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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Weekend Adventures in Arches NP

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. Here’s what Frank and I were up to.

Friday after work, we picked up a friend of ours (yes, we made a friend in Salt Lake City!) and drove down to Moab for a few canyons and a science march. We spent the night camping and woke up at 5:30 for an early start in Arches National Park.

By about 9:30 am, the crowds in Arches are pretty wild, so we made it to the trailhead at 7:00 and hiked into a beautiful canyon called U-Turn.

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U-turn is a pretty nice beginner canyon with a 95-foot repel at the end.

Since Frank works as an ecologist, after the canyon we made sure to go to a science march in Moab. Despite the very small population size, there were over 200 people in attendance. We grabbed a few signs showing our support for Bear Ears National Monument and for land conservation. It was great to see so many people in support of science and conservation.

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After the march (and lunch), we hit up an incredibly beautiful canyon called Medieval Chamber. This canyon had all of the best things Utah has to offer, slots, and arches. The end had us repelling next to a giant arch, with a rather big audience at the bottom.

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The awesome 100-ft repel between the canyon walls and Morning Star Arch

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My audience as I came down the repel… pretty weird.

After the long trek back to the car, we watched the sunset at Dead Horse Point and ate some tacos. Pretty much a perfect end to a perfect day.

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Areli working on some dinner.

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Frank and I at the Dead Horse Point Overlook

The next morning we got up at a more reasonable 7:00 am and quickly packed up to get back into Arches NP for one more canyon.

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Frank had some pretty great morning hair.

Elephant Butte is the highest point in the park, but in order to summit, you need to repel down 100 ft into a canyon that leads to the summit. It’s a fantastic route and definitely had some pretty epic photo ops.

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Coming down the 100-ft repel into the canyon leading to the summit.

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Frank on the last repel down Elephant Butte.

After Elephant Butte, we hopped on the road and made it back to SLC early enough for me to go for an easy 5-mile run.

Next weekend I’ll be back in Moab for some more canyons and some climbing. I feel like I basically live in Moab!

How was your weekend? Have you visited any National Parks lately? What is the closest one to you?

Goals

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Goals. They can be big, and scary, and impossibly hard. As runners, we often set manageable, small, tiny goals that are reachable. We set goals that we can wrap our heads around. But sometimes, we should be setting goals that are maybe a reach, something that even on a perfect day may not happen. Failure is part of the game, and often times, I set soft goals that I can reach even on an okay day.

More important than choosing the goal is realizing that you are capable of something really really big. When toeing the line of my first marathon, I remember being filled with self-doubt, but as the miles ticked on, I realized that I was a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for. I have been a runner for a long time and lately, I have been feeling ready for something huge. For some reason, self-doubt seems gone and marching forward, I feel like I am capable of something harder than I have done before.

In October, I am running the St. George Marathon, and my goal is to run a Boston Qualifier (3:35).

I signed up for St. George with this goal in mind, but I was debating putting it on the blog at all. St. George is a downhill course that is known for it’s BQs. Yeah, I know a few of you are laughing right now. Given my past times, this is a reach. But I know that my obstacles are not physical. Every time I truly believe that I can be faster, I am. I don’t know where that wall is, and maybe it’s somewhere like 3:40, but by going for that qualifier, I’ll find that wall and I’ll know for sure. My shorter distance (5K and 10K) times reflect that this is within my abilities. St. George gives me the opportunity to find out if that is true.

I am not afraid of failure and I am not afraid of pain. There is no doubt in my mind that going for this goal will be unbelievably painful but that’s fine. I can handle that. And if I fail, I’ll just do it again.

I will be using a training plan by Sage Running. It focuses on making sure that I get the appropriate amount of rest between hard workouts, but it will also be pretty high mileage at it’s peak. Luckily, the plan is easily adjustable if I do run into any over training problems (which I often do because my job is very physical as well). My mantra over the next few months is to trust the training plan. Training officially starts on June 19 and until then I am just base building and getting stronger.

Am I nuts? Yeah, probably, but really, why be afraid of failure? October 7 is going to be a glorious day either way. Maybe this is corny, but all I have to do is believe.

Training Update: Base Building

I feel like my blog has turned into an ode to how much I love Utah.

But seriously, I really love Utah.

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It’s just too pretty here.

Anyways… this is a running blog and I do have some running coming up. As a few of you already know, I am not running the Utah Valley Marathon due to my injury from a few weeks back. I am still coming back from the injury and my mileage is pretty low at the moment. Instead, I am hoping to do the half.

Despite my setbacks so far in 2017, I am hoping to have at least one really good race in the fall. I signed up for the St. George Marathon in October and will be going for a very significant PR there. I know that it seems early to say that I am going for a good time, but St. George is a downhill course that is known for shaving many minutes of marathon times. The race goes through some of the most beautiful parts of southern Utah and generally draws a big crowd.

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Training for St. George will start in June, so I have a few months of base building and strengthening before I start. I want to have my ankle in tip top shape before I start, so I am keeping my mileage pretty low and doing a lot of cross training to make sure that I don’t aggravate it more. I also imagine that some upper body and core strength won’t hurt in making me a faster runner.

That being said, this was my training last week.

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M: 4.3 miles at easy pace + 6 mile hike at Ferguson Canyon

T: 4 miles at marathon pace (8:55/mi) + Climbing at the gym

W: Yoga + Climbing at the gym

T: 6ish miles no watch

F: Yoga + 4 miles on trail 800 ft vert

S: Hiked ~7-8 miles

S: Snowshoed 8 miles

Total: 18 ish miles running + 22 miles hiking

Apparently I hiked a lot more than I ran this week. It might be that way for a little while since walking does not hurt my ankle at all. The snowshoe hike did not feel 100%, but everything else felt good. I’m excited to get my strength back, but I am definitely taking my time getting there. These are my plans for this week:

M: Off

T: 5 miles + climbing + yoga

W: 10 miles + yoga

T: Off

F: 5 miles + Yoga

S: 4 miles + hiking

S: 4-6 miles + hiking

Of course that mileage is all ankle dependent, but we’ll see how it goes. How is your training going? Have you picked out any races for the fall?

Sydney Update: She seems totally fine. She’s been a little needier than usual, but seems to be back to her usual self. I’m still kinda confused about what happened, but she seems much much better.

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Sydney and I were disturbing Frank while he tried to sleep.

 

Weekend Adventures!

Hey Everyone!

I had a great weekend! Here’s what we were up to!

Friday

I didn’t get back from work until pretty late, but Frank and I immediately went out to Red Butte Canyon for some trail running (me) and mountain biking (him). I mostly ran along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail that runs from Provo to Ogden and is pretty much a 5 minute drive from my house. Frank stayed on his bike, but I managed to get in a few miles and a whole lot of vert!

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Not a bad view for right outside a major city!

After the run, we went home and made dinner and watched Louis CK skits. It was a pretty chill night.

Saturday

A while back, I saw an ad for the Ogden Climbing Festival at the climbing gym that we go to. They had a series of workshops, talks, free climbing, and a trail maintenance day. Of course I signed Frank and I up for the event. Saturday morning, we woke up early and went up to Ogden to help out some trail maintenance. Although we didn’t get a huge amount done due to weather, I did win a raffle for a pretty sweet rain jacket by a SLC based company.

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It was a beautiful view with some not so beautiful weather.

Frank and I hiked a little bit before the workshops along the Pine View Trail.

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At 1:00, I took a workshop called Traditional Gear Placement and Natural Anchors. I learned a great deal, but unfortunately it was cut short by some pretty bad lightening. I gotta say, being stuck on the side of a mountain during a thunderstorm is not at all ideal.

The storm passed, so Frank and I hiked along some trails behind the Red Butte Garden with our friend Areli. Afterwards we all went back to our place for spring rolls!

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Sunday

Frank and I woke up to a bit of a winter wonderland. I think Salt Lake was having it’s last (hopefully) go at winter. We took the opportunity to grab the snowshoes and go for a beautiful hike.

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SO MUCH SNOW!!!

In total, we did about 7 miles with over 3000 feet of elevation gain. Not too shabby!

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Beautiful views throughout the trail!

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The snow covered Lake Blanche was looking very beautiful.

That was pretty much our weekend! It’s never boring out here in Utah!

How was your weekend? Did you get outside at all?

Sydney Goes to the Vet

I was considering writing a recap today about my race last week… or writing a post about how I signed up for the St. George Marathon in October. But that’s not the most important thing going on right now. Instead, I’m going tell you about my really really bad day and it is not at all running related.

Last night after work, Frank and I went over to the climbing gym. We met up with some friends for a night of top-roping, bouldering, and yoga. We were only there for about 2-3 hours and then we came home. As I was fixing myself dinner, I noticed that Sydney (my brown tabby cat) kept attacking Elly (my calico cat). Sydney was being so relentless that I eventually picked Elly up and carried her to get her away from Sydney’s constant attacks. It was really upsetting me and I was confused by the strange behavior.

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Sydney on the windowsill

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Elly in her usual sleeping position.

As I was watching Sydney, I noticed she was doing some weird stuff. She kept walking sideways, as if she were very drunk, and falling over. She couldn’t make the jump to the couch, which is typically very easy. She seemed dizzy and was having trouble even sitting up right. As you would assume, this was very upsetting. When I had seen her just several hours earlier, she was fine, so whatever this was, it came on fast.

All night long, Sydney paced. She kept walking over my back and waking me up. I barely slept at all. Obviously, the next morning she went straight to the vet. However, by the time I got her there, the symptoms had mostly cleared up. She still seemed a little agitated, but nothing like the night before.

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Very nervous at the vet’s office

The vet didn’t have a ton of answers, but did think that Sydney had a seizure. Likely, I came in on the aftermath of that seizure and that was what caused the drunken and agitated behavior. We are monitoring her for now, but if she continues having seizures, she’s going to have to have some extensive (and expensive) tests done.

Those of you with pets probably know how upsetting an experience like this can be. Cats are especially difficult because they really don’t let on that they are sick until they are very sick. Although Sydney is not nearly as friendly to me as Elly is (who follows me everywhere, including into the bathroom), she is still my furry child. Send Sydney some good vibes! I think she needs them.

The “C word” (cancer) was spoken to me as a potential explanation, which of course has me very bothered. Sydney is no spring chicken, so a seizure disorder is not the likely cause. I’m hoping that maybe her electrolytes were off and that we can avoid this again in the future.

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Post-vet nap time

Have you ever had a cat act like this? Honestly, any thoughts on what might be wrong would be greatly appreciated.