Workouts: 2 5ks and RIP Cell Phone

Training last week was spent recovering and moving forward.  After running a surprising Rock n Roll Philadelphia, I spent the week running easy and recovering.

running me

Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: Easy Run ART/Pt
Wednesday: Easy Run with a friend
Thursday: OFF ART/PT
Friday: Easy run
Saturday: Rotary 5k (19:40)
 Sunday: Lee Sharples 5k (3.3 miles) 19:36 average 6 min pace Core
Total: 60 miles

 

Monday was a miserable run.  When I started the run around 6:30, it was beautiful.  About halfway into the run, it started downpouring.  Then it started to lightening and thunder.  The three miles home was the scariest miles I’ve run in a while, and unfortunately my phone was not a survivor, and I had water damage.  Luckily I had insurance, and they delivered a new one, but it was frustrating.

The rest of the runs for the week were easy.  I ran with a friend on Wednesday but other than that, nothing of interested.

Saturday: Rotary 5k (19:40)

I ran the Rotary 5k last year after going to the Air Force Ball the night before.  Sometimes I go back and read the recap for the LOLZ…In summary, last year, I was sleep deprived and not at my best.  The weather was beautiful, and I was content with my 20:12.

My only goal this year was to beat that time.  Despite it being extremely windy, I ran a 19:40 and was the first woman overall.  I can’t complain.  I like the race, and it supports a great cause.

Sunday: Lee Sharples 5k 3.3 miles 19:36

Tis the season of double 5k workouts!  Typically, I don’t care about the course being long, but this course is well known to be a longer course.  I ran each mile split in 5:53, 6:03, 6:03 and honestly I’m still in shock. I ran over a minute faster than last year and can’t believe it.

It’s interesting because I didn’t feel the greatest before the race, considering I had raced well the day before. I crossed the “exact” 5k mark at 18:35 but unfortunately the longer course had the extra mileage.  No harm was done and I knew going into the race that it would be long.

In summary, I’m proud of all of my runs and races.  I’m going to continue doing races with no workouts for a couple more weeks and see how I feel after that. Tis the season for 5ks every everywhere, and I enjoy seeing friends out there running.

Posts from last week:
Rock n Roll Philadelphia (1:27.37)
Saucony Zealot ISO 2 Shoe Review
Goodbye Summer

Questions for you:
Would you rather race a long course or short?
Have you ever gotten water damage on your phone? 

Rock n Roll Philadelphia (1:27.37)

Last year, Rock n Roll Philadelphia was several weeks later due to the Pope coming to town.  The weather was brisk and perfect, and I ran a solid 1:25.45.  The weather was perfect, so I knew this year wouldn’t be a course PR.  Plus coming off an injury and a half marathon two weeks, I didn’t expect to be close to that time. I was okay with that.

I was lucky to get a ride over with my boss.  Two days before the race I had no idea how I even would get to the race.  He wasn’t racing the half marathon but placed second overall at the 5k the day before.  After arriving at the start, I chatted with a few people and hung around.
I didn’t warm up for the race as it was hot enough.  During the drive over I realized I had forgotten my watch.  There wasn’t much I could do and honestly I had to suck up racing without a watch. I was irritated, but it was either race without a watch or miss the race.
As I lined up in my corral, I was overwhelmed with a bunch of familiar faces like my coworker Colleen and the famous running blogger, Michele.
The race went off and during the first mile, I felt extremely boxed in.  I felt like I was running slow because I couldn’t get around people (and people couldn’t get around me).  We were packed in like sardines.  When I hit the first mile in 6:38, I was shocked.  That was much faster than Virginia Beach, plus, I didn’t take into account I had crossed the start line 10 seconds later.
The second mile began to spread out.  The second and third mile, take you back towards the starting line.  I like this aspect of the race a lot because the spectators are there cheering you on, and it’s a full crowd.  It’s hard not to feel motivated!

We rounded the third mile and went down Spring Garden.  The section is about a mile out and back with an 180-degree turn.  As I ran the fourth mile, I saw the elites going the opposite direction.  It’s always humbling to see them glide by effortlessly.

I rounded the 180 turn and didn’t take it well.  I’m bad at turns and tend to take them too wide, but I would rather do that than fall.  A couple of extra seconds is not worth falling.  I headed back the opposite direction.  As I was running, I saw several friends and coworkers running the opposite direction.  I had no idea the time or pace, but I hit mile 5 in 33:00 exactly (per the course clock).  I was surprisingly pleased.  I saw one of my good friends Anita and continued to Kelley Drive and around the river.

Rock n Roll Philadelphia

I’ve run the 8.4-mile loop around the Schuylkill a dozen times.  I know the loop well, and it’s a boring, unshaded loop around the Schukyill River.  Not that I care but starting that loop when you aren’t even halfway done is mind numbing.

I hit the 10k just under 41 minutes per clock time.  I was pleased.  The next few miles were just spent staying mentally engaged.  I knew if I lost focus, I would unknowingly slow down my pace.  It was hot and humid, and I sweat through my entire singlet.  I kept hoping the water stops would have Gatorade, but it was minimal.  In fact, there wasn’t much in the form of electrolytes for the entire race.  It was something I thought about during Virginia Beach as well.

I hit mile 10 in 1:05.30 and made it my goal to finish under 1:28.  I knew the last three miles would be tough.  There was no wind; it was heating up, and my clothing was soaken through. I kept reminding myself:

I set my 5k PR on this exact course, and I can race it well.

A man asked my goal, and I said 1:28 sounded reasonable.  He said that was his goal and asked if we could run together.  After a few exchanges, we realized we were at mile 11.

I saw a pack of 5 women in front as well as a man with a cast.  Honestly, I wanted to catch them all, and they kept me focused.  The last two miles is always tough because you can see Center City but it never seems to get any closer.

I hit mile 12, at just over 1:20 and I knew if I could maintain my pace I could break 1:28.  I saw the pack of 5 women, and I ran right by them.  If you know me, you know this hardly ever happens, and it’s a huge accomplishment.  In fact, it might be the only time I’ve outkicked anyone.

Typically I get passed in the final mile…like in Shamrock when I went from 7th place to 14th in the last half mile.

At the final stretch, another woman outkicked and passed me.  She kept me engaged up a minor uphill.  I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:27.37 and as 30th woman overall.  I was 10th in my age group.

Rock n Roll Philadelphia

I even got to cool down with Sarah D, who set a half marathon PR of 1:25 in the heat!

Rock n Roll Philadelphia

Thoughts:
I’m both pleased and surprised with my result.  To be honest, I was hoping to run between 1:28-1:32.  After not getting the best nights sleep as well as the weather.  I’m extremely happy with my time considering it was 2 minutes faster than two weeks ago, plus I was injury free.

rock n roll philadelphia

September in Philadelphia is unpredictable.  I thought it was extremely humid, but I’ve raced RnR Virginia Beach as well as the Remember the Alamo 13.2 which were both hotter and more humid.  It stinks because this course has potential to be extremely fast in the fall (like last year when 40+ athletes qualified for the Olympic Trials).

Questions for you:
What is the hottest you’ve run in?
Have you ever forgotten your watch or something important to a race? 

How to Find the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes

 How to Find Perfect Running Shoes

One of the most important decisions you can make as a runner is choosing the right pair of running shoes.

It’s important to spend both time and money to pick out the best shoes for you.  Without proper running shoes, you won’t be running for very long.  While you can choose a shoe off of the shelf, it’s important to get properly fitted by an expert.

How to find the perfect running shoe

Thinking out loud, proper running shoes are going to prevent many injuries such as shin splints and plantar fasciitis.  They are going help you run faster and further because aches will be the last thing you’re thinking about.

So how do you find the best running shoes?

First, it’s important to realize there is no “best-running shoe.”  Each running shoe is designed for a different foot type.  What works for me, might not work for you or your friend.  Reading internet shoe reviews isn’t going to help you find a shoe that will help you.  Every foot is different, including your left and right.

Second, go to a running specialty store. Employees at running speciality stores go through training to figure out which shoes work for which feet.  They can tell you within a matter of minutes which shoe will work for you.  A process that can take you hours will be cut into minutes.  Employees at running stores also have a wealth of knowledge about the sport of running including local events and races.  They are runners themselves and will know local races or even doctors or podiatrists.

You should plan to spend time in the store because the employee will ask you several questions, take a look at your feet, gait and running form.  Don’t get to the store 5 minutes before closing time and expect to have time to be fitted.

So what should you expect?

First, the employee will ask you several questions such as:

  • What are you using the shoes for?
  • Every day walking? Training? Racing? Gym classes?  There is no right or “good” answer!
  • Do you have any aches or pains? Do you have blisters or black toenails? Do you have shin splints or knee pain? Pain in your hips or back? Let the employee know everything and anything…but please don’t show me an open wound.
  • What kind running are you doing?
  • How often you run?
  • Where do you run? What kind of surface are you running on? Grass? Sidewalk? The treadmill?
  • Are you training for race or event

Those are just a few questions you might encounter about your personal activity.

Then the employee will look at the shape of your feet as well as the arch.  It’s extremely common for someone to have two different sized feet.  They will look to see if you pronate,supinate or have a neutral gait.  Determining your foot type is the most important part of finding the right running shoes.

Next, the employee will measure your foot. Keep in mind, your foot size changes and grows.  After having children, most women gain a half size.  Even if you’ve been the same size for years, your foot might have gotten longer or wider.

Another thing to keep in mind is running shoes should be 1/2 to a full size bigger than your casual shoe size.  There are very few exceptions to this rule.  When you workout, your feet swell.  If you are losing toenails, chances are your shoes are too small.  Blisters also form at the top of your feet because of improper sizing.  As someone who works in a speciality store, about 75% of athletes who come in are wearing the wrong size shoe.

After the employee is done proding you with questions, they’ll bring a few options that are best fits for you.  They’ll have you try them on and run around in them.   From there you will decide how you like the shoe.  Do you prefer a soft shoe? Firm? Light weight or heavier? Only you can decide what feels right.

Make sure you are ready to run.  Standing awkwardly in the shoe for one second isn’t going to decide whether you like the shoe or not.  You should run in each pair of shoes.  Trust the employee they have chosen appropriate shoes for you.  The employee’s job isn’t too bring out the wrong shoes.

After making your final decision make sure to test your shoes at home too.  If you develop pain, they may not be the right shoes. Most specialty stores have a policy to allow you to exchange the shoes even if you have run in them.  For instance, the store I work at allows you to exchange shoes for up to two weeks.  If they don’t work out, we want to know and for you to find something that does!

Since I work in a speciality running store, I do believe getting fit for a pair of shoes is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a runner.  There is no right or wrong answer for the best pair of running shoes, but there is a right or wrong answer for the best pair for you.

Other Posts You Might be Interested In:
There is No Perfect Running Shoe
There Difference Between Runners and Non-Runners
Why Running Shoe Reviews are (Mostly) Worthless
Why You Should Rotate Running Shoes

Questions for you:
What are your current pair of running shoes?
Have you ever been fit for a pair of running shoes?

Flying Fish 5k (19:35)

To be honest, if I weren’t so excited all month to run the Flying Fish 5k, I would have skipped it.  The Flying Fish Brewery is a local Brewery with some of my favorite beer.  The race director is great, and we did a special group run with them a few weeks ago.

After running RNR last weekend, I can tell you I wasn’t recovering well.  It took me four days for my calves to loosen up, but they were still sore. On Thursday someone burst my bubble and said the temperature high was going to be close to 100. The race started at 10:00 am so I knew it would be a tough day.  I don’t typically like to race at 10:00 (I like the race over) by 9:00 but this race was worth it.

I woke up at 6 am and had no idea what to do beforehand.  The race was closeby do I didn’t have to leave early either.  After twiddling my thumbs for a few minutes, I opted to clean my house and head over.  When I got out of my car, I realized just how hot it was.  I easily picked up my bib, warmed up (which meant I just sweat more through my clothing) and headed to the start line.

The race announcer said the race was going off promptly which I was thankful for.  After the countdown, we were off. There was a lead pack of several men followed by two women, then me.  The first mile went through several turns and by the end of the first mile I found myself as first woman overall.  I was unsure if I would be able to maintain that lead throughout the entire race and honestly if it was another mile, I probably wouldn’t have.  I crossed the first mile in 6:08 which was my fastest mile after injury.

The second mile got hot.  I was running alone, but I knew the two women were on my tail.  I tried to power through, but my legs had minimal pep (which I know was from racing Rock n Roll the weekend before).  After running up the hill and doubling back, I crossed the second mile in 6:37.  I was worried it might be a 5k where I regressed the final above a 7 min mile.

The final half mile was a long straight away where you could see the finish line, but I knew it was coming.  Combined with the 93-degree heat and no shade, I knew it would also be tough.  I knew I had zero kick and that the second place woman was closing the gap.  I had to fight and dig deeper than I had to win.  Did winning fuel my fire? Maybe, but I also really didn’t want to log another 6:30+ mile.  I knew I could potentially run a post injury best, and I wanted to give that a fair shot.

I also knew I had zero kick and that the second place woman was closing the gap.  I had to fight and dig deeper than I had to win.  Did winning fuel my fire? Maybe, but I also really didn’t want to log a 7-minute mile.  I knew I could potentially run a post injury best, and I wanted to give that a fair shot.

I mentally blocked everything out and dug as deep as I could go.

I hurt.

I hurt a lot, but I didn’t injury hurt.

As I saw the finish line draw closer, I saw two kids holding a tape to break.  I powered through and crossed the third mile 6:18 and finished in 19:35.

Flying Fish 5k

I was extremely pleased for several reasons:

  • It was my fastest 5k after my injury, and I was injury free.
  • I actually showed up to the race, which I wasn’t sure I would in the heat.
  • I mentally pushed myself out of my comfort zone again.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m pleased with my time.  I do believe when my legs feel good and with a good weather day, my fitness is closer to 19:00 right now.  I might be biased but the Flying Fish 5k is one of my favorite 5ks because it’s hosted from one of my favorite local Breweries (Flying Fish).  If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely check them out (but you should invite me too).

Questions for you:
Do you have a favorite beer?
Have you ever run from a brewery?

Workouts: Recovery and a 5k

Is it that time already for another training log?

Last week flew by for me!

As most people know, I ran Rock n Roll VA Beach the weekend before last.  It drastically affected my training week because I spent the majority of the week recovering from the race.

I spent most of the week recovering and doing easy runs, but I’m doing easy runs throughout the week anyways right now.  There is no sense in doing another workout when I am racing pretty regularly. Hopefully, in a few weeks, I’ll feel comfortable enough to add a speed workout on top of racing too.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes Core (15 mins)
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes ART release session
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 45 minutes Core
Saturday: Flying Fish 6k (19:35)
Sunday: Easy 90 minutes
Easy Runs:

There is never much to say about them.  They are easy, boring and injury free.  To be honest, the half marathon took a lot out of me.  My calves are still tighter than normal.  It’s to be expected because it was my longest run, race, and sustained effort in quite a while.  In fact, I hadn’t raced a half since the April Fools half marathon in early April.

Flying Fish 5k (19:35):

flying-fish-5k

For the last few months, I’ve been excited about the Flying Fish 5k.  The race starts and is sponsored by the Flying Fish Brewery.  My work put on a group run with Flying Fish about three weeks ago, and I had been excited to race the rest of the month.

However, during the last week, my legs were clearly very tight, and the weather became a big factor.  I had already signed up for the sold-out race, so I decided to gut it out.  I ended up surprising myself with my fastest 5k time post injury by 30 seconds.  The race itself was well put together and a lot of fun.  If you are NJ/Philadelphia local, I recommend it.

I plan to keep trucking along and to recover.  I’m happy with how my recovery is going.  As I said last week, I wouldn’t classify myself in the injured stage anymore.  I would classify myself in the recovered but getting back into shape stage.  This might be the hardest stage to be in because you want to make goals for the next training cycle but you have no idea how fast you will “get back into shape”.

Posts from last week:
The Time I Saw A Bear While Hiking
A Timeline of my Ankle Injury

Questions for you:
Have you ever done a brewery race?
What is the hottest weather you’ve run in?

A Timeline of Injury

Since I’ve been injured, it’s a good time to reflect on injuries and talk about things that have helped me personally through this particular injury.  It’s much easier to talk about injuries when you are actually injured versus reflecting upon it when you are completely healthy.

I’m not a doctor, expert or coach, but I do have personal experience in being injured.  (What great personal experience that is…).  Thinking out loud, It’s important to remember, every injury heals at a different rate and every person recovers differently.

So in summary, what works or has happened to me, might not for you.  But if you’re anything like me, you enjoy reading about other people and what has worked (or not) for them.

A Timeline of Injury

So here is a timeline of my injury:

Early to Mid May:

I began to feel burnt out with running.  I wasn’t injured, and I ran several races including Broad Street, the Newport 10k, and the Track Mile.  Both Broad Street and the Newport 10k went well and I ran Personal Bests, but I felt eh after the mile.  I didn’t feel good, but I didn’t feel bad.  I didn’t feel injured either (which is important).  I began to read signs that I felt burnt out and decided to take some time off.

In late May I got a bad case of food poisoning.  It forced me to take five days off no questions asked.  When I went out for a short run on day six something in my ankle felt off and weird.  It wasn’t sharp, but it was a dull ache.  I thought I had rolled my ankle, but I just decided to rest and take a 2-week break.

During that period my foot progressed and felt worse.  Finally, I decided to go to the doctor and get an MRI.  Since I have a special form of insurance, I was able to book someone in network (Who I wanted to see) without primary care approval.

Early June: MRI and Diagnosis

My MRI concluded I had fractured my ankle. I was ordered into a boot for a week.  I was allowed to spin and swim but nothing weight bearing.  So for a week, I did just that.  I was still burnt out from running, so the rest didn’t bother me.

Mid June:

Mid June hit me pretty hard.  There was a half marathon I wanted to do, The Odyssey half, that I had to skip.  I wasn’t in pain, but I knew it would be idiotic to run knowing I had a broken bone.  I could have probably run through it but who knows what sort of bones I might have shattered…running on a broken bone is dumb. Plus I probably wouldn’t limp but I wouldn’t feel great either.  I spent most of June in a funk.  I didn’t feel good and I mentally struggled with not being able to run.

Late June:

I was ordered for four weeks of rest and by the time I knew it, the end of June was here, and I was allowed to attempt a run.  (Run being .25 miles).  I ran, and it felt like a typical first run back: awkward and awful. I didn’t expect a magical run but I had hoped to feel a little bit better.

July:

I spent July slowly building my base.  Slowly being key.  I ran every other day and only ran a few miles at the most.  By the end of July, I worked up to my first race back: The Run for the Hill of It.  Luckily it was scorching that day and took all of the pressure off of me. I didn’t feel in shape racing but I was injury free.

August:

August was both the best and worst month for me.  How?  I logged a lot of miles, and I felt as if I *finally* got over my injury.

So how could it be bad?

I raced frequently enough that I wanted more, and wanted to be where I was previously.  Before my injury, I was running 2 minutes faster in 5ks.  My half marathon pace was faster than the 5k pace I was struggling to keep.  Running a 20 minute 5k just felt like I was starting over.

September:

Here I am just over 100 days since my initial injury.  I feel like I’m recovered.  I hate declaring that because you never know what could happen but I do feel as if my injury is in the past.  Am I in shape?  No, but I am injury free which is the first important step.

100 days ago and I was injured but who knows where I’ll be in 100 days?

100 days isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things.  I know my fitness will come back.

Questions for you:

What was your last injury?

Where do you see yourself in 100 days? (December time frame)

 

Workouts Last Week: The Awkward Limbo Phase

First, Happy Labor Day!  Hopefully, you are enjoying the last few moments of summer.  It seems like it flew by but that is a post for another day.

My training last week was more exhausting.  I had a great training week, the week before and felt like I was riding the high of great running.  This week, I felt like I was recovering the entire week.

So what was I recovering from?
  • A gorgeous hike on the Delaware Water Gap great running week and from a hard race.  Plus the weather wasn’t as pleasant as the week before.
  • Excellent running the week prior
  • From a hard 5k race

Plus the weather wasn’t as fantastic as the week before.  Running in the heat or pouring rain is difficult.  Honestly, I missed most of the heat this summer, and I’m not disappointed about it! 

Monday: 7 miles easy
Tuesday: 7 miles easy
Wednesday: 11 miles easy
Thursday: 11 miles easy
Friday: Off
Saturday: 7 miles easy
Sunday: RnR Half Marathon: 1:29.46

I’m in a weird stage with my running right now:

The Weird Limbo Stage:

I would like to think I’m “over” being injured.  For the last few weeks, I’ve run high mileage with no aches or pains.  I’ve also run several races.  However, I don’t feel in shape, and I don’t feel good when I run.  It’s going to take a few months of rebuilding my base and endurance to get to a point where I feel like when I left off back in May.  That’s the nature of the sport, and you cannot feel good all of the time.

I know I have a lot of work to do, but also I’ve made a lot of progress in the last few weeks.  It’s hard not to compare yourself to previous fitness levels but I know I’m moving in the right direction.

My easy runs were just that, easy.  I don’t have much to say about them.  On Saturday, instead of paying $20 each for a gym day pass, my husband and I ran outside while the hurricane was close by.  It wasn’t dangereous, but it was raining and extremely windy.

RnR Half Marathon: 1:29.46

I ran my 30th half marathon, RockNRoll Virginia Beach yesterday.  The race tested my current fitness level as well as it was a huge test for my foot too.RnR Va Beach

The race went better than expected.  My goal was to finish healthy and injury free.  My dream goal was to finish faster than last year (1:31).  Due to the hurricane, it was windy and they removed the structures as well as clocks from the course.

For me, I surpassed all goals I had.  It was a huge confidence booster and I ran a smart and healthy race.  I actually negative split the race even though the second half was into the wind.  I couldn’t have asked for a better race for where I currently am.

Posts from the Week:
Sunrise Serenity 5k (20:14)
Running through August (234 miles)
So You’re Injured…Now what?
Brooks Launch 3 Review

Questions for you:
How was your week?
How do you stay confident getting back into shape?