Monday, July 25, 2011

The Not-So-Happy Hiker

Monday already? The weekend truly flew by. One day it's Friday and then *poof* Monday.

I didn't take pictures of all my eats because I typically don't blog a lot over the weekend. There is usually something happening and Chuck is home so I'm out and about. But the eats were right on plan and I made great choices.

Sunday we got up at 6:45am to meet up with a hiking group an hour away on the north side of Houston at Jesse H. Jones Park. All of us, except Rachel, wore our new daypacks and hydration packs. Charlie was so enamored with the idea of drinking water from a hose that he almost drained his water before we even started walking.

It turned out to be a pretty big group. I'd guess around 15-20 hikers. Some of these guys were pros and knew all of the right gadgets to carry and which socks were best for blisters, etc. Color me impressed.

Then the starting gun blasted (not really) and we were off. When I drag take the family on hikes we stop, take pictures, observe nature, walk slowly to absorb it all, discuss how various trees and shrubs were used by Native Americans and pioneers. This was not that kind of hike.

I used my Run Keeper app (Thanks, Mr. Blog!) to keep track of pace, distance and time. The average pace was only 2.5 mph but that wasn't taking in account the times we would stop at the end of the trail or to look at the map because we'd gone the wrong direction. So the pace was a little faster than that.

Not only was the pace faster but we didn't stop to look at anything. Not even when we could hear that a woodpecker was nearby in a tree. It was walk, walk, walk.

Actual conversation from hike:
Charlie: My shoe's untied. Hang on.

Chuck: Kelly, wait. Charlie needs to tie his shoe.

Me: Leave him!! We can't fall further behind. Weakest can do nothing for him. Quick, look at the moss growing on the bottom of that tree as we pass.

Rachel: Mom is in to competitive hiking.

Me: Shut up!!

It became a little tense as I struggled to keep up with the sprinting pack. They were all very nice and the pace really wasn't that fast as far as walking goes. I just had trouble getting my legs going.

My family does not look amused.

Spring Creek

 Mile 2.5 Rachel develops a blister. By mile 3 she has two blisters. That happens to be when we stop for a water refill/bathroom break so we leave early while the rest of the group continues to walk another 3 miles. My shirt and shorts were soaked with sweat. I could literally wring sweat out of my shirt.

I don't mind cutting it short because of Rachel's blisters. I have a problem with leaving early because it was a struggle for me and I was ready to leave. I hate giving up. It really gets to me and I was dealing with some self doubt problems the rest of the day.

Hiking is supposed to be my thing. Do what you like; like what you do. I do hiking. I have the gear. I have the magazine. I have the trail books and shirts. And then I got left behind. And it frustrates me.

For too long I felt like an outcast (and it was me putting this on myself, not others) because of weight. I felt really bad about myself and while losing the pounds I just wanted to feel normal. I wanted to be able to walk into a restaurant and not feel like people were staring at me. I would actually not go to the bathroom because I didn't want to have to get up and walk across a room. I was so afraid of being judged or stared at. As I've lost the weight I've started to feel normal. I'll even go try on clothes now! I don't mind walking across a room (as much).

With hiking, I felt like I was normal. I could keep up with the pack and fit in. On Sunday, I was at the back of the pack and struggling. I didn't feel normal because I was having trouble walking at a normal pace doing something I love. I'm really having trouble describing how/why I felt the way I did. I guess I just didn't want to be last in something that I thought I could do.

I prefer my more relaxed, sightseeing hikes but I want to have the ability to keep up with the competitive hikers. And this was a "short hike" according to the organizer! Usually they hike 10-12 miles. These people are almost walking half marathons every week.

There's really only one thing to do. Quit and find a different hobby. Nooooo. I'm joking. I'm going to go on some solo hikes and boost my mileage and time and when I'm ready I'll join the hiking groups occasionally and do some faster hiking. I just have to condition myself.

Like I said, they weren't really going that fast. It was a normal pace and I should be able to keep up. I guess strolling through my hikes hasn't really helped get me ready for the faster paces. It bugs me that I shouldn't have had a problem with the pace. All in all, I'm glad I went. The people were very friendly and it seems like a nice group. I'm sure I'll meet up with them again. It just won't be as much of a struggle for me.

Enough complaining. I just needed to get that out in the open.

Sunday night was my splurge meal. I received another recipe to test for America's Test Kitchen. This one was for Spaghetti al Vino Rosso with Walnuts, Breadcrumbs and Parmesan.

It was eay to prepare albeit a little odd. The noodles are partially cooked in water then finish cooking in red wine. The wine soaks into the noodles giving it a grayish purple color. Tasty but definitely not up to the usual standards of America's Test Kitchen. I wouldn't make it again.
 Some salad with Ranch.
 Splurge dessert: chocolate ganache cake.
I didn't eat but a little more than half the pasta and only a few bites of the cake. Not horrible for a splurge night.

It's Monday so back on the wagon for me. :)


  1. Kelly,
    It sounds like the competitiveness of the hike took the enjoyment out of it for you. I wouldn't like to be rushed in doing something I enjoy and if you felt rushed at all, then maybe the hiking groups aren't for you. It sounds like the family didn't enjoy it either and you can't be angry at yourself for walking at your own pace. To me, hiking is about interacting with nature, not about seeing how fast you can finish. It sounds like the hiking group would be better called a speedwalking group. Hang in there and remember you LIKE to hike and you like to do it YOUR way. Hugs.

  2. I'm sure it being ungodly hot and humid made it more difficult than it would have been on a nice 70 degree day. And when the family isn't into like you are, that doesn't help. Yesterday I went to Walmart with my husband and he was barely moving and I told him I never go that slow in Walmart. I'm a woman on a mission when I'm in there. Get in, get out!

  3. That hike reminds me of when Jeff and I did the duathlon - at that time, I'd run several 5K races and THOUGHT I was a runner...but these people literally left me in the dust by the first 1/4 mile. I was all "what the hell just happened?" and yes, self-doubt set in - I know exactly how you must have felt during that hike!

    Even though the people sound nice in that group, it honestly doesn't sound like your style of hiking - never stopping to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature? I mean really - they might as well be "hiking" on the side of the road if they're not going to really stop and appreciate the beauty around them!

  4. Hi Kelly, oh dear....sorry the hiking experience wasn't a good one - for you or your family. Sounds like this is one to chock up to experience, and find a group who are more aligned with your style of hiking. Take care, have a good Monday!!!!

  5. That doesn't sound like the best hike ever. I am the most uncompetitive person in the world, so when I am walking at 2K per hour on the treadmill and the person beside is flying at 8K per hour it barely even I may not be the best person to understand how you feel...but I think I get it.

    Not stopping take a look at the beauty of nature doesn't sound like fun either. When I hike (slowly) I love to check out the wildlife (mostly chipmunks) and just the all around loveliness of the trees and the water (if there is some).

    Sorry this wasn't a great time for you.

  6. Glad you haven't decided to give up hiking all together!!

    I agree, if you do some solo hikes on your own and up your mileage and pace, you'll do better in the group setting.

    Ew on the pasta - I wouldn't make that again either. :(


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