Monday, August 19, 2013

Night Rider

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In the interest of my getting some sleep this is going to be a post heavy on pictures and light on words. Of course I've said that before and then I go on to practically write a novel.

So the camping trip I mentioned in my last post was a lot of driving but also a lot of fun. This is my mom's aunt's side of the family and they go every year.

Pacific Valley Campground, Stanislaus National Forest

This is the first year we joined in but we're planning to go from now on. Due to scheduling issues Miguel drove up on Thursday with my mom and the kids and I drove up solo on Friday after work. It's about a 4 hour drive up to Pacific Valley Campgrounds near Lake Alpine in the Sierra Nevada range. I got a bit lost when I passed the entry to the campground and continued to drive about 30 minutes in the wrong direction. I eventually arrived but was so wiped out from a full day of work plus 5 hours of driving that I went straight to bed.

Up bright and early to the lovely sound of Miguel offering to get me coffee. That and the kids climbing all over me and I was ready to face the day. It's just beautiful up there with granite, trees, meadows, rivers and lakes - an abundance of beauty. We had about 30+ family members there, including a lot of kids, so the activity level was high.

After breakfast we took some of the kids on a little exploration walk.

My niece Elise with the kids and Miguel

Munchkin #2 and I
 And one of the sweetest pictures ever taken of the four of us.

 Miguel is a bit appalled by his morning hair but I still love the picture.

After our walk we packed up to head to Lake Alpine for the day. We also packed to go home because we were driving home after the lake. I know, quick turnaround for me.

Girls playing in dirt - I love it!
Sadly I don't have even one picture from our day at the lake. I left the camera in the car and was too busy being relaxed to go get it. We had a whole bunch of fun including squirt gun fights and taking the kids out on kayaks around the lake. They loved the kayaks so much I've got my eye on Craigslist to maybe pick up a used one.

I'd made a conscious decision to NOT use the camping trip as an excuse to eat a bunch of junk. That all went well until I had a couple beers at the lake. Then I started into the Doritos, salami, cheese - you get the idea. I don't think I ate a crazy amount but those were not healthy choices that's for sure. Luckily it was only one day of such eating so I didn't get too derailed. Anyway, the lake was a great time. Next year I'm taking some days off so we can stay longer. In fact, Miguel had so much fun he decided to stay one more night and drive home at the crack of dawn for his soccer game on Sunday.

After the lake my mom and I drove home (she had to be back on Saturday). We stopped at In-n-Out for dinner. I had a burger (with no cheese and with ketchup/mustard instead of special (read: mayo) sauce), fries and a strawberry shake. I had the burger and about half the fries and then started drinking the shake. It was super sweet and after about a 1/4 of it I'd had enough. I happily threw the rest away (seeing the calories on the menu sure influences behavior for me).

Sunday morning I hired the neighbor girl to watch the kids so I could Swim with Pedro. I don't have the group shot from this week but here's a fun one from last week.

There I am!
I need to work on my jump photo skills, that woman on the left is so good! Anyway, I again decided to swim inside the pier. We had our pep talk and then hit the water. I swam and swam and swam and things were going really smooth. I think I was the slowest but I at least could see people from our group up ahead of me when I sighted. And then the fast swimmers who swam around the pier were coming in so I turned around to swim back.

We regrouped near the opening to the bay and one of the coaches said we could swim across the opening and along the other side to extend our swim. I decided to do that. Swimming across the opening to the bay was wild! Choppy water had me bouncing up and down like I was in a washing machine - and it was so friggin' fun! I was having a blast shooting my arms up out of the water and rocking and rolling with the bay. And then I was on the other side and things were smooth again. I swam along the other wall for a bit and then decided to cut back to shore.

I was swimming all by myself, with no one else in sight and suddenly started thinking about sharks. Dammit. But I forced my mind onto other topics and thankfully, did not get eaten by a shark. So the choppy water made me feel ready to brave the outside of the pier. I talked to a coach after about how slow I'll be and how long it will take me and he said that was fine, they'll wait for me. He said they'll announce when it's a good day to attempt outside the wall for the first time so I'll keep my ears open for that. Oh, one last thing. When we were taking our group photo a bunch of tourists stopped to take our pictures too. I'm doing something tourist picture-worthy, ha! Which also reminds me, when I was walking up to the park I heard a woman say, "". Yep, I thought, swim here.

Ok, so the big thing is how I felt when I got out of the water. LIKE A MILLION BUCKS! I was so happy and joyous and happy and alive and happy. It was like I got a runner's high out on the water and I floated through the rest of the day. I came home and made myself a spinach salad with tuna and veggies before doing some serious post-camping housekeeping.

Spinach, tuna, veggies, FF balsamic dressing and olive oil because fat is healthy.
Then I met up with Miguel after his soccer game so he could hang with the kids for a bit while I ran some errands. And guess what? I was feeling so good I took my hot little butt to the gym to lift weights. Bam! I did back/biceps/PT exercises and oh, by the way, my back has been hurting again :( I guess that's what happens when you slack on the PT exercises. But I'm back on track now.

Came home and had a healthy dinner of black beans, rice, avocado, pico de gallo - the usual. Yum. I'm pretty sure I ate some other junk later (gee, awfully memorable junk eh?) but I can't remember and in any case don't think it was overload. And then I had to run to Target after the kids were in bed for some household stuffs. And I might have purchased some dark chocolate covered almonds and ate them while I shopped. Dark chocolate covered almonds must be what heaven tastes like. That is, if you could eat heaven. Which if it's all they say it is, maybe you can. Whoa - the late hour and slight headache I have is making me punchy.

On to today. HOT day. The blistering sun drained me. I came home and looked at my 10-mile training ride and groaned. Thankfully Miguel suggested I go after dinner when it wasn't in 90+ degrees outside. So after dinner I procrastinated to no end and then finally changed into my bike clothes. And put my bike light on my bike because it was already 7:45 so I knew I'd be riding in the dark.

I rode the 10 miles with a plan to end at the gym and do a quick workout. The ride was great, I felt strong and capable. It started getting dark so I turned on my lights and hoped the neon yellow shirt I was wearing would help cars see me. I got to the gym at 8:30, having ridden exactly 10 miles.

My ride elevation profile. Full Garmin stats here.
It took me just over 40 minutes to ride the 10 miles. I was happy with that. I had 30 minutes to exercise (and had forgotten about shoes so I had to workout in bike shoes - doh!). I did chest/tricep/PT exercises and then hit the road for the ~3 mile ride home. The ride home was AMAZING. The moon was (almost?) full, the streets were quiet and empty, the crickets were singing to me, the air was cool and crisp. Night riding, now there's something fun.

I took the big hill way home and stopped to take a picture of myself.

Me, and my shadow. And the moon.
Happiness. It's not overrated. We can't expect to feel good all of the time but when we do, go with it, roll with it, soak it up. I might have to see if I can find some crazy friends to go on a night ride sometime. It sure was fun.

So I came home and stretched and then showered. I've got some hunger in the tumbler (yes, silly word for my stomach) but I'll let it lie and just go to bed. That should help offset the Doritos.

Ok, that's all I got! Hope you're out there finding your happiness too!!

p.s. I forgot to weigh myself this past Friday. Whoops!

I am a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice offering Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for weight loss and maintenance. I have an office in Marin County, CA and I'm also available to see people via Skype. To learn more please visit my professional website at