Friday, January 16, 2009

Overweight Housewife Hiking to Health

I sent the following write-up to the features editor of my local paper. I'll let you know of they print it. (Keep your fingers crossed.)

Everyone has a claim to fame. Mine is that I’m Google’s number one overweight housewife. Meaning, if you type the terms “overweight housewife” in a Google search, my blog will be the first result listed. I should be embarrassed about that, but I’m not. Something in my personality makes me perfectly willing to look bad if it will help someone else feel better. For example, when I end up at the grocery store without my hair done or make-up on, I put a big smile on my face and tell myself that I’m making someone’s day. When other women see me, I just know they’re going to feel a whole lot better about themselves.

I’m bringing my strange sense of altruism to the pages of this newspaper. This year I’m planning to go on two showshoe/hiking outings each month in training to climb the Wellsville Mountains in early September. Basically I’ve subscribed to the idea that things which don’t kill you will make you stronger. Or at the very least, they’ll help you drop a few pounds.

My journey to the top of the Wellsville Mountain range started with a little hike up Green Canyon. I chose this hike first for two reasons. One, I’m familiar with it. I’ve done it before. And two, it’s fairly easy. I didn’t want to keel over from a heart attack on my first outing.

As I pulled into the parking lot at the mouth of Green Canyon, I could see three women just starting to snowshoe up the hillside trail. A couple cars up from my parking spot another woman seemed to be converting a bike trailer into a ski trailer. I’ve never seen anyone pull their child behind them up the canyon while they cross-country skied. Just the thought of it made me break out in a cold sweat.

While my sister and I waited for my friend Tina to arrive, I checked the contents of my fanny pack: two bottles of water, three plastic bags for collecting doggy doo, a hat, gloves, wallet and small emergency mirror to be used for flashing sunlight into the eyes of search pilots sent to rescue our party of hikers should we somehow lose our bearings and become lost. All appeared to be in order. Moments later Tina arrived, and before long our all-female group of three hikers and three dogs headed up the trail.

We left the snowshoes in the truck and trudged cheerfully up the packed, icy slope. The dogs alternated between racing ahead and charging straight back at us. Every time they ran at me I’d stop for a second and brace myself for impact. Four knee surgeries are enough for me, thank you very much. I wasn’t about to let an exuberant dog disable me at the beginning of my hiking career.

From time to time we’d stop for a breather and a little water. My dog, Annie, continued trying to get her new found friends to engage in a little dog-wrestling in the snow, but had no takers. Tina told us the story of how Senator Bob Bennett’s office came to her rescue when she kept getting the run around from the U.S. passport application people. Time flew by, and after almost an hour my knees spoke up and told us it was time to head back down the canyon. They continued to complain as we made our way back to our vehicles.

It was just one hike, but already I’m feeling stronger. Not physically, per se, but mentally. I’m proving to myself one hike at a time that being an overweight housewife with a bum knee can’t stop me from living a healthy life.


Suko said...

Christie, you have a wonderful "can do" attitude and a terrific sense of humor. I hope your article will be printed in your local newspaper.

Flashlight Girl said...

Good for you! The winter hiking sounds so fun. What a great motivator!