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.



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



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 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!


4. Trails!


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!


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.



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.


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!

Automatic PRs!

On Saturday I ran my first ever 5K race. Automatic PR baby – 23.33!

The race is part of a series of trail races aimed at getting people into trail running. The course wasn’t technical – mostly old jeep roads with only the smallest section of single track. But a couple of things make it tougher than your regular 5K. First of all, Park City is at an elevation of 6700ft – which is about 2000ft  higher than Salt Lake City. And let me tell you that the difference will really kick your butt. Secondly, trail races mean one thing – hills, hills and, uh, more hills.

My legs were feeling heavy – not helped by going out way too fast (7.05 first mile). Looking at my Garmin elevation data – it doesn’t seem look that bad but I felt that the second mile was non-stop uphill (7.45). I hung in for the third mile – getting passed by two high school girls in the last quarter mile (7.31). I was so glad to be done – 5Ks are no joke.

The race itself was awesome. Race-day packet pickup which took about two minutes. Instead of a race shirt – you get a pint glass. Plenty of Nuun, water, bagels and bananas at the finish. Plus, an awesome raffle (with an extra ticket if you carpool). The only downer is that there is no chip timing, but there were only about 280 people in the race so that it’s not too big of a deal.

So my 5K PR is now 23.33 (although I measured it as 3.18 miles). 8th woman and 1st in my age group. Age group winners get to pick a prize from the raffle table. I opted for a compression foot sleeve (basically a toeless sock) to help with the minor foot pain I’ve been having recently. And you know – the more compression the better, right? Next up is a 10K around the same trails on July 12th.

The rest of Saturday was spent brunching, shopping and figuring out what to do with all the greens from our CSA.


On weekends, I like to have a cocktail when I’m prepping dinner. This time – mojito. I used our CSA radishes and turnips to make a salad (tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and lemon juic

e), and dill to make a potato salad.


J and I then biked 1.5 mile to our local microbrewery to taste some new brews.

Sunday was a 8.2 miles long run (8.40 min/mile) and I was not feeling it at all. The race on Saturday was tough and although I met my goal (sub-24), I felt a little disappointed with how tired I was feeling – which is totally stupid. I mean, I ran a half marathon last weekend and am probably not fully recovered. I need to stop putting such high expectations on myself. By the time Sunday rolled around it was a struggle to get out of the door. I did not want to run. Not – I couldn’t run. Physically, I felt pretty good but my brain just wasn’t cooperating. But I did it – and with pretty even split times. It’s in the books now – time to move on.

I also got my yoga groove back on. I haven’t been to a class for a while. Food tendonitis made it a little painful and then I just wasn’t psyched to go to a class. But I was suddenly itching to go – and was so glad I did. It felt so good. I am definitely back on the yoga train.

Sunday cocktail in my race glass!


And then a little Asian inspired grilling – BBQ pork chops, mango slaw and stir-fried mustard greens (not my favorite).


Today was an early morning session on the elliptical (4.3 miles) and finished with an after-work yoga class. A coworker is going on vacation and has offered passes to a yoga class at the University gym. I tried it tonight and it was pretty good (and free!). More like yoga-robics but fun. I can feel a big difference between my two knees but lunges are pain-free and I want to strengthen them back up.

Anyone else race this weekend? Anyone else finding it hard to find their running mojo?



My first 5K race!

No, this isn’t a flashback Friday where I recount my first ever race experience and how the 5K was a launchpad that set me on my path as a runner. My first race was a half marathon (!) and since then I’ve complete two more halfs, two 10Ks (one road and one trail) and a trail 15K. But I’ve never run a 5K race. Ever.

And it’s not like they are a rare event out here in SLC. Every Saturday I run past a 5K in one of our two local parks. So why haven’t I run one yet? Well, I’m a little cheap and I like more bang for my buck – at my last 10K you could pay $30 to run 6.2 miles or $25 to run 3.1 miles. That’s a no-brainer right there! Plus, 5Ks hurt! When I do tempo runs at 5K pace they are not fun. I seriously question what I am doing. At least in a half marathon you can ease yourself into the HURTZONE, and have a couple (or more) miles at a comfortable pace. But, 3.1 miles – they are all going to hurt.

This summer I signed up for a trail race series – 5, 10 and 15K. Tomorrow is race number 1: the 5K! And that means I’m guaranteed a PR! Woohoo! I’m kinda hoping for a 24 min time but we’ll see – there’s about 250 ft of elevation gain (almost half of which is in the first mile). These races are super fun and have a great raffle so you are almost guaranteed to come away with some kind of running goodie. Race recap on Monday!

The half marathon was only last weekend but seems so long ago. I did just find out that we’ll be getting all of our race photos for free – this is the first race I’ve done that has that option. I haven’t seen them yet but hopefully there’s not too much running-bitchface going on.

I spent an hour on both Sunday and Monday stretching and rolling. My calves are incredibly tight and are causing me foot issues – tight achilles, random pain at the bottom of my foot. I did manage a  2 mile recovery run on Sunday and have been diligently rolling and stretching all week.


I even packed my stick to bring to work today. Lucky I’m wearing long pants so nobody can see the one-legged calve sleeve that I’m rocking.

Monday: 1 hour stretching/rolling

Tuesday: 3.5 mile run at 8.28 min/mile pace

Wednesday: 5.5 miles at 8.35 min/mile pace

Thursday: 4.2 mile on ellipitcal (equivalent to one whole episode of Scandal)

Friday: 50 min strength workout

By Wednesday my foot was feeling pretty crappy so I swapped out running for cross-training on Thursday and am feeling a gazillion (that’s a number, right?) better.

I’ve also had some pretty good eats. Orange chicken (low in calories but tastes so good).


And this quinoa tabbouleh recipe which was amazing. Still not happy with the falafel.



Two race weekends in a row! What was I thinking?




Race Recap: Utah Valley half marathon

Half marathon number 3 is in the books! And I’m pretty sure it was my strongest one yet.

But first,  hats off to J who got a 18 min PR and qualified for Boston in his third marathon finishing sub 3.05. I hung around after I finished the half and waited anxiously as the clock hit 3 hours. At 3.03 I saw him hitting the finishing strait and started shouting like a crazy person (all of which went totally unnoticed by him). All that training finally paid off! I was so happy for him. And so proud!

Our day began a little after 2 AM. I think I got about 5ish hours of sleep but actually woke up feeling pretty rested. I ate a piece of toast smothered in Trader Joe’s cookie butter and we hit the road around 3 AM to head to Provo. We first dropped off John in downtown Provo so he could catch the bus to the start of the marathon. I parked in a nearby shopping mall and caught the bus up to the half marathon start.

I got there at 4.30 AM. It was dark, but not too cold. Now just had to kill 1.5 hours before the race start. They had plenty of portapotties, fire pits and even had some music playing. The sun started to crest the mountains and it was almost time to go.


The first 8 miles of the race run down Provo canyon. This is pretty scenic and you even pass a pretty waterfall at about mile 4. But the one half of the four lane road remains open and cars are speeding (pretty loudly) up and down the canyon for the whole race. This might not bother some people but it kinda took away from the beauty of the canyon. Last year, I ran Ogden half marathon which is a simile race – downhill through a scenic canyon. But for Ogden, the entire road was closed and it was a million times more serene and enjoyable to run.

I managed to keep a reasonable first mile pace but I have to say that the first four miles seemed to go so SLOWLY. I was a little worried that I would just have a terrible race. This further hit home when I say the hill at miles 2-3. They advertise this race as a fast downhill run. Well, it’s true that it is net downhill but I still recorded 447 ft of elevation gain through the race. Including this LONG uphill mile. (Note: Ogden is completely hill-free).

After mile 8 it was completely downhill or flat. This was good for my legs but seeing the finish line from 2 miles out is a little soul-crushing for me. Why is it not getting any closer? Ughh!

One major bad point for me was the ‘closed-ness’ of the course. The main advantage of a race is that you don’t have to check for cars or stop at traffic lights. You just need to concentrate on running. At two separate sections, there were cars trying to cross the race course but no police officer to control traffic. I was a little concerned that they would try to squeeze in. This happened to J towards the end of the race – and he actually had to stop cos some dumbass in a car couldn’t wait 10 seconds to cross the road!

Another downer was the lack of crowd support. This was to be expected in the canyon. But even once we hit the residential are there was almost nobody around. In fact the only crowds were near the finish – and this was a pretty small group. Come on Provo – support your runners!

On Thursday I posted about my race goals. So, how did I do?

Negative splits: Nailed it! First half – 51 mins Second half – 49.35 mins. In fact, my last mile was the fastest of the race!

Have fun: The race was just OK (see reasons above) but it went pretty smoothly. I don’t think I would run it again.

Remember the marathon: Plenty of stretching as a warm-up and a cool-down. I even managed a 1.95 mile cool down run as I waited for J to finish. At the finish line they has a massage tent – and both J and I had a free 15 minute leg massage. It was the first time I’ve ever done this at a race but it felt awesome! In general, I felt so much better after this race compared to my half last month. Way less sore and I could even manage stairs for the rest of the weekend. My knee felt a little stiff for a couple of miles during the run but by Sunday I was feeling good – just a little quad and calf pain.


View at the end of my cool down mile.

Back to marathon training on Tuesday!

Time: I wasn’t sure how I would fare in this race. I didn’t really go all out but I still managed a 1.40.35, 124th overall, 43rd female and 10th in my age group. After you leave the finish area, you can get a receipt of your time printed right then and there. Pretty cool!


I ended up being a little under 2 minutes over my half PR and a lot faster than I had been anticipating, but the course was designed for faster times.


The finish!


Extra Creamies! Do they have these at every race? They are so good!

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, eating and drinking beer!

Race preview: Utah Valley Half Marathon

This Saturday I’ll be running my third half marathon. It’s the least prepared I’ve felt for any of my races. I thought I could build on my base from the Salt Lake City half back in April and cruise to a new PR.

Ha! My body had other ideas. How about foot tendonitis? I think I need to start a running injury card – sciatica, bursitis, tendonitis – you gotta collect them all! For once, I did the sensible thing – listened to my body and took a full two weeks away from running, including five (!) whole days of complete rest.

And it totally worked. Tendonitis is gone. I do have a tight left Achilles and random right new pain but nothing that will prevent me from running. And the next physio appointment is booked. Overall, I’m feeling a lot more optimistic than I could have hoped for a few weeks ago. I have managed two 10+ mile runs and a couple of 9ish miles too. And even a 5 mile tempo run on Saturday.

I also somehow complete an 11 miler on the elliptical. I think there should be some kind of award for that.

This is also week two of my marathon training program and that is my main focus right now. So I haven’t really tapered this week – same mileage but all at a comfortable pace.

Tuesday: 3.3 miles at 9 min/mile pace

Wednesday:5.2 miles at 9.08 min/mile pace

Thursday Trail Run: 4.1 miles at 10 min/mile pace (only 435 ft elevation gain this time)

Friday is a rest day. I’m taking a half day and traveling down to Provo to pick up my bib (and eat fish tacos). J is running the full and hoping for a speedy time. Then it’s pasta for dinner and an early night. We will have to leave our house at 3 AM. Not fun but we need to catch buses to travel to the start line. This is the price you pay for a downhill race through a canyon. And totally normal if you come to run a race out in Utah. Saturday afternoon will be nap time.

As a bonus temperatures are dropping 20 degrees by Saturday so the temperature at the start is likely to be around 40F. Brr! – for standing around waiting for the race to start but pretty darn perfect for running.

I think I mentioned previously that this race was my original goal half marathon race for the year. I really wanted to break 1.40 this year. Luckily, Salt Lake City went better than expected and this monkey is off my back. So, how to approach this race? A PR is not going to happen, but I still want to get the most of a prepaid and fully supported long run down a scenic canyon.

1. Negative splits

I actually managed to run a negative split for my first half marathon (my first mile was 8.30 min). And I finished the race feeling pretty good. Salt Lake – not so much. The last two miles were pretty hellish. So be conservative for the first half and finish strong is my number one goal.

2. Have fun

This is a net downhill race in a scenic canyon. I want to take it in. I recently got s SPIbelt and am planning on bringing my phone. Not going to guarantee I’ll take a whole bunch of photos (my competitive nature will kick in at some point) but I want to run with a smile on my face.

3. Remember marathon training

This is my long run for the week. And I would like to be able to walk up and downstairs on Sunday. Start slow and run by feel. And be ready to get back to marathon training by Tuesday.

4. Time?

I still have a time goal. Anything sub 1.50 would be nice and the closer to 1.45 the better,

5. Biggest goal

Watch J finish his third marathon and get him back home in one piece. Once I finish my race I will magically transform into uber supportive girlfriend and get him back to the house in one piece.

We have been spending this week carb-loading. (And no snail sightings).


Salmon fishcakes with kale salad and pickled radishes. I am not a huge fan of kale (I know – bad healthy lifestyle blogger) but this salad was legit.


Another recipe from the same website. And I’m pretty sure this is vegan too – if you’re into that. I used komatsuna that we got in our CSA. It tastes like spinach and kale made babies. Not my favorite (a little bitter) but super healthy.

IMG_0831 IMG_0832

Finally, I made arugula-basil pesto. This one has a chilli flakes to give it a little heat. We had it with gnocchi, asparagus and a gigantic garlic ciabatta. Glycogen levels are maxed out right now.


Unexpected encounters with wildlife………

I had a very traumatizing wildlife encounter during the last few days…………..If you’re queasy like me, maybe wait til you’ve finished eating.

But first a mini-recap of the weekend. Friday was a post-work strength workout. You’re welcome core!

Saturday – back to running and a scheduled 5 mile pace run. Right now I have no idea what my marathon pace is – having never run further than 13.3 miles – but I do have a half marathon next Saturday so decided I would try half marathon-ish pace. The first mile was hard but once I settled into my rhythm it felt pretty OK – 5 miles at 7.50 min/mile pace. And the first pace run I’ve done in a long time. I’m pretty sure I can’t run a 20 miles at that pace but maybe the half on Saturday (net downhill!!) will be better than expected.

Saturday was spend doing chores. And wedding stuff. Invites to our Irish party are out. Photographer is locked in. Honeymoon is organized.

And then a wonderful dinner (+ margaritas) with our friends up in Park City. Nothing better than sitting on a deck in the mountains with good food and great company.

Sunday is long run day. This week I got more than 5 hours sleep so was good to go. I met my Thursday trail running buddy and another runner friend for a trail run. This time we did the whole trail – 9.3 miles out and back with stunning views and a lovely breeze. 9.33 min/mile with rolling hills – total elevation gain of 1400 ft but without any really big hills. I managed to squeeze in two whole episodes of Scandal while stretching and doing PT exercises. Total mileage for the week 28 miles on the dot.

I spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on our front porch before heading to a 4PM Restore yoga class where I may or may not have dozed off for a couple of seconds.

This weekend was all about the burgers – portobello mushrooms and fresh corn on Friday.


Homemade turkey burgers with potato salad (carb-loading has started with a vengeance!) on Sunday. Ciabatta is my new favorite way to eat my burgers.


We also are having salad with pretty much every meal to use up our CSA greens ASAP. Finding a snail as you are washing your salad leaves – pretty normal, right? I still had a mini-freakout (can’t do “slimy” things with no legs including (but not limited to) earthworms, slugs, snails, snakes) and had to get J to deal with it.

What is totally NOT normal was waking up the next day and finding a snail had appeared in your kitchen and found it’s way INTO your water bottle which was standing open on the counter. This freaked me out. I had to leave the room. And I felt sick about it all day – especially when I sat down to eat my delicious SALAD. I checked for wildlife before I tucked in.





And so it begins……

I never thought I would ever sign up to run a marathon – EVER. But I find myself 5 days into my 126 days (that’s 18 weeks folks) marathon training plan. How did that happen?

I have met J at the finish line of his two marathons – and let me tell you that seeing someone after they have pushed themselves through 26.2 miles is the best way to discourage anyone from thinking that running a marathon might be a fun thing to do. The same way that spending a couple of hours with a screaming newborn is probably going to hush up your biological clock for a while.

This is combined with hours of your weekend spent running/recovering from your room and sacrificing some other aspect of your life – no time to yoga/rock climb/whatever floats your boat. Early nights. Can’t make that trip cos I need to run 18 miles on Sunday. It just seemed like too much – time, hurt, sacrifice.

But here I am looking at the next couple of weeks of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Marathon Plan I. (Looking beyond week 7 is still a little scary). I’m a mixture of nervous – I’ve never run more than 13.3 miles or longer than 1hr 45 mins – and excited.



I know that this will be incredibly challenging and – if I can make it all the way through – incredibly rewarding. Thinking about crossing the line at Twin Cities is going to be a recurrent image when I’m struggling through some bad runs.

Week one has been pretty mellow so far – not much more than I’ve been doing recently. My problems (and I use that term loosely) will come trying to fit long runs in with a half marathon next week, a river trip in July, a Hood to Coast Relay, and a wedding in Ireland followed by a honeymoon in Italy (I know – first world problems!).

Monday: Crazy busy 11 hour workday. So I treated myself to a post-work gym session. Yes – I wrote “treated”. I might have a problem

Tuesday: Run number 1! 3.3 miles at 8.40 min/mile pace. This felt hard. It was warm (73F – don’t laugh) for this runner.

Wed: 5.8 miles at 8.19 min/mile pace. So much better. Great run on National Running Day.

Thurs: 4.6 trail miles at 9.46 min/mile pace. 800 ft of elev’ation.

Fri: Strengths session after work.

This plan has you running both Saturday and Sunday. The aim is to get you used to running on tired legs – so Saturdays have runs at race pace (not sure what that should be yet) and long run on Sunday.

In more running news – we sorted out our Hood to Coast Relay legs! You’re looking at the anchor runner right here – Number 12. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to running this race. Go Van 2!

This week was also the start of our CSA. We get ours from a local non-profit that uses urban gardens to grow all their produce. I came home to four giant bags of greens along with a bunch of radishes. Lots of salads coming our way. Plus pickled radishes – cos that’s how I like to eat ’em.

And last night for dessert I has some chocolate brownie ice cream with these cookies.


They are ridiculously easy to make – mash 2 ripe bananas, add a cup of rolled oats and a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Put tablespoon-sized dollops on a baking sheet at 350 F for 15 mins and done!

National Running Day!

I run for

Happy National Running Day everyone! I hope you got out for a run today.  And, if you’re injured I hope that you were able to cope with reading about it.
Running is definitely MY time. I usually am by myself – no music, no distractions – just me and my thoughts. It gives me time to process all of the stuff going on in my life. Allows me to really appreciate my health and my body. Training for – and finishing – my half marathons has given me a huge sense of accomplishment. It has also changed the way I feel about myself, and I’m not just talking about the obvious stuff like losing a couple of lbs and toning up my legs. Growing up I was always a quiet and shy person, always anxious in social situations and a little afraid of being judged negatively by anyone I happened to meet. Running (and being pretty OK at it) has boosted my self-confidence. It has made me appreciate how awesome I can be. And made me proud of myself. I don’t worry so much about what people think about me because I know that I can do hard things. I can get up at 545 AM and go for a run. I can push myself hard. I can commit to a months-long training plan and see it through. I can run 10.5 miles in the rain and enjoy it. I run for me – for my legs, my lungs and my mind.

Weekly recap






Saturday started out with a double digit run. Foot was fine. Knee was meh. But the run felt great.

The first 2.5 miles were on trail – and still no rattlesnake/tarantula sightings – followed by 8 mostly downhill miles on the road. The half I’m schedule to run in 2 (!) weeks is net downhill and I want to make sure my quads can cope. I took it pretty easy (8.45 min/mile pace), took my chocolate Gu at mile 6 and finished pretty strong. I even managed to avoid getting sunburnt – by avoiding the bright side of the street and hitting the dark side of the road.

A good mornings work. Followed by refueling with my favorite foods – chocolate milk, berries + yoghurt, and my signature egg/avocado/bacon toasted sandwich.


I then did my PT exercises in front of this.


Saturday afternoon/evening was spent at a friends wedding. So much fun.


Beautiful venue.

IMG_0805 IMG_0807


IMG_0810 IMG_0813

Pretty! And the food was so good.

This was a late night for me but I still managed to meet some friends (and Hood to Coast team mates) for a Sunday morning trail run. This was actually in the same canyon as the wedding. 5.50 nice and slow recovery miles. I’m really digging running with other people – it definitely makes the miles go quicker.

Total mileage for the week: 25.85 miles (I am back!)

May mileage: 57.8 miles

May was not the greatest month for me – with two weeks completely free of running. But I’m trying to be more sensible about dealing with injuries – resting early and trying not to run through pain. And this totally worked for my (self-diagnosed) foot tendonitis.

However, it this derailed my half marathon training plan. I had hoped to PR this race but this layoff gave me the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate my goals for this race (no PR – but controlled and sensible race pace) and focus on putting the fun back in running. So hitting more of Utah’s scenic trails and badgering people to come run with me.

Next up: June and the start of marathon training! Holy crap – I am totally intimidated by the thought of running 26.2 miles. I need as much advice as I can get. And maybe a new knee/glute.

What do you wish you knew before you started training for your first marathon?