Saturday, September 27, 2014

Is Breakfast The Most Important Meal of the Day?

I don't believe in one size fits all philosophies. Especially when it comes to Thanksgiving Day Parade jumpsuits.



But that's a left turn without signaling, sorry. I don't truly believe in one size fits me either. For example I can head out on a 3 hour hike without breakfast and do just fine relying on water and a mid hike snack. Whereas other days - mostly work days - skipping breakfast seems to throw me off. I'm sure the exercise factors into that somehow but I'd have to get up early to exercise before work to have enough data to prove the hypothesis and that is not likely to happen anytime soon.

There is a point to this post. My brain has simply decided to take the scenic route there. I'm channelling my inner Robin Williams.

I mentioned in an earlier post about the rough allergy season this year. I've been building or spiraling toward today for about two weeks I figure. I was scheduled for an 8 hour hike today. Considering I didn't wake up until just before 8 and I feel the need for a nap at barely 9:30 the hike is unlikely to happen. I've made my peace with that.

It's quite possible there is more going on than allergy crud but I can't help feeling I'm suffering mostly from the effects of an imbalance caused by the meds. I generally try to avoid them. I do not like the way I feel when I take them - especially the crash and burn after effect. I'd prefer to drink lots of water and exercise to move the blood along and speed up the metabolism of the allergens. It's a method that will work eventually but - in a bad year like this one - leaves me with itchy face, runny nose and eyes. When I have a presentation to make or a class to teach - and I've had several these past few weeks - I give in to the meds so as not to gross out the attendees or embarrass my boss.

So I get through the public facing part of my job and spend the remainder of the day(s) tired, cold and groggy. Come morning I have trouble waking up and opt to sleep as long as possible which means skipping breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast takes effort and I'm too tired for that. Sure I could grab a PB and toast or a granola bar but I'd rather not get back into that habit. Somehow skipping it feels like the lesser of the evils. You may not agree with me. That's cool. One size does not fit all. :)

So today is a detox day. I will not take any meds. I will likely take a few naps and I started the day off with a good sized healthy breakfast. Here's hoping for a successful reboot.

Keep smiling and keep moving
-Paula

PS It's almost time for parade registration. If you'd like to join us send me a message!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Working Out In TheTime of Ragweed

My apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez but truly it was inevitable. For me at least this is shaping up to be the worst ragweed season in recent memory. And despite the opinion of the checkout person at Kohl's earlier this week I am not a senior citizen yet and my memory is just fine thank you very much.

What was I talking about?.... Oh yeah ragweed allergy. It's the kind of year that leaves me drained and feeling like I want to rip my face off because it itches so much. Yesterday I had a two pill day ....ugh. Needless to say this is getting in the way of exercise. All I want to do is sleep.

Something to be worried about is that the depending on conditions the Super Hike could end up being a bad allergy day in 2015. I gotta hope that it isn't or that it's mild enough that hiking will be enough to keep the demons at bay. Often I can avoid or lessen the effect of an attack by getting my blood moving.

I did manage a 5k hike yesterday at Okehocking before bailing but yesterday it was partly sunny and warm. Today it's rainy and about 62 so I didn't even bother to go out for hill work. Two negatives, in this case, do not make a positive.

I am grateful that not all years are as rough as this one.

Keep smiling and keep moving ....
(Achoo, sniff)
-Paula

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hill Work Starts Now

I'm 5 weeks away from finishing phase one of my Super Hike Training. Phase One's goal is to get to a 10 hour hike. It's planned for October 25. Phase One is about mental stick-to-tiveness as much as increasing time on my feet.

Phase Two's focus will be on physical strength. Climbing and core work. Starting tonight I've begun overlapping Phase One and Phase Two. Thursdays are for hills (or stairs) and yoga Mondays start next week.

I started tonight with 4 hill repeats on the 8th street hill in Media. My goal tonight was to pick a number I knew I could finish. 4 sounded good. It occurs to me that maybe that's too small but I figure I have plenty of time to build it up. And next week I have no excuse not to do it since I'm only adding one more. And one more the week after that and so on. Mind game? Maybe but if it works it's all good. So tonight I power walked up the hill three times and jogged the fourth. Next week 5 repeats probably 3 and 2. And so on each week. When I get to ten I'll find a steeper hill and start again. At least that's the plan.

No hiking this weekend though. I'm doing the Schuylkill River Heritage National Park bike ride. I'm really looking forward to it. Approximately 30 miles each day. Hopewell Furnace to Valley Forge on Saturday and Valley Forge to Independence Hall on Sunday.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sundays in the Park

Last week, this week and for the foreseeable future I've blocked out a maximum of 3 hours at Ridley Creek State Park. I love this park.  You've heard me see that before. RCSP is close enough to my house that I can aim for a 9 am start - allowing me at least one day to sleep in - and be back home and cleaned up by 1:00 p.m. Plenty of time to enjoy Sunday. The trails are challenging enough to get in a good workout and peaceful enough to provide a true recovery from Saturday's longer hikes. I feel really lucky to have this gem so close to me.

I hope to encourage more fitness buddies to join me. Last week Sara was there. She's running  a half marathon in Bucks County today and training for the Goofy Challenge so I don't expect to see her hiking as much between now and then. Today I was by myself. I left from area #16 and completed 5.25 miles on the White and Blue trails. I even ran a little of the trails today. It felt good. I saw a few runners; a couple of dogs (all leashed); a turtle and a lot of sunshine peeking through the trees.

Today's peacefulness completely wiped away the ugliness of yesterday's long hike.  I'll spare you a detailed account because it will likely just sound awfully whiny. The bullet point review is this:

  • Tired
  • Under-hydrated going into it (although did well during)
  • Woke up to serious allergy face
  • Being backed up to a tree by an unleashed german shepherd whose owner tried to tell me it was my fault for being afraid of the dog.
  • Trying to back track on a trail that I swear behaved like the stairs at Hogwarts - changing direction at will. 
  • Finishing the last 1.5 miles in a downpour. 
The upside? I did get out and do it. I finished 6.25 hours of the planned 7 hours. Despite lots of stops to regroup my overall pace was good. Those things totally make up for the frustrations of the hike.

SSH 2015 is scheduled for September 12, 2015. Registration opens February 1st! I have a lot of work to do between now and then. Specifically more, steeper climbing. But I will be there. :)

Keep smiling and keep moving.
-Paula

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The One Where We Gain Some Appreciation for PennDot.

When our Labor Day Road Trip started (I'm a little behind in my blogging) I thought the title of this post would be "George Washington Really Did Sleep Here". We drove to Harper's Ferry, W.Va and began to follow the Washington Heritage Trail. "The footsteps of America’s first president are particularly prominent and inspired creation of the 136-mile National Scenic Byway," is one sentence used to describe the trail. Sounds right up our alley.

This has to be the most poorly signed trail ever. The map provided by the website and one we picked up at the visitor center at Harper's Ferry were only vague approximations of which roads the trail followed and the on road "By Way" signs were often just plain wrong. We could find no rhyme, reason or excuse for many of them. In addition, West Virginia has a very peculiar way of telling you what route you are on. I can't even begin to tell you how it works (or doesn't work).



We saw this sign in Berkeley Springs on day two of the trip. It is perfect for the way this route is mapped and we totally understood why the residents of Cornelius Avenue were frustrated. Interesting thing is we never resorted to GPS during the trip. We had the maps of the trail and a road map of West Virginia from AAA. I think the historic nature of the route we were on put GPS out of our minds. Based on this sign it would not have helped anyway.

Despite the detours and turn arounds we had a great time as we usually do on our road trips. Oh and we saw two permanent street named Detour Road in two different states on this trip.

Here is a link to photos from the trip.