2009 Bastille Days w/niece

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trailbreaker Half Marathon

A few weeks ago I was thinking about what I wanted to do for my birthday and I decided I wanted to look for a race.  The only thing I found nearby was the Trailbreaker Half Marathon.  I was planning on making the WI marathon May 1st my 2nd half marathon so I checked my training schedule for that and I was supposed to run 11.5 miles this weekend so I figured I could do another 1.6 miles and do the half marathon.  So I signed up for the Trailbreaker planning to run it as a training run.

Then on Wednesday evening I got a bad leg cramp.  You know the kind where you grab your leg rolling around yelling and screaming in pain.  That happened at the gym and one of the trainers helped me to massage it out.  Since then I have been foam rolling like crazy, stretching, resting it, walking and thinking there is no way I am going to be able to run this weekend.  So on Friday I went back to the gym and talked to a few trainers.  I got some great advice on some stretches and was also given the okay to run a little bit and see how it felt.  They thought it might loosen up as I ran.  So I ran about a quarter mile and it felt fine running but then hurt again when I stopped.  They said I could try the run on Sat but to listen to my body.  I decided I would try to run it and that I would finish even if I had to finish walking or limping.

I left early knowing I would get lost on the way there and sure enough I did get lost but still made it on time.  My calf was sore but not too bad.  There was not a whole lot of runners so we were able to start running pretty much right away.  It started off running next to the river which I loved except for going over the bridges.  It was not much of a hill but my calves really hated that.  Then we got to the trail portion which was really flat.  My calf twitched every now and again but as long as I kept a slow steady pace it was fine.  I walked the 3 water stops and made sure I drank enough.  I think keeping hydrated and all of the electrolyte drinks during the week was also helping the calf.  Since this was an out and back on the same trail I was hoping to recognize a few daily mile friends as they went the other way but I did not recognize anyone.  I loved the country scenery and would definitely like to run that path again.  Then we get back toward the end and as I passed the 3 miles left to go sign I knew I would finish and felt so excited.  I got back to the first bridge and my leg felt like it might cramp.  It hurt bad but I took it slow and kept on going.  I got to the city streets and one of my fears happened.  I passed a few people and there was no one in front of me the whole rest of the way.  I felt like a few times I lost the race but then I would see the next set of cops stopping traffic for the runners and knew I was still on course.  One mile to go and I knew I could finish running.  I picked up the pace just slightly - as much as my calf would allow.  Then to my surprise I saw my dad and step mom close to the finish line.  I crossed the finish line so incredibly happy that I forgot to stop my Garmin.  When I did remember to stop the Garmin it said 2 hours 8 min which was a PR for me by exactly 6.5 minutes.  The official time was 2 hours 7 min and 8 sec.  It was perfect weather, a flat course and a PR.  It was a perfect birthday weekend activity.

And for the 1st time I really felt 100% like a runner.  In the past I just more or less ran for fun.  Today though I ran through pain and made it.  I also had just thrown in this half marathon and did it.  Also earlier this week I joined the Badgerland Striders.  When I got home the 2010 race schedule and my membership card was at the door.  My next long run in my half marathon training schedule is a 12 miler in two weeks which also corresponds with the South Shore half marathon.  This is where I usually do my long runs anyway and it was cheap so I signed up for that one also when I got home.  So in training for what was going to be my 2nd half marathon I am throwing in two extra half marathons.  I plan on running South Shore slow as a training run and I pretty much know I will not get a PR since that one has a few hills but I love running along the lakefront and there is almost nothing better than running with a bunch of people.  Yes I am a runner.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Running Shoes

I think I first heard about the Newton running shoe about 3 months ago while listening to Brandon Wood's podcast. IronBrandon.com  I was intrigued about them so I checked out the Newton website. NewtonRunning.com  I went through the whole website and was a little surprised to find that most of the website was about promoting a good running technique instead of selling shoes (which of course they also do). I quickly realized that I was already a midfoot to forefoot striker so I thought these shoes would be perfect.

Then I tried the shoes on at the Multi-Sport Expo in Milwaukee at the end of Jan. My initial reaction was boy do these feel odd but then I ran in them and knew right then and there I had to have a pair. However, I did not buy them at the expo for a few reasons. First they are expensive and I did not have the funds at the time. And they sell them at the local running store Performance Running Outfitters (PRO). http://performancerunning.com They guy from the store who is really quite knowledgeable said that if I got them at the store I could have my running form analyzed on the treadmill which I have never had done before. And he said that there was no additional discount or benefit from buying them at the expo as opposed to coming into the store. I also got to listen in on a discussion on running form from a Newton rep at the expo that I found to be quite informative.

So about a month goes by - and it went by quite quickly and I finally decide to go in to PRO and try out the Newtons again with the intention of buying a pair. But I also decided I would try on a few other brands also just to make sure I was making the right decision. So I tried on a bunch of different shoes and liked a few. But I really could not wait to try on the Newton again. They said that what I really needed was the Newton Motion and they did not have that one in my size. They had me try on a different Newton just so I could get the feel of the Newton but I knew right off that it was not what I was looking for. So since I really needed a new pair of running shoes since my old ones were a year old and giving me some issues and my newer pair (about 2.5 months old at the time) gives me blisters and calf/shin pain I decided to get the ones I liked best - the Mizuno Wave Inspire 6.0. I did order the Newton Motions and would have to wait a few weeks for them to come in to try them out. This is all fine since I like to rotate my shoes and was eventually going to get two pairs of shoes anyway. (Also as a side note while the one pair of shoes gave me blisters what I started doing was when I was on the track at the gym I would take off my shoes and run the last mile of my runs in my socks which felt great. I think this summer or fall I may have to try out some Vibrams.)

So while I am waiting for my Newtons to come in, Newton announces that they are coming out with a new model on most of their running shoes. So now I was trying to decide if I should wait for the new model or go with the older one that I have on order. This decision I went back and forth on many many many times. Then the store called and said that my shoes had come in. Driving to the store I still had not decided if I was going to get this pair or wait for the new ones. I wanted the shoes now so I could have enough time to break them in so I could wear them for my next half marathon in a month and a half. But I also wanted the newer model since the improvements sounded great. I was a nervous wreck driving to the store but decided that I would at least try them on. So I got to the store and tried them on. They felt really good. Then I got on the treadmill and ran for a little over a minute. I don't usually run on the treadmill (have only done so twice in the past and one of those times was trying on shoes) so this still feels a little odd. I started out slow and then gradually picked up the pace focusing on how the shoes felt. And it felt great. I felt like I had a lot of forward motion. I was not even sure if my heel ever hit the ground and I was getting excited. Then I watched the video and the guy pointed out a few things about my running style. I have a great forefoot strike. While my heal did hit the ground a few times most of the time it did not. Also he said that most people lose their form a little at the end but I did not. I also am not losing much energy since I don't really push off and lift my leg too high. Land, Lever, Lift is what I have been practicing - very efficient. I knew immediately that I had to have them and could not wait to do my 1st run in them. Plus I was thinking maybe July or August I would get the newer version for training for my 1st marathon.

So I bought the shoes and I cannot remember ever being so excited over a purchase before especially a shoe purchase. I was not even this excited when my mom took me to Italy a few years ago - and that was amazing. The guy at the store reminded me to only do a mile or two on my 1st run and to break in the shoes which I knew but it is great to have the reminder in all of the excitement. I called my husband right away and he just did not get all the excitement but was fine if I went for a run and did not come home right away. I texted Kevin KCTris.com a picture of the shoes after I put them on. He is also a huge Newton fan and kept asking when I was going to get Newtons. So this first run I did on the track at the gym since it was getting dark out and I don't run outside in the dark yet. I took it slow just getting the feel for the Newton. I was expecting a little bit of calf pain and did feel my calves a little bit but no actual pain. I was so excited I over did it a little and went 2.5 miles. And although I know I am not supposed to do speed work in them for about two weeks while I am breaking them in I did pick up the pace a little at the end (just a few steps) to see how it felt and it felt amazing. I cannot wait to do speed training in these shoes.

 Overall, the fit is amazing. The material is great. I love how it feels when the foot strikes the ground. It feels like these shoes actually help to push you forward. I just cannot imagine a better running shoe. I think the only negative thing I have to say is the price is a little high. While they may not be right for everyone (thinking especially heel strikers) I would highly recommend these shoes and would definitely recommend midfoot to forefoot running.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blarney 5k

I ran my 3rd 5k today - the Blarney 5k. I started out at the end of the pack which I think was a mistake. It was extremely slow the first half mile with all of the people. It was so packed I could not pass anyone. Then it thinned out for a while but got packed again when we hit the bridge going over the freeway. I also walked both water stops and had water even though I felt like I did not need it. There was a hill at the end and I actually passed people on the hill. I usually do not run many hills - which I need to add more in to my training. The hills were actually kind of fun. But then again I love challenges. My time at the end was 29:15 which surprised me since I had a slow start a slow middle and walked the water stops. Plus it was not chipped timed and I started at the end of the pack. It was only my 3rd 5k but 29:15 is a PR for me!!!