Thursday, January 26, 2012

92 Days- Hiker Hunger Returns… Or, I Joined a Gym

Back in the beginning of January I did like what a lot of people do that time of year and joined a gym.  One month plus two free weeks for being a new member.  The membership was necessary.  Before the gym, since moving to Florida at the beginning of December I went to two Yoga classes, went on one Florida-version of a hike, went on one 25 mile bike ride, and have spent a good number of days at the beach.  I also walked around the neighborhood a handful of times.  With the exception of the bike ride nothing was feeling like actual physical movement. 
Doing some winter hiking in Maryland.
Early spring hike in Maryland.
I spent last winter in Maryland and I was going for 10-15 mile hikes once a week.  I was usually the first one on the A.T. after a snowfall.  Granted I wasn’t doing that many miles, but I felt like I was keeping in hiker shape.  At the end of March I did a 28 mile day hike with a large group and felt great the whole time, and I believe, with the exception of the trail runners, I was the first women done, and the fifth hiker done.  But I was incredibly sore the next day.  I don’t want to start the PCT after putzing around for a few months. 

So I joined a gym.  My membership will last me until February 23rd and I’ll probably sign up for one more month after that.  I don’t predict that I’ll have much time for the gym come April, but who knows?  
My body went through a week of breaking in.  The instructors love making us do squats and lunges.  My quads do not love doing squats and lunges, but they are starting to get used to it.  Already I’ve adjusted to the point where nothing hurts the next day.  After every class I’m incredibly famished.  My thru-hiker hunger doesn’t mess around.
My ice cream after the Half Gallon Challenge on the A.T.
It’s a little strange for me to be working out in a studio.  I’ve never been much of a gym person before.  Since I’ve started backpacking I’ve just been very actively backpacking.  I didn’t have to worry about staying in hiker shape.  I hope that going to the gym is going to do the trick.  I know the best way to get into shape for a long distance hike is to hike long distances, but that isn’t really an option for me here.  One of the instructors suggested that I spend some time on the treadmill.  She suggested that I should walk on it backwards to simulate going down hill and sideways to simulate side hills.  With my pack on, of course.  It should be interesting.  I’ll probably start that next month.
On the PCT, I want to do 20’s at the start.  I think that will be better motivation than the usual reasons people join a gym in January.

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