History of Running, Part 3: Surviving

That breakup. The 3-year on-again-off-again relationship with a man I loved, but who could never truly love me back—because you don’t treat people you love the way he treated me. I know that now. While he ended it in the beginning of October, we technically kept dating until January, and I kept holding on until March (which is insane, I know. But there was so much chaos, manipulation, codependency, and trauma mixed together that it was so, SO hard to break away). That timeline is important for you to know because it goes along with my running at the time.

The weekend after the breakup, I ran the Red Rock Relay with three friends from my church congregation—Sam, Dane, and Melissa—and my ex’s awesome sister and her friend. Six of us in a van driving through the mountains of Utah all day. We each ran 2 legs of the race. A majority of us had injuries. I was not properly fueled, as I had barely eaten or drank anything all week from grief. And I loved the whole day. (Okay, the dehydration and cramping and suckiness of my second run wasn’t great, but I still did it, and obviously don’t focus on that while looking back on the day as a whole, haha)

While I knew Sam and Dane casually from church, I don’t think we weren’t super close friends before the race started. But during this race, we found an appreciation for the TV show New Girl and from that time forward, we started watching new episodes together every Thursday night. After the run, the 3 of us also went to get Noodles & Co. together. We started hanging out regularly from that time forward.

Toward the end of November, there was some drama with my ex (who I was still seeing regularly at that point, if you recall). I was devastated. And this is where Sam came in. He worked with his running coach to switch around some training runs to go on a 6 mile run with me that night, way below his normal training pace (and knowing now how serious he is with his training, that is HUGE). We ran 6 miles down Provo Canyon in the dark (we forgot lights) and in the constantly pouring rain (couldn’t wear my glasses!), while Sam told me stories, and I found the strength that I needed to find that night. It meant so much to me. (I believe this was also the furthest I had run since my 10k back in June 2014).

At Christmastime I remember talking to Sam on the phone while I was visiting family in San Diego, and he offered to coach me to help me reach my running goals. I was unsure how dedicated I was to the things I wanted to accomplish, so I pushed pause on the idea. But by March or April, sometime during the peak of grief and trauma, I was all in. I needed something to work toward, and something that I could have some control over. Training gave that to me.

I trained to PR my 5k, and to run my first half marathon. Sam helped me do both of those things.

Race for Red 5k: 26:54 (average 8:39 min/mile pace). A HUGE PR, if you remember any of my other 5k finish times. I didn’t race the smartest—I definitely went out too fast and struggled on the way back in—but this was my first time incorporating speed work into my runs, and I could see the impact that had (and I learned that I really enjoy speed work)!

AF Canyon Half Marathon: 2:04 (average 9:29 min/mile). I ran with my friend Haley the whole time, who I had done all of my long runs with while training! Sam and our friend Mikala also ran, so it was fun seeing them at the finish line, along with Haley’s mom and brother Mic. To this day, completing this race is one of my biggest accomplishments. (It’s also one of my favorite races, and I’m signed up to do it again this year).

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There you have it, where it all started. Sometimes I look at people who have been running since they were track stars in high school, or people who started running and LOVED IT and never stopped progressing, and I feel like my journey is less. But just because I progressed more slowly doesn’t make my joy from the sport any less, or make the accomplishments that I reach any less meaningful (I don’t totally believe that last one internally yet, but I’m working on it).

The point is: This is my journey, and I love it. Running has saved me multiple times, and continues to do so. I have run more races since the AF Canyon Half, and my training is still changing and evolving. You can read about those races in the race recaps, and I’ll continue to share as my journey progresses!

 

Race for Red 5k, May 2017

AF Canyon Half Marathon, June 2017

Temple to Temple 5k, July 2017

Nebo Half Marathon, August 2017

Cottonwood Heights Thanksgiving 5k, November 2017

 

Saints and Sinners Relay, February 2018

Rex Lee Run, March 2018

History of Running, Part 2: Maintaining

Run Through the Lavender 5k, Summer 2015
Thankful 5k, November 2015

Temple to Temple 5k, July 2016
Red Rock Relay, October 2016
Voices of Courage 5k, October 2016

The period from 2015-2016 was defined by me starting then leaving a job in social work (July 2015-March 2016), and continuing an on-again off-again relationship (off most of 2015, on again in January 2016, if I remember correctly, then “off again” in October 2016, but still chaotically around). These things + the stress that accompanied both of them (whether or not I realized exactly how much stress at the time) caused my running to take a backseat. (Edit: Those things are true, but I think the bigger thing was, running just wasn’t my priority. It felt good so I still didn’t, but it wasn’t where my focus was. Different seasons for different things). I’d still run, but I was definitely not keeping up momentum from the running I did in 2014. It was more of maintaining. I was still just casually lingering around the 2-4 mile range.

In summer 2015 I did the Run Through the Lavender 5k with some girlfriends, which was (aside from the Ragnar Relay the year before) the first race that I did “with” other people. While I didn’t technically run with them, it was so fun to start and end together. Before, running had always been a solo endeavor, and I really appreciated the social aspect of this race for me.

 

In the fall of 2015 I trained with my friend David to run the Thankful 13- 5k race on Thanksgiving morning. I remember running around the neighborhoods in Springville on late chilly evenings. It was fun to run in new places, and to train WITH someone (Note: When I say “train” I still just mean slowly running 1-3 miles a few times a week). We ran it on Thanksgiving morning. It was freezing (more cold than any Thanksgiving morning since), but I gave it my all and really enjoyed it. (Chip time: 30:46— average 9:56 min/mile pace).

I ran the Temple to Temple 5k in July 2016. My boyfriend at the time surprised me at the start to run it with me, which I LOVED, and we made our way through Provo to the finish. I don’t have my time for this, but I’m pretty sure it was around a 9:30 pace. I really lingered around that pace for a very long time.

At the very beginning of October that relationship (kind of) ended, and I ran a relay the next weekend. But I’m going to come back to that relay in the next post, because that was a big thing for me, and goes along with what came next.

Also in October 2016 I ran the Voices of Courage 5k with BYU Women’s Services and Resources (where I was teaching yoga on Saturday mornings at the time). My finish time was 31:46. I remember that I came in wanting to get a PR (“personal record”) for my 5k time, but the first half mile was SO congested that I realized that would be impossible (like, the course took us on a narrow sidewalk beside the buildings, so there was no room to move forward. You just had to go with the flow of traffic). I took it easy, enjoyed the race, and was grateful that I could support an organization that I worked with and appreciated so much.

There you have it: my continued casual running. Next up: Structured training and focused goals—and using running as part of my trauma recovery experience.

History of Running, Part 1: Casually Running

I re-organized the running bibs on my wall last week and grew even more reminiscent about running than I usually am. Haha! I realized that I have a lot that I really want to share with you about these races—more than the few race recaps I have posted on this blog. Here is my list of races so far (starting in June 2014, during what I consider to be my first race):

Utah Valley 10k, June 2014
Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back, June 2014

Run Through the Lavender 5k, Summer 2015
Thankful 5k, November 2015

Temple to Temple 5k, July 2016
Red Rock Relay, October 2016
Voices of Courage 5k, October 2016

Payson Pay-It-Forward 5k, May 2017
Race for Red 5k, May 2017
AF Canyon Half Marathon, June 2017
Temple to Temple 5k, July 2017
Nebo Half Marathon, August 2017
Cottonwood Heights Thanksgiving 5k, November 2017

Saints and Sinners Relay, February 2018
Rex Lee Run, March 2018

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Part 1: The Beginning: Casually Running

Aside from, if I recall, walking a 5k with my mom once when I was a teenager, I feel like I’ve been running casually and semi-regularly since about summer 2008, when I moved out to Utah. But very, very casually—likely only one or two miles at a time, and participating in the occasional 5k “race” to have something to work toward. I also remember being plagued with shin splints often during this time.

 

Note: I was trying to think of 5k’s I’d done in the past to look up those times, if they still existed anywhere on the internet. I found a 5k I did in August 2009, and my time was 32:39. I think that was my average, or even my best at the time, with that casual running. I looked up another I had done in May 2012 and my time was 39:38. (I truthfully don’t remember a single thing about this race, aside from a memory of pulling into the packet pickup the night before, and the knowledge that I did a 5k the morning before my friend’s wedding. But maybe that’s why I’m doing these posts—because I DON’T remember these things well, and I want to).

In February 2014, I found myself heartbroken and crushed when I experienced a misunderstanding with one of my closest friends, and he no longer wanted to be friends with me anymore. Like, shaken to the core, falling into a deep depression sort of crushed. For probably close to 6 weeks, the only times I felt happy were when I was exercising—so, thanks to my job with the city and a free pass to the rec center, I found myself on the elliptical and treadmill often that winter. Me and 30 Rock on my phone’s Netflix app.

Another perk of working for the city: I was offered a STEEP discount on the Utah Valley races that June. I decided to sign up for the 10k because it was SUCH a good deal, and even if I didn’t do it, I’d only be out a few bucks. (Like really, nothing).

My sad-running found a purpose. I started running around my neighborhood at night, often with friends from my apartment complex. This was the first race I feel like I “trained” for. This was the first race that I really stretched myself for.

I ran the race, and somehow got 57:15 (which is still better than a lot of the 10k runs I do now. Ha! It must have been the adrenaline). Shout out to Kenzie and Marina who came to support me, by the way! 4 years later and it still means so much to me!

About a week later, Rebecca, an old friend from my hometown who I hadn’t seen in YEARS, posted on Facebook that she was going to Utah to run the Ragnar Relay that weekend and they had an open spot on their team, and would anyone be interested. Running a relay had been something I had always thought would be cool to do, but I doubted my abilities. Gratefully, it was the “easiest” leg of the race, and I was already trained up because of the 10k I had done just days earlier. So exactly two weeks after my first 10k, and just probably 4 days after the invite to join the team, I found myself running a Ragnar Relay in the beautiful mountains of Utah with a bunch of strangers… and I LOVED it. From the notes on my old iPhone, I have the approximate times from my three legs (taken from my cheapo running watch with the stopwatch on it):

Leg 1: 4.7 miles in 46 minutes
Leg 2: 3.6 miles in 39 minutes
Leg 3: 3.1 miles in 39:30 minutes

That’s where it started, friends.

A lot of my running has been running FROM something—heartache, depression, vices, etc. But what starts as a means of escape has often turned into a source of deep joy and fulfillment. I am so grateful for my health, and a body that lets me do this thing that I love.

Up next: Continuing to run casually, and then the shift to structured training and focused goals.

I’m back!

Shin splint recovery continued!

I started feeling knee and shin pain on March 24 after a 6 mile downhill run. I was in denial at first, still cross training and throwing in a couple trail runs (softer surface) the next week, but at a massage appointment on March 31, my massage therapist confirmed it: shin splints. Gratefully, they weren’t TOO bad at that point, but the signs were there. I was determined to heal up as quickly as I could and get back to running!

I tried to do a bit of cross training (stationary bike, elliptical, strength training), but my legs were just tender, and not having it. I stopped. I did the things I shared in my last post (and a couple other things I shared in my last email newsletter). I rested. It was difficult. Stuff was also happening in my personal life and I didn’t have my normal outlet (running and exercise) to help me work through it.

I realized during a walk one day that I was feeling it more in parts of my knees, which made me even more nervous (shin splints I had dealt with before, but knee problems I had not). Even though I was concerned about my knees, it still felt nice to be able to narrow down the cause even more. Everything is connected, you know. So I started caring for my knees even more with KT Tape and icing—as opposed to focusing primarily on my shins, which were starting to feel better after the few days off.

While I was trying to fall asleep late one night, I picked up my phone and wrote out a training plan to still get the runs I wanted to in before my next race. I planned to take just over two full weeks off before starting to ease back into running (at the time of writing that plan, that still gave me just under two weeks remaining of no running). I looked at that training plan the next morning and was kicking myself for scheduling so much time off, but knew that this was still a wise plan to stick to.

*During this break, you should know that every day I was researching different races and training plans, getting excited to be back at it. Haha!

Last Monday morning—just a few days after I had written that training plan—my quads had a strange strain to them, but I still had the thought, “I’m going to run today.”

I didn’t expect this thought. According to the late-night plan I had written, I still had a full week of rest left. But when my intuition tells me something, I listen. I packed my running gear with me as I went off to work that day.

I can’t tell you how good it felt to run again. I chose a mostly-flat trail that I was familiar with, wore shoes that I knew my feet felt good in (I knew my shoes would affect my shins, knees, and everything else as well), took the pace very easy, and enjoyed every second. I had my good friend’s running playlist playing in my ears (a mix of gangster rap and alternative hits from a few years earlier, haha!), and the warm sun kissing my shoulders.

The next day I was on the ARC trainer at the gym. The day after that I did another trail run. Still taking it easy, still icing my legs after every exercise, still gently stretching and strengthening. But let me tell you, it feels so good.

I guess the point of this post is to tell you: your body knows best. If your body says “Something’s wrong,” then slow down and figure out what. If it says “I need rest,” then let your body rest. If your body says, “I can shake this out. Let’s give it a shot,” then it’s probably time to get moving.

In my limited experience, with any setback, I’ve always come back physically stronger, wiser in my training, and somehow even more enthusiastic about my training and the process than I was before! (And let’s hope that that experience proves to be true for every setback, in every area!)

It’s good to be back. I still don’t know what the plan is for this weekend or next week, but I’m grateful to be in this space of growth and potential.

Lastly, RUNNING IS SO MUCH FUN!! Haha

How I’m helping my body heal from shin splints

I feel like I haven’t posted much on Instagram lately because I am CRANKY about this injury—my first shin splints in probably 7 years. I’m quite bummed about it. I was in denial at first because they weren’t as bad as I remember them being 7 years ago, but my massage therapist confirmed it: shin splints (and thank GOODNESS they aren’t as bad as they were 7 years ago!). I’m pretty sure I know exactly what caused them, and I am moving forward with a plan to not only heal these shin splints (quickly, I hope), but remedy the cause of them by adjusting my training from here on out.

I’ve decided to share some of what I’m doing to help my body heal—both to reaffirm it for myself* and also in case anyone else may need a little guidance in this area.

*Reaffirming it for myself because I’ve gone a little stir crazy about this. The last few days I’ve been so frustrated with my body, and frustrated that I can’t train and move how I want to. Part of how I’m going to deal with that is to actively work on recovering, and also hopefully find some good ways to fill my time! Hobbies or what have you. Still deciding exactly what to focus on though.

Here are some things that I’m doing to heal:

  1. I’m taking Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex pills 1-2 times a day, with meals. These pills are a part of doTERRA’s Deep Blueline, though they aren’t the exact oils in the oil blend or lotion (both of which I love too, by the way). These pills are taken internally and are said to help support muscles and joints, soothe discomforts, and contains doTERRA’s “Tummy Tamer Blend.” I’ve been taking it in place on ibuprofen for about 2 months now and have been very pleased with it. While I usually take it as needed, I’ve been taking it more regularly over the past few days in the hopes that it will help in my body’s healing process.

I will say, these pills are rather expensive, which is why I haven’t tried them before now—but if you’re on a doTERRA team, placing regular wholesale orders, and doing that whole thing, a majority (if not all of) your monthly order will be free. To me, this makes these pills well worth it!

P.S. These pills contain: Frankincense, Turmeric, Ginger, Green Tea (caffeine-free), Pomegranate, Grape Seed, Resveratrol, Peppermint Leaf, and Caraway Seed.

P.P.S. As always, contact me if you want more info on anything doTERRA, or on joining my team!

  1. I bought this roller stick to help roll out my muscles, especially around my shins. I’ve used a foam roller for quite some time now, but when my massage therapist recommended I roll out my tight calves and the area around my shins regularly to help heal and prevent future shin splints, I felt that this would be an easier way to do that. So far, I like it a lot!

  2. I’ve been adding collagen peptides to smoothies! Truth be told, I ran out of collagen peptides a couple weeks back, and had been using bone broth in smoothies instead, just because I had that available at the time. But I’ve since put in another order for collagen peptides. This powder is unflavored and can easily be added to smoothies, drinks, baked goods, etc. (I add it to my green smoothies every day). It promotes healthy skin, joints, bones, hair, nails, etc. 

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Of course, those three things are only part of how I’m healing from this. A lot of it is rest, some cross training, as well as icing my shins and knees multiple times a day.

If you’re in a similar boat, perhaps check out this article for some more recovery ideas (I’ve done quite a bit of research on this, but that article got straight to the point and gave great insights, I thought!). I also really loved the second half of this post by hungryrunnergirl (I love her) about how to move forward from running injuries.

Now here’s hoping my body heals up quickly!