Friday randomness

Friday already? I don’t know about you but this week has just flown by over here in Utah. Today seemed to call for a little bit of randomness.

Calf update: I figure that everyone wants to talk about my calf as much as me, right? Or not. But I will say that I’m feeling a lot better. There was some limping on Wednesday but also plenty of stick rolling, compression sleeves and ibuprofen. Thursday was a little improved – no ibuprofen but still sleeves. I was able to stretch a little and really got stuck into that muscle with some finger massage. Today – even better. Still a couple of twinges when I walk up and down stairs but am definitely on the road to recovery. My medical research (thanks Google!) suggests 7-10 days until you’re back to normal so that should have me trying some easy runs in the middle of next week. The perfect start to week 1 of marathon training?

Speak of marathon training, I have become a little obsessed with my Advanced Marathoning book. There is so much useful information in there. (Random fact: they recommend cooking with cast-iron to increase the iron in your diet -> more iron -> increased hemoglobin -> carry more oxygen in your blood -> run better). If you plan to race a marathon I would recommend it. I’m still not convinced that I am in the right shape to launch into this program right now (Week 1 is 33 miles starting with an 8 mile tempo run), but I can see myself incorporating some of the things I’ve learned into my marathon training program. One thing that really spoke to me was their recommendation of even pacing throughout the race. They even say that if you run a negative split that you likely ran the first half too conservatively and are capable of a faster time. For my marathon I ran my second half two minutes faster than the first so I’m not crazy for thinking that there might be a PR on the cards this spring.

But in one way it’s kind of the ideal time for me to take a break. My gym is closed for this week – no pool, no treadmill. But it will open on Monday and looks awesome. Thank you students and your ridiculously high tuition fees for funding this!). We are also experiencing the dreaded January inversion. This is the dark secret of Salt Lake City that nobody ever wants to mention. In winter we can get a temperature inversion here. Basically, when it snows the cold air gets trapped in the valley (because the ground is so cold), meaning that it is warmer in the mountains (9000 ft) than on  the valley floor (4500 ft). You’re probably thinking that it doesn’t sound so bad especially because our highs have been in the 40s for the last week. But this cold air traps all of the pollution (cars, wood burning, oil refineries) in the valley. And if there is no storm to mix up the air the pollution builds and builds. For most of the past weak it was in the “moderate” to “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range, but yesterday it was in the “unhealthy” range. This means exactly what it sounds like – that our air was unhealthy to breathe in, and you should minimize your time outside. During January, not only do I check the weather so I know what to wear to stay warm but I check our Division of Air Quality to make sure it’s safe for me to run outside. Luckily, the pollution varies during the days so if you get up early enough you can run outside but man January SUCKS!


You can see the smog in this photo. But looking out of my office today I can’t see the top of these mountains anymore :(.

I really enjoyed this article – about the dangers of disordered eating and exercise addiction. A story about a talented runner who is right in middle of the recovery process. While I personally have never suffered from disordered eating, I did have a close friend in college who suffered from anorexia. Articles like this always hit me hard and bring me back to that time in my life when I watched helplessly as a close friend starved herself. Since then, I’ve always been extra-vigilant about self-monitoring for any disordered thinking/behaviors. I think back to how I felt watching someone else go through that, how hard recovery is, and how getting caught up in this pattern can change your whole personality. I like to run. I like to eat a nutritious and balanced diet. But most of all I value my health – physical and mental – and that is my priority. Sure, I’m not thrilled when the number on the scale goes up and when I eat too much chocolate I feel a twinge of regret. But I let it go – and don’t beat myself up about it.

Enjoy your weekend! I will be either inside away from the air or up in the mountains.

21 thoughts on “Friday randomness

  1. Glad to hear you are feeling on the mend. So frustrating. My calves are the source of most of my injuries. I have never heard of that weather pattern. So crazy! I really hope to visit Utah soon. Such an incredible region!

    • My calves are always so tight – they need extra TLC. Don’t visit SLC in January unless you’re coming to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival. This weird weather is kinda due to our geography but I’m hoping the State will try and improve it. Southern Utah is amazing at any time. Let me know if you ever plan a trip – I have so much tips to share!

  2. I need to check out that book! I’m intrigued by the cast iron suggestion. We use cast iron a lot for cooking but I’ve never thought about the benefits in terms of marathon training (or being an athlete in general). I’m looking forward to following your journey as you begin to train for your marathon. ; )

    • I think you would love the book – so much detail and science (which I love) about everything to do with marathon training. The cast iron thing was new to me but I guess it makes sense. I also saw it mentioned on a website when I was looking for a chickpea curry recipe and the chef said he always uses cast iron for cooking for this exact reason.

    • We’ve had pollution and fog so I’m pretty sure they are still there. But it did clear out these last couple of days and I’m hoping to ski on MLK day. I never had to think about air pollution before (I grew up in Ireland and lived in Scotland – those places are pretty clean) and it’s probably the only major downside about living here.

  3. Glad the calf is improving! This does seem like a good time to take a break. With the cold weather I have eased up on my workouts a lot and honestly I think my body is appreciating it. I will also be happier come spring when I am ready to run more and race a lot!

    • For some reason muscle injuries don’t freak me out as much as the other kind! Winter weather definitely does not get me excited to be up in the dark at 6 AM with my headlamp.Your base is so good that I think you’re going to kill all of those spring races!

  4. charissarunning says:

    I’m glad your calf is improving! I hope it’s all recovered when you start the much-anticipated new round of marathon training! I’ve never had to deal with an air pollution problem here – that sure puts a damper on the outdoor running situation. Hope it clears up soon!

  5. the advanced marathoning book sounds like a good read. interesting about the negative splits and running the first half conservatively…it makes complete sense though. i’m usually a negative-split racer, so I’ll have to reevaluate my racing strategy!

    • It’s very interesting – I would definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to understand more about marathon training and racing. I’ve always tried to be a negative splitter too – but I might try for an even split next time. They say that the elites usually get a negative split (-30ish seconds in the second half) so maybe we are more talented than we think!

  6. Martha B says:

    That cast iron tip totally blew my mind. I mean, it makes sense! It’s so simple but I never would have thought of that myself. I love cooking in cast iron, though. It’s definitely an art.
    Sorry to hear about the air quality situation. I couldn’t imagine. That is also something I never heard of before. Hope you got a little mountain escape in. Take care!

    • I never heard of the cast iron thing either. But then later that same day I was looking for a recipe online and the chef mentioned how he always cooks with cast iron for the extra iron so I think that there must be something to it. I was a little skeptical when my husband brought these giant cast iron skillets home but now I love them! The air got really bad but this weekend’s storm blew it all out for now. And hoping for more mountains this weekend.

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