IMG_9506I’m finally settling in from a long weekend of camping — deleting loads of e-mails that I’ll never read, resting off two near sleepless nights, and kicking my freshly showered feet up on the couch. It turned out to be a fantastic weekend of camping and managed to get in a little trail running, too.

We went camping up at Interstate Park in Wisconsin — and while they really didn’t have much by way of longer trail systems for trail running, they had a few really nice shorter segments that joined together at various camp sights or parking lots along the park. Most of the trail segments were less than 2 miles in length and averaged about a mile in length; some of them were mostly hiking trails with very steep runs that required walking.

It really was a lot of fun, though, despite running in the heat of the day (I was way too tired to go running at 6am and had to settle for a time of day when I felt like I had the energy and endurance for hitting the trails.). At first it just was plain ol’ fun, like being a little kid just running through the forest, skipping from rock to rock, trampling through mud, and soaking myself in three-inch standing and running water. A good portion of the hiking trails that I ran on were drenched with run-off from the previous night’s heavy rain. It did mean walking a good deal of the hills (and I have no qualms with walking hills), but it’s still getting out there and running trails.

IMG_9507I did feel pretty guilty about running in my new Hoka One One’s though, since they’re really meant to be a road shoe and not a trail running shoe. But they’re so light, so enjoyable to run in, and really made the effort of trail running that much easier. And honestly they held up really nicely.

At some point I do want to pick up a pair of Hoka trail runners instead of dirtying up my road shoes every time I hit the back trails. I’m pretty set on Hoka One Ones — those shoes felt so fantastic and so light (and with so much foot support and cushioning) that for me it’d be hard to find another shoe that compares with it.

(This would be the portion of the blog entry where I unashamedly dream out loud about a Hoka endorsement in the form of free running shoes so I can continue boasting more and more about how well they perform and how much they’ve stepped up my running game from a struggling overweight runner, to one that feels more liberated and is reaching greater distances thanks to a change in shoes.

But it’s back to road running for awhile now, and that’s just fine with me. I will miss the beautiful scenery of Interstate Park, though. It was quite beautiful and will likely run there again sometime when we decide to camp there again.

Running along with other people

IMG_9526Running in groups or with other people is a struggle with me on a few levels — I hate the mental game of comparing myself to other runners (that are faster or more fit than me), I don’t like slowing other people down to my novice runner pace of 11- to 12-minute miles (even slower on trails), and I struggle with the mental game that goes on within and awkwardly trying to carry on a conversation while trying to just focus on listening to my body.

This weekend I ran with a neighbor friend of mine, who I’d promised to go running with to help overcome some tough news he was given by his doctor — basically telling him that it’s time to make some serious changes in diet and exercise. He’s already biking with me on Wednesday evenings, and after talking more with him about running, he seemed like he’d be right on par with me for running.

He’s not that much taller than me, maybe a bit longer legs, so I was a bit nervous about him out-pacing me — but really we held our pace pretty comfortably between the two of us and went for a great one-hour 3:1 (three-minute run, one-minute walk) interval run on both trails and state park roads. It was some serious butt-kicking towards the end, but it was fun and neither of us felt like we were out of our comfort zone or out of our league. And that made it all the more enjoyable.

So we’ll likely try and run together a couple days a week — my long runs on Saturday or Sunday may be a solo affair as I’m now trying to break past the five mile mark now since I seem to have four miles relatively under my belt. But we’ll see, he may even join me for that, too.

Alright, time to get some sleep.  I am so looking forward to a solid night of sleep… in my bed… in a temperature-controlled house.  Luxuries!