Category: Hiking

AWOL

Sometimes it’s good to take a break. Sometimes you don’t have a choice. I had meant to post this two weeks ago, but life had other plans for me.

Up until ten days ago, I didn’t run much, but I did a lot of other fun stuff.

I ran a trail marathon and got injured. I stepped in a hole and fractured my third metatarsal. It happened at mile 3 and I continued on to the finish. I was more scared of the lightning during the race than I was of damaging my foot. Apparently I don’t even have to fall down to break something.

I went to the gym and tried to workout, but I hated it. I always hate working out at the gym. I did discover, however, that I LOVE the Stairmaster. I had to stay off my foot (or wear the Ugly Boot of Shame when I didn’t), so I watched a lot of movies and knitted. Yes, I am dorky enough to knit.

I had jury duty and got picked as a juror for the first time ever. It was only for two days  was a really interesting experience. Juror badge My daughter came home for a short visit, and my son and his girlfriend have been living with us until he’s needed at his new job site in Brazil. I’ve loved having the twenty-something energy in the house.

I signed up for two road marathons two months apart (a first): Marine Corps and Route 66.

I drove to Ohio and back for my husband’s uncle’s funeral. We drove 18 hours straight through, and I will never do that again. I love road trips, but I do have my limits. And we almost hit a deer at 12:30am on a dark Ohio country road at the end of those 18 hours of driving, which was not a fun experience. I got to drive through parts of the country I’ve never seen before, like Kentucky and a part of Missouri.

I went camping and hiking in Utah. I went on another road trip with my son and his girlfriend, this time to the opposite side of the country. The desert southwest, which I find beautiful, seemed amazingly brown and drab after the lush greeness of the Ohio Valley. That all changed once we got to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. They are spectacularly amazing.

I hiked a death-defying trail (Angel’s Landing) that I was too chicken to hike twenty years earlier. It was a great feeling to face my fears and do the hike. The view from the top was worth it, but the hike up was the best part.

Angel's Landing

At the top of Angel’s Landing. Under that left foot? Nothing but air, straight down, for 1,488 feet.

I was surprised to realize that I was still pretty strong on our hikes, despite being injured. I guess we don’t lose our conditioning as quickly as we think we will, and working out on the Stair Master really did help.

I discovered there’s no way around feeling the altitude at 8,000 feet, especially if you’re from North Texas, elevation 450. Even. Walking. Meant. I. Talked. Like. This.

Eventually, I returned to running. Coming back from an injury just plain sucks. I can’t say it any other way. It just takes time.

I’ve run two full weeks now since being given the green light by the doctor and it feels great to be back. I really missed running, especially with my friends. In all honesty, it was kind of nice to take a break, to change things up a bit, especially when it involved two road trips and spending time with my son and his girlfriend hiking in Utah.

Life really is good, my friends, and there is a lot of world out there to be played in and explored. In the meantime, it’s back to the hot, steamy, Texas asphalt for me.

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50K Training, Week 14: Longest Run Ever!

After returning home from one of the hottest camping trips I’ve ever been on, it was tough to stay motivated and upbeat in the continuing heat. I usually get through the summer by never expecting September to be any cooler than August, but this year I allowed myself to have false hope after a few teasers of cooler temps in late August. My misery was my own fault. My friend Nick reminded me not to waste these last few days of hot weather on “the wrong attitude.” Pamela Positive got told. Thankfully, the temperature finally came down just in time for our weekend long runs.

MON: Hike – 3.5 mi – Went for a hike at sunrise with Kurt in Palo Duro Canyon. Hiked the Rojo Grande Trail and part of the Juniper Trail (which I think we will be running on in October in the 50K race). Heard coyotes calling in the field as we walked along a creek bed, and enjoyed the canyon for one last morning. Sad to be leaving, but not sad to leave the extreme heat.
See you again on Oct. 20, Palo Duro!

Palo Duro Canyon

TUE: Running rest day – No excuses, I was simply too tired from the trip and sick of the heat to get out of bed and run the scheduled 4 miles on the plan. I told myself I would run at the gym (didn’t), at least do strength (didn’t) or yoga (didn’t), or run in the early evening (didn’t). Mostly, I’m ticked that it’s still in the 100’s in September. Blah.

WED: Run – 12 mi, Strength (arms), Yoga (twists)  – Great run this morning at 5am with Hari and Susan. Kept up a good pace, and the temp wasn’t all that unpleasant. I’m resolving to make up my missing 4 miles from yesterday, and get back on track with yoga and weights.

THU: Run – 8 mi (hills), Yoga (back bends)  – I decided to punish myself for not running on Tuesday morning by joining Susan for her hill run. I’ve always been envious of Susan’s level of fitness, and now I know her secret weapon. Those hills kicked my butt. It was a great workout. Rounded it off with some yoga.

FRI: Running rest day, Yoga (forward bends and hip openers) – Woke up feeling somewhat stiff and a little sore from Susan’s killer hill run yesterday. Did some yoga to help loosen up the muscles for this weekend’s long runs. Thankfully a cold front is supposed to roll in tonight and bring cooler temps, so I couldn’t be happier about starting Sunday’s 26 miler in 64 degree weather.

SAT: Run 10 mi – What a difference 10 degrees can make! Everyone today on our group run couldn’t stop talking about how much better it felt to run this morning compared to our usual Saturday morning runs. It rained very lightly before the run, which brought the humidity up a bit, but it still made a huge difference. I loved telling Michael last night that I was “only” running 10 miles today. I felt strong during the run, and it felt easy. Yay!

SUN: Trail Run – 26 mi – Longest training run ever, and longest distance run ever. 26.4 miles in the books, and it was tough. We were lucky to have the coolest temps all training season (around 60 degrees), and it made a huge difference. We ran at Isle du Bois, which is in Ray Roberts State Park, and perhaps it wasn’t the most optimal trail for a 26 mile training run. The trails were very rocky and hilly, and after Susan fell twice in a ten minute span of time within the first 10 miles, we questioned whether we would really be able to run a full 26 miles on all the rocks and hills.

We ran 16 miles before a break at the car for more water and food, and knew we would be able to finish off the last 10 miles. I felt good, though fatigued, but after a few times of almost rolling both ankles on loose rocks, and then falling hard on my chin on a big rock at mile 21.5 (and crying in front of my friends!), the last five miles were both mentally and physically tough. We did it, though, and somehow we made the 57 mile drive home afterwards, too. I was asleep by 8:30 on the couch, achy and sore from the fall, and oh so glad it was done.

Susan and Hari at Isle du Bois, Ray Roberts State Park, TX

Susan and Hari

Trail fall at Isle du Bois

Ouch!

STATS for WEEK 14: Run – 56.7 miles, 1 strength/core workout, Yoga – 80:00

50K Training, Week 8

This week was a total bust as far as my training went. I honestly thought I would be able to run trails in Wyoming and enjoy the cooler temps, but I had no idea how much work preparing for a wedding could be. Also, the altitude really got to me, the sun is up much earlier than I was willing to climb out of my sleeping bag for, and once the sun is up it’s brutal.Also, camping on the side of a mountain means either running straight up or straight down the gravel road, and there were no other trails close by.

Excuses, excuses, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it. We had a wedding to get ready for!

MON: Run – 1 mi, Walk – 5 mi – Yep, that’s right, one measly mile. What started out as a 4 mile run along the Flat Creek trail in Jackson Hole quickly devolved into chaos. Every road trip usually has one big melt down, and today was the day. Michael and I had a fight over filling up the water jugs for camping, it was in the low 90’s, the sun was intense, I ran with Psycho Dog Nevada, and we ran much earlier in the afternoon than I had wanted. I did walk to the top of the mountain and back down when we got back to the the campsite later that afternoon, mainly to blow off steam over the water jug fight. It was a good workout, and I met a young runner camping higher up who had just run his first marathon in Oklahoma City.

TUE: Hike – 8 mi – I know I should be running, but how can you not help hiking when you’re in the Tetons? We drove over Teton Pass to the Idaho side of the Tetons, and it was a strenuous hike. My heart was pounding from the altitude. My daughter and I did take a few moments to do some silly yoga poses in scenic settings. Do they count towards my stats since they were done at altitude?

Teton Yoga Poses

Getting our yoga on in the Tetons.

Teton Downward Facing Dog

This rock was made for yoga.

WED: Busy with wedding preparations, camping, and eating dinner in nice restaurants.

THU: More wedding prep, camping, and eating.

FRI: Wedding rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and a million small things to be done.

SAT: MY DAUGHTER’S WEDDING! Towards the evening, I did have to walk about half a mile up and down the mountain looking for Psycho Dog Nevada, who ran to the very top of the mountain out of fear of the rifles and being shot by (mostly) young men at the wedding (and I thought Texans were crazy). Does walking up and down a steep mountain road in a long dress and flip flops count towards any type of workout???

Teton Wedding

Even brides are bad ass in Wyoming.

Teton Bride and Mom

A beautiful bride and her running mama

SUN: Packed up the camping gear, said our tearful goodbyes to family and friends, and began the long road trip back to Dallas. Wyoming, I will get those trail runs in one day!

STATS for WEEK 8: Run – 1 mile, Walk: 5 miles, Hike: 8 miles