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118 And Sometimes You Don’t 2010-02-04

Harvard Ridge

During the summer while we were climbing the fifty-four 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado, we had our physical ups and downs. Some days we felt great and other days we felt less than good. Early in the summer, when we first began the trip, the bad days were frequent. We were acclimating to the air and the environment and had trouble breathing while walking on a flat trail, on the mountainous trails our breathing was worse.

Surprising to me was that after we had climbed thirty or forty peaks, I still occasionally had bad days. These episodes were not just little headaches, but were full fledged I-don’t-know-if-I-can-take-another-step days.

For example...

After climbing Snowmass, we were home free. We only had five peaks to climb, and all but one was familiar. We would finish in just four days. In celebration, I picked up a big bag of chili flavored corn chips at the grocery and was ready to eat the whole bag. The more calories the better. I didn’t eat the whole bag, but I did eat quite a few chips to help supplement supper. The next morning on Castle Peak I did not feel great. I moved okay, but I had been very strong for a couple of weeks and I just knew something was wrong. We had a great climb, meeting lots of good folks, but I still felt a little off.

On the drive to Buena Vista I continued to snack on the chili corn chips. We did laundry, grocery shopping, and drove to the trailhead as I continued to snack. By bedtime I had finished the bag of chips and wished I had more.

The next morning on the trail to Harvard and Columbia I felt way off. I had a sour stomach and just burped constantly. My lungs felt like the could only half inflate due to my bloated stomach. I took a Gas-X to try and neutralize the gas. The anti-gas medicine was slow working and left me to a step once, burp twice rhythm.

My wife, Amy, was feeling great that day and was running up the mountain. I felt terrible and no matter how hard I tried to keep up I fell behind further and further. I kept moving, but it was slow - step once, burp twice.

Throughout the day, I tried to think what was wrong and finally deduced that it must have been the chips. I announced my hypothesis to Amy as she sped by me to the top.

I burped my way to the top of Harvard and then belched my way up Columbia. In my sullen mood I vowed never to eat corn chips again; but even after spurning the vile snack, I still couldn’t get a good breath without having to burp first. I was paying dearly for my indulgence.

Back at the car I drank all the water that would fit in my still bloated belly. By the next morning, I had cleaned my system and moved quickly up Longs Peak. Amy said she was not feeling very good that day. I wondered if she had gotten a bag of chips?!

I realize that you can’t feel good everyday, but if you control your cravings it definitely helps. Prior to my corn chip indulgence I had been so careful only to eat foods that were easy on my stomach. I did not eat anything spicy or rich, which was probably why I craved the chips and got the gas. It was not fun. I repent.

Somedays you feel like climbing, other days you don’t. If you watch what you eat and take care of yourself, the good days will out weigh the bad.

Happy ... burp ... trails.


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