Saturday, July 14, 2012

Energy & Endurance

If you haven’t guessed it by now I am really an outdoors kind of gal. I love to go camping and hiking--anything that gets me outdoors. A few years ago I was member of a hiking group and was able to go hiking 1-2 times a month. I loved it! It was hard work but the pay off was great scenery and lot of fun. However, as things would have it, the group slowly dissolved.  But not my desire to get back out exploring. It never went away. Thanks to some fellow co-workers I am hiking again in places I would never have gone by myself. And that makes me very happy. 
This past weekend we hiked the Twin Pillars trail, near Prineville, Oregon. The 12-mile hike was challenging for more than one reason. First, there was a 1900 feet elevation gain to reach the base of the Twin Pillars. Second, the heat was unrelentless and close to 90°F with no shade. Now I love a challenge like this and I came prepared!  
The night before I made sure to get all my food & water for the car ride & hike. I had plenty and knew that it would be important to have enough to get me through since it would be long day. What I needed was sustained energy on the trail and plenty of water. 
But my food and water were not all that got me through the hike. Did I mention the importance of exercise? During this hike it became evident to me that all those hours I spent exercising (walking, running, bicycling, and working out at the gym) paid off. It was amazing especially since I was the oldest person in the group! 
You see, about 3/4 of the way up one of my hiking buddy’s sat down on a rock and said they couldn’t make it and for us to go on without them. Well, leaving them behind was not an option so I took their bag and carried it along with my own for a while. Yes the old lady carried two bags most of the way up the rest of the incline. 
Finally, we made it to the end of the trail and the base of the pillars. This was a good time for us to sit down and have lunch. But the other member of our group opted out of eating and proceeded to go off the trail and climb up so they could actually touch the pillars. While they made the ascent I waited at the base with the other person still recuperating. Eventually, the climber made it back down safely however their energy was depleted. We had to wait an extra 1/2 hour or so before starting back down the trail. 
It was then that I realized I was the only one in the group feeling great. My other two friends were exhausted. Both of them had run out of energy and so I took the lead. All of this confirmed to me that eating a plant-based vegan diet is very important. My diet gave me the energy I needed to endure. The hours of exercise also paid off as I was not out of breath going uphill and was able to keep going. I was strong!  Even the next day, my body felt great.

Not to sound crass or anything but it’s times like this that help to keep me motivated. Realizing that the hard work I have invested in myself has paid off. Especially considering I was the oldest one of the bunch. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not judging anyone. It was just a great day for me and I could see the result of my hard work. And to top it off, they both told everyone at work that I rocked!  
Such great times!

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