Altitude Sickness, Column

Hiking is in, no jackassery

Day 207 total for this season with 195 being lift service, as of writing this May 19.  It feels good.  Hiking is now pretty easy (12 hiking days in, it should be). Though I don’t really want to do it when I start, I make it to the top quickly without really stopping, and my runs are always good.  Today with lift service, my first two runs I skied Superstar non-stop top to bottom, which is a feat after 207 days of no leg rest.

I do mix up my turns, doing deep telly turns on the steep head and foot walls, and skiing regular style alpine bump turns on the shallower middle.  Interestingly, deep telly turns offer single leg rest on steep terrain, but not on the shallower middle field, where your weight stays more evenly distributed between both legs when dropped in a turn.  At this point in my marathon, I have to think about efficiency.

As for the recovery from my surgery (scheduled for June 12), I have been given a bit of a reprieve. Not only can I walk (required), but I can hike if I’m not a jackass about it (this will be a struggle, of course. Jackassery follows me about like a lost puppy). They are trying to decide if I am allowed to do pull-ups, a negative pressure activity.

But hiking is in! The rationale here is that I am allowed to climb/descend stairs, and hiking (when performed with an unlikely lack of jackassitude) is similar to climbing stairs. The one caveat is that I am not allowed to fall down.

I have yet to ask about riding my road bike, and I am relatively certain that riding a mountain bike will be out, since that is how I exacerbated this injury anyhow (my decision to descend a double black diamond trail in my second hour of mountain biking, delivered the coup-de-grace to my poor battered spine.)

I will not be allowed to lift more than five pounds at a time for six weeks, which will be tough. I have eaten hamburgers that weighed more than that, carrying groceries will require more trips than I care to think about, and laundry will be an actual impossibility (I am considering buying,  like, 30 t-shirts and pairs of underwear so that I can not worry about it).

What I am doing about all of this in the meantime is cranking away lifting weights as hard as I can before I have to stop, so that for at least two weeks after stopping, I will still be gaining muscle mass and not atrophying. Hopefully I can start to do some pushups, lift some small dumbbells, do some non-twisting yoga after a few weeks.

I exercise so much, I am worried that even if I am walking my face off a lack of adrenaline, endorphins, and norepinephrine (basically cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine) will literally cause withdrawal and depression. These homemade narcotics are powerful drugs.

Then again, it could be a great excuse to sit around eating coconut milk ice cream, getting rapidly chubby and yelling at the TV.  I might even yell at random kids to get off my lawn (especially poignant, because I have no lawn). We will see. I will certainly bond with Pip (“The Impaler”), who at this point, has gone nearly two months without biting. This, to be honest, makes me so grateful I could cry.  He is actually turning out to be friendlier than the sainted and much-bally-hooed Stinky Pete.

I think that having an irritated digestive system was a big deal for him, because he is now doing things that I never saw him do before, like napping all over the place (he just racks out right in the middle of the enclosure sometimes), and being super friendly all the time (every time I walk by the enclosure he is up on the side looking around wondering what I am doing, squeaking at me, waiting for a chin scratch), and possibly most importantly, grooming himself. I never noticed that he never groomed himself until he started doing it. My understanding is that with any animal, lack of self-grooming is usually an indicator of poor health. Pip says “hello” to all of you, by the way!

Lastly, I am revising my “skiable hiking in July” forecast. The two days of super heat last week  peeled a solid four feet off the snowpack (no more skiing up to the lift, alas), and I just don’t think it is going to last.  I do, however, think we will have skiing in June for anyone that wants it, which is nothing to complain about.

Happy days!

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