Where In The Prep?

After you’ve launched enough thru-hikes, friends and family stop asking for the scoop. No biggie! I appreciate that they’re all in the know and have confidence in my Pacific Crest Trail 2017 preparations. So perhaps more as a record and accountability for myself, here’s what’s been going on in my world.

As always, I dream up big plans for getting in shape and losing weight. I’m attempting to emerge from a rough couple of years with regards to my health. Long story short, on the first day of trying Altra Lone Peak shoes something went twinge in my right foot which ultimately kept me from starting the AT last year. I’ve written about it previously, here. Between the foot injury and a subsequent groin injury, my activity level dropped dramatically and the pounds slowly started to add up. These factors also contributed to my unsuccessful L2H attempt. As a person with a metabolism that drags its claws through the mud, weight gain is like a death sentence. Ok, that’s a little extreme but the struggle to lose that weight is very real. Bottom line: I’m great at gaining weight and the last place finisher in losing it. Ironically, this is the perfect recipe for a healthy thru-hiker!

Jan. 22 training hike, 5 miles. The hike back up the mountain went from rain to snow.

As soon as I gain or lose weight, my thyroid hormone dosage is out of balance. Tipping in either direction from balance is a lesson in stiff joints and lethargy. Keep in mind that corrections to my thyroid hormone dosage take 3-6 months for full effectiveness. My required dependency on calcium can no longer be ignored and missed doses lead to feeling ill and more lethargy. I’m not trying to weave some sob story. These are just the very real challenges of my life; the life of a thyroid cancer survivor with impaired parathyroids who wants to do athletic things.

How do I push through the struggles of loosing weight with no peer support? Not very well. As you may have suspected, my fitness and weight goals are behind schedule. And while this fact gets me down, all I really can do is accept where I am and make the best of it. My plans for the PCT this year applied extra pressure and motivation to start in the best physical shape possible. I’m not going to be an athletic 20-something jetting down the trail doing 40s, but I was hoping for a modestly in-shape almost 40-year-old. I know what I need to do, I just have a hard time loyally executing the plans on my behalf.

Feb. 1 – Memory Meadows Ridge Loop.

Thus far the training hikes have been minimal. And although I eat a healthy diet, without activity I have no chance against the weight monster. It’s crunch time with just under 40 days until my departure. Sometimes Mother Nature applies external forces to help me on my way and sometimes she doesn’t. Like yesterday afternoon I arrived at a downed tree nearly a mile from home. There was no pulling it out of the road so I hiked home, arms loaded with my school stuff. When the tree was cleared (the neighbors beat me to it), I had to walk back down to retrieve the vehicle I’d left behind. Thank you Mother Nature for the few miles of exercise. And no thank you for the rain this weekend while I need to be out hiking!

So, what’s the goal for the next month (while I’m still working)? How about a minimum of 25 miles/week? Anyone want to join me in this challenge or check in to hold me accountable? 

Mar. 3 – Low pass loop training hike.
Mar. 6 snow storm deters hiking efforts.
Mar. 5 – Chores in the snow are good exercise too!
Mar. 2 – The gift of a sunny day!

8 thoughts on “Where In The Prep?

  1. I hear you about being behind where you’d like to be on training! I’m not aiming for weight loss, but I did hope to be in decent shape when I start the PCT a month from now (!!!). Similarly, some health issues (both physical and emotional) and an unexpected small surgery knocked me off my stride and I’m definitely not where I’d like to be in terms of tackling hikes, mountains, etc. I’m trying not to beat myself up about it while still acknowledging that I’ve gotta up the ante with my training. My goal has been to walk for at least 2 hours a day (6 miles ish) and while the Oregon weather has not been inspiring me, I’m doing an okay job sticking to that schedule. I can’t promise to be the best accountability buddy on a day to day, but I promise you’ve got a fellow 2017 PCT thru-hiker thinking about you and sending good training vibes your way every time I hit the pavement! And with that, I’m off to get my miles in for today…thank you for inspiring me!

    (PS: It’s so cool that your community is already dialed in to the thru-hike world because you’ve done so many hikes — as a beginner I can’t imagine what that’s like, but it’s very inspiring to me to hear about!)

    1. Hey Vanessa! Thank you so much for your message and sharing a window into your training challenges and goals. Wow, 6 miles a day is big-time commendable! Are those miles off/on pavement? Let’s continue to inspire each other and power through for a strong PCT start!

      1. Mostly just on pavement! It would be ideal for them not to be and I try to walk on the grass/in the mud as much as I can, but fitting two hours of walking into my daily life often means I’ve gotta just make do with the neighborhood because if I drove to a trail I’d be wasting too much time, you know? Anyway yes, very into the mutual inspiration – the IG photo you posted today looked beautiful 🙂

  2. I wish we lived closer and I would certainly walk with you! (PB would too!) It’s all green down here so it’s especially wonderful to go hiking right now – so rare for it not to be tan / brown/ beige, etc….. I like to try reward systems for extra inspiration / self-support, like a treat of some sort to get you going when you’ve been at zero. A movie, a book a trip to the nursery! Find your reward?? Be good to yourself and learn to talk to yourself like you would to a close friend, i.e. no negative slams. Take Care Ms. J!

    1. Hey Vanessa, you’re the sweetest! I got two miles in yesterday afternoon during a downpour. Kudos on your 6 this morning. The rain unites us! Thanks for checking in!

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