The Racing Flat.

As most readers know, I like to train in heavier and more cushioned shoes. When I do speed work, I’ll train in my flats but other then that I prefer the heavier shoes.  Since I’m doing higher mileage, I like the extra cushion and weight to keep me healthy.  It makes me feel more comfortable while training.  This is obviously not the everyone’s taste in running shoes but it is mine.

One of my coworkers always says: “Running shoe cushion is like money and you can never have enough money”. Isn’t that the truth?

Right now my high cushioned shoe of choice is the Saucony Triumph. After having an issue with the Asics Nimbus 17, I’ve found the triumph to be a great training shoe for me (I’m on shoe number 2).

This post, however, is about racing flats!

I don’t race in the same shoes I train in.

I think racing in a different shoe comes from beginning to run in college.  In college we raced in spikes.  A spike is just a a very light weight shoe with spikes at the bottom. Since most of college was on cross country courses, the spikes served to grip on dirt better.

It’s similar to a soccer cleat.  You can’t run on pavement in spikes or the spikes will wear down and break.

Throwback to college racing

Throwback to college racing

When I entered the world of road racing, I also went after a light weight shoe. It just seemed normal to me.  The average weight of my trainers have been about 10 ounces. The average weight of my flats have been about 5 ounces.

The first flat I ever purchased was the Nike Waffle. It was the exact platform of the spike I used to race in (but without the spike plate in).

4 years ago with my first flat.

4 years ago with my first (muddy) flat.

I’ve run every distance from a 1 mile race to my first marathon. To be honest, I raced my marathon in that shoe because I didn’t know any better. While I didn’t get injured from it, I will never do that again.  Most people (myself included) need more cushion during a marathon.

Hashtag so dumb.

Hashtag so dumb.

After realizing I liked a little bit more cushion in my racing flat I graduated to the Nike Streak LT racer (I’ve gone through several models of both 1 and 2). The shoe is much softer and only weighs an ounce more then the waffle flat. I raced my last full marathon in that shoe and had no issues.  You can see at the bottom there is a little bit more cushion to it.

Just crossing the finishing line like a bird...with my flats.

Just crossing the finishing line like a bird…with my flats.

I’ve never had any issues with it and it’s a great weight flat.  It’s one I recommend for anyone who likes more cushion but a very light weight shoe to race.

streaklt

This Spring I decided to try a completely new racing flat all together.

Maybe it was because I’ve been injured for so long or maybe it’s because I decided to live life on the edge.

My friend Austin and I in our matching Saucony A6s.  Bright colored twinning!

My friend Austin and I in our matching Saucony A6s. Bright colored twinning!

Either way I’ve raced the last few 5ks in the Saucony A6 and honestly I really like them.  I haven’t had the opportunity to race anything longer in them but I plan too.

So now that I’ve given a bit of my personal background, why racing flats?

A lighter shoe improves turn over. With less weight on your feet, it’s easier to run and increase your turnover. Think about it, less weight (to an extent…) produces faster times.  Carrying an extra few ounces thousands of strides really adds up.

Disadvantages of Flats:

  • You are more prone to injury: since there is little to no cushion in a flat, you are more susceptible to injury.  Think about those who train solely in Nike frees or minimalist shoes…that is why it’s a bad idea to train in flats.
  •  It also takes longer to recover because your feet are taking more of a pounding from the pavement. I’ve always found myself more sore after racing in flats.

How to go about racing in flats:
Honestly I tell people the same thing whether it’s kids going to their first XC race, customers at work, blog readers or whomever…you have to work into them.  

Don’t go run a 5k, half or run marathon in new shoes. 

I recommend first trying a few SHORT training runs and seeing how they work. First try a mile, then 2 miles…then race a 5k. Once you have raced a few 5ks try longer distances. It’s not something I would just jump right into. Not only are they a brand new shoe but it’s a drastically different shoe than what most people train in!  If you go from never running in a flat to racing, you have a high chance of getting injured.

I love the feeling of racing in a different and lighter shoe.  I have no plans to change that!

If you have anymore questions feel free to ask away.  I really enjoy the benefits of racing in flats.  I do alway feel faster and stronger.

Questions for you:

Do you race in flats?

What advice would you give someone beginning to race in flats? 

Historic Fairview 5k (19:47) 

My husband and I decided to sign up for this race on a whim.  When we looked online, we noticed that there were 13 race participants signed up!  The race ended up having about 50 people in it.  We thought it would still be a lot of fun so went anyways. 

The race started at 9 am and we arrived at 8:15.  On our way, a police car began following us.  We were worried we had done something wrong but he was actually headed to the race as well.

After getting there, we warmed up and headed over to the start.  When they said the race started at 9, I believe they meant the race events started at 9.  At 9 am, they started a dance warm up routine.  Then at at 9:05, the local high school marching band marched a lap around the race.

Around 9:15, the National Anthem was played and we were finally off.  

Four men (including my husband) darted off in the lead.  I found myself forever alone.  During the first 400 yards a small kid came cruising by me.  He was no more than 10, running in basketball shoes and probably running a 5:30 pace.  I chuckled as he passed me effortlessly, caught up to the leaders, got winded and began to fade.  I nearly went into cardiac arrest laughing to myself.

The first mile felt like it took forever.  There were a lot of turns, I felt awful and the back of my throat was clogged.  I knew I was not feeling good.  I ran the first mile in 6:30.

During the second mile, I noticed I was in 4th overall.  There were a few race spectators and one even asked if I could be his girlfriend.  I felt honored! Around the halfway point the superintendent of the local school district caught up to me.  I had no idea who he was.  I told him he looked familiar.  It wasn’t until a kid pointed to him later and said “that’s the superintendent” that I figured it out.

There were a lot of turns on the course and neither of us could see anyone ahead.  He was extremely friendly and it was nice to talk to someone during the race.  Just before 2 miles, we got stopped by a car.  I guess they forgot to close off half the course to drivers.  I ran the second mile in 6:25.

The final mile was just focused on not getting lost and finishing.  I felt better then the start of the race but not great.  We powered through and ultimately ran the last mile in 6:20.  There was a small child (around 6 years old) that came out of nowhere and sprinted with me to the finish.  I was cheering him on saying “you can beat me”.

I finished the race in 19:47 and 7th overall (first woman).  I was proud of Tim for running 18:05 and finishing second overall.  Due to his schedule he hasn’t been able to do a lot of consistent running lately.

Picking up the coolest trophy ever.

Picking up the coolest trophy ever.

Thoughts: This was my fastest 5k so far this summer but I felt the worst.  I guess that’s a good sign for my fitness.  My body is starting to absorb the speed workouts (IE: races).  Hopefully soon I break through this plateau! I have no complaints and I’m glad to do another 5k.

Edit to add: Since Saturday, I’ve come down with a minor head cold.  That makes sense of why I never felt great during the race.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been stopped during a race (for cars, trains, whatever)? 

What is the biggest trophy you have ever received?

Weekend Adventure

First, Happy Memorial Day. I hope people are enjoying the Holiday and remembering those who lost their lives.

Even though I’m working today, the last few days have been extremely enjoyable.

My brother came into town for the day on Thursday. Of course, New Jersey hasn’t seen much rain but it rained the day he came into town. We decided to go to Atlantic City because he wanted to see the Casino and Board walk (and of course I wanted to go to the outlets!).

Matt and I

I enjoy going to the casino but I never spend more than 30 dollars. I normally give myself a limit of 30 and exclusively play the slots. It equates to about an hour of playing.  I always walk away if I get to 60 dollars (but I generally just lose 30 dollars).  After about an hour I get bored or lose everything so it all works out.

Matt won 3 dollars and I won nothing (I actually only spent $10 anyways). I don’t understand how people can spend hours and day in the casino. I don’t have that much focus.

casino

After the casino adventure, we went shopping at the outlets.  My brother and husband somehow convinced me to buy this BCBG blazer. I have gotten into a blazer mood lately so this was another unique one to add to the collection. I’ve been doing some minor wardrobe updates to begin with.

I mean who doesn’t need a blazer that looks like a carpet?

Me BCBG blazer

Sadly Matt had to leave on Friday.  The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with the husband and working.  We ran a local 5k in Camden on Saturday and spent the day at the Collingswood May Fair and Car Show.

Fun fun fun till her daddy takes the third away

Fun fun fun till her daddy takes the third away

I think I mentioned before, that my husband is leaving again next week.  He’ll be gone quite a bit over the next year (to make up for the last 6 months that I was lucky he was around!).  So now that we have time to relax, it’s time to prepare for that.

It’s always stressful the week before he leaves for a while (hashtag so much to do) but we have almost gotten everything done. Plus of course we want to hang out!  Long story short, it was nice that our schedules worked out to hang some extra time with each other this week.

Anyways Happy Memorial Day and hopefully you are having a great day!

Questions for you:

Do you like the casino?

How is your Holiday weekend?

Week 3: Team 5k 60 miles

One of my goals in my free time was to give the LOLZ blog an overhaul. A lot of the information is old and stale. Sometimes it’s easier playing “Where’s Waldo” than finding older blog posts. (I know the navigation is rough!)

I’ve been doing a lot of blog construction. I think I’ve finally settled on a cleaner layout. It’s easier to read and navigate than the one I had previously. I liked the previous but the function was awful.

The first thing I did was update my running story page. It needed a few minor tweaks (like running my second marathon and half of my life in New Jersey). So if you are interested in reading about how I began running in 2011, feel free.

Anyways to the actual training:

My goal of last week was to mix up training more so I didn’t get stale. I cannot say I that I deserve an A+ but I did at least pass with a C. Despite wanting to run with several people they either got sick or couldn’t in the morning. I deserve an A for effort though.

As far as actual training goes it was a successful injury free week. I felt pretty good during my runs after Tuesday. This was partially because of my deep tissue massage on Monday evening but also because I think my mileage is starting to benefit me.

Monday: 7.35 miles with T and deep tissue massage
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 10.7 miles
Thursday: 10.5 miles
Friday: 10.5 miles
Saturday: Local 5k (19:47)
Sunday: 10 miles

 

Concerning the little things, I didn’t get as much done as I would have liked.

I like to do the Nike core training app. I created a small routine from the Nike training club app. It keeps me doing 15 minute core sets. I hate not having focus or a plan when doing any strength training. Like running if there is an end goal, I can stay much more focused.

Other then that I’m happy with how my training went. The 5k felt pretty awful but was the fastest one this summer. It’s still about 80 seconds from my PR.

My goals for next week are about the same:

I’m running around 60 miles weekly which is good right now. I will continue running more 5ks for speed and hopefully continue to get faster. It’s supposed to be extremely hot next week (so early morning runs it is!).

Questions for you:

How was your week of training?

For my blog friends, how often do you change the layout of your blog and “clean house”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dolphin Diner

The night before Broad Street, my inlaws, Tim and I decided to head to a local diner.   I had been wanting to try this diner for a while.  Realistically I liked this diner because the outside looked really nice and “diner like”.

Was the moon photoshopped...who knows.  Photo Credit from the Dolphin Diner website

Was the moon photoshopped…who knows. Photo Credit from the Dolphin Diner website

Atmosphere: A

The outside atmosphere is what originally drew me into the Dolphin Diner.  It’s a giant blue matalic building.  I was thinking (and hoping) they would run with the nautical dolphin theme inside.  While there are plenty of dolphin designs, there aren’t as many as you would think!  Either way, the outside is nice and the inside is clean.  When we arrived around 5:30, it wasn’t crowded at all.  I was actually very surprised but there are 5 diners within the 10 min radius. The waitor was quite the unique individual.  He was very nice and kept everything refilled.

Coffee: A

I always enjoy when diners give a bowl of whipped cream instead of putting it directly into the coffee.  The coffee was great and it came with quite a bit of whipped cream.  I have no complaints.  It was really good.

Bowl of whipped cream and coffee

Bowl of whipped cream and coffee

Food:  A

The menu of diners are like black holes.  You find yourself wondering how on earth they could make all of these different foods.  The Dolphin Diner has at least 200 different menu items. I ordered their signature Greek salad with blackened chicken.  Due to the price, I wasn’t sure how large the salad would be.  When it came out I was pleasantly surprised.  The salad was massive and filled with feta cheese, greens, cucumbers, grape leaves, pita bread and olives.  However, it was missing onions which surprised me.  No harm done and it was one of the better salads I’ve had in a while. Dolphin Diner Salad Cost: $

The salad and coffee was 14 dollars.  I was shocked!  The salad was extremely filling.  I have no complaints about the cost and the amount of food.  It’s one of the best diner deals in the area.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back? The Dolphin Diner is a great diner. I was pleasantly surprised and have no complaints.  If I’m in Burlington soon, I will be back.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $5-22 (the highest end being the seafood platters)
Overall: A

Questions for you:
Do you like onions? 
What do you eat before a big race? 

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