Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Getting stronger every day

Two events stand out in my mind this week. The first happened at the beginning of the week when I tried to jump up in altitude and my body revolted. Anoxic migraines are just ugly. Went from 9,000 and tried to jump to 12,000 (to give myself more time to acclimatize at the extreme altitudes of 15,000+) and in the AM when I woke up my head was just pounding....the kind of pounding that you remember from college when you discovered teguila had limits attached to it. (Of course I NEVER had any experience like that....but I heard stories..LOL) Anyway, as I watched the world pulse for the next 90 minutes, advil and lots of hydration, I got to the point where I could stand up and carry on because pretty much I was bed ridden. 3 hours later and it was all a memory. But needless to say, I have learned my lesson and will take a slower route to getting up high. As I write this I am sleeping at 12,000 a week later, but without any side effects.

The other was a great weekend hike. Went hiking with my dear wife and we took the advice of a neighbor (Thanks Rick!) about a Appalachian Trail section that went right up the side of a mountain to a beautiful view of Harpers Ferry, WV and the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah River. I put on my 25lb weight vest and water bottles and we hiked for about 2 hours, going up 16 switchbacks and total climb of about 900 feet from start to where we headed back, stopping only for a quick gaze of the views. When we finished we had already discussed my getting a little extra workout in so off I set to do the climb a second time.

During our early travels along the trail during a really wonderful day (started at low 50s) without a cloud in the sky we were not alone. Dozens and dozens of boy scouts had the same idea about what a great day of hiking this would be. We carefully stayed in the middle of the groups so as to enjoy the trail somewhat alone. When I went for the my second trip, I decided to do a speed climb...so with my treking poles (think ski poles) up I went...after 30 seconds I got bored of going up at a leisurely pace and decided to pick up the pace so I started to walk as quickly as I could up the hill....another 30 seconds and boredom sets in again so with my 25lb pack...off I go jogging, up the switchbacks and up this huge hill....especially picking up the pace in the more flat sections, but also letting myself slow to a walk on the billygoat parts of the trail. One twisted ankle away from a challenge to getting ready that I did not want to have, so did give myself that gimmie. What I realized was that my cardiovascualar response was GREAT...I flew up the hill and while certainly sweating and huffing and puffing, I got to the top in 15 minutes. I stopped at the overlook, enjoyed some water and then turned around and ran back down passing the 30+ people I saw on the way up. The looks on the faces of those hikers was absolutely wonderful. They were shellshocked to see me running back down. All along I was hearing, "you ran all the way to the top?" as they panted walking up this mountain. I finished my run passing a scout pack and then jogged over to the car, and started to change into a new shirt (kinda soaked from the trip). A guy comes up and asks me how old I was. 50. He gets this stunned look and says he has never seen anything like that in his life and calls me an inspiration and walks off shaking his head.

I guess this training thing must be working ;) Hercules unleashed. Yup, feels good.

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