Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Random Ramblings- new shoes, great running, and day dreams

Last week I got my awesome new trail shoes, La Sportiva Crosslites. I got to wear them Saturday on my run with Laura and I must say they rock! So light and grippy. I love the feel of the narrower and lower heel. I actually felt more nimble and stable without the extra wide flare at the bottom of the heel, which is ironic because traditionally it is thought that it gives you more stability, maybe on the roads but I don't know that it holds true for rough trails. They aren't as soft as my other trail shoes and this may take some getting used to just like running barefoot, but this shoe is meant to be my first experiment with a more minimal shoe. I wouldn't call them minimalist but they don't have all the bells and whistles that my other trail shoes have. My other shoes feel light at the start of a run but by mile 4 of a good effort I'm usually feeling their weight, I found this didn't happen with my Crosslites. I'll be interested to see how they do on a run of 8 miles or more. This weekend they will be put to the test of racing at the Run Like A Girl 8k Trail Race.

Last week was one of my best weeks of running so far since my return to running. I am happy to report that all my runs were enjoyable, and several gave me the elusive runner's high.

My Tuesday run I let myself pick up the pace a bit and really enjoyed feeling myself flying through the woods over rocky terrain and down steep inclines.

Wednesday I did my first installation of speed work. I warmed up 1.5 miles, then did less than a mile of fartleks, then less than a mile of cool down. I wanted to start off my first one some what easy, only 4 fartleks, I didn't want to over do it my first time out. I would liked to have gone faster during the fartleks but Tina was with me and I let her set the max pace since she isn't as speedy. I still got a good workout just not a max speedwork effort.

Then came Friday (elated angelic choir sings in back ground)! Friday I headed off to Crowders Mountain with a plan to run 6 easy miles. It started with a feeling of dread, I just knew this run would suck, legs felt cement filled. Much to my surprise by mile 3 I was feeling good, by mile 5 I was as high as a kite, mile 6 still awesome and decided to make it a 7 miler. By the end of mile 7 the delirious runner's high had dissipated and I was happy to stop while things still felt relatively good. Wow, what a run! I love having moments where I feel as though I could just run forever.

Saturday met Laura for our weekend run. She decided she didn't want to do a full long run, say 8 or 9 miles, but wanted to work on speed at a shorter distance. Her half marathon training plan called for a 10k so we picked 6 miles. 1 mile warm-up, 4 mile tempo, 1 mile cool down. I set the pace for our warm-up and tempo. Laura did a great job of keeping up. We did have to walk one hill on the way back in. I had another insane runner's high moment. I asked Laura if she felt like the wind because I did. Her reply was not as cheery and I'm thinking at that point if she had been closer to me she would have thrown a punch my way. I knew she was struggling at points and did my best to keep her focus away from this discomfort by giving her tips and making light conversation. With the tempo done I had Laura lead us on the cool down, which ended up only being 10 secs slower than the last mile of our tempo, way to take it down a notch! Laura had on these awesomely bright socks, green with a wide orange stripe and two small yellow stripes. She was Rainbow Brite in all her glory. I couldn't help but stare at her calves. I'll have to blame those socks on my near miss that has left the outside of my right ankle tender, luckily it doesn't hurt to run just walk.

After such a great week of running last week, yesterday's run was kind of sucky. It wasn't horrible but I never felt like the wind or that I could run forever and I sure didn't feel like adding any extra mileage to my plan. Oh well, runs like that are what make you stronger mentally and physically.

Daydreaming, ah, my favorite hobby outside of running. Of course much of that daydreaming revolves around running. Sometimes I enjoy hunting for gear on the interwebs that I can't have or races I would like to do. This time I'm day dreaming of an Adventure Running Co. trail running vacation. What are the chances that the Mother's Day fairy will buy me a trip? I think it would be fun to get my trail running girls to go with me and we could all take a much needed break from family duties for a week and enjoy the beautiful landscapes Mother Nature has to offer in our great country.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fire Drill Friday!

Today I was a participant in a fire drill hosted by my own little trouble maker. Yes, my precious child set off a fire alarm while I was getting my beloved Volvo V50 serviced. We were sitting on a couch in the waiting area. Emmett was climbing off and on the couch as I read my book. The next thing I know there is a screeching alarm going off and on in my ear. I look to my left to see Emmett kneeling on the couch hand still up in the air in the direction of the alarm. Frak! This little stunt adds 20-30 minutes to our wait since the whole building has to evacuate and wait for the Fire Department to come and turn the alarm off. I just wanted to go bury my head in the sand. The firemen wanted to meet the culprit. They all tried taking turns to get him to speak but he just looked like a deer in the headlights. Any other kid would have been thrilled to have big tough (and cute) firemen come talk to them. Such are the adventures in mommy-hood. I'm sure this won't be our last adventure.

On a good note, I got my new trail shoes today! I ordered a pair of LA Sportiva

Crosslites from Zappos yesterday and they got here today. Zappos rocks for customer service. Need a quick shoe fix? Zappos is your go to website! They were waiting for me when I arrived home from my fire drill. I put them on my feet as quickly as possible, they have been there ever since. At first I wasn't sure what I thought about them. They felt snug at first, the mid section of upper is a bit stretchy, I was a bit concerned that I didn't like it. After wearing them for a few hours now that extra snug feeling is gone. I think I'm really going to like them. They are more minimal than my other trail shoes because they are made for faster shorter (less than marathon) distances. Sadly they will not work with my Dirty Girl Gaiters due to the scree guard across the laces. The Dirty Girl Gaiters require something like laces to hook onto to keep them on, the scree guard covers the laces. I originally told Laura that I would hold off until after RLAG trail 8k on May 1st to try them out. Now I'm thinking I might just try them for our 6 miles tomorrow. Laura will be testing out her first pair of trail shoes so we may as well try our new shoes together. I must say I look pretty sharp and fast in my new kicks. Yes, those are my pj's, I'm a trend setter!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Run For The Money 5k Race Report

I've had myself worked up all week over this 5k. It's the first road race I've done since last June, since then all I've done is trail races. I was pretty anxious to find out how much I've improved since last summer. My best 5k ever was 23:47 in 2002. Last year's 5k PR was 26:07. My goal was to just beat last year's even if it was just by a small margin.

Laura and her husband, Will, met me at a parking lot just less than a mile away from the start and we all did an easy .65 mile warm up together. We got a chance to preview the last part of the race. One word works best to describe it and that would be hilly. I had driven the first half earlier in the week and knew that part wasn't as hilly but flat is nothing that would be used to describe this course. So the plan is not to go out too fast and save some legs for the last mile but at the same time I want to make sure I don't go too slow either.

This was a big race for our little town, 1,000 runners. Almost every runner that I know was there. It's always fun to get to see other faces I know and chat with my fellow running moms. Getting to meet their husbands and kids is always nice, too. One of my road running partners was there with her hubby. She seemed really excited about the race, she's only done one 5k and a sprint tri, several years back. I was really surprised when she told me she would be there and even more surprised at how pumped up she seemed to be.

We found a spot at the start. The race director made an attempt at seeding everyone by having signs for the paces but it was clear that the people we were around weren't doing a 6 min mile. We decided to stay there even though we are more 8-9 min mile-ish. As we were chatting I looked up to see the runners at the very front all lean forward in the ready, set, go position. Oh, time to go. I didn't even hear a loud speaker announcement or any kind of signal.

Laura and her husband took off. Will was out of sight in no time but I could see Laura. I got stuck behind some other runners as we rounded the first turn, which was less than .05 from the start, talk about a cluster f*#%! I watched as Laura got farther ahead. Crap, either she is starting out too fast or I'm pokey woman. I finally caught up with her before the end of mile 1. I was hoping we would stay together from then on but it didn't take long before I realized she was slipping behind. The first mile was fast only small hills. Mile 2 was a good mix. And mile 3 was 75% hill.

There's really nothing stellar to tell about. I did what I could mentally to make myself keep up my pace. I did take a brief walk break just to get some water at an aid station. Even then I only took a small sip and started running again. The last .25+ mile was a straight shot to the finish up hill so I could see it. I'm so glad I could see it because I needed it to convince my legs to go. I wish I could say I had some kick left in me for the last 0.1 mi but I didn't. I saw Brian holding Emmett up on his shoulders near the finish. I waved and Emmett ignored me but looked like he was having fun. I looked at the clock and was happy to see that I finished in 25:09, almost a minute faster than last year's PR and it was on a tougher course. I have no idea right now where I placed, it's such a big race I'm sure I didn't blow away the competition.

After I was done socializing and hanging out, I walked Brian and Emmett back to their car. Then I started my cool down run back to my car about a mile away. On my way I passed a parking lot where a lot of the runners parked. As I ran by the lot I heard a girl say, "Look at her, she's still going!" It made me chuckle inside and I gave myself a pat on the back for still having the energy and legs to run back to my car.

Garmin Stats:
Avg 8:05 min mile
Mile 1- 7:41
Mile 2- 8:03
Mile 3- 8:26
Mile .1- 0:57

Results are in: 13/123 in Age Group 30-39 (they didn't have overall and overall womens' results)

Some non racing news. Yesterday I won a pair of New Balance 760's from Run Like A Mother! I'm so excited. I never win any cool prizes, but now I have. Sadly this means I've used up all my luck and won't win the skirt, the compression socks, or the lottery.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Running Skirt Love

I want to talk about running skirts. Most people who know me know that I am not much of a girly girl and it is rare to find me in a skirt or dress. I used to love to run in my split sides running shorts but after a group of ladies from a running forum raved about their running skirts from runningskirts.com I changed my mind. I had tried running skirts once before and they had compression shorts built in. The shorts rode up and drove me nuts so I gave up. The beauty of the skirts that the ladies were raving about is that they have a brief built in instead of compression shorts. I reluctantly gave runningskirts.com a try.

I fell in love with the green running skirt I had ordered the first run and have never looked back. Not only are they the best thing ever to run in, no worries about your thighs eating your shorts creating that awesome lump of fabric up in your crotch to rub you raw, but they also come in the cutest colors and patterns! My favorite is my pink plaid skirt. I also have hot pink, green, and a black one that has the Run Like A Girl logo on the back.

My friend and running buddy, Laura, is giving away a skirt from runningskirts.com. So head over to her blog http://myreasontorun.blogspot.com/ and sign up to win a skirt. You won't be sorry you did. I've recently thrown out all my running shorts. I now refuse to run in anything but these skirts. What skirt would be complete without a pair of compression socks? Here's a cool blog, Lil Runner, that is giving away a pair of CEP Compression socks.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Birthday Wrap Up

So there isn't much excitement going on for my birthday today. The big 38 doesn't feel a whole lot different than 37. It does make me two years away from the Master's Division at races. That seems kind of odd. Two years doesn't sound like long enough to make me a Master runner. I have to say I'm looking forward to reaching that milestone as much as I'm dreading it. Master's runner sounds like I'm empowered and knowledgeable but it also sounds like I should have one foot in the grave by then, 40 is nowhere near the grave. Anyway back to this year's age, no big deal, we aren't doing any official celebrating. I do have an appt to get a new tattoo with Emmett's name worked into it so I am excited about that.

On the running front things have been uneventful, sort of. I've done very little barefoot running since my first round of blisters and hot spots. I did a very short one mid week last week, I've got a tiny bit of soreness on the top of my left foot. So it's time to dial back the barefooting mileage a bit until that is resolved. I've also got a mild quad strain in my right leg. It's not causing pain, it's just a noticeable tight spot. I'm taking a few days off to rest and stretch it, gently of course. I've got my first road 5k coming up this weekend. I'm anxious to see how I can do, I just hope the quad is settled by then.

Laura and I checked out another access point for the Ridgeline Trail at the boulder's access area on Bethlehem Rd. It was a hilly challenge. Laura and I openly complained about the abundance of hills. We also reminded ourselves of how good the hills are for our quest to dominate the racing scene. We both brought our cameras. Laura was sad to find out her battery was dead and my pics didn't come out as well as hoped. Laura gave me a good tough girl pose for the camera and I know she's going to love me for sharing it with everyone.

She's now done a handful of trail runs, one in the rain and this last one on some rough and hilly terrain. I'll gladly give her her first bad ass trail girl badge. After this run she went home and was put to work in her back yard by her project obsessed hubby. She is definitely a mom to respect for her toughness!

Have a good week of running everyone! Hopefully I'll have a good report for you this weekend after the Run For The Money 5k.