Showing posts with label the fitness adventure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the fitness adventure. Show all posts

Friday, July 28

Vibrams on the Trail

So, as I've mentioned before, I wore my Vibrams Five Fingers to Philmont. As I've also mentioned before (although I cannot find that post now, so perhaps I mentioned it in a backpacking forum?), there seemed to be precious little information about how well they work as shared by the people who actually wore them and plenty of shared opinions by people who saw others wearing them and had decided that it was stupid no matter what the wearers had said. So, I wanted to chime in with my .02, having done it first hand.

Overall, they were magnificent. Not one blister, no twisted ankles, no particularly sore feet. Actually, for most of the trek, my feet were the only things that weren't sore. The rest was poor chiropractic care, improperly adjusted pack, and my general propensity to run into things. I will be wearing these on the Pinhoti, the AT, and, if I ever get back that way again, these puppies are coming with me to Havasupai.

Pros:
Lightweight. I wore my new ones on the trail and took my old favorites for in camp. So lightweight!

Easy on/easy off. This is particularly helpful when you're getting and out of your tent, but it's an all-around benefit.

Excellent feedback. I knew before I transferred my weight to my forward foot whether my footing was sure enough to support me. I truly suspect this impacts the likelihood of twisting an ankle on the trail, protecting your feet by preventative measures. So even with the marked lack of ankle support, these are my favorite trail shoes.

Comfortable. Although I took my old pair to wear in camp, I never felt the need to take off my trail shoes once we got to camp. There was one night that we had a particularly damp campsite (at Pueblano) and we had crossed a stream little earlier, so the trail pair weren't dry by morning. I just clipped them to my bag and hiked that day in the older pair.

Quick drying - we crossed so many streams, and I could just walk through them and keep going without having to stop to change out socks or even shoes. With the exception of the freakishly moist camp mentioned above, they always dried quickly.

Bouldering. Ohhh, this was fun. The Tooth of Time, and the trail to the ridge were SO easy with the Vibrams. I tucked my poles away and scrabbled around like a rock squirrel, even with my pack on. It was glorious. Love. These. Shoes.

Cons:
The stench. Lord have mercy, these things stink! I would say they stink after 10 days on the trail, but they stank at the end of the first day. WHEW!

Wet clay - if you go during monsoon season, you're just going to ski down the switchbacks. Use your poles and relax for the ride. I pretty much skied all the way into the Ute Gulch Commissary. That was a little bit harrowing, but once I realized I wasn't going to die, it was fun. I don't know that hiking boots or anything else would handle the slick bentonite clay any better, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I did want to mention that this was A Thing.

Going downhill, fully-loaded, fast. The last day of our trek, we left Upper Clark Fork and trekked 12.5 miles out of the canyon, over the Tooth of Time, and down the Trail of Tears. Because our crew did not believe in getting up and out quickly, we were on the ridge with the afternoon monsoon storms at our backs coming down the Trail of Tears. You do not want to be on that slope in the middle of a thunderstorm, where the tallest thing around is you, and we Advisors felt the need to get the boys off the ridge pronto. So we absolutely booked it down that last few miles. With a fully loaded backpack. My toes were a bit grouchy after that leg. Not enough to negate the benefits, but again, A Thing. And if I'm going to share my experience, I want to share all of it.

Miscellany:

I don't normally wear socks with my Vibrams, but I did buy some Injinji sock liners for this trek. (Not an affiliate link. I just love being able to include pictures.) They made the shoes a titch tight, since I hadn't bought them with liners in mind, but not uncomfortable and the shoes stretched quickly to accommodate the difference. They kept my toes warm in the damp, cool mornings, and they dried fairly well. Plus, they feel good.

Someone at Base Camp mentioned Swiss Socks. I'd like to try those out at some point, too.

If you do plan to wear Vibrams on a trek of any kind, get them well ahead of time. Train in them. Lounge in them. Wander in them. Wear them, break yourself in to them, get to know them. The learning curve is longer than with Just Any New Shoe. Once you've got the hang of them, though, they're very accommodating and straightforward. Know how they work for you, and what you can expect from them in performance. Then get a new pair (I went with the same style, same size, just to limit the variables, but I don't know that it mattered in performance) for the trail.

I hope this was helpful.

Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Saturday, July 1

Good Saturday Morning!

It is T-2 until liftoff! How ridiculously exciting!

The Littles and I visited Miri and the Babies yesterday. She set it up for them to make homemade wikki stix, which was very cool and I think we're going to have to do that again in the future! The kids played while we visited, and although I really didn't want to run more errands yesterday, it was nice to do something for the Littles. And a little something for me, getting to spend time with a sweet friend.

While we were in town, we ran errands, as well. Found stuff sacks large enough to use as bear bag bags (which is awesome, thank you, Cabela's!) And lashing straps for John's pack (although I should have bought the ones at Walmart last week, to be honest - longer and less expensive for the same material, there). Live and learn.

Today, John and I will do the final pack up and make sure everything is secure, there's room for additional troop gear and the tents, and see if we've forgotten anything. Honestly, I've got food, I've got a good sleeping pad (and a repair kit), and I've got proper clothing. Anything beyond that is gravy at this point. We're ready to hit the trail.

Oh! My new Vibrams came in yesterday, too! I realized that I've trained in this one pair the whole time, plus our teen hikes, plus I wear them to the river, to the store, to work on the property... It's been a good year! The last thing I wanted, however, was to have a blowout on the trail and get stuck buying boots at the camp after I've done all my training in these. So I ordered the same size, style, and brand that I've been wearing. They look so pretty and new! And, seeing them side-by-side, I was glad I got another pair! The soles on my first pair are not as, erm, healthy as they seemed. Fortunately, once you're used to wearing Vibrams (which can take some time), the shoes themselves don't have the break-in period for a new pair that traditional shoes require, so they should be good to go by the end of this week. I'm taking the old ones as camp shoes and back up, though. Figure they deserve to see the desert mountains one more time.

Gotta pack for Circe today, too, and get my suitcase to a friend. She's going to meet me there with it so I'm not traveling with a week's worth of business attire to Philmont! I need to find her something that says, "I do not know what I'd do without you!" Maybe a mug that literally says that. But I'd have to fill it with gold bullion or Amazon gift cards or something, because she's really that amazing. And not just for her mad luggage hauling skills, either!

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Monday, June 26

*POOF* Busy weekend!

I thought for sure I'd posted over the weekend, but no. Know what else I didn't do? Sleep. Clearly, I should have thought things through a bit better.

Although, to be honest, I don't know where to cut anything, or how to make it happen in a sane way. It feels like we're holding everything together with surface tension at the moment, and I'm afraid if we poke it, the mess is going to be enormous.

Friday, we ran errands, we cleaned the house, we had a little Come to Jesus about the condition of the house, and we worked on the Volvo some. Normal stuff. The Volvo wasn't yet up and running that evening, so Z stayed up to retrieve one of the boys from his shift at Hamacon.

Saturday was full of trek prep, home repairs, more errands, more Hamacon retrieval, Volvo work, and a show at the VBC (Jacob walked, so that was 4:00-9:30PM, there).

Sunday, we had worship, which was fantastic. And pot luck, which is always restful. I am thankful we can do that. Then I had to be at a casting (nothing glamorous, just helping with sign-in -- although I did get to dance and snuggle with a precious baby for most of it, freeing up her parents to be more productive than I could be - that was a win), and Z took the kids to a birthday celebration for a lovely young woman we know. I headed over after my shift at the casting and passed the keys to John. He left for work. James arrived at some point and...

We all sat. We sat and visited and just did. not. move. It was glorious. We stayed WAY too late, and I feel a little guilty about that; however, it really was glorious to just be among kind people, chatting about hopeful things, listening to kids laugh and talk. Balm for the soul, right there. Also, how can I cut *that* out in exchange for sleep? That was just as rejuvenating as anything else we could have done.

Again, thankful.

There is so much I am thankful for, amidst the exhaustion.

This morning, I tried the Fat Coffee I'd purchased for the trek. (Realized, after a discussion with someone else about how coconut oil just, erm, tears through them, that I ought to try some NOW for the first time, rather than on the trail.) It tastes like 1970's-era instant decaf. So, not exactly something I'll look forward to on the trail, but I'm working up some kind of nostalgic affection for it. We'll see how that goes.

This afternoon I head in for six-month labs at the cancer center. Praying for a clear report. Actually, if you want to be very specific about it, I'm praying for labs that are good enough that we can punt the next scan another six months further down the road. So, if you're up for it, that'd be magnificent! There's more to the day, but that's all I'm focused on at the moment.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Sunday, June 18

SO, I didn't die.

That's the end goal, there, and I won. Yay!

THE GOOD:

1. I didn't die!

2. I didn't panic, go limp and refuse to move. (That was a serious consideration at one point.)

3. My Five Fingers are da'bomb! I love these things more than any gear I have ever owned in. my. life.

4. I did the first 10 miles fasted, and those were amazing miles. Most of our day hikes at Philmont are going to be around 10 miles, so I'm feeling uber-confident that I can do this and hold my head up at the end. (Especially once you account for drier air, lower temps, and fewer ticks. Hallelujah!)


THE BAD:

1. Ticks. Lord, have mercy, we never left the trail and there were ticks everywhere.

2. The weather. I wouldn't choose to hike in that heat or humidity for fun, ever. Ever ever. Ugh. Honestly, I am surprised they went through with it in these conditions. It was awful.

3. I haven't bought hiking clothes that fit, and nothing I own that stays up is appropriate for hiking, so I stole James' BDU pants and wore those - they were awesome for keeping the ticks out, but they did not help with the heat or the humidity. Blech.

4. I didn't eat enough when we stopped for lunch (in my head, we had more time to eat, and so I didn't just stuff it in there like it turns out I should have) and I did run dead out of energy around mile 13 or so. It was like watching a drunk stumble forlornly through the woods.

THE UGLY:

1. I am so slow. Like, embarrassingly slow. I can match the cadence, but my stride is tiny, like I'm hobbled or something. I don't know what that's all about, or when it happened. But gosh.

2. I slept poorly the night before, fretting over ticks (which turned out to be TOTALLY JUSTIFIABLE). So that didn't help, any. Also, sometimes I hate being right.

3. But mostly, I realized I need to adjust my pace quite a bit to hang with the Scouts. They go all-out on speed for shorter stints, stop just long enough to catch their breath, and then back at it. This means they stop a lot (and stopping just kills me - momentum, rhythm, slog, focus, all gone), and none of the stops are truly restful, which kind of sucks the fun out of being on the trail. It's like driving somewhere with someone who won't stop at a Buc-ee's just because, or pull over for coffee when you're out. So, I have two weeks to get a grip on that.

******

Today, James and I figured out how to adjust my old Alpine Contour III! That was exciting! I did not realize just how anxious I was about the pack issue until we got it put right. It was as if every care I had in the world melted away. (At least for a little while.)

The rest of our gear should be in tomorrow and then we're just down to a few dodads and miscellany. I am really excited about this trip!

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Friday, June 16

No Big News

Or, rather, scads of Big News, just not the news I thought I'd have to share.

Z had applied for a position in Colorado. It would have been a fantastic fit for him - doing GOOD work, doing something he loves (problem solving), and right where he wants to be. We had a lot of optimism about this one. However, someone with years experience doing *that* exact job (which Z, although a quick study, did not have), who is already spooled up and in the game, also applied. That guy was an objectively better fit for the position. Plus, his position where he currently is was about to be eliminated. So we can't begrudge him the award. But I do hope he really, really enjoys it for us.

Meanwhile, we're all trying to suck it up and brace ourselves for another Alabama summer.

*whimper*

With the job possibility on the horizon, pretty much everything beyond graduation was in limbo: Philmont, Circe, summer school, kids' jobs, kids' colleges, the Universal trip, you name it. Every. single. thing. was on hold. The problem with limbo (other than the absolute mind-fraying inability to plan!) is that deadlines and time don't also get put on hold during that time. So, now that the limbo is lifted and decisions are made, we kind of have to hustle.

John and I head to Philmont in about two weeks. Two and a half? Something like that. He's got the calendar. I'm just an adult with a driver's license. I had excellent intentions of hiking daily, but the double-punch of it being Alabama in June (ugh, the weather is so hot and muggy), and the appealing thought of being able to hike in Colorado, instead... well, I do not have the internal fortitude to fight that powerful combination. So I haven't hiked. We've got a 20-miler tomorrow. I guess we'll see how badly this is going to bite me in the rear, then...

I did break out my beloved old backpack (turns out, when I say "old", it's near-vintage old - 27-years!) and gave it a good scrub. It's still mostly waterproof! WOW! Can't for the life of  me figure out how to adjust the shoulder harness on it. It LOOKS like it should be adjustable, but I can't nail it down and I'm terrified of breaking it in the process of trying. Not really thinking about how much things have changed in almost 30 years, I got online to try and find a video for that. (Go ahead and laugh, I'll wait.) Then I emailed the company to ask for assistance. A very kind rep got back with me quite quickly and admitted that... nobody there now was there that long ago or has any idea what system is on it, but he said he'd try to track someone down and get me sorted. I sent some photos of the harness system, and hope someone is willing to come out of retirement to lend an old lady a hand!

That said, when this puppy gets replaced, it'll be with another Lowe Alpine pack. This one has hiked portions of the AT, meandered around the Blue Ridge Mountains, biked with me all over Vermont and NY, trekked down into the Grand Canyon (several times) and into Havasupai. It's gone on untold shorter 4-day treks over the years, as well. Then I passed it along to James, and it survived his Scouting years (which weren't kind... this isn't his Zen area). Now it's back with me, again, if I can get the harness adjusted. I don't even remember what we paid for it, but I remember my 17y.o. self was in awe of owning something that pricey at the time, and it's been worth every penny. I'm a little giddy at the thought of getting one that weighs less...

So that's been it, here. A lot of breath-holding, a lot of tension, and a lot of bustle in the end. It's all good. I can't wait to see what's next!

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Sunday, May 21

Ketogenic Backpacking

So, Philmont released the 2017 trek menus. I printed them off and settled in with a highlighter and a glass of water to go through and see what I'd have to substitute in order to survive the week.

I took a quick look and promptly switched out my water for coffee, kicked off my shoes, popped open Chronometer, and settled in for a day-long task. Turns out that, with the exception of a meat stick at Breakfast on Day 1 and a couple of packets of chicken along the way, I'll have to substitute everything. All of it. Wow.

Honestly, the biggest surprise was how much of the food they provide has Aspartame in it (a regular appearance in the sports drinks they provide "for electrolytes"). I was ready for the carbs (that's a pretty standard backpacking approach), but not for that! If you've been a reader here for any length of time, you know how I feel about Aspartame. So, I'll be packing substitutes for John, and extras for anyone who will listen. I don't mind carrying extra, if it keeps the boys from ingesting that stuff. Blech.

Research on the web for keto backpacking ideas returns mostly forum threads filled with people extolling the OP with rather unsolicited advice on why they would never do that. (Which is, of course, entirely useless, but people don't ask themselves if what they're about to say is actually helpful for the person they're responding to. They say what they want to say, regardless of the information requested. I want to lament the decline of civilization, but I think there have been people who know what they know since the dawn of time. Nothing new, here.) It's still relatively unhelpful, though. I mean, if you are living in nutritional ketosis, and you want to go hiking, you're going to need to eat. And if you're doing it intentionally, then you likely have very good reasons for doing it, and you're asking for information that will help you do it well. Perhaps even pleasantly. Imagine.

I found a great Ketogenic Backpackers group on Facebook, and have been in a wonderful Keto group for a while (not for backpacking, but for nutritional support), so I've been fortunate to amass a wealth of ideas on how to do this. Hopefully, by posting them here, as well, we can make them available to others.

Some of my breakfast substitutions (I don't generally eat breakfast, but I'd rather have it on me and pass it off to a Scout than to be dying out there and wish I'd packed some!):

Powdered eggs, pre-cooked bacon, keto coffee (coffee, powdered heavy cream, powdered MCT oil - from here on out, just called "coffee")

Hard sausages, hard cheeses, bulletproof coffee

Powdered eggs with dehydrated veggies and meats (in a semblance of an omelet), coffee

Epic bar, coffee


Since we eat eggs almost every day, I doubt I'll get tired of this rotation over the course of 12 days.

I'm also working on lunch and dinner substitutions, which I'll share, as well. Then I'll plug in the data and make sure I'm giving myself about a 20% overage from my daily intake. I'll definitely need to up my fat -- I pulled on shorts this morning, went to button them, and realized they were already zipped and buttoned! So I probably ought to splurge on some new shorts, as well.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy


Wednesday, January 11

Challenges

I don't have legit New Year's Resolutions this year, but I did read the other day that Mark Sisson is doing another Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge, and I think I'm in.

I've been contemplating what direction to start plodding for the year, and strength is the one area I'm not feeling too bold about. My eating is dead-on. My rest patterns are not too bad once you factor in for late-night essays and snoring companions. Spiritually, I am very much in the mind of a learner, and that is an excellent place to be. Mentally, always a learner.

But strength? Eh, not so much.

My goals are simple (don't laugh - we all have to start somewhere):

1) I want to do a pull up. Un-assisted. Un-aided. Preferably without having to make too many faces.

2) The rest, I just want to level up from where I am now on each of the four basic movements using Mark's Progressions.

3) I want to use sprints to improve my speed on the 2.6 mi amble by 25%

So, in the morning I will do my assessment of where I am, now. And then I'll get on it.

What are you up to this year?

Be encouraged!

~Dy