Pulse check and quickie updates

Yes, I’m still here!

I’ll skip the excuses and blah blah blah and just give some quick updates on some of the past few months’ activities instead..

Posing with N on the uphill portion of the hike. In the background you can faintly see some nearby peak (I forget the name of the mountain).

I went snowshoeing for the first time in January. I’d seen a Groupon for an outing, and sent it out to some girlfriends (the core of whom refer to ourselves as the Girls’ Adventure Club). However, we decided we could do an outing on our own for much less than the $45 Groupon, although only a couple of the girls had done any snowshoeing – and that wasn’t much. Then, I saw an article in the Seattle Times about snowshoe walks guided by rangers. I passed the info on to the girls, and we ended up deciding to go that route. We had a great time! Eight of us girls were in the group (plus two random people) and we had two volunteer Forest-Service guides with us the entire way. There were two options for the guided walk — a 90-minute “interpretive walk,” and a half-day outing to Commonwealth Basin. We decided we had the recommended “higher level of fitness and winter preparedness” and signed up for the half-day trip. Walking in the snowshoes took some getting used to, but I managed to stay upright the entire way (typical — one of my snowshoes came off just a few minutes after we started walking!), and though I was seriously huffing and puffing during a steep 600-foot uphill climb, I didn’t have to ask the group to give me a five-minute breather. We stopped periodically so the guide could tell us about some snow formation, or snow bridge, or logging history tidbit, and took a 30-minute break at the halfway point to eat some lunch. The weather was a bit gray and gloomy when we first set out around 9:30, but cleared up quickly, and we were in sunglasses for most of the hike.

I was WAY over-prepared, of course! I did end up leaving my borrowed avalanche beacon, probe and snow shovel in the car, but still packed some of the other 10 essentials (emergency blanket, waterproof matches, headlamp …) and brought tons of layers. I started out that morning wearing: a silk, base-layer tank top, long-sleeved wicking T-shirt, long sleeve microfleece pullover, silk long underwear, lightly lined waterproof, breathable snow pants, knee-high wool socks, Primaloft-insulated jacket, wool scarf and gloves. As you can see by the pic on the left, I quickly stripped off a lot of that stuff, and stayed comfortable for most of the time, except when we paused for more than a few minutes at any one time. As you can also see, I used trekking poles with snow baskets, which helped a lot, especially on the downhill section. Though I was in the back of the pack on the way up (literally, I was right in front of our back guide!), I was cruising along behind the front guide for the majority of the trip down. In the end, I think we hiked about 5 miles total, over the course of 5 hours. I highly recommend local folks give the outing a try next winter, I think we may do it again as well! You need a reservation, and I’m sure the slots fill up fast (group size is limited to 10 clients), so I’d suggest you call in December sometime (the outings run Jan. through March). Get more info here.

In March, also with many of the members of the G.A.C., I went on the Chocolate Box Experience (through another Groupon-like Web site, love all these deals we’re finding!). Though I’m not a huge chocolate freak like some of my girlfriends, it was a lot of fun. We started at the Chocolate Box (a chocolate store in downtown Seattle near Pike Place Market) and got an overview of the history of chocolate while we sipped some C.B. hot cocoa. Then we hopped in a van and were off to Theo Chocolate.

 

Sex-ay self-photo with my pitch for chocolate-flavored chapstick.

Though the machinery didn’t seem to be operating when we got our tour, we all still got hairnetted up as we walked around. After wards, we milled about in Theo’s lobby and OD’d on the copious amounts of samples (they let you try nearly everything they make — and they make a lot!). They had a lot of fancy sounding flavors (chili, toasted coconut, curry), but my favorite was a flavor I can’t currently find on their Web site — NiB Brittle (dark chocolate, with 70% cacao — see pic above). I actually didn’t see/buy it until a revisit to Theo a couple weeks ago, so it may be a seasonal product. As part of the experience, we also spent some time enjoying some semisweet-chocolate fondue. Yum!

In other news.. in December of 2010, I realized my hair was thinning. Not that it was coming out in clumps or anything, just that I had a lot less hair than usual. I’ve always had pretty thick hair — I periodically would have my hair stylist thin it out here and there — so this was alarming. After a few e-mail exchanges with my doctor and a blood test, I discovered I had an iron deficiency. Most women have an iron level of 13-150, and my level was 3!! I was expecting the doc to say I needed to start eating like a bag of spinach a day, but thankfully — there’s a pill for this. I started taking an iron supplement — just your garden-variety drugstore version — at triple the dosage a normal person would take. I was on the regiment for three months, then went back in for another blood test in mid-February. Whew…I was just inside the normal range at 14. So, now I’m taking just one pill a day. Other folks online have raved about the improvements in their lives and energy levels after returning their iron levels to normal, but I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference there. It’s also a bit too early to say whether my hair is going to return to its normal state. I can see lots of short, wispy hairs near the crown of my head, but I’ve always had hairs like that, so I may just be seeing what I want to see. At the very least, I’m addressing the problem of the most likely culprit for my having less hairs, so…fingers crossed, I’ll be feeling more confident about the new-hair growth in another few months.

I think that covers some of the highlights/milestones of the past few months. More recently, I’m trying to be a little more healthy; I joined a gym that’s closer to my house, and have consistently been going more often, though that’s still only 2-3 times a week. I also still hit the pool for a one-hour lap swim once a week, most weeks. Eating healthier is my bigger stumbling block. Food is a real quality-of-life thing for me. I don’t eat all that badly, but I do hit up a fast-food joint (not to mention my fave bubble-tea place) once a week or so. Now, I’m not going to give up those vices, but I need to try and eat better the rest of the time. Baby steps, my friends..

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2 Responses to “Pulse check and quickie updates”

  1. Fighting Reality Says:

    I’m with you on needing supplements. I don’t eat well, either, and I’m noticing that around “that time of the month” I’m totally lethargic. Well, it got to the point where after some internet “research” that I am probably totally lacking on the Iron. After some eggs, an Iron pill, and orange juice I started to feel better, but it just got me thinking that I really need to start taking care of myself and my nutrition. I’m just a fried food, meat-eating, carb loading, cheese loving person. There is little room for vegetables! Anyhow, I trekked to Bartells last night and got some Multi For Her soft gel pills to take daily. They have Iron, Calcium, and vitamin D, which I’ve been curious about taking because my sadness is getting old! Good for you for exercising, too. My exercising consists of running to catch the shuttle to/from my car!

  2. I would definitely suggest you hook up with your doctor to get a blood test and measure your iron level — I had to take three times the normal supplement dosage for three months just to barely get into the standard iron-count range! So, in case you’re similarly low, you should get your doctor on it ASAP (it goes without saying that you shouldn’t start an iron-supplement regimen without guidance from your doc).

    I’m with you on loving heavy/cheesy foods — they taste so much better (to me) and are easier to prepare, not to mention cheaper to buy! I guess the key for me right now is all things in moderation. And.. I’ll try to slowly pepper in better foods as a bookend to that :o)

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