Boston bound

Just a quick post before I head to the airport and head to Boston for vacation. I hope I’ll see some of you guys out on the course! I am beyond excited to (1) spectate at arguably the world’s most favorite marathon and (2) spending one week traveling around New England. This Irish chick sure misses seeing the Atlantic. Follow me on Instagram to see what beer I’m drinking everyday.

And bonus: today I got a chance to run my first (and probably only) 20 miler of this marathon training schedule. And it went swimmingly (or should that be runningly?). I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull off the full 20 and was ready to bail went it hurt -> my tight calves are giving me random achy-breaky heart feet. But if all felt pretty good (well as good as running 20 miles can feel). Average pace 9.13 min/miles with the last 5 miles at goal pace (9.03/8.48/9.05/8.52/8.44). You know your long run went well when your first mile (9.39) is your slowest and the last mile is your fastest. Beginning to think that this marathon may not be a complete disaster!

Mon: 4.2 trail miles at 10.06 pace + 559 ft elevation gain. My legs felt so sore from Saturday’s 18 miler. But it was in the 70s and I couldn’t resist.

Tues: Strength workout

Wed: 7 miles in the snow. Yes – we got our biggest snow storm of the whole season. I manage three “tempo” miles (8.29/8.15/8.16). A little disappointed with my times but my legs felt tired, it was freaking snowing and I just wasn’t feeling it. Giving myself a pass on this one.

Thurs: Yoga and bike commute.

Fri: 2.85 miles with my husband -> his last run before Boston. Bike commute.

Sat: 20 miles at 9.13 min/mile pace. Fast finish.

Sun: Boston!

See you in a week!

Advertisements

Bike commuting for total beginners

Apparently it takes 6 weeks to form a habit. Well, I am 5 weeks into my bike commuting adventure so it’s pretty much a habit now, right?

First of all, I am not a biker. Yes I have a bike but it has been sitting unused in my house for the last 3ish years. It made a brief appearance last summer for some commuting but it was pretty much incompatible with marathon training. After being diagnosed with my stress response back in October I biked to work a couple of time but then winter happened. But now that spring has sprung I’m hoping to bike my butt to work at least twice a week.

My ride:

IMG_1254

I bought this bike a couple of years ago when I thought that I might want to start mountain biking. Well, it turns out that I much prefer being on two legs rather than two wheels when I am in the mountains. The bike itself is a pretty standard beginner mountain bike – although it has disc breaks which are totally awesome. The frame is pretty heavy (no carbon fiber here) and back in November my husband swapped out the bulky mountain bike tires for some smooth commuter tires. Honestly, I had no idea that (1) you could do this, and (2) that it would make such a huge difference. These new tires made the ride so much easier (big, bulky tires take more energy to travel along the road). He also put on a rear mud guard and we fitted it with some blinking front and rear lights.

Gear:

Besides the new lights and bike lock I added a couple of things to my wardrobe. The one major difference between running clothes and biking clothes is the need for wind-proofing. When I run, once I’m warm I know that I’m pretty much guaranteed to stay warm for the rest of my time outside. With biking you have to think about things like wind, speed and wind-speed. You can get pretty damn cold biking fast downhill on a cloudy day. This week I finally got to try out some wind-proof bike pants (amazing – and definitely worth buying) and am eagerly awaiting the delivery of my new Pearl Izumi biking jacket. I also got a biking-specific commute bag. It fits perfectly, has plenty of space and some added reflective panels.

th PZI01389_509462 Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.15.27 AM Now these additions are all pretty cool but I managed to bike in my running tights and jacket with a regular hiking day pack before I decided that I wanted to invest in some biking-specific clothing. You might notice that I don’t wear bike shoes and I don’t clip in. Mainly because that is terrifying and at heart I am a big scaredy-cat.

Traffic:

So how does a nervous rider come to terms with biking during rush hour? Easy: find the safest route and bike it. Luckily for me Salt Lake is a great biking city. There are a ton of recreational bikers on the roads for pretty much the whole year, so drivers are used to them. Most drivers – there are still those who get a little too close. FYI: you should give a biker 3 ft of clearance when you pass. Our mayor is also an avid biker so we have a ton of well marked bike lanes criss-crossing the city. For my commute I am mostly on quieter residential streets and bike lanes. The other trick is to take as much room as you need. If the edge of the road is not bike friendly don’t be afraid to take your space. With biking I feel that you have to be a little assertive. Your safety is the number one priority so don’t be afraid to take a longer route to get to your destination in one piece. I have a couple of intersections that are a little nervy – they involve crossing traffic for a left turn. If I don’t feel safe I’ll take a side road and double back to get across safely. But the main thing to do is just get out there and get used to being part of traffic. It does get easier.

Work:

I’m in an interesting position where my work attire is amazingly casual. I don’t have to look put together in any way. I throw a change of clothes in my bag (along with my lunch) and some makeup. My workplace has a shower (that is surprisingly nice) with lockers where I keep a towel plus shampoo/conditioner. I can have a quick shower and spend as much time on hair/make-up as I need to (usually 2 minutes max). We also have access to bike lockers inside the building for extra security. I still use a lock but it’s one less thing that I have to worry about.

Cardio:

Whenever I am injured my doctors always recommend low impact cardio. Swimming worked just fine in winter but once the weather gets nice I want to be outside. Biking gives me about 30 minutes in fresh air with just my thoughts, and lets me start the day chilled out and ready for whatever is waiting for me at the office. The ride itself is pretty tough. A little under 4 miles each way but all uphill in the morning. It feels like a pretty good workout but you can make it as hard as you want by switching up your gears.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.12.27 AM Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.11.57 AM

I’m not going to lie the first time I biked in I thought my heart was going to explode. I was in pretty good running shape but that didn’t seem to transfer over to biking especially when the steepest sections is right at my house. I was in my lowest possible gear for nearly the whole way in, and when I got off my bike my legs were incredibly wobbly. But like anything cardio-related it gets easier with time. I’m hoping that it will help with my running. My husband managed to complete his marathon training while biking to work everyday and he qualified for Boston. So then I should be able too?

Other points:

We are a little spoiled with weather in SLC. It’s a mountain desert so we don’t get a lot of precipitation making bike commuting a more pleasant experience. I’m not sure I could cope if I was still living in Ireland or Scotland. The other main bonus is that I’m no longer constrained by my bus time table. I can leave when I’m done! The bus is a great back-up because I still haven’t figured out how to change a flat. And our local buses all have devices on the front where you can load up your bike if you need it.

IMG_1289

I am signed up to take a bike maintenance class at REI next week so hopefully I can figure out what I’m doing then.

Any bikers out there?

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?

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).

IMG_1252

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

IMG_1247

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

IMG_1249

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.

IMG_1245

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.

IMG_1242

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.

IMG_1239

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.

IMG_1240

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.

IMG_1241

Good karma

Being injured sucks. And it’s easy to wallow in self-pity and turn into a total Grumpy McGrumperson. My approach is to throw a little pity party, feel sad and frustrated – and then move on. Focus on what I can do – crosstraining – and what I need to do – lots of hip stretching – to stay healthy and sane. I also wanted to keep myself in the loop and experience a new part of the running community. So I volunteered.

I had my first race of the year scheduled for Saturday (and my first ever road 5K), but my physiotherapist suggested that I needed to take 2 weeks off running (and when she talks I listen) so I knew I wouldn’t be able to run. I decided I still wanted to be part of the event and emailed about volunteering. It turns out that race directors LOVE volunteers and I got an immediate reply and was told to report to the race at 7 AM on Saturday morning. I still picked up my race packet on Friday (if I am going to pay $25 for a mug you bet I’m going to go and pick that sucker up). I had registered for the entire 3 race series and also qualified for a $25 gift certificate for the running store that was hosting the races. How awesome is that?

Race day was beautiful -> 58F at 6.30 AM (this is not normal for February in Utah!) but just a little windy. I arrived and collected my volunteer shirt – it’s totally cool and is a Brooks tech shirt pretty similar to the one I picked up at Twin Cities last year. Plus volunteers also get a $10 gift certificate. Swag!

Volunteering sure pays off!

Volunteering sure pays off!

My job was to look after the post-race food and drinks. They had gotten a ton of free donut holes and hot chocolate from Dunkin donuts, plus some Nature Valley bars, oranges and a ton of bagels. We watched the runners head off and kept ourselves warm and away from the wind while they headed out for their 3.1 miles. The first man came in just a little under 18 mins and then we waited for the rest of the 200 or so other runners to cross the line. I’ve only race one 5K before and it was awful -> going out too fast and holding on (I think that’s how most people do it too?). And looking at the faces of the people as they finished – I was pretty glad that I didn’t have to run that morning. 5Ks are hard! We were all done by 9.40 AM and I headed to the gym for my own workout – 1 hour of strength and core work and then 1 hour on the bike (low resistance, high reps). Watching people give their all is definitely a great motivator to go and bring it at the gym! Although my glutes had a hissy fit and punished my with DOMS the next day.

I also managed to limit myself to one donut hole – mainly because I don’t really like donuts. I know this is a little controversial but I’m totally “meh” about them. Maybe I just haven’t met the right one yet?

You might notice my latest pair of shoes in my collage. I just started wearing my latest pair of Brooks PureCadence and wanted to get another pair (I like to have two pairs in rotation). I hit up the running store and got my gait analyzed. I am a neutral runner and asked to try on everything in the store. Well, I narrowed it down neutral shoes that work for someone with narrow feet (this can actually be a problem – especially if you need to buy ski boots!). I think I tried on at least 10 pairs ranging from 4-12 mm drops and minimal to maximal cushioning. Personally, I like to get a yearly check on my gait and see what’s new. I really liked the newest PureFlows but I felt that they were a little too similar to the PureCadence. Then it was between the Adidas Boost, Mizuno Wave Rider and Saucony Triumph ISO. After running on their treadmill I settled on the Sauconys – only a 8 mm drop (most traditional running shoes are 10-12 mm and my Brooks are 4 mm) but with lots of cushioning (but still felt surprisingly light). I’m thinking of using them as my long run shoe. Obviously, with my current calf strain they are sitting by my front door ready for their first trip outside. So look for a review sometime in March? April? May?

As for the calf strain…….It was still a little sore through Saturday morning. And to be honest I’m not sure if this was residual pain from the dry needling *SHUDDER* or my actual injury. Standing around by the donuts on Saturday morning seemed to aggravate it but it was fine after my gym session in the afternoon. Sunday I had my recovery swim followed by some soaking in the hot tub and was feeling good. I can still feel a tightness in my calf but it’s not painful. Plus, I’ve been attacking the huge knot in my calf with my torture stick. Ah the joys of being a runner!