temporarily sidelined

Poor little sneakers worked hard.

Well, here I am with a strained knee. Of course, I haven’t been to a doctor or anything, but the fact that I can’t bend my left knee without excruciating pain and I’m walking like Festus from Gunsmoke leads me to believe that I have an “over-use” injury from my hike yesterday.

Lessons to be learned from this include: Don’t participate in a hike unless you have trained for the distance and the skill level. Don’t push your aging body to do things you’re not ready for unless you want an injury. Know when to stop.

My remedies include a knee brace and a nightly cup of warm turmeric milk. Maybe it works, maybe it’s placebo, but it makes me feel better.

I am woefully behind in steps today, but I’m willing to make the concession that I might have to sit this one out. The one thing I should not do is keep on pushing through pain. So, I am feeling sad that I don’t have 10,000 steps today, but I am also feeling like I am making good sense by resting my knee.

10,000 steps a day is something I want to do for the rest of my life, but if there are times when I can’t or shouldn’t, that is okay too. I’ll just pick it back up when I can. By taking care of myself today, I live to hike again.

Photo by DLM


first hike and lived to tell the tale

Why would they nail this word to a tree?

This morning I drove to a park in the forestry for my very first hike. You know, the six to seven mile hike that I signed up for a couple of days ago.

It was pouring rain. Since I was nervous about this hike, I naturally thought, “Oh good. Maybe they’ll cancel.”

No such luck. Twelve die-hard hiking enthusiasts showed up, in various degrees of water repellent clothing. I was wearing a very long, very blue, flowing plastic poncho that I had once saved from the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. I know this because it said “Maid of the Mist” right on it.

I knew these people were die-hard hikers, because a) they didn’t even acknowledge the rain, and b) almost all of them had hiking poles.

Now that is something that I hadn’t thought about. Hiking poles? Really? Why would anyone need hiking poles for a walk in the woods? Oh, naiveté.

We started out down a road into the park, and very quickly veered into the woods. Straight up the side of a very large, tree covered hill. The rain had made the trail very slippery and muddy. It mattered not. Like leaping mountain goats, everyone flew up the vertical incline. I was in the back of the pack, sliding in the mud, trying to keep up.

I just need to mention that this hiking club has some of the nicest people that I’ve ever met. Seeing me do my third triple axle down a mud covered trail, someone offered me one of their hiking poles. Oh. What a difference. This magic pole and I quickly became very good friends, and I stopped sliding like Bambi on the ice.

Our six to seven mile hike actually was a seven to eight mile hike, and I kept up until the very end. After three hours of up and down and crossing that creek, my left knee seized up and left me in crippling pain. This is a knee that has never complained in it’s life. My left knee is the “good knee”. Possibly the only working, pain-free joint in my body. And yet, “ping…” it went out on me and I could no longer trip over one more tree root.

We had just come to the road leading back to the cars, and I had kept up all the way. I was just congratulating myself, when the entire group decided to dive back into the woods in search of a “really neat backwoods way” to the parking lot, I had to politely decline this new off road adventure. This was above and beyond what my knee could do, so I elected to take the sissy walk back to the cars on the road.

Two of the women walked with me to keep me company, and to make sure I could make it back. Did I mention how nice everyone was on this hike?

Sitting in my car never felt so good. I had walked eight miles in three hours at a pretty fast pace, and only hurt one knee. I’m pretty proud of myself right now.

So, as I write this tonight, my muscles have seized up like an old Buick, and I am limping around like a one hundred year old woman. But it will pass. I can’t wait to go on the next hike. I just have to get a pair of those fancy hiking poles first.

Photo by DLM


imageOkay, I’ve gone and done a crazy thing. I joined a local hiking group. This might not be a nutty idea for some people, but it hasn’t been that long ago that I was a serious couch sitter, and a hobbling physical mess.

But joining a hiking group isn’t painful. Not at all. Especially if you never actually go on a hike. Which I haven’t yet. So, the act of joining was actually very easy. I did it online.

That was two weeks ago. Yesterday, I finally decided to sign up for a hike. This Sunday. Like, in two days. So I made the phone call to reserve my spot on the hike, and it went something like this.

Me: I’d like to sign up for the hike on Sunday.

Man on phone: Okay, have you ever been on one of our hikes?

Me: No, I’m new.

Man on phone: It’s six to seven miles.

Me: Okay.

Man on phone: We’ll be crossing a stream. Your feet will get wet.

Me: Okay.

Man on phone: It’s hilly terrain. Six to seven miles

Me: Okay.

Man on phone: That’s a two or three hour hike. Six to seven miles

Me: Okay.

(It was beginning to sound like he was trying to talk me out of it.)

Me: I’ve been walking almost five miles every day.

Man on Phone: Okay.

So, now that I know, without a doubt, that the hike will be six to seven miles long, on hilly terrain, crossing water, I have to ask myself, “What have I done!?!”

I must confess, I am a little nervous. I’m wondering, do I need special hiking shoes? What if I can’t finish? Will they leave me in the bushes to die, muttering, “I told her it was six to seven miles.”

All of this is compounded by the fact that I just looked at the website again, and the listing for this hike actually says “seven to eight miles”. Why didn’t I see that before? What possessed me to think that I can walk seven to eight miles, or six to seven, or any combination thereof?

What am I going to need on this grueling physical challenge? A water bottle? Band-aids? A backpack? Real hiking boots? An emergency contact for when I drop dead half way through?

I need to get a grip. I’ve walked eight miles in a day before. Just not all at once. So, cue the Mary Poppins-esque chipper cliches that I always resort to in times of stress.

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do” Eleanor Roosevelt, have you ever walked eight miles uphill in a stream?

“No guts, no glory” Thank you, David Farragut for my battle cry.

“You never know until you try” Anonymous was on to something.

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward” Oh, Victor Kiam, whoever you are… that is the one I’m going to put a on a T-shirt.

So, I’ve got two days to get it together and prepare for the first hike of my life. I love to go a’wandering… but will I make it out alive?

Photo by DLM