I'm a senior masters runner. I write about my running journey and topics of interest to runners of all ages. My current goal is to maintain of steady base of road and (new to me) trail running, with some 5k, 10k, and half marathons throughout the year.

Sage’s Training Log: 2.14.2016

Santa Monica "muscle" beach after run
Santa Monica “muscle” beach after run

This week marks the half-way mark for my mid-April half marathon training program. Two months ago it seemed I had plenty of time to prepare well; now, the weeks are flying by. While my training is hitting most of the marks on paper, I hesitate to say I feel on track. The excitement of course this week was attending the Olympic marathon trials on Saturday (well, the better part of the weekend was being with my son and almost daughter-in-law, but it’s all relative) and seeing the incredible, strong, fearless, relentless running women and to learn more of their stories. I hope to write a post about being a spectator at this special event.

This week, though, training did follow plan, with MY highest mileage week this training session (although yes, the “imposter” in me knows it falls short of what many of you are running week in and week out). The statistics:

Monday: 5 miles easy run; massage to attack the flared-up, tight right hip

Tuesday: Intervals: 1 mile warm-up; 5x1k @7:30; 1 mile cool-down; 4.5 miles hike on Flagstaff Mountain (ice, snow, and dry trail combination)

Wednesday: 5 miles easy run; core strength exercises

Thursday: 5 miles equivalent run (aqua jogging) with four miles tempo at perceived hmp

Friday: 4.5 miles run @8:40 (after early morning flight to LA; run along Santa Monica beach)

Our own Teal Burrell along the marathon course. Loved seeing her run!
Our own Teal Burrell along the marathon course. Loved seeing her run!

Saturday: Watched the Olympic marathon trials (stood/walked for six hours)

Sunday: 9.2 miles easy run (along Santa Monica beach). I’d hoped to have a lovely sunrise run along the ocean; instead heavy fog blocked the view but I could hear the LA Marathon announcers on the Palisades above the beach. Good luck to all those runners!




Sage’s Training Log–2.7.2016

Snow day! View from treadmill.
Snow day! View from treadmill.

Snow day on Monday (16+ inches at our house) forced training inside for several days of Week 8 of half marathon training program. I am getting more comfortable with the treadmill, especially doing intervals and tempo runs. Breathing is getting easier and based on all the treadmill posts regarding use of incline to mimic outside training, I did workouts without using incline and drank lots of fluids. Several good sessions inside then on Saturday did my first nine-mile run of this training session outside (a bit windy but most of the trail was ice-free).

Monday:  6 miles easy (treadmill)

Tuesday: 5 miles intervals (w/u: 8×600@7:30/cool-down); walk (3.5m)

Wednesday: Active Recovery Day (swim 0.85miles); core/strength exercises

Thursday: 6 miles tempo (1 mile w/u: 4m at HMP; 1 mile cool-down)

Friday: 5 miles (aqua jog at various perceived rates of  effort: felt legs needed break but wanted more back-to-back running days); stretch exercises

Saturday: 9 miles (easy) finally outside on trails

Saturday's run along Boulder Creek Path. Beautiful!
Saturday’s run along Boulder Creek Path. Beautiful!

Sunday: hike 5 miles; core/strength body weight exercises

Sage’s Training Log: 1.31.2016

Berlin July 2010: I was not running that summer, trying to do exercises in tiny hotel rooms instead to strengthen my hamstring.
Berlin July 2010: I was not running that summer, trying to do exercises in tiny hotel rooms instead to strengthen my hamstring.

It’s already week 7 of half marathon training program! I faithfully followed the Hansons Half Marathon Program, but dropped off day six of running. I think six days/week running is too much for me; my left knee is bothering me, which, in the past, has meant increasing mileage or pace too quickly. So I may compromise and run five days/week and add back in my swimming for active recovery day. This week:

Monday: Run 5.5 miles (including 10×400)

Tuesday: Bike on trainer for an hour

Wednesday; Run 5 miles (tempo: 1 mile warm-up; 3 miles x 10k pace; 1 mile cool-down); hip strength exercises

Thursday: Run 4.5 miles easy (HMP+1:15-1:30)

Friday: Run 5 miles easy (HMP+1:15-1:30); core strength exercises

Saturday: Run 8.0 miles at HMP+1:00; foam roller!

Sunday: Swim (1500 yards); core strength exercises

We’re supposed to get 10-15 inches snow in the next few days so work-outs will likely be inside as I get used to the treadmill. I will be in the second week of prescribed speed/strength and tempo work-outs so hope the legs endure.

Nutrition for Runners: Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat

Carbs, protein, and fat all in a convenient hand-held design!

Thank you for your initial comments to my introduction to this series about nutrition for runners. It’s a big topic! I appreciate that many of you carefully and consciously consider your eating choices and, in particular, how they affect your performance before, during, and after races.

Food is sometimes comfort, sometimes entertainment, sometimes simply a sensory delight! However, at its essence food is fuel, especially for runners. What we eat provides the energy we need to run, recover, think, and live. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what foods we should eat to optimize our running performance, it’s first and foremost important for us to understand how food actually fuels us.

The foods we eat contain three types of fuel within them: 1) carbohydrates; 2) protein; and 3) fat. Each plays a role in producing the energy we need to sustain our physical activities as well as actually building our physical bodies. This article is not intended to provide in-depth understanding of the various metabolic or chemical processes needed for energy-production, but rather for you to understand that carbohydrates, protein, and fat each have their purpose and importance in intensity, duration, and performance. So, let’s start with the basics.  Read more >>

Sage’s Training Log: 1.8-18.2016 (Taiwan running)

My ten days in Taiwan overlapped with weeks four and five of my spring half marathon training plan. I’d researched “places to run in Taipei” several weeks before I left Boulder for Taiwan, hoping that the interruption in training wouldn’t be too great. I’m still in base-building mode so hoped that simple easy runs most days would be achievable. To my good luck, the two primary running locations, Daan Park, which has a 2 km clay running trail, and various entrances to the over 100 km bike and running trail along Taipei’s two main rivers, were located fairly close to our small three-bedroom Airbnb apartment. Christopher runs daily (although usually with his dog and pushing the stroller with Solomon) so agreed to be my partner, running by my side until I became familiar with the routes. Then, he’d fly solo–faster pace and longer distance–returning to join me running through the crowded city streets back to the back street apartment.

I managed to run about one-third of my days in Taiwan; the rest were filled with walking miles through city streets, the Taipei zoo, and in the teeming, chaotic, night markets, or hiking up the steep steps of Mt. Qizing in Taipei or the root-strewn trails in the Alishan Forest Recreation Area, about five hours drive south of Taipei in the middle of the island. I wasn’t able to do my several times a week core/strength/flexibility training as the apartment rooms were too small, the linoleum hard, but help carrying Solomon must have helped my upper body strength!

Our adventures–and seeing first-hand Solomon’s rapid development from slowly crawling to standing by holding on with one hand to insisting on eating his food with chopsticks–more than made up for missing some running days. I’ve included a few photos of sights around and about Taiwan. Enjoy!

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Sage’s Training Log: 1.24.2016

Steeps up Mt. Qizing in Taipei.
Steeps up Mt. Qizing in Taipei.

Week Five: I was in Taiwan for week five of half marathon training. Although the program required five to six days of four to six mile easy runs, I probably ran about half of them; the rest of the time we hiked, walked and rode the subway around Taipai and the mountain district of Alishan. I wasn’t able to do any of my core strength or flexibility work-outs as the apartment was too small. I designate this week as “recovery” although that wasn’t really on the plan.

Week Six: Back home, I returned to the schedule and added some body core strength work and some after-run stretching and foam rolling. Jet lap (14 hour flight to Taiwan, 10 1/2 hour flight back) hasn’t been too bad except still waking for about two hours around 2:00 a.m.

The week:

Monday 1/18: Run 5 miles (through city streets and along river in Taipei)

Tuesday: Run 6 miles (Boulder Creek Trail: definitely hard breathing as I returned to altitude)

A popular electrolyte drink in Taiwan!
A popular electrolyte drink in Taiwan!

Wednesday: 5 miles temp (1 mile easy; 3 miles at 8:20; 1 mile easy) on NEW treadmill

Thursday: Hiked 7 miles (Goat Trail and Mt. Sanitas Valley trails); good core strength work-out

Friday: Run 4 miles (treadmill); hip strength work-out

Saturday: Run 7.5 miles (easy pace, longest run since half marathon last October). Finally felt easier breathing. Warmer weather (low 40s) also helped.

Sunday: Swim 1 mile (first time in pool in a month)

This coming week I’ll add intervals and a tempo run to the other easy days. Hope it works!

Morning exercises in Daan Park in Taiwan.
Morning exercises in Daan Park in Taiwan.

An Introduction to Nutrition for Runners

Is there a way to eat to ensure you'll run as well as Joanie Samuelson and Barb Broad when you're in your 50s, 60s and beyond?
Is there a way to eat to ensure you’ll run as well as Joanie Samuelson and Barb Broad when you’re in your 50s, 60s and beyond?

Do you wonder what to eat before, during, and after a run to maximize performance? Do you link what you eat to your long-term health and fitness? You might want to run a PR in your next half or full marathon, but wouldn’t it be nice to be running well into your sixties, seventies, and why not, eighties? What’s the right approach to eating well, being healthy, staying fit, and performing at high levels?

Everyone seems to have the answers about nutrition, but strangely there is very little, or contradictory, science to back up most diets’ claims. Paleo, vegan, macrobiotic, whole foods, low carb, clean eating are all nutrition theories that some people swear by, but they can’t all be right. How do we cut through all this nutrition information clutter to discover what we runners should eat for maximum performance and long-term health?

Here at Salty Running, we are all about looking at the facts to discover the truth, so over the next few weeks I am going to be writing about nutrition for runners and looking closely at different theories, schools of thought, and the science to help us formulate a better understanding of our dietary needs as athletes.   Read more >>

Sage’s Training Log: 1.9.2016

Clay running path in Da'an Park about 4 blocks from apartment. Taipei, Taiwan.
Clay running path in Da’an Park about 4 blocks from apartment. Taipei, Taiwan.

Week 4: A week of steady days of slow and easy running (five to seven miles a day for five days) interspersed with some core strength and flexibility training and hiking.  Two long travel days: from Denver to San Francisco on Wednesday; San Francisco to Taipei, Taiwan Thursday (almost fourteen hours in-flight time plus several hours at airports). I was disappointed that running at sea level before I left San Francisco was as slow as running at elevation. I excused myself that I ran in the dark on unfamiliar trails and was already stiff from travel. And still some pain in hamstring/glutes area (although perhaps more hip flexor?). This is the final week of slow easy runs before I start adding intervals and speed work as part of my half marathon training.

I’ll have chance to run in Taipei with Christopher early in the mornings before Kate goes to the local university for her research. We’ll wander around the city and take some day trips with our trooper, baby Solomon, with an overnight stay planned mid-week. Travel interrupts my core strength work (very small apartment) as well as starting interval training, but it’s all worth it to spend ten days with my son, his wife, and our grandson. I tried walking on rocks–the Taiwanese grandmothers watching me kept pointing to smaller rocks as I struggled. My former Pilates instructor was a firm believer in strengthening one’s feet and this was a suggested method. Very tough!

Da'an Park, Taipei.
Da’an Park, Taipei.

Sage’s Training Log–1.2.2016

Lion's Lair Trail before the Snow!
Lion’s Lair Trail before the Snow!

Week 3 of half marathon training: increased miles at still easy pace (HMP+1:30 approximately) as planned. I have one more week of easy workouts before I add some interval and speed workouts. Because the weather was so cold in the mornings (one day 9 degrees!), I started later in the day, bundled up like a baby. Layers are good protection against the cold but they make it harder to move with any semblance of grace!

A quick recap:

Sunday: 5 miles run at easy pace; 3 mile walk around town

Monday: 6 miles on treadmill (easy warm up, then 3 x 0.5m @8:05/8:27, cool down). Slightly embarrassed as recreation center staff had to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to stop as someone was waiting. Yikes!

Tuesday: Bike indoors for an hour (climbing program); 3/4 hour core strength & flexibility workout

Wednesday: 7 miles easy on Boulder Creek Path (so beautiful with ice covering much of the stream and snow hanging from the trees)

Thursday: 4 miles equivalent aqua jogging (tried to vary rate of perceived effort with some strides,  sideways stretches and faster leg turn-overs). The pool has been cool so wore my old wet-suit top to keep in some heat.

Hike to Flagstaff Mountain Star
Hike to Flagstaff Mountain Star

Friday: 6 miles run (5 miles easy, one mile VERY SLOW); right leg bothering me so decided best to almost walk the last mile; 2.5 mile hike to Flagstaff Star (community-sponsored giant star that’s lit from November-January, which we can see from our upstairs bedroom window at night.)

Saturday: 8.5 mile walk (I’ll call it “active recovery”).

It will be a challenge during the next three weeks to maintain my training program. I’ll be in Taiwan with my older son and family. I’m sure we’ll rack up lots of walking miles–he loves to run so maybe we’ll be able to take turns running and playing with baby.



Sage’s Training Log: 12.26.2015

Bundled Up on way to Rec Center for treadmill running!
Bundled up on way to treadmill running! No animal fur was used in this hood!

Week 2 of half marathon training program focused on continuing a good base before adding intervals, tempo drills and strength workouts. The weather (from over ten inches of snow to temperatures in the low teens) dictated some of the outside running (distance and pace). I alternated aqua jogging and treadmill workouts during the indoor days while I build up mileage and strength for back-to-back running days.

We had a very quiet Christmas week so added several hikes and walks to our running days. We were doing a “no present” Christmas until we decided that, given our training schedules for spring races (Doug’s training for the LA Marathon as well as his third Boston Marathon while I’m training for an April half marathon), a treadmill at home made sense. I knew this would be a possibility moving from California where running outside all year has been our norm to living in Colorado where trails can be icy and treacherous. I also have a husband who doesn’t like to train in gyms, recreation centers or fitness centers, so an in-home machine, while not necessary, keeps him happy.

Happy Holidays: Boulder Court House
Happy Holidays: Boulder Court House

The week:

Sunday: Run 5.3 miles on bike trails (very, very slow because cold and icy)

Monday: Run 4.4 miles easy/Walk 2 miles

Tuesday: Swim .85 miles

Wednesday: Run 5 miles easy

Thursday: Aqua jog (50 minutes at various paces = 5 miles easy)

Friday: Walk 5 miles (very cold but soaked up the stillness and quiet)

Saturday: Run 5 miles (treadmill: 3 miles@8:57; 2 miles@8:27); walk 5 miles (we are gluttons for punishment but coffee stops give me time to warm the toes before we continue)

I alternated various hip strength; core strength; and flexibility routines throughout the week. My glutes/hamstrings seem to be handling the mileage at this stage. The key is to build the base to about 30 miles/week at slow pace (half marathon goal pace +1:30-2:30).

Sage’s Training Log 12.19.2015

Snow in backyard; view from exercise room
Snow in backyard; view from exercise room

Half marathon training program week 1, redux. I decided to follow the Hansons Half Marathon Method, “The Beginners Program,” for training for this April’s half marathon. Using their calculation this was week 1, so I’ll start again with my training schedule and log posts.

If you’ve trained using the Hansons Method, you understand that cumulative fatigue is the underlying foundation of their plans. I was/am concerned about the “running almost every day” approach but using programs that have very long runs for one of the three runs during the week are too hard for me, given the recovery period. This programs uses the first few weeks of an eighteen-week cycle to prepare the initial foundation, building on 3-4 mile runs, 5-6 times a week, at half marathon goal pace (HMP)+1:30-2:30. This seems slow but I like not pushing the pace as I start adding running days to my week.

We had LOTS of snow this week, almost ten inches Monday night/Tuesday, so cross-training included snow shoveling and walking very carefully on icy sidewalks and streets. I used the treadmill and did some aqua jogging, too, instead of outside training. The weather is warming so I’ll try running in the slush starting on Sunday.

Time also spent wrapping presents for baby Solomon.
Time also spent wrapping presents for baby Solomon.

The week:

Monday: 6 miles easy pace on Boulder bike paths

Tuesday: Bicycling on trainer (1 hour); core strength and flexibility (I rediscovered an old CTS  workout DVD for runners that has some good core strength dynamic exercises, which are good for heart rate, as well as some flexibility exercises that I’d forgotten, e.g., superman, scissors, cross-leg stretches); and snow shoveling!

Wednesday: Run 5 miles on treadmill (0.5m warm-up; 4 miles@8:27; 0.5m cool-down)

Thursday: Run 4 miles (based on conversion of 50 minutes of medium perceived effort aqua jogging); hip strength exercises

Friday: Run 4 miles on treadmill @9:00 (because there is no wind resistance on treadmill–and no hills (I used only very slight incline)–I decided that the 9:00 pace, while faster than the easy pace recommended, seemed about right)

Saturday: Hike 5.5 miles on snow covered trail; core strength and flexibility for runners.

Happy holidays!

Sage’s Catalina Island Eco-Marathon 10k Race Report

Catalina Island 10k (first half mile)

My first trail race was last weekend’s Catalina Island Eco-Marathon 10k. Originally I was only going to be a spectator. My husband and son registered for the Eco-marathon, which promised 26.2 miles of tough hills (some at 15% grade), fire roads and single-track trails, potential buffalo sightings, hawks and eagles, and exquisite 360 degree views of the Pacific Ocean.

Catalina Island is about 20 miles off the southern coast of California and is unique and beautiful. Participating in a trail run, usually marathons or 50-milers, is one of the few ways to explore the terrain, which is mostly designated as coastal conservancy. I jumped at the chance to run the 10k race when I realized it was offered, not anticipating the difficulty to this seemingly innocuous distance. Read more >>

Sage’s Training Log–12.12.2015

ColderBolder: Need oxygen!
ColderBolder: Need oxygen!

Week 1 of 18-week half marathon training program officially began on Sunday! I registered for a mid-April half marathon to coincide with being on the east coast to watch my husband run his third Boston Marathon.

I haven’t decided which training plan to use, having followed the “Run Less Run Faster” plan this year, but without the extra-long long runs. My husband likes Hansons Marathon Method  which provides for shorter long runs (16 miles for marathon) but with almost daily running. Although I’ve eschewed this approach in the past, concerned about over-running my too many decades old legs, I’d like to try more continuous running. I’ll decide on a plan within the next few weeks.

If you read last week’s training log, you know I bonked at the ColderBolder 5k—I could not get enough oxygen into my lungs. After doing some research into altitude training, I realized I haven’t focused enough on aerobic effort in my swimming or hiking, my cross-training activities during these past two months of half marathon recovery period. I intend to do more bicycle training with greater intensity for increased aerobic capacity, faster-paced hikes (good hill-work along with aerobic work), increase my base mileage, and hydrate more. Several articles on altitude training suggest taking anti-oxidant supplements to help either when first at altitude or longer term when living at altitude.  My massage therapist suggested a chlorophyll supplement to increase red blood cells and oxygen-carrying capacity, which might help until I adapt to the elevation. I’ll see how it goes.

The week:

Sunday 12.6: One-hour on bicycle trainer (I use Carmichael Training System training DVDs, e.g., fitness, speed, mountains, sprints); 4-mile walk

Monday 12.7: Run 5.5 miles @8:51 average pace; hip strength exercises

Tuesday 12.8: Swim 1 mile; stretching

Wednesday 12.9: Run 7 miles @ 8:08-9:05 pace, with some hills (although not very steep) and focus on relaxed breathing. Massage with attention to very tight gluteus medius (perhaps from hill work) and stretching of my lats and obliques, which are engaged when runners are in their gait cycle when left leg and right arm extend back together (and then other side).

Thursday 12.10: One-hour on bicycle trainer; 7-mile hike; dynamic core strength exercises

Friday 12.11: Run 6.4 miles @ slow, easy pace with focus on breathing and relaxing muscles; stretch and foam roller. The highlight of the morning was seeing Kara Goucher running easily along Boulder Creek Trail as I was cooling down (some what of an oxymoron in barely 40 degree weather). I tried to remain cool and not jump and down waving my arms to say hello. A slight nod of our heads, instead.

On the bicycle trainer.
On the bicycle trainer.

Saturday 12.12: I wanted to run outside today, for back-to-back runs but the snow forced me inside. One hour on bicycle trainer; dynamic core strength exercises.

I must remember perseverance and patience while I re-establish my base mileage and look forward to intervals and tempo runs in a few weeks.

Sage’s Training Log–12.5.2015

Catalina Island: post trail 10k
Catalina Island: post trail 10k

Running is a fickle mistress. These past two months confirm the volatility of running. They also reveal that my training has been less than it should have been. Although I’ve posted a few training logs and race reports, this is what’s really happening with running and me.

I was so excited to run the Portland Half Marathon, my first in almost six years, in October; to PR was icing on the cake. Then my hamstrings and hip flexors reared their ugly heads, reminding me of the eternal “mind over body” struggle. I stopped any sort of running for a month, afraid I was back to ground zero with the injuries.

I ran my first 10k trail run on Catalina Island two weeks ago, a tough, hilly course in hot weather. I struggled but finished. Not fully recovered from the half marathon, I thought the trail run would redeem me; in fact it refocused my running goals as they are so intertwined with my running abilities. During the next two weeks I ran only once–with my older son in NYC–and did some aqua jogging back home in Colorado.

Today, December 5, two-weeks after the trail run, I ran the ColderBolder 5k. The weather had warmed to about 40 degrees, from the low teens earlier in the week. The bike trails through the CU Boulder campus were ice-free. Yet, I struggled for air from the first steps, stopping partway through the course, never able to get the big gulps I needed. I finished, although very disappointed at my lack of aerobic capacity. What should have been an easy 3.1 miles turned into another assessment of where I am with running and what I need to do to maintain a semblance of success at this sport.

Flatiron Mountains: my new go-to hiking trails and photo shoot location
Flatiron Mountains: my new go-to hiking trails and photo shoot location

To be fair (after much self-flagellation), there has been almost no routine to my daily life since early October. I am trying to acclimate to living at 5450’ elevation with weather—not the northern California light clouds, mid-fifties to sixties, all-the-time mild weather. I’ve barely logged any miles since the half marathon, other than the trail 10k and today’s 5k. I’ve re-engaged with swimming, but without hard efforts. Aqua jogging is still tentative. Exploring the trails at the lower levels of Chautauqua Park and surrounding mountains provides familiarity but little aerobic workouts. My core/strength workouts have been disrupted by travel.

No doubt about it, my training schedule has been haphazard, even though I thought there was some rhythm to it. Where do I go from here? I need a plan, which takes into consideration a number of points:

  • Schedule spring half marathon and/or 10 mile race
  • Decide on race training program
  • Push myself aerobically: training at altitude should help me on races at lower elevations
  • Review my thick pile of core/strength exercises and devise a weekly schedule for variety, with focus on hip flexors, hamstrings, and gluts
  • Find bicycle/walking paths that are generally ice-free and mark out various distances for interval and speed-work
  • Create routes for longer runs
  • Use the treadmill at the rec center for speed work when I can’t go outside
  • Be more aggressive with the cross-training, i.e., increase the speed of my swimming, use the kickboard, take advantage of pool lanes to include aqua jogging workouts at different perceived rates of effort; ride my bicycle on the trainer with designated workouts (e.g., hill climbing, fitness, speed)
  • Remember nutrition (generally Paleo; low-carb; low-grain) and hydration (altitude and dryer mountain air make this even more important)
  • Massage and foam roller are critical to meeting my running goals
  • Be mindful of my injuries; they aren’t niggles but long-term chronic issues
  • Most of all enjoy what I have!
Boulder Ice!
Boulder Ice!

We recently discussed whether saying aloud/posting your goals is a good thing. I prefer to quietly register and train for races. I will now be accountable for weekly training posts that incorporate progress toward these goals and perhaps the planned races, too.

Aqua Jogging: An Alternative to “Real Running”

Flickr commons image by Nancy <I'm gonna SNAP!
Flickr commons image by Nancy <I’m gonna SNAP!


Is the weather bad, but you’re sick of the treadmill?

Looking for cross training alternatives to improve your running?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then maybe you should consider giving pool running (or aqua jogging) a try.

Why aqua jogging? Running is high impact. Running in water is almost no impact, as your body weighs about 10% of your land weight in water. Your weight-bearing joints and muscles can be given the time they need for recovery while you’re still able to maintain your training schedule and muscle memory. Running is an excellent cardio-vascular exercise. Running in water allows you to maintain, or improve, your cardio-vascular conditioning. I’ll explain the basic requirements of aqua jogging, the benefits, form required, the gear needed (or that’s nice to have), and land versus water workout equivalents.