Day 62 and 63 – 9 weeks done and done!

Saturday was long run day. My visit to the PT had given me the confidence to go out and tackle 11 miles in preparation for my second half marathon which will be kicking off in three (!) weeks. I also wanted to run as much as possible on the actual race course. I woke at 7 AM on Saturday and had a snack of wholewheat toast and Trader Joe’s cookie crunch butter.

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I’m kinda excited to finish this jar because this is waiting in the pantry!

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I also had half a Nuun Orange tablet. I then hopped on a bus and headed up to the University of Utah where the race will start. I followed the course for a little over 9 miles. I saw a ton of very friendly runners and identified the two killer uphill sections. But the course is mostly a gentle downhill and has some pretty views over Salt Lake and the surrounding mountains.

And no hip pain! I felt a couple of twinges but sternly told them to piss off! I was no doing sore hip today! My knee was achy but this improved over the run.I didn’t quite manage the ice bath but did ice my hips and knee for 20 mins and wore my compression calf sleeves for the rest of the day.

I managed 11.04 miles at 8.17 min/mile pace – a little faster than I had planned but such a confidence boost. I feel like I am ready for this race! Now I just have to get through me peak mileage week and then have a two week taper.

 

Post run refueling was raspberries with Greek yoghurt, flaked almonds and honey. So good – it was like dessert!

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J volunteered to make breakfast sandwiches – egg, bacon and avocado on toast. So good. And even better because I didn’t have to make it myself.

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Saturday was also a baby shower for one of my girlfriends. I decided to bring cookies from the best cookie maker in SLC. Amazing! And apologies for inducing cookie-envy in you!

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And yes – all of these cookies were amazing. Lucky for me I also earned a free cookie voucher for my next visit.

After the shower I came home to another J-cooked extravaganza. That dude has some serious cooking skills. More cookies for dessert because why not? And then a night at our local theater to see Deathtrap – a comedy thriller – before falling asleep watching Louis CK on SNL.

Sunday I woke up with no pain! I give credit to the IC in RICE. I did a slow 4 mile recovery run before winter decided to reappear. 4.1 miles at 9.05 min/mile pace.

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Hello winter I guess you’re not done with us yet…….

We decided to hit the climbing gym in the afternoon before settling in for the evening with a cocktail and some Italian-inspired dinner.

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March mileage: 111.55 miles/179.5 KM

Weekly recap:

5 runs – 28.5 miles total

2 strength workouts

2 climbing gym sessions

1 yoga class

Bring on week 10!

Day 61 – TGIF! TGIF!

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So I ended my week of yuck by filing my taxes! Woohoo! I feel as if I have dealt with all my outstanding tasks for at least six months.

Today started with a 30 minute leg workout and finished with a 30 minute core workout. Also got some frozen peas so I can fashion some kind of ice diaper for after my long run tomorrow. Have to remember to put the I in RICE.

I switched my long run to tomorrow (damn Utah spring weather). 11 miles and most of them will be on the actual half marathon course. And I am psyched. Last week I think I made myself anxious about hitting 10 miles but I am determined to enjoy this one. Wish me luck!

 

Day 60 – Hips don’t lie

Well my hips don’t lie. According to the PT my hips are the source of all my problems.

But first – donuts. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a crazy donut person but every so often I just need to have one. And lucky for me J had to buy a dozen or so to bring in for a work meeting. So we got up extra early, picked up our donuts and headed for yoga class. (We were working on going from wild thing to wheel – well I can do both separately but cannot work out how to link them together – any tips yogis?). Then back home to pick out my breakfast!

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I went for sprinkles – chocolate donut with chocolate frosting. Yes please! Now I’m pretty good for another 6 months.

Today was a continuation of week of unpleasantness. PT appointment. Started out with some “massage” of my glute medius. Oh my God – THE PAIN! Holy crap! But I appreciated it afterwards. Type 2 experience.

The major take home message was: (1) I can still run (Yay!) and even go ahead with my scheduled 11 mile run this weekend. (2) I need to build up the endurance in my glutes (3) Knee pain is secondary to weak hips so if I can fix that it should go away. (4) Ice, ice, ice.

So I can keep running as long as my pain is less than a 3 on a pain scale of 10. Start doing daily glute strengthening exercises – mostly clam shells and leg raises. Plus crab walks, bridge hip thrusts and squats 3-4 times a wee.k. She did also recommend an ice bath after long runs which I am not so psyched about. Her exact recommendation was to sit in 6 inches of ice wearing a beanie and a down jacket. This might not happen but I will definitely ice a lot more than I have been doing.

I am scheduled to get a massage about 9 days before the half marathon to work everything out. I am feeling pretty positive about getting back to full fitness.

After my week tonight started with a glass of red wine. Then I made vegetarian chilli (the secret is to add a tiny bit of dark chocolate right at the end) with sweet potato wedges. Now I just have to get my taxes out of the way and my week of unpleasantness will be done!

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Day 59 – Masochism and earthquakes

Yesterday evening’s run was just about perfect. I actually stopped to smell the roses (well hyacinths really). It was one of those runs were you were just glad to be outside and take it all in.

4.05 miles at 8.05 min/mile pace.

I also tried a new recipe – I’m kinda trying to do a new recipe each week and because we were going to get a brief taste of spring I knew I had to make fish tacos. Tilapia cooked with fresh tomatoes (deseeded), fresh jalapenos, onion, garlic and lime juice served with avocado and a lime-cilantro mayo. Heaven. And pretty filling. There were even some leftovers! Shock!

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I knew this morning was not going to be a lot of fun. Starting with about 40 mins of hill repeats. Lucky (?) for me I live in a pretty hilly neighborhood – full of hilly, parallel streets that have an incline of about 100ft over 0.28 miles. So I ran up and down 6 hills. 671 ft over 4.82 miles at 9.17 min/mile pace. These killer hills are the result of a massive fault line that is due for an earthquake at any time. I usually think about this during hill repeats – hoping that we’re not in our brick house when the big one hits. It’s funny what you think about on a run!

For some reason I always like looking at this elevation profile data. And yes Salt Lake is at 4400 ft.

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I followed this with my PT exercises – doing my homework before I see her again tomorrow.

Then it was back to the dentist for 2 (!) fillings. All before 9.30 AM – I like to schedule my masochism early! Phew! My day can only get better!

March mileage: 96.4 miles/155.1 KM

Day 58 – Check this out

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Does sunny weather make automatically make everyone happier? We are having our warmest day since last October and I am planning to get out and enjoy it (before rain/snow makes its reappearance). I’m feeling about a million times better than yesterday. Minimal knee pain and having one of those feel good days. I thing my good moods peak when it’s in the 70s!

The morning began with a gym core and leg session. I even managed to catch the early bus to work and there was pizza for lunch! Us poor scientists are easy to please.

My running clothes (shorts and t-shirt finally) are waiting under my desk for a gentle downhill run home followed by fish tacos. And probably orange-chocolate ice cream.

And I must mention what I made for dinner last night. Skinnytaste to the rescue again. Orange chicken with basmati rice and brocolli. SO easy to make and J said how it tasted like it came from a Chinese restaurant – minus the MSG of course!

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Day 57 – Deciding to be positive

Yesterday’s long run was a little like a tale of two runs. The best of times – finally getting a LONG long run in – and the worst of times – hello glut medius (again!).

I woke up today and before I knew what I was doing I headed out for a slow 4.5 mile run. I try to be as gentle as possible on Mondays so I actually get my but out the door. And it was not good. In fact I would say my worst run in a while. My butt was still a little sore and my knee pain also decided to make a comeback. To top it off I managed to fall yet again (that’s the third time this year and I can only blame one on ice). I didn’t hurt myself – must be getting the hang of safe landings by now – and it kinda jolted me awake. 4.55 miles at 9.19 min/mile.

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Fall at mile 2 – exactly where I fell a month ago. At least I’m consistent.

I was feeling a little down – worrying that all my pain-free running was over. That my injury was back. That I was doing to much too fast. That I was hurting too much after my 10 miler.

But as the day went on I felt better. My glut was fine all day and my knee was improving. I did my PT exercises and used my foam roller. And I decided that I was panicking and assuming the worst.

I decided that I needed to think positively. I’ve just done that longest run in almost a year so I shouldn’t be too surprised that I’m feeling it today. I’m seeing my PT this week so I can get a professional opinion about increasing mileage. No need to panic! I let myself be miserable for 24 hours but that’s it. Done!

On a side note it’s lucky that I do run in the dark because I run in outfits like this.

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Plus I’m 2/3 of the way through my racing plan so even if I have to dial down the mileage I know I can finish my half marathon.

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March mileage: 87.55 miles/140.9 KM

Day 56 – Double digits

Sunday is long run day. And today was my first scheduled double digit run since………………May last year! Yikes! I ran my first half marathon on May 18th 2013 and had a fall half scheduled for November 3rd. Due to injury that never happened and the longest I ran over the summer was a 15K in August. This was followed by injury number 2 so my running year was cut drastically short.

This half marathon schedule is a little more ambitious – an extra day running per week and overall higher mileage. My plan is to always run a little hard the day before my long run to get used to running on tired legs. We’ll see how that holds up on race day……

Lucky we’re having a burst of sunny weather – although it’s still pretty chilly in the mornings. It took two miles for my hands to warm up this morning. My route included a steady gradual uphill as I’m doing my best to prep for the potential nasty bits for my half marathon which is now just 4 weeks away. 10.02 miles at 8.33 min/mile pace. Mostly easy pace with a little twinge of my glut medius at about mile 8. You can bet I foam rolled that sucker when I got back.

Had my trademark fruit smoothie, granola and my new favorite – fried egg and avocado toasted sandwich for breakfast. Feeling good. Got my ProCompression calf sleeves on and waiting for them to do their magic!

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Now I can just relax all day just have to put in a few hours at work before I can stuff my face with mac and cheese. Happy Sunday!

March mileage: 83 miles/133.6 KM

Weekly recap:

5 runs

Weekly mileage: 27.35 miles (highest mileage maybe ever?)

Longest run of the year: 10.02 miles

2 yoga classes

1 strength workout

1 climbing gym session

 

Day 55 – Food

Last night J was at a boy’s poker thing so I did what I always do when I’m at home by myself – make and eat all the food I love.

I started with some roasted sweet potato with nacho toppings (skinnytaste calls it Irish nachos – note I never had sweet potatoes or nachos growing up) and a skinny version of buffalo chicken. Tossed in a few baby spinach leaves so that my plate wasn’t just orange.

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I also had a really strong craving for chocolate ice cream. I am not usually crazy about ice cream – I can usually take it or leave it but I needed some ASAP. There was a crazy amount in the store but I finally settled on chocolate ice cream with orange and chocolate “confetti” (I know chocolate orange combo is controversial but I love it). And it was pretty good – smooth with a decent but not overpowering orange taste. Plus the obligatory glass of Friday night wine.

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This morning was a 4 mile run at 8.01 min/mile pace. I tried out some of the SLC half marathon course which conveniently runs right by my house and specifically a hill that I have never run up before.

The route was gently downhill but with a weird windy section that zigzagged through a neighborhood for a reason that is not clear to me. The hill also seemed OK – about 70 ft and a little steeper at the top. Might be a bit tough on race day as it’s at mile 8 :/. But overall a moderate and consistent pace. It finally feels like everything is falling into place. 10 miler tomorrow.

Breakfast was these buttermilk scones with fresh blueberries plus pumpkin granola that I prepped on Friday night. I managed to add the wrong amount of flour but they still turned out pretty good.

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This afternoon was a hybrid yoga class – 30 mins of core followed by 30 mins of restorative poses. Exactly what I needed for today. Now I just have to wait for my crockpot and enjoy some wine and American Hustle. Happy weekend!

March mileage: 73 miles/117.5 KM

Day 53 and 54 – Double down Thursday

Yesterday was a double workout day. J’s training plan finally aligned with mine so we went to 6AM power yoga together. And because the weather was so nice I decided I definitely had to run as well. So at 6PM I did the run commute thing.

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Shorts because it was 60F. A little cloudy but perfect running conditions. My route home from work is pretty nice except for one really busy intersection. As I was waiting for the lights to change I noticed that a car was being towed away after an accident. I’ve lost count of the number of collisions I’ve seen here – including a couple of car-biker accidents.

Once my light went green I started to cross. There was a car waiting to turn right but I thought he saw me (I mean my white legs are pretty blinding) as he had come to a complete stop but he started to move forward just as I was clearing the car. I don’t know if he didn’t see me or if he thought I should be running faster. I gave him my signature dirty look! Drivers around here never seem to expect pedestrians. I spent the next half mile grumbling to myself about it before finally finding my rhythm. Four easy downhill miles.

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Some daffodils have sprouted beside our house. So it definitely is spring.

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And I had to celebrate it being Thursday with a beverage, although this time I went for something other than wine. I love this stuff and it is my only soda-y drink. Plus they sell it in Costco.

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J was busy making dinner – thai noodle soup. Yum!

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I did notice on my run that my legs were feeling a little heavy. And I fell asleep on the sofa at 930 PM. So that means that today is a real rest day. Look at me, finally listening to my body!

This weekend I’ll be doing the first double digit runs of my training plan so tonight I’m just going to do my PT exercises and take it easy tonight with some healthified comfort food, a glass of wine and a couple of episodes of Scandal.

March mileage: 68.85 miles/110.8 KM

Day 52 – Biting the bullet

Last night we had some butternut squash and black bean enchiladas for dinner. I also had black beans for lunch. I think I’m going through a phase.

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These last two weeks have involved running in the dark. But at least I have my super attractive running vest.

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This morning was a tempo run. First mile at 8.30 ish min/mile pace, followed by 2.5 miles at 7.15 min/mile pace and then a slow mile home. It actually felt surprisingly OK. Still hard but a couple of weeks ago I was really struggling to maintain this pace and now it was at about 80% effort. It seems as if everything is finally coming together. Which is good as my half marathon is exactly one month from today! Yikes.

If you read my blog you probably know that I’m all about living a healthy lifestyle. I love to exercise and try to eat as healthy as I can. But I have to confess that there is one area of my life that I seriously neglect – my mouth. Specifically visiting my dentist. I mean I still brush my teeth all the time – I’m not that gross. But I have a really strong aversion to the dentist.

So after 4 (I know!) years I knew it was long past time to bite the bullet.

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Ah dentist humor!

I made a pact with myself this year to no longer put off things that made me anxious – going to the dentist, filing my taxes, sorting out my visa, planning my wedding……….

It went ok. Nowhere near as bad as I had been imagining. And not too much shaming for my lack of visits. Two cavities which I’ll fix next week and a good cleaning. He did mention that I should think about having my wisdom teeth removed and casually said that I would be a good candidate for complete sedation during this procedure. I bet he says that to all his overly-anxious patients. My new goal is to not let anxiety get in the way of my health again!

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At least they had a pretty Japanese style garden to ponder on during my visit.

March mileage: 64.8 miles/104.3 KM