Does this sound at all familiar? You’re on vacation. In the beautiful mountains. You don’t want to sit in your hotel room. You don’t really want to drive around all day. Because you’re now fit! You can easily do fun things, active things. So you decide a hike is in order.
But this is a strange place, to you that is, and you don’t know exactly where to hike. So you look online to find trails. And you do find trails…lots of trails (thank you AllTrails.com). These trails come with reviews and you read and read and read, to discover that the most common complaint on all the easy trails is “they’re crowded.”
You don’t want crowds so you decide on a moderate trail because moderate is just that, moderate. Meaning not hard! Of course, any trail called “Clayton Peak” can’t be too hard, right? It’s only 5.4 miles so easy peasy, right? Going for a hike is just active recovery the day after a half marathon that included a 4,000 ft elevation drop, right?
So off we went. To hike to Clayton Peak, which is located in the Brighton Ski Area of Big Copper Canyon, between Park City and Salt Lake City. Just like my run the day before, this was a hike with beautiful scenery. Unlike my run from the day before, it was not all downhill. Rather it was a nice little climb of 1,700 ft.
As we took off and began the climb, my tired legs were thankful to be going up and not down. Of course we’d have to descend eventually, but I convinced myself that my quads, shins, and calves would be nice and loose by then.
When we got close to the top we encountered a dirt road (fire road or maybe ski lift service road) and lost the trail. We assumed that the road was now the trail…and this was a correct assumption, except that we went right instead of left. Soon we found another single track trail and started climbing. But after a bit the trail seemed to disappear. So, I pulled out my phone to see where we were (the AllTrails app is cool in that it works with my phone’s GPS), and we had diverged from the trail when we took that right turn. I wish I had looked at it as we made the turn.
Anyway, we had to go back down. As we did so I discovered that my quads did not loosen up… they were TIRED and each step was a bit painful. But we made it down to the road and then went the other way, climbing again. A little way up the road in this direction I found the trail, this time confirming it on my phone. To get to the summit we’d only need to go another quarter mile.
But it was steep. I figured I could probably go up, but wasn’t too sure about coming back down. So I told Scott (husband) that I wasn’t going that last quarter mile. I’d wait for him if he wanted to finish. He chose to head down with me.
Our going back and forth at the top of the mountain increased our mileage a bit so that we then had a 3 mile descent. Oh, my poor tire legs! Even with the fatigue, the walk was enjoyable. I’ve discovered that when hiking, or running, the scenery is sometimes different on the return part of an out and back. This by the way, is a good reminder to look at things from more than one angle.
While descending I also started thinking about how much I was looking down at the trail. I’ve fallen three times in the last few months (well 2 falls were in the same run) and I’m trying to be careful so as not to do it again. I looked down so much, and I began to think about how I hoped this wouldn’t affect my running. I’m pretty sure the first instruction from the coach when I started going to track workouts was, “look up”. I’ve learned to look up when I run. So although I was hiking I was also thinking about my need to look down so much.
Unbelievably, while I was entertaining these thoughts, I tripped! I fell! Bam! Hitting my chin so hard that I gave myself a 2 day headache (thankfully it was not worse).
Scott heard me and returned to find me picking myself up. Thankfully I didn’t break anything. I rinsed the blood off my arm as I’d scraped that pretty well, and continued down the mountain.
So what happened? Am I suddenly becoming extremely clumsy? Maybe. I will have my eyes checked and I’ll ask my eye doctor if my particular contact lens prescription is causing an issue with depth perception.
But maybe I was just tired. Maybe I should have chosen the “easy” and short hike to do on tired legs. I’m actually pretty sure this is the case. I will confess that I over did it that day.
Maybe I’ll have to start counting days: “I’ve gone ___ this many days without falling while running (or hiking). I had a good run last night so I’m up to 1 day!
When have you overdone it?