Body fat and body weight

Monday began with a 4.6 mile recovery run – 9.14 min/mile pace. Today was a strength day at the gym. Which was just as well because I am feeling all sorts of new aches and pains – new pain on top of left foot and weird shin pain on my left leg. Oy! Icing, stretching yada, yada, yada. I feel like my body can always find new ways to make me paranoid that my legs are going to stop working.

On the plus side, I managed to do some goblet squats for the first time in forever. So there’s that……

Yesterday was also the day on my now annual BOD POD. Lucky for me, the place where I work has a health program that allows employees to get a significant discount on their health insurance premium. You just have to complete a couple of easy things throughout the year including having an annual physical, going to the gym 6 (!) times a year and filling out a general health assessment. The thinking behind it is that if they can make people aware of any potential health problems before they become serious they will save money and I guess help people to become healthier.

You can also avail of a number of services including a BODPOD analysis, meet with a nutritionist or have a session with a personal trainer. All for free – pretty nice!

Before I started the training program for my first half marathon last year I booked an appointment for a BODPOD analysis. This is basically a way to measure your body composition – lean mass vs fat mass. It calculates your body volume using air displacement and then uses an algorithm based on your age and sex to work out your percentage body fat.

My first visit showed that I had a body weight of 114.5 lbs and a body fat of 26.8 %. These are pretty OK numbers. Healthy BMI and right in the middle of the “moderately lean” category for women (22.1-30%), which is a fat level that is generally acceptable for good health.

Just over four month later (and after a successful and injury free (those were the days) training program) my weight had gone down 3.7 lbs but my body fat had decreased 5.6 %. I was now (just) in the lean category (18.1-22%), which is the range that is generally excellent for health and longevity. I was thrilled!

The point of sharing these numbers is to remind myself (and maybe others?) that the scale isn’t a true indicator of health. In those four months I may have lost a couple of pounds but I actually gained muscle mass. (Bonus muscle is denser than fat. Decreasing fat mass and increasing muscle is how you “tone up” and look leaner. It also increases the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your weight.)

My new measurements for 2014 were also pretty good. Up almost a lb to 111.5 lbs but amazingly down to 19.9 % body fat! With another gain in lean mass. Awesome! It confirms something that I’ve suspected for a while – I am in the best shape of my life. It only took me 31 years. And I get $40 of my monthly premium.

Next month I have a session with a personal trainer where I’m hoping she can teach me some new exercises for strength training.

April mileage: 103.1 miles/165.9 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 219.7 miles/353.6 KM

 

Weekly recap

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since my half marathon and it’s almost the end of April! Yikes! Where does the time go?

This has been a pretty easy week for me. A reverse taper – nothing too hard running wise and lots of stretching, rolling and strength work.

Monday: 4 mile recovery run at 9.07 min/mile pace. I think this helped loosen up my legs. I felt great afterwards!

Tuesday: Strength work at the gym

Wednesday: 4.3 miles nice and slow at 8.48 min/mile pace

Thursday: AM yoga class. Post work trail run. 4.5 miles at 9.24 min/mile pace with 472 ft elevation gain.

Friday: Rest day!

Saturday: 3 mile progression run – 8.00/7.48/7.35. Heavy rain all day and even though I’m Irish running in torrential rain does not appeal to me at all. Decided to take advantage of the treadmill to maintain pace and felt good. I think having a rest day on Friday meant I was back to normal today.

Sunday: Long run. 9.2 miles at 8.30 min/mile pace. This run felt good. Even pace despite a steady elevation gain for the middle third.

Weekly total; 25 miles/40.2 KM

April total: 98.5 miles/158.5 KM

ARTWRBR total: 215.1 miles/346.2 KM

My next half marathon is only 7 weeks away! My goal for this race is (1) to PR and (2) to finish strong. The last 4 miles of the Salt Lake half were really tough and I felt like I was hanging on at the finish. I would love to not feel like death as I make my way down to the finish line at Utah Valley. So the plan is to keep the mileage to at least 25 but preferably closer to 30 miles per week and slowly increase the length of my long runs to 13+ miles. This should also prep me for marathon training which will probably begin on June 16th.

Here are some pictures of my post race week comfort foods.

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Tofu in peanut-siracha sauce.

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Latin beef stew with spinach salad and spicy habanero salsa.

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Veggie burger with cilantro-lime mayo, roast sweet potato and couscous salad.

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Yum raspberries! And J’s egg, avocado and cream cheese ciabatta sandwiches.

Race photos

Piratebobcat posted about his race photos yesterday – and managed to look cool and effortless in them (How do you do that?). This coincided with the release of the official race photos from my half marathon last weekend.

This is how I think I look when running (except for my zombie hand). Looking strong at the finish.

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But I think this is second photo is a better representation of how I was actually feeling! Tired and glad to be done. Interestingly they were probably taken about 30 seconds apart.

Liebster award – Information overload

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Is the blogging community awesome. I’ve had a couple of people nominate me for a Liebster award so I’m going to give you all a huge information dump.
 
First off, runningliftinglife who is training for her first half marathon. You should check out her blog!
 
1. What if the longest you’ve ever run?
So far the longest I’ve ever run is 13.33 miles – which is what my two half marathons have turned out to be. That’ll change soon once I start marathon training (Gulp!).
 
2. What is your ultimate race goal?
I would LOVE to one day qualify for Boston. Watching the race on Monday made we want to experience it so bad. First step is to run a marathon and go from there.
 
3. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start running but didn’t know where to begin?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Running is not easy. When I first started I could barely run a mile without feeling like I was going to die. And hills – just no. Be patient. If you are consistent you will get better! And don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is one their own journey with their own starting point and challenges. Just compare yourself to you.
 
4. What made you decide to start blogging?
I had been reading a couple of running blogs and loved them. I knew this year I’d be running a couple of half marathons and my first full marathon and I wanted to document my journey without boring my real life friends with the details of my training. I’d save that for internet friends!
 
5. Have you ever met anyone through blogging in person?
I haven’t. Yet. But wouldn’t that be cool. I have a couple of friends who happen to blog which is pretty awesome.
 
6. Have you ever been sidelined by an injury from running?
Oh my God. Yes! I had a run of 4 months with serious injuries. I developed an inflammed sciatic nerve at the end of August last year. Once that cleared up I had hip bursitis and couldn’t run for 6 weeks. During this time I learned I am not a fan of swimming. Once I could run a little I then had a strained glute medius. Right now I have mild runner’s knee but can still run (Yay). Looking back – the last half 0f 2013 pretty much sucked for running.
 
7. What is your favorite food to eat the night before a big race?
I don’t care too much as long as I get to eat it with fries!
 
8. Do you follow any other sports other than running?
The only thing I’d sit down and watch is rugby – especially the six nations. Ireland won this year for the first time in a while and it was pretty cool. One year I even got to go to the Rugby World Cup Final in Paris and watched South Africa beat England.
 
9. What are some of your other hobbies?
I have a hard time sitting down and taking it easy. When I’m not running, I like to do yoga, rock climb, hike, backpack and ski. I also love to cook – mostly because I like to eat.
 
10. When is your next race?
Utah Valley half marathon – June 14th!
 
Up next Cori at shesgoingthedistance who is a badass runner and takes great selfies.
 

1. Do you have a night before or race day ritual that you HAVE to do?

Other than visiting the bathroom as often as I can I haven’t develop any race rituals but I’m sure they will come.

2. Do you love your job?

I love and hate my job. I’m a scientist so when things are going well there’s nothing I’d rather do but when I can’t figure out an experiment it is incredibly frustrating! But I always feel like I’m doing something worthwhile and valuable so that makes up for the crappy pay!

3. Why did you start blogging?

See number 4 above.

4. What is your favorite running shoe brand?

Brooks. I’m on my fourth pair of PureCadence shoes and have two more pairs waiting in a box for marathon training. I might have a problem………….

5.  Ice cream, popsicles or milkshakes?

I don’t eat any of these things regularly – although I did have a Creamsicle after my race last Saturday. But every so often I’ll get a craving for ice cream – so I’ll pick that.

6. Where’s the last place you traveled?

In November, J and I took a road trip of see Pearl Jam (!) in Phoenix but we drove via Mesa Verde National Park which was amazing. Beautiful scenery and these really cool ancient dwellings built into the rock.

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7. Power song to run or train to?

For the last while it’s been Titanium by David Guetta. That song always gets me fired up.

8. Beach or Mountains?

Mountains. Maybe if my skin could tolerate the sun for more than 5 mins I’d be a beach bum. But hiking, trail running and skiing in the mountains is where it’s at.

9. Are you afraid of heights?

Yes! Terrified. I cannot go close to the edge of buildings, balconies – anything high. But weirdly I have no problem climbing 30ft walls at the climbing gym. Maybe I just need to be connected to a rope at all times.

10.  Favorite show on tv currently?

Scandal! I started watching it when I was at home by myself one weekend. And it is awesome. So many twists. So glamorous. Love it. Unfortunately I need to find a way to watch all of season 3…..

And finally…….in case you didn’t know enough about me. Talia at 52 miles per month who has a really inspiring run story.

1. What inspires you on a day to day basis?!

 
I feel like there is always room for improvement. I can always be better – do better at work, get faster at running, nail that yoga pose, get better at keeping in touch with friends, try out that new recipe. A little bit of this is always trying to live up to the standards that I’ve set myself.
2. Why do you write?
 
See question 4.
3. How do you feel about excise… Honestly?!
 
Honestly……….I love to exercise and start to go a little crazy if I have to take a full rest day. Sure some days are hard and I don’t always enjoy it but I NEED to do it.
4. If you could wake up anywhere in the world where would you wake up and why?
 
I would love to wake up for a day back in my parent’s house in Ireland while my brother and his family are visiting. 4500 miles is a long way!
5. You have a choice- you can ride a bike or walk. The distance isn’t far. What so you choose?
 
Walk. I’ve never been a big biker and sometimes it’s nice to take things slowly and enjoy the scenery.
6. What’s your go to beverage of choice?
 
Lately I’ve been loving San Pelligrino limonata. So refreshing. Last summer I made my own lemonade and limeade (not recommended without an electric juicer!) and I just love citrus drinks.
7. Describe a challenging obstacle you have faced and how you dealt with it.
 
I feel like the hardest thing in my life (which has been pretty drama free) has been dealing with living so far from home. First in Scotland, which was a first step in living abroad. Then, moving to Utah. It’s about 20 hours door-to-door from Salt Lake to Dublin :(. Thank God for Skype! But my way of dealing with distance is to make the most of where you are. Living here lets me experience things I’d never imagined – skiing all winter, beautiful scenery, hiking, backpacking, trips to New York, Seattle, Portland and Chicago. When life gives you lemons – you better make some awesome lemonade.
8. Describe a childhood memory that you believe shaped you.
 
You know – it’s weird but I have no strong childhood memories. Maybe I’ll think of something and add an edit but I’m going to have to take a pass for now.
9. When you were a kid what did you imagine for your life by this point? For example… I was convinced I was supposed to be married two years ago with a child on the way. I was also going to be either a veterinarian or an actress- obviously.
 
I figured by this age (31) I’d be a proper grown up – with a proper career and a house. But I never nailed down the details. One thing I would not have guessed is that I’d be living in Salt Lake City!
10. What brings you the greatest joy in life?
 
My extended family is really close and spending time with those guys makes me feel at home. Luckily, I’ll get to that in September.
11. How do you like to spend your Sunday?
 
Sunday is my long run day. So it’s up early and out to run. Then something cooked for breakfast. Usually eggs and avocado are involved. Then some lounging around. Maybe a yoga class or trip to the climbing gym in the afternoon. Finishing with dinner grilled outside with some cocktails. All spent with J of course.
 
I know most of you have been nominated for a Liebster award already so feel free to answer any questions or share a random fact.

Recovery (and my next race)

Three days later and my quads are just about back to normal……………

Recovery for me has involved lots of foam rolling, stretching, PT exercises, calf compression sleeves and icing. And eating……….mini eggs, chocolate and comfort food.

But I was dying to get out and run again (I might have a running problem). So after work yesterday I decided to try a recovery run. I was a little sore but I knew it was DOMS and was pretty sure that it would be OK to run through. Plus it was 70F and I got to run in a tank and shorts for the first time of the year. I started nice and slow and it felt good. I had watched the Boston marathon earlier in the day and was so happy to be able to run.

It felt slow but actually turned out to be 4 miles at 9.10 min/mile pace. And afterwards my legs seemed looser and today they were even better. In fact, for most of my epic 11 hour day I totally forgot that I was meant to be sore. I even managed a strength session in the gym this evening. I think I might be back to normal.

This week is a reverse taper week for me – low 20s mileage but nothing hard. Then it’s back into to half marathon training. My next race is on June 14 – the Utah Valley Half Marathon. It’s another downhill course through beautiful Provo canyon and is meant to be one of the fastest courses in the US. It had been my original PR target race for the year………and I guess it still will be just with a new time to beat.

But the main reason I’m running is that J will be running the full marathon as his third marathon and I wanted to be there to support him as he shoots for a new PR (sub 3.22 – he’s speedy!). I plan to run the half and then transform into his biggest cheerleader!

April mileage: 77.5 miles/124.7 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 199.4 miles/320.6 KM

Race recap – Salt Lake City Half Marathon

It finally happened. The race that I’ve been training for – and blogging about for the last 12 weeks. Packet pickup was on Friday at the Energy Solutions Arena where the Utah Jazz play. Quick and easy. With lots of free yoghurt (?).

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I had set my alarm for 5 AM so that I could eat some toast and drink some Nuun before the race. My body clock decided 4.30 AM was a better time – so after failing to catch the last few precious zzzzzz’s I got up and decided to hang out until we needed to leave.

The race started about a 10 minute drive from our house so we hit the road at 6.15 AM and were able to make it to the starting area with half an hour to spare. J did a warm-up on the track while I waited in the lines for the portapotty. My stomach was surprisingly calm – usually I get major race day nerves. I met J briefly to wish each other good luck before I dropped my bag at gear check and started to move forward to the 8.00 min/mile marker in the starting corral.

The race bibs included a free ride to the start on Salt Lake’s tram system. It looked like one of the trams was a little late and the race was delayed a couple of minutes as we watched people get off the train and sprint down to the starting area.

And then we were off! Or tried to be. The guy right in front of me couldn’t get his Garmin to work so decided the best thing to do was to stop at the timing mats as 4000 runners needed to cross………….not a smart idea. The race started with a short and narrow decline before we headed up and into the Federal Heights neighborhood.

At the start line I had placed myself between the 1.40 and 1.45 pacers. Training had gone pretty well and I was hoping to break my PR of 1.42.01. My reach goal was to try and break 1.40. At the start line I decided to go for it – go big or go home right? This would mean an average pace of 7.38 min/mile. Gulp.

I watched the 1.40 pacer in front of me for the first 2 miles. The first mile flew by and it took me until the end of the second to get into a comfortable rhythm. I remember looking at the 1.40 pacer and wondering if I could catch him and stay with him for the rest of the race.

I took my chance at mile 3. This was the start of a three mile stretch of fast, downhill miles. I passed the pacer and never saw him again – averaging about 7 min/mile for this section. I had banked on gaining time in this section as the second half of the race looked to be slower and a bit more challenging.

Elevation

After this downhill portion we came to the first significant climb – not very steep but LONG. Just shy of 1.5 miles straight ahead. This was one of the more mentally challenging portions of the race. You could see where the uphill ended but it felt as if you weren’t moving forward at all. A little demoralizing but the top of this hill marked the halfway point (47.41 mins).

The race had spread out by this point and I wasn’t really running with a group. This is also a race with a small number of spectators – I mean the ones that were out were awesome – but not enough to carry you home.

I did have a secret weapon – not my salted caramel Gu which I had at about mile 7 – but a group of friends and neighbors who I knew would be out at the 8.5 mile mark. It really gave me a boost knowing that they would be there. And seeing them and hearing them shouting my name was so great. Now I just had four miles to go. That shouldn’t seem that far?

By now I had a slight sideache and my legs seemed to be running without any input from the rest of my body. I decided to break the rest of the race into 1 miles segments – anyone can run a mile, can’t they? At mile 10 we split off from the full marathoners – and I was so happy that I didn’t have to run 26.2. At this stage I felt that I was running so slowly – but looking at my watch I was surprised to see that I was maintaining my pace.

The hardest mile for me was mile for me. I wanted to be done. I thought about stopping to walk for a bit. It was my second slowest mile (7.44 min). I needed to have a good talk with myself in order to stay on target for a sub 1.40. I remembered a blog post I read recently from hungryrunnergirl about her mantra “I can do hard things”. So this is what I said to myself during this mile. It reminded me of the end of my tempo runs when I wanted to give up. And I think it was a mental block –  I mean I was pushing myself hard but my body could do it. I just needed my brain to agree.

Seeing the mile 12 sign was a total relief. One more mile. I could do that. I only needed to run for 8 more minutes max. So I dug in. Turning the corner I could see the finish line – but OMG it was still half a mile away. Ugh. Not a fun finish but I made it. And just under 1.39 – 1.38.57 official time and overall pace of 7.33 min/mile. Goal complete. 3 mins off my PR on a harder course. But I gave it my all.

As soon as I stopped I could feel how tight my quads were. And have been ever since. Stairs have not been my friend yesterday or today. But everything else seems OK. And I am desperate to run again…………..

133rd overall/2929

26th female/1781

8th in my age group

Splits:

1 – 7.29

2 – 7.37

3  – 6.56 Start of fast downhill

4   – 7.02

5   – 6.57

6   – 7.44 Long uphill section

7   – 7.17

8   – 7.45 More uphill

9   – 7.33

10 – 7.38

11 – 7.17 Surprise, you can still maintain this pace

12 – 7.44 Worst mile

13 – 7.26 Almost done

.1   – 2.34

April mileage: 73.5 miles/118.3 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 195.4 miles/314.5 KM

Day 81 and 82 – Flashback Friday

Yesterday I had planned on doing a TBT about my first half marathon but a busy day in work and a chance to check out our new climbing gym got in the way. I did manage to get my carbs in though.

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And the new gym was awesome – although all the holds are so new that they were pretty rough on my hands.

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I also managed to get in my last training run – 2.1 miles at 8.55 min/miles. That’s a total of 271.8 miles for the entire training program. Except for the 13.1 miles I have to run tomorrow. I think I’m ready. Taking a complete rest day – except for icing and foam rolling. Heading to the expo after work and then ready to hit the start line at 7 AM tomorrow. Expect updates all weekend.

As I’ve mentioned a million times already, this is my second half marathon. Last May I ran the Ogden half marathon. This was pretty much the reason I got into running. After hitting the big 3-0 I set running a half marathon as one of my big goals for 2013. I had heard good things about Ogden – scenic, downhill and fast – and had a couple of friends who were thinking about running it. It was a lottery entry system but you could enter as a team (so either your friends were all in it together or you needed to find something else to do that day). The only downside was you paid $5 to register and this was not refunded if you didn’t get in (LAME!) – although they changed that for this year (D’UH!).

So my entry was confirmed in November 2012 and I started running in fits and starts until Feb 2013 when my 12 week race plan  was about to begin. Training went surprisingly well and come race day I had my A, B and reach goals. Finish under 2 hours, under 1:50 if possible and sub 1:45 if all the stars aligned.

A week before the race we got an email warning about temperatures in the 80s for race day. Hot! But you can’t trust long range forecasts because the night before the race it started to rain and did not let up until long after everyone was done.

I collected my bib on Friday night and luckily had a friend who lived near Ogden who let a couple of us spend the night. A lot of races in Utah run down canyons. And they are stunningly pretty. But they require an EARLY bus journey to get you to the start. And lots of waiting around. I was up a little before 4 AM and caught the shuttle to the start around 5AM. So that meant a little over 1 1/2 hours waiting around. They did provide a ton of portapotties and had a bunch of fires to keep warm but that is a lot of hanging around. And then there was the rain………

It was a consistent drizzle while waiting for the race to start. And then with 10 mins to go the heavens opened and did not let up. I reluctantly put my jacket in my gear check bag and headed to the start line. I was soaked through in minutes. Oh well I guess I was running this wet…………

The race itself went by pretty quick. There was a tiny hill right a the start and after that it was downhill for about 11 miles before you came into town via a trail and finished on the main street. Running wise, it felt pretty comfortable and because of the rain I didn’t bother looking at my Garmin.

But I was cold – no gloves and red hands. My shoes were squelching from about mile 5. At first I tried to run around puddles but then gave up. I was soaked to the bone and couldn’t possibly get any more wet. Because the canyon road was closed, the only spectators were the awesome volunteers at the aid stations. I wasn’t running in a large group but had a girl in front of me that I was focused on.

At mile 11 the first blip. My shoelace was undone. This has never happened to me on any training run ever. And because my hands were so cold it was actually quite difficult to retie. And even more difficult when that same lace became undone about a mile later. But I managed to make up time and catch that girl so we crossed the finish line at 1.42.01. When I saw the time I was ecstatic and a little emotional. All that time and dedication and I smashed my reach goal.

Unfortunately, that also meant that J wasn’t there to watch me cross the line. He arrived about 5 minutes after I was done. I went to get some food and then find my gear bag.

I get very cold once I stop running and this was amplified by being completely soaked. I started shivering and could not stop. On top of that the gear check was a complete clusterfuck. They had started to sort the bib numbers but most (and I mean over a thousand) were randomly piled together. We had to wade through the sea of bags hoping to pick out our own. Luckily this only took 5 minutes for me and by that time J had found me.

He immediately guided me to our car and I got changed into some warm, dry clothes. And thank God for car seat warmers! They need to be on every car. And after a hot shower I eventually warmed up.

I looked back on the race website looking for a link to the photos but apparently the company that took the photos went out of business. You can picture how I looked in your mind: Long sleeve pink top (completely wet), with my black sports bra showing through, wet hat, wet blue shorts and wet green shoes. Looking miserable. With giant red hands.

This is why I got so excited when looking at the weather forecast for tomorrow’s race. 50F and dry. Dry! Although part of me wonders whether my time was due to the overwhelming desire to get out of the rain and into some dry clothes. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

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April mileage: 60.2 miles/96.9 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 182.1 miles/293.1 KM

Day 80 – What I learned Wednesday

First of all I’d like to thank everyone who commented on my post yesterday. I felt a little emotional all day and it was so nice to read your messages. I’m so glad to be part of such a great running/blogging community.

Today was the last workout of my half marathon training. 1 mile warm-up at about 7.55 min/mile pace. Then 12 minutes at 5K pace. Followed by a slow run home watching a pink sunrise. Perfect. Even better was hitting a new milestone. As part of my 2014 goals I wanted to run a sub-7 min mile. I managed this during my 10 K in March but this was on a pretty speedy downhill section. I hadn’t managed to do it during any of my tempo runs. Until today. Mile 2 was 6.58 min/mile! So happy! And a perfect confidence boost before the race. Overall 3.89 miles at average 7.48 min/mile pace.

I have a slow 2 miler tomorrow and then that’s it. Rest day with some foam rolling and icing of my right knee. I also got the race director’s email yesterday and my bib number. This is really happening! So what have I learned over the course of the last three months………..

1. If you run more you need to eat more.

I dropped about 4 lbs in the first 4 weeks. I upped my mileage without changing my diet and was finding things a little tough. So I started to be more careful with my diet – adding more fruit, vegetables, nuts and avocado. Since then my weight has stabilized even though my miles have increased every week.

2. I need to fuel if I’m running more than 8 miles.

In my last half marathon I didn’t have any gels during training or the race and I’m pretty sure that was a mistake. On one of my first long runs I had a weird light-headed feeling that shook me up a bit and I decided to try to be more diligent about fueling before and during my long runs. This meant getting up even earlier to eat before running and taking a gel with me. And it totally worked. I felt like I was getting a second wind and started to finish my long runs feeling strong.

3. I don’t need to run all my runs hard.

If you look back at my training runs you’ll see that my paces vary a lot. From 7.40 min/mile (race pace run) to 9.30 min/mile (recovery run). Last time I tried to go as fast as possible for every run – there wasn’t any real variation in my times. No wonder my long runs felt like hell. This time I wanted to train smarter. I run two easy runs a week. One long run. One slow recovery run. And one workout where I really push myself – hills, or fast tempos. We’ll find out if this strategy works on Saturday!

4. Strengthening your legs/hips/glutes will help you run better.

Although this training cycle has gone pretty well it has been plagued by a chronic hip/knee injury. Seeing a PT has definitely helped. I personally feel that a regular doctor will help to solve your symptoms but a PT will work to make you injury-proof (wouldn’t that be an awesome super power). She gave me exercises to help strengthen my glutes/hips and had the unenviable task to trying to correct my running form. And while my knee isn’t fully back to normal it doesn’t really bother me when running and I’m hoping in a couple of weeks it won’t be an issue.

5. I love running!

I’ve managed to rack up 57 runs in the last 11.5 weeks. And while some have been tough I have enjoyed 99% of my time running. No burnout. No thinking of not going out on my scheduled run. I guess running and I are still in the honeymoon stage!

6. Trail running is the best!

My two absolute favorite runs have been on trails. A 9-miler during our weekend in Moab and a 4 mile afterwork run on the hills in Salt Lake. Getting away from traffic (especially crappy drivers who have never seen a pedestrian before) and being surrounded by nature is the best medicine.

7. I need protection from myself.

This is the first year I got proper running gloves and I loved them. Not only did they keep my hands nice and warm but they stopped me from hurting myself during the 3 (!) times (and only one was weather-related) I fell on early morning runs.

April mileage: 58.1 miles/93.5 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 180 miles/289.7 KM

Day 79 – One year ago……….

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My Mom is the best. I casually mention how my chocolate selection is running low and next thing you know this arrives in the mail.

This also reminded me of this day one year ago. Like most of you I was shocked about the events at the finish line of the Boston marathon. I had been following an RSS feed of the race at work when the news came through of the explosions. What made it worse was I knew that my Mom might be there.

I’ve mentioned her a couple of times on the blog – about how she is my running inspiration. She has run for basically all of my life and I have many memories of being dragged along to races, to expos and “volunteering” at races that she was helping to organize. She has run a sub-3 hour marathon, represented Ireland as a masters runner and has a 38.00 flat 10 k PR.

She is also still involved in the running community in Ireland and often has the chance to travel to expos to promote the Dublin Marathon. This past weekend she was in Rotterdam. Last year she was in Boston.

I immediately called my Dad who was at home in Ireland and I was surprised at how my voice just crumbled when I heard him speak. He hadn’t been able to get through to her but one of her friends had let him know that she had left Boston earlier that morning to get a train down to NYC. People in her group who had been watching the finish had luckily left just about 10 minutes before the first bomb went off. Everyone I knew was OK.

But unfortunately 3 people died that day and almost 260 people were injured. I could easily picture myself as one of those kids watching my parent cross the line. Or imagine my Mom finish an iconic race. I still get choked up thinking about that day.

But the major take home message for me from that day wasn’t about evil or hate or terrorism but the strength of the human spirit. How people’s first reaction was to help those in need. To be selfless and supportive. The best human attributes were out in force that day. And in the days and weeks that followed.

I believe that for the most part people are good, kind and loving. This is especially true in any running community. Runner’s know how hard you need to work to get to the starting line of any marathon – and particularly Boston. It is a symbol of the pinnacle of an amateur runner’s racing career. If you BQ you have made it. To have some cowardly person attempt to destroy this emblem of human sacrifice, camaraderie and perseverance is just so wrong.

During this half marathon training cycle I have never felt burn-out. The events of one year ago have made me appreciate every run I GET to do. I like to think that every run is a little bit for Boston. And a little bit for my Mom.