Favorites: Run Essentials

I'm back with another edition of five things I love. These are some of my favorite essentials that are making summer running a little more enjoyable and little more motivating.

Compete Training Journal
I've recently started another round of marathon training (I'm going for a sub 4:00 for my third marathon this October!) and began using this journal to track my progress. The book was created by pro runners Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas and includes tips on how to set goals, train with intention and set smart race strategies. It also has pages to log your runs/workouts and a bunch of useful material on how to look at competition and racing in a good, healthy way. As someone who is detail-oriented, I've been loving this because it gives me space to track my training and improvement all in one place. It'll be something fun to look at down the road.

Photo: VeloPress

Photo: VeloPress

Tailwind Nutrition
I use Tailwind during some of my longer runs. It's so easy to use—just mix it with water to meet your calorie, hydration and electrolyte needs. It dissolves easily into my water bottle and the taste is mild (just a hint of flavor that's easy on the stomach). It meets all nutrition needs so I can carry less (no need for energy chews or extra food). I buy the stick packs because I like trying all the different flavors and I can easily pack another stick if I need to bring more fuel on my run.

Photo: Tailwind Nutrition

Photo: Tailwind Nutrition

PROBAR Bolt Energy Chews
If I don't bring Tailwind on my long runs, I'll likely bring a pack of these organic energy chews. They're loaded with electrolytes, B vitamins and complex carbs for sustained energy. They have great flavors and options that have caffeine. I use these during road races because I don't carry water with me. The only annoying thing is that they can get a little sticky and hard to chew while you're racing but the taste makes up for it. Fun fact: PROBAR is a local Salt Lake City company and I used to work for the design studio that did their packaging!

Photo: PROBAR

Photo: PROBAR

Patagonia Duckbill Trucker Hat
It's pretty gross how much I wear this hat. I take it with me on every hot summer run and it's accompanied me through my last two races. On most of my runs, you'll find me with a trucker hat on my head and I've found that this is the best one at keeping my head cool while shading me from the heat. It's light, breathable and can pack small and still retain its shape. I love everything about it. Mine is often caked in a layer of sweat but it's so easy to rinse and dries quickly. Patagonia just released some new colors so I might need to get another one (even though I already own two)!

Photo: Patagonia

Photo: Patagonia

Stance Run Socks
I've built up a collection of Stance's run socks and they're the best. They're made with breathable materials and lightweight cushioning and come in the best patterns. There's a variety of styles—tab, crew or calf. I like the tab socks for road running and the crew for trail running. 

Photo: Stance

Photo: Stance

Race Recap: Dino Half Marathon 2017

As some of you know, I've been dealing with an ankle injury since my last race in March. What was initially diagnosed as a ligament sprain was actually peroneal tendonitis, so I've been going to PT once a week and was finally cleared to run again on May 1. For the past two weeks, I've been slowly building my mileage back up. I was given the go-ahead by my physical therapist to try running this half to see how my ankle would do.

The Dino Half took place in Vernal, Utah on Saturday, May 13th. Going into the race, I had no idea what to expect. With my lack of training for the past two months, I wasn't sure how I would do, being that my longest run since getting cleared to run was six miles. What I found out is that if you have a solid base already, it's easy to get your endurance and mileage back to where it was. I was pleasantly surprised.

Race weekend began with Geof and I driving to Vernal and picking up our race packets. I fell asleep in the car while seated cross-legged and once I stepped out of the car, realized my left calf was super tight. After picking up my packet, someone stopped me in the parking lot and asked if I had a running blog. She said she had read my post about the Dino Half from last year! That was so cool and it caught me off guard, so I apologize if I was acting awkward. I never imagined anyone but my friends and family would read my blog. 

We dropped our things off at the hotel and headed out to eat a pasta dinner at Antica Forma. I had linguine with meatballs and it was perfect. At dinner, I started to get an itchy tickle in my throat and was worried I might be getting sick. I let that thought drift from my mind as we ate and after dinner, we took a short walk by the restaurant to walk off the tightness in my calf. We went back to the hotel, gathered our gear for the race, foam rolled and headed to sleep.

I woke up the next morning with my throat and calf feeling pretty good. Rest must have worked out those kinks. I ate avocado toast, drank nuun and got ready. I taped up my ankle with KT tape and wore a compression ankle sleeve for precaution. We headed out the door around 5:50 a.m. to catch the buses to take us to the start of the race in Dry Fork Canyon. Once dropped off, we lined up for the port-a-potties, stood by the fire and I wrapped myself up in a heat sheet. It seemed like the wait before the start went by quickly, even with the race starting ten minutes late. At 7:40 a.m., after all the buses had dropped off their runners, they counted down and blew the horn.

The weather was nice—breezy and warm. I felt good at the beginning. Race day can make you feel so much better with all the adrenaline that kicks in. The first three miles of the race were on an eroded road and it was bumpy and rough. My ankle actually shifted and popped three times but as I continued to run, the pain from the shock of the pops began to subside. I had to work to stay on the flatter areas, but after those initial miles, the canyon road smoothed out and I was good. My ankle never popped again after that.

Geof and I ran together for the first three miles and then I went ahead when Geof slowed on some of the hills. He has been having some pain in his calf and ran the hills slower and more carefully to not aggravate it. I was feeling surprisingly so good and was keeping a nice pace. At mile 6, the 1:55 pacers came up behind me, overtook me and I ran behind them for a long time. They were running faster than they should have, but listening in on their conversations, I knew it was to bank time on the downhill portion of the course before the last miles leveled out.

Photo: Flo-Foto

Photo: Flo-Foto

I started to lose steam at mile 10 (yup, my legs had not run this far since my ankle injury in March) and I began to slow a little. My calves were feeling tight and sore. My 8:00-something pace went into the 9:00s but I was determined to keep those pacers in sight. After mile 10 sometime, Geof appeared by me again! He said he had been trying to catch up to me the whole time. He was just who I needed to see and we kept pace together for the last few miles.

When we only had half a mile to go, I ran past the 1:55 pacers and thanked them and said I had been following them for 7 miles. Geof and I tried to pick it up and we ran it in! I also ran my fastest Dino Half and I feel good about that with my lack of training lately (this was our third time running this race). Final chip time—1:52:34.

Mile Splits:
1—8:07
2—8:12
3—8:07
4—8:09
5—8:19
6—8:30
7—8:15
8—8:31
9—8:29
10—9:04
11—8:56
12—9:34
13—9:27
0.12—1:00

Post-race consisted of eating a spicy chicken sandwich, fries and custard at Freddy's, watching the new season of Master Of None, getting dinner at Vernal Brewing Company and frozen yogurt at Farr's. The next day, I woke up early because I couldn't sleep. I was having a hard time because my throat began to hurt really bad and I started to get really sick. We checked out of the hotel and drove back home, taking the long route through Flaming Gorge. It was really beautiful. I needed rest and took some short naps in the car on the way back.

Flaming Gorge

Flaming Gorge

The dry air and running into the wind during the race probably played into me getting sicker and making the virus worse (did you know that during endurance running you lose red blood cells?), but I wouldn't have traded running for anything. I'm really happy that I ran a strong race with a recovering ankle that isn't 100 percent. It makes me optimistic for what the year will bring and how much more I can improve once my ankle is fully healed. Excited.

Ankle Update

It's been a month since I injured my ankle at the 25K (see photo above) and I'm still unsure about when I'll be able to run again. The day of the injury, I went to a local Instacare and the doctor diagnosed me with a lateral ankle sprain. She told me I overstretched and partially tore my anterior ligament, which I know now was not the case. But for a whole month, I've been believing I had some kind of grade 2 ankle sprain and treating it as such, when it wasn't. 

After a month of my ankle slowly getting more stable and less painful, there was still one concerning, underlying issue. It still popped. These pops would happen when my ankle or foot shifted positions, when I walked on uneven surfaces or sometimes even randomly. One thing that's always the same is that it's uncomfortable and surprising every single time. Some pops are more painful than others and leave my ankle sore and the bone tender to press. Even though the pops are now happening less frequently, I still get a pop almost every day and that is worrisome. I had no real answers into when I could run again and I needed clarity. I had an appointment with a sports medicine doctor today and he was able to give me more insight into my injury.

So what's wrong with my ankle? The sports doctor said I injured my peroneal tendons. He used the area of pain to determine it wasn't an anterior ligament sprain and thinks the popping and snapping sensations are from my tendons. They got stretched and irritated when I rolled my foot during the race and he believes they're now snapping against each other, which causes a popping feeling in my ankle. He said if left untreated, it could turn into tendonitis. Today, the nurse even made my ankle pop by applying pressure to the outside edge of my foot and asking me to press back into it. The room was so quiet that I audibly heard the popping sound.

I'll be doing physical therapy soon and am back in my ankle brace. We'll see if there's improvement in two weeks when I go back for a follow-up. If it's still popping, I might have to wear a boot. I wish I had seen a sports doctor in the first place and not a general Instacare doctor. It could have sped up my healing process if I was diagnosed properly in the beginning. I always had pain behind and around the back side of my ankle bone, not in front of it, which should have ruled out an anterior ligament sprain. There are tendons that run back behind the ankle which makes total sense with where my pain lies.

I went on a hike yesterday and my ankle popped four times.

I went on a hike yesterday and my ankle popped four times.

What this injury has taught me is patience. I'm trying to trust in this whole process. Knowing that I'll be going to physical therapy soon makes me feel a little more optimistic but I'm still sad about not being able to do what I love. I want to run, hike and be outdoors. I miss all of it. I won't be running the Salt Lake half this weekend and I'm not allowed to run until I'm fully healed and ready. I knew I loved running but didn't realize just how much until it was suddenly gone. It's only temporary though and I'll have to keep reminding myself of that.