PGB and MT took me up on my suggestion that we do a day-hike today. A few emails back and forth and the plans were set: a five-mile hike in Harriman State Park in southern New York State, meet at 10 AM and on the trail by 10:20. We would bring in our lunch and take a leisurely pace to the top of the mountain, enjoy the view, enjoy lunch and hike back along another trail. This would give me a good workout, the pleasure of the company of good friends and the calm that comes with time in the woods…
And everything went almost exactly as planned. We hiked 5.5 miles in just about 3 hours even, enjoyed the climbs, some of which were quite steep, enjoyed our lunch and enjoyed each other’s company. Except for a nervous moment when MT slipped on some leaves and fell down and slid a few feet, it all went off without a hitch. MT was uninjured and handled it all with calm and grace.
I packed in a lunch of trail mix bars. They are light, easy to carry in a pocket, tasty and nutritious. The other advantage is I know exactly how many calories I am consuming. Three are also all I need to make for a comfortable lunch for me.
We didn’t stop at the peak for lunch as originally planned. The weather was cold, there were a few snow flurries, and the wind at the peak was howling. We decided to continue on to the leeward side of the mountain to enjoy our meal out of the wind. Perfect. We found a quiet spot on the downhill, large rocks conveniently placed by nature to form a seating area where we could get comfortable, enjoy the food and the conversation.
As I hiked I kept waiting for “something” to happen. I kept waiting to feel tired. I kept waiting to feel winded. I was waiting for my body to warn me that it was being pushed too far. Didn’t happen. Though there were a few sections that were very steep at no time did I feel winded, tired, overwhelmed… I was just comfortable in my element, hiking with friends. I am starting to truly believe that I can do the New Hampshire hike next year. I am starting to really understand that I have not the body I had a year ago or even 6 months ago.
At the end of the hike I had a piece of truly delicious apple cake that PGB had made and brought along. Three-hundred and thirty calories a slice. Not bad. The cake was FANTASTIC! I had half a piece and brought the remainder home to Missus. She had skipped lunch and so to my surprise, she ate the cake. She declared it “WOW!”
All together a wonderful day. Proud of myself for remembering gloves and wool hat and warm socks. Proud of myself for the condition in which I now find myself. Happy that I can go on these hikes with no fear of not being able to finish or holding back the others.
When I fear that I could slip, that I might start to overeat, that I may get lazy, I think about these things. I think about being able to join friends on a hike, being able to plan a long hike in the White Mountains, being able to plan the High Point-Cape May ride. It re-energizes my commitment. It refocuses my attention on the goal. It gets me back on the plan. Knowing that I can do all these things that so short a time ago were not possible gets my mind right. I know I never want to go back there. I would lose too much of what I hold as precious.
I made my favorite squash tonight, Kabocha, with rice and shrimp and string beans and sundried tomatoes as the side. Excellent, tasty, easy, nutritious, and silly low in calories for the quantity of food consumed. Wonderful!
There is something about eating so tasty a meal and being able to really enjoy it that makes it feel as though I have given nothing up. Learning to cook this way was a challenge but I have grown accustomed to it and I enjoy it. I have discovered parsnips. Finding all sorts of uses for them… Did you know you can dine them and stir-fry them with the onions? Gives a nice flavor to everything. They are also tasty roasted.
Discovery. Love it.
I want to do at least one thing for certain this winter: Cross Country Ski. MTT, my close friend from my college years, introduced me to Cross Country Skiing 20+ years ago and now I am getting back to it. Last winter conspired against those efforts when we didn’t get enough snow to ski on. Unlike downhill slopes, cross country trails are not blessed with man-made snow..
I hope I can get MTT out on the trails with me this winter.
I am also committed to continuing my fitness efforts. I want to come out of the winter still in the 190’s and ready for the cycling season so I am planning now how to make that all happen.
Staying with the way I eat now is key of course. Stay away from red meats, continue my progress towards a vegetarian or largely vegetarian diet, keep the calories under control, avoid empty calories.
Also key is to continue to work out every day. Time on the elliptical and treadmill as well as the stationary bike, walks to and from the school track, bleacher-sets… All the efforts that got me here continued…
If I forget-stop-ignore, the efforts that got me here I run the risk of going back to where I was. Not happening.
Fitness geek. That’s me.