Where In The Prep?

After you’ve launched enough thru-hikes, friends and family stop asking for the scoop. No biggie! I appreciate that they’re all in the know and have confidence in my Pacific Crest Trail 2017 preparations. So perhaps more as a record and accountability for myself, here’s what’s been going on in my world.

As always, I dream up big plans for getting in shape and losing weight. I’m attempting to emerge from a rough couple of years with regards to my health. Long story short, on the first day of trying Altra Lone Peak shoes something went twinge in my right foot which ultimately kept me from starting the AT last year. I’ve written about it previously, here. Between the foot injury and a subsequent groin injury, my activity level dropped dramatically and the pounds slowly started to add up. These factors also contributed to my unsuccessful L2H attempt. As a person with a metabolism that drags its claws through the mud, weight gain is like a death sentence. Ok, that’s a little extreme but the struggle to lose that weight is very real. Bottom line: I’m great at gaining weight and the last place finisher in losing it. Ironically, this is the perfect recipe for a healthy thru-hiker!

Jan. 22 training hike, 5 miles. The hike back up the mountain went from rain to snow.

As soon as I gain or lose weight, my thyroid hormone dosage is out of balance. Tipping in either direction from balance is a lesson in stiff joints and lethargy. Keep in mind that corrections to my thyroid hormone dosage take 3-6 months for full effectiveness. My required dependency on calcium can no longer be ignored and missed doses lead to feeling ill and more lethargy. I’m not trying to weave some sob story. These are just the very real challenges of my life; the life of a thyroid cancer survivor with impaired parathyroids who wants to do athletic things.

How do I push through the struggles of loosing weight with no peer support? Not very well. As you may have suspected, my fitness and weight goals are behind schedule. And while this fact gets me down, all I really can do is accept where I am and make the best of it. My plans for the PCT this year applied extra pressure and motivation to start in the best physical shape possible. I’m not going to be an athletic 20-something jetting down the trail doing 40s, but I was hoping for a modestly in-shape almost 40-year-old. I know what I need to do, I just have a hard time loyally executing the plans on my behalf.

Feb. 1 – Memory Meadows Ridge Loop.

Thus far the training hikes have been minimal. And although I eat a healthy diet, without activity I have no chance against the weight monster. It’s crunch time with just under 35 days until my departure. Sometimes Mother Nature applies external forces to help me on my way and sometimes she doesn’t. Like yesterday afternoon I arrived at a downed tree nearly a mile from home. There was no pulling it out of the road so I hiked home, arms loaded with my school stuff. When the tree was cleared (the neighbors beat me to it), I had to walk back down to retrieve the vehicle I’d left behind. Thank you Mother Nature for the few miles of exercise. And no thank you for the rain this weekend while I need to be out hiking!

So, what’s the goal for the next month (while I’m still working)? How about a minimum of 25 miles/week? Anyone want to match me in this challenge or check in to hold me accountable? 

Mar. 3 – Low pass loop training hike.

Mar. 6 snow storm deters hiking efforts.

Mar. 5 – Chores in the snow are good exercise too!

Mar. 2 – The gift of a sunny day!

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Comments 2

  • Mig Whitt Trail Name YIPPEE. : Mar 23rd

    Lion Heart, Mig Whitt here (YIPPEE)-trail name. We have talked before. I love what you wrote, thanks for your honesty. I will see you out on the PCT, my start date is April 3rd. I also struggle with the weight factor and the age factor. I will hold you to your challenge. Get out more, opt outside kind of stuff. You have the food thing and ultra lite gear, do not let the depression get you down, You are stronger than you know and of course you know this deep down inside. Let no -one tell you that you can’t do something. You are all dialed in, not just believe it. YIPPEE.

    • Lion Heart : Mar 23rd

      Hey Mig, Thanks for your message of support! I look forward to following your start! What kind of training are doing in the next week+ before you hit the trail?


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