Week 7: Climb for Clean Air – Finding Balance

Plan for this week:

Monday: Long Cardio

Tuesday: Strength Training with Weston

Wednesday: Long Cardio

Thursday:  Rest Day!

Friday:  Strength Training

Saturday: Hike!

Sunday: Strength Training

Seven weeks into this training, I continue to have a hard time finding a balance between my commitment to training, family, work and life in general.   I really am feeling that I stretch myself pretty thin and having my 5 years old complaint that she didn’t get a lot of quality time with me lately, enough to made me cry quietly at night.   I know that this climbing the mountain business will require a lot of commitment and some sacrifice.   My husband and my family, even my work, understand this and they support me 100% but try to explain that to a five and three years old in the language that she understand – that’s a huge challenge.   I started to question, more than once, if all of this worth it.   What is it that I’m trying to prove by climbing the mountain?  I did it once six years ago, why bother to do it again now.   I’m just exhausted.  Not just physically, but mentally.   I’m SIX weeks away from doing this.   Am I going to be ready?  Am I able to do this commitment for six more weeks?

I am rambling.  I know.  This is supposed to be my recap, not my whiny post.  I’ll get to it in a minute.

In short, this week is interesting.  I improvised.  A lot.  I was being creative.   I struggled.   I did my best.  I guess at the end of the day, that’s what matter.   I did the best I could.

How it actually went down:


Long Cardio day.   I started this week with struggle.   We had some family thing that we need to take care of, so I wasn’t able to go to the gym and did my long cardio due to the time.   I need to do an hour, and by the time I had the chance to do any work out, it’s 830pm at night.   I was bummed, and almost didn’t do anything but then I remembered that I live on the neighborhood that have hilly street.  So I put my 45lbs pack on my back, my mountaineering boot and start walking around my neighborhood.   We walked from our house towards the freeway, only on the sidewalk, but it’s about 6% grade hill.   It was pretty good work out actually.   I walked for an hour and a half, and about 4 miles.

Tuesday Morning:

Since I just did my long cardio on the evening prior – Weston focus on my upper body for today’s strength training.   I honestly can’t remember the list of routines, but I know that we did series upper body work out.   We used some kettle bell, dumbbell and some resistance band.   There’s a few total body work out in there too, and of course, it’s not Weston if he didn’t sneak lunges in there too.

Tuesday Evening:

Since today is a full moon and weather is pretty good, I decided to do something different.   I usually do long cardio on Wed morning, but I am replacing it with a short hike on Tuesday evening.   I loaded my 45lbs pack, put on my boot and we did an evening hike at Rattlesnake Ledge.   I reached the top of the ledge within 50 minutes.   I felt really good about it, since if you look at my post on Week 0, I made it up there within 50 minutes without a pack.  Well, I did have a pack, but only have a bottle of water in there.   So I made it 5 minutes faster with 45lbs heavier pack on my back.   Not too bad.   We stayed up at the ledge for an hour and watched the moon rise behind the mountain across us.   It was pretty magical.   The moon is huuuugee!  And the color and how it shine around the mountain, created a very unique color and shade – it was pretty awesome.  Too bad the cloud was hiding the moon, shortly after it rise.


I slept in.   Since I did my night hike the night before, I didn’t do anything.


Rest Day!


Well, here’s where things went haywire again.   Life get in a way on my schedule again and I didn’t get a chance to go to the gym and did my strength training.    However, I did get all my gear packed up on my pack.   This is everything that I will need for my climb day, other than a couple small things (utensil, bowl, spork, toothbrush, etc).   It weigh about 45lbs.   I still need to learn to pack all my gear more efficiently but hey, this is why I’m doing this.


Me climbing up a steep hill

Big day.  We head out to Mount Rainier National Park so we can hike to Pebble Creek (7,000 ft).   I plan to meet up with a couple climbers from Climb for Clean Air team who also want to go up there.   After a couple hours of drive, we arrived at the upper parking lot around 8:45am.    Weather is so-so.   It was raining and the fog were covering the mountain, but the trail look pretty good.    We started to walk around 9:30am.    Right off the bat, we are on straight hill.   I was panting and huffing and puffing.    Paradise (where the upper parking lot) is at 5,600 feet and I came from sea level (where I live), drive two hours to where we park the car (5,600ft) and started to walk on straight hill with 45lbs pack on my back.   On top of that, I am trying to follow the pace of my fellow climber.   Boy, I was nowhere close.   Those two gentlemen had to keep stopping and wait for me and I felt a bit discouraged.   Darn.  I thought I did really good and I can’t even keep up with my fellow climber.   After 30 minutes, I told them to go ahead and don’t wait for me.   I’m pretty familiar with the trail and I don’t want to hold them back.    They went on their way, while I’m trying to focus and walk on my own pace.    Shortly after, a bunch of climbers came up, lead by RMI guides.    There were probably about three teams, and it’s about 10 climbers on each team.   It dawn on me right there – that is the pace that I need to focus on!   They are going to be my guide on July and if I can keep up with their pace, then I’m good.   So I started to follow them and forgot the fact that I can’t keep up with my two other fellow climber.

Me at Pebble Creek, 7000ft

I talked to a few guides on that team and I told them that I’m going to tail them.   I put one foot after another, and I focus nothing other than my breathing and the pace that set by the lead guide and I follow them just fine!   I follow them until their first break, which was where I turned around the last time I was there (6.200ft).    From our rest place, I can see the big hill in front of me.   It’s pretty hilly.   I mean, picture can’t do justice but this hill is pretty darn steep.   It’s a good 60 degrees angle.    I knew that since when I walked it, I had to keep balancing myself every step of the way.    I watched the RMI climbers and they climb that hill as slow as I was, so I wasn’t feeling so bad.    We reached 7,000 feet based on our GPS even though I can’t even recognize my surrounding and see if where we stopped indeed was Pebble Creek.   Oh well.    Weather was very strange too.   It was pretty windy and cold, and the fog made our visibility very limited but there was about three areas/places as we hiked — temperature suddenly change.   It went to really, really hot – like a sauna hot.   At one time, it was enough for me to strip all my layer off, even though 15 minutes later, cold wind was coming back.    I was very pleased with this hike.   I have no blister on my toes or feet, and I was wearing my new boot!   That’s huge!   My shoulder didn’t hurt and none of my leg/feet were seriously hurting.   They sore, well, of course, but nothing more than regular muscle soreness.


A sudden change on the child care situation made me not able to do any work out again.   I was about to drop my girls to my mom and sneak in an hour or two work out but I changed my mind.   I stayed home and I spent quality time with my girls.   I left my phone, iPad, and any other distraction downstairs.   I was down in the floor with my girls, did a tea party, play a playdoh, did some art and snuggled with them while we watched TinkerBell for, oh I don’t know, 100th time?   I skipped a work out, but today, I didn’t feel even a slight guilt.    Next week, I need to find better balance but for now, nothing else is important.


I’m so close with my goal!!  Incredible donations from many of my peer on SQL Community as well as my co-worker and my family.   I raised another $350.00 this week!   Thank you SO much for your support and keep those donations coming!   Visit my fundraising page for online donation, or please let me know if you rather to send me a check.




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