So, what am I even doing after the Big Sur Marathon?
NOT training for another race, thank you very much!
Marathon training can be all-consuming, and I’ve learned to limit myself to one marathon per year to avoid feeling burned out by the training. I also don’t really like half-marathons, as they somehow feel more difficult to me than marathons, and I have zero desire to pay money to race a 15K, 10K, or 5K because I know I’m not fast enough right now to update my PR in any of those distances.
That leaves me exercising with only the goal of maintaining and building fitness, and doing fun things like trail running!
My non-training plan to stay happy and healthy looks like this:
Notice there are no time or distance requirements for those activities; I just do whatever I feel like on a given day. Typically I do an hour of yoga, about 30 minutes of weights and core work, and runs of at least 3 miles.
This view is found less than 3 miles from our place. Not bad, huh??
I’ve always wanted to try trail running, but I’ve been afraid to start while training for a race in case I sprain my ankle (again) or something. Well, there are no excuses now!
I met up with Aaron after his morning mountain bike ride at a local trail two weekends ago so he could show me the ropes. My concerns aside from spraining my ankle were: (1) getting lost, (2) getting run over by mountain bikers, and (3) getting eaten by a bear or cougar.
Aaron rode behind me (as he has many times before, sweet guy) and educated me on which paths went where and how to interact with MTB riders. Technically, MTB riders are supposed to yield to hikers and runners, but I’m prone to just jumping out of the way and waiting for them to pass, especially if they don’t yell “rider up!” in plenty of time to alert me to their presence.
Side note: Don’t wear headphones on trails. You need to be able to hear and communicate with other trail users for everyone’s health and happiness.
Anyway, we went 2.5 miles out and back for a total of 5 miles. The out part was up, up, up, but the back was almost all downhill, which was really fun. I realized the trail wasn’t that confusing, and mountain bikers rode slowly enough for us to peacefully coexist. Plus, I didn’t see any bears or cougars, and Aaron says he’s only seen “the outline of a bear” once. (WTF, that’s still scary!)
Aaron made a serious face, but he had fun, I swear.
The next day, I incorporated another part of the trail into one of my regular running routes, and still liked in. So this past weekend, I did even MORE trail running on my own and looooved it. (I’m still concerned about wild animals, but I’ll probably get over that at some point. Maybe.)
What a fun new world! I find myself wanting to run farther and farther just to explore the trail. There are also tons of other trails nearby that I can check out.
Aside from running, I’ve also tried to increase my non-exercise activity since I’m not doing intense mileage anymore. After our trip New York, I was inspired by all the walking we did and decided to embrace the walkability of our area. I stopped driving to the park-and-ride and now walk a few minutes to a bus stop for a short ride to the park-and-ride, then catch my bus to work. In the evenings, I walk home from the park-and-ride, which takes about 15 minutes. Seattle’s weather has been A+++ lately, so this is quite an enjoyable stroll! (I would walk in the morning, too, but it’s mostly uphill and I would be a sweaty beast before even starting my day.)
I also walk up three sizable flights of stairs instead of taking the escalator in the downtown Seattle transit tunnel. I’ve noticed a big difference in my stair-climbing stamina after a few months. Plus, it’s good for the legs and butt!
Anyway, that’s the update around here. Oh, plus I recently splurged and replaced an entire part of my running wardrobe with new gear — I’ll share all about that next!
P.S. I post to Instagram far more frequently than I do here, so follow me there if you like!