Race Ready? I think so!

My marathon training in the past has been very different. Usually it was 16 weeks with several longs runs throughout. My coach Jen, takes a different approach to training for a marathon especially since we are balancing triathlon training on top of it! The big difference is I don’t run as much as I used to. For some this might be a bit unsettling but Jen hasn’t steered me wrong in the last three years so I am sure she has this figured out! I recently had two chance test my fitness. I did the Wings for Life World Run where I tried to run my goal marathon pace (8:27) for the race. Nailed it!

Then yesterday I needed to run 2:30 hours at zone 1/2 heart rate. I picked a loop to run that was a change of scenery for me but allowed me to circle back to my car for supplies if needed. My goal was to run at least 9:30 or faster but really pay attention to how I felt and keep it easy. At the end of the run I was supposed to be able to keep going if needed. Nailed it again! I managed 17 miles in 2:32:07, average pace of 8:57. And yes, I totally could have kept running!

So I have entered a bit of a taper until the race on May 29. I am doing my best to not mess anything up and just keep following my training. I am working to eat well so I can show up to the race at a good-for-me weight. I am making sure to stretch and keep my body happy. And I am doing a lot of positive self talk. It is going to get dark on race day around mile 18; but I know I can push through. I have done it before. On race day it will be time to trust the training and believe in myself. 3:43 or bust!!!

Off to the local running store

DNA Fitting System

Yesterday I wrote about how my running feels off.  So today I did something proactive about it and went to the local running store.  I have been shopping at a large chain running store for the last couple years because I knew what I wanted and didn’t really need much help.  I haven’t really trusted the help you get at a big chain store when it comes to running shoes, which is why today I went to our local independent running store, Future Track.  I was very happy to walk in and have someone available to help me right away and they did a very thorough analysis of my needs(called their DNA fitting).  They watched me stand, walk, and run on the treadmill barefoot.  Then after discussing what shoes I have run in over the years they brought out a few pairs of shoes and had me run in each of them.  By the end of it I ended up getting two pairs of shoes (I am gonna try rotating shoes during the week).  I got the Asics GT-2000 (stability shoe for longer training runs) and the Adidas adizero tempo 5 (lighter weight stability shoe for track work).

I am happy with my choice to go to a local shop.  I feel the attention and service I got GREATLY surpassed what I experience at the larger chain store.  And I am pretty sure I didn’t pay much more for my shoes (I get 10% off because I do my track workouts with them). I feel like this is the right way to remedy the problem I am having.  I really tried to run in the Newtons but they are not for everyone. Hopefully you will see a post in three weeks saying all my lower leg problems have gone away… cross your fingers!

I just want to run

Could these be the solution?

As my miles start to creep up as I train for a half marathon and eventually the Boston marathon my confidence is being shaken.  I am having pain in a new place. And I don’t know what to do.  A year ago I could run all I wanted and nothing hurt. I am not sure what is triggering this.  But I have a list of possible suspects and the possible solutions.

  1. IT band again (don’t really think it is ), but the solution of stretching, foam rolling, and hip/glute strengthening exercises would help regardless.
  2. Shoe issue.   I ran for YEARS in plain old stability shoes (Asics mostly) and NEVER had a problem.  I have been trying to fix my heal striking and therefore have been running in more minimal shoes and right now I run in Newtons.  Maybe I am just such a heavy striker that I can’t make the switch.  The possible solution is different shoes and for this weekends run I am gonna bust out my moon boots (Hoka’s).  They are not the sexiest looking shoes but I don’t really care anymore.
  3. Increase in track work may be tougher on me than I thought.  I have recently started doing organized track workouts and I LOVE them!  Running with a group really pushes me to run faster than when I do them on my own.  The running on a track may be too repetitive.  Solution, mix it up with trails.  This is tough because of my schedule constraints but I just may have to make it happen.

Hopefully I can figure it out soon.  I want so badly to have a strong Boston as well as a strong Challenge Penticton next summer.  But all I really want is to run…

July 2011 Training Summary

Starting out the run at Vineman

Training Summary

  • Running – 118 Miles /18:40
  • Swimming – 12 miles/6:31
  • Biking – 277 miles/16:53
  • Total Distance – 409 miles
  • Total Time : 42:50


Big month for racing because I did my second 70.3 triathlon of the year!  It was a huge for success for me since I beat the goal I had set for myself and had a very successful race. I finished the race in 5:32:change.  I was most proud of my run.  After the 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile bike I felt very strong off the bike and had a great run; 1:51:10 for the 13.1 miles!  I also did a better job of managing my nutrition and hydration during the race.   It was very rewarding for everything to come together on race day.  What was even better was I felt great after the race!

Notes on Month

It was still a very stressful month at home while some things are getting sorted out.  That combined with racing meant a week to taper and a couple to recover which took a ding in my mileage.  But it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I finally did my first 20 mile run for my marathon plan.  It went really well and I am encouraged to train hard for my upcoming Portland Marathon in October.

Goals for Next Month

  • There are a few things I would like to focus on in August.
  • Increase my running miles so I can be well prepared for the marathon in October and hopefully my first ultra in November.
  • Work harder to make the splits I am supposed to when doing interval or tempo work.  I tend to just try harder during those runs but I don’t really watch my pace too carefully.
  • And as always, spend more time on my bike.  I need to get more comfortable and stronger on the bike so I am ready for some serious Ironman training starting in December (the goal is Ironman St. George in May!)

Operation “Get It Done”

For the last 7 months I have been focusing on triathlon but now that my two 70.3 races are done it is time to switch to marathon mode.  I am training for the Portland Marathon on October 9.  I did this race last year and loved it.  I had set out to run 4:30 and was thrilled to run 4:21. The course was fun even though it rained from start to finish.  I have been running faster since last year so this year I am shooting for sub 4, hopefully 3:50 but  my ultimate goal is under 3:40 (Boston qualifying time).

Today was my first 20 mile run.  The plan I am using is much harder that what I have done in the past so the mileage jumps up pretty quickly.  I haven’t run this far in a very long time.  I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do this run; do it well; and feel good after.  I needed a running confidence boost.  So the mission was “Get It Done”.  I named my new playlist on my iPod “Get It Done” and started out a little before 6 this morning to get it done.

The run went great! I did an out and back run that is hillier than the race course but it has a couple places for water if I ran out.  When I hit the turn I was at and average pace of 9:16 and when I finished I was 9:08 so I negative split the run!  I was cautious to make sure I was good about water, nutrition, and electrolytes.  I got hungry towards the end (had trouble eating before I started) but I had some cut up apples (Pink Ladys, my favorite) which helped for the last couple of miles.

Overall I am really pleased! I have spent so much time on triathlon lately that it is kind of nice to try and focus on my running and just swim and bike to break up the workouts.

Click here for the Garmin details from the run. No heart rate data. Forgot the strap!

KSwiss Blade-Light Run shoe review

New shoes right out of the box

Up until recently I have generally run in Asics running shoes.  I started in the 2100 series like most and then moved up to the Kayanos as I began to run more and more.  But when I joined my Triathlon team one of the perks was sponsorship from KSwiss (which translates to a nice/helpful discount).  I am a heavy heal striker so I can wear through the black sole of a running shoe in 200 miles no problem.  Unfortunately this means I go through shoes pretty quickly.  So having a discount at KSwiss is helpful, very helpful.  I started out in their Konejo II line which is more of a stability shoe (essentially what my Asics were).  Except for a slightly longer breaking in period they gave me no problems; very supportive and comfortable.  But as I am striving to improve my running (which means getting off my heals) I felt it was time to leave the comfort and cush of a stability shoe and move to something lighter weight and more neutral.  So I got the KSwiss Blade-Light Run shoes.

Immediately I noticed a difference n the weight of the shoes.  They were much lighter than what I am used to running in (9.3 oz).  And after the first run in them I knew they were going to move me in the right direction of getting off my heels.  I know this because my claves were pretty sore after the first run.  This is normal if you are running more on your mid to forefoot as opposed to your heals.  Except for the first couple of runs making my calves a little tired, I settled in nicely to the new shoes.  After about 40 miles (I have about 80 on them now) I took out the insoles and put in a more substantial pair (I took them from my other shoes). That gave them just the right amount of spring and they feel great now.  I have always switched out the insoles ever since I first started running.

I am very happy with the shoes.  They breathe well, are very light weight, and seem to be doing the trick with helping me move my foot strike forward.  I can tell this because I haven’t wore the heels down nearly as much as I have on my other shoes.  I am hoping to get at least 250-300 miles out of these shoes (which is big for me).

After 9.5 miles

Celliant Sock Review

I am really enjoying this blogging thing and I was hoping at some point companies would start sending me things to demo for them.  I love running and triathlon gear (probably half the reason I do it!).  So the first company to do so was Celliant.  Here is some information that can be found on Celliant’s website.

“Celliant is a technology that modifies visible and infrared light, recycling them into energy that the body can use more effectively. When Celliant is worn as clothing, or placed near the body (like in a bed liner or a blanket), it redirects this recycled energy back to the body increasing blood flow and blood oxygen levels in the tissue.”

They contacted me thru twitter that they wanted to send me a sample.  A short time later a package showed up with two pairs of socks, some wrist bands, and a gift card (thanks!).  Small problem…the socks were too big for me.  But not to worry, my husband is a big guy (6’5”, size 15 shoes) so they fit him just fine.  Up until now I think I have been folding the same pairs of socks for him for up to 7 years in some cases!  He is happy to wear just plain old socks, nothing special. These higher-tech socks were a departure to what he is used to wearing.

He has recently picked up running (and is giving me a run for my money) and has always cycled on and off.  He has worn the socks for both running and cycling.  He is very happy with them.  He thinks their ability to wick moisture is excellent.  He finds the construction of the socks superior due to the practically invisible seams.  This makes them very comfortable in both running shoes and bike shoes.  He was also very impressed with how refreshed his feet felt when he wore them.  He wasn’t sure he could tell if that was due to increased oxygenation but he really liked the socks.

Overall they were great socks.  Celliant makes fabrics that are used in other products as well.  I bet they would be great in some compression gear.

Trying to run quietly

I have noticed an increase in my speed running over the last 9 months.  I never started running to run fast.  For me it has just been about finishing the race; completing not competing.   I attribute a lot of this speed increase to the bike training I have been doing.  I think the increased leg turnover in cycling has helped make me a faster runner.

But if I really want to get faster (and I do) I have to start doing some structured speed work.  Up until now, the only speed work I have done has been some fartleks while running and some quarter-mile repeats. This morning was my first crack at doing a structured speed workout.  I am training for a half marathon in late August 2011 and a full marathon in October 2011, both of which I have some time goals for.  I am using the FIRST training method which concentrates on doing speed and tempo workouts in addition to long runs.  It also mixes in cross training which works great for me since I am a triathlete.

So how did it go and why do I want to run quietly?  It was hard (that’s what she said)!!! I probably made less than half the intervals at the right pace (except for the rest intervals; there was no pace for them).  This is way out of my normal running routine.  The quiet part has two sides to it.  One, my Garmin beeps at me when I am running too fast (rarely the case) or not running fast enough (usually the case).  I don’t think there was one interval where it didn’t beep at me…a lot! And two, I was breathing so heavy and loud I bet people in their homes could hear me!  I wasn’t wearing headphones so I couldn’t drown myself out. I sounded like it was my first run ever and I was trying to win a marathon!

I know it will get better and it will work…eventually.  But for now I am apologizing in advance to the people of Thousand Oaks California that I will wake up with my heavy breathing and constant beeping.

Click here to see what my workout looked like from the Garmin data.

Out of My Comfort Zone, and On To the Trail

I have been running for about 5 years.  I have completed a bunch of half marathons, several marathons, and now I am on to triathlons.  But when it comes to running I have stayed on the road.  The road is predictable. The road is flat.  I find the road to be safe.  I have tried the trails a little.  Many talk about preferring running trails because it is a softer surface and more forgiving than the pavement.  I have said that I prefer the predictable nature of pavement over the ankle turning nature of trails.

Enter Stuart (@Quadrathon).  I was lucky enough to find Stuart through some combination of Twitter and the Dailymile and Foursquare (not sure which one first). We connected via the interwebs but we actually live quite close.  We had been saying for some time that we should run together and this past week we finally made it happen.  We did a couple early morning runs around town which were great.  I am always happy to find someone to run early in the morning.  So then he proposed some trail running this weekend. Something I am not strong at.  Lately I have seen a lot of improvement in my running with regards to pace.  The thought of running on trails meant I would see a decrease in my speed for sure.  But I knew that this might be the time to branch out my running style.  I was hoping that running in a new environment would translate to better running overall.

So this morning we set off to an open space near by, Chesboro Canyon.  The weather was kind of gloomy.  Very foggy and practically drizzling.  It had rained a lot this winter so there is a lot of fresh growth in the canyon.  We set off for 10 miles as I laughed at my choice of socks, bright white knee-high compression socks (not the best idea with the current conditions).  The running was awesome!  Now that I am a stronger runner I was so much more comfortable with the quick changes in elevation and surface type.  It was so nice to be away form the cars, and roads.  The combination of terrain and company made for a great run.  I ran significantly slower than usual and had to do some walking up some of the hills (favorite quote of the day, “it gets worse after this!”).  But overall I was pleased with how I did.  Possibly to Stuart’s dismay I was able to hold a conversation for most (if not all) of the run.  I may have been muddy, and wet, and cold by the end but the increase in confidence I felt left me beaming!

I can’t say how thankful I am that Stuart helped get me out of my running rut and on to the trails.  Training can get tedious, repetitive, and boring if you never change things up.  I needed a little nudge to move me on to something new.  I am already looking for my first trail half marathon… ready to run Boney Mountain with me Stuart?

Photo above: here I am trying to gracefully (ha ha) navigate my way up the trail. (photo by @Quadrathon)

The grass was so wet! But the views were beautiful! (photo by @Quadrathon)

I wish I had a photographer for every run! This is my favorite picture. (photo by @Quadrathon)

Garmin Details for the run.

Another view of the day…