[at-l] longevity advice (Was: sleeping bag)

EHamilton imagainst_the_wind at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 3 19:20:17 CST 2009

Well, gang. 

Yup, I'm out here. Dinner and beer? Sounds mighty tempting....

Yes, NightWalker, I hiked to Harper's Ferry and called it a day. You must have been reading my blog.

A lot of elements went into my decision to change plans. Yeah, most of it was physical.... I was hurting a lot of the time, but who isn't? I felt kind of wimpy. I was OK until I had to get new boots in Troutdale, and they hurt, and wouldn't stop hurting, and I couldn't get still more new ones, and every step was pretty much miserable. And I still feel like a wimp, b/c lots of people make it to Maine with feet that have hurt since Troutdale or even since Springer.

Then there was weight loss. Not very big to begin with, I'd lost 20 pounds by Front Royal; my backpack was killing me, pressing where there had originally been something between my skin and my bones. I was wrapping my rain pants around my waist under the hip belt and stuffing socks and gloves and hats under the shoulder straps. This was only Front Royal with 1200 or so miles to go and I didn't have another 20 pounds to lose.

I'd also screwed up my finances, thought I'd planned adequately (you may remember me as a self-described cheapskate dirt-bagger) but found I hadn't.

I felt awful about stopping but just didn't think I could keep going. Then I started thinking about this really great triathlon back home, SavageMan (http://savagemantri.org), that I'd wanted to do since its inception 3 years ago but kept missing due to travel, and I counted the weeks and thought, I have just about enough time to train for that, with legs of steel at a weight that's lean and mean, and it would sweeten up leaving the Trail just enough to make quitting tolerable.

Home is just a couple hours' drive from Harper's Ferry, and my husband was there to pick me up. I asked him to bring me a half-gallon of ice cream, since I wasn't going to be making it to Pine Grove Furnace. He did, and I timed myself, and polished it off in 28 minutes. And could have eaten more. Piece 'a' cake.

So I went home and trained up for SavageMan (half-Ironman distance, 1.2-mile swim, most difficult 56-mile triathlon bike course in the WORLD, 13.1-mile run.) I had to let my feet recover slowly, wasn't able to run more than a few minutes at a time at first; it took about 6 weeks to be able to run normally. But in the end I pulled it off. I finished the "world's most savage triathlon" (really... check the website) in 8 hours and 20 minutes, 10 minutes before the cutoff time. As the oldest female participant (and finisher) in the history of the race, I set a course record of sorts, despite being slow (really tough bike course!) Overall, with 1000+ miles of the AT and a humdinger triathlon, I guess I ended up with one hell of a season. 

Now I'm winding down and there's not a day that goes by that I don't wish I could have stayed on the Trail. I cried when I got my hiking buddy's Katahdin summit picture message. Jim Dandy, his trail name was. I knew when I linked up with him in June that he had what it took and that if I stuck with him I'd make it to Katahdin. Except *I* didn't have what it took, after all -- body fat, skin on my feet, and $ in my wallet.

I'm back to my normal weight now. That didn't take long. I feel kinda fat, after having been so skinny.

I'll do it again sometime. I'll save up money in the meantime, and from my first day out I'll eat peanut butter straight from the jar. Right now my husband and I are living with and taking care of my elderly mother and her house. I may be limited to section-hikes for some years. Except she says she wants to live to see me finish, which kind of puts me on a time limit and in a double bind: She wants to see me finish, but I can't leave her to go finish. 

We'll see what happens. 

Thanks so much for wondering about me....


----- Original Message -----
From: grey.owl at comcast.net
 McGyver, if 
> you are out there let us know. Frank and I would like to take you 
> out to dinner and a beer. 
> Grey Owl 
Frank <nightwalker.at at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Last year, there was a very sweet woman named McGyver who pretty 
>> much lived on this list in the months leading up to her hike. She 
>> asked a million questions, had a good attitude, didn't assume that 
>> she knew it all, and all the other things that should go with a 
>> successful attempt. 
>> Then the hail came. Her body kept trying to give up on her, she was 
>> taking more and more NSAIDs just to sleep at night, and at Harper's 
>> Ferry, she had taken all that she could. Did she fail? HELL NO!!!!! 
>> However, she probably thinks that she did, and we haven't seen her 
>> since. Aside: McGyver, if you're out there, please come play with 
>> us again. We really miss you. You're fun. ...
>> FrankenLooper the NightWalker 

Visit my website at http://booksforhikers.com
"Better to be lost in the woods than in a maze of cubicles…"

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