Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sugoi R+R Socks

I've been wearing these Sugoi R+R knee-high socks for a couple weeks and I freaking love them. The compression on the calf muscles is amazing, plus there's a little bit of arch wrap, too. They're padded in just the right spots -- heel, toe, front of ankle (where the shoe tongue hits).

Not much else to say about them except they feel great. I think they help my recovery, although I haven't worn them to run yet. I have worn them almost every day around the house for a couple of weeks though! You can buy them online through my store's online site,!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spring Marathon Shopping

Since I neglected to register for Boston before it filled up, it looks like I will be running a spring marathon elsewhere. Standard marathon parameters apply: not too far, not too expensive, not too hilly. Enough people that I'm not by myself the whole time. If I wanted to run 26 miles by myself, I'd do it at home.

If there's any races you know of that I should consider, or if you have opinions on any of these, please let me know. Currently under consideration are: Shamrock Virginia Beach, Knoxville, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Cleveland.

More updates on this as I start to narrow it down!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Derby City AAU Meet - race report

Okay, so I should have written this a week ago. I have no valid excuse.

Last Sunday I made my cross-country debut at the past-my-xc-prime age of 24. See, USATF club cross country nationals are down the road in Lexington next month, so it didn't take much arm-twisting to get me to participate. In fact, I got an awesome Derby City Athletic Club uniform and that was really all I needed.

The DCAC hosted the AAU regional meet on Sunday, and allowed three of us running club cross to use it as a "practice" race to tune-up. And I need a lot of tuning. More like an engine rebuild, but hey, gotta work with what I got. I really needed an opportunity to race in grass (I've done trail races, but that's not the same either), wear my spikes and figure how out of shape I was.

On the good side, I like wearing spikes even though my lower leg has been a little sore ever since. I also was correct in my early prediction of how I'd do, so at least I'm fairly in tune with what the legs are willing to do.

There's not really a bad side to this race, other than me not running 18 flat ... But that's a bad side to any 5k I've ever done -- or probably will ever run.

The course was two loops, featuring a couple of little hills and one bigger one. Steep but not long, so a fairly good course.

The other two girls and I had planned to just run this race as a tempo run, which would be 6:45 pace on the roads for us. Of course, by the time we were on the line, I was saying 6:30 pace. I think they knew where this was going. The gun went off, and the 16 assorted guys and gals -- high schoolers with four exceptions -- took off in a pack. For the first 100 yards or so, I kept saying out loud, "not 5:30 pace, not 5:30 pace." As we rounded the first turn, I went, "Damn, 5:30 pace." I started to back off, trying to settle in.

I clipped through the first mile in 6:20 but knew it wasn't going to last. My friend/semi-coach was at the marker, which seemed like a good time for me to remind him I hate 5ks. To which he replied, "Well, you're running halfway decent so just keep your head in it and relax."

Relax I did, and a little too much. I ran 6:48 for the second mile, along the way having some elementary-aged boys yell, "Go Ken Combs lady!" which I loved. There weren't any other runners close by, probably part of why I slacked so much.

But then ... I could hear one of the girls on my team and that I run with often. Former DIII all-American, this one, and I could recognize her breathing. That meant there was no slowing down and that I probably needed to pick up a bit. Now, generally this girl could slaughter me in a 5k, but she's been putting in 15 miles a week or so during her first semester of dental school. It was a little disheartening to have her damn near catch me anyway. A good reminder why I need to stick with longer distances nonetheless.

After a 6:44 third mile, I ran the last smidge at 5:22 pace and called it a day. I finished second female to a high schooler who had just placed sixth at the state meet the previous day. Fair enough. I'm recovering from a marathon and she's peaking; I'll settle for the 27-second loss.

I ran 20:13, with which I'm okay. It was fun. Now it's time to get my rear into gear for the next one.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One week later

Having had a week to digest my marathon performance, I'm trying to not complain about it too much. I can see where I erred, have a few potential solutions and am excited to try again.

Didn't run much this week -- I hear that's what you're supposed to do after a marathon -- just 4 miles on Wednesday but 10 on Saturday. I was feeling a little antsy not running. Everything feels okay except for the top of my hamstring, but I'm going to see my wonderful massage therapist tomorrow and hopefully she can work that out.

This week will be interesting because one of my best friends is getting married Saturday (and I'm helping organize the reception) and I'm running a practice cross country 5k meet on Sunday in preparation for club cross nationals in December. It'll be a fairly light week mileage-wise, but I do have a 5x1k workout on Wednesday. Then a couple of speed/tempo workouts a week until nationals. We'll get thrashed by some of the high-caliber teams who will come to the meet, but it's in Lexington so it'll be a neat opportunity. I get to wear a sweet uniform, promote the Derby City Athletic Club and maybe meet some really amazing elite runners. What can be bad about that?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Marshall University Marathon Race Report

Mixed feelings about this race still. I should be elated with a four-minute PR and a second-place finish, but I'm somewhat disappointed that I didn't run faster. I went into this race thinking I was in 3:05 shape, and ran out of gas at about 16 miles. Apparently the 250 calories I had for breakfast were insufficient. Then again, if the biggest obstacle I need to tackle in my training right now is to eat more ... I can probably handle that.

More specifics on the race: MUM is a tiny, tiny race. About 350 people in each the full and the half. The perks of the race make it sound pretty good, which is why we went -- a full-zip fleece instead of a t-shirt, dinner the night before, lunch after the race, and a low $60 entry fee. Oh, and a copy of the "We are Marshall" DVD.

And the course is pancake flat. That aspect, at least, lived up to its name.

But, for only having a handful of entrants, it was one of the dumbest packet pickups I've ever seen. First you have to find the right building, then figure out where the hell the door to it is. Then you walk to the table and the volunteers stop talking to each other just long enough to tell you to walk across the lobby and look up your bib number and come back. Now, with 350 people in each race and a separate table for each, I kind of expect them to do that for me. Alphabetize the list by last name, give to volunteers, done. They don't offer us bags for the bibs, pins and stupid ankle chips we need ... but they do give us a poorly copied black-and-white course map from 2007 with the changes scribbled out and rewritten in pencil. Doh! The course loops back on itself in several places, so there's no way you can figure out where you're going on this map. If I can find my copy, I will post it.

Hoping with a small race I could score an appropriate-sized top, I emailed the race director over the summer -- before they ordered shirts -- asking for an XS. He said he would try to get one and to ask at check-in. I did. They had no idea what I was talking about. Even the race director looked at me blankly. I took the small, which would somehow later get mixed up with a medium and is now utterly worthless as an article of clothing for a 105-pound, 5'3" girl.

Still sans bags, we drag all this stuff to the car and head to Applebees for lunch. Not the best choice, but Huntington isn't that big and it seemed a safe option.

We check into our hotel, which is pretty nice even though the pool turned out to be closed. Alas. We probably wouldn't have gotten in it anyway. We lounge around, put in a four-mile run, head to the pre-race dinner (for free!) slightly sweaty, eat some pasta.

Here's where my nutrition starts to go awry. I don't like tomato sauce. Tomatoes make me sick. But the spaghetti doesn't look particularly good plain, so I have them put on a little bit. It doesn't help. I pick at dinner, and there's little chance I ate enough.

Back at the hotel, we reset the clocks since it's daylight savings weekend. We watch a couple of hours of the "I didn't know I was pregnant" marathon and go to sleep. I have the alarm set for 5 a.m. because I'm neurotic, pretty much, and wanted to get up early enough to know I hadn't somehow bungled the time change.

I have my meager breakfast around 5:30, have a cup of coffee, put on race gear and warmups, head to the start line. We listen to bad rap songs loudly in the car, I dance around the parking lot, etc. In a sports bra and arm warmers, a guy says, "It's time to get serious, huh?" I say, well, obviously.

I get stuck in a bathroom stall. Scratch my back coming out under the door.

Minimum of interesting stuff going on at starting line. There was an official prayer, but during that I prayed to the running gods by doing some striders. The gun went off and in the opening quarter mile I found out the girl ahead of me was planning to break 3 hours. So we let her go.

I had planned to pick up the pace at the 10k, half and 20 mile points, so I'll give you splits accordingly.

Miles 1-6: 6:56, 7:06, 7:10, 7:09, 7:10, 7:10. (Goal pace 7:10)

Not much going on to see, little bit on the riverwalk but only a half a mile or so. Mostly residential and no crowd support. Lots of police and ROTC out blocking traffic though. A couple of other guys start running with us. It feels nice and easy so far, which surprises me a little.

Miles 7-13: 7:11, 7:08, 7:07, 7:07, 7:09, 7:08, 7:08. (Goal pace 7:08)

We looped through a small park for a couple miles in here, like 9-11. The park would have been more interesting if the gravel path hadn't been covered in leaves, making it impossible to see where you were going. We did get to see some other runners as we came back out of the park. We drop the other two guys, so it's just me and Matt and the roads are getting extra lonely. There's no crowd support and I'm not sure the water stops were at regular intervals ... if they were, I couldn't figure out the pattern.

Miles 14-20: 7:09, 7:10, 7:16, 7:23, 7:24, 7:28, 7:33. (Goal pace 7:05)

CRASH!!!! I ran outta gas. You can see it happen. At 15 I told Matt to go, because I didn't want to slow him down. If I had tried to stay with him I might have stayed under 7:20 for a little while longer but maybe not. Nothing hurt, just pooped out. No juice. Around mile 15 we were running on a four-lane almost-highway, with just our lane blocked off, and the road was heavily cambered. There was no shade, no other runners, no crowd ... Barf. The only thing worth note was the Jolly Pirate Donuts store. And at that point I was pretty sure I was delirious anyway.

Miles 21-26: 7:33, 7:30, 7:49, 7:43, 7:33, 7:40, 7:20. (Goal pace 7:00)

Yikes! I was just trying to trudge home at this point. With no clocks on the race course, I actually had no idea what my time might be at the end. I had set my Garmin up to just tell me distance, current pace and lap average pace; at this point I didn't even want to know how it was going. I figured I had gone out well enough through the first 15 to still PR, but that was about all I knew and I wasn't even sure about that. But I figured if I wasn't going to PR, I didn't want to know.

Around 22 we hit the park again, going the opposite direction. On my way out of the park, going around a tight U-turn, I saw the next female runner pretty close to me. That's when the pace starts to pick back up. I remember thinking, "Damn, I have to hold her off for four miles!"

The last mile or so goes through the Marshall University campus, which I'm sure is neat for recreational runners but was kind of a pain to navigate. You had to follow arrow markers along the entire path, which veered around various plantings and statues. Sigh. Then back on to the street and down a couple blocks -- on the sidewalk, which wasn't blocked off at all and I almost trampled a few departing half-marathoners and their families. Whoops.

Into the Marshall University football stadium, where you have to run down the long side ... and then make a sharp left at the goalposts, which is much easier to do if the teenagers standing there handing out footballs would have told me to do so. I end up missing the turn (why it wasn't blocked off I have no idea) and ducking back under the caution tape.

Ta-da, a fifth marathon finish.

Matt, who ran the first 15 with me, ran 3:05 as his debut. His wife and my great friend, Diane, PR'd by 10 minutes, running a 3:28. They won their age groups!

We drank a bottle of champagne in the parking lot, showered in the rec center, checked out of the hotel and headed home.

The end. Mostly because I'm tired of typing. More thoughts later, perhaps.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


List of personal records ...

DistanceBestDate & Race
50K06:25:0007/12/08, Rattlesnake
Full marathon03:10:1103/21/10, Shamrock
Half marathon01:31:2810/11/08, Evansville
15K01:02:4003/29/09, Heart Mini
10K00:41:0403/29/09, Heart Mini
4 mi00:25:1707/31/10, Grand Slam 4 miler
5K00:19:0505/23/09, Run for the L of It

These may not all be quite accurate, as some of my bests were en route to longer race finishes. And I don't race a lot of those middle distances often anyway.