Last week and this week my strength training has consisted of two exercises three times a week. Each exercise consists of 10 sets, 10 reps per set. Really, not as hard as you might think. Going into it I thought this would probably kill me (obviously it’s been so long since I last did this program, I’ve forgotten how these two weeks were going to feel.) Now I’m loving it, although this morning’s workout focused on legs and I’ll probably be hobbling around tonight and tomorrow morning.
100 calf raises with 150 lbs
100 barbell squats with 50 lbs (plus whatever the bar weighs on the Smith machine, probably not much)
Walking up and down the stairs the rest of this morning I am already feeling the strain I put on my muscles.
Not only that, yesterday I hit the trails for an hour & a half. It was a GREAT afternoon! The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, and there was no one else there so I had the mountain all to myself. I nearly stepped on a snake basking in the sun, and then stopped to chat with two deer. They seemed pretty calm but were probably happier once I moved on.
After a run like that it’s hard not to feel really good inside.
I was so happy to finish up last week’s weight routine. Don’t get me wrong, I love lifting and getting stronger as a result, it’s just that pushing the envelope as I had done for two weeks in a row was really making me feel tired. On one hand, that means I was doing things right: lifting enough weight to benefit and not quite enough to hurt myself. On the other hand, I felt like I needed a break. Plus, I found myself napping every couple of days which is most definitely not normal.
I don’t know what I was thinking when I sent my neighbor a message only minutes before entering the gym asking if she wanted to join me for a run the following morning. I then proceeded to torture myself with a 45-minute strength workout, pushing the heaviest weights I’d used in years. Needless to say, my legs were toast and I was sort of beating myself up for making that running date.
I spent the rest of the day resting and recovering, focusing on getting as much protein and raw fruit and veggies as I could ingest into my body so that I would survive the trail run the following day. The next morning I warned her that I wasn’t quite as fresh as normal and to expect some walking. That was fine by me because it would allow us some good “talk time” but I didn’t want to feel like I was slowing her down. I’ve learned over the years that as long as I’m up-front and honest I don’t need to make any excuses, so I left it at that and we spent the next hour running, walking, stopping to listen to the fresh spring water, and then sailing down the easy spots along the trail. We also needed to walk the spider section with sticks extended in front of us as I can’t stand feeling like arachnids are nesting in my hair and clothes.
It was a great morning and I’m glad we had a chance to run together, at last. This was our first time running together and I look forward to many more trail adventures with her.
It feels good to slowly get back to my running life.
[PS- That shot above is proof that I don't just take horrible Race Day pictures, I take horrible pictures in general!]
This has been one busy week. The trail race that I direct is coming up this weekend and I have been going non-stop in preparation for Sunday. It’s completely exhausting and stressful. I’ve had more than one moment in which I question myself:
“How could I possibly have missed stuffing bags 85 through 117?” – as I try to locate a missing box of race bags.
“Where did I put those prizes?” – looking at the heap of boxes and aid station supplies.
Yesterday I had a little free time and snuck off for an hour to hit the trails on South Mountain. This was a dual purpose run serving to help me to de-stress while at the same time testing out some new trail shoes for my shoe review gig.
This was my best run in years and let me tell you why:
1. It rained the day before so the trails weren’t as dusty as they were, but they weren’t too wet, either.
2. The first half of the run was nearly all uphill as I worked my way to the top of the ridge. The second half of the run was downhill and so much fun. I didn’t stop moving the entire time. I’ve missed flying around those trails!
3. I didn’t bump into anyone the entire time, it was just me and my mountain.
4. The weather was just right, not too hot, not too humid.
Later in the afternoon I had to make a trip to Trexler Nature Preserve to pick up the zoo tickets for my runners this weekend. While there I stopped to check the level of the creek since I heard that last weekend it was running very high and fast. Luckily, the level right now is perfect. (Last week it was just below my shorts with a very strong current.)