May 29, 2011
So it’s 9 o’clock in the morning. My sister and I are having coffee. She mentions the hike. “Are we doing it?” I ask.
“Do you want to do it?” she asks.
“No!!” I respond with much emphasis and my brow furrowed.
“We don’t have to!” she retorts.
“I KNOW!!” I respond.
We’re doing the hike. There’s no reason not to. I’m here, and I know I can do it and survive. It sucks, and I don’t like it at all; but it is a challenge that I cannot let defeat me.
My brother-in-law packed up Camelbaks for us, and we drove down to the start of the trail. I took a deep breath, and off we go. The first 7/10 of a mile isn’t so bad. It’s really more my cup of tea. Kind of flat, nice scenery. I was already dripping from my head and had a wet spot on my shirt, so I know I’m working. Then the stairs start to come. And come. And come. This go round, I gave myself a break. I allowed myself to stop and let my heart rate come back down from 165 or 170 to 145 or 150 before moving forward, even if that meant I had to stop in the middle of an ascent.
We were a little over a mile and around 35 minutes into it when my sister asked me if I wanted to turn around. We could just turn around and it would be a great workout, too. We didn’t have to keep going if I didn’t want to.
“YES! LET’S DO THAT!” I shouted (In my head). I wanted so badly to say yes. What I actually said was, “No, let’s go.” So onward and upward we went. I didn’t allow myself to look at the emergency exits, not that they look very inviting anyway. They actually look more like a dare. If you choose to take an emergency exit, you have to trek down jagged loose rocks down what looks like a dried up creek. The only thing missing is cobwebs and rain clouds.
Allowing the breaks rather than just pushing and pushing made a big difference. Toward the end, I knew where my mistake had been the last time when I had messed up my calf. On the downward flights, I had not been able to control my steps. Rather than stepping, I was basically just throwing my feet around to get through it. Now I had more control and more strength to make it through. I recognized part of the trail now, so I knew when to start listening for cars to know we were close. There are a few more small flights of stairs right at the end, so I kept thinking it was the last one. So I booked it on the steps. Then there was another one, so I thought that was the last one, so I booked it again. Then there was another set, and I was shouting “You’ve got to be kidding me!!!” And then it really was over. Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes, total elevation: 806 feet, pulse: present!
When we got back to my sisters place, I crash onto the floor to stretch. And then my sister says, “Ab Ripper X, let’s do it!” Well, I was already on the floor. So she puts in the P90X video, and we do 16 minutes of nightmarish ab exercises. I have to confess, I completely skipped the leg climbs. The rest of the exercises, I at least attempted to complete them. THEN we were done.
After showering, we went to Rudy’s for barbeque. While we were standing in line, my daughter asked me if I was okay. She said I looked so sad and worried. No, not sad, just exhausted! After wolfing down approximately 750 calories of meat and sides, I felt ever so much better. Since I had burned at least a thousand on the trail and the ab video, I didn’t feel too bad about the calorie consumption.
While on the trail, my sister told me for my birthday, she would help me buy a pair of running shoes. So we went to a store called Texas Running Company where they put me on a treadmill to watch me run and record my stride. Then they showed me how I was not supinating, I was overpronating. She recommended a light stability shoe and brought out several. Once I had one pair on, she put me back on the treadmill, and you could see on the video how it corrected my stride! I was so impressed! After trying on four pair, I ended up with a Brooks shoe. I am very excited, although I probably won’t break them in until Tuesday.
It was a great day. When it’s all said and done, I’m glad we decided to do the hike from hell. I wonder if there will ever come a day when it’s not a nightmare. Right now, all I can do is dream of a day when I’ll look forward to it.