If you’ve been following me at all (and if you haven’t, For Shame!), you should know that I’ve been walking on the treadmill, and that I recently fixed it’s “erectile dysfunction”. It will finally incline some. It still pops and creaks when going up. I am hoping it doesn’t suffer a sudden failure and drop me six inches to the flat state. Dropping six inches might not sound like much (of course, a man would estimate a six inch drop as being closer to nine inches). If you’ve ever stepped off a curb unexpectedly, it can be a surprise, especially when walking uphill at 3.5 miles per hour. Since the incline mechanism is $150, and the whole treadmill was $500, if the damn thing breaks again I’m just going to fit a metal rod in there and permanently lock it in the 6 degree position.
It reminds me of my tiller. I paid $200 for the whole works. I have to replace the carburetor, and the damn part alone costs $50. Really? Damn Sears. Back to walking, though. Hopefully walking uphill will strengthen my legs enough so that when I hike up something more substantial than my steps, I won’t pass out.
I was thinking about going on a four day Appalachian Trail hike with a local hiking group, but was advised to get some practice on hills first. I saw some of their photos, and I’m glad I waited. Some of those guys were wrapped up like they were going to be summiting Everest, or at least heading to base camp.
As I was walking up hill, I began to wonder just how high I would be treading if this was “real world” instead of my bedroom (as the land surrounding the house is as flat as a board, walking up the Dread Mill is the only way to get hill practice). Going back to my repressed memories of high school geometry class, I tried to work out how far I was going up. I was able to use my iPhone’s level (yes, there is an app for that) to determine I was walking uphill at close to 6 degrees. Over the course of two miles it seems I’m walking uphill close to 1200 feet in altitude (Tangent of 6 degrees times 10,560 feet), if I’m doing my math right. At the end of that, at 3.5 miles per hour, I’m quite sweaty and breathing heavy. I can think of better ways to get sweaty and breathing heavily. Like swimming – you work out and wash off at the same time.
I haven’t tried this yet, but I have been advised to load up my pack and do the same exercise. My wife has enough hysterical fits of laughter at my expense already. The image of me in the beast of a blue pack trudging up the treadmill huffing and puffing is sure to have her rolling on the floor, and may even encourage her to take photos for facebook. I don’t know if you’ve tried chasing someone down after jumping off a treadmill wearing a backpack, but it has to be tough. Plus, normally when I finish an episode of walking uphill, I immediately take up a prone position, face up, and let the sweat drain off my face and watch the ceiling swim overhead. Maintaining this position in a backpack would be tough, and the cooking set might get squashed. Yeah, it’s titanium, but it’s thin titanium.
I’ve got a few new experiences planned as well. There is the “backpacking 101 class” and the “intro to backpacking” over niter in April. Hopefully the experienced guide in our hiking group will not lead us astray. I have a “map and compass” orienteering type class coming up too. While my sense of direction is okay, especially when I am somewhere familiar, I anticipate that being alone in the woods with a map and some trails and no one for miles around could be hazardous to my health. Having given up on flying, I don’t want to give anyone a new way to possibly collect on my life insurance.