May 10, 2011

Big News

Well, I've been gone for such a long time.  The past few weeks have been crazy as the end of the semester rush took up all of my time.  I wrote 45 pages, took a final exam, wrote a final exam, graded them, and averaged the grades.  Then when all of that was done I drove with my parents to Kentucky to see my aunt get hooded with her PhD. 

Now it's summer and I am going to be extremely busy reading to get ready for my comp exams in the fall.  Anyone who's gone through a strenuous graduate program knows that this is mostly reading and studying.  This frees me from a rigorous class schedule, which is great because I've got big news!

I'm hiking Mt. LeConte!

Mt. LeConte is the third highest peak in the Smoky Mountain National Park.  You can only hike in or out, cars cannot drive up.  There is a lodge at the top that accomodates hikers for free (food is extra) with beds, heat, and lanterns for light.  In 2009 they added flush toilets (this was a big deal apparently as they went decades with just a privy).  On average the lodge reaches the 40s in the summer at night and it has never, ever reached 80 degrees.

I am going with the Smoky Mountain Field School, an organization run by the University of Tennessee that provides different education/recreation programs for people.  Some range to afternoons, some are all day, others, like my trip, are overnight. 

I cannot get over how excited I am about this trip.  I'll get to hike to one of the most beautiful, scenic outlooks in the Eastern United States.  I get to challenge myself.  I get to camp.  I get to meet new people and enjoy a completely new experience.  I get to break away from technology for a weekend.  I get to go to one of my favorite places in the world.

Now I have to think about getting ready for this trip.  I've been doing great with cardio.  I gained a few pounds during finals weeks but I'm working on losing those now.  What I really need to do is work on strength training of my legs and core. 

Here's the plan:
Sundays: off
Mondays: jog 40 minutes in the AM, Zumba in the PM
Tuesdays: Pilates class, Crazy 80s cardio class
Wednesdays: jog 50 minutes in the AM, Zumba in the PM
Thursdays: Pilates class, Crazy 80s cardio class
Friday: Zumba
Saturday: Jog 60 minutes and optional yoga class

I'll also try to squeeze in some squats everyday day, also, walking more when I walk the dog and not shirking the hills in my neighbordhood.  If I can I'll also need to add some tricep/bicep work.

I have five weeks.

Five weeks to get ready for one of the most physically strenous activities of my life.  I've been keeping up pretty well with my cardio but it's no secret that I abhor strength and core training.  I'll have to be a lot more agressive than my Whittle My Middle challenge.  Pilates is going to create a lot of core strength and it will be good to do some of the two-a-days as it will allow me to expand my cardio endurance.

I am sincerely looking forward to this challenge and the reward of climbing Mt. LeConte.

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