Archives for category: training

I was on the mountain by 8 AM yesterday, with one of my climbing partners, for an absolutely gorgeous hike. Again starting at Timberline, we took our time and topped out at around 7600 feet a little less than three hours later. Time flies when you’re having fun! Weather was overcast when we started but the clouds rolled off the mountain quickly, and at the top of our trek, this was our view:


This was a good opportunity to try out a few new things, mainly Smartwool’s 250-g/m baselayer bottoms and mountaineer socks. (PS — All Smartwool socks are 30% off at REI right now. PPS — I’m developing a Smartwool addiction and I’m not going to rehab.) The new gear worked beautifully. AND I brought my husband’s homemade energy bites! Yum. These training runs are obviously good for getting physically in shape for climbing at higher elevation, but they’re also becoming instrumental in trying out my gear and making sure I’m accustomed to how everything works. One gear discovery this week is that my gaiters aren’t going to work…so those go back on the shopping list.

A bit of a bummer at the bottom of the mountain…almost as soon as I hit the dirt, I hit it too hard. And the rocks, too. With my knee.


Eh. Today is a rest day anyway. Will do my PT for my knees, but not too much else. I feel good for making the effort without other injuries acting up.

All in all, this climb in was good for my mental positioning. I have to admit, as much as I enjoyed the showshoeing last week, it wasn’t inspiring. What was the difference between the two climbs? Hiking instead of snowshoeing, for one. Climbing with a partner, for two…having someone to help pass the time and share encouragement is huge. Experience. Being in a little bit better shape. Using trekking poles. 😉

Right now I feel better than I ever have about my own readiness — and I also feel inspired to keep working hard for 27 more days.



Apparently, this coming weekend, my crew is climbing Mount St. Helen’s…to train for Mt. Hood.

I guess I’m pretending to be bemused, but really I’m thrilled. I feel stronger than I have in a long time, inside and out. I am liking this.

For a bit of training in elevation, I strapped on my snowshoes and hiked from Timberline Lodge up to Silcox Hut today. It was harder than I expected, but it was rewarding. I’ve never used snowshoes before, so it was definitely a learning experience.

I also learned how to lock my trekking poles in their extended position, since I’ve either been using them retracted or not using them at all while hiking. Unfortunately, I learned that while at the top, thanks to a friendly fellow who was skinning up at the same time. So, even though I hate to share this because it shows how much of a novice I am, I’m also kinda proud. I made it up from 6000 to 7000 feet in an hour(ish), in very basic snowshoes, no poles.

My right calf protested a bit on the way down, keeping me from digging in like I would have liked. Even still, I don’t get how people say that going down is harder than up. Up sucks. Especially with no poles.

Weather: Foggy. I put on my Gore-Tex shell to protect from light rain about halfway up.

A bit of weirdness: My iPhone turned off (died of cold?) when I pulled it out to take pictures before heading down. When it returned to normal temperatures, it turned back on with as much battery as it had had at the top — over 50%. Looking for advice and recommendations…I want to be able to use it to take pictures and tweet (if there’s signal) on my upcoming climb. Here are the couple that I was able to get today:

From Silcox Hut

From Silcox Hut, facing south (panorama)

From Silcox Hut (panorama)

From Silcox Hut, facing south

I took a big lesson in pacing today. It’s not a race. Choose a pace where oxygen can get to your muscles and just keep going. That was hard. Really hard.

But the biggest lesson was a mental one, as usual. I definitely got to a place — a couple times, in fact — where I felt like turning around, or even felt like What the hell am I even doing?. Learning how to push through that will be key. The biggest difference between stopping 100 ft short of my goal (which I desperately wanted to do) and making it all the way there was not the extra workout my legs and lungs got. It was the workout my brain got. It was the difference between doing what I set out to do and choosing to fall short.

Went out for a hike yesterday, with pack and with some of my climbing partners, and all went great until my right calf started hurting last night.

And then I went for a short walk with a coworker this morning — no big deal, a two-mile stroll — and I think I angered it.

I think people who have been active all of their lives have normal routines when something like this happens. They have medicine regimens and wraps and know when to use heat vs. ice. But I don’t.

Anyway. Staying off of it as much as possible and continuing any training that I can.

Some good news, though…it looks like pdxmountaingirl will be able to climb, as long as her PT keeps going at this rate. Yay! (I may not have written about it before, but she got hit by a car while riding her motorcycle a few weeks back. Not good.)

So, the running hasn’t been great for my knees. I’m up to 3 1/4 miles at a time now, but my knees are starting to hurt. Really lucky to work at a company that has a sports medicine center with free physical therapy for everyone who is on the company insurance.

I’ve enjoyed the running. I’ve enjoyed, more than anything, the rewards of keeping going past when I would have given up before. I don’t run fast, but I reach my goals.

No more running for a while, but I’ll keep hiking and doing ellipticals/whatever my knees will allow. And, of course, rehab. Yes, yes, yes.

In addition to my running, I’m trying to go out for hikes most weekends between now and Mt. Hood. Today I tried out my new hiking boots and my pack (which I’ve had for a couple of years but never used). And my new softshell pants and Capilene top. REI Outlet FTW!

The boots are these and I love them. One of my climbing partners got the same ones and she loves them too. They won’t be the ones we climb in (TMG is providing real mountaineering boots for us), but they’re great for training.


Today’s hike through Forest Park: 8.7 miles in 3 hours, with a 20+-pound pack. It felt really, really good. There’s a mental shift here — I’m learning the ability to keep going…and going…and going. At first I looked at my watch every 5 to 10 minutes. Then, gradually, I stopped.

I’m glad I didn’t have a recurrence of last week’s sickness. With only four climbers, we think we’re only going to have one guide, which means when one of us has to turn back, we all turn back. I don’t. want. to be. the person who makes everyone turn back.

I decided to start taking long hikes on the weekends, and even though I’ve been sick for most of the week, I started today.

That was probably a mistake.

I did get out on the trail and ended up hiking a few miles, but on the way back, I got really weak. I had to stop a couple of times and while the terrain was hilly, it shouldn’t have been anything I can’t do. I hope it’s just sickness and not being really out of shape.

When I asked pdxmountaingirl how I would know I’m in good enough shape to make the climb, she said I needed to have the stamina to run five miles. Well, I’m not much of a runner, but if I start now with one mile and increase 1/4 mile per week, I’ll get there.

I ran the first mile that I’ve run in a really long time — I’m going to go with decades — tonight. Wow. Feeling great.

I wrote about how it started here, on my regular blog.

The short story:

This is a big challenge for me. This blog will chronicle the journey.