First Training Week of the New Year

The new year is an opportunity for a fresh start and often, some awesome running. This year has been different. The problems of 2018 have dragged on and are greatly affecting every aspect of my life  including my running. In the new year, I should have felt that extra push to train and make 2019 the best, but with only one week in, it’s been hard and messy.

My husband works for a nonprofit that receives funding from the National Science Foundation. With the current government shutdown, we don’t know when his paycheck is going to dry up. We are heading towards uncharted territory and I have never been one to do well with that. Since his insurance is cheaper and better, we are both on his company’s plan making our healthcare one of the many things up in the air right now. And it seems like there is no end in site.

It’s hard to run and exercise when you are exhausted from the stress of a difficult situation such as this. I find myself moving slower, wanting to stay in, and generally allowing any excuse to be the one that has me skip a run. I am no stranger to anxiety and I need running for this very reason, but it is often the first thing to go when my life gets turned upside down.

img_6600
Beautiful snow on Monday’s run

This was my training last week:

Monday: 9.1 miles along BST trail in snow (~1800 feet of gain)

Tuesday: 6.5 miles up Grandeur Peak (~2500 feet of gain)

Wednesday: 7 miles up Millcreek Road (~1200 feet of gain) + Climbing

Thursday: OFF

Friday: OFF (Should have run)

Saturday: 12.5 miles on Park City trails (~1300 feet of gain) + Climbing

Sunday: Hiking and sledding for 4-6ish miles

Total Mileage: ~38 Miles and ~7500 feet of gain

img_6625
Frosted hair on Wednesday’s run

Overall, I feel deflated this week and I’m hoping for some good news in the next few days with regards to Frank’s job. Sydney (my cat) has been having some health issues but recently seems to have made a few big steps in the right direction. I’m glad to at least have that partially resolved.

img_6628
Park City sure is beautiful

My next two races coming up are Running Up for Air (RUFA) 24 hour and Zion 100. I feel like I’m not in the best of shape at the moment, but I’ll get back there, certainly by Zion. RUFA might be a bit of a slog which I’m prepared for. Since it will be mostly walking, I imagine it will be more of a mental battle than a physical one.

My goals for next week are to drink more water (I’m terrible at that) and do some more fast running. I need to feel my legs move.

Training Next Week:

Monday: 10-12 on road + climbing

Tuesday: 10 miles on hilly trail

Wednesday: 16 miles LSD on trail

Thursday: Climbing

Friday: Run/hike up steep terrain

Saturday: 6 miles road + Hiking

Sunday: 6-8 miles + Climbing

Thanks to HoHo Runs and Taking the Long Way Home for hosting the Weekly Wrap Linkup!

weeklywrapnew

How has your new year been?

 

Advertisements

Running in the San Rafael Swell: The Wedge Route

The state of Utah has the highest population per capita of ultrarunners in the country. It’s no surprise why, since many of the best long routes are right in our backyard. We are within driving distance to some of the most well-known ones, including the Trans-Zion trail, Rim-to-Rim of the Grand Canyon, and of course the Wasatch and Bear 100 routes. This weekend I completed an equally awesome one, although much lesser known, The Wedge. It’s a 21-mile loop along a giant canyon called the Little Grand Canyon. But don’t let the name fool you, it’s not very little at all.

img_6502

It’s not quite the right time of year for the route, and it had about 3 inches of snow throughout making it a little more of an adventure. The Wedge is only about 2 hours and 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City in an area of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land called the San Rafael Swell. The Swell is more well known for climbing and canyoneering, although it does have a fair amount of awesome running routes.

Trail Stats

Total Mileage: 21 Miles

Vertical Gain: 900 Feet

Time: 3-5 Hours depending on pace and picture taking

Permits or Fees: None

I got a late start, heading out around 10:30 am. It was very cold (17 degrees) and I reluctantly got out of my car to head out on the trail. I knew with the snow the route would take a little longer than usual. I started at the Wedge Overlook (between campsites 9 and 10) and took the road about 5 miles out to the other side of the Wedge. From here, I just winded my way back to my car at the overlook.

img_6484
A fair amount of snow for the desert

Normally, the route is pretty easy with only about 1000 feet of elevation gain throughout, but with snow and icy conditions, it was a little tougher than usual. The route is on a well traveled mountain bike trail, so if you’re ever out there be sure to stay on the lookout for them. I took about 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete the entire thing, but I did stop to take a lot of pictures.

img_6491
Big jaw-dropping views at every turn

It was a pretty awesome day on a pretty awesome route. I’m hoping to get back out here when the weather is a little warmer. The best time of year for this run is in the spring or fall when the snow is gone, but the desert hasn’t gotten too hot. If you’re ever in the area, I’d highly suggest making a short trip out to this gem. There are many variations of the route to either lengthen or shorten the run.

I’m Becoming a Mountain Runner!

It’s not every week that you have a really great training week, so when you do, you can’t take it for granted. This week was certainly a special one. I managed 56 miles of running/hiking and about 10,000 feet of vertical gain. I did every mile on trail and either in the Wasatch or at Antelope Island (a local state park out in the middle of the Great Salt Lake). My legs are exhausted, but in tact and I am thrilled with my progress.

Monday: Off – Chilled out. Watched The West by Ken Burns with Frank after work. 

Tuesday: 7.2 miles with over 2500 feet of vert

This was a fun run up a mountain north of town called Wire. My friend and I tackled it as fast as we could (it took us like 48 minutes to get to the top). It’s a brutal climb straight up about 1.8 miles to the top. Then you get to the best part, the gradual downhill that starts by climbing along a ridge and finally a single track path back to the car. It was a fun night!

img_4638
Awesome ridges! 

Wednesday: 13.2 miles with about 1400 feet of vert

I didn’t have time to get my long run done over the weekend, so I hit up Mill Creek Canyon after work. I took it slow and meant to only do 11 miles, but after some poor running math, I ended up doing a little over 12. I tacked some on at the end since I was so close to the half marathon mark.

img_4628-1
My mountains are so pretty!

Thursday: Off – More Ken Burns… Frank and I are an exciting bunch. 

Friday: 7 miles with 800 feet of vert

Frank and I decided to camp out at Antelope Island State Park. I love running out there since the trails are much more gradual and runable than most of the Wasatch. Frank came with me on his mountain bike and took some rad shots of me running as the sun was setting.

img_4664

Oh and there we bison too…

img_4669

Saturday: 15.7 (running and hiking) with 2000 feet of gain

I ran in the early morning about 6 miles on the Island again. I took it fast and hard and it felt great to really get my legs moving. Afterwards, I hiked with Frank and a few friends to Elephant Head. Basically, it was a perfect day.

img_4665

Sunday: 13.8 (running and hiking) with 2900 feet of vert

I got out early on the Pipeline Trail with my friend. We took it slow, since my legs basically felt like jello. Afterwards, Frank and I hiked into an icy canyon and turned back after 5ish miles. Then we watched more Ken Burns documentaries.

img_4639
Elly gets real comfortable when we watch movies.

This is the best week of running that I’ve had in a long time. I’m feeling tired, but strong and uninjured. I’m incredibly thrilled that I was able to take this kind of load and it gave me a lot of courage going into the next few months of training for Squaw 50. Mileage is usually not the problem for me, but maintaining that kind of vertical gain is ridiculously hard. But after this, I feel like I can really cut it as an ultra runner out here in Utah. Next week I am backing off considerably and taking it pretty easy. Recovery week, here I come!

Weekly Training Update: Jan. 15-21

Hey there!

Last week was a little crazy. I went running in shorts on day, got snowed in the next, and ran in a winter wonderland the following day. It was certainly a week of extremes. I started the week with a small cold that kept my running easy and chill. Due to my sickness and the weather, I ran a little less than I would have liked.

Instead of going through every single run, I’ll just write about the week overall. I managed to get on the trails a few times and got 3,196 feet of elevation gain. Most of that was two runs where I ran on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST), one of my favorites in town.

img_4567
I get some of the best views of the valley on the BST.

Unfortunately, I really wasn’t feeling good until around Friday. Most of my miles included lots of snot and I spent the whole week exhausted. I am, however, pretty happy that I got it done. I did get some extra rest on Saturday. It snowed most of the day and I didn’t really want to take on the storm. Instead, I went for my long run on Sunday in some beautiful conditions and also did a few rounds on a local cross country ski course. I’m definitely feeling pretty sore today.

Highlight of the week: My long run on Sunday following a rather epic snowstorm. I went 12 miles on some of the paved bike trails. The mountain trails looked pretty bad, so I figured I’d try and hit some of the hillier spots in town. It was absolutely beautiful and couldn’t have been a better time to be out.

img_4574
It was a rather beautiful day.

Total Mileage: 35.5

Total Vertical Gain: 3,196

I ran less than I had intended to, but overall, I had a good week. I’m also feeling a lot better, which will hopefully set me up for some much better training this week. I am hoping to run at least 40 miles and get at least 5,000 feet of gain. Should be doable.

How was your training? Did you get any snow? 

Week 1: Getting back some consistency!

20fe0d18-8f63-41a4-ad11-01f437966854

Each week I am going to post a short recap of my training as I work towards my goal of PR-ing my marathon time at Colfax in May. In total, we are about 19 weeks out from the big day, and although things are still up in the air, I am assuming that I’ll be toeing that line on May 21.

I began my training last week and kept it light. This was really my first introduction back to real running and I didn’t want to push it and risk injury. I had two key workouts and three easy runs, plus I did a lot of yoga. Lately, my yoga practice has been a lot more about focusing on my meditation than it has been in the past. I’ve always tried to cultivate a strong asana (or postures) practice, but lately, I need yoga as a way to clear my headspace. Yin yoga has been a real refuge as the world around me becomes a bit unstable.

Key Workouts: Tempo Run & 8-mile Long Run

 Monday: Rest – was heading home from my trip

Tuesday: 4 miles easy pace (9:28/mi) + Yin Yoga – I was honestly worried that I didn’t even know how to do this anymore. I had taken a full three weeks completely off running and had been rather inconsistent before that. But I still knew how to run, and it felt good.

Wednesday: 5 miles with 3 miles at tempo (8:42/mi) + Hatha Yoga – I wanted to see if I still had my speed. Well, three miles isn’t much, but it definitely let me see how things were going. I didn’t lose as much fitness as I thought I had. The run felt great.

Thursday: Yin Yoga + Rest

Friday: 8 miles LSD (9:22/mi) + Yin Yoga – I dreaded the long run all week, and was surprised to find that it was actually pretty okay. I’m certainly glad I didn’t go any further, but the 8 miles felt just find.

Saturday: 5 miles easy (9:11/mi) – I kept most of this run pretty chill and then accidentally busted out a mile at 8:30. Oops. Guess I was feeling pretty good!

Sunday: 3 miles easy (9:49/mi) – I ran with Frank and he is a bit slower than me, so we kept it chill. I always like running with him because he forces me to keep a much easier pace.

Total: 25 Miles

Next week I am bumping it up a little with a total of 30 miles and another key tempo workout and 10-mile long run. My goal next week is to really focus on some strength training. Since I herniated a disc in my back, I need to be more diligent about abdominal and lower back strength work. Next week, I’ll be getting to a bit of that along with some stairs.

How were your workouts last week? What is your favorite kind of workouts (I love speed work

A1A Half Marathon Goals

One week from today, I’ll be heading down to South Florida for some warm weather, family time, AND to run the A1A Half Marathon. Although I have been focusing on my training for the Colfax Marathon in May, I think it might be time to talk a little about my goals and expectations about this race.

IMG_1191
I’m not sure if it can get any better than last year’s race!

Original goal when signing up for A1A: 1:45:00

When I signed up, I had imagined that I would have had a full training cycle devoted solely to this half. I thought I would be fresh off the Chicago finish line and ready for some faster races. However, that’s not how it happened. I got hurt, sidelined, distracted, and a little discouraged by my ankle injury in September. I did not devote a training cycle to this race, and I am in the middle of my training for Colfax. I have been training for longer, slower times… not the quick ones that would get me that goal time. I have not been practicing 8-minute miles or anything close to it. And really… even if I could do that pace, I am not sure that I would want to. I think a very fast time would burn me out and make it hard to continue my training for Colfax the next week.

So what now?

My PR is 1:51:48. Now, you probably think (for all of the reasons listed above), that I am in no shape to go for a PR in the half. However, my current half marathon PR was in less than favorable conditions and during my training cycle for the Chicago Marathon. The race was in Estes Park (7000 ft above sea level) with 1000 feet of elevation gain throughout the race. The night before the race, I was camping and sleeping on the hard ground of Rocky Mountain National Park. The race was fantastically beautiful, which I am sure helped me get that time, but it was not a race most people would go for a PR at.

A1A is at sea level and is a pancake flat course. It runs along the beautiful Fort Lauderdale beaches AND my entire family is going to be there. I’ll also have the luxury of a good night’s sleep on a bed the night before. Although I am not sure if this is going to be a PR blow out, I think I have a chance to sneak just under 1:51:48.

These are my goals for A1A:

 A: 1:49:59 – 8:24/mi pace – a little unattainable… but maybe if I have a crazy awesome day

B: PR – so anything under 1:51:48 (8:30ish/mi)

C: Course PR – Under 1:56:48

The way some of my training has been going lately, a sizable PR is possible. But my legs are tired and I’m deep into my training for Colfax. This race suddenly isn’t as important as I thought it would be a year ago.

So, I guess next Sunday begins my race season for 2016. Hopefully it begins as well as 2015 did and that I nab that PR. Either way, I’m going to go out there and have a good time! I’ll be enjoying some much needed time with my family, some sweet weather, and I get to see Ally and Kristina! PR or not, A1A is going to be a ton of fun!

Colfax Training Week 3: I saw Sage Canaday on a run!!!

I saw Sage Canaday on my long run this week. Let me repeat that… I actually SAW and RAN BY Sage Canaday while on a run in Boulder. I’m pretty sure that my running life is complete. He ran by at a crazy fast pace decked out in some Hoka gear and some sweet sunglasses. After we passed each other, it took me a moment to realize that it was really him. Then, I went on my Strava app and confirmed. Yes, in fact, it was a Sage Canaday sighting. Yes, I’m a complete running nerd.

Besides my epic sighting while on my long run, I’d have to say that my training this week was okay. I had a lot of trouble pacing myself and was putting a little too much effort in my easy miles. This culminated in a missed run on Thursday. Frank and I got to Colorado on Friday morning, so I did both my marathon paced tempo run and my long run on the multi-use trails in Boulder. We made it home Sunday night and Elly, as always, was pretty glad to see that we made it home.

img_2266

Monday: Rest Day… Yeah! + some gentle yoga

Tuesday: 6.3 miles – Hill Repeats with 700 ft of elevation gain + yoga

I wrote about this run in a previous blog post. It went pretty well. Zeb, my new running partner, came with me for some of it. We took things slow, but overall it was a good workout.

img_2247
Pretty solid hill!

Wednesday: 3 miles – easy run + yoga

Not much to say about this run. I was still a little sore from my hill repeats, so I did some yoga in the AM and went for a quick run in the afternoon. I kept it slow, although the easy pace felt strangely more difficult than it should have. The yoga class that I took kinda kicked my butt and made my legs kinda feel like jello while I was on my run. I’m sure that didn’t help keep things feeling easy.

Thursday: Unintentional Rest Day + yoga

I took a yoga class in the morning in hopes to make me feel a little less stiff. Unfortunately, it was a rather tough class and really only made the soreness worse. By the time I was out, my legs felt tired and I knew that I wasn’t going to go for a run. I decided to take it easy and just do my tempo run on Friday.

Friday: 6.1 miles – Marathon Pace

I warmed up for one mile and then bumped up to marathon pace. I’ve arbitrarily decided that 9:00/mi is marathon pace, since that would sneak me just under 4 hours. I tried to hold the pace without being glued to my watch, but unfortunately, my legs wanted to go faster. Instead, I held close to 8:45/mi, which felt good, but I didn’t want to put that much effort into the run. Luckily, I still have a few months to hone my pace down a bit.

Saturday: Snow shoeing with hurricane force winds

We met up with some friends in Boulder and drove out to Nederland to go snow shoeing. There was absolutely no snow for most of the way, but once we got up into the mountains, it seemed like a pretty substantial storm had come through. The car was being blown around a lot and we considered turning back for a lower elevation. However, once we made it up it was pretty fantastic, and the trees kept the winds at bay.

Sunday: 12 miles – Best long run ever!

img_2258
Frank and Scott were biking on the Boulder trails while I went on my run.

The run itself was nothing particularly special. It was pretty cold out and I was a little underdressed, especially for the second half of the run when the sun was in the clouds. I felt good and strong for most of it, but at the end had some trouble getting to marathon pace. I, again, wanted to go a little too fast, which made my legs feel like they were working too hard. However, in the last mile, I saw a guy fly by me decked out in Hoka gear with a little hydration pack on. I had to do a double take, but it was definitely Sage Canaday (confirmed by flyby on Strava). I was pretty much the most excited groupie ever.

Total Mileage: 27.5

Overall, it was a good week, but not a great week. This was a cut back in mileage from last week, but for some reason, it never felt like that. My legs were often tired or feeling sore. In order to fix that, this week my goal is to run my easy mileage a little slower, even if the effort seems like too little. I am entering the 4th week of training and I want my legs to stay strong so I don’t have burn out in the weeks to come.

This week:

M: 4 miles easy
T: 6 miles MP
W: Rest
T: 6 miles Hill Repeats
F: 4 miles easy
S: Rest
S: 14 miles LSD

Total: 34 Miles

Have you ever seen an elite on a run? How has your training been going?