A question about rattlesnakes (not related to eating). Salads. Vacation laziness. And this…
I realized something recently. When I listen to Justin, my trainer/coach (it still feels a little strange to say that) — when I do what he says I should do — I get stronger, recover faster and lose weight (namely, fat). When I don’t do what he says I should do, whether by accident or because of laziness or forgetfulness or habit, my progress stagnates, I stay sore or fatigued longer and I pull and strain things.
I meant to workout. Kind of. I had ideas of what to do and there was even a fitness room at Massanutten. But I did not. Instead I was mostly extremely lazy. Sleeping in when I could. Not necessarily motivated to take advantage of various activities. That’s something I’m going to have to keep an eye on. My ability to gravitate toward the inert.
It was good to spend time with the family, though. You know. As long as I have my own car.
I would like to say that I ate healthily last week. I did. But I’d like to say that it was all out of discipline or something purely wholesome. I have to admit that much of my resolve was stubbornness. Defiance, even.
There are weight and health issues aplenty in my family including diabetes and organ failure and hypertension and what not.
I wanted to be a good example. I also meant to keep my mouth shut about it the whole time, too. Like, to not be preachy or pester anyone else about what they ate. Except for the nephews. Good grief. I slipped a little bit there near the end.
I was looking around the kitchen one day: Entenmann’s cookies, mini donuts, maxi donuts, croissants, bagels, pasta, macaroni and cheese, Fruit Loops, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, Honey Chex, baked beans, buns, rolls, orange juice, (low calorie) sports drinks, Arizona iced tea, and such.
It was depressing. I don’t know what it is that makes us buy and consume the exact things that we’re told not to eat, but … sigh.
Fast and Furious
The first full day we went to Chili’s. I figured, heck, I was on vacation and I get a cheat meal. Long story short. I had a smokehouse burger and some fries. When I got back to the place I was entering food into DailyBurn.
- 2,080 calories
- 147 g carbs
- 6,050 mg sodium
Out-friggin’-rageous! Oh. That doesn’t include the two tall glasses of mango iced teas. No wonder I felt like crap.
Eating out is the worst thing when you’re trying to eat right. The second worst thing is poor planning. Like skipping meals.
The day I drove up to Massanutten I didn’t eat anything. I figured I’d pick up something along the way. Bad idea. I got hungry and got cravings. I did something I hadn’t done in literally years. I went to Burger King. Unfortunately, I had to #1 and when I went into the bathroom, well … someone had crapped in the urinal. And some on the floor. Flies everywhere.
For some reason I still ordered food there. I mean, who does that?? And what kind of person still orders food? I only ate half of the meal feeling progressively nauseous. Not only because of the image that kept popping into my head, but that’s how it is with fast food. The first bite or two is like heaven. After that it’s just a hot, salty mess. So bad.
Point being, it was like shock avoidance therapy.
I had been reminded of gourmet salads recently so that’s what I focused on when we went grocery shopping. Romaine hearts, kale. I wrote down a few pseudo recipes. What else did I get? Chicken, steak, crushed walnuts, pistachios, dried cranberries, blue cheese crumbles, minced garlic, grape tomatoes, cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt, a few kinds of dressing, sprouts.
Tonight I bought lump crab meat. That was pretty good in a salad, too. Very expensive but good.
I also made many mocha type concoctions.
Anyway, here are some salad sketches. They’d be fine without cheese. And with a vinaigrette instead of creamy dressing. Not necessarily creative (some of it is just leftovers) but flavorful and with hearty textures.
• Chicken breast
• Cheddar cheese cubes
• Shelled pistachios
• Dried cranberries
• Romaine hearts
• Greek yogurt
• Grape jelly
• Creamed greens
• Minced garlic
• Chicken breast
• Romaine heart
• Walnut crumbles
• Strawberries (dried)
• Jarlsberg cheese
• Steak chopped
• Roasted garlic
• Bleu cheese crumbles
• Caramelized onions
• Diced tomatoes
Even though I didn’t workout I wasn’t entirely sedentary. My mom and I drove up Skyline Drive a ways and went to Dark Hollow Falls. It’s maybe a mile south(?) of Big Meadow. It’s probably about a mile of downhill hike. And then a mile of uphill hike.
My mother foresaw a struggle for the hike back up. She did pretty well, though. The hiking stick was helpful. She’s an on-the-go kind of person and she’s a nurse so she’s on her feet a lot, but that doesn’t prepare one for over a mile of uphill hiking.
It’s hard to relate to other people’s experience sometimes. Like, what will it be like for me to do a strenuous hike on a 96 degree, very humid Summer day 23 years from now.
At nearly 4,000 ft. of elevation.
I felt good, though. I ran up the trail in a few spots just to see how it would feel. It felt good. This functional strength training makes everything better. More enjoyable.
The next day I decided to do the hardest hike on the grounds. Not a long hike, apparently, but an advanced hike. Four miles, give or take, along the ridge and then down a ski slope. I should have thought it through a little better. I just loaded up my backpack, put on my hiking socks and boots and asked someone to drop me off at the overlook next to the trail head.
It’s not a hike one should do on one’s own. It’s deserted up there. There are black bears in the area and there are rattlesnakes. And it’s a tough hike. And it was hot hot hot. I didn’t eat enough. Burned nearly 3,500 calories on the hike but didn’t eat any food. Bad mistake. I was paranoid about smelling like food, though.
I was trying not to think of bears the whole time. And snakes because a lot of the trail was rocky and full of crevasses. Some parts of the trail were made of a spine of rocks and boulders with little to no leeway on either side.
I was shocked every time I saw a distance/mile marker. Nearly two hours to do the first two miles and I was so tired and hot and low on energy and felt dehydrated even though I was drinking a lot (but probably not often enough). I thought, “I wonder if this is how Ma felt yesterday.”
It was kind of creepy out there alone even in midday. Uncomfortably quiet.
I kept on and tried to pick up the pace, especially as the trail trended downhill and got less boulder and rock-strewn. And then … that rattlesnake. I’ve seen snakes on TV. Seen them in the zoo. Petted one at a reptile encounter when i was in school. I’ve seen the tail ends of Copperheads and one Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake as they snaked off into the grass or woods.
But I’ve never seen one like this. Laying along the trail. Big, thick, between 5 and 6 feet long. Bright yellow rattle. I noticed it, said something clever with four letter words in it, and stopped in my tracks. It started to move. So did I. I turned around and ran and heard the sound of its rattle behind me. For some reason it sounded like it was coming from my left so I ran even faster. It wasn’t chasing me, though. It had coiled into a defensive position.
I ran just far enough so that I could still see it but I could run up or on something. So here’s my question. What do you do when you see a rattlesnake on a trail? I thought they’d always just slither off to shelter. But this one just stayed on the trail. It stretched out again, too, but partially across the trail and facing me. That left me with no way to go forward. But I sure as hell wasn’t going back. That was a long way.
I threw some things in its general direction. Brittle sticks, pine cones. I came even closer than I meant to but it still didn’t move. Right about then I regretted my situation a little. I wanted to take a picture, but I would have had to take off my backpack, take out the camera, etc. It really was beautiful. But I figured that this was one time when I couldn’t afford to divide my attention. Y’know?
Do snakes congregate? Eventually, I decided to go off-trail and thread the thick, crazy spider webs. Rocky, covered with leaves, and a thick carpet of spongy dead pine needles and a steep decline off to the side, it was still a better option. Of course, the whole time I was thinking, suppose there’s a snake over here, too? It also put the rattlesnake at my eye level but with a little terrain between us. I got back on to the trail, looked back to make sure the snake hadn’t moved in my direction, and picked up the pace even more.
I was really creeped out and hyper vigilant, especially as the greenery closed in on the trail. Finally I reached a dirt road that led to the ski lift and the slopes. It was tedious getting down — side steps the whole way — and my toes were killing me but it was an amazing view and got me closer to the condo and an ice cold iced tea.
My feet and legs were killing me. A threat of Sartorius cramping. Various muscles twitching like crazy for about 36 hours afterward.
I had dreams about snakes that night. They really are burned into our psyches, our genetic memory.
I was also thinking — because I’m pretty sure I saw bear scat on the ski slope in a few places — what if it had been a bear that didn’t play by the “rules”? You know, they’re supposed to avoid contact with humans. They hear you coming and they scamper off to lay low.
What do you do if you’re hiking alone, see a bear and it decides to persist? Like, it doesn’t get off the trail. Or it follows you when you’ve still got 2 miles of hiking until you reach civilization or are likely to see another human being.
Hm. I wonder if there’s any functional training for bear wrasslin’.
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