Running up a mountain

I posted this on Facebook yesterday to one of my co-workers:

A while ago you suggested that I try running up Skinner Mountain to change up my running routine. I did it! I’m pretty sure I won’t be as excited tomorrow when I can’t sit down. — at J. A. Skinner State Park.

I totally threw my arms in the air, a la Rocky, when I reached the top. I may have even thrown a little fist pump out there. No one was watching, but frankly I don’t think I would have cared if there was a crowd of people.

I’m really bored with my typical running routes. The weather has been weird and cold even when the forecast calls for a sunny day in the 50s. I feel like I’ve worn out my welcome at the gym and although the treadmill and I have grown to tolerate each other I am so tired of looking at the same walls, same people, same TV screens and same digital display of the treadmill. So yesterday I decided to shake things up a bit. Work has been particularly trying lately thanks to one particular patient. I work on a locked psych unit so it takes me A LOT to say that my patience is being tried at work. I needed to release some tension so I made up my mind to run the mountain and I refused to think of anything else until I made it to the top.

I got out of my car, stretched out a bit and took off. I’m not quite ready for steep trail running so I played it safe and ran the paved road that circles the mountain up to the summit. Now we’re not talking the Rockies people. This is the western most peak in the Holyoke Range which is also part of the 100 mile Metacomet trail system. The mountain itself is actually called Mount Holyoke which is home to J.A. Skinner State Park. I have also heard it referred to as Skinner Mountain. It rises 935 feet which is roughly three quarters of a mile, but in taking the road my total distance up was 1.75 miles. I ran every bit of the way up without stopping. I pushed hard, my breathing was heavy, but my legs powered on. The road curves and the hills come sharper and steeper as you near the summit.

Like I said, this is not Kilimanjaro, but wow what a great workout. My legs were on fire by the time I reached the top, but that good on fire feeling that makes you feel strong and alive. I cooled down a bit while strolling around the summit enjoying the view of the Connecticut River valley.

My legs are definitely feeling it today, but again in a good way. I can still sit and even felt great during some speed training this morning. I can’t wait to do it again though. There is another similar mountain I am hoping to try soon. I love when I find new ways to infuse more fun and variety into my workouts.

I also came away from this experience with a new appreciation for my legs. Biz wrote a post about loving her ass (if you don’t read Biz you should because her post titles alone will make you smile!) this morning and she asked her readers to comment on which part of their body they are going to embrace today. I haven’t commented yet, but my answer is my legs. For most of my life I have hated my legs. I have thought really mean things about them. I have looked at them with disgust. I have cursed them and cried about them. Despite the weight I have lost, my legs are still large. They are not as large anymore. I can even admit that my hips have slimmed down a bit. Remember my body is a classic Anjou pear shape, small on top and very voluptuous on the bottom with the largest area being the butt, hips and thighs. Oh how I’ve loathed my lower half for so long.

Like Biz, my husband has always loved me and my body no matter what size. He is quite pleased with how I’m beginning to feel about my body though he doesn’t understand my feelings about my legs, bootie and hips. He quite likes them. After running that mountain yesterday I saw my legs in a new light. I appreciate more about them the more I accomplish through my fitness endeavors, but yesterday I was thankful for them. They are strong and powerful. They do not let me down. They have helped me move faster and achieve goals I never even knew I had. So today I am embracing my legs.

While Biz embraces her ass and I embrace my legs what body part will you be embracing today? (Biz I hope it’s ok if I stole your question?!)

7 thoughts on “Running up a mountain

  1. Steal away – loved every word of this post and thanks for the shout out. But you know what my favorite line of this whole post was?

    “but that good on fire feeling that makes you feel strong and alive.” I am going to use that mantra when I don’t want to work out – thanks Aimee! 😀

  2. Awesome! That is quite an incline!! I can’t imagine. For someone like me who rarely sees over 200 feet of elevation change over the course of several miles, it might as well be Kilimanjaro!! Be careful doing speedwork the next day though, could set yourself up for injury if you don’t recover enough with easy runs after something tough. You know your body, but that would be my suggestion. Love that you’re loving your legs — I’ve been happier with my abs than usual lately, it’s just nice to have good feelings about your body. I’d love to have a 6-pack or something, but right now, I’m just happy to feel like I like more of my general shape there.

    • Thank you for the suggestion Carina. I am still learning the best way to train so I welcome any advice. I did consider not doing my speed work and I actually opted for a shorter, less challenging workout than usual to give my legs a bit of a break. I hope your training is going well.

  3. Hi Aimee! Well, I used to not like what a big bone structure I have (and for people who don’t know this, some of us women indeed have large bone structures giving us extra broad shoulders that cause lots of problems finding shirts that fit size-wise and shoulder-wise at the same time) and then I realized that I can be stronger than most women because I carry more muscle across my chest and wide shoulders.

    We tend to rate our bodies regarding looks, not function. But if our function was gone, we’d not be so happy. We love our function! Your legs are powerful. I’m thinking that you’re learning to love your power, Aimee.

    You have a Tinkerbell figure. No one else is bothered by that but you. I see lots of very attractive women with that type of figure. FLOTUS has a Tinkerbell figure.

    That hill is scary and fascinating at the same time. It reminds me of the steep hills I walked in Pittsburgh with a multiplier or exponent attached.

    🙂 Marion

    • Oh Marion I love that you call my figure a Tinkerbell figure. That is much more flattering than a pear! I am learning to love how powerful my body has become. I’m so glad I’m growing to appreciate my body for more than aesthetics. Our bodies are amazing and worthy of being treated with care.

  4. Hi Aimee…I had “saved” this post for “later” as I read it on my iPhone and didn’t have time to comment at that moment…of course then I proceeded to forget that I had saved it 🙂
    Thankfully I came across it again today.
    What an accomplishment…running up the entire mountain…WOW…you are amazing 🙂
    And in regards to how you look…when I ran into you at work the other morning I was shocked…maybe it’s because I haven’t seen you in a while but girl you look GREAT!! I think maybe you are seeing your old self because you look skinny (healthy skinny!!) You should feel SO PROUD of yourself…you are continually an inspiration to me…of course I think I would be even more inspired if I saw you more often. Congratulations on all your hard work…

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