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More than just one foot in front of the other

First encouraging run in ages! I went to the doctor on Friday. We did more gait analysis and I got some homework. A few of the things I need to work on is running with my hips straighter and leaning forward slightly. My right hip drops 10 degrees + too much and I run with my torso in line or behind my foot when it strikes the ground. Both put a lot of stress on my joints. 

I did my new warm up to get the glutes and core warm and ready to work. For my run I had to really concentrate the entire time to implement my homework. Engaging my right glute more and lifting the leg more straightened out my hips more and leaning forward slightly(about 3 degrees) was all I thought about. I wasn’t perfect by any means but about half way through my 4 mile run I realized my ankle actually felt less pressure and I could barely feel it. 

This made me practically giddy! I followed up with some ice massage on my ankle and calf. I still have a long way to go but I have a smile on my face today!

I’ve spent many years not paying much attention to running form or mechanics. I’ve always been under the impression that the natural way I run is good enough and didn’t need to learn, just do. I’m learning that there is much more to running than just putting one foot in front of the other and that by not paying attention to the way I run has probably contributed to a lot of my injuries over the years. I’ve been running for many years but I think I’ve learned more in the last year than all of them combined. It’s definitely made me love the sport more and I can’t wait until the knowledge starts to pay off!

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Hello?

Oh my, it’s been awhile! I’ve been out for the count in the running scene and it’s been super tough to stay positive 100% of the time and think I will ever get to run again. I’ve been dealing with ankle pain for more months than I can remember and upper calf pain for about three months.  I finally decided it was time to see a doctor… and then a different doctor to see if I could get this whole thing figured out.  I’ve been very limited with what I can do, but I haven’t been doing nothing.  As runners and athletes we all deal with injuries, but let me tell ya, it’s hard work trying to get back to running!  

I’ve been really happy with the doctor I’ve been seeing.  Because of some of my issues, I’ve been banned from most squats and lunges for now, but he has given me several strengthening exercises to get the core and stabilizer muscles where I need them to be; as well as working hard to get my body to cooperate and get better. We’ve done gait analysis and total body work, not just focusing on areas where I feel pain, which I think is very important.

I was off the bike for a while too but I am slowing getting my legs used to peddling again. I started pool running.  First the wrong way, then the right way. I even learned that the best time to pool run is during water aerobics class. Pool running is pretty much a drag and a little Carly Rae Jepsen is better than no Carly Rae Jepsen. Swimming has been the majority of my cardio over these past couple month and it has been my life saver. It’s not like getting out for a run for me, but I can definitely feel when I haven’t worked out for a few days. Getting my heart rate up with any type of exercise equals instant mood boost. I’ve gotten a lot better with all the laps I’ve put in so come next tri season I will be ready icon smile Hello?

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 Over the past week and a half I have tried running twice. The first was a super slow 20 minutes and the second was for 30 minutes. After the 30 min run my ankle didn’t feel too hot which was really discouraging but I’m going to keep working towards getting to Boston in good shape. I may have to pool run and bike my way there but I will get there!

Smiling girl photo cred:  Cécile Graat

Lots of Biking-Foot Update

My foot is slowly but surely getting better.  Can I just tell you what a pain in the butt Plantar Fasciitis is!  I now have an understanding for the injury and it just plain sucks for a person who loves running.  I took 6 weeks off of running spending the first 3 weeks in a boot and have felt like taking care of this injury has been a part-time job that I don’t have time for.  But I have faithfully been doing all my stuff needed to get better.  I still have lingering soreness after I run but the soreness is gone by the next day.  I am not sure what I will do with the rest of this season because I am scared to train hard in fear that it will come back and all that time off will be waisted.  So for now I will only run every other day and cross train on the other days.  I have done some fun biking in Provo Canyon, such a great canyon so lucky to have it so close.photo 11 300x300 Lots of Biking Foot Updatephoto 1 300x300 Lots of Biking Foot Update I had the pleasure of doing the last 40 miles of the Ultimate Challenge with Ericka and man it was a beast! I have a new-found respect for my little sis, she killed it.  I one the other hand was not prepared for the 7500 ft of elevation climbing that was so steep that you had to walk your bike on some sections, ending with a climb up Little Cottonwood canyon.  When I finished I totally cramped up in the hammys I was a sight to see.photo 10 main 210x300 Lots of Biking Foot Update

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This picture kinda says it all. I really wanted to cry, no joke.

 The next week I did a ride with my friend, Rebecca.  It was a ride for a guy that was killed riding his bike. We did the Alpine Loop up the American Fork side, my 1st time doing this ride.  I loved it but my legs were tired from the week before.  I also just found out I don’t have good climbing gears on my bike so I will have to get a new cassette to make all my climbing a little easier, then maybe I won’t feel like I’m going through mud.  

I miss running and look forward to be able to train hard again but I will be patient and wait for my foot to 100% before I do.  Until then lot’s of HiiT, biking, swimming, pool running, and a little but of running.  I will be back and I will have learned from this, next time I WILL TRAIN SMART AND RUN FASTER THAN BEFORE.photo 3 300x300 Lots of Biking Foot Update                                                   Best way to ice your feet!

Tour of Utah

Ultimate Challenge, Ultimate Day

Wow, what a day. Words cannot express the joy felt after crossing the finish line at Snowbird after riding 110 miles of some of the hardest miles I’ve ever experienced. So many miles, so many emotions, trying to stay positive and making it to the end.

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This picture kinda says it all.

Starting a long ride like this is kinda terrifying. Looking down at the clock and seeing 10 or 15 miles ridden, knowing you still have 100 miles to go? That’s a lot to wrap a brain around. Taking this ride one section at a time was all I could do to handle it and having people that believed in me allowed me to have the confidence to pull it off.

From the start I knew I had to stay on top of calorie, water and electrolyte intake, this was my main concern. I didn’t know what type of food they would have at the aid stations so I packed about 2500 calories of food in the pockets of my jersey, including about a pound of boiled potatoes with butter, salt, and bacon bits… Yeah, those are good standing on top of the toughest mountain you’ve ever climbed. Along with the potato idea, I had a little bird give me some good pointers. Drink every 15 minutes, eat every hour, take electrolyte pills every hour. I stuck to this to a T and I felt really good the entire time.

The first two climbs, up Emigration and Big Mountain, done almost entirely by myself. I tried to latch onto a few groups passing me but wasn’t able to. I started to worry a bit that I would be doing the entire ride solo, but just kept moving. The first descent was quite nice. It led into some rollers and good flats. I was able to get in with a group on this section. It was a lot like taking a break and I was sooo grateful to have the experience. Time flew by in this section, I rode with another group into Park City, some of the nicest guys, and before I knew it I was meeting Josse. I was feeling awesome and it was great to see a familiar face.

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We took a little food and essentials break and we were off for the climb of our life… We had no clue what we were in for!!!!

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Turns out it was a good idea to do my King of the Mountain nails. I couldn’t make it up Gaurdsman pass without stopping, but the man I stopped by was so excited about my KOM nails that he took a picture and gave me a push to get started again. I cannot believe how incredibly hard the Empire pass and Guardsman pass climbs were. I should have taken a picture to show the misery cyclists were experiencing on this climb. I couldn’t think straight though. People walking, traversing, doing anything they could to make it up this climb. Hardest thing I have ever done on two wheels. I have a new found respect for the pros. I cannot imagine doing a stage race with days of climbs like this.

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Standing on top of Guardsman Pass

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Meeting up in Big Cottonwood Canyon

The descent down Big Cottonwood canyon was the most welcomed descent ever! I felt so bad for leading Josse up the previous climb with no warning of its craziness, and after all that misery, she let me draft off her down the entire canyon. Thank you!!! This helped me tremendously. Having this break let me reset my emotions and thoughts after the climb. It helped me wrap my head around making it up the final climb.

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Final climb, Little Cottonwood Canyon

Josse and I pow-wowed at the bottom of Little Cottonwood and then we were off. The people lining the roads of Little Cottonwood Canyon made this final climb possible.  Elderly couples pouring cold water on my back(so freaking cute!), guys offering beer and goodies(made me smile even though I had no strength to reach out for anything offered), people cheering me on, kids with squirt guns and smiles; Superman, yes Superman, pushing me up Tanner Flats, the final push given by a concerned lady with about 200 meters to go, and best of all, the words written on the road just for me. I had to start singing “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” at one point to keep myself and the guy next to me upright and moving forward.  Without these awesome fans of cycling I would not have made the final climb. It’s pretty insane after a long day of hills and riding. The elation I felt after crossing that finish line is indescribable. I’m so grateful for everything loved ones and perfect strangers did for me on this day. It was a group effort indeed.

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We finished off the day watching the pros come in for the finish, watched stage winner, Cadel Evans, get pulled over by a cop, and called it a day. A day I will never forget.

Little Cottonwood Canyon

What’s a Pace Line & How Do I Join the Club

The Tour of Utah started on Monday and that means the Ultimate Challenge is on Saturday. The Ultimate Challenge is the 6th stage of the tour. Also know as the “Queen Stage”, it is 108 miles with 13,000 feet of climbing. Any Joe Shmoe can sign up and ride the same course as the pros earlier in the day and watch the pros come in after the long ride to Snowbird up Little Cottonwood Canyon. No big deal, right? Just a few mountains to climb over, descents, flats, more climbs, more descents and end with a climb up a mountain that is no joke. I can honestly say I have been a little naive going into this ride. I’ve put in time on the saddle over the last couple weeks and I feel strong, but I did not take into account some of the more technical aspects of cycling that I have little experience with.

Elevation Profile(EEK!):

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Most of my riding is done solo so I have little experience with group riding, pace lines, drafting, and other things I can use to my advantage to make the day go a little smoother. It’s gonna be a long day and I will need all the help I can get. I had a mini break down after looking at the Ultimate Challenge website and realizing I really have no idea what I signed up for. I felt overwhelmed and not capable of pulling this off. PMS might have had something to do with the too, but I’ve been studying up on how to be a member of a pace line and watching the tour to see how it’s all done in real life. I’m feeling more confident and I’m counting on the FACT that I’m a hot girl on a bike and guys around me will let me work off them and won’t care much; let me just sit in and look pretty. If not, I’m in for a VERY long and tough day. What ever happens though, I will finish. I may be crazy but I am really excited to put myself through this test of strength, mentally and physically. I’m trying to rest up and eat well so I can be ready for Saturday. Should be interesting!

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RX for Plantar, Feet, Ankles, and Calves

After my marathon in June I came down with a case of the dreaded Plantar Fasciitis, this was like being sentenced to death.  Everyone I know that has this has struggled for months even years before getting better, if they do get better, I did NOT want this to be me.  I had signs of it during my training cycle and would work my feet out, but not as much as I should have been.  I was so pre-occupied with taking care of the rest of my body from running 70-80 miles a week that I ignored my achy feet.  This was a mistake and I knew it.  My next huge mistake was running a half marathon the next week, our body need a good break after a marathon training cycle.  We have to remember that even if we are not sore and beat up as we should be we still ran a marathon and trained for months.  Our bodies need breaks and if we don’t take them we will end up injured and forced to take that break.  I do better now a days with excepting my injuries and just taking a  break when I have one.  While some injuries you can train through, plantar is one that will stick around for months even years if you decide to train through.  My Dr. told me that it is a mandatory 1-3 month of no running for the plantar to heal.  He said most people it takes 3 months of rest and doing therapy to heal.  I was determined to make it be just a month.  While it hasn’t been a full month everything I am doing is making huge progress, I saw Dr. Brady yesterday and he was amazed, but not surprised, at my progress.  I am very aggressive with my at home rehab when I’m injured plus I stopped running as soon as it got painfully bad.  Below I will give you suggestions on how to get better fast, it’s up to you to follow my “prescription” and how fast you heal.

  1. Stop running and get a boot.  I bought mine for 5 bucks from DI (a local thrift store).
  2. I went into my sports Dr. and started getting treatment from him as soon as I knew this was a problem.  He does these injections (NOT steroids, which I highly discourage) he calls bio-punchter or bio-medician.  I have done this for years and it always cuts my healing time for injuries in half.  My last foot injury this winter took me 3 weeks to get back to running most everyone that has the same type of injury it takes 6-8 weeks to heal and be back.  He also does electro-accupunture, Graston (which is the same as the Gua Sha I do on myself), and tapes my foot.  I see the doc every week or two.  (you can look for a PT that does Astym).  Below is Cupping done by my massage therapist friend.photo 3 300x300 RX for Plantar, Feet, Ankles, and Calves
  3. At home I ice 3-4 times a day
  4. Stretch 2-3 times a day (see video below)
  5. Massage and use my Gua Sha tool on my feet, ankles and calves at least every other day but some time everyday (see video below), use a ball everyday to workout the bottom of foot.
  6. Wear a walking boot day and night (you do most of your healing at night and having in that flexed position has been proven to make it heal faster) there are splints you can buy that are made for this but I hated the ones I tried and just slept better in the walking boot.photo 1 225x300 RX for Plantar, Feet, Ankles, and Calves  
  7. Get a good arch support/orthotic and wear them for at least a year after having plantar.  Also a change in shoes might help. I use an insert called Sof Sole they have one spcifically for Planar Fasciitis .
  8. Don’t start running the moment the pain is gone, plantar fasciitis take another 2-4 weeks to completely heal when the pain is gone so be patient because you will have to start all over again and loose those painstaking weeks of no running and taking care of the foot for it seems like hours a day.
  9. When you start back start back slowly make sure your foot can handle it. 
  10. Cross-train to keep up your fitness and sanity.  I like to bike because it is getting me outside, but I also do indoor spinning, pool running, swimming, and lots of HiiT especially lower body, just make sure it’s low impact and doesn’t aggravate the foot.photo 5 300x300 RX for Plantar, Feet, Ankles, and Calves
  11. Good nutrition is always a must in a speedy recovery, I’ve been taking BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin and Red Panax Ginseng along with all my other vitamins I take.  

All of this has helped my Plantar immensely and an added bonus is that my calves are in great shape (meaning looser than they have been in a long time) and my chronic ankle ligamentitis is going away. If all goes well I should be back running in 2-3 weeks.

Plantar Fasciitis Stretching Techniques

Plantar Fasciitis Massage & Tool Techinques

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Echo Sprint Triathlon Race Recap

Another race in the books. I had so much fun on this one! I’ve been pretty focused on running the past year and a half so it was really nice to mix it up and throw a triathlon into the mix. I’ve been doing a lot of my training with Ben and we decided to camp at the reservoir the night before. Best decision ever! We prepped Friday night and it was so nice to wake up and not be rushed. It didn’t even seem like we were racing until about 20 minutes to race time. When the wet suit went on though I felt claustrophobic and the nerves turned on. I knew I could be competitive if I held it together and I really wanted to do well. I was confident with my training and I was feeling pretty fresh so I tried to stay positive and focus.  

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Echo reservoir is really pretty! We spent some time walking around the race course while we put up signs for ourselves. Yeah, we did that. 

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Nutrition-  Egg and milk a couple hours before race time. pb/almond butter mix half sandwich and half a banana about 30 min before race time. I felt too full to start. 5 hr energy right before swim start. Gel with caffeine before the run.

Date: July 12, 2014
Distance: 750 Meter Swim, 12 Mile Bike, 3.1 Mile Run 
Time: 01:20:42
Division Place: 1
Female Overall Place: 9

Swim- 14:48 
I’m really happy with the swim. Wearing the wet suit is a trade off. It makes getting into the water really easy and makes you more buoyant but it’s a bugger to get off. Felt good about he effort I gave. The water was really calm and I only had a few guys try to swim over me. Getting out of the water was a bit more disorienting than I would have liked, but managed to make it up the never ending hill to the transition area.  

T1- 2:51. I need to work on that time! 

Bike- 37:51/19.02 mph average
My legs took a little while to feel good. The plan? Go as hard as I could. I was breathing like I was working hard and I was. It worried me but I was willing to take the risk of blowing up. Maybe I wouldn’t. The course was a pretty fast out and back. I was hoping for at least 20 mph average but I’m happy with 19 mph average. 

T2- 1:15. Not too bad.  

Run- 23:56/7:43 average pace  
This was a hurt fest. The only real thought I could process was “this is hard”. I was aware of people looking over as I passed like I was a crazy person running after them. That was fun… I could feel the bike in my lungs. My breathing was off from the start and I never got it under control. I battled side aches for the first half. Guess I red lined it too much and didn’t leave enough for after the bike but I survived it. Barely. I was passing people the entire way which is mostly what kept me going. I would pass people and they’d look over like I was a heaving fool. I almost gave in once and walked but I pushed through. The most frustrating part was that my legs felt really good. Fatigued but good. My breathing just wouldn’t let me go faster.  This was the longest 3.1 miles I’ve run in a long time and it definitely made me respect the art of triathlon. It’s a balancing act that I’m eager to get better at. 

​Pushing past what you think you are capable of is the most addicting and invigorating feeling I’ve ever experienced. My goal was to make top 10 so mission accomplished. My brain has already forgotten how painful it was and I’m jones’in for the next adventure. Thank you to Ben, Josse, Mom and everyone for being a huge support. I couldn’t do any of it without the support I receive from friends and family. And to the kid that told me I can do a running dismount, I hear ya. I’ll learn that.

 

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One Thing Wrong but Lots of Things Right

If I know how to do one thing REALLY well it’s sweating. I’m a first class pro-fess-ion-al. If anyone needs lessons I’m happy to give pointers! I’m loving this summer heat but it can really drain my energy if I don’t get up before the sun comes up. I love running in the sun, mostly because I like getting a little summer glow and getting a little natural vitamin D while working out at the same time, but I think it’s time to get some sunrise running in.

I have been working hard on getting in plenty of healthy meals and I’ve managed to keep out the junk pretty effortlessly, but I have a little confession to make. I saw a recipe on FB for Swig sugar cookies and thought I deserved a little treat so I set out to make them. You’d think I’d learn to leave it to the experts when it comes to baking and buy my treats, but I made them last night, overcooked them a bit, and put them in the fridge like a good girl to eat after I went for a little open water swim with Ben.

The swim went great. Along with my brick workout on Saturday it makes me feel ready for next week’s race. I almost forgot about the cookies, so at 11pm I finally had one. What happened next is something I never want to experience again… I’m pretty sure I had my first ever full on sugar coma. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had. I felt like I was on some drug but I’ve never done any so I can’t say which one it felt like. I was so tired but couldn’t close my eyes. I had restless limbs but didn’t have the strength to lift my hand without it feeling super heavy. My brain was super foggy and I couldn’t even figure out how to subtract 4 from something. With all the sugar I’ve eaten in my life I’ve never felt anything like this and I hope I never feel it again! I think I did something wrong because they didn’t really taste like Swig cookies and a cookie has never made me feel like that. FAIL. Motivation to keep eating well though icon smile One Thing Wrong but Lots of Things Right

With how wrong my sugar adventure was I made some really good things over the weekend. My garden is starting to produce.

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I got my first tomatoes, pepper and arugula which all went into a delicious salad for the perfect side to an expertly grilled steak. I love summer eating! Yellow tomatoes are about the best thing I’ve ever tasted too.

Summer=popsicle season so I’ve been experimenting with yogurt pops. I made some with peach and banana using half plain yogurt and half cream for the base. They were good but

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it was a bit too much cream so I tried some strawberry kiwi(a bit too much kiwi) with three parts yogurt, one part cream, which worked much better(and I used the extra to make a yummers green smoothie). No added sugar and pretty delish. I think it’s safe to say I should stick to blending and nix the baking. Now to prepare for the race on Saturday. Super excited!

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Running Down Tree Lined Streets and Mixing it Up

How lucky am I to live in an area where I get to run in tree tunnels of shade? Definitely one of my favorite things to do if I’m running through the city!

Besides my weekly tree-lined-street runs I’ve been working on mixing it up with more biking and swimming in preparation for my next race. Next up? The Echo Triathlon in July. I’ve had so much fun while getting in some good training sessions.

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Last Saturday I had the opportunity to ride Mirror Lake Highway in the Uintas to the summit. It was a 30 mile climb that kind of kicked my butt, but making it up that stinkin road was worth it! The view from the top was quite stunning.

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I wanted to continue on past the summit but I dug myself into a hole by not fueling properly on the climb. I ate some food and felt much better but decided I was done for the day and just posed for pictures…

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I’m really looking forward to the first triathlon I’ve done in 2 years! It’s refreshing to focus on something new.

Yesterday I went and checked out the venue and got in a brick workout.

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I wanted to see what to expect from the bike and run course so I rode the 12 mile course and ran the 5k on the dirt trail course. It’s a really pretty race setting and I feel like I can be competitive if I keep up my training and get some open water swim practice. This is as far as I made it in the water… I think I’ll need more practice!

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Really glad I went to check it out and can’t wait to go back for the real thing in a few weeks!

Get outside, visit a new spot this week and happy training!

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Eating Clean

Part of my next 6 weeks will be strict clean eating.  This is important if you want to see results in an exercise plan, you can exercise your brains out and not see any results if you eat like crap.  Cutting our refined sugars, processed foods and bad fats will do a lot for your figure.  My reason for doing this is not for my figure, although it is a nice side effect, my reason is to get as strong as I can so I can run as much pain-free as possible.  When I cut out the strength stuff, as I did on my 3 week taper, I notice a significant amount of pain in my SI joints that is not there when I keep up the glute stuff.  For this reason I will not cut out my glute max routine until a week before my next marathon.  Anyway back to food and clean eating.  It is important to replace the bad stuff with the good, add in as many good fats as possible, good protein sources such as fish, eggs, free range chicken and beef, nuts and dried fruit are a good alternate for a treat (my favorite are dates and almonds), lots of leafy greens and other veggies and a variety of fruits (green smoothies are the best), I also think it is important to have some fermented foods in your diet (I will go into more detain in another post on this).  Finding healthy snack/ meals and having them on hand are essential to succeeding.  Meal planning is the best way to stay on track.  I try to have as many super foods in my diet everyday it makes it more exciting and gives you a variety in your diet.  These date energy balls are a good little healthy treat that I love, I like to replace some of the dates for tart cherries and freeze them.  They are so good.  Also I love these peanut butter and chocolate protein balls as well.  I realize that 100% clean eating is hard for most people, a treat here and there won’t hurt you but the cleaner you eat the better you will feel and the results for your hard work will show.  You will notice that you will get to a point that when you eat something unhealthy it really affects you because your body is so used to the cleaner diet and hopefully that will be a deterrent from putting the bad stuff in your mouth.  Happy eating!photo7 Eating Clean