Maple Shade Soccer Club 5kish (19:36)

After racing a 5k on Saturday, I decided to run on Sunday too.  I had run the race last year, and it went to a great cause.  Since I ran last year, I knew the course was long.  It wasn’t a matter of Garmin “telling me so”, it was a matter of the course being 3X1 mile loops and then a loop on the track.  (which made for about 3.25-3.3).  If I was that upset about it, I wouldn’t have run the race.  Honestly, I would rather run a longer race than short.

5k shot

The race started at 9 am, and I got there at 8.  My stomach has felt off lately, and I can’t pinpoint what it is.  When I warmed up, I didn’t feel great but not awful either.  After all, I had raced the day before too.  My stomach felt off and “sloshy”.  I got to the start line at 8:58 and didn’t feel too ready.

In typical local 5k fashion, a young student yelled, “don’t start yet, I’m tying my shoe” and we waited for a minute.  Then abruptly like last year, we were off.  During the first mile, I found myself as fourth person overall.  I could see the high schoolers in front me and it kept me motivated.  We rounded the first loop and I hit the first mile in 5:53.  I was shocked and excited.  I didn’t feel “amazing” while racing.  My stomach wasn’t bothering me like in warmup but I didn’t feel great either.

During the second mile, I focused on the two boys immediately close to me.  I knew the winner was way out of my sights, but I thought I could stay focused enough to pass the other two.  Last year, the roads were under construction, and there were a lot of potholes.  This year it was a smooth and perfect road.  I passed the first boy around the second mile and ran a 6:03.

After that, my only goal was “not to fade too much”.  I passed the second place male during mile 3 as well.

There was a volunteer who was patrolling the course in a golf cart who stopped short in front of me.  I nearly ran right into him and stopped short. I told myself during the third mile; I would be happy with anything under 6:30 but surprised myself was another 6:03.

As we rounded the third mile, I couldn’t remember how to get to the track.  There was no volunteer, and the course wasn’t marked.  I tried to remember (in about 1 second) what we did last year and went with it.  I figured they would yell at me if I was wrong.  Since you have to go on the grass field to get to the track finish, I blazed my own path.

I got on the track and was going to the correct direction towards the finish so I figured I was okay.  I crossed the end in 19:36 and ran around 3.26 miles.

Thoughts:

To be honest, I didn’t expect to feel that good, especially after racing a 5k the day before.  I’m extremely pleased with my results and have no complaints.  Garmin tells me I crossed the “exact” 5k mark at 18:35 and averaged 6:01 pace, but you race the course you’re given.  It’s my fastest paced 5k since (by a lot!) before my injury so I can’t complain!  Last year I ran a 20:51 and this year a 19:36.  Granted last year I was recovering from a late weekend, 30 seconds per mile is a lot.

Questions for you:

Have you ever dealt with stomach problems during a race?

When was the last time you surprised yourself?

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? 

Training: Little Things and RnR Philly (1:27.37)

Last week was a great training week for me.  While I did log higher mileage, I also spent time doing little things such as PT, recovering and resting.  Each being important to keeping me healthy.

Monday: Easy run with Meghan Deep Tissue Massage
Tuesday: OFF PT/ART appointment
Wednesday: Easy Run
Thursday: Easy Run PT/ART appointment
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Easy run with my friend Katie
Sunday: RnR Philly (1:27.37)+3 mile cool down

Thoughts:

Where to begin? I’m beginning to put in the mileage again.  While I’m not doing workouts, I’m running about 50-60 miles per week and racing once.  That’s a huge progression, and I can now say I’m 100% injury free.  I’ve raced two halves and had a 16-mile day with no issues.  Do I feel in shape?  No, but my bones don’t hurt.

I’m proud to continue getting my PT/ART, and it has made all the difference.  While it is expensive, I do believe going to Dr. Kemenosh and his team is helping me stay healthy as I increase my mileage.  My foot hasn’t hurt but then again, neither has anything else.

Rock N Roll Philadelphia: 1:27.37

rock n roll philadelphia

I’ll have a longer recap sometime this week, but I’m pleasantly surprised with how the race went.  I told myself I would be very happy with anything faster than RnR Virginia Beach.

The weather forecasted a hot, humid day.  Honestly, it’s one of the better days I’ve raced this year so while the weather was tough, but not unbearable.  I forgot my watch at home and just ran by how I felt.  I don’t let the watch tell me to speed up/slow down anyways, but I do like to know my pace.  I never felt “good” during the race, but I never felt awful either.  The short recap is, I was pretty consistent, and I was proud of how I ran.

rock n roll philadelphia

I’m looking forward to getting into shorter races for the next month.  My next half marathon is potentially the Runners World Half.  While it’s a much tougher course, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do on in cooler weather and with another month of training under my belt.  For now, I’ll continue to race 5ks.

Questions for you:
Do you race well in the heat?
What was your best workout last week?

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?

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?