Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Musings

It was tough to go back to work today after spending Saturday afternoon at the beach, and taking a dip in the warm Atlantic, and then having a great hike yesterday in the mountains – and taking a chilly dip in a mountain stream.

I was pleased with the hike yesterday. I do this hike every summer – it was my August challenge this year, to celebrate being strong and healthy one more August after being so ill in August of 2002. But usually when I do this hike, I really struggle on the steep climb up Wildcat Ridge at the end. For example, in 2003, just seven months after finishing chemo, it about killed me. It seemed like I had to stop and sit down every 10 minutes for about five minutes. Young men passed me. Young women passed me. Heck, if there had been 90 year olds using walkers on that trail, they would have passed me. Once, as I trudged along, a snail raced by with a turtle hot in pursuit of him, intending to make him his lunch. But when the turtle saw me, he stopped and laughed his butt off and the snail escaped.

But not yesterday. I made two brief stops on the way up to drink water and sit down for about two minutes. It was still tiring, but didn’t carry the sense of being totally worn out and continually needing to rest. My uphill pace was about 35-40 minutes a mile, a far cry from my normal 13.5 – 14 minutes per mile walking pace on roads. But I wasn’t on any road. Checking my pulse a few times on this section, it was about 140-150 as compared to my resting pulse of 56 – 64. So it was a great aerobic workout, and my legs are a little sore today, but not excessively so. I did some light walking at lunch, and some water aerobics tonight, and those felt good.

I guess despite carrying about 5 pounds more on my frame than when I did the race in April, and not exercising anywhere near to the degree that I had been, I am still in decent enough shape to do this hike without feeling like I am going to drop. And that feels good!

I almost didn’t take a dip in that cold stream yesterday. It was pleasantly warm but not hot in the mountains, and I didn’t really feel like I needed to cool off. But then I thought – “I won’t be back in here until next summer. And who knows? Take this opportunity while I have it. Carpe diem!” I am glad I did. While I was there, at least 12 hikers came by but not one of them took the plunge!

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