Me and Water go way back. When I was five years old, I pointed to a dolphin trainer and told my mom that was what I was going to do when I grew up. She did what any other encouraging mother of a fanatical youngster would do, and smiled and nodded. And then signed me up for the swim team.
This April, in honor of Earth Day, I celebrated 30 days of ZooFit and discussed all the many ways we can Eat Clean, Live Green, and Train Positive. This month I want to explore one of my pillars of ZooFit a little closer and focus on connecting to the earth in healthy ways with Experience Nature.
June is a perfect month to celebrate and explore, too. Farmers Markets are starting up, beach and hiking weather looms around us, flowers in bloom (yay allergies!), days getting longer, summer solstice. I just got a job as a park aide for the state parks, so I will be enjoying the outdoors more and more myself.
I have big plans this summer for being outdoors and my health:
Biking more (perhaps a few rides to work)
Swimming at Goss Lake or even the Puget Sound
Gardening and growing tons of veggies
Experimenting with our farm share produce and my garden veggies to eat greener, healthier, and closer to home
Outdoor ZooFit workouts
Getting my CrossFit classes outside
Finding my own peace and my own place with the outdoors
Today was almost a rocky start to the 30 Days experiment. I thought it would be perfect, since my family went on a weekend getaway to Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park. What a great way to start 30 Days of Experiencing Nature.
Only, we didn’t get outside much today. This morning I did a super quick rowing workout at home. I took my car in for an oil change, came home, washed the car off, finished packing, and hopped in the car to catch the 12:30 ferry to Port Townsend. Arriving in Port Townsend, we found a place to eat lunch and then hit the road toward Lake Crescent.
Once we arrived, I was feeling cranky, irritable, and overall discontent. I don’t know what exactly what was wrong. I had plenty of sleep. I even caught a quick nap on the way to the lodge. I had a good lunch and drank plenty of water. What was going on?
After checking in, I thought we would go for a little walk around the resort. It’s in the old Olympic forest, and on a beautiful lake, who wouldn’t want to go for a stroll? But everyone wanted to sit inside and talk. No big deal, I like talking too, but I was feeling the discontent taking a strong hold on my overall psyche. It was visible to my family as well.
I shook off a couple “What’s wrong?” questions and socialized for a bit. Then I stood up and just announced, “I’m going for a run.”
It wasn’t an invitation. I just knew I needed to get outside for a little bit. I found a short trail called the Moments in Time Trail, which claimed to be a .6 mile loop. I jogged to the trail, and was instantly a lot calmer, a lot less stressed out, and a bit more energized and focused.
You know, Henry David Thoreau once said “I went to the woods because… I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life.” He never told us going to the woods would calm our shit!
I jogged around the trail twice. It didn’t feel like more than a mile. It was short, sweet, and just the dose I needed. I don’t know if it was the alone time, the exercise, or being outdoors, but I felt a lot better afterwards. It could have been a combination of all three. I am an introvert and being around people is incredibly draining for me. I re-energize by spending time alone. I have also been on a huge exercise streak, where I have sustained a cardio workout for an average of thirty minutes every day, so the exercise was probably something my body was literally craving. And I think psychologically, my mind needed to go outside. I mean, why else did we come to the Olympics if not to experience nature?
I came back to my family, changed clothes and went to dinner. I was in a much better mood and able to joke about my crankiness earlier.
I really like our hotel, except a couple annoyances like no WiFi in the rooms. They have a plaque explaining their sustainability practices. Compostable cups, signs encouraging us to unplug and turn off lights, and a recycling bin in our room. They also don’t have any televisions. I didn’t even notice that until my parents mentioned it. There are games in the lodge lobby, and yard games like badminton and croquet for anyone to use. There are kayaks to rent, tours to sign up to take, and tons of trails. We don’t need a stinking TV. Nature is our entertainment this weekend, and I intend to live deep indeed.
I’ve been reading quite a few books helping me in my quest to find a perfect Eating Green model. So far, I’m finding that a little more difficult than I anticipated. My research and experience is showing there is no “perfect model”, but taking a little from each program and expert I discover. Continue reading Eat Good Fat, Get Fit
I felt I had a lot in common with Drew Manning. Well, I wasn’t a personal trainer who couldn’t figure out why my clients didn’t get it. But I was a zookeeper who couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to convey conservation messages to zoo visitors. Continue reading ZooFat to ZooFit
There are few exciting holidays for zookeepers. Christmas and Thanksgiving are often spent with our fur/feather/scaled families because, guess what? Animals have to eat. Daily. It’s weird, I know. But such is life of a zookeeper.