Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Some Days & Weeks

During the entire time I've been walking 8 miles starting last May-June the progress with getting fitter and better, losing weight and healing the Sciatic nerve and lower back has been fairly consistent, until November, after walking over 200 miles in October.

I had up and downs days and weeks through November but the progress was consistent over the month of December, and until, again, January when the days and weeks have been inconsistent, including this week.

Over the weekend I had food related issues which left me mildly sick and even after getting a flu shot last October I still keep getting 2-3 days of flu symptoms several times a month, but I've managed to still walk most days.

The walks Monday and Tuesday (today Wednesday January 15th) the walks were the hardest in recent months, and during the Monday walk my left leg had that tingly numb feeling you get when you hit a nerve just right.

It lasted for a short distance and quit, but the next morning, the nerve from the top of my left hip down the outside of the left leg to the outside of the sole of my feet started yelling at me whenever I start walking, and while the walk was easier, it's wasn't normal.

So today is a rest day to see if the nerve gets better, but I'm not holding my breath right now. I had planned to get 200+ miles in this month so rest days aren't in the schedule outside of a few I can also run errands or work around the place.

All I can say is that nerve issues aren't fun, especially when the whole day is just a waste from being sick. Now I have to decide if the muscles are ok and it's just the nerve acting up, and get back to walks, maybe even shorter ones for awhile.

Some days and weeks being old just sucks.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weather & Reasons

This morning after confirming the forecast yesterday for today (like weather forecasters are good or accurate, yeah, right) that the weather was, while warm for winter (in the low-mid 40's), it was a real winter rainstorm with thunder and occasional hard rain.

Since I did fieldwork for nearly 14 years in all sorts of weather, from hot Arizona summers to cold Northwest winters, I have all the layers and outerwear, meaning GoreTex, to easily be outside in the worst or almost coldest weather, almost meaning I'm good for anything above zero.

So the question of walking isn't do I want to walk today, especially today, but do I have any reasons not to walk. That's the criteria I use now. Are there errands which requires driving, is there work at home, or does my body and especially legs not up to the task.

So far the answer has been that there are no reasons, even when the body isn't 100% as I know some days I get and feel better during and after the walk and only a few days when I feel worse, which isn't good when you're not feeling well or feeling tired or sore you still have to walk home.

But in the end, I always still walk and get home as I know it's easy to find excuses or reasons not to do something but it's harder when you know doing it will always make you feel and be better. There's no reason against feeling or being better.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Worst Part

The worst part about walking is running out of energy miles from home knowing you still have to walk home. Some days the body, the legs or the energy just gives out, or the legs or especially the feet hurt with every step and there is nothing I can do except walk.

The good part is that I always still walk home and the body, legs and/or feet recover to do it again the next day. Walking isn't just about exercising the body, it's about exercising the whole person, the body and the mind.

Walking is both a physical and mental exercise, and some days, a test of both.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Walking Goals

I'm walking away from who I was.

I'm walking to push the body to be fit, lean and better.

I'm walking toward becoming who I want to be.

I'm walking to walk, not every day but some days, for the sheer freedom and enjoyment of walking.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Taking a Tumble

Most of the weekend I had sore muscles in the middle and lower sections of my back, and today on the last section of a long uphill section of the walk, which I added 1.25 miles for a total 9.25 miles as a test of the distance and more hills since it's been since August I last walked more than 8 miles, the muscles reminded even more.

And after a shower and some pain medication, the muscles still hurt when I try to stand from sitting for more than a few minutes. It's all in the muscles as the Sciatic nerves seem ok, or at least hasn't shown signs of problems.

This puzzled me for awhile when I remembered on New Year's day I walked in the predawn darkness where I tripped over a piece of asphalt on the shoulder and tumbled forward along the shoulder in the mud, puddles and debris.

Fortunately years ago I learned one lesson, never try to stop your fall with your hands or your arms, unless of course you want to break your wrist or seriously hurt or bruise your arm. The best way is to roll with your shoulders and use your hands and arms to protect your head.

Small hint.--If you fall and there's nothing close to grab to help or keep you from falling and you know you're going to hit the ground, roll your hands into fists so the fingers won't get hurt, or worse broken. You can also tuck them into your body to protect them.

Well, I did that and got up, brushed of the dirt and debris and walked on after cussing about being stupid when cars were driving by (no one stopped). Yeah the cursing the darkness idea even when I carry a flashlight for oncoming cars (always walk against traffic when there are no sidewalks).

Well, while the backpack cushioned the fall a little, I more than likely twisted my back enough the muscles got around to hurting over the weekend and more so today. What I know is that the back is only stiff and hurts when I sit for more than a few minutes and try to stand up and walk.

But then things get better when I walk or stretch for awhile. Standing helps too. So it's one of those things you know getting old sucks that you can't take a tumble in the darkness and not expect the body to hurt. And yes, I'm back to 8 mile walks without that long hill, only short ones.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Walking II

You can read the update on the walking for my Sciatic nerve in the previous post, but basically I walked about 1, 670 miles in 2013. I started the year weighing about 190 pounds and ended the year weighing 162 pounds, the recent times weighed on the local drugstore scale.

For most of the walks during the year I didn't see much change in my body, especially the obvious body fat I had from all the weight gain over the decades of tried and failed exercise plans. But then in October when I first weighed myself I realized I had lost the intramuscular fat in my legs and around the body.

It was then I began to notice the loss of the "body" (subcutaneous) fat we carry on the body, and that's what has been slowly decreasing as there isn't much left of the other fat (calories) to burn, and walking 8 miles with a 12-15 pound pack at a ~15 minute per mile pace burns a lot of calories.

I know I should be running instead of walking to burn the calories, but I'm not there yet as my lower back still reminds me of the Sciatic nerve issue and problems with the legs some weeks, eg. shin splints, numbness, balance and feeling tired or sore.

Anyway, the plan is to continue as this pace to lose 2+ lbs a month until I reach about 155 pounds to judge the amount left and either continue to 150 pounds or look to get liposuction, but liposuction is still the end goal as this will remove the fat I always gain so it will never be a problem.

The overall target weight is to 150 pounds to be fit to run 3-5 miles again and hike 6-10 miles with a 30+ pound daypack again. Hopefully the first goal (reaching the weight) will be reached this spring (May) and the other goal (running/hiking) later this summer or fall.

Now that I know the goal is within sight if I keep going, then I know I can get there. All too often I quit thinking I could do it again, but this time, it's my last best chance, and maybe my only chance at 64 years old.

Or so Agent Maxwell Smart said, "Would you believe Chief..."