Week #2 of Devil Dog Training & The Niggles


It’s been super humid and hot most of this week, to the point where running isn’t fun.  It was time to dig deep and just get out there and slog through the miles.  I can’t say they were all bad though.  I had some good company on a few runs which always makes things more enjoyable!

Dealing with Niggles

I was noticing a twinge of pain in my left knee cap area recently….only a few steps per run so nothing major, but definitely something to nip in the bud.  I’ve battled with runner’s knee in the past and don’t want to go back there!  So, the focus this week was to take care of that.  I had already planned to kick the mileage back down to the twenties for the week.   I was aiming for extra rest days and no double digits.  Here are the actions I took to help the niggle subside and hopefully not turn into an actual injury:

  • Ice the area post run.
  • Extra rest days or just cycling days.
  • Ibuprofen after the run just to keep inflammation at bay.  ( I don’ t like to mask any symptoms with meds before the run or I won’t know how it’s doing and could risk more damage)
  • New shoes (This is a BIG one!  Really thinking I ran too many miles in the previous ones past their prime which added to the niggles.  Plus running a 10 miler on roads in the old ones a few weeks ago was probably not smart either.)  Isn’t it funny how loved the ones on the left are?  These are the same exact shoe down to the color.  One has about 500 miles and the other 0.  They felt like heaven!image
  • Strengthening around the knee with lunges and squats (I have to admit I could be doing these more regularly so this was a wake up call!)
  • Less climbs and steep downhill running.  This part makes me sad but it had to be done!

Thankfully my last 3 runs have been totally niggle free, but I’ll continue some of the strategies above through this next week to ensure things are back to where they need to be for when my training gets more demanding!

Week #2 Breakdown

Monday:  REST  (hamstring, quad stretching)

Tuesday:  3 easy miles  (stretching + lunges + squats)

Wednesday:  8.5 mile cycle  (stretching + lunges + squats + upper body)

Thursday:  Gym workout (upper body/ back/core)

 

Friday:  6 easy trail miles with Eli (incorporated more walking & explored)

Saturday:  8.1 trail miles (Hoka demo day with Appalachian Running Company)

image
These were the shoes I tried out for 5 of the miles.  Hoka Speedgoat 2 (men’s since all the women’s in my size were taken).  My verdict is that I’ll stick with Altra Lone Peaks.  There is nothing quite like my Altras.  I prefer to feel the ground more underneath myself and always feel more confident flying down technical terrain in the Lone Peaks.   But…. I could see these Hokas being a refreshing shoe to wear after being on your feet for 50 miles or more in an ultra.  Actually I am excited to try Altra’s new Timp shoe for this reason.  The zero drop and wide toe box make me a loyal fan!

Sunday:  9 Appalachian Trail miles with a Ragnar buddy and a killer gym workout for sweat session #2

image
Warm Up:
3 x 10 lunges with 25 lb plate overhead
3 x 10 raises with plate
3 x 50 med ball slams
3 x 10 assisted pull ups
3 x 15 ab raises
3 x 30 second flutter ab kicks
3 x 10 dumbell curls
3 x 100 oblique twists with med ball
3 x 10 tricep dips with 20 lb
3 x 10 lower ab leg raises
3 x 10 knees to chest
3 x 15 lat pull downs

Food is Fuel!

I had these romaine boats with roast beef, goat feta, sriracha lemon aioli, radishes, and green onions for lunch and they didn’t disappoint.   Bottom one has chipotle mustard instead of aioli because it ran out.  Definitely need to make more!

image

And this low carb/ high protein waffle for breakfast.  Made with coconut flour and egg whites, topped with mini semi-sweet choc chips, walnuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, almond butter, and honey.  I did not miss the Bisquick waffles I made for the boys at all!

image

 

Any tips or strategies you use to handle the niggles when they show up?

Favorite gym workout?

Of everything in the list above from today, my favorite is the medicine ball slam squats. It’s so rewarding to slam something on the ground over and over.  Hahaha!

 

Snacks I’m Loving Lately…and Goodbye, April.


Let’s Talk Snacks!

I’ve been routinely buying the same types of things each week so I thought I’d mix it up this past week.  Instead of my usual staples of almond butter, almond milk, and plain Greek yogurt, I decided to try some new things.

Have you heard of Quark?

It’s actually a type of cheese, not yogurt, but it is really good and a great source of protein.  I only ever found it at our discount store, BB’s, but I hear it can be found at Target.  I’m going to check next time I go.

image
We’ve had the key lime before and it was okay, but I really enjoyed the vanilla bean.

Skyr

This was my favorite and another great source of protein!  It is really creamy and the vanilla bean flavor is really like no other.  It even had a slight crisp to the vanilla bean speckled inside.  I can’t explain it any other way, but I’m definitely buying these more often.  I also tried the strawberry and ligonberry flavor.  That was good too!  Their fruit flavored have berries that are native to Iceland, so it’s something unique and different for a snack.  Check out their website:  Icelandic Provisions.  I found them at Giant and can’t wait to try some more flavors.

image

Cashew Butter

I absolutely love my almond butter but had to try this instead for a change.  Much creamier as you can probably imagine, and I’m still using it in the same way….on toast with honey, in oatmeal, on top of french toast with honey, etc.  I’ll go back to almond butter when this is gone, but I do like it and will probably switch up the two every now and then.

image

Milk

I usually buy a carton of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and had to try this almond and coconut mix.  I drink it once in a while with breakfast plus I use it in some recipes.  When I make oatmeal, I do 1/2 cup oats and 1 cup of almond milk and cook it on the stove.   I also use it to make french toast and baked oatmeal.

image
This is REALLY good and I will have a tough time deciding whether to buy almond or almond with coconut from now on!  You get the taste of both flavors but nothing is overpowering.  I even liked it in my Kashi cereal.

Also, the side of the carton advertises that there is now Silk yogurt made from almond milk.  I definitely need to find this!  If you have seen it somewhere, be sure to let me know!

Where did you go, April?

Well here we are almost a week into May now.  Below is the recap for my training during April.  I really don’t think I ran roads at all.  Maybe 6 miles?  All trail and a few xc course miles.  Less than a month to Cayuga now.  Hotel is booked and I’m already visualizing crossing that finish line!

image

 

Favorite snack lately?

What kind of milk do you like?

Flat Rock Times 4…and Week #10 of Training for Cayuga Trail 50


Sometimes you can’t run the mile you’re in.  This thought came to me tonight as I was running down my last, my fourth, decent of Flat Rock Trail.   As I dodged the rocks and icy spots down the steep terrain, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past 4 plus hours I had spent on the mountain.  It’s ironic because many runners say that you SHOULD run the mile you are in.  Don’t think about what’s ahead, only where you are at the current time. Step by step, get it done.  And that is true most of the time.  But after today’s workout, I realized that there are times that looking ahead is the only thing that will get you through the difficult miles or mental anguish you are putting yourself through when the mile gets tough and real.

I had done a set of 3 mountain repeats at Flat Rock 3 weeks ago (for a total of 12 miles) and vowed to come back every 3 weeks or so to do more, only adding one set each time.  The trail is 1200 ft of elevation in one trip, much of that in the first mile.  You can run in the beginning but at 0.4 miles when the trail gets ridiculously steep and doesn’t let up until mile 1, you are force to hike.  Each step brings a new challenge, especially  with the snow squalls we got on Friday, and especially when you are on your 3rd or 4th ascent.  Much of the trail was ice and snow today.  Almost all of the trail is rocky and steep. After the first mile there is a nice runnable section again for almost half a mile.  Then you have another steep climb to Flat Rock…where you earn the reward for your hard work.  An amazing view, and then 2 miles of steep quad busting and knee blasting descent back to your car.

Most people, sane people, then get into said car and drive home to rest, eat, and reflect on the day. I go to my car, grab a quarter of a PB & J sandwich, refill my fluids, and then turn around and do it all again.  To be fair, most people aren’t training for a 50 mile race with 11,000 ft of elevation gain.  And most people aren’t gluttons for punishment.

I’m going to keep it real here and let you in on a little secret.  A lot of negative thoughts were flooding my brain during the first mile of the first three repeats up this challenging trail. “No one will blame you for cutting it short today. You can just do one round trip.  Just see what the view looks like today at the top.  Then finish your run somewhere else”.   But as I ran down the mountain for the fourth time to my car, having finished what I set out to do, I realized that the negative thoughts ONLY came during that first mile.  The mile you can barely do in under 19 minutes on a good day without snow, ice, and freezing temps.  The rest of the run my thoughts were positive.  Even when I knew I would be turning around to do it again.  It was like I had forgotten the pain of the relentless uphill.   So with each repeat, I was able to silence the inner naysayer and forge ahead, focusing on where I would end up when the terrain became easier.  This trail is a valuable tool for me as I make my way into longer races.  Yes, it brings a great physical challenge to the table…but more importantly, my mental game is going to be on point after a few more of these workouts! My favorite mantra today was “Relentless forward motion.”  I read it somewhere and it really resonated with me.  It sounds easy when you are doing something hard!

Some Pics from Flat Rock Today!

image
About 0.25 from Flat Rock.  Most of the snow was up here.  I was glad I wasn’t the first person to make footprints here today!
image
I only took pics the fourth time up because I knew my phone would freeze.  As soon as I took these it froze!  Gorgeous view today.
image
Happy the going up part is over.  Downhills are my favorite!  
image
Perfection.  Exhaustion.  Exhilaration.

Run Down of Week #10 of Training

I’m bummed about not getting in enough lifting and core but next week is cutback and I’m going to make up for it!

Monday:  Rest.  Literally.  I took a nap after work!  Naked Bavarian recovery!

Tuesday:  4 easy trail miles with coworkers (so much fun!) & lifting & core

Wednesday:  5 trail miles

Thursday:  9 trail miles, last 3 @ tempo (basically faster than usual)

Friday:  Rest.  Literally.

Saturday:  12 trail miles

Sunday:  16 mountain repeats on the trail

TOTAL:  46 miles

How was your week of running / lifting / working out?

What is your favorite mantra when the going gets hard?

 

Rainy Run & 3 Things I’m Loving Today


Today was 3.5 miles with a coworker.  Only two of us showed up for our club run, which is understandable, as temps were in the low 40’s and it was pouring!   There have been many times I have put off a run due to weather, but I feel like with ultra running I can’t make excuses.  I want to be prepared for my 50 mile race and numb to any weather conditions that I may have to battle on race day.  And I know that part of ultra running is adapting to the conditions, discomforts, pain, and tough times…and pushing through it all.  A little rain is good for the soul.  Plus, sometimes a rainy run is more fun!  We even decided that puddle jumping is good cross training.  Thanks, Carl for toughing it out with me!  It actually wasn’t too bad and I never regret a run.

So now it’s time for 3 things I was loving today.

#1:  Strawberry Basil Infused Water

img_2655

One of my goals is to cut back on Diet soda…probably the only thing not good for me I still allow myself to have once a day.  So I’m making infused water to replace my soda.  This is one of my absolute favorite flavors.  It is so refreshing and I didn’t even miss my lunchtime soda today.  I have some other favorite flavor combos that I will share later this week!

#2:  Sprouted Grain Bread

I have been buying the Aldi brand but was at a different store last night and found this one.  Very comparable in price and taste and I think I like this one better.  I have switched to sprouted grain over regular bread for a few reasons, mainly the health benefits!  Did you know that it is easier to digest and usually has more protein and fewer carbs than regular bread?   My favorite way to eat it is toasted with almond butter and a drizzle of honey.

 

#3:  Agnes & Dora Leggings

My quads were sore today from 12 miles on the road.  My body has adapted to long trail runs and the road miles left me feeling tired this morning.  Dressing comfy for the work day in these soft, buttery leggings really made the day more bearable.  Besides, they are cute!  Check out the shop site here:

Agnes & Dora by Krysti

Krysti is my sister-in-law and the clothes she has in her shop are cute, trendy, and comfortable.  My collection is already growing more than I planned!

img_2668

Do you like infused water?  Do you have a flavor combo I should try?

Am I the only one who likes almond butter and honey on my toast?

How do you feel about running in the rain?