training on and on

So the training continues. I’m getting lots of miles in.  I think I’ve said before that training for a major event is like having a part-time job.  Once I get off work, I go home and immediately work out – either walk or strength training.  After that, I have about an hour to eat, shower, and get ready for work the next day.  I use my Saturday or Sunday morning for my long-mile walk.  Last weekend I walked 10 miles on Sunday, which took me just a bit over three hours.  I’m slow but I get it done.  I’m enjoying all the exercise, and it feels great when I’m done each time, but I’m also looking forward to the first 2-3 months of 2018 when I can cut back on my mileage and have a little more free time.  For example, my long-term plan is to do one long walk (six miles) a week on the weekend, and the longest I’ll walk during the week is 3-4 miles about three days a week.  Hopefully that will give me time to sneak in a little more crafting, but also keep me in shape for hikes.

But for now I train seriously. Rosie and I are going camping with other family for Thanksgiving.  So instead of going shopping on Black Friday (which I never do), I’ll be trying to get in a 9-mile hike if Rosie can make it that far.  She is typically only good for about 5 miles, but I’m hoping with the cooler weather, she can last a little longer with me.

I’ve never posted a picture of my campsite so here’s what it looks like when I’ve got everything out and set up.  This is from our last trip which was to Palo Duro in early October.  It’s funny – it kinda looks like a mess to me now, but it didn’t seem that way at the time.


And if you were to sit in one of those chairs and kick back, this is the view you would have …


And that is what I love most about camping – being out in nature with a view like this.  Can’t wait to get back out there later this week.  Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!


how’s it going

IMG_3750 - CopyI just finished the first week of half-marathon training.  I really like having a clear goal to focus on that’s only 14 weeks away, as opposed to The Big Hike that’s a year away.  I don’t think there’s any way I could stay focused on food and fitness for a goal that’s a year away.

My long walk this week was six miles, which I ended up doing here around home and the neighborhood.  I typically prefer going to a more scenic place for the long walks, but it turned out to be nice to do this one here locally.  It’s always interesting to me to see how far six miles actually is.

I have already had to tweak my training plan to accommodate a few things.  Thursday nights are date night with Max, my grandson.  I’m definitely not giving those up.  And the training plan originally had my long walks on Sunday, but I moved those to Saturday.  I much prefer doing my long walk on Saturday morning, and saving Sunday for church and afternoon yoga.  I read that it’s okay to re-arrange the days like that, but the most important thing is to make all the walks.

For strength training, I’m doing Jillian Michaels’ DVD workouts.  The workouts I’ve been doing are about 30 minutes long and they definitely kick my butt.  I start out saying that I’m going to do two of her workouts for a good hour-long workout.  I never make it.  They are good hard workouts, and I sure hope they fit the bill as strength training.  While I’m training for the half-marathon, I think they’ll help me a lot.  After the first of the year, I may need to look for other strength training to help me prepare these legs, knees, and hips for a 10-mile hike up a canyon wall.  Gulp.

sub-training … is that a word?


Technically I’m in “sub-training” mode. What the heck does that mean?  When I made the commitment to do The Big Hike, I knew right away that I’d need a shorter-term goal because I knew it would be hard to keep up my motivation for an entire year until The Big Hike.  I’m a big believer in baby steps … or at least small chunks.  So I signed up to walk a half-marathon (13 miles) on New Year’s Eve.  Personally I love doing something fun and different to close out the old year and bring in the new one.  (Would someone please remind me I said this at about Mile 9?)  I’ll be working for the next three months to increase endurance, stamina, and speed for the half-marathon.  After the half-marathon, I’ll be working on cardio and exercises to prepare for The Big Hike.  Lots of lunges, squats, planks, stair climbing etc.  Pretty much all the exercises I hate … maybe I hate them because I need them?

While I’m preparing for the half-marathon, my biggest goal right now is to lose the extra weight. So far I am down 20 pounds.  It’s taken me almost four months to get here.  It feels really good.  To slim down, I’m counting calories and working out five times a week for about an hour.  That’s it in a nutshell.  There are easy days, and there are oh-so-hard days.  But I know that losing this extra weight is the best thing I can do to help make The Big Hike less difficult and somewhat enjoyable.  If I can lose 17 more pounds, I will have met my goal and that will make me very happy.

This chart below is my training schedule for the half-marathon. The official start day is Monday September 25l, but I’ve been putting in the miles for a few weeks now.  I’m actually looking forward to starting this training.  You can find all kinds of training plans on the internet for a variety of fitness events.  I actually blended 2-3 plans that I found and then moved the days around to make it mine.  Now it’s time to own it and make it happen.

training chart for half marathon

Day 1 – Official Training Starts

20150605_153551Today marks one year I have to train for the rim-to-rim hike at the Grand Canyon.  I’ll be doing the hike with my dad on Friday, September 14, 2017.  We’ll spend Thursday night at the North Rim, and then very early Friday morning we will start down the North Kaibab Trail, 14.3 miles.  We’ll spend Friday night at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  It gives me goosebumps just to type that.  We’ll get up the next morning and climb up the Bright Angel Trail, a total of 9.6 miles, every single one of them up.  All total, we will hike 23.9 miles.

The first step to planning this trip (aside from my dad convincing me to do this) was reserving a room at the Phantom Ranch. I’m a natural-born planner, and my dad is a planner times 10.  There will be no stone unturned when it comes to research for this trip.  In order to reserve a cabin to spend the night at Phantom Ranch, we knew that we had to be prepared with a script for if/when we talked to someone at the reservations office (“any day after Labor Day, and we’d like a stew dinner please”).  On Friday, September 1st, we manned our stations; Dad in the Houston area, me in the Dallas area.  At 9:00 am sharp, we began dialing into the reservation center and emailing each other with our status (mostly “still on hold”).  It took about 10-15 minutes to actually make the connection with the reservation center and hold for a ranger.  We were both on hold for approximately 30 minutes.  Then Dad got through to Ranger John.  Hallelujah!  I received an email from him saying, “Speaking to Ranger John.”  The next email I received said we had a cabin reservation, stew dinner for two, breakfast the next morning, and a sack lunch for our ascent up Bright Angel Trail.  My dad said he was just saying yes to whatever Ranger John suggested.  I must say that every time I spoke to a ranger at Xanterra Resorts, she or he was extremely helpful and so patient, answering every one of my questions, no matter how inane. (Next year, reservations for Phantom Ranch will use a new lottery system. It will be interesting to see how that changes the way reservations are made.)

My hope is to chronicle the upcoming year of training, preparation, researching and planning.  Maybe it will be helpful to others. Most of all, I think it will be fascinating to come back and read this after we’ve completed The Big Hike.

Here’s a partial list of what I hope to write about as the year progresses:

  • Food/snack choices
  • Water
  • Clothing
  • Weather
  • Training (this will be a major and ongoing topic!)

It’s on.