A skipped run but a good night

Tuesdays are usually a pretty good day for me to get a good run on trails in. I start work at 6:00 am, so I get out of the clinic pretty early. Generally, I like to hit the trail right after work, but this week I was just too exhausted. The toll of waking up at 4:30 am and upping my mileage is catching up with me. I decided to head home to eat and found myself falling asleep on the couch. I was sore and just not really feeling it, so I decided to just skip my run.

I’ve always been a bit of an injury prone runner, so I try to listen to my body and stop before injury starts. When I’m tired or overworked, I don’t get too bent out of shape over skipping a run here or there. Although today made sense for a nice run in the mountains, it simply was not the right thing for my body. If I lack the motivation to get out the door, I try to take that as a sign that maybe I’m a little overtrained or that I need a rest day. Today was definitely one of those days.

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Elly and I had some much needed cuddle time.

Instead, Frank and I used our new projector to watch Planet Earth II. We don’t have a TV and have always walked movies on the computer. However, we thought it would be nice to get a projector and watch movies and shows on the wall. Turns out it works great! Even Elly found watching movies on the big screen to be quite an improvement.

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Elly is very interested in the animals of the jungles of Brazil.

Frank and I are pretty big nerds about our TV watching. We’re in the middle of The West by Ken Burns right now. It’s a series of documentaries about American colonization and immigration to the west. It’s a pretty slow show, but I’m always excited to hear about Utah and how Salt Lake City came to be. So far Brigham Young and his followers have only been mentioned once, but I expect that there will be a whole episode about the Mormon pioneers. Utah has a rather fascinating (and brutal) history.

After watching Netflix on our new projector, I did some photo editing and read a bit before heading to bed. I’ve been in the middle of a book about the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. It’s a fascinating story of management and biology and I feel like I’ve gotten a much better appreciation for the hard work the Department of the Interior has put into keeping our parks as pristine as possible. If you’re interested here is the link to the book. And yes, I am very obsessed with National Parks and the West.

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I took this shot last weekend just after a storm passed through the mountains.

Despite a skipped workout, I still had a good night. I have 8 miles on trail up for tomorrow and hopefully my legs will be feeling much more up for the job.

Do you ever skip workouts/runs because you are tired or overtrained? What shows and books are you into right now? Have you ever sat through a Ken Burns documentary? 

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Week 1: Training for the St. George Marathon

I had a bit of a breakthrough at PT this week. I was told to give my legs a try and go for a run. So I did… And it seems like everything is going pretty well. I can still feel the sciatic pain on uphills, but for the most part, things are looking up. Running on road feels a little weird, but not painful. Luckily, I live in SLC where there are tons of trails. I’ve mostly been sticking to those.

This week was definitely the first in a long time that made me think that I could run a good marathon time relatively soon. It’s basically a miracle that I’ve healed so fast, so I am not totally convinced yet that I am tI’m not taking on any speedwork for a while, but that’s ok. For now, I just need to get my endurance back.

This was my week:

Monday: Went to PT (I’m usually pretty tired after that so I don’t run)

Tuesday: 5.1 miles running and walking with overall 10:31 pace (on road) + Bikram Yoga

Wednesday: 6.4 mile trail race 11:51/mi with 1600 ft gain

Thursday: Went to PT + Bikram Yoga

Friday: Easy 3.1 miles on road (10:36/mi)

Saturday: 3.4 easy on dirt road (10:44/mi) w/ 400 ft of gain

Sunday: 12.3 miles (10:30/mi) w 1100 ft of gain

Total: 30 miles w/ 3400 ft of gain

The long run was the real test and except on a few uphills, I got no pain at all from my leg or back. Here are a few pics from the run (and yes, that’s me in the background freaking out about the snake).

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I ran right by the mouth of this snake. Good thing it didn’t bite!
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Nice views of Mt. Timpanogos

I’d say that it was a rather good week. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m making a transition from roads to trail. It’s easy to get trail mileage here since the mountains are so close. I’m learning a lot about myself during this injury, but most of all, I’m learning that my favorite type of running is on trail. St. George Marathon might be my last road race for a while and, assuming my injury is settling down, I have a few wild plans in mind for some awesome trail races.

This week has started off to a good start. Check out the video I made on my run this afternoon on the Pipeline Trail!

Hope your training is going well! Have you ever had an injury that sidelined you for a long time? What did you do to stay active while you healed?

Training for St. George… kinda

Today is the official start of my training for St. George and my workout was to walk/run 5 miles…

You may be wondering what happened since the last time you heard from me. I was on track to start training for a BQ attempt (I still am, just much more hesitantly). Well it’s a bit of a long story and it starts over a year ago while training for Colfax.

Those of you who have followed me for some time may remember that when in peak training for Colfax, I started getting a tingly feeling down my right leg. I could feel the sensation all the way from my glute to my pinky toe. I went to the doctor, and they said it was likely a herniated disc and that I needed to rest. Well after Colfax I did just that. I rested a lot. I fact, I never really got my mileage back up.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago… I was just starting to hit 35 mile weeks when the feeling came back on my left side, but with a lot more intensity. It was so bad that I couldn’t sleep and was having trouble pushing the clutch down in my car. It was completely miserable and was kinda scaring me a bit. I mentioned this to one of the Physical Therapists at my job and he offered to treat me (for free!!!). To be honest, I felt like I had no other choice. The pain was rather excruciating.

After pushing and yanking on me for a while, he concluded that this was not a herniated disc, but piraformis syndrome. This is a notoriously difficult injury to treat, and given how long I’ve been experiencing it (over a year), it’s going to be a long road for me. He suggested that I take a few weeks off (I had already) and work on core strength and do some dry needling. Well… over the past week I’ve started to walk/run. I walk for 0.2 miles and then run 0.8. This morning was the first time I ran without any pain at all since Colfax. I felt weak, out of shape, and overall, pretty terrible… but I was not in pain.

It’s only been a few weeks and I know that it’s not fixed. Driving still gives me a substantial amount of pain, but I am getting better. The PT didn’t think there would be any reason for me not to do St. George and he even said that my crazy ideas of running a 100K next year are not all that crazy, at least not for my injury (he thought they were crazy ideas in general, but that my body should be able to handle it).

So… that’s my update. I’m getting better, slowly. I’m running, slowly. This is a long and difficult process, but I am going to come out on the other side.

Also, given the amount of core work I do every day for this injury, I’ll likely have a sweet looking 6-pack.

And in case you were wondering, Elly has settled in quite nicely to the Utah life.

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Happy Wednesday! I am signed up for Colfax!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!! This is what Elly was doing on this fine morning:

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Isn’t she a lazy bum? I love her so much!

Well… Today it is official… I am signed up to run the Colfax Marathon on May 15.

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I am a ways away from the day, BUT I am already starting to get into training shape. I was pretty bad about running over the holidays, but now that I am back home, I am doing some easy chill runs to remind my legs how to run (and pathetically, they are sore EVERY DAY). Luckily, my friends have been coming on a few runs with me to help get my body back into gear!

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It was so cold! Jordie (the puppy) was there to pace us. 

I am still deciding on what training plan to use, but I have a few in mind (I’ll write a post once I decide). My “official” training begins in about 2 weeks, and honestly I can’t believe it’s already here. After not being able to run Chicago, I’ve been having a bit of run-anxiety, which prevented me from signing up for Colfax until now. I am constantly worried about getting hurt and not being able to run it. I have decided that time really doesn’t matter for this race. I only need to finish it and get a time to beat at Chicago in October. It’s just hard to keep that state of mind, especially when I have good days. Needless to say, there will be no mountain biking until after the race.

 

I hope everyone is having a great week! What training plan is your favorite? Any advice for a first time marathoner?

Biking my way back to running

Thanks everyone for the advice and support on my ankle injury last week. It’s never fun to be sidelined, but I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things and it was nice to hear your words of encouragement. My ankle has been feeling a lot better, and I seem to be back to doing normal tasks without pain (stairs and such). These next few weeks are dedicated towards getting back to running so I can start training for the A1A Half Marathon.

At the moment I can run about 2-3 miles at a time, and I run them pretty slow. I know my endurance has suffered a hit, but my running form goes before anything else. I’ll generally find myself favoring the other leg and sometimes experience some swelling post run. Although running seems possible now, it certainly has not made the foot feel any better, so I’m laying off until I feel no pain and have no swelling.

In good news… I am back on my bike! Since there is no impact, I experience no pain on a ride. I took advantage of this during the weekend and did a pretty long stretch on a rail-to-trail in central Kansas!

We found an interesting structure on an Indian Reservation along the trail.
We found an interesting structure on an Indian Reservation along the trail.
Frank and I along the trail and enjoying the warm weather.
Frank and I along the trail and enjoying the warm weather.
The trail was mostly along prairie, with big wide views of Kansas.
The trail was mostly along prairie, with big wide views of Kansas.

As my foot heals, I am really concentrating on bringing my workouts to my bike. Hopefully, when I am back to running, I wont be in too bad of shape. I have another long bike trip planned for the weekend!

How do you keep in shape when you can’t run? How long does it usually take you to get it back? 

When Marathons Don’t Happen

On October 11, I was supposed to become a marathon runner. I was supposed to cross that finish line and be spending this week feeling sore and triumphant. Unfortunately, it didn’t really happen that way. I spent most of the day looking at my phone, checking Instagram and wishing that I were there. However, as things stand now, it is a very good thing that I deferred until next year. In fact, I won’t be running a marathon any time soon.

This was supposed to be me!
This was supposed to be me!

As you know, I have many passions beyond just running. I do a lot of hiking, biking, climbing, etc. Although I do love to run, my passion for long distance running really began as a way to get me in better shape to do other things… like climb up mountains. It is hard to keep yourself completely injury free when you are always active. Generally, I worry about running related injuries, but they are not the only ones. About a month ago, while out mountain biking, I hit a rock, flew off my bike and landed on my left ankle pretty hard. I laid on the ground screaming in pain, and crying because I knew with that fall, my dream to run a marathon before the end of the year were completely over.

For the last few weeks, I took some time off from structured training. I was still able to do yoga (Thank God!), but that was about it. Fortunately, I am now back to running and biking, but I have to take it slow and only go short distances. Basically, my fall racing schedule is just not happening. I am looking for some shorter distance races, but I have no big goals of PRs or new distances this fall. Right now, my only goal is to get myself back up and running without pain again. Although I will not be racing this fall, I still have the A1A Half Marathon in February, and I will begin training for that in a few weeks.

I am still so disappointed with how all of this has gone. I trained hard this summer to run a marathon. But I am going to move forward and find new goals to work towards. Once I am back to training consistently again, I will talk a bit about what I hope to accomplish in the spring. For now, it’s just to be able to run more than 3 miles without ankle pain.

I know one ting for sure. Next October I will be in Chicago… and I will not only make it to the start, but I will cross that finish line.

How do you get back after an injury? What is your favorite form of cross training (mine is yoga and biking)?

Chicago Training: Week 4

Last week was a great week of training, but I did have a bit of a hiccup. Frank and I met up with some friends out in Colorado. We did a 28-mile hike with close to 10,000 feet of elevation gain over the course of two days. However, about halfway through, I took a bad step and turned my ankle. Since I was carrying about 30 pounds of weight on my back… it didn’t exactly feel good. I have been chilling out a bit and will be back to my usual intensity next week. Despite the injury, I still managed to get 27 miles in. I was supposed to do 33, but that’s ok.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 6 miles hill repeats in AM & 3.1 miles easy in PM

This was my first ever double! It was great, too. This is something that I want to do going into the future. Splitting a long-ish day allows me to run a little further and still have time to get work done. It also allowed me to feel a little fresher going into the next day of training.

Wednesday: 6 miles easy at 9:14 pace

I ran a rather hilly route around town, but felt great. On the top of the hill, I saw fireworks off in the distance. It was nice and relaxing.

Thursday: 12 miles at 9:46 pace

This was an awesome long run! I felt wonderful the whole time, but I finished the run at marathon pace for the last two miles (9:00 min/mi). I’m actually looking forward to my longer runs.

Friday: 14 miles hiking at Maroon-Bells

We had a rather long and grueling day fighting the weather and crazy high altitude. I got hailed on like 5 times and spent a lot of time shivering, but it was amazing. I turned my ankle towards the end of the day and basically had to walk it off. I gave some of my pack weight to Frank, popped 4 ibuprofen and sucked it up. 😦

Us taking a break on one of the mountain passes.
Us taking a break on one of the mountain passes.

Saturday: 14 miles hiking at Maroon-Bells

We woke up at 5:30 am to get out on the trail by 6 am. My ankle felt a little better, but not great. We made it back to the parking lot around 3 pm, and I finally got to get off my foot for a while.

That little pink dot is me!
That little pink dot is me!

Sunday: Rested foot

I’ve been icing the ankle and trying to stay off of it. I did go for a run on Tuesday, and it went really well. I only went 3 miles, but I felt really good. Tomorrow I’m going to go for a longer run, but still at an easy pace. Hopefully I continue on the mend.

Have you ever gone on a backpacking trip? Do you ever run twice in a day?