Time Flies…

When you’re having fun!

It’s been a year and a half since my last blog post. I didn’t intend to take that long of a break, but it’s been a very busy year and half. Here’s the quick recap:

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That’s me in the red shorts and white hat.

I ran the Twin Cities Marathon! Eight years after getting a DNF for crossing the finish line 5 minutes after the time cut-off, I finally came back and officially finished this marathon. I didn’t realize how much I needed to do this until I crossed that finish line. I’m glad I ran this marathon, but I decided I didn’t want to do another one anytime soon. A lot of people complete a marathon and immediately swear them off, only to revisit doing another one later. I don’t think I’m one of those people.

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We got married! Troy and I were married on October 25, 2014 in Zion National Park. It was one of the best days of our lives, and we enjoyed sharing it with our friends and family. Married life has been great, like, really great. I honestly can’t imagine someone more perfect for me than Troy, and I’m so glad that we get to spend the rest of our lives together.

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We had a baby! Our son, Wyatt, was born on September 5, 2015. Troy and I knew we wanted to start a family right away, and we feel so lucky that we were able to do that. Becoming parents has been exciting, anxiety-inducing, nerve wracking, exhausting, challenging, and oh so rewarding. There will be more posts on this subject, obviously, but for now I’ll leave it at: we love this little guy to pieces.

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Wyatt at 4 months.

Lots of big and fun things happened in the last year and half! I kept thinking about coming back to this blog, I had plenty I wanted to talk about, but the time didn’t feel right until now. In the past I used this blog to document my running, training, and sometimes my trips. While I still run and train, the focus of this blog will shift to reflect more than just my fitness. I plan to write about my health goals and journey (I have significant baby weight I want to lose), but I also want to write about my life as a wife and parent.

That’s the long and short of it!

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Weekend Double: Park City Trail Series “10K” and A “Long” Run

The first time I raced with a Garmin (I borrowed one from a friend), I was trying to PR a 5K. It was early October 2012, my time to beat was 30:32. Between my previous PR and this attempt, I tore my ACL, had knee surgery, gained 10 pounds, started running again, got injured, changed my running form, ran a lot, and lost 20 pounds. I was in the best running shape I had ever been in and was looking forward to seeing what I could do in the 5K. I’m not normally a person who gets nervous or antsy during a race, but I was nervous and antsy before this one because I had a PR in mind.

I don’t remember much about the race itself, but I ran my heart out. When I crossed the finish, I looked at my Garmin for my time, 27:52! I was elated! Then I looked at my Garmin a little more closely, the distance read 2.94 miles..ugh. To this day I still don’t count that time as my 5K PR. I know that pace would have been a PR for me at 3.1 miles, but somehow saying that my 5K PR is 27:52 seems wrong. Not to mention that time would also set the bar pretty high for a future PR!

Me after the Great Pumpkin Run of 2012
Me after the Great Pumpkin Run of 2012

I’m sure we’ve all been there, at the starting line of a race with a goal mind, only to have the race not be exactly the distance we thought it would, for better or worse. I think with the popularity of Garmins and other GPS watches, this is a fairly common occurrence. Since getting my own Garmin, I’ve been pretty forgiving of races. I know not to expect any race to be exactly the distance it claims.

That being said, this past weekend’s trail 10K did throw me for a loop. More on that soon.

Last week was another great running week for me. I hit my weekly mileage goal (and then some), and all the runs felt great!

Tuesday: 3 miles, pace 11:58. I woke up early to take Troy to the airport, then stopped at the park on my way to work for a short run. I even had time after the run to enjoy breakfast on the grass.

I should do this more often!
I should do this more often!

Thursday: 3 mile trail run, pace ~13:20. I had some technical difficulties with my Garmin at the start.

Saturday: The Park City Trail Series “10K”. Before the start of the race, the organizers had announced that the course was a little over 6.2 miles. I didn’t think too much of it. I wasn’t going for a specific time, just getting miles in the legs. I ran what felt like a pretty good pace for me, and was feeling good about my race. At some point near the finish, I looked at my watch, my elapsed time was 1:20 and change. I was surprised, I felt like I was running a good pace, but this time plus a few minutes to get to the finish seemed slow to me. As I ran to the finishing chute, I looked more closely at my Garmin and saw the distance, 6.72 miles. That explained a lot! My official time was 1:25:44 (1:25:00 by Garmin, this race is not chip timed), my pace was 12:46. Not bad considering there was ~700ft of gain. I ran this race a minute per mile slower than the 5K, but that race had only 240ft of gain and was less than half the distance. I didn’t mind running an extra half a mile in this race, it was just more trail miles for my legs! Two other things I loved about this race, 1) I won an awesome raffle prize, and 2) we got free race photos!

Struggling up this hill. Photo courtesy of Skipstone Photography.
Struggling up this hill. Photo courtesy of Skipstone Photography.
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Feeling good on the downhill. Photo courtesy of Skipstone Photography
My awesome raffle prize! I've been in the market for a backpacking wine container! :)
My awesome raffle prize! I’ve been in the market for a backpacking wine container. 🙂
Post-race breakfast: protein shake, nuun, avocado, and an english muffin with avocado spread and muhammara. So delicious!
Post-race breakfast: protein shake, nuun, avocado, and an english muffin with avocado spread and muhammara. So delicious!
This stuff is amazing!
This stuff is amazing!

Sunday: Right back at it with my “long” run. 9 miles, pace 13:16. This week was a stepback week in my training, hence the shorter long run. I ran this one from my house, and as I’ve mentioned before, my neighborhood is quite hilly. This run had a gain of 1,060ft. So while this week’s long run was shorter than last week’s, it was at a higher elevation with a lot more gain, and I still managed to run it faster than last week’s pace. I’m feeling good, and am looking forward to having an awesome long run in cooler temps (i.e. early morning), on a flat course soon! Here are some pictures from the run, Park City sure is pretty!

I don't know what these are, but I thought they looked neat.
I don’t know what these are, but I thought they looked neat.
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The Hi Ute Ranch

My mileage for last week was 21.72 miles. This week I’m running 29 miles, and I’m doing my longest run in many years, 14 miles!

What say you, does a 5K PR “count” if you only ran 2.94 miles? 

How much variation have you seen in advertised race distance vs Garmin distance?

 

The Weeks are Running By

Is it me, or is Summer whizzing by? I’ve not kept up with my blog as regularly as I would like, and I’ll be making an effort to change that starting today. There have been posts brewing in my mind, and it’s time I commit to getting them down on paper, so to speak. For today, I’ve got another log of my runs over the last week, and some new things I treated myself to. 🙂

Wednesday: 6 mile tempo run. I rested Monday AND Tuesday and wanted to push myself a bit on this run. My average pace was 11:43, over a minute per mile faster than last week! But my pacing could actually use some work, my splits were 10:30, 10:50, 11:30, 12:09, 12:35, and 12:45. I think next time I’ll aim for more consistency in my pacing.

Thursday: Easy 3 mile jog, pace 11:45.

Saturday: 12 miles, pace 13:25. I had a route down in the valley in mind for this run. It is flat, paved, and closed to vehicle traffic, for the most part. The problem was that I foolishly dilly dallied during the morning and didn’t start this run until 10:00 am. By the time I was done, the temperature was in the upper 90’s, d’oh! Lesson learned, it’s Summer and no more long runs that start at 10:00 am or later! My legs and lungs felt great during the run, but the heat slowed me down quite a bit. That being said, I still managed to improve on my pace compared to last week, high five! I think I’m slowly but surely getting back to speed. Also, as a person who runs lots of half marathons, it is odd to think that 12 miles is normally my peak during training, but now that I’m marathon training, 12 miles is just the beginning of my build phase, whoa…

Lots of pretty on my new long run route.
Lots of pretty on my new long run route.
Boardwalk section
Boardwalk section
Towards the end I saw these guys :)
Towards the end I saw these guys, cute!

After that hot, long run, I came home to find that these had been delivered for me:

SHOES!!!
SHOES!!!

I knew my shoes were getting worn out, but I didn’t realize quite how worn they were until I looked at my mileage from around the time I bought my shoes a year ago, I had run ~700 road miles in them! I knew I needed new shoes, and when I found a screaming deal on Amazon (40% off!), I opted to buy two pairs to rotate between during my marathon training. I love these colors!

Sunday: 3 miles, hill work. Since I had missed my Tuesday morning run, and had felt great after my 12 mile run, I decided to do some hill repeats on this day. A few months ago I wrote about The Hill I train on near my house. My splits back then were 4:22, 4:31, 4:45, and 4:51. My splits on Sunday were 4:00, 4:03, 4:04, and 3:58. Wahoo!

The Hill
The Hill
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Sporting my new kicks, of course!
Post-run breakfast: Nuun drink, protein shake (Hammer Vegan Protein), and Silk dairy-free yogurt, yum!
Post-run breakfast: Nuun drink, protein shake (Hammer Vegan Protein), and Silk dairy-free yogurt, yum!

On Sunday Troy and I also went on a short, mellow hike, where I got to take my new camera out for a spin. Yep, I’m the happy owner of a Sony RX100. It’s a really, really sweet camera, and I scored a great deal on it through Ebay. It’s used, but it’s new to me! And promise not laugh, but Troy and I have the same camera now. He got his just a few weeks before I got mine, we’re weird like that. Here are some neat pics I took on the hike:

So many flowers on the trail right now!
So many flowers on the trail right now!
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Rafa loves a good hike!
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Chipmunk!!
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More flowers.
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This one actually wasn’t taken on Sunday. I went hiking on the same trail yesterday and snapped this shot.

Last week was a really great week for me! I managed to improve on my speed a little, and I think it’ll only get better as I continue doing hill work and speed work and building on my running base. I ran a long run of 12 miles, and I’m mentally ready to add more even though the farthest I’ve run in many years is a half marathon. I have a great training route for my long runs, and now I know better than to start my long runs so late in the morning. New shoes! “New” camera!

 

How often do you replace your running shoes?

Do you rotate shoes during training?

June in Review

Thank you all for your tips and words of encouragement last week! You all gave such great advice. The tips that really stuck with me were that 1) it’s too early to worry too much about my pace, 2) if I want to push the pace, do it when I’m not increasing mileage, and 3) keep running, the pace will probably follow. I’m taking all your advice to heart, thanks!

Last week was week 4 of training for the Twin Cities Marathon. I completed all four of my planned runs for the week, and I hit a big milestone in my recovery, the double digit mile long run. I ran 10 miles on Sunday, and everything felt great! I finally feel like I’m back on track with my marathon training.

Here’s how the runs went down last week:

Tuesday: 3 mile trail run, 13:26 pace. With 318ft of gain in those three miles, I was okay with being slow.

Wednesday: 6 mile run, 12:50 pace. The longest mid-week runs in my training plan are on Wednesdays, so I’m switching my Wednesday morning routine. I’m running in the morning instead of spinning in the morning and running in the afternoon. I need to keep my legs relatively fresh on these Wednesday runs since they will be tempo runs at some point, and with the Summer heat, I can’t put in a quality run in the afternoon.

 

My favorite place to do pre-work tempo runs.
My favorite place to do pre-work tempo runs.

Saturday: 3 miles, 12:11 pace. Short and sweet run to wake up the legs for Sunday’s long run.

Sunday: 10 miles, 13:56 pace. My legs felt great for most of the run, but it was just tough. I had strong headwinds at times, and there was 948ft of gain. I’m realizing this area where I’ve been doing my long runs won’t be a good training area for future long runs, it’s just too hilly, and my marathon will be flat. So I’m running somewhere new this weekend, somewhere flat. After this long run, I hung out in my sweet new Pro Compression socks that I won in shesgoingthedistance‘s giveaway. I swear these socks work recovery miracles, I felt great the next day despite not having run 10 miles since April.

Recovering in my ProCompression marathon socks.
Recovering in my Pro Compression marathon socks

This brings my weekly mileage to 22 miles, I’m nearly on track with my marathon training plan!

Of course runs like these need proper fuel, and I have to share two recipes that made last week super tasty. Both come from skinnytaste.com, and both are delicious!

The first is called Lomo Saltado, which is a Peruvian Beef Stir-fry. I fell in love with Peruvian cuisine in a strip mall in Las Vegas (of all places). I was in Vegas with a group of friends, and one of them was a Peruvian transplant. She took us to her favorite Peruvian restaurant, Mi Peru, and it was A-W-E-S-O-M-E! This recipe from skinnytaste has the same flavors I remember from that restaurant. It’s a beef stir-fry on top of french fries, and it’s delicious!

Lomo Saltado
Lomo Saltado

The second recipe from last week I wanted to share is another skinnytaste.com recipe, it’s Orange Chicken. If you follow irishrunnerchick, it’s the same recipe she posted about a couple weeks ago. What I love about this recipe is that it keeps all the flavor I love in the dish, but it gets rid of the breaded chicken, I’m not a big fan of breaded chicken in my Asian cuisine. It cooks up quickly and tastes great, my two biggest rules for a weeknight dinner.

Orange Chicken
Orange Chicken

 

Both of these recipes have a permanent spot in the rotation. 🙂

 

I kinda can’t believe it’s already July. The year is half over, yikes! While I picked up my running in June (YES!), I did other things less. My goals for July are to keep up with my running and training for the marathon, strength train 2-3 days per week, hike at least once a week, and maybe try to mountain bike more. I’d like to spin once a week, but I’m not going to hold myself to that. I’m a little disappointed I did only one short hike in June, and I really want to remedy that in July.

June in Review

15 runs, 65.56 miles (I doubled the number of runs I did in May and tripled the mileage!)

2 climbing days

3 mountain bike rides, 16.23 miles

6 spin classes

1 elliptical workout

1 hike, 2.12 miles

6 strength training workouts

 

 

Do you have a favorite food blog? I’m always on the lookout for good food blogs.

Do you have goals in mind for July?

Thanks again for your tips and encouragement!

 

 

I’m Training!

Last week was a big running week for me. I ran four days last week, something I haven’t done since my half-marathon training in April, I ran a 5K trail race, and I ran my highest miles since mid-April. And I did all this with no pain in my hip!

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I finally feel like I’m training (despite no double digit mile run, yet), and it feels good! The Twin Cities Marathon is in 15 weeks, so I’m relieved to be on a consistent running schedule. Here’s how the runs went last week:

Tuesday: Easy 3 miles at my gym track. Pace 12:15

Wednesday: 5 road miles near work. Time to start pounding the pavement again! Pace 11:51

Road running
Road running

Saturday: Park City Trail Series 5K. My legs felt heavy from the start (I probably could have skipped Friday morning spin class, oh well). Luckily I wanted to keep the pace slow, and the heavy legs certainly helped me do that. Pace 11:47, official time – 37:11, not bad for a trail 5K with rolling hills and 240ft of climbing, I’m pretty happy with this time. I’m slowly getting back into running regularly, so I didn’t pressure myself to finish within a set time.

Hot air balloons in the distance. Beautiful skies for race morning!
More pre-race hot air balloons.
More pre-race hot air balloons.
We got brunch with friends after the race, then I went home and enjoyed a margarita on the deck.
We got brunch with friends after the race, then I went home and enjoyed a margarita on the deck.

Sunday: 8 miles, slow and easy. A little slower than I wanted it to be, my pace was 13:20, ouch! This was a rough run for me. My legs were tired and the route was hillier than I wanted it to be (my “mostly flat” run had 682ft of gain). There was a lot of walking while rallying myself to pull it together and get the miles in. I got the miles in, whew, now I’m hoping I have fewer long runs like that. Luckily the route I was running was scenic.

I love good scenery on a run!
I love good scenery on a run!

So I ran 4 days and 19.1 miles this week, my highest weekly mileage since half-marathon training two months ago. I’m a little bummed about my slower pace this year, I was easily training a minute per mile faster last year. I’m trying to not be too down about it, I have been recovering from an injury, after all. I hope to maintain running 4 times a week to keep my miles up, eventually I will work on speed.

 

Any tips for easing into running speed work post-injury?

 

Encounters While Trail Running

It was another fun filled weekend for me: BBQs, hiking, farmer’s market, and trail running. There’s much to talk about, but I’ll start with the trail run.

I had a long run of 8 miles on the calendar for the weekend. After a busy Saturday and a lazy Sunday morning, I headed to my favorite flat running trail around noon on Sunday. About half a mile into my run, I heard what sounded like a loud rattle on my left. I looked down and saw a pissed off rattlesnake just two steps away. Luckily I reacted quickly enough to stop and take a few steps back. This guy was coiled up, and I’m pretty sure when I first saw him, he was bearing his fangs at me (If you can trust the memory of one very startled trail runner). I have heard many stories of rattlesnakes on the Utah trails, but had never seen one myself, so I watched this guy for a while. He had the typical diamondback pattern, and he kept rattling at me while I kept my distance. I didn’t get a picture of him, but he looked like this:

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Eek!

Source

My initial reaction was to watch him and wait for him to get off the trail, I still had 7.5 miles of running left, after all. He moved away slowly, but then started making his way up the trail instead of away from it. A few people came by, and I warned them about the rattlesnake. They made their way carefully around him as he rattled at them. I thought about doing the same, but then it crossed my mind that if it’s a good time of day for one rattlesnake to be out, then it’s probably a good time of day for other rattlesnakes to be out. I decided then and there that my run was done. As I started to run back, I couldn’t stop thinking about snakes on the trail and my almost running into them, so I slowed to a walk and carefully made my way back to my car.

So, no long run for me this past weekend. The logistics of driving to a different place to run, getting my errands done, and getting home in time to host a BBQ made things too tight on time. I figure my hip could still be eased into longer and more frequent running, so I was mostly okay with the change of plans. If you’re curious, as I most definitely was, here’s what you’re supposed to do if you get bit by a rattlesnake.

The rest of the weekend was less dramatic. On Saturday Troy and I went on a short hike to Summit Park Peak. Yep, my neighborhood has its own peak! Here are some snapshots from the hike:

Our adventure dog, Rafa
Our adventure dog, Rafa
On the trail to the summit.
On the trail to the summit.
Rock chairs at the summit, can't beat this view!
Rock chairs at the summit, can’t beat this view!

I rounded out the rest of the weekend with a visit to the first Farmer’s Market of the year, and two BBQs. It was a Summer weekend well spent. Then today there was this:

SNOW?!?!
SNOW?!?!

I call this Winter’s last (hopefully) gasp. This high today at my house was 45F, the high on Friday will be 76F. This is just typical crazy Utah weather!

17 Weeks

I’m seventeen weeks out from the Twin Cities Marathon, and a few weeks past a hip injury that kept me from building on my half marathon base into full marathon training mode. I’m finally running regularly again, but nowhere near the mileage I had been planning to run at this point in my marathon training. It’s hard to not feel slightly panicked.

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But I know in order to get to the starting line in October, I need to not re-injure myself between now and then . And that means I have to slowly build up my miles. Last week I ran 3 miles on Tuesday, 4 miles on Thursday, and I planned to run my longest run in over a month on Sunday, 6 miles.

For my long run I hit the Pipeline Trail in Millcreek Canyon. I was hesitant to run on trail (I was running mostly on trails when I injured my hip), but every road near my house happens to be very hilly, and I wanted to make my first “long” run as easy as possible. The Pipeline Trail happens to be a relatively flat trail with some great scenery, so I was looking forward to running more than 3 miles on it.

The trailhead at Burch Hollow
The trailhead at Burch Hollow
Shaded trails are my favorite!
Shaded trails are my favorite!
Beautiful views in Millcreek Canyon
Beautiful views in Millcreek Canyon

The run was AWESOME!!! My hip felt fine, the trail was gorgeous, and I felt great during the entire run! I don’t think I could have had a better first long run in my marathon training. I didn’t know I needed a confidence boost after being injured for nearly two months, but having a great long run really makes me feel slightly less panicked about my marathon training.

Between now and the marathon, I also have tons of other fun running events to keep me busy. Next Saturday is the Park City Trail Series 5K. Last year I ran the 10K and 15K in this race series, and this year I’m signed up for all the races 5K, 10K, 15K, and half-marathon. My big Summer event this year is the Hood to Coast Relay. 12 teammates, 199 miles from Mt. Hood to Seaside, Oregon. And best of all, the race finishes on my birthday! This mountain girl is definitely looking forward to celebrating her 33rd on the beach!

 

 

I’m Running!!

It’s been about 3 and a half weeks since my diagnosis of FAI (for a little background read this and this). I took an anti-inflammation medication for two weeks, and felt great on my runs during those two weeks. I then stopped the medication, and on my first run post-medication, I had hip pain again. I was not a happy camper. Luckily I had an appointment with a physical therapist scheduled for the next day.

The PT had me do some basic strength and range of motion tests, and she was pretty sure she knew what was causing my hip pain, weak hips. I asked about my hip bone abnormality, and she told me that with as weak as my hips are, it was only a matter of time until I became injured. Ouch. The nice thing about knowing my hips are weak is being able to do something about it. My PT gave me several hip strengthening exercises, and with the exception of my backpacking trip last weekend, I have been doing them nearly every day. The plan is to strengthen my hips so that they are better able to absorb the impact from running. Since I had been running and experiencing pain, I was told that I could continue taking the anti-inflammation medication. I was told to continue running as long as the pain level was low. The hip strengthening sounded good, the running with minimal pain sounded good, the anti-inflammation medication did not sound good. I like to know when I hurt rather than continue running on a hip that’s struggling, so I opted to not continue taking the medication.

I took another week off from running and focused on building hip strength. This past Tuesday I decided to feel things out with a slow 3 mile treadmill run. The next day, I had no pain! Hooray! Not wanting to jinx myself, I took a couple rest days and tested out a run again on Friday, 3 miles at a local park. It was hilly and slow. I thought a few times that I was feeling pain in my hip, but I woke up today feeling great. No hip pain, again!

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Pretty view at the park

 

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I am one happy, pain-free runner at the moment!

 

Tomorrow I’m testing the hip out on a short and flat trail run. If things continue feeling well, I might be good to start rebuilding my base. I still have several PT appointments on the calendar and am working to strengthen my hips more. The reason why I’m not feeling pain could be due to the inflammation going away, so I’m a little paranoid about overdoing it, getting the hip impaction again, and having the inflammation flare up again. At the same time, my marathon training was to begin on Monday, and I was going to run 30 miles in the first week. It’s pretty clear that I’m some time away from a 30 mile week, so I’m revising my training plan and my marathon goal a bit. I figure I’ll build up to running 3-5 miles 4 days a week, then go from there.

So, I’m back to running! And even though I’m not running the mileage I want to run right now, running a few miles is much better than running no miles. Luckily, I’m pretty good at keeping myself active outside of running. 🙂

May In Review

7 runs, 22.72 miles

3 climbing days

2 mountain bike rides, 12.7 miles

7 spin classes

4 elliptical workouts

8 hikes, 41.03 miles

4 strength training workouts

 

Any tips for coming back to running after an injury?