Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Moving the Body at Rest

My body at rest has become a body in motion. The rest of the time, I’m recovering. I know it may seem wrong to call me a body at rest when I am a distance runner, but it’s really true. I lie on the couch until I get up and run, and then I go back to the couch. This is not just metaphorical. I’m sedentary in my core. Hand me another book.

But not anymore. Not since I signed up to hike the Chilkoot Trail. I’m not sure whether that’s a carrot or a stick, but it’s certainly lit a fire under me. The fire of refusing to be humiliated, the fire of realizing the only way off the trail is over it. So I had to train. That led to the Zumba experiment, but now, with the weather turning glorious (and one little episode of barfing in the middle of a group weight-lifting class), I’m back outside.

A snow-less winter of no skiing meant I was entering the spring with enough flab for several people. I always start off slowly to avoid injury, and I usually run every other day. This avoids injury but also allows me to resume my inertia position of body at rest. This time, though, I have a rooting section called Tim. While I am a body at rest, Tim is a body-always-seeking-motion. So far, I have been able to resist.

But now, he whispers, “Chilkoot Trail,” and I gear up. We’ve added hiking to my days off. Not only do I have to practice steep; I have to practice walking, period. For some reason, I find it easier to run ten miles than to walk six. I think it has to do with standing on my feet that long or maybe it’s momentum, but I reach the groan-level much earlier with walking. Our friend Kris has been organizing weekly hikes for years, so now I show up, too.

One week it was Kincaid Park, hiking the bluff to the beach. I was glad to be with a group; maybe this would be the time I could actually find my way back from the beach without bushwhacking through brush. It was a glorious, sunny day – I applied my sunscreen – until we got to Kincaid, where the wind was ferocious. The first time I discovered the sand dunes at Kincaid, I thought I’d landed on a Star Wars planet. Woods, cliffs, rocks … and sand dunes?

Sand dunes + wind + sunscreen on face = a total crust of sand encasing my face.
The trail goes up and down, up and down. This is called “hill work.” It is work because it’s single-file and you don’t want to slow up the people behind you (Is there a hiking version of corridor rage called trail rage?). There was no smelling of the roses; we hustled along. Up and down. Up and down.

There were lots of tree roots and lots of dogs. I don’t do tree roots well. Not cracks in sidewalks, not uneven pavement, not broken branches or rocks, either. I must be a vigilant trail runner (and sidewalk walker) because tree roots eagerly await me. Tim says they’re like the trees in the Wizard of Oz when they see me. My toes are the usual victims, but I’ve been known to go down whole body, involving even my head in the calamity. Dogs just complicate the issue.
The good side to all this motion: I’ve discovered a lovely, nearby trail that has been here for all 31 years I’ve lived in Alaska and I’d never been on it. I walked a trail that I’ve only skied before – ski trails can be hiking trails in the non-winter! That was a good day; I found Joy, that shy spirit, on the trail, too.

In the midst of all this running and walking, my friend Connie passed on an article about “dead butt syndrome,” otherwise known as gluteus medius tendinosis. Ironically, you don’t get a dead butt from lying on the couch; you get it if you run too much and too exclusively. Your butt is connected to your hips, legs, and back so the pain is well connected, too. This problem goes beyond the sagginess issue, so now I have to add Other Things to my body in motion repertoire.
Some days, I actually do two things in one day: run in the morning and bike somewhere in the evening. Oh, yikes, what’s happening to me?!?

1 comment:

  1. Will you share with me the location of your new favorite nearby trail? I'm always on the lookout for a good place to walk. Hike on, my friend!


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