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TreeGirl last won the day on September 4 2021

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About TreeGirl

  • Birthday January 22

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  1. TreeGirl

    August Adventures

    Where to start with this? I went to Italy and rubbed elbows with Loopster stars, Davide and Fiona. Basically, they have always let me know if I want to come visit them in Milan, Italy, I could. I did just that 5 years ago and then I grabbed an opening in the pandemic after Italy approved arrivals for tourists and I arrived in northern Italy on July 28th to stay with them until August 6th. We hatched a plan to hike in the Dolomites for a chunk of my visit because I had been wanting to start exploring that area. They were totally game and if you follow either of them on social media you'll know that they are no strangers to having incredible mountain adventures. They are also amazingly generous and kind hosts and fun people to hang out with. It wasn't an ideal time to travel and without their help to get a covid test to return to the USA (despite being vaccinated), I'd probably still be in Italy. A piece of my soul was hoping I'd fail the test just so I could stay another 2 weeks. 😁 I know they were both concerned that a flatlander living at sea level her whole life was going to slow things down incredibly. I'm sure I did but it wasn't too drastic. The humid air was exactly what I deal with all summer in northern Michigan so that didn't phase me and there was altitude but not extremes. I've been running around 20-23 miles a week for the past 6-8 months so I had some decent fitness. I didn't run the trails except to catch up to them after taking pictures but I could have done some of the flat portions if I wanted to. Davide even boosted my confidence one morning when he said how surprised he was by how well I was doing considering I can't hike mountains where I live. 🤩 Here's a simplified run down of the adventures we had in chronological order: Hiked 5 miles to the top of the church steps in Montevecchia, northeast of Milan and had a fun dinner with their friends and laughed a great deal. Here's a view from the top looking over the countryside. Hiked 5 miles to this incredible lake in Courmayeur on the far west corner of Italy and my mouth was hanging open in awe the whole time. Davide and a friend of his were volunteers as course sweepers at a mountain trail race starting in Courmayeur the next day. Hiked 3 miles up part of a mountain with Fiona and her friends and got this picture of me ... sigh... We watched some of the trail racers go buy while taking break at the hiking hut (refugio). Then we got ready for the rest of the adventure to the Dolomites in the northeast part of the country. We stayed at a "unique" Italian tourist hotel in Andalo that left me with hilarious and head shaking memories and not a great deal of sleep but who cares!? August 3rd we hiked trails near Molveno and I covered 14.4 miles and nearly 5,000 feet of elevation gain and I could still walk to dinner that night! This day was a "bucket list" type of adventure. Something I dreamed of but never thought I could actually accomplish it in my life. Incredibly challenging and rewarding. (The trail is in that picture below....it's narrow) The next day we got up and moving (and I was barely sore!) and went to the Molveno area again to a different set of trails. Heavy rain was expected later in the day so we were hoping we could beat the worst of it and we did! We covered 10.5 miles and 2,700 feet of elevation gain on some steep and heavily forested trails. I felt right at home in the forests there. Davide got this downhill action shot of me and Fiona (she's in the green shirt). Poles are indispensable there! I did some stuff on my own and we did some tourist type stuff together but I'm a terrible tourist and I just want to be out in nature and have nothing to do with crowds of people. I did visit Padua near Venice and went to the Botanic Garden there started in 1545 and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Very cool for anyone who is deeply interested in plants. I leave you with pictures of most of the desserts I ate while I was there. I ate a lot of delicious food. Still lost 4 lbs in 10 days, though! Gelato and I have quite a love affair going. Currently my go-to flavors are pistachio and hazelnut. I will say that my absolute pinnacle food moment was the super thick hot chocolate (upper right corner of the picture) that is ubiquitous to the mountain culture and I've seen it on travel shows. It's so thick the bubbles didn't pop when I stirred a little sugar in. Think of it like heavy cream with super dark chocolate melted in. With that, I shall close out this update on what Brenda did on her summer vacation. 😎
  2. TreeGirl

    1st 5K in Forever

    I'll give you my first race recap in forever and then I'll try to say why I've been so absent. If you remember me, you know I'm one for brevity but this one may stretch just a bit. A colleague and friend has been working on getting his fitness back and we do virtual check-ins with FB messages a few mornings a week to report on running and mental health status. A local 5K I've been wanting to do was a "go" for this year and was held last Saturday. it's called the Higgins Lake Sunrise Run and is always around the time of the summer solstice. They run the 5K through the state park and campground and the smell of bacon from so many campsites at 9 am is both incredible and torturous! I promised to run the whole way with him and be his pacer to get him under his goal of 40 minutes and we did! 37:19 across the finish line for him and like a good pacer, I let him through on his own and held back a few steps. He was incredibly grateful. We took a much-needed swim in the lake after the awards were over and it was the perfect cap on a great morning with the running community. A few weeks ago I ran my own 5K time trial on a very, very flat bike path near my house and did it under 30 minutes and was thrilled with myself so I know what I'm capable of and the Sunrise 5K was all about helping a friend get their confidence back. I may run it next year and see if I can place in my AG. My next event is as a volunteer at another local 5K for a festival in mid-July and then I'm registered for a 50K trail race in south-central Tennessee in mid-October with my trail partner, Joy. Going to be a blast of a lady's adventure weekend for us! On to the "why I haven't been around much" topic: My mental health took a nasty nosedive after teetering on a cliff for years and years. I started seeing a therapist and that helped me open my eyes to things I didn't know weren't part of everyone's lives. I never knew what I dealt with was debilitating anxiety, massive mental stress, and deep depression. With the help of my health insurance provider and a great person on the other end, I was connected to a therapist and continued with remote visits during the pandemic. Early this year I "graduated" from regular therapy visits and now only set an appointment when I can't pick an issue apart on my own. I have an incredible nurse practitioner as my primary care physician, and she agreed to try me on Prozac under my suggestion and approval of the therapist. I never knew life could be like this. Relaxed, happy, no short-temper, calm, focused. I had my recheck with my NP on Tuesday and I'm down 32 lbs in 2 years and I may be on some level of anti-depressant for quite a while or forever. I take care of myself; I get solid nutrition, I rest when I need to, I run, I paddle board, I x-c ski all winter, etc. Where am I now? I love my life. I'm so grateful for what I have and what may lie ahead. I'm forever grateful for this group. I have amazing friends just because of the Loop. The end of July I'm set to take off on a covid tested flight via Delta airlines to stay 9 days with "Moose" and "Countess FiFi (Davide and Fiona) in northern Italy. They're going to hike one part of the Dolomites with me and I get to see Davide speak at a race and run it, too! They're helping to have a much-needed mental health break from my husband Chris's chronic spinal arthritis issues and constant medical needs. I've learned a lot the past 2 years and I'm grabbing on every adventure that comes my way (as long as I can afford it!). Be ready for some incredible race pictures from Italy in late July and early August!
  3. Training is all any of us got so hopefully misery loves company as the saying goes.
  4. I think all of us can relate to the ups and downs of life and how it impacts our running, our lives, our friendships, etc. Nothing will be the same as it once was because we're all different people from one year to the next and that's a good thing. Growth and development are good things. Get out there and run and embrace life.
  5. TreeGirl

    Runs in the Time of Corona

    It all just feels weird right now. You explained a lot of it really well.
  6. TreeGirl

    Attempting A Return...

    Holy mackeral you've been dealing with a lot. I'm glad you're here and we'll support you no matter how smoothly it goes as you run more and fix your motivator. 😁
  7. TreeGirl

    COVID-19 10K

    Woke up this morning at 5 am and fell back to sleep till nearly 8 am. Raining, cold, windy outside. No reason to bound out of bed, that's for certain. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do today for my COVID-19 entry. I had proclaimed a 10K as my intention but in standard fashion for myself, I questioned my abilities and desires. I messaged and texted with 4 different friends this morning to catch up and wait out the mist and rain that was supposed to stop around 10 am. It did and I got myself ready, still not ready to commit to a distance or pace or goal. I'll just putz along for a few miles and see what it feels like, I said in my head. I severely overdressed and had to drop my jacket and wind-pants by a tree along the path before I even hit mile 1. I had really thin compression tights under my wind-pants, luckily. Once I wasn't so blasted hot and sweaty, the run felt a lot better. It's 35F out and crossing over from winter layers to spring layers takes practice. I need a lot more practice. 😁 My local bike path was DESERTED. Not a soul the entire time I was out there. Social distancing was not a problem. I was thrilled that the path had melted down after the 2.5 mile mark where it turns east to Hartwick Pines State Park. The first 2.5 miles are kept cleared by the city all winter and that is such a great thing. At the turn around I walked a little and thought, meh, might as well work on my cadence and get the pace rolling a bit better. I was surprised at how good it felt to get moving faster. Kept an eye on my heart rate and didn't feel too bad. I had to stop and grab my jacket and pants on the way back and carrying wind pants while running with a jacket tied around my waist wasn't fantastic. Live and learn. I rounded the corner onto my street with 0.3 to go and then it got tougher. Pulled it off in the end and kept my pace where I wanted. My pace used to make me feel like I was never good enough. I'm out there, I'm trying hard, I put a lot into my running, and I'm totally good enough. I've definitely run faster in my life but that was then and this is now. The face of my watch made me laugh at the end... ELITE status. LOL! First time I've ever seen that in my life. 🤣
  8. TreeGirl


    I sympathize with hanging things... in my 1910 house, it's a roll of the dice where the studs are and with the plaster and lathe, you can't use a stud finder accurately. Chris is putting off installing a shelf in the kitchen to put the microwave because of the headache it brings. Congrats to TRex on what she accomplished this past year! Wonderful!
  9. TreeGirl

    Happy New Year!

    Congrats on finishing a good decade on a high note! And your comment about being the cherry on the sundae really made my day when I read it on my bloop! Such a great analogy!👍
  10. Adding to my own post from a week ago.... I do like making resolutions but for me it's just more about what goals I want to set for myself. Like you, I don't get too hung up on regret if something doesn't work like I plan. 1. Continue going to therapy at least 1 time per month. 2. Take care of myself FIRST because without my health and happiness, everything will fall apart. (see #1) I'm thrilled to read you found someone you're crazy about. 🥰
  11. TreeGirl

    You Are Enough

    We always think of the coming year with what we need to do more of, get better at, etc. Aren't we just telling ourselves we didn't do life well enough this year? We weren't successful enough this year? Think about what you did this past year. You ran, maybe you did some strength work, maybe you went to yoga, maybe you learned to meditate. You juggled the needs of your job, kids, school, parents, loved ones, neighbors, etc. You did enough. You are enough. Think about the coming year differently. What did you really enjoy that you want to do more of in 2020? What were you successful at that you want to do more of in 2020? If you didn't do something that you really wanted to, don't focus on why you didn't do it, focus on how you can do it in the future. Maybe it's not possible in 2020 but if it's something you really want to do, make a plan for it. Prioritize at least one thing you want to have happen in 2020 that is deeply important to you but not because society says so. Because YOU say so. 1. what I really enjoyed and will do more of in 2020: hikes with Chris and Lucy the dog 2. what was I successful at and will to do it more: listening and responding to what my body and soul needs (and ignoring what societal pressures tell me) 3. what I didn't do but will do: trail race with friends There's probably a lot of little things in there you can add to each of the 3 but dig deep and see what you can come up with that speaks to the work you did in 2019 and the knowledge that what you really want is important. Yes, I realize many of you here are in your heads saying "I didn't train hard enough; I didn't run fast enough; I didn't get enough sleep; I didn't....." Whatever. You can't fix what happened but you have to move your mind to place of acknowledging that battering yourself for not being enough is getting you no where. Be proud of whatever you did in 2019.
  12. Love hearing all the trails you enjoyed! Snowshoeing really is an incredible cardio workout in the winter when snow gets deep.
  13. So many germs going around this season. I hope the GI stuff settles down for you! And the hammy too
  14. TreeGirl

    I said I'd be back.

    Depends on if you can get them on sale.. between $40-50 seems the average. Takes AAA batteries which I hate but I can get rechargeable batteries for it.
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