Back In It Again

Back In It Again

Hiking Manchester TN

Way back in the day, before a global pandemic, before a wedding, I attended a big event in Los Angeles with my then-girlfriend. For eighteen hours, I was on hard L.A. pavement, logging over 40,000 steps in a pair of leather-soled Cole Haan Oxfords. The next morning, I stepped onto the cold floor of the Roosevelt Hotel and right onto samurai sword blades that ran up my thighs, through my knees, and into my hips. Or at least that’s what it felt like.

Michael and his wife, Alyssa, outside of the observatory in L.A., 2019

My poor choice of shoes struck with a vengeance. I had developed overnight severely inflamed Achilles heel in both feet. For the better part of two years, I suffered. That all changed back in September, when a very good friend and doctor treated my feet with a steroid treatment that cured my right foot completely and all but cured my left foot. I remember standing at the top of the escalator in Salt Lake City and doing heel drops, stretching my feet down at such an angle the soles of my shoes were riding along the risers, my toes on one step, my heels resting on the other. It was magical.

I started training for the trail in January of this year. The regimen includes intensive mobility exercise like weighted squats, suicide drills, thirty yard sprints, and many many repetitions of them all. By mid-February, I had begun to feel the familiar tinge of tightness and pain in my heels. Achilles strikes again. Luckily, I caught it early enough and immediately started the PT and stretches I had learned the first go-round. I also took to wearing a brace on my left ankle, the worse offender, and eventually on both ankles. I also stopped the intensive training.

In the six months since stopping the intensive training, I’ve not given up, and I’ve not stopped working towards the goal, either. Here are a few of the things I’ve done so far.


At my size, healthy exercise starts with diet

I’ve started watching what I eat, when I eat, how I eat. So far, I’ve lost a little over 15 lbs. My doctor is pleased, but it’s not enough if I’m going to get back into the actual training I want to do to make this trek happen. Moving into the new year, I’m going to step up my dieting. Luckily, I like salads and vegetables. At the same time, I’m starting a new job where health-conscious living is encouraged and rewarded. Hopefully the combination will prove fruitful and the pounds will start to fall off.

As for exercise, I’m in the process of changing gyms. The new gym will include personal training sessions and workout classes appropriate to my needs. This excites me.

Hiking first, hiking always

Hiking Manchester TNMy daughter and I went hiking and chose Lake Radnor. We hoped to see the eagles, but we didn’t on this trip. Instead, we walked the harder of the routes around the lake and into the woods. I felt every step off the paved trail, but the new shoes hung in there and performed well. My ankles are still smarting, but that’s okay, too. Things are just going to hurt until they don’t anymore.

My goal is to get back onto a trail and hike at least twice a month as part of the training. That’s going to be challenging with the new job, but it’s doable.


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