A tentative return

Running injuries suck – I think everyone can agree with that. But one of the hardest things about an injury (at least for newish runners like myself) is knowing when it’s OK to start running again. For this I rely on my doctor’s advice (REST REST REST) and listening to my own body. I took two weeks completely off from running – but supplemented with swimming and biking which were completely pain free. After the first week my foot (diagnosed with stress response AKA if you don’t stop this will become a stress fracture) was feeling great so I decided to test it out. 1 mile on the treadmill – and it felt fine. The next day I was a little achy but this went away pretty quickly. So I kept it up – running every second day with a 5 min walking warm-up and followed by lots of stretching and foot strengthening exercises.

I bumped it up to 1.5 miles this week and my foot is still feeling good (total mileage 7.5 miles for the month). But I am freaking out about every little ache or pain – hypochondriac right here. On one hand I want to get back to running ASAP but I do not want to injure myself in the process. The day after my second comeback run my shins were feeling sore – then I remembered that I have the tightest calves in the world and need to remember to stretch them everyday. And volia – shin pain disappeared. But (there is always a but) my foot still doesn’t feel quite right. I can’t quite figure out what is wrong (and it’s definitely not the stress response issue) so I might have to rest a little more. Or at least continue with my constant body surveillance and decide for myself when an ache is really a pain.


But workouts are still happening.

Sat: 1.5 mile run + strength session at gym

Sun: Swim (1500 yds) + yoga (first class in 4 weeks!)

Mon: 1.5 mile run + strength

Tues: Swim (1500 yds)

Wed: 1.5 mile run + strength

So lots of swimming (I’m about 2/3 of the way thru my 0 – 1 mile swim program) and lots of core + leg work. I’m actually feeling pretty good and like I haven’t lost that much fitness. Also, today was the first time since the marathon where I’ve gotten up before 6 AM to workout. Of course, I did pick the coldest day of the year to do that. But it seems like I’ve suddenly got my energy and motivation mojo back. And if you live with me that means baked goods.

Chocolate chip zucchini bread and pumpkin granola AKA breakfast this week.

Chocolate chip zucchini bread and pumpkin granola AKA breakfast this week.

AAnd some non- homemade treats.

I did use the dough to make the cookies and it was amazing. Fresh made cookies need to be eaten with ice cream.

I did use the dough to make the cookies and it was amazing. Fresh made cookies need to be eaten with ice cream.

And because John was out of town all last week (and I was somehow way more busy than usual hence my complete lack of posting) I managed to catch up on my new favorite shows – How to Get Away With Murder and the Mindy Project.


It seems like today is our first real taste of winter out here in SLC – I am currently wearing a million layers to stay warm – but we were treated to some beautiful sunsets last week. Luckily for me my offside is west facing and I get to take in the view before I leave for home (in the dark).

From work last week.

From work last week.

On the way to yoga on Sunday.

On the way to yoga on Sunday.

Any tips for returning from injury?

It’s official – October is just not my month

I had hoped to post about my first experience running with a local running group after finally having the time (and inclination) to meet up for one of their Saturday group runs……………but life had other plans. So let’s rewind to the start of the week.

Monday: Strength workout

Tuesday: 4 mile easy run around 9 min/mile pace. This was mentally a struggle but got it done.

Wednesday: I finally figured out how the lap function on my Garmin works so I decided I’d try to do a couple of mile repeats – and I mean literally a couple as in two. One mile warm-up. One mile at 7.14 min/mile pace. Half mile recovery. One mile at 7.10 min/mile pace. Half mile recovery and then an easy run home. It felt hard but in a good way and I was excited to move fast again.

Thursday: Slept in and skipped an early morning run. PM strength workout.

Friday: 15.1 miles on the stationary bike.

On Thursday I woke up with an annoying pain in my foot that got worse as the day progressed. I made a call pretty early in the day to take a rest day from running. But by the evening (and after my gym session) I couldn’t put any weight on my right foot and I was freaking out. A quick google search only increased my freak-out levels. My pain had a sudden onset and was in the exact place where you get a stress fracture.

On Friday, I called to get a same day appointment at a local clinic (yay for fall break and working on a university campus!). The doctor checked me out and was convinced that I didn’t have a fracture…………YET……….but all my symptoms suggested that if I didn’t take a break from running it would only be a matter of time…………Her advice: two weeks with no running. Then try some short distances but stop if there is any pain. Still good to bike, swim, ellipticise. No yoga, climbing or single leg exercises.

Bummer! I’ll have to pull out of the Snow Canyon half marathon due to injury for the second year in a row. In October 2013 I ran exactly ZERO miles. This year I’ve done a little better (about 50 miles) but that is me done for the month. It seems like my body just gives out after 10 months of solid training. Stupid overuse injuries.

On the plus side I have lots of options for getting cardio in. The weather was so beautiful in SLC this weekend – blue skies in the 70s – that I biked to work (and the pool) on Saturday, and then to the gym on Sunday. The distances are pretty short but man, everything is uphill! But it makes coming home a lot easier.

I don’t feel much pain. The doctor was able to move my foot around with no problems so she’s pretty confident that I’m in the earliest possible stages which means faster recovery and I have the OK to take ibuprofen if I need to.

I’m actually a little relieved. Ssssh don’t tell anyone! I guess I was a little more burned out from the marathon than I realized, and knowing that I had a potential half marathon coming up I couldn’t truly relax. No that the race is off the table and I’m under doctor’s orders to NOT run – well I can do that.

Most importantly – I’m so glad that this happened AFTER the marathon. I can’t even think about how bummed I’d be if I had trained for 18 weeks and had to pull out of my goal race for a stress fracture (which I don’t actually have – a stress response is what she called it).

So as much as it sucks to be injured – it has happened at the best possible time and as far as injuries go – it’s one of the milder ones.

Plus my trail running buddy is also on the injury list so we can be comeback buddies in a couple of weeks.

So I spent the weekend biking around town – just because it is so beautiful outside right now and in a couple of weeks I know that winter will hit hard. I found a Couch-to-1 mile swimming program that I can do at the pool right by my work – that at least gives me some idea of what I should be doing in the pool. Day one was 4×100 yds, 4×50 yds and 4×25 yds. A nice warm up to the pool. I started this last year when I was injured but never got as far as a full mile so that is my goal this time around. Sunday was 6.2 mile on the elliptical followed by a bunch of core stuff – including a 3 minute plank which is probably the longest I’ve ever done.

And in case you were worried the health center were on top of things and asked if I had recently traveled to West Africa. I got the all clear from Ebola but made sure to get my flu shot.

This weekend was mostly a solo one for me – which means lots of delicious eats. For some reason, when I’m cooking for myself it always involves fries – sweet or regular oven fries. And I’m a little obsessed with brussel sprouts right now. I also got to catch up with some new shows – How to get away with Murder – so awesome.

New wok!

New wok!

Crockpot chicken drumsticks.

Crockpot chicken drumsticks.

Chicken tenders with sweet potato fries - plus all the toppings.

Chicken tenders with sweet potato fries – plus all the toppings.

Homemade fries, roasted brussel sprouts and homemade fishsticks.

Homemade fries, roasted brussel sprouts and homemade fishsticks.

Breakfast sandwich: Baby spinach, tomato, avocado and fried egg. I think I'd eat this everyday if I could.

Breakfast sandwich: Baby spinach, tomato, avocado and fried egg. I think I’d eat this everyday if I could.

And last night I persuaded J to come and see Gone Girl with me. I loved it – although I think a lot of people were not happy with the ending. In return, we visited a local beer bar before the movie.



And did I mention that the movie theater is a bar…………I’m not sure why this isn’t the general rule for all of them?

Anyone had a stress fracture before?

Do you have special food you cook when you’re flying solo?

Anyone else seen Gone Girl? Opinions?



Why doesn’t every race do this? Free digital downloads of your race photos!

I think I’ve mentioned before about my distinct lack of photogenic-ness in race photos. But, I actually really like this photo of me finishing my last half marathon. I didn’t even notice the photographer at the time, so this was a genuine “Wow – that race went really well” smile. Plus I can always remember my outstanding race fashion choice.

But this is the photo that has given me my Eureka! moment.


I’ve been having chronic knee issues in my right knee since February(!). Some days are better than others, but despite doing all my glute strengthening exercises I’ve reached a plateau (but have a nice muscly ass – so there’s that). And this has been extremely frustrating.

But if you look at this photo, and particularly my right foot, you might notice that it’s at an angle. When your foot lands it should be straight and in line with your leg (see top photo and left foot), and not at a 20 degree ankle. No beuno.

I think this foot rotation might explain my lingering knee issues, so for the past couple of runs I’ve been concentrating on my foot placement. Note: thinking about running while running is exhausting! But I think I’m noticing an improvement. Or else, I’ve just convinced myself that I’ve figured it out. In either case, I’m booked in to see the physiotherapist on Tuesday and I won’t be leaving til she’s fixed me!

There’s always something……….

It’s been a whole year since my first half marathon. And looking back I can’t help but feel jealous of my first 6 months of running – so many firsts (first double digit run, first sub-8 min mile), a new love of sport and fitness (did not see that coming) and most importantly injury free running. No aches, no pains. How did that happen? Beginner’s luck is the most obvious (and unsatisfying) answer.

After 4 full days of rest I headed to the gym on Saturday for an hour of strength training. Sunday was 6.5 miles on the elliptical followed by one mile on the treadmill. It was amazing! I had missed running so much. Monday 3 more treadmill miles + 1.5 miles on the elliptical. Tuesday morning more strength training.

And the good news – my foot feels so much better. A couple of aches and twinges yesterday but completely fine today. I am planning on doing a mixture of running + elliptical this week to ease back in to it.

But there’s always something……..and with me it’s my right knee. I’ve been having some kind of knee pain since the end of January (4 months!). My physiotherapist seems to think it’s due to weak glute muscles and should be ok to run through. But it’s still painful after taking complete rest days. So frustrating!

My current thought is that since my left foot was all tendonitis-y that I was overcompensating with my right knee and aggravating it. So now that my foot is better the knee pain should subside. Right, right………please tell me I’m right. I’m going to see how it goes and arrange a physio appointment for next week. Somebody told me yesterday (at a very strange personal training appointment that I’ll fill you in on later) that I need to be an advocate for my body.

Four months after my first physiotherapist appointment I am feeling worse than ever despite following all her advice and religiously doing all the prescribed exercises. Maybe it’s not me……….maybe I need to try someone new. Someone new who accepts my insurance!

It’s pretty quiet around our place right now. That’s what happens when one person is nursing injuries and the other is doing the last set of long runs for his marathon. We did get a bunch of (much delayed) spring cleaning done including spring comforter. One of my absolute favorite things in the world is getting into a freshly made bed. And we grilled like there was no tomorrow. Eating dinner outside makes everything taste awesome-r.

BBQ pork. J is the man behind the grill. Check out those impressive grill marks. My job is to make the sides. Healthy potato salad and a carrot salad with pine nuts, raisins, cilantro and a cumin-garlic dressing.


Mexican salad (I think lime and cilantro are my two favorite ingredients). Plus this cool new beer from one of our local breweries. A benefit of having a home-brewer in the house is a constant supply of new beer to try out.

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Paprika potatoes and tequila-glazed chicken thighs. All of our grill recipes come from this amazing book we found at Costco. I think it’s a Cooking Light BBQ book. Everything in it is amazing.


If you live with me and run 17 miles in one go I will make you pancakes. That is the deal. I hope J reciprocates in 4ish months.


I also made a trip to REI and picked up a Spibelt ($15 using my coupon). It’ll be holding my phone and Gu s (99 cent each right now at REI) for my next half marathon. I’m hoping to try it out as soon as I can.

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?

Eating and not running…..

It’s been 8 (!) days since I went for my last run. Instead I’ve been ellipticizing or whatever that verb may actually be. Pandora and Netflix have been helping my push through. And some very un-May-like weather.

Friday night was spent re-habing with some snacks from Trader Joe’s and frozen peas.

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Like shesgoingthedistance – I also believe in WRICE (wine + RICE).

Saturday was a “tempo” 3 mile elliptical session followed by some strength training. Followed by lemon-cranberry scones.


I’ve made this recipe before with chocolate chips and my sweet tooth preferred the chocolate version.

J and I then celebrated a friend’s graduation before having an early night. Marathon training (J) and being an old lady (me) will do that to you.

I was feeling a lot better on Sunday and got in some epic elliptical mileage. I coped with this by watching the trashiest reality tv I could find on Netflix (hello Keeping up with the Kardashians). No obvious aggravation of my foot. Hell yeah – on the mend!

After an afternoon spent doing chores, wedding-related stuff (4 months today people!) and beer making, J and I teamed up to make some asparagus and smoked salmon risotto. I think reading about Italy (honeymoon destination) has got us both in the mood for Italian food.


I also managed to make some homemade granola bars. They were a little too crumbly for my liking but tasted great when paired with some chocolate ice cream.

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Monday morning workouts are usually a struggle for me but today I hopped right out of bed at 5.50 AM feeling good and ready to see what new awfulness the Kardashians would inflict on the world. Foot felt good and I took it pretty easy. This was followed by a pretty hectic day at work.

I was getting a little pissed off that I could still feel some foot pain. I mean I took ONE whole week off running shouldn’t I be cured by now? Patience – not my strongest personality trait. But I wasn’t overly worried until I got home, took off my compression sleeves and realized that my left ankle is pretty swollen but weirdly not painful? (no pictures – after Piratebobcat’s bloody sock I think the internet is overloaded with gross photos). This has sent me in to total panic mode. I thought I had figured out what was wrong with my foot but maybe a visit to the doctor is called for. And total rest. Prepare yourselves for lots more food posts – looks like I might be catering a pity party soon.





Friday catch-up

I read about a million running blogs. Seriously. I love reading about people training, racing and finding a way to fit running into their life. I don’t follow many blogs about people getting their kicks on the elliptical everyday of the week. Mainly, because I don’t think they exist. Does anyone, anywhere really prefer relentlessly pounding away on this silly machine to actually going for a run? If you do, I don’t think we can be friends – opposite life view.

The thing I like about the ellipitical is that I can use it without hurting my foot. So it’s got that advantage over running right now. I’ve managed to do 13.5 miles so far this week on my new favorite inanimate object with more to go this weekend. Luckily the weather is really crappy here right now so it’s not too big a sacrifice to confine myself to the indoors.

The foot is feeling a ton better than yesterday. The plan is to see how it feels by the start of next week and take it from there. My calf has also decided to get in on the action and has been super tight. I’m following Sarah’s advice over at runningonhealthy and stretching them out as often as I can. It did take me 4 days to realize that it might be a good idea to wear my compression sleeves to help my calves out. I am not a smart woman.

So that’s where the recovery is at. Elliptical is fine so I’m trying to keep my mileage up. Strength training is fine. Yoga and climbing are out. PSA: Squeezing a sore foot into teeny climbing shoes or resting on the front of your feet during upward facing dog do not help with foot pain.

I have been enjoying some delicious eats. Burger with sweet potato fries (my new absolute favorite thing to eat) and Mexican skillet zucchini.


I’ve been having a ton of salad for lunch this week. I think it’s a form of rebellion against our cold and rainy weather. Plus mango.

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And finally, Dijon salmon (amazing!) with parsnip mash. For this mash I swap out milk and butter for Greek yogurt and lemon zest.


Does anyone else get excited for what they plan on cooking at the weekends? I’m planning on making lemon-cranberry scones and some homemade granola bars. Just have to work for 4 more hours.

Day 60 – Hips don’t lie

Well my hips don’t lie. According to the PT my hips are the source of all my problems.

But first – donuts. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a crazy donut person but every so often I just need to have one. And lucky for me J had to buy a dozen or so to bring in for a work meeting. So we got up extra early, picked up our donuts and headed for yoga class. (We were working on going from wild thing to wheel – well I can do both separately but cannot work out how to link them together – any tips yogis?). Then back home to pick out my breakfast!


I went for sprinkles – chocolate donut with chocolate frosting. Yes please! Now I’m pretty good for another 6 months.

Today was a continuation of week of unpleasantness. PT appointment. Started out with some “massage” of my glute medius. Oh my God – THE PAIN! Holy crap! But I appreciated it afterwards. Type 2 experience.

The major take home message was: (1) I can still run (Yay!) and even go ahead with my scheduled 11 mile run this weekend. (2) I need to build up the endurance in my glutes (3) Knee pain is secondary to weak hips so if I can fix that it should go away. (4) Ice, ice, ice.

So I can keep running as long as my pain is less than a 3 on a pain scale of 10. Start doing daily glute strengthening exercises – mostly clam shells and leg raises. Plus crab walks, bridge hip thrusts and squats 3-4 times a wee.k. She did also recommend an ice bath after long runs which I am not so psyched about. Her exact recommendation was to sit in 6 inches of ice wearing a beanie and a down jacket. This might not happen but I will definitely ice a lot more than I have been doing.

I am scheduled to get a massage about 9 days before the half marathon to work everything out. I am feeling pretty positive about getting back to full fitness.

After my week tonight started with a glass of red wine. Then I made vegetarian chilli (the secret is to add a tiny bit of dark chocolate right at the end) with sweet potato wedges. Now I just have to get my taxes out of the way and my week of unpleasantness will be done!


Day 22 – Start of Week 4! Already!

So far I’ve completed three full weeks of half marathon training. And it has flown by. No tempo runs or hill work but I’m still able to run and have the done all the mileage I had planned. So I counting this as a win. Hip pain gone. Right quad still a little tight and knee pain is still lingering. But I’m improving – feeling stronger, running better and I think my injury is improving. My next race is a little over a month away and I’m really looking forward to it. Plus it’s a St Patrick’s Day themed race with hidden leprechauns.

This morning was a recovery run. I seriously heavy legs but managed to get 4 miles in at 9.18 min/mile pace. It felt slow and not the most fun run I’ve ever done but I did it. Sometimes these runs are the hardest but I think they help with mental aspect of training. Pushing through when you know your body can handle it but your mind wants to give up.

Today is a holiday – President’s Day. I think the US really has it’s act together having a holiday in January and February just when you need a break from winter. So my run was in actual daylight – no headlamp! And a sunrise. Plus a shortened day at work and an afternoon core session.

Got another episode of Scandal under my belt. That show is seriously awesome.

Dinner last night was a pasta bake. I’ve been making a bunch of these lately. This one had bacon, onions, mushrooms and spinach in a butternut squash sauce. Plus a whole lot of mozzarella and parmesan on top. It’s never too early to carb load right? Served with roasted brussel sprouts – they’re not just for Christmas. Rest day tomorrow and I need it!


Day 3 – A visit to the physical therapist

Today started with a 8.00 AM visit to the physical therapist. Luckily I got a next day appointment with someone who specializes in running and is in charge of the running (I guess you could say she runs (!)) clinic at our local orthopedic center.

I had sciatica and hip bursitis in my left hip (AKA stupid left hip SLH) and have been feeling a slight pain in SLH as I’ve been increasing my mileage. I really wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on biomechanically and fix it once and for all. Well it turns out my bottom is exactly whats at the bottom of all my injuries – specifically my gluteus medius.


So she pinpointed my pain to this area and then watched me running on the treadmill. I was filmed from every angle and the treadmill measured my force of impact, cadence and a whole bunch of other things. For a scientist like me, it was nice to see bar charts of everything.

I knew already that my running form isn’t perfect – but watching a 360 view of you running really shows up all your faults. There were some plus points.


Strong core

Good cadence


Tight hips


Knees collapsing together

Weak glutes

Left hip collapsing

Arms out too wide

Taking everything together she came up with a plan.


I really like the cartoon drawing!

The good news is that I don’t have to stop running. I just need to think about where my legs are going when I run. And hopefully I should be pain free in a couple of months. I think I’ll celebrate with a couple of easy miles. Although, it’s surprising how much more of an effort running becomes when you have to think about what you’re doing. But I’m hopeful that this will solve my major issues and help me train for all my races this year.

In other news the course for my April half was finally released. It’s a little different from previous years – with a couple of hilly sections. The mile 8 marker is right by my house so I can always reevaluate then. Joke – I’m going to finish. Probably. I don’t think it’ll be a PR run. Not when combined with injury rehab.

But I’m feeling pretty positive. I know what the problem is now and how to fix it – and that’s more than I can say for the last 3 or 4 months. Things are looking up!