Working On The List

Number Two on my Life Celebration List is – Be More Active.  Under that heading I’ve listed a few things (though I hope to add more later). Hike up Pike’s Peak is the first thing on the list.  I plan to go up in August of this year when they do the annual ascent. I figure it would be best to go when there will already be medical personnel on hand.  All the walking I’ve been doing for the Rocky Mountain Avon Walk is also good training for the ascent.  However, I realized that I needed to start taking steeper walks and thought that tackling The Manitou Springs Incline would be good training.

I knew I couldn’t do it alone, but my husband is on a profile and not allowed to hike at the moment. Fortunately, a good friend, Marken Orser, a captain from Tony’s former unit, offered to go with me.   It’s a good thing he did.  After seeing the Incline in person, if I’d been alone, I’d have simply got back in the car, returned home and crawled into bed with a book.

Manitou Springs Incline

It doesn’t look that steep in the photo, but it is.  According to various websites the vertical gain is 2100 feet.  Trust me my legs can attest to how steep this hike is.  Though I would have loved to have hiked this with my husband, upon reflection I think it’s probably a good idea he was not with me the first time I tackled this climb.  Marken was very patient and encouraging – as Tony would have been.  However, I know myself pretty well. It would have been like it was in the delivery room, no matter how patient and encouraging Tony would have been, I would have been very cranky with him.

It took us a while – 2 hours and 40 minutes – provided I recorded the time correctly. My pedometer app on my iPhone kept shutting off and I was breathing so hard  when  we reached the bottom of Barr Trail that I’m not sure I heard Marken correctly.  I know if he had been hiking it with his beautiful wife Christy he would have finished much faster.  So I’m very appreciative of his patience.

The advice he gave me was to just walk a few steps, take a break if needed and then take a few more steps.  It reminded me of the advice the surgeon gave me about my cancer treatment.  You just have to keep going.  It’s not about how fast you complete the journey, but simply about completing the journey.  My advice for conquering the Incline (and for dealing with cancer) is to keep looking forward and don’t look back.  I’m not sure I would describe myself as afraid of heights, but I was concerned that if I looked back on my hike, it would make me dizzy and then I’d have been stuck right there partway up – unable to go up or back down.   So, I just kept looking toward the goal (the summit) until I reached it.

That’s my goal with the cancer. I’m going to keep looking forward to reaching the summit of being cancer free.  The first benchmark (rest stop) to that goal will be a clear mammogram in October.  The next bench mark (rest stop)  will be a clear mammogram in five years.    Continued clear mammograms will be like reaching the summit of the Incline and then continuing on up Pike’s Peak.

What’s your summit?

Looking down from the top of the Incline.

Me at the top of the Incline.

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