Saturday, March 8, 2014

61 and Hiking Long

Seems like people are always asking me how I keep hiking at the pace and distances I so much enjoy.  One of my brothers just thinks I'm crazy and another tells me I'm too old to be doing these trips.  Well luck for me a woman in Rochester, NY years ago shared the secret to being active at an older age.

I was in Rochester for a seminar.  It didn't have a thing to do with hiking or fittness.  It was on color lithographic printing.  After the day's class I went back to my hotel and decided to take a dip in the pool.  As I looked around the pool area I saw a woman swimming laps.  She had about as many years on me as I have gained sinced this occurred.  I was impressed with how easily she moved through the water.  So without a lot of thought I decided to see if I could keep up with her.  It only took a few laps to know I had miscalculated.  After stuggling awhile longer to keep up I retreated to the shallow end of the pool.  I watched with amazement as she continued with lap after lap.  Finally her session was complete and she stopped in the lane next to me.  She glanced over with a smile, letting me know that she saw me try to keep up and fail.  I just couldn't hold back and I asked her "how do you do that"?  She replied "everyday".  I clarified my question, "no, not how often, how do you do it'?  The answer was the same "everyday".  She went on to explain that she swam everyday and if she missed a day it was like starting over.

That's how I hike, everyday or at least most everyday.  And if I take more than a couple days off from hiking, like the lady in the pool, I start over.  To get ready for this up coming hike in Virginia I have a pack sitting by my front door.  It is full of old towels and bean bags and water bottles.  I've been adding weigth to it since the first of the year and it is just over 20 pounds.  Next month it will be 25 pounds.  My hike increases every couple of weeks but right now it is two laps through the woods behind my home.  Each lap starts with push-ups and sit-ups (pack on 20 each). I have a chin-up bar and crank out as many as I can (not many did 6 each lap yesterday).  Then I walk up and down hills and across streams for 2.3 miles.  I complete the lap with 20 squats and a series of stretches while standing on one leg and repeat on the other.  Standing on one leg helps improve the strength of my ankles.

When I hit the trail in a couple of months the distance will be longer but because I have hiked most everyday my legs will be ready.  Because I have carried a pack (heavier than I plan to have on the trip) my shoulders and back will be up for th challenge.  

Because a lady in Rochester, NY shared the secret of being active, I can do the things I love as I get older.