Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ooh-Whee! What a Workout Today!

This morning I located the starting point for the Chambers Bay Walking Path near here. Jackie told me it was a challenging walk for the uninitiated, so I decided to try it out. Glad I did.

The walking path encircles the Chambers Bay Golf Course, which will host a PGA Tour next year or the year after. It's located along Commencement Bay and the terrain is very hilly.

On the way down the first hill (I walked counter-clockwise from the Chambers Bay Restaurant) I thought, "Geez, sure hope the hill [at the other end of this three mile circular course] isn't as steep as this one is!"

I seemed to be descending to the center of the earth for at least a full quarter of a mile. Others, young and speedy, jogged past me, talking. I thought, "If I tried jogging down this hill, my momentum would have me flat on my face -- and skidding -- in no time flat!"

Once at the bottom of the gulch, there was a long span of more-or-less level walking along Commencement Bay. A railroad track between me and the bay kept me entertained as trains passed, nearly every car emblazoned with colorful graffiti.

After about 3/8 of a mile the path started uphill again. At first the ascendancy was slight; it felt good. But not long after there was about a half mile stretch that was Seriously Challenging (probably an 8 or 9% grade). I went up slowly, trying to see if I could make it all the way without stopping. Almost did it. Had to stop once, three quarters of the way up, for about thirty seconds. Well, I didn't HAVE TO, but I wanted to check my pulse to see if I was pushing it beyond what I should to make it up the hills. My heart rate was up around 150-160 beats per minute. (My resting heart rate is around 60 or 65 per minute.) I couldn't remember if that was too high, but I felt it was certainly pushing the limit for my age (57 on March 5th this year), so I stayed put for about 40 seconds, then started out again, slowly.

It felt good and I felt terrific afterward. I even considered going again, but decided that might be overdoing it on the first day, even though I've been very active (walking on level ground and biking) the past three weeks.

This afternoon I did my usual 2.5 mile walk (mostly on flat ground). I plan to go to Chambers Bay again tomorrow and Friday. I'll walk in the morning both times. I need to be at the testing site for the Police Department on Friday by 2, so if I'm back home by noon Friday, I'll have plenty of time to get ready, drive to the Tacoma Dome parking lot and ride the Link Light Rail to the testing site in downtown Tacoma.

I'm on the last half of The Pillars of the Earth, Oprah's last book of the month club selection. It's hard to put down. It's a marathon adventure, for sure. I rarely read non-fiction, but this one is worth the time. And it has taken time. I think it'll cost me 30 hours or more of my life by the time I've closed the back cover! But it will have been worth it.

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