Holy DOMS batman!

I’m in a strange place right now. My calf is 100% healed – no pain doing anything. Woohoo! Happy news!?! Except I have a marathon looming on May 16th and am pretty under-trained. Gulp.

Running logic tells me that you can’t cram for a marathon. But to finish I need to know that I have the endurance to make it all of the way round. So how do you play catch-up? How do you do enough to finish, but not too much that you end up back on the injured list? This is a new experience for me. My training cycle for Twin Cities was 18 weeks of perfection (I literally missed one planned run) and I got to the starting line fully prepared (except for the whole running my first marathon and not really knowing what to expect after mile 20). This time around I will have a truncated 13-week training cycle.

The highlights of my training so far:

Weeks 1-6: Lots of run-walking. Moderate calf pain.3 running days per week.

Weels 7 & 8: No more walking. 4 runs per week. Pain-free runs. Exactly 5.5 week after my physiotherapist told me that it would take 5-6 weeks to run symptom-free. Spooky!

Long runs: 5.15, 7.50, 6.20, 10.50, 13.20, 15, 16, 18 miles

Races: Week 3: 10K (49.17), Week 5: Half marathon (1.51.20), Week 7: 15K (1.13.18).

Weekly mileage: 11.30, 14.64, 13.45, 17.94, 21.17, 22.54, 27.90, 31.13 miles.

Sorry for the number dump! This is mostly for my benefit -> so that I can convince myself that this is possible. And that I have two long runs left before I need to start my taper.

What has helped the most is the fact that this is not my first rodeo. Training for my first marathon was full of new distances and records. I remember after every “new longest run” I would feel wrecked. 14 miles is so hard – how could I ever manage to do 26.2? Repeat for 15, 16, 18 etc. I had one really awful 20 miler where I bonked so hard that it was a confidence killer. Luckily my final long run went as well as it possibly could (20 miles around Dublin with my Mom following me on her new bike). I think that training helped to convince me that I am capable of running long distances, and that consistent training really does pay off. I also figured out my fueling strategy -> granola bar before I run, Gu every 5.5 miles, water only while running (to keep my stomach happy).

This weekend’s run had me feeling all kind of nervousness. 18 miles was the goal but I’d be happy to get over 16. I’ve been having weird, random pain in my right foot that I’m keeping a close eye on and I wasn’t sure if it’s all in my foot or all in my head. My marathon route is down one of Utah’s canyon and has an overall loss of 1100 ft. So I wanted to try and replicate race conditions. My husband dropped me at the top of Emigration Canyon a little before 8 AM, and I set off with my running vest, 3 Gu’s and my phone (in case of worst-case scenario). It was in the high 30s at the start so I wore  my arm warmers (am slowly getting converted to the idea that this are useful things and not just for speedsters) and gloves. I tried to keep an even pace and just settle into the run. Luckily I was surrounded by beautiful views that I shared with the occasional car and an endless stream of cyclists. This canyon is one of the more popular routes for an uphill bike workout so has a nicely marked bike lane the whole way down – and some pretty friendly bikers!

At the mouth of the canyon the gloves literally came off and I stashed them and my arm warmers into my vest. I was just under half way done and was feeling pretty good. In fact this was one of the better long runs that I’ve ever had. I felt the miles fly by and my legs felt good until mile 16. The last mile was pretty hard – mainly because it finished with a 100 ft climb. But just like that it was done – a little over 2 hours 42 minutes. And the weirdest thing of all – I was completely energized by the whole thing. I managed to clean the whole house, make a quick trip to work and cook a delicious dinner with the biggest smile on my face. The days was finished with a trip to watch “Once” at one of our local theaters. It was amazing – thanks for the tip Shawna!

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The sh*t hit the fan when I woke up on Sunday morning and realized that my quads were not happy with a sudden long, downhill run. Major DOMS. But all muscle which is reassuring. No other aches or pains (that I could notice over my quads). Luckily a friend was looking for a swim buddy to head to the pool and do some kind of easy workout before lounging in the hot tub. Exactly the right prescription for the day after a long run. The weekend was rounded off by drinking wine and eating homemade pizza while sitting in the sunshine.

Now if only my quads will forgive me so that I can get back to normal………

Workouts:

Mon: 4.1 miles. Downhill run commute from work. 8.20 min/mile average pace. 618 ft drop in elevation.

Tues: Bike commute. Strength workout.

Wed: 6 miles at 8.43 min/mile (9.00/8.56/8.22/8.30/8.15/8.45).

Thurs: Morning yoga class. Bike commute.

Fri: 3 easy miles @ 9.16 min/mile pace.

Sat: 18 downhill miles @ 9.02 min/mile average pace. 2068 ft drop in elevation.

Sun: 1000 m recovery swim.

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RunSLC 15K Recap

Another weekend another race……

2015 has been race-packed so far – three down and it’s only April (not counting the one that I had to sit out back in February) – way more than I’d normally consider this early in the racing season. Saturday was the final race of the RUNSLC series. This year is the inaugural event and designed to get you half marathon ready (the SLC half is on April 18th) by building up to 5, 10 and 15K. I didn’t run the 5K on doctor’s orders but decided to volunteer instead and still managed to come away with some swag. The 10K was my first race post mid-injury, and was my first taste of a return to fitness. Since then I’ve run a 10.5 mile long run, the Canyonlands half marathon and a 15 miler last weekend. Plus, my calf was feeling a million times better. So, in this race I was planning to avoid the sufferfest of the previous two.

Packet pickup was Friday at the running store (which is also where the races start and finish). It was quick and easy.  The only bad thing was the chance of getting sidetracked by all the essential things that I absolutely need to buy in the store. New shoes! New clothes! Yes please! Luckily, I managed to survive with my credit cards intact.

So following on from my “Tell me it’s OK for me to run a marathon in 6 weeks time” post last week I decided I would do a Salt. In my case run to the start, do the race, and then run home. The race was scheduled to start at 8 AM, so I set my alarm for 6.40 AM, got dressed – including my new vest which I wore for the first time and loved – and had some water. I left the house at 7.10 AM and headed for a nice and easy 3 mile run to the start line. I forced myself to go as slow as I could but surprised myself by averaging a 9.13 min/mile pace. I arrived 20 minutes early so had time to eat my Gu (chocolate outrage, do some stretching and soak up some pre-race excitement.

More purple. I loved this vest. But handed it in at bag check so I wouldn't have to race in it.

More purple. I loved this vest. But handed it in at bag check so I wouldn’t have to race in it.

Beautiful morning.

Beautiful morning.

Start/finish line.

Start/finish line.

I checked my gloves (which I regretted for the first two miles), North Face running jacket (right decision) and vest at the bag check – which is great option to have at such a small race. The courses for all of these races follows the same basic route – running along a quiet residential street to one of our local parks and then some loops or out and backs to add up to the distance. Not the most scenic route but flat and encompassing some of the actual route of the salt lake half marathon. I decided to go out comfortably and try to remember that I would have to run home afterwards so finish with something left in the tank.

Pre-race pap shot. Taken from RUNSLC facebook page.

Pre-race pap shot. Taken from RUNSLC facebook page.

Can you spot me? Taken from the RUNSLC facebook page.

Can you spot me? Taken from the RUNSLC facebook page.

One thing that I have been working on for the last year or so is getting better at pacing myself. I usually run by feel and only really look at my Garmin at the end of a mile to see what that equates to in minutes. My last two road races (my full in October and my last half in May) were both pretty evenly paced with negative splits. Trail races are still a sh*t show. My first mile ticked over at exactly eight minutes. I think that after all of the long runs I did as part of marathon training that I’m finally getting a better idea of how I should be feeling during the first mile of a race.

The race actually felt pretty comfortable for the whole way around – which was both a huge surprise and confidence boost. I was running side by side with an older lady who kept me on my toes for most of the race. We never actually spoke (hello weird social anxiety) but I felt that we had an unspoken acknowledgement that we were pushing each other to the finish. My splits were pretty even (8.00/8.09/8.08/8.02/7.54/7.52/7.55/8.15/7.59) and I finished in 1.13.20 (average 8.00 min/mile) which would be a new 15K PR if the race measured 15K. According to my Garmin it was only 9.15 miles which was a bit of a bummer, but I couldn’t be too mad given how well the race had gone for me.

As soon as I finished I was given another mug – yay something else to carry on my run home – and took some water and a donut hole for refueling. I stretched a little before going for a cool-down jog to bring that distance up to 10.00. They posted the results pretty speedily and amazingly I managed to come 9th woman overall and 3rd in my age group! So, I decided to stick around for the awards.

Cha- ching!

Cha- ching

Posing with the 30-34 ladies. Even my running jacket is purple!

Posing with the 30-34 ladies. Even my running jacket is purple!

Then it was time to head home. And I’m not going to lie – getting started again was pretty hard. My body was a little tired – although my calf was quiet for the entire race – just a tight hip flexor that I’m keeping a close eye on. Three miles in the sunshine carrying my bag-o-tricks with a little hill right at the end. My mind was ready to be done but I made it to an even 16.0 miles for the day – those last three at 9.23 min/mile pace and with the entire distance at 8.44 min/mile. A good start to the weekend. And a good way to prepare for non-stop Easter eating and drinking!

I also carried this home in my bag as my post race treat.

I also carried this home in my bag as my post race treat.

How is your running going? Anyone race this weekend?

Crazy, stupid or both?

Things have been slowly returning to normal in my running life. Here’s how the last two weeks’ training has gone.

Purple is my jam right now!

Purple is my jam right now!

3/23          Rest. Day after the day after my half marathon and I needed some more recovery time.

3/24          3.55 miles. Still felt a little sore so this one was at an easy pace. 5 min walk to warm-up followed by 3 x 9 min intervals @ 8.49 min/mile pace with 1 min  walk break in between.

3/25          Bike commute. In March I started bike commuting to work and it is awesome. I think I’ll do a post about it next week. It can be a hard workout on the way (680 ft elevation gain in just under 4 miles) but free wheeling pretty much the whole way home.

3/26          4 miles. 5 min walk to warm up followed by 2 x 15 min intervals @ 9 min/mile pace with 1 min walk interval. Bike commute.

3/27          Strength workout.

3/28         15 mile long run at 9.15 min/mile pace.

3/29         Bike commute. Strength workout.

3/30         4 miles @ 8.36 min/mile (no more walk breaks!). Bike commute.

3/31          Bike commute.

4/1            4.65 miles @ 8.30 min/mile pace. First completely pain free run in forever.

4/2           3 miles @ 9.18 min/mile pace. First time running two days in a row since January!

4/3           Rest.

Somehow my total mileage for March ended up at 86.55 which is almost 4 times what I managed in February (23.4 miles) and a nice surprise when I did the math. The main things that I can take away from March are that I have managed to get my walk intervals down to zero, I had one (hopefully the first of many) pain-free run and I managed to run two days in a row without damaging myself. I think that I might be back to normal (fingers crossed!).

So what next for April? Well this is where things get a little shocking, and you can tell me whether you think that I am crazy, stupid or both.

You might notice that I ran a 15 mile run last weekend. One of the local running stores was hosting a teaser run on a running trail about 20 minutes from my house. Basically, they set up water and gatorade stations along a stretch of the Jordan River Parkway. I’ve never run here before (some of the areas can be a little sketchy if you are running by yourself) so I thought it would be the perfect time to check it out. Bonus: it’s probably the flattest place to run in SLC -> 50 ft of elevation gain in 15 miles. The run went pretty well. It took a while to warm up but I settled in at a comfortable 9ish minute pace and decided that I would run for 2 hours. At the turnaround point I stopped to take a Gu and was glad to be returning with a tailwind. Miles 8-11 felt amazing. I even managed to dip under 9 minutes for these miles. My car was parked at mile 13 but I decided I’d hit up the north end of the trail for a mile out and back. The last mile was pretty tough because (how do I say this politely?) of a runner emergency. Luckily I spied a bathroom in time. As I was leaving the stall I noticed a tiny little stall that turned out to be……….a urinal. Yes, in my desperation I failed to notice that I was in the mens bathroom. Luckily, nobody noticed my mistake and I headed back to my car for some chocolate milk. By this time it was 68F and I was feeling pretty warm. My calf was bothering me a little and my right hip flexor was a little tight (story of my life). By late afternoon I was totally fine (yay for recovery!).

My mileage for the last two months has looked like this:

2/16-2/22      11.3 miles

2/23-3/1        14.6 miles

3/2-3/8          13.5 miles

3/9-3/15         18 miles

3/16-3/22      21.2 miles

3/23-3/29      22.5 miles

3/30-4/5        estimated 27 miles

A nice steady increase, right? So where is it all leading? Well, some of you might remember that I signed up for a full marathon on May 16th. Back in February I was pretty sure that this was impossible for me. 26.2 miles that is insane. But now…….I managed a half marathon on basically no training. My 15 miler went surprising well and only about 20s/mile slower than during the summer. I’m wavering. I’m actually thinking about running it. I think I can get my long run up to 18 miles and this should be enough to get me to the finish line. And that is all I’m interested in right now. Not worried about time or pace or BQs. The course is flat or downhill (900 ft drop over the whole race), it’s near my house and my husband is running it. His thinking is that if he can run a 32 mile trail race with a 15 mile long run then I should be able to finish a marathon. My cardio has been maintained during my injury spell. I’ve done the distance before so I know how hard it will be but also how to pace myself to finish. I’ll obviously pull out if my injury comes back (or something else happens) but I’m feeling great right now. I know it’s not ideal but is it totally crazy, stupid or both?

Calling all New Englanders!

First of all let me ask for your help. This arrived at our house last week:

This is not mine!!!!

This is not mine!!!!

It is not mine! I have not secretly qualified for Boston and not shared it with the world – you guys would definitely be the first to know. But my husband qualified last May (with a 3.03 – husband-brag!) and we decided to splurge and make the trek over to MA. As you can guess flights from SLC -> Boston are not cheap so we are making a vacation of it. One whole week out east. Are plans for Sunday and Monday are pretty much wrapped up in picking up his bib and getting to the finish line. But after that? And because of the crazy winter weather that I’ve been hearing about for the last couple of months it seems as if we haven’t picked the ideal time to visit……

Anyway we are thinking of driving down to Cape Cod and checking out some of the towns there (maybe all the way to Provincetown and some whale watching?) and then heading up north to Maine (for important craft beer research in Portland). So if you live near Boston could you share any travel tips? Portland is a definite but other than that we are pretty flexible. Most important: seafood, microbreweries and ocean views. And just how bad is the snow right now? Is it starting to melt at all? Do I need to find my down coat (it is 80F today in SLC so my winter clothes are out of rotation)?

I also wanted to talk a little about my injury. Today marks 5 weeks since my last physiotherapist appointment at which I was told I should start to be running symptom free any day now (4-6 weeks recovery). My recovery has probably been slowed a little by my decision to run the Canyonlands half marathon a couple of weeks ago (not PT-recommended) but I am pretty happy with that judgement call. The truth is that my running is symptom free right now. I can still feel tightness in my calf on most runs (which is better than (1) sharp pain or (2) dull ache) so I am still waiting for that hallelujah pain-free run. But what has improved drastically is my recovery.

At the start of my rehab I was doing 3-4 miles of run-walking. My calf was sore during the run, after the run and the next day. Running two days in a row was totally out of the question. Now, it is tight during the run, and this tightness usually lasts for 2-3 hours afterward, but I am feeling fine by the afternoon and completely recovered by the following day. So while I can’t claim to be 100% recovered right now I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. I also am free of random calf pains during the day (going up stairs or pushing off on my bike) and I am feeling NORMAL again. Woohoo! It only took about 2 months.

My positives right now are:

1. I can run without needing walk breaks.

2. My endurance is still pretty good (I managed 15 miles this past weekend – more on that later in the week)

3. My mood is 100% improved. Runners’ high all of the time.

4. I am now ready to introduce another day of running (4 days per week).

Nuun and egg/avocado sandwiches - long runs are back!

Nuun and egg/avocado sandwiches – long runs are back!

The only negatives:

1. No speed work at all. All runs are at an easy pace. I’m not too worried – I believe that speed will return with mileage.

2. No trail running. Calves + Hills = pain! Hopefully in the next month I’ll be able to remedy this.

 

But right now I’ll take what I can get!

Race recap: Canyonlands Half Marathon

Yes you read that right – a half marathon. And I know it sounds crazy – considering my limited running over, well, pretty much the whole of 2015. So let’s rewind and figure out why I thought that this was a good idea.

I was given the all-clear to run back on February 18th so I started a run-walk program – doing 30 minute workouts and gradually building up the percentage of running vs walking. I did manage a long “run” of 5.15 miles, followed by 7.5 miles the next weekend. Then my first race of the year – the RUN SLC 10K. This was actually the first non-stop run since my injury setback. The next week was a little rough – my calf was a little stiff but after an extra rest day I was feeling pretty well recovered – and still taking regular walk breaks to keep things nice and easy.

I think that I mentioned previously that the Canyonlands half marathon had a five mile option that I could switch to at packet pick-up. And originally that was the plan. Because that would be the smart thing to do. But I reasoned that if I could survive a longish run the weekend before the race then I would stick with the half marathon distance. And I survived 10.5 miles of mostly running. Still with breaks. It was tough. But I made it and felt pretty good, and more importantly I recovered from it pretty quickly. As the week progressed I was becoming more and more settled on doing the half marathon. I know a lot of you are thinking “This girl is crazy!”, and I admit I would never advise anyone else to do this. And if it turns around and bites me in the ass in the next couple of months feel free to call me out on it.

So in summary my half marathon training plan went like this:

1. Pull calf muscle in January. Repeat a week later.

2. Take 4 weeks off from running.

3. Run-walk 3 times a week for 5 weeks.

4. No speedwork, tempo runs and limited long runs.

5. Volia! Half marathon ready……….

I headed down to Moab on Friday afternoon to pick up my bib and check into our condo. Moab is crazy busy on this weekend so I would definitely recommend making a reservation or renting a place with a kitchen. Pick-up was really easy – a cute t-shirt (although the sizing ran on the large side) and a reusable shopping tote that doubled as your drop bag. I feasted on pasta and beer (carb loading like a champ) and headed for an early-ish bedtime.

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The race started on Saturday at 10 AM but being Utah you had to catch a bus to the start line between 7.30-8.15 AM and hang around trying not to freeze to death. Actually, it wasn’t that cold but we were in the shade for the whole two hours. They had coffee, hot chocolate, gatorade and water, plus plenty of porta-potties. At 9.40 we had to walk to the actual race start (about 0.4 miles further up the road) and drop our bags.

I wore my arm warmers for the first time – along with a tank and shorts. I was seriously cold at the start but once we got moving I warmed up quickly and running in the sun was pretty warm. Here’s some of the footage from the race organizers showing the start. Let me say that this is a really scenic race. You basically run along the Colorado river in a beautiful red rock canyon. Any time I was starting to feel bad I would remind myself to look UP and take in the scenery and enjoy just being outside and running in such a picturesque place. The other advantage of running in a canyon is that a lot of it was run in the shade which helped keep me cool as the temperature increased.

There were plenty of water stops – every 2 miles – and a Clif shot zone halfway through. The course was pretty rolling (about 375 ft elevation gain over the course and about 450 ft drop) with one short, steep hill at mile 9.5. At mile 10.5 you left the canyon and started heading towards the town. This meant running on the shoulder of a pretty busy road which was not fun but you quickly turned into some more residential areas that were closed to traffic. The race finished at the town park where you picked up your medal, race goodies and complimentary beers. The weather was perfect for post-race beer drinking – sunny and in the 70s. And also perfect for getting my first sun burn of the year. Boo! You’d think I’d know better having the whitest skin possible.

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As for the race. Well, it went about as well as I could have hoped for considering my lack of training. I thought I could run around 1.50 so I wanted to start out around 8.20 and see how it went. I knew the last couple of miles would be tough but I gave myself permission to walk if I needed to. So here’s the mile-by-mile:

Mile 1: 8.21  Feeling pretty good.

Mile 2: 8.14

Mile 3: 8.16

Mile 4: 8.18

Mile 5: 8.11

Mile 6: 8.15

Mile 7: 8.23

The first half felt pretty comfortable. I was feeling a little hot and a little hungry (which was a pretty worrying sign so early on). During the next mile I stopped to walk and take my Gu.

Mile 8: 8.39

Mile 9: 8.21

Mile 10: 8.26

Mile 11: 8.28

Things started feeling pretty hard around this point. I was now doing all of my mental tricks to convince myself to keep going but it felt hard. Bonus: we were now completely out of the shade and running alongside some semis in single file. At this point I had to stop to walk. This is the first time I’ve ever had to do this during a half marathon but it was the right choice. Then I got myself going again and convinced my legs they could keep moving until the end.

Mile 12: 9.11

Mile 13: 8.39

Final time: 1.51.21 with an average pace of 8.30 min/mile. I managed to finish in the top 20% overall and really couldn’t have asked for better considering the circumstances. My calf was feeling fine until the last 4 miles or so, and never really got painful enough to change my gait. It felt tight afterwards and I managed to ice it at the finish area. The next day it was a little sore and hello quads! how you doing? But, if I’m being really honest it’s probably the least bad (sorry English language) I’ve felt after any of my half marathons. And I know – that doesn’t make any sense at all!

Recap: Run SLC 10K

Way back in January ie. BCS (Before Calf Strain), I signed up for a race series (5, 10 and 15K) organized by a local running story. My physiotherapist had ordered full rest so I was unable to run the 5K (I volunteered instead). But I was hoping I’d be recovered enough to try to run in the other two races of the series.

So let’s rewind to my past weeks running. I had been incorporating some run-walks over the last 3 weeks and been progressively shortening the running portion. Last Sunday I did my longest run of the year -> 7.5 miles with 5 min walking warm-up and cool-down and a little over an hour of run:walk (3 min:3 min). It went pretty well. No major pain. But it made me realize how much endurance I’ve lost over the last couple of months. During marathon training, I was able to knock out these runs pretty easily before breakfast. Now, not so much. But I did it. And was a little sore the next day. But apparently that is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern right now (doctor’s advice).

I then had two more runs during the week. I like to call them progressive runs ->basically increasing the run portion over 5 intervals (Tues: 3:3, 3.5:2.5, 4:2, 4.5:1.5, 5:1 and Thurs: 4:2, 4.5:1.5, 5:1, 5.5:.5, 6:0). By the end of the week I was able to run 6 minutes straight. So I was totally prepared for a 10K on Saturday, right???

Honestly, I went back and forth a lot about whether I should run this race at all, and how I should approach it if I did. The last thing I wanted was to set back my recovery by re-injuring myself for some random race. I didn’t make up my mind until Friday where I convinced myself that I should take it as an opportunity to push myself a little and see where my fitness and calf health are at. My aim was to finish healthy, run comfortably and ease back if I was feeling anything. It might not have been the smartest decision I’ve ever made but it was the right one for me.

So I picked up my packet on Friday night. At this race you get a mug instead of a shirt which I think is pretty cool.

IMG_1253

Race time was 8.00 AM and the starting line was only a 10 minute drive from my house, so I was able to sleep in until 6.30 AM, get ready (in my souvenir shirt from Twin Cities) and eat a small Lara bar (I’m pretty sure I got it as a free sample from some expo).

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I also ran my first race in my new Saucony ISO Triumphs. They are pretty bright!

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Parking was pretty easy -> plenty of spaces in a nearby residential area. The race starts and finishes at the running store.

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This is pretty cool because you can hang out in the wonderfully warm store right up until race time, and check out all the shoes and apparel you want but cannot afford.

The weather was sunny but still in the mid 30s at start time. My feet were a little cold for the first mile or so, but by the end I was feeling pretty warm (I wore my Nike running tights along with my Twin Cities long sleeve shirt).

We started right on time. It’s a pretty small race (about 300 people) and everyone had great racing etiquette by lining themselves up by race pace (no walkers at the front!), and is advertised as a flat course. I think my Garmin registered just a 60 ft gain in elevation over the whole race which for SLC is pretty amazing. It’s hard to avoid the hills around here. The course was an out and back to a park (where I do used to do my mile repeats). We did 1.5 laps of the park (it’s about 1.5 mile around) and then headed back. One interesting thing was that we had to cross the rail lines for a UTA Streetcar. On the return leg, I saw the lights go red and the streetcar pass by just in time for me to cross without having to stop.

Post-race there was water, Nuun, coffee, bagels, granola bars and some cuties. No donut holes this time! But one big plus was the free massages that were available. I’ve gotten these after my last half and full marathons and think they are amazing at getting the healing process started so I treated myself this time too. At 9.30 AM we had the awards mixed in with raffle prizes. Some lucky highschooler walked away with a $125 gift card.

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As for my race…..I wasn’t totally confident that my calf would last the full 6.2 miles. And I wasn’t sure if I would need any walk breaks. I decided to go out at a comfortable-ish pace and take a walk break if I needed to. The first 3 miles ticked by pretty nicely – and with amazingly even splits. Bonus: no sign of calf pain. Added bonus: I was racing (well kind of) and actually passing people. I guess I’d forgotten how much I enjoy that aspect of running. Added added bonus: I was running sub-8 min miles.

Mile 1: 7.51

Mile 2: 7.48

Mile 3: 7.48

Things started getting a little harder at mile 4. Probably because of my total lack of training for basically all of January and most of February. I mostly tried to talk myself into keeping going. Things slowed down a little but I was still feeling pretty good. In fact, I experienced my first calf twinge coming up to the mile 6 marker. I was actually pretty surprised that it held out for that long.

Mile 4: 7.59

Mile 5: 8.00

Mile 6: 8.03

Final time: 49.15 (7.56 min/mile pace)

I finished 16th woman overall and placed 4th in my age group. Not bad for a post-injury run with almost no training.

IMG_1250This race was a huge confidence boost. I felt pretty good except for those last 0.2 miles. And although my endurance is not where it used to be, I’m still pretty happy with my cardio -> even pacing, sub-8 minute average, and knowing that I had more in the tank if I had to push for it. All in all, a pretty good race.

I spent the rest of Saturday on a runner’s high. Rolled out my calves a couple of times and did my PT exercises. I felt a little calf tightness but of the knotty muscle variety and not the torn muscle kind. Now back to my run-walks and some easy-paced runs.

 

Well, hello there number 8

Injury update time! Today marks six weeks since I pulled my calf muscle for the second time (and seven weeks since I injured it for the first time – oops!). I started by taking two weeks completely off running and then tried to return but that wasn’t working out so well. I realized then that it was time to call in the professionals. Two more weeks without running and plenty of hip stretching (hip bone-connected to the calf muscle?). And then I had the-all clear to start back with run-walking as long as pain level was low and preferably non-existent. So, how did it go?

Sat: Fresh snow and skiing!!!!

Sun: 5.15 miles (8 x 3:3 run walk intervals)

Mon: More skiing!

Tues: 3.6 miles (5 x 4:2 run walk intervals)

Wed: Yoga (plenty of deep hip stretches)

Thurs: 4.5 miles (5 x 4.5:1.5 run walk intervals)

The best part: running outside and with minimal pain. In fact, I’m totally pain free when I’m running and just feel some tightness during the walk intervals. Sometimes I don’t understand my body! I’m back in my high-vis running gear and early morning starts and it feels amazing. Looking back, I think I was burnt out after my marathon and was struggling to get motivated to run on my regular routes. But the hunger is back and I’m excited to be back on the road. The plan is to increase the percentage of running versus walking until I can run for 30 minutes straight. And to be honest, I think that this is going to happen pretty soon. Woohoo!

I saw my physiotherapist for a follow-up appointment this week. She did a lot of work on hip mobility (painful) and then the needles came out. I’m not convinced that dry needling works. She worked on my calf and hip and at least this time it was less painful than the previous time. She thought that this was because my calf was healing although the scientist in me wonders if it would have healed to the same extent even without the treatment. The thing that makes me not like the treatment was that I had pain in my calf that afternoon and the next day. Pain that was different from the actual calf strain. So, I’m still skeptical about it. On a positive note, she watched me run on the treadmill and had no complaints. And I don’t need to come back. And I should be completely symptom free in 6-8 weeks.

I also managed to finally look at my run intervals – my Garmin was having some issues – and it was some pretty good numbers. My run intervals were in the 8.10-8.30 min/mile range and I even had one 8.47 mile (including a walk break). Hello, number 8! It’s been a while. All in all a pretty good week!

Bonus: after a balmy February it seems that winter has returned to SLC. So that means we’ll be able to hit the slopes again this weekend with some fresh powder.

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This was our view from Park City on Monday. Don’t let the sunshine fool you – it was so cold. Freeze your face kinda cold.

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And you know you’re a real runner when your husband buys you some North Face arm warmers for Valentines Day. I always thought that these were a little silly but after having a few races with cold starts I am excited to try them out.

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Don’t worry I still got some chocolate! This stuff is amazing! Roasted coconut on the bottom and salted caramel in milk chocolate. If you see it in the store you should buy it – you will not regret it. 10/10 would recommend.

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