My brother Dave called me last week and asked me to go hiking up Cowles Mountain with him. Since I would do just about anything to spend time with my brother, who I must say was about my best friend in the world when I was growing up, I eagerly slotted time in. Saturday morning at 6:30am? You bet! Let me start with telling you that he was there at 6:15am and wide awake. I was dressed and feeling the effects of living through a corporate audit the week before...technically awake, but my brain was numb.
We picked up water and headed for the hills. Cowles was busy....no space in the parking lot so we had to park a ways down the street and walk up to the starting point. Let me stress that again...walk up to the starting point. My brother took off on the sidewalk and I jumped in beside him. I was panting on about step three. Let me preface this with saying that Dave just finished 90 days of P90X. I just finished 90 days of what?.....sitting behind a computer working on my Master's Thesis.....sitting behind a computer working on my five year program renewal for work....sitting behind a computer preparing for our company audit....you can see that we had a slight imbalance in our physical abilities....let's break it down even more....he's a guy who's fit and I'm a gal who's fat.
We started up the mountain and I was breathing in my typical asthmatic manner with each step. If you have read my earlier posts, you know that uphill is sort of an archnemesis to me. I can walk for miles on flat land and about three feet on a incline. My lungs seemingly have the capacity of a 90 year old man with emphysema. I would walk until I started to feel lightheaded and then beg for a break. Each time, my brother would say..."no problem...let me know when you need to stop". Hmmmm...is every three feet an issue?
We started up again and I moved to the side to let another hiker by....a man holding his left arm and walking with a pronounced limp. Yes, it's true...I was passed up by a stroke survivor. I was also passed up by about six people running up the mountain. Good Lord...what is it with these people? One of them looked like she was about 60, in great shape and barely huffing. Me, on the other hand? 12 years her junior and considering how much it would cost when Life Flight had to be called.
We walked up to the point that it looked like it was turning into a 90 degree angle. I thought it was an optical illusion as some point...how do people stop from tumbling back down to earth?...they must have suction shoes! Slight exaggeration but in my mind...the mountain was stretching out before me and laughing at my inability to conquer it. This could also be explained by the fact that I was getting light headed and felt a little like throwing up. Oxygen deprivation is a sad thing...It would not have surprised me to see the Mad Hatter sitting on a rock calling me Alice.
I came to the realization that this was not going to happen today. I broke the news to my brother and told him that as much as I wanted to, I did not want him to have to drag my unconscious body up the rest of the way. He seemed relieved at that point since my panting was also a bit distracting, I'm sure. In his typical supportive manner, he said "no problem...lets go get breakfast". I turned to face downhill and my panting stopped.....Downhill I can do!
(Click here) I know that I can do it....but I do need to work up to it. Any takers on meeting me on Saturdays to conquer the mountain? Bring ear plugs...my heavy breathing is at best very distracting and at worst....downright frightening!
I do think I need to build up my lung capacity, however, if I want to live past....hmmmm...50. I'll be 48 next month and half a century is closing in on me. I have been up and down for years in my struggle with my body. The fight is getting harder with each passing year as my fat cells become more resilient and resistant to leaving. So.....hiking would help me in several ways...increase my lung capacity and give my muscle tissue some reason for living. Let me know if you want to come along. My brother will have completed another round of P90X....I'm thinking that he will be one of the runners in December but at least I could meet him up at the top!
Love to you all!