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062 Con’sore’tium 2009-03-27

mount evans sumit

So we went on a little backpacking trip to Big South Fork last week which left me s-o-r-e. I am not talking about one little calf muscle being sore, I mean my whole self was sore. My body was holding a con’sore’tium of pain. All the muscles attended and backed the soreness effort by a 100% vote. Okay, it really wasn’t quite that bad, but I was indeed sore.

It’s not that I didn’t know the soreness was going to happen, as it seems to be an annual occurrence; but I tend to overlook the previous years experiences with the pains of fitness. I guess I also must confess that I wanted a good workout. I purposely carried extra weight, we put in a twenty++ mile day, and left half of my food supply at home, just to make the trail a little tougher. The trip was suppose to be a test for us.

Prior to the trip my training regimen was: I ran seven days a week, doing close to forty miles for the week, exercised with dumb bells three days a week for core strength, walked the dog at least three miles every day, and biked whenever possible. I had lost weight and generally felt like I was in pretty good shape before leaving the trailhead.

The problem was that I was in shape for running, biking, and neighborhood walking; but not for backpacking - especially my shoulders. Every year my shoulders have to endure the pain of adjusting to shoulder straps again. I don’t really know of any way to train for the torture of the two inch strap cutting into my muscles, other than carrying the beast. Then, somehow over time, my shoulders adapt to the pain.

So, I knew my shoulders and core was going to hurt; but what surprised me the most was how sore my legs were. Starting with my big toe, which I recently tried to cut off with a chain saw, all the way up to my butt, my legs were sore. I know I am getting older and do not recover as fast as a teenager, but I was hobbling like a needed a cane, instead of trekking poles. Standing after dinner was especially bad. If it was any consolation, our dog was also very sore as he too limped off to bed.

As tender as my muscles were, when we got home I limped from the car, unpacked, and then on a wild whim decided to go for a run. I only went for about a three mile jog, but nothing hurt while I was running. I was pain free. Go figure.

Training for our big summer plans, we now realize that we have to carry a pack at least once a week just to keep our shoulders and their nemesis the backpacks on speaking terms. We have also planned two more backpacking trips just to continue to test our fitness levels. It seems that we also have to work at training the dog more, because he too needs to be in better shape.

All backpackers and mountaineers are masochists with no long term memory. The crippling pain of trips soon seemed endurable and then finally morphs into forgettable. We basically say,"thank you for the pain, may I have some more." The soreness of the trip is worth the pleasure, no matter how loud our muscles complain. If we can hike, we will.

Happy trails.


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