Saturday, July 11, 2009

Testing limits

This is Marc, me and a dog that made friends with us at Lake Blanca.

This week I learned two things: that I'm even more out of shape than I realized and that I can push myself physically farther than I thought I could (two things that seem at odds, but aren't).

On Thursday I finally buckled down to the dreaded "Eva" crossfit workout. It's supposed to go:
800m run
30 kettlebell swings
30 pullups
and repeat 5 times

My scaled version was
400 m run
20 kettlebell swings
20 jumping pullups

It was tough but I made it through-- I had been dreading the workout for over a week and I knocked it out. It was hard but not horrible. Mainly my problem is a lack of stamina and inefficiency of oxygen flow due to deconditioning (in other words, I get out of breath quickly.)

Today Marc and I went hiking with 6 of my friends from Bastyr. My friend Stacy is a fairly hard-core hiker and I was worried I would not be able to keep up. I did hope that some of the rest of the group might be more on my level-- I was wrong. The hike, to Lake Blanca, up near Mt Baker was nearly 8 miles round trip, and at least 3 of those miles were steep switchbacks up the mountain. Within half a mile I was already too winded to keep up with my friends. (That's not to say that it wasn't a tough workout for everyone, but it was definitely a lot harder for me than for the rest of my friends.) Thank God for Marc, who was my loyal champion, staying back with me and cheering me on as I tried not to die while scaling the steep incline, never complaining no matter how often I had to take a rest. Mercifully my friends went ahead without us as I requested-- I would have been embarrassed to have them watch me huff and wheeze, though I'm sure they would have waited dutifully for me if I had wanted them to. Three- quarters of the way up we encountered some slushy snow-- which was a very welcome relief from the heat (you know you are hot when it feels good to put snow down your shirt!) We finally arrived at gorgeous Lake Blanca, which is fed by a glacier. We sat to eat our lunches and I stupidly ate my entire turkey wrap even though I was too tired to be hungry. We had to go up a particularly steep, nearly vertical half mile from the lake before starting back down the mountain and I started up too soon after eating and nearly lost my lunch. This time my friends waited at the top of the incline and we all started the downhill slope together. Downhill I did much better and kept up easily. We did not need to stop the whole way down, though it was very hard on all of our knees and my feet started to really hurt, we made it down in one piece.

Had Marc not come with us we all would have had a bad day. First of all because he was the only one to check the road conditions before we left and discover that the main road to the hike was closed and how to get there alternately, but second, because I would have been very embarrassed at my slow pace and everyone would have had to wait for me. However, had Marc and I done this hike alone we likely would have not gone the whole way and we would have missed the spectacular view at the end. I found out that even though it was very hard, I AM capable of such a hike and I'm proud of myself for getting through it to the end and back.

I do not want to find myself at this level of unfitness again-- I feel very inspired to push myself into a more consistent and rigorous exercise routine so that I never again have to feel like I'm holding up the parade.


CAROL said...

I came across a photo album from college today. Wow, was that a wake-up call about how out of shape I am now! I've been hiking at St. Ed's every day with my dog, but I think I need to step it up.

Ryah said...

Sabrina, sometimes I think you are too hard on yourself. :) Regardless of pace, the hike sounds amazing and I wish I could have been there. I certainly miss you.

Reed Vawter said...

What? You, the crossfit queen out of shape? I don't believe it. Besides, I just remember one time when I was on a long hike, all out of breath and got passed by a pregnant lady! And that was when I was in top running shape. We all have those moments :)

Laura said...

wish I could have been there with you, I would have huffed and puffed along side (I'm quite out of shape right now too!). Keep up with the cross fit and you'll be master in no time!