Unexpected encounters with wildlife………

I had a very traumatizing wildlife encounter during the last few days…………..If you’re queasy like me, maybe wait til you’ve finished eating.

But first a mini-recap of the weekend. Friday was a post-work strength workout. You’re welcome core!

Saturday – back to running and a scheduled 5 mile pace run. Right now I have no idea what my marathon pace is – having never run further than 13.3 miles – but I do have a half marathon next Saturday so decided I would try half marathon-ish pace. The first mile was hard but once I settled into my rhythm it felt pretty OK – 5 miles at 7.50 min/mile pace. And the first pace run I’ve done in a long time. I’m pretty sure I can’t run a 20 miles at that pace but maybe the half on Saturday (net downhill!!) will be better than expected.

Saturday was spend doing chores. And wedding stuff. Invites to our Irish party are out. Photographer is locked in. Honeymoon is organized.

And then a wonderful dinner (+ margaritas) with our friends up in Park City. Nothing better than sitting on a deck in the mountains with good food and great company.

Sunday is long run day. This week I got more than 5 hours sleep so was good to go. I met my Thursday trail running buddy and another runner friend for a trail run. This time we did the whole trail – 9.3 miles out and back with stunning views and a lovely breeze. 9.33 min/mile with rolling hills – total elevation gain of 1400 ft but without any really big hills. I managed to squeeze in two whole episodes of Scandal while stretching and doing PT exercises. Total mileage for the week 28 miles on the dot.

I spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on our front porch before heading to a 4PM Restore yoga class where I may or may not have dozed off for a couple of seconds.

This weekend was all about the burgers – portobello mushrooms and fresh corn on Friday.

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Homemade turkey burgers with potato salad (carb-loading has started with a vengeance!) on Sunday. Ciabatta is my new favorite way to eat my burgers.

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We also are having salad with pretty much every meal to use up our CSA greens ASAP. Finding a snail as you are washing your salad leaves – pretty normal, right? I still had a mini-freakout (can’t do “slimy” things with no legs including (but not limited to) earthworms, slugs, snails, snakes) and had to get J to deal with it.

What is totally NOT normal was waking up the next day and finding a snail had appeared in your kitchen and found it’s way INTO your water bottle which was standing open on the counter. This freaked me out. I had to leave the room. And I felt sick about it all day – especially when I sat down to eat my delicious SALAD. I checked for wildlife before I tucked in.

 

 

 

 

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?

And I’m back……….

I’ve taken a week away from blogging mainly due to a major work-related presentation that I had to give last week. It went pretty well and I got some positive feedback so I can cross that off my list of things to stress over. Done and done.

The other big news is that I can run again! After two weeks off from running including 5 completely exercise-free days I was dying to get back at it. And with no foot pain to report (just knee pain which I’ve been dealing with for most of the year).

Mon: 3 miles on the treadmill at 8.35 min/mile pace + 1.5 miles on the elliptical (because I can’t quit you just now).

Tues: Strength training (hello legs – how you doing!)

Wed: 3 mile tempo “run” on the elliptical + 2.5 miles on the treadmill at 8.35 min/mile

Thurs: 5ish mile trail run (see below)

Fri: Rest

Sat: 8.77 mile run at 8.27 min/mile

Sun: Climbing + 3.3 mile recover run at 8.55 min/mile

Mon: 4.25 mile trail run at 9.03 min/mile

So the good news is that I can run again! Woohoo! And I’ve missed it so much. It rained non-stop for my long run on Saturday. My shoes were squelchy and soaked through after about 5 minutes but I didn’t care. It just felt so good to be out there. I did get to exchange some “I can’t believe we’re out here running in this weather” looks with all the runners I met during my run but secretly I was happy to be getting my miles in, and convincing myself that I will be able to run this half marathon on June 14th.

My first outdoor run was on Thursday. And in my usual go big or go home style I opted for a 5ish mile (my absence from running meant that I could no longer work my Garmin for the first half mile) trail run. This was done as part of a group run organized by the people who run the Park City Trail Series. I ran a couple of these races last summer and am signed up for the 5, 10 and 15K races this year. The races are always a lot of fun and they have the best raffles ever. At the group run this week I won a packet of pro-bar chews. J got a brand new visor. I also managed to find a friend to run with! She’s new to running but is pretty speedy and is down to run a weekly trail run near work. Win win win. The run itself had a little over 700 ft of elevation gain with half of that being in a single mile. It was tough.

Sunday’s recovery run was nice and easy around one of the nearby parks. It was the afternoon and it seemed like the whole of Salt Lake was grilling with their families. So nice to get out and feel part of this.

Monday involved a couple of hours of work but since I had most of the afternoon off, I decided to head out to a trail that I love. It has amazing views, and for a Utah trail run isn’t that steep or calf-killing. 663 ft of elevation gain but pretty evenly spread out. And gorgeous scenery and weather. The only downside was the 20 mins it took to get past the fee collections station.I guess Salt Lakers decided this canyon was the place to be today.

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Nice and shaded to beat the heat.

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Pretty flowers.

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Looking down towards Salt Lake City.

 

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Stream crossing.

 

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I think this my be one of my favorite trails to run in the valley.

 

 

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That sliver of gray is the road you drive up. The trail is at about 6000 ft.

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To me, it’s a little alpine.

 

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The turnaround point.

This weekend I also tried out my new Spibelt for the first time. It felt fine on my long run but the next day I had a pain in my back from the exact area it was sitting on. For the trail run, I swung it around so it looked like a fanny-pack/bum-bag and it felt much better. But pretty pleased with my purchase.

Day 74 – Trails!

The weather here has been amazing all week so I decided to take advantage and hit some trails right be where I work. It was great! I took it nice and easy – the hard work for my half marathon training is in the bag. I even brought my phone so I could stop and take some pictures for you guys. This helped me a lot because I’m usually focused on time and pace and today I just wanted to get outside and enjoy the day. I don’t know and you but time (and miles) always seem to go by faster when I’m on a trail.

Here’s some of what I saw!

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Single track (the most fun part!) right along Emigration canyon.

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Also the shadiest spot.

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Second half fasting west (and the sun – oops!).

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Hills to the east. 70 F and clear blue skies. Yes please!

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Lots of signs so I can’t possibly get lost.

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Looking at the south end of the valley.

All in all 4.05 miles at 9.15 min/mile pace (including all the photo stops) at 700 ft elevation gain. Perfect.

April mileage: 38.10 miles/61.3 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 160 miles/257.5 KM

Day 67 – All the good things

Does anyone else have unnatural feelings for their crockpot? It’s the best thing ever. I made pulled chicken with black beans and corn. Last night we had it in burritos and tonight over roasted sweet potato with all the trimmings.

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J is out of town this weekend so this morning started with me dropping him off before heading to work early. The plan was to run after work. I’ve realized that running at rush hour stresses me out – too much traffic and drivers not paying attention. So time to hit the trail.

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This trail is right by my work and I can’t believe I haven’t run on it more before this. Soon it’ll be too hot and/or rattlesnakey for evening runs but today it was 50F and perfect. I took it easy and did a 3.88 mile out and back at 8.55 min/mile pace wtih 551 ft elevation. It was great! One of those – I could run forever runs. And I finished feeling energized and refreshed.

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Because J is out of town I decided to purchase one of my favorite movies.

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I LOVE this movie and even better while checking out Amazon I realized that I still had some gift credit left. Did you know they sell running shoes there? Well I couldn’t help myself. And these arrived today. Now I have this shoe in every color.

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I’m currently rotating two pairs of these and have two brand spanking new pairs ready for when marathon training begins in June.

And I’m ending my night with an episode of Scandal and trying not to eat all of this bag of chocolates.

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My Mom (and Nana) sends me Irish style chocolates every Christmas. These are new to me but amazing. I have one more pack and then I’m all out! Will have to stock up when I go home in September. Or visit the local British store – I probably can’t last without them for 5 months.

April mileage: 9.2 miles/14.8 KM

ATWRBR mileage: 131.1 miles/211 KM

Day 44 – Moab Day 2

A weekend camping + Daylight savings change + 6 AM run + 10.5 hour work day = glass of wine with dinner

Yesterday was tough! But I made it. Managed to do both commutes in the dark :(. Lucky past me had put chicken in the Crockpot earlier in the morning so dinner was a breeze. If I’m feeling really lazy I just pour a jar of Trader Joe’s salsa verde over some chicken thighs and let it do its thing.

Today is a rest day which I was pretty happy about when I looked outside and saw that winter had made a brief return. I made it to the gym and did some strength training. Honestly, I wasn’t feeling it this morning – everything felt a little harder and I managed a grand total of zero pull-ups and 21 push-ups. Not getting closer to my goal. Oh well……..

March mileage: 39.45 miles/63.5 KM

Back to my second day in Moab. I had hoped to get a long run in while I was camping – 9ish miles was on the schedule and after a bit of researching I found a perfect loop in Deadhorse State Park.

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This is a newish trail system with a 9 mile Big Chief loop that is designed for novice mountain bikers (so not too technical and not too much elevation). For the first time in forever I decided to bring my phone with me as I had a feeling this would have some amazing views.

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The trail starts by following the cliff rim overlooking the Colorado river.

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I think this was Pyramid Canyon overlook.

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The first half was over a lot of slickrock with a few short climbs.

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This was the final overlook – looking at the La Sal mountains.

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The second half was mostly dirt road – less technical and a lot easier to run on.

I did my post run stretches looking at this view.

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Not bad. The only downside was that the loop was only 8.4 miles so I had to run some asphalt to get my distance in. Great morning and great place to run.

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