Back in the spring, I was eager to get out of our hiking rut. There are so many great places to hike in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, but it can sometimes feel a little daunting to pick a new route, especially if the research you do says "its an easy hike" and afterwards you feel like you just climbed Everest. (This happens to me more often than I would like.) Since we live so close to Griffith Park which is filled with trails, we finally settled on a hike I read about that sounded easy. 3ish miles, "rolling hills" and being able to stand at the absolute top of the park with a 360 view of LA.
The first time we did this hike, we admittedly got a little lost as first, and we ended up doing the "easy" part - practically zero inclines, relatively short (maybe about a mile, mile and a half) - and I felt like I was dying. It didn't help that the path had zero shade and it was 80 degrees. We realized afterwards that this could not have been the hike we had intended to do (even though I was perfectly happy with it) and vowed to give it another shot.
The next time we tried it, I brought my MapMyFitness app along to log distance/pacing/etc. It ended up being an almost 4 mile hike that took about an hour and a half, with an elevation of over 600 feet. When I look at the elevation map that MapMyFitness gave me it looks like a slow incline up and a slow incline down, but let me tell you, it does NOT feel that way. Its more like steep incline, plateau, steep incline, plateau, like whoever built this path realized that some people will need to take a breather or two. The day we did the whole thing, it was crazy hot, and my post-hike headache came roaring on even before we made it halfway down. I felt awful afterwards - nauseated, overheated, and about ready to chalk it up to a loss. Yes, I did it, but instead of feeling like a conquered the world, I instead felt like I had come down with the flu. No fun.
C has still been doing this hike pretty often, and I ended up tagging along, only to bow out of the big hike and only doing the shorter, easier one, making sure I did an out and back and paced in a few 1 min runs here and there to make it worth my while. I hadn't been feeling well all that week and knowing how I felt the last time? Wasn't interested. Yet as we left the park, I sort of felt like I hadn't made enough of an effort.
This past weekend, he was up for it again, and I decided that I was going to do the whole she-bang. I hydrated like crazy the morning of, bought a few Vitamin Waters for post-hike rehydration, and made sure I wore my Red Sox hat this time. Even though I stopped a few times, C remarked that he felt I stopped WAY less than the last time I did this hike, and kept up a faster pace. (Unfortunately I forgot to use my MapMyFitness app, so I have zero proof.) Normally while hiking, I find myself seriously huffing and puffing up the steeper inclines, and taking longer to catch my breath, just to go through the cycle all over again. This time, however, it felt like my recovery was quicker, my legs burned less, and even better, I had ZERO post-hike headache. Say what!?
I'm not sure if there is any one thing to point to as my success - I'm finally getting back on the yoga mat tonight after an awful 2 week hiatus, I haven't done that hike in MONTHS, and the only thing different this time was the fact that I was wearing a hat - but whatever it is, I'm glad it happened. At a time where I was really not feeling a hike, or anything active, I felt like I overcame a huge obstacle, both physically and personally. And, not to sound cheesy, but after an epic 10 second Patriots touchdown and a Big Papi grand slam yesterday, I'm going into this week feeling a little bit more eager to take on some challenges, and, you know, make some bold moves.