Trail dreamin’

Today was the second ever Thursday Trailday. Last week I did my first outside run post injury with a local trail running and group. Today I met my friend A at 7.30 AM for a run on the trail right by my work.

One of the positive things about taking an unscheduled (and unwanted) period away from running was the time it gave me to really think about why I loved running. And how I needed to refocus a little on making it more fun. Running the same routes around my neighborhood was getting a little stale. So what’s a runner to do to spice things up? In Salt Lake City we get on trails.

And trails round these parts means lots of hills. Check out mile 2 – 400 ft increase in a mile. It was tough. And my calves were burning. But at the top you earn a pretty view over the city.

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There’s something satisfying to me about the symmetrical shape of this elevation chart.

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At the top of Dry Creek looking at downtown SLC.

And on trails you definitely earn your downhills. Downhill trail running is so much fun – although I still feel like I’m applying the breaks when it gets steep or rocky. A is an awesome mountain biker and kills the downhill sections. I’m hoping some of this will rub off on me and I’ll be better prepared for my three trail races over the summer.

Lucky for me I could take a shower at work and then eat breakfast at my desk.

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I love berry season! And had some homemade chocolate chip zucchini bread.

And the absolute best part of the run? It was completely pain free. No foot pain. And no knee pain. Best run in months. I’m finally dreaming of consistent pain-free running. And this is the best timing possible because marathon training starts next week.

How was your morning?

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Day 24 – Loving the Outdoors

I have to confess that before I moved to Utah I was very much an indoors girl. Growing up and in college I didn’t exercise a ton. And definitely didn’t venture into the great outdoors. Moving to Scotland improved this a little bit – I started running (although pretty infrequently), going to the gym and doing a regular exercise class. I even got my first pair of waterproof hiking boots and hiked up Ben Nevis – the tallest mountain in Britain.

Then I moved to Utah. Utah is full of two kinds of people – Mormons and outdoor enthusiasts. Everyone I met here did something – skiing, road biking, trail running, climbing, canyoneering, every possible outdoor activity you could think of. About a month after we moved here we got tickets to the Banff Mountain Film Festival. This hits Salt Lake in February every year and shows badass people doing crazy shit in the mountains. This is where I found myself last night watching movies about BASE jumping, climbing in Antarctica, kayaking over waterfalls in Mexico, mountain biking in Washington state and naked skiing. It was pretty fun.

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Plus they were giving out free mini-Clif bars and coffee samples!

I would recommend this film night to anyone. I spent most of the time thinking “These people are crazy” and “I could never do that” but at the same time feeling an intense longing to get out and be back in nature. These movies showcase the amazing wealth of nature that is just waiting for us to explore. Lucky for me, I live in one of the best places in the world to get out and do stuff. And I have definitely become a fully fledged outdoors girl.

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Here I am canyoneering in Capital Reef National Park.

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Backpacking with friends in southern Utah.

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My first snowshoe-yurt trip in the Uintas. 2013 was fun!

I also ran this morning. 3.52 miles at 8.39 min/mile pace. It was a slight variation of my normal route at medium pace but it felt so much harder and a little hillier. When I checked my Garmin I had gained 148 ft over my run instead of the usual 96 ft – no wonder it kicked my butt. And another plus, my knee was sore for about 2 mins and then I didin’t notice it for the rest of my run – too busy wondering why everything was so hard. I’m hoping I’ll be fully recovered by next week and I won’t have to talk about my knee any more.