Hiking in my own neighborhood

My neighborhood is 100% car-oriented suburb (not my favorite thing, but it’s what I’ve got). However, nearby is a very nice trail system that extends 20-30 miles along a creekbed. I’ve hiked pretty far along it in one direction, and this afternoon I checked out the other way.

My biggest challenge when hiking is that I love going out– and I hate coming back. Out-and-backs are my nemesis. My partner always worries about me hiking alone, and he said, “Just let me know if you need me to come get you…” Aha! I used that offer as an excuse to hike out as far as I wanted, and not worry about the coming back part.The terrain was different from the other direction– north is rocky steep hills, while south is rolling grassy stuff. Anyway, after 9 miles (one on the road to the trailhead, 8 on the trail) I reached a convenient crossing and called my partner, who came and picked me up.

It’s good to know that I can get away from civilization so close to home! There were some places I couldn’t even hear highway noise. The weather was cruddy, so I was the only person out there, too. It was a refreshing way to wrap up the weekend.

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Turkey Day 5k: race report

I’m headed out the door for Thanksgiving dinner, but I wanted to write and say that the race this morning went really well! At 7am my partner and I got in the car and headed up (yes, he sacrificed his sleeping in today to be my race support– so nice) and I picked up my swag bag (a scarf! neat!) and off I went. It was really crowded– it took me a full 2 minutes to actually get across the timing mat (this was actually my first chip-timed race!) We all just sort of shuffled forward slowly until it finally broke up.

I don’t actually remember much of the race itself, which is kind of weird. I do remember that it felt like the entire course was lightly uphill (it was a loop, so that was impossible) and I was in a scrum of run-walkers and families with children 5 abreast. So much dodging other people! I was running along at a steady pace, and I kept passing people who would then stop, walk, and then after a while run and pass me again. Argh! I swear I passed this one lady like 10 times.

But I finished solid in 35:45– an 11:30 pace. Where’d that come from? I just kept running, telling myself “this will only suck for X more minutes”, and “it’s a race, it’s supposed to be hard”. But I was happy to PR! It’s about 45 seconds better than my previous best 5k time.

Now what? I’m not burned out on running– a first after a race, I guess 1-month training plans are good– so maybe I should try to keep my mileage up.

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Tapering and trying on dresses

In my effort to taper effectively yet still continue exercising, I did some upper body lifting, trying not to be too heavy with it. I did toss in wood chops, situps, bird dog, and leg extensions from table– so that all hit my mid-section and hips, which have been sore since I started training. (I’ve noticed that my stride has been off, too: my strong forefoot pushoff has been mostly replaced by a midfoot plod. I’m not any slower, so I guess it’s okay– it’s just weird for me to run that way. It is harder on my hips and obliques, though.)

So, the dresses arrived and I tried them on. (Pictures available upon request.) The verdict is mixed. The green one looks really good, actually– but thanks to my shape, it rides up. So I’d look fantastic but I’d spend the entire night tugging my dress down so’s I don’t flash everyone (it’s very short to begin with!) The black one looks pretty shapeless, though a good strapless bra would probably help. There’s just not enough structure in the dress to make it sit right, and since the dress is so schlumpy, the boning doesn’t fit close under the bust but just makes a straight line to the waist– not what a busty but smaller-waisted person needs. So maybe I should just take a trip to the mall tomorrow (not Friday!) and see if I have any other prospects…

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Lunch and run, too close together

This abbreviated training plan has an abbreviated taper: 3 miles yesterday, 2 miles today, then done until Thursday morning. So my run today was super short and it ought to have been easy peasy. Just one problem though! I ate lunch (leftover chili) at 12:30, planning on a run around 3 (after the wind died down, but before the sun got low) but my schedule blew up and I found myself needing to get out for that run at about 2 or it wouldn’t happen. So, 2 miles with a belly still full of chili. Ugh. But I survived, the chili stayed where it should be thanks to a couple emergency walk breaks, and the run was done in 24:43.

So now I just chill and trust my training and hope for the best! Tapers are always weird, even tiny ones.

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Almost there…

After today’s workout, I have just one more training run before the race. I think I’m about ready to take a break from serious running; for one thing, it’s just too darn cold out there! Today was 40F and a stiff wind and it was pretty miserable. I wore tights, a pullover and a fleece jacket and the wind blew right through everything– unpleasant before I warmed up, bearable once I started sweating a little, and freezing during the damp cooldown.

It was just a 3 miler today, and my goal was to get it done at a steady and unspectacular pace. My running app’s audio broke so I didn’t have audio feedback on my speed, and I left my phone in a pocket so I couldn’t see it, but I was running a route where I had a rough idea of the distance. So it was a different kind of run: just me and the road, no music or pace info to distract, motivate or guide me. It turns out that I can manage just fine pacing myself! I ran the 3 miles of rolling hills in a nice, steady 36:20. Just gotta push it up one tick for the race…

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Being an active agent of life

Well, on my way to the gym I was ready to take a nap on the treadmill, but about an hour later I’d finished 5 solid miles instead. Hopefully my legs feel as good next Thursday! I’m tired but suffering no ill effects. It was a surprisingly nice run, and I feel like I earned the "5 miles fast"– nice negative splits every mile.

(tw: weight loss junk follows) I got a phone call from my aunt last night– (the one who sent along the diet book) and we talked a while about a bunch of things, including my upcoming race. I know she means well, but she’s so far into the "successful dieter" camp now that everything’s about losing weight. "Wow, that’s so amazing that you’re running like that! I don’t know how you’re not losing weight…" I reassured her that weight loss was not my goal, and I was happy as long as I’m getting stronger and faster. "Your mom says you look smaller though!" Looks or not, the same number is on the scale. "You probably have more muscle." I definitely have more muscle! But can we move on from what my body looks like now? Thanks.

Every time I have a workout, I’m honing my body’s ability to be an instrument of motion and strength. It’s a conscious step away from my body being a passive object for consumption, towards being an active agent of life. I don’t want to just look good standing around. Let me go do stuff!

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Holiday Party Amazon

Today’s workout was very short, both because it’s a recovery day and because I have a ton of work to do and a good amount of focus to get it done. One set of upper body lifts (bicep, pec flys, triceps, OHP, back extensions, wood chops), some pushups, a nice stretch, and a shower.

I’m auditioning dresses for this holiday season’s fancy parties, and I have 2 arriving from Modcloth (this and this) to try out. One very short bodycon and one strapless dress! I’m already having undergarment nightmares. Not to mention the shoes… can’t wear my low-heeled slingbacks with either of those, can I? Anyway, if I do wind up going with the strapless dress, it would be fun to take some time to buff up my upper back and shoulders. I’ll have a few weeks to do it.

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