Adventures in Hiking: Saint Edward State Park

This morning I woke up feeling kinda blah, so I immediately set some goals to work on in order to make the day interesting.

My training went well. My trainer put me on the Woodway Treadmill and hiked the speed up to 3.2 mph. After a minute she noticed I couldn’t keep up (I believe she compared me to a small dog who had to run fast every few paces to keep up with her owner) and lowered the speed to 3.0 mph. A small reprieve. After a few minutes she asked, “You ready?”, and I should’ve known that she would make me run, as the incline was at zero. She bumped the speed up to 5.6 mph and off I went. I’m kinda sorta maybe working on being able to run a 5K (instead of merely walking with occasional bursts of running), so I’m happy for any opportunity to practice.

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Just LOOK at all them spikes! Afterwards, we did some “floor work” which consisted of some core exercises, including planks. I mentioned that I wanted to eventually get to one full minute. Maybe it was a good thing, but I didn’t try to keep mental count when I started and let her time it. When I fell onto the floor again, she commended me for getting up to 49.35 seconds. A personal best! I’d say that hour met all the qualifications for achieving Goal #1. I’m pretty sure I crushed it.

discovery_passOn the way home from the gym I stopped by a local shop to pick up a Washington State Parks pass, called a Discover Pass. Goal #3, achieved! I purchased it so I could scope out a local state park – Saint Edward State Park – that’s within walking distance of my house. 2.4 miles, to be exact. A little too distant to walk when I’d like to make an afternoon of hiking onsite, but I’ll work up to it eventually!

After lunch I laced up my dusty old hiking boots, packed up a backpack and my Boston Terrier, Benny, and we took a short drive to the park. The weather was perfect. 50 degrees Fahrenheit (on the cool side), but just as sunny as could be. The park is the site of a defunct Catholic seminary and Bastyr University. It’s 316-acres of both manicured grounds and wild forest butting up to the north-east coast of Lake Washington. I familiarized myself with the trail map available onsite and decided to take the Seminary Trail down to the waterfront.

The trail down was gorgeous. I started crossing the grassy grounds of the seminary into a wide, well-maintained (though occasionally muddy) forest canopy-shaded trail, heading about a mile down to a private shore on Lake Washington, accessible only by the park’s trail system. I spent about ten minutes just watching the water, feeling so happy I had ventured down. I’d been to the park a few times before but never got up the nerve to try one of the unpaved trails. I had no idea it was so beautiful and afforded such a pleasantly-peaceful experience.

I knew there were several loops available in the trail system, so decided to find one instead of double-backing on the trail I came up. After making a wrong turn that put me on some very wild trail for about an eighth of a mile, I doubled-back and found two offshoots. One marked as “More Difficult”, and the other marked as “Most Difficult”. As the trail I began on was designated as “More Difficult”, I figured I’d have an okay time with the former. The problem is that the trail, if I had remembered from the MAP, was marked as “Most Difficult” in spots. Awesome! But I was committed by the time I figured out that the path was more challenging, and Benny was a slave-driver an enormous help in getting me up the steep and scary path.

By the time we got back to the car I was well and truly DONE with the hike. It was a little over 2 miles round trip, and that was a perfect length for me considering the elevation gains and difficulty. I decided to give the RunKeeper app a try instead of my normal tracker, Digifit. I was excited to see the option to take photos during the walk, but afterwards found out that my heartrate monitor’s signal dropped early on. Not sure if my HRM’s battery is just wonky or if taking photos makes the signal drop (like it does with Digifit). I’m sure I’ll get around to featuring them both in a future “Appsperience” post, so I’ll troubleshoot that further before making any pronouncements. RunKeeper sure is prettier than Digifit, from someone interested in design elements. I digress…

So Goal #4 can be officially put to bed at this point. And a quick check of my Fitbit confirms that Goal #2 has been smashed as well, as I’m up to over 13,000 steps! My steps will likely be increasing over the next few weeks, as today I was informed that the head honchos of the 20/20 Lifestyles program talked about me during their “grand rounds” meeting yesterday and requested I push my daily step counts up from 5000 steps to 10000 steps (and that’s, ideally, above and beyond any I get during my “official” workouts). For an extra challenge, I guess. Because 5000 steps is too easy for me now, I GUESS. It’s a tall order, but I’m up for at least giving it a shot.

And with this post, I’ve completed Goal #5! I’ve made the most of my day and I’m mighty proud. Now to feed myself plenty, as I blogged right through my snack – whoops!

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Video Update: My First 5K!!! And, a Career Epiphany?

In this installment I gush about my first 5K fun run experience, and delve rather deeply into some career-trajectory thoughts. Have I found my calling?

For those who don’t want to watch right now, but are curious none the less, you’ll find my written comments below.

 

A lot of exciting things have been happening lately, and I highlight a few of them in the video above. These include MY VERY FIRST 5K FUN RUN! This is a big deal for me. A few weeks ago my trainer mentioned the possibility of the two of us participating in the event (the 3rd annual Kirkland Shamrock Run) together, but she had to work and wasn’t going to be able to make it. I wasn’t in the mood to let that stop me, so I gently persuaded my boyfriend to register with me instead.

My plan was to walk most of it, but to jog whenever I could. A few weekends ago I took a 3.2-mile walk which included brief bursts of speed, and my mile-time was approximately 17min:45sec, so I set a conservative goal of getting below 18:00 for this. The route is known to be hilly for the majority of the way (though fortunately it was all at the beginning, giving some reprieve towards the end), so I didn’t want to push my goal into impossible territory.

Finishing results, my first bib, and a smiley post-race selfie with the boyfriend.

Finishing results, my first bib, and a smiley post-race selfie with the boyfriend.

The weather was PERFECT for my first event. It was a bit chilly, and it started to lightly drizzle for a few moments, but I’m very happy I didn’t pick a hot summer day to try jogging on the asphalt for five kilometers! I have, like, zero articles of running-appropriate clothing, and sported a fleece-lined jacket at the beginning of the race. When I finally heated up, my awesome boyfriend was willing to hold it for me until we neared the finish.

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I found the above two photos of me finishing online amongst thousands of others!

Not only was the boyfriend a helpful valet for my things, but he was the official pace-keeper, and he kept me aware of how my mile-time was averaging. I think the worst part of the whole thing was I started to feel pain in my right hip area that prevented me from running as long as I wanted to. For the rest of the day it was sore, but today it’s much better. 

I finished in time to blow my goal time outta the water, at an official pace of 17:07, and a finish time of 53:04. 9th in my age bracket, lol!

The imperfect Digifit app results. Thinking of using RunKeeper next time, but hadn't tested it prior.

The imperfect Digifit app results. Thinking of using RunKeeper next time, but hadn’t tested it prior.

Afterwards, we stumbled into the nearby neighborhood Irish pub for post-race festivities (including a performance by the Eastside Firefights Pipes and Drums band), where the boyfriend enjoyed a Guinness and I recorded an Instagram video of the band. As you can see from the selfie above, I was very, very happy. I wasn’t prepared for the fun to end, in fact. I wanted to walk/run some more! When’s the next 5K?!? My boyfriend joked that there was a 4-mile run the following day, and I half considered it!

The other thing I find myself excited about has to do with some career thoughts I’ve been having. I left my position as a Project Manager for a medical training company almost a year ago to work on my issues with depression, anxiety, and (later, once I was feeling better) to kickstart my weight loss/lifestyle change. I don’t intend to be living this life of leisure forever, however, so I’ve been starting to put some thought into what it is I wanna DO with my life. I wasn’t happy in my last position, and frankly I haven’t truly enjoyed what I do for a living in a long, long time. And this seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect and ponder and put energy into pursuing a new path.

It’s been difficult. I have interests and proficiencies, but it hasn’t necessarily felt like I wanted to turn those into a career. I love web stuff, and graphic design, but the idea of doing it for a living seems like it wouldn’t be so fun (plus I don’t think I have the artistic chops to pursue it). I am attracted to audio and production- I even went to school back in the mid-90’s and finished a certificate program in audio engineering to work in post production for television and film, but my career never progressed past the stage of assistant, and I ended up being pushed into administrative roles. I excelled in them, and that’s how I worked up to project management, but it wasn’t what I ever dreamed of doing.

I’ve thought about medical imaging, psychology, audio production and editing, UI/UX, psychology, writing, psychology… wait. Are you seeing a trend? For many many years, the thought of becoming a counselor, or involved in the field of psychology has been of interest. Yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany when I was contemplating potential careers. What am I currently MOST passionate about? The lifestyle changes I’m working on to lose weight and learn to live a happy, healthy life. And I feel drawn to talk about my experiences here on this blog, with other weight loss bloggers, and really, to anyone who will listen. I love hearing people’s stories, and I try to absorb as much information on the topic of weight-related health, fitness, and behavioral research.

And of course I’ve had experience with counseling (on the receiving side) since I was a kid. Experiences both good and bad, to be frank, but I find it oddly compelling as a career choice. So I just started thinking that: how awesome would it be to turn this passion for helping myself into a career in helping others work through their own unique issues by providing support and behavioral/emotional resources!?! I start with what I’m closest to, and that’s the 20/20 Lifestyles program, and the counselor I’m working with there. I would love to provide the service she’s providing to me. And a casual web search illuminated other avenues for trained professionals to provide similar support, and I just got really, really energized.

I believe so strongly, with every fiber of my being, that successful, permanent weight management is not possible through diet and exercise alone: one needs to have the behaviors and mental tools to override our human instinct to eat fatty, junky foods and be comfortable (as in, not feeling the temporary pain of exercise). So many of us DON’T have these tools, and I want very much to be a provider in that way.

Of course this will likely involve schooling (I never finished my Bachelor’s, and most positions in the counseling field require at least a Master’s completion), and more critically, the finances and time for schooling, and that’s all really overwhelming to think about. But I’m going to take a careful, measured approach to this, talk to some people I know about the possibilities, and see what makes sense. It’s been so long since I’ve felt like something could be SO RIGHT for me, and I don’t want to chicken out because it feels like it might be too much.

*Whew*, that was a long post! Thanks so much for reading!