Monday, April 30, 2012

Miles 694.8 to 695.6

 Miles Today: .81
 Map Way Points: M to N 
Google Map 

Just a real short day today. I'm resting for the backpacking trip tomorrow.

Virtual Hike End of the Day Picture

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Trip plan - Colorado Trail - South part seg 14

This will be a relatively easy hike of about 5 miles to the Angel of Shavano campground. We will disperse camp outside the campground. We plan to then continue a mile or two up the ridge to the north.

The map was made with Topo Explorer: Colorado. I drew a magnetic north line on the map since my compass doesn't have a declination adjustment. The trail is marked every 1/10 of a mile.

The weather looks OK. I'm expecting high 20's at night and mild temperatures during the day. The 20's will probably happen when it's about time for coffee. I'll plan to have some wood collected for a morning fire.

Zero Day 1 - Pareto Principle - Gear list

I'm taking a couple of zero days before our backpacking trip this weekend. Since it's the first trip, I need to spend time getting gear together, buying food, etc. Although it won't be high miles, I'd still like to be at peak physical condition when I start.

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) states that in most cases, 80 percent of the effect can be explained by 20 percent of the cause.

To put it another way, 80% of our time should be spent focusing on the 20% that is really important.

In sales, this can be seen very clearly. 80% of business comes from 20% of the clients. It really pays a person with a client relationship to periodically stop doing business with all but 20% of their book. This is easy to see in sales. There are clear numbers to guide a person to the right 20%. If nothing else, they should eliminate the bottom 20%. Most don't do this as they care about their clients and it would be unfair. But we can do it in other activities. Eliminate the 20% that doesn't gain anything.

There is not such a clear relationship with backpacking. As I've said in the past 80% is good enough. It will produce about 90% of the results a person is capable of. To get from 90% to 100% is very difficult. This is obvious in writing. To go from pretty good to perfect is very time consuming.

I didn't know where I was going with this, so I did dishes. I was thinking about the 20% that causes 80% of the difficulties while backpacking. 

1. Carrying too much weight. 
2. Not knowing how to use gear.
3. Planning too much distance.

People think "Ultralight" backpacking costs more. Maybe to go very ultralight does. But a lightweight pack is more about things that are left home than things that are in the pack. It pays to invest in a reasonably good sleeping bag and a tent that won't leak or blow down. These can't be bought in the box stores. The ones that are close are the same price as a place like REI.

So, the first thing I'll do since gear is unimportant is to give a gear list. Huh? The idea is to take the pressure off gear selection. Substitutions can be made, especially in clothes. If a person is unable to afford reasonable quality gear right off, I'd suggest camping with day hikes instead of backpacking. Camping can be almost come as you are. You don't even need a tent if you are near the car. Sleep on the ground and use the car if it rains.

Here is a sample pack I put together. It weighs 27 pounds for a 3 night/4 day trip including food and a full gallon of water. It's expensive, but not a LOT more than buying things at the box stores. Consider this list a guide. I wouldn't suggest a heavier cheaper substitute for most things. The point is not to waste a lot of time endlessly studying which gear to get. This will all work just fine.

The next part is getting familiar with the gear. The simplest way is a few trips to the backyard. Then I'd suggest car camping a couple of times using the gear or short backpacking trips of just a couple miles each way.

Disclaimer: There are a lot of safety issues to learn. They are difficult to learn until you've been out there. Keep the first couple of trips simple and then you will know what to look for in your research.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Miles 689.75 to 694.75 (Avoiding Injury - aerobics)

Miles Today: 5.0
Map Way Points: L to M
Google Map

Avoiding Injury

In my opinion, there are a lot of changes that have to happen to the body along the way to consistently hike high miles. There are shortcuts to getting good performance, but I feel these shortcuts lead to injuries. To be able to walk high miles everyday, the best way is to walk the number of miles a person can walk almost everyday without soreness or any injuries starting to appear. My definition of soreness is something that hurts. It does not include mild tiredness that disappears quickly after starting to walk.

Hiking through pain or soreness will often make it disappear. I feel it leads to chronic problems if done too often. It's probably better to plan fewer miles so it doesn't appear in the first place. Over a hundreds of miles, the distances can be gradually increased if the pain doesn't reappear.

I have observed there is a difference between rest and repair. Rest is what we do while awake. It is to re-hydrate, eat, cool down on a hot day or mentally refresh. Yes, resting can help a person get through a day that is a little too long. But if this is done too often, it may lead to problems if strung together for too many days.

Repair is completely different. In my opinion, true repair only happens when asleep. Repair from injuries takes a long time and a break from walking. Often for weeks. Think of it this way. Rest is what happens when a blade of grass straightens up after being bent. Repair is the healing that takes place after the grass gets cut. Rest is relatively quick. Repair takes time and there are no shortcuts.

For myself, I've noticed I can completely repair in 14 hours if I haven't overdone it the day before. I've also noticed that if my day is longer than 10 hours from the time I wake up, fatigue starts to set in. If I want to see how far I can go, I start as soon as possible after waking and go steadily until I'm done.

This is just a guide for me. Think of it like a bathtub. During the day, the drain is open and water is running out. Exercise opens the drain a bit more. When we sleep, the drain closes and water runs in. As long as there is enough water in the tub for what we are planning the next day, we are fine. For instance, a person might plan a 10 mile day and then a 4 mile day because they are short on water in the tub on the second day.

The problem arises when doing consecutive long days with less water in the tub each morning. Eventually, something happens physically and they may be forced to take a couple days off.

Be real careful listening to other people's statements about what should be possible. Hikers on long trails do amazing miles each day. Especially after 1,000 miles or so. That's just one of the wonders of what the body is capable of. The danger is the person who hikes 15 miles in one day and says they are planning to average that on a long trail. The cumulative effect will likely be disastrous.

If planning a long trail, just leave more time or plan less distance. If the miles come, that's great. It's easier for planning to go further than planned than shorter.

Everyone is different. These are just my thoughts and experiences. They don't apply to everyone. In the end, we each should do what we enjoy and what works for us.


Ken Cooper wrote a book called "Aerobics" in 1967. It is a way of measuring the value of different kinds of exercise. The goal to be healthy is 30 points a week. This can be done by walking a total of 18 miles in a week doing a mile in 15 to 20 minutes.

I've found aerobic conditioning takes place anytime I exercise to the point were breathing is increased, but not uncomfortable. My test is over time, my resting pulse upon waking up goes down. 20 minutes a day is enough for health. An hour a day gets motivational progress.

If a person wants to get more scientific, I feel conditioning takes place anytime the heart rate is elevated to the point you get before heavy breathing. Some use a percentage of maximum or a multiple of minimum. But often this gives wildly unreasonable numbers. The way this can be used is a person can jog a mile and take a sitting, standing or easy walking break until their pulse drops a good bit. In my case it drops from about 120 to 80. This is a good way to increase aerobic capacity without increasing miles. If a person can't jog a mile, do less.

Note: This is similar to interval training, but with a twist. Typically interval training is done with a high level of effort. This is done with long distance sustainable effort with breaks until the heart rate comes down. To put it in running terms. Run a short distance at race pace. Then rest until heart rate comes down. Repeat until getting tired.

The most time efficient exercise to get aerobic points is easy running. An 8 to 10 minute miles is 4 points. A person could get all their points for a week in about an hour and 15 minutes.

Maybe I'm talking myself into something here.

At 3 to 4 mph walking is 1 point a mile. I walk about 55 miles a week, or 55 points a week.

An 8 to 10 minute miles is 4 points per mile. If I ran just one mile a day instead of walking that mile, I'd gain 21 points a week which would be a 38% increase in aerobic training. I'll gradually start incorporating a little jogging into my walks. Eventually, the short distances will bloop into running a mile at a time.

Core Training

When riding a motorcycle long distance, I found core training with light calisthenics reduced fatigue. The core muscles are what the others push off of to work. If they are not strong, it weakens the system a bit. Mild training in the core areas may delay the onset of fatigue and little annoyances in these areas.

I've found calisthenics are something that can be worked into short breaks during the day with reasonable results. There is no need to do a whole workout at once. Even just 5 of each exercise has a stretching effect and makes things feel better.

I saw these helicopter seeds from a maple tree this morning. I thought they fell in the fall.

Taking a break

We are planning on a backpacking trip this weekend, so I'll take a couple days off before it.

Virtual Hike End of the Day Picture

TransAmerica Trail Virtual Hike

Name Distance
Carol H.W 906.2 mi
LarryB 892.8 mi
BernieS 885.5 mi
AshleyA 873.2 mi
JohnZ 856.8 mi
GaryT 847.6 mi
JohnA 836.5 mi
AnnF 831.3 mi
RebeccaJ 825.7 mi
DanaA 810.0 mi
PatM 805.8 mi
johnd 804.6 mi
LT 788.8 mi
sarah w 785.5 mi
LamontA 779.7 mi
MarilynrH 779.0 mi
RamonaH 775.6 mi
SHIRLEYE 760.9 mi
JoyJ 760.6 mi
StaciR 757.4 mi