July 29, 2012
The Training and The Gear
After a week of weights, yoga, and indoor workouts I was ready to hit the trail again today with my friend Marian. We decided to do the same trail we did last week, since it has a lot of rolling hills and is a good interval workout with a lot of options.
I still wasn’t entirely sold on the Gregory Jade 28 pack, so I loaded it up and took it out on the trail. I’m happy to say that it held up really well! Very comfortable and the weight distribution was really nice – I hardly felt like I was carrying a load! During the hike I didn’t feel a thing, but there’s a slight problem a few hours later. My shoulders are aching a bit, which isn’t normal. I’m sure I had the pack adjusted properly, so all I can figure is that the ventilated suspension puts a little more weight on my shoulders than I’m used to carrying there. Perhaps I’ll adapt to the difference after a few hikes?
My biggest concern is still about my camera. I didn’t include it in today’s test load and I’m worried that with extra pressure on my shoulders from the pack itself, shoving a DSLR on top for easy access won’t work. I’m afraid the weight distribution will be totally wrong. I’ve ordered a backup plan – the Deuter ACT Trail 28. I’ll give it a try too and pick the better of the candidates. At this point, I know that I have at least one that will be fine, although not perfect. I’m convinced the perfect backpack simply does not exist.
Aside from the backpack, we had some extra fun today too! Somewhere along this journey, I bought a really cool toy – a Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS watch. I may have to exchange this one, as the pins in the band keep falling out. The original plastic band dangled like a bangle on my tiny wrist. This is definitely a toy designed for boys. I ordered the fabric wristband, but it hasn’t helped. The device itself is loosely attached to the fabric strap in a way that it still moves around when you run or hike. The curve of the device is so large that if you have a small wrist, you’re just kind of screwed. The worst part is that the movement works out the pins in the band and the watch disconnects on one end and starts flopping around on your arm. Not cool.
What is cool is the data that you get from the Forerunner. Anything you could possibly want to know, it’ll tell you. Heart rate? Check. Route map? Check. Speed, both moving and including the times you stopped to rest? Check. Elevation. Um, check. It’s disheartening to realize that the best hill hike within an hour drive takes me to a whopping 681 feet above sea level. Ignorance is bliss.
It’s fun to race against yourself and compare hikes though. Today we beat last week’s pace even while carrying significantly more weight. Awesome! Can’t wait to see how we do next week – assuming the whole thing doesn’t fall off my wrist before then, anyway.