Sunday, August 19, 2012

My fit life journey takes me to Tsoodził's summit

I've been thinking a lot about where I am, right now, in the midst of my fit life journey. I'm saying things to people like, I'm ready to take it to the next level (fitness-wise), and I'm not sure they know what I mean by that. Lots of people see the progress I've made losing a bunch of weight and trading in my old lethargic lifestyle for an active one, hiking mountains and what not. But still, I'm not where I want to be, where I need to be, in order to do the things I'm doing now - sustainably - for the next few decades of life.
Among the aspens along CDT near Gooseberry Spring, Mt. Taylor
With few exceptions, when I hike, I still get winded more often than the folks I'm hiking with. This probably has to do with my weight - I'm usually carrying 100 pounds or more than my compañeros del sendero. Surely, too, it owes to my overall level of conditioning, the fact that I spent ten years in lethargy prior to deciding to live fit a few years ago, and the fact that I loathe doing cardio for cardio's sake. It's getting clear to me now, though, that I need to infuse more cardio into my weekly workout routine if I want to continue challenging myself with hikes of greater intensity and elevation gain.

View from Gooseberry Spring Trail, part of the CDT, Mt. Taylor, NM
This weekend I hiked to over 11,301 feet along a portions of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) to summit Mt. Taylor, near Grants, NM. This is Navajo's sacred south mountain, Tsoodził, or Turquoise Mountain, a lush, grassy, Alpine cone towering above the desert below. I did the 3.5-mile hike to the top in about 3.5 hours, which wasn't too bad - I wasn't out to break speed records. And fortunately my trail bud Leanne was kind enough to stick with me on my frequent breath-breaks.

My trail bud, Leanne - a great hiking companion!
Besides, taking breaks for breathing from time to time allowed me to somehow become more mindful of the the strikingly diverse beauty of the landscape, from the my immediate environs and stretching out, away from the mountain to the diffuse horizon. I'd pause and sit, or just bend over and look at various angles, stretching and noticing the many unexpected things all around me, close to me. The critters on and off the trail (like horny toads and technicolor insects) and the delicate intra-workings of the multi-use forest ecology - I took it all in, deeply, with each breath, even the cow patties, which by the way Leanne said are good for making adobe bricks.

At Mt. Taylor summit (Tsoodził, Navajo's sacred south mountain)
So I guess that's where I am on my fit life journey. I'm at a very mindful place right now, and there is a great calm in that. But there is also a call to action. I'm taking my fit life journey on the road in a little over a week. I'm heading to Southern California to begin working on a couple of projects related to motivating others to live the fit life more fully. I've got a huge goal ahead of me (which you can read about on my blog Man of Merit). And I'm connecting more with the person I was meant to be, have always been and forever will be - me.

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