Wednesday, June 12, 2014

Did another hike. Same trail, just started from the other end. I’ll switch back and forth just to get different perspective but honestly….out there it doesn’t matter since the views either way are great! It just feels good to get away, walking on the trail. I lost track of time and miles tonight. I meant to only do another 2.5 mile hike. 1.25 in and back. However, the next thing I know I was at the 1.5 mile mark and realized I was going to put in 3 miles today. I’m not complaining although my feet are!

The chaffing issue still continues. Baby powder and compression shorts help, but now the shorts are starting to rub me around the circumference of my thighs. I mean really…what the hell?

My feet hurt but luckily no blisters. It’s more of a muscular ache in my feet which I assume will go away with time as I build up the muscle in my feet and calves. I owe the fact that I have no blisters to the fact that while I’ve had my hiking boots for a year (they’re Merrell….love Merrell!), I think they’ve only seen two trails that entire time. Otherwise I’ve simply worn them out and about or used them when I worked in the yard….I know…such a waste of such a good hiking boot…but that has thankfully led to no blisters since they are worn in without being worn out!

Anyway…here’s the stats for today:

Miles: 3.04 mi

Duration: 58:14

Pace per MI: 19:10

Calories: 404

Elevation: 562ft

I’m using RunKeeper for my stats. I always laugh when I see the elevation. This is Texas and there doesn’t ever really seem to be any real elevation. I wonder if that’s what it thinks I achieved in elevation or that’s the general elevation of the hiking trail. Guess I’ll have to dig into the help files on that one; but if anyone knows, feel free to leave the definition in the comments!

I had to go to the doctor today for refills…seems I’m at 202lbs and not the 200 I thought. Oh goody. At least I know where I’m starting.

Training Day

Today is what I would call a “training day”.

Basically I only do 2 miles…maybe just a little more if I feel like it.  I laid off yesterday to give my shocked body time to recuperate.  This time I started the Shoreline Trail from the Stewart Peninsula side.  I was pleased to find the hike starts off in a cedar grove and them immediately opens to Lake Lewisville.   Of course, I did get to see how the other half lives in The Colony as the start of this side of the trail is right along a number of homes who call Lake Lewisvill their back yard.  I suspect the lake used to be closer, much closer than it is now given the drought conditions that we’ve been having for the past several years!

Here are the stats for the day:

Miles: 2.58

Duration: 49:23

Pace per Mile: 19:11

Calories: 341

Elevation: 410ft (not sure how much this is to be trusted since this was an “out and back” type hike)

Chafing report…I’ve been wearing the men’s compression briefs for the last several days, including today.  I did apply baby powder before I headed out and I was wearing the compression briefs.  After I got home and a quick shower, I can say I can now wear shorts without having to resort to the briefs and I’m not walking like I’m bowlegged.  I wouldn’t call this a success exactly…I’ve simply found a possible way to keep myself comfortable in the mean time.

The problem I did have this time, and how do I put this….was with <whispers> hemorrhoids.  I’m telling you, the last thing you ever want to do is try to hike when that bit of business is going on.  We might as well have taken a blow torch to my ass!  Anyway…note to self…if I even think that’s going to be an issue, take care of it before going out on the trail.  It’ll make for a much better hike.  Which leads me to question what do folks who hike the AT (Appellation Trail), the PCT (Pacific Coast Trial), or the CD (Continental Divide) do when this issue comes up?  I mean I’ve read plenty of books and stories about folks who have done these “massive” hikes and now that I come to think of it, I don’t remember any of them mentioning this problem or how they solved it.  Did they think about it before they left so they were prepared or did they have to suffer through days and days of agony.  Inquiring minds want to know!

Anyway…so today is in the bag.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to try again for another 2 mile training day tomorrow.  I’ve got house work and stuff that needs to be done sooner rather than later and giving my body a day to recoop in between probably isn’t a bad idea.  Wouldn’t want to over do it!

Oh..and before forget here’s the wild life count (this is VERY important):

2 Bunnies (we love BunBuns)

Several Ducks

A Heron (white)

Turtles (probably 3 or 4)

and the usual cast of birds.

Not bad for a day where it rained most of the day.  Again, the wind coming off the lake was nice.  I hope it’s like that all the time.  If not these reports will start detailing my hikes through Death Valley when we get to 100+ degree days here in North Texas!

Chafing

I’d like to turn your attention to a very disagreeable condition called “chafing”. At least that’s what the internet tells me it is. The internet also tells me it’s called “Monkey Butt”. I kid you not. It’s a common problem for hikers, bikers, tri athletes and the like.

What ever it is and what ever it’s called, I don’t like it.

Effectively yesterday while hiking my thighs rubbed together to the point that when I finally got home, I realized that I was walking like I’d just been riding a horse for most of the day. My plans this day entailed me later taking a train up to Denton and walking over the Oak St. Drafthouse and Cocktail Parlor and the thought of walking through Denton like I’d just rode into town did not appeal to me. However, it is Denton, and I suspect no one would notice. But I would notice, I would be in pain!

The common prescription for this said condition called chafing seems to be something called Bodyglide. You can pick it up at any of the typical chain sports stores; however don’t confuse it with Body Glide which is for a completely different use which is WAY beyond the scope of this blog.

Seeing how I’m lazy and didn’t feel like making it over to Academy Sports, I decided to run an experiment. Other solutions include the use of either baby powder or baby oil in the infected regions. I’ve also seen Vaseline, but that’s a little too “goopy” for my tastes.

I did come up with one solution that has pleased me immensely. You know those compression briefs worn by men? Guess what….they are fantastic for chafing! These things are a God send. It keeps my thighs from sticking and I can actually walk like a normal human being.

The only problem I’ve found with the compression briefs: it’s Texas….we’re heading into summer. So, I have on underwear, the compression briefs and shorts. Nothing about this screams “cool as a cucumber” trust me…

I know this is way more information than you ever wanted to know about my chafing situation. But seeing how it’s my duty to share these things, it’s all part of the plan.

Anyway, tomorrow is Monday. My plan is to leave the office at 4p, be on the trail at 4:30p. I’m probably NOT going to try and pound out a 4 mile hike. I’ll leave those for the weekend. For the weekdays, what I like to call “training”, I’ll try and do 2 maybe 2.5 miles a day.

I’ll let you know how the combination of baby oil and compression shorts work. I know you’ll want to know!

Forgive me, but this’ll be a combo post….meaning you have to suffer through my confessions and my data to finally get to something that I hope resembles a trail review.

First up, confessions.

I’m a white female, 49 years old, 200+ lbs (probably 210lb), and a 40ish waste.  I didn’t always used to be at this weight.  At one point I was running 2 miles every other day, lifting weights, and weighing in at an easy 120lbs….my fighting weight.  Then life happened.  I settled down, started realizing that I liked good food and drink more than I liked running.  As the excuses not to exercise began to increase so did my weight.  It’s not that I’m unhappy with where I am; it’s that I know I have it in me to do better.  I just have to “make” that decision…and that’s what today was about.

Second, data.

Yes…I will share my data.  How I feel before the hike, how much and what I carried with me, how much water I drank, weather, distance, etc.  So here goes….

In the pack:

I have a hip pack that I love for these easy hikes.  I picked it up 20 years ago at some store in Truckee, CA and it still serves me well!  It great for day hikes or just a run around hip bag.  Yes…I know you’ll call it a fanny pack, but it’s oh so much more.

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So…what went i the pack on this trip.

Bandana                              32g

Duct Tape                           40g (because…duct tape!)

Hand Sanitizer                   75g

Emergency Blanket           53g

Compass                              23g

iPhone                                  162g

Inhaler                                 23g  (yes…I’m asthmatic)

Medical Kit                         154g

Book: Scats & Tracks       150g (don’t judge…it brings me pleasure…)

Water                                   1.076kg (2 16.9oz ounces of water….essentially 2 bottles of water)

Camera                                136g

Hip Pack                             105g

Chapstick                            7g  (apparently you do count everything!)

Moleskin Notebook          134g

Pencil                                   4g

So…we have a total of 2.144kg, or 4.73lbs.  Could I have lived without some of the stuff above….sure.  But the pack didn’t feel like a burden so I think that’s a good start in the weight department.  Now for the times.

Miles:  4.31 miles

Duration: 1:27:25 Hours, minutes

Pace per Mile: 20:17

For someone who has not exercised all year, I’m pretty happy with this.  I felt good.  I probably was pushing it that last mile.  My left hand was swelling up and I probably had the beginnings of a little heat exhaustion.  I did take a couple of breaks to take pictures or sit a minute and drink water.  Its funny, I can hike 4 miles…no problem.  But running?  No.  I just need to make sure I get out there more often!

Finally…..

I moved to The Colony 5 years ago and admit that I don’t really get out and do much.  The city has gotten some great reviews, even being ranked most playful city at some point recently.  I couldn’t figure out how we got that designation.  I had heard the city had done a great job having these trails systems, but I hadn’t bothered to take the time and expend the effort.  Today, I did and I am glad.

The Shoreline trail is a great hike.  Nice wide easy path of crushed granite.  You pass through black prairie which runs through this small sliver of Texas from the Oklahoma border all the way down to San Antonio.  The city has tried to preserve this sliver of prairie since much of it has disappeared.  Lots of birds.  Next time I need to bring the binoculars and my iPad and do some serious birding out there!  The trial is shared by everyone…hikers, mountain/off road bikers, runners.  Everyone is friendly and right of ways are well respected.  You can bring you dog on the trail.  They have doggy stations at a couple of points on the trail if you need to pick up after your pup.  Plenty of trash cans and recycle stations as well.  And of course, there’s signs along the way to explain what your seeing in the area.

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There is a wildlife area…I got a kick out of the sign saying not to pick the berries.

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I thought “Yeah…sure…there’s probably one bush back there”; but around the bend I was hit with that sweet aroma of ripening blackberries and sure enough on either side of the trail there was nothing but bushes.

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Apparently the native wildlife enjoy them (who wouldn’t).  I saw quite a few tracks in this area, including deer which really surprised me!  That’s cool if there is deer in the area.  I may have to do a late evening hike to see if I can get a glimpse of them!

Anyway…it was a really lovely hike.  I suspect it will become my go to “training” area.  I would prefer to walk / hike there vs. walking around my neighborhood.

Stay tuned…the adventure will continue!

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Beginnings

It’s been well over 10 years since I’ve strapped on a backpack and hit the trails.

In that time, I’ve had injuries, heartache, found love, settled down, gained weight, gained furr kids and am living in the concrete suburbian hell we’ve all grown to know and love.

Tomorrow, all that changes.

June 7, 2014 is National Trails Day and I can think of no better way of getting in my boots than to start hiking and start sharing both my journey and adventure with you!

I hope to share those experiences with you through this blog!  Together we’ll get reacquainted with the outdoors.  I’ll share my wonder and my wanderings; no matter how big or small.  Along the way we’ll learn new things, laugh at ourselves and drink plenty of water (trail) and beer (after trail) along the way!

So please join me in the adventure!  Let’s get going!

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