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

No excuses

It snowed 12″ here at home, and my normal hiking/walking/exercise route got that much harder.

But, when you’re training for a big hiking trip like the Tahoe Rim Trail, you can’t let a little (or even a lot of) snow stop you from getting out there and training.

Thankfully, the sun was shining and the wind was calm.

And you know what?

It was an awesome hike.

And that’s often how it goes. But even if it is nasty like it’s supposed to be tomorrow, I’ll still be out there. Because goals are a lot harder to accomplish if you constantly wait for things to be perfect.

Because, surprise!

It’s rarely going to be perfect.

So don’t let that stop you.

No excuses!

PS how do you take a photo or video when the snow is soft and fluffy and your tripod would just sink into the snow?

You set the tripod on a ziplock bag, of course!

PPS I had a setback with my broken rib(s) healing – I slipped on the ice. Not fun. But I’m feeling like I’m back on the mend. So more hiking to come!

Persistence

Today was an oopey, gloopey, soupy mess on the trail behind my house.

And to make matters worse, I was still feeling the after-effects of yesterday’s migraine.

But I slid into my muck boots and went out anyway.

It wasn’t a fun walk. Though I did enjoy the beauty around me, most of the time I was wishing I could be back at home laying on the couch.

But I did it anyway.

That’s how you achieve your goals, Ladies and Gents.

Persistence

-MammaBear

Nervicited

I’m excited yet nervous about the idea of spending three weeks on my own.

I’m “nervicited”!

(Thanks Pinkie Pie!)

This article came up on my news feed today.

https://www.rei.com/blog/hike/how-to-start-solo-adventuring?cm_mmc=sm_fb_76514-_-content-_-news_journal-_-soloadventuringtips

As I start planning for my solo-hike of the TRT, this is some good info to keep in mind. I do plan to do some smaller solo trips before then as well.

I can wait!

-MammaBear

How to keep comfortable while hiking when the temps are chilly

I finally got in a 2 mile walk/hike. The kids are at their grandparents’ so I took advantage of not having tagalongs and got in a muscle straining, knee aching walk in the hills near our house. Gaining 300ft in elevation in just over half a mile, and then having to come back down that, can be hard on the knees. But it’s also good training. Especially when you don’t stop every couple hundred feel because the 6 year old is “tired” or wants to follow the coyote tracks.

You can’t see it in a picture, of course, but the wind was blowing pretty hard today, so even though the temperature outside was up to nearly 50° (quickly melting off the 3 inches of snow we got last night), I started out my hike all bundled up, even though I knew better. As I stripped off layer after layer, it got me thinking about how to stay comfortable while hiking when the temperatures are chilly. Thus this post. But there are a bagillion posts out there about what to wear, so I’m just going to go through that really quick and then get into some of the actions you can take to keep comfortable when it’s cold out.

How to Dress for Hiking when the Temps are Chilly

The short answer is: layers!

You’ll want to wear/bring different layers in order to stay comfortable.

Layer 1: base layer

This is the layer closest to your skin (other than under garments) and should be made of a good wicking, fast drying, thin material. When it’s cold out, you do NOT want cotton.

Layer 2: insulation

This “layer” could actually consist of several layers and it’s where most of the warmth comes from. A couple different thicknesses of fleece sweatshirts and/or jackets, vests, etc. will usually fit the bill.

Layer 3: shell

This is the layer that protects you from the elements should they turn nasty. Wind proof, water repellent, etc.

Layer 4: extras

This is things like gloves, a hat, extra socks, etc

Now here’s the thing, if you’re going for a quick walk around your neighborhood or the local nature trail, or even up the logging road behind your house, you can get away with wearing pretty much anything you want. If you get too hot or too cold, well, you’re not that far from home and can get fixed up in a jiffy.

But if you’ll be out for several hours, and especially several days, you don’t want to be miserable, so wear the appropriate layers.

What to DO to stay warm and comfortable while hiking in chilly weather

So here’s the real meat of the issue. We’ve all heard it before, “Layers, layers, layers!”

But it’s what you DO with those layers and how you use them that, as well as a few other actions on the trail, that will help keep you comfortable.

Tip #1: dress according to your expected exertion level

I’m sure we’ve all seen them. The joggers in the neighborhoods or on the trails who are wearing shorts and a t-shirt while the rest of us are shivering in our puffy jackets as we stroll along. It all has to do with exertion.

I said earlier that I “knew better” than to bundle up for the walk. I knew I’d be walking uphill at a fast pace (well faster than usual since no kids were around to slow me down). But I decided to keep on all the layers I was wearing. Which meant that just a short while into the walk, I needed to start taking those layers off. It would have been better had I started out with one or two less layers. I might have been a bit chilly to begin with, but my exertion level would have warmed me up quickly.

Last week when I took my daughters and nieces on a short hike, I knew we would not be walking fast enough to keep me warm, so I wore all my layers (plus had an extra in my pack just in case). Sure enough, I never even took off my hat (usually the first thing to come off when I warm up) that whole trip.

On that same trip, while we were all bundled up, there was a gal out trail running. She was wearing a thin, long sleeve shirt and yoga pants. No other layers of clothes even tied around her waist. She knew when she started out that her jogging would keep her warm.

Tip #2: avoid sweating

Sweat (or any water really) is the great enemy when the temperature is cold out. When you sweat, your clothes get wet and that can mean you get chilled, real fast!

Today, as I trudged up that steep snowy road, I quickly realized I had dressed too warmly as I began to sweat. So I took off a layer. That was ok for a little while, but then I needed to take off another layer. At that point I was wearing a long sleeve, thin polyester base layer shirt, and my insulated work pants. Those pants were waaaay too hot! I would have been much happier with thinner pants. Thus where layers come in, rather than one thick layer. If I had been wearing a couple layers of pants, I would have taken a layer off and been much more comfortable.

As it was, I was close to home, so no worries. And the wind kicked up a bit more and cut right through my thin layer of shirt, cooling me down considerably. And drying the sweat. If I had stayed out much longer, I would have needed to put one of my layers back on. But I probably would have switched it up, putting on just my puffy vest and not my sweatshirt.

By having varying thicknesses and types of layers, you can choose the combination that keeps you warm but not sweating.

Tip #3: bundle up as soon as you stop (or start feeling cold again)

When you stop to rest, it’s usually a good idea to put on one (or more) of those layers that you shed while hiking. When your activity level drops, it easy to almost immediately get too chilled.

Tip #4: use the “extras” when it may not seem intuitive

We usually think of putting on hats and gloves as the final layer after everything else, and often they are. However, they can also be used in conjunction with some of your thinner layers to add some warmth while still letting your core breathe.

It’s not unusual to see hikers wearing a hat and gloves along with a t-shirt or thin, long sleeve base shirt. Keeping your hands warm or your ears from freezing but still keeping your core temperature down (thus less sweating) means doing things a bit unconventional every now and then.

Tip #5: change into dry clothes when needed

Sometimes, despite our best effort, our clothes can become wet. Whether from sweat or rain or snow, or even falling in a creek, wet clothes can literally be a killer if you are in the wilderness for an extended period in cold weather. So, if you’ve done your best, but your clothes have still gotten wet, it is best to get out of them and into dry clothes when you stop, before you get too chilled. Having an extra layer or two in your pack can be the difference between a miserable hike and a comfortable one.

What are some other tips you have to stay comfortable while hiking when the weather is chilly? I’d love to hear them.

Happy hiking!

-MammaBear

Update: I made a video about my layering system the other day. Go check it out on my Youtube channel. https://youtu.be/GTqaP3R74GA