Summer Training Potpourri

My training since I last blogged (apparently it’s been a while) has been more consistent than my blogging abilities. Let’s just say Summer has been a busy month, and sitting down and typing my current affairs have been placed on the back burner.

The coast in the background and a moment alone with my amazing husband.

Since my participation in Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back, I have ran another Relay – Northwest Passage. There will be an upcoming post rating the experience, but for now, it’s only a draft. My first half-marathon (Catherine Creek Half Marathon) since my injury is this upcoming weekend and I am rather scared and excited about the event. It will be interesting to see how perform given it’s only been about two months since I started running again due to my plantar fascia rupture. The Catherine Creek Half-Marathon was the half where I finally broke under two hours last Summer. It is my hope to finish strong, but most importantly, I will be just happy to finish considering I did not toe the starting line of Eugene Marathon. This year, a good friend of mine will be racing Catherine Creek as well and I am hoping she can set a PR!

Here is a run down of what my training for Marine Corps Marathon looks like:

Trail Runs

Working the trails at 5:30 am!


I’ve falling in love with trail runs. They are definitely challenging, but I feel they are a deviation from the concrete runs I had while training for Eugene Marathon. In the last month I have been running trails, I’ve definitely felt like it has improved my running pace as well as sculpt my calves, quads, and hamstrings. Even better, my foot, which was given me trouble when I started running, is loving the dirt path over the hard pavement. Overall, I’m really enjoying getting up early in the  morning and breathing in the fresh air and being enveloped by the beautiful scenery. So far, my longest run has been a 10k, but I am hoping I can increase that distance within time.

Up in the morning with the Oregon Sun.

Relay Races

When an opportunity presented itself for Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage with my husband, I immediately jumped on it! Running on the same team with my husband in the state of Washington for a relay was exhausting, but it was so worth it. I love running as much as I love my husband, so being able to share this experience with him (and without our daughters) was such a memorable occasion for me. In Wasatch, I barely ran 12 miles for my total distance. In Northwest Passage, I ran over 20 miles! It was a strong run for me and it boosted my confidence that perhaps I can start training harder for my Marine Corps Marathon and my foot injury may finally be behind me. I’ve got one more relay race ahead of me, – Elkhorn Relay August 7 and 8 – and once that relay is over, my long distance runs in the double digits will commence.

At the finish line of our 200-ish mile journey with my wonderful husband. Running together is a rare occasion for us, so this moment was very significant for me.

Hiking

Surrounded by the majestic views Eastern Oregon in Wallowa State Park on the Aneroid Trail Lake.


This past Sunday, we spontaneously hiked Aneroid Lake Trail,  a beautiful trail in Wallowa Lake State Park. The roundtrip distance was 12 miles, and it was pretty exhausting to do with a two-year-old, an 11-year-old, and a beagle. There was an elevation gain of over 2,500 feet, which made for a challenging climb (for the young ones). Because it took us 3 hours and 20 minutes to get to Rogers Lake, .5 miles short of Aneroid Lake, and it was already 6:30 pm, we decided to head back out before the trail was completely dark. Our way down was so much faster, as our return only took us 2 hours and 15 minutes; enough time to make it out before darkness blanketed the trail. We are definitely interested in returning before Summer ends, but we would like to start the hike much earlier in the day. By the end of the hike, we were all exhausted! Because I had a challenging nine mile run the day before, my knees were definitely feeling the climb and the descend.

The combination of water, trees, skies…just stunning.

Summer has been busy so far. We’ve grilled, swam, hiked, visited family, stayed up late, and slept in. The mornings have gotten a little cooler, and even though we still have at least another six weeks of Summer remaining, it makes my gut ache thinking that this will soon come to an end and the dark, cold, gray days of winter will soon be creeping in. It is my intent to soak up as much vitamin D and heat as I possibly can.

How have your summer days been filled? Have you hiked any trails?

Trying out the Trails

Trail running is not my thing. For one thing, trails around here tend to be technical and require an acute sense of awareness between body and surface; a skill I’ve not honed given my clumsy nature. Add in a history of numerous sprained ankles, and I’m pretty much a running hazard. Thus, I’ve done most of my running on concrete and consciously avoided trails. Following my injury, I’d been advised to avoid concrete and have been dutifully logging my miles on the softer surfaces of local tracks. However, my long runs are now longer than five miles, making running around in circles pretty tedious. Plus, with Summer in full session, running around the track means getting scorched by the hot sun due to lack of shade.

  
This past Thursday, my friend Sarah and I had a 5:30 am running date on the trails. My excitement levels were so high the night before, I kept waking up every hour for fear of oversleeping! The run was as as challenging as I expected it to be. Every muscle, joint, tendon, and ligament in my body was constantly working as my legs and body maneuvered and shifted uphill, downhill, and around switchbacks. The elevation made an imposing presence on my lungs and made it more difficult for my nostrils to take in oxygen.

Because we had to make it back home for both our husbands to make it to work on time, we managed to cover 4.75 miles in an hour; .25 miles short of our targeted five miles. Normally, it takes 24-48 hours post-workout for me to feel the effects of physical exercise, but as soon as I sat in my car, my quads, hamstrings, calves, and ankles were pretty sore! My Thursday was definitely off to a great a start, and I knew I would come back again for more!

Views for Breakfast!

Nuun Hydration put together a virtual 5k/10k/ride race to benefit Girls on the Run and I chose the 10k, which coincidentally aligned with a scheduled 6 mile long run. Even better, the run landed on what is perhaps the best day of the entire year – INDEPENDENCE DAY! Once again, I headed towards the trails, but this time, I went alone – a first for me. This 10k wasn’t only to log 6.2 miles to cover the virtual requirements of the race, it was symbolic of my freedom and embracing all the blessings I have that millions of oppressed individuals around the world only imagine having. More specifically, I was running for all of the women around the world not allowed to drive, or are stoned to death for ludicrous accusations. My run was for little girls who do not have access to an education, and for women who can’t walk out of their homes without permission. Because I got really lost, and it took me longer than expected, I had a good amount of time to be thankful for my life, and was ever grateful my daughters were growing up in a country filled with so many opportunities.

Lost in nature and enjoying the views.


I’m definitely adding trail running to my repertoire mix. It’s challenging both mentally and physically, and the trails are bursting at the seams with awesome views. Here are some things I have learned with only two measly trail runs under my belt:
1) I will get lost.

This is pretty much a given, since I get lost even walking around my neighborhood. Fortunately, the trails connect and eventually lead to the starting point.

2) Compression socks make a difference.

I started purchasing compression socks this past fall, when I registered for the Eugene Marathon, in order to help with recovery during the long runs. I decided to wear them during my long run on Saturday and they really helped protect my legs from tall grass, dust, dirt, and debris.

 

Patriotic socks in the tall grass.

 
3) Trail running shoes matter.

I ran in the Gel Nimbus and the sole had minimal traction on the trail, which made for a slippery run. Looks like my husband is going to have to twist my arm so that I can purchase trail running shoes.

4) GPS apps/watches are unreliable.

I for both runs, I used my Garmin Forerunner 220, and my mapmyrun application on my iPhone. Both were off. This means that the joy of running will be more joyous if you don’t take technical stuff too seriously.

5) Deer and Antelope Roam

Nature will definitely be on fully display. While on my run, I ran into deer and antelope, and I’m certain I traversed hundreds of insects and other species of animals that I may have not seen but were definitely present. I may just have to carry some pepper spray to fend off from any animals that may attack me.

 

Can you spot the deer?

 
Are you a trail runner? What tips do you have for a novice like me?