cow run 10 miler
October Training Recap

I can’t believe October has flown by, but that’s been the theme of 2019. As most people know, 2019 hasn’t been my year of running. I’m okay with it and I’ve enjoyed running, but I’ve run 5, 10, and even almost 15 minutes slower in my favorite distance: the half marathon!

As I move into NYCM weekend, I have come to terms with marathon running isn’t for me. This is the last month of marathon training for a very long time (maybe ever, who knows). I’m looking forward to getting back into shorter stuff.

Anyway, Back to Training:

Miles Run: 220
Range of Paces: 6:07-11:15-untimed
Races:
Cow Run 10 Miler 1:15.00
Heroes to Hero 5k (20:30)
Gritty 5k (20:45)
Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:36.27)
Pennypacker Park Cross Country Open 5k (21:00)
Rest Days: 5
Cross Training: 4 (hiking or swimming)

Thoughts:

None of my races were “amazing,” but I had an enjoyable time at each one. I actually never felt good at any.  All of the shorter distance were fine and served to get speed work in without going to the track or a structured speed workout.

The Atlantic City Half Marathon didn’t go as planned. It was a personal worst by about 4 minutes.  The goal that day was to get 20 miles without my hamstring bothering me.

Speaking of my hamstring, it’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve felt any sort of twinge or hard pain. I have a hunch it might hurt I get into a 5:5X pace but since I’m not in that fitness, I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t feel it on easy runs or even running in the high 6s, low 7s, which is all I need for NYCM!

Even though none of my races were great, I’m happy with my running and building back miles. I’m looking forward to running the New York City Marathon and enjoying it as a final marathon for a while. My goal isn’t to run hard and I know I’m not in “PR Shape.” Right now, I believe I think a 3:30 is doable. According to my VDot and other race performances, a 3:20 is possible, but I don’t think I’ve done enough long runs for that to be possible. I’ll be happy to start and finish the marathon.

After this month, I’ll spend time recovering and then going back to shorter distance and getting speed back.

Posts from the Month:

The Anatomy of a Running Shoe
New Balance 1400v6 Shoe Review
New Balance Fuelcell Echo Shoe Review
New Balance 1500v5 Shoe Review
On Cloudstratus Shoe Review

Hiking:

Hiking Pakim Pond in Brendan T. Byrne State Park
Hiking Franklin Parker Preserve
Hiking Sunrise Mountain at State Forest

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite distance for training?
How was your October training?

 

The anatomy of a running shoe
The Anatomy of a Running Shoe

The Anatomy of a Running Shoe:

The anatomy of a running shoe is a post I’ve wanted to write for a while.

The anatomy of a running shoe

Since I write a shoe review most weeks, it occurred to me that many people didn’t realize what the actual parts that made up a running shoe are. No shame in that; your only job is to make sure the shoe feels good when you wear it.  It is easier to describe what you like or don’t like in a shoe if you know a few basic terms.

Pictured is the New Balance 1500 (a racing flat ideal for 5ks to marathons)

Anatomy of a running shoe

The “Upper”: 

The upper part of a shoe is exactly what it sounds like: the top of the shoe.  These days, most brands use an upper made of lightweight, breathable, engineered mesh. Although some uppers are made from leather or suede too. Some shoes are even waterproof and the upper can keep water out while still keeping it breathable.

Now, most uppers are seamless, so it doesn’t rub against a wider forefront or bunion. The upper and the shoelaces help secure the foot.  The upper protects your feet and is also what helps keep dirt, rocks or debris out of a shoe.

The anatomy of a running shoe

Toe Box:

The toe box of a running shoe is generally the widest part of the shoe and where your feet and toes are located. You always want movement in the toebox and don’t want your feet to feel squished.

You should be able to wiggle your toes before and after a run comfortably. There should also be about the width of your thumbs length from your longest toe (even if your longest toe is your second or third toe). Having the extra space helps reduce the loss of toenails and keeps your feet from going numb.

Also Included in the Upper Anatomy of a Running Shoe:

Shoe Laces: Shoelaces or Velcro are what hold the top of your foot securely into place. This portion of the shoe is one of the most important for fit in the anatomy of a running shoe.

Tongue: Many people don’t realize the tongue has a purpose! It protects the top of your foot from the pressure of shoelaces but also prevents debris from getting inside.

Heel counter: The heel counter is the firm cup in the back of your shoe to secure your heel. The heel counter makes sure your foot doesn’t slide around. It’s essential always to untie your shoes so you don’t damage the heel counter. Damaging it will bend the plastic and can cause Achilles tendon issues.

Midsole:

The midsole of a running shoe is located between the outsole and the upper. The upper is attached to the midsole of the shoe. Currently, the majority of midsoles are made of a foam called EVA (called ethyl vinyl acetate). Each brand uses different cushioning or EVA that they deem “the best.”

Outsole:

The outsole is a critical component of running shoes, especially when running in inclement weather. The outside is what provides traction on the roads. In trail shoes, the outsole is often thicker to offer more traction. Each brand has different traction in grooves to protect the feet.

Most road shoes are made from blown rubber, which is softer and more flexible. A trail shoe is usually more rigid and is often made of carbon rubber to keep it stiff.

Anatomy of a running shoe

Medial Post:

Not every shoe has a medial post or stability piece to it. Many do, but not all. Most running shoes fall into one of the following combinations: motion control, neutral shoes, or stability shoes. Motion control shoes are designed with the most support, where neutral have zero support. (They can have cushion, but keep in mind support does equal cushion).Stability helps keep a collapsed arch propped in or someone who pronates back into neutral.

The medial post is one of the most important components to determining if a shoe will work for you. If you need a lot of stability and the shoe is neutral, chances are it won’t work. Not everyone needs medial support and using a shoe that has support when you don’t need it can lead to other issues. Most stability components of a shoe are made out of a dual-density combination of TPU (thermoplastic urethane) and EVA.

Not all stability pieces are the same. Some shoes provide minor stability where some is much more corrective. Each brand and each shoe within a brand are different.

The Shank:

Many people don’t even realize a running shoe “shank” exists. The shank is what controls the flexion and torsion of a shoe. It helps the bend naturally and helps with a smooth transition from heel to toe.  The stiffer the shank, the less the shoe will flex.

Heel Drop:

One of the most common questions in the running world, is what a shoe heel to toe drop? I wrote a newsletter on it a few months ago. In short, the heel to toe drop is the height of the heel minus the height of the forefront (in millimeters). For example, a zero drop shoe (like the brand Altra) has the same height and cushion in the heel as the forefront. Most traditional shoes have between 10-12 mm.

Thicker heels will usually cause your heel to drop and hit the ground first, whereas a thinner heel will be easier to run more on your forefront. There is no right or wrong heel drop in the anatomy of a running shoe but it takes trial and error to figure out what works best for you.

Anatomy of a running shoe

Last:

When it comes to last, not every brand is the same. The last of the shoe is essentially the shape of the shoe. Most running shoe lasts curved, but shoe lasts can be curved, semi-curved, or straight. If you flip over and look at your Brooks shoe, you can see it curves in the front, pinches in the middle, and curves out in the back. Most traditional running shoes are semi-curved. Finding a last that matches the shape of your foot is just as important as finding a shoe that matches your needs structurally. In the anatomy of a running shoe, the last is what will help find the correct fit.

Anatomy of a running shoe

Why is the Anatomy of a Running Shoe Important for Runners?

Knowing the anatomy of a running shoe because you can find the shoe that works for you both structural and by shape. At the end of the day, you want to find the shoe you are most comfortable in.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite shoe? Why? 

Were you familiar with the anatomy of a running shoe?

Pennypacker Park
Pennypacker Park Cross Country Open 5k (21:00)

Pennypacker Park Cross Country Open 5k Recap (21:00)

I wanted to run the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k open for a while. Unfortunately, due to work, it’s usually not a race I can make work with my schedule.

This year, it was a couple of hours earlier, but to get my run in as well as the race, I ended up running 7 miles beforehand and then used the last 5k as a hard effort and fast finish. I wasn’t worried about time since it was a cross country race. The course itself was muddy but relatively flat. It’s a fun course that Haddonfield High School and most of South Jersey uses.

Pennypacker Park

I got to the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k around 7:30, started my run and got to the start around 8:55. If you’ve never run a cross country race, they typically start in “boxes,” and it funnels down into a narrow path. That’s exactly what we did. I chatted with a few people and then we were off. I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel. During the start, I got boxed in and got flashes of college racing. It does make me miss cross country!

We headed down Pennypacker Park and towards the first mile. I’ve run hundreds of miles in Pennypacker Park so I’m relatively familiar with the terrain and course.

Around mile 1, I passed another female. I hit the first mile in 6:40, which I was happy with. I had no idea of my place. We ran down a hill to the lower part of Pennypacker Park. It was slightly flooded but nothing unmanageable. It was narrow and hard to pass anyone. I felt better than I thought and caught a couple of men.

I hit the mile 2 of the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k in 6:50 and was pleasantly surprised. I kept plugging along and found myself feeling better than anticipated.

The third mile of the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k and Pennypacker course wraps around the finish and heads back. It’s hard to see the finish line and know your race is only 2/3rd done. In fact, as I got to mile 2.5, I saw plenty of people were already done!

I kept plugging along during the third mile and went around the fields. At the end, it was a mad dash between a friend and myself and we crossed the finish of the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k in 21 minutes exactly. I was happy for a solid hard effort at the end of 10 miles.

Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k Thoughts:

I’m happy with my efforts. While it’s nowhere near a PR on a cross country course, it’s fun to race that. I do hope to run the Club Nationals in Lehigh in December. I’m glad I was able to run the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k and it’s a nice race if you’ve never run cross country or just want too.

Questions for you:

Have you run a cross country race?

What’s a race you’ve wanted to do before? 

 

me long run
NYCM Training Log: Recovery and Hiking

Tis the season before the New York City Marathon and wow, where has time gone?

When New Balance offered me a chance to run 5 weeks ago, it felt like I had “plenty of time”. Time is up and I’m back to resting, recovering, and tapering.

Last week was more of a recovery week from the Atlantic City Half Marathon and 20 miler. I feel confident I’ll be able to finish the New York City Marathon, but my goals have shifted.

Monday: Hike with Shawn
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 10 miles averaging 7:52 pace
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Pennypacker XC Open: 21:00
Sunday: 15 Miles

Thoughts:

I didn’t mean to take 3 days off from running (originally I planned 2), but my body was tired and I have no regrets. My good friend and coworker went for a beautiful hike (and one of my favorite in NJ). The Stairway to Heaven is a tough hike but worth the view. It was by no means a rest day though.

Pennypacker Cross Country Open 5k:

I’ve wanted to do the Pennypacker Cross Country Open 5k for a while. This year the only way to make it work was to run beforehand and a fast finish 5k as the last 3.1 miles (for a total of 10.1 miles). I haven’t run cross country in a while, and it was a lot of fun. The Pennypacker Cross Country Course is used a lot of local high schools. I’m happy with my effort at the of a longer run, plus on cross country terrain.

Sundays Long Run:

On Sunday, I ran 15 and it was one of the hardest runs I’ve done in a while. The rain and wind, made it difficult and obviously my body didn’t feel great after the race the day beforehand. I am happy to get it done, although my confidence could use a boost.

Next Week:

As I go into New York Marathon weekend, I plan to taper down. My goal for the marathon is to start and finish healthy. Right now, I would be ecstatic with anything under 3:30, but I’m not putting a time goal out there. As I said last week, I do believe this will be my last marathon for a while and it will be nice to start and finish the race healthy.

Posts from the Week:

New Balance 1400v6 Shoe Review

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:36.27)

Hiking Pakim Pond in Brendan T. Byrne State Park

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.

Questions for you:

How was your week of running? 

Are you running New York City Marathon? 

Good stuff diner
Good Stuff Diner (New York City)

Good Stuff Diner (New York City)

While in New York City, I wanted to go to a new diner. Originally I wanted to go to Brooklyn, but the timing didn’t work out. So I made my way to the Good Stuff Diner.

Good stuff diner

Good Stuff Diner Atmosphere: A
The Good Stuff Diner has a typical diner vibe. The outside is on the main strip. Once you walk into the Good Stuff Diner, you see it’s a typical diner. Bright walls, full-length bar, and plenty of booths and tables.

Good stuff diner

Good Stuff Diner Coffee: A
The Good Stuff Diner has good coffee. There was nothing unique about it, but the waitress kept it filled.  I do wish the cups were bigger.

Good stuff diner coffee

Good Stuff Diner Food: A
The Good Stuff Diner menu has everything a typical diner has and more. Since the Good Stuff Diner is open 24-7, they serve everything at all times.

Good stuff diner burger

I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for. Since I was walking around New York City for most of the day, I decided to order the grilled vegetable salad as an appetizer. It was delicious and there were so many different vegetables from portobello mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, roasted red peppers and carrots. It was so good. If I come back, I might order it as an entree.

For my entree, I ordered the deluxe classic burger. Making the burger deluxe meant to add fries, lettuce, tomato, and coleslaw. How fancy. The burger was delicious and since I got it topped with cheddar cheese. The french fries were decent but nothing to write home about.

Good Stuff Diner Service: B
The service at the Good Stuff Diner was decent and our food came out quickly. We had a couple of different waitresses, which made it confusing when we asked for something. In all, it was good.

Good Stuff Diner Cost: $$
Like any diner in New York City, the Good Stuff Diner is expensive.  For the burger, entree, and coffee it was $35.  Technically I did get two entrees, but the salads are one of the most expensive options at the Good Stuff Diner.

Overall Thoughts/Summary of the Good Stuff Diner:
I liked the Good Stuff Diner and it was “good stuff” to stop by. Their entire menu looks good and I would love to go back.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Service: B
Cost: $15-25
Overall: A

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Do you like grilled vegetables?
Do you have a favorite diner in New York City? 

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