Workouts: The Comeback Begins?

Training:

Last week was the best week of training I’ve had since being injured.  I don’t want to jinx myself, but I finished the week confident, healthy and motivated.  I haven’t felt that combination of thoughts since early May.

me running 1

So what happened?

Monday: Easy 60 minutes Core
Tuesday: Easy 11 Miles (Wissahickon Park) Core
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes
Friday: Easy 80 minutes with father in law
Saturday: Sunrise Serenity 5k (20:14)  Core
Sunday: 60 minutes
Total: 50ish miles

Thoughts:

All of my runs throughout the week were easy.  I was able to run with my husband on Tuesday and my father in law on Friday.  On Tuesday, my husband and I went to Wissahickon State Park in the morning.  Just like central park in NYC, Wissahickon is a great local park with miles of trails.  We easily got 11 miles on the main train.

As far as effort and speed, none of the runs were remotely exciting but I’ll take all of the injury free runs I can get.  I’m just slowly building the base.  The more boring the training log, the better it is for me.

The Sunrise Serenity 5k

On Saturday I ran the hardest 5k course I’ve ever run.  The race was an out and back course.  The first half went down the side of a mountain and the second half came right back up.  We didn’t do our research beforehand and were not expecting it.  Honestly, I’m extremely pleased with my time and I know on a flat course I’m in 19:30 shape.  The race definitely motivated me!

Post race with my father in law and husband
Post race with my father in law and husband

For Next Week:

I’m at the part of running and training that I feel good. However, I don’t want to get overzealous and get back into 70+ mile weeks.

Questions for you: 
What was your best workout?
When you’ve been injured, have you ever hit a point that you feel like you’re “back”? 

The Great Hat Debate of the Men’s Marathon

If you watched the Men’s Olympic Marathon, then you noticed the amount of talking about hats.  Most athletes that ran had at least one statement commentating on their hat.  The commentators of the Olympics is a post for another day, though…

mens marathon

image via IAAF

On the US side, Rupp, as well as Meb, changed hats and most competitors ultimately took off their caps.  Ward stayed hatless the entire race.

Why were the commentators so obsessed with the racers hats? 

Thinking out loud, I decided to take an in-depth look at the hat situation and see how it affected the athletes and their placing.  Because why not? If the world’s “best” marathon commentators allowed to comment on hats…why can’t I.

If you followed me on twitter, you know after five minutes of listening to #hatchat by the commentators, I jumped on board with #hatchat too.

Actual comment from the commentator:

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To clarify, Salzar later said the hats were filled with ice to keep the racers cooled.  Is that an unfair advantage?  I don’t know.

Any runner was welcome to have multiple hats but how many runners thought of that?  Are water stations going to eventually become aid stops?  Will you be able to stop, check your cell phone and play Pokemon Go at a water station?  Who knows how the marathon rules will progress…That being said, none of the athletes were breaking any rules by exchanging hats.

Let’s look at the three medalists: Kipchogue (gold), Lilesa (silver), and Rupp (bronze).   We can see both one and three started with hats but by the end of the race, neither had their original hat.  Several athletes exchanged hats during the course, however, Rupp was the only to medal.

At the beginning of the race and through about mile 10, it looks like several racers have white hats.  Only one lone athlete dared to wear blue, and he made it in the lead pack until around mile 20.

Let’s look at the various types of hats athletes used:

The overall winner began his race with more of a ball cap.  It had a flatter rim.

Both Rupp and Meb (possibly other athletes too), used various hats.  Each of their hats was filled with ice to keep them cool.

Early Stages of Race:

Lead pack of 35ish men:

  • About half wearing standard hats
  • One blue hat
  • One bandana/headband combo
  • A few visors but it seems more like a female racing strategy (I am a visor woman myself)
Mid-Race: 10-15 men
  • Half of the racers are wearing standard hats
  • One blue hat
  • One bandana/headband combo
  • No visors remain
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsLead pack of 7
  • Leader maintains hat
  • Rupp is on hat 4 (?)
  • Blue hat begins to fade
  • Three hats left
Lead Pack of 4:
  • Leader has dropped his hat
  • Rupp remains the only hatted athlete
  • Pace starts to drop
Final Few Miles:
    • No athletes have hats and pace quickens
    • The hat debate is over

So my questioning begins…Do hats make you race quicker?  Does throwing your hat off mean you are about to drop the pace?The most important question, however, is: How can Hats Help the Nonelite Runner?

I’m no professional but can a hat (or 10 hats throughout a race) help a common runner like me?

Here I am running in a visor (which I kept and have run many races and training runs in).
Here I am running in a visor (which I kept and have run many races and training runs in).

Hats can keep the sun or rain out of your eyes and can keep you cooler.  If you can find a hat that you like running in, there aren’t any real disadvantages.

Conclusion:

Will I wear a hat in my next marathon?  I will probably wear a visor if it’s sunny or rainy.  I like the sun out of my face as well as the rain.  I won’t have the luxury to exchange hats midrace but I’ll still use the one I’ve come to know and love.

Questions for you?
Hats or no hats?
Do you think the hat exchanges were fair? 

Hoka Clifton 3

For the last month, I’ve been using the Hoka Clifton 3 to run in.  After my ankle fracture, I wanted to find shoes with more cushion.  Even though I was training in the high cushion Saucony Triumph, I opted for something softer and with more cushion.  Lucky for me (eh), the Hoka Clifton 3 was released around the same time I began running more than a quarter of a mile.  Interestingly enough, the Hoka Clifton was one of the first shoes I reviewed on LOLZ blog nearly 2 years ago.

Hoka Clifton 3 Shoe Review

Keep in mind, there is no “best” running shoe.  What works for me, might not work for you.  (See: Why Running Shoe Reviews are Mostly Worthless). Hoka isn’t paying me to promote their shoe.

Fit: 

The biggest change for the Hoka Clifton 3 came to the fit. As many people realized, the Hoka Clifton 2 sized both narrow and short.  For a shoe that was supposedly a wide toe box, it wasn’t. That was a big reason I chose never to run in the Hoka Clifton 2. My toenails are important to me and I need a wider shoe.

The Clifton 3 has a similar to fit as the original Clifton and is much wider. I normally wear a size 9.5 wide or size 10. The size 10 fits well.

Ride: 

The Hoka Clifton is an extremely soft, marshmallow cushioned shoe. That’s a huge reason I chose to run in the shoe after my ankle fracture. I already prefer a high cushioned shoe, but I also wanted a shoe that was soft and felt as if I was running on pillows. The Hoka Clifton feels that way.

The Hoka Clifton is not a heavy shoe, but the third model feels as if it’s heavier in the forefront.  I like that feeling because it means more metatarsal cushioning.

Pros:

  • Wider than the Hoka Clifton 2 (a common complaint).
  • Inexpensive for the amount of cushion ($130)
  • Lightweight

Negative:

  • Could use extra width or a wide model.
  • The cushion does not last the traditional 400 miles. If you are training in them, you will be replacing them sooner than 400 miles.

Hoka Clifton 3 Shoe Review

Overall thoughts:

I like the Hoka Clifton 3.  I’ll continue to run in the shoe until the cushion is gone.  I can appreciate the shoe is much wider. However, it is still not as wide as the original model.  I do hope they either continue to widen it or release a wide version as well.

Similar models: Saucony Triumph, Asics Nimbus, Altra Paradigm and Brooks Glycerin

Questions for you:

Have you ever run in Hokas? 

What is your current favorite running shoe?

Workouts: Racing and Taking a Step Back

Like most of the Northeast, it was scorching last week.  If I weren’t motivated to get back out there, I would have struggled with most runners. Luckily I was driven by the pure fact I’m able to run again.  Plus I don’t have certain paces or workouts I need to hit in the heat, so that makes it a little bit easier too.

All of my runs have been easy.  They are boring, and I’ve been running for about any hour 4 days a week and two longer runs.  This time, period makes for several uneventful training logs.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Midweek Long Run 85 minutes
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 50 minutes
Saturday: Healthy Kids 6k (20:01)
Sunday: Long Run 90 minutes
Total: Roughly 50 miles

My race on Saturday went better than expected. Despite the heat, I was able to run a 20:01.  It was about 20 seconds faster than the week before.  I ran the race last year in cooler conditions and ran a 20:13. So I’m happy with the time for now.

running 12

The main question: So how’s my ankle feeling?

I do still have a little bit of achiness.  It’s not painful, but it is noticeable. I’ve had three weeks of solid base building, so I’m taking a step back next week and taking a few days off.  While I do believe it’s residual pain but, I would rather be safe than sorry.  There is no need to push it now.

Thus another short and relatively boring training log complete.  I wish I had something exciting to share, but the boring parts of training have their place as well.

Questions for you:

How long after an injury do you normally feel “good’?

Is it hot where you are?

The Differences of Non-runners and Runners

It may be hard to remember, but there are people in the world that don’t run!  The life of Runners and non-runners is drastically different.  I can remember a time I didn’t run and can relate to all of these.  Thinking out loud, every person, athlete or not, has a routine.

The Differences of Non-runners and Runners

How do runners and non-runners stack up against each other? 

Budget

Non-runners: Non-runners save money for a lot of different things: happy hour, the newest technology or even a great wardrobe.  Whatever if it is, they put away money to do the enjoyable “fun things”.

Runners: We save money for new shoes, new workout clothing and of course races.  Don’t forget the newest GPS watch.  The smaller the watch, the more money it is.  Without these things we can’t do what we love!  Right?

Beauty Routine:

Non-runners: Non-runners know how to make their features look great.  They spend an hour preparing for the day and look flawless every single day. Each outfit is perfect.

Runners: Runners have mastered the ability to shower and put on makeup within 10 minutes.  Did they just workout on the treadmill or are those fashionable leggings? The world may never know…Good thing fashion has evolved into a lot more comfort.

Eating on the Go and Snacking:

Non-Runners: Non-runners can go hours without eating.  Forget to pack a snack? That’s fine, they just hit up the vending machine and are ready to go. 
 Life doesn’t revolve around snacking and being rungry all of the time.  If a meeting goes late, oh well!

Runners: Our non-running friends know us as the vending machine to go.  We have more snacks in our bags than a mini-mall.  Are you craving an apple or a chocolate bar?  We have both.  Runners are never without snacks because you never know when the stomach will start talking.  When Runger hits, you have approximately 5 minutes to get us to the nearest supply of food, or you will see rage that you have never seen before.

Weekends

Non-Runners:  After the work week is over, non-runners often catch up with friends by going out for happy hour or dinner. They have a few drinks, dance and let loose.  Most of Saturday and Sunday is spent relaxing and catching up on other hobbies.

Runners: Runners look forward to the weekend too! It’s either race weekend or long run weekend!  Either way, we are waking up earlier than a weekday.  We spend Friday night cuddled up in PJs, watching a movie and in bed sleeping before 9.

Weekend Brunches:

Non-Runners: Non-runners wake up anywhere between 8 and noon.  After a well-rested sleep, they meet friends at a neighborhood breakfast spot. It doesn’t matter if it’s crowded because nonrunners are just waking up and going out to eat.  They aren’t starving yet.  Of course, our non-running friends look gorgeous and spent a few extra minutes getting ready for brunch. Heck, they might even fill up on mimosas beforehand! No wonder they are so happy waiting hours for a table!

Runners: On the weekend, runners wake up well before the weekday. We get our long runs in and before we know it, it’s time to eat, and we are just trying to make it there on time.  There is nothing more cringeworthy than waiting for brunch after a long run.  A messy bun, somewhat fashionable workout clothing and an old pair of sneakers are our signature brunch look.

Question for you: What is something you do that your “non-running” friends might not understand? 

 

Donar Dash 5k (20:21)

I’m not sure why this race report was so difficult to write.  As I mentioned in my training log, I’ve had a hard time not comparing myself to running a few months ago.  A few months ago I was effortlessly cranking out workouts and 5ks below 19 minutes.  Then injury hit and now I struggle my way through a local 5k.  It’s hotter weather, and I’ve lost fitness after healing from an injury.  Specific to this race, I spent long days beforehand on my feet.  We had our annual sale at work, and it was the busiest few days of the year.  Why I decided to race a 5k is beyond me…

With that, I arrived around 7:30 on Saturday morning in Wilmington.  Throughout the 30 minute drive, it was sunny, down poured and then just cloudy and muggy.  I signed up for the race and did a short warmup.

I chatted with a few people at the race start. I didn’t recognize anyone, but it happens. I decided to run in a sports bra which is something I rarely do.  It was so hot; I wanted to feel as cool as possible.

The race started, and I found myself as first woman overall.  There were a few men around me.  We went around the stadium and then back into the downtown.  It felt like the first mile was taking forever and I ran it in 6:25. I was a little disappointed since I had run the first mile of my trail five miler in 6:30.  My goal was just to finish healthy, so I don’t know why I cared that much.

During the second mile, I found myself alone. We went along the riverfront and then back around the start and finish. Passing the finish around mile 2 of a 5k is always rough, but I just zoned out and focused on the finish. I ran the second mile in 6:37.

donar dash

The third mile went up a minor hill and back towards the start. I was riding the struggle bus all the way up the hill. My legs felt as though they had no pickup. I passed two men on the downhill who turned around and outkicked me in the homestretch.  I finished the third mile in 6:35 and crossed the finish in 20:21.

Thoughts:
I can’t say I’m particularly proud of this race but it was a good baseline to where my fitness is right now.  When I started running a lot of 5ks last year, I was running anywhere between 20-20:30 too.  I’m hoping I’ll gain my fitness back in less time than it took last year but if I don’t…I don’t.  It’s mentally tough not to compare yourself to previous running goals, times and experiences.  I know I’ll eventually get back there if I train appropriately.  The ultimate goal is to stay healthy.

Questions for you:
Is it hot where you are?
Do you typically know people at local races? 

August 9th, 2010

On August 9th, 2010 I started blogging.  So today, August 9th marks six full years of blogging.  Can you believe that?

It probably doesn’t feel like it!  There are very few people, if anyone, that have read LOLZ Blog for that long.  Plus six years in the blogging land is like 20 human years.

six years of blogging

My blog has gone through a lot of changes throughout the last few years but then again, so have I.  I began blogging as a 20-year-old college student in Upstate, NY.  Now I’m a married 26-year-old living in southern New Jersey.

One of my blogging photos and open water swims
One of my blogging photos and open water swims

I thought it would be fun to summarize the last six years of my life and how my blog has changed along with it.

Year 1: 2010-2011

The original blog title was “LOLZthatswim”.  I added the (and run) later on since it was kind of just a thing I did on the side of swimming…I was a competitive swimmer and had been for over a decade.  When I started my blog, I started running too.  Junior year I began both swimming and running for my college.  It was a lot, but I loved both sports!

Old school site header
Old school site header

I had no idea what to expect for college cross country. I didn’t know anything about the sport of running, and everything was a new experience.  It was pressure free and worry free.  You can read more about my running story here.  The first year was my honeymoon love story with running. rachel

Running was my new boyfriend it treated me well.  At the time, swimming was arduous, and I was going through the motions of the sport but had fallen out of love.  In the middle of the summer, July 12th to be exact, I got my first running injury.  My tibial stress fracture came from doing too much too soon.  That was a straight forward overuse injury.  I thought in order to get better you must run faster all of the time.  That didn’t work and I ended up injured.  So I spent the summer cross training preparing for the upcoming season.

Year 2: 2011-2012 The Change and Graduation

Year two of my blog started out with a bang. It was the start of my senior year of college, and I was miserable, so I made a lot of changes.

  • I changed my major from math to public health.
  • I quit swimming altogether.
  • I broke up with my then-boyfriend who I dated through college.

My life drastically changed in about a month, but I’ll never have any regrets.  If I hadn’t chosen to change all of those factors I would have never been happy.  My blog continued to follow my journey.  I suffered a lot of social anxiety my senior year of college and spent most of my time focused on graduating with a new major as well as running.  After breaking up with a serious boyfriend, I had no interest in dating.

Funny how those things work but I met Tim at a college cross country race.  We weren’t “immediately in love” and it took us a few months to even start dating.  I think I posted a blog about it here.

timandi1

After college cross country I decided to train for a longer race.  I ran the Plattsburgh Half Marathon in April of 2012.  My goal was to run under a 1:30 and I ran a 1:27.  It was my first big race win and I was so excited and proud.  It showed me that even though college cross country was over, I had plenty of running left.

plattsburgh3

Year 3: 2012-2013 Oswego

I graduated college in 2012.  Even though I swore I would leave Upstate, NY I ended up working for a year on a college campus.  After a very long talk with a lot of crying, Tim and I stayed together and maintained a distance relationship.

College graduation
College graduation

He was busy with work and so was I.  My coworkers were the best and I made two of my good friends Becky and Danielle.

They even took me to first hockey game.
They even took me to first hockey game.

I started a job I enjoyed in Oswego and met a lot of close friends that year including Laura, Brittany, and Heather.

Left to right: Heather, Laura, me, Brittany
Left to right: Heather, Laura, me, Brittany

2012 was a huge turning point year for me.  I was self-sufficient, working and living by myself.  I felt like a real adult and met a lot of friends along the way.  Despite being over 2000 miles apart, Tim and I maintained a long distance relationship.

On the running front, I ran one of my favorite races: The Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington DC (the race no longer exists).  It was a huge accomplishment because I got out of my social anxiety comfort zone, ran a race I was scared to do and set a PR at the time.  Plus I placed 9th out of 15,000 women which was a huge accomplishment.

nikerunning

Year 4: 2013-2014 Texas and New Jersey and Marathons:

In the late Spring of 2013, I made the decision to move to Texas with Tim.  Due to the military, he did not have the option to move where or when he wanted.  Either I would move in with him, or we would not live together and probably not stay together.  You can’t do long distance forever…

I left Oswego and moved in with my parents for the summer.  I worked and gathered all of my things for the huge life change.  Honestly, I didn’t have a plan, job or any idea of what I would do down there.  It gave me anxiety to tell people when they asked.  Obviously, I hoped I would find a job and make friends when I moved down there.  I knew I had Tim but moving down to a remote area with no plan terrified me.

Just thinking about Texas and my hair is huge....

A few weeks after I moved down there, the military had other plans. They decided they were sending Tim to New Jersey.  I had packed up all of my things and planned to live in Texas for a few years!  It was incredibly frustrating, but you never know with the military. 

Neither of us knew much about New Jersey.  We drove on the turnpike but had never spent much time in the state.To keep myself occupied during my brief Texas stay, I trained for my first marathon, New York City.  No one hires you for a month, so I just made the best of the situation.  I blogged, lived off of savings and ran.  I didn’t hate Texas, but I doubt I would have enjoyed staying much longer.  After coming back to the East Coast, I ended up running a 3:17.  Cliff notes: it was freezing, windy and my first marathon. New York City Marathon was actually a much tougher course than I realized.  I had a great time, though.

Running the NYCM 2013

After running New York and moving to New Jersey, I looked for various jobs. I began working at the running store, and I enjoy helping others appreciate the sport.  I’ve been working there about 2 and a half years, and I enjoy it. I’ve made most of my friends through work, and I enjoy going in each day,

During the summer, I also started training for my second marathon.  It didn’t last long, and I got a second metatarsal fracture the week after Tim had his first deployment.  I spent most of my first year living in NJ injured.  By some miracle I ran and PRed at the April Fools Half Marathon.  To this day, I don’t know how I did it. I wasn’t in shape to run the time and hadn’t put in the work to run that time. The course was flat and fast, and it was a perfect day.  On the injury front, I had everything from a sore plantar fascia to a second metatarsal fracture.  It was one small ache after another.  Eventually, it led to my fracture.

I also joined Oiselle Violee that year.  I was on the team for just over a year and had a good time during that year.  I met some more of my close friends like Danielle and Amelia from the team.  I’ll never regret being part of Oiselle that year.

Nj half race
At the New Jersey half

Year 5: 2014 Assimilated and Running in New Jersey:

In later 2014, I decided to start running consistently again.  After completely healing I started training for my second marathon (again), the Phoenix Full marathon.  My training went well for the entire cycle but on race day I fell short and finished with an injury in my butt. After two months of recovering, I started training for shorter distances.  I began racing most weekends, adding speed and getting faster.

Phoenix
Phoenix

On the life front, I did a lot in 2014 but most noticeable, I got married.  There is obviously so much emotion that went into that single day, but it was one of the happiest and most enjoyable days of my life.

wedding 9

Year 6: 2015 Fun in New Jersey:

The last year has been filled with both good and bad.  I trained consistently from last August until April.  I set PRs in everything except the full marathon.Over the course of a year, I went from running a 20:30 5k to an 18:13. Honestly, compared to every other year the last has been boring. My husband and I have finally assimilated into “being married”.  Neither of our schedules is typical, but we like it that way.  I think by age 26, we have finally become adults that don’t move every year. 

This year we’ve added a lot more weekend adventure in our life and gone flying several times as well as hiking.

tim and I

So what’s in store for year 7 of blogging?

Honestly, I have no idea.  I’ll continue running and working towards getting back in shape.  I don’t forsee myself stopping to blog, and I’ll just continue doing that.  Will I run out of things to blog about? Probably not…Will I love running forever? Will I train for another half marathon? Even full marathon? Will I hit diner number 200? Who knows what year 7 in the blogging world will bring…

Questions for you:

How have you changed in the last six years?

Bloggers: How long have you been blogging?