Coffee heat rising

How to Get Fit in Phoenix

North Mountain in the springtime

So since I’ve been moping around thinking I was on the verge of a stroke ( 😉 ) — or more to the point, zombified by the meds the two cardiodocs prescribed — I’ve gone totally out of shape. This last drug they put me on knocked me so far into the middle of next week I could barely stir myself to crawl out to the kitchen and snare a meal out of the fridge.

Of course, I’m now a mound of Jell-O. The Mayo PA wants me to do a stress test a week from tomorrow.

{chortle!} Just imagine what the result of that is likely to be!

So I decided I’d better do a crash course in getting back in shape. The scheduling left me with exactly 8 days to restore my former glory.

Counted Friday’s traipsing around the Mayo Clinic’s spacious campus and running up and down the car park’s stairwells as Day 1, mostly because by the time I got home I was too tired and too psychologically dazed to do much else. Yesterday: one mile dog-free walk with stretches of running.

Now, though, it’s time to get back on the mountain. North Mountain’s back side is about a two-mile drive from the Funny Farm. If you go up the south side, you connect with the Shaw Butte trail, which runs about 4.4 miles. It’s convenient, relatively fast, and moderately challenging.

This stub of the North Mountain trail is pretty steep, so if you go up that, connect with the main trail, and then go all the way to the top of Shaw Butte, you get a very nice uphill walk. The problem is the steep access via this little trail is rocky and difficult to get down: it’s strewn with roller-bearing rock. For reasons that escape me, the City and the County maintain their trails by dumping loose scree all over them — apparently this is thought to reduce erosion. The stuff will slide right out from under your boots, especially when you’re traveling downhill.

Three times this afternoon I almost fell coming down from the junction with the Shaw Butte trail. So that was annoying. It looks like I’ll have to drive all the way into Moon Valley and access the trail from the north side — which is a huge PITA, because the parking lot is a) in a residential neighborhood; b) highly unwelcome amongst the people who live there; and c) way too small to accommodate the number of hikers who want to use the trail. I do have a crip space hanger, but it’s illegal to use it unless you’re visibly crippled up…and…heh…if you bounce out of your car and charge up a mountain trail, you make yourself pretty suspect.

At any rate, the plan for the next seven days is to take off at the crack of dawn, shoot into Moon Valley, steal the crip space, and fly onto the 4.4-mile paved pathway up the north side of Shaw Butte.

By the time the stress test comes around, I should be in halfway decent shape to trudge on a treadmill for 15 0r 20 minutes. In years past when I’ve let myself get completely out of shape, it has taken about four days (i.e, four consecutive trips up the mountain) to be able to get all the way to the top without stopping. Since I’m older now, I expect it’ll take a little longer…but seven days should be plenty of time to begin to revive some.

Naturally, this throws a monkey wrench in the other self-improvement plan I’d dreamed up. Since I’m not making much progress on the Ella story — because I put off doing that kind of writing until all the day’s other activities are done, by which time not a helluva lot is left of the day — I was going to opt the early-morning wake-me-up news reading and blog scribbling and sit down, first thing out of the barrel, to write the story. But…well…that ain’t a-gunna happen. Doubtful that I’ll get any writing of any kind done on this schedule.

Oh well.