I’m happy to report I stayed pretty active this week, only slacking off one day. I did plan for a rest day, but I took one extra when a happy hour I went to went late and the evening run I had planned fell to the wayside.

Monday: 3.13 miles on the treadmill
Tuesday: Barre class at Pure Barre Rockville
Wednesday: 4 miles on the treadmill
Thursday: Unplanned rest day
Friday: Planned rest day
Saturday: 5.4 mile hike in the Shenandoah’s
Sunday: 5.2 mile run on Capitol Crescent Trail

Monday’s 5K on the treadmill was dreadful – I couldn’t figure out how to work the incline so I ran “uphill” the whole time, and it was so stuffy and I just mentally wasn’t there for it. When I was done, I was glad I had fought through but was so glad it was over.

Tuesday’s Barre class – ah, civilization! It’s not that the city of Tyler, TX didn’t have gyms with group fitness classes – it’s that the ones that did were out of my price range, like these very nice boutique gyms and then the rest of us plebes were stuck with Anytime Fitness. It had two yoga studios, which I used a few times, but one Pilates studio that was outrageously expensive and no one I talked to knew what Barre was. I had tried it in Dallas and fell in love, and now that I’m back in a metro area that is obsessed with Barre, I’m so happy to be able to take classes again! Kat’s class kicked my ass in the best way possible. Also, I don’t own more than one pair of running tights, so I wore legwarmers to class and felt very ballerina.

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I’d really like to be able to do March’s Pure Madness challenge of 20 Pure Barre classes in 31 days but a) I don’t think I can quite afford it even with the new student intro month and b) I am not sure yet my long-term work schedule so I don’t know which studio would make more sense to sign up at. Hopefully I’ll know before March 1 and maybe scrape together the pennies to sign up for that unlimited intro month.

Wednesday I was obviously feeling that glorious soreness from the day before’s class but I set out for a (very) late night 4 mile treadmill run. The one upside of being locked in to an Anytime Fitness membership for another year is the one upside to Anytime Fitness in general – as a night owl, midnight treadmill runs and I are no strangers to each other. It was icy and icky out a lot this past week so I wimped out of layering up and facing the cold and stuck with the treadmill instead. It’s not ideal for training for a race as hilly as Rock ‘n’ Roll DC, but it’s something.

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Thursday was the day I met up for Happy Hour with an old friend and we ended up catching up for like 2 1/2 hours, long after Happy Hour specials had ended. All I’d had to drink was one glass of wine but my Southwest-style nachos had been a bad choice as far as getting me to run later. I felt heavy and sleepy by the time I got home and consoled myself at least with the knowledge that the wine had been red and therefore still good for my heart health.

Friday was the day I’d planned to rest, with a couple of job interviews to power through. Normally I’d like to go back to the old yoga studio I used to frequent with my friend Sam which has $5 classes on Friday’s, but it wasn’t in the cards schedule-wise for Friday and I was planning an early morning hike for Saturday so my late night run was out of the question.

I did, however, on Friday, go to another Happy Hour with two friends and one of those friends’ coworkers, and as the running community is wont to do, I ended up deep in conversation with another girl there who was trying to get back into running more than a couple of miles at a time. I told her I was planning my long run for Sunday and that I was running RNR DC and she got very excited, as she’d wanted to do the race but didn’t think she could be ready in time. We compared our paces and our running habits and decided what the heck! Let’s run together! So we exchanged numbers, agreed on a meeting place, and plans were set.

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While Tuesday’s barre class, today’s run, and Friday’s discovery of a new running buddy were all highlights, the week’s biggest highlight was definitely Saturday’s hike. One of the things I missed the most while living in east Texas was the abundance of mountains and protected parks on the east coast. Texas is beautiful but almost all of the land is privatized – the Austin area is great for outdoorsy types but that was 3 1/2 hours from me, not exactly an easy weekend activity. Here, on the other hand, I lose track of all the many mountains, trails, and parks that are within an hour to an hour and a half’s drive from me. The opportunities to just go for a hike or an easy nature walk are so numerous it will make your head spin. It’s one of the reasons I don’t think life in the middle of the country is for me long-term – too far from a beach, and too far from the mountains = not in my life plan.

Pictured above is my wonderful dog, Gypsy Rose. Now, Gypsy is a Texas dog through and through – she is used to, like many dogs in Texas, being given a little too much freedom to roam. (Stray dogs wandering along with no collar and no clear indication that they lived nearby was a near daily occurrence for me in Texas.) Her foster home had a big yard but no fence, and I’m not sure what her living situation was quite like before her foster home but the reason her foster mom couldn’t keep her long term was because Gypsy didn’t believe in stopping at the property line like her foster’s other dogs and her foster mom didn’t have the ability to keep her both a) safe and b) entertained with all that young energy. Gypsy is also, as is the Texas way, beyond friendly and has that country life carefree “what’s there to worry about?” attitude about life. She IS joy.

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So when we got to a big forest, the Shenandoah National Park, and parked at the entrance to Bear Bottom Loop on Allen’s Mountain, with no cars, no new mechanical contraptions my country dog has been introduced to just in the last few weeks (automatic garage doors, automatic sliding doors, etc), no other people, no roads, just a trail and a lot of trees… and I let her run ahead instead of holding her back on the leash… you’ve never seen a happier dog.

Before having a dog like Gypsy I never in a million years would have let my dog roam around SNP unleashed, and I’m sort of torn about talking about how happy she was because I don’t like to encourage other people to let their dogs off leash in an unfenced area. But (I’m making excuses, I know) I only trust Gypsy because a) we had about 8 months to practice having a huge expanse of land out front of my old office on the Ranch for her to run around in and eventually come back to me knowing I had the food and the dog bed at home, b) she seems to have this innate sense of needing the trail to follow so even if she runs up a hill to crash through leaves she’s like Hansel and Gretel and always returns to following the trail (she has no idea what to do if we walk on the side of a road with no sidewalk), and c) she adores me – she is extremely bonded to me. She has very little separation anxiety – just enough that it only happens when she’s in a new place she’s never been before, like the first time I left her home at our new home while I went out and not since. This also means when we’re on a trail she’s never been before, she might run off to investigate a sniff, but it’s not long before she wants to make sure she’s by my side again.

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Who needs to buy a purebred 8 week old puppy when you can adopt a 10 month old dog this perfect and gorgeous?! (I’d actually wanted an older dog but Gypsy picked me – senior dogs rock though and I plan to adopt one one day.)

Anyway, enough about our perfect day enjoying the 60+ degree weather in the mountains of Virginia, no big deal.

Today I was planning to run 8 miles. I had looked at the hourly forecast before today and the rain was supposed to wait until 3 to start, so my new running buddy and I got started around 11. We were barely a mile in before the rain started to pour. Nooo! I hadn’t brought a rain jacket nor a hat/visor and I was soaked in minutes. We decided to power through in case it was just a fake out shower and at first it seemed that way – the rain tapered off into a drizzle until mile 2, when it really decided to come down again. At mile 2.6 we were soaked and shivering and decided to make the turn around a mile and a half early. Again the rain played “will I or won’t I?” the entire way back, but when we finished with 5.2 miles in the bank, I decided not to be too worried I didn’t get my total long run in.

Jess and I made plans to check in with each other later in the week about a possible second attempt next weekend and in the meantime I’m gonna try for 7.5 miles on Wednesday and then 10 this weekend in anticipation of RNR DC.

Just gotta make sure to check that hourly forecast a little bit closer to when I’m planning to run this time. 😉

How was your week of training? What are you training for?