Monthly Archives: September 2012

Training walk. Nine fat miles, with one backtrack.

Good morning! Good afternoon, more like.

I tackled a training “walk” (not enough elevation or terrain issues to call it a “hike”), with nothing to report. The weather was beautiful: about 50 starting out at 6:30 AM, which gave me a chance to experiment with my sun-sleeves, in lieu of a long-sleeved shirt. I’m trying to cut back on the weight of my winter clothes, but alas, I’m a cold person. I think I need the layers. The sun-sleeves were outstanding, though. I needed the wind shirt early, but after the temperature rose a couple of degrees, I peeled that off. I could roll the sleeves up or down as I got warmer and colder, with much less effort than taking off my daypack and doing the jacket on-off dance.

I’m cross-posting here and to Trail Journals. I’m not sure yet about the best way to journal. Luckily that’s one of the many details that I’ll be able to fill my time with as I chew my nails and wait for March.

Hike on!

~~Karma ’13~~

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Momentary panics

At least once every day or two, I have a minute of near panic—the “what the HELL am I doing” moment.

Today it was food. I went to the grocery store and had a careful look around, and did a test shopping: basically four days or so of food. I need to check the general weight of food, I need to figure out the bear bag situation… and basically, it’s all adding up to getting an actual load into the new pack to check the fit and feel. Yes, I could throw five pounds of birdseed in there and pretend it’s food, but before I do that, I’d like to get a sense of the actual weight, in the actual pack, with the actual gear.

And panic. Grocery panic! It’s overwhelming. Who knew that buying four days’ worth of food could be downright terrifying? But it was. Now the dining room is littered with starch and receipts.

Takeaway: On the Trail, don’t go into the grocery store without a list. Not necessarily a specific list, but I have to retrain myself not to overbuy. I’ll be super hungry, too, which is just a nightmare. I don’t want to drop $200 on food that my stomach is shouting for, when I can only really carry about $50 worth.

Lists. Which means general baseline. Which means I need to do what I did today.

It’s still scary, though.

Also, I’m starting to work on quads for the 640 steps of the Approach Trail. I loaded up my old Gregory pack with 30 pounds of books (or actually, the total pack weight including the books is 30 pounds). I’m going to just go up and down my single staircase with the pack on. I did it eight times today. I’ll work up to 50. I was thinking I’d go train at the local parking garage (five stories), but I think they’d look at me funny, what with the pack and all. And honestly, just using my staircase is probably fine. I’m likely to stop and take a few breaths after every flight anyway.

I’ll do this fake stairmaster on Fridays. Saturday will be my zero. Sunday, Monday, and Thursday I’ll do nine miles in the park. Wednesday, I’ll go to Valley Forge and actually do a full day of walking, six hours and gradually increasing to eight. I’m targeting the Horseshoe Trail, but we’ll see how that goes. I don’t want to have to dodge horseshit for eight hours. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

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I’m going back and forth on journaling.

Facebook doesn’t seem to be great for photos. I did set up a Facebook page, but that’s probably only for “I’m alive” type posts, and it’s going to involve some PIA switching between accounts.

This blog is great for lengthy updates, but really… if it’s just for me, should I bother? I haven’t decided. I do want to journal, but to get deep, I’m wondering if I ought to stay private. Damn this need to process! (Not really. I kind of love processing.)

On the other hand, I really really love reading other people’s trail journals, so maybe somebody would stumble on mine. Who knows?

Meh. I think it’ll have to wait until the phone gets here. Anything I do will be done via the phone anyway, so ease of use will play a big part in figuring stuff out.

I’m actually at the moment leaning toward just keeping the blog. People can subscribe or not, I can add some photos or not, and so on—a little more user friendly than FB. Oh, and I’ve been experimenting with flickr for the majority of the photos, but I’ll have to see how that goes once the phone is here.

I might also switch this blog over to a theme that’s more photo friendly.

The experimentation goes on…

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Training hike, 9/27/2012

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Quick update: I ordered my pack.

The new stove and the tent came yesterday, too. I’m not worried about the stove, but the tent is huge—mentally, not physically. I put it in a corner. I need a couple of days to get used to the idea and to clear out a room to put it up. It’s watching me, I swear.

The pack, though? That’s terrifying. Nothing has made the trip seem quite so real as ordering the pack. ULA Circuit. It won’t be here for my next training hike (tomorrow), but I’m still focused on footwear anyway. I’m filling my old Gregory pack with shoes and socks and trotting up to my proposed training area: a steep 3-mile chunk of the Trail. Tomorrow I’ll try to do it twice. If I can manage that in the shoes (given today’s fierce storms), and if the leaves haven’t obscured the Trail in any way that makes it dangerous on the muddy slopes, I’ll plan to use that stretch once a week. Three round trips is 18 miles, all of it uphill or downhill in that section. I’d like to build up to full pack weight.

I need to do a gear post. I really do.

Look! That tent is watching me!

I’ll let you know how the shoes work out. I’m optimistic.

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From gathering to tweaking

Wow. I realized this morning that at some point I slipped across the border between gathering gear and tweaking gear.

Kind of terrifying! The good kind of terrifying. Not the screaming, horror-movie kind of terrifying.

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Shoes! Finally, shoes!

I think I’ve found them! I’m almost sure I have! I hesitate to say I’m a hundred percent sure, because I feel like I’ll be struck by lightning and blisters. Let’s just say I’m 99% sure. That feels a little safer.

New Balance light hikers, with Spenco memory foam insoles.

They came on Friday, and I wore them a couple of hours and got the dreaded ball pain. (That’s ball of the foot, mind you. I’m lacking in the other ball department.) I thought, crap, these aren’t the ones.

But I decided to wear them around the house anyway, to see if they might need a breaking-in period, since they’re a little heavier than what I’ve been trying. They started to feel good!

This morning I took them out for an 8- or 9-mile training walk. We went to… oh my god, did I just say “we”? I’m referring to my shoes as people? LOL. Yeah, so “we” went to a local park. It’s pretty much flat, and the part I walked was paved all the way. So it was a good foot-pounding. The last time I did that walk, in the failed Brooks Glycerines, I had the ball pain at a mile, maybe 2. Today I got as far as 3-1/2 or so before I noticed anything, and even that was more of a general bottom-of-the-foot soreness, as opposed to this stabbity ball thing.

I stopped and rested the feet for a few minutes, then got up and did the rest of the walk. (Note to self: Every hour, stop for 5 minutes, even if it’s right in the middle of the trail.)

Now it’s a couple of hours later. The bottoms of my feet are tingly, but not really achy. Bliss! And the greatest thing is that I have shin splints! No, really. That’s an issue that happens to me when I do a longish distance on sidewalk, and my typical walk is only 4 miles, so doubling the distance is a stretch. But the real reason it’s fantastic is that I got so much exercise that my shin aches, but the bottoms of my feet are only a little sore!

Yes! Yes! I feel like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. Yes!

New Balance, I love you. I also love Iniji toe socks and Thermasilk and Spenco. The bunch of you together, you’re like a party on my feet!

Now, the big issue is that I did that without a pack. That’s right, zero weight. I imagine the pain will increase when I use a pack. I’ll find out, because Wednesday I’ll be hitting the trail for a training hike in these puppies. I’ll try them with some up and down and a day pack.

Dropping weight is the key. I might try to do that 8-mile walk six days a week, if I can find the time. It’s a couple of hours. But that would reduce the weight of my ass, which would reduce the weight on my feet, which would give me some leeway to add it back to my shoulders.

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The test

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

That’s it. That’s the bonk. That’s the West Nile, the sprained ankle, the Giardia. That’s the broken pack, the rain for 13 days, the missed phone bill. That’s the not showering and the not enough food. That’s losing your toothbrush or having your camera stolen.

The trick is to know that the punch is coming. You can’t plan for the specific punch, but you can know that the punches coming, and you can coach yourself ahead of time to just stop and breathe.

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Bacon bacon bacon

OK, so the Hormel (I think it was Hormel) precooked bacon is yum. Yum, I tell you!

That’ll be a great staple. High-fat, high-protein, shelf-stable, and not outrageously expensive. By serving size, I’ll probably do a box in a day, at a cost of about $4.00. That’s the equivalent of about three Spam single serves in this neck of the woods. So not the cheapest, but within budget.

Plus, jeez. It’s bacon.

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Lawyers, guns, and money

Ohmygod, ohmygod, you guys! They said it would happen, but I didn’t think it would happen here.

When I told some folks last night that I’m planning a thru attempt, two of them asked me if I’m taking a gun.


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