So here we are now, getting into some great summer weather, and it’s time to get serious. We’re beach-goers too, so it was hard to stick to a plan since every weekend this summer had some amazing weather! But, preparing to hike Mt. Washington required training… progressed training (which is right in my wheelhouse). I started to feel a little extra stressed when I was home visiting my parents for a Memorial Day yard picnic, and a friend of my father’s, who is an avid hiker/outdoorsman, was introduced to me to talk shop. While he didn’t describe the hike on Washington as a mountain of doom (I had also recently watched “Everest,” which in fact was full of doom), he didn’t make it seem particularly manageable. When you read about trails, and hikes, everyone’s perspective is a little different. Understandably so, as everyone’s fitness level is different and we all respond differently in the face of a challenge. Just like an exercise class, you’ll just have to perform at your own pace! But here I am thinking, “Yea, I’m in shape… psh, I’m a trainer… I’ve been working on my endurance… I lift weights,” he made Washington sound like I’d be climbing the “Aggro Crag” from Nikelodeon’s ’90s action sports show “GUTS.” (video above is worth the watch, merely to reminisce). So now I’m thinking, I’ll be plummeting to my death August 7th… which is when that pre-purchased “Hike Safe Card” will become a waste of money! I started to do a little more research into planning a route up and back down. I also started looking at what day hikes in New England would be varied in scenery, would challenge us in length, in elevation gain, and in terms of technical footing. I was hoping to get 4 hikes in between June and July (with the addition of the BAA 10K at the end of June). This was a lot… I tend to always take on a lot. But, you’ve got to dream big, right?!
Setting goals, especially with fitness is so important. How many times have you said you were going to lose X-amount of weight, and didn’t? Why is that? Maybe the amount you wanted to lose wasn’t realistic. Maybe you didn’t really have a path to accomplish that (or the right path). It’s the worst feeling to set a goal for yourself and never accomplish it. That’s why your goals need a little more thought, and need to be SMART (check out my September Newsletter for more info about SMART goals). I had a specific goal: hike up and down Mount Washington summer 2016. I had a measurable goal: complete the hike in 8hrs (I really just had to make it down before dinner). I had an attainable goal: I will be able to hike Washington by progressing through 4 hikes prior. My goal was realistic: I am already in good physical shape & completing training that will allow me to safely complete this hike in the desired time frame. My goal was timely: I was doing this hike Aug. 7th as a birthday gift to my boyfriend. (A bizarre present, I know, but we stayed overnight at a lodge after…paying for the weekend was the gift…along with spending precious moments with yours truly! The Appalachian Mountain Club has different lodges & huts to stay overnight & they provide food, which is clutch.)
It really began the weekend after our Acadia trip and 2 weekends before the 10K (AKA mid-June), my bf & I hiked the Welch-Dickey loop trail in Thornton, NH to officially begin “our,” AKA “my” mountain training. A popular, moderately strenuous, 4.1mile trail, the loop works it way to both mountain peaks at 2065′ & 2734′ respectively. I figured it would take us around 3 hours-i dont recalls what we actually did it in, but we also dawdle for photo-ops with statuesque pines. I didn’t want to do anything too strenuous just yet as I was still heavily focused on my running. Plus, work can leave me a little sore sometimes too! I had read this hike contained some granite ledges that offered spectacular views. We both appreciate a great mountain view- so this was phase 1. I would rate this trail on the more strenuous side of moderate, as things get prettttyyyy steep on those granite ledges. Needless to say, my calves were killing me teaching Total Body class the following Monday morning! Also, my timing of watching “Everest” was quite poor when I was struggling to gain stable footing, and I foolishly looked down a steep ledge. This obviously forced my recall to a movie scene when a man with altitude sickness was blown off the mountain to his death… this then triggered a not-so-small panic attack as my eyes bulged from my face like a Looney-Toons character. I thought, “I’ll be the one to fall off this bump of a mountain while other people three times my age probably hike this in Tevas.” This too passed, and even when the rain moved in, again forcing a recollection of some “Everest” snow storm scenes, the views were worth it.
Next, I had to run at 10K! That was a spring-time goal of mine as well. It almost got blown-up when I was sick and got knocked back on my ass in early May. It took me around 3 weeks to regain my strength, the aerobic capacity I had improved upon, and very simply, the energy, to get back to training the way I wanted to for the race. I was so disappointed when I fell ill the day before the 5K I was going to run as a progression to the 10K. My co-worker, Ribert, had helped me improve my form greatly. However despite our best efforts, these things happen. Sometimes, things don’t go perfectly. My first attempt, likely too soon, and running after being sick, left me with a scraped knee after tripping on Summer Street. Certain expletives were blurted from my mouth, but nothing Southie hasn’t heard before. Sometimes there are SET-BACKS! It’s all how you choose to deal with getting knocked-down. I was glad I had given myself enough time in training, that I still had time to get to the 10K. So when the day came, I was massaged (curtsey of the amazing Emma McDonough, here at the club), I was foam rolled, and I was ready to run! It was a large race, which was a little intimidating to say the least, but after my anxiety wore off through mile 1, and thanks to Santina for running with me, I started to smile (which actually surprised me). I WAS going to do this, I WAS ready for this, and I am doing it in a city I consider my home. I WAS happy and having fun- who knew? I ran up all my hills and cheered others on when they walked (it did feel good to pass them though, haha). Using my fancy Garmin watch (a thoughtful Xmas gift from the BF) was supremely helpful to pace myself, and I felt goooood! I felt good with 3 miles left, with 1.5mile left, with 1, then half a mile, and I was feeling better and better. I began smiling ear to ear because my watch was showing me I WAS going to finish in my desired time. After getting sick in May, I had to make a slight adjustment to this to keep things realistic, but with lemons I made lemonade. I achieved my goal and there’s nothing better feeling than that. It wasn’t the marathon, but it was MY marathon. 6.2miles is the farthest I’ve ever run (at one time of course), and it happened because I had a plan, and because of the people who supported me in the process. Plus, I don’t give up so easily. 😉
Look for Part 3 of my summer hiking adventures for some tips on staying motivated with your goal setting!