Fit After Little Bits

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Last Few Weeks and Hells Canyon Adventure Run

Well, I guess it is officially Spring?! That sounds really funny as it has been absolutely hammering snow all day…but, alas, that is what you get for living in the mountains I guess. Could really go for a beach and 75 degrees right now 😉

The last few weeks have been filled with snow running, so many treadmill miles, Nordic miles and DIRT miles!! What!?! 25 glorious (and slightly terrifying miles) on dirt and rock-but more on that in a minute.

At what point do you just give up on trying to look attractive while running in the snow? Even after years of doing it, I still end up in whatever layers I can find that seem like they will do the best job. Very much a function over fashion runner over here 😉 This was the look from my hill repeats a few weeks ago. It was COLD and snowing. This Nike Trail jacket is great because it basically unzips completely up the sides so I could let in cool air when working hard and zip it back up for the recovery/descent portion.

We have been hit continuously by some good storms-great for downhill skiing and summer water supply…not as great for Nordic. Plus it has been warmish. A soft, interesting texture on skate skis.

As the miles per week start to creep up, I notice that I am CONSTANTLY finding myself opening the door to the pantry. Doesn’t matter if I have already refueled well. Just all about the snacks. Ha. Sooo, in order to continue to fit into my clothes I have added in some foods that will help me feel as full as the calories I am consuming. In all fairness, I really wished this was a hamburger the whole time. Even though it was actually pretty delicious.

Speaking of downhill skiing…got out with Brooke and enjoyed some delightful powder!

Another fun side effect of the longer/tougher workouts has been the sweet little notes from my Garmin. 71 hours of recovery. That was cute. Considering I had 10 miles to complete the next day. Thanks for the advice!

A highlight from a week ago was Brooke deciding she wanted to do the last Nordic race of the season! It was totally her choice and it was adorable. She did so good and worked so hard. It was great seeing her out there suffering…um, I mean working hard doing something fun! 😉 Ken also did the race and took 2nd place in the sprint course. It was awesome.

We have been lucky to have a few bluebird days 🙂

This past weekend, I did something that I haven’t done in months! I packed my hydration pack full of food and went on a nice long run on dirt. I only ended up going through about half of the food I had packed (I tend to overpack because if for some reason I end up out there longer than I think-or overnight, I want all the foods!).

We drove down to Riggins on Friday afternoon so that Ken could do some work before we headed to our hotel. Since it was our first time and we were not super familiar with the area, we chose to stay closer with a shorter drive in the morning.

On Saturday, we were up really early and loaded into the car to head down to Pittsburg landing. It turned out that we were really early because the jet boats we were taking were running on Pacific time instead of Mountain Standard….so we had an extra hour to hang while I decided on final outfit choices and food items.

At 7 am, a group of us loaded onto a jet boat (there was also the option to do a shorter run of about 15-16 miles) and headed about 25 miles up the river. The ride was so much fun. It is amazing what those boats can do in rapids. No wonder they are so popular for summer adventures.

The driver of the boat pulled over at a point on the shore and we all unloaded. After a few minutes of getting things together, I set off jogging. I call it that, but it was really like 10 of us trying to figure out where the actual trail was! This run is unsupported, so you carry everything you might need and probably one of the most technical trails that I have done.

The first 2.5 miles were a bit hectic, but eventually we could make out the trail. Since we are coming out of winter with less use on the trails, they were quite covered with grass and brush. Luckily, I only went off course 3 or 4 more times. The trail is also not marked at all. You just follow it and hope it turns up. One thing I did was find the trip on Strava from a previous year and downloaded the GPX file and put it on my watch. I used the navigation function and it would tell me if I went the wrong way. Thankful for that!

While I knew that parts of the trail were very exposed and really, basically on the edge of cliffs, I wasn’t completely mentally prepared for how much we encountered. It was probably a good thing I didn’t know or I might have chickened out. There was a LOT and you can believe I never looked down in those sections 😉 I am pretty terrified of heights and falling. It was a day of conquering fears for sure. But never did I feel like it was unsafe, just that there were areas I needed to walk because my rate of tripping and falling is much higher when I am running.

The views were absolutely amazing! Quite an experience being out there. I went back and forth with some other awesome women throughout the day. It was nice having other humans around. Once we got closer in, I passed a bunch of people that had done the short option as a hike. They were all so encouraging as I ran by (maybe waddled by that point!).

All in all, it was an amazing day. Very thankful for the opportunity to do it and for Ken hanging out with Brooke for the day. It was amazing coming across them with about a half a mile to go! Brooke had hiked out in her BOGS no big deal 😉

This event is not a race, just an awesome day out…but I am not going to lie, it is hard not to be a little competitive. 😉 It was also fun to test the fitness a bit. It was also my first day ever using poles. I really enjoyed having them, but definitely need some practice with them to be more efficient. Every long run at this point is practice for August, so I worked really hard on nutrition and hydration. I was pretty happy with both. I started eating basically 2 miles into the run. It ended up taking me about 5.5 hours with 10 minutes of non-moving time. Let’s just say I wanted to keep things moving forward! Most of that downtime was taking off clothes, etc.

Definitely recommend the experience, but be prepared for some ruggedness. They dont call it Hells Canyon because it is rainbows and butterflies!

Now back to my regularly scheduled snow activities…Happy Spring!

Week of 3/13
T: 8 mile easy run, treadmill
W: 7 miles, treadmill with 7×5 min efforts
H: Skate ski 5.25 miles
F: 4 miles easy, treadmill
S: 25 miles with 4k+ elevation. Rugged. Hells Canyon Adventure Run
S:16 miles (1 hour) bike trainer easy (pretty sore quads!)

Week of 3/6
T: 4 mile easy run, treadmill. 4.4 mile skate ski
W: 7 miles, treadmill with 7×5 min efforts
H: 3 mile easy run, treadmill. 5.5 miles skate ski
F: 10 miles easy treadmill
S: 13 mile skate ski. 7 mile run, treadmill
S: 7.3 miles skate ski. 7.7 miles easy, treadmill

Week of 2/27
M: 5 mile easy run, treadmill
T: Pyramid workout on treadmill (7.5 miles). 6.5 mile easy skate ski
W: 5 mile easy run, treadmill
H: Hill workout in the snow. 2×3 mile power hike, 3×5 mile run efforts, 5×30 second uphill sprints (recoveries for all)=7.1 miles + 6.3 mile easy skate ski
F: 6.3 mile easy skate ski
S: 10 mile treadmill run. 10 mile skate ski
S: 7.7 mile skate ski. 2.3 mile treadmill run

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Where did March come from?

Oh March, I am excited to see you! Does anyone else feel like March is the *almost Spring* month?! Yes, we will still be snow covered and possibly get A LOT more snow. BUT there is something special about the longer days and hopefully slightly warmer temperatures! Not that I don’t LOVE the treadmill, but it also brings thoughts of the approaching dirt 😉

February seemed to disappear in a blink! We were thrilled to have my mom pop in for a visit. It definitely was a nice little change up to the normal routine. Part way through the month, I was asked to step in to teach another online course for an instructor who could not complete his, so that made for a little bit of scrambling to catch up for a bit.

Here are just a few of the highlights from the month.

With my mom here, Ken and I were able to sneak out on a couple of date skis! Since most of my training is solo, it is really nice to have some conversation!

Got my mom out on cross country skis for her first time! She was unsure at first, but started to feel comfortable after a couple of miles.

We tried a *new to us* restaurant in town, Brunchette. It was delicious and Brooke keeps begging to go back. I have a feeling it has to do with the hot chocolate!

As for at home meals, I am always trying to mix it up a bit (but mostly fall into the trap of the same food on repeat). A crowd favorite has been French Toast with cinnamon bread from Trader Joe’s. We also love it with their Brioche bread.

A trip to Costco is never complete a “must have” piece of clothing for this one. But in reality, this thing is so warm and cozy and she wears it ALL the time. It is possible I also had it on for a while 😉

Really nailed a few meals last month. The fact that Brooke asked for it again due to presentation must say something about our family. Ha.

Skate ski conditions were a bit variable throughout February. There were a few days of some significant powder on the trails. Those were a little rough.

Just a casual blizzard at Nordic practice. Somehow she made it look cute.

Could probably do an avalanche course on the layers of roof snow at the house.

Only a few more Nordic practices for this lady. She has gotten pretty good on those skate skis!

Workouts have been going pretty well! It has been nice to be able to mix ski and running. My body might be a little surprised when the snow melts and those miles become all running. Thankful for the option to spend most of my time on dirt. So much easier than running on pavement.

Definitely running short on Netflix ideas at this point. Anyone have any good show recs? I have recently resorted to just listening to podcasts, but it is easier to zone out for long runs with a show. Let me know what you got!

Today’s hill workout is going to be a snowy one. Time to build up that motivation in my head!

Week of 2/20
M: 10 miles run, treadmill
T: Rest (1.8 miles skate-decided it was too snowy for easy)
W: 5 miles easy, treadmill
H: 7.2 miles snowy recovery skate ski
F: Rower/ski erg. Weights.
S: 10 mile skate ski (pretty fast, not super hard)
S: Rest

Week of 2/13
M: Rest
T: 8 miles skate ski (fairly hard).
W: 6.2 mile run treadmill. 3.4 mile skate ski
H: 4 mile run, treadmill. 2.4 mile classic ski with Brooke/Sonja
F: 10.2 miles skate ski. 7.8 miles run outside.
S: Rest (trip to Boise-no time)
S: 17.7 miles run, treadmill. 10.3 miles skate ski (snowing-tough conditions)

Week of 2/6
M: Easy trainer ride, 45 minutes
T: Rest
W: 7 mile skate ski. 3 miles easy treadmill
H: 4 miles easy skate ski
F: 10 miles skate ski. 2 mile easy jog outside!
S: 11 miles easy skate ski with Ken. 9 mile easy run outside
S: 12.2 miles easy skate ski with Ken

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My Top Recovery Tools

Well, I was doing pretty good at the whole weekly posting, but its been a few weeks now. I blame life. Haha. Ken actually went back to work for a local company so we are adapting to a little more structure and figuring out a new balance! My new semester started 2 weeks ago as well, so that has meant I have been tied to more work as well.

The past few weeks have been filled with work, play and workouts. Brooke started her downhill ski group, so she has some sort of ski activity Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Loving it, but still learning how to be places all week 😉

My workouts have been a mix of the treadmill and running outside. We have a good amount of snow and ice, so that is always exciting. I have been skate skiing at least twice a week. Finally starting to feel less terrible at that!

It is really easy to choose the inside option for running, but I have been making an effort to do at least my easier or part of my long runs outside. It is much nicer when the sun is out-that is an easy sell!

So, a topic for today that I am spending far more time on and really haven’t in the past is RECOVERY. For the majority of my previous endeavors, I was less structured in my training. I always got in some important workouts and was consistent in doing some type of exercise most days, but I never really felt the overall build up and fatigue of training. There was the tendency to just get the workout done and then move on with the day. While I still am pretty bad at doing “all of the things”, I have taken a more proactive role in making it happen (something about running more and more miles per week). Everyday in my planner there is a little box that says “recovery” and I do my best to at least do something that would qualify.

As a runner, I think it is normal to think about stretching after every run-but it is really just as normal to let it slip. There are only so many hours in a day, right?! Many days stretching still takes a backseat (I promise myself to do better), there are still other things that I do (sporadic is better than nothing-or that is what I tell myself).

So, here are my top favorite forms of recovery, in no particular order….

Number 1
Compression Socks

I am probably a big weirdo but I LOVE the feel of compression socks. They come in handy after a big workout or when traveling. They just feel like something is giving your calves a big hug. For me, I definitely notice less swelling of my ankle and feet-especially after a big workout. For my long runs, I will often wear a pair. It just feels more supportive during a lot of hours on the feet.

Number 2

I had to bring my best boy in for this (I miss him so much) because he was such a pro. Sleep is such an incredible way to recover. It is FREE and so important for the body. Napping is something that I am incapable of (unfortunately!) but Ken and I make sure to get in bed at a reasonable time at night. We typically shut off the TV at 9:30 and head to bed.

Number 3
Recovery Boots

These things are incredible. As I turned 40 at the end of last year, my mom asked me to come up with something special for my birthday. Over the hill, anyone? These quickly came to mind and I am SO grateful. They are at the high cost end of my recovery tools, but I use them basically every day. While we watch TV at night, you can find me with them on. It is always a little sad when the session ends and they get turned off-they really feel that good! With double digit runs 2-3 days in a row/week, these things are game changers.

Number 4
Protein Shake (Food)

Eating when finishing a workout is so important. Our muscles need nutrients to repair and build tissue. Now, while this looks so official with a protein shake-it really just means food! Somedays it is string cheese or actual lunch or whatever I find in the fridge. Your body just needs you to eat something! There is a lot of research out there on the best options (carbs: protein ratios and such), but in reality-just eat something. You will feel so much better and limit the crash later. Or deep dive into the science and get really specific. Totally up to you.

Number 5
Percussion Tool

There are many different brands of percussion tools out there ranging in prices. My feeling on these is that they all do the same thing. Most of them come with different “heads” that allow for broad vs precise locations of torment-I kid, kinda. I have a love/hate relationship with this guy. It feels SO good on my quads, hamstrings, etc BUT oh my gosh my calves. I have to try hard not to get tears in my eyes. Guess I know where I need to focus 😉 I think we have the Homedics brand. It works great for us-I actually tend to use this before a workout to loosen things up, but it is also a helpful little massage after or even on rest days.

Number 6
Hot Tub

We have a thing for our hot tub. There are a good amount of people out there who may use their hot tub 1-2 times a week. We are in ours probably closer to 5-6 times per week. It is so great for the lower body, but also the low and midback as well-I struggle with those with a lot of running. If you dont have one at home, a lot of gyms seem to have them as well. (Maybe the mimosa was not the best recovery drink after 20 miles of running while in the hot tub-but YOLO, right?)

Number 7

Stretching is the worst. Okay, not really. Once I get started, it does feel great. But what is it about it that makes it so hard to start? If you have an idea, let me know! I find that it works better if I pop on a YouTube yoga session. That typically makes it last longer than my normal 45 seconds. And I really do feel so much better after. I love Yoga with Adriene. She is on YouTube and it is free. She has classes that range from 7 minutes to an hour so there is typically a way to fit something into a day!

Number 8
Scraping Tool

This little guy came from Amazon. I have some serious issues with the tendons in my ankles and I spend a good amount of time using this with a little lotion to scrape them. If it sounds less than pleasant, you are not wrong. It really does seem to help though. I even work up into my calves. Such a good time.

Number 9

Anyone else terrible at drinking water? I am the worst. In my brain I KNOW how important it is to stay hydrated-especially after a workout, but dang. There is something about a giant cup and straw that help me do a better job. If my workout has been sweaty, I will often add some type of electrolyte mix in there as well to help rehydrate my body. At something like 26 ounces, I feel accomplished each time I finish a full cup!

Number 10
Foam Roller/Stick

Another tool that I love to hate! We have multiple foam rollers, but I have to admit, I don’t really LOVE them. I use them mostly to roll out my midback-it gets especially tight with a lot of treadmill workouts and skate skiing. But, these guys are more of my go-to. I find that they can be more specific in the areas that need work and I don’t have to figure out a strange way to hold my body to work on leg muscles. It can be really hard on the foam roller!

Number 11
Cross Training

It is funny to think about another form of exercise as “recovery” but it totally can be! With the soreness that comes with running, it is often nice to “spin” the legs out on the bike or trainer. It can also be nice to go out for an easy ski (or walk….). Mixing it up brings in new muscles and gives the running specific ones a break. I also will sometimes substitute an easy run in my schedule for another type of workout-it just makes the brain happier sometimes, too!

Number 12
Lacrosse Ball

On the lower cost side of the spectrum, we have the lacrosse ball. This thing comes in so handy for so many areas of the body. You can use them against a wall on your back, on the floor with your glutes and my personal fave-on the bottoms of your feet. This one hurts so good on the ever abused plantar fascia. It forever lives under my computer desk and I use it all day long!

Number 13

No picture for this one-but we all know what I am talking about! This would be at the upper end of the scale if you are getting consistent massages. While it sounds amazing (and also my legs hurt just thinking about it) this is not one that I do often. Maybe once a year? Sometimes Ken and I will trade off on each other’s legs! But if you have the means to, there are some serious benefits.

Okay, there you have it! Yes, there are still a ton of other things out there for recovery. From post-workout supplements to ice baths/saunas to who knows what! But these are the things I find myself able to do at least sometime during the week. Every little bit helps! Do you have any tried and true recovery techniques? I am always eager to throw new things into the mix!

Until next time! Enjoy that recovery (any maybe the workouts that lead to it as well!)

Last week’s workouts:
M: 4 miles easy, treadmill
T: 7 miles, treadmill (7×5 min efforts). 6.2 miles skate ski
W: 60 minutes bike trainer easy
H: 8 miles, treadmill. 7 miles skate ski
S: 6 miles skate ski (deep snow). 6 miles outside! 8 miles treadmill
S: 5.5 miles outside. 4.5 miles treadmill

2 weeks ago workouts:
M: 6 miles outside
T: 6.5 miles treadmill
W: 7.3 miles skate ski
H: 8 miles, treadmill. 6 miles skate ski
S: 15.5 miles run (treadmill and outside), 4.6 miles classic ski
S: 10 miles, treadmill

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