About that half marathon……

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.

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They are cuter in person. The upper is stitched, seamless fabric.

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.

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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.

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6 thoughts on “About that half marathon……

  1. Sorry you had to defer but getting 100% healthy is a great reason to. I have the Free Rn Distance! They are great up to about 10 miles. Wore them on one 13 miler and never again. I love them otherwise, I like to wear them for speedwork. I need to figure something out for basic running though. Boo. Are you really liking the Altra’s? I tried a pair on once and they felt comfy but I was actually concerned by how wide the toebox was.

  2. Bummer to hear about the deferral as I know that can be a mental “meh” for any great runner/run addict, but glad you listened to your body and did what you knew was best to avoid any further injury. You smart lady you. Love the concept of buying new running shoes to cheer you up! I agree Nikes are the absolute most comfortable sneaks as well. I don’t run distances in frees as they’re a bit too minimalist for me, but I swear by the Zoom Fly 2s. My feet have never been so happy.

  3. I feel you on the “ego about running times” thing. I always struggle mentally when it comes to easy/recovery running. I’m always wanting to push the pace. Ironman training helped out with that because my race pace for the run was relatively slow for me, and I actually had to practice race pace. I’m hoping I can keep up the “easy” part of the easy run because I always read about the benefits of easy running.

    I’m glad you’re feeling better and back to running. It’s a bummer you had to defer, but better safe than sorry for sure!

  4. Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor says:

    Having an ego about my race times is like my life. It took me forever to get over that in my easy runs, and I think I will always feel that way about my race times. We all have different personalities and for those of us who are success-oriented, it’s hard to be satisfied with something that doesn’t reflect the best we’re capable of.

    One thing that helps me keep my easy runs honest is reminding myself that I’m running this pace because I’m CHOOSING to, not because it’s the best I’m capable of. I know if I wanted to I could run faster, but I’m keeping it slow because I want to. It actually takes more control and discipline to stay true to the purpose of an easy workout than it does to just blow through every run as fast as you can. I also remind myself that the elites often run their easy days 2:00 min/mile slower than their easy runs. If they can do it, then it shouldn’t be so hard for us mere mortals to grow up and slow our butts down! 🙂

    So glad you are feeling better!

  5. Deferring a race can def be a bummer but good for you for being smart and making the right call!

    This training cycle I’ve learned so much about making easy runs truly easy. At the beginning, I thought I was keeping them easy, but I really wasn’t. Once I made them even slower, I’ve seen the difference in how it allows me to really recover from my hard runs and be ready for my next tough workout.

    Good to see you had a solid week back!!

  6. So glad you are feeling better! And so, so, so glad you’ve been reading up on the heart rate training. You really should be doing a majority of your runs at a slower pace. It is so hard to trust it (even as someone who has had training in this). But if you just trust it and your body, you will see amazing results and feel so much better in between. BTW, you don’t just have to go by heart rate. You can use perceived exertion in the same way and get the same results. I hope it works splendidly for you!

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