My first 5K race!

No, this isn’t a flashback Friday where I recount my first ever race experience and how the 5K was a launchpad that set me on my path as a runner. My first race was a half marathon (!) and since then I’ve complete two more halfs, two 10Ks (one road and one trail) and a trail 15K. But I’ve never run a 5K race. Ever.

And it’s not like they are a rare event out here in SLC. Every Saturday I run past a 5K in one of our two local parks. So why haven’t I run one yet? Well, I’m a little cheap and I like more bang for my buck – at my last 10K you could pay $30 to run 6.2 miles or $25 to run 3.1 miles. That’s a no-brainer right there! Plus, 5Ks hurt! When I do tempo runs at 5K pace they are not fun. I seriously question what I am doing. At least in a half marathon you can ease yourself into the HURTZONE, and have a couple (or more) miles at a comfortable pace. But, 3.1 miles – they are all going to hurt.

This summer I signed up for a trail race series – 5, 10 and 15K. Tomorrow is race number 1: the 5K! And that means I’m guaranteed a PR! Woohoo! I’m kinda hoping for a 24 min time but we’ll see – there’s about 250 ft of elevation gain (almost half of which is in the first mile). These races are super fun and have a great raffle so you are almost guaranteed to come away with some kind of running goodie. Race recap on Monday!

The half marathon was only last weekend but seems so long ago. I did just find out that we’ll be getting all of our race photos for free – this is the first race I’ve done that has that option. I haven’t seen them yet but hopefully there’s not too much running-bitchface going on.

I spent an hour on both Sunday and Monday stretching and rolling. My calves are incredibly tight and are causing me foot issues – tight achilles, random pain at the bottom of my foot. I did manage a  2 mile recovery run on Sunday and have been diligently rolling and stretching all week.


I even packed my stick to bring to work today. Lucky I’m wearing long pants so nobody can see the one-legged calve sleeve that I’m rocking.

Monday: 1 hour stretching/rolling

Tuesday: 3.5 mile run at 8.28 min/mile pace

Wednesday: 5.5 miles at 8.35 min/mile pace

Thursday: 4.2 mile on ellipitcal (equivalent to one whole episode of Scandal)

Friday: 50 min strength workout

By Wednesday my foot was feeling pretty crappy so I swapped out running for cross-training on Thursday and am feeling a gazillion (that’s a number, right?) better.

I’ve also had some pretty good eats. Orange chicken (low in calories but tastes so good).


And this quinoa tabbouleh recipe which was amazing. Still not happy with the falafel.



Two race weekends in a row! What was I thinking?




Shifting expectations

Today is May 14th and that means it’s exactly one month to my next half marathon. How did that come around so fast? J is running the full marathon (and training like a beast) so I figured I would get up at crazy o’clock and travel down to Provo with him. Run my race and meet him afterwards to celebrate our new PRs. Perfect!

Well, if you’ve read my last few posts you’ll realize that this is probably not going to happen. It’s now been 10 days since my last run. And two whole days since I did any sort of cardio. Not ideal race preparation.

For my first two half marathons I was totally prepared. I got a full 12-week training plan in and was ready to go for it at the start line. This time – not so much. I’m pretty confident that if my foot is pain-free (and it is feeling SO much better) then I’ll be able to finish. But it won’t be fast. And I won’t PR. This bummed me out for a while. This had been my goal race for the year. The race I would smash my PR (it has a reputation for being a fast course), and gain a ton of confidence for starting full marathon training.

Then I decided to be positive. First of all, J and I took a road trip to check out the marathon course (J had heard rumors of unexpected hills). And guess what – it is a really pretty course. I decided that I was going to enjoy this race. For my first two half marathons I went all out and struggled in the last couple of miles. I raced them and it hurt a little. This time I want to experience the race. And maybe take a decent race photo!

This is probably obvious to a lot of you but as soon as I start I race I want to give my all. Go big or go home. So for me this is a new way of approaching a race. Plus I need to look after J (who I think will smash his PR). So the plan is to ease back in to running next week (with a plan B of ditching the race completely if things go badly) and not to put pressure on myself. New mantra. Enjoy this race! Enjoy this race!

Surprisingly, I’ve been coping with my two exercise-free days pretty well. I think taking this break is exactly what my body needed – sorry for not listening to you earlier). An extra hour in bed and of course more time to cook.


Chocolate chip zucchini bread.


This is my favorite chocolate from TJ – and it weighs 500g.


Quinoa, mango and veggie salad – it’s been my lunch all week with some slices of avocado on top.


Fishcakes! And we used up the rest of the smoked salmon to make salmon carbonara. I’ve been on a real fish kick recently.

Any foods that you’ve been loving lately?

Do you always race your races? Any advice for “enjoying” a race?

Race recap – Salt Lake City Half Marathon

It finally happened. The race that I’ve been training for – and blogging about for the last 12 weeks. Packet pickup was on Friday at the Energy Solutions Arena where the Utah Jazz play. Quick and easy. With lots of free yoghurt (?).




I had set my alarm for 5 AM so that I could eat some toast and drink some Nuun before the race. My body clock decided 4.30 AM was a better time – so after failing to catch the last few precious zzzzzz’s I got up and decided to hang out until we needed to leave.

The race started about a 10 minute drive from our house so we hit the road at 6.15 AM and were able to make it to the starting area with half an hour to spare. J did a warm-up on the track while I waited in the lines for the portapotty. My stomach was surprisingly calm – usually I get major race day nerves. I met J briefly to wish each other good luck before I dropped my bag at gear check and started to move forward to the 8.00 min/mile marker in the starting corral.

The race bibs included a free ride to the start on Salt Lake’s tram system. It looked like one of the trams was a little late and the race was delayed a couple of minutes as we watched people get off the train and sprint down to the starting area.

And then we were off! Or tried to be. The guy right in front of me couldn’t get his Garmin to work so decided the best thing to do was to stop at the timing mats as 4000 runners needed to cross………….not a smart idea. The race started with a short and narrow decline before we headed up and into the Federal Heights neighborhood.

At the start line I had placed myself between the 1.40 and 1.45 pacers. Training had gone pretty well and I was hoping to break my PR of 1.42.01. My reach goal was to try and break 1.40. At the start line I decided to go for it – go big or go home right? This would mean an average pace of 7.38 min/mile. Gulp.

I watched the 1.40 pacer in front of me for the first 2 miles. The first mile flew by and it took me until the end of the second to get into a comfortable rhythm. I remember looking at the 1.40 pacer and wondering if I could catch him and stay with him for the rest of the race.

I took my chance at mile 3. This was the start of a three mile stretch of fast, downhill miles. I passed the pacer and never saw him again – averaging about 7 min/mile for this section. I had banked on gaining time in this section as the second half of the race looked to be slower and a bit more challenging.


After this downhill portion we came to the first significant climb – not very steep but LONG. Just shy of 1.5 miles straight ahead. This was one of the more mentally challenging portions of the race. You could see where the uphill ended but it felt as if you weren’t moving forward at all. A little demoralizing but the top of this hill marked the halfway point (47.41 mins).

The race had spread out by this point and I wasn’t really running with a group. This is also a race with a small number of spectators – I mean the ones that were out were awesome – but not enough to carry you home.

I did have a secret weapon – not my salted caramel Gu which I had at about mile 7 – but a group of friends and neighbors who I knew would be out at the 8.5 mile mark. It really gave me a boost knowing that they would be there. And seeing them and hearing them shouting my name was so great. Now I just had four miles to go. That shouldn’t seem that far?

By now I had a slight sideache and my legs seemed to be running without any input from the rest of my body. I decided to break the rest of the race into 1 miles segments – anyone can run a mile, can’t they? At mile 10 we split off from the full marathoners – and I was so happy that I didn’t have to run 26.2. At this stage I felt that I was running so slowly – but looking at my watch I was surprised to see that I was maintaining my pace.

The hardest mile for me was mile for me. I wanted to be done. I thought about stopping to walk for a bit. It was my second slowest mile (7.44 min). I needed to have a good talk with myself in order to stay on target for a sub 1.40. I remembered a blog post I read recently from hungryrunnergirl about her mantra “I can do hard things”. So this is what I said to myself during this mile. It reminded me of the end of my tempo runs when I wanted to give up. And I think it was a mental block –  I mean I was pushing myself hard but my body could do it. I just needed my brain to agree.

Seeing the mile 12 sign was a total relief. One more mile. I could do that. I only needed to run for 8 more minutes max. So I dug in. Turning the corner I could see the finish line – but OMG it was still half a mile away. Ugh. Not a fun finish but I made it. And just under 1.39 – 1.38.57 official time and overall pace of 7.33 min/mile. Goal complete. 3 mins off my PR on a harder course. But I gave it my all.

As soon as I stopped I could feel how tight my quads were. And have been ever since. Stairs have not been my friend yesterday or today. But everything else seems OK. And I am desperate to run again…………..

133rd overall/2929

26th female/1781

8th in my age group


1 – 7.29

2 – 7.37

3  – 6.56 Start of fast downhill

4   – 7.02

5   – 6.57

6   – 7.44 Long uphill section

7   – 7.17

8   – 7.45 More uphill

9   – 7.33

10 – 7.38

11 – 7.17 Surprise, you can still maintain this pace

12 – 7.44 Worst mile

13 – 7.26 Almost done

.1   – 2.34

April mileage: 73.5 miles/118.3 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 195.4 miles/314.5 KM

Day 65 – April, is that you?

Tuesday is a rest day for me. That is probably a good thing. Not only do I get to rest my knee and look after my hips/glutes but it was snowing again. Almost all day. Looking out the window it looked like January all over again. Needless to say I had no desire to go outside at ll. So I went to yoga.

For me yoga is always a little humbling. I have a strong core so all the power moves are usually OK but as soon as we have to do anything that requires flexibility in hips – Uh uh that ain’t happening. It reminds me that everyone has their own strengths. And we all have things that we need to work on.

Because the weather was so crappy I needed some comfort food. And for me that translates to mashed potatoes. (I know Irish girl likes potatoes…….cliche). I decided to health it up by making it 50:50 with parsnips. A vegetable that is surprising hard to find in Utah. I also cooked up some leeks – another uncommon vegetable over here. And I’m trying to eat more fish – so this week it was salmon cooked with lemon juice and dried thyme.


I then did what all runners love to do – register for races! Last summer I ran in a couple of trail races in Park City that were so much fun. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do some or all of these races again this year. But looking at a preliminary marathon training schedule these races seem like a perfect fit. The price was also going to increase tomorrow so I made the decision to register for a 5K, 10K and 15K in June, July and August respectively. And all for about $90. This brings my number of races for the year to 7 – not including the Hood to Coast Relay. I guess this is the year to go big or go home!

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Day 48 – New PR!

Just a quick post as I refuel from my race this morning – all my favorites! Yum!


Today was my first race of the year. The Leprechaun Lope 10K. I wasn’t sure how it would go considering I’ve been nursing an injury basically since the start of the year and I haven’t being doing much tempo work. Plus the first 3 miles are uphill.

But I managed a new 10 K PR – 46.39 which is 7.31 min/miles. Fourth female over all (out of about 160ish). Felt great and finished strong. Full race report to come on Monday! Now to enjoy the rest of my Saturday.