Looking forward to a long weekend

I’m trying to wrap up at work before a 4 day weekend. I’m also trying to figure out what I should do with those 4 days. Hike? Rennfaire? Long run? Pool? (My tattoo will be officially healed so I can enjoy the last pool days of the year– as long as I sunscreen plenty.) I’m spoiled for choices, though tomorrow I need to hit up REI (yet again) and get a haircut so any whole-day plans are out.

Today I took my sore shoulders to the gym. Why are they so sore? Anyway, my upper body lifts were a little abbreviated; I did bench, biceps and lat pulldowns, and added back extensions, front squats, weighted lunges, clamshells, crunches, kettlebell swings, and straight-leg raises. Core-riffic. I could probably use more core work in my life, but I have a hard time evaluating exactly what would be useful, and how I should do it. Back? Hips? Abs? Probably all yes.

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It’s all relative…

Today is running away from me– somehow it’s 1pm already. I slept all night in the spare room and got a solid sleep, but I still feel like I could use a coffee this afternoon. Maybe I’ll split the difference with some strong tea. I’ll be here late again tonight, so at least I have many hours of work time left. (These late days stink, but the quiet afternoons after everyone leaves are so productive.)

This morning I hit the gym for 3 miles on the treadmill (it’s nasty hot out again). I had a bit of a revelation today in the middle of the second mile: I was tired and wishing for a walk break but then I flashed back to the discomfort I endured for literally hours during last weekend’s hike and decided my legs really didn’t feel all that bad and I could keep on trucking. In fact, after the halfway point I decided I would turn the treadmill speed up every tenth of a mile. And yeah, I powered through that last 1.5 miles and felt pretty good.

My gym announced another 5k race at the end of October and I’m bummed because probably I’ll be traveling for work that week. And this one is to be done in costumes! C’mon, how can I miss that? Maybe I’ll have to sign up for a Thanksgiving turkey trot instead.

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Sleep and guilt

I’m in an awful mood today. I went to the gym hoping that a good workout would help, but it didn’t really– though I have the satisfaction of being done, I’m just still grumpy.

I did my usual lifts at their usual weights, but for some reason I figured it would be a good idea to do deadlifts today. At 185lb. I did two sets of 5, just barely. Hopefully I haven’t shredded my posterior chain too bad; it’d be nice to be able to manage a run tomorrow? After the lifting I did more yoga, which was wonderful as usual. Gotta keep those shoulders loose…

The reason for my grumpiness is probably that I slept really poorly last night. (My sleep tracker stuck a value of 36% on it, for what that’s worth.) It was one of those nights where I felt like I tossed and turned and wasn’t getting to sleep for hours, though I probably dozed a few times. Around 1:30am my partner’s snoring jolted me wide awake, and at that point I picked up my pillow and blanket and moved to the guest bedroom– where I slept like a baby. I feel like I’m slowly conditioning myself to sleep poorly in my bed and well in the guest room.

My partner always tells me he feels bad about when I go to the other room, but I don’t care where I sleep, as long as I sleep, you know? I wish he wouldn’t even mention it. I don’t want him to feel guilty about it. I just need good sleep, and the fact that apparently I’m making him feel bad by leaving so I can sleep is driving me a little nuts.

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Perfect day-after yoga practice– and more hiking planning

The good news is, I’m not as sore as I was after 2 hikes ago, likely thanks to a lighter pack and better footwear. But I’m still sore, so I figured my favorite YouTube yoga practice was a good choice for today’s workout. And I feel pretty great now that it’s done. It’s full of hip openers, which is exactly what I needed. And I’m finding a little more range of motion in my shoulders today– maybe working on that is paying off?

N and I are both planners, and during yesterday’s hike we were in full-on planning nerd mode for October’s 4-day trek. You know the saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”? Life mottos for us. I guess not all of our company are so organized though; my other coworker likes to just wing it (of course, he spent years in the Marines so he has his habits and training to fall back on). So we’ll see how much we can get arranged before-hand. N said, “Let’s have a planning party!” We are hard-core.

And I swear this blog isn’t going to turn into Hiking While Fat, but right now I’m falling down a gear rabbit hole trying to get prepared while not spending a zillion dollars. My parents gave me a camping hammock for Christmas (a woot special) and it sounded like a great idea; I hate sleeping on the cold hard ground, and it’s easy, just tie it to some trees and go to sleep, right? Not exactly. I’m missing two critical and expensive pieces: a tarp/rain cover, and what they call an underquilt– since the hammock compresses whatever’s inside it (like your fluffy sleeping bag, which is only warm if it stays fluffy), if you don’t want your butt to be cold you have to put insulation on the outside. It took me a long time to grok the underquilt. Anyway, I think I can repurpose our tent ground cloth for a tarp, but UQs start at like $150. I suppose I could go find some ripstop and batting and DIY something workable, but at the end of the day it’s probably better to buy one and stay warm for sure. This is a lot of money to kit up a gifted hammock, and I’ll probably only wind up saving about a pound over a tent anyway. It’d better be comfy!

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Hike of the Week: N’s Death March (almost)

Today I headed out with a couple friends to my local mountain park to hike. It didn’t really go as planned, but it was still good.

Okay, first things first: last night my coworker’s wife sent me a text to ask if I wanted to go with them (and their adorable dog) on a hike today. My coworker and his wife (we’ll call them N and H) are super-fit people, and the hike they wanted to do was 12 miles. It’s 90F out today. I still said yes, since I was planning to go on a hike anyway, but I was kind of worried.

I like to start early, especially when it’s hot. They said let’s meet up at 9 (for a 6-hour hike, that’s still mostly in the hottest part of the day) and they didn’t actually arrive until 10. So it was already pretty hot, but luckily we were under the tree canopy for the most part.

I have new backpacking boots to break in, and I took a daypack and filled it with my hammock kit (for testing), an emergency pair of comfy running shoes, lunch and about 5L of water. That’s a lot of water, and it was really heavy! But I easily drank 3L on my last hike, which was shorter and cooler. Better safe than sorry. Plus I drank my pack weight down as I went along.

N and H had done this hike before, and it must’ve been rough for them because they’ve nicknamed it “N’s Death March”. The first mile was a rocky climb up to the ridge (predictably brutal), where there was a big rock cliff that we scrambled to the top of and stood there for a while, admiring the view. Then it meandered for a while on some little dirt trails, which was nice for a change. After about 4 miles we descended to the creek and had lunch on a rock, and I set up my hammock to try out (it went up in like 30 seconds and worked great, super comfy, I didn’t want to get out).

After lunch we set off again and started to get grumpy at the miles of rocks and the elevation changes and the heat. About 6 miles in we came to a crossing and had to decide to keep on going or bail. Bailing was still another 2.5 miles to the cars, but going on meant another climb up to a ridge, and then another 6+ miles. H was ready to bail, I was on the fence but it was already after 2 and we wouldn’t finish until the evening if we went on. Plus, their dog was tired. ┬áSo we decided to call it and head back to the car– and on the way we passed the park visitor’s center, where there was a real bathroom, so we took a quick break there too before setting off again. (I’ve gotten used to peeing in the woods finally so I didn’t need a bathroom too badly, but #2s are still going to be a challenge on the backpacking trip.)

At the end of the day the hike totaled 8.5mi– plenty respectable. My boots are workable, I did in fact drink all that water, and I could keep up with my super-fit friends for the most part, though I was slower on the climbs and descents. N and H were both using trekking poles– a bit of kit I’ve been resisting buying because it feels so extravagant– but H let me borrow hers for a bit and it really helped a lot on those rocky descents. The poles gave me another place to put my weight so I could balance better and find my footing. So, I guess I need to go to REI again before their sale runs out.

Now I’m home, and enjoying a beer and a nice foot soak.

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How many times can I turn my ankle in one run…

(The answer to this question is apparently 4. Twice each side.)

The weather is absolutely beautiful today– 77F, low humidity– and it’s Friday after a week of too-long workdays so, after I came in early to wrap up my morning’s crazyness, I gave myself permission to head down to the park to run around. It’s way too nice out to not take advantage…

So, I ran the mile down to the park, tootled along the creek for a while, and then ran back up to my building– grand total 4.2 miles in 56 minutes. It felt like a good, strong run– except I kept turning my ankles on everything. Roots, rocks, dips in the sidewalk. Thankfully I recovered after short walking breaks but still, ow. And when I say ‘ran down’ and ‘ran up’ I mean exactly that; the land slopes fairly sharply down to the creekbed, so my first mile was quite fast and my last mile was quite slow.

Usually the park is full of people out walking, running, walking their dogs, but today it was peaceful and very quiet. I didn’t see anyone for a long time.

It’s been dry and once I turned off the rocky main trail, the small cat path along the creek was the most lovely running surface– a layer of soft, powdery sand over dirt. Unfortunately I think I brought a lot of it back with me– my socks and shoes are filthy and the contrast between my clean foot skin and my dirty ankles and calves was pretty amusing. The joys of running out in nature…

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I am so metal.

Once upon a time I saw a meme that read, "Every month, we bleed for a week and we live. What could be more metal than that?" This is a truth I believe in. I shall bare my teeth and rage my way through the moon-sickness pain, until it slinks away in defeat, only to return again the next cycle…

I suppose this is a useful way to think about chronic pain. Not that makes it easier.

On a less weird note, today’s gym was somewhat abbreviated. I took a break yesterday, but today I was back to do my base upper-body lifts of bench, biceps and OHP.

After that, I committed the rest of the session to yoga, focusing again on my shoulders and upper back. No progress yet…

The longer I run, the more I realize that the aphorism about running being a cheap sport because all you need is shoes, is complete bullshit. I just spent $150 on 3 sports bras that will wear out after 6 months. And they still chafe. (Long runs get the new bras. Because they chafe the least.)

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