Race Recaps…

So to jump right back in…I’ve done three races in basically as many weeks. So here’s a brief rundown of the events. I ended 2016 with a bang by doing the Harmony Silvester 5k on 12/31 where I managed to eek out a PR for the end of the year–33:04, a little over a minute faster than my previous 5k PR and a great place to end the year. It’s a nice race, rolling course, which is my favorite (I never seem to do as well on flat courses), decent number of participants. Having run in Harmony before, I’ve definitely encountered worse hills on other courses (looking at you Shamrock Shuffle Half Marathon). The race goes by gun time, which makes me even happier with my time. Overall a great event, and one I would definitely go back to.

Then on New Year’s Day we started off right with the First Day 5k. Not a gently rolling course, but a hilly beast that has kicked my butt now two years in a row. Finished two minutes slower than the Harmony race the day before, which I’m remarkably okay with as it was a solid 7 minutes faster than I did the same race and course the previous year, so I couldn’t be upset. It’s a tough course. I always underestimate the hills and end up walking (which, while there’s no shame in it, pisses me off a little). So hill work it is. Because if I hadn’t walked, I probably would’ve PR’d on that course, and now I want to do that. First goal for 2018, boom.

Last weekend I participated in my first group training run with the Steel City Road Runners–the Marathon Training Kickoff run. I’m doing the half at Pittsburgh this year, because I have a score to settle and honestly, I prefer the half to the full. I prefer to train for a full during the heat of the summer and end up rewarded with cooler temps on race day than vice versa. But I’m planning to run an ultra (and potentially now a full) in June, so doing the full marathon training makes way more sense. It was cold, and awful, and my pace SUCKED, but I got the miles done and had a good time. More group runs are in my future, for sure.

This weekend I did the Chilly Cheeks 5-miler up in Hermitage. Again, cold, which seems to be affecting my pace more than I want it to (and more than I want to admit it does). It wasn’t a tough course, but it *felt* tough. And my time was about a minute slower than the 5-miler I did in November, but when put in perspective of the fact it was significantly colder, I can accept it. Lots of work to do to hit my time goals, but I’m not starting off from a bad place.

Week is off to a solid start. Happy Monday, friends.

My Spankin’ new VFFs…

I’ve run exactly ¼ mile in them and I’m sold.

I’ve been thinking about Vibram Five Fingers for about 6 months or so. My friend Sam got hooked on them around the same time I read an article about minimalist footwear in Runner’s World. So I did some more reading and research on my own, and enjoyed Sam’s running commentary (ha!) in his journal comics. What sold me was getting Born to Run for Christmas (Have I mentioned how amazing this book is? I’ve already started to re-read it!). 

I could feel the difference right away, so I’m expecting *some* soreness tomorrow. I’m not really a heel striker. A look at the soles of my shoes shows more wear on the fore/mid sole than the heel. I am barefoot or in flimsy shoes as often as humanly possible–I just haven’t been running that way. And bad joints run (ha!) in my family, something I want to delay as long as humanly possible because I LOVE RUNNING. Still, I know I need to take it slow. Sam cautioned starting with a half mile, others have said just to start with a few minutes. I decided I’m going to do ¼ mile on top of my scheduled training for the next week and progress an extra ¼ mile each week as long as it feels okay. When I get to running a full mile in them I’ll start subbing that mile for some of my training–but for starting out it’s not a big deal to add an extra ¼ to ¾ of a mile to my already short runs, and it’s a bigger pain in the butt to stop mid-run to change shoes.

But already, I’m sold. I can’t wait until I’m only running in my VFFs. And I can totally see myself getting another pair and wearing these around for errands and such because they really do feel like a second skin. And they are going to be so much easier to pack for traveling because they are wicked light and portable (the box looks like a child’s shoe box!). I didn’t get the color I wanted because the place I went didn’t have choices, but I don’t care. If I really wanted to I could order them in the color I want since I know my size now, but I’m not going to jump into that just yet.

2011 is going to be AWESOME! (Running edition)

Goals for 2011:

  1. Pittsburgh Half Marathon!–It’s on! They have my money! I just want to finish, that’s my goal, I’m not going to stress about time (other than beating the cut off). But I’m psyched. I do better with training when I have a goal. And if this goes well, I plan to do the CHAD Hero Half up here in late-summer/fall.
  2. Food.–I don’t eat like a runner-and I don’t run enough (yet) that I can use running as an excuse to eat. But a half marathon is serious business. I need to step up my game in the food department and actually fuel my body instead of eating whatever is easiest. I know how I should be eating, and what I most certainly should NOT be eating-time for me to stop talking and just do it.
  3. Learn to like running outside.–I actually don’t think this will be that hard. When I was running the ill-fated Turkey Trot I was enjoying the outside running (on a cross country course). The parts of outside running I don’t like are (1) the cold and (2) the pavement. If I run trails (easy to do in my area) and stay on the TM until the weather gets better it shouldn’t be so bad. I’m sure I will eventually even not mind the cold.
  4. PR at the Run for Empowerment 5k.–Again, this shouldn’t be hard, as last year’s race was AWFUL and I’ve only done it twice. I will also have done the half by then, so PRing at this will be a piece of cake.
  5. Run at least 3x per week.–(barring illness or injury) Now, this doesn’t sound like much as there are many of you who run everyday or almost everyday. And I will be running more than 3x per week for much of my training. BUT, when life starts getting crazy, when I’m traveling, etc. running is the first thing to get shifted out of my life. And 3x a week is a manageable amount to shoot for, so I’m going to promise myself that (barring illness or injury) I will run a minimum of 3x a week for the next year.
  6. Keep my training log.–I know that a real training log is a valuable tool. I will keep mine up-to-date for the whole year. I may not post everything online, but I will keep my paper version up-to-date and accurate at the very least.

Catching Up…

Running reports from the past two days

Monday–3 miles on the nose. My knee started doing something weird somewhere between 2.5 & 3 miles. It didn’t hurt persay, but it felt weird. So I wanted to take it easy.

Tuesday–3.47 miles. “Made up” some of what should have been 4 miles on Monday. Knee felt good.  I’m not stretching enough, though I am getting good at drinking water during my runs.

Last Night’s Run

The Plan: 3 miles

The Play-by-Play: Walked ½ mile, ran ½ mile for 3 miles, then walked almost ½ mile (.42) as cool down. Good times. 45 minutes total.

The Playlist:
Superhero –  Ani Difranco 
Eight Easy Steps – Alanis Morissette   
L.O.V.E. – Ashlee Simpson  
Girlfriend – Avril Lavigne   
Song for the Dumped – Ben Folds Five 
Piece of Me – Britney Spears  
Womanizer – Britney Spears  
Freakshow –  Britney Spears  
If U Seek Amy – Britney Spears   
Toxic –  Britney Spears 
Georgia – Cee Lo Green 
Ain’t No Other Man – Christina Aguilera   
Fighter – Christina Aguilera

Where is everyone today? Tumblr is quiet.

3 miles scheduled for today. I’m working until 9:30/10:00, so it’s going to be a late run. At least the gym will be EMPTY when I get there.

I’ll check in when I get home.