Good Riddance, 2013

2013 has not been the best year. The year started with the sudden death of my grandmother, who I was very close to (my mom and I lived with my grandparents until I was 8). It also included my husband having numerous medical issues, numerous bad luck type expenses (major car issues, part of my bike being stolen, etc.), and me having to give up on my goal of earning a second master’s degree. I’m sure I’m actually forgetting bad stuff in that list, to be honest. The year also had highlights, though, so I thought I’d go through a few of them to remind myself that while it was probably one of my worst years, if I look at the big picture rather than focus on these small problems, the year has been pretty good!

January

  • I finished my first quilt! My grandmother taught me how to sew and got me into quilting. Normally I just quilt small things (table runners, purses, etc.) but she bought me the materials to make my own quilt and after I found out that she had cancer (October 2012) I made a goal to finish it before she passed away (don’t worry, I did, and she saw it over skype). In 2014 I plan to finish some of the quilts she had been working on.

The awesome quilt. It had some issues with the binding, but whatever, it was my first quilt.

  • I returned to graduate school! I had taken off fall semester of 2012 for my husband’s medical issues and was able to return for both semesters in 2013. Leaving once and returning gives me hope that I will return and finish eventually!

February

River on her first day home, being a pit-ball.

March

  • Every year my roommate and I try to throw an epic fancy cheese and wine party. We had it this year for her birthday and as an added bonus made it a masquerade!

Selfie in my sweet masquerade mask.

  • Ran my first 5k! You can read all about it on my race report!

April

  • I replaced my running shoes for the first time.

  • Played hookie from an academic conference to go see Sue (and other, lesser dinosaurs and I suppose a few other things) at the Chicago Field Museum.

  • Ran my 2nd 5K and almost broke 25 minutes (I have done it a few times in training, but never officially in a race).

Pre-race selfie.

  • Won an outstanding teaching assistant award for the political science department. Mostly because I had the patience to not yell at kids who didn’t know that Obama is not a dictator (regardless of your opinion on him, he still has to deal with Congress, so he is not factually a dictator). Hopefully my roommate wins outstanding independent instructor award this year for the patience she exhibited dealing with kids who were not only ignorant but argumentative about it (like, yelling at her for displaying statistics from reputable sources because they just “can’t be true” levels of ignorant and argumentative, and that is just the tip of the iceberg).

May

  • Independently taught my first upper-level statistics course. It was intense to teach 2 hours a day for 4 weeks but I loved it!

Bathroom mirror selfie before my first day of teaching.

  • Belle and River were introduced (because Kris came to visit in Indiana). Belle did get injured while there due to having a panic attack, but it had a silver lining: River became nicer to her because she was trying to protect her, and I bonded with my students after explaining to them that my poor doggie bled all over their exams.

Belle and River slept on this bed while Kris and I slept on an air mattress.

My roomie observed that this photo shows their true nature: Bellie begging for belly rubs and River slowing encroaching on my space.

Injured Bellie 😦

  • Two friends of mine got married and Kris was able to attend the (awesomely geeky) wedding with me.

Guests were asked to wear their Harry Potter house colors. We represented Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw!

I won the Tardis cookie jar centerpiece (as I said, awesomely geeky) and was gifted the Corgi for watching their furbabies during bachelor/bacherlorette festivities.

June

  • My roommate and I moved into a nice apartment that did not have awful maintenance men who pretend to fix your AC (ours was broken in the old place for 11 months, including months where it was so hot the dog starting throwing up).
  • Kris and I got bicycles!

Don’t worry, I bought a better lock!

  • Ran my first half marathon and beat my goal of finishing in under 2 hours! I don’t actually have any really good pictures of this, as the pro photographer didn’t catch me. There is a picture of me crossing on the post, though.
  • Finally took our delayed honeymoon to New York, where we went from loving to hating Brooklyn in the course of an afternoon and saw Wicked (which was amazing). But seriously, Brooklyn, we could only take so much hipster and you guys were apparently too cool to sell us overpriced craft beers (we were ignored in a bar).

On the Brooklyn Bridge.

They seriously gave us these cups for wine. And filled them with about 1 inch of wine.

July

  • I turned 24. Not the most exciting of ages. Really I just want to be 25 so I can save on car insurance, though I will miss saying that I am in my “early 20s.” At least I got a nice present – a GPS watch!

  • Chopped my hair off! It is so much nicer for running to be able to tuck it into a hat like a dude and wash and dry it in minutes (I can seriously blow dry my hair in under 2 minutes). I also get tons of compliments on it!

  • Kris and I went to another wedding. I mostly am posting these pictures from weddings because Kris and I are adorable. 
  • With my birthday money, I accessorizedmy bike.

August

  • Celebrated our one year wedding anniversary!

Cake from Kris’s family.

September

  • Quit the horrible second Master’s program (this was both good and bad).
  • Acquired my first running injury by falling down a hill (read:cliff) while trail running.

October

  • Ran my second half marathon. Again, it was in the rain and quite unpleasant. At least I didn’t do worse the second time around!

I look so thrilled to be there.

November

  • Made a mini-Thanksgiving for roomie/BFF and I.

  • Road-tripped to South Carolina for Thanksgiving after being stuck in the Cleveland Airport for hours.

Belle hating her harness.

Evidence of civilization.

  • Forced Kris to do his first 5K – a turkey trot – with me in record low temperatures for the area.

December

  • Got to come home to Kris and Belle to celebrate the holidays and got tons of awesome Christmas presents!

  • Kris and I plan to celebrate the new year by hanging out at home with Belle (if there are fireworks we don’t want her to panic) drinking wine and eating butternut squash and black bean enchiladas rather than the traditional pork and sauerkraut (that is the tradition in this area). I don’t really hate sauerkraut THAT much but my family always picks on me about it so I basically don’t eat it out of spite. Amusingly, I told my mom I couldn’t make it because I don’t have a crockpot and then I wound up getting a crockpot from her for Christmas.

See, when you look at it that way, the year doesn’t seem half bad! Not only did I run my first race, but I ran 5 races and was able to maintain my weight loss (well, within a reasonable range of about +/- 5 lbs) all year. Here is to hoping that 2014 is even better. Happy New Year everyone!

Cleaning Out my Gym Locker

Good news: there wasn’t anything terribly wrong with me on Sunday when I had my overly difficult run – or at least I wasn’t the only one with something wrong. I spoke with my trail running friend yesterday and she told me that when she tried to go running on Sunday that she went out for about a mile and was so tired that she had to turn around and very slowly jog back. She also felt sick and sore and had calf muscle cramps while sleeping that night (I also had cramps, but had forgotten to mention them).  Our theory is that when we went out on Saturday and the ground was frozen solid that we ran harder on the uneven surface than we would have had it been soft and uneven, wearing our bodies out more. It is the only thing we can think of considering that we usually go trail running twice a week with no problems! I was also perfectly fine for my run this morning (in the 17 degree weather -eek!). I was a bit slow, but that was because I was trying not to slip on the snow and ice (its not QUITE icy enough for my spikes yet), not because I was miserable!

It being my last official day of the semester – after grading finals this afternoon, I am “done,” except for the revisions to my preliminaryexams and dissertation proposal, the experiment I am working on, and planning my class for next semester, you know, very simple thing (that was sarcasm) – I had to go clean out  my gym locker so that I wouldn’t have to pay a fee for them to clean it and lose my stuff to them. Before I started going to the gym, my major hang ups/excuses about going were mostly logistical. For example, I didn’t want to do anything to actually get sweaty at the gym because I didn’t know what I would do with my towel. I just couldn’t fathom how people took showers there! Apparently I’m weird because I was bothered by things like this, rather than normal things like working out in front of others (though I do sometimes get mildly embarrassed by how sweaty and wild my hair gets while there).

I eventually broke down and rented a locker at the university gym and started using it, and I am glad that I did because I am now able to use treadmills, do proper strength training, and I have a place to shower on campus any time that I want! I thought it might be useful to discuss what I ended up needing to keep in the locker as well as what I might change in the future.

Things I had in there when I cleaned it out today:

  • Lotion (my skin is always mega dry)
  • A towel (apparently towels weren’t that hard to figure out after all)
  • One of those scrubby shower things
  • Flip flops (the $2 kind from Old Navy)
  • Sunscreen (to keep my poor skin from being damaged!)
  • Hairspray/mousse (the only way to tame my curly hair)
  • Deodorant
  • Travel bottles filled with shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, and facial cleanser

Things I might change next year:

  • I might bring in a hairdryer since the ones that they provide really suck
  • I might get a full locker (they have “half” and “full” ones at our gym – basically 3 or 6 feet tall) – it’s difficult to fit my backpack and coat and clothes in there while I’m working out with all of my other things
  • I will never get a locker near the showers again – I thought it would be great to be able to quickly run over to the showers from my locker, but my stuff dries out very slowly due to all the moisture and gets musty smelling :/ (I mean after like 2 uses of a towel)
  • Somehow I need to figure out a better way to deal with certain toiletries. I have so many deodorants in various places (two at home, one in my office, one at the gym) that it is ridiculous. Not sure how to fix that yet.

Things I Learned About Being Overweight by Becoming Thin

Let me just begin by repeating for the 1000th time how much I love fall! I have been eating pumpkin oatmeal for breakfast everyday for like 2 weeks and the weather is now just perfect for biking and running most days. Yesterday it was a little dreary, but at least the temperature was nice! I was very glad to be able to bike to the gym today, especially, so I wouldn’t have to contend with game day traffic on campus (though for some reason there were about 1 million gym bros to contend with at the gym).

This was good, because today started out kind of poorly: I had been planning on making some Christmas presents, but I haven’t actually used my sewing machine in like 6 months. The other day, I was trying to gather up materials to make these presents and discovered that I had left my interfacing, quilt batting, etc back in Harrisburg. Luckily, my wonderful husband was able to mail this to me so that I didn’t have to go spend upwards of $9/yard on this crap again. I decided that today would be a good day to reattempt work on these projects…only to discover that my cutting mat and rotary cutter are still in Harrisburg! WHAT?! I can’t believe that I basically brought none of the things I need to sew with me. After writing this post, I’m probably going to go venture to Hobby Lobby to see if I can get a new mat. *sigh*


Another interesting thing that happened today was the inspiration for this post. I was on Reddit this morning (of course) when I came across an askreddit thread asking overweight people to discuss issues that the overweight face that most people are not aware of. A good question, but, being that this was on Reddit, most of the answers were either people being all like “I don’t understand how overweight people can literally be the worst” or people talking about their weight loss journey/issues with weight loss without really providing a unique answer to the question (many were just pointing out how hard it is to lose weight; I would say the majority of people are aware of this problem, even if they can’t understand it fully). There were two types of responses that struck me, though: overweight people pointing out issues that I never was aware of even as an overweight person (this has happened to me at other points in life, too) and people like me who have lost weight talking about the things they learned by losing weight. This made me reflect – what things have I learned about being overweight by losing weight, either by reading about others’ experiences or by noticing a changed experience myself. I have mentioned several of these before, but I feel like they are worth mentioning again. Warning: the last two “bullet points” are really more like paragraphs, because they are complex points I want to make.

  • Apparently people go around judging the food purchase of the overweight. Now that I hear this, I’m not surprised – people tend to be quite judgey – but it never occurred to me that this might be happening to me when I was overweight. Also, now that I am aware of this, I notice it all the time, and I am certain it happened to me, but that I was just oblivious.
  • My clothes and shoes wore out faster when I was overweight, because they never quite fit right. My feet were too wide and made my shoes loose; the arms on my sweaters would stretch out from pushing them up; my beltloops would tear from trying to yank on my pants; my jeans would tear from my thighs rubbing. I never realized this would stop happening when I lost weight!
  • Chairs. I was aware that some overweight people have trouble fitting in certain chairs/break them sometimes, but I thought these concerns did not apply to me because I had never had those problems. Well, I might have “broken” one chair. My office chair did this weird thing where the adjuster broke and it would just wobble around, and I assumed I broke it due to being over the weight limit, but I checked and at my highest weight I was at least 10 lbs under the weight limit so it could have just been a fluke. After losing weight, though, I realized how much better my chair experience really is now. I fit in airplanes and buses better; I can sit comfortably on almost any random chair (though (though I need more padding, now!); I can fit into tiny cars  more easily; and I sometimes even have room to set things beside me on chairs!
  • Overweight people are often invisible to/ignored by society. In a way this was good, because not all attention is good attention (I will say though that the amount of street harassment was fairly equal because now instead of being outside as a “fatty” I am outside as a runner and both are apparently displeasing to rude men). Strangers are way more likely to hold doors for me, talk to me (and hit on me, ugh), and just in general be nice to me than they were before. And I don’t just mean random strangers – this is especially true at clothing stores, where I receive SO MUCH more help now. I never noticed this one because it is difficult to notice lack of attention, I think.
  • On a similarly related note, people that you know treat you way differently (not necessarily nicer, just differently). I mean, I guess I was somewhat aware of this, but I understand it a lot more now that not everyone I know knows that I was once overweight. When you are overweight, everyone just kind of assumes you really dislike yourself and that you are really sensitive about it. And I’m sure everyone is to varying degrees, but most other people tend to think it is like the number one thing on your mind. Like, if you make factual statements like “I can’t find anything in this store because they do not carry my size” they freak out. The worst is when you mention briefly being fat and they continue to reassure you that you are not fat. There are two reasons that I think people do this: they are either afraid of indirectly insulting you by not disagreeing (like, they think you will say you are fat, they will just sort of nod or something, and then you will exclaim “HAH!” Got you! You said I am fat you meanie!”); or they are possibly quite unaware of how large you actually are (I am guilty of doing this to people myself). As I said, I was aware of this as an overweight person, but now I really understand how weird it is because of how comfortable people feel asking me about my body, now. They think nothing of asking me what I weight, what size I wear, etc., and they accept most comments I have to say about myself because they don’t feel like they need to reassure me. The last holdout seems to be my legs. Every time I factually mention that they are big and I have trouble finding pants, people still freak out trying to tell me that it’s ok. Newsflash everyone: I am aware it is ok.
  • An extra bullet point for lessons I probably still have to learn

Throwback Thursday

Before I get into the meet of the post, I have to say…I HATE rest days before races! I think the problem is that I’ve been working out SO MUCH that I feel relatively lazy. Think about it: for the last month, I’ve been running 30 miles per week (ok, so “only” like 29 3/4 some weeks) and bike commuting 3-4 times per week (except the week my bike was immobilized). This week, I’ve run 6 miles and bike commuted twice. I was going to bike commute today, but it is rainy, so I can’t. If it clears up I’ll take the dog for a long walk or something. I also plan to get in about 30 minutes of light, non-running activity tomorrow to keep my legs from being stiff for the half marathon.


I don’t think I’ve ever officially done a “Throwback Thursday” before but I was looking through some old pictures yesterday and I came across two that I just could not keep myself from talking about.

Picture #1: June 1, 2011

Now, I’ve shown before pictures before, so what is important is not necessarily what I look like in this picture – it is the context of this picture. If you go look at my “progress pics” page, you will not see this one on there. This is because I had not found it before and had to scrounge around to try to find full body lifestyle type pictures to include with my official “before” photo, and I hadn’t really done very well at it. That is, until I came across this picture, which is basically like the perfect before picture once you know the story behind it.

In this picture, I am standing in my parents’ garage wearing my old girl scout badges – my mom just took it because I was being silly. We were in the process of going through a bunch of my old things. Over the last few years, I had been operating under the assumption that because I was “barely” plus-sized (I am wearing one of Kris’s mens XL shirts and size 20 shorts in this photo) I could get back into straight sizes “in a few weeks if I tried,” and at this point in time I was trying to come to terms with the fact that I was going to be plus-sized for the rest of my life. This day was a major turning point on that front, as I “got rid of” most of my “skinny clothes” (about size 10-12) since I was “never going to be that skinny again.” I say “got rid of” because they somehow magically reappeared whenever I got near those sizes again. Thanks, mom (I still don’t want them, because they are from my weird emo phase).

A few days after this picture was taken, though, I went to the doctor. This was where I had my official 240 pound weigh in. That didn’t bother me as much as the other things the doctor said, though. This was the third appointment in a row where the doctor pointed out my high blood pressure, and she called a day or two afterwards to tell me that I had high cholesterol as well. I wasn’t worried so much about being heavy as being healthy, so I started researching on the internet to see what I could do to help with my high blood pressure and cholesterol. A mere two weeks after this photo was taken, I joined MyFitnessPal as a way to keep track of my diet and exercise. By the end of the summer,I was back into a size 14 or 16, letting me safely shop at most clothing stores again. Oh, and if you are wondering, my blood pressure and cholesterol are totally fine, now. My new doctor was actually confused when I wanted him to check my cholesterol and fasting glucose levels!

Picture #2: October 16, 2012

Now, this picture seems to be an entirely unexceptional mirror-selfie taken with a potato at first glance. But in reality, it is MUCH more exciting than that. You see, this picture was taken right before I wore size 4 pants out in public for the first time. Additionally, if you look at the date, this picture means that this week marks the milestone of me maintaining at least my size for entire year, as there has never been a point during this year at which I could not wear these pants (and I am, in fact, wearing them today)!! During this last year, my weight has gone up and down a bit -from as low as 121 to as “high” as 132, but I have been able to get through the year without going back to some of the slightly larger clothes I have kept around (I have at least 5-6 pairs of size 6 and 8 pants laying around, mostly because they were so new I didn’t want to get rid of them).

I’ve felt really down on myself for my maintenance progress lately, as I’ve been hovering in the upper end of my acceptable weight range, even though I know it is an artifact of actually eating enough while I train for this half marathon. Last time I trained for a half, I got down to my aforementioned low weight (keep in mind that at 5’5″, 117 lbs is considered underweight, and I was nearly there) and lost my period for months on end; I should be rejoicing that I was able to manage my health better this time. Instead, all I see is days of eating like a teenage boy (because I am typically biking 6-8 miles and running 3-6 every day, so that makes sense). So today is a great reminder of how far I have come and what I have accomplished – a whole year of staying the same size is really quite the achievement in the weight loss maintenance world, where we know there is something like a 90% chance of us regaining all the weight and more. I accept that I won’t stay a 120-something pound size 4 forever, ESPECIALLY after I have children, but every year that I maintain that I am fighting the statistic. Side note: as a person who in practice does statistics for a living (even if I am technically a political scientist) I would REALLY like to get a hold of that data….

Moving Forward Slowly

Since my race is tomorrow, I wanted to work out a bit so that I wasn’t stiff and lethargic, but I didn’t want to wear myself out by running. I decided instead to take a long-ish bike ride. Typically, I ride about 6-8 miles in a day if I am commuting, but it is split in 2 and most of it is done very very slowly, so I wasn’t sure what “long-ish” would really be for me. I decided to do 10 miles because I was able to complete that distance not long after getting the bike, so I knew it wouldn’t be overly difficult, but it would still be longer than I typically ride.

It went really well! I probably could have ridden longer, but I didn’t really feel like riding on the street and I had run out of trail. The first time I did a 10 mile ride it was really difficult. Today, other than my legs feeling a bit weird to be standing on solid ground for a few minutes afterwards, I was fine. I was a little hungry afterwards (biking always makes me hungrier than running for some reason), but I don’t feel overly tired from the adventure. I was also able to maintain a much faster pace than that first time out. When Kris and I rode 10 miles the first time, it took something like 1 hour and 12 minutes; today, it took me about 55 minutes! I knew I was getting slightly faster on the bike but to have such a substantial difference really meant a lot to me, because going slightly faster for the mile-ish of my commute where I’m not dealing with weird campus issues that slow me down doesn’t actually decrease my commute time, so I don’t get to really see tangible improvements much.

I am really glad I got the chance to do this, because I tend to be really hard on myself. One of my friends recently picked up cycling and he is already WAY faster than me. But I have to remember that he bikes every single day like I run every single day. This is why I make so many improvements in running, and not as many improvements in biking. There are also less tangible things I should be measuring to remind myself I am improving at biking. I am WAY more comfortable with riding on the road, using hand signals, and in general moving my hands off the handlebars. Today I even got my water bottle out while moving (though, to be fair, I couldn’t get it back in)! I need to stop being so hard on myself about everything I do and remember that as long as I’m taking tiny steps forward, things will eventually improve.

I need to remind myself about this especially with my race tomorrow. I am nervous about it being my first trail race and my first race in the rain. I need to remember that the worst that will probably happen is that I slip in the mud and get dirty or that I have to walk some of it. I don’t want to chicken out and not do it, because I want to wear the shirt that I went to pick up! I get so nervous about races though, and for no reason. I was even nervous to go pick up my packet today! I was afraid that the people at the store would know I wasn’t a “real trail runner” because I can’t even pronounce “Wabash. “I was afraid I’d need to say something like “Is this where I can get the packet for the Wabash Heritage Trail race?” but I didn’t even have to do that. They were just like “Are you here for the race? Ok, here is your stuff.” It was that easy. I don’t know why I let myself get so stressed over silly things. I just need to keep moving forward, even if it’s slowly, and I’ll get there. I shouldn’t worry so much 🙂

Adjusting a Goal

When I signed up for the Wabash Heritage Trail (Quarter) Marathon, I guessed I would be a bit slower than a typical 10K race pace. I have never officially run a 10K, but I am guessing I could finish a race in about 50 minutes (or at least very close to that – I think I’ve done like 52 minutes in training runs). I had never done any serious trail running before (there is about 1/4 mile of trail near my house that isn’t paved), but I had read a teeny tiny bit about trail running, and it said I would have to go slower, so I guessed I’d have to slow down and settle with a goal of finishing the race in about an hour.

My new goal: finish without getting injured and have a nice time. I mean, I’m guessing I’ll finish in about 1:10-1:15 minutes based on my runs yesterday and today, so I guess I theoretically have a time “goal” (more like a guesstimate of when I will finish), but the last two days of running the actual trail will the race will occur have taught me a lot. And it’s only been 2 days!

I mentioned yesterday that I was slower, and that my friend (who does cross-country skiing and orienteering and is all around more athletic and outdoorsy than me, so this is to be expected) was a bit faster than me. Today, however, I was lagging WAY behind her. Like, I was running so hard I was gasping for breath and she was having to stop to wait for me. She was worried I was embarrassed, and I was a little, but mostly I just felt like an ass in my head for thinking that trail running would only be a “little” harder. Now that I realize how difficult it is, I feel less embarrassed and more ready to face a new challenge! I also felt bad that she probably couldn’t enjoy the run as much because she had to keep waiting up for me! Then again, it is probably because we did over THREE THOUSAND feet of climbing. WTF!?

I had 10 miles on the schedule today, and I had thought about cutting a bit off since she and I ran 7 yesterday and I was only scheduled for 5, so I told her that maybe we should run about the same distance we did yesterday. We took a slightly different route on the trail, though, and wound up getting back to our cars at about mile 5. I was so exhausted from being on the trail that I could not fathom another mile on there and told her we didn’t need to worry about meeting my training goal. Instead, I headed back to my house to run my second 5 miles on a regular running path. It’s very enlightening to see the difference in my pace:

The five miles on trails: mile 3 was a climb up a mountain, and mile “6” (the last few yards) was precariously crossing a stream to get back to our cars, which explains the exceptionally bad paces there.

The five miles on a paved path. You can see that these are more in line with my long run pace (9:00-9:30/mile)…and this was the second half of my run, after I was already exhausted from climbing up giant hills!

I think I could get used to trail running and come to enjoy it quite a bit, after I get better at it. Already today, I found myself a bit more able to find my footing (it seems to help to look a few feet ahead instead of right at my feet, which I would have known had I done ANY research on trail running) and I managed to not get any additional injuries. There are also some nice things that you will see when running on a trail that you rarely (if ever) see on roads/sidewalks/paths. For example, we saw a deer today. I have seen them before on the paved section of this trail near my house, but it’s a pretty rare sight, whereas I see them almost every time I go on a real trail (like for hikes). Also, I got to take this picture:

It may not be the prettiest, but it’s about as pretty as Indiana gets.

To end this post, one funny store about climbing up the mountain to get this photo. While on a different section of the trail, my friend pointed towards the place where I am standing to take this photo and told me we could try a new section of the trail, where we would end up at the top of the clearing we could see. I thought she meant we were going to run up the grassy area that is cleared out between the trees and I was like “ok…but I cannot run up that hill.” I didn’t realize she meant there was a far less steep path through the woods that we could take and I could actually run up!

The Dangers of Trail Running

I have always had an irrational fear of falling down hills on trails. Like, once it was so bad that on a family hike I broke down crying in the middle of hill and had to be convinced by both Kris and his older brother that I wasn’t going to die if I kept walking down the hill kind of irrational fear.

Given the title of this post, I am sure you can see where this is going.

A few months ago, one of my friends asked if I’d like to sign up for a local trail race. I don’t do much trail running, but I literally live right next to this trail and I’ve been hoping to start running with people sometimes so I thought it would be a good idea. I’ve only run on the trail once or twice, though, and never on the part where the race will actually occur, so we decided it would be a good idea to meet up a couple of times before the race to practice (she walks on it but does not run on it a lot).

Running with someone else was pretty nice! I was afraid that I was holding her back, but she was also afraid she was holding me back, so I’m sure both of us were going at an adequate pace. I am sure she could have gone a little faster than me, because she is more used to trail running and was more rested (I’d already run 12 miles this week), but I didn’t feel like I was ruining her day or anything. It was also nice to talk, though we eventually had to stop talking as we got more tired. I was also worried about the trail being muddy because it rained all week and I don’t have trail shoes, but I just wore my old running shoes and they held up well. My arches hurt a little, but my newer, thinner, shoes would have been awful in that mud, so I am glad I made that choice.

Of course, around mile 6 (we were almost done, we were practicing for a quarter marathon, which is just over 10K), she said something like “Be careful! Now that we are getting tired this is when people break ankles!” as we went to go down a hill. So, of course, being me and all (meaning clumsy), I fell down the hill. I am mostly fine – just two bruises and some barely-broke-the-skin scrapes, but it looked really bad because of all the mud and the fact that I didn’t clean it off until we finished running about half a mile later (we were so close to the parking lot, and I figured it would be more productive if I waited for it to stop bleeding).

We are going to go back tomorrow to practice again, and this time, I think I’ll take her advice and wear my leggings so as to avoid this. Warning: slightly bloody photo ahead.

My battlescar. Don’t worry, those are the shoes I brought to change into due to the mud, not something I’d wear for running!