Mountain Hugs

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View from the start of the Mission Peak hike

Today's workout was supposed to be a muscle endurance workout. "Supposed to be" is the key phrase here. The workout is nominally carrying ⅓ my body weight (which is 47 pounds, btw) up a steep hill for an hour, then turning around and carrying it back down. Forty seven pounds is a lot a weight for me. I can't lift 47 pounds. I nearly fall over backward when trying to adjust the 47 pound backpack on my back. Lunch time was the only time I had to go on this hike, so I went at noon. My car's thermometer read 38˚C when I exited my car, which would be 100˚F.

I was okay for the first 20 minutes of going up, but not really. Forty seven pounds is a lot of weight for me, did I mention? The next 10 minutes were all grit, but I couldn't go a full hour.

Turning around on a mountain is some kind of skill, I'm told. Knowng one's limits is crucial to surviving some of these mountains.

I turned around.

As I turned around, a wind started up. The wind was hot, intense, and surprisingly strong. At first, I thought the mountain was telling me to go back up, keep trying, keep going. A few more steps, and I realized, no, the mountain wasn't telling me to turn around and keep going. No, it was hugging me, telling me that going down was okay, telling me that it'll be here when I'm ready, more rested, stronger.

Next time.

Dried thistles and a view of dry Mission Peak Regional Park hills
View back down the hill at Mission Peak Regional Park

When Moazam Calls...

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When the person who is always willing to help you, calls and asks if you can pick him up from the car repair shop and hang for a bit, the answer is always yes.

Ha Ah Ah Omer

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Postmodern Jukebox on stage

My single birthday present this year was a Homer Gift, which makes it that much more entertaining for me. Kris bought me, and hence himself, tickets to see Postmodern Jukebox, who were playing locally.

We had a good time, though the ongoing discomfort and stomach pains I've been having meant I enjoyed the event far less than Kris did. Kris also knows the band, I didn't, but enjoyed their music nonetheless. This was his first concert since the pandemic started, so I was happy he had the experience. We were part of the less than 1% of people who were masked up during the concert, which I was less happy about.

But here we are.

Night cityscape view of Silicon Valley from Mountain Winery

The Long and Winding Toad

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Reflection of Andy, Archie, Tilly, Luna, and Kitt in a driveway mirror

Andy wanted to go for a hike today, and had a longer route planned. I said yep, because I needed a long training hike and wanted to hang with Andy. He picked me up and off we went.

When we walk, I usually walk with Archie. Of the three dogs, I like Archie the least, but I have found, as with most beings, when I shower him with affection, he is less annoying to me. Tilly is the same way, her aggressive greetings and jumping frustrates me. I've been headbutted in the face and kicked in the groin by Tilly I don't know how many uncountable times. I've adapted to her greetings by showing affection, which seems to lessen her demands for attention, and by holding her down firmly while praising her for not jumping in greeting. Both seem to be having an effect, which I'm happy about.

So, off we go, Andy, Tilly, Luna, Archie, and me.

Many of the paths I hadn't been on, some I recognized. I was amused that I looked at my watch 30 minutes in. I'm usually better about not looking at my watch and not caring about the time or distance covered. It was going to be a long hike, if I looked 30 of 180 minutes into the hike.

Andy picking up poop as Tilly and Luna stare at me.

On these long hikes (and on normal walks in general), Andy prefers the dogs poop at the beginning of a hike, usually near a trash bin. The dogs seems to want to poop around the same time, which makes for a big bag of poop at the end of the scooping. The dogs don't always accomodate Andy, "I'm become an export at carrying poop, and also at holding three leashes in one hand while scooping poop in the other." I was suitably impressed.

I carried barely 13 pounds on this hike, mostly a symbolic weight. My back was oddly stiff at the end of the hike. I'm somewhat puzzled why, though. My back is less stiff with 25 pounds on my back.

After the hike, Andy and I picked up lunch at Aqui, then went back to Krikitt Downs to eat. After lunch and hanging, Andy and I talked for a bit. I talked about where I had been the last eight years or so, the arc of my life. I apologized for being a crappy friend. I suspect this is going to be a week of apologies. He listened, for which I was grateful, and accepted my apologies. My crying afterward may have been from gratitude, but was more likely from the relief of setting down a heavy burden.

Yes, there were toads on the hike.

And a Yoda.

This Doesn't Have to be a Thing

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So, in all of this training I'm doing, I have one or two strength workouts a week. Some are really hard, some are less hard. All of them are hard.

When everything is hard, motivation tends to be an issue for me. Worse, I start to build up these workouts into "OMG how hard these are these going to be? HARD! I don't want to do this, ugh, so hard."

As if working out, building muscle, becoming stronger is a straight line being better every time.

That's not how bodies work. Some days will be good. Some days will be less good. Eh, that infers judgement. Some days I'll be stronger than the previous workout. Some days I'll be the same. Some days I'll be less strong. That's the way of bodies. It is fine.

Making a big deal about how hard a workout is or how I'm not always improving, however, is not fine.

While hefting myself up to the chinup bar tonight, I had the thought, "This doesn't have to be a thing," a riff on Marcus Aurelias's "You don’t have to turn this into something." And I burst out laughing.

It really doesn't. I can do the workout, and while this one might not be better than the last one, the general trend is up. I might not be be stronger today, but I will be stronger next week, next month, by Vinson.

And that's what matters.

Local Bakery Goods

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Not a LOVELY photo, but one that makes me happy. The local bakery is full of tasty items, and I appreciate the selection. The staff is lovely.

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