I believe in authenticity and the power of stories, which is why I’m going to tell you this: I’m having a rough time, guys.
The point of this weekly audio diary is to talk about how I spent my own outdoor time each week, with the goal of giving all of you a little push to get outside, too. That means even when I don’t feel like creating one of these outdoor episodes, I’m going to do it. And even when creating it is hard, I’m going to do it.
Because I want to be positive all of the time. I want to FEEL positive all of the time.
But the reality is that, well, it isn’t reality. And you can be an optimist like me, and still be having a hard time.
It’s like this: in early July my hip started hurting. After weeks of resting it and trying to get it to feel better, I went and got an MRI and a diagnosis — an extreme labrum tear in my left hip, and I need surgery if I ever want to run without pain long term.
Now, you probably know someone who has had this surgery or maybe did it yourself. I love all the feedback and help and suggestions I’ve been getting from people. But yes, it really does need surgery. And the recovery road is not going to be that fun for me. My providers know this. Heck, my surgeon even put in his notes after my visit that, quote, “I am very concerned for this patient.” I feel both seen and a little embarrassed.
And I’m really, really sad. The recovery for this is three-ish months working up to very limited activity, three-ish months more until you’re back to your regular life. And the first month is really not fun — weeks of not putting weight on it or using your hip fully. And think about it: hips are used for a lot of stuff. Do you like rotating your leg? You’re using your hip.
Now, you and my surgeon both know how active I am. You know that for me, being outside for the most part is about being active, that’s all there is to it.
So now we’re going to walk — and not literally because, hip surgery — into a period where I’m going to have to find some less active things to do out there. I suspect there will be some serious porch sitting and crutches hobbling for the first three weeks. And, once my surgery site heals, thank the dear Lord above for my hot tub.
The outside time itself will not end — it cannot end. My very first thought was that I need to do this surgery ASAP so that the weeks I can’t be in motion are not during the winter when being in motion is the only outside time option. So I’m doing it in the next few weeks. And, beyond that, we know because we are humans who go outside that spending time outside in nature won’t just be important for me to keep up my streak — 1,095 days in a row at the time of this recording — but also for my physical healing and mental health. Heading outside matters.
When I got my bad news about this hip last week I was really, really sad. REALLY sad. And I realized that instead of focusing on positivity and just taking it in stride, I needed instead to take at least a day to just be sad. So that’s what I did. I spent a full day forcing all thoughts of positivity and future plans out of my mind, and just did things that made me feel good.
I went for a walk somewhere pretty. I took doughnuts to one of my running wives for her birthday. I bought myself flowers and made a trip out of the way to get salad supplies so I could eat a huge salad, something I love. I sat in my hot tub, went to the gym, cuddled my dog, took a nap — the works. And then, the next day, I was ready to feel less sad. It was good.
And this weekend we took a last minute camping trip to our favorite nearby campground. We invited some friends out for dinner there. We slept in the tent, tucked warmly in our sleeping bags. And we drank coffee around the campfire in the morning over a good book, creating a moment of warmth and peace. It was just what I needed.
Speaking of coffee around the campfire, I tried a new one this week, and I’m making it my outdoor hero for the week. Genesis Coffee Lab is a coffee company local to me here in Alaska, and they make coffee in steeping bags that are perfect for camping. Picture a tea bag, but with coffee. And it was really good! Coffee is always the hero, let’s be honest. I’d love to do an outdoor-coffee-drinking-focus episode on the podcast, so if you have a great suggestion of someone to talk to, let me know! I’d love to have him or her on the show.
That’s it for this edition of the outdoor diary. I’m trying to plot one more active able body outdoor hurrah before my surgery, and you can follow my outdoor adventures, and share yours too, on Instagram. You can find me @humansoutside on Instagram and tag your photos #HumansOutside365. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.