Hiking Pinckney

Matt and I had originally planned to head up to Mackinac Island this past Sunday.  Long story short, our bikes weren’t ready in time, so we opted to save a little money and find something to do locally, instead.

After attempting to fix his bike.

After attempting to fix his bike on Thursday night.

My friend Becca, ultrarunner extraordinaire, likes running trails at the Pinckney Rec Area.  I texted her on Saturday afternoon asking if the park was good for hiking.  She said it absolutely was, so Matt and I made plans to spend Sunday there, instead.

I didn’t get back from my mom’s house until pretty late on Saturday, so Matt and I went to the grocery store around 11pm to get some things to bring for a picnic on Sunday.  The store at that time of night was pretty empty, which was kind of cool.  We grabbed some corned beef, swiss cheese, and rye bread for sandwiches, along with premade macaroni and potato salads, raspberries, and blackberries.  Then we had fun picking out insulated lunch boxes in the back-to-school section.  In other words, he chose something right away and I spent a long time worrying that I would somehow choose the “wrong” one.

On Sunday morning, we slept in till close to 10 o’clock.  We had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast before heading out around noon.  It was a half hour drive to the park through as country as it gets in southeast Michigan.  When we arrived, there was no wait for park entry.  I just bought my state park pass (which is now good until my license plate tabs expire next year!) and we were on our way.  Parking was a piece of cake and we got out on the trails right away.  We left our phones in the car, so I didn’t get any pictures.  I just wanted to enjoy the hike and not worry about technology. 🙂

We started off on a three-mile foot-traffic-only loop.  We didn’t see anyone else the whole time, until the very end when we were exiting the trail and someone else was entering it.  For the most part, the trail was just wide enough for two people to walk side by side.  It had plenty of hills and, to me, it almost felt like we were out in the wilderness.  I believe I actually said, “This is Pure Michigan.”  The hike reminded Matt of going to cross country camp in high school, so we had a very interesting conversation about that.  I wish I had had the experience of cross country in high school, but what’s done is done, and I had many other unique opportunities. 🙂

After that first loop, which took about an hour, we went back to the car to use bug spray (we forgot for the first trail and the flies were eating me alive) and to grab our lunches.  We found a nice picnic table up on a hill in the shade by the lake.  The lake area was pretty crowded, so plenty of people-watching opportunities abounded!  My favorite was the little girl carrying a raft as big as she was on her head.

After lunch, we went back out onto another trail, this one about five miles long and partially open to mountain bikers.  We saw a lot more people this time, mostly runners and mountain bikers.  Everyone was very friendly, and luckily the trail was usually just wide enough for us to get out of the way.  Just when we were starting to get annoyed by the mountain bikers, we stopped seeing any.  I do think it’s really cool to watch them do what they do, but it can be a little frightening to be a hiker on a trail where they are moving quickly.

The second trail was even hillier than the first, or maybe my legs were just more tired.  No matter what, I loved the challenge, and it felt so good to be out there.  However, by the end, after 8+ miles of hiking, along with walking to and from the car multiple times, I was more than ready to go home.  We stopped at a gas station so I could get a donut and Matt could get a slurpee.  Then we drove to Matt’s house where I relaxed for maybe half an hour before getting hungry again.  I went home, made dinner, and fell asleep at 8:30pm.

All in all, it was an amazing day, and I would love to do it again.  There’s nothing quite like that feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day after challenging myself.

The One Part of Running Club I Still Can’t Quit

Back in May, I wrote a post titled “What Makes a Runner?” in which I mentioned how I quit my college running club after two years of heavy involvement.  Long story short, there were many things that compounded into it not being healthy for me to remain an active member of the club.  I stopped going to practices, removed myself from the email list and Facebook group, and unfriended some of the members on Facebook.  I am significantly happier now.  However, there is one part of the club that I haven’t been able to let go.  Two, if you count how I like racing in the singlets. 😛

The club has a Google document.  “The doc” as it is affectionately called.  One for men and one for women.  Members use it to track their training.  It’s really very simple–there is a collective homepage with people’s names and total mileage from the current training period (e.g. summer), and each runner has her own page on the doc to track her training.  People like to customize it however they want and it can get very silly, which is part of the fun.

I still have a page on the doc.  I like to post my training there.  I like how it is an at-a-glance view of several weeks at once.  I like looking at other people’s training, although I avoid some tabs because I know that reading certain people’s pages will make me angry, annoyed, upset, or jealous.

My page through this week!

My page through this week!

I have thought before about the possibility of simply maintaining my own doc.  I could have the same structure for my page and I could reset it whenever I wanted, instead of on the scheduled reset dates of the club doc.  However, there is something about the community aspect that keeps me on the club doc, even if that is not a community I necessarily want to be a part of offline anymore.  I do still have a few friends in the club and I like to see their training and imagine they might be looking at mine, as well (my roommate does!).  Something about looking at other people’s training logs is fun for me.  Maybe it’s motivating, maybe just interesting, I can’t be sure.  Of course there are sites like Daily Mile, but something about this doc is different.

I think if I were a part of the exact same doc idea with, say, blog friends instead of runners from the club, I would quit the club doc.  For now though, I just don’t want to.  It might be weird when the new school year starts and freshmen get on the doc who have no idea who I am, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.  And hey, I was on the board last year and still didn’t know who some of the people on the Google doc were.  So, whatever. 🙂

This weekend I am going up north for 4th of July weekend and will be running a Firecracker 5k on the 4th!  I’m very excited, even though I am expecting a slow time (27:XX would be GOOD for me right now).  It will be fun to push myself and run in a new place, plus this is only my second race of the YEAR.  Expect a race recap sometime soon after!

Not Wanting to Run vs. Not Feeling Like It

Yesterday, I had a 3-mile run on the schedule.  Simple enough, short, not a problem.  I decided to do it in the evening after work because I was doing laundry in the morning and didn’t have any clean running clothes to wear.

Often when I schedule an evening run, I spend much of my afternoon at work looking forward to it.  However, yesterday, as early as maybe 2 o’clock, I was already starting to think about how I didn’t want to run.  I was tired, I just wanted to be lazy, I had other plans I would rather spend more time on… etc, etc.

I used a lot of mental energy arguing with myself about whether to run.  I knew I was more likely to do the run than to skip it because it was on my schedule and one thing I am pretty good at is sticking to a training plan.  Still, there was probably 30% of me that didn’t want to do it.  Or should I say, didn’t FEEL LIKE doing it.

In the process of eliminating that 30% that said “no, don’t run,” I focused a lot on asking myself whether I didn’t want to run, or whether I just didn’t feel like running.  I WANTED to run because I want to reach my goals.  I’m not going to get faster by skipping scheduled runs because I’m lazy, and I might finish a marathon that way, but it sure as hell won’t be pretty.  No, I just didn’t FEEL LIKE running yesterday.  There is a big difference, at least to me.  In fact, I found myself wishing that I did feel like running.  So, I focused on my goals and on the big picture, I laced up my big-girl shoes, and I ran.

I put it off as long as possible.  I ate dinner as soon as I got home from work a little after five, I took a nap and stayed in bed until seven… and then I got up, got changed, and got out the door faster than I have in a while.  I started really slowly because I wanted to be as comfortable as possible, since I didn’t really feel like being out there.  I figured I would run 10:15s and hope that felt okay in the heat (it was 82).  I texted Matt to tell him that I brought my phone because my heart wasn’t in the run.  He promised to send me plenty of good vibes. 🙂  Apparently he actually sent me a Snapchat, but I didn’t get it until later.

I ended up running into a friend I hadn’t seen in a long while and we ran together for a few minutes before we went our separate ways.  It was nice catching up.  The conversation got my mind off things and I let myself get pulled to run a little faster than I would have on my own.  By the time we split, I was feeling better.

I’m glad I ran.  I could easily have justified skipping the run.  It’s a down week in the training plan anyway, my leg was a little stiff…  But I’m glad I was able to focus on the difference between not wanting to run because I don’t care about reaching my goals (I do care) and not feeling like running on that particular day.

And after, I got to play LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game.