Adventures In Running

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Having been given permission this week by my podiatrist to showshoe (because people don't snowshoe non-stop (little does he know)) – I promptly signed up for the Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival 5K race on Saturday, January 26, 2013. I've read Jim Skaggs stories about this race in previous years and wanted to give it a try. This seemed like perfect timing and a chance to get out of the muck from the inversion in Salt Lake County.

I'm not a showshoeing expert. In fact, the only time I have ever worn snowshoes was about 10 years ago when I accompanied Kevin and a bunch of Boy Scouts on a cross country skiing/snowshoe overnighter in Northern Utah.

I got up early Saturday morning and packed up my gear. I was a bit worried when I left my condo to see that I could only see a few car lengths ahead because of the fog – and was very glad for fog lights on the Jeep. About ¼ mile up Parleys Canyon the fog ended and it was a pretty day where you could actually see the sky. The fog came back as I approached Midway and Heber, but I had made up good time by then. The snowshoe races were held at the Midway Golf Course that I have run by with Leslie Peterson each year as we run to the Sheepdog Festival. Major sliding in the car as I drove into the parking lot over a large sheet of ice had me a bit worried.

I checked in for the race and rented a pair of snowshoes for $6. There were plenty of people at the race that had never been on snowshoes before – so I was in good company. Said hello to Benjamin Hanel and Jim Skaggs before the race and at 9:00 – we were off.

There were five races being held simultaneously on three different loops. The marathon and 50K started at 8 a.m. The 5K, 10K and 25K started at 9 a.m. It was very frustrating for the first half mile or so because a lot of entrants who had no intentions of running a step started near the front of the pack and were walking side by side with their friends. Bad race etiquette, folks. If you are not serious – start near the back of the pack and don't be a PITA.

My plans were to run 100 steps, walk 100 steps as long as I could and I was able to do this for most of the race. I had seen pictures of the course from previous years and there was a nicely groomed trail. Not so much today. There wasn't a ton of snow and it was very icy, so if you carefully ran with your feet side by side – it was smooth going. Not much wider than that – you were on crusty snow which made the work harder and threw you off balance.

The course was nicely laid out – winding back and forth on the golf course. It got foggy towards the 2 mile mark, but was still a pretty day. One aid station at about 2.4 miles and then it was back to the start for me. I finished the race in 52:35, talked to John Bozung (Race Director) for a few minutes and complimented him on the race, then headed out to walk a second loop for a long snowshoe run.

Towards the last mile, some tenderness in the Plantar Fascia of the left foot – but not too bad overall.

Found out I took 9th out of 25 entrants, 6th out of women and 3rd in my age group.

Next year I plan to take on the 10K and hopefully the 25K the year after that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Final Post Surgery Follow-up

Saw Dr. Steve again today. We discussed my current methods for increasing my running and he says I have a valid plan – just need to increase slowly. And stay off hills for another month. I have been cleared for skiing, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in moderation too.

He did an ultrasound of the Plantar Fascia on the left foot and he says that it is considered Plantar Fasciitis when the PF is 25 mm in width or more. Mine is currently 20 mm and so I am well on the way to healing. Still some swelling around the PF – but not a lot. So I need to keep doing what I am doing.

Still looks good for doing the Buffalo Run 50K in March. It might be a slogfest – but I should be able to make it through if I build up slowly.

The bad pain I had last week that was depressing me so much was from a lift to ease some tension in the Achilles Tendon. He agreed that my decision to quit using the lift was a correct one.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I don't normally think of myself as a wimp. I like to push my limits and challenge myself in many ways. Right now I am sitting here trying not to cry and feeling very frustrated and sorry for myself. So pathetic. I really must stop it.

Granted – all my previous ankle surgeries were many years ago before I got into marathoning so I didn't hanker to get back into action as soon. And I actually had 4-6 weeks where I couldn't even put my foot down.

It will be two months on Monday since my surgery and I was hoping I could be regularly walking or running by now. Walking was going fine for a while, then my Achilles Tendon flared up.

I actually ran and walked 4 miles on the dreadmill on Wednesday and it felt pretty good. Did lots of icing and massage that night and the next morning it was great.

Today, I walked my dog in the snow and ice for one mile. Not even pushing it hard. And my foot is throbbing and burning so much that I can hardly focus on work. One mile. One lousy mile.

So I'm sitting here with my foot on ice and wishing the ibuprofen I took an hour ago would kick in. At the same time, I really want to go work out because I would feel better if I was starting to get back into shape.

Big sigh. Somebody pass by some cheese to go with the whine.

Do I go back to the recumbent bicycle? Do I start swimming? Do I focus on weight training and hope my foot heals enough to gut it through my early races for the year? Or do I lose my race entries in the Buffalo Run 50K and Big Sur Marathon because I may not be in shape or even be able to walk/run that far in 2-3 months. If my foot could quit hurting – I could gut it out through almost any distance. But I don't want to set things back even farther.

It could be so much worse – but right now the frustrations are overwhelming and I just want to curl up in bed and read a book and be lazy and not think anymore. Too bad I can't.

Thank you for listening to the whine.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Nike+ FuelBand Review

After returning my Up by Jawbone because of disappointment with its performance (among other things), I am now experimenting with the Nike+ FuelBand. The FuelBand sells for $149 and comes in four colors: Black, White, Techno Black and Techno White (I made up those last two). The "techno" colors allow you to see some of the inner workings of the band – and apply to my geekness. I am sporting Techno Black.

The device tracks and displays four items:

  • Fuel – fuel point for while active
  • Calories – calories burned while active
  • Steps – supposedly the number of steps taken while active
  • Time – time of day

The band tracks nothing but time while you are sleeping – only when you are up and moving about. If you are sick or recovering from surgery – you would get frustrated with the results.

I will admit up front that I don't think the calories burned while active is accurate. It would be better if they calculated the number of calories needed per day to maintain weight based upon your body weight and did some calculations based upon that. I pretty well ignore the calories for now.

Steps seem a little low. There were some days when I was walking or running 5 miles and it would tell me that I had done about 7500 steps. Granted, 2500 steps per mile is an average – but I'm not that tall and I don't think I cover that much ground per step.

Time of day – gets an A+. It has never been wrong.

Fuel. My favorite part of the device and my least understood. Here is the official declaration: Through a sports-tested accelerometer, Nike+ FuelBand tracks your daily activity including running, walking, basketball, dancing and dozens of everyday activities. I'm sure if I dug far enough I could find some fancy mathematical calculations that explain it – but I'm not in the mood to do that.


I like the Fuel part. You can set fuel goals for each day and when you achieve them you get a fun little display in lots of colors that says GOAL! I live for the Goal announcement. You also can see how far you are on your fuel goal for the day with a colored display below the numbers. It's stupid – but I get a kick out of it.

When I first started on the FuelBand – I was not allowed to exercise as much, so I dropped the goal down fairly low (to about 1500). Each day I achieved the goal – I set the fuel goal up higher. Once I get back to working out even more, I expect to continue to increase it, but right now it is a challenge some days to make the current goal of 2200. Note – when you reset the goal, it starts applying the next day.

If you achieve your goal 3 days in a row, it is considered a streak and you can see how long you maintain your streak. I was on 10 days until my device suddenly quit tracking. I'm still not sure I forgive it for breaking my streak. I had to reset the FuelBand the next day and am back on a new streak starting today.

I will admit to "cheating" the first night after resetting my device. It was 10 p.m. and I had 100 fuel points left to earn, so I picked up my 5# kettlebell in my left hand and did bicep curls for 2 minutes and passed the goal and was able to go to sleep.


  • No parts have fallen off it yet (compared to the tip on the Up).
  • Looks decent even with dress clothes (probably not if I get invited to the inauguration).
  • Can increase the goal
  • Syncs with Bluetooth on my iPhone anytime I want to see more results then on the band itself


  • Water resistant (can wear in the shower) but not waterproof.
  • No way to log results for workouts when you can't wear the FuelBand (like swimming).
  • No way to log results for when the device quits recording and you end a streak.

Overall – I recommend this app. Can't wait to see its results after a marathon. Of course, at this point in time, I'm just hoping I can get back to marathon distances.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Round and Round and Round she goes

I finished off 2012 yesterday with 3.8 miles to get me to 1265 miles running/walking for 2012. Not as many miles as I had planned, but more than 2011.

Today I started off 2013 with the New Years Revolution Run at the Olympic Ice Oval in Kearns. Leslie Petersen and I did this last year in the inaugural year and ran for 4 hours. This year they extended the time to 5 hours. My doctor had given me permission for 2 hours of walking at 4 mph. I cheated a bit, but did stop at 2 hours. (Honestly – I was ready to stop by then and am icing my foot even as I type).

During the 2 hours I walked 9 minutes and then ran 1 minute. It felt good to be running. Other than a few steps to avoid getting run over by a traffic light, I haven't run since before the surgery. I'm actually feeling pretty good about the comeback I am making. (Weight is a different matter – for now I'm focusing on getting back into running and walking and following my doctor's orders). By mile 6 I could tell the foot was stiffening up and would limp for the first 15-20 minutes of each run and then it would loosen up. By the last lap (I did 30 laps), I was ready to be done. The foot was hurting and I knew I needed to quit, so I handed in my timing chip to avoid temptation.

Lots of friends and fellow runners that I knew: Seth Wold, Kelli and Scott Stephenson, Rachel and Lauren Moody, Laurie Pope, Molly Bitton and more. I was very excited to see Barb Scowcroft starting shortly after me. Barb is the director of the Utah Youth Symphony and a 1st Violinist with the Utah Symphony. She was a big influence in Jennifer's life and has been a positive force in so many teenagers. After she was done with her first half marathon, I took some pictures for her and her running buddy (a harpist with the symphony) and visited for a few minutes.

Not a bad way to start the year.

Plans are, I will drop the walking and running intervals every couple of days until I am at 1 minute walking and 1 minute running (and stay under 60 minutes a day) and then see where I can go from here.