I didn’t walk yesterday. In part it was a pretty busy day – catching up with a friend from out of town, a spot of kid-free Christmas shopping, various running around and errands. I needed a rest day though.
Today, however, I woke up in a Mood. I’ve been diagnosed with Post-Natal Depression, and I suppose a side effect of that, is, of course, feeling rather low. I’m on meds for it, which absolutely help, but I’m all about doing everything I can do for myself as well as part of the path to healing. The Mood was complicated (or possibly even caused) by the season. I’m a Christmas Grinch, I find it an extremely difficult time of year for a variety of reasons. Plus the big two girls had a crazy weekend last week with an end-of-year ballet concert performance, and this weekend the eldest had a gymnastics display. Instead of getting any down time or catch-up time as a family, it feels like there’s something booked in every weekend and we spend the whole time rushing to have everyone where they need to be rather than just enjoying our family as it is.
Despite all that, I managed to get away for a bit. My plan really wasn’t to go for a walk. In actual fact, I had no real plan at all. Nothing appealed, but staying home appealed even less. In the end, I popped into one of the major chain stores here to pick up a stocking stuffer for the kids (not that they really needed any more) but that didn’t help my mood any.
I have a place I go when I want to escape the world. It’s not exactly hidden or secret – it’s a very well known West Auckland beach, Piha. Something about being at the beach – any beach – calms my soul. Being at Piha, where there’s enough people not to feel isolated but few enough that it still feels large and expansive, plus the unique black sands, and the rough crashing of the waves, almost always helps put me at ease. Today though, I went, sat in the car, and still felt exceptionally ‘meh’. I read a bit in my book. I felt slightly better, but still in a pretty rotten mood.
The weather was decent, the beach is, of course, flat, so I figured I’d just start walking. I didn’t plan on going far, just walk a little bit then turn around, enough to feel a touch more virtuous. I can’t say I was eager at the prospect though – really, that appealed even less. Normally I quite enjoy walking along at the edge of the waves, getting my feet wet and walking in the sand, but today that appealed even less. Sticking to the roads and/or paths was the plan. I knew the area fairly well, so didn’t pick a ‘track’ as such, just followed the road (and at one stretch, and off-road path) along the beachfront.
I got to the end – where the sand meets the cliffs at North Piha – and there’s a track that goes up the cliffs, Laird Thompson track. I went a couple hundred meters up the track, expecting it to be steep. Although it was definitely uphill (there’s not much other way to go from there, frankly) it wove its way around the side of the cliff, climbing as it goes, so it wasn’t as bad as I was afraid. That said, I hadn’t worn hiking boots, didn’t have my hiking poles, and once again I found myself on a slightly muddy, slightly rocky, clifftop goat-like trail. Deciding not to push it, I turned around and came back down. Now, however, I was already in a significantly better mood – and now, walking in the waves appealed. A lot. Actually, what I wanted most was to go dive in the ocean, but I had less gear to do that than I did for hiking, so I contented myself with walking in the waves.
Handily enough, my camera bag is also and awesome catch-all bag. I merely took off my socks and shoes and shoved all into the bag. Now I could still walk hands-free – or, with camera in hand – and not worry about my shoes.
Total distance of my loop beach walk – somewhere between 7 and 7.5 kilometers. (FitBit tells me 8.5km but I reckon I take shorter steps than it thinks I do. RunKeeper tells me 6.72km but I forgot to turn RunKeeper on until a bit after I’d started.) End result – vastly improved mood, slightly sore and tired calves and feet. I came home and soaked in the bath (otherwise black sand turns up freaking everywhere) and now I feel great. And exhausted. But a great way to end the day.