Archive | January 2014

Update week 7………and Saturday’s long run

I couldn’t wait to get home and check off week 7 after completing Saturday’s long run.  It wasn’t because I had a bad week.  In fact, I had some great runs this week.  In any case, I felt like I worked hard and earned that check mark!  It’s the little things in life that count, right?

This week I ran 41.44 miles.  These were the workouts:

Monday – 6 miles w hill repeats

Tuesday –  cycle 45 mins.

Wednesday –  8 miles w 3 miles of tempo

Thursday – 5 miles

Friday – rest day

Saturday – 22.4 miles

Sunday – rest day

In addition to these workouts, I did 3 days of core and upper body exercises.

On Saturday, I went to a wonderful training run in Auburn State Recreation Area in the town of Cool.  There were 4 different courses to choose from and I chose the long one, ~23 miles.  This was a training run for the Way too Cool 50k race held in March.

2014 Way too Cool course map (23 miles of it)

Although I am not doing this 50k, I was grateful for the opportunity to preview the beautiful and challenging course.  Most of the course is on single track trails.  There were quite a few areas where we were able to keep a good pace.  But, there were also quite a few hills.  There was one hill in particular that kicked my butt.  It was difficult just to walk up Goat Hill.  I don’t know how the elite runners run up it.

2014 Way too Cool course elevation gainsThis is the elevation profile from the 50k which includes 8 more miles.  However, I think we ran most of the hills in the 23 mile loop.  I’d say it was a hilly course!

The course was well marked and we didn’t have any trouble staying on course.  There was one time that I wanted to continue on a flat section instead of climbing a hill, but that was just wishful thinking on my part.

I’m still learning a lot about these long runs.  I do know that I have to start off a lot slower than my body feels like running.  If I start off too fast, I will “blow up” towards the end.  Looking at my pace for the first 5 miles, we did a good job keeping a conservative and consistent pace.  We were able to keep the pace at a relaxed one and talk the whole way which makes these long runs much more fun.

Based on my pace alone, I consider this run a success.  With the exception of a few miles including big climbs, it wasn’t until mile 21 that my pace started to fade.  I finished the 23 mile course and felt pretty good!  This was the longest that I have run on the trails and every long run I am feeling stronger.  In addition to being the longest run, it was also the hilliest run I have ever gone on.

My fueling plan was also a success in my opinion.  Here is what worked for me:

I’m working on eating the least amount of calories while out on the trail.  I carried more than I needed (I wouldn’t want to bonk), but ended up eating almost a whole peanut butter and honey sandwich (490 calories) and 1 package of Stinger chews (160 calories).  The combination of my peanut butter sandwich with the sweet chews was perfect.  And, those chews tasted like candy, something I could probably eat any time!  In the almost 4 hours of running, I ate 560 calories which is ~140 per hour. 

I think it was just enough calories, maybe a little too much if anything. On a positive note, I know that I ate fewer calories than on the previous long run.   I’ll try just a few less on the next run and see if I can’t get my body to use some of my stored fat for energy.

I also made sure I used electrolytes (Salt Stick Caps).  Perhaps this whole time I’ve thought that I’ve needed more calories when I’ve actually needed more electrolytes.

I took 1 capsule each hour ~200mg of sodium (along with some vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and potassium) each hour.  I think this made all the difference in the world.  The previous long run I didn’t use enough and I felt it.  This time, I didn’t feel depleted.

I carried 40 ounces of water in my hydration pack.  I knew that there would be water on the course at some point.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know at where it was going to be ahead of time.  I should have known it would be strategically placed half way through the course.  I refilled my pack only having a few ounces left.  However, I finished the run with plenty of water left.  I find that interesting because the second half of the run was warmer and I think there was more climbing, too.  I would have guessed that I needed more water in the second half of the run.

Once we finished, I grabbed a coke (something I rarely drink, but boy did it hit the spot!) and picked up a few post run snacks.

Thank you to all the volunteers and to James Barstad who put on this event.  I greatly appreciated the opportunity to run this well marked course with an aid station!

My only regret is that I didn’t have a camera with me to take some pictures of the course.  But, I’ll be going back, hopefully soon!


Carbing up Chipotle Style

I am always looking for an easy, nutritious meal.  I like meals that offer healthy carbs and protein.  A few months back I decided that we could replicate Chipotle’s rice bowls at home.  How easy would that be?

I found a delicious recipe for homemade refried beans on one of my favorite food blogs, 100 days of real food.

I have made these beans a dozen times and they turn out super yummy every time.  Plus, using the crock pot means most my work is done by the time dinner prep comes along.


As soon as the beans are done, you can mash them to the consistency of your choice.


I then cook some organic brown rice.


Add the toppings and you are done!  Super easy for a weekday dinner.

Don’t forget the tomatoes and avacado!

If we want more protein, I’ve added shrimp and chicken to our toppings.


How to Get Up that Hill!!!!

I guess I was naive when I first started trail running a year ago.  Sure I knew that there would be a roller or two on the trails that I’d be running.  And, yes, there are trails that have a roller or two.  But, mostly there are trails that have hills.  And I mean lots of hills!  Perhaps the challenge of the hills is one reason I love trail running.

Hills aren’t a bad thing.  They make you stronger, they challenge you and they can even give you the sense of accomplishment.  However, they can also defeat you at times.  By doing hill repeats, I hope to eliminate being defeated.

It’s time for me to start adding some hill repeat workouts into my schedule.  I plan on doing them every Monday.  However, I will still follow the intent of my training plan.  On an easy week, I will complete an easy hill repeat workout and on a hard week, the workout will be hard!

When I’m doing hill repeats, I think of a few things to help me get up the hill:

1.  Keep my body upright

2.  Look straight ahead or a bit up the hill, not down at the ground

3.  Pump my arms

4.  Shorten my stride

5.  Hills are my friends!

I also have to remind myself that it’s ok to walk up a long or steep hill.  Sometimes it’s better to conserve the energy for other parts of the run.  In fact, there are times when you may be able to power walk up a steep hill faster than running up it.  If this is the case, I use the time on the hill to my advantage.  I drink or I eat as I climb.

Do you do hill repeats?

What tips help you?

Update week 5…..

I just finished week 5 of the 50k training plan.  This week was considered a hard week and I definitely worked hard.  But, at the same time, I took 3 rest days this week, which is unusual for me.

The workouts were supposed to be:

Mon – 8 miles

Tues – ride 40 mins.

Wed – 6 miles

Thurs – 4 miles

Fri – rest

Sat – 20 miles

Sun – rest

2014 week 5 mileage

I completed the planned mileage, but ended up accidentally running 10 miles on Wed.  How do you accidentally run?  Well, I had planned to run 6 miles.  But, somewhere along the way I dropped my phone. I knew I had it with me on the way back home at the 4 mile mark.  I completed the 6 miles and got home before I noticed that it had dropped.

Of course, I had to go back searching for it which added on another 4 miles (2 miles out and 2 miles back).  This meant that I ran a total of 10 miles on Wed.

I never found my phone, but another trail user did and he/she turned it in at a nearby visitor’s center……..lucky me!

Since my mileage is already increasing each week and I had a long run planned for Saturday, I decided not to run again on Thursday and to rest both Thursday and Friday.  Taking a rest day doesn’t mean I do nothing.  I made sure to take the time to complete my core and upper body workouts on Thursday.  Then, I got a bunch of errands done.  Although I was on my feet, I didn’t do anything with high impact.  I wanted to be well rested for Saturday.

Saturday’s run was both fun and a success.  At this time, 20 miles on the trail is still challenging for me.  I started off with my running club (Folsom’s Trail Runners).  There were about 30 of us running different distances, but along the same trail.

2014 20 miler

It was an out and back run along Folsom Lake.  Unfortunately, there isn’t much water right now which takes away from the view.  But the sections of the trail with a lake view are breathtaking.

2014 20 mile run pic 1

Photo by Edd

There’s something peacefully about running through the oak tree covered sections of the trail. This run covered 2/3’s of the actual race day trail.  I feel lucky being able to practice on it.

2014 20 mile run pic 2

Photo by Edd

I consider the run a success.  I feel like I fueled well.  I ate about 200 calories per hour.  I ate peanut butter and honey sandwiches cut into pieces as well as 1 bag of Stinger chews.  My hydration plan went well, too.  I had plenty of water since I was able to refill at the half way point.  I still feel like there could have been a better plan for my electrolyte intake.  I’m still doing some research on this.

I also noticed that my legs are getting stronger.  This is only the 3rd time that I have run 20 miles on the trail.  At mile 18 my legs still felt strong.  It wasn’t really until the last mile that my legs felt tired.  Each long run from now on will help build that strength.  There is still plenty of time to increase my strength and mileage before race day.

I’m definitely ready for an easy week!  Plus an easy week gives me the opportunity to break in my new shoes.

20140113_094727I went with a pair of Asics GT 2000.  They are the 2013 model which means I got a screaming deal.  It’s hard to pay the big bucks when I’m replacing my shoes so frequently.

I’m still debating about which pair of trail shoes to get……….

What was your first pair of trail running shoes?

Shoe Alert!

When did you last replace your running shoes?

Have you checked your shoes’ mileage lately?

I feel like I am continuously buying running shoes!  I purchased my current pair of running shoes and wrote about them in early Oct.  But, here we are again.  It’s time to start thinking about a new pair.

I knew it was getting close to the time I would need new shoes.  I decided to check the mileage, as numbers don’t lie.  I log my runs into Training Peaks and it quickly adds up my total for any given time period.

2014 shoe mileage

As of this morning, I have run 326.85 miles on these shoes.  By the weekend, I will have over 350.  By next week, I’ll have closer to 380 miles.  You can see that the miles will add up pretty quickly.  This means, I need to go shopping!

Not everyone needs to replace their shoes so quickly.  But, most people need to replace them around 400 miles.  I tend to replace them between 350-400 miles.  Since I’m not running in the high end shoes anymore, I don’t get as many miles out of them.

One of the ways I can tell that I need new shoes is a little ache in my knee.  When my shoes are new and provide the needed support and cushion, I don’t get this pain.  When my shoes have many miles on them, the pain resurfaces.

If you are unsure when to replace your shoes, this Competitor’s article may help you out.

You may wonder why I keep bringing up this idea of replacing your shoes?  Well, during one year, I didn’t pay any attention and ended up with an injury.  It was an injury that could have been prevented.  When I did calculate the miles, I had close to 600 miles on that pair of shoes.

How often do you replace your shoes?

Does your body tell you when it’s time for new shoes or do you check your mileage?

Do you run until your shoes fall apart before replacing them?

Happy New Year!

A new year means new goals, of course.  What’s on your list?

I usually have a long list of races I want to run.  However, this year, I found I need to work on a few things to become a stronger runner.

These are my goals for 2014:

Run at least 1 if not 2 50k (31 miles)

Continue to learn new trails……There are still so many to explore!

Become stronger:

*Be consistent with my core routine

*Be consistent with my upper body routine

*Start doing squats and come up with a plan

Eat more protein:

I’m aiming for 60-80g a day

20g of protein 4 times a day

Create a bucket list of races

That’s it for now!  I’m sure I will add to the list as I still have ½ a year unplanned.

Have you made your list yet?

Do you plan out the year or decide along the way?

What’s your favorite goal for the year?