First 3 miler

I finally found the time and effort to go for a 3 mile hike in the hills behind our house!

Started the hike in no snow…

It’s been almost two months since I started training and here we are, my first time going 3 miles in one hike. It seems like a pitiful amount. I used to be able to hike 5 miles no problem. And when thinking of walking 8-12 miles nearly every day for three weeks on the Tahoe Rim Trail, I know that I am far from my goal.

However, I am happy with the hike in that I was hiking through snow (again), I gained quite a bit of elevation, I didn’t feel too bad on the hike, and I didn’t feel too horrible the next day.

Ended up having to just roll my pants up to my knees because they were getting wet in the snow. Good thing it was a fairly warm day!

I said in my post about my training goals that I want to get to where I am hiking 3 miles in one hour while carrying a pack just about every day.

Well, I am proud that in two months I have graduated from only going 1 mile each day to 2 miles fairly consistently, and now bumping it up to 3 miles here and there.

“Turnaround Gap” – this is the gap in the trees in other pics I’ve posted. Often this is my goal, the point where I turn around. But not today!
Lots of elevation gain!

I know I’d be even further along if I hadn’t broken a rib and been laid up for several weeks. Hmmm, sounds like how I feel about our house construction. And speaking of building our house, I’d have waaaay more time to hike if I didn’t have a house to build. But, if I keep this training pace up, I know that in just a few more months I’ll be at my daily hike goals. And if I can hike 3 miles in one hour, gaining 500+ feet in elevation in 1½ miles, while carrying a pack and do that on a consistent basis, then I’m pretty sure I’ll have no problem hiking longer distances when I have all day to do it.

So, my first 3-mile hike was a success. Soon I need to try carrying my daypack again. I haven’t carried it since I broke the rib. But I think I’m healed enough to start carrying it again. Not that I need to carry a lot when I’m only going a mile or two from home. But if you want to be able to carry a heavy pack, you’ve gotta train by carrying a pack.

Oh, and as a side note, snow isn’t all that bad to hike in. Not only does it help the training (by making things harder), but it can be fun as well.

As you can see from my footprints, I had a bit of fun “skiing” on my way back down.

Happy Trails

-MammaBear

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No pain, no gain??

So, as you all know, I’m training to thru-hike the Tahoe Rim Trail in 2020. I’ve started out this year (2019) with the commitment to hike/walk nearly every day. (You can read my training goals here.)

It’s been about 6 weeks and, as I thought might be the case, I am finding it hard to find the time to do anything more than go for a simple, fairly short walk/hike each day. My walks range from 1 to 2 miles, though I usually do hike up the canyon behind our house, so at least I am getting the elevation workout. But I just can’t find more than about an hour to go for a walk every day, what with all the other things I have to do.

So what do you do when you just can’t seem to find the time to make your workouts longer?

Well, you ramp up the intensity.

Only have time to go one mile today? Walk faster than you usually would.

Your 2 mile route no longer making you out of breath? Start carrying a heavy pack.

Go faster if you can’t go further. Carry weight of you can’t do either of those.

Push yourself.

And that’s where I got into a bit of trouble.

I was staying at my mom’s house in town for a few days, so I took my daily walks in her neighborhood. I was on sidewalks on level ground.

Walking on payment

I thought to myself, “Self, here’s your chance to really ramp things up!” No hills to contend with. No snow to slosh through. I was gonna kill it! I chose a 1.5 mile route, and walked it.

Fast!

And the next day, I could barely walk at all!

My shins were killing me, and my knee decided to flare up worse than it’s done in months.

The combination of much-faster-than-normal walking plus being on hard concrete/asphalt injured me. I actually pushed myself too hard.

Now, if it was just the sore shin muscles, I’d laugh it off and work though it. But the flared up knee is more serious. When my arthritis gets aggravated like that, it sometimes takes weeks to calm back down.

I shoulda known better. I shoulda slowed down and been gentler on the knees. But I didn’t and I’m paying the price for it still a week later.

But there’s that old saying, No pain, no gain.” Right?

Right. I do actually agree with it. In order to get stronger, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and often that involves some pain.

But you a gotta know your limits.

Work up to your goals.

Push yourself, but be wise about it.

So the next day, not wanting to miss out on a day of training, I pushed myself to get out and walk anyway. Even though I was in quite a lot of muscle pain and my knee was swollen. And the weather was crappy.

I went much slower, sometimes even literally just limping along. And I chose as many dirt surfaces as the neighborhood allowed.

I was amazed at the difference in how my legs felt when I stepped off the asphalt path onto the dirt. It was immediate relief!

Walking on dirt = so much less pain
A dirt road chosen over the asphalt walking path just on the other side of the drainage

And guess what. I walked 2.3 miles. And didn’t feel any worse the next day.

So get out there and push your limits. Challenge yourself to go further or faster. Ignore the pain sometimes. But also realize where the threshold is of a healthy hurt vs injury, and stay on the good side of it.

Happy Hiking (and safe training!)

-MammaBear

Gear failure

When training for a big upcoming backpacking trip, it’s a good idea to test out your gear ahead of time.

That way when things go afowl, you’re not in a pickle out on the trail.

Now, my gear failure does not pertain to backpacking per se, but I am glad I found out that my snowboots are utterly not waterproof before I tried to use them in a situation where wet feet would be a serious problem.

On my daily walk, I wanted to wear my hiking boots, which are supposedly waterproof, along with my gaiters for the deep snow.

However, I hadn’t gotten more than a few dozen yards from my house when I realized the rain had turned the snow to slush.

It was like walking through a slurpee.

So I went and changed into my snow boots.

And I took off.

The gap in the trees on the horizon behind me is my destination.
The final push.

By the time I had made it to my turn-around point, my feet were pretty darn wet.

Wet, wet, wet footprints in the snow

I saw a cool snow formation on the way back down. A snowball had formed and rolled down the hill. But it had rolled into a doughnut shape.

Doughnut shaped snowball

Slushy, slushy, slushy

By the time I got home, there were literally puddles inside my boots. But don’t take my word for it, look at the stream of water I am wringing out of just one of my socks after I got home!

My boots were so heavy by the time I got home.

Wet: 5lbs 6oz
Dry: 4lbs 1oz That means that there was 1lb 5oz of water!

It took 4 full days for the liners to dry out!

Boot liners hanging above our propane heater in our trailer.

So what’s the take away from this experience?

Check your gear! Test it. Put it through it’s paces. Before you take it out in the back country.

Especially if it’s been a while since you’ve used it.

Did I mention that these boots are at least 15 years old? Yeah, they obviously need some work.

As the boots were drying, I decided to see if I could diagnose the problem. Sure enough, it became obvious when I looked inside without the liners.

See those white “scrapes” near the bottom? That is where the water was getting through.The waterproofing layer was being worn off.
You can see where the waterproofing layer is delaminating from the uppers.

Now that I know what the issue is, I’m hoping a layer of waterproofing and some seam seal will do the trick. We’ll see I guess.

I am not upset that the waterproofing on uppers is failing. As I said, these boots are at least 15 years old. I thinks it’s to be expected, and it is repairable, so no worries.

When I inspected the rubber bottom part of the boots, I was truly impressed. They are in perfect condition. Unlike my Bogs boots. (See below.)

NOT my Sorrel snowboots. These Bogs boots are only 3 years old and already cracking!

In the mean time, I have no waterproof shoes to hike in, so I’ll have to wait till all the slush freezes, or it snows an appreciable amount (new fluffy snow is fine for these boots), or things dry out some before I can get back up into the canyon. So today, I took my daily walk in my parents’ neighborhood since we’re housesitting for them. At least it’s exercise.