Anyway- let's time travel back to Sunday. The Hubs and I had talked the day before about possibly going to a local state park Sunday and doing one of our epic walks. I told him it'd depend a lot on my post-long run legs and how cooperative they would be.
So, Sunday morning I woke up and, to my surprise, while my left shin and calf were tight/sore, my legs were overall feeling pretty good. Bring on the park!
We headed to Potato Creek State Park Sunday morning. It's about 20 minutes away, but the drive flew by and we were there in no time. $5 admittance (per car, not per person) later and we were making our way through the huge park looking for the "Mountain Bike Trail". Did either of us have bikes? Nope. But, it was the longest trail (7.4 miles) and was one of the few that weren't "beginners" level. The Hubs and I wanted an adventure and a challenge! No beginners level for us! Plus, with a map that made the trail look like this (see below)-- how could we not pick this one? It's a complete wack-a-doo, random, not-a-straight-line-in-sight path. Sign us up.
We drove around the big lake and eventually found the right parking lot for the Mountain Bike Trail.
After about a .25 mile walk from the parking lot, the Hubs and I got to the start of the trail (in the map above, it's the purple circle with "0.0" marked on the bottom left).
While it was an easy walk to the trail, that's pretty much where the "easy" ended. It wasn't hard, per say... but, there were definite steady inclines and dips and just rough terrain. I wasn't really sure what to except, but this was definitely more of a hike than a walk.
My legs started screaming at about mile 3 and I knew I was in trouble. We still had over 4 miles to go and I was ready to be done. DANGER. By mile 4, I was in PAIN and, worse, my stomach was growling so loud it could have woken up a sleeping bear.
Speaking of bears, asked the Hubs about a million times if he thought there were bears in the woods and he assured me there weren't. The Hubs then told me all about the types of environments different dinosaurs lived in. How did we get to that conversation? I may or may not have asked him about a million times if there were any velocoraptors in the parts of the trail that had tall grass. Come on... you know you remember velocoraptors from Jurassic Park. Those things scared the shit out of me when I was a little kid.
We kept walking and walking... err, hiking and hiking, I mean. Around corners, over tree branches, up steep inclines, down crazy hills, around bends, through dirt and some mud (it rained the day before... remember?). I couldn't really think about anything except HOW HUNGRY I WAS. I took the lead from the Hubs and started walking so fast he joked that I could have taken the gold in Olympic Speed Walking. I just needed to get to the end. We crossed mile markers anytime our trail intersected with another trail. I thought we were soooo close to the end and then we hit mile marker 6 and I legit almost had a breakdown. I was on the verge of tears. I honestly started trying to figure out how I could get some food so I could finish the stupid trail. There was some serious pouting and cursing action. But, I sucked it up and made out way to the end.
We made it! And I didn't even have to eat any wild plants or hunt down a non-existent bear! Immediately upon getting to our car I inhaled the snack I remembered to bring with us (+1 point for Meagan!), but forgot to actually take with us on the trail (-10 points for Meagan!). It wasn't enough, though, so I made the Hubs hit a snack bar and he came back with the best cookie I've ever had in life. Ever. Ok, maybe that was just the delusional hunger talking, but man oh man, I needed that cookie.
So, lessons from Sunday's trail adventure?
1. BRING SNACKS. The day after a long run, hunger is just outta this world. Snacks are needed. Also, a 8-mile hike is a lot in and of itself! Fuel is needed. Got it.
2. Trails are FUN! Even though I was a whiny brat by the end, it was a LOT OF FUN to explore something new.
3. Trails are DIRTY. I had a rockin' dirt sock line.
4. Best post-hike meal? Pizza. Hands down.
The Hubs and I decided we'd try to find more local trails and parks and stuff to explore. Makes our epic walks (or HIKES!) even more fun and is a great way to mix it up to avoid boredom.
So, there you have it. The 8-mile hike where I didn't see any velocoraptors, almost died of hunger and would have killed a bear, had we ever saw one.
Life this week has been much less exciting than our velocoraptor-less hike. Work, gym, food. The normal. Sadly, my left shin and calf have still been crazy tight, despite icing and elevating every night.
I did get a good run in Tuesday (5.25 miles OUTSIDE! Sub 9-minute pace!) and Wednesday (2.5 miles sub-8 minute pace in the morning on the TM!!!! And, 6.25 miles at lunch on the indoor track), but woke up today in some serious pain. What's a girl to do?
1. Rock compression sleeves like there's no tomorrow.
Yes, yes I did wear compression sleeves under my dress pants to work. ALL WEEK. No, no I do not wear pants that hike up this much.
2. Embrace the elliptical.
Is it boring? Yes. Do I want to be running? Yes. Can I take much more of it? No. But, I'm hanging in there. Thank goodness for magazine with articles on Kara Groucher, my woman-crush, and i-pads.
3. Eat lots of fro-yo. What??? Fro yo hasn't been proven to help speed up the recovery of shin splints? You're talking crazy.