This past Saturday I took up a new challenge with the help of my father-in-law, David. We took to the trails of one of the many hiking paths into the mountains of Utah. David is an experienced hiker, rock climber, and ice climber having climbed the tallest mountain in Mexico, and Mt. Rainier among many others, so he knows his stuff.
The trail itself wasn't all that bad. Some steep spots, a little water to cross, but nothing too difficult. Some of the trail was just .. gone. There had been a wild storm that ripped through the area about a week before, so pieces of the trail, especially at the beginning was just washed away, leaving a small trench that, if I'd climbed down into, the trail would have been over my head.
All in all, we hiked up for about an hour and a half, the weather was cool and the trees were thick and kept the sun off of us. I looked up what hiking for 2.5 hours does to you calorie-wise on the MyFitnessPal app on my phone and saw it's a staggering 2,000 calories burned. This is awesome if you don't have what happened to me afterward.
We stopped climbing after an hour and a half, looked at the time and decided (well, I decided) that it was time to head back. While the hike down takes a little less time, it's not really any easier on you. You spend a lot of time mostly looking at your feet so you don't tumble down the trail. You also put a lot of strain on your joints, toes, and ankles going down. There wasn't a great view most of the time anyway, because it was blocked by all of the foliage around the area. Still, it was a great workout.
Now the setback, shortly after we came back down, I started to hurt. Not in the "oh man I'm gonna be sore in the morning" kind of hurt you get after doing cardio for the first time in five years, but some discomfort in my core (stomach, kidneys, back). Over the last four days or so it peaked and waned, but made doing anything difficult. I did stiffen up from the workout on Monday/Tuesday, but this pain/discomfort was far more debilitating.
Yesterday it dawned on me what it felt like. A gall bladder attack. I had my gall bladder removed back in 2008 and the last time I had an attack was a couple of weeks prior to that while on vacation in New York City. We'd been hoofing it all day in the city (was our first full day there), usually toting my then 10 month old daughter. Huge exertion that just set off a major attack that essentially crippled me that night. My wife has fond memories of that night, she'll tell you. /sarcasm
This past week was like a low key version of that which lasted for days. I think, and I'm no doctor so it's total speculation, that the hike was strenuous enough to set of the attack, but was so gradual that I didn't recognize my limits. There was one point after about an hour, I stopped to rest and my head started to spin, not like a sudden case of vertigo, but sort of type of tunnel vision where I kind of detached from reality and didn't sense my surroundings for a moment. It passed quickly and when I felt okay, we kept going for about another half and hour after that and nothing like that occurred again. I think that was the point we should have headed back down. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.
So, one big workout basically cost me four days of regular workouts which I expect to resume tomorrow (my schedule has me away from home almost the whole day/evening, so there's simply no place to wedge it in today), and David and I are going hiking again this Saturday.
I'll just need to watch my limits better.