getting back into shape (I hope)

After a summer full of parties, camping and many cocktail hours (and an upcoming very busy October), I’m looking forward to taking care of my body in September. Eating more consciously, making more room for running.

Perhaps I won’t get in super high mileages, but I do want to push myself.

I got back into the swing of things with a 6.8 mile run yesterday. It felt a little slow, but also pretty glorious.

I did a 7 mile hike the day before (at Larch Mountain), and I’ll be hiking again tomorrow. (Why, yes, it’s wonderful to not be going into the office. I’m pinching myself.)

With the extra free time I’ve got now and a trekking trip to Peru around the corner, I feel pretty freakin’ blessed.

And you’ll have to bear with me if my posts are short and sporadic these next few weeks; until I find my “permanent” home in Spain, I won’t have much dedicated online time, so I’ll be posting on an impromptu schedule.

I’ll make it up by sharing spectacular pictures, though. :) Like this one of Mt. Hood, as seen from Larch Mountain:

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takin’ it easy

Since last week’s race, I’ve let myself have a full week of easy workouts and rest days. Between Sunday and Thursday, I did just two short runs (one for 20 minutes, the other for 45 minutes), one short session on the elliptical and two days of rest. The next days looked like this:

Friday: 2 hour hike (lots of uphill)

Saturday: nothing

Sunday: hip hop class

It’s kind of wonderful to take it easy and have a break from running, but I’m itching to push myself again.

My rest week coincided nicely with a short trip to Denver, so of course I found other things to do besides running. Namely, eating & drinking & talking & hiking & being silly with friends.

Some pics from the trip …

with Heather

Heather & I met halfway in Denver (she flew out from Nashville).

group shot

Denver friends, enjoying dinner & wine & Annie’s backyard.

slide

Totally cheesing it up on a slide!

hike

A gorgeous hike in Frisco, CO

hike 2

More pics from the hike

obstacle course

We found an obstacle course for children while at a street fair in Frisco. So, naturally, we had to race each other.

Now, I’m considering training for the Portland Marathon, but I’m hedging for two reasons: 1) Even though I loved the half marathon, 26.2 miles still sounds like an enormous leap from 13.1 and 2) Do I really want to be training in the summer?

Sure, the weather will be lovely, but there are also lots of distractions: barbecues, happy hours, camping trips, out-of-town trips, etc. Can I really keep up a touch training schedule through the summer? I’m not sure.

But I really want a new running challenge to look forward to.

What do you think? Should I go for it? And what about you? Are you training for any summer/early fall races?

mixing it up & welcome back, Zumba

Saturday: 3 hr hike near Government Camp

Sunday: long run (11.6 miles)

Monday: Zumba (I’ve missed it!)

Ah, I love long weekends. And I love when I don’t overplan my long weekends. This one was all about sleeping in, cooking meals (I made pancakes, people), drinking wine, hiking, reading and spending time with some good people.

I’d planned to do my long run on Saturday, but when I found out that Cheryl Strayed would be reading from Wild at a book shop near Government Camp, I took it as a sign that I should go to her reading and then go for a hike.

I spent a few hours on Hunchback Trail, aptly named for its steepness, and took some pretty pics:

hike pics

Gimme a hit of that nature.

Solo hiking is … good for me. When I start, I always feel a little unnerved and restless, even spooked. But once I get in a rhythm, I end up really enjoying it — and working out some mental sh*t that I don’t think I’d otherwise give enough time to.

I also tested out my new hiking tanks, er, boots. I typically hike in running shoes, but I’m going on a trip in the fall for which I’m told boots are sorta required. So I bought them in advance to break them in this summer.

Take a look:

hiking boots

Right, those are *my* feet, not a 6’5″ man’s feet.

If you’re well-versed in hiking boots, you probably think these look standard. For me, it’s a leap into the world of traction and ankle support and … heft? They’re not that heavy, afterall, but they took some getting used to. Kind of like having SUVs strapped to your feet. I didn’t slip or skid or trip at all, so I think their traction tires worked. ;)

On Sunday, I headed out for my 11-12 miler:

long run, orange socks

Shiny five-head! … I’d just put on sunscreen. (Go me.) And I’m wearing neon orange compression sleeves on my calves, in case that looks like a neon orange tan.

I haven’t been doing long runs, well, long enough, and so I don’t know what to expect from them. For now, I’m just happy to complete them. I have to remind myself that it really wasn’t that long ago that I’d get knee pain around mile 3.

So, it’s a victory that I can run almost 12 miles now and only experience a small, manageable amount of hip pain (that I can easily treat afterward with stretching and icing).

But … I’m sheepish to admit how slow my pace is. Like almost 2 minutes slower per mile than my tempo pace. Is that normal?

And my pace also varies wildly over the course of the long runs. I’ll look at my Garmin and be shocked that I’m going :30 slower than when I looked before, even though it feels like I’m running at least moderately consistently.

It’s odd.

Anyway, I’m trying not to sweat it too much. It’s easy to get in my head and worry about whether or not I’m making progress quickly enough, or whether or not I’m pushing myself hard enough, and then I remember that I’m doing this because I want to be a lifelong runner. Not because I want to be a lifelong racer. Not because I want to be the world’s fastest woman. And certainly not because I want to run myself into an injury.

So I’m going to be satisfied with slow and steady.

And, then, on Monday, after a much-too-long hiatus from Zumba, I took a class and Zumba’d my heart out. I have to say: I love Zumba instructors. Every one I’ve ever had (that would be three of them, ha) is so full of energy and joy and encouragement. Where else can you go where someone wearing (what amount to) neon Hammer pants shouts at you to LET YOURSELF GO and you totally, willingly obey?

I forgot how much I love it — and being surrounded by people who don’t care how awkward and silly they look.

I think all runners should have to take a Zumba class every once in a while. It reminds us to relax and not take ourselves so seriously and get swept up in the fun (without being attached to pace times and outcomes).

I’ll be back later this week with post 5 & 6 in the form series.