Sunday, May 6, 2012
Hiking with 65 pounds
Friday, May 4, 2012
We had a dinner date with my son, Jason, and his girlfriend scheduled for 7 p.m. I wanted to do a ride but would be limited by this and decided instead it was time to get the backpack out of the attic and load it with weight.
Whenever I’m going to the Adirondacks, I put a fifty-pound pack of salt in my pack with some other gear to bring the load to sixty-five pounds. With this strapped to my back, I take hikes in the Metropark finding places along the way to do step-ups designed to strengthen the core and leg muscles while preparing my back and shoulders for carrying a load. When I actually go, I’ll have no more than forty pounds on my back, which will feel light in comparison.
It was a good plan. I struggled to get the pack from the back seat and onto my shoulders when I arrived and once I did, moved to a large rock near the car and began doing my first…and only…set of step-ups. I quickly noticed my old hiking companion…hip pain on the left side…by the third step-up. I didn’t let this keep me from doing 27 more, but when I began hiking and the pain worsened, I decided I’d hike only.
I’d also forgotten that in the past I’d start with maybe forty pounds and add weight as I got conditioned. In fact, this was the heaviest load I’d ever put in the pack…and I hadn’t had a pack on since last fall. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? It was another example of me doing something I’d never allow someone I was working with to do.
I’d also affixed my heart rate monitor…anxious to see how high it would go when walking with this weight. It was around 50 beats per minute at rest and quickly went to 90 as I began to walk. I could get it no higher than 115 on the uphill’s and it would range between 85 to 95 while hiking on the rolling terrain that made up the rest of the course. Though I like to achieve a higher heart rate during workouts, this was more about being prepared for specific event and was the kind of training I needed to achieve that conditioning.
I’d hiked for about an hour when I noticed Dakota had stopped just off the trail and was staring intently at something in the tree branches above her. I looked up and saw Holly’s friend…the Barred Owl that had spooked her two days earlier. It was in the same tree we’d seen it in that day and was even unhappier about being watched by a canine than it had by two humans with phone cameras. It tolerated Dakota moving closer for only a second before swooping from its perch in her general direction. It didn’t seem to faze Dakota, though she watched closely as it flew within feet of her, veering away and up to a perch only twenty feet beyond. Clearly, this is its turf and I will have to return with a real camera and try to get some nice pics.
I returned to the car and was very happy to drop the load from my shoulders. I was also glad I’d gotten the pack out because it was clearly something I needed to do several more times in the coming weeks if the backpacking in the Adirondacks was to be a pleasant experience.
Once home, I quickly blended a smoothie to drink to kill my appetite before dinner at Kristy’s in Euclid. I’ve gotten myself back to a stricter Paleo diet again and know that going out to dinner can undermine these efforts as quickly as you can say burgers and fries. I ended up ordering crab cakes with a side of broccoli…which was dripping with butter…and a tossed salad. I ate Holly’s salad also when I could see she wasn’t going to finish it. I’d had a salad for lunch, which I’d loaded with spinach, broccoli, sliced almonds, mushrooms, dried cranberries, carrots and a little cauliflower…something I’d eaten for the two previous days, as well. I know I’ll drop weight quickly if I can keep this up for several weeks and I want to be lean when I get to the Adirondacks. So far…so good.
Hike duration: 70 minutes.
Training Heart Rate: 85-115 bpm.
Calories burned during workout: 500.