Sunday, July 22, 2007

Saturday run report

Wow, 16 miles is a long way. It always amazes me how far you can go when running -- Louisville is a very car-based city, and it's weird to realize I could get to places on foot. Our Saturday run started at Seneca Park, looped through Seneca and Cherokee, then took off on a bike path I didn't know existed. We followed the path down to River Road, then went along River Road to the old train bridge, then came back. It was really neat.

One bonus was all the water fountains and restrooms in Waterfront Park, which made the middle third of the run much more comfortable.

Today we did 50 minutes, almost entirely on trails, which was great.

My Precisions are just glorious; no blisters, no pain, no nothing. Just pure running pleasure.

I'm in Louisville until Thursday, then I'll spend the next 10 days running in Michigan, where it doesn't look like it will break 80 the entire time.

I'll definitely miss my running gals while I'm there, but I do have some scenic runs coming up. The White Pine Trail runs from just south of my in-laws' house all the way to Cadillac, almost 100 miles. My first Saturday in Michigan I'm planning a 16.4 run on the trail, which will be great.

That's all for now!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Seeking shoe sole-ace

The stereotypical women has tons of shoes, right? I suppose I qualify, yet most of mine are running shoes in various stages of wear. After a year of serious running, I've only gotten rid of one pair, and those were ones I shouldn't have bought in the first place. I think I've had seven pairs since last year. Some have been promos from the store, some I purchased, and most I like.

I like to test them out, to build my personal knowledge of different shoes. I don't do very well just memorizing the chart at the shoe store; I need first-hand accounts of different shoes so I can group them together better.

As I trained for my first half-marathon, I wore two pairs: Asics Speedstars (a lightweight trainer) and Mizuno Wave Rider 9s (a moderately cushioned shoe). They were great. The Speedstars never let me down; I wore them for daily training, speedwork, races, everything. The Wave Riders were for long runs, and sometimes during the week to mix things up.

But after the mini, I took it easy for a few weeks, and when I began more focused training again, I faced a shoe crisis. I had picked up a pair of New Balance 1061s (similar to the Wave Riders), and they were cozy. Good on shorter runs, so I took them out on a few long runs. Bad idea. Too much heel slippage, so lots of blisters, and not enough forefoot cushioning, so the balls of my feet would be sore. Went back to the Wave Riders. Suddenly uncomfortable, as if my feet changed over the past couple of months. Maybe it's from sandal season -- my toes have been free in sandals all summer, and the Wave Riders seem too narrow in the toe box all of a sudden.

And my Speedstars are wrecked. With 300 miles on them, a 30 minute run in them earlier this week made my ankles really sore. So those are out.

I started standing in the stock room of the shoe store, staring at our stock in my size. I tried on lots of shoes. We didn't have any more Speedstars, and although I could have special ordered a pair (and still might), I wasn't sure I wanted to, since they've changed it since the pair I have. And, we didn't have a lot of things I wanted to try, because I fall into a less-frequented category -- small in stature and neutral in gait, we just don't keep a lot in stock.

So what to do, what to do. I finally decided to buy a pair of Mizuno Precisions, another lightweight trainer. I had almost bought a pair earlier in the year, when looking for something with more substance than the Speedstars. I ended up getting the Wave Riders for the extra cushion, so I knew I would probably like them. The new 8s were just coming out, and my pair just came in yesterday.

All this text comes down to one thing: I love them.

I took them on a five-mile run last night, and they felt beautiful. Light, cushioned, snug fit, no rubbing, no slipping, smooth transitions through the footstrike. They are definitely going with me on my 16-miler this weekend.

Thank you Mizuno, for making my feet happy! (And specifically our rep, Dan, who got them for me!)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Training update

It's really hot! I ran last night at 8:30, and it was still 88 degrees. Tuesday night was cooler, at 76, but was 85 percent humidity. It's tough running in the heat; just saps the strength right out of my legs.

I'm staying on schedule though, which is good. It will be my first week ever over 40 miles, and the first week I've ran seven days without a break. I'm trying to eliminate my weekly rest day and replace it with a 30 minute recovery jog. Not to say I won't take days off, I have at least one planned while I'm in Michigan. But, part of the plan is to eliminate most of them, so if I do need to take a day off, it will have less of an impact on my overall mileage.

Tuesday night we did 6x800, and with the humidity, my times were a good five seconds slower per 800 than I wanted. It still felt like a good workout, though, so I'll have to be content. I find 800s pretty discouraging, because even if I run them around 5k pace, they're still hard. With my goal to break 20 at the Gaslight 5k in September, I feel like knocking back four to six 3:15 800s should be comfortably easy. When I ran mostly 3:17-3:20 the other night, I felt pretty discouraged. So at least for my ego's sake, I'll chalk it up to the heat.

Today will be my first attempt at a tempo in a while; I'm schedule for 45 minutes and am planning to do 15 minutes of warm up, then 15 minutes of tempo (slower than 5k pace, probably 7:15-7:30 min/mi), then 15 minutes of cool down.

I definitely feel like I'm making steady progress; we ran 14 miles last Saturday at about 8:20 min/mi, which is on the low end of my McMillan pace chart recommendation.

That's all for now. I'll be back soon to post about my shoe dilemma!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Finally, motivation

I've been thinking about doing a run blog for a while, but haven't actually sat down to do it. But, with Mom on the injured list for the next three months, I thought she could live vicariously through me/this blog for a while.

So here we are. I'll try to update at least once a week. Expect training updates, race reports and gear review.

Short reviews coming soon, on different shoes and my new Camelbak Catalyst.

Camelbak Catalyst

Although previously loathe to strap water around my waist, upcoming long runs away from water fountains and our trip to Michigan necessitated some sort of hydration device. A fuel belt seemed to jiggly and bouncy, so I decided to try a Camelbak Catalyst, which sits on the small of your back.

The Catalyst holds 28 oz. of water, held in a small pack strapped around your waist/hips. On Saturday's 14 mile run, I found it to be amazingly slosh- and bounce-free, only becoming unstable once empty. But, I think spending time tightening it when it was empty would have kept it in position; instead, it tended to slip to the side, which was just a minor annoyance.

The bite valve and delivery tube were easy to use, although a little difficult to stash when not in use. I know some people just clip it to their shirt and that works fine, but I chose to clip it on the belt. That system will take a little bit of practice to perfect, I think.

The "velvetex" lining on the pack and belt was, well, velvety. I have one tiny rub spot above my hip bone in the back, but it just feels like a dry spot and I didn't even notice it until Sunday. Not one of those skin-rubbed-raw burning chafes.

My biggest complaint is that I had a hard time filling the reservoir. I will chalk it up for now to my inexperience in filling a water bladder, but I kept sloshing it out. The literature that came with the pack says it is designed for "easy and convenient" filling, but that didn't hold true for me.

Recommendation: So far, so good. Comfortable, but harder to clean than fuel belt bottles. Limits your ability to carry several fluids (like water and gatorade) at once. Easy to drink from, but tricky to fill. Two small pockets on the belt are perfect for a gel/etc., keys or a small cell phone. Some storage space in pocket with bladder, but the bladder does condensate, so don't put your phone back there.

Capacity: 28 oz/0.8 liters
Dimensions: 7.5 in x 8.5 in x 1 in
Weight: .55 lbs (empty), 2.38 lbs (full)