Training and Mountains to Climb

I had a really good week of training! I hit about 6000 feet of vert over 40 miles of running and 8 miles of cross country skiing. It felt good and it was awesome to get out and ski a bit. Despite the rather mild winter we’ve been having, it was a really great time!

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Skiing in the Uinta Mountains

I am not a particularly good skier, and spent a substantial amount of time on my butt. Most of the first 4 miles were uphill, which meant the 4 miles back were all downhill. I took a few good falls (by a few, I mean like 10), but check out this video of me really owning that downhill!

I got a long run in of just 12 miles. I am still working up to the longer mileages for this training cycle. The real problem I am facing is that in order to get the vertical gain I need, I have to run on trails. And that just takes so much longer. While heading up some of the bigger peaks around here, I end up hitting 25-30 minute miles. It’s just impossible to get really long runs in like that. I may have to start doing the longer days on road.

This week my goal is to hit 10,000 feet of vertical gain. In order to get that done, today I went up Mt Wire, a rather knarly peak on the north side of town.

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Mountain running is tiring business.

It was definitely a difficult trek. I clocked over 2000 feet of gain in the first 1.8 miles of the run. It was hard and my calves burned, but the view at the top was certainly worth it.

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My playground!

From the peak, my friend, Dan, and I ran along the ridge to another peak called Red Butte. I always struggle with ridges and I get pretty scared on the thinner ones. We took it slow and steady.

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Ridge running along Red Butte

As we were coming down, we got some cool sunset views. When it comes to scenery, Utah doesn’t disappoint.

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Beautiful sunsets

So far so good for the week.

Also, I am officially signed up for Squaw 50-miler, which has 14000 feet of gain, so I better get to it! I am certainly getting nervous about this race. Luckily I still have over 5 months of training to go. I’m really not sure what to expect or how to train for it. Honestly, my main goal is to just get to the start line with no injuries.

Oh and here’s a selfie with Elly!

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We love each other.

Have you ever hiked/ran up a mountain? Do you like trail running or road running (I love both)?

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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? 

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.

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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.

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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? 

Friday Five 2.0 Linkup: Reasons to hit the trails!

I am linking up the Friday Five 2.0 with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness. This week I am going to give you five reasons to try some trail running. As you all know, I run the Wasatch Mountains, but you don’t need mountains to be a trail runner!

  1. You get the best views!

No matter where you are, the views in a woodland forest or in mountains are always better than being in the city. It might take a bit of a drive to get to your running destination, but having something interesting to look at will make it way more exciting. The beauty on the trails is always unmatched.

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It’s so ugly in Utah.
  1. You might see some animals

Even in more urban areas you have a much higher chance of seeing some interesting wildlife on the trails than you do on the roads. Look out for birds above and deer between the trees. If you live in Florida (my original home), you might even get the chance to see an alligator or two. No matter where you are, there is wildlife to be seen, so don’t forget your phone and stay alert!

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Saw this big guy on a run. Luckily he was more interested in the food than me.
  1. Fresh air

Most of us live in cities and it just stinks to have a bus go by you while you’re conquering a big hill. The only way to get around this is to get out! So hit the trails. The air is fresh and you can breath easy.

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Sometimes the air in the city stinks. Hit the trail!
  1. Don’t have to worry about cars

I’ve had a few close calls on the roads with cars. Sometimes drivers don’t look for pedestrians on the sidewalks before they drive and that can lead to a real disaster. Unless you live somewhere with a great multi-use footpath, you probably have this happen all the time. So, why not hit the trails and go where the cars can’t?

  1. It makes a great hill workout

In most places, the trails are a bit hillier than the roads. Although the terrain probably will slow you down, maybe consider using trail days as hill workouts. Pick out some trails where you can get some real vertical gain, even if that means you have to do some power hiking.

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Did somebody say hills?

I do love the roads, but hitting the trails has made me a better runner and has certainly given me an opportunity to see some pretty cool stuff. Try it out sometime and I am sure you will not be disappointed!

Do you have a park near by you prefer? Where is your bucket-list trail run?

2018 is the Year of Ultra!!

It has been a while… Almost 6 months actually.

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Since you last heard from me, a lot has happened. I ran the St. George Marathon with a 15 minute negative split and a 10 minute PR and I ran the Antelope Island 50K and came in 7th for women. It was a good year for racing, but not always a good year for running. I was hurt on and off and went through PT for both Piriformis Syndrome and my right ankle. It made me inconsistent and although I ran PRs and raced well, I certainly didn’t live up to my potential.

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I’m hoping that this year will be different. I have a lot of plans and I’m ready for some really really big things. Actually, one super big thing. After years of talking about getting my name in the Western States Lottery, my goal for 2018 is to actually do it. This means I have some serious training to do and a lot of mountains to run up. I am also still absolutely petrified of the distance. With a few other races before the big one, I am hoping that I’ll toe the line of the Never Summer 100K without too much fear.

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These days, I’ve become less of a road runner and more of a mountain runner. I spend my runs trying to get 2000+ feet of vertical gain and I do a lot of power hiking. I still sometimes do tempo runs and track workouts, but my goals have changed a lot. The track doesn’t get you ready for 13,000 feet of gain in a single race… only mountains can do that. Luckily for me, living in Salt Lake City, I have an abundance of mountains.

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I have 5 races on my calendar for 2018 and I’ll blog as I train for them.

Antelope Island 50K – March 24
Salt Lake City Marathon – April 21
Squaw Peak 50-miler – June 2
Never Summer 100K – July 28
St. George Marathon – Oct 6

Join me as I train, race, hike, and get myself ready to run 64.2 miles in one day. It’s going to be a journey for sure!

Also, Elly is doing great, too! She’s not quite as excited for my ultramarathons. It means less cuddle time.

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Do you have any big goals? What running goals scare you the most?

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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