Let’s Talk about Shoes

I am currently on a mission to change up my shoe routine.  A couple of weeks ago I experienced some extreme heal pain in the sole of my foot which I attributed (self-diagnosed) to plantar fasciitis.  I took a couple of days off running to cross train and immediately set off to find shoes/insoles/remedies that would cure this problem quickly.  After all, I have races to run and goals to achieve.  Based on my internet searching, a Brooks Gait Analysis, and some shoe shopping, I decided to purchase the Saucony Triumph ISO.  This is a highly cushioned shoe with low support for a neutral runner (i.e. Me).

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The Saucony Triumph is a drastic change from what I have been wearing.  To explain:  I have been a barefoot/minimalist runner from my first marathon.  I read Born to Run and was a firm believer that the high cushion, traditional running shoe was simply a marketing ploy.  And, for 4 marathons they worked for me.  In fact they still may work for me, but with  this minor injury I am willing to try something new.

A short history of my marathon career and the buildup of my Merrell shoe collection:

My first marathon shoes: Merrell Pace Glove – 0mm drop, 4mm cushion.  Very minimalist.
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My Second and Third Marathon Shoe: Merrell Road Glove Dash 2 – 4mm drop

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My Fourth Marathon Shoe: Merrell Mix Master – 3.5mm drop, 8mm cushion
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My Trail Running Shoes: Merrell All out Rush – 6mm drop, 16mm cushion

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My current shoe rotation: Nike Free and Saucony Triumph ISO (Bill is in the Merrell barefoot and Brooks Cascadia Trail)
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So far I am adjusting really well to the Saucony Triumph.  They are very comfortable.  I put them on in the store and immediately knew these were a great shoe.  They just felt so good on my feet.  For as much cushion as they have, they are surprisingly light.  I have run about 40 miles in them now and they still feel great and have alleviated all of my foot pain.  I am racing a 25k on Saturday and plan to wear these shoes – my first long run in them.  I am very confident they will do the job.
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I am also in the market now for a pair of lighter, lower drop, less cushion shoe for speed workouts and short races.  I may a.) stick to the Nike Frees I have been wearing (but get a newer pair), b.) continue in the Merrell Mix Master or c.) consider switching to the Brooks PureConnect.

What shoes do you run in?

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Recovery day and weekly wrap-up

Sundays are my days for recovery.  I usually throw in a 2-4 mile, easy run to shake out my legs, but otherwise it’s my day to get my life in order for the week.

Today I:

1. slept in
2. ran an easy 3 miles
3. Met a friend for brunch – another mimosa for me!
4. cleaned the apartment
5. paid some bills
6. relaxed

day = perfect

Yesterday Bill and I got some major errands checked off our list: costco, target, and we picked up our wedding bands!  We finished off our night with a delicious dinner (compliments of Bill) and Netflix.

I ran just over 40 miles this week.

Monday – easy 6 miles @ 8:41 pace
Tuesday – 7 miles with 3 x 1 mile repeats at 7:03, 6:58, 6:53 pace
Wednesday – easy 5 miles @ 8:50
Thursday – Rest
Friday – easy 4 miles @ 9:07 with 4 x 50m strides (pre-race day)
Saturday – MDRA 7 mile at 7:46 pace with 4 mile warm up and 4 mile cool down = 15 mile long run
Sunday – shake out those legs 3 @ 9:12 pace

Another good week!  I’m struggling with a mild case of plantar fasciitis and have been experimenting with various shoes and inserts.  I had my gait analyzed on Saturday from the Brooks experts which has given me some good shoe choices.  Shoe shopping and injuries will be on the blog this week, but now a couple pictures. FYI: I’m not a huge fan of onions.

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Race Recap

Race day has come and gone.  So much anticipation and preparation and it goes so fast.  At least until the next one (next week).  I am addicted to racing.

To sum up the MDRA 7 mile in one word = HILLS.  Wow!  I knew going in this was a hilly course.  In fact I have run it before for a long run at a 9 min mile pace about a year ago.  I did not know how hard a 7:30 pace would be to maintain on those hills.  My initial reaction to my time was disappointment.  I was so tired, and I was really hoping to have a faster time.

Today’s Race Stats:
Total distance = 7 miles
Total time = 54:18
Average pace = 7:46/mile
Splits (in order) = 7:39, 7:41, 7:41, 7:37, 8:28, 7:36, 7:35

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Mile 5 was hard!  Uphill the entire way!  My legs hurt, mentally I was spent, I pushed through, but that slow mile really hurt my overall time.  In hindsight, I wish I could have just pushed harder on that hill.

Now that I’ve been dwelling on this race for most of the morning and afternoon, I realize I am being too hard on myself and this is why:

1. My personal goal was 7:30-7:45 pace.  Despite being on the high end of the range, I still managed to do what I set out to do.
2.  This was a significantly harder course than I expected, so taking into account the hills, hitting the high end of my goal pace is still outstanding.
3.  This is faster then I have could have run a 7 mile race any time previously.  In fact – I set a new 10k PR this morning in the midst of the 7 mile race.  Only by about 9 seconds, but a PR is a PR.
4.  My goal race is Grandma’s Marathon in June where I am hoping for my first BQ.  Today’s race was simply a part of training with no taper or rest involved.
5.  Since I am in marathon training, I ran a 4 mile warm up and a 4 mile cool down.  So, today’s BIG HILL at race mile 5 was actually my 9th mile of the morning.

So, with all this said and done, I really did have a great race.  And, ran 15 miles at a pretty solid pace.

Bill and I decided this was worthy of a celebration and went out for breakfast and a few adult beverages.  My pick was the mimosa, Bill’s was the bloody Mary.

Also, Bill managed a speedy 46:51 (6:43 pace).  I think I’ll always be chasing him!  But it does guarantee I always have someone cheering for me at the finish line.

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Twas the Night Before a Race

I have two favorite times of the year: spring race season and fall race season.  It’s possible to run a race in Minnesota any month of the year, but March-June and September-October are race heavy.  It’s not too hot or too cold.  I love it!

Tomorrow I am running the MDRA 7 mile race.  It’s very low key, no official results, no swag, but good competition, hard hills, and excellent training.  Exactly what I need.  I’m completely fine not paying an arm and a leg for another race shirt.  I spend a lot of time thinking about racing.  Most importantly what pace should I run it at?  There is a very fine line between giving it your all and having a great race, not giving it enough and finishing thinking you could have pushed more, or pushing too hard and burning out.  I spend a week leading up to a race (sometimes more!) agonizing over this.

The first thing I consider is, what pace do I think I can run this race at.  I have never run a 7 mile race before so I have nothing to gauge my pace from.  However, I did run a 4 mile race two weekends ago at about a 7:15/mile pace.  Since tomorrows race is a little longer and I know it is full of hills, my guess is I can run it at a 7:30-7:45 pace.  Next, I visit McMillian Running to get their prediction.

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McMillian predicts I can run a 7:25 pace for a 10k (closest to 7 miles they will predict for me), I think that might be a tad fast, but it gives me the encouragement to try to stay on the high side of my own predicted range.  I will shoot for a 7:30 average pace tomorrow.

Next, I need to determine what to wear.  It’s still chilly in Minnesota and the race start temp might only be 30 degrees.  I like this handy tool from Runner’s World.   I think capris, long sleeves and gloves will do the trick.

Lastly, I do an easy run to loosen up my legs.  4 Miles tonight was perfect.  Running slow is the hardest thing for me.  I am constantly reminding myself not to push too hard; I need fresh legs tomorrow.

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Now just a little bit of carb loading and off to bed.


Who I am and Why I am Here

Over dinner the other day, Bill told me that he had been checking my blog for updates and there were none!  Big surprise there.  As it turns out, I’m not much of a blogger.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I want to have a blog, what I hope to present in it, and how I want to portray myself in the blogging world.  Wordpress has a lot of information about “blogging 101” which got me thinking about a couple of questions:

1. Why am I blogging publicly, not not in a private journal?
2. What topics do I want to write about?
3. Who would I love to connect with via my blog?
4. If I blog successfully throughout the year, what do I hope to accomplish?

The answer to number 2 is so obvious to me.  This is clearly going to be a running blog.  It is what I love, it takes up so much of my mental and physical time, and it seems my life revolves primarily around running.  So why do I want to make my life public?  Running is such an individual sport, but at the same time, runners are part of a much larger community.  I want to become more integrated in this community of runners.  I have been long distance running seriously, and competitively for 4 years, and lately I have been finding myself seeking that community of runners more and more.  I hope this blog helps connect me with that running community. That being said, this blog is to connect me with anyone who has like minded goals:  anyone who strives to balance living a healthy and active life with all the other complications life throws at you (in my case: career building and planning a wedding) or simply setting a goal and doing everything you can to achieve it.

Lastly, if I can keep doing this for the next year, I hope I am able to learn a little bit more about myself.  To be able to put my thoughts down on paper (or the World Wide Web), to tease out what I am really thinking about, worried about, stressed about, happy about.  And with that, make my life better.  I hope to learn more about running, other runners, and maybe inspire others to set goals, work hard and achieve them.  I hope I can share my journey as I strive to become a better runner, recognizing there will be many ups and downs.

Blogging is scary.  I am a perfectionist and I am putting out my goals for the world to see.  Running is not always about success.  I have be be wiling to face failure head on.  Here I am sharing both my success stories and my failures with the world.  I think I’m up for the challenge.

Even my work area has signs of running:  tea in a race mug and my garmin watch is always plugged in waiting for the next run

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Weekly Wrap-up

This is just a weekly wrap-up on my miles and training last week.  First of all, Minnesota has been brutally cold.  I’ve been on the treadmill too much!  Second of all, too many of my running buddies are injured or otherwise unavailable for runs so I’ve been alone too much!  Lastly, I’m very ready to race!  Competition is what keeps me motivated to train, and I want to be able to measure my progress.  PR’s are the best feeling in the world!  How do you stay motivated all winter when the weather stinks??

Monday – Easy 5 miler at 8:51 pace
Tuesday – 6 miles with 4×800 repeats. Repeats at 3:35 pace.  This was an awesome workout!
Wednesday – easy 4 miler on the treadmill at 8:52 pace
Thursday – REST!
Friday – 5 miles with 3mi at temp (7:53 pace)
Saturday – Long run of 16 miles at 9:26 pace.
Sunday – Easy 2 mile recovery at 9:22 pace

Grand total = 38.5 miles

One regret – not enough strength and core 😦

Happy Monday everyone!  I’ll check back soon!


800m Repeats

My speed workout was a success!  I love the feeling when it’s over.  I feel so proud for accomplishing difficult things.  I ran 6 miles total on the treadmill with a 1.5 mile warm up and cool down and 4 x 800m repeats in the middle.  I averaged about 3:35 per 800m which puts me right on pace with Yasso’s calculation for a 3:35 marathon (aka: Boston Qualifier).  Yasso 800s are a great rule of thumb for training paces for speed workout and interval training.  Read more here.  Otherwise I find McMillan Running is another great place to find training paces.

I have really been amping up my running: more speed workouts, more strength, and more core.  The next thing I need to work on is getting my nutrition in order.  I just joined a dietbet to help me lose some weight before the big racing season arrives.  I’ve read that a general rule of thumb is 1 pound of weight is worth 1 minute in your marathon time.  In dietbet, each person is challenged to lose 4% of their body weight in one month.  Each person’s goal is different, but it’s a reasonable and healthy weight loss – about 1.5 pounds/week for me.  You pay money to join, about $35, and if you accomplish your goal you get your money back plus a little more.  If you’d like to join me, here is the link for the game I am in.  It starts tomorrow so get on it! http://diet.bt/mKB5bI.