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When is a 10K not a 10K?

When it’s a 6.7 mile run! Sorry – no smart runner jokes here.

Saturday was the Park City Trail Series 10K held at the trail system in Round Valley. After my horrible 5K race (going out too fast, feeling like crap at the end), I decided to be more sensible about this race.  Keep a steady pace. Don’t push too hard (long run on Sunday). And enjoy it all the way through.

I started out the day with some sensible pre-race fueling (missed that out for the 5K) – wholewheat toast with Trader Joe’s Cookie butter. J was running this race (he came 6th overall), so we headed up to Park City a little before 7 and arrived in plenty of time to pick up our bibs, use the restroom and do a quick warm-up. The weather was perfect – high 50s and sunny. Right before the race started it was announced we’d get to run some bonus mileage. Whatever. I figured most of my races are a little over the listed distance. In fact, last year this race was 6.1 miles according to my Garmin.

8AM rolled around and we were off. The first part of the course was identical to the 5K but with added hills. I decided to go out at what I would describe as a mildly uncomfortable pace. I knew I could push harder but had to remind myself that I needed to run 14(!) miles the next morning and that was enough to reign me in.

I also knew that there was a pretty burly hill in the second half of the race. It was broken up by some switchbacks but was about 200ft of climbing in one go.

  1. 7.42 min/mil  87 ft up/11 ft down
  2. 8.25 min/mile 163 ft up
  3. 8.00 min/mile 111 ft down
  4. 8.11 min/mil 85 ft up/77 ft down
  5. 8.43 min/mile 125 ft up/25 ft down
  6. 7.26 min/mile 111 ft down
  7. 7.37 min/mile 124 ft down

Total: 6.7 miles – 54.01  – 8.03 min/mile – elevation gain/loss

So I guess I have a new 6.7 mile PR! Woohoo!

I actually really enjoyed this race. My focus was on keeping a consistent effort (pace varied with the hills) but I felt good at the finish. I felt I could have pushed harder but that’s not what this race was about. I’ve been trying hard to keep consistent pacing in my workouts. I feel that this is something you have to learn. Ideally, I would like to be able to accurately judge my pace by my effort, so I don’t have to obsessively look at my Garmin every two minutes.

We waited around for the awards. J placed second in his age group and won a really cool water/and or wine holder for backpacking/traveling. I didn’t place – 4th in my age group and 10th woman overall. But I did snag a matching water bottle in the raffle.

We also got some free race photos.

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Downhills! And a little bit of muscle definition. FYI the guy behind me passed me out a little after this but then had to stop to puke at the top of the final hill. I think I saw him do the exact same thing in the 5K.

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This is me just about to pass out my 18 year old neighbor. Salt Lake City is such a small place that if you go to any event you will invariably bump into someone you know.

I checked the online results when I got home and was surprised to see that I had been bumped up a place in the overall standings and in my age group. I emailed the race organizer as I was planning on volunteering for the 15K next month and found out that a guy had run using his wife’s bib and had been DQed! So another placing – 3rd in my age group!

The rest of the day was spent running errands and catching up with my parents over Skype to wish my Dad a happy 60th birthday. And a fusion yoga class – an hour long class half core work and half restore. Perfect.

Sunday was long run day. And it was epic for me. My longest run ever both in distance (14 miles) and time (a little over two hours). And my first 2 Gu run. I’ve approached my marathon training with the idea that long runs should be done on tired legs so that you train for the latter portion of the race.

I’m not going to lie, this was hard. It started out OK but by mile 9 I was starting to feel the effects of the race and the heat (it had just hit 80F by the end and I was running in the sun). I had to bargain myself into finishing the final mile. And when I was finished I was the sweatiest I had ever been in my entire life. I stood in the kitchen gulping down chocolate milk, two pints of water and some Nuun while a puddle of sweat pooled at my feet. It was pretty gross.

But afterwards I felt OK. No major pain  – just a little muscle tiredness. And my pace was pretty consistent throughout – about 8.50 min/mile average. Although, I think I’ll try and slow it down a little in the future. I know that you should run your long runs slower than your goal race pace but how much slower should that be? 30s-60s-90s per mile?

Sunday turned into baking day. I finally made a pie with the bag of cherries we got in our CSA. I think I’ve finally figured out how to make a good pie – I’ve had a couple of disasters.

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Then cornbread for dinner and chocolate chip scones for breakfast.

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And boy was I glad that Monday was a rest day. 33.15 miles for the week.

 

 

Review, preview and blogging disaster

Finally it’s Friday! This week has dragged along. I blame you – fun-filled three day weekend. And it was a struggle to get going but I made it through all of my prescribed (by Dr Hal) workouts.

Mon: Yoga

Tuesday: 3.9 mile at 8.57 min/mile pace

Wednesday: 5.55 mile progression-ish run 8:17/8:19/8:02/7.23/7.26  + half mile cool down + evening yoga

Thursday: 3 mile trail run at 9.48 min/mile pace + 300 ft elevation

Friday: Rest!

This week has been pretty easy because tomorrow I am racing! It’s the second race (a 10K) in the Park City Trail series. And it’s the first race where I have a time to beat. Gulp. I ran this race in 49.38 last year and really enjoyed it. This year, who knows? I feel like I’m a stronger runner and I’ve been logging a lot more trail miles this summer so we’ll see. I’d like to go faster but I have my first ever 14 mile long run scheduled for Sunday morning so we’ll see. No pressure, ha!

I was talking about times with my trail running buddy yesterday (she’s really a mountain biker at heart) and she mentioned how runners get too caught up with our PRs. Every race is different. The weather, how you are feeling on that day, who you’re racing against. Sure, I like to give my all when I race but I don’t want to beat myself up if I run slower than I’d like. Perspective is important.

And the disaster – my iPhone charger has died. Maybe someday Apple will make a charger that lasts as long as the phone/MacBook/iPod. I don’t know if I’m really unlucky or really incompetent but every charger I’ve ever gotten from those guys has been amazingly crappy. Off to Amazon/eBay I go.

Have a great weekend!

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Great Basin National Park

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I’ve finally caught up with everything after our camping trip. Although, it did end with an unexpected trip to Costco to get our tire patched after discovering a flat in the middle-of-nowhere Nevada. Lucky, J was a boy scout and had an air compressor in the car that saved the day. Bonus: Costco pizza for dinner.

This weekend we were at Great Basin National Park in Nevada – one of the least visited National Parks in the US. We left a little after lunchtime on Thursday, and arrived in time to grab a site in the fourth (!) camp are we tried.

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View from camp.

Great Basin is known for its great star-gazing, so after dinner we headed to a Ranger talk and some telescope viewing. It was super cool (but I am a science nerd). We saw craters on the moon, Mars, Saturn and a couple of galaxies. Plus, I finally figure out what the Big Dipper looks like, and we saw the Milky Way.

On Friday we had reservations for a 9AM tour of the Lehman Caves. You can only visit these caves as part of a ranger-guided tours and they are super cool (literally – it was 50 F down there).

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In the afternoon, we drove the scenic road up to the base of Wheeler Peak (second highest peak in Nevada). We hiked a loop to a couple of alpine lakes, and then up to a glacier (yes – in Nevada!) followed by a bristlecone pine area which had trees over 3000 years old. Perfect weather and great hiking (about 1500 ft total over 6 miles).

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Lake number one.

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Lake number two. That peak in the middle of the photo is Wheeler Peak – and our destination for Saturday morning.

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We even had to hike across a couple of feet of snow.

When we car camp we always bring our Dutch ovens. Dinner on the bottom – roast chicken and vegetables – and dessert on top – brownies.

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I also decided that I’ll have to comeback in winter to bring this home as our Christmas tree.

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Saturday was an early (5.15 AM) start. We wanted to hike up Wheeler Peak (13077 ft) and the weather forecast called for late morning thunderstorms. We began hiking a little after 6.40 AM and made it to the top by 8.45 AM. 2900 ft in a little over four miles. The last 1.5 miles were tough – small, steep and rocky switchbacks. The view from the top was pretty cool.

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They even had a little walled area on the summit for protection from the wind. And a mailbox where you could sign in.

We celebrated our hike (a little over 4.5 hours total) with some ice cream and a campfire nap (for me). Later in the afternoon I did a short (3.65 mile) run around our camp to figure out our Sunday morning trail run. Man, it was so hilly – 674 ft elevation change. But afterwards I got to try out our latest purchase ($10 on Amazon) and totally amazing.

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The next morning, J and I decided to go on a trail run. After our hike up Wheeler Peak and my run around camp this was not the smartest idea I’ve ever had. I managed to run the first mile (in 13.45 mins) and then it got seriously hard. I wanted to stop and had to have a serious talk with myself to keep going. My legs felt the heaviest they’ve ever been. The first 3.5 miles gained 1900 ft, and I had to walk for a lot of miles 2 and 3 (average pace 17-18 minutes). But I kept thinking to myself – this is probably how I’ll feel at the end of my marathon so it’s good to get the practice in now. Ha!

We finally reached the top (following along Baker Creek), and emerged into some beautiful (and flat) meadows. We saw three people at the very start but basically had the woods to ourselves. Then the downhill began – and it was steep. But running in this park (after finishing with all the climbing) was exhilarating! 6.35 miles in a little under 90 minutes. My slowest run ever but one of my favorites. And I managed to remain upright for the whole run (with only three close calls).

We got back to camp and rinsed off with our camp shower before packing up and discovering our flat tire. But we made it back to SLC in one piece except for our burnt out quads!

Anyone else encounter snow this weekend? Hardest hike/trail run you’ve ever done?

Happy 4th of July!

I know I’m a little early. But in one hour’s time I will be leaving work for a much needed camping trip. And a three day weekend!

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I plan on hiking to some mountains and lakes. And hopefully getting some trail running in too.

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And visiting these awesome caves. Apparently, there’s more to Nevada than Las Vegas.

I do have to mention that after 4.5 years in Utah I finally had my first snake encounter. I met my friend A for an early morning trail run near our work. We had literally been running for 30 seconds when I saw a snake on the left side of the trail. I immediately shrieked and freaked out but A was totally calm and started running right past it. So I followed – and that was it. No rattle. No biting. No attack. And luckily for me no more snakes on the trail.

And what a beast of a trail. I’m currently training for my October marathon but have a couple of trail races in between. Plus mixing it up is key for me to keep my running fun. But 813 ft of elevation change over 5 miles – with 434 ft in mile two. Great workout – 9.49 min/mile pace – and no pain.

Now I’m ready for camping and beer.

Have a great 4th of July holiday!

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Check-in and check-up

Can you believe that I’m a quarter way through my marathon training plan? 4.5 weeks done. And so far so good. Although it looks like sh*t is going to get real in the next couple of weeks.

Saturday started with a 6 mile pace run. What I learned from this is that I am a terrible judge of my own pace and that I can’t math. Somehow I figured my first mile was 8.15 (I was aiming for around 8-8.05 min/mile) (Spoiler: my first mile was actually 7.12 min) so I decided I needed to pick up the pace a little for the next two miles (7.35 and 7.27). That’s when I figured I needed to slow the hell down. My last three miles were at a more reasonable pace (7.46, 7.53 and 8.06). D’oh! I definitely need to work on even splits. Overall 6.15 miles at 7.41 min/mile average – and a great way to ensure some tired legs for my long run on Sunday.

Breakfast turned into a berry fest – raspberries and Greek yogurt, strawberry/banana smoothie and blueberry scones.

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We had plans to bike downtown to the Utah Arts festival in the evening so we fueled up on grilled cheese and roasted broccoli pasta salad.

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The festival was by the City and County building. And you got $2 if you rode your bike and left it with the bike valet.

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We checked out some bands, drank some beer, ate some ice cream and browsed the artists’ booth. We also saw a really cool performance by the local ballet company.

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Afterwards we decided to hit up a local bar. That’s two Saturday bar trips in a row. I was telling J that we are now party animals. Party animals that are home by 9.30 PM!

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Then a quick bike trip home (and uphill) to catch up with Game of Thrones.

Sunday was my scheduled long run: 12 miles. I have only ran this distance twice before in training, and it kinda felt like the first real long run of marathon training. My plan was to start slow and finish strong. And it felt pretty good. I took a Gu at mile 6 and by the end felt like I could have kept going for even longer. Plus my miles 8-11 were all in the 8.25-8.35 range. The only downer is that my Garmin doesn’t take into account time spent waiting for traffic lights – and by my calculation this was at least 5 minutes over the course of the whole run.  Oh well – Garmin says 9.07 min/mile, I say 8.47 min/mile.

That run brought my weekly total to 31.85 miles which I think is my biggest week ever. And my June total to 115.6 miles – my second highest month ever.

I had made it a goal at the start of the year to run 1000 miles in 2014. So at the halfway mark I’m at 555.65 miles – on target! Woohoo!

Monday was an after work yoga class. Tuesday an easy 4 miler (8.49 min/mile). And this morning – 7 miles (my longest midweek run ever) at 8.42 min/mile. This run felt sluggish. One of those runs where you feel like you are really pushing the pace until you look down at your watch………….and not so much. For some reason, it took me about 4 miles to properly warm up and  then it felt great.

The other big event this week was my visit to the physiotherapist. I wanted her opinion on my right knee pain and left foot pain (both of which flared up in the last 2 miles of my long run) and to get the go-ahead to continue with marathon training.

So after a detailed description of all my running aches and pains and a hands-on examination of my legs, she came to a couple of conclusions.

1. My right leg is significantly weaker than my left leg in terms of muscle strength, muscle mass and stability.

2. This means that my muscles aren’t strong enough to keep my knee pad in its correct place when I run long distances. This makes my knee hurt……..

3. I then compensate by using my left leg more making my foot hurt because I have crazy tight calves.

The good news is that if I work on strengthening my right leg all my problems should go away. So plenty of single leg work and keep doing yoga.

And I can continue to run if the pain is not getting any worse (this is exactly what I wanted to hear!). Interestingly, she said that if my knee starts to hurt when running, I should focus on engaging all my leg muscles in that leg and concentrate on using that leg more. So that’s what I did on this morning’s 7 miler – and it felt so much better. I have 5 weeks until the next appointment and she seemed pretty optimistic that I should be able to fix everything and run pain-free in the not too distant future.

Bonus: she taped my knee-cap so all my coworkers think I’m a crazy, badass runner. Or just a crazy, constantly injured runner.

Now, I just have another day and a half of work to get through before J and I head off to Nevada for a much needed camping trip. I’ll be throwing in my trail shoes and seeing what I can find!

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Friday Faves

This is a race-free weekend for me – just a race-pace 6 miler and then a Sunday (long) runday. No major plans except to relax and visit the Utah Arts Festival.

But this week has been full of good workouts and good eats.

1.

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This has made it’s way back into my life.

2.

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Frittata – yes please. I love eggs! This one had chard (from our CSA), mushrooms, red onion and bacon. I would definitely recommend the addition of bacon. And loving cooking with cast iron.

3.

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3 ingredient cookies – banana + oatmeal + chocolate chips. I haven’t quite figured out baking at altitude (we’re at 4000 ft) but these are foolproof. They are best served with this. Amazing!

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4. Trails!

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Trail race last weekend (and next one on July 12th) plus a midweek trail run (4.36 miles at 9.39 min/mile pace and 500 ft elevation gain). And no rattlesnake sightings.

5. Yogi Yoga!

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This was the first week back on my mat in forever (well 6ish weeks). And my glutes are a little tender – thanks hip openers. It hurts so good.

Eureka!

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Why doesn’t every race do this? Free digital downloads of your race photos!

I think I’ve mentioned before about my distinct lack of photogenic-ness in race photos. But, I actually really like this photo of me finishing my last half marathon. I didn’t even notice the photographer at the time, so this was a genuine “Wow – that race went really well” smile. Plus I can always remember my outstanding race fashion choice.

But this is the photo that has given me my Eureka! moment.

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I’ve been having chronic knee issues in my right knee since February(!). Some days are better than others, but despite doing all my glute strengthening exercises I’ve reached a plateau (but have a nice muscly ass – so there’s that). And this has been extremely frustrating.

But if you look at this photo, and particularly my right foot, you might notice that it’s at an angle. When your foot lands it should be straight and in line with your leg (see top photo and left foot), and not at a 20 degree ankle. No beuno.

I think this foot rotation might explain my lingering knee issues, so for the past couple of runs I’ve been concentrating on my foot placement. Note: thinking about running while running is exhausting! But I think I’m noticing an improvement. Or else, I’ve just convinced myself that I’ve figured it out. In either case, I’m booked in to see the physiotherapist on Tuesday and I won’t be leaving til she’s fixed me!

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