Saturday, January 31, 2015

An Exercise in Resolve

New Year's Resolutions tend to get a bad rap these days and be dismissed as somewhat anachronistic and not having much value. Suffice it to say, however, that I think there is something to be said for using them as a device for getting on track with habits we know or have decided are a good idea. 
     In 2013 I compiled a list of more than a dozen resolutions and, relative to that number, enjoyed only moderate success with them overall. In 2014 I did not write down any at all, but did implement at least one positive behavior pattern. This year I mentally resolved to a short list of less than a half-dozen items, to include taking more steps toward becoming a semi-vegetarian, striving to quickly remove myself from toxic situations, imposing more organization and structure on my work routine, learning Greek, and exercising outside every day. While I have thus far not given up on any of these and achieved some success with a couple of them, it is the one related to physical activity with which I have been most diligent. 
     Hiking and adventure travel are things I have always enjoyed and want to continue for the foreseeable future. I was in OK shape at the beginning of the year but spend a lot of time sitting on my butt, including all the time that I am working, and sometimes several days or even a week or two will slip by without me getting out, exercising, and getting some fresh air and sunshine (or whatever the weather has to offer). So, resolving to start and stick with a hiking regimen, and not make excuses because of things like inclement weather that are factors when in the field, is especially important to me. 
     Following is what I have accomplished in the first month of 2015, to include distances covered and increasing amounts of weight carried. In about half the cases where I say "at least 0.6 miles roundtrip to mailbox" I actually went 1.2 miles instead but did not record a distance for that day and, being unsure which route I took, prefer to understate rather than overstate what I accomplished. 

January 1 (Thursday): Walked 1.2 miles (i.e., to end of the Mystic Shores Parkway cul-de-sac and back). 
January 2 (Friday): Walked 1.2 miles. 
January 3 (Saturday)Walked (at least 0.6 miles roundtrip to mailbox). 
January 4 (Sunday)Walked 2.5 miles w. 15.2-pound load (i.e., Macaw Lane cul-de-sac, Mystic Shores Parkway cul-de-sac, mailbox, and back, w. 1.6-pound walking stick, 6.4-pound shoulder pouch, 7.2-pound backpack). 
January 5 (Monday)Walked 2.5 miles w. 17.8-pound load (i.e., 9.8-pound backpack). 
January 6 (Tuesday)Walked 2.5 miles w. 18-pound load (i.e., 10-pound backpack). Wore Limner hiking boots and got a blister on instep of left foot. 
January 7 (Wednesday)Walked w. 18-pound load (at least 0.6 miles roundtrip to mailbox). 
January 8 (Thursday): Walked 1.2 miles w. 18-pound load; freezing and darkening by the time I got home and made it out. 
January 9 (Friday): Walked 2.5 miles w. 18-pound load; below freezing and windy. 
January 10 (Saturday)Walked w. 18-pound load (at least 0.6 miles roundtrip to mailbox).  
January 11 (Sunday)Walked 1.2 miles w. 18-pound load
January 12 (Monday)Walked w. 18-pound load (at least 0.6 miles roundtrip to mailbox).  
January 13 (Tuesday)Walked 2.5 miles w. 20.2-pound load (i.e., 12.2-pound backpack). 
January 14 (Wednesday)Walked 1.2 miles w. 18-pound load (i.e., to Macaw Lane cul-de-sac and mailbox)
January 15 (Thursday): NO WALK (due to exigent circumstances; i.e., two visits to a pet hospital and ones to two emergency rooms). 
January 16 (Friday): Walked 1.2 miles, 20.2 pounds. 
January 17 (Saturday): Walked 2.5 miles, 20.2 pounds. 
January 18 (Sunday): Walked c. 2.5 miles, 8 pounds (i.e., observed a "day of rest" and carried only my pouch and walking stick and left the backpack behind). 
January 19 (Monday): Walked 3.25 miles, 20.2 pounds (i.e., 0.75 miles south on Mystic Parkway and back, down to Mystic Shores Parkway cul-de-sac and back, and up to the mailbox and back). Got a cramp in my left calf (and both were tight and achy next day). 
January 20 (Tuesday): Walked 2.5 miles with 8 pounds; left backpack behind because of cramping in both calves, which loosened up toward end. Bright, sunny, breezy, and very warm for January (i.e., c. 80 degrees). 
January 21 (Wednesday): Walked 1.8 miles (first 2/3 w. 8 pounds and last 1/3 w/out stick and just 6.4 pounds). 
January 22 (Thursday): Walked 1.8 miles (first 2/3 w. 20.2 pounds and last 1/3 w/out stick and just 18.6 pounds). Cold and rainy and also wore Gore-Tex jacket. 
January 23 (Friday): Walked 2.5 miles with 20.2 pounds. Cold and windy to start but warmed up toward end. Not feeling weight in the pack and ready to increase incrementally. 
January 24 (Saturday): Walked 2.5 miles with 20.2 pounds. Cool but sunny. Getting no resistance from the pack and need to increase load. 
January 25 (Sunday): Increased both weight and distance and walked 3.1 miles with 25.5-pound load! Perfect conditions for walking and did regular route plus an extra walk down to the Macaw Lane cul-de-sac at the end. 
January 26 (Monday): Walked 2.5 miles with 23.5 pounds. Beautiful 70 degree day.  
January 27 (Tuesday): Walked 2.5 miles with 23.5 pounds. Beautiful, cloudless day but at 86 degrees unseasonably warm even for south Texas in January. 
January 28 (Wednesday): Walked 2.5 miles with about 9 pounds; feeling a little achy from yesterday and decided to leave the backpack behind, ironically in that Diane started carrying one today. Another beautiful day and we went out around 12:45 and before it got too hot. 
January 29 (Thursday): Walked 2.5 miles with c. 23 pounds. 
January 30 (Friday): Walked 2.5 miles with 22.7 pounds. Reweighed gear and found that, for whatever reasons, the weight was not exactly what I thought it had been, indicating that I probably need to verify this every few days. 
January 31 (Saturday): Cold and raining steadily and I have been achy but broke out the Gore-Tex and walked 0.6 miles up to the mailbox and back. Did not want to end the first month of the year without at least getting in a token walk! 

My goal is to eventually add longer walks as much as once a week and at least once a month, and to gradually increase my load to a regular training weight of 30 pounds and a periodic weight of as much as 50 or 60 pounds. There are certainly people who do a lot more than this, and it is a shadow of what I regularly did when I was an Army infantryman, but I am not competing with anyone but myself and if I can stick with this regimen it will help me to accomplish a number of planned expeditions — to include a 10-day hike up the Northumberland coast of England this summer and a c. 45-day hike along the Camino de Santiago in spring 2016. 


Michael Varhola said...

Drove the routes I have been walking to verify my understanding of their distances was correct and discovered I was off the mark on a few things and have fixed them in the above article. What now says "1.2 miles" I previously had listed as "1.5 miles" and what now says "2.5. miles" I previously had down as "2.25 miles."

katezentar said...

so proud of you my friend. Keep the faith,
LuvKate <3

Skirmisher Publishing LLC said...

Thanks, Kate! Appreciate that a lot. Diane and I are both trying to stay on top of this, both for purposes of staying generally in shape and so we will be ready for our upcoming Northumberland coast and Camino de Santiago expeditions.