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 38 – a little late

Yesterday was a busy day. So busy that I didn’t have time to blog! Disaster! Well, not really………

I did quite well on Pancake Tuesday – four delicious and perfectly cooked crepe-style pancakes cooked by my friend G. Two savory and two stuffed with nutella and vanilla ice cream We also had some home made donuts which are traditional Bosnian fare before the start of Lent.

Wednesday was hectic. My knee had been feeling a little weird on Tuesday so I didn’t want to run first thing in the morning but see how it felt later in the day. Instead I got up at 630 AM to do my PT exercises. I think this might be the definition of masochism.

I got into work a little early only to be confronted by a flooded floor that I had to spend 20ish minutes mopping. Glad I went to grad school to help me figure that one out.

I was feeling pretty good and more importantly the weather was looking amazing. Blue skies and high 50s F. I kinda had to run outside. The trail behind the building where I worked was beckoning me all morning so at lunchtime I gave in and did 3.86 miles at 8.55 min/mile pace. I guess I didn’t realise before but that trail is rather undulating – 447 ft elevation gain over the whole run with most in the first part. No wonder it felt so hard! I was also wondering if trail running might help with my running injury. I am way more careful about my foot placement when the trail is littered with sharp, pointy rocks. I also tend to shorten my stride so that I don’t trip up on anything (I am naturally an incredibly clumsy person).

I got to wear shorts and a t-shirt for this run. And I was a little warm. Win. Plus, this trail gives a beautiful panorama over downtown SLC and out to the great salt lake. Pretty. Double win.

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This is someone else’s photo of the trail but you get the idea.

I was a little nervous to run by myself. In the past we’ve had warnings about rattle snakes and mountain lions hanging out around here. And I’m convinced that I saw a couple of mountain lion foot prints in the mud. Luckily I passed a whole bunch of other runners, bikers and walkers so I felt pretty safe.

I’m also lucky to have a shower in my building so I didn’t have to force my runner’s stink on anyone else. I also think that running energizes me (well obviously not super long runs) so I was able to get everything done in time to catch the earlyish bus home and get ready for a session in the climbing gym (6 routes done!). But by the time I got home it was almost 10.30 PM and I was toast!

March total: 18.45 miles/29.7 KM

Day 36 – Daylight!

I was feeling pretty good after my long run yesterday – energized and ready to tackle some of the unappealing errands I’d been putting off for the last while. I’ve learned that when I’m feeling like this I need to take advantage. But after a couple of hours I was getting the itch to go outside again.

J was at work so I decided to do a little hike on the North side of Salt Lake. It was only 1.0 mile total but had awesome views over the whole valley and I managed to escape the rain again – I think it might be my new super power.

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It was exactly what I needed to clear my head – about 30 mins and 300 ft. Afterwards I rewarded myself with a ton of sushi rolls with friends.

Monday mornings are always a battle to get up and running. This is a recovery run for me so I’m usually a little sore and tired. Today was the same. Achy knee and sore butt –¬† not a great combo but at least I know what is going on with my body now and the PT I need to keep doing to sort it out. 4 miles at about 9.15 min/mile pace.

The great thing about this run was that as I was leaving the house I debated whether I really needed to bring my headlamp and after two miles I turned it off completely. I was actually finishing my morning run in daylight. I think spring might finally be here! (Sorry everyone in the East and Midwest). I even felt a little warm (!). I think I definitely have spring on my mind as we are seriously considering taking off on our first camping trip next weekend. I am ready for sun, shorts and chacos!

March running total: 14.6 miles/23.5 KM

Day 35 – Bears? I don’t think so

Long run day. Does anyone else really look forward to long runs? I think they’re my favorite part of training. Going out and knowing all you have to do is keep going for x number of miles. Of course I do them on Sundays so I can take my time and enjoy the view.

The plan for this morning was to do 7.5 miles over at City Creek where my race will be in 2 weeks. The sun was out and I had my new compression socks on so I was ready to go. The first mile was a bit ughh (seems like this is a trend lately), then I headed up into the canyon ready for to zone out and just run. Well I got about a quarter mile up and I saw it. A giant sign warning about numerous bear sitings in the canyon over the last week. A single runner in a deserted canyon full of bears. I noped right out of there.

Plan B: try and run 6.5 miles and not get lost. This side of the city is pretty hilly and because I wasn’t totally sure of my route it was a bit of a mess but I got it done. 7.5 miles at 8.50 min/mile pace. A little slow but this included 825 ft of elevation gain. A good workout. Still not sure if the compression socks helped or not but at least they were comfortable and are officially road tested.

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This was my view as I stretched out by the car. Pretty.

Almost 700 calories burned so I went with a three course breakfast. Granola and smoothie to start. Then a egg and avocado toasted sandwich (my two favorite breakfast ingredients). And to finish zucchini and chocolate chip bread. Great morning. Now the question is whether to hike or ski this afternoon – talk about first world problems!

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March running total: 10.5 miles/16.9 KM

Weekly recap:

5 runs

Total mileage: 22.1 miles

One strength workout

One yoga workout

Two climbing sessions

Day 28 – What a difference a day makes

24 little hours. And a total turnaround.

If you read my blog yesterday you’ll know that I did not have a good run. I decided that today would be an awesome run and the power of positive thinking definitely worked.

Last night we had some friends over for dinner and my friend I made this. It was amazing. And no we don’t always make people cook for us when we invite them over for dinner. We have season tickets for a local theater and alternate who cooks dinner and since we live about a 5 min drive from the theater it’s usually at our place. I made dessert. Thank you again skinnytaste. Tasty as always – strawberry and rhubarb crisp (if you’re from the US)/crumble for Irish/British folks.

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Then it was shome Shakespeare – Much Ado about Nothing. Pretty good but not the best play of the season.

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So back to today. I woke up feeling great to a beautiful sunny morning. And I was running a new route. Win win win. My first race of the year is on March 15th so I wanted to get a feel for the course because it’s in an area of Salt Lake that I have never run in before and the elevation change looked a little scary. My run started at the Utah State Capitol.

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I was planning on running up City Creek which is about a mile from here – unless you’re like me and take the wrong turn and add an extra¬† 0.75 miles. Once you reach the turn for City Creek it’s hard to believe that you’re so close to downtown. The road was closed to traffic and besides a few other runners and walkers I felt like I was by myself running in the wilderness. So beautiful. But because I don’t bring my phone with me on runs you’ll just have to take my word for it.

The first 4 miles were non-stop uphill – about 635 ft in total. Not too steep but continuous and my mile splits were all about 9.40 min/mile. Felt pretty good. No knee pain at all. Felt like I could run forever. Although when I saw the turnaround point I was happy start the downhill portion. I lost about 700 ft in 4.5 miles. Fun! I was running with a smile on my face and it felt so good to be outside.

The run finished in Memory Grove Park. 8.38 miles at 8.41 min/mile average pace. I am now looking forward to the race and I’m 100% sure that I’ll negative split and maybe sneak in a PR.

After the run my legs felt a little tight and the day was so nice that I went for a 1 mile stroll around the State Capitol and Memory Grove. It’s days like this that I’m so glad that I live here. It was really such a great morning and so special considering how crappy yesterday was. Definite runner’s high!

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View downtown and west to the Oquirrh mountains.

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We are the beehive state.

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The Capitol from Memory Grove.

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Meditation Chapel. Cool pink marble.

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City creek.

Afterwards I refueled with homemade granola (my new favorite thing) and a BLT + avocado. Ready to face the day!

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Day 8 – start of week 2

Watched the Super Bowl with some friends yesterday. Enjoyed my favorite football snack – jalapeno poppers! I love jalapenos. I put them on every sandwich and as man meals as I can manage. I also got to try J’s home-brewed IP, which was yummy. It’s my new favorite. This hobby of his is definitely something I can get behind.

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During the game we also helped ourselves to a white bean and roasted vegetable soup (with bacon – cos bacon). This went down pretty well too. Along with homemade guac (because every meal should have avocado in it).

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This morning was week 2 day 1 of half marathon training. And my fifth day of running in a row. It called for a nice and easy 30-ish minute run. It was a bit of a struggle to get out of bed and get going. All of the delicious Super Bowl beer and food was not sitting quite right in my stomach. But strangely, it was one of those runs where before you knew if you were running round the last corner til home. And as a bonus I could see the very start of the sunrise as I was stretching on my porch. I am definitely looking forward to the day when I don’t need my headlamp in the morning.

3.61 miles at 9.12 min/mile pace

No pain (woo-hoo!) and solid start to the week. Tomorrow is a rest day from running which conveniently coincides with a new snow storm. So I get to avoid running in snow and we should have good air for the rest of the week.

SLC is looking pretty good right now.

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