“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Training Tuesday: 3 weeks remain

I haven't been doing the training updates the past few weeks for one reason or another.  It's time to come clean on all that's been going on and catch those who care up on where I'm at.

My flight to Washington for my climb is 3 weeks from yesterday.  My check-in with my climb team is 3 weeks from today.  OMG.  I think my heart just skipped a few beats.

A few weeks back, I started having pain in my feet the day after my long hikes.  I was completely calm as I discussed this fact with my trainer.   I freaked out.  It was around this same time that most of my workouts started to suffer.  I wasn't having fun at anything.  Related?  Probably.  I did the smart thing - I spoke in depth with my trainer about any and all symptoms that were going on and promptly added in extra rest days.  When adding one extra rest day didn't completely solve the issue, I scrapped the idea of a 5 hour and a 6 hour hike for the past two weeks respectively, substituting for something slightly less.  We also decided that I was going to "rest and take it easy" while I was visiting my in-laws in Texas this past weekend.

It's funny how much your perspective changes when you are near the peak of your training for a big event.  When you back off so much - you freak out about losing all your cardio fitness.  You complain about how little you are exercising.  Or is this just me???  Then, your husband (and your trainer) point out that you ARE actually still working out and that normal people don't run 3 miles for an easy day.  It's all about perspective.

This morning - I continued to freak out to Brandon.  Telling him how I was certain I was losing cardio fitness and this stupid mountain was going to kill all my hopes and dreams while also kicking a few puppies for good measure.  Okay, that's silly, mountains don't kick puppies, but you get the idea.  He reassured me that he wasn't worried about me or the climb, and we went through a checklist.  I'm probably just being paranoid, but that doesn't mean the mountain isn't actually out to get me.

So - what have I been doing since my last update through July 7th?

Week of July 8-July 14th
Monday:  Rest Day
Tuesday:  1 hour strength training,  Ran 3 miles (w/walk breaks making it a total of 4), hiked 1 hour (thunder ended the hike, but at least I had company)
Is it just me or does it look like Avery is flashing gang signs?
Wednesday:  Rest day - storms kept me away from the dam and trainer insisted I skip anything else
Thursday: 1 hour strength training, ran 6 miles easy, 30 mins Dam steps (40 lbs)(11x up and down)
What is so tough about this Mommy?
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday:  Dash for Donation 5K, Ran addition 3.5 miles easy
Sunday:  Machete Hike
At least she keeps me smiling when I'm beaten down!
Week of July 15-July 21st
Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: 1 hour strength training, omitted all other workouts to allow feet recovery
Wednesday:  Dam Intervals - 4 miles total.  10x the Dam
The sunrise was awesome enough to stop.
Thursday: 1 hour strength training, omitted all other workouts.
Friday:  Rest day
Saturday:  Ran 10 miles with the 9:45 min pace group
Photo Courtesy of Fleet Feet Columbus Facebook page
Sunday:  Hiked 3 hours at High Banks (pack started at 50 lbs, reduced to 47), Dam Steps with pack (40 lbs) 34 minutes. Quit due to heat/humidity
I'm sadly becoming immune to the pretty scenery at High Banks
Week of July 22nd-July 28th
Monday:  Rest Day
Tuesday:  Ran 5 miles easy.  Hiked 1 hour (40 lbs pack) rain interfered again
Rainy High 5!
Wednesday: Ran 6 miles (includes 10x dam with shorter recovery due to weather).  Flew to TX
Thursday:  Rest/leisure swimming
Friday:  Ran 3 miles easy/leisure swimming
Saturday:  Ran 8 miles/leisure swimming
And watermelon, don't forget the watermelon
Sunday:  Flew back to OH.  Dam steps 74 minutes (43 lb pack), 26x the steps

I am now ready to make the final big push before the mountain equivalent of tapering.  I am so OVER this stupid mountain.  I decided NOT to pace the 10 mile race this Sunday so that I could get in my extra long hike in that day instead.  I may brave Tar Hollow State Park again, anyone have a machete I can borrow?
I fell asleep a few lists ago.  Move it along Mommy.
How did I wind up doing on my Rainier training checklist????

Bullets of things to improve from last year's Humble Pie Post
  • Lose 10 lbs.  0/10 done.
  • Train with a heavier pack (Up to 50 lbs).  Done.  Kind of.  The first 45 minutes of my High Banks hike a week ago was with a 50.4 lb pack.  I dumped a water bottle weight at the break.
  • Start pack training earlier. Done.  
  • Longer sessions without a break.  Work to 2 hours consistently. Done.  Kind of.  My last few major hikes were in extreme heat and humidity and required more frequent breaks.
  • No Rest Step.  Done.
  • Interval training. Done.  I'm tempted to make these longer/tougher.
  • Asthma evaluation.  Done.  Upgraded my inhaler.  Allergies are killing me and I've lost my rescue inhaler.  Time to call the doctor.
  • Tougher, more specific strength training.  Done.  My trainer says we are officially in back down mode on the heavier weights though.  I only used 25 lbs today.
The big hole is the weight loss.  My trainer has told me to not stress about it, that the kind of training I'm doing isn't weight-loss promoting.  The amount of it makes it harder to make diet changes.  While I mostly agree with him, it's hard not to be frustrated.  Nonetheless, for my birthday, my dad ordered me a new soft shell pants layer TWO SIZES smaller than the ones I wore last year.

I was recently asked if I felt I was ready for the climb now that it is less than a month away.  Honestly?  No.  I need to work on the mental confidence aspect.  I am just flat not confident about climbing mountains.   A good friend told me today to think about it like the end of the race and to "trust my training."  I'm finding that incredibly hard to do after failing the first time, and without having a proven schedule to follow.

I promise never to sum up three weeks of training in one post EVER again. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Kingdom for A Machete

I've had great intentions of recapping my Logan Trail South Loop hike in Tar Hallow State park for over a week now.  (The hike was one week ago yesterday).  I'm guessing the horror of reliving the gnat-in-the-eye experience (even mentally) has been a huge stumbling block.

Just Parked.  I have no idea what is about to happen.  My hair is still dry.
I started my hike in Tar Hollow state park with a 3 mile drive towards the back of the park and the old fire tower.  I parked in a small parking area here near some truly disgusting port-a-potties and a sign for the backpack camping area.  I made use of the port-a-potties and made note of the extreme plethora of bugs present.  I had no idea what a foreshadowing that was.

I then loaded up.  I can't drive wearing my mountain boots, so first I had to put these on.  Based on my previous experience in this state park and another portion of the trail, I'd worn my capris, and I'd brought my gators.  So, once the boots were on, I added the gators and began making adjustments to my pack.  I loaded in the extra water bottles/weight into the back and the two water bottles on the sides.  My pack was supposed to be weighted to a whopping 48 lbs for this lovely experience.  I also got out my trekking poles. They're actually extremely useful on these single track trails.  I attached my compass to the outside of my pack and added the first aid kit back into the pack.
Gators are sexy.
Then, I snapped a before picture, crossed the street near the fire tower, and made sure to get a picture of the trail head.
Let's get this party started!
Of course, after I descended a hundred feet or so into the park, I realized that I'd forgotten my iPod.  A 5 hour hike without iPod is inhumane, I went back for it.  Then I was off! I tried to take a picture of the first uphill, but the gnat cloud and the humidity was so intense it's a blurry mess.
Can you tell gnats are already flying into my eyes?
The first big uphill was pretty intense.  The intensity was increased by the DOWNED trees in the way.  The first downed tree I came upon was little, but many branches.  The brush was pretty thick, so up and over was pretty much my only option.  (My Dad later pointed out that I could have turn around and quit, but this was still in the first hour, the thought never even crossed my mind.).   Trying to clamber over multiple tree limbs (even small ones) with a 48 lb pack is something I found rather difficult.  After a few steps, my balance failed and I fell to the ground.  Luckily, the uphill was pretty steep, so it wasn't that far and I didn't even bruise.  Winning?

I got to the top of this hill and began winding along the top of the ravine.  More downed trees.  One of them came at a point where the underbrush wasn't as thick and I was able to clamber all the way around the downed tree crown and back up to the trail.  Then, I came to this...
If you squint just right - you can pretend it's a glacier crevasse to climb over, right?
There wasn't really room to go around, but strangely, the largeness of these trunks made them easier to get over.  The hardest part was the way my pack threw off my balance.  I kept going down the path, my new audiobook was actually really interesting.  It was about 1.5 hours in, and hot, so I took my first break.  I'd screwed up and not bought more of my favorite Cadbury milk chocolate with almonds bars, so I was limited to apple rings and somersaults for this first stop.  And Gatorade.  Lots and lots of Gatorade.

I resumed my trek after 10 minutes of rest, and hit more downed trees.  Then, some more.
Post-downed tree scaling
I was exhausted and thirsty and had freaking gnats in my eyes.  I decided I deserved another break.  Yes, only 20 minutes had passed.  I texted my husband how I was taking my second break only 20 minutes after my first break and griped about climbing trees.  This break was shorter.  I ate a few bites and downed some Gatorade and got moving again.

This is where the real fun began.  The trail was pretty easy to follow because of the big red splashes of paint on the tree trunks.  You could also generally see where the trail was between the underbrush.  But, the thorny vines began to overtake the trail.  I'd been prepared with my legs wearing gators and capris, but I'd still worn short sleeves on top.  (idiot).  I tried to use my trekking poles to push the worst of it aside, but it still sucked.
Let's play find the trail.
Hint - it starts directly below my handing curl.
Somewhere around here - I started thinking about how wonderful it would be to have a machete with me.  The trail finally opened up for a dry creek bed and a road crossing...
Yay - no thorns.  And an easy creek crossing.
Please tell me the rest of this is more clear.
After a nice clear section climbing away from the creek bed, I got to cross a real creek....

Proof I can walk on water.
Then, more climbing...and more trees to clamber over.  I'm fairly certain I won't have any trees to climb over at Rainier, so I pretended I was climbing in and out of crevasses.
I look real happy about it too - eh?
And then - are you kidding me? - more thorny vine filled sections of the trail.  My kingdom for a machete!  So, I did the logical thing and took another break before I lost my mind.
Maybe I waited too long?
And that black thing above my mouth - a gnat.
After the first 1.5 hours on this trail, I wound up taking breaks on average, every 30-40 minutes.  I felt like I was out of shape and miserable.  My pack felt heavy, but I didn't think I could afford to dump water because I was so stinking hot that I would need it to drink.  (Good thing I didn't, I drank 3.5 of my 4 - 32 oz bottles of fluid).  I broke out of the vines for a section of the trail that shared space with a bridle trail (lots of mud and hoof prints) and power lines.  I was so thankful to escape the vines, and so hot, that I decided another break was in order.

My face says it all
At this point, I was well over 3 hours in, my feet hurt, I was hot, my arms were scratched up and I just wanted to be done.  I knew I was still several miles away from the end of the loop though and nothing for it, but to keep going.

I spent some time on this road/bridle trail before back into the trees, and straight downhill.  .  Of course, pictures just don't do it justice.  I tried to get the switch back here, but couldn't get both halves of the trail in one shot.  I crossed another stream at the bottom of the steep switchbacks.  Of course...what goes down...

The following uphill was so steep that I had to use what is known on the mountain as the "duck step" to get up it without using my hands.  I kept telling myself it was good practice, but I did stop to breathe a few times during the uphill.  I knew that this big uphill was one of the last parts of the hike (it was actually talked about in my book).  I regret that I was too focused on getting up it that I failed to take any pictures until I got to the next stream crossing.
What I'm thinking: I'm still alive, and there are no thorns right here.
The last part of the hike was trying to find the trail through a meadow of thick meadow grass and thorns.  I may have grumbled about machetes a few times again.  Then I broke through the trees, shambled over to my car and threw my pack down and guzzled fluid.  I decided to climb the fire tower to finish it off, but without my pack.
The steps were pretty steep and narrow - so no pack was a good call.
Did I fail to mention there was this warning and I felt the tower sway a bit at times?
End result?  Total hike time (including breaks) was over 5 hours, total elevation gained (and lost) was 3200 feet.  Total distance traveled was 9.12 miles.  I did not follow my original training plan design with respect to when I could take breaks, but I was smart and didn't get into heat trouble, so I'm okay with that. This hike was very good mental training.  I'm fairly certain there won't be thorny vines on Rainier.  
Good news is - I won't get scratched by the snow on Rainier, right?
It also won't be 90 degrees and humid.  Nor will I have to climb over fallen trees, nor constantly wipe dead gnats out of my eyes.  I will face a lot of things that will challenge me mentally on the mountain though, so a training hike that added mental challenge to the physical challenge is good for me.  I definitely want to know if I'm allowed to bring a machete if I go visit the Logan trail again though.

Have you ever longed for a machete during a workout? 

Anyone know about machete restrictions in state parks?

Anyone know a secret to keeping gnats out of your eyes?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dash For Donation 5K Recap

Race: Lifeline Ohio's Dash for Donation 5K
Distance:  3.1 miles
Date:  July 13, 2013, 8:30 am
Finish time:  28:40
What sets this race apart:  The Team Challenge and the stories

A friend of mine, Fred, that runs with my large running group received two life saving organs from a complete stranger in 2001.  Each year, he runs this 5K as a tribute to the donor and the donor family.  In recent years, he has participated as part of the Team Challenge for the event.  This year, our team, Team Superman, had 81 official members!  We ordered Superman tech t-shirts and went out to run the race in support of Fred and Rob (his donor). 
Me and Fred pre-race
During our pre-race team photo meet-up, Fred introduced the team to Rob's family that had come down for the event.  I admit I got a little teary eyed (believe it or not - I can be quite an emotional sap at times).  Below is the video we made during the meet-up to post on Lifeline Ohio's page.

After soliciting opinions from all of you, and with the hiking and mountain training taking it's toll, I'd decided that I was going to run this 5K for fun.  A no-stress kind of race.  My friend Sarah met me at my house to drive down together.  All week it had been rainy and humid, making the "fun" choice easier.  That morning, it was cool and dry as we drove to the race.  During warm-up, I briefly considered racing it, but mentally I had already committed to running for fun and I was enjoying the complete lack of stress.

We did manage to convince my friend Sarah that she should try for her sub-30 if she felt good.  My running wife and I agreed to pace her and distract her.  I could completely relate to her pre-race nerves, and tried to help keep her distracted and grounded as we watched the kid race, complete with mascots, and the 1K fun run/walk.  
Sarah, me, Laurie and Lynne enjoying the pre-race atmosphere
The first mile started with a generous downhill, so we got off to a quick start.  Once we finished the downhill, I urged us to settle in and tried to come up with some fun Avery stories neither of them had heard yet.  (I was running with my best friend and my running wife, this is tougher than it might seem!).  I got Lynne to tell some work stories too.  I think my favorite part during this first mile was when Sarah spoke in a full paragraph and I said "that was a whole paragraph, you can run faster."  HAHAHA!  And yes, she called me a colorful name.  :D

The second mile had both up and downhills as the course went around the Scioto mile area.  I told Sarah the "chugga-chugga" trick for getting up the hills, and I think everyone around us wanted to know who brought the crazy chick out to the race.  I think somewhere in this mile is where I took Sarah's handheld from her and carried it for her.  See - proof I can be nice too!  

The third mile was more of the same as we wound through downtown.  I talked Sarah into pushing up the hills and allowing herself to recover without overdoing the speed on the downhills.  She kept TALKING about calling me all kinds of names, but I think she talked about it more than she actually did it.  That's love right there.

As we got close enough to see the finish line, I picked an arbitrary point and told Sarah that we were sprinting when we got there.  Even though a sprint wasn't necessary to get her the sub-30 at this point (that's how amazing she was doing), I told her "let's set a PR that will be hard to break."  Maybe I should go into motivational speaking?  LOL.

Throughout the race - I tried to walk the line of making Sarah smile, but not laugh (so as to not make things harder).  I may have even called her ass cute at one point.  What did this mean for my race?  I had the MOST fun that I have EVER had at a 5K.  After Sarah rocked out the finish with a blistering sprint and KILLED her previous PR by almost 5 minutes, I was on an emotional cloud nine.  It was as though I had run some kind of crazy PR or something.  I smiled, laughed and was giddy about it the rest of the day.  I don't think I can truly share how incredibly happy I was for her.  I knew she could run a sub-30 5K, but to be at her side as she crossed the finished line in 28:40???  Perfect, just perfect.
We're SUPER!
After the finish, Sarah and Lynne hung out while I ran backwards on the course cheering on the rest of Team Superman to get in my extra 3 miles.  It was so much fun to cheer them, and somewhat emotional seeing the other teams and the photos of other donor heroes.

Even though I only ran 6.67 miles for the day, it's been one of my favorite running Saturdays all summer.  I mean, she KILLED it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Date Night, Old School

On Friday, my friend Deb sent me a text asking if Mark and I wanted a date night on Saturday.  Um.  Let me think...
Story time with Elmo is way more fun Mommy!
Saturday started early.  I had a fun morning running a 5K with a friend (a write up is coming soon!), and lots of time to think about what we would do for our Deb-granted date night.  So, what did we decide to do for our Saturday night date night?  We hung out at the mall.  Yeah, that's right.  The mall.  Remember when that was the highlight of your week???   Hanging out at the mall with friends, eating Cinnabon, spending money.  No?  Only me?

Mark and I have been talking about getting Avery a "big girl bed," after a couple of these incidents while he was in Ecuador gave me near-heart attacks.
What do you mean NO?
While we were on the subject of beds, I suggested that OUR bed could use some upgrading.  We still have the same Queen bed that we purchased 14 years ago when we first started living together.  I suggested we needed a King size one.  So, we toured the department stores looking at beds.

As we left the first Department Store, Macy's, a delightful aroma tantalized us both.  CINNABON.  We both mentioned how good that sounded and I suggested we share one.  I'm not sure the last time I had one of these things, but this one was delicious.  It was really hard NOT to steal Mark's share.
Why did I agree to share???
After our tasty treat we hit two more department stores, and stopped to have Mark's watch repaired.  (It needed some links out to fit his wrist).  Then, we decided dinner was in order.  Mark wanted to try the Mexican food place in the open-area part of our mall, and after some whining (because I had a long hike the next day, not because I dislike Mexican food), I agreed.

We both had margaritas - I had a pomegranate one.  The first change in the old school mall date.  Maybe it's just me, but all my previous mall days occurred before I was out of high school.
Adult mall days are infinitely better.
I got the Fajitas Tres for dinner.  Steak, chicken and shrimp wrapped in bacon for fajitas.  Yes, you read that right, shrimp wrapped in bacon.  One word.  Awesome.
Mmmm.  Bacon.  I did not put the shrimp in a fajita, they were perfect as they were.
On our way to dinner, I'd noticed a frozen yogurt shop in the mall and peeked at their topping options.  They had mochi.  While Mark was in Ecuador, I drove to three different nearby Frozen Yogurt places for the sole purpose of having mochi topping.  All three had "run out."  (Yet, when I went back a separate time, they were still out.  Liars.)  When I confirmed they still had Mochi,  I told Mark we were going there for dessert, and we did.
I will not share this one.
During dinner we actually talked about adult things.  It was kind of surreal.  We also decided to go back to Sears to get the mattresses we liked.  They will be delivered in a week.  YAY!

All in all, a very fun, yet simple, date night.  We did date night old school. We were also home by 9:30pm.  I know, we're such party animals!   I don't think my hike even suffered BECAUSE of date night, there was lots of suffering that had nothing to do with my eating habits from the night before, but that's a whole separate post.

When was the last time you spent a weekend night at the mall???

What is your favorite frozen yogurt topping?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Great Seal State Park Hike

Last Sunday, my long hike adventures brought me to Great Seal State Park.  It was a very wet and rainy day and if Sundays weren't my only option for long hikes, I might have been tempted to reschedule.  Of course, it's been raining for most of the month of July here, so I probably needed to just be grateful there was no lightening and go with it.  :)

The Great Seal State Park is about 1.5 hours drive from my house.  As has been my tradition since my long hike with Richard, I stopped at Tim Horton's for my pre-hike bagel, coffee and donut.  (A drive is always better with sugar and caffeine, right?)
But Mommy, how can I blow on your coffee if you don't drink it at home?
Unfortunately, when I got to the trail head listed in my hiking book, I saw a mailbox holding map signs, a picnic table and the trailhead.  NO BATHROOMS.  I immediately perused the map to locate the nearest bathrooms.  (because coffee and breakfast always help the GI tract move along, this was a necessity).  The bad news?  There were no bathrooms on my entire hike route.  There weren't even any bathrooms on this side of the state park.  I weighed my options.  One of the things I always carry with me for hikes is toilet paper.  I confess, I hiked down the path to the creek, hiked upstream a ways and found a safe and sheltered spot on the side to do my business.  No, I didn't take pictures of that, but I did get a shot of the trailhead.
Let's do this!
All the rain and moisture in the air caused problems with the focus on my iPhone camera, so a lot of my hike photos have a nice blurry character to them.  My plan for the hike was a 5 hour hike.  The guidebook recommending this hike said that this loop took 5-6.5 hours.  I'd bought a new audibook for the hike, and it was a fascinating one.  Perfect.  The hike started with a loop up Mt. Ives.
Pictures never do hills justice, especially when the rain makes them blurry.
The black things on the right edge are my trekking poles, I actually brought them this time.
I turned onto the Lick Run trail, the Grouse trail, the Shawnee Ridge trail and the Rocky knob trail along the way.  The state site describes the Mt. Ives trail as a strenuous trail that winds along Mt. Ives and provides several scenic vistas.  I saw a couple of trail runners in one of the stretches and had to pull aside to let them by (it was definitely a single track kind of trail).  It was kind of cool, they were definitely hardcore in my book!  After that, I didn't see anyone else until the very end of my hike back near the trailhead again.  (That's when I saw a couple of people on horses and some mountain bikers).
One of the wider sections of trail - maybe not so bad for running.  Lots of horse tracks too.
It's actually the start of a long hill, but it doesn't look that one in the photo.
I took my first break an hour and 45 minutes in at some nifty tree stumps that seemed set up for that purpose.  It was also immediately after a long upward climb, so I was ready.  I was also very thirsty.  The tree canopy kept the rain from really falling on me, but the humidity was ultra crazy. (It was also around 80*F).   It actually looked ghostly and foggy - and I had to snap some blurry photos.  (Note to self, next time, bring fancier camera).
I could come up with some great ghost stories to go with these...
The next section was a lot of up and downs, but no super long climbs, so I decided to go 2 additional hours before my next pack off break.  Unfortunately, I turned on a user path that looked like the actual path and got dumped out onto the road.  Part of the trail goes to the road, so I wandered up and down the road before deciding I'd definitely taken a wrong turn and worked my way back to the trail I was supposed to be on.  I stopped and took off my pack for my break.  That's when I noticed my cell phone was no longer in the side pocket.  Oh Chicken Feathers!  (my new favorite curse courtesy of watching Micky Mouse clubhouse with Avery).   The biggest issue with the missing phone was that I had told my husband that I would check in every couple of hours via text message because of how isolated the hike was.  No check in would be bad.
I left my pack at the main trail and dashed down the user trail.  I'd gotten tangled in brush several times on that trail and hoped that is where I'd lost the phone.  I may have been muttering a few prayers as well. Luckily, about 10 minutes down, I found it.  Double lucky - it hadn't landed in mud or water.  (There were plenty of both along the trail).
As an example of both...
After a break and a text to the husband, I continued for another half hour of hiking, and then I was back near the trailhead and my car.  Yikes.  I'd only hiked for 4 hours and 15 minutes at this point.  I felt that was too short of my intended 5 hours, so I decided to be hardcore and added the Mt. Ives loop again.  I looked over the map and had a good plan.  So good, that I decided I no longer needed to confirm direction at each lettered intersection.
An example of one of the lettered posts and a trail sign tacked to a tree.
One challenging navigational aspect of this park is that there are a zillion intersecting trails, both official and user made.  Unfortunately, given the isolated nature of the park and the ruggedness of the trails, both the official and the user trails all look the same.  Each official intersection is labeled with a letter that is clearly labeled on the trail map.  Most of the user trails are not labeled however.
One of the clearer trails
For most of the hike, I stopped at each intersection and confirmed my direction of travel before proceeding.  I got overconfident when I repeated this section though and simply made the turns without confirmation.

So, it finally happened.  The next letter was not the letter I was expecting to see.  Out came the map again.  That's right, I'd traveled the exact OPPOSITE direction of the direction back to my car.  I'd climbed an unnecessary hill, AND I was now at 5 hours hiking and probably still 20 minutes from my car.  My mental state deteriorated quickly. I texted my husband what had happened and triple checked my direction of travel on my compass before returning back the way I'd come.  I winced a little with each step because the bottoms of my feet were now rather sore too.  Amazing how different things can be from one second to the next when you through yourself a workout curve ball.
Ok.  Back on track.  Right?
Nonetheless, I made it back to my car safe and sound and only 20 minutes long on the 5 hour hike.  I'd gained 2142 feet in elevation, slogged through endless mud and water, made my own trailside bathroom twice and thrown my mental state for a loop several times.  (All good training for the mountain really).  I stopped at a fast food place on the way home to utilize the bathroom facilities and change my soaking wet clothes.  I also treated myself to a chicken sandwich and a chocolate milkshake.  Suddenly, I was all smiles again.  Amazing how little it takes to change my outlook.
My boots weren't necessarily all smiles...
I choose this hike form my book because it claimed to have 2000 feet in elevation gain.  It is billed as a good training hike for the Appalachian trail.  The forest was beautiful!  After the hike though, I realized, with all that climbing, I never really had any scenic views.  A chart in the front of my book has check marks for things the hikes are good for.  Views, dogs, nature, etc.  The Great Seal loop ONLY was marked as good for nature lovers.  I have to say then, that the Great Seal loop was as advertised!
One of the few open views along the way - that is NOT the trail behind me.
Next Sunday though - I think it's back to Tar Hollow State Park for a crack at the South Logan Trail loop (one I have not done yet) and hopefully some awesome views.

Do you ever throw yourself unexpected curveballs while training?  Have you ever experienced that sudden "everything sucks" mindset when it happens?

Do you have any pre-long workout routines?

Would you have gotten back in the car to drive another 10 miles to go the port-a-potties and driven the 10 miles back to the trailhead, or just made your own like I did?