Thursday, March 22, 2007

Week 3 - Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Week 3 was cold as usual in February. I'm sure Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon is a nice place, and I'm sure in the Spring and Summer you can see some of this so-called "Wildlife" but today it was still soundly tucked away for winter. It was still good to be out and not hibernating myself however there are few highlights from this week.

Somewhere out there is Gillette Stadium.

Even our mascot gave up.

Alice Lau

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Week 2 - Ward Reservation

Week 2's hike was at Ward Reservation in Andover featuring the highest point on the North Shore:

This week was a little more difficult, a lot more of that uphill stuff. Though the highest point in Essex County is only 420', that's like walking up 30-40 flights of stairs in a row, and when's the last time any of us did that? Luckily it was a beautiful winter day, with the freshly fallen snow on the ground it looked like narnia.

Heidi and Patricia

We were out for about 3 hours and my 6 year old hiking boots held up well, for now. I have to start shopping for some better gear though, things are only going to get harder. I already bought $50 worth of socks and a high-end water bottle. Since I didn't have a thermos, in order to keep from having to drink ice cold water on an icy cold day, I filled the bottle with hot tea and put it in a wine bottle insulator. Klassy.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Week 1

At the initial meeting we were given our daily training schedule, which isn't so grueling except for the word "daily". Here's a sample week:

Sunday - 30 Minute Flat/Easy
Monday - Core Strength/Rest
Tuesday - 30 - 45 Min. Hilly/Moderate
Wednesday - 30 Min Flat/Brisk
Thursday - 30 - 45 Min. Hilly/Moderate
Friday Rest -OR- 30 Minute Flat/Easy
Saturday - Hike Elevation Gain/Loss 200' - 500'

What changes as the weeks go on is the duration and the elevation gain on our weekend hikes. The first one was pretty easy, the hike leader Chris calls this the "walk in the woods" phase. We spent a couple of hours roaming around Breakheart Reservation in Saugus (which I never knew existed, I guess I was blinded by it's being located next to the Kelly's Roast Beef on Rte 1). It was cold but the hills were gently rolling and back at the lodge there was a fireplace and hot chocolate to warm us up. Apparently that is not typical, most hikes will begin and end in a parking lot.

The Group

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Training Diary - The Beginning

Hello! Welcome to my Hike for Discovery training blog. This whole process is a big undertaking for me so I thought I should chronicle my efforts for myself and everyone who is supporting me.

Some background - The Hike for Discovery is an endurance training program that raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I first heard about the program at a company-sponsored health fair back in September. It sounded like a fantastic idea, one of my closest friend's lost his mother, Carolyn, to lymphoma the year before and the unfairness of the disease really struck me. I've had my share of difficulties but nothing compared to what people coping with the impact of cancer have to go through. If Carolyn managed to handle it to the end with a positive attitude then the least I could do was get out and appreciate the fact that I can get out at all.

I went to the orientation and spoke to some alumni of the program. They swore to me the Hike for Discovery was for regular people, so I pledged to raise a minimum of $5000 and spend 19 weeks doing successively longer weekly hikes, culminating with a big weekend hike in Yosemite National Park (June 7-11th). Throughout the process we have daily training schedules, various clinics on proper gear, hydration, stretching, etc... and perhaps most importantly, we do a lot of fundraising.

The first week after I signed up was a little bewildering and surreal to say the least. A lot of "what have I done" and "how much is this going to hurt me" moments. Ironically I don't even love a challenge that much.

As an example of what I'm up against, here's me about 8 years ago when I was getting out of the house more:

Then there was a long period of inactivity, and here's me a few months ago:

The drink in hand is pretty standard, but could easily be replaced by a plate of food or the occasional cigarette. If I'm going to hike Yosemite without embarrassing myself then I have some work to do. When I dug my old hiking gear out of the back of the closet there was about 3 inches of dust on the pack and one of the cats had thrown up on my boots.