Saturday, August 24, 2013


On Sundays I look at the week and count the days I want to walk, less Sunday if I walked to Starbucks to get the Sunday newspapers, and what days I need to run errands, go to appointments, do stuff around the place, or just work on the Website and photo guide projects.

I look at the calendar on the wall and count 4 or 5 days of walking and then hope I can walk those days if I don't get sick from food (common problem now). When I get to Saturday and look back at the week and realized I walked the days, I feel good that I walked the 32-40 plus miles.

Then I realize I have to do it all over again in the coming week. Yeah. I'm stuck at 8 miles per walk most days with some 8.5-9 mile walks when the body and really the legs feel good which I decide at the halfway mark leaving the cafe.

And I'm stuck at 15-plus lbs in the backpack as 20 lbs hurts the back later that day and often into the next day or two, sometimes three. The goals of 10 miles with 20-25 lbs seems distant and running again even more distant, let along hiking with 30-40 lbs of gear.

But then I realize I started a year ago at 2-3 miles with no backpack. And I realize the higher the goal, the harder and longer it will take to get there as I get older and the Sciatic nerve slowly heals. And all I can do is keep walking as many days as I can.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Not Smart

The hardest part of some walking days is realizing your legs are giving out followed by your body running out of energy when you're still over a mile from home and all you can do is still walk. Like there's a choice and something will magically teleport you home.

Surprisingly if you just keep walking you do get home, your muscle and body will surprise you even if you're exhausted and every muscle hurts later. You can in your 60's still surprise yourself by being totally worn out and feel good too.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Walking Route

This is typical of the 8 mile route I walk now. It's in the rural part of the county where some parts of the road has a shoulder for bikes and walkers, one half mile part has a sidewalk, but much of it is this. Only the short part around and in the commercial area is visibly developed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

What I have learned

What I have learned walking is that there is a period when you increase the effort either by adding weight to the pack or distance to the walk that I'm tired afterward, often for much if not all of the rest of the day.

In May I started walking 8 miles consistently at a 15-16 minute per mile pace. And I was tired for the rest of the day and had to take days off for errands around town, to catch up on stuff at home or work on the Website.

That has slowly changed in August as I found I'm not completely tired later in the day, which leads to two choice. I can either stay at this level and do more work, or I can up the effort to get better and fitter, and go through the cycle of being tired all over again.

And when does the latter stop? I've added another 0.5 to 1.0 mile some days and added another 5 lbs on other days and I'm back to being tired later but less and recover to work later in the day. This tells me the body is, albeit slowly, getting back to some sense of normal, but still some ways from normal.

So, that's where I'm at with the walking. Since hiking is usually 4-8 hours and roughly 6-12 miles roundtrip with significant elevation gain and loss, the walking still isn't sufficient to return to hiking more than 4-6 miles with a larger, heavier backpack.

The plan was to increase to 10 miles with 20 lbs, so I still have some ways to go, but the effort is reminding me that as you work, the effort is harder and longer, but the rewards are greater and better. And it's why maybe stopping at a level you're "comfortable" with maybe isn't enough.

Something to ponder on the walks, where do I stop to get better.

Friday, August 2, 2013


This week after walking 10 of the last 12 days at the end of July and taking a day off July 31st for errands and laundry I really didn't want to walk yesterday and today, but I know I had to walk the first 5 days of August to take a few days off next week.

The goal is to walk at least 15 days a month and 120 miles and add when the spirit and really the legs and feet were up to it. Walking 8 miles now and working on adding 1-2 miles, cuts the days from 20 to 15 to reach the minimum and adds days or miles for more exercise.

The goal here is first to get back into shape from health issues since the spring of 2008 when the digestive system went south and it took almost 4 years to discover it was caused by two different sources, one a drug I was taking and the second was food itself.

In addition I had to go through several other health issues, a number of expensive test on my heart to remove any problem as the source now and into the future. It's really a strong, robust heart with minor related issues, all manageable without drugs.

The other issue was the Sciatic nerve I pinched in June 2011 and again in 2012 which put my flat on my back in early July 2012, and hence the walking, which is the best treatment for it. It's free, minus appropriate clothes and shoes but nothing medical, just yourself.

I also had problems with my prostrate which took $1K to discover it's an infection and a higher PSA level they like but within the normal range. That's resolved now, leaving justs the Sciatic nerve and walking.

Which is the reason for the post here. In walking yesterday and today I realized I must keep walking whether I want to or not, it's the dedication I need to practice despite how I feel and the weather. Just walk. That's all, every day I can.

I realized walking is my escape from the world, but mostly from myself. When you walk, as I used to do with hiking in Mt. Rainier NP, it's the act of walking (or hiking) that's the sole goal and purpose of the time. Just walk and observe.

It's also my escape from the many things I should be doing. For the nearly three hours, the walk there, cafe and or errands, and walk home, I don't have to face the things at home, some long overdue. I'm a great procrastinator and walking reinforces it with benefits.

By the time I get home, shower and eat lunch, much of the day is gone to focus on a few thing in the afternoon and evening before calling it a day. Walking is my excuse I don't have to do the other things except when it fits into the remaining time.

So walking is great for the body and the mind, if the latter is avoiding other things. In short, escaping my own reality.