Archive | May, 2012

The Taper

28 May

Hiking in the Rincon Mountains.

Emily and I have talked quite a bit about our physical training getting ready for the trail.  Some weeks have gone way better than others, but we have consistently put in 35-60 miles of training a week, mostly running and hiking.  We have pushed ourselves hard, hoping that by putting in the work now we can start the trail doing  higher mileages.  On tough days we talked about how much easier those climbs in the Whites will be after training on these huge rocky mountains.

All of this training unexpectedly culminated on our hike this past Saturday.  Friday we had gotten up at 6am to bike 26.2 miles with a friend (in 35mph winds), then napped, and then knocked out 10.5miles of trail running in the evening.  So when we woke up Saturday morning and hit the trail for our 20 mile training hike we were (maybe) a little tired.   According to the locals, it was the last “cool” day before summer- the high was only 87degrees and there was a beautiful crisp wind.   We had packed tons of snacks and a good amount of water (which, as always in the desert, wasn’t enough).   Continue reading

Steps Toward The Trail

25 May

I simply love to walk and run. I used to run fast. Many years ago I raced track and actually had talent. I ran a very respectable 400m in 60 seconds at the ripe old age of 12. Unfortunately I also had a bit of anxiety. So every time the pressure would build and the race would be about to start I would be nauseous. The gun would blast and I would run my race and feel great for 60 whole seconds until crossing the finish line, usually in first. Then the nervousness would build as people gathered around to congratulate me and then… I would vomit. I had everyone fooled into believing I just ran “so hard” but really it was the attention. All of the people and the pressure had me so nervous and anxious that I would literally toss the banana that my coach had me eat prior to the race right back up and onto his shoes. By the time I had made it into high school I was actually found and recruited by the girls track coach on the first day! One of my middle school coaches had also transitioned to high school, and the pressure was on. Eventually, I said no. I used the excuse that I wanted to explore other extracurricular activities, but really I was already hating the attention. I simply wanted to blend in, not wanting time in any sort of spot light. I hated both school and attention, so I found a respectable group of misfits and explored the joys of late night coffee and all day music venues. These saw me successfully through my high school and college years.

Many years later I found myself missing running. Continue reading

Food Stuffs

15 May

In all our research one of the biggest gaps of information we found on thru hikers was “What do these people eat?”.   Everyone talks about the intricacies of the trail, where they slept, how rocky Pennsylvania is and occasionally what crazy amount of food they ordered at a restaurant in town, but there is little information on the day to day.  If you are walking/running 20-30 miles a day up and down mountains with a backpack on you need some serious calories.   My usual granola bar and a fruit leather isn’t going to cut it.  So Emily and I have been experimenting and have had to play a lot with foods that we have already eaten too much previously as guides (oatmeal for Emily, dehydrated pasta sauce for me).  Here is what we have come up with so far and what we are going to try to make work for us:

Breakfast:

Cream of rice/wheat

Pop tarts

Shredded wheat, Cracklin’ Oat Bran

DRIED FRUIT

Granola bars

Lunch (on the go): Continue reading

Mt. Wrightson

13 May

Eric, a friend from NC, came out to visit recently and he had told me he would enjoy a camping trip while in Tucson. Knowing that Jen and I train in a very different manner than most I had asked many times about his comfort, speed, and distance preferences. Since he had previously been in the military and is about 6’4” he was relatively comfortable “walking all day”. We spoke about gear and he assured me that he would show up with a small pack, a sleeping bag (ours are way too short!), and a water bladder. We could provide for him a tent and a sleeping pad.
After talking about it and Jen looking into some options we decided to summit Mt. Wrightson, a “must do” hike near Tucson. Mt Wrightson has an elevation of 9453 feet, and a campsite about 1000 feet down from the summit. With a campsite so close to the trail we were able to dry camp* after our first day of hiking, summit in the morning without our packs, and then hike down.
The hike up followed a much used nicely maintained trail. We turned off this trail to hike around and up the south side of the mountain. This trail opened up into one of the most beautiful views we have had in Tucson. The sun was setting in the west and our view into Mexico was stunning.

Continue reading