Christmas Classic 5 Miler (32:46)

Christmas Classic 5 Miler (32:46)

Last weekend, I ran the Christmas Classic 5 Miler in Bethlehem, PA.  I haven’t been to Bethlehem since the Runners World half in 2017, so it was nice to go back.  I’ve run the Runners World 5k and half for a few years, so I know that Bethlehem is not flat. I wasn’t expecting a pancake course, and it did not disappoint.

The race started at 9:10 which was nice because my husband and I could sleep in.  We left the house around 6:45 am and got to Bethelam around 8.  Packet pickup was at the YMCA and there was plenty of parking. I don’t usually get excited about race t-shirts but a cotton long sleeve race t-shirt is the unicorn of running shirts.

Before leaving for the race, I hadn’t made much of an effort and threw a bunch of stuff in a bag.  When I got to the race, I realized I didn’t have a long sleeve shirt or my puffer vest. It was 20 degrees and I had planned to run in both. I almost ran in the race shirt, but since I had capris, I figured the tank and arm warmers would be fine.

I warmed up and felt decent.  Just as we got to the start, the 5k was off. The 5k started 10 minutes before the 5 miler. It was a crowded downhill start.  I found myself as fifth women overall. My legs didn’t feel great and just felt like I’ve started training again. I didn’t have a big goal for the race, just to get a hard workout in.

I hit the first mile in 6:35 and felt okay about it. Lately, I’ve struggled not to compare myself to earlier in the year, but I know that fitness will come again.  We caught up to many of the 5kers which was frustrating because we were going around many people walking 3-4 across. Finally, we turned off and went different directions.

During the second mile, I passed two women and found myself running side by side with a male.  He would tuck in behind me as if I provided some sort of draft for him.

I liked the course because I could get an idea of where I was in relation to other racers.  I saw my husband flying by and I was happy for him.  He had a rough week as well as a long flight the day before, so he wasn’t thrilled to be running.

We passed the water stop around mile 2.5 and I needed water. I hadn’t hydrated enough and I found myself probably getting a side stitch.  Unfortunately, due to crowding of the 5k and 5 miler, there was no way I could grab water. I didn’t stop and kept going.

I hit the third mile in 6:35 and felt decent. I knew the last 2 miles would be rough. We were at the lowest part of Bethlehem but the race itself had started at the highest peak. When we would go up?  It was a question I kept wondering…

We didn’t run back up in the fourth mile.  During the fourth mile, I found myself running alone and as the second woman, although I knew 3rd was coming up behind me.

Then around mile 4.5, we hit the hill. The 5kers were also climbing the hill and I weaved around people. I tried to run the tangent as best as possible but also not look like I was struggling, and just make it up. The entire hill wasn’t more than .25, but it was steep.  At the last turn, I high fived the local running store mascot and powered to the finish.

During my last .1 finish, I was weaving around 5kers trying to hold the next woman off. Two 5kers went to raise their hands, and cross holding hands but unfortunately one smacked me directly in the face. I looked overly dramatic but I wasn’t all that mad. I crossed in 32:46 which was a decent time for where I’m at fitness wise as well as for the course.me running christmas classic

I’m happy with my effort on the day. I’ve only run a few courses that have racers overlap at different distances and now I’ve done it twice in a row. 5

Questions for you:

Do you like themed races?

Have you ever run in the race t-shirt?

I thought it was borderline comical when I said I might end up doing that and the number of people that thought it was “the end of the world.”

November Recap

November Recap

Can you believe it’s December? Have I posted “can you believe it’s X month,” every month?

November brought a big race, lots of downtime, and then a smaller race. I’m still getting back into fitness, while not trying to push the envelope too much.

Miles Run: Around 130
Shortest Run: 2 miles
Longest Run: New York City Marathon 
Workouts: 0
Rest Days: 16
Races:
New York City Marathon (3:07.15)
Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (20:24)

Thoughts:

Most of the running month revolved around the New York City Marathon. I have had a tough time typing this out, but I recovered rather rapidly from the marathon. I’ve had many 13.1s that it’s taken me longer to feel better.

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I knew taking 2 weeks off was the right call.  The other component is I never felt like I got into peak shape for the marathon.  When I ran, it almost felt like a tough workout versus a tough race. My legs fatigued towards the end, but there was never a time that I felt “in the hole or twilight zone.”  That’s very different from my previous marathon experiences when I haven’t wanted or felt up to running for at least a month.

Now that I’m a month out, I feel like I’m getting “back into shape again.”  I’m starting around where I started over the summer.  A 20:24 5k, and 1:30 range half. Over the winter and Spring, I want to build more speed and hopefully get back into sub 19 shape as well as at least 1:25 half marathon shape.

If the weather holds up, I plan to race most weekends in December. It will be a fun way to build fitness and keep me going strong.

Posts from the Month:

Running Related: 
Why Use Compression Socks
Marathon Recovery
Brooks Ghost 11 Shoe Review

Hiking:
Exploring Sandy Hook

Questions for you:
How was your month of December?
Do you have any goals for the rest of the year?

Brooks Ghost 11 Shoe Review

Brooks Ghost 11 Shoe Review

The Brooks Ghost 11 is one of the most common and traditional shoes out there.  Anyone working in run specialty will tell you it’s one, if not the most sold neutral trainers.  It feels comfortable when you try it on and has a full toe box. Plus, it’s made in wide too.

Brooks Ghost 11 shoe review

I’ve worn the Ghost before, and one of my favorite pairs was the Ghost 9.  I had hoped to get a pair of Ghost 11s in the New York City color, but I wasn’t able to order them through running specialty. (I guess they sent too many to bloggers?).

Each year, the Brooks Ghost is a consistent and reliable neutral shoe.  There is plenty of cushion, but it’s still light.

Upper:

Since the Ghost 10, the look and design have been changed the most. It aesthetically looks better than previous years (What is better anymore in the running world?

As mentioned, the major update comes in the upper. It uses new materials but maintains the breathability. Like most of Brooks shoes, there is a double layer of mesh, which keeps air filtering through but also keeps dirt out.

Fit wise, the Brooks Ghost has always been close to size. I wear anything from a women’s 10-11 wide, and I’ve found the 10 wide to fit the best year after year. A few people have complained the toebox is slightly more narrow in the Ghost 11, but that hasn’t been an issue for me.

The most common complaint from the Ghost is the lack of structure at the top.  Your feet are free floating around in the top.  You never want any running shoe toebox to feel tight, but for many, this isn’t comfortable or natural.  Personally, I like it. There are no seams, no overlays, and my feet can just chill without worrying about rubbing or being irritated by seams (technical, I know).

Ride:

The Ghost 11 does feel slightly different.  The Ghost used to have a more chunky, thick layer of DNA foam.  There is now less “DNA” foam and more DNA Loft Foam.

Okay…so?

The Loft foam is softer but also more responsive under the heel. Previously, the shoe was a much softer trainer.  Now it’s transitioned into a shoe that you can do a workout, or easy run.  I’ve done both in the Ghost, and it responds accordingly.

Another thing to note is that the Ghost is my go to, rainy day shoe. The grip is more substantial than many trainers. It’s not a trail or rain shoe, but it has a lot more grip than many other similar shoes.

Conclusion:

The Brooks Ghost 11 is a great shoe. There is plenty of cushion, and it’s one of the cheaper traditional shoes. I’ve run about 300 miles in mine. I’ve run fast runs, slow runs, easy runs, hard runs, I’ve pretty much done everything with no issue.

Current Shoe Rotation (Keep in mind, I haven’t run since NYCM, but it’s what I left with)
Easy Runs: Brooks Glycerin 16, Brooks Ghost 11, On CloudaceUnderarmour Sonic, Hoka Cavu,
Workouts: Nike Fly, Hoka Cavu, On Cloudrush
Races: Nike Fly, Nike Pegasus Turbo, Nike Fly 4%

Questions for you:
What is your staple shoe?
Do you use a different shoe for rainy days?

Training: 800s and a Half Marathon

Training: 800s and a Half Marathon

Last week was my last “big” week of training.  It’s all taper from here.  It was a decent week, and while I would have liked a faster half marathon, the wind was tough. To be fair, I didn’t feel the greatest during the race either and had two hectic days (both work and not) .  The Friday and Saturday before went by in a blink of an eye and kept me on my feet for two days straight.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 6X800s (averaging 6:15)/800 jog in between (warmup/cooldown 10 miles
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes with Alexis
Friday: Easy 20 minutes
Saturday: Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: Atlantic City Half (1:27.53) total miles 15

Thoughts:

I hoped to be around 1:26 for a half at some point during the training cycle. I knew I had a few half marathons to do it, but it never happened. Between the wind and the heat and training, it didn’t happen.  It’s hard to compare myself to fitness of last year or even the year before when I had run 1:25s at the Runners World half after running the 5k the day before.

That being said, different year, different situation.  I’ve repeated that to myself more times than I can count.  You can’t compare yourself to anyone and even yourself.

Wednesday: 6X800s 6:15 pace with 800 jog in between

The workout itself didn’t feel bad. It was the first cold day we had, and while windy, I felt good running.  I don’t have a lot to say about the workout. It was neither the best nor the worst and fell somewhere in between.

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:27.53)

As I mentioned, I was on my feet a lot the two days prior.  The week itself was tiresome, and not a week the week you really feel: gun ho to go race.  That being said, I made the best of the situation. I had a great time with friends at the starting line and saw a lot of people I knew.  The day was extremely windy, and the predicted Gail force winds with gusts of 50 mph.

It was definitely windy.  I made the best of the situation, and I got on the boardwalk with not much cover to block the winds of the beach. I was proud I negative split the race. Around the halfway point, I saw if I didn’t crash, I would run about a 1:28. I made it my goal to run under 1:28. The last few miles averaged low 6:40s and a few 6:30s to haul to get under there. I don’t know why 1:27.X just made me feel better. I passed one woman around mile 13 and ended up as 6th female.

I’m happy with the effort for the race, but I do wish I had time that reflected the work I’ve put in this training cycle.  (1:27 is a great time, but I do believe I’m fitter in the half distance than that).

Next week starts my taper. I will race one of my favorite races next weekend (maybe this year it won’t be exactly 3 miles…yet claim it’s a 5k).

I’m looking forward to the next two weeks and what taper brings.  It’s going to be extremely busy for me anyway, so it couldn’t come at a better time.

Posts from the Week:

Are Racing Flats Right for You?
Heros to Hero 5k (19:12) 

Questions for you:
What is your least favorite condition to run in?
Heat? Torrential Downpour? Wind? White Out Snow? 50 Degrees and Sunny?
What was your best workout last week?

On Cloudace Shoe Review

On Cloudace Shoe Review

The Cloudace is a brand new, highly cushioned shoe from ON.  As most readers and followers know by now, I prefer a well-cushioned shoe for training.  The more cushion, the better.  When On created the On Cloudace, I knew it would be a shoe I would eventually try.

If you are someone who is injury prone or likes a well-cushioned shoe, the On Cloudace is going to be a good fit for you.

If you have never run in ON before, they will feel different.  I’ve run in the ON Cloudflow and the ON Cloud Surfer before. On claims it’s cushioning that doesn’t change or break your stride but supports you how you need it.

On Cloudace shoe review

The “Clouds” at the bottom of any of their shoes are adaptable and cushion both horizontal and vertical forces.  This means it will feel soft but also responsive. When you strike, the Cloud technology lock and form a supportive foundation.  For the most part, I’ve always felt that in each model I’ve run in.

Watching videos of this visibly happening is cool. I actually appreciate brands you can see their technology.

Fit:

Like many running shoes, there are no seams in the upper.  Usually, in women’s sizes, I wear between 10-11 wide.

On doesn’t make wides at this point, so I chose a 10.5.  It fits well, but given the option, I would have preferred a 10.5 wide.  Other than that, it fits fine, and I haven’t had any issues with needing a different size.

If you have bunions or extremely wide forefront, your feet might not fit well into On.

On Cloudace shoe review

Ride:

To date, the Cloudace is one of the stiffest shoes I’ve tried.  You can feel it’s that it’s maximum cushioned shoe without feeling weighed down.  Like mentioned, it’s supported where I personally need it.

The Cloudace itself is stable and responsive. With the weight, that is rare for shoes.  When I tried it on, I wasn’t sure how responsive it would actually be.  Would my foot melt into the cushion?  Would I be able to run “fast” in the shoe?

I’ve done a few short workouts in it, and I have run about the same pace.  I’ve also done a few easy runs in it and felt good.  For me, it will fit in nicely as a recovery run shoe.  I can run fast, but I prefer other shoes to run fast in.  Having such a wide range for a shoe is rare. If you’ve never worn On before, you’ll notice the “Clouds” at the bottom of the shoe.

On Cloudace shoe review

If you have ever run in Newton or adidas, you might appreciate On, because they do feel fairly similar. (I ran through 17 pairs of 4 lug Newton Gravities many years ago).

The only, drawback of the Cloudace is the price point.  While most shoes that are of similar cushioning level are between $140-$160, the On Cloudace comes in at $200.  It’s definitely one of my most expensive running shoes but I’m hoping it will be more durable than many others.  So far I’ve put about 100 miles on the shoe and it could easily be mistaken as brand new.

Current Shoes I’m running in:

Daily Runs: Brooks Glycerin 16, New Balance 1080

Recovery Runs: Hoka One One Clifton 5, On Cloudace

Workouts/Races: Nike Fly, Nike LT Racer, New Balance 1400

Questions for you:

Have you tried On?

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