I got back yesterday from a week-long trip to the highest, driest places in America: northern Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. It was a lot of fun seeing friends, dancing at a wedding and not caring that I am an abysmal dancer, and exploring new places. Along the way, I managed to not only hit the gym 3 times (which is hard to do when traveling with a friend!), but also to complete two different hikes. One hike was 3.4 miles, and the other was 1.3. At that altitude, I was really not sure of my comfort level with the activity, both in terms of huffing and puffing in front of other people and actual ability to complete the trails. I surprised myself on hike #1 (the longer one, which was 2 days before the other): not only was I NOT the slowest of the group, but I found I am in a lot better shape than I thought. The few times we stopped as a group to collect ourselves, I caught my breath pretty quickly compared to the others, and I wasn’t ready to stop as soon as they were. I couldn’t believe it; I was easily the largest person hiking, but still among the fittest. Riddle me that.
The second hike was just a friend and me, and she’s an avid and frequent hiker and rock climber, so she kindly adapted to my slower, less conditioned pace. Regardless, I was still happy with my showing on that endeavor. I should also add that I was doing both hikes essentially one-handed because I was carrying water and my camera. Totally worth it. Plus, I felt like a boss the rest of the day on both days. It’s so empowering to realize that 6 months ago, I would have barely been able to do this, and it would have been entirely out of the question at this time last year.
Between the Colorado and Utah adventures, I snuck up to Wyoming for a few hours to meet up with my brother, who happened to be there in the midst of his cross-country move to California with his girlfriend and dog. It took a lot of juggling, coordinating, and rearranging of itineraries to pull off that get-together — who meets up in Wyoming?! — but it was really important for me to see him. I don’t know how long they’ll be living on the West coast, but I know I have no money after all these trips (and one coming up next month), so it will be a long time before I’ll have the chance to see that part of my family again. I’m also strangely obsessed with my dog-niece and she’s super into me, too; I think my brother may have left questioning my motives for making him drive off course to see me, cuz the pup and I exchanged more hugs and kisses than any of the humans did. Anyway, the purpose of this aside is to share that when his girlfriend was away from the table at brunch, my brother just looked at me and abruptly asked, “So, you’ve lost a lot of weight, right?” I was a little taken aback by his directness, since, as I’ve said before, most guys beat around the bush and awkwardly tap dance around the subject. Also, my brother and I aren’t particularly close (though we have been getting better in the past year or so), so I didn’t expect him to bring it up. I managed to return his directness with a smile, a nod, and a “yeah.” He immediately followed up with, “How much?” Yeah, I abandoned the directness at that point and told him frankly that I didn’t feel comfortable announcing my number, but maybe I’d tell him in a few months, when it’s all (hopefully) over. He appreciated that and then asked a question no one else has ever asked me throughout this entire mission: “How do you feel?”
Only someone who really cares about me would ask that question, and I had no answer prepared for this question as I do for the standard battery of them that I usually get in this type of exchange. Of all the questions that the gamut of close friends to inconsequential co-workers have asked me over the past 6 months (!), not a single one has ever asked me that question. I myself never even realized it should be part of the package! How do I feel? I feel happy to have been asked that by someone who has always been healthy, and therefore knows this is less about the question I didn’t answer and more about the one no one ever asks. Guys, I think my brother loves me. That 60 seconds of conversation alone was worth the trip. 😉
Now, for the stumper. In spite of keeping my eating in check and logging some respectable physical activity that included hitting my miles EVERY DAY but one while I was away, the scale in Colorado showed that I had mysteriously gained six pounds since my last weigh-in, and the one in Utah showed a gain of four! What dark magic is this?! I thought that if anything, the high altitude would fudge the number in the other direction. I’m not sure whether it’s related somehow to the altitude (which I did research briefly, and showed that my original theory was actually the more likely scenario, so that’s not it) or water retention in an arid climate when my body is acclimated to the polar opposite of that, or something entirely different that I’m not thinking of. Of course, I also spent almost 4 days constipated (sorry, I don’t believe in TMI, so deal with it like a grown-up), so that is a likely factor. I was also running a massive sleep deficit from the go-go-go nature of my travels, and sleep is an inviolable tenet of my phil-LOSS-ophy.
No matter the cause(s), that freak “gain” was super frustrating, and it made me not want to weigh myself at all at home. I did in spite of myself, though, and in a fashion that breaks my rule of only checking once a week: I have weighed myself 4 times in the past 24 hours since being back, and the weight has steadily been dropping from the Western numbers. As of last weigh-in, I was only 1.6 pounds over the weight I recorded just before leaving, so I’m relieved that the inflated numbers weren’t reflecting an actual gain. With any luck, I’ll even manage to post a loss by my regular Sunday weigh-in. I’d still like to understand what that was all about, though. Have any of you ever experienced this, or do you have any insight into that strange, unsettling phenomenon? Please enlighten me!
My C25K training has hit a bit of a snag. In Colorado, I did complete one of the week 5 workouts, but the next one was something ridiculous like “do a 5-minute warm-up, then go ahead and jog 2 miles.” I managed 1.3 before throwing in the towel. If I’m honest, yes, I could have kept going, but I don’t know for how much longer. I’m thinking/hoping the tougher haul had more to do with the toll of the altitude and my exhaustion than with my ability, but I’ll find out during tomorrow’s workout, I guess. I may have to invent my own workout as a stepping stone to that part of the C25K curriculum. If I could just jog 2 miles straight, I wouldn’t need a training program. (This is why this program is so frustrating! I like realistic goals, not ones like Day 1: jog for 60 seconds and then walk for 20 minutes; Day 2: run a marathon.)
On that note, I’m gonna hit the sheets. I have a series of 10-mile days ahead of me, so I need my delicious, delicious sleep. Whew!