Tag Archives: hiking

Training Log – Week of Sept. 21 (Week 38)

The mountains called.

colorado-6-garden-of-the-gods-2

And I answered.

I’ve been in Colorado the past week, spending a few days in Denver for work and a handful in Colorado Springs for fun. I’m honestly shocked I didn’t “accidentally” miss my flight yesterday.

General training notes: Going into this trip, I knew my weekly mileage would fall short of what I’ve been logging, but I was totally OK with that. My coworkers and I got in two trail runs, plus a November Project workout, and I did a ton of hiking and exploring in Colorado Springs. So even though my officially mileage was much lower, I came back to NYC feeling extremely sore from my off-road adventures—ha!

Monday – off

Travel to Denver

Tuesday – a.m. run

Tough and gorgeous 3.7-mile sunrise trail run at Red Rocks. I planned to buy trail shoes while in Denver, but didn’t have them for the outing … and it’s highly possible I wiped out. On the bright side, my road rash made for some great conversation with the higher-ups; they were definitely impressed and won’t forget who I am!

Wednesday – a.m. November Project “5280” (Denver) workout

Are you surprised? The NYC tribe has exploded in popularity, but my rigid triathlon training has made it tough to attend. (Based on my normal schedule, I’d have to sacrifice a swim or bike workout to sweat with the NP folks.) But since swimming and riding weren’t options in Denver, I went with three coworkers, two of whom are avid NPers in NYC. Spoiler alert: I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. We started the workout with 100 pushups and leg throws, and then did a playing card workout for about 30 minutes: each colored card from the deck determined if you did pushups, mountain climbers, or sprints.

Thursday – a.m. run

Woof: even tougher 4.9-mile trail run at Green Mountain. The altitude and hilly terrain proved to be a tough combination to overcome, but it was the perfect way to start our final day in Denver.

Friday – hiking/exploring in Colorado Springs

I hiked the Manitou Incline, which spans only one mile, but gains more than 2,000 feet of elevation.

colorado-3-the-incline

Like all my CO workouts, this climb was super challenging. (I didn’t time myself, but I’m guessing it took 30-45 minutes to get to the top.) On the bright side, I was able to keep up with some Air Force students who were doing the climb as part of their training. Then, I went to Garden of the Gods and wandered around for about an hour.

Saturday – hiking/exploring

After my inaugural full-blown camping experience in Fairplay, we explored the Breckenridge area, which included a hike through the Lilly Pad Lake Trail.

colorado-8-meadow-creek-aspens

Sunday – off

Traveled back to NYC

How do you stay active during work trips/vacations?

Wild Book Review

Is it just me or has the healthy living blogosphere exploded with praise for Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail?

wild-cheryl-strayed

This memoir has been on my radar for a while, and while home for the holidays, I told my Colorado-based, seasoned-hiker cousin about it; we decided to start a virtual book club and chose this text as our first read.  On the train back to New York City, I couldn’t stop reading:  Strayed’s honest tone and carefully crafted narrative caught my attention.  Overall, I liked Wild, but wouldn’t readily recommend it; I wouldn’t classify it as a must-read.

Brief Summary

From Amazon.com:

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed.  Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone.  She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than ‘an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.’  But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail.  Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Product Details

Publisher:  Knoph

Publication date:  3/20/2012

Pages:  336

My Review

Non-fiction, memoir, travel writing—however you classify Wild, it’s fundamentally sound from a writing perspective.  It’s tight, yet descriptive, making the reader feel as if they’re hiking with 26-year-old Strayed during the summer of 1995 on the Pacific Crest Trail (which goes from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State).  The book centers on Strayed’s hike, and the author first briefly recounts her childhood and young adult years—her father vanished when she was six, her mother recently died, and Strayed used heroin and slept around—before sharing that she separated from her husband and was working as a waitress when she set off in search of “radical aloneness.”

I’ve never been hiking, so I don’t think I fully understand Strayed’s gutsy (yet reckless?) decision to start her career on one of the toughest trails in North America.  However, she makes no attempt to hide her inexperience—she didn’t try on her hiking boots before hitting the trail, she didn’t practice packing her backpack named Monster, etc.—and I valued her honesty.  Personally, I compared her choice to someone who wanted to tackle an Ironman for their first triathlon, specifically a challenging course like Lake Placid—which is nuts.

Anyway, throughout the book, Strayed seamlessly transitions from life on the trail—eating dehydrated meals, sleeping in a tiny tent, and losing blackened toenails—to her past, telling the audience about her childhood, her relationship with her mother, her failed marriage, and her heroin habits.  This rhetorical technique usually finds its way into travel novels, yet it works in this memoir, too:  Instead of sharing her entire life story in the first 30 pages, she continuously moves from past to present, effectively connecting and building a relationship with the reader.

 

I enjoyed “meeting” Strayed’s fellow PCT hikers, but I wondered how accurately they—and the journey itself—were portrayed; she did wait 17 years before writing this memoir.  I also would’ve liked to hear more about the actual hike, but further discussion would’ve veered toward travel writing and downplayed Strayed’s life experiences.

 

Discussion Questions:

1.  Do you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking, and camping?

2.  Strayed uses the activity of hiking as a way to tell her life story.  If you wrote a memoir, what activity would act as the “window” into your life?

3.  What’s your favorite biography or memoir?