Returning to normal………….

The post-marathon PR glow has finally subsided and things are getting back to normal around here.

I finally got to a yoga class. So many lunges and downward facing dogs – my legs were loving it. My calf tightness is gone. Yes! Lesson for me: do not stop doing yoga when training for a marathon – your calves will thank you.

Love my yoga studio. Not quite sure why he's standing on a baby though.

Love my yoga studio. Not quite sure why he’s standing on a baby though.

This class also worked on half-moon pose which is my absolute least favorite yoga pose ever. But the teacher made it seem pretty fun – that or I was just so excited to be back on my yoga mat.

If only I looked this good.

If only I looked this good.

I also did a one night camping trip in American Fork Canyon. The fall colors up there are spectacular. And you’re just going to have to take my word for it as my iPhone is acting all weird at the moment.

This is pretty much what it looks like right now.

This is pretty much what it looks like right now. Not my photo.

I also managed to put up my tent all by myself – which I think means that I am now an adult. Usually, I just hold things while J does all of the hard work. It was a pretty great Saturday night hanging out by the campfire. But my God – during the night there was heavy rain, howling winds, thunder, lightening and hail. I did not sleep much – I was too worried the tent would fly away and carry me to Oz.  It was still raining by 7.30 AM (camping mornings are always early) so we packed up as quickly as possible. This meant more driving through beautiful autumnal scenery followed by the most amazing brunch at Sundance Resort.

On Saturday morning I headed out on my first ‘long’ run since the marathon. This was 8.85 miles of not-fun running. I wanted to some mileage in because I will be running a half marathon on Nov 1st – thank you kind race folk for letting me defer after last years injury combo (sciatica and hip bursitis).

So my carb loading continues………………..

Local brewery. Utah has weird liquor laws so they opened a place in Denver.

Local brewery. Utah has weird liquor laws so they opened a place in Denver.

Kale and mushroom-stuffed lasagne rolls.

Kale and mushroom-stuffed lasagne rolls.

I am beyond obsessed with skinnytaste (that is where this recipe is from) and just got her new cookbook as a gift. I am so excited to try out some recipes this weekend.

Am I am still waiting for my new shoes! UPS messed up the delivery last week so I am hoping to get to try them soon.

Finally, I got some marathon photos (at Twin Cities you also get a link to a video showing you cross the finish line). There are a couple of cute ones of J and I running earlier in the race but the finish line seemed to be a little crowded as we were crossing.

Smiling and looking for the camera (for once). I think this might have been mile 14?

Smiling and looking for the camera (for once). I think this might have been mile 14?

Crossing the finish line - and so relieved to be done.

Crossing the finish line – and so relieved to be done.

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Automatic PRs!

On Saturday I ran my first ever 5K race. Automatic PR baby – 23.33!

The race is part of a series of trail races aimed at getting people into trail running. The course wasn’t technical – mostly old jeep roads with only the smallest section of single track. But a couple of things make it tougher than your regular 5K. First of all, Park City is at an elevation of 6700ft – which is about 2000ft  higher than Salt Lake City. And let me tell you that the difference will really kick your butt. Secondly, trail races mean one thing – hills, hills and, uh, more hills.

My legs were feeling heavy – not helped by going out way too fast (7.05 first mile). Looking at my Garmin elevation data – it doesn’t seem look that bad but I felt that the second mile was non-stop uphill (7.45). I hung in for the third mile – getting passed by two high school girls in the last quarter mile (7.31). I was so glad to be done – 5Ks are no joke.

The race itself was awesome. Race-day packet pickup which took about two minutes. Instead of a race shirt – you get a pint glass. Plenty of Nuun, water, bagels and bananas at the finish. Plus, an awesome raffle (with an extra ticket if you carpool). The only downer is that there is no chip timing, but there were only about 280 people in the race so that it’s not too big of a deal.

So my 5K PR is now 23.33 (although I measured it as 3.18 miles). 8th woman and 1st in my age group. Age group winners get to pick a prize from the raffle table. I opted for a compression foot sleeve (basically a toeless sock) to help with the minor foot pain I’ve been having recently. And you know – the more compression the better, right? Next up is a 10K around the same trails on July 12th.

The rest of Saturday was spent brunching, shopping and figuring out what to do with all the greens from our CSA.

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On weekends, I like to have a cocktail when I’m prepping dinner. This time – mojito. I used our CSA radishes and turnips to make a salad (tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and lemon juic

e), and dill to make a potato salad.

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J and I then biked 1.5 mile to our local microbrewery to taste some new brews.

Sunday was a 8.2 miles long run (8.40 min/mile) and I was not feeling it at all. The race on Saturday was tough and although I met my goal (sub-24), I felt a little disappointed with how tired I was feeling – which is totally stupid. I mean, I ran a half marathon last weekend and am probably not fully recovered. I need to stop putting such high expectations on myself. By the time Sunday rolled around it was a struggle to get out of the door. I did not want to run. Not – I couldn’t run. Physically, I felt pretty good but my brain just wasn’t cooperating. But I did it – and with pretty even split times. It’s in the books now – time to move on.

I also got my yoga groove back on. I haven’t been to a class for a while. Food tendonitis made it a little painful and then I just wasn’t psyched to go to a class. But I was suddenly itching to go – and was so glad I did. It felt so good. I am definitely back on the yoga train.

Sunday cocktail in my race glass!

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And then a little Asian inspired grilling – BBQ pork chops, mango slaw and stir-fried mustard greens (not my favorite).

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Today was an early morning session on the elliptical (4.3 miles) and finished with an after-work yoga class. A coworker is going on vacation and has offered passes to a yoga class at the University gym. I tried it tonight and it was pretty good (and free!). More like yoga-robics but fun. I can feel a big difference between my two knees but lunges are pain-free and I want to strengthen them back up.

Anyone else race this weekend? Anyone else finding it hard to find their running mojo?

 

 

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.

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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!

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Day 55 – Food

Last night J was at a boy’s poker thing so I did what I always do when I’m at home by myself – make and eat all the food I love.

I started with some roasted sweet potato with nacho toppings (skinnytaste calls it Irish nachos – note I never had sweet potatoes or nachos growing up) and a skinny version of buffalo chicken. Tossed in a few baby spinach leaves so that my plate wasn’t just orange.

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I also had a really strong craving for chocolate ice cream. I am not usually crazy about ice cream – I can usually take it or leave it but I needed some ASAP. There was a crazy amount in the store but I finally settled on chocolate ice cream with orange and chocolate “confetti” (I know chocolate orange combo is controversial but I love it). And it was pretty good – smooth with a decent but not overpowering orange taste. Plus the obligatory glass of Friday night wine.

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This morning was a 4 mile run at 8.01 min/mile pace. I tried out some of the SLC half marathon course which conveniently runs right by my house and specifically a hill that I have never run up before.

The route was gently downhill but with a weird windy section that zigzagged through a neighborhood for a reason that is not clear to me. The hill also seemed OK – about 70 ft and a little steeper at the top. Might be a bit tough on race day as it’s at mile 8 :/. But overall a moderate and consistent pace. It finally feels like everything is falling into place. 10 miler tomorrow.

Breakfast was these buttermilk scones with fresh blueberries plus pumpkin granola that I prepped on Friday night. I managed to add the wrong amount of flour but they still turned out pretty good.

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This afternoon was a hybrid yoga class – 30 mins of core followed by 30 mins of restorative poses. Exactly what I needed for today. Now I just have to wait for my crockpot and enjoy some wine and American Hustle. Happy weekend!

March mileage: 73 miles/117.5 KM

Day 46 – Find what you love and do that

Last night we has some homemade salmon cakes and veggies for dinner. I used a crazy amount of Trader Joe’s sweet chilli sauce. That stuff is so good. J went for Cholula hot sauce. We have a lot of condiments in our house.

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Wednesday night has once again established itself as climbing night. We met some friends that we regularly climb with but also a friend who had never climbed before. So I was showing her the ropes (sorry………….not really! Ha!). She loved it and was about a million times braver and more confident than I had been on my first visit to the gym. It was also really fun introducing someone to a sport that you love. I felt like a little like a proud parent showing off my awesome kid. And it made me realize just how far I have come not only in the last two years but also in the last 10ish.

Growing up I was the nerdy girl who was never into sports. I was a little too anxious to play any kind of team sport (fear of being judged or being not good at something (hello Type A)). And as I got more unfit it became less appealing to even try to take up a sport. There were occasional forays to the gym and classes in college and grad school but nothing really stuck. Until I found sports that I really enjoyed doing. Ones that as soon as I finished I wanted to do again. For me, this is running, yoga and gym climbing. When I finish a run or a class I immediately plan my next session. I don’t dread going – I look forward to it. I even started a blog about it! And this is my key for being and staying active – find what you love and do that.

Bonus: Being active means pizza for lunch is just fine and dandy. Even better when it’s free and vegetarian.

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Had an awesome yoga class this morning: core-flavored power hour. And it’s beautiful and sunny out – so I’m doing the running home thing. Don’t be too impressed it’s 3 miles all downhill. Plus tomorrow is Friday. Win. Win. Win.

March mileage: 43.6 miles/70.2 KM

Day 31 – Down dog

Last night I got home from work and had about 30 mins to eat before I had to start getting ready for yoga class. So I made my go-to pasta dish – chicken, artichoke, red onion whole wheat spaghetti with a mozzarella-tomato-arugual (rocket) salad. 25 mins all in.

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Then yoga class. This was a mixture of core plus some deep stretching. A perfect way to work up a sweat and then stretch it out. My legs were a little rough after PT earlier but it felt pretty good. I even managed to do halfmoon pose and reverse halfmoon. Poses that I always struggle with. It seems as if all those leg strengthening exercises I’ve been doing have actually been strengthening my legs. Who would have guessed?

As I mentioned yesterday it’s been a while since I’ve made it to this class and the instructor was wondering where I’d been. She also talked during the class about how much progress all her regulars had been making. I’d like to think that was especially for me!

My local yoga studio is about 0.5 mile from my house so I usually walk there and back. I feel like it preps me for class and gives me time to clear my head. Although when I walk back in the dark I always get creeped out by this statue.

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I’m convinced that one night this little girl statue is going to turn her head and look up at me. Maybe I’ve been watching too many horror movies.

This morning was back to the training plan. 4 miles at 8.36 min/mile pace taking it nice and easy. I can definitely notice the mornings getting brighter and I saw 6 other runners out this morning. For the last couple of months I have seen nobody. At my PT office yesterday the receptionist lady also mentioned how busy they are because running season has just resumed – well except for all the people who have been braving it all winter.

Today was just a regular run until I hit the park. It’s about a mile away and I like to do shorter runs there because I don’t have to stop for lights or watch for cars. Plus there’s an older gentleman who seems to walk there every morning who always says hi to me.

This time as I was entering the park there was a lady there with two dogs – both unleashed. One stayed by here side while the other starting running towards me. Now I like most dogs but I get a little nervous when I’m meeting a dog for the first time. This dog looked pretty friendly but you never know. So I stopped and walked and let the dog sniffed me out. Whatever he smelled he wasn’t interested and left me alone. All this time his owner never said a word. No calling him back or apologizing to me who was clearly sketched out by the situation.

I think it was her reaction more than the dog’s behavior that annoyed me so I told her she should leash her dog (you know obey the law). But it put me in a bad mood for the rest of my run. I’m not a confrontational person and I like to think the best of people so it bothered me for the whole morning.

Luckily for me I’m going to hit the climbing gym tonight and forget all about it!

Day 23 – yay for rest days!

Today is a much needed day off from running. After my 7ish miler on Sunday and a 4 mile recovery run on Monday my legs need a break. But a rest day shouldn’t mean a lie on the sofa and do nothing day. So 6 am yoga it was. With lots of hip openers! Perfect! A couple of slight knee twinges during the class but it felt pretty good. Also nice to be finished a workout just as the sun is rising.

This class is my favorite. It’s early so you don’t end up hitting your neighbor every time you stretch your arms and it’s taught by my favorite yoga instructor. Every class is different – you build up to some crazy pose (today it was peacock pose in full lotus).

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Yes it looks a little weird. And no I could not do this but it’s always nice to push yourself and see how you’re improving. He also gives great cues for alignment. But the all time best class of his was for Halloween two years ago. We were building three different segments and when it was time to join them together we did it to the Time Warp from RHPS. So much fun! It’s hard to get me to laugh before 7 AM but it usually happens at least once in this class.

And I have to tell you about the meal I made for dinner last night. I use the website http://www.skinnytaste.com all the time – it’s great healthier versions of all your favorite food. I was craving some kind of sweet-sour type dish and decided to make Thai Chicken and Pineapple Stir Fry. It was amazing!

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I didn’t have the sauce she mentions in the recipe list but I found a soy-based stir fry sauce that contained pineapple juice and it worked a treat. Plus I’m eating fresh pineapple for lunch right now.

Today I needed something sweet with breakfast and found this in our cupboard.

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It hit the spot. Yum! If you are near a Trader Joe’s you should pick it up and put it on your toast tomorrow. I guess being able to eat a little more (and more calorific) than normal is one of the perks of half marathon training!

I also celebrated the Olympics with a Moscow mule last night.

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