It’s the weekend!

Friday! Woohoo! I get to leave work a little early today so J and I can head down south. One of our very good friends is getting married this weekend. And being a super-awesome bride – she has chosen to get married at Zion National Park, which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Here’s some pictures of our visit there in fall 2010.

CIMG1417

CIMG1433

CIMG1435

CIMG1439

CIMG1444

Again – I’m reminded how lucky I am to live in Utah where I can drive 4 hours and be in this place! Plus what’s better than a weekend of camping and partying with your best friends!

This week has been run-free and totally great. My foot (which wasn’t that sore to begin with) hasn’t been bothering me but I’m still determined to take another week off before my slowly returning to running. I also have been sleeping in til 7 AM every morning. I think I’ll wait until Daylight Savings ends before going back to my 6 AM workouts.

But I have been staying active. I’ve biked into work three days this week. I was meant to do it again today but had major chain issues -> bike fail. It’s only a little over 3.5 miles but it is literally uphill the whole way and takes about 35 mins. But coming home is totally free-wheeling and a ton of fun. I’ve also hit the pool twice. The U has a pool that’s open for lane swimming every weeknight from 6-10 PM and it’s pretty quiet. My short term goal (I’m following a 6 week program) is to be able to swim 1 whole mile without stopping. I also did a quick strength workout (no yoga until my foot is back to normal) including my longest plank ever – 3 1/2 minutes – this was made a little easier because Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off kept me company. Damn – that is one catchy song!

Finally, I’m happy to announce that I’ve managed to complete one of my goals for the year! At some point during my marathon I managed to tick off 1000 miles for the year. I’m hoping in a week I can get back out there and add a couple more!

Happy weekend!

Advertisements

Check-in and check-up

Can you believe that I’m a quarter way through my marathon training plan? 4.5 weeks done. And so far so good. Although it looks like sh*t is going to get real in the next couple of weeks.

Saturday started with a 6 mile pace run. What I learned from this is that I am a terrible judge of my own pace and that I can’t math. Somehow I figured my first mile was 8.15 (I was aiming for around 8-8.05 min/mile) (Spoiler: my first mile was actually 7.12 min) so I decided I needed to pick up the pace a little for the next two miles (7.35 and 7.27). That’s when I figured I needed to slow the hell down. My last three miles were at a more reasonable pace (7.46, 7.53 and 8.06). D’oh! I definitely need to work on even splits. Overall 6.15 miles at 7.41 min/mile average – and a great way to ensure some tired legs for my long run on Sunday.

Breakfast turned into a berry fest – raspberries and Greek yogurt, strawberry/banana smoothie and blueberry scones.

IMG_0857

We had plans to bike downtown to the Utah Arts festival in the evening so we fueled up on grilled cheese and roasted broccoli pasta salad.

IMG_0858

The festival was by the City and County building. And you got $2 if you rode your bike and left it with the bike valet.

IMG_0867

We checked out some bands, drank some beer, ate some ice cream and browsed the artists’ booth. We also saw a really cool performance by the local ballet company.

IMG_0865

Afterwards we decided to hit up a local bar. That’s two Saturday bar trips in a row. I was telling J that we are now party animals. Party animals that are home by 9.30 PM!

IMG_0872 IMG_0871

Then a quick bike trip home (and uphill) to catch up with Game of Thrones.

Sunday was my scheduled long run: 12 miles. I have only ran this distance twice before in training, and it kinda felt like the first real long run of marathon training. My plan was to start slow and finish strong. And it felt pretty good. I took a Gu at mile 6 and by the end felt like I could have kept going for even longer. Plus my miles 8-11 were all in the 8.25-8.35 range. The only downer is that my Garmin doesn’t take into account time spent waiting for traffic lights – and by my calculation this was at least 5 minutes over the course of the whole run.  Oh well – Garmin says 9.07 min/mile, I say 8.47 min/mile.

That run brought my weekly total to 31.85 miles which I think is my biggest week ever. And my June total to 115.6 miles – my second highest month ever.

I had made it a goal at the start of the year to run 1000 miles in 2014. So at the halfway mark I’m at 555.65 miles – on target! Woohoo!

Monday was an after work yoga class. Tuesday an easy 4 miler (8.49 min/mile). And this morning – 7 miles (my longest midweek run ever) at 8.42 min/mile. This run felt sluggish. One of those runs where you feel like you are really pushing the pace until you look down at your watch………….and not so much. For some reason, it took me about 4 miles to properly warm up and  then it felt great.

The other big event this week was my visit to the physiotherapist. I wanted her opinion on my right knee pain and left foot pain (both of which flared up in the last 2 miles of my long run) and to get the go-ahead to continue with marathon training.

So after a detailed description of all my running aches and pains and a hands-on examination of my legs, she came to a couple of conclusions.

1. My right leg is significantly weaker than my left leg in terms of muscle strength, muscle mass and stability.

2. This means that my muscles aren’t strong enough to keep my knee pad in its correct place when I run long distances. This makes my knee hurt……..

3. I then compensate by using my left leg more making my foot hurt because I have crazy tight calves.

The good news is that if I work on strengthening my right leg all my problems should go away. So plenty of single leg work and keep doing yoga.

And I can continue to run if the pain is not getting any worse (this is exactly what I wanted to hear!). Interestingly, she said that if my knee starts to hurt when running, I should focus on engaging all my leg muscles in that leg and concentrate on using that leg more. So that’s what I did on this morning’s 7 miler – and it felt so much better. I have 5 weeks until the next appointment and she seemed pretty optimistic that I should be able to fix everything and run pain-free in the not too distant future.

Bonus: she taped my knee-cap so all my coworkers think I’m a crazy, badass runner. Or just a crazy, constantly injured runner.

Now, I just have another day and a half of work to get through before J and I head off to Nevada for a much needed camping trip. I’ll be throwing in my trail shoes and seeing what I can find!

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.

elevation

There’s something satisfying to me about the symmetrical shape of this elevation chart.

IMG_0796

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.

IMG_0797

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.

Image

Nice and shaded to beat the heat.

Image

 

Pretty flowers.

Image

Looking down towards Salt Lake City.

 

Image

Stream crossing.

 

Image

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

 

 

Image

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

Image

To me, it’s a little alpine.

 

Image

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 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.

IMG_0701

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!

RUN-2012_GLASSES_4-04 RUN-2012_GLASSES_4-03 RUN-2012_GLASSES_4-02

 

Day 49 – Spring skiing

I woke up today feeling surprisingly OK – no quad pain and normal knee issues. I even managed to sneak in a full 8 hours of sleep. And then today I spent all day wearing these.

IMG_0661

J had got some tickets to Snowbasin during a fundraiser for the Utah Avalanche Center and we have some friends who have season passes so we decided we needed to make a trip up north to check it out. Plus, time is ticking on ski season here in Utah.

IMG_0658

Snowbasin is about an hour north of SLC and is where the downhill skiing events were held during the winter Olympics in 2002. It has a ton of acreage and a lot more vertical that some of the resorts we typically ski. As a bonus we had beautiful blue skies and almost no lift lines. I can honestly say it has the best views of any of the ski resorts here in Utah.

Also, it’s pretty fancy. Here’s the chandelier we had lunch under.

IMG_0660

We managed about 9 runs – including a bunch of steeper stuff that would normally be outside of my comfort zone – before my quads gave out and we had to call it a day.

IMG_0659

IMG_0662

In true ski bum style we tailgated in the parking lot afterwards with some burgers and beers.

IMG_0663

Tonight we’re recovering with our typical apres ski drink – white Russians to celebrate a great days skiing and maybe the last great ski day of the year.

Back to running tomorrow!

 

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.

IMG_0634

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.

IMG_0627

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

IMG_0630

I think this was Pyramid Canyon overlook.

IMG_0632

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

IMG_0633

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

IMG_0636IMG_0635

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.

IMG_0638

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.