Living the Utah Life

Hey guys!! I’m back and I live in Utah now! I know that it’s been a while, and a lot has happened in this time, so let’s get to it!

Well… I moved across the country to Salt Lake City. It was a long process, but we now have an apartment and we are all settled in to our new place. As most of you know, I was very excited about this move. I didn’t like Kansas much and I had always longed for the mountains of the west. I feel like my patience really paid off because I have more mountains (and canyons) than I know what to do with!

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Unfortunately, about a week after living here, I had a bit of an accident at the gym involving a step and a treadmill and managed to turn my ankle. I was pretty unable to walk for a while and switched over to climbing and yoga only. No running. It’s been a few weeks, and last week was my first run since the injury. I feel a bit out of shape and completely unprepared for my marathon on June 10. So, I’m backing off. I’ll run the half since going from nothing to Marathon in two months is really not advisable.

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My poor ankle…

Besides an unfortunate ankle turn, Utah is wonderful! Once I am back to serious running, I have endless trails, and there is more hiking, climbing, backpacking, and canyoneering than I know what to do with! Salt Lake City is also a very nice and hip town with tons of great restaurants and a lot of climbing gyms.

Here are some pics from our adventures thus far:

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Chilling and waiting for the next climb
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One of the beautiful peaks just minutes from my house
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Rock climbing with friends
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My mom and I at Arches National Park
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After work hike in the Wastach
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Frank descending the final repel (90 ft) during our canyoneering trip
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Proof that my ankle is getting better! Look at that balance!

As you can see, we are really living it up around here. My ankle is not yet 100%, but I expect it will be in the next few weeks. Once it is, I’ll hit up some of the trails and let you all know how they are.

Hope all is well with all of you! How has your spring been? Any races or goals coming?

Weekend Update!

Even though I have been nursing my ankle injury, my 2016 racing schedule is starting to fill up! Luckily, I seem to be doing a lot better, and started running 2-3 miles at a time this past week without pain. Next week marks the official start of my training for the A1A Half Marathon, and I’ll begin it with some easy running. I’m hoping to get in a 6-mile long run, which will be the longest run I’ve done in probably over a month.

As I was suiting up for one of my 2-mile runs, Frank turns to me and says “Wow, this ankle injury really messed you up. You were going out for 15-16 mile runs before this.”

Talk about cutting me to the quick.

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It’s really hard to take this huge of a step backwards, especially when I was in such great shape during my Chicago training. I just have to keep reminding myself that the training that I did was not a waste, even if it didn’t culminate in a race. Regardless of how things have gone, today begins a whole new training cycle with a whole new set of goals. I’m super excited about have a fresh start.

This weekend, Frank and I spent Saturday afternoon going on a bike ride along the Native Stone Scenic Byway. Although Kansas does not have a lot of hiking, there’s tons of great road biking. It’s a huge state with only about 3 million people living here. There just are not that many cars on the road. We covered close to 20 miles battling winds and tons of hills. It was pretty fun!

The road is lined with these old fences from the 1800's. They require a lot of upkeep, but some have fallen to disrepair.
The road is lined with these old fences from the 1800’s. They require a lot of upkeep, but some have fallen to disrepair.

We spent Sunday floating down the Republican River. Unfortunately, it’s a little late in the season for paddling, so there was very little water left in the river. There were a few (by few, I mean like 50) sections that we had to walk the boats. Having grown up in Florida, I still don’t have the hang of the seasonality of the rivers here. In Florida, most rivers are spring fed, so you can paddle all year round. Overall, it was a really fun weekend!

Before I go out for my first run of my training cycle, I’m going to make a few new running playlists. Any favorite songs I should include? What are your favorite tunes to run to?

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?