Training, Week 1: Terms, Flat Butts, and Tequila

June 29th – July 3rd

Monday arrived with the virtual chirping of frogs emanating from my not-so-smart phone telling me that it was 6:30 am and time to wake up. Awaken I did…at 7:30, which is still pretty good for me. Even at 7:30 am it was at least 80 degrees, so I was sweating the minute I woke up. This week was so hot that, at night, I took all the ice packs out of the fridge and laid them on top of me so I could go to sleep.

Here’s all the info about the training I did this week: (click to view larger!)

Week 1

You’ll notice that the heart rate readings are colored in. This is because I’m basing a lot of my training on heart rate levels. If the heart rate is highlighted red, I was close to heart rate level 3- or high intensity. Yellow is level 2, and green (which you don’t see on there) is Level 1.  These are my personal heart rate levels in beats per minute:

Heart Rate Levels

So if you go back to the training plan (Molly Hiking Program 15), you’ll see that some of the days specify which heart rate level I need to reach during that training activity. It’s a strait forward way of measuring the workout’s intensity and measure my progress at the same time. Pretty handy!

Some training plan lingo explanation: “RPE” stands for “Rate of Perceived Exertion,” and represents just how hard the exercise feels to me as I am doing it. The scale looks like this:

“Structure” means performing the exercises assigned to me by my physical therapist. Remember the issues around my pelvis that I wrote about HERE? Well, all the structural exercises are working to improve it. This includes exercises such as the “Starfish,” which engages the transversus abdominis and gets me to work my gluteus (I am normally very bad at this).  I REFUSE THE HAVE A FLAT BUTT, THOUGH, so work it, I will. These kinds of exercises are very important and feed into all the other activities I do.

Check out this vaguely horrifying rendering of the transverse abdominal muscle:

The transversus abdominis: from your lungs to you bladder; the muscle that holds a whole hell of a lot of things together.

This is the “Starfish” move:

1. Resistance band around feet, held up by hands. Shoulders down and back. Flatten back to the floor to engage the transversus abdominis (TA), then squeeze butt.
2. Keeping butt fully engaged and foot at 90 degree angle, bend your knee to a 90 degree angle . Keep your knee as close to the floor as possible.
Making sure to keep you glutes and TA engaged, kick your foot out to cross your opposite leg. Be sure to keep the back of your pelvis on the floor (you will need super butt and TA strength to do this- I have been working on this move for a WHILE).

The starfish is just one of six exercises I do to warm up and make sure ~ma bod~ is in the right place for more aerobic work.

“Stretch” means yoga poses, and also assigned PT stretches like this torture device known as the “couch stretch:”


I promise you, if anything at all between your belly button and your knees is tight, this stretch will find it. I have come to love it, but I do sometimes wonder if I’m suffering a weird, masochistic Stockholm syndrome. Bottom line is that this stretch is good for me.

I congratulate you if you have gotten through all of the first part of this post. I realize there is very little story telling going on so far. Fear not, I will reward you soon.

“Running Drills (1/4)”: Running used to be very hard for me, but thanks to the help of my physical therapist, I am now using the Pose method of running, and am experiencing very little pain while I run. This method requires you to have pretty great form, which in turn requires pretty awesome strength. In order to build my strength in running, I drill running the Pose method for 1 minute, followed by walking 4 minutes. I do 6 rounds of this for a total of 30 minutes.


Okay, now for the fun stuff.

Monday, I shouldered my pack filled with three liters of water, and headed up Bridger Canyon road to climb the College “M” that overlooks Bozeman from the North.

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It was so hot. I drank so much water. Overall, though, this hike felt really awesome. I did say that I was ready to sweat!

Wednesday I basically ran up and down Sourdough Canyon with the dog because I needed to walk four miles, and I had a ladies’ night to get to, damn it!

IMG_3666 IMG_3667

Sourdough is pretty straightforward. The trail is actually a forest service road that follows Bozeman Creek up the canyon. There are mile markers along the road as you go up, so it’s easy to know how far you’ve gone. It’s a really popular destination for dog owners because it’s one of the few sanctified areas where there is a mutual silent understanding that no one keeps there dog on a leash. The ecosystem around the creek, (a RIPARIAN AREA), are so lush right now. Nettles, wildflowers, clover, elderflowers, and so many more wonderful plants are all out. Unfortunately, the deer flies are also out with a vengeance.

Now, most of you must be thinking, “Molly, what’s with the tequila? I want to know more about the tequila!” Well, my friends, all I have to say is that I learned my lesson this week. Remember how I just said I had a ladies’ night to get to on Wednesday? Well, there’s this lovely bar in Bozeman called “the Zebra.” I have actually heard many people refer to this bar as “the fart basement,” which is my favorite name for it, personally. Every Wednesday night, the Fart Basement gives out three- count ’em, THREE- free drinks to any woman that comes into the bar. Dudes have to pay a cover. This raises so many of my sexist double standards flags it’s not even funny, but when all your friends want to go dance, it’s hard to say no. It’s also hard to say no when one of these said friends buys everyone a round of bottom shelf tequila. Don’t get me wrong, I love tequila. But if it’s not fancy stuff, my body HATES it. I learned this lesson once before the super hard way at a bar in Harvard Square that had a chinese restaurant in the bottom, and was playing WWE on the TVs in the bar. WWE was the best part of that night, believe me.

I woke up on Thursday morning swearing an oath to never again have bottom shelf tequila, I don’t care how free it is; and also realizing that drinking is straight-up NOT HELPFUL when one is trying to train. I really didn’t want to do SSS (Structure, Strength, & Stretch) that day. Free weights were the last thing on my mind. I did them anyway, after I drank half a gallon of kombucha and three cups of detox tea. I am now living by a one drink only rule. If I’m serious about training, I need to be vigilant about my priorities.

Friday’s hike was the toughest so far, up Sypes Canyon:

Cosmo, leading the way.
Smokey Bozeman
The track up Sypes Canyon
The track up Sypes Canyon

It became really windy over Thursday night, and all the smoke from the wildfires in Canada and Washington rolled in. Everything is a little bit more erie when veiled in smoke, and hiking alone is a little more freaky. I felt very relieved when a very nice family with a small little fox dog showed up on the trail. I was also oddly comforted by a set of ravens that seemed to be following me on the trail. The raven is in my family crest, and I can’t help but “buy in” a little bit to the symbolism there. Also, I’m totally a Ravenclaw.

I went up Sypes in the middle of the afternoon and it was so hot I actually drank all three liters of water in my bag. I had thrown in an eight pound dumbbell for added weight because I was supposed to be hiking with a 10 pound load. Sypes was the steepest of my hikes so far, as I gained over 1000 feet of elevation. The trail brings you up to a small saddle and a junction with the Bridger Recreational trail, a much longer endeavor.

By the end of the very very hot week, I was ready to get on the water for the 4th of July.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions or comments, please DO leave them in the comments box below! In the future I will be posting separately about my different training exercises, hikes, and other hiking prep activities to make the readings shorter and more frequent, so stay tuned!

Kind regards,


3 responses to “Training, Week 1: Terms, Flat Butts, and Tequila”

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