Lest you think that this blog hiatus has been solely for resting and being a sofa bum, I offer the following experience.
(Yes I know most people use the term couch potato but due to my issues with veggies, I offer sofa bum instead; which is silly as potatoes are a veggie I actually like. You can turn them into French fries and chips.)
Anyway, I truly did mean it when I said I was going to use this time to better balance my life and better take care of myself.
I’ve been better at drinking water and better at making myself a salad every day; a good salad with dark leafy greens including spinach, tomatoes, red kidney beans and olives. Olives are a veggie too right? Of course I pair this salad with delicious, high carb pasta but I’m getting there.
As fall has progressed the serving size of salad has grown and the serving size of pasta has shrunk. Maybe by Christmas I will be ready to incorporate other vegetables?
Then there was the exercise issue, or should I say no exercise issue, which I knew I needed to change. I read an article about several lesser known nature walks within a half hour drive from me and I vowed to explore each one. Some day.
One sunny, warm autumn afternoon I decided that was the day. I would start easy by walking the trail closest to me, one I had walked before but only partially and not for a very, very long time. I had lunch, took my lunch meds with water and then tied my sneakers.
As I headed out, it got cloudy. Spooky cloudy. It occurred to me that since it was the off season the trail might be deserted. That could be creepy. Halloween was coming up and thoughts of slasher films and true crime dramas filled my mind.
But I wasn’t to be deterred. I remembered the toy laser gun key chain I found outside my apartment. I had let it lie on the sidewalk for days so the child who lost it could claim it. When no child did I scooped it up intending to give it to one of my young friends. But I hadn’t yet and it made a nice hideous sound. I decided to take it with me as an alarm to scare away any possible scary people I might meet.
The walk was beautiful. Why didn’t I spend more time here? From the bluff at the start of the trail you could see the marsh, the ocean, sand bars, sand dunes, birds and all kinds of cool nature like things. Even without the sun the view was bright.
I needn’t have feared being alone; there were many other normal looking people walking the trail as well. I followed the path trying to ignore the fact that water would have been a good thing to bring with me. I still wouldn’t be deterred and kept walking.
But soon the water I had drunk before leaving started to catch up with me and I increasingly needed to pee. This trail is so well kept that there was even a public restroom at one of the parking lots; a restroom that was closed in the off season.
I’m ashamed to admit this but I’ve never been a pee outside kind of girl. Growing up attending constant beach parties I should have been. But back then I just got good at holding it. It was why I switched from beer to wine- wine isn’t as bladder obnoxious as beer. I could go for long stretches of time with no problems.
Ahhh, but back then I was young and strong and so was my bladder. We used to get along pretty well.
No worries, I thought. It looks like I’m almost to the end of the trail. That was good as my legs, much better at walking than standing even at this particular MS stage, were starting to ache. I thought having a walking stick would make it easier for me but there were none to be found; I had been looking. Every branch was either too big, too small or too attached to a really old tree.
At one point I passed a woman also walking. She had a bottle of water AND a cane. She had prepared much better than I did but I bet she wasn’t carrying a toy laser gun key chain that makes a really loud noise. Hey lady- how prepared are you?? Do you really think that large group you are walking with will protect you when Jason or Leatherface come running towards you?
I was just about at the parking lot where I could get in my car and get home to a real bathroom, more water and rest. But then I saw a sign that said Red Maple Swamp. I was intrigued. I had never heard of this before. Maple made me think of maple syrup which made me think of pancakes which made me wonder if perhaps there was an IHOP hidden somewhere off this path.
So what if “swamp” made me think of the show Swamp Murders that produces a dead body at every swamp imaginable. There was just something about this path that made me want to explore it further.
I walked on. I heard a spooky, creaking noise. I kept walking. I thought I saw a bear. I grabbed my laser gun. That would protect me.
Then I remembered that there aren’t really bears in my area. Coyotes sure, but coyotes aren’t big and super furry are they?
Was it just the fact that this particular trail had a boardwalk with bridges and benches and even a fallen tree that I had to crawl under? A tree blocking a path should be another sign that “your walk is over.” But weirdly, I kept on.
I thought of resting my now hurting legs by sitting on a bench but I knew my bladder would revolt. Luckily, it didn’t know that I was unnecessarily extending our time away from the nearest toilet. If it had its way it would have done its thing on the side of a tree.
The trail ended on the other side of the swamp and I didn’t see any bodies or breakfast diners anywhere. I walked back as fast as I could and miraculously managed to make it home before any attacks or accidents could take place.
Here is what I learned from this exercise venture. Water is good. A cane is not bad. A toy may not be necessary. Plan well. And perhaps, stay focused. Just because a sign makes you think of breakfast and TV does not mean it will lead you to pancakes and your sofa.
Still- it was a beautiful walk and after taking two Aleve I felt good. Perhaps I am getting somewhere with this exercise thing…..
PS For my MS friends who require wheelchairs, walkers or scooters, I’ve discovered that several walking trails in my area are accessible. While the Red Maple Swamp trail was not, many are. This fact is not only good to know, but good to help keep me inspired to get outside and get moving. Now if I can just keep it up!!!
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