November 11, 2014

Everywhere you look, there is something awesome! (Another weekend in the San Rafael Swell)

Temple Mountain in the twilight

Two weeks ago we spent a weekend camping at the wedge area of the San Rafael Swell (photos, more photos). We had such a good time that we had to make another desert camping trip before it got too cold. This time we ventured a bit further south and camped near the intersection of the Temple Mountain Road and Behind the Reef road, just 10-15 minutes away from Goblin Valley State Park.

We really have fallen in love with this area of Utah. I think we'll be spending a lot more time down here in 2015.

Sometimes we debate (usually on Thursdays) whether it's worth getting in the car and driving for a few hours on Friday afternoons. The answer is always yes!

On the way home, as we were talking about the hikes we did and admiring the landscapes, Andrea said - Everywhere you look, there is something awesome! I think that is very true of the San Rafael Swell region... and it's a heck of a way to view life in general. Sometimes the awesome things are really obvious, and sometimes you have to search for them... but they are almost always there.

Lots of photos from the weekend...

Our campsite near Temple Mountain

Nights were cold - so we needed lots of fire

Running on the Temple Mountain Road. I'm down there, barely visible.

Andrea and Amiee heading into Crack Canyon

There are so many cool hikes like this one in the swell

Roo had fun exploring

Running on the Behind the Reef road

Andrea biking along... she obviously takes all the running photos, so I stopped for a second and took a picture of her for once.

Mining ruins from the days of Uranium prospecting

The girls (and Roo) approaching Ding Canyon

The yellow rocks in this area really stand out

This little guy crushes slot canyons

Sometimes... you just have to jump

Roo getting some help from Andrea and I

The textures and colors in these canyons are really hard to capture on camera

November 2, 2014

Marathon Fueling Strategy with PowerGels

I struggled to find a good way to take in many calories during my first couple marathons, and that probably contributed to some late race bonks (ie. Philadelphia 2011). Over the course of my first four marathons, I probably took down a combined four gels. Not good.

In 2013 I made an effort to increase the amount of calories I took in during marathons, but I had a hard time swallowing the contents of GU and Cliff gels without choking, especially at fast speeds.

I don't remember exactly who told me to give the Powerbar gels a try, or whether it just happened through process of elimination, but after years of using Powerbar "solid" products I switched to PowerGels and have finally found the formula.

I've been eating these basic Powerbars before races since I started running 15 years ago

The Powergels have a more "liquid" consistency compared to other gels I've tried - which makes them go down easier without additional fluids, and they are also easier to swallow in colder weather. 

Each gel pack is 110 calories with 200mg of Sodium (more than typical gels). The flavors I prefer have 25mg of caffeine. Other flavors have 50mg, and there are some that have no caffeine at all.

I've gotten to the point where it's no problem to get 400-500 calories worth of gels during a marathon, which is a huge improvement for me. To a certain extent, I look forward to taking them!

I know a lot of people struggle to figure out in-race nutrition and have a hard time tolerating gels. Give the PowerGels a try - at first they seem a little different, but I think you'll quickly realize it is a good different.

[Note: Yes, I'm sponsored by Powerbar, but this isn't a sponsored post. I'm writing this because I really believe in the product. I will continue to use these gels in marathons regardless of future sponsorship.]

October 31, 2014

More (San Rafael) Swell Photos

It's Halloween / Friday, so it's obviously time for more pictures of Roo!

Earlier in the week I put up some photos from our camping trip to The Wedge. Our friend Amiee sent us a bunch more, so here are some from her camera...

The desert is a beautiful place.

October 28, 2014

Andrea: Athletic pubalgia Post-Surgery Weeks 3-6

See related postsSurgery and Weeks 0-2

The rehab rollercoaster continues...

I feel like I am on a never-ending cycle: pain ("I'm never going to get better") - some relief / not too bad ("I'm getting better!") - aggravated / pain ("this is never going to end")... repeat X a million times.

The good news here is that the pain doesn't get quite as bad each subsequent cycle, the bad news is that I can't seem to truly improve in my overall progress level...and I am a mental basket case. 

Summary of Weeks 3-6 post-op:

The beginning of this block of time was not great. Quite frequently I had sharp pains in my left abdomen and pubic bone. The left SI joint felt out of place and I was constantly trying to pop it back into place. On the right abdomen, the seroma still had a ton of fluid and hurt a lot like the pain prior to surgery. I had small, tight bands of tissue on the right side that became more pronounced/painful with activity.

The steri-strips came off right at 3 weeks. It probably wasn't until a week later that I noticed that the end of the left incision had not completely closed. It would occasionally have a white discharge or bleed with redness around the area. I waited a few more days and then Dr. Meyers put me on an course of antibiotics to make sure this reaction didn't become a full blown infection. 

I started doing some mild stretching and massaging of the incisions and muscles. This progressed to more aggressive by the end of six weeks. I have been going to PT Danny 2-3x a week and that time is almost entirely devoted to soft tissue work on the adductors and incisions (...and talking me down from the ledge). We added many new exercises to my therapy as well.

By the end of week 6, the right seroma had decreased in size so there was only a little fluid left, although it still swelled during exercise. The left "reaction" went away and I finished off the antibiotics.

My typical day:

Morning - heat, massage, and stretch
Afternoon - walk, bike ride, and/or weights
Evening - PT exercises, heat, and ice

New exercises since last post (still doing most of the others from weeks 0-2):

-Bent knee fall outs
-Single leg raises
-Modified planks -> planks
-Ball squats -> Modified squats -> squats
-Modified lunges -> lunges
-One leg bridges
-Adductor squeezes (Note: it was difficult to do adductor exercises on the left side because it would increase pain at the pubic bone significantly, so I had to do some modifications and only do them when it didn't increase pain.)
-Stretching of hip flexors, abdominals, and adductors

I tried running a couple times in the last 4 weeks just to see what it feels like, but I can tell that my body isn't ready for that yet. The elliptical causes too much irritation, so I'm sticking with mostly walking and biking for now. And playing with my favorite puppy!

Thank you Amiee for letting me borrow Roo for happiness :)

October 26, 2014

Camping at The Wedge

Sunrise... a few steps from our campsite (more impressive if you click and view it full-size)

We took off from work early on Friday and headed down South for a fun, relaxing weekend of camping with our friends Amiee (who is an expert on all things in the San Rafael Swell) and Roo (who is a 10 week old Mini Aussie). We snagged a perfect site right on the plateau overlooking the "Little Grand Canyon." The weather was great, the sunrises and sunsets were sensational, and watching Roo explore the desert was both adorable and hilarious.

I'll probably post even more photos later in the week, but here's round one...

PS - I'm fairly certain that the iPhone 6 is the best camera I've ever had.