A Little Late in the Year for This

Julia and I took advantage of the gorgeous, if chilly, weather yesterday evening to make our first foray up the M trail. Wasn’t the best time of day for photography, but I took a shot overlooking downtown anyway.

There were a lot of other people on the trail — clearly the break in the rainy and snowy weather inspired more folks than just us! Thing is, this hike has long since gone from something we do for recreation to become part of our workout routine. During the summer we try and tackle it several times per week, and it is never easy, because when it becomes easier we just push harder. We were talking about it on the way, how sometimes the approach in the car feels dreadful. I told Julia that it isn’t life or death, that one can always stop and rest on a rough day. But she said, and I agree, “Thing is, once I went up without stopping, I realized I could never rest on that goddamn trail again.” Sad, but true.

I brought the stopwatch out to see where I measured against last year, fully expecting to be lagging. I’ve been running and working out a lot, yes, but one workout doesn’t guarantee success in another if it is an activity using different muscles and motions. So I staggered up to the top, looked at the watch, and discovered I was a full 39 seconds faster than the fastest climb I’d made all last year — only 22 seconds slower than my best ever (since I’ve kept track, that is*). Hell, if I’d been paying attention, I’m pretty sure I could have pushed harder and beat that record, as I still had quite a bit of gas in the tank when I arrived at the top. I was pretty happy about that. The only reason I wasn’t watching the clock is I didn’t want to bum myself out halfway up, thinking I was going about three minutes slower than I actually was.

So this morning, feeling cocky with myself, I decided to challenge my 3 mile/5K record when I did my morning run. It wasn’t particularly easy, but I beat last year’s best over the distance by 2:35. I was pretty happy. That’s a full 7:25 faster than I ran the 5K last year during the River Bank Run. And no, I’m not sharing any of these times, because they’re still embarrassingly slow. But they’re getting faster for me.

Here’s my fat ass (the bulbous shape in the white shirt) crossing the finish line at last year’s 5K River Bank Run, 1 year and 30+ pounds ago

This year’s River Bank Run is two weeks from this coming Saturday. I’m doing the 10K instead of the 5K. Last Saturday, while deciding if I would still go for the 10K, I went out to run the 6 miles to see if I could do it . . . and did. So that’s my plan. I’ll still be the slowest dude out there, but I’ll be out there.

Progress feels good.

* I’ve kind of become anal about keeping track of stuff like this. But I like to refer back now and again to remind myself where I started.

8 thoughts on “A Little Late in the Year for This”

  1. >Good job, Chris! It's great your beating your old times. I am jealous. After a sciatica-type injury I've been slacking on my running, but I am inspired to get back to it. Just started reading the book Born to Run about the tribe in Mexico that can run for hundreds of miles without stopping…

  2. >Thanks!April, I used to have huge sciatica problems. The last time I was running to the point where I could make 10K, about 3 or 4 years ago, the one time I ran that far my sciatica flared up big time. My whole thigh was numb for weeks and weeks, and I basically stopped running.Over the last year or two, though, I've done a ton of work to strengthen my core — abs, lower back, quads, glutes, etc. — and my sciatica problems are pretty much gone. I still get a little sore sometimes if I'm doing a lot of standing around, or just aimlessly browsing in a store or something, but nothing like it used to be. And it hasn't been a problem at all running or hiking.Long story short, there IS hope for it going away!

  3. >Chris, thanks for the encouragement. I've been basically hoping it would just fade, but I think it's something I'm going to have to work through, so I will follow your advice! I want to be able to go on hikes, etc. without my leg falling asleep or killing me.

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