The Revel Big Cottonwood half marathon was on Saturday. Conditions were perfect – blue skies, sunshine but not too hot. And I was in bed. Deferred til next year. Sigh.
This is a fast course and a race that I’ve heard great things about – free race photos, nice t-shirts and a scenic course. But I sat it out.
I saw my PT two days after I got back from vacation and while my hip flexibility had improved (despite me mostly forgetting about them while in Europe; beer/chocoloate/sightseeing/friends >>>> PT exercises) I still wasn’t ready for 13.1 miles. In fact, I was sure that if I ran the race I would land straight back at square one and I was not about to let that happen. She then massaged my right leg – hip adductors to be precise. One of those massages that hurts but in the right way.
And then something switched. That pesky leg has not bothered me at all since my appointment. In fact, running has felt great. Certainly, not all rainbows and unicorns – a little niggle here and there – but I’ve felt strong and and am enjoying every second.
This past week I’ve managed 18.3 miles.
Tuesday: 4.1 miles @ 8.52 pace
Wednesday: 4.1 miles @ 9.32 pace
Friday: 4 miles @ 10.07 pace
Sunday: 6.1 miles @ 9.21 pace
It’s a start. Well, I hope it’s THE start of my long-awaited comeback.
There’s a couple of things that I’m doing to help myself.
Taking it easy: I’ll admit that I have an ego about my running times. I don’t want to run a half marathon just to finish. I want a “good” time. And in the past that has crept into my training runs. I never wanted to see a “slow” mile. I should always be getting faster, right? Recently, I’ve been reading more and heart rate training, and how you should be running most of your miles in the easy/aerobic zone to get a better base. So here I am, telling myself to actually take it easy and monitoring my heart rate (average of 149-159 bpm for runs this past week).
Releasing the pressure: Following on from taking it slow, I’ve been trying to enjoy my runs. During the week, I run with my dog, which is always an adventure – basically trying to avoid having her trip me up. I also decided it was time to find a trail. This may have been a little over-enthusiastic as my calves were bitching at me after my run on Friday. But it felt so great to get on those familiar trails looking over the whole valley and taking in the view. One thing that has come easily to me this year, is an appreciation of having a strong body that can do things. That is a gift.
Cross-training: This summer I have been biking into work almost everyday – about 11 miles return. It’s a great way to clear my head and get ready for the day plus I get to avoid the parking nightmare at work. It’s tough – about 600ft climb on the way in but a nice and easy glide home. But I think it’s been paying off. My trail run had about 370 ft of climbing and normally the first time back kills me. Not this time. My legs were up to it which was pretty nice payback after all those rides on 90+ weather.
New shoes: I have a weird obsession with buying running shoes when I physically can’t run. This time I bought four (I know! but they were on sale….well mostly). I had been running in Brooks PureCadence (4 mm drop) for the last three years so I wanted to try version four and I do not love them. They just don’t feel right. So I’m hopping off the Brooks train.
I got fitted at my local running store and came back with a pair of Adidas Energy Boost (8 mm drop) and I love them! They feel so comfortable. A little stiffer sole than the Brooks but such a smooth ride and super cute. These are my go-to for longer runs.
I’ve also used this time to transition to zero drop shoes. Altra is from Utah and my husband swears by them (Fun fact: he met the founder in a half marathon in Utah about 5 years ago after they both finished in the top five). And so far so good. Although, I did my first trail run them and my calves were super achey afterwards but look at them! They’re beautiful and have the most amazing lugs.
And finally, I tried out the Nike Free RN Distance which are hands down the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. I’m still not completely confident that they will hold up for longer distances but they feel like clouds (and come in gorgeous colors).
Hopefully, I’ll be putting miles on all of them soon.