No, nothing to do with being old. This is what it looks like to ramp up training for Kilimanjaro
Yesterday I did my fourth Big Ask in two weeks. I took what was supposed to be about a six-mile hike up Mt. Pisgah just outside Eugene, took a few wrong turns and ended up doing eight miles, some of it pretty steep, all at a very good clip.
By the time I made it to the parking lot, I realized it was the wrong parking lot. Then, with the sun starting to sink, I kept walking my aching dogs to my car another three quarters of a mile away, and collapsed into the seat.
Nearly fell asleep right there. Not a good move.
So I drove home and fell asleep on the couch. Good move.
Speaking of moving, however, getting off the couch this morning was a hairy bastard. For some reason my lower back got cranked (the couch, likely) and I hurt EVERYWHERE.
Calves, thighs, butt muscles.
That's precisely what you're supposed to feel when you push it.
I've been doing local hikes for the last several years, some with a good rise, but only three miles. I met a friend in Florence, we went for a hike that was double my regular distance. The next day both our legs were barking at us. So the following weekend I did another six mile hike here in town.
That went well, so I went back to the coast to do that same hike that I'd done with my new friend, only this time I ran all the way back to my car. That gets your attention. Got my body's attention. I stopped a few times but I made it the whole way. So...YAY.
Progress. I expect to be sore when I push harder.
Yesterday I loaded up a small Camelbak with water, an apple, down jacket and rain coat. I am forever surprised to see folks all over a mountain with nuttin' on their backs. Mt. Pisgah isn't the Rockies, but folks get lost, I sure as hell did, and that was on a bright, sunny day with no fog or rain or dark.
That's how we die, being unprepared for sudden weather changes and getting lost. I do not hike without gear. Not only is this good training, in a world of climate change, you'd be a damned fool NOT to plan for exigencies.
So, a featherlight down jacket (Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer, not cheap, but warm, and at 1000 fill, barely seven ounces) and an ultralight Goretex jacket, made for runners, but my Oregon Research bright red jacket (easy to spot) is also barely seven ounces. I roll the down jacket into a waterproof Sea to Summit bag which also weighs bare ounces, and then my keys, plenty of water and maybe a Kind bar.
I use Black Diamond Carbon retractable poles, which also weigh nothing. What weighed the most was one single glove: a battery-operated Seirus, which is for my left hand arthritis, and another lighter glove for the right, just in case. Both Goretex, just in case of rain. That damned Serius glove weighed more than anything other than the water.
Then I took off at speed. I hike fast, not only because it takes me a while to warm up, but also because now I am training. I was fully seven miles in before my body started to complain. I could feel the fatigue.
However, I couldn't stop. For I was on a part of the mountain I didn't know, and was following signs to the summit, which I did know. After a very long ascent, thank god for poles, I found it, along with scads of folks with their dogs.
One Boston terrier, two border collies, one Australian cattle dog and two pitties later I was jogging on my way down. I'd asked someone for directions to the North Parking lot, my body screaming for a potty break and a PLACE TO SIT DOWN, still had about a mile to go.
Then I reached the parking lot, again, the wrong one. Whereupon I pointed myself North, which fellow hikers apparently didn't know either, and slogged nearly another mile to the car.
It had been at least eight miles. That's the distance I will be going with a group the first week of April. Lots of those folks my age or older, and many didn't take the quarantine time off.
No way I'm going to quit 'cuz I'm sore. The point is that quarantine, and no more local stairs to run like I had in Denver have meant that I've not been training at the same level. Now I am. And my body is letting me know precisely where the work is doing its best good, and what I can look forward to by sticking with it.
Quit 'cuz you're sore? Hell no. The body lets us know how much good the work is doing by showing us where we've slacked off. You keep right on. You take hot baths, massages, muscle cream.
Then you gear up, put the pack on again, and head out. And add another mile or two. It's not about age. It's about our willingness to push ourselves.
This is only eight miles. Kilimanjaro is around fifty over eight days, the route I'm likely to take. Long way to go to train for that.
And I am well on the path already.