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Monday, November 19, 2012

Training for the Kalalau Trail- an Adventure for the Hardcore

Close your eyes and picture this…. A rugged coastline with multiple cliffs as high as 4000 feet, 5 gorgeous valleys, the scent of crushed guava, sunning pineapples soaking up the heat & the sea breeze, and of course, the sparkling blue ocean below- that could kill you if you missed a step and hurtled to your death.

Yep, this place is dangerous as hell- and in some sick part of my mind, that makes me even more excited to return.
My sister and I meet up in Kauai once a year. I know, it sounds nuts and a maybe a bit pretentious but she lives in L.A. and I live in Boston- so what better place to meet up than in paradise? And our mom has become an expert on exchanging our timeshare weeks to get us ladies to Hawaii every year- for that and so many other reasons, we love her.  Thanks Mom!  An addiction my family shares is our love of the outdoors- we have loved hiking for years. When my sister still lived in Boston, we would even hike the skyline trail at Blue Hills on Easter Morning. I guess you could say it’s something we’ve always enjoyed together- being in the middle of nowhere with only each other. Kauai steps it up a notch- to say the least.

Ok, I admit- it’s winter here now in Boston and I’ve been really ultra lazy. It’s getting so cold that I don’t even run to the liquor store, I drive. Hey, you gotta have your booze- regardless of the weather. Anyways… I started thinking, "Self, you have less than 6 mos. until your return to the Napali Coast… and this time, you’re STAYING right in the middle of the wettest spot on Earth- there’s gonna be some serious adventures!" Yes, they get 450 inches of rain each year here on this side of the island- give or take. The rain is part of the adventure, sometimes it leaves as quick as it arrives- other times, the emergency broadcast system warns everyone to "get to higher ground". Ahhh Kauai… even thinking of the rain makes me smile.
Even the rain is beautiful here. Seriously.

Ok, so back to my mission- training for the Kalalau trail. 11 Miles one way is a long hike- no matter who you are. I give people credit who don’t even do the whole trail. Hell, at least they came, they saw- they stepped out of their comfort zone. Me- I’m not much of a camper so I’ve never been inclined to camp at the beach at the end. After miles and miles of terrain, this girl wants to head back to the condo with mixed plate take-out, soak in a hot shower and sleep in a BED. Even the 8 mile round trip hike to the falls keeps me beachfront the next day. In fact, my knee is still clicking from my last trip- but isn’t that just the sign of a really good time?!
This time around, I actually belong to a gym. Me- yep, I was always against such establishments but hell, it’s too cold in new england now to do much outdoors. So it’s indoors I go. My mantra has become "Napali Coast, Napali Coast, Napali Coast"- and it works. After a hectic day at work, I’d much rather go home and throw on "Two and a Half Men" reruns but the mantra reminds me of the adventure to come. It magically makes me turn right into the gym parking lot with no arguments in my mind about what I’d rather do. I find it much easier to motivate myself, reminding myself that the more stamina I build, the easier time I will have on the trail. Sometimes, I even catch myself breaking into a huge smile on the treadmill just thinking about it. The people at Planet Fitness probably think I’m a nut job- if only they knew.

I also started taking Schiff Move-Free Triple Strength tablets.  They have ingredients like glucosamine and chondroitin that work together to strengthen and protect sore joints.  The supplement also contains hyaluronic acid and when taken orally, it is absorbed directly into your joints!  This stuff came highly recommended from my doctor (who also takes it!)- it works!  I have found that the clicking in my knee is subsiding and call me crazy, I even FEEL better.  Maybe that's just the 500% of Vitamin D3 that is also in it- who knows!  If you like to hike - I strongly suggest taking this!!!!  They aren't cheap- but if you can grab them somewhere with a "Buy 1 get 1 Free" deal, they're worth every penny!

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