April 13th 2011
I woke up today a few hours later than I had anticipated. I wanted to leave Arlington before 8:00 AM so I could start hiking by 9:00 AM. Unfortunately I didn’t leave the area until 9:00 AM, which meant by the time I reached the trailhead of Big Devil’s Staircase it was already 10:40 AM.
Big Devil’s Staircase is a 5.2 mile hike which is an out and back, so the total hike could potentially be 10.4 miles. The first 2 miles of the hike is easy in comparison to the hills in Malibu. Because of my late start I couldn’t go much further than the 2.5 mile marker which is actually the start of the difficult stretch of the hike. Most of the first 2 miles is like a nature walk through the forest, with some inclines, and with the recent rainfall flooded trails.
At the 2.5 mile marker the trail opens up to a huge canyon, you look down to a waterfall, if you have a fear of heights this part of the hike would freak you out. There are no rails or ropes to prevent you from falling over, in fact I had a sudden urge to look at someone and give them that serious Daniel Day Lewis pained expression and yell “I WILL FIND YOU!”
I am planning on attempting this hike again, but probably not until the weather gets better, and I will make sure I have the time to do the entire 10 miles. The point I reached was really the start of the difficult navigation downhill to the bottom of the gorge. All of the hard work will be coming back uphill from the bottom, and the big push will be on the return up the canyon.
It’s going to be hard to find many hikes with steep inclines. Skyline Drive is broken up into three parts the North, Central, and South District. Most of the more challenging hikes are in the Central and South Districts. If I lived in Front Royal Virginia this wouldn’t be a problem, but the Central District starts at around mile marker 30, which means it’s 30 miles from the entrance of the park with Skyline Drive being 1 lane each way, and the posted speed limit of 30 mph, and tourist driving very slow to enjoy the scenery it could take an extra hour just to get to the trailhead.
My one moment of giddy glee was when I saw a bear cub. While driving along Skyline Drive I saw what I thought was a big brown squirrel trying to cross the road, but it couldn’t walk very well, it almost looked like it was slipping on ice. I realized that it was bear cub, I didn’t get a really good picture but I watched him climb up a tree, and wait for mommy. It wasn’t in the game plan to wait and see mommy too.
After the hike I came home and had dinner, check out the rest of meal plan for the day here. April 13th 2011 Meals
Because of my late start I didn’t get in the afternoon cardio session which I had planned, but I did get my workout with my trainer this evening. I warmed up by walking on the treadmill at 3.4 mph for 5 minutes, and then did a series of sprints 4 sprints at 6mph for :45 each, with 15 breaks, then 1 sprint at 7 mph for 1 minute. I think the pounding I gave my knees and ankles last week on the treadmill is catching up to me, my left knee feels tweaked. I have to find a good Chiropractor.
We started this session with incline bench presses with 45lb dumbbells, 4 sets of 20 reps. In between each set he had me get on the rowing machine and row for 1 minute at a time with a 10 second sprint at the end of the minute. After the last set of presses I rowed for 2 minutes.
After the incline bench press we moved into the flat bench press with 45lb dumbbells, again 4 sets of 20 reps. In between each set he had me do 1 minute of cart pushers.
The next exercise was on a chest fly machine I did 3 sets of 45lbs, in between sets I had to get on the stair climber for 1 minute.
After the chest concentration we moved into a small circuit using the ropes. The rope at my gym is shorter than the one Sam had me use, and the shorter one is too easy now. During the rope exercise I started with :30 seconds of alternating hands and then :30 seconds of both hands. Following this minute I got down on the ground and did hand walks up and over a Reebok step. The third part of the circuit involved getting the rope up and over a medicine ball and step 25 times. On the third and final set of the circuit I did the alternating arms for one minute, I did both arms for one minute, and added a minute of side to side. I also had to get all 25 up and overs done in less than a minute.
The final exercise I had to do was a burn out on the bench press. Starting with 35’s on each side I did 10 reps, 9 reps, 8 reps, I then moved down to 25’s on each side of the bar and did 7 reps, 6 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps, 3 reps, 2 reps, 1 rep. All of the above repetitions were done without a break, except for the time needed to lower the weight.
I am having a hard time finding the right level of intensity. I want to get pushed harder, my trainer is doing his best to change up the workouts, but I’m not sure where we will be in another week. My only concern is that in the time it takes him to figure it out that my fitness level won’t be at this peak which is a direct result of my time at the ranch.
The work is not the issue, the intensity is…Perhaps what I need to find is a trainer with the same intensity. Intensity in the workout is my main goal, I didn’t get a chance to go check out Cross Fit the other day but I am definitely going tomorrow to check it out. I almost think that I would get a better workout if my intensity was 120% for 30 minutes instead of 75% for an hour. Am I crazy? I am on some strange quest to find a feeling which I haven’t been able to replicate since I got home. I think they call people like this junkies.
By for now…