Resting, recovering, and new things I’m loving.

And also HI. Happy New Year 13 days late, everyone!

Following the NCR marathon – which is now way over a month ago, I still haven’t written a recap of it, and maybe I should consider getting on that – I decided to take a little break from running. I was incredibly sore and lacking any kind of motivation…not just to run, but really just to do anything. (Hence the reason that this place was so quiet for so long.) Of course, taking running out of the equation for any of us is likely to lead to mild insanity, so the break lasted only a few days before I decided that I’d just spend a lot of time at the gym on the treadmill instead. I realize this probably sounds like a form of torture to most people, but in a period of mental and physical recovery it was nice to have an out if a run wasn’t feeling quite right rather than deciding a half hour in that I couldn’t do it anymore and having to call someone for a ride because I was 4 miles away from my house.

You better believe I didn’t waste those 70 degree December days inside though. I did run outside a few times. You just don’t NOT run outside in shorts and a tank top on Christmas Eve.

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In addition to the treadmill, I switched shoes. Again. My go-to shoes had become my Hoka Clifton. There were nearly 500 miles on both pairs and here I was questioning why I might have high hamstring pain. I started reading reviews of the Clifton 2 and they seemed a little unfavorable, so I bought myself a pair of Hoka Huaka.

These shoes are made of unicorn smiles and magic. Plus they have a big ol’ logo on the side that appeals to my inner graphic designer

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Hamstring pain GONE after two runs. Then I learned that the Huaka really must be the shoe I’ve been waiting all my life for because they are being discontinued and that’s just the kind of luck that I have.

Anyway as you can also see from that picture: there has been a lot of extra compression sock wearing lately. I rock them on most of my runs even if I am seemingly the only person at the gym who wears them on the treadmill. People can judge all they want, but I have better circulation than ALL of them.

Of course those socks are Lily Trotters, aka my compression sock of choice since learning about them last year. Just before the holidays, I got the best package ever in the mail from my friend Susan containing some spiffy new pairs of Lily Trotters including the Sassy Bow (in the picture above although the angle doesn’t show off the adorable bow detail on the back), the Candy Stripes that go awesomely with my Pure Cadence:

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And one of my most favorites…the lotus socks that I sometimes wear to work and to the gym in the same day. I’ve worn compression socks to work before, but would never have considered rolling up my pant leg to show them off.

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Yes I did wear my pants like that and to my knowledge no one thought I was any weirder than they normally do.

I even took a pair out on a disgustingly muddy trail run the other day!

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Yet they still manage to look incredibly cute.

The fact that Lily Trotters are still creating  such a huge buzz makes me ecstatic. Also ever since I started wearing them there’s a new fan in my house too; my mom, who is an RN and on her feet for long shifts, literally cannot deal with work unless she has them on. They have made such a huge difference for her and it’s great that she can get the word out about their benefits amongst her nurse friends while I continue to talk about them in the running community.

I’m at a place where I’m starting to plan out my race schedule – no marathon this time, focusing on halfs and shorter – and get back to my normal fitness because there was definitely quite a bit of wine and cookies around the holidays. With new shoes, socks, and working toward a more positive outlook on life in general, I’m feeling pretty well prepared to go into the spring pain-free.

How is your spring race schedule looking? Gone on any trail runs lately? New shoes? Fun New Year stories? Tell me something! I feel like I have so much to catch up on!

xo,

Salt

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Race Recap: It’s a race! It’s a long run! It’s the White Hall 15K!!

If you voted in my poll the other day…THANK YOU!! You helped me to make a very tough decision this weekend.

I think this qualifies as a landslide.

I think this qualifies as a landslide.

There were a couple other factors that led to my decision as well. For one thing, it snowed Friday. This snow was not gone on Saturday morning. After the temperature went up to about 60 degrees in the afternoon though, it was almost as if it never existed. (Thumbs up from me.) The forecast for Sunday ended up being a little warmer than Saturday morning and the winds were about the same.

Also – and I’ll go into this more in my training recap for the week – but starting on Tuesday night a chronic rotator cuff injury that I’ve been dealing with since I was a teenager flared up. The flare up was so bad that I would wake up in the middle of the night unable to move and screaming for my husband to come help me. It was scary. I needed the extra day to see if I could get the pain under control and by Saturday evening it wasn’t looking good.

Then I guess I figured out the correct ibuprofen/hydrocodone cocktail and woke up Sunday not-pain-free, but with a better range of motion than I had had all week. I figured I would give it a go. I wasn’t planning on actually racing anyway because this was all part of a longer long run so I didn’t even need to worry about doing my best. I just wanted to log the miles.

The race was at 8am. I woke up at 6 to medicate, tape my shoulder, eat a little breakfast and give myself enough time to get dressed because getting a sports bra on over my head had been a challenge the day before. I arrived to the NCR trail head at White Hall a little after 7am, paid my $2 to register, pinned on my second race bib of 2015 and prepared to knock out a few miles before the race start. I had never run north along the trail from this location and as it turned out I was in for a treat! It went through the Gunpowder Falls State Park. There was such beautiful scenery and beautiful waterfalls rolling past the trail. The temperature was a cool 35 degrees and I was feeling very little pain as I ran.

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I managed to get in a little more than 4 miles and when I arrived back at my car everyone was lining up to start. Perfect timing! I ate a few Stinger chews and found Sara. We hung out for a couple minutes before the airhorn sounded to kick off the race. Our club races are small, but there was a better turnout  this year than there was last year. We all got jammed up at the start, but pretty soon things fanned out.

One nice thing about the fact that I had already been out running (beyond being REALLY warmed up) was that I did not know exactly how far I had run or what my splits were like. I could have performed some simple math in my head to somewhat figure it out, but ain’t nobody got time for that. I preferred to enjoy the mystery and instead went by feel and without worry of time or distance at all. My watched beeped at each mile, but those beeps were for my own personal run. I hoped I wasn’t confusing anyone near me because they were not indicative of how long we had been on the course.

Despite the nasty weather we’ve had, the trail conditions were GREAT! There were a few spots with a bit of mud or standing water, but overall it was so much better than I ever would have anticipated. The temperature was pretty perfect too and they had two water stops set up along the way so that we would hit each twice (the course is an out and back). The volunteers were friendly  and boisterous which really added to a nice race experience for everyone.

I feel like this race flew by and it was so weird to come to the end with absolutely no idea what sort of time I was running. As it turns out, I finished in 1:14:35 (8:02 pace) and got second in my AG. Only 50 seconds less than my PR last year! It makes me kind of excited to do it again next year when I haven’t run 4 miles first/won’t have to worry about running an additional 6+ miles afterward! I wish I knew what my splits had been.

At the finish they had all sorts of awesome treats for us: drinks, bagels, fresh fruit…and I couldn’t enjoy any of it because I had to get going! I quickly slugged back a cup of Gatorade, refueled with the GU and chews I had with me, and bid farewell to my friends. More on how the rest of the run went later.

I love club races. They are always fun, the people are always nice, the volunteers are always great, and they are 2-freaking-dollars. Oh and often there is someone taking photos so you get a race pic or two for free.

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Cruising to the finish with a smile on my face!

The biggest downside to this race? When I arrived I overheard the race director saying that they had taken the port-o-john that usually sits at the White Hall trail head. And sure enough, it was gone. It had been there not even 12 hours before. WTF!? Who takes a port-o-john the night before there is an event scheduled right there!?

Or better yet, who just randomly takes the port-o-john EVER? That thing is ALWAYS THERE!

Interestingly enough, as I was leaving the house I suddenly thought that maybe I should bring some toilet paper along just in case. And this WOULD end up being the first time I’ve ever had to pee in the woods while out on a run. Oh well. Consider it a rite of passage and at least I had that TP.

Did you run or race this weekend? How did it go for you? 

I hope everyone has a great start to this new week!

xo,

Salt

WWYD? My 20 miler.

It’s What Would You Do? Wednesday! Usually I’m pretty good at making decisions by myself, but today I’m stumped and who better to turn to with a pressing question about running than the wonderful online running community?

The answer to that is of course nobody.

Here’s my conundrum.

This weekend is the first in a set of two 20 mile long runs. I clearly remember that last year my anxiety was in overdrive over such a thing. This year I’m all

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But just like every day for the past couple months the weather is stressing me out. Mother Nature cannot make up her damn mind. Monday and Tuesday were both beautiful and then it all started to go downhill from there. Friday they are calling for the  s-word yet again. I can think of more than one s-word that applies to this situation.

Anyway the best possible weather for my run would be Saturday afternoon: sunny and in the mid-50’s. Unfortunately Saturday afternoon is not available to me as Mr. Salt works so I have to weigh my other options. They are as follows:

Option 1: Saturday Morning

  • Start Time: 4:30 am
  • Forecasted Start Temp: 33 degrees
  • Wind: 2MPH

Pros:

33 is chilly, but it’s not the worst thing ever. The lack of wind would be nice. It would also be nice to get this run out of the way at the beginning of the weekend so I don’t spend all day Saturday over-thinking it.

Cons:

4:30 am is stupid early, but I want to make sure I have a little more than 3 hours to finish this run and Mr. Salt leaves for work around 8 am. A 20 miler that early in the morning and in the dark will be boring and lonely. Thinking about it makes me a little sad.

Option 2: Sunday Morning

  • Start Time: 8:00 am
  • Forecasted Start Temp: 34 degrees
  • Wind: 8MPH

Pros:

If I went this route I would be starting off at a race.  It’s a 15K. The distance would cover nearly half of my long run and then after I crossed the finish line I would just continue on for another 10 miles. I like this option because it gives me the opportunity to not only sleep in a little later (because 4:30 is EWWWWWW), but also go on a nice little run with friends for while. Definitely nto as boring and solitary as option 1. Because it’s a club event, it will only cost me $2. Mr. Salt does not work on Sunday so I don’t have to hurry home.

This race is on a trail. Not off the beaten path or anything…it’s a rail trail and mostly crushed gravel and dirt. If the conditions on the trail are good, then the run will be flat and pretty easy on my legs. It would be nice to get another run in on a flat course because my marathon is flat.

Cons:

I can’t go to this race in race mode. The point is not to PR because once I’m done I will still have the same distance plus a little extra to add on top of it.

Now back to those rail trail conditions. I really have no idea whether they are crap or not because I haven’t run over there since last year. We just had a terrible winter. With the new weather moving through on Friday it might make it even worse. For this race last year there was quite a bit of mud and potholes. Also it will be windier than Saturday. (Though I guess not by much.)

Option 3: Sunday Afternoon

  • Start Time: Whenever the heck I want. Let’s just say noon.
  • Forecasted Start Temp: The high on Sunday is supposed to be 43.
  • Wind: 13MPH with higher gusts.

Pros:

I can sleep in. I can run around my neighborhood where I know there isn’t any ice or snow (yet) and I can take as long as I want.

Cons:

If it were going to be warmer I wouldn’t mind the wind so much, but as it stands the conditions won’t be so great. Also I don’t love the idea of running later in the day on Sunday because it eats into time with my family. We don’t get a lot of time to hang out each week because our schedules are so opposite. At least if I ran on Sunday morning I would (theoretically) be done by 11-ish and would have the rest of the day ahead of me.

Now this is where you come in. 

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What would you do in my situation? I set up a little poll for people to vote. I am definitely leaning a couple different ways, but the results of this poll will most likely help me make up my mind.

Thank you in advance!

Do you stress about your long runs? Have you ever run part of your long run in a race before? (If so, do you have any advice for me?)

xo,

Salt