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DeerI’ve been feeling a little out of shape recently.  I haven’t been getting a lot of exercise, and yet I’m feeling like I’m in a spot where I really NEED it.  My work is fantastic – I love the team and what we’re working on together.  It’s just mentally exhausting.  I come home happy and fried.  Tapped out.  I remember part of the workshop I took last fall where we learned what our unique needs are.  What are our main ‘tanks’ and how do we keep them filled?  When they’re filled we’re at our optimum…at our best!  When they’re depleted, it’s a mess.

Apparently I need 7 hours of exercise a week to be at my best.  SEVEN!  That’s one freakin’ hour a day!  And I can assure you I’m nowhere near doing that right now.  I’m taking a sabbatical from hockey – man, when I first started playing I skated 4 nights a week!  And prior to taking up hockey I walked about 5 miles a day (with hills) every day for about 6 months…every day without fail.  That was the summer of 2003 when the weather was super hot and sunny.  I remember losing about 30-35 lbs in the process and getting in the best shape of my life cardio-wise as well.  OK wait…an hour and a half of walking every day and I morphed gradually into a svelte size 6.  Hmmm…and I needed ‘just’ an hour a day but didn’t know it at the time?  I do remember how energized I felt and how happy I was with my new figure…and so happy in general.  Maybe I really DO need an hour of exercise a day!

Well, they say there’s no better time to start (or restart) than NOW.  This is a lazy Memorial Day Weekend…no plans except for a super fun lunch and shopping date with my Mom yesterday (a belated birthday celebration).  I’m still grinning about the daytrip J and I took to Mount St. Helens last Sunday…on my birthday!  What an incredible trip it was.  The only thing that was a wee bit of a bummer was that there was too much snow on the trails to hike.  We were looking forward to getting some exercise outdoors after a 3 hour car ride but that will happen next time!  Still, an amazing experience.

So today I put on my walking gear and grabbed my iPod…time to explore my neighborhood once again on foot!  I live at the bottom of a very steep hill and yes, that was a part of my daily walking routine 10 years ago.  That hill is a butt (and lung) kicker…today I opted for a flatter route.  The drizzle was starting to morph into rain and I wondered if it would continue to get worse or clear up.  Thankfully it cleared up…I got so warm I had to ditch my windbreaker.

Here in the Seattle suburbs, so much open, vacant land has been gobbled up by subdivisions.  Call it thriving progress or call it sad…it’s our reality.  Frankly, I love the growth here in the region.  I’ve lived here all my life and am passionate about the Northwest…and proud that so many major businesses call this region home headquarters too.

I headed north up the main road near my townhouse and into the next town’s city limits.  Walking alongside a 4-lane road isn’t the most relaxing thing to do, but wide sidewalks and little traffic (not much on a Sunday holiday weekend) make it decent.  Once you get onto side streets there are a ton of windy roads and cul-de-sacs to get wonderfully lost in.  As I was deciding which side street to explore, I suddenly spotted a couple off to my right walking their dog.  They were on a gravelly trail just off the main road!  Dang, how many times have I walked right past that trail and never saw it?  Probably hundreds.  Certainly it wouldn’t be visible whizzing by in your car.  I smiled and walked up to them…where does the trail go, I asked?  They said oh, it “just goes back a ways.”  Ok, that’s a funny, vague answer!  They didn’t even know if it was public or private.  OK, so if I’m trespassing I’ll just laugh and say hey, what’s for dinner?

I looked down the trail…lots of trees were surrounding it and there were benches every so often. Looked public to me, but I didn’t see any signs posted.  So, I started down the trail, feeling a little giddy.  Here was a trail right in my neighborhood I was exploring for the first time!  After about a quarter of a mile the trail ran between houses in a suburban development and dumped me out into a cul-de-sac.  OK, that was somewhat interesting!  But I remembered further back there was a fork in the trail.  I retraced my steps back and took it.  There was one last bench and I was surrounded by thick trees again.

Then, I turned a corner…and look at the welcoming committee in the picture!  Do you know that feeling when you’re alone but you suddenly feel like you’re not alone?  That’s a jolt I felt right before looking to my left and spotting the two deer!  Wow, I was surprised!  Surprised not only that there is undeveloped land in this part of our suburbs, but that deer are here too!  We really don’t see much wildlife around here…maybe a raccoon or coyote late at night, but certainly not deer!  I wonder if that land is even develop-able (is that a word)?  Is it too marshy?  Who knows.

I’m going to go back tomorrow and see if they are still there!