, it can also be the best medicine for an intense hot flash!

Admitting the existence of my negative body image tape was hard and embarrassing. But it was a confession that lifted something for me because it was no longer something that was too horrible to mention. Similarly, I admitted to a friend over a month ago that I was terrified of wearing a swim suit in public. It was a painful admission and I actually felt somewhat embarrassed and regretful afterwards about having made that disclosure. But I think just speaking it aloud wiggled something loose for me.

Meanwhile, the weather was getting hot and I didn’t want to bake on my walks. So I bought a jogging bra and shorts for my summer walking. I also thought it would be a good way to work on the body image project. Although I could deal with the shorts, having my midriff exposed was a little, EXPOSED. So I wore a t-shirt over it and got pretty hot on my walks. Then remember when I went hiking in the mountains? It was supposed to be cold that day so I was wearing a long-sleeved sports dress (there really are such things) over a sports bra and capri jogging tights. In the sun, high altitude, and my cancer-treatment induced prone to hotness, I soon got overheated. I debated for awhile but then thought, “Who would know me up here?” So the dress came off, my midriff was exposed, and guess what? Nobody died. Now I admit that it was a bit awkward given that everybody else appeared to have a normal thermostat and none of them looked over heated. In fact, some people were wearing stocking caps! So I was much more skimpily dressed than the rest of the people I encountered on the mountain trails. But again, NOBODY DIED, GAGGED, OR PASSED OUT.

Midriff in the mountains. Yes, my belly button is no longer round due to TRAM surgery. I kind of like the new shape.

Midriff in the mountains. Yes, my belly button is no longer round due to TRAM surgery. I kind of like the new shape.

Then it just got too hot on my daily walks and I found myself stripped down to a jogging bra and shorts about a third of the way through my neighborhood walks.  Just prior to my recent vacation, I realized that I was parading around the neighborhood in front of God and everybody, wearing something equivalent to one of the spicier Land’s End two piece swim suits for middle aged ladies. (And even the young girls frequently wear board shorts instead of bikini bottoms these days.) I realized that my problem was not with how much skin was covered. It was the negative associations I’d had with wearing a swimsuit or even the idea of wearing one, in the past. And by the way, in the course of my walks around my neighborhood, NOBODY DIED, GAGGED, OR PASSED OUT.

I decided that during my vacation, I would wear a swimsuit at least once. I wore a swimsuit twice with no adverse effects. In fact the 20-ish year old kid who rented me a kayak told me that I should jump off the bridge at the other side of the lake. Apparently, I was was looking confident enough in my attire to jump off of a bridge! Woo hoo! Spring break! Middle-aged lady gone wild wears swim suit while exhibiting good posture and providing no apologies. (I did actual consider the bridge jump briefly, remembered my fear of heights as well as my research training, and concluded that this would be manipulating too many anxiety variables at once.)

Last Sunday was another chance for me to work on this swim suit issue because we went to the water park with crowds of people. God was going to be there, too. But the roller coasters had turned out to be much easier than I expected, I was proud of myself, and pumped to expand the bubble of my comfort zone. I did it! I was in public, in a swim suit for hours. We actually bumped into one of John’s co-workers from Disney. Neither he nor anyone else at the park, DIED, GAGGED, OR PASSED OUT. It ended up being a lot easier than the Gordian knot I had envisioned in my head.

There were a lot of people at that park of various shapes and sizes not to mention taste level when it comes to swim attire. I found that the longer I was there, the less comparing I did. About midway through my time there, I looked around and the words that came to my mind in looking at the people around me were, “We are all God’s children.”

My life is really good right now. I am happier than I was before. I have a great deal of peace and joy in my life. And even with the waves of grief I have, there is calm and hope, too. The skin I’m in has a lot of scars, but they are fading.

I looked into the mirror this morning. The woman I saw looked healthy, happy, and like she had a few good stories to tell. Health is beautiful. Life is beautiful.

Yep it's me in an actual swim suit, not purchased from an antique store! And for extra credit, I'm wearing no make up and squinting into the sun!

Yep it’s me in an actual swim suit, not purchased from an antique store! And for extra credit, I’m wearing no make up and squinting into the sun!

As you know, I walk between 3-4 miles every day. This week, I’ve had a couple of interesting encounters. The first was an encounter with a black hen that had gotten out of her yard. There are actually a number of chickens and a few roosters that live in the neighborhood. Actually, there are fowl living all over my city thanks to the Seattle City Chickens program. I enjoy the chickens, though not as much so as my husband who will change our walking route so that he can encounter the most chickens. He likes animals, in general, but also used to raise chickens when he lived in Oakland, CA. And yes, I mean Oakland, CA. He and his brother were riding the BART train into Berkeley and they saw a pet store. They loved pet stores so they eagerly walked into the doors of a REPTILE PET STORE. They immediately saw a group of baby chicks. “Why are you selling chicks in a reptile store?” The reply? “Those are boa food!”

So they emptied out all of the money from their pockets (allowance ear marked to buy comic books) and bought as many chicks as they could. Then they brought them home. “You can’t have chickens in Oakland” their mom reasonably said. Then they started crying, “But they’re going to feed them to snakes!!!!!!”

So the boys got themselves some chickens. The population quickly dwindled to one rooster, Cruiser. (There were a number of coyotes in the area.) Cruiser was quite territorial and used to sit on the roof behind the chimney, waiting for the postal carrier. When the postal carrier arrived, Cruiser would swoop down for an attack. The postal carrier promptly started delivering their mail to the neighbor’s house.

Okay, now for the second encounter. Perhaps I should give it a title.

Encounter #2: Elizabeth is not the only spy in the neighborhood!

I was out on my walk today and an older man driving a truck, stopped and rolled his window down. I thought he was going to ask me for directions. Instead he said, “You must walk about 3 miles a day.” (“Hmm,” I thought, “how does he know that.”) I replied, “Yes, how do you know that?” He said, “I live at the intersection of x and y streets. I see you by my house.” (“Hmm,” I thought, “we are not three miles from the intersection of  x and y streets. You look harmless older man but I will be on the look out for black trucks in the future.”)

At this point, probably harmless but possibly creepy stalker-y man says, “Are you walking for exercise?” I reply, “Yes, I am.” He says, “That’ll make you live longer.”

I said, “Yep, hope so.”

So thank you, probably harmless older gentleman for reminding me of the reason I have walked 735 miles in the last eight months.

 

Just like the Proclaimers, I have something to announce:

Today it is exactly 6 months since I started tracking the amount I walk each day. And today, I passed the 500 mile mark!

And a glorious walk, it was! Sunny with a pleasant wind full of beautiful plants, the sea, and friendly neighborhood dogs.

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As you may know, I have been tracking my daily walks since 12/2/12. Earlier this week, I passed the 400 mile mark (644 K). Today, I did a 6 mile (9.7 K) walk I have been wanting to be able to work toward for a long time but thought the earliest I’d be ready for it would be next fall. The walk is from our house to Lincoln Park, which is on the Puget Sounds and faces the beautiful Olympic Mountains, which is the lesser known of the two mountain ranges in our state. The walk is not just longer than my usual walk but it is quite hilly. John took us an indirect, switchback route so that it wasn’t an unrelenting climb.

The park and the walk were beautiful. We saw a seal pup on a wooden float off in the distance. In the 13 years we’ve visited the park this was a first time sighting for us. John and I really enjoyed this time together.

Puget Sound, Olympic Peninsula, and Olympic Mountains. (I know I keep promising to use a good camera for my nature shots instead of my phone...)

Puget Sound, Olympic Peninsula, and Olympic Mountains. (I know I keep promising to use a good camera for my nature shots instead of my phone…)

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A blog about breast cancer, loss & survivorship

After Twenty Years Cancer Research Blog

Exploring progress in cancer research from the patient perspective.

My Eyes Are Up Here

My life is not just about my chest, despite rumblings to the contrary.

Woman in the Hat

Cancer to Wellness in 1,038,769 Easy Steps!

Dglassme's Blog

Wouldn't Wish This On My Worst Enemy

SeasonedSistah2

Today is Better Than Yesterday

Telling Knots

About 30% of people diagnosed with breast cancer at any stage will develop distal metastasis. I am one.

The Pink Underbelly

A day in the life of a sassy Texas girl dealing with breast cancer and its messy aftermath

The Asymmetry of Matter

Qui vivra verra.

Fab 4th and 5th Grade

Teaching readers, writers, and thinkers

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

making sense of the breast cancer experience together

Telling Knots

About 30% of people diagnosed with breast cancer at any stage will develop distal metastasis. I am one.

Entering a World of Pink

a male breast cancer blog

Luminous Blue

a mother's and daughter's journey with transformation, cancer, death and LOVE

Fierce is the New Pink

Run to the Bear!

The Sarcastic Boob

Determined to Manage Breast Cancer with the Same Level of Sarcasm with which I Manage Everything Else

FEC-THis

Life after a tango with death & its best friend cancer