Day 73 – The times they are a changin’

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This is me setting off for my last early morning hill session for my half marathon training session. Notice anything different? Still got my hi-vis vest on but no gloves, no ear warmers, no jacket but yes I am wearing SHORTS! It was about 50F this morning. I’m not sure I even want to type this but I’m pretty sure that winter is gone and SPRING is here. I don’t know about where all you guys live but over here in SLC the cherry blossoms are out (and so pretty) along with the daffodils and tulips. Warm and sunny most days and I’m even thinking of dusting off our grill after its winter hibernation.

I think this change in weather has lightened my mood. I did my hill repeats – 6 x 100ish ft up and down for a total of 4.8 miles and 670 ft elevation gain (and loss). It felt good, like seriously good. I looked back through my Garmin data and saw that I did this exact run about 3 weeks ago. During that time I’ve managed to drop 20s per mile off my average pace (9.17 min/mile to 8.54 min/mile)! What a confidence boost! (Random Bob Dylan song in my head earlier today)

So what’s been happening? Well the last couple of weeks have been among my highest mileage ever. Plus I’ve also been doing the exercises recommended by my PT. These are largely targeted at glute strengthening – lateral leg raises and leg circles and clamshells every night. My legs look leaner and so does my butt (according to J). Who would’ve guessed that running more and working your legs improves your running? Well probably Captain Obvious!

I’m also starting to get obsessed with salads for lunch. Usually baby spinach, half an avocado diced, some feta, cherry tomatoes, whatever salad dressing is in the fridge and protein. Today it’s eggs but sometimes pulled chicken. In my world spring has most definitely sprung!

April mileage: 34.05 miles/54.8 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 155.95 miles/251 KM

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Day 45 – Back to the hills

It’s only a couple of days til my first race of the year and a little over a month to my 2nd half marathon ever. Man, this year is going SO fast.

Today I swapped out my tempo run for hill work. Lucky for me (?) I live near a ton of pretty decent hills so all I had to do was leave my house and turn right. It wasn’t a classic hill session but I ran up and down 5 pretty steep hills at about 80% effort for a total of 4.17  miles at about 9.08 min/mile pace (My garmin connector has disappeared so until my new one arrives next week I’ll be guestimating all of my paces and have no idea about elevation). It felt hard but not puke your guts speedwork hard and not nearly as awful as I remember from last summer.

March mileage: 43.6 miles/70.2 KM

Spring in Utah is pretty neat. It snowed yesterday and looked like this in the AM.

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6 hours later – the snow is completely gone and today it is sunny and in the mid 50s again. Still dark in the mornings though – which has made me a little more tired than normal this week – so I’m going to switch to an after work run tomorrow. Yay for wearing shorts!

Yesterday I made a salad for lunch for the first time in forever – green leaves, half an avocado, some tomatoes, feta and leftover salsa verde chicken. J thought it was ginormous – I thought it was pretty much perfect!

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I also believe that if I start eating salad I’ll trick the universe into thinking its summer.

Dinner was back to meatless Tuesdays. Tofu and veggie stir fry in a peanut sauce with egg noodles. I have to say that since I moved to the US I was surprised at how much peanut butter there is in everything. I was not a fan to start with (don’t hate me!) but I’m slowly coming around – especially when it’s cooked Asian style. Yum!

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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 17 – Paying attention

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

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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.

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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!