Day 66 – Hard runs are hard

Today was my first run in April. And it’s still cold. 37F – still wearing winter running clothes and gloves. Sigh.

Wednesdays are my hard work out days. And if I’m honest I usually need to psyche myself up in order to leave the house. Why? Because they usually hurt. But you don’t get stronger or faster by not pushing yourself, right? Unless you all know some secret where I can just do easy runs and still get better?

Tempo day. First mile is downhill and a warm up to get my legs used to increased turnover – 7.40 mins. Then 3 miles around the local park – 7.11, 7.15, 7.18 pace. The first two miles felt OK but that third mile was hard. I was trying to figure out if my body or my mind that wanted to quit more. I’m pretty sure it was my brain but I just couldn’t convince myself to push any more. I was a little disheartened but then I decided that I was doing just fine and to just run at an easy pace back home. Total distance 5.3 miles at 7.50 min/mile pace.

It got me thinking about how running is much more than a physical task. How we really have to train our brains to keep going when things get hard and we want to quit. For me the hardest part of training is getting my mind and body on the same page. Running long training runs on your own definitely toughens me up.

Bonus: pain-free run! Woohoo!

April mileage: 5.3 miles/8.5 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 121.9 miles/196.2 KM

Day 56 – Double digits

Sunday is long run day. And today was my first scheduled double digit run since………………May last year! Yikes! I ran my first half marathon on May 18th 2013 and had a fall half scheduled for November 3rd. Due to injury that never happened and the longest I ran over the summer was a 15K in August. This was followed by injury number 2 so my running year was cut drastically short.

This half marathon schedule is a little more ambitious – an extra day running per week and overall higher mileage. My plan is to always run a little hard the day before my long run to get used to running on tired legs. We’ll see how that holds up on race day……

Lucky we’re having a burst of sunny weather – although it’s still pretty chilly in the mornings. It took two miles for my hands to warm up this morning. My route included a steady gradual uphill as I’m doing my best to prep for the potential nasty bits for my half marathon which is now just 4 weeks away. 10.02 miles at 8.33 min/mile pace. Mostly easy pace with a little twinge of my glut medius at about mile 8. You can bet I foam rolled that sucker when I got back.

Had my trademark fruit smoothie, granola and my new favorite – fried egg and avocado toasted sandwich for breakfast. Feeling good. Got my ProCompression calf sleeves on and waiting for them to do their magic!

IMG_0685

Now I can just relax all day just have to put in a few hours at work before I can stuff my face with mac and cheese. Happy Sunday!

March mileage: 83 miles/133.6 KM

Weekly recap:

5 runs

Weekly mileage: 27.35 miles (highest mileage maybe ever?)

Longest run of the year: 10.02 miles

2 yoga classes

1 strength workout

1 climbing gym session

 

Day 46 – Find what you love and do that

Last night we has some homemade salmon cakes and veggies for dinner. I used a crazy amount of Trader Joe’s sweet chilli sauce. That stuff is so good. J went for Cholula hot sauce. We have a lot of condiments in our house.

IMG_0648

Wednesday night has once again established itself as climbing night. We met some friends that we regularly climb with but also a friend who had never climbed before. So I was showing her the ropes (sorry………….not really! Ha!). She loved it and was about a million times braver and more confident than I had been on my first visit to the gym. It was also really fun introducing someone to a sport that you love. I felt like a little like a proud parent showing off my awesome kid. And it made me realize just how far I have come not only in the last two years but also in the last 10ish.

Growing up I was the nerdy girl who was never into sports. I was a little too anxious to play any kind of team sport (fear of being judged or being not good at something (hello Type A)). And as I got more unfit it became less appealing to even try to take up a sport. There were occasional forays to the gym and classes in college and grad school but nothing really stuck. Until I found sports that I really enjoyed doing. Ones that as soon as I finished I wanted to do again. For me, this is running, yoga and gym climbing. When I finish a run or a class I immediately plan my next session. I don’t dread going – I look forward to it. I even started a blog about it! And this is my key for being and staying active – find what you love and do that.

Bonus: Being active means pizza for lunch is just fine and dandy. Even better when it’s free and vegetarian.

IMG_0649

Had an awesome yoga class this morning: core-flavored power hour. And it’s beautiful and sunny out – so I’m doing the running home thing. Don’t be too impressed it’s 3 miles all downhill. Plus tomorrow is Friday. Win. Win. Win.

March mileage: 43.6 miles/70.2 KM

Day 26 – The wrong way to choose your running shoes

Rest day! But I hate to leave a blank space in my calendar so this morning started with a gym workout – PT exercises and core work. Emmeline at Run For the Pizza has a pull up and push up challenge. So I tried it out today and I managed to do my first (almost) pull up. I was on the assisted machine but had no weight selected. I was a little nervous to use the pull up rack that the buff bros (and ladies) use in case I fell on my face but next time I think I’ll put on my big girl pants and give it a go. Plus 21 push-ups! My goal was 1 pull-up and 50 push-ups. Let’s see how it goes.

Today I had to run some errands and got to go outside during the day for a change. It was sunny and beautiful. Bring on spring!

Image

Leftovers for dinner last night and leftover pineapple for lunch.

Image

Today I wore my retired Brooks Pure Cadence to work. These shoes got me through my first half marathon and a whole bunch of miles last year and they are so comfy! I also love cute socks.

Image

So how did I choose my shoes? Well, I didn’t. For Christmas 2012, J got me my Garmin and these shoes. Lucky for me they both worked out well but after I got my first injury in August 2013 I thought it was time that I got fitted properly and headed to my local running store. You know, doing what every new runner SHOULD do when they start running and not 9 months later. They taped me running on the treadmill and then we watched it back on their iPad. It turns out that I’ve a pretty neutral footstrike with mild over pronation.

I spent the next 45 mins trying on a bunch of shoes. I didn’t want to go back to a more “normal” 8-12 mm heel drop so I stuck with 4 mm which left me with the Brooks PureConnect, Saucony Kinvara and Hoka. But none of them felt right.

The shoes that I had been running in where not what the sales assistant would have originally recommended but she suggested that I try on a pair and she would film me on the treadmill. I put them on and they felt great and didn’t affect my stride. After taking up about an hour of her time I came out with a pair of (on sale) PureCadence 2. So either J is a total running shoe psychic, or else I got incredibly lucky. I did everything wrong and got very lucky.

Day 19 – Happy Valentine’s Day!

This morning I went to the gym and did my usual strength training workout minus lunges, squats and leg-press. I came home to this.

Image

The way to my heart is definitely through chocolate. You can keep flowers and sappy cards I want me some chocolate. Yum! And a surprise! After all this time (8.5ish years) he still melts my heart. Aww………

I also know it’s the real deal because last night when I was making dinner he spontaneously asked if I wanted a glass of wine at the exact moment when I was thinking “My God, I need a glass of wine right now”. True love.

Dinner was sweet potato and black bean enchiladas plus all the fixins’. You might guess by now that I love avocado and jalapenos. They go with everything.

Image

I also like to keep my Garmin close by at all times!

Another bonus today – the new series of House of Cards is on Netflix. I loved the first season. Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara – the dream team. Can’t wait to start. Have to finish The Following first though – can’t have any unfinished business.

We’re pretty lucky in SLC that our weather has been pretty warm and mild – especially compared to the East Coast which has made running outside pretty pleasant. But we did get a weird hail/thunderstorm yesterday evening and just when I was leaving to catch the bus.

Image

Biggest hailstones I’ve ever seen.

Today is a rest day from running and we have plans for a hike and then dinner with friends.  Enjoy your Valentine’s Day. My advice is to spend it with people that you love – whomever that may be!

Day 17 – Paying attention

Yesterday I left work at 5.20 PM and was greeted with this –

Image

Daylight! Spring is coming. Longer days. Wearing shorts for runs. Wearing a hat – not to keep warm but to keep the sun of your face! I can’t wait. The snow is almost gone from the ground and our high today is around 50F – I’ll take it.

Last night I finally got to fulfill my craving for green curry. Tofu is a protein to keep going with meatless dinners. My mission right now is to load as many veggies as possible into each meal – carrots, mushroom, zucchini, green pepper. I also like to finish each Asian-y dish with chopped green onions, cilantro and chopped unsalted peanuts. It was good. Craving is satisfied.

Image

Today started with a 3.5ish mile run at a medium pace – 8.32 min/mile. I’m surprising myself right now with my ability to get out of bed at 6. I still need at least one snooze but such a big improvement compared to last summer.

My run would have been pretty uneventful if I had actually been paying attention to where my feet where going. Right at the one mile mark I fell – for the second time this winter. This time I couldn’t blame it on a slick patch of ice just an uneven sidewalk that I have run on about a hundred times already. This time I didn’t do as much damage – a small scrape and teeny bruise on my right knee.

Which brings us to…………my right knee. Today was a check-up with the PT. She looked very confused when I told her about my new injury – right knee instead of left hip. But after she “massaged” (this definitely stretches the definition of this word) my right quad it was pretty clear to her what was wrong. Overcompensating with my dominant right leg – tight right quad – inflammation above right knee – and pulling my knee cap of track. Isn’t it amazing how the cause of an injury is usually not where your actual problem is – isn’t the human body amazing/annoying?

I’ve been prescribed foam rolling, knee icing, continuing with glute strengthening exercises. I’m OK to run (yay!) but no speed stuff and I must pay attention to keeping my knee straight. This might also prevent unwanted trips to the ground!

Day 13 – My 22 min mile

Yesterday I picked up groceries straight after work and found this on sale. Friday night sorted.

Image

It was J’s dinner choice last night – burgers and fries. Lucky for me he’s on board with healthy eating so it was black bean burgers with avocado and chipotle mayo, oven-baked potato wedges and zucchini, tomato, feta and cilantro skillet fry. Yummy comfort food. Paired with some homebrewed IPA. Perfect Friday food.

Image

We watched the first two episodes of The Following. It was a little silly but good fun.

Today was long run day. I got to run in daylight (!) and even saw other runners. For the first time ever my Garmin was acting up – I had run almost 3 miles by the time it registered my first mile. A new record of 22.28 min/mile. I’m hoping it was just a blip. I had planned out my route and wasn’t too worried about pace so I kept going and plotted my route on Runkeeper once I got back. 6.46 miles at 8.42 pace – I’ll take that. Bonus – it started raining about 2 minutes after I finished my run. Perfect timing.

On the plus side my hip is totally fine. Unfortunately, my right knee (opposite side) was twingey. Not painful but the last thing I wanted to happen. I mean the PTs are meant to fix me right, not give me a new injury. I think my body hates me a little. Will take it easy -tomorrow is a rest day. Vitamin I. And have it assessed at my PT appointment on Wed.

For this run I figured I might be out for about an hour so I decided to bring my handheld water bottle and try out one of the Nuun flavors we got at the Park City Trail Series last summer.

IMG_0479

Purple means Grape. And I found it not very grape-like and a little sickly sweet. I’m not sure if this is true for every electrolyte powder but it didn’t sit well in my stomach. More experimenting I think.

Breakfast was a feast – homemade pumpkin granola with Greek yoghurt and honey, my weekend homemade smoothie and homemade soda bread with as much jam as possible.

Image

After breakfast I went to the local climbing store and got these bad boys.

Image

My last pair went missing after a trip to the climbing gym in December so I’m ready to get back to my usual Wednesday night climbing!

I have a yoga class planned for this afternoon. It’s a new class – half core and half restore. So you work your butt off for 30 mins then get to stretch it out for the second half. Then tonight we’ll put on our fancy pants and head to the Utah Symphony! Happy Saturday.