Saturday, November 29, 2008


A couple days ago, Dee posted a thought-provoking essay, Cell Phone vs. Bible.

Suppose I used my Bible as much as I use my cell phone?

I'll tell you right off, I don't.

But what if.... every time I see someone talking on their cell phone, I shoot up a quick arrow prayer to God? For the person on the cell phone? For the ignored cashier checking the phone-user's groceries? For the drivers sharing the road with the phone-user? For the family of the phone-user? For the workers who made the cell-phone? For everyone in the world using a cell-phone at this moment?

Suppose every time I use my phone or hear it ring, I say a short prayer before I put the phone to my ear?

For my family?

For my husband?

For me?

Monday morning I have my long-anticipated, long-worried-about cardiac stress test, the follow-up to my hospitalization for the anxiety attack that I thought might be a heart attack. They'll shoot me up with some kind of nuclear stuff and garner high-tech images of my heart at rest and under stress on the treadmill. Hopefully my tendons will be up to the challenge, able to do what my heart is capable of.... walking fast/jogging on an incline.

I'm mostly over my semi-PTSD from the anxiety attack, but I'm still a little apprehensive about the test.... due to my tendons, I haven't done much real heart-stressing cardio since June, and don't know what will happen when I push to the max, since they never did find out what that attack was. No physician has told me it was a panic attack; I have told them. Maybe it was something else after all.

Then Tuesday morning I have oral surgery. The front tooth I broke at age 10, had crowned after a root canal, bashed against a glass door early this summer, cracking the root with the post to which the crown is attached.... that cracked root has to come out. An implant inserted and bone-grafting and gum-reshaping. Temporary prosthesis, a "flipper"(click for picture) for months and months while the whole thing heals. After I get done hiking the Trail, I'll get a permanent crown.

I'll have to walk around without a front tooth for a week or so until enough healing takes place to use the flipper.

Now I'm going out for my first FIVE-MILE walk on my Achilles Tendonitis Rehab Journey.

Maybe over the next couple days, once or twice when you use your cell phone or see someone using theirs, you could send up a little thought for me and my stress test and my teeth. Thank you...

Thursday, November 20, 2008


That's "LOSING IT" with my right hand on the wrong keys.

On the docket for today's training: 2 miles, an easy day in between two 4.5's.

Each walking day is a chance to try out trail-wear (needs are different for walking than for running, I'd know just what to wear for a run, still figuring it out for walking.) Today at start time: cloudy, 40*F, wind WNW at 19mph, wind chill 30*F.

Decision: Light acrylic zip-up hooded sweater (can be base, middle or top layer, $3.99 at Goodwill) and tights that I made by taking in the legs of a pair of sweater-knit pants ($2.00 at Salvation Army on half-price day.)

Both were in my backpack, which I had to go outside and get. Dug in it for my clothing bag. The sweater was there, but where the H were the pants??? I never wear them for anything in real life, there is nowhere they could be but in that bag, in my pack. Look through drawers and closet. Nope. Gone. ?????????

Well.... then my hotsy-totsy Marmot Precip waterproof windproof breathable rain/wind pants (real gear, $70 from an outfitter I can't remember near Bar Harbor, ME.) I'll see if they're windproof. I'll see if they're breathable. I'll see if I stick to them when I'm sweaty or if I'll need an underlayer.

So the rain pants, sweater, and over it all, half-zip windbreaker/rain jacket ($10 her at Candy Hill Campground.)

Where the hell are those pants? This is bothering me. It happens to me all the time. Things just disappear from my life without preamble or explanation. Poof. Gone.

OK, so 2 miles. Plan: Walk half a mile, run a quarter-mile (I carry a hand-held GPS), repeat until done. It's 2 miles to the fire house so that's an easy target. Things were going great until I was at 1.6, headed for the fire house and suddenly, DUH..... it's 2 miles to the fire house so it's also 2 miles BACK and that makes 4, not 2, and if I turn around right now that will be over 3 so I'm breaking training no matter what.

So I turned around but, what the heck here, am I losing my mind as well as my pants? Maybe losing my pants is part of losing my mind. Good thing I didn't forget pants altogether, although I'm sure I'd have recognized my mistake pretty quickly in the cold, if I could figure out why I was cold, that is.

Stats: 3.3 miles, four 1/4-mile runs making a full mile of running, my new PR in my post-Achilles incarnation.

More than planned, but not really too much, more than a mile less than my max, and besides, I have to "train" for my stress test coming up in a couple weeks. My husband says, "Who the hell trains for a stress test?" I do. I'm out of shape from not running/biking all summer and want to pull a decent test without having to get shot up with stuff to increase my heart rate.

Clothing results:
Acrylic sweater: Fabulous. Wicked that sweat right through to the inside of my windbreaker, which was wet although the sweater stayed dry.

Rain pants: OK. Didn't stick to me, although they didn't feel fabulous -- like nylon against skin. Blocked the wind. Apparently breathed though, they weren't clammy or anything.

Where the hell are those sweater tights????

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Gosh, gang..... y'all have been asking where I am. You miss me when I don't post! Love ya!

Sometimes, life just seems to be the same thing every day and I can't think of anything to post about.

I'll start with my walking/training progress, since that's a great metaphor for still being alive.

Walking is up to 4.5 miles. Yay!! That's half a day's hike in the early weeks of the Trail. I expect to start with about 8 miles a day, upping it every couple weeks by a couple miles until I stabilize at the 16 or so daily miles most hikers put in. Daily distance partly depends on where the next shelter is. They're spaced roughly a day's hike apart, anything from 6 to maybe 12 miles. I don't plan to stay in the shelters for the most part.... the mice are plentiful and brazen, and I don't like to hear snoring. But tenting right near the shelter is good, because you never camp alone that way. Most shelters have tentsites nearby. If the weather is really, really awful (torrential rain, wild wind) I'll stay inside the shelter, with ear plugs (for the snores of shelter mates) and a piece of bug netting (for the mice, with whom I would rather not share my sleeping bag, or my hair.)

Next week I graduate to a 5-mile walk. Woohooo!!! I'm starting to jog a little bit, too, since soon my walking will be of enough distance to take a huge chunk of time without some "running breaks."

I love my new backpack. It's supposed to be "Lip Red" as described in my previous post, but it's really more of a rust color (thank goodness.) It's 3800 cubic inches, and all my stuff is packed into it with room to spare. It resides in the storage area under our RV home, since I can't hike yet, especially with extra weight in a backpack. Every few days I haul it out, unpack it, ponder what I'll need and what I won't and what I could make a lighter version of, then repack it, put it back under the camper, and read my AT books some more. Or something similar.... right now I'm reading Yukon Alone, by John Balzar, about the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, less well-known and more rugged than the Iditarod. Like other athletes preparing for a major event -- marathon, triathlon, hiking the Appalachian Trail -- the mushers obsess over their lists of what they need, how much food per dog per day, pack, unpack, repack, revise the list, and start over. They weigh everything over and over trying to get their load as light as possible (their sled bags are commonly packed with 350 pounds of supplies, mostly food for the dogs, relatively little for themselves.) They plan airdrops of food and supplies (on the AT that's a mail drop; in the Ironman it's the Special Needs Stops;) they plan race strategies of how many miles in how many hours at what pace followed by what length rest break.... it's all so familiar. Sports are all so different but it seems endurance sports have features that bind their participants together in common experience.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote a blog post. Our computer was down for awhile.... or rather, we had to get a new hard drive after my husband spilled a glass of wine all over it!! Anyway, we're back up again.

Camping out in the cold.... it went fine. I was warm enough in my sleeping bag with an extra layer of clothes, even down to 28* one night. I got tired of faking a backpacking trip after 3 days of it, though. I slept outside, took down my tent every morning, put it back up every night, and ate hiking food cooked on my backpacking stove. But in the backyard it was just missing something.

Anyway, on to the news....

With my end-of-season bonus from Candy Hill Campground, I just ordered my backpack for my Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike. GoLite Quest Women's, MSRP $175, goes for $169 at Campmor, on sale for $119.99. I think I got a good deal. It's one of the ones that's been on my short list.

From the Campmor description:

"The Quest is an all season backpacking, mountaineering, alpinist, adventure, travel pack. The shoulder straps, torso and hip area are narrower for women's-specific fit.
Adjustable webbing hipbelt with two bellowed mesh pockets for closures
Two side hydration openings with internal sleeve for 3 liter hydration
Front pocket holds shovel, shovel handle, skins and probe [rain jacket, gloves, snacks...]
Two side compression straps with quick release
Removable lid with a welded watertight zipper for top pocket
Compaktor system
Side compression straps release and join to opposite side for carrying snowboard, snowshoes etc. [or wet tent.. it will be, most of the time, you dry it out during rest breaks]
Frame sheet with 2 adjustable aluminum stays [removable to shave weight]
Two angled side mesh pockets with elastic top binding for easy access while wearing
Shaped back panel and hip wings with padding to contour to the back and hips
Contoured, compression molded hip wings with supreme cushion that cups the hips while in use
Number of pockets: 6
Made of: 100% pu-coated nylon Velocity with DWR
S - H 28 in. x W 8.5in. x D 10 in.

S - 2 lbs. 12 oz.

S - 3800 cu in.

Yummy!!!! Yes, I got red. The other choice was "iris," which looked to me more like lilac, a fairly girly color. I don't want to be girly.

Now I have to wait for shipment :-( Not that I'm going anywhere, unless I take it on my now FOUR-mile walks.... Yes, FOUR miles!! With a few short smooth gentle jogs included! Movin' on up!!