Monday, January 12, 2015

My Peak Challenge

I'm going back on my word. Sorry, not sorry. Long ago in a land not far from here, I said I would stop talking about my oh so exciting exercise and getting healthy drama. I told you all sorry here. Well, I'm going to be going back on that promise for a while. At least till mid March anyway. Why? Well, let me tell you.

The last day that I got outside and ran was September 29th, 2014 (I know this because I kept track on my kitty cat wall calender). Ironically that's exactly one month prior to the day my mom passed away from cancer (October 29th, 2014). I'm not sure my subconscious knew that something was up. Maybe it knew I should have been spending that time with my mom instead of out running circuits in my neighborhood. When she was in the hospital those last two weeks, it was never a choice. It was go see mom. November and December came and went. Now that it is January, I've decided that it's time to finally get outside again. I'm not one who makes New Years Resolutions. I would break them within a week or so. So I gave up on that silly stuff long ago. I've realized that the past two years or so, that I've settled. I never reached the goals I had set. I told myself, that that was okay. That I was healthy, and I wasn't fat or gaining weight. So it was okay. But it isn't. I shouldn't settle. So this year will be all about NOT SETTLING. And that is not just in my get healthy for reals part of my life. In everything. But in the get healthy for reals part I actually want to see my abs and not the muffin top. I want to eat healthy and get off processed foods. And so, to get me back out there and get my ass moving again, I've decided on #MyPeakChallenge.

I knew I needed some type of motivation to get me going again. I needed some sort of goal (not the end goal) to get me motivated and moving. And this fits... perfectly. I won't tell you all about the challenge's details here. Click on the link above and read all about it yourself. You can do it. It's not that hard, just mouse up and click. I'll wait...

Now that you're back and informed I had to decide on what my challenge would be. The event takes place March 14-15, 2015. That's not long from now. So a marathon was out. Not that I want to do a marathon anyway. So was doing an actual mountain peak. Mt. Lassen and Mt. Whitney (which are on my must conquer list) are out do to snow and permits respectively.
Mt. Lassen

Mt. Whitney
So what can I train for for two months? Two hikes. Crazy, but I've been wanting to go backpacking again. Time made me forget about the back spasms I guess. First will be hiking up Mt. Madonna (Mt. Madonna County Park) from outside the park. The second will be doing a 12 mile back country hike in Henry Coe State Park.
Here's a really bad pic of what I will be doing at Mt. Madonna:
it may look big, but it's only 6 miles or so
And well here is a link to the Henry Coe hike. I can't seem to figure out how to get a good topo pic. But in my defense, it is 1:42am.

And now for the history: You can skip this part if you want. This is just the scholarly part of me trying to make you all learn something.

Mt. Madonna is one of the largest parks in Santa Clara County, it being a county park. It sits at the top of Hecker Pass in the Santa Cruz Mountains between Gilroy in the east (where I live) and Watsonville in the west. Besides the park where you can go hiking, biking, horse riding, archery, and camping, there is also the Mt. Madonna Center. This is a temple (Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple), retreat, yoga, learning institute, etc. It is also home to Mt. Madonna School. This is a k-12 school hosted by the Center that has a focus on the arts. Now what I find interesting is that the ruins of Henry Miller's summer home is in the park. Miller is quite famous in Gilroy. He was a cattle baron from the 1850's till his death in 1916. There is a street named after him in Gilroy. He also helped establish the city of Los Banos. A cool old work related fact is that SCE (Southern California Edison) an electric company bought land and water rights from him along the San Joaquin River for their Hydroelectric Systems in Big Creek. If you have read any of my older stuff about my archaeology days, you know that I spent a great deal of time in and out and about SCE's Big Creek Hydroelectric Project. In Gilroy, he is famous for stealing land and cattle from less prosperous folks. And the coup de gras is that there is a ghost story about his youngest daughter. She died when she was 8 when she fell off her horse and it crushed her. She was riding in Mt. Madonna. They say she haunts the campgrounds and the old Mt. Madonna Inn. You can read about it here. It's awesome.

I'll save you the enormous yet pretty cool and interesting history of Henry Coe State Park. I did a day hike there years ago with a friend, if you like you can read that here. The short version is this: Henry Coe had an ginormous ranch called Pine Ridge Ranch which had over 12,000 acres. He gave it to his son, Coe Jr. who was an idiot and sold it to Beach Land and Cattle Company in 1948. Coe's kick ass daughter Sada, bought it back in 1950. She donated the property to Santa Clara County in 1953, and so it is named after her father. The state eventually took ownership over the county and things happened. It almost got shutdown in 2012, but got saved by awesome people with money and the Pine Ridge Association. The park is still growing in size. It is over 67,000 acres now.

I'm now done with today's lesson.

I have asked my "certifiable" friend to join me on the hikes. This is the same "certifiable" friend from the adventures in backpacking the Skyline to the Sea Trail that you can re-read here if you like. If she is able to get both days off of work like I hope, she will join me both days. If she can only get one of the days, then the day she gets off we will do Henry Coe. I'm not about to venture into the back country on my own. I ain't stupid! Whether or not she decides to join in the challenge or not, is up to her. I'm most excited about the t-shirt I get. I realize I have a problem.

Now, just a few more things. I found this particular motivation via my geekiness. I will write about much of this in a different post, but let's just say that I started reading a book series called Outlander back in September. I tried starting it years ago, but never got passed the first 100 pages or so. Then the tv gods decided to make it into a tv show, so, I thought, ok, better try it again. Well, I finished the series back in December. (that's 8 books peeps). These books helped get me through the last month of my mothers life and the first two months after her death. I would read till my eyes burned and could no longer focus. The books were my escape from reality. It was the only way I could get to sleep at night. So, I also watch the tv show and geek out and drool online. Which is how I found out about #MyPeakChallenge. I thought it was a good fit since by joining the challenge I am also donating to a worthy charity. Granted my mom didn't have this type of cancer (blood cancer), she did have myelogous leukemia the last few weeks or so when her myeloma spread out of her bone marrow and into her blood stream. The peeps running the challenge are also avid outdoorsy mountain climbing nuts, which I am as well, so it all seemed to fit nicely.

So to start I have been off my precious soda for 7 days as of the posting of this. And here I am after the first run since the last, 106 days ago.
4.06 miles in 40 minutes, I still got this

Oh God, I think I'm going to die

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