Hiking

Not Quite Love at First Sight…

“Happiness is pushing your limits and watching them back down.” 
-New Balance

Dear New Trail Shoes,

I am not so in love with you at the moment. You lured me in with your super comfiness in the store and promises of fewer blisters (I believe the direct quote was “you won’t even feel the rocks”); however our maiden voyage left much to be desired.  We have a LONG way to go before you will even come close to holding the esteem of my vibrams…

SOOOO I took the new trail shoes out for a test run.  In retrospect I may have had some delusions of grandeur….  They were SOOOOO COMFY in the store, but that didn’t exactly translate on the trails.  Of course, I’m sure it didn’t help that I wore my cushioned running socks (which did not work well with the shoes because the fit was so snug).

It probably also didn’t help that my legs were so fatigued they felt like lead… possibly related to all the training I’ve done in the past few days and a regimen that morning consisting of P90X Biceps, Back, and Ab Ripper X followed by a 40 min session of running laps and swimming in my mom’s pool (even pulling my sister around at times).  Of course, I didn’t feel fatigued until I tried to get up the first hill (which was steep, rocky, and monstrous for anyone wondering).  I was trying REALLY hard to get my body to cooperate but every time I willed it to move faster, my legs screamed “NO!!!!” and refused to cooperate.

When we finally made it to the top of the endless series of climbs and hit some more level (not exactly flat, but at least not vertical!) ground, I tripped and completely face planted.  It turned out my legs really were fatigued and I was not simply being a whiny wuss. Aside from some skinned knees, I appeared to be in one piece; so a bounced up and headed back down the trail.

I had to stop numerous times to adjust my laces because they kept loosening up why I was running.  Speed laces are a new concept to me, and I suppose it will take some time to adjust.  The problem is, every time the laces would get loose, my feet would slide around in the shoes leading to some serious blisters early in the run.  The arch of my right foot was burning BADLY, but Ikept telling myself it was “just pain.”  I managed over 5 miles in total with a mix of hiking and running. In retrospect, 5 miles was probably a little much for breaking in new shoes, however I was feeling the time crunch with Pike’s Peak just around the corner.

Overall, the route was definitely significantly more technical than the trails closer to home that I usually run on (lots of steep rocks and loose footing…. AND RIDICULOUSLY STEEP,  ENDLESS HILLS!!!)- just the type of training grounds that will help me get prepped for the Ultra Beast!

Prior to running in the new trail shoes, I hadn’t realized just how accustomed I had become to the vibrams.  It was like I had to learn to run all over again!  I was constantly twisting and rolling my ankles because I wasn’t used to having a sole wider than my foot.  I have been assured that they will get significantly more comfortable as I get used to them.  I guess I shouldn’t find that surprising given what torture it was to learn to run in the vibrams!!!  Once I get them broken in I will probably alternate between the two depending on where I’m running, just so I don’t loose the benefits of “barefoot running” (plus they’re so comfy now… aside from all the rocks at Sleeping Giant anyway)

Hopefully the shoe situation will be under control by Pike’s Peak.  🙂  For now, it’s blister treatment and cross training for me!

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Hiking, It’s Like Heaven but with More Effort

“A key factor is to do training that is fun.”
Bill Toomey

Planking with a weighted pack? Sure, I got that!

I decided to kick my Ultra Beast training up a notch by doing some hiking with a weighted pack.  I love being outside, and anything that adds getting sweaty or dirty (or even better- MUDDY!) is just a bonus.  In other words: hiking + added difficulty= good times.

Getting out on the trail with the pack was actually the first time that I felt like I was actually training for the Ultra Beast.  Caring the extra weight was definitely an added effort in the beginning, but I adjusted pretty quickly.  Once my legs were warmed up, I was ready to go!!!

Instead of going to the trails around my house, we headed over to Sleeping Giant in Hamden (a few towns over) for some more difficult climbs and terrain.  It definitely didn’t disappoint!  Some of the more technical parts were a little tedious with the pack and extra weight, but they were still doable.  My first time out we hiked for about 40 min because I was on a time crunch.  I felt pretty good when we finished and didn’t feel too tired at all.  The second time we went for over two and a half hours and I was DEFINITELY feeling it.  (The pushups and planking during the breaks may have helped…) My shoulders felt life the were being pulling down toward my feet, and my back got pretty sore.  Next time I’ll have to adjust the weight so it stays more centered in the pack to spare my muscles a little.

Overall, I’m looking forward to spending more time out on the trails getting my butt kick by my awesome new day pack!

Running, Llamas, and Too Much of a Good Thing

“Beautiful women are strong and powerful.

They are athletes, capable of every feat under the sun.

They have muscles borne of hard work and sweat.

They gauge their self-worth through accomplishments not by numbers on the scale.

They understand muscle weighs more than fat, and they love the fact that their designer jeans don’t fit over their well-developed quads “

– Jon Gilson

(I love this quote!!! Borrowed from Fit and Feisty)

Yup, that pretty much sums it up!

So I haven’t posted in a little while because I took a little mini vacation for my B-day in the Green Mountains in Vermont for some relaxation.  I found an awesome deal on Groupon to stay at the West Mountain Inn for more than 50% off their regular price.  🙂  I was totally sold by all the pictures on their website of the amazing scenery and hiking trails… okay it was mostly the LLAMAS!!!  I love llamas!

llamas!!!

It was definitely worth the money and the drive. The food was AMAZING.  In fact, told Adam I was going to get fat because their were always yummy fresh baked goods out.  Luckily, I was able to control myself…

Despite the tranquil atmosphere, Adam and I still got a chance to get in a tough trail run (only 6+ miles, but the hills were so steep it felt like double that!)  I pretty much felt like I was going to die for the majority of it while Adam bounded upward like a damn gazelle.  Needless to say, I hated him.

I spent half the trip sick (again!) with sinus/cold symptoms, but after a day to recuperate at home I got back to Insanity and boot camp and have been getting my butt kicked!  Thursday night Mike had us doing the beyond insane workout from the week before, but made it even more difficult by changing some of the exercises and making us do all the circuits straight through without rest at the end.  I was happy to make it through without any palpitations or near fainting spells (I only almost threw up once!), but my body has been hurting everywhere ever since!   I’m sure it didn’t help that yesterday I did Insanity and a group session where Mike had us doing 400 reps (split with a partner- my partner was AWESOME by the way) of all different types of upper body torture including battle ropes, curls, dead lifts, punches, and some other fun stuff.  We were definitely creating some liquid awesome!

We also did a mile run as part of our warm-up (outside, in the cold, in shorts…I hate you Mike 😉 ) and I finished in a respectable 6:54 (motivated primarily by the fact that I was COLD and wanted to get inside).  Adam finished a full minute ahead of me, but his legs are twice as long as mine.

Nothing says "I love you" like a SUPER BLENDER

After our super tough workout, Adam and I treated ourselves to some chocolate peanut butter protein shakes in the new industrial strength blender he got me for Valentine’s Day (because nothing says “I love you” like a blender with more horse power than your car…I told him the only thing that would make it better is if it came in pink or orange).  In case anyone is wondering, I can now make a protein shake in 3 secs. Hardcore, right?

That pretty much catches us up to the present- with the exception of a Birthday recap, which I still need to post.  I’ll get around to it…eventually.

I hope everyone is having an amazing weekend!  I started mine off right with some more Insanity- that means 3 weeks down!  I’m also hoping to get a long run in at some point to help prep for the Colchester Half Marathon next weekend (Yikes!!!)  I’m a little nervous about my lack of training (in terms of not having run much recently), but I keep reminding myself that it won’t be as bad as a marathon.

Later folks!

PS. The torture was worth the great view 😉