Monday, September 10, 2007

Putting the 'cross' into cross-training

Want to forget all your troubles? Wear shoes one size too small. Trust me, after an hour or so you won't be thinking about your troubles. -anonymous

Whatever doesn't destroy me, makes me stronger. -Nietzsche

Whatever doesn't destroy me, makes me lose weight. -Mary

So a friend, in an effort to distract me from the troubles that beset me, says to me "Hey! Let's escape the city and take a hike in the woods!" Sounded like a good idea, so I said yes. I didn't recognize the location she'd mentioned, nor did I look it up in a guide book until I was standing outside my door Sunday morning waiting for her to pick me up.

My friend assured me that someone had told her that Saddle Mountain was a 'quite easy climb.' And it's 5 miles round trip, 2.5 miles one way. How hard could it be?

Ahem. A brief interlude from a guide book:

While not high compared to the Cascade peaks, this mountain is one of the highest peaks in the northern half of Oregon's Coast Range and the highest northwest of Portland. (from Summit post)

Yeah. Did I look at that before I leapt hiked? Of course not. I was so green a hiker that when advised to take water, I grabbed a couple of bottles of the carbonated water that I drink as a substitute for sodas. (Note: these bottles did have several pluses, to wit: a)internal cooling (applied via my mouth), b)external cooling (applied inadvertently to my T-shirt), and c)endless amusement (inferred by the sight of the other hikers in the area coughing vigorously in an attempt to keep from rolling on the ground in helpless laughter at watching me attempt to avoid the spray once I had opened a bottle after a couple of hours of its being jostled in a backpack).

My hiking companion is quite fit, when it comes to walking/hiking/running. When I bicycle with this woman, I can quite easily leave her in the dust, because she's not used to bicycle riding. (For one thing, she will not believe that her seat is too low and that's why her knees hurt when she rides.) However, when it comes to exercising off the bicycle, she leaves me in the dust every time. She was good-natured about waiting for me while I took little breaks to do something trivial like, oh, breathe.

The outward hike was almost continual uphill. Towards the top I was using my hands and almost climbing rather than hiking. It took us 2-1/2 hours to make it to the top, and another 1-1/2 hours to go back down. [Briefly, Mary swerves into rant mode.] And do you know what my friend wanted to do the last mile of the trail? She wanted to jog, that's what. I haven't even started my jog/walk program, and suddenly I'm jogging down a steep trail in hiking boots. My legs felt like jelly by the end of that mile.[Okay, enough with the rant. I feel much better now. Just had to get that off my chest.]

What this climb taught me is the importance of cross-training. I could quite easily have ridden a bicycle for four hours. But considering how my legs felt like jelly after the hike, it's amazing how stiff they now feel. I skipped exercise completely yesterday, and it's still hard to get up or sit down without feeling it in my calves and quadriceps. (That's what puts the 'cross' into cross-training.)

I'm adding hiking and jogging to my To Do list, but... next time I'm going to set my sights a bit lower. So to speak.

But it was very nice to end the hike by going to the extremely warm coast (Seaside, 80 degrees at 7pm?) and cooling our toes in the extremely chilly waters of the Pacific. This is a shot of Tillamook head (with elbow) that I took to symbolize the end of the journey.


Crabby McSlacker said...

That was hilarious. Beautiful pictures though--so I hope the gorgeous scenery was worth the pain.

(And steep downhill hiking is the worst! Makes my butt sore for days. Maybe bicyclists have stronger butt muscles, but if I were you I'd sure be hurtin' about now.)

The Merry said...

Oh, Crabby... I feel my pain...

soapbox girl said...

Excellent post! I'm impressed. The next thing you know, you'll be climbing every weekend! I need to cross-train more, too. I'm especially weak when it comes to swimming. I get tired just thinking about it!

The Merry said...

Gulp... Every weekend? Oh my...