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Pallas Athena's Challenge #11: Springing Forward


Pallas Athena

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My main quest and motivation are the same as they have been for awhile. The specific goals are updated for this particular challenge.

 

Main Quest

Backpack the Washington state portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in August of this year.
 
It's just over 500 miles, and I will have 30 days to complete it. The start time is fast approaching!
 
To fulfill this Quest, I need to develop:

  • A strong back for carrying a load:
    I will follow the 
    Back Rx exercise program as outlined in the book.
     
  • Strong legs for hiking up and down mountain trails:
    I will continue to follow the 
    10,000 squats program (alternate squat days with rest days). 

    (According to "Crossfit Foundations", the squat is the primary foundational exercise to begin to develop maximal fitness. Also, I've found that many PCT thru hikers use squats as a major part of their winter training program. By the end of the last challenge I had completed 34 days of the 110 days in the program, and had 8466 squats to go. I'm going to keep plugging away at it. My form improved a lot during the last challenge, but I will keep working to go all the way down to ATG and keep my torso more upright.)
     
  • Endurance for walking every day:
    I will walk at least 60 minutes every day.


    (Last time I built a habit of walking at least 40 minutes every day, so I'm adding 20 minutes again. I'm actually aiming to make 90 mins. per day, but that may be hard to schedule so I'm trying to keep this goal realistic. I'll continue using the Wii Walk It Out game for indoor walking. Again, a lot of thru hikers use indoor walking, usually on a treadmill or stairstepper, for winter training. The WIO walking in place actually feels more like natural walking to me than a motorized treadmill, and I have to pick up my feet pretty high to keep a smooth rhythm. When I recently went hiking outside, I could feel a considerable fitness improvement from using the Wii. For the PCT hike, I plan to average about 18 miles a day hiking 6-8 hours per day, so I'm gradually building up the time.)

Diet Side Quest
 
Develop and continue to eat according to a personal Whole30 maintenance plan, and develop a repertoire of family recipes.

(Challenge before last I completed the Whole30 and the recommended reintroduction of food groups. My strongest reaction was to dairy, though cultured dairy--yogurt, hard cheese, etc.--seemed to cause only mild bloating, if any reaction at all. I felt so good using the Whole30 eating plan that I've decided to use it as a maintenance program to help me get down to my goal weight. I will avoid non-Whole30 foods as rigorously as possible, allowing small variances when eating out. It's very difficult to eat perfect Whole30 when eating out, but 95% is doable. 

In the last challenge, I attempted to do maintenance, but learned that I need a more clearcut plan for what is an acceptable variance from Whole30 and what is not acceptable. I didn't do well making those kinds of decisions on the fly. This time, in a later post, I'm going to spell out the variances and then stick with the maintenance program as rigorously as I did the Whole30.)

 
Life Quest
 
Practice daily drawing or painting.
 
(I have a new show scheduled starting mid-May and I need some new work to display. I haven't done a new piece for nearly four years and have become a little phobic about getting started. If I start with practice pieces I know I'll get back in the creative groove again.)
 
Tracking
 
Last time I tried out Joe's Goals for a tracking tool. (See this post for details.) If I do everything as planned, my perfect daily score would be 5. This is a real time image, so should be an accurate picture of where I am every day. Note that the chart shows a whole week, even if some of those days haven't happened yet.

6BC2B5A2-D709-E3EE-886CE3D3BEC7EFCA_h_40

And here's a progress bar for the 10,000 Squats Program (I won't finish during this challenge, but it will show how I'm doing). Every 10% is 1000 squats:

22.42%
22.42%

 

Both Joe's Goals and the squat progress bar will be updated in this post only, so check back here if you want a quick check on how I'm doing.
 
Motivation

 
First, I believe the negative effects of physical aging are largely the result of years of unhealthy habits. If I was 25 and my knees ached, I would try to change any habits causing that problem. Instead, when we are 65 we just say, "Yeah, I'm getting old." I'm not willing to take that approach. I'm going to see just how healthy I can become by the time I'm 65 (I'm 62 now). So my first motivation is:
 
"I want to be radiantly healthy."
 
Second is a mental/emotional/spiritual motivation, and the reason I chose backpacking for my Main Quest. When I first left home and went out on my own, I used to solo backpack a lot. I felt so free. Carrying everything I needed to live on my back, I could go anywhere, do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I want to feel that sense of freedom again. My lack of fitness is the only thing stopping me. So that's my second motivation:
 
"I want to feel completely free."
 
Recently I've identified a third aspect of my motivation. As I've been working toward my Main Quest, I've realized that as much as anything this project is about getting reacquainted with myself. I've gone through a lot of life experiences and transitions since I was actively backpacking in my twenties, and I haven't really taken much time to consider how it has affected me in the long term. I've been too busy simply living my life, adapting and reacting to circumstances as I go. How have I changed in the process? What have I learned? How am I different or the same as I was then? Who am I now? Who do I want to be? There's nothing like a really long walk in the backcountry to give a person time to think.
 
"I want to rediscover and fully express the core of who I am."
 
And so the goddess' path into wisdom moves into the new sprouts of spring...

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Woohoo! Off and running (er... walking)!

 

Yesterday the power was off all day (tons of snow fell Saturday night, lots of trees down, etc.) so I didn't get everything set up for this challenge until today. I was able to walk (WIO) last night after the power came on again, though, and walked again today (70 mins. each day). Yesterday was a rest day for squats and back exercises, so I'll get those done today. Will also do a drawing or painting before the day is over. Will finish creating my Whole30 maintenance plan tonight, too, and start eating that way again tomorrow (Wednesday).

 

Saturday was very exciting! I drove down to Cascade Locks, OR, late Friday night and attended the ALDHA-West Winter Ruck. (ALDHA = American Long Distance Hiking Association) The Ruck is a get-together for people have have done or want to do long distance hiking, and there were workshops by experienced thru hikers on a wide variety of topics. They reviewed the gear of people who already had what they planned to use this year, talked about food and nutrition planning, navigation techniques, stream crossing techniques, snow safety, etc. It was AWESOME! I got to meet some people who are practically legends on the Pacific Crest Trail, and I had the opportunity to see and talk with them about some of the gear I plan to purchase. It really helped me make some decisions on gear.

 

I also met a couple of people interested in hiking just the WA portion of the PCT, too, so will follow up with them and see if they seem like they might be compatible hiking companions.

 

Equally exciting for me was the fact that Cascade Locks is where I'll be starting my hike on August 1st! I hadn't been there before so it was great to see the Bridge of the Gods and the Oregon/Washington PCT trailhead. It is spectacularly beautiful in that area (can't find photos that do the nearby mountains justice).

 

August is starting to feel very close!

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Beautiful challenge for a beautiful lady

(sent by the phone. .. all mistakes are the phones fault)

Level 10.4 Wood-Elf, Ranger - specializing in demon fighting

"doing the impossible since 2012 :D" - Librarian of Doom

facebook battle log level 50 WOOT   Backstory CNF2014  current (not challenge - doing a battle log this time)

Spoiler

 

* This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice in it and be glad. God, The Bible. * Do or do not, there is no try. - Yoda
* There are three options in this life; be good, get good, or give up. -- House * Never take counsel of your fears. Stonewall Jackson. 

* level 50 isn't gonna just POOF happen - alienjenn, NF IRC chatroom

 

* I'm not about to give up - Because I heard you say - There's gonna be brighter days… I won't stop, I'll keep my head up - No, I'm not here to stay ...  - 

 I just might bend but I won't break - As long as I can see your face - When life won't play along - And right keeps going wrong - And I can't seem to find my way - I know where I am found - So I won't let it drag me down - Oh, I'll keep dancing anyway - Mercy Me - Move

 

 

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Oh, wow.  Isn't it wonderful when you do something that suddenly makes your goal feel real?  Looking great for this challenge.

Definitely, Laureleye! I'm starting to feel momentum building, and it's starting to feel inevitable instead of "iffy".

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Whole30 Maintenance Rules (my personal customized version):

 

Strict Whole30 ingredients, except:

1. 1 Tbsp chocolate syrup allowed in coffee, no more than once per day.

2. Few bites to test recipe for my newspaper column, no more than once per week.

3. Condiments okay in small amounts (such as ketchup or Worcestershire sauce--mustard is strict already).

4. Eating out or at friends' homes--okay to eat a little of anything. No more than once every two weeks.

5. Cultured dairy okay in small amounts as long as no sugar has been added (yogurt, cheese, etc.).

6. One serving of beer or wine, no more than once per month.

 

That's my current maintenance rules. I'm going to be watching my body's reactions to these exceptions very carefully to make sure none of this triggers cravings. I may tweak this list as the challenge progresses and I see if it works.

 

My goal is to not have to make daily decisions about what is okay to eat. Either it's strict Whole30 or it's on this list--otherwise I don't eat it--no exceptions.

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Day 1, Monday:

 

1. Back exercises: scheduled rest day.

2. 10k squats: scheduled rest day.

3. Walking: no. 8 inches snow outside and no power inside, so couldn't use Wii, or even treadmill.

 

Eat Whole30 maintenance: no.

Draw/paint: no

 

Day 2, Tuesday:

 

1. Back exercises: made this a scheduled rest day in order to get these exercises and the squats on alternate days.

2. 10k squats: 3x21 (8403 to go).

3. Walking: 70 mins. WIO.

 

Eat Whole30 maintenance: no.

Draw/paint: no.

 

Day 3, Wednesday:

 

1. Back exercises: series A done.

2. 10k squats: scheduled rest day.

3. Walking: 65 mins. WIO.

 

Eat Whole30 maintenance: yes. Also developed and posted my allowed list of maintenance exceptions. See above.

Draw/paint: yes.

 

I think I've got everything for the challenge organized well enough now so I can pull it off consistently. Felt really good to eat clean today!

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Looking good, Pallas!  I love the achievements you've made over the last few challenges, and your excitement about this one!  And as for your squats, I thought Blaidd's 1000 rep challenge for pushups was impressive, but 10,000 squats?  My mind boggles.  My legs are sore just thinking about it :)

Hiraedd the Twice Risen:

Hamadryad; Pilgrim

battle log

 

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Thanks, Hira! The 10,000 squats accumulate over several months (110 steps plus rest days as needed). I've got about 1650 done so far (step 36), and the count accelerates as I do more squats each work day. At first I was doing 10 or 20 squats a day. Now I just finished 66 (3 sets of 22). On the final day I'll be up to 200 squats in one set. At least, that's the goal.

 

It's starting to get harder, but mostly because I get winded. It's a lot like doing kettlebell swings. I need to find a quick but effective way to warm up better and get my heart rate up before doing the sets. Strength-wise, I'm keeping up just fine. My strength has been building well, and I'm almost getting down to the ATG position (all the way down), so my flexibility has been improving nicely, too. I can really feel the difference in thighs, glutes, and abs.

 

I just found a new hip mobility yoga exercise today that I think will help me get that last bit of depth--the Half Happy Baby pose. The basic pose doesn't include the rolling movements, just grabbing the instep and stretching.

 

By the way, I'd like to thank you again for mentioning the Wii in one of your posts awhile back. That plus the Walk It Out program has made a HUGE difference in my life. Now I can walk (in place) every day without worrying about the weather or whether my little grandson can keep up. It's awesome! Way more fun than a treadmill.

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Day 4 (Thursday):

 

1. Back exercises: scheduled rest day.

2. 10k squats: 3x22 (8337 to go)

3. Walking: 60 mins. WIO

 

Eat Whole30 custom maintenance: yes.

Paint/draw daily: no. Got started a couple of times but kept getting interrupted.

 

Tomorrow is a town day on the mainland, so am planning how to handle that re: Whole30 eating. First, it's important for me to eat breakfast at home before I leave. Second, I need to buy some safe snack foods--maybe an apple and some cashews. I also need to take a water bottle. Staying hydrated helps keep me from getting hungry. I don't have many errands to do, so hopefully I'll be home in time for a late lunch.

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Day 5 (Friday):

 

1. Back Rx: series A.

2. 10k squats: scheduled rest day.

3. Walking: 70 mins. WIO

 

Whole30 maintenance: yes.

Paint/Draw daily: no.

 

Day 6 (Saturday):

 

1. Back Rx: scheduled rest day.

2. 10k squats: no

3. Walking: 75 mins. WIO

 

Whole30 maintenance: no. Weather caused power to go out again, so ended up eating sandwiches.

Paint/Draw daily: no.

 

Day 7 (Sunday):

 

1. Back Rx: no.

2. 10k squats: no.

3. Walking: no.

 

Whole30 maintenance: yes, but only because of preplanned exceptions allowable on my custom maintenance plan. There was a party at a friend's home (big green salad, homemade pizza [toppings okay, crust not], brownies and champagne). It was also the day for creating and taste testing a recipe for my newspaper column. Both of these are allowed exceptions as long as they occur no more often than in my plan.

 

Paint/draw daily: no. Clear that I need a schedule for getting this done instead of just trying to fit it in during the day. Have been working on a daily schedule routine for a few days that fits everything in without feeling inflexible.

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Hey PA :) Wonderful challenge goals!

How is your back these days? You've been doing those back exercises for a few challenges now, how's it going?

Warrior Princess
Eating Psychology Coach

Adventure's Guild Challenge winner: Challenge #24

â•‘ Live the Whole  â•‘ Bucket List â•‘Level up my Lifeâ•‘ 

"Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion."

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Sam! Thanks for stopping by! I've had the back exercises on the last couple of challenges, but I have not been good at "doing" them. I'm still only getting them done sporadically, but am doing a little better this challenge. I will have the habit built by the end of this challenge, I'm sure.

 

My back injury is totally healed, as far as I can tell. However, my back health overall is a mess. The squats are helping my lower back and core get stronger (did 3x25 air squats today, well below parallel!), but my upper back is a computer-generated nightmare. I NEED to be doing the back exercises. Regularly. Seriously. Otherwise I'm going to have to learn how to spell "dowager's hump." I don't wanna.... I'm thinking about getting a trainer to help me develop a program to rehabilitate my shoulders and upper back, but I want to do these exercises consistently and work with yoga balls for awhile, too, to see how far I can get with what I already know and haven't been practicing.

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Days 8 through 12 (Monday through Friday):

 

1. Back exercises: scheduled rest day, no, scheduled rest day, no, scheduled rest day. BAH!

2. 10k squats: 3x23, scheduled rest day, 3x24, scheduled rest day, 3x25. Perfect! And all well below parallel, though still not ATG yet except the first few.

3. Walking: 70 mins. WIO, no, no, no, no. Heavy web work schedule during evenings this week. Need to get more sleep so my self discipline goes back up.

 

Eat Whole30 custom maintenance: yes, yes, yes, yes, no. (Today--Friday--was mostly okay but had some soda. Okay, a lot of soda...)

 

Paint/draw daily: no, no, no, no, 2 drawings. I may change this goal a bit. I just signed up for a four year online painting course. Though I didn't draw every day, I was studying at least an hour or two every day. Most of the course lessons from here on out will include almost daily drawing/painting assignments, so I think I might revise this goal to say something like "work at least an hour a day on my drawing/painting course." Going to think about it for awhile first, though.

 

I happened to see a new gym while I was on the mainland in town today--Anytime Gym. I didn't have time for the tour, but picked up one of their flyers. I'm going to see if they have iFit on their treadmills. If they do, I can call up the PCT on Google maps and train on a simulation of the ups and downs of the trail. My biggest question right now is: how many miles can I actually hike in one day, including elevation changes? Doing a simulation might help me estimate that number, which will tremendously help my planning for the trip in August.

 

They also have brand new free weight equipment. It looks like they have a drop in guest policy so I wouldn't have to buy a membership. I don't get into town often enough for a membership to be worthwhile, but being able to use the facilities to test myself occasionally would be wonderful!

 

I'm also working hard on changing up my daily routine. I need to get my walking done earlier in the day, and I suspect doing them earlier would help me get the back exercises done, too. I can't really add hours or add/drop most of my daily activities, but I think I can put them in a more productive order.

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Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Woot! Finished my 2000th squat today!

 

Behind on posting, but doing well on the squats program, eating Whole30, and walking. Still need to focus more on back exercises.

 

Also checked out the gym I found the other day (thanks for checking, EmCee!). They do have iFit treadmills, so I should be able to go in next Saturday and put in PCT trail map data and see how far I can go in 4 hours. Really looking forward to it (if I can get iFit figured out between now and then)! They also have a couple of trainers with PT experience who know mobility inside and out, so I'll try to work with one of them as soon as time allows.

 

More later... must sleep now...

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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Will let you know, Hira. The cool thing is that the treadmill will adjust the incline to match the trail data. Can't match the decline (downhill parts) but should be fairly accurate on the uphill parts. Their machines go to a maximum 20% uphill grade. I don't think the trail will be much steeper than that except possibly on VERY short stretches.

Human Ranger, Level 10
Long-term Goal: Hike WA section of Pacific Crest Trail, August 2014

Current Challenge | Facebook (personal & locavore) | Blog | Twitter

"You stand at the verge, and you could become anything." - Dan Chaon

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