day 4: making winning decisions

I silenced the alarm on my phone and then clicked on the weather app. 33° Fahrenheit.

No. That couldn’t be right.

I rubbed my eyes, convinced blurry vision was rendering that ridiculous number.

I cursed when I realized my eyes hadn’t failed me. Bloody hell.

It was hovering near the freezing mark, and I would have to go running up mountains with a bunch of Van 6 Speedy Gonzaleses.

I felt my stomach knotting up.

Strenuous exercise while breathing in cold dry air would be a sure-fire recipe to cook up some bronchoconstriction (exercise-induced asthma) for me. I didn’t have an inhaler, so that meant I would end up a coughing, wheezing mess for hours, if not days.

I looked to The Russian for guidance.

me: What should I do? I don’t want to miss another hike, but I don’t want to screw up my lungs so that I can’t work the rest of the program. 

her: Come on the hike and just go as slow as you need to.

me: I don’t want to slow everyone else down. 

her: You won’t be. I’m not going to go fast either. 

me: GAH! I don’t know what to do. Should I stay back and do open gym like yesterday? 

her: Do whatever feels right for you. 

me: Sigh.

I felt angry and conflicted.

Hiking is my favorite physical exercise, bar none, and yet I was potentially going to miss 2 of 5 hikes that week by my own choice.

I wandered around the dining hall aimlessly, trying to decide what to do.

Already dressed in my hiking gear, feet duct taped and Camelbak full of water, I looked around.


Rockin’ the animal print duct tape

Laurie, another guest, asked me which hike I was going on that day. I responded that I wasn’t sure I was going on the hike because I was worried that my group would be too fast-paced causing me to over-exert myself and wind up sick.

Join my van, she offered with a big smile, we don’t do fast.

After a bunch of back and forth, “really?“, “yes, REALLY” type banter, I made the decision to join van 2 for the day.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” ~Anthony Robbins

I told The Russian that I would be defecting from Van 6 to Van 2 and hugged her goodbye, heading over to meet my new peeps.


Van 2 would be hiking in the Santa Clara River Reserve, a scenic area known for plentiful petroglyphs and cool rock formations. As a bonus, I would get to spend time with a group of folks I hadn’t really gotten to know to that point in the week.


Van 2 peeps, including Laurie, second from left and Fiona, second from right. Me: hamming it up in the back.

One of the benefits of joining a group with a slower pace was that it gave a couple of us the opportunity to go off-trail and take on some challenging scrambles and climbs, and then pick up the pace to catch back up with the others who had stayed on trail.


Gettin’ my scramble on

Here is a shot of Laurie coming down the other side of that same scramble after I had descended. She’s part mountain goat, too.


Laurie: mountain goat styles.

I didn’t so much as think an angry thought during this hike, let alone utter a curse word.

Nope, it was all smiles for this happy hiker.


Towards the end of the hike, I couldn’t help but reflect on what a great decision I had made.

Had I allowed ego to control my decision making, I would have stayed with Van 6 and probably wound up coughing up a lung the rest of the week.

Instead, I had a great hiking experience without sacrificing my lungs or putting the rest of my day or week at risk. And I got to hang out with some really cool people. Win-win-win.


After the hike, the schedule allowed us to choose from Mini Triathlon or Team Dynamics (a volleyball game).

Feeling like I had something to prove after my slightly less challenging hike (because ego is never fully silenced), I chose to do the mini triathlon. Triathlon class at Movara involved a run (on the treadmill), bike (spin bike) and elliptical (I could have chosen the pool but it was way too cold to swim).

Look, I’m not an idiot. I know I didn’t do a triathlon. At 45 minutes, this doesn’t even qualify as a mini triathlon, but it was a good little cardio blast and worked me harder than a non-competitive game of volleyball.

After lunch it was 3 back-to-back (to-back) classes: Treading (an intense interval running program), Total Toning (which reminded a lot of BodyPump) and an end of day deep stretch class.

The after dinner lecture focused on Emotional Eating, which really hit home for most of the participants. Irina had posted a picture of our schedule on Facebook, commenting on what a grind every day was. Some ass-hat douche nozzle on her friends list made a snide remark about what hard work the emotional eating class must have been.


I love how some people can only build themselves up by tearing others down. I told her she needed to de-friend his sorry ass immediately.

Final stats for the day: 

  • 27,255 steps
  • 11.7 miles
  • 2,361 calories burned (vs. 1,200 consumed)
  • Horrific toenail damage (I am debating if the pics of Irina’s feet are too graphic for y’all. Feel free to weigh in and vote yay or nay for gross pictures.)

Ass-hat douche nozzles aside, Day 4 turned out to be a pretty awesome day.If you’re ready to read how I lost my dignity on Day 5, click here.

Keep moving,

xoxo nancy

77 thoughts on “day 4: making winning decisions

  1. Running in 33F weather? Now that is CRAZY! And that steep rock wall… did you have to sign some kind of release before doing this program? In case you DIED during it??
    V. stylish duct tape BTW.

    • We absolutely signed away our lives at the start of the program, Linnet. Happy to report no one was killed or maimed while hiking that week. 🙂

      And, re: the duct tape, hey – if you have to use it, it might as well be a fun color/pattern. 🙂

  2. yeay!!
    full marks for common sense!!! a hike doesn’t have to be superfast to be beneficial (which you know really when you are not being super-hard-on-herself-nancy)

    I love your photos and I love love the term “ass-hat-douche-nozzel” I want to use it!! I also agree that they sound like one! things like recognising emotional eating are super important when changing your life like this. possibly more important than any amount of exercise!! It is all very well doing exercise but if you still eat all the haribo and kettlechips in the world during your commute you will not succeed. (yep…experience talking right there)

  3. Lookin’ good, Nancy! I don’t know how you kept up with this schedule for a whole week. The daily hike would have been more than enough for me. Well done you!

    • The hell of the week was very front-end loaded, June. As we wound down to days 5 the program was slightly lighter, and then day 6 was a field trip/self hike, with no scheduled gym activities the rest of the day. (Of course The Russian and I hit the gym anyway, but you’ll read about that in Day 6.) 🙂

    • Haha! It was definitely way too cold for me, too, Rob. When I saw Irina’s photos that afternoon (from the original hike I should have been on), I had a total pang of remorse, wishing I had gone with them, because the vistas were so beautiful. Spoiler alert: A few weeks later, when I was back in Vegas with hubby, we did a day trip that way and I did the Day 4 hike I had missed. My pictures are awesome, and that hike was AWESOME! So, while I didn’t do it on day 4, I did eventually do it (and the weather was much milder at the end of November, so I got to enjoy it!)

  4. Good for you for listening to your mind and body. Still, as an ‘easier’ hike, those pictures prove that it probably wasn’t too easy at all. It looks like rock climbing!

    Here is another example of why having a doctor on call for the camp would be a good idea. He/she could have given you an inhaler to ward off an exercise-induced asthma flare.

  5. I agree that if you have to use duct tape, you go for it! Go Big or Go Home! And I’m so very glad that you honored your body and switched vans! That was an awesome choice – but I’m just as proud that you amped it up with the mini-tri, as you knew that would give you the challenge you were there for!!

  6. I can’t believe that beautiful clear day was close to freezing! So deceiving! Yay you for making winning decisions. And that dude does sound like an asshat fucktard. What’s the point of saying shit like that???? Ugh

  7. Now that’s the way a hike is supposed to be … a happy experience!! The smiles say it all … and don’t put yourself down by calling it a ‘slightly less than challenging’ experience. They all count … even the ones that don’t really hurt and make you cry 🙂 They are the reason we want to go out again!

    … and as for the insensitive jerk? … let him go, let him go, let him go. He’s not worth the effort.

    • Oh, I put him out of my mind right after I told her to unfriend him, but I know she felt really shitty about the insensitive comment on her FB wall. Fucker.

  8. Glad to see you listened to your body and not your ego. I know the coughing asthma all too well. Pushing beyond the limits always gets me in trouble. You rock Nancy!

    • I wasn’t sure if any of my readers had experience with that environmental asthma (cold/exercuse). I’m not asthmatic so I don’t have inhalers, but if this happens I most definitely need one.

      • Interesting. I’ve only ever needed inhalers (both the brown one and the blue one) AFTER I’ve developed a really bad bronchial illness. After a cold/exercise episode, I’ll end up coughing for hours, which is fine if I’m home abd can stop exercising. My worry was developing that cough and needing to do 3 more hours of exercise at the resort.

  9. While on my daily ten mile run in Minneapolis in January, a car pulled alongside me and the driver asked if I would answer a few questions. He identified himself as a reporter for the StarTribune who was doing a story on people who ran in below zero weather. I answered his questions and thought no more about it until the article came out a few days later.

    He had talked to ten people – and I knew everyone of them.

    BTW, what shocked him the most was the greatest challenge while running in frigid weather is staying cool. When you dress too warm, you overheat.

  10. Good call on the van change! It’s tough for the ego, but smart for the lungs. I’m not a big fan of cold weather…that icy wind hitting my lungs during a run….ick!
    Awesome duct tape!
    Re: toenail pix. Wouldn’t bother me. I’m dealing with a bruised toenail right now. May gross some people out, but at least you’d be enlightening them to some of the challenges. Your blog, your call. 🙂
    Love the pix, c-

    • Her toes were destroyed. I only bruised one: second toe, left foot. I thought for sure I would lose it – it was BLACK – but it’s fine. Fading to a bluish color now – 2 full months later.

  11. Sounds like your smart decision really paid off. And you just look gorgeous in the pictures – and so happy! I’m sure if you would have chosen to go with the other group, those smiles may have been more like death smirks. And I’ve never heard the term “nozzle” in conjunction with douche, when used to slam someone, so that was a pleasant little take away for me, thank you! LOL!!! And don’t you just love duct tape?!

  12. Wonderful photos and you’re a lot prettier than a mountain goat! 🙂 But I think you’re tremendously dedicated and I think you were smart to know that the risk of a prolonged bronchial event wasn’t worth staying with the original course. Flexible planning really paid off. Following all that hiking and climbing with a triathalon shows you really mean business, Nancy!

    • Triathlon is a term Movara uses VERY liberally, but running, biking, elliptical followed by a 45 min running class and then a weight training class made it a great and challenging day! p.s. I went back to the area 3 weeks later with my husband for a day trip and did the original hike I was scheduled to go on. It was amazing! 🙂

  13. “Ass-hat douche nozzle””: my new favorite saying. Thank you, kindly. Ooh la la on the (feline pattern?) foot tape! Ha ha. And I cast my vote for some nasty-ass photographs of weeping toenail damage. Please.

  14. So normally I try to write a witty comment that will have you giggling – but this time I have a serious question for you. Well, it’s not like “Where did you bury the body?” serious – in fact, now that I think about it, it’s probably not serious at all. It’s more like a curious question. I love to hike as well, and I have heard that duct tape prevents blisters – but how does one actually use it? Do you wait until you get hot spots and then put the tape on? Do you just anticipate where you might get blisters and put it there? Do you put it directly onto bare skin? Is it comfortable to hike with? Does it hurt when you pull it off (especially if the area was tender to begin with?) OK – that was way more than one question, but I’m dying to know if I should run out and buy some (in a stylish hounds tooth pattern) and keep it with my hiking stuff. PS – I want to see the hideous toenail pictures.

    • Hi Jana! Yes to both on the hot spots AND to pre-issue. I put it on before my first hike that week on the areas I know I’m prone to blisters (as illustrated). 🙂 Right on bate skin is good, and if you remove it immediately after the hike, no pain. If you don’t remove it right away and proceed to workout another 3 hours post hike, it’s a wee bit “cured” by then and more of a bitch to take off.
      If you get blisters, best to treat those with blister bandaids and moleskin or those bumper pad type things. Then you can always layer the duct tape over that whole shooting match. Don’t apply the duct tape right on top of blisters. Make sure you have a layer or two of other material underneath!
      Good luck!

      And yes to the nasty toe nail shots. Those are coming on the day 7 final recap! 🙂 You are a glutton for punishment.

  15. Awwww….loved that last pic of you in the sunbeams — I loved the other pics, too.
    I agree with you on the emotional eating and ass hat comment. Have I told you that I’m a registered dietitian? If eating were only about controlled calories in and calories out…I wouldn’t have a job. 90% of my time was spent in counseling mode and moral support. Eating habits are hugely personal and unfortunately, a place where mean people go to make others feel worse.
    You are rocking the place, Nancy!!

    • I think some people look at the agendas we kept every day and default to “wow – that is incredible – 6 hours of exercise a day!”. Others look for ways to poke holes or minimize it – like asshat douche nozzle did. I just shrug my shoulders. Haters gonna hate, as the kids say. 🙂

  16. Ass-hat douche nozzle? Good insult! I’ve caught up with your posts now and I’m feeling inspired – and I’m just about to go looking at fat camps (although I suspect my budget of £5 may be a little too low…) Looks like changing vans was a really good decision, you should be proud of yourself for making the sensible choice.
    Back to the ass hat douche nozzle… I suspect that for a lot of people the emotional eating part of the schedule was incredibly hard work. Some people have no idea!

    • The program isn’t cheap, but it is worth it! I look at it as one less vacation I’m able to take – but while vacations build memories, programs Ike this build lives! I highly recommend it!

      And re that jerk, I’m amazed that people can be so insensitive. Clearly someone who has never experienced issues around his relationship with food.

    • Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, Jennie. Hiking really is a fantastic way to exercise. The views ALMOST make you forget how much work you’re doing, right? Almost!

  17. Pingback: day 3: veering off course | my year of sweat

  18. You’re killing me with these amazing photos! WOW! You look pretty spiffy posing and smiling. 🙂 I am so relieved to read that you chose a group going at your rate and that you got to know some more peeps!

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