Michael Meets Machu Picchu – Training in Houston (June 2018 – May 2019)

As indicated in a previous blog post, I began my mountain training in April 2018 with my first trip to Grand Junction, Colorado.  Over the next year, I planned and completed four additional mountain training hikes in Colorado and Utah (see previous blog posts on all of these mountain training hikes).

Many people have asked me what kind of training and preparation I did in the relatively flat lands of Houston, Texas.  My lead sighted guide, Bernie Tretta (director of Achilles International Houston) and I developed a one-year local training plan beginning in June 2018 to help prepare me for my trek to Machu Picchu.

For the first six months (June – November), the training consisted of a simple 3-days per week workout and a once a month, 2-hour hike at greater Houston area parks and trails.

The 3-day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) workout started with a 45-minute inclined treadmill (5 degrees) warmup.  This was followed by a 1-hour upper body and core strengthening session. The Monday workouts also included a line dancing class to help with my coordination and balance.

The workout times and treadmill incline were increased over time so that by the end of the six months, I was doing a 10-degree inclined treadmill warmup and a 1.5-hour upper body and core strengthening session.  The 3-day workouts remained at this level through mid-February.

In August, I added a stairwell climb workout (Thursdays).  The stairwell climb workout started at 10 floors, then added 10 floors per month for the next three months (September – November).  The climb remained at 40 floors through mid-February 2019.  Also, beginning in September, I started a yoga class on Thursdays that will help with my overall body strengthening, stretching and balance.

Beginning in mid-February, my weekly training plan was as follows:

Mon:   Stairwell climbing (currently 40 floors), adding 10 floors every two weeks to reach max of 100 floors by mid-May; line dancing class; 1-hour 15-degree inclined treadmill warmup; 1.5-hour upper body and core strengthening

Tue:     Extended 15-degree inclined treadmill (currently 3 hours), adding 0.5 hour every two week to reach max of 6 hours; 1-hour Tabata circuit workout (beginning April 1)

Wed:   1-hour 15-degree inclined treadmill warmup; 1.5-hour upper body and core strengthening

Thu:     Stairwell climbing (currently 40 floors), adding 10 floors every two week to reach max of 100 floors; 1-hour yoga class

Fri:       1-hour 15-degree inclined treadmill warmup; 1.5-hour upper body and core strengthening

Sat:      1 to 2-hour aerobic activity (free choice)

Sun:     Off day

Additionally, throughout the one-year period, I had monthly training hikes with my guides from Achilles Houston, Bernie and Zach at local Houston area parks and trails.  We would alternate between the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Memorial Park and Huntsville State Park.  In addition to the actual hike, we worked on practicing efficient step-by-step call out signals and instructions as they led me along the trails.

Ultimately, I want to document the larger story of my journey in the film “One Step at a Time.”  The goal of this documentary is to bring hope, inspiration and the joy of achievement to all through an impressive chronicle of determination and resiliency.

I have had several personal friends die much too early in their lives due to a complication of factors, including poor exercise and diet choices.

My hope is that this documentary will be seen by tens of thousands for years to come to empower the blind and others to live a healthier lifestyle through physical activities.

A promotional trailer has been prepared for my documentary film:  https://vimeo.com/325679780

If you are interested in being a part of this film, you may make a donation on my personal fundraising page: http://bit.ly/2uzITej

My three guides and I paid all of our own expenses for this trek (travel, tour package, equipment, etc.).

Funds received will go exclusively towards capturing, creating and distributing this film.

All funds for sponsoring this documentary are tax-deductible to Achilles International Houston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Thank you for your consideration for what was a life-altering experience for me and all those who join me on this journey, in person or or will join me by film.

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