A New Season

First dusting of snow in Yosemite West
It’s a cold almost-November day, 40 deg and raining, and everywhere I looked this morning, there were photographers, with their big cameras on tripods set up next to the road, wearing their rain gear and happily snapping away. Serious photographers are a unique bunch here – it’s like they bloom when the skies turns dark and cloudy, the rain starts to fall, and other people are grousing about the awful weather. But it’s easy to understand why. The clouds and fog skirting the big cliffs make them seem that much more majestic and mysterious. And no one, not even Ansel Adams, has seen just exactly this play between the clouds and the light. Heaven.

My own morning’s photographic exploits were more modest, and more furtive. There was a tiny dusting of snow at the top of our neighborhood this morning, hanging in the changing leaves along the side of the road, and I stopped to snap a photo out of my car window. (The visitors might stop randomly in the middle of the road for deer or bear, but me, I stopped for a couple of snowflakes. I need to remember to be more patient when others see something photogenic. But, for the record, I did check behind me to make sure I wasn’t on a blind corner, took only 2 quick snapshots and was moving again before anyone else came up behind me.) Snow on the ground. Ski season is coming up fast.

Over breakfast, I read Tom’s copy of TUNA News, by a nordic ski group out of Utah. Lord knows why we get their publication – something Tom did at some point. There is new ski gear in the catalogs we receive daily in the mail, and I’m contemplating new AT boots to go with the big plans I’m making for this ski season. I’m always excited about snow, but this year I’m preparing for long weekends in the high country, in Tahoe, or if I’m really ambitious, over on the East Side. October 22nd was my 4th Boulder Day, and it seems like a long time, but I finally feel like I’m in the position to get back into ski shape. The first few years after the boulder event, I just didn’t feel like I could take the pounding, and last year there were so many house projects that we didn’t seem to be able to find the time. This year, everything is coming together.

I’m now on day 20 of my new fitness program, and already starting to see some results. I’ve lost some weight overall – just a couple of pounds – but between fat loss and muscle gain, I can see some significant differences in the way that my body looks, and those pants that were getting too small are starting to feel comfortable again. Most importantly, I’m feeling stronger than I have in a long time. Years. Long enough that I’d forgotten what it was like, and what it’s like, is good.

The program I’m on is only 30 days long, and so I’m shopping for a new program. I checked out the Mountain Athlete program because, that seems pretty sport-specific. Lots of functional movement and sport-specific exercise. Tom mentioned a guy named Eric Cressey who is well-known for building strength. Tom also thinks that between us, we know enough that I could probably design something good for me without spending a bunch of money – which is certainly true – but for some reason, I work out a lot harder when I’m on someone else’s program. So, I’m still shopping (and taking recommendations if anyone has them), but committed to finding something in the next few weeks.

A serious program might have to wait until after our vacation to Hawaii though. Can you believe it? After years of planning mountain vacations and family vacations, Tom and I are finally headed to the beach, just the two of us. Running on the beach, surfing?, hiking near Haleakala, exploring the Road to Hana, resting, reading, and relaxing. I’m looking forward to the change of pace.

The other new season that is just around the corner is NaNoWriMo. Last year, not only did I finish the challenge of writing 50K words during the month, not only did I enjoy spending hours typing up a story that no one will ever read, I also managed to learn something in the process. Naturally, I’m excited to do it again this year. November is only two days away.

Lots of new things starting for me. New season. New fitness level. New commitment to play. New exercise program. New NaNoWriMo challenge. Life is good.

After the Rain

Yosemite Falls - Oct. 25,2010
Yosemite Falls - Oct. 25,2010
Yosemite is particularly beautiful this morning. Not just the, of-course-it’s-Yosemite-after-all, beautiful, but exceptional. After the steady rain yesterday, there is water everywhere, more reminiscent of spring than fall. The Merced River has gone from being little more than a creek, to wild and full, and the thin stream from Yosemite Falls has also blossomed into spring-ish glory. You can see in the photo that the boardwalk that leads out into the meadow is flooded this morning, providing a nice reflection of the falls. What you can’t see is the clearing clouds, clinging to all of the cliffs and features.

The rain has knocked down a few of the autumn-colored leaves, but there are still many trees that hadn’t turned yet, and so these will still be good viewing in the days to come.

Fitness Month

I had one of those realistic, vivid dreams a few days ago, that leave you wondering if the thing in the dream really happened or not. In the dream, I was trying on jeans, which I hate doing anyway because nothing convinces me that I’m a completely abnormal shape than trying on pants, even when I’m fit. In the dream, when I looked in the mirror, I realized that I had a huge balloon butt. I mean, giant, where did this come from and why haven’t I noticed it before, booty. Naturally, in the dream, the pants didn’t fit.

When I woke up the next morning, I realized that, yes, indeed, it was long past time to get back in shape. I tried this last October, and then promptly injured my shoulder by crashing my bike when I took a corner too fast. When that injury healed, I got taken out by a wobbly kid on a bike who swerved into me, and injured myself again. All that is finally (knock on wood) in the past, and I’m having dreams of being fat. Tom has put a moratorium on stupid minor injuries (and major ones too), and I’m ready to go.

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