I’ve been given the opportunity to do a book review for Bark Magazine on Where the Lost Dogs Go by Susannah Charleson. I received the book in the mail today. Time to get reading!
A tough week after I donated blood on Tuesday evening which put a small wrinkle in my workout plans. I added a book to my weighted backpack for my morning hikes. I did manage to complete Body Pump class on Wednesday night, though I went easy on the weights. I met last week’s Stairmaster goal by time, not distance: 90 minutes, 6.29 miles and 302 floors, two days after my blood donation. Two hikes completed my workout week this weekend: a difficult, approximately 8 mile loop up to the East Peak of Mount Tamalpais on Saturday with Eric and a 4.6+ mile hike at Las Trampas Regional Wilderness on Sunday with Lindsay. Next week’s Stairmaster goal: 7 miles or 100 minutes.
The Inca Trail saga continued this week with the challenge of juggling the demands with work and family. While I didn’t make it to the gym for a single visit, I did manage to get out for a hike on five of seven days and a short jog/walk around the neighborhood. Only one day of total breakdown in training wasn’t too bad.
Okay, so it wasn’t a true hangover, but I did indulge in a little too much wine during the BBQ that I hosted to welcome my sister who flew in for a visit. When I hit the steep incline on my usual hike, I felt a bit queasy. I soldiered on and to my surprise and delight, the feeling passed. Useful information, given that some of the symptoms of altitude sickness mirrors a hangover.
My other success was getting my pack weight up to twelve pounds—the amount I’ll be hefting up the trail. On Monday, I added Stephen King’s 11/22/63. On Tuesday, I shoved in Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. The weight adds a new level of difficulty.
Sunday included a scary fall as I hydroplaned on loose rocks. I rolled my ankle, but managed to prevent a catastrophe (aka a sprained ankle). Overall, I was pleased with my Week 2 progress.
My Inca Trail journey began before the tickets were secured, the airfare booked. Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list for years. I’d first envisioned a train ride to the top, then conceded that perhaps I could handle the two-day hike. Then, my athletic girls chimed in. Nothing but the traditional four day camp/hike would suffice. The trip was to celebrate my girl’s graduations (high school and college), shouldn’t I go with the flow? Except I was looking at hiking twenty-seven miles in three days. What was I getting myself into?
My idea of exercise is a daily morning walk of about a mile with the dogs. I was always the last person picked for sports teams in high school. In college to meet my physical education requirement I took first aid. Was I insane for even considering it?
The first day sounded doable. Two hours of relatively flat hiking, then a two hour ascent to our evening campsite. I’d done a seven mile hike this summer in 90 degree heat at Pinnacles National Monument. It was the second day that sounded overwhelming. Four hours of stairs to an elevation of 13,000 feet. I’ve since learned it’s more likely to be six hours of stairs up and three hours down. And even as my mind screamed, don’t even think about it, a part of me thought: if not now, when?
So, while my husband started checking out the costs, I took an open space hike. There’s a pretty steep climb right at the entrance in the neighborhood. The next day I took the same hike, jogging part of the way. It wasn’t horrible. Maybe I could do this. The next test would be to tackle the Stairmaster. My first attempt went well. Twenty minutes and one mile later, I had energy to spare. Inca Trail permits tend to sell out six months in advance and our first choice in dates had already vanished. It was decision time. A last minute pitch to shift the trip to an African safari was shot down. And so…I gave the thumbs up for the hike.
This week launched my first official week of training. Monday, it was back to the Stairmaster. But they were all occupied, so I ran a mile on the treadmill first. I stuck to the twenty minute regiment on the Stairmaster, but picked up the pace. Then swam for another twenty minutes. I still felt whole and didn’t even get sore the next morning. I spent the rest of the week jogging the neighborhood with a few forays into the open space. Week one ended at the gym once more. This time I set the time for 30 minutes on the Stairmaster. It was tough, but I managed to complete two miles (93 floors), at fifteen minutes I was ready to get off, but I kept going, then spent another twenty minutes in the pool. Twenty-one weeks (148 more days) to train. I can do this.