I’m Back! Training for Half Marathon 2

FINALLY, I can get a few miles in on foot without finishing the run in tears and frustration! It’s still not easy, but I am just happy to be back out there. I’m also happy because I finally got an answer to what’s going on – – plica syndrome. It’s not something I have ever heard of before, but after some indepth (maybe a little too much WebMD) research, I get a little uneasy every time I think about it. According to the doctor who broke my little heart, this is something that can end in surgery but does not 100% of the time, so he highly suggested physical therapy. I politely told him that is far from the budget of a 24yr old, who just moved, bought a new bike way out of her price range and doesn’t know how to stop shoe shopping. So, I opted for some “on my own” type physical therapy, some good ice packs, endless amounts of icy hot & IBUProfen and my favorite part, the mandatory new running shoes (wahoo!) Also, my favorite part of his diagnosis, running is not out of the question, as long as I’m smart about it and listen to my knees when they are screaming at me to just stop already!

However, there are a few things I wish people would have told me when all of this began that did not involve the phrases “You’re stupid” “Why are you still running” “Stop running”. In my opinion, it’s pretty fair to say that most anyone who is passionate and/or serious about whatever activity or sport it may be, it is not an easy task to just – -stop. You go through the training and push through the pain to see it pay off in the end, when you finish a race you never thought possible, or you get that PR you’ve been working so hard for. The list of things I wish I would have known is just as long as the list of things I wanted people to stop saying. I painfully regret not taking it a little easier a little sooner than I did. Looking back, the day it started I should have educated myself on what it could have been and how to treat it the best I could, without becoming a couch potato. After all the pain this stupid thing has caused me and all of the pain that I know is yet to come, the one thing I would want to hear if I had to do it again would be someone telling me (and yes it may need to be in a loudish tone) “HEY, be smart moron!” Moron gets me every time. But seriously, all I did was aggravate the injury further and by overcompensating on my – – what was then – – good knee, I injured that one as well. I’m now working with two bad knees, both with plica syndrome and one with a knee cap that is no longer straight and in it’s place.

My wonderful doctor also did not rule out running another race at the end of July as long as I feel like it won’t cause any further injury. So that is my goal, to run Race #2 on July 27. That is about 7 weeks away. It’s more training time than I gave myself for Race #1, one of these days I’ll fit the normal 12 week training schedule in…maybe.

Up to this point, the furthest I have run since the Dino Half is about 7.5  miles, and that was just 2 days ago. Yikes. I am still just as determined as I was the first time around, maybe even a little more. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have also been mountain biking in my off time, which keeps me positive that I didn’t lose the leg muscle and endurance I would have by just sitting around. As of right now, I am trying to only run every other day and mountain bike on the off days. I am also trying to do as little road running as possible and stay on the dirt trails where the impact of  my foot strike is a little less harsh on my knees. With the exception of my run this morning (ow), I’ve had little issues with my current training plan. Next weekend is the big Color Me Rad 5K with Aleck, so I’m feeling the need to be in my best shape that day. I don’t know if I could move past it if he beats me…

Anyway, I’ll be sure to post the results of that race, if they’re in my favor of course, and for now here are some pretty pictures of PC from some of my mountain biking adventures.

It is a very green Spring in PC!

It is a very green Spring in PC!Mountain Dog

Have a great weekend and get a good run in for me!

Sarah

Half Marathon Training in Full Swing! Plus my new favorite power snack

I did it! I’m still alive to report that I successfully finished the first long run in my modified, very shortened version, half marathon training schedule. I ran 10 miles in 1:38:10, which comes out to almost a 10/mile even. I was hoping to finish the half marathon in under 2 hours or with a pace of about 9:30/mile, which I’m still not counting out! It’s just going to be an awful lot of work to pick up that kind of time in 4 weeks. I guess it’s just another challenge, right?! If there is one thing I have learned from training for this race, it’s that what you put in your body can make a world of difference. I’ve always eaten pretty healthy, but it was never to any extreme. It was mostly just because I genuinely enjoy fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, I let myself cheat quite often on my diets and I never really saw the problem with grabbing a soda or candy every once in awhile (ok, ok probably once a week). Well I found another bandwagon and jumped right on! I am now following a “clean eating” diet and loving it! I can’t say that I follow it to an extreme or even all day every day, BUT what was I supposed to do with the food I had already bought before I decided to try this…I couldn’t just throw it out (nice rationalization am I right?). However, on a day when I have a long run, or really just even a run, I make sure to eat the right foods before I head out and it has honestly made big difference for me. I personally have a pretty difficult time getting enough protein in a day. I’m not a big meat eater, I can go without it for weeks and not even realize it, so I’ve had to make a conscience effort to take more in. I have done this in  couple of different ways, but I want to share this totally awesome Power Muffin recipe I found through the Domesticated Academic. I changed a few things up in the recipe to reduce the calorie count a little bit…swimsuit season is right around the corner and all!

Power Muffins:

Recipe makes 6 regular muffins.

no-stick cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
1/2 cup Oatmeal – I used quick oats, plain
1/3 cup Stevia
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
6 ounces Nonfat Honey Greek Yogurt – I used a 5.3 oz. container of Fage Total 0% Honey Greek Yogurt (honey comes on the side)
1 Large Egg
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Tbsp Applesauce – This is my own modification for fewer calories
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Fresh Blueberries

  • Heat oven to 350
  • Coat muffin tin with cooking spray
  • Combine flour, stevia, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl
  • Combine yogurt, egg, butter, applesauce and vanilla in a separate bowl
  • Fold yogurt mix into the flour mixture and stir
  • Slowly add blueberries
  • Evenly pour into the muffin tin
  • Bake about 20-25 minutes

I did the math to find out the nutrition count in these muffins but now I can’t find where I put it, I’ll be sure to add that as soon as I figure it out again.
Along with the muffins I usually try to make sure I have a banana some time before I go for a long run as well. Call me superstitious but this combo has made for some serious PR’s.

And now for some pictures of weird things I saw on my 10 mile run 🙂

Just a dog...out on his daily bike ride.

Just a dog…out on his daily bike ride.

Wouldn't you be this excited if you were on a bike ride with your dog!

Wouldn’t you be this excited if you were on a bike ride with your dog!

Watch where you're going!!

Watch where you’re going!!

*Enjoy!

Training For My First Half Marathon!

Oh boy. I signed up for my first ever half marathon and it is less than 1 month away! I think I probably could have timed that a little better but I really want to get my first one under my belt and I am fully confident that I will be willing and able to finish…and hopefully in good time. The race is called the Dino Half and is located in Vernal, Utah. It’s about a 2.5hr drive from Park City so I plan to head down Friday night. I don’t think waking up at 2:30am and driving 2.5 hours is a good way to start a race day. Anyway, I’m super stoked. It is an all downhill race and you lose about 1,500 feet of elevation in the process. From what I hear you run through some of Utah’s most beautiful canyons and sandstone cliffs. I’ll be the judge of that 😉 Even though I only have a few weeks until the race (May 4) I still decided to follow a traditional 12 week half marathon training plan, I am just starting at Week 8. My first long run is this weekend, so it will be very interesting to see how that goes!

My Modified Half Marathon Training Plan:

Week 8
Monday – Off
Tuesday – 4 Miles
Wednesday – 6 Miles
Thursday – 4 Miles
Friday – Off
Saturday – 4 Miles
Sunday – 10 Miles

Week 9
Monday – Off
Tuesday – 4 Miles
Wednesday – 6 Miles
Thursday – 4 Miles
Friday – Off
Saturday – 3 Miles
Sunday – 11 Miles

Week 10
Monday – Off
Tuesday – 4 Miles
Wednesday – 5 Miles
Thursday – 4 Miles
Friday – Off
Saturday – 4 Miles
Sunday – 12 Miles

Week 11
Monday – Off
Tuesday – 4 Miles
Wednesday – 5 Miles
Thursday – 4 Miles
Friday – Off
Saturday – 3 Miles
Sunday – 6 Miles

RACE WEEK!
Monday – Off
Tuesday – 3 Miles
Wednesday – 5 Miles
Thursday – 2 Miles
Friday – Off
Saturday – 13.1 Miles
Sunday – Recover 🙂

Like I said, so far so good! But we’ll see how I’m feeling Sunday night after my first 10 miler in a LONG time! I think the last time I ran 10 miles was last Fall before Winter came. So in other words, wish me luck!

Fun little tidbit about me, a couple of years ago, back in high school for some reason that I still do not know to this day, I started calling myself SarahTops. So running the dino race and my first medal being of a dinosaur could not be more perfect for me! I think it is part of the reason I am so freaking excited!

Today was a big day of race sign-ups for me. I also signed my boyfriend and I up for the Salt Lake City Color Me Rad run! I’ll blog more about that one later, I’m sure you can already assume how excited he is for that one! hehe 🙂

Punxsutawney Phil Is In Trouble

The first day of Spring has finally sprung and here in PC, Utah…it’s snowing. Surprise, surprise. I can’t be too upset though, this past weekend and earlier this week we had incredible weather. That incredible weather made for some pretty awesome trail runs. One of my favorite trails even cleared up enough that I could run the front side of the mountain. The warm weather mixed with my awesome, new, fantastic, wonderful purchase of JT’s new album onto my iPod made for a ton of PR’s beat and a whole lot of miles put on my favorite running shoes, my New Balance Minimus Trail shoes that I love so much. These ones were originally purchased to ease myself into Minimus running. They have a 4″ heel to toe drop rather than a true 0″ drop. I ran quite a bit in zero drop Minimus last Fall and even a little bit indoors this Winter, but I decided it might be best to ease myself into this type of running again with the 4″ drops. That was a good call on my part, my legs were on fire for days after these runs! But it was the good kind of burn, the kind where you just feel your muscles becoming more defined and strengthened with every step. One of my top 10 feelings for sure!

My New Balance shoes at the top of one of my favorite trails. Sunshine come back!

My New Balance shoes at the top of one of my favorite trails. Sunshine come back!

A bridge I ran under when I still liked Phil. Giant icicles and a raging creek, I don't hate it.

A bridge I ran under when I still liked Phil. Giant icicles and a raging creek, I don’t hate it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The good news? It looks like I’m not the only one upset with Phil, the groundhog. This article from The Onion had me laughing for hours, check it out here.

Look at him. He just looks like he's ready to piss me me off.

Look at him. He just looks like he’s ready to piss me me off.

*Enjoy! – – Especially those of you with Spring weather!

Spring – – Is That You?!

Finally! I was able to put on my favorite pair of trail running shoes and hit the dusty trail instead of the treadmill! Okay, so it wasn’t so much a dusty trail as a snow covered trail but hey, I was outside, the sun was shining and it was warm. I’ll take it! Before I moved out here I don’t think I would have even considered running on top of half iced/half melting snow, but I’m totally glad I got outside and did it. It was a completely different experience from any other run I’ve been on, which is exactly what I have been looking for. To give you an idea of what it’s like if you’ve never done it, it’s comparable to running on sand. Which yes, I am aware that people do that, but man is it harder than I thought. Not only that, but about half way through you hit the side of the mountain that the sun beats down on every afternoon, which was a day and night difference from the first half of the run – – shin deep mud puddles. All in all, it was a great 6 mile run. Besides the scenery being pretty impossible to beat, my legs were burning so bad halfway through, by the time my mind could focus on anything else I was finished!

Skid Row Run

The beginning of the trail – “Skid Row”

Lost Prospector Trail Run

Finally made it up the 1.5 mile hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Enjoy!

My First Mountain Run

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty decent runner, I played sports my whole life and I never gave up that active lifestyle (except for short stint in college…but c’mon!). Unfortunately for me, when I moved to the mountains of Utah from the flat lands of Missouri I was in for a big surprise. No one could have ever accurately warned me what the difference in not only altitude but terrain was going to do to me! Let me start with the biggest issue, I recently started running in New Balance Minimus Trail shoes, which I absolutely LOVE, but running up a rocky mountain in paper thin shoes…see where I’m going with this? Ow! So at that point I was running on what felt like two feet full of broken bones and punctured toes, I felt like it was never going to end! What’s next? OH! Just a mile long hill bring me back up 1200 feet? The best part was, I had no idea this part of the trail was here. I just kept running, painting and heeling over on turns thinking there was no question, this really did go on forever. Let me fast forward through the pain and agony that was the rest of this run. When I finished I checked my Strava Running App to see what I had accomplished in this grueling time frame – – 8 miles in over 2 hours. That was a harsh reality check.