Thursday, July 30, 2015


Yesterday: Was to cross-train, but all I could do was give my friend Holly a RW lesson (fun! see video of her above - she got it really fast! The top video is the first one, then some more pointers, then the bottom video, in which she is moving better); no gym or hiking really possible as we had to drive home from Carson City, NV. I did get in about 5K nice and easy (about 8-9 min/km pace).


Today: 10K, at 6:15/km if possible. I was so tired after the trip home but it wasn't as hard as I thought to get up. I took Sugar with me and she was happy to be out; I think she missed RW. My legs did well through 7km and then they were definitely quite tired, but I kept up the pace enough to do 1:02:20 for 6:14/km with ave HR just 149. It was one of my usual 10K routes at home, mostly flat but a slight downhill on the first 2km and slight uphill on the last 2km with 34m total elevation gain. I did have to push myself a bit to keep that pace but it wasn't too hard until the end, when my HR was more like upper 150s to low 160s. The weather was lovely at about 61F (16.1C), calm, and clear. I love summer.

Sorry for the short post but work was quite busy on my first day back and I ate lunch during lab meeting. Our lab is moving to a new building on Monday so it's crazy trying to do experiments and pack stuff up.

Garmin data here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

8K; 5K fartlek

I need to go on vacation more often. The stress relief has apparently been much more than I anticipated; my HR is lower (resting and training) and my RW performance has been really very good. Much better than at any time since getting sick in the spring of 2013. So the challenge when I go home tomorrow is to make sure that I somehow keep my stress levels lower.


Yesterday: 8K with my brother, Alex. He and his girls joined us at Clear Lake for some camping. Gorgeous weather - hot in the day time (up to mid-90s) but cool at night and perfect RW weather in the morning. Alex pushed me to go a bit faster than I normally would and I did the 8K at 6:14/km with ave HR 152. Alex usually runs 8:30 miles for an easy pace, so he slowed down quite a bit for me, but he didn't mind and I really loved the chance to work out with him.

Today: 5K fartlek, alone. Warmed up with Calvin, who was to run a mile for soccer (coach's orders; they have a tournament Thurs-Sat) but then did the fartlek alone. The campground we were at was mostly flat but on the Garmin it shows a bit bigger elevation change than I expected, at 51m for the whole thing. I'm not sure that's accurate; I'd have guessed more like 15-20m but who knows? Regardless, it was my best fartlek since Sept 2014 when I was on vacation in Alaska with my mom and did a 28:35 at sea level. Hmmmm, vacation + relaxation + low stress = good performance. Yep, lower stress is good. Anyway, I did a 29:07 for today's fartlek with ave HR 162. My fast 500s were 2:46-2:50 and medium efforts 2:59-3:08. Nice. I'm very happy with this progress and have to ensure it continues when I go home.

Garmin data here for 8K and here for 5K fartlek.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

hiking; 15K

Yesterday: the only cross-training I can realistically do right now is hiking. Running gives me IT band problems, I don't have a bike with me, and don't have access to a gym. So that leaves hiking. Which, fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to do. Plus it's making my glutes work hard and get stronger, which is fantastic. Yesterday we hiked to Bumpass Hell. Yep, you read that right! Back in the late 1800s a guy with the name of Kendall Bumpass (!) was showing some tourists the area, and cautioning them not to step in certain spots, when he broke through the thin crust, burning his leg severely. It's a volcanic hotspot and has all kinds of geothermal activity. Really very interesting place; a lot like a mini-Yellowstone, complete with vile sulfurous odor (Grace hated it and claimed she was sorry she came on the hike! The rest of us didn't like the odor but the place sure was fascinating). It was a total of about 5K with 178m elevation gain, so it was a good hike. Garmin data here. 

Today: I asked the KOA campground hosts where a good place to run was (I rarely try to explain that I'm a racewalker...too much trouble) and they pointed me to a subdivision a mile down the road from camp that had all the infrastructure built when the recession hit, so then no homes were ever put there. It was a good place to walk. Paved roads, and no cars, with just a few dog-walkers out there with me. It had some rolling hills, but nothing around here is flat, so you get what you get: good training for Portland-to-Coast. Guess what though? It went great!!! I felt pretty good except for a bit of GI distress, which was solved for the most part by pausing to allow my innards to settle and drinking some water. But nothing severe, and my legs held up well, tiring a bit in the last 5k but definitely keeping good speed. I worked a lot on my posture especially when doing the hills - a good chance to think extra about form. On the last 5K, I really tried to book it up the hills, figuring that I'd get a rest when I was done and that I needed to push and see what time I could get. A good one! First 5K was 31:16, second 31:27, and third 31:13 for total of 1:33:57. Yup. Faster than 15K nationals in May. Happy me! I really hope this holds up so that I can keep training well. I am excited to get back in shape again :) :) :).

Garmin data here. 


After that, made breakfast (french toast) for the family, and then we went to Kids' Free Fishing Day at Grace Lake. Yeah, there's a lake named for our girl ;). It was challenging for the kids at first, but there were lots of people there to help them ('cause I don't know anything about fishing and Loren knew a bit more but not too much either!) and they caught 3 fish (Calvin) and 4 fish (Grace). Plus the people next to us gave us some of theirs; they like to catch fish but don't eat them. So we now have 15 smallish trout for dinner. Yum!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

hiking; 10K

Yesterday: cross-training - hiked Garfield Peak at Crater Lake with Calvin. It was an amazingly beautiful hike; Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S. and it's so vividly blue. It was formed over 7000 years ago when Mt. Mazama, then 12000ft tall, blew its top in an eruption 100 times greater than Mt. St. Helens in 1980. The mountain collapsed all around the caldera, and then the resultant hole filled up with water over the next few centuries. Now it's a beautiful lake, though still geologically active (there are hydrothermal vents on the lake floor). Someday it could become explosively active again, but in the meantime it's a great place to visit. The hike was 6km round-trip, with 412m elevation gain according to my Garmin. Calvin and I made it to the top in about 45 minutes, at a moderate hiking pace, and we thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. Garmin data here. 

Today: Jim wanted me to do 10k at about a 6:15/km pace. We are now camping in Mt. Shasta City, which is at about 3600-3800 feet of elevation (a bit lower than at home), but there is nary a flat spot in the city. I knew this one was going to be tough with the hills, but I figured it'd be good training for Portland-to-Coast next month. I set out thinking that if the hills were too tough I could just work hard and get my HR a bit higher than I usually would and that would be good. But guess what? I hammered those hills! I was able to do the 10K in 1:01:57, which is the fastest 10K I've done in a LONG time at 6:11/km. The total elevation gain was 108m over 3 large hills. I am proud of how well I did those hills, and my legs were even a bit sore (just normal DOMS) from yesterday's hike. YES!!!! My ave HR was 152 according to my Garmin; that seems lowish as it felt like it was in upper  150s most of the time, but I did stop a little here and there to consult my map so that might be it.

Nice weather; a bit warmish at the end but it was 17.2C (63F) to start and probably 68F when I finished.

Garmin data here. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

5K fartlek in Sunriver

We drove to Sunriver, Oregon yesterday to stay at my aunt and uncle's home. It's absolutely beautiful here, and in conjunction with our volcano theme we drove very close to Mt. Hood yesterday, saw the Three Sisters, and also Mt. Jefferson. Today we're going to go to the lava fields near Sunriver and also have some pool time :).  The photo below is of 3 deer I saw on my warm-up this morning. The high desert here is full of life.

This morning I did my 5K fartlek. There are great paths here for running/walking/biking, but it's like a maze, and I got lost at the 2km mark and had to spend a minute to get oriented (and was still a bit messed-up!). But other than that, the workout went well. My legs felt heavy on the warm-up and a bit tired from yesterday. The terrain here is mostly flat...sorta. Gently rolling hills in spots have a way of messing with the fartlek times. Garmin says that I had 10m elevation gain throughout, which I believe.

Everything was great through 3km, and then I got a bit tired, but was able to push reasonably hard and finish decently. The first 500m (nice downhill) was the fastest at 2:44.9, and the slowest was the last at 2:54.0. Medium-effort 500s are getting faster; they were 3:03-3:09. Total time 29:33, which I am happy with considering that my legs were tired from yesterday. Average HR was 159, which is also good. My resting HR according to fitbit has been going down as well, probably due to the relaxation effect from vacation :). It has been about 49-51 since going on vacation.

The elevation here is about 1270m (4200ft) which is very close to the same as it is at home; a bit lower. I didn't notice the altitude (that was a joke...been close to sea level for a couple days, which is not enough to become unaccustomed to altitude).

Garmin data here. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

8K in Cascade Locks

Beautiful weather at 61F (16C) and a bit of a breeze. It's been HOT here in the day but the mornings are delightful. Yesterday we took a train ride on the Mt. Hood Railroad, complete with great views of Mt. Hood, of course. My legs had a bit of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) yesterday from the 14K, but just a bit, and considering that I sat immobile in the car for 6 hr after doing the 14K that is pretty good in my book.

Today I was a bit sluggish to start, and the route had rolling hills at the beginning and then steeper hills in the middle. Vacation means not being sure of a good route in the area, and so sometimes it's potluck. And sometimes the best you can get is, well, hilly. But I embraced it as good hill training for Portland-to-Coast next month, and so it was all good.

I did feel a little tired today, but I performed well and completed the 8K in 51:15 for 6:24/km; that with 74m elevation gain/loss in the out and back route, and average HR was 149. I took one photo but then my phone battery died; too bad, because the scenery was great. Cute little town and beautiful bridge over the Columbia River Gorge. I'll try to take some photos today when we pack up camp and drive through town.

Garmin data here. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Did 14K on the greenbelt in Boise, Idaho. We are on vacation, having left home and dogs in the capable hands of our live-in house sitter Luke, who was more than happy to have a piano to play and a cool basement to sleep in while we're gone (he lives in a converted attic - HOT!).

The greenbelt here in Boise is amazing, meandering along the Boise River right through the heart of the city, including past the stadium and Boise State. It's impeccably maintained with mile markers every 0.1 mile, restrooms, and water fountains. There were a couple races going on this morning but I was out early enough that I didn't run into them, thankfully.

The 14K went very well. I felt great until about 11km when my legs got a bit tired, but I was still able to finish strong with good splits. My coach is happy with the way things have been going, and so am I. Hopefully with more training I can increase my leg speed and get back in very good shape again, barring unforeseen relapses of the mystery illness.

Of note - lots of Canadian geese with their offspring, which were super cute. Also, some random runner high fived me as he went by :). That was fun. People here are very friendly and I enjoyed the gorgeous scenery and weather - 55F (12.7C) to start, clear, and calm. Gorgeous.

Total time: 1:29:55 for 6:25/km; was about 1:04:00 for 10km. A good, solid walk.

Garmin data here. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

more cross-training; 5K fartlek

It's been one heck of a week. Work has been crazy; lots of experiments, a graduate student in our lab had a dissertation defense, SDB was last weekend so very little rest. Personal life has been crazy (example: washing machine broke last night; piano getting repaired today; Grace had a doctor appt yesterday that didn't happen because we got scheduled with a doc who doesn't do kids (they couldn't figure this out on the phone?!?)). Not enough sleep.

Yesterday I was supposed to do the 5K fartlek that I didn't do Tuesday. Well, it didn't happen, mostly because work and personal life took over. I had to drive a cake up to the lab before working out, and got up too late because I was too tired from all the other stuff I did on Tuesday (much running around and errands and kid stuff). I'm not one to make excuses. I know if I want to be competitive I have to prioritize training, but I'm also a mom and a lab manager, and sometimes life happens. I'm trying not to STRESS about it because that makes things much worse. So yesterday I just did the elliptical and that was the way it went. On the way out of the gym a guy said, "there goes the walker!" and smiled at me. I felt so lame for not doing my 5K fartlek then! I was thinking I wasn't much of a walker...but then I reminded myself that life happens and that I need to not stress.

Today I made up for all of that. I was up until midnight trying to get the washing machine to limp through the last few loads of laundry (ugh!) and then woke up BOING! at 5:30 wide awake. Crap. Too much on my mind. So I figured I would go do the 5K fartlek. Why not? I had time. So off I went to the gym.

I did an unremarkable warm-up 5 laps in 9:17 with the last lap a nice fast 1:41, alternating slow and fast bursts. After some dynamic stretching I started the workout. Remember, this is at the indoor 292.6m track, as pretty much all of my speed work is right now (and that's working out just fine, though I do wish I could work out outside when the weather is as nice as it is now in the mornings). When I got going, I felt good and did well :). My total time was 29:32 for 17 laps (4974m) which equals 29:41 for 5000m. Not fast in comparison to what I used to do or in comparison to what my competition is doing...BUT for now it's awesome. I'm just happy to be under 30 min for a fartlek in my current shape.

Even better, my medium effort intervals were faster than they have been, and that's where the increase came from. I'm apparently in OK shape; just need to get some leg speed back. The 17 laps are 4x(2 fast, 2 medium) and 1 fast. The 500m equivalent times for those are 2:52.0, 3:02.8, 2:53.3, 3:04.3, 2:52.9, 3:04.3, 2:54.6, 3:05.4, 2:50.5. Like I said, my fasts were not so fast, but at least the medium effort intervals are improving.

Average HR was 159, max 170, and 2 min recovery 124. That all seems very typical for this workout,  which is great. Hoping the evil mystery illness stays away for a long time.

Garmin data here. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

8K; cross-training

Yesterday: A nice fast-ish 8K. Was supposed to do that on Thursday this week, but my legs felt really good, so I just went with it. 8K in 50:34 for 6:19/km with ave HR 142. This is really good and makes me feel more optimistic. However, later in the day I was super tired; I have this feeling it's more work stress/home stress than the workout though. It's been a bit crazy here. Nothing bad, just busy. Garmin data here. 

Today: Woke not feeling right. Stressed and just feeling off, so decided to do the planned 5K fartlek tomorrow instead. I think I am learning to be more flexible with myself when I need to be; if nothing else, my illness is teaching me how to slow down when I have to. Unfortunately, life doesn't slow down for training. Not when you're a lab manager with 2 kids. So, I did a warm-up of 3 laps, wasn't feeling it (glutes a bit sore-ish?) and switched to elliptical instead, and rode my bike to work.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

hilly 12K

My poster session at the SDB meeting was until 11pm last night; thankfully, Matt covered the 10:15-11pm part for me after I covered the early part for him (the poster belongs to both of us). Still, by the time I drove home from Snowbird and got ready for bed and read for 15-20 min, it was 11:30 pm :(. I woke up and got out the door by 6:15 am because a friend needed us to watch her 3 1/2 year old starting at 8 am. Life is a bit crazy! Anyway, after not very much sleep I had to hit the road so I could be back in time. It was a lovely morning and it was great to be out; 18.9C (66F) and calm and clear.

I took the dogs, figuring I'd drop Powder, the slowpoke, back home after 6km (around Liberty Park). She annoyed me so much this morning! She was lagging badly by 3km and I exerted a lot of extra energy to drag/cajole/convince her to go faster. I still did the first 6km at a 6:32/km pace, so that was OK. By then I was SICK OF DOGS, so I dropped both of them home and went out all alone. a mom and a lab mom I don't get enough alone time. I decided to do SugarHouse park for my 2nd 6km, as it's hilly and I need hills to get ready for Portland-to-Coast. My legs were a bit tired by 8km, and that combined with the hills slowed me down to 6:37/km overall for the 12km with ave HR 147; total time 1:19:23. But right now speed doesn't matter; that will come back again eventually.

I'm feeling OK now. Tired, but that's because I didn't sleep enough. Legs are all right; no weird soreness or any other problems. Like I said, they were a bit fatigued by 8km, but were never "dead" feeling and it wasn't a death march to get home. Even had a little extra for a faster downhill 500m at the very end, so I was doing OK. Hopefully after some good sleep and a rest day tomorrow I'll be good to go for next week for a bit harder training. My resting HR as fitbit calculates it is up a little from 54-55 to 57; not sure if that is stress from the conference (since my poster session was last night and I was a bit keyed up about presenting our not-so-great data, though we did get a few helpful suggestions), lack of sleep, or natural variation. It was 57 yesterday and today so far. I will keep monitoring it. At least the recovery HR was good during yesterday's 3x1km, so I'm not too worried about this and suspect it might be natural variation or minor conference stress that should go away after tomorrow.

Garmin data here. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

elliptical; 3x878m

Yesterday: 45 min elliptical. Legs felt totally fine and well-recovered from Tuesday's 3K fartlek.

Today: 3x1km was the assigned workout; however, since I am doing most speed work on the indoor track it ended up being 3x878m. I felt good this morning and the warm-up was smooth, and probably the fastest warm-up I've had in a while. I did 9:12 for 5 laps for 6:17/km. The last lap was a nice fast 1:40, and that was alternating fast/medium efforts on the straights/curves.

I did some dynamic drills and then got going on the 3x878m. Everything felt smooth, and I tried really really hard to focus on my technique, particularly my posture. I know I need to be straighter so that my hips are free to move more readily. I concentrated hard on this throughout my workout.

Taking the first interval conservatively, I cranked out a 4:59.4 (1km equivalent = 5:41.1). Then I ratcheted it up a notch and had a nice 4:56.5 (1km equiv = 5:37.8), and finally still had enough for a 4:58.4 (1km = 5:39.9). I'm still not super speedy, but at least I'm not ridiculously slow. Maybe after some more training my leg speed will improve. I've been saying this for 2 years, so who knows if it will really happen, but I'm more hopeful now.

2 min recovery HR lows: 104, 108, 107. Super happy with this! Obviously I'm feeling better. I want to keep it that way.


I'm at a conference for work (Society for Developmental Biology), local, but still a conference. It's up at Snowbird ski resort, and it's very beautiful up here (see photo at left). The down side is that I'm really really busy with work stuff, balancing with family stuff, and still trying to work out. I'm trying to stay relaxed and calm though. Can't let stress get the upper hand. So far so good. I got our poster printed for the poster session tonight, which is very late at 9:30-11pm. Ughhhhh that will play havoc with my schedule for tomorrow since I plan to get up early for 12km. At least I might get a brief nap today :).

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

3K fartlek

I recovered well from the 10K yesterday. My legs felt a touch heavy on my warm-up today, but after a few laps I felt better and was ready to go.

I was at the indoor track again because the outdoor tracks are still out of commission, and I wanted the flat surface. So I did 10 laps = 2926.1m; 2 fast, 2 med, 2 fast, 2 med, 2 fast.

Total time was 17:14.6 which works out to 17:40.7 equivalent on the track. Not great, but not terrible either. About what I've been doing; maybe one of these days after I train more I'll be in better shape again? My HR recovered to 120 by 2 min afterward, which seems normal for this workout. Resting HR from my fitbit is still hovering at 54-55 which also seems normal; remember that that is not my lowest HR of the day but rather an average of the resting portions of my day with some fancy-schmancy algorithm they have developed. My actual lowest HR upon waking is still running mid-40s, which also seems normal.

My fast lap times converted to 500m were 2:50.5, 2:51.1, 2:51.3, and medium effort were 3:04.3 and 3:06.7. That all seems decent, I guess.

The next few days are going to be a bit crazy, as I'll be at the Society for Developmental Biology Conference up at Snowbird on and off for work. It should be interesting and I'm looking forward to some of the talks and posters, but it's going to be busy, and that I'm not looking forward to. I am already too busy! Oh goes on. Now to stay relaxed in the busyness, if possible.

Garmin data here. 

I'm a bit sleepy/tired now - the speed work always takes a bit more out of me, even if it's short. I need to try to go to bed early if possible (hahahaha!). Otherwise, I feel fine. No weird soreness, no excessive fatigue.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015


Sunday: biked to church; otherwise, rest day.

Monday: 20 min elliptical + biked to work (hard uphill).

Today: 10K racewalking. Nice weather!!! Finally cooled off a bit and was 68F (20C) when I went out this morning. It felt pretty good; a bit warm, but didn't impair performance. My legs felt decent, getting a little tired around 8km (was 6:29/km by 8km) and getting to 10km (slight uphill for 2km) at 1:05:20 for 6:32/km with ave HR 151. I focused very hard on my posture. I knew I wasn't going to be fast today and was tempted to get upset about it, but remembered that I need to 1) stay positive, and 2) be less anxious. So I set a goal of getting to 10km with good form and to heck with the time. That worked out pretty well. I had a bit of a scare at 1.5ish km, tripping on a sidewalk crack, but I caught myself and didn't fall. Then I slipped on some wet plant material in a gutter, but again caught myself. Crazy. All in all, I'm glad to be feeling good and hopefully training hard again soon.

Garmin data here. 

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Murray Fun Days 5K

Happy 4th of July!

It was REALLY HOT this morning. 82F (27.8C) and overcast, and then the sun came out about 2K into the race. Ughhhhhh. I drank a bunch of water before the race, a sip or two during, and dumped some over my head before, during, and after. But the heat slowed me down. That, and lack of training. I was pathetically slow. This race is never fast, as it has a few hills, but it's not usually THIS slow.

Even Calvin was slow - he was 4 min slower than last year (reflects lack of training on his part too). At least I was only about a minute slower than last year, I think.

The good news? My heart rate was not that high - in fact, it averaged 158, so obviously I had a bit more to give (if it hadn't been so hot). Clearly I'm recovering from my latest bout of fatigue and perhaps things will be looking up.

Pep talk to self: I will not remain slow. I'm feeling better, and hopefully can begin training hard again and do well at Portland-to-Coast.

I did enjoy the race; it was fun being there with Calvin and with my friends Diane, Dawna, and Nancy from the Wasatch Walkers.

Total time 30:39 (official). Sad.
Garmin data here. 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

YES! Back to normal!!! 3x878m

SO EXCITED! My heart rate is back to normal. I don't know why, but it is; perhaps it was the stress of planning the 50th anniversary weekend events, and now that it's over I'm better? Or maybe stress plus the underlying mystery illness? I have no idea. I just know that I am better.

I went to the indoor track and warmed up. I wasn't feeling super energetic or motivated and was slow to start (1:56-1:57 laps (292.6m/lap)), but after a few laps I felt better and finished with a 1:44 lap, accelerating on the straights. My coach wanted me to do 3x1km, and the closest to that on this track is 3x878m, so that's what I did. My times were 5:03.1, 4:59.7, and 4:58.9 for a 1km equivalent of 5:45.3, 5:41.4, and 5:40.5. The times are good, though not great, but the heart rate was wonderful. Average was in the low 150s for the first interval, then it got down to 101 (!!! YES !!!) during my 2 min rest. Then the next one the average was mid-upper 150s, then 104 during the 2 min recovery :). Finally, on the last one the average was upper 150s-low 160s, then 109 during 2 min of recovery. Perfect. Compare that to the workout I did on May 25 (an interval workout, with longer intervals) and you can see the vast difference in the recovery HR. That workout had recovery HRs in the 130s (yikes!), and that totally cued me that something was wrong, as even during a very long and hard interval workout my HR usually recovers into the upper 110s or low 120s at the very most.

I'm really hoping this holds and that things are going to be back to normal. Oh, and my fitbit is showing resting HR at 56 average (including daytime) vs. 60 earlier in the week.

After my workout I biked to summer camp with the kids and then to work. Legs feel good. I'm a bit sleepy, but I didn't get enough sleep last night because we have houseguests, so that's not surprising.

Garmin data here.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


I was supposed to do 3x1km today. I felt OK, but I'm still recovering from the weekend and woke up late and grouchy. I managed to do the elliptical for 20 min instead, and also biked to work. Overall my fatigue levels are much better, and my resting HR appears to be trending down, according to my fitbit, but I'm just being cautious. I will do the 3x1km tomorrow and then I have a 5K race on Saturday to get in some more speed work.

My motivation has been low - I'm afraid of feeling worse, and heck, even when I'm feeling good, I'm not that good. Of course I tend to compare myself to the best women my age in the world. But I know some of them, so it's hard not to. I'm trying to just feel my way back right now. Today, the elliptical was all I had the mental energy for (kids were horrid this morning...there was a party last night, which always wears me out...etc.). But I haven't given up.