Diaries Magazine

Kicking Goals

By Chardonaldson
I know we're well into 2014 now but I've finally set myself some goals for this year.
I'm not calling them resolutions because I traditionally haven't done well with resolutions. As a teenager I'd make these grandiose goals that would start on the 1st of January and be inviolable. I'd go great with them for a day or two, have a little whoopsie then get disheartened and abandon them. Only to do it all again the following year.
I'd always fail because my goals were too big and didn't actually have a plan to back them up. Invariably they'd be about losing weight and getting fit and invariably it didn't happen. I'd never thought as far as working out the little steps between where I was at and where I was wanting to be and I'd certainly never put in contingencies for my moments of weakness. No wonder I was such a bad chess player.
Somewhere along the way I started to incorporate the health and fitness goals into my every day life without all the grandiosity of a resolution and eventually I was close to where I wanted to be. But I'm never one to be totally content with my fitness regime - there's always a little bit of tweaking that can help fine tune this work in progress.
So here it is - my current fitness goal is to improve my strength. I've been here before and was working fairly diligently on a program my son had written me but, because my testosterone levels were sub-clinical I only ended up exhausting myself. With a year of testosterone treatment under my belt I'm a lot more comfortable giving it another go. I'm back using that strength plan Sam wrote me and I've started running up hills again because there's no better training than sports specific training with overloading.
I've mentioned here a couple of times about going back to run hilly trails. I had to do it quite a few times by myself to get the nerve up to run them with the group. I know it sounds silly but I was quite anxious about doing the group session but I've got good reason. I don't get to pick where we go for the group run. That's all done by our sadistic coach who is part mountain goat and who knows no fear of a steep downhill. I, however, have a very strong self-preservation instinct and when I look over the edge of some of the steep cliffs that Coach Chris wants us to voluntarily fling ourselves off, I can't help but think of lemmings.
Kicking Goals
I am also at an age where a broken ankle/femur/hip/pelvis would probably take a while to heal. And I'd make a very unpleasant patient.
I'd already told Coach Chris that I'd never do Owl Trail downhill again and he's been obliging in letting me know if that was in the plan. But I had NO idea that Owl Trail wasn't the worst (and by worst I mean steepest) hill on Mt Coottha. No, the one that we went down this morning might possibly lay claim to that title. (But it just as well may not - we haven't explored every trail yet.)
We were so naive when we set off down the trail this morning. It was a pretty cruisy downhill on a fairly wide and smooth path. The running felt easy and it wasn't demanding on my brain so I was able to chat with a couple of people. 
But then we hit it. From where I was standing it looked like a vertical descent but I'm prone to a little exaggeration when I'm scared so let's just assume it was a few degrees off being completely vertical.
I stopped dead and contemplated my options. If the hill had been grassy I would have done this - 
Kicking Goals
But all the dirt and jagged, skin-tearing rocks made that a poor option.
And if it had been the middle of winter and we'd had a never-before-seen, freakish-climatic-event, I'd have been doing this and loving it.
Kicking Goals
But my only real option was to run it. And by 'run it' I mean kind of run/ kind of walk between trees (because you can grab onto a tree to stop you hurtling down to the bottom of the hill) making whimpering noises. It was pitiful but luckily there was only a few other scaredy-cats around to see what a hill-wuss I really am and they were so busy looking for their own safe descents that they weren't scoffing or mocking my extreme patheticness.
Luckily I survived the downhill without damage to any part of my body but the thing with down-hills is that there has to be an up-hill to get you back to where you started from. 
My calves are still sore from that uphill and it's been 6 hours since we finished. It's not DOMS yet but I'm pretty sure that'll set in by tomorrow. I don't know if I even ran half of it but I don know there was a significant amount of walking involved and even the walking was HARD!! 
Then when we'd finished that hill we got to do it all over again on another trail. But this time our legs were already dead from the first trail so even though it wasn't as steep, there was still significant pain. And more walking. I felt like I'd won just by making it back to the car.
But in some strange way it was a tiny bit fun (maybe in the misery-loves-company way because the company is always good even when it's miserable). And I'm pretty sure that the whole lot of us will turn up again to be tortured next week. We're a strange bunch of masochists.

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