The ass-kicking leftovers
As I mentioned in "We interrupt this program...", Kim kicked my ass last week. She claims to feel a little bad about it, but I really don't believe her. I think she actually enjoyed it a little. She is evil according to Dave after all. [Dave thinks Kim is eevvviiiillllll after she dropped off See's Dark Chocolates. I think she's a sweetheart - when she's not kicking my ass. He's just going to have to suck it up and deal it.] Back to the subject at hand, part of her ass-kicking was about setting some goals for myself. She had a few reasons, the most important to me being building up my strength and endurance to get back on the trails again. Kim knew that one would hit home with me. Not being able to hike in the Sierra was killing me on so many levels and she knew that. She might have seen me shed a few tears about it, just a few... billion.
|Proof that Dave thinks Kim (and I) are evil.|
While there are a lot of 'low risk' PT exercises I do at home, I clearly needed to get out and practice walking without the cane more. Kim suggested doing laps in the driveway of the apartment complex as a place to start. I could get some sunshine therapy and work on my endurance, not bad. On my non-PT days, I could start doing a few laps until I was tired, take a break, maybe go at it more. Gradually, I would set my goals higher each day depending on how I was feeling. Granted it's not the Sierra, but it's a place to start. I had to start pushing myself if I wanted to get back in the Sierra faster.
I have to admit, the first day of doing it, I was tired after two little laps. Little did I know how tiring walking, focusing on form, and making sure you don't fall or get blown over by the wind can be. I also didn't realize it when I was overdoing it the first few times, but did I ever find out the next day. I've been dealing with all sorts of sore muscles, especially in the lower back, since starting this little project. I complain about it, but as they say, "no pain, no gain". I personally blame Kim for all of it; she is the one that kicked my ass into gear after all. I actually know a lot of it is because the muscles in my hips, legs and feet are still super weak, but it's more fun to blame her.
Gradually, I've been increasing the number of laps I can do at a time and the number of times I go out during the day to walk. Sometimes I'd even drag Dave along for some evening laps. He's a good sport. I can tell when I'm getting tired now because my walking starts to look like that of someone who's had a bit too much to drink (better form though). Eventually, I'm going to start transitioning to walks in the neighborhood. Kim told me that if I ever get tired and just can't go any farther or make it back, just send her a text and she'll be there to pick me up. It's things like that which remind me just how much she cares. I'm pretty sure she'll be getting a few texts to come pick me up off the curb, but that's a sign of progress for me on so many levels.
I'll start setting more goals as things keep progressing. I've come to realize the importance of setting them and trying to meet them. I might not always reach all of them, but it's a way to keep me focused on the bigger picture and getting back to being my crazy adventurous self. As a joke, my goal will be to kick Kim's ass at some point. Right now I could probably get her thigh, but I'd probably fall over in the process. One day, when she least expects it... :-)
THE Goal. Yes, *the* hiking goal for this fall.
After the talk with Kim about setting goals, I decided that I needed to set a hiking goal for this year, one that actually meant something to me. I needed to set a bigger picture goal. I have two favorite places in the Sierra - Precipice Lake and the Evolution Valley/Basin. I've personally ruled out Precipice this year because it's not only 18+ miles one way, but it's also a backpacking trip. While I don't know what my status with backpacking will be later this year, I wanted to set a more achievable goal, like a long dayhike. That leaves the Evolution Valley (EVO) - my favorite section of the John Muir Trail and probably the most stunning area in all of the Sierra Nevada (in my opinion). While technically to reach the EVO, we'd have to backpack, there is a shortcut. Even via the shortcut, EVO would still be a stretch for me (10+ miles one way and lots of elevation gain/loss), so I decided to set my goal to *see* it. By hiking up to the Lamarck Col, you can see Darwin Canyon, Mt Darwin, Mt Mendel and various other peaks and lakes in EVO. I'm visualizing it right now just writing this post...
My goal is to hike up to Lamarck Col and see EVO by late fall. While I know this is a lofty goal, 5+ miles one way and 3500 feet of elevation gain, it's my goal. I mean, I could set a goal of just hiking a few miles on some flatter trails in the Sierra or something like that, but I really wanted to set a goal that was meaningful to me. So, seeing the Evolution Valley again is my goal for this year and it's one that I'm going to push myself to achieve.
|Note: first paragraph, last sentence. This will be one hell of a goal.|
The Support System
Some might think I'm crazy with a goal of this magnitude, I mean I am coming off two back surgeries not even three months ago, but it doesn't bother me. I've never been one to settle for the normal expectations, I've always pushed myself to go above and beyond. The same applies to this situation. I am very fortunate to have an amazing support system through this whole ordeal. Dave has been absolutely amazing. He's always been by my side, rock solid through everything. I love him so much. Mike and Kim are like family. They've both been there for me since they heard what happened - Mike always sending words of encouragement and finding ways to make me laugh, Kim always being there to listen when I needed to talk, a shoulder to cry on, a ride to PT and doctor appointments, etc. I owe them both so much and am so grateful they are in my life. Sandy and Jenn have been so supportive during all of this, as have co-workers, friends from all corners of the world, it's all been amazing. Coming as far as I have would not have been possible without an amazing support system. The same applies to moving forward and trying to reach this goal. I am grateful every day for the support system I have... love you all.