Monday, May 24, 2010

New socks and negative splits

*I wrote this last week, so the info is dated but still relevant!*

It’s amazing how the little things can make running/exercising so great. While I was home over Mother’s Day weekend I asked my aunt if she wouldn’t mind picking me up a couple pairs of my “fancy” socks (Experia) since I only had 3 pair and had to time my laundry just right so that they would always be available for my workouts. (My aunt warned me it would happen, but who knew I would become such a sock snob? On an aside, my aunt is the head buyer of a regional sports/outdoor store and she can buy things 60% off with her discount…basically, at cost…so occasionally I will ask her to pick something up for me…$5 for a pair of socks vs $13…is there really any question?) Well, they only had 1 pair of Experia left in my size, so she brought me Wigwam Ironman FlashPro socks to try. OMG. LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. I think I like them even more than the Experia. They are so incredibly comfortable. Cushiony but breathable and I really do like the fun colors too. HIGHLY recommend trying these out. (And I also have to say, I was expecting to pay for the socks, but my aunt brought them to me as a gift! She said it was a small “finisher’s prize” for doing my 2 half marathons! That is so sweet and really meant a lot to me!)

So I am currently on a 12 week maintenance plan that I “designed” using the Runner’s World Smart Coach program until I can figure out my next goal. I say “maintenance” because I really wanted to shed those longer runs during the summer so as not to dominate/define my every Saturday (that is where some of the previous burnout was coming from) but I am working a little bit on consistent “speed” training b/c I do want to get faster and stronger without the added pressure of a deadline/race. However, the Smart Coach paces seem really whacked out to me. With Smart Coach you are supposed to plug in past race times and it will set your paces for you. Well my Runpshaker 5K pace was 10:24 and Mercedes Half pace was around 11:30 (Nashville was all over the board…anywhere from 10:00 to 13:00…ugh). This Smart Coach recommends doing my runs at a 13:14 pace. Say WHAT??? Ummm…NO. So I have been using the distance recommendations and throwing their paces out the window.

For now, I would really like to get comfortable maintaining a consistent 10:00 mile over “distance” because I really feel like getting there will help me more easily break the barrier to running in the 9:00’s.

It seems like my typical running M.O. is to start of faster for as long as I can and then slow down with a slight kick at the end (For 5Ks I routinely pick people off in the last .25 and for the “halfs” it was anywhere from .5 (Mercedes) to a full mile (Nashville) that I was passing people right and left. With that being said, I want to keep my “kick” but really would like to be able to run negative splits, or at the very least stay strong and consistent for the entire run. My last few treadmill runs, I have been working on kicking each mile up by “.1”, so last night mile 1 was 11:06, mile 2: 10:54, mile 3: 10:40 with a kick to 10:00 for the last .1. (Ideally, each week I will kick mile 1 up by .1 so that I am starting and ending faster than the week before but I don’t think at this point that every run will be a planed negative split endeavor) Last week on a 4.5 miler, I did the first 1 at 10:54, 2-3 at 10:00 (with a .10 walk break in between miles) and the last 1-ish at 10:54. I really feel in the groove at 10:54 and honestly felt like I could have kept running for days. I really hope with consistent work, I can get stronger and faster and I can finally crack that sub 30:00 5K this fall. I’m hoping I can find a smaller race before Komen since I know Komen is not the place to do it. (With over 15,000 participants and walkers that ignore directions to stay at the back, way too much bobbing and weaving over the first mile to really give myself the shot I deserve.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Not really a running post, per se, but I think I'll have a lot to think about while running tomorrow. What a powerful and fulfilling finale, at least in my opinion. I hope I am not the only one who was crying...especially at the end. Even thinking about it now, I'm getting goosebumps and tearing up. Waiting for Jimmy Kimmel...I think I will be needing espresso in the morning!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pretty feet?

Is there such thing when one is a runner? My once smooth feet now seemed to be plagued with calluses or some such things these days and although my toenails have staid intact, one may or may not have been on the brink at one point, though seems healthy and recovered now. I will admit to loving my regular pedicures from The Aveda Institute and seriously, at $14 how can I resist?

Well, pretty feet or not these sandals look like the perfect thing this summer. A little pricey, but luckily How I Met Your Father is giving away a pair!! Go over to her blog to check it out :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Great Outdoors

I went home this past weekend for Mother’s Day and with the choice of either doing nothing or running outdoors, I hit the pavement! I was lucky that my great southern state was experiencing a cold front this weekend so when I went out Saturday night it was in the low 60s and when I went out early Sunday morning, it was barely 50 degrees with a nice breeze (or headwind, but I digress)! As any runner would attest, these are ideal conditions but my mom was so funny…”Are you sure you don’t want a jacket?” LOL

While I should not be surprised that driving 2 hours south onto “the plains”, I would be experiencing flatter conditions than my “foothills of the Appalachians”, I have to admit that I was surprised at how MUCH flatter it was! Not to say that my parents’ neighborhood is flat (it’s not) but at least there were some stretches of flat instead of the constant up and down of my usual outdoor pursuits. It was really nice to run in a new place and to take things in from a new perspective.

Saturday night after returning from baseball/softball and helping my parents prep stuff for the grill, I took their dog out for a .75 loop and asked them how much time I had before dinner was ready. They estimated 10, so I went out for another 15, figuring something was better than nothing. After an off-schedule week leading up to going out of town (heavy on the work and social calendar and lighter on the exercise) my body was CRAVING activity and was itching to run. I have not really had that feeling b/c I have been sticking so close to a training plan that I never had enough off time to miss it. It was a great feeling to just let my body go without distance or pace agenda.

I ran 2.7 Sunday morning (was aiming for 3 but with no Garmin or internet…my parents have DIAL UP, why bother?...I was pleased to have estimated it fairly closely) and it went quickly as I thought about growing up, teenage antics and wondered about the families that still lived there. After my mom got home from church, she and I headed out for a 2.8 walk (different route) which was fun.

While overall, the mileage was lower than usual for a weekend I am pleased that I found time to exercise out of my normal routine and I look forward to running in their neighborhood again. I now know what I can do to easily make each route 3+ so it gives me some options when I come home for college football Saturdays or holidays b/c I will feel SO MUCH better knowing I squeezed in some mileage rather than just sitting on my arse.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Last fall Matt and I went here:

It was THE most amazing trip I have taken in my 30 years and made an incredible impact on me. Although I believe in exploring and not returning to destinations, I am itching to go back and if someone told me to pack tonight and get on a plane tomorrow morning, you can bet I would be ready. I have not been actively seeking out this programming, but in the past two nights I have watched fascinating documentaries on Alaskan bears and Icecaps/Glaciers in Iceland (and snuck in an episode of Deadliest Catch while waiting for LOST to come on!). OK, so Iceland may be a stretch, but so much of our Alaskan adventure centered around glaciers (viewing them, learning about them, hiking to them) and I just think they are absolutely fascinating creations. I could gush on and on about Alaska it was so truly amazing and I know in my heart I am not done exploring that great state. I also don't know if there was ever a time where I felt more at peace. (We actually slept with the door to our balcony open taking in the crisp FRESH air, not wanting to miss anything)
And to make this marginally about running, these are representative of the views I had every morning from the gym in the front of the ship. This along with the amazing wildlife (whales, seals, sea lions, dolphins, birds). Ahh...peace :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Day I Became "a Runner"

It's something I may have mentioned in passing following Mercedes: that even despite the months of training, the clear obsession with all things running and having the official half under my belt, I still didn't feel like "a runner." Six more weeks passed as I kept up my training for Country Music/Nashville, logged countless more hours and added a second half marathon under my belt.

In the two (or so?) weeks leading up to Nashville, I "announced" that I was ready for a break from training since I had been religiously following some sort of plan since early November. I am as Type A as anyone, but it was wearing on me. Now, granted, I didn't really know what I meant by that statement but I envisioned more cross training (perhaps training for a tri?) and maybe a reduction in running.

I was sick and down for the count almost immediately following Nashville...not the type of sick I could "run through" and it was frustrating. I managed a walk/run with Matt and the pups last Thursday and a run/bike on Saturday. I missed my trail run with Amy yesterday due to weather and I would be lying if I said my legs (and mind) weren't itching to get out there. Fast forward to today: googling running maintenance plans and mentally strategizing how to maintain my mileage and ADD the possible x-training goals. I hit the gym for an easy 3 on the track (no treadmill!), followed by some time on the bike and was so truly happy to be running. As I was stretching afterwards, I realized that I couldn't imagine my life without running...there is just nothing I have found that truly challenges and rewards me physically and mentally every.single.time. And then it hit me. "I think I might actually be A RUNNER." :) Cheesy, I know, but I have to believe others know what I'm talking about. Now maybe when others classify me as such, I don't have to qualify their statements or feel like a poser, I can smile and agree :)