Saturday, March 12, 2011

First Hike: That's a lot of beer to drink!

This one was just too funny not to post!

As many of you already know, the x-ray this week showed good bone growth in the lateral view.  Doc says it's a good start, so I decided to celebrate today.  People celebrate in different ways, and I am definitely in the category of "different".  I've had a few near term goals in mind recently.  I have to say recently because my original goals regarding this comeback are long past.  No worries though...we'll get there eventually.

I basically have 3 goals in mind:

1. Walk without pain and without a limp by my Birthday, April 4.
2. Walk the Traprock course on April 15 to mark it for the race.
3. Run another 100 miler when I turn 50 in 3 years.

OK, number 3 is a stretch goal, but please allow me to dream a little.  Frankly, number 1 looks like a bit of a stretch from where I sit now.  I'm walking, but the limp and pain are my constant companion.  The limp seems to be improving at times, but who knows...  I'll take what I can get.

Anyway, today I decided that I needed to see if I could walk on trails in an effort to prepare for number 2.  Sure, I may be limping and in pain, but I can still walk.  Anyway, I was curious to see if the limp would be less on uneven surfaces and see how I would fare on the hills.

I haven't been up to Pinnacle Rock since September.  It's about 2 miles from my house and I used to run hills there.  I love running to the top of the rock and jumping around like Rocky, checking out the view, and running the trails along the ridge.  Today, the goal was to hike the half mile from my car to the top of the rock and back.  It seemed simple enough.  I figured the snow would be melted and I would just have a nice stroll.   I underestimated the challenge!

Walking down the road to the trail head, I was passed by a climber heading up to the cliff.  I said hello and asked if he was out for a climb.  As I was saying it, I tripped on a rock...kicking it with my repaired leg.  Ouch!  I wasn't even on the trail yet, and I was getting into trouble.  The climber warned me that it was muddy and wet as we picked our way through the seasonal wet spot at the trail head.   I just nodded and tried to concentrate on my footwork.  Once on the trail, I could see it was all snow and ice.  Ugh!  No turning back now superman.  The climber pressed on and turned right at the single path to the base of the cliff.  I had half a mind to follow him, but didn't dare.  I knew I had a better chance of getting to the top safely if I stayed on the double track.

It wasn't pretty and took awhile, but I picked my way up to the top without hurting myself.  I had one close call when I stepped on some ice that collapsed under my bad leg.  It was comforting to know that my leg could hold up under the impact, but a bit scary nonetheless.  Near the top I noticed the usual garbage left by others, and wished I had brought a garbage bag.  In the past, the Connecticut Climbers and Mountaineers have held annual clean-ups at the crag.  It helps, but it gets trashed again within weeks.  Occasionally, I would pick up trash during my runs, but it's hard to carry much while running.  After basking at the summit and taking a few photos, I decided to pick up some trash on the way down.  I carried as much as I could find along the path...which was about all I could handle.

On the way down the steep section, I struggled to find good footing.  My leg was hurting quite a bit and I limped and hobbled my way to find dirt patches.  A man was out walking his dog and asked if I was OK.  I said that I was fine, but didn't explain the erratic cadence.  He said to me, "That's a lot of beer to drink!" and pointed at the empty 6 pack of Long Trail beer that I was carrying.  I smiled and told him that I was picking up trash and hadn't been drinking.  He said OK, but I could see he wasn't sure if I was being truthful.  I explained that I had broken my leg, but he didn't seem interested.  As far as he was concerned, I drank a 6 pack of beer and now was trying to stumble my way down an icy slope.  How irresponsible could I be?!  HA!!  Oh well, he'll have a good story to tell someone tonight.

When I got back to the car, I checked the time.  It had taken me 30 minutes to walk the half mile from the top.  I used to run that path in just a few minutes.  Wow!  I know I have a long way to go, but I'm enjoying the journey.  I sat on the tailgate of the E and stared up at the cliff.  What a different life I am leading now.  So many times I have climbed up the cliff or run the trails and now I humbly hike a mile and take pride in the accomplishment.  It's been a journey.  I could look at what I once had and wonder if I will ever get it back OR I could remember that I was on crutches 5 months and 5 weeks ago and know that the walk I took today is a minor miracle after what I've experienced.  I remember the nurses trying to teach me how to use the walker, so I could get into my house.  Now, I'm walking to the top of the cliff.

It's a great start!

We have nearly 60 runners signed up for Traprock this year.  It's going to be a great race!  Looking forward to seeing you all there.  I'll be marking the course with all of you in mind. :-)



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