Hiking at a Hunting Camp Almost Broke Me… And the Simple Joy that is Knowing how to Fix It.
I was in a lot of pain when I got home Sunday night, my calf muscles were smoked. My plantatis muscles were signaling me, in Morse code, well let’s just say they were displeased and leave the explicative-laced message out.
This is our camp… I’m taking the photo from my buddy’s trailer:
A mile away, over ridges and through valleys, is my little slice of deer hunter heaven…
Ladies and gentlemen, I hike that three times a day, out and back. Six miles, and my minimum pack weight, including my crossbow, is 30 pounds. Max is 70 – and not in a backpack… slung over my shoulder.
Then, once I get out there I sit on my butt for hours on end.
Sunday evening, driving home, and I stop at a rest area and get out of the car… My leg muscles were absolutely smoked. I was walking around like a 98 year-old man.
So I get home and after the hottest shower I could stand, I fell asleep. At work I spent much of the day running around a job site, three hours, walking around. So I get home and it’s a pretty nice day… The club ride is tomorrow night and it’s gonna be a fast one.
Do I take the rest of the day off?
Most people would, but most people don’t know what I do… that a good 16 mile ride won’t make things worse. It’ll loosen the legs up and make me feel better.
I rode. Nothing crazy, 16 miles, 49 minutes and some change. I started out with a goal of just under an hour, call it 58 minutes or so, because the first few pedal strokes sucked pretty bad. Within a mile I’d worked up to a sustainable 18 mph. I was into a minor breeze but by the time I was four miles in (still in the headwind) I was up to and sustaining 20-21 pretty easily. Once I turned out of the breeze, it was 21 to 22, with brief stints above 26 mph. My legs had come roaring back so rather than stick to that 18-19 mph pace I decided to see how fast I could go comfortably without challenging myself… I was shooting for a 16-1/2 mph average and I ended up with almost 19-1/2.
Following conventional wisdom, resting my legs after that hunting trip, isn’t always the right thing to do – and by “conventional” I do not mean “common sense”.
Here’s my problem with “common sense” when it comes to taking time off: All too often common sense is used to justify taking time off when it isn’t necessary, even ill-advised in some cases. Yes, I was tired because I spent all weekend hiking, but the right thing to do was not take a couple of rest days. The right thing to do was to loosen those tight muscles up with an easy, sustainable bike ride – something those muscles are used to. This isn’t always the case, of course, but more often than not, if I’m a little sore I’m better off adding easy activity than I am sitting it out on the couch.
And this is the lead-in to my next post.
UPDATE: We killed the Club ride again this week… 30 seconds faster than last week’s best ever B Group time.