Sunday, February 23, 2014

120 hours in the Land of Enchantment

I've kind of gotten to the place where so much has transpired much of which i cannot really talk about since my before-last post that I am at a loss as to what, if anything, to document. Fortunately I have never been bound to the concepts coherence and continuity therefore... 120 hours in the Land of Enchantment it is as the topic for my first post in 3 months. The stars lined up for me this month and I scored 2 days of business in New Mexico which I promptly tacked a pre-work week-end onto, that combined with the entire day of travel required to get there and voila 120 hours in the Land of Enchantment for me! Well not all them spent entirely in the land of Enchantment but 120 consecutive hours of alone-time (minus maybe 16 hours of work). I really, truly cannot recommend this type of escape highly enough. At one point during the trip I must have gone a full 36 hours without saying a word to anyone. Bliss.

I landed Saturday afternoon and after checking into my hotel headed over to catch package pick-up for the race I was doing the next day before it closed (yes, of COURSE I found a race to do). After getting my number I headed out onto the course for a pre-race shake-out only to discover:

a) flying up to 5,000 feet that morning from sea level really DID have a big impact on my ability to, well, breathe
b) the course was entirely on loose sand
c) not sleeping for 3 days beforehand negatively impacted my energy levels (sleep hampered by teething baby, major life decision)
d) not eating (much) 3 days beforehand negatively impacted my energy levels
e) not drinking (much) all day was really just the final straw...

I dragged myself through some brutal 9:30 miles, drank about 3 L of water, headed back to my hotel, took 2 sleeping pills, put in my ear plugs and disappeared off to dreamland for about 11 solid hours (sorry Ingrid... I feel like a class A jerk bragging about that).
While 11 hours of straight sleep can really do wonders for a person, they cannot erase 5,000 feet of altitude and so it was not a big surprise when I dragged myself barely breathing to a 43:50 finish the following day (10 km). As I fell across the finish line and collapsed onto the grass, I have never quite felt the world spinning that much, it was comparable only to a very bad trip I once had in college when I smoked something that, in retrospect, could not have been only pot... but anyway... Lying there not entirely sure if I could stand with absolutely NO one offering any assistance whatsoever also made me realize there is a something to be said for being in a place "where everybody knows your name" (regardless of whether they are glad you came). Anyway I eventually scrapped myself off of the grass (grass! green grass, in February!!) and got moving because this temporarily childless mom had lots on her agenda for the day, first of which was this:

Hiking in the Sandia foothills almost within the city of Albuquerque. I felt like a kid in the veritable candy store...8 hours of daylights yet and trails galore to explore. Disclaimer, these are not actually m pictures as I cannot find my camera cable but these are pictures of where I were:

Nothing short of heaven to wander in desert foothills with no particular agenda and only the occasional wandering about mountain lions or cougars crossing my mind.

I was also fortunate enough to get to Petroglyph National Monument and was awed by petroglyphs more than 1000 years old:

And some, sadly that were about 2 years old... sigh... people suck. Though who knows, in the year 3014, someone may be awed and inspired by the fact that Kevin hearts Becky...

My 120 hours in the Land of Enchantment also featured soaks in a whirlpool, hours of uninterrupted reading, dinner in restaurants and all the exercise I wanted... on several occasions, I actually stopped running because - I was TIRED OF RUNNING! Not because of guilt or someone needed something or the babysitter needed to leave etc. etc. On several occasions I also stopped sleeping because, get this, I WASN'T TIRED ANYMORE!

All in all, an amazing trip (also fortuitously timed as both children had stomach flu while I was gone... have I mentioned I have the best husband in the world??). The trip also made a nice transition between what I am already thinking of "the last phase" of my life and this next phase... a phase which is not entirely decided yet (though the timeline to make final decisions is becoming desperately short)  but regardless of the final details, it will without a doubt be a new adventure.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

This is ourselves under pressure

I have had wickedly terrible insomnia in my life but this week is taking it to a whole new level of bone crushing exhaustion. There are major changes happening in my life. Well, more succinctly put, there is A major change happening in my life. One I chose and made happen. And I think it will be good thing (I guess it would be pretty damn self destructive if I didn't think it would be a good thing given that I chose it and made it happen!!) but it means saying good-bye to a lot of really good people. It means moving out of my comfort zone... like my comfort is the Shire and where I am going... I won't even be able to see Middle Earth. This decision has meant saying no to people who I really like, admire and respect (saying no - talk about being WAY out of my comfort zone!).

As with any cross roads in life, this decision comes with its share of introspection and greater understanding of myself and my motivations. I have come to realize that when it comes to big decisions, I tend to wall off, isolate, hunker down and internalize the entire process. On the exterior I maintain a perfect "situation normal" facade. Inside there is a raging debate going on in which I am having the conversation with the key people impacted by the decision only I am speaking their parts. The end result is that when I emerge from my cocoon, decision made, it feels like a bit of a bomb being dropped to everyone else. I have actually said (in the distant past) on one day "yes, spending our summer vacation with your mother sounds great to me" and, the next " I don't think we should date anymore". I guess walling off isn't the greatest trait ever. I honestly didn't realize I had this bomb dropping tendency but after this recent decision, when I look back I see it is part of a firmly established pattern. Now that I see the pattern, I also instantly understand why - I am so easily swayed by other people and have such a hard time hearing my own voice that when it comes to big decisions, I feel I cannot even open the door to discussion even a tiny crack until I have figured out what I think... and at that point, the decision has been irrevocably made. So, I know this now about myself, not sure what, if anything, to do about that nugget of information but I read somewhere in some self help book that it is supposedly good to know yourself :)

So, I have reached the cliched fork in the road and chosen one of the paths. I have a reasonable idea of the lay of the land ahead and the details should come into focus soon. Whatever lies ahead, I certainly hope it involves more sleep, lots more sleep.

Life altering decision making song of the day: Under Pressure by Queen feat David Bowie