Friday, September 30, 2011

Fitness Friday- Shoe wear patterns

Do you remember when you first decided to get serious about running and were told that if you take your old running shoes into your local running store that they could look at the wear pattern and tell more about your foot strike and what would best be suited for you?!?

Well I do! Now what I HAVEN'T done is repeat that step for every pair, I think this is due to the fact that I just assumed that the way you run is the way you run, so why have the 'experts' take a second look?

Originally when I started to get back into running, the first thing that would wear down was the lateral sides of both toe boxes- both feet were worn evenly and thats just how it was for awhile. The other day I was debating on if I should pack my new running shoes (worn them on about 5 runs) for my half this upcoming Sunday in California. My co-worker who knows quite a bit about running asked to see the shoes and we both started laughing instantly...

I had never noticed until I took a closer look, but my left heel was completely worn down- I'm talking can see the main layer of the shoe because that little black rubber piece is gone- WOW. The crazy part was that the right heel was COMPLETELY in tact. (sorry no photo)

So I was brainstorming what would cause this and the most logical explanation I could come up with is that my RIGHT IT BAND is the one that has been acting up, maybe now i'm OVER compensating and landing harder on my left?!?! Why don't I haven't any pain then in my left side because of this?!?!

any other thoughts or explanations???

This leads me to my more important question to all of you:
What causes us to change our running gait / foot strike over time??! 
maybe I'm solo on this and everyone else remains the same, but I'm curious to know why I've changed. 

How do we know when, although we like our shoe, its time to re-evaluate to a different model based on our change?
When I return to Tennessee, I plan on taking my shoes into Fleet Feet to see what their opinion is.

So I did end up just taking my newer model Saucony ProGrid Guides with my to Cali for my race, I figure that I've ran a few 5 mile runs in them as well as worn them to work 3x, that should be enough breaking in... or at the very least better than running sans left heel?!?!  Which leads me to my last question:

How do you determine how much 'breaking in' is appropriate to transition your new shoes  to be worthy of a race?
This piece I'm struggling with, any feedback is appreciated. I generally go by feel and if the new / stiffness feeling has transitioned to more of a contouring to my foot kind of feel. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three Things Thursday

No I didn't disappear from blog land- work has been crazy busy, and I generally do most of my blogging during down time there or when I come home. Lately I've been running then crashing after work, thus little time left to write or comment. I have a one week vacation now, so I'll try to be better!

1. I'm not sure why, but the last 2 weeks I've been waaaaaaaaay more irritable than normal. Yesterday everything came to a head and my dear friend S, who had previously agreed to take me to airport in morning, suggested we have a slumber party to make the drop off easier in the morning. He allowed me to vent, curse, cry about all life's current bothersomes- a true friend. Sometimes you just need someone to lean on, listen to you, and not judge you.

2.I suppose it helped there was beer. I LOVE LOVE LOVE fall beers. I used to have an affinity for Oktoberfests, however some companies don't make it quite the same as the traditional European breweries, so I've been sampling my fair share of Pumpkin Beers over the last few years.
The winner of last night's tasting:

Shocktop Pumpkin Wheat!

Hands down this has been the most flavorful pumpkin beers I've tasted.  There is a large initial prominence of pumpkin, followed by a heavy bite of cloves and nutmeg. Although delicious, due to its rich flavors and wheat textures, it would be hard to drink more than 2 (I just did one)

For all those beer lover's out there- what is YOUR favorite fall beer??

3. I'm writing this from the Denver airport as I wait to hop on a flight to San Francisco. I have an *awesome* aunt who is driving from San Jose to pick me up and take me back there where I've been told to be prepared for wining and dining (probably heavy on the wine piece) up until my 20th state completion- Rock n Roll San Jose 1/2 mary. I'm excited because the elevation change is 30 feet- I cannot give this enough woos to show my appreciation- especially after last weekends race- bah! This will also be my 3rd R&R race this year, so another free medal!!

Have any of you earned medals in the Heavy Medal series before?

Well my plane is boarding- promise to have more exciting posts for the trip :) 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rock Encore

Guess what came in the mail today!??!?
My "Rock Encore" medal from the Heavy Medal series with the Rock n roll Group. 

After this upcoming weekends race, the Rock n roll San Jose (cali, not costa rica... sigh) I will then earn this bad boy...

Yay for free bling! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

One years of half marathons....

This weekend marked my 1 year anniversary of running a half marathon that I actually trained for. (my first half mary, Country Music 1/2, I didn't train for, needless to say it was a miserable experience where I temporarily said I would never run that distance again.... little did I know) Although my actual quest to run a half in each state didn't ignite till finishing Alabama in November, I consider the Nashville Women's Half when I started to get serious about running.

Up until the day before the race, I had ZERO desire to run it since I've already done so, I have a busy month ahead of me, and the course IS.HARD. Last minute I decided to have no expectations and use it as a training run to learn how to have a more consistent pace since I'm generally all over the place during majority of my races as well as just learning to run SMARTER. 

Nashville Women's 1/2 - take 2
Half mary #22

Since the course is exactly the same as last year, I'll just do a comparison.
2010 Pre Race Photo

2011 Pre Race Photo

This year Dave Mari made an appearance so we had a half fanatic meet up!

Pointing anywhere but the camera

Traditional Dave sandwich photo

  • Due to registering the day before the race, the closest corral I could get in was corral 4 while Becca and her friend Kristen she had been training with were in 3.
This is massively zoomed in, trust me, I was back a ways. 
A few highlights:
  • Last year was the first year for this race so they learned a little for this year. Case in point, we had staggered starts so its not a congested mess. It was a weird but a relaxing experience to be at the head of our corral due to the staggered start and actually crossing the line 4 min into the race near the head of our corral.
  • Starting far back while people that are more your pace are ahead was great- the whole race it allowed me to constantly pass people, such an ego booster ;) 
  • Knowing there are tons of hills on the course pays off... big time. I told myself I would go out easy (hoping for 8:45 pace), although I still went under 8:45 I did conserve energy so I would have some for all the hills on the course (there is a hill in.every.mile)
Dave caught me after conquering the first major hill in mile 1
  • I NEED to find some running sun glasses- it was so sunny I didn't know I had passed Becca (since she started before me I was keeping a look out for her, but didn't even spot her until after one of the turnarounds b/n mile 7-8ish maybe?? How could she not spot my sweet bright blue spandex amongst a sea of pink?!?! Sun I tell you.)
  • It helps having a 'bunny' to chase. See that lady in blue behind me?? We played cat / mouse majority of the race until mile 10 where I either picked it up or she fell off.
  • I hate being behind pace groups- it took me over a mile to get around the 2 hour  mark- normally I'd just try to sprint pass them, but I told myself to keep it steady and gradual.. too many people kept getting in my way. 
  • If possible, I'm going to see if I can drive / preview every course. There was one point where I wanted to walk, but I knew that  not far was Broadway which is a nice l-o-n-g downhill so I kept going so I could rest on the downhill- which brings me to my next bullet
  • Hills- as much as I hate them, if I have enough energy I'm not terrible at them. I only walked twice in this race and that was part of two of the largest hills, mile 11 and mile 12 UGH. I make up some serious time going downhill though. I've perfected the art of letting my legs 'go' when going downhill, while at the same time not worrying about over striding and causing injury. 
  • It was neat to be able to see the top ladie(s) making their way back. None of them looked 'beastly' or were the opposite and stick figures- just fit women who had great mechanics and used the most of their stride.
  • I know that for long distance my height actually hurts me (more weight on joints, longer turnover, and can't use my stride to full ability (due to being too far outside center of gravity thus making more susceptible to injury) , but I need to learn how to be efficient with my own bio mechanics.
    • Last fall up until February I used to get debilitating headaches anytime I ran over 9 miles. I found out from the chiro that the way I was tensing up was putting pressure on my C2 thus causing headaches. Shortly after that I got injured and my form changed out of necessity. Now I'm getting back to my old ways and sure enough yesterday I got one that put my out for hours- FYI ibprofen + caffeine mimicks Excedrin migraine if you're ever need something stronger :)
  • That's about all I learned during this particular race, I would like to add that I dominated in comparison to last year.
  • A year ago I ran a 2:15- since then I've PRed to a 1:51:56, and completed 19 states off my checklist with big number 2-0 his upcoming weekend!  It's been a great year! 

    Official Time: 1:54:07
    Mile 1:  8:21
    Mile 2:  8:21
    Mile 3:  8:56 (told myself I needed to slow down- I NEVER do this) 
    Mile 4:  8:47
    Mile 5:  8:41
    Mile 6:  8:57 (stopped to take first gu) 
    Mile 7:  8:10 (gu worked)
    Mile 8:  9:02 (had a goal to not have a single mile over 9- didn't realize how close I was to the mile marker) 
    Mile 9:  8:37
    Mile10: 8:44
    Mile11: 8:10
    Mile12: 8:59
    Mile13: 8:51
    Mile .2: 7:22

    In comparison to last year's medal:

    2010 Results
    Official time: 2:15:22 (10:20 pace)
    Overall place: 1051/3883
    Age Group 157/553

    This year's stats:
    Official time 1:54:07 (8:38 pace)
    Overall place: 223/3060
    Age group: 42/423

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Wordless Wednesday

    Our official photo was released! 

    *It's not as clear as I'd like, but since Becca "snagged" it for me, I can't argue with free (snag is a program that allows you to save images to computer) *

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Air Force 1/2 marathon (race report)

    Half marathon #21
    Repeat State (Ohio)
    temps: cool start, 70s and sunny finish

    ** this is longer than anticipated, so I put in lots of pictures to look at!  **
    Originally I wasn't going to run this race. I had my eye on the Bismark 1/2 in North Dakota  (there aren't a lot of races there), BUT my friend who lived in Minot got transferred to Germany about 1 month ago, so it was a  no go. 

    If you missed my earlier post HERE, the reason I ran this race was to pace my brother Eric to his first 1/2 marathon finish. Last year he ran the 5k and decided to step it up this time around. Aside from helping him, I thought it would be neat to race in my hometown and on the Wright Patterson Air Force Base where I spent a lot of my time growing up. 

    The race start was staggered time- something I haven't experienced before. 7:30 am would be the marathon AND 10k start, while the half marathon started at 8:30 am- not used to such a late start! We figured there would be TONS of traffic since there are only 3 entrances to get on base near the Air Force Museum (where start / finish was)  so the plan was to leave the house at 6am. 

    Eric came to pick me up, naturally we needed a brother / sister photo. 

    At 6am it was 50 degrees, which to me is IDEAL for running, however its not ideal for standing around for 2 hours, thus I decided to try out my new Moeben arm sleeves I won from Jill @ I see it. If you haven't read her blog yet, she has a lot of tips for recipes, running, and best of all, every Friday she hosts a "Fitness Blog Hop" which is how I met so many wonderful bloggers :) I was in luck that they matched my outfit so perfectly. In addition to the sleeves I also had a fleece and long sleeve shirt, but they covered up my rockin' outfit thus not pictured.

    The base is less than 10 minutes from my parents house, so the commute time + single file line to get in and park didn't take us more than 30 min, HOWEVER, for those that may be planning to do this race, it is recommended to leave 1.5 - 2 hours before your race start, just in case. Once parked as we're gathering our items to take in, I realized I forgot my headphones- awesome. My folks were planning on cheering us on somewhere near mile 5, so I called to ask them if they would PLEASE bring my headphones so I could listen to music- whew crisis averted.
    Since we arrived around 6:30 or so and our race didn't start till 8:30, we had  had A LOT of time to kill- stretch, bathroom breaks, explore. In my boredom I worked on being a better blogger and actually took some photos of the surroundings...
    In highschool I developed a fascination with cows- long story but it does involve athletics. My brother cut off the Chick a fil A cow, but you get the idea. 

    walking into the running area- surrounded by different planes

    Sun rising

    Random set up / information about the planes around the fields 

    This would be the 'final stretch' for finish

    We both had to pee pretty bad, but the lines were riduclously long- I assured him there are always port o potties near the start area and to hold off.... sure enough.... heaven

    Have you EVER seen a more glorious site at a race before?!?!

    Since I'm always on the 'running side' of races, I can't remember the last time I watched a race start- Eric and I decided to go on the spectator side of the start line to see the marathon / 10k start. They had a B1 bomber  kick off the start, followed by a large cannon. 

    This picture doesn't do it justice by any means. Growing up near a military base all my life, planes fly by CONSTANTLY, so I'm not easily impressed, however this.was.awesome. By the time I caught it on camera, it was higher in the sky, and not as cool looking (trust me) 

    We cheered on all the 10k / marathon runners (saw a few people I grew up with) and then when all the runners crossed our paths, we decided it was finally time to stretch / warm up. (still have a full hour till we start mind you)
    Jump roping to wake up his legs

    I promise you, I did stretch, but no photos to document. Instead you get the following:
    This was a group of guys and gals with viking cow hats on and 'more cowbell' shirts with an actual cowbell around their neck. They had a cheer section along the course, as well as worked on of the water stations. 

    Taking advantage of the 'after race' backdrop, before the race... FOR FREE!!! we are such rebels!!

    sidenote* During the stretching they announced the winner of the 10k- Josh Cox in 31:09- not only is that impressive but he turned around to run the half marathon afterward. His goal was to break the course record for the 10k (which he did) and the half marathon. Funny story (or maybe not so funny) he ended up in 2nd place for the half marathon with a time of 1:12:57, 2 sec shy of the first place guy 1:12:55. Now here is the SICK PART. He was winning the WHOLE RACE and at some point the lead patrolman guiding him through the course took a wrong turn, thus he ran 1.2 miles OVER. WOW. 

    Eventually the sun breaks which means the warmth comes out so we ditch our layers and drop off our bags and make way to the start line. 
    Yay sun!
    This is my gangsta face. (or sun in my face causing me to squint face- both work) 

    This is Eric's race, not mine- I'm just along to be the pacer. His goal was to run between a 2:05-2:10, so we lined up next to the expected finish 2:10 sign. 

    To kick off our race start: we had 2 f-15s fly overhead for us, as well as someone singing the 'air force theme song' as a guy came  parachuting  out of a place down toward  the start line holding a HUGE (maybe 50 or 75 wide) American Flag waving in the breeze. Talk about impressive. Unfortunately we were staring directly into the sun, so I only caught the last 5 sec before the parachuter touched ground- if I would have saw it sooner you better believe the photo would be graced on this page!

    Eventually the cannon went off initiating our start. Eric and I didn't discuss in detail what his pace would be- I had suggested the day prior that a 9:30 would be good to prevent him from going out too fast, but 'the gameplan' was never finalized so I figured I'd just 'go with the flow' and try to adjust from there. 

    Miles 1-5.5
    • First mile was a little congested. Ive never ran with someone from the beginning of a race, so I was surprised at just how hard it is to run next to your 'partner' among a large crowd. I kept looking at my watch to make sure we were going at a decent pace, but what I found out was we were going too fast. Eric informed me he can go sub 9 when he runs 6 or 7 miles, but wasn't sure about 13, so I thought keeping it a little over 9 to begin with would do- nope, clocked in at  a 8:50 first mile.
    • Unfortunately for me, Eric wore headphones with the music blaring, so everytime I tried to point out that we should take it a little more easy, he couldn't hear me, so I gave up in trying and just stuck next to him, actually enjoying the whole 'no music' concept. 
    • Shortly into first mile I heard my name- it was Dave, one of my bf from college's husband. He said that Kim (his wife) had showed him my facebook photo from the night before of my race outfit, so he was keeping an eye out for me. We chatted for a few minutes about how hes been and what his goals were.  I wished him luck and turned back around to focus on Eric (he was oblivious that a few minute conversation took place)
    • 2nd mile clocked in at 8:45- I felt GREAT, however I was getting frustrated with our pace. Its not that I don't have confidence in my brother, its more of he already informed me he hasn't run past 7 miles at this pace so I was thinking long term. I decided to see what mile 3 would bring before attempting to slow him down. 
    • 3rd mile... 8:35- seriously?!?! I snapped to get his attention to tell him we needed to hold off a bit, it didn't really work so I decided to go slightly behind him instead. Even though I told him it was HIS race , not mine, I got the feeling by running next to him he was trying to 'keep up with me', so if I'm behind he doesn't have that urge- it worked and the 4th mile we slowed down to an 8:58. 
    • At this point I'm getting hot. I ended up taking off the arm sleeves and decided to throw them to my parents when I saw them along the course. For those who are debating on arm sleeves I have 2 pieces of advice 
      • 1. go down a measurement. I have small arms- when I measured I was on the low end of what they called a medium. I know I want the sleeves to be tight, but I couldn't fathom buying a small. Since I've been 5'10 since the age of 13, the word "small" isn't really in my vocabulary. So needless to say, a majority of before the race and during I had to pull them up every so often since they kept falling down. 
      • 2. If you get hot easily and are able to brave it out, forgo the sleeves and keep for really cold races. The weather said it would be warming up to 70, but before the race it was 50. Within the first mile I was BURNING up! I will definitely try them in the winter, but with a smaller size- since as we get colder are muscles have a tendency to get smaller, thus what little muscle I do have in my arm will shrink.
    • Shortly before mile 5 we pass by my old pediatrician's building and the very first Church we went to when we first moved to Ohio- exciting I know, but I haven't really been on base since I graduated college (ID expires at that point) so its been awhile since I've seen everything. 

    • We go through my absolute FAVORITE part of the base- officer housing neighborhoods- I'm OBSESSED with Bavarian style architecture, and the houses are all built that way- below is the 4star Generals house.... love it

    • Mile 5 we're holding steady and we decided to take our first gu - this is the one thing we did discuss prior to the race- gu would be at the water stop closest to mile 5, and mile 9. First 5 miles we averaged an 8:48 pace- yikes! Much faster than I had planned for us going, and worried how he'll be doing coming mile 10- we shall see. 
    Miles 5.5-10
    • Both my parents + Tracie and Joseph were anxiously awaiting for our arrival around the 5.5 mile mark. To avoid traffic, they too left early and got bit with the boredom bug and had a mini photo shoot, pics were too cute of Joseph not to share. 
    Tracie, Joseph, Dad (Grandpa) 

    Joseph clapping for the runners

    Tracie, Joseph, Mom (grandma) 
    •  I was texting my mom where they were located and she informed me 'past the hospital along the golf course'- umm have you seen a golf course.. they're HUGE!  Luckily, my dad is 6'4, thus easy to spot, so Eric and I had planned to stop where they were, pick up my headphones, drop off my arm sleeves, and chat for a minute. 
    I like how we have similar form
     All smiles at this point... Eric's face says otherwise :)
    Pulling off to say hi to the folks. 
    All smiles here- despite Eric's face
    Yay got the headphones from mom

    Saying "HI" to Joseph

    Telling Eric we have to go! 

    and we're off!

    • I think that break is just what Eric needed, as soon as we left the fam, it appeared that we were running faster, and despite stopping for a full minute to  visit, our 6th mile was 9:44. 
    • Now that I had music, I felt that I might be going faster, thus causing Eric to go faster... I had a HARD time trying to pace- for me, I can sabotage my race, bc if I want it bad enough, I'll push through. With Eric... its a whole different story, I can't afford to tire him out too quickly since this is his first rodeo. I again had to resort to running slightly behind him, letting him go at whats comfortable for him.
    • Nothing spectacular around miles 7 & 8, few rolling hills here and there. 
    • Shortly before mile 9 I noticed Eric starting to slow down. We had a large interstate ramp to run up- it wasn't necessarily steep, but it was L O N G- good thing was he didn't walk, bad thing was, it wiped him out. A little after we reached the top, we got a nice downhill, but his legs weren't up for stretching it out. Several times I tried to tell him that opening his stride and using the downhill to his advantage would feel good + we'd gain some time... didn't work. 
    • Once we had our 2nd gu, things were slightly better- had a series of rolling hills. Eric started complaining about his legs starting to feel heavy. I mentioned that if he strides it out for a few yards that might help loosen him up, but he was at a pace that was comfortable and that is all that matters. 
    • Mile 10 hits, we talk about how its only a 5k left and I start to feel around how he's feeling in terms of when he wants to pick it up. I told him as LONG as we kept our pace, we would actually break 2 hours, which although wasn't his original gameplan, he did mention to me he would be EXTACTIC if that happened. 
    Mile 10.5-Finish
    • As we're approaching another slight hill, we see our 'cheerleaders' again on the side of the highway, it was an unexpected surprise, and I was thrilled because I think my mom's obnoxious screaming gave Eric a little pep in his step. At one point he said "gosh who is that lady yelling at" and a runner next to him said "you" lol
    • We hit mile 11 (this is where I'm used to telling myself 2 miles left, at most 20 minutes to go)- that way of thinking didn't work with Eric. Despite another downhill, he was unable to utilize his legs to his full potential and finally said he was fading and I could go on without him. 
    • I can't tell you how many times I had to say "this is your race, not mine, therefore I'm running WITH YOU"
    • He did manage to pick up the 11th mile by 30 sec in comparison to mile 10, mile 12 was another 30 sec faster- informed him if he could pick it up just a little bit, then we would go sub 2. 
    • Although I didn't want to admit it I felt like that last mile Eric was toast- he pushed himself to keep going, but he truly did leave it all out there. The bad part of the finish is that you can see the finish line for a LONG time- thus unless you have a Garmin its hard to know the distance. 
    So the finish line is probably a football fields length away to the right. you run down this straight away, turn right, then run up a similar straightaway to this one- pure torture to be able to see it. 

    • I started my time count down- 5 minutes to go (in relation to sub 2) 4...3...2... no response as to going faster. Finally I put on my hardass tone and told him that "regardless of going slow or fast he's going to hurt- no matter what he ran a good race and far surpassed his original time, BUT if you're this close to going sub 2 and miss it, you WILL be mad about it later"- whether its' my imagination or not, I feel he did pick it up. 
    • We turn the corner and are in the final stretch "We have 1 minute to cross that line" to which he replies "I'm not going to make it, go ahead"- spectators must have enjoyed our dramatic conversation because I yelled back (i was slightly ahead of him hoping he would want to keep up) "I'm not leaving you, this is YOUR race, not mine" hehe cheesey I know. 
    the final stretch
    • So we do get to the finish line, final result ....... not sure yet.
    • As expected he was thrilled to be done, we got our medals, food, and quickly scarfed down our food before going over to the results tent where they print you out your final time......

    • Final time 2:00:32- so.freaking.close. 

    Despite not reaching it, lets not overshadow that this was his FIRST half marathon and he doesn't go sub 9 too often in his training runs. I was 100% proud of him for his speediness throughout, and when he did break down, he never complained and only told me how he felt when I asked. He also never walked- something I do far too often. It was neat being on the other end of a race- not really RACING it and actually enjoying the scenery. This was BY FAR my favorite race- weather was pristine, no pain with tons of energy, great support from my family, familiar views to look at that were filled with positive memories, and most of all, helping motivate  my older brother to reach his goal :) 

    All in all, a race I would gladly do again if my schedule allows for the future (for those who are interested, it sells out every year, so hop on it!)

    Rest of recap is splits + photos!
    Official Time: 2:00:32
    Mile 1: 8:50
    Mile 2: 8:45
    Mile 3: 8:35
    Mile 4: 8:58
    Mile 5: 8:54
    Mile 6: 9:44
    Mile 7: 8:52
    Mile 8: 9:24
    Mile 9: 9:37
    Mile 10: 9:54
    Mile 11: 9:29
    Mile 12: 9:05
    Mile 13: 8:58
    no idea what .1 was bc I forgot to stop my watch. 
     Now the photo madness!

    after the race

    We did it!!! 
    oh you know, just chillin by a tank

    Sun in my eyes give me that 'sexy' look, dontcha think?

    check out my sweet new ride

    He was excited to finally put this on his car! Well earned. 

    Happy family 

    check out that bling!

     There he is... the face of a half marathoner

    Now that Eric has finished his first 1/2, I think he may have gotten the racing bug. His goal is to do another one so he can break 2 hours- so close. I found one in Dayton again October 9 for him (I will not be joining) so he's going to let me know soon if he decides to get another one under his belt. 

    If you're still reading this, I apologize for it being so long!