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Saturday, August 22, 2015

WEEK SIX–Rethinking the Hike of the Arizona National Scenic Trail (Aug. 16-22, 2015)

Goal: Hike The Arizona Trail.  It is an 800+ mile recreation trail from Mexico to Utah that connects mountain ranges, canyons, deserts, forests, wilderness areas, historic sites, trail systems, points of interest, communities, and people.   (From:  http://www.aztrail.org/at_about.html).

I have been very excited about the idea of doing this as a solo hike, but after studying the book on the trail, and coming to understand more fully just how big a challenge this would be, I am having second thoughts.

Previous post.  

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Darn, I have not even taken any photos this week.  Here’s an old one, just west of town.

Training Days Thirty-five to Forty-one (8/16-22, 2015,  Sun.- Sat):

What have I accomplished in the four main components of preparing for this challenge?

DEPRESSING news.  I’ve accomplished very little, that’s what.  Still suffering from depression and being back on meds has not helped me even though I am back up to full strength this week.  Still depressed, in fact I think I am worse.  I am too relaxed and too lazy.  I’m not use to such a mood… and am usually always high energy.  I am cutting the pills in half and will see if my  mood improves over this coming week, and if it does, I am weaning myself off this medication.

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Darn, how I love those popsicles.  They are too good.

1) Get fit, food wise.  I did WORSE this week with sodas and coffee popsicles, and still guess what????   I lost weight????  In fact, some of that junk made me really sick, adding to my depression.

That is part of what made me begin to re-evaluate my goal of hiking the trail.  If I can not even control my daily habits in order to get in shape, how the heck will I manage my health in the wild?

2) Get fit, fitness wise.  

Day 35 (Sun).  I pretty much just rested.  I planned to change this up… and do something on Sundays, walk or do a strength training routine, but I did nothing but escape into genealogy research.  And I ate 1 sm pack of cookies and 3 popsicles.  Geez.  What is wrong with me?

Day 36 (Mon).   Still lurking in the family tree and have gotten tangled up in it.  Had a chicken sandwich and a coke and it made me ill.  Later I had a healthy omelet.  But no exercise????  WTF?

Day 37 (Tue). GREAT news.  Today, I swam a mile in 1 hour and 14 min, six minutes less than six days ago.  I was very proud of myself and felt highly motivated, until the next morning?

Day 38-41 (Weds-Sat).  Where did my mojo go???   I lost it someplace since Tuesday when I swam that mile in record time.  Each morning I wake up, plan to go swim, go back to bed and just sleep… enjoying the fresh cool air here.  OMG, it is so relaxing.  But it’s depressing that I can’t fight it off and stick to my guns.  That’s when I began to question my sanity.  Also reading about the first segment of the AZ Trail where it is highly recommended you hike with a partner, due to the illegals coming across the border at that point.  And that segment is also one of the more strenuous parts of the trail. I have begun feeling like it is more than I can do logistically and physically.  I have not given up totally on the dream, but I am having second thoughts.  It’s good to listen to that still small voice inside.  All I did the rest of the week was genealogy, until Ancestry.com when down yesterday, Fri. Aug. 21. (secretly that is a good thing for me).

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Back to the pool next week to swim with the whales.

More GREAT news.  My lungs are 100% back to normal… and that I am very happy about.  Part of the reason I am so relaxed is because breathing is so easy now.

3) Learn how to ward off biting bugs.   SAME. There just are not many bugs here!!!  I’m keeping a notebook of ideas for future reference.

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My whole rear end looked like that last summer in the southeastern states, and I ended up in the ER.  Pine Itch Mites that crawled out of a box of pine needles I collected, up the back of my chair and onto my naked butt…. it was hot and I was doing email with fans blowing on me… and the buggers got me.  I can’t do that again.

4) Get the equipment I need.  Backpack donated.  No other progress made on equipment needs this week.  I have not yet made a list.

DEPRESSING news.  This summer when I was so sick from bug bites, had all four of my tires fail within a couple weeks, and was stuck in the southeast, a lot of people pitched in to help me out financially.  Now it’s time to repay them, in fact I should have already done so… and it’s adding to my depression that I am still so broke.  Out of my August paycheck, my auto ins, my auto tabs, and my fees for camping in LTVA in Quartzsite will have to come along with my phone/internet bill, and regular other bills.  There is just not enough $ to do all that, which only adds to my depression.  I’m making it a new policy not to accept any more loans from people.  I’m bad about keeping track of all that.  But I am reviewing all my notes and trying to do right about all my friends.

GREATEST news.  On a positive note:

Weight?   Last week: 232 pounds       This week:  225 pounds    Weekly Loss/Gain = -7, more than I expected, for sure.   Total Loss/Gain (since July 13) = -15 pounds.  WOW!   Keep in mind, loosing weight is only a by-product of getting fit, not the goal.

Forgive me for not having a more positive post, but at least give me credit for having an honest post.  Thank you.

Please click on the blue bar at the top to “Join this site” and follow me.  You will get a e-mail notice when there is a new blog post.  Thank you.

Also, I am creating a set of notecards of southwestern images to sell in order to raise money for equipment or to help pay back my friends.  Please have a look at what they may look like.  I hope to have them finished and ready to mail out by Thanksgiving.  You can reserve your set of note cards now by sending a PayPal donation of $25 to charlene.swankie@gmail.com.  Note Cards will be sent out before Dec. 1, 2015, or delivered to you are the Winter RTR Rendezvous.

Sample Southwest Notecards


Thank you for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link.

Help me a little if you can by donating to my equipment fund for the hike.  I promise to pay it forward.  There is a PayPal donation button in the top right corner, but I realize people using phone may not see that so I am repeating the button below.


Contribute to Equipment for the Trail Hike or for the Note Cards:

 


Saturday, August 15, 2015

WEEK FIVE–Arizona National Scenic Trail Hike Training--- (August 9-25, 2015)

Goal: Hike The Arizona Trail.  It is an 800+ mile recreation trail from Mexico to Utah that connects mountain ranges, canyons, deserts, forests, wilderness areas, historic sites, trail systems, points of interest, communities, and people.   (From:  http://www.aztrail.org/at_about.html) I will be doing this as a solo hike. 

I would also like to raise money for some worthy cause at the same time, but have not yet selected a cause.  I am open to suggestions.  Email your ideas to me at:  charlene.swankie@gmail.com.   Right now I am thinking American Osteopathic Association???  Specifically, I’d like to help someone else get new knees and a new lease on life.  Would like to have your ideas.

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View looking out my front window, at the back gate into Ted Turner’s property.  Nice quiet place to park, except a lot of people drive out here and then have to turn around as you can’t get through.  Off to the right of the big tree is a Country Club and Golf Course.

Previous post.  

I have decided on writing a weekly post rather than a daily one.

Training Days Twenty-eight to Thirty-four (8/9-8/15, 2015,  Sun.- Sat):

What have I accomplished in the four main components of preparing for this challenge?

Last week’s update …suffering from depression.  Being back on meds has helped me and will be back up to full strength this week.  Still depressed.

1) Get fit, food wise.  I did better this week in giving up sodas and Ice Cream, one 7 UP, one payday candy, and one ice cream. 

There is this giant fake ice cream cone on the road by Dairy Queen… very hard to drive by it without stopping.

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Broke down and got a large chocolate covered cone.  Gave me a loose stool the next day.  Mistake.  Ate pretty good the rest of the time, and my appetite is decreasing.

I used to get 20 pc chicken nuggets and eat all 20 at once but on 8/9 could not eat 1/3 of them…. and it took me 3 days to eat these.  Also had a small coke. Always get a large coke.  I began recording on the calendar below, each fast food item I buy, including any sodas or junk food.  That is helping me be more accountable.

Also I keep a spreadsheet of my expenses …. working on it… years behind on this, but when I get it done, I’m going to chart out how much I spent on junk foods the last few years and see if I can’t put that money to better uses.

2) Get fit, fitness wise.  

Day 28 (Sun).  I pretty much just rested.  Maybe I should change this up… and do something, walk or do a strength training routine.  I’ll work on this idea.

Day 29 (Mon). Did not swim today because when I got out of bed I could not step down on my right foot.  It has been hurting all night and I didn’t get much sleep.  So went to ER today and turns out I have a bone spur in my heel and Plantar Fasciitis.  She gave me some scripts and recommended physical therapy.  Wants me to follow up with my PCP and he is in California and it’s been more than a year since I saw him.   Well I didn’t get the meds and am not going to go to CA to see my doctor.  I had to get online and look at other feet… to compare… and mine doesn’t look so bad.  My O2 level is fluctuating from 95% down to 84%…   In the ER Monday, it was about 90% and doctor didn’t say anything. 

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Day 30 (Tue). Today, it was like my foot never hurt.  All I did was keep it warmer at night and make sure it was not cramped in an odd position.   Today I Swam 3/4 mi in 53 min  and it actually seemed to help my foot.  My breathing is much better and I didn’t cough.  I think I lost track of a couple laps, so may have actually swam a bit farther than 3/4 mile but didn’t feel up to going for a mile.  Hopefully by the end of the week I will be doing a mile.

Day 31 (Weds).   I did it.  I swam 1 mile in 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Now to begin working on reducing that time.  I have noticed I have less pain in my right shoulder, a chronic problem for me (car accident, and a couple of surgeries).  Pretty proud to get back up to a mile.

Day 32 (Thurs).  Woke with stiff neck from the swim and decided to cross train.  Nibbled on a Payday candy bar… and begin a walking component… walked through Raton and also visited the Raton Museum.  Walked about a mile up and down hill.

Day 33 (Fri).  Woke with a migraine.  Took meds and went back to bed. When I woke again, I drove out to the edge of town.  Had a sweet potato for breakfast and then spent the day entering receipts into the spreadsheet.  Had a zucchini and eggs for supper.  Got a lot of sleep.

Day 34 (Sat).  Wrote blog.  May walk later today.

My lungs are bothering me less… almost at 100% back to normal…. what it’s like when I don’t expose myself to allergens (i.e. houses, pets, smokers, cities).  Yes, I believe DEPRESSION is my biggest problem.  I am trying to eliminate things from my life and my thoughts that feed the depression… and that is very hard.

Strength Training:  A trainer has recommended I add strength training  one or two days a week.   I’ll work on that for this coming week.

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Using the calendar is working out very well for me.  The # circled on the left edge is the WEEK of training.  The # in the upper left corner of each day is the day # of training.  I wrote in the word Swim on the weekdays... and will fill in the distance and time each day.  On Sat. I have put down my current weight in black and my goal weight in pen (though weight loss is not my goal).  If I loose a safe 2 pounds a week, I will reach my ideal weight of 190 by the end of the year. 

3) Learn how to ward off biting bugs.   There just are not many bugs here!!!  I’m keeping a notebook of ideas for future reference.

4) Get the equipment I need.  Backpack donated.  No other progress made on equipment needs this week.  I should make a list soon.

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View from the side door of  my van, this morning.

My Weight?   Last week: 233 pounds       This week:  232 pounds    Weekly Loss/Gain = -1, less than I expected, but then I believe I am also building more muscle, so have probably lost fat weight this week… and gained some muscle weight.   Total Loss/Gain (since July 13) = -8 pounds.   Keep in mind, loosing weight is only a by-product of getting fit, not the goal.

Please click on the blue bar at the top “Join this site” to follow me.  You will get a notice when there is a new blog post.  Thank you.

Also, I am creating a set of notecards of southwestern images to sell in order to raise money for equipment.  Please have a look at what they may look like.  I hope to have them finished and ready to mail out by Thanksgiving.  You can reserve your set of note cards now by sending a PayPal donation of $25 to charlene.swankie@gmail.com.  Note Cards will be sent out before Dec. 1, 2015, or delivered to you are the Winter RTR Rendezvous.

Sample Southwest Notecards


Thank you for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link.

Help me a little if you can by donating to my equipment fund for the hike.  I promise to pay it forward.  There is a PayPal donation button in the top right corner, but I realize people using phone may not see that so I am repeating the button below.


Contribute to Equipment for the Trail Hike or for the Note Cards:

 


Who is Swankie?

My Photo
Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007 I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in 2016. In training now for the hike.