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.


Tofu in peanut-siracha sauce.


Latin beef stew with spinach salad and spicy habanero salsa.


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


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.








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

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.


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 (?).




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.


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


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