This week I started the "100 Days of Summer" challenge on Spark People. Part of yesterday's challenge was to walk or run harder (incline or faster) than you normally do. Pfffft I thought. I thought Sunday was to be a day of rest.

So - it was sunny out. This is great, because it has been raining daily for years ... or so it seems. I guess the vitamin D kicked in and I grabbed the dogs and decided to head up the hill.

The plan was to only walk to the entrance of the trail that is by my place because, well, I hate the trail. The walk up to the entrance to the trail is bad enough.

I started up the hill. First thought that came into my head as I started to huff was "God, I hate going up hill." But, I continued. It flattened out after a bit and my heart rate went back to normal and actually didn't elevate that much and in no time I was at the entrance to the trail. Hmmmm .... should I? The dogs were looking at me expectantly, wagging their tails. Big puppy dog eyes. Pleeeeeeeese? Pfffft. Fine! Just for a little bit.

Now I should point out I hate hiking. I always have. I love the outdoors, and I love trails but I don't like going up hill. I love the alpine meadows, but put me in a helicopter and drop me off at the top, with a bottle of wine thank you very much . I don't like hiking! I hate that feeling of your heart pumping out of your chest like its going to explode. The gasps for air. Your butt feeling like its on fire. I'm not a fan.

Let me also point out that the trail is really only an intermediate trail. It's not an expert trail by any means. My skinny husband does it damn near every day. But he's a skinny glutton, and if he didn't bring home a pay cheque I'd ... oh never mind. Anyways, it's not like it's the most difficult trail, but the first 10 minutes or so is tough for me. At the peek of the tough part are these killer 15 stairs. The rest of the trail is up and down and more hilly than straight up and therefore more doable for me. But I loathe the beginning 10-15 minutes. I usually stop and take a few breaths (cursing all the while underneath those gasps for air) while I pretend to look for the beagle or call the lab. When in reality I'm trying not to pass out.

So back to today. I'm walking at a regular pace, up hill. I'm going along, haven't really stopped yet to 'look for the dogs'. I'm just plugging along enjoying the vitamin D. I'm thinking to myself, I must not have hit the hard part yet. I'm breathing deep breaths but not gasping. I'm just trudging along. After a bit I look up and I'm almost startled. There are the stairs. The freakin' stairs. The stairs that are my nemesis. They're right there. It didn't hardly take any time at all! And I'm not falling over. Not gasping. Not cursing. I went up the flight of stairs and stood there. I actually patted myself on the back. What an improvement!

I was rather proud of myself. My daily walks over the last six weeks have made an improvement in my cardio endurance! Who knew? Certainly not me. I continued on for the rest of the 1 hour walk/hike and rather enjoyed it. I know! That's what I thought!

Now don't get me wrong. I still hate hiking. The West Coast Trail (Sorry Aaron) is not on my bucket list and I doubt I'll become a weekend warrior. But I did it and I'm proud of myself. I may even put it into my routine once a week before all the bears show up.

Thank you 100 days of Summer for your silly little challenge. If I hadn't of had to switch things up yesterday I wouldn't have made my little discovery about myself.


PS - I am loving Sparkpeople.com. Best decision I've made in a while.


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