Adventures In Running

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pipeline Trail & Elbow Fork

I slept in a little late today because my nephew moved in last night (until he gets married in two months) and I stayed up late talking to him.

I left the townhouse about 9:00 and decided to head up Millcreek Canyon. I thought there might be a chance I would run into Leslie Peterson on the trail. Sure enough, when I reached the Burch Hollow parking lot, I saw her car with the bike rack attached, which meant Harold had also gone biking with her.

About 2 miles in on the trail, I ran into Leslie coming around a corner. I think she was pretty surprised and happy to see me. She turned around and we ran another mile out and then headed back to the trailhead so her mileage wouldn't get too high. She has decided to stick to trails for her running except for the St. George Marathon. We talked about it a bit. She thinks this will be easier on her joints than the road running. We did a total of about 4 miles together and then she headed home and I turned around to go up the trail a bit and get on the Elbow Fork Trail. A sign a quarter mile back said it was 2 miles from there to the trailhead.

Elbow Fork was a pretty trail heading east up the mountain. And I do mean UP the mountain. A lot of the first ¾ mile was switchbacks where I couldn't get above 25-30 minutes per mile pace walking and my heart was pounding pretty hard. After that it settled down and I could run most of the gentle flats and uphills with no problem. I did find that starting late was putting me in the heat of the day and I did not have enough fluids and started feeling the heat. When I hit the road a little after mile 9, I took time to go down to the river and splash myself with water and pour several hats of water over my head. I was disconnecting (losing focus) on the return trip, which was a little worrisome because it doesn't take much on a trail to get injured if you don't pay attention. However, I persevered and finished up.

Remember how the sign said the trailhead was 2 miles up the road. It lied. It was almost 3 miles. A pretty section of trail – but a lot of work on the uphills – it makes you earn your downhills.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Anybody want some new shoes?

I bought a bunch (ok – 3 pairs) of Montrail trail running shoes on sale at Strider's earlier this year. I have worn the size 8 ½ Montrail Vitesse for less than 16 miles, but have decided they have to go. They must be too small – because my feet start falling asleep in them. Luckily they were half off – but I hate wasting money on running gear. (I love SPENDING money on running gear).

On the bright side – I did buy a second pair that were size 9. I will start breaking them in and hope they fit better.

Now I have two pairs of my shoes in my 'shoe the shoeless' pile to donate at a Running Store. Somebody will hopefully really love the brand new pair.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Run on Provo River Trail

Today was a beautiful day out and perfect running weather for a 20 mile run.

I met Marion McLellan, Luz Lewis and Marion's friend, AnnaLise for Marion's first 20 mile run in anticipation of her first marathon - the Utah Valley Marathon on June 13th.

Luz's husband took us partway up the parkway and we then headed uphill for 7 miles up Provo Canyon. We quickly split into two groups, Luz and AnnaLise up ahead, Marion and I in the rear. It was a bit chilly on the way up, but lots of other runners and bikers on the trail. Marion was playing around with her hydration and gu timing and I was following my usual pattern. I switched over to my marathon timing of run 9 minutes, walk 1 minute.

A little after 7 miles, we turned around just shy of Vivian Park and headed back down the canyon. The downhill definitely seemed a lot easier after the 7 miles of uphill - even though it was gentle uphills.

This picture is of Marion as we were getting near the mouth of the canyon. The quality is not great because I was using my cellphone camera, but has to do.

As I was waiting for Marion, I noticed how beautiful the clouds and snow were on Mt. Timpanogos in the background.

We met up with Luz and AnnaLise again at Will's Pitstop and took a pitstop ourselves. After this, we had to go down the least scenic portion of the trail for a couple of miles and then got back down near the river.

Marion was doing awesome. I know she is nervous about her first marathon, but she has been very careful in her training and is going to do great.

We were both happy to get to the end of the run. After a group picture, Luz took Marion and I down near her house and we sat in the river for a few minutes (my feet couldn't handle the cold, so I sat backwards and kept my feet out). Then we went to Luz's for some fruit and stretching before heading home.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

My own bizarre triathlon

The beautiful day was calling my name this morning, so after talking with my daughter in Italy for a while, I headed out the door. This time I carried a little more water, some Gatorade Endurance and some Gu Chomps (first time trying these).

I rode my bike a little over 10K to Draper and parked at the Draper City Park. After locking up, I headed out on the equestrian trails along the Draper Canal Trail and Porter Rockwell Trail. I did a 7.1 mile loop and alternated running and walking to let my legs recover from 2 hard days. Strangely enough, the grass rubbing along my legs on the way out irritated me, but running back I was in a wall of chest high grass and loved my own little 'tunnel' and the feeling against my arms. By the way – I really like the Gu Chomps – maybe even more than ShotBloks.

Climbed on the bike and headed back home. The first hill I hit really made my quads whine, but I told them to shut up and they did. My butt was a lot happier about having a break partway through the ride than when I just ride to Draper and back.

For the third leg of my triathlon, I stopped at Gold's Gym and did 45 minutes of weight training on my chest, back and biceps. There was a great bicep workout in the latest issue of Oxygen magazine and I wanted to try that out.

Once more on the bike for the last 1.3 miles home. Whiny quads again – but I didn't care because I caught some nice definition in my legs in the mirrors of the gym.

Tomorrow will be a rest day. Monday I am meeting some other runners at 6 a.m. in Provo to run the Provo River Parkway Trail for 20 miles. It will be the first 20 miler for Marion and the last really long run for all of us in preparation for the Utah Valley Marathon three weeks from today.

My IT Band no longer bothers me at all. The piriformis is healing – but I can still tell it is not 100%. I will do yoga and core tonight and then do some serious stretching of my entire body.

Friday night fun

To stave off the depression that often hits on holiday weekends, I headed off yesterday afternoon to Little Cottonwood Canyon.

I started running up the Little Cottonwood Trail. My plan was to get up as far as I could until I was stopped by snow. I was able to run about 1.5 miles until I had to throw in a few walking breaks. I need to work on my uphill running again this year. Last year I was able to run (ok – slog) the entire trail both ways at the end of the season. There were lots of mountain bikers, hikers and runners – so I didn't worry about my safety like the last time I did this trail. A little after 3 miles there is a turn to the left where there is a parking lot, or a straight ahead trail. However, that section was under about 6 inches of running water and I didn't want wet feet, so I just ran over to the road. After a brief hydration stop, turned around and ran the entire way back down the trail. I did find a nice bike tool way off the trail that must have flown out of some cyclists pocket.

At the end of the trail I decided that I wanted to get to 9 or 10 miles, so ran down the road a bit. Much to my surprise, I saw the parking lot for Bells Canyon Reservoir. Leslie Peterson showed me this trail last fall. I hiked to the top of the trail (jumping a bit as a snake slithered off the trail and freaked me out) and then ran around the reservoir. Almost at the end was a stream crossing that was really low last fall. However, it was about 18 inches deep and cold and fast and I couldn't find a way across, so had to turn around and run back the way I came.

As I started running down the trail, I could feel my energy draining. I was only carrying a 12 ounce bottle of water with a Nunn electrolyte tab in it and between the heat and distance, was needing some calories. I was able to find a water fountain at the bottom of the trail to get some more hydration, but still had 1.5 miles uphill to get back to my Jeep.

It was a great run and I felt good, but I was definitely hot, tired and hungry when it was over. Thank heavens for the green chicken chili (especial) quesadilla at Bajio's.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Speed Work Starting Again

Now that I am recovering from injuries and not training for a 50 mile race in the future, it is time to get back to speed work again. Granted – I doubt I will ever be fast, but I am already faster than I ever thought I would be.

Since I had a neighbor that has thoughtfully decided to wake up the entire condo subdivision by blaring a clock radio from 4:00-5:00 a.m. while they are out of town – I went to the gym at 4:30 this morning. I started out my day with an hour of weight training on my legs and core.

Treadmill time came next. I alternated half mile splits with the first half mile at 5.2 mph and the next half mile at 6.2 mph. After 5 miles of this, I gradually dropped my speed .1 mph from the 6.2 until the treadmill hit the cool-down section at 60 minutes. The speed work felt good and it was amazing how the slower half mile actually felt easy after the speedier portions. I felt like I was on Biggest Loser because I was absolutely dripping sweat from the effort.

I think I will repeat this workout for the next couple of weeks (increasing the speed each week by .1 mph) until after the Utah Valley Marathon on June 13th and then add in a tempo workout in addition to speed intervals.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Pipeline Trail - Millcreek Canyon

The other weekend I ran the Pipeline Trail in Millcreek Canyon on both Friday night and Saturday morning. The picture above is of me and Odee Peterson (or his back half) at the end of the Pipeline Trail looking into the Salt Lake Valley.

The Pipeline Trail is about 4.25 miles each way and is a beautiful trail. It is not too hilly, but has gentle inclines and declines and, except for a couple of rocky areas, is very easy single track to run on. You run into lots of hiker, bikers, runners and dogs. Shortly before this I ran into another ultramarathoner who was mountain biking as cross training. He made me look lazy - he had the Ogden Marathon, Sapper Joe 50K and the Squaw Peak 50 miler in the next 3 weekends.

Leslie and I ran the trail together on Saturday morning. Here is Leslie coming into the stream crossing about 1.5 miles in.

It seems that everyone wants to be outdoors on Friday night. I saw two parasails that I think made it all the way across from Point of the Mountain. They were catching some good breezes.

Here is Odee with his panniers. We make him carry his own water - so that we don't have to.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cheerleader detail at Women of Steel Triathlon

Since I pulled out of the Ogden Marathon with a leg injury, I had the privilege of being able to support my sister, Marcia Nielsen, at her first ever triathlon – the Women of Steel sprint triathlon in American Fork, Utah. My sister has dreamed for years of competing in triathlons and has taken large steps this past year towards getting physically fit and being able to fulfill those dreams. She has been one of my greatest supporters in my marathon efforts, so I was actually kind of relieved that I would have a chance to help her out in this new endeavor.

Last night we drove down to American Fork to pick up her packet and check out the pool, transition areas, and drive the bike route. She spent the night at my house and it was fun watching her check over all her gear and going through that initial nervousness that so many athletes are familiar with. She mentioned how her one shoulder had started hurting that day and how tired she was and I told her about prerace hypochondria and phantom pains and she was able to relax a little more knowing it was normal.

This morning we loaded up her van and drove back to the race location. My main job was to be cheerleader and photographer and I did my best in both roles. She didn't get into the pool until almost 40 minutes after the actual start of the race and I missed her entire swim because I didn't notice her moving up in line. She did say that she had some panic moments in the pool, but found out later talking to other triathletes that this was perfectly normal for a first race.

I caught up with her as she came out of the pool and ran over to the first transition with her and then met her as she came out of the transition area to get on her bike. After she headed off on the first lap, I ran across the American Fork Cemetery to the Alpine Highway and cheered all the runners and cyclists as they came by, took more pictures of Marcia on her first loop and then swung down to cheer her on the start of the second loop. Wash, rinse, repeat – I went back to my cheering post and high fived all the runners I could and cheered everyone on. I know how much this means to me when I am in a race and it seemed to cheer a lot of the women on.

After Marcia finished her biking portion, I took some pictures of her in the transition area and then met her and walked with her on the 5K portion of the race. Her legs were tired, so she didn't run much, but she did awesome. I am so proud of her and was so thrilled to be able to cheer her on and watch her finish her first big race. There are big things in store for my sister – I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't start outperforming me in a year or two.

Way to go, Sis! I love you!

Friday, May 15, 2009

St. George Marathon Lottery

The results of the St. George Marathon Lottery were posted on Monday night. I received the following email notification:

We regret to inform you that your name was not selected in the 2009 St. George Marathon lottery. We randomly selected 7200 runners of the 10,510 registrants from 49 states and 10 countries. We wish that we had the ability to accept all registrants.


Just what I wanted to hear on top of having to withdraw from the Ogden Marathon. If I do want to run the St. George Marathon this year, my only chance is to finish the Grand Slam series. Since I cannot run Ogden, I will now have to try the Top of Utah Marathon on September 19. It is only 2 weeks before St. George, but if I just run both races instead of racing them, that will still put me on track for running the OV 50 miler at the end of October.

On the bright side – I get a guaranteed entry in 2010 because my name has not been drawn in either the 2008 or 2009 lotteries.

Across the Years 2009

I received an email earlier this week letting me know that the Across the Years race for 2009 has been cancelled due to scheduling issues. I was planning on trying to get an entry in this race – but guess I will put that off until 2010 or 2011. Maybe they cancelled it to save me from myself.

DNS Frustration and the Ogden Marathon

Tomorrow (May 16th) is the Ogden Marathon and I have been looking forward to running it ever since I had to withdraw last year because of surgery (I can't understand why they thought I shouldn't run a marathon 3 days after a hysterectomy). My training was going well, I had two beautiful runs in the mountains last Friday and Saturday (I will post about them this weekend), everything was set for a nice marathon day.

Then, out of the blue, BLAM – I came up lame. I was walking through Target last Saturday and suddenly couldn't walk without limping on my right leg. I had a serious ache/pain hitting in the hamstring and buttocks area of the right leg. I made it home and iced the leg and took anti-inflammatories and just hoped it was from being out and about all day long.

Sunday afternoon I took my puppy for a walk, and felt the pain in the leg again. Now I was getting concerned. C'mon – less than a week until a marathon. I didn't need to have this on top of my DNF in March. This race was going to be my redemption.

Sunday night I did some serious pondering. I think the injury to the right leg possibly started a couple of weeks earlier when I felt something 'a little funny' in the front of the right hip. No pain – it just felt off. During my trail run on Friday night I caught a toe on a rock and did a nice faceplant – catching myself on my left elbow and hand and on the right knee and thigh. I ran another 3+ miles after that with no problems (other than my elbow dripping blood – but that is part of the fun). Saturday morning I went back and ran that same trail and another mile on top of that. I twisted my right ankle about a mile in and was able to shake it off after a few minutes and didn't have any other problems. However, as soon as the run ended – I had to sit for 2 hours outside in an uncomfortable chair for a boring Homeowner's Association Meeting.

Monday I started the desperate bid to get healthy enough to run the race. I found a new chiropractor in my area and spent time with him on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. He did a lot of aligning and some electro therapy/traction each day. Monday he said there was a lot of tightness in the sacroiliac area. Tuesday and Wednesday the pain seemed to focus in on the piroformis muscle. Monday night and Wednesday night I went to Leslie Peterson's house and got massage and mobility therapy. She too found that the piroformis was really inflamed (I about went through the roof when it was massaged).

Researching Piroformis Syndrome – it appears that the injury stems from that muscle. I will be working on continued stretching/icing/strengthening the muscles involved in this area to prevent further future injury.

My decision – my gut instinct tells me that I should not run the race tomorrow. It is really depressing to not be able to do this after all my training, but I have to go with my gut instinct and preserve my sanity (which is already questionable) by being able to workout without a major injury. Now I just have to sit back and listen to what a great marathon it is from my running buddies.