My Favorite race of 2012, the Annapolis Half Marathon.

Because today is the first day of 2013, I find it quite necessary to recap my favorite race of 2012, The Annapolis Half Marathon.  On this day, a month ago, I ran my fastest half marathon. I have been meaning to write this post for a couple weeks now, but I have decided to save it for the first of the New Year, which is the perfect day to look back on some of the highlights of 2012.

The Annapolis Half Marathon was not the first race I have ever run in Maryland, but it was by far the best! I’m going to start out by telling you a little bit about my past races I have run in Maryland. Because I have a bit of history when it comes to running races in that state.

In June of 2008, I ran my first half marathon, the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon. I remember thinking – I needed to slow down because it was hot and hilly. At the end, I had enough energy to sprint to the finish line, finishing in 2:09:38.37742_772558339986_8135770_n

In 2009, in part of my marathon training I ran a 21 mile training run in Baltimore and then a week later ran the Baltimore Half Marathon. I remember thinking – this is not a race, this is a training run in preparation for The Marine Corps Marathon. Although, cooler, it was still very hilly. The best part of this race was running the last mile downhill to the finish line. I finished this race in 2:03:36.

In August of 2012, I ran the Annapolis 10 miler. It was576866_10100747687225856_912276774_n-3 rolling hills the whole way, and Hurricane Isaac swept through brining us strong winds and torrential downpours. It was one of the worst 10 milers I have ever run, finishing in 1:33:23.

So when my sister said the only free weekend she had available to run a half marathon was the weekend of December 1st, and the only local race was The Annapolis Half, I had mixed feelings about registering.

PROS and CONS

I was a little disappointed because we had already run a race in Annapolis this year, only a month before. Would this be boring? Would we have bad weather again, maybe not another hurricane, but a blizzard could be a possibility. These were some of the thoughts that were running through out my mind. But because the Annapolis 10 miler had been one of the more challenging races I have run, I decided that this would be my second chance to try to conquer the rolling hills of Annapolis, Maryland. I also thought it would be interesting to run a half marathon in the winter – the cold winter weather might be an advantage for me. Plus I would have the opportunity to train for a race in the fall time, which is my favorite season to run in. These ideas made me pumped to register for this race, train, and then run the dang thing.

TRAINING

If you have been following my blog, you most¬†definitely have read all of my training run posts, so I will only touch briefly on my training ¬†for my new readers. I have been running in the Newton shoe since April/May. This shoe is a natural running shoe. It is super light weight and has a 2mm-3mm heel to toe drop. I run in both the Distance U and the Gravity. With this transition, I have worked very hard on my running form. I finally feel very comfortable, with a short quick bouncy running stride, striking my forefoot/midfoot instead of my heels. This race was the ultimate test, to see if all this hard work has paid off… and let me tell ya… it totally did.

RACE 

One of the fabulous pros about this race was that the race was scheduled for a Saturday. This may not matter for people, but it does for me because my days off form work is Friday and Saturday.

So on Friday, I made a pasta dinner for my sister and I. She came over right after she got off work. We ate and then hit the road. Another fun thing about this race was that I rented a Fiat for the drive up! I love that car!29358_10100867389666206_1964257829_n

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When we arrived to the hotel, we prepared for the race by laying out our race outfit and set our alarm for 4:45 am. My race night ritual is laying out my race clothes and everything I need for race day.

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We woke up from the sound of the alarm, not thunder like the previous race we ran in Annapolis (Annapolis 10 miler). This race started at 7:00 am and they advised us to get to the Naval Academy parking lot no later than 6:00 am, because of road closures.

When we arrived, we stayed warm in the car until 6:15 and then we headed over to the start. I found L in the line for the bathroom. Thank goodness. At the Annapolis 10 miler there were no corrals so we ended up missing each other at the start. But we found each other this time, and although it was 40 degrees out we stripped down and ditched our long sleeves. I always want to keep my long sleeves on but I always later get too hot and regret it. I was cold for the first mile but eventually I warmed up and felt perfect.

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At 7:00 am the gun went off and The Annapolis Half Marathon officially began. It was super foggy. I was barely able to see what was ahead. For the first few minutes it was a tad squishy, but I stayed to the outside and found space. For the first 3 miles or so I was flying, running 7:30 minute miles. Then I continued doing an 8 minute mile. I refueled at the mile six mile water station. I was feeling so good and couldn’t believe that I was already half way through. Mile six already… I thought.

The course was rolling hills, and some of those hills were really steep, while others were gradual but never ending. However, because of the fog you couldn’t really see what was ahead, but I knew the hills were there. I felt pretty prepared though, because I had included tons of hill work during my training. But while I was running I realized I don’t hate hills. I am actually really good at hills. Mentally, I started to break the race up by hills. I ran with control going up hill, then I used momentum to pick up speed without wasting energy while going down hill. We got to run over the really big bridge, which was one of the foggiest and prettiest parts of the race.

I continued to keep my pace in check. I looked down and saw 9 minute mile so I picked up the pace again and made sure I was running no slower than 8:45 and no faster than 7:50. When I hit the 10 mile marker I was shocked. I looked down at my watch and saw a 10 miler PR 1:23:00. Could this be true? I felt good, strong, fast. I was excited because I knew I was going to PR! My goal in this race was to finally break 2:00:00, there was no doubt in my mind… I was doing that.

Around mile 12 I felt like I was slowing down a bit so I pulled out my trick. When I feel like I am slowing down I always imagine myself running over hot coals. I kept telling myself, “hot coals, hot coals.” This kept me light on my feet, bouncy and quick. I ended up having enough energy to sprint to the finish line. I got there with a big smile on my face with an official time of 1:51:21.

 

running annapolis

run pics AnnapolisI wanted to post these running pics because I think it is important to evaluate my running form. Trust me no one looks sexy, in their race photos, so keep in mind these aren’t the most beautiful photos of me, however, my running form is right on. And after all that hard work transitioning my stride into a natural runner, I not only ran my fastest half marathon, but I am very proud that I accomplished good running form.

Good Running Form

  • Short strides, trying to land under your center body mass (do not over stride)
  • forefoot/mid-foot striking (do not heel strike)
  • cadence of 180 or higher – tip: imagine your running over hot coals
  • light, quick, bouncy
  • leaning slightly forward, (lean from your ankles, not your waist or hips)
  • head and chin up, always look forward. (do not look down)
  • engage core strength
  • keep shoulders relaxed and arms at a 90 degree angle

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There I am after the race, see what I mean about the fog. The end of the race party was really fun. They had beer, pulled pork bbq, a raw oyster bar. They also gave us a medal, a really high tech long sleeve running shirt, and a hat. Lets just say, “they hooked us up with some awesome swag.”

32322_10100867993780556_2072329249_n-1We spent the rest of the day shopping around along the waterfront of Annapolis.

29566_10100868125017556_206629310_nWe also went to lunch. Of corse I had a crab cake sandwich. Maryland bay crabs are the best, but crab season was over so I went for the crab cake. It was tasty, but the bloody mary was the best part.

16195_10100868127258066_144749273_nNext time you have a bloody mary try it with Absolute Pepper Vodka!

So that was my favorite race of 2012. As of now, for 2013, I am registered for three races in April. I am super excited for all of them but mostly the Nike Women Half Marathon scheduled for April 28th.

Happy New Year and Happy Running!

Questions for you…

  1. What was your favorite race of 2012?
  2. Do you like hilly races?

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

 

 

 

 

My Last Run of 2012

Today is New Years Eve! I got off work around 4 pm and rushed home to change into my running clothes. 734858_10100908003670416_1703863429_n

L and I wanted to end 2012 running one last easy five miles around the DC monuments. We met at our spot (where we park) and headed down to the Key Bridge. Unfortunately, when we started our run, it was too late and the sun had already gone down. I had not done a night run in a while, but was excited to see the monuments lit up. DC is by far the prettiest at night.

537951_10100908136414396_1268042903_nAs we ran passed the GTown water front we saw The Kennedy Center lit up in the distance.

602909_10100908134173886_1665750014_n-2Then we ran towards the Memorial Bridge! This is the Lincoln Memorial all lit up! I took this photo with my iphone, isn’t it lovely!

 

75324_10100908125820626_791747282_nThen I decided to bust out my favorite yoga pose –¬†Standing Bow Pose/Dandayamana-Dhanurasana.

This run was an easy fun five miles. It felt good to end the year, 2012, with a casual run. The crisp winter air, it finally feels like winter here with 30-40 degree days/nights, was refreshing. DC was beautiful lit up at night. I got to run over two bridges, through Arlington Cemetery, and running along the river was peaceful. It was nice to have the company of L with me, on this night run. And I got to listen to, Lindsay Stirling, new music I just downloaded onto my ipod. All and all it was a great run, and a great way to end the year.

Questions for you…

  1. What is your favorite place to run at night?
  2. Did you have one final run to end the year?

© 2012 sweatdaily

 

 

Sneak Peek

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Ok Runners… Look what I found…

This neon pink beauty is a sneak peek of Newton’s new design for one of their running shoes in the 2013 line. This photo popped up on my Facebook news feed, and it is all the information they have released about their newest shoe. I am hoping it is the color for the 2013 Gravity or Distance U. The suspense is killing me… I just want to know which shoe this is and when it will be available.

The secret to injury free running is Cadence.

For the last two days, all I have done, is Christmas Shop. No running, no yoga, only shopping. It has been really overwhelming for me because I hand make most of my presents. I will show you a sneak peek of my hand made gifts in a future post, but if you can’t wait you can check out my tumblr blog Cashmere & Silk. Anyway, when I was Christmas shopping, I stopped to have a latte and read the UK Runner’s World. While I was reading I came across this…

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Ever since April/May, when I began to focus on running form, I kept hearing the word Cadence. Cadence is how many steps you take per minute while running. The secret to injury free running is a Cadence of 180 or higher.

A couple years ago, when I was in New York City, I stopped in the Asics running shoe store and they evaluated my running form by taking 3D images of my feet and video taping the way I ran barefoot on a treadmill. By doing this I learned a lot about my feet and stride. I discovered that while I run I tend to over stride and because of this my cadence was in the 160s, below average.

When I first began to run in my Newtons, I decided to read the book Natural Runner, written by Danny Abshire, the inventor of Newton. In his book, he pushes the importance of having a cadence of 180 or higher. In order to achieve this, he tells runners to have a short, quick, bouncy stride, where your feet land under your center mass. Be light and quick on your feet. Imagine yourself running over hot coals.

Because I have the Garmin Forerunnner 50, which has a foot pod, I am able to measure my cadence. I have been recording it for some time now, however my garmin has always said it was between 80-95, which is disappointingly low. Turns out my garmin only measures the one foot, that the foot pod is in. Duh! So looks like I am right on target.

If you don’t have a foot pod to measure your cadence, you can download a cadence app on your phone. Listening to a faster beat song helps too.

© 2012 sweatdaily

Yipee!

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I can not even begin to express how excited I am. The Nike Women’s Marathon has always been on the top of my list of races to run. However, because it has always taken place in San Francisco I haven’t had the chance to run it. Well, at the end of the summer a friend ¬†informed me that the race was coming to DC. This is the first time that the race is going to take place in a city other than San Fran. Out of all the cities on the East coast they chose to place the race in Washington, DC – very cool, and¬†convenient.

Another thing about The Nike Women’s Marathon is that it is super popular, so popular that they had to make it a lottery. They also kept the registration date a secret. So everyday I was checking on whether or not the race was open for registration. It was really weird, I would google NWM and there would be NO info on the race registration. Finally, I found out, through facebook, that it had open and I registered.

It wasn’t until today that I found out that I got in and so did my running budy, L and my sister E. Super Excited. I can’t wait to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon at the end of April. I heard shirtless firemen hand out Tiffany necklaces at the end.

© 2012 sweatdaily

Comparing Running Shoes

Lets talk about my obsession…

For those of you who have been following my blog, you may already know that I am shoe obsessed. But for those that are new readers let me clue you in.

In April/May 2012 I caved… and made the switch from a traditional running shoe, (Asics Nimbus and Brooks Glycerin) to a barefoot running shoe called Newton.

So ever since then, I have been wearing either my Newton Distance U or my Newton Gravity, only doing one long run in my old Brooks Glycerin (over a 7 month period.)

In the Newton shoes, I have focused on running form. Working very hard to change my stride from a minor heel striker (slight over pronator/over strider) to a forefoot/mid-foot striker (neutral runner with a higher cadence.)

Was I successful? Yes, I was, and I had the opportunity to prove it, by racing two 10 milers in them. And just this weekend, raising the bar, by setting a new PR in my half marathon I ran.

However, last week, I went into my local running shoe store,¬†Pacers, and bought the¬†Brooks PureConnect¬†running shoe. ¬†This shoe’s resale value is normally $90, but because it is a 2012, it was on sale for $75. The 2013s should be out in January, but you can pre-order them now, if you want them!

Brooks barefoot running series.

Brooks barefoot running series.

Lets talk about Brooks PureConnect shoe. This is what Brooks says…

¬†The PureConnect was named “Best Debut” in Runner‚Äôs World‚Äôs Winter 2012 Shoe Guide in the December issue. The editors said the PureConnect “strikes a balance between barefoot-inspired minimalism and cushioning-required training. It has a lightweight, barely there feel yet is substantive enough to handle long tempo runs.”

The design of the shoe allows you to have the freedom to feel the ground and connect with your run. It has toe flex technology which gives you flexibility in the forefoot and activates your big toe and aligns your toe off. It is a 4mm heel to toe drop. The material the shoe is made from keeps the foot balanced and creates a glove like fit, allowing the shoe to work more naturally with your foot. The shoe weighs 6.5 oz, being super light weight and breathable.

PureConnect

PureConnect

Why I was tempted to try them…

Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE MY NEWTON SHOES! Just how your body will adapt to certain work outs, your body can adapt to your running shoe. When you repeat the same work out over and over, you stop seeing results, the same can happen in running shoes. Because of this fact I¬†don’t want to allow my body to get too comfortable/use to one type of shoe. Different shoes work the body in different ways. I want to be well rounded. I also want to experiment with a shoe rotation. I have used Brooks and Asics in the past, and have enjoyed their shoes, so I thought I would look into their barefoot running shoes.

When researching, different barefoot running shoes I realized that Asics was the last ones to take the plunge. But they finally did, unfortunately, it is not quite good enough.

ASICS

Their barefoot running series is called the 33 series, named after the 33 joints found in your foot Рvery cool name. However, their lightest out of that series, the Gel Lyte33, only has a 6 mm heel to toe drop. This is good for those runners, who  are still running in a traditional running shoe with a 12 mm heel, who wants to try a lighter shoe and a lower heel to toe drop. This shoe will give this runner what they desire with out messing to much with their running stride or body. Some runners claimed they barely felt a difference.

However, because I am already running in the Newton Gravity that has a 3 mm heel to toe drop and the Newton Distance U which has a 2 mm heel to toe drop, to try the Gel Lyte33, with a 6 mm heel to toe drop is pointless. So I moved on from Asics  and took a close look at Brooks PureProject, and found the PureConnects.

Three things sold me on this shoe…

  1. The heel to toe drop is 4 mm. There is a little bit more heel in these shoes compared to the Newtons, but not by much. Newton: Distance U has a 2 mm drop. Gravity has a 3 mm drop.
  2. These shoes are 6.5 ounces. This is by far the lightest running shoe I have ever tried. Newton: Distance U weighs 7 ounces. The Gravity weighs 7.6 ounces.
  3. The biggest sell point. These shoes are known for their Cushion. A little more cushion is what I was looking for, and that is what I found in these shoes.

SAUCONY

(just mentioning this for all the Saucony lovers out there…)

Saucony’s Kinvara 3 is the Brooks PureConnect’s biggest competition. So for those who love Saucony. The Kinvara is similar to the PureConnects weighing 6.7 ounces and having a 4 mm heel to toe drop.

On a different note…

So here is something to think about… ¬†Less is More.

I was talking to another runner. Demanding him to give me answers and tell me which shoe is the best shoe. He told me, “It is not about which shoe is better than the other. This is a running shoe store. All the shoes are good, designed by runners, for runners.” ¬†I questioned him. “Even the most minimal shoe in the store?” I asked. He informed me that the point of a running shoe is to absorb shock when the runner’s foot hits the ground. Even the lightest most minimal shoe is now made from such high tech materials, that even they are capable to absorb the shock, just as well as a traditional running shoe. So it is not whether one shoe is better than the other. It is about you, and your own personal opinion, ¬†about what you like and what you are comfortable running in.

My Experience in the Brooks PureConnect

Although, I had my shoes for a week, I didn’t want to jump right into them because my half marathon was coming up over the weekend, and I didn’t want to take any chances (injury/being sore) during my taper. So my first time running in them was yesterday. Wow! They definitely were different.

THE FIT… THE TOE BOX

The Newton shoe along with most barefoot running shoes have a wide toe box. This design is suppose to allow your foot to naturally spread so your toes can grab the ground, the way they would naturally if you were running barefoot. The Brooks PureConnect took a different approach. While other runners, found this shoe to be a bit narrow. Brooks wanted this shoe to feel like a second skin, and hug your foot like a glove.

narrow toe box? nope! it fits snug like a glove.

Narrow toe box? Nope! it’s just snug like a glove. And I am wearing shorts in December. It is 65 degrees here!

When wearing the¬†PureConnects, I did feel a bit snug in them, but are they really narrow, or am I just use to a wider toe box?¬†Well unfortunately, I only ran four miles in them, so I can’t fairly judge whether I liked this “glove” feel or not. ¬†I do know one thing though – The wide toe box that my Newtons have, is one of the reasons why I love my Newton shoes.

When running in the Newton shoe with it’s wide toe box, you not only have the opportunity to really feel the ground, but your toes actually have room to spread and grasp the ground. However, at first this was very uncomfortable for me because my¬†second and third toes are slightly crossed. I also continued to get a¬†reoccurring blister on my third toe on my left foot. But practice makes perfect and over time, my toes stopped bothering me, and now I love the idea of my toes grasping the ground, because it is natural. This is what your toes would do if you were barefoot running on the sand at the beach.

The PureConnect does not have a wide toe box but rather has¬†toe flex¬†technology which gives you flexibility in the forefoot and activates your big toe and aligns your toe off. Honestly, during my four mile run, I didn’t feel my toes engaged at all or activated in any way. But then again, it was only a four mile run, maybe in a longer run I might be able to feel my toes do some work.

CUSHION

I have always run in a high cushioned shoe (Asics Nimbus and Brooks Glycerin.) So when I made the switch and started wearing the Newton, cushioning is the one thing I really missed. I don’t feel like the Newton shoe is very cushiony. Plus I sometime experience¬†sesamoiditis very mildly in my left foot. Sesamoiditis is nothing too serious, it is¬†just¬†inflammation or irritation of the sesamoid bones found underneath the big toe, in the forefoot area. ¬†Wearing a more cushioned shoe, along with icing, can help a runner with this condition. So when I heard the PureConnect was a barefoot running shoe, known for its cushion – I had to try it!

When wearing the PureConnect for my four mile run, I could feel the cushioning right away. I felt super BOUNCY and light on my feet. ¬†In the end, I absolutely LOVE the cushion and bounce in this shoe¬†– this felt really good.¬†However, I wouldn’t say I felt like it was more flexible than my Newtons. I actually felt like they were a bit stiff, but I know they are not, maybe it was because they were snug like a glove.

Look at that Cushioning!

Look at that Cushioning!

So this is what I have so far, on this review. It is hard to judge since I have only had the chance to run four miles in them. One very important thing about these shoes is that they do not last long. Most runners can only get 250-300 miles out of these shoes before they have to replace them. Because of this aspect, I am planning on only wearing these shoes a couple times a week, mainly for shorter runs.

If you over pronate…

When you change your shoe to a minimalist/barefoot running shoe, and change your stride from an over strider/ heel striker to a shorter strider who lands on their forefoot with a quick cadence, your over pronation should disappear. However, some may have a body imbalance they can’t help or weak ankles. If this is the case, they may still need some stability in their shoe. If this is the case, an orthotic may help, or instead of purchasing the PureConnect, you would get the PureCadence. The PureCadence is from the PureProject by Brooks, but this shoe provides a stability crutch, while the PureConnect does not.

L wears the PureCadence.

PureCadence

PureCadence for those that want a barefoot running shoe, but needs a stability crutch.

PureCadence

PureCadence

If you are interested in a stability shoe in Newton, you would start with the Motion ( for those that need stability) later trying the Distance U (which is for both the neutral runner or the runner who needs a stability crutch.)

TIP…

If you are not running in a barefoot running shoe, always remember, it is good to keep one on hand as a strengthening tool Рthey work the muscles in your feet, when traditional running shoes protect them. They work the muscles in your lower legs, different than the way a traditional running shoe would.

Questions for You…

  1. Have you tried Newtons, Brooks PureConnects, Asics 33 series, or Saucony Kinvara? If so what did you think?
  2. Have you tried a minimalist shoe or barefoot running shoe? If so which one?
  3. What do you think of minimalist Рjust a trend or  is it the future of running shoes?

© 2012 sweatdaily

I crushed it!

This weekend was absolutely fabulous!¬†I ran the Annapolis Half Marathon. And although, I am beyond excited to share how the Annapolis 13.1 rocked my world, I cant – not yet, not until I can get the professional race photos to post. So until then, I’ll just tell you this – I crushed it!

And this is what they gave us at the end of the race...

And this is what they gave us at the end of the race…

One of my close friends commented on this photo on fb. He said, “Good Swag.” Yes I agree.

~ race photos should be posted on 12/4… so look forward to reading an exciting race post from me.

© 2012 Sweatdaily

Annapolis 13.1 (the night before)

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For those of you who have been following my blog, you may already know my night before a race ritual. But for those who don’t know, I won’t leave you in the dark.

The night before every race I always prepare by laying out the clothes I will run the race in. Because I am not a morning person, this helps me stay organized in the dark early hours before the race.

Now for the ridiculous part… I then take a photo of my race outfit and upload the photo to facebook and Instagram. For my friends who are not runners, they may think this is crazy, braggy, or annoying. But I do this, because it gets me pumped up for my race, and it allows my friends and family who are runners to show their support.

So here it is – my night before race ritual photo of my race outfit. I will be wearing Lululemon, Newton’s Gravity Shoes, my iPod, my garmin. I have my bib pinned to my shirt. I have my fuel- sports beans and honey stinger waffle. Last but not least my Run like a Girl hoodie.

The race starts at 7:00 am, and it will be a cool 43 degrees tomorrow.

So bring it Annapolis. I’m ready to tackle 13.1 miles if hills!

© 2012 sweatdaily

12 mile training run

I just got home from my 12 mile training run. It was 40 degrees out, with a lot of wind so I prepared myself, and dressed in my winter running gear.

My pants and coat are from Lululemon. My hat is from anthropologie.  My scarf is from lucy. I did not wear my Newton Gravity shoes, instead I wore my Brooks Glycerin. This is the first time since April that I wore anything but my Newtons.

Lately, I have been curious about how I would do in my old shoes. I actually forgot what they felt like. I just wanted to have a little more cushioning on my feet. I wanted to get lost in the run and take a break from always focussing on form. However, I don’t think my form suffered, and after I removed my scarf at the end of mile 1, I felt perfect on the trail – not too hot, not too cold.

Don’t be afraid to switch up your shoes. It is actually really good for your body. Just how your body can get accustomed to a certain work out- and you stop seeing results. Your body can become accustomed to your shoe, if you always wear the same one. Plus different runs might need a little bit of a different shoe, so switch it up and work different muscles. My legs have changed shape since wearing the Newton shoes, and having a shoe rotation.

12 miles

Anyway, this 12 mile run was awesome! I ran this 12 miler on the south side of the MVT, because I don’t have to stop for street lights. It has some slight rolling hills, and some beautiful views of the Potomac. My legs did get a little tired at some points, but I reminded myself to take short strides and land on my forefoot/mid-foot.

RUN ANALYZE

SUMMERY from my Garmin

Distance: 12.01 miles

Time: 1:41:06

Average Pace: 8:24 min/mile

Best Pace: 7:46 min/mile

Calories: 977 C

Cadence: 96 ‚Äď which can‚Äôt be accurate.


This was a pretty good long run for me, super fast. I drank water every 2 miles. I ate a Honey Stinger waffle right before the run and refueled with Honey Stingers at mile 6 and then again at mile 9.

I am starting to get excited for my race next Saturday. This coming up week consist of shorter runs, and lots of rest. The taper begins.

What is your favorite winter running gear?

© 2012 sweatdaily

SOME Turkey Trot

I don’t start enjoying a run until mile three. My body needs time to warm up. By the time I am warmed up, found my rhythm, and begin enjoying myself, my 5K race is over. And that is why I hate running 5Ks.

However, the Turkey Trot is by far one of my favorite races. Running a Turkey Trot is one of the few, if not the only, 5K I run a year. It feels so amazing, to wake up bright and early on Thanksgiving morning and start the holiday off with a race.

I have run a couple different Turkey Trots in the area, but SOME is the best one. The race is located in DC. The route use to be down near Hains Point, but this year the race started on Pennsylvania Ave. I liked this route better, but parking was hard to find. The race is $35, but the money goes to SOME – So Others May Eat.

Although, just a 5K, I still did my normal night before race ritual Рlaying out my race outfit. 

Ready to run SOME, on Thanksgiving morning. Then jumped in my car. Picked my sister up. Headed to the start.
The start was well organized with a view of the Capitol.
We lined up near the 8 min/mile pace group.
I wore my Newton, Gravity shoes, and my new barefoot running socks.
These are the socks that I wore the day of my race. They felt really good, and helped me avoid a blister I get regularly on my third toe when wearing the Newton Gravity shoe. I learned about this product from the blog, Barefoot Monologues. Read a more detailed review on this product here.
My sister and I at the race. The race was easy, short, flat, fast. A typical 5K. A typical Turkey Trot. I ended up with a PR of 24:33. Thats a 7:55 min/mile. The best part was that Panera Bread handed out bagels at the finish line.
If you are ever in the DC area on Thanksgiving day, I highly recommend this race.
Questions for You
  1. Did you run a Turkey Trot?
  2. What is your favorite type of run? 5K, 10K, 15K, 10 miler, 13.1, 26.2

© 2012 sweatdaily

Breathe. Relax. Appreciate.

I finally found time today, around 8 pm, to sit down. This has been a nonstop busy day, week, month, year. Life, my body, started to be painful and exhausting. After so many busy days in a row I finally was able to squeeze in a night time run, since my long run on friday. Although, it was just a short, fast, easy 5k – it felt amazing. It was just what my body needed. I usually don’t run at night, but tonight I did and it was peaceful.

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In the morning, I will be running a turkey trot. It is a Thanksgiving tradition for my sister and I.

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I will be wearing my new socks. I can’t wait to try these out.

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I am looking forward for the next three days off to just relax, breathe, appreciate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

photography and 11.5 mile Training Run


“How many of you like to run with a phone or something else to capture images of your run?” –Newton Running
Above is the facebook status of Newton Running, and it already has close to 600 likes. I am happy to know that I am not the only one who enjoys taking photos during my runs. I will admit that I was late to jump on the smart phone wagon. I know, call me crazy, but about two months ago I bought my first smart phone, the iPhone 5, and I am in love. This phone goes everywhere with me, even on my runs.

really bad picture of me. but great picture of my new iPhone 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I use to run, carrying nothing with me. But I always regretted it when I came across something really cool I wanted to record- by snapping a photo or video of. But now with my new phone I am able to do that. My two favorite new apps are Instagram and Map my Run.

I just started using Map my Run. I still use my Garmin, but I am just experimenting with a couple new apps. I just wish Map my Run recorded your Cadence, because I think my Garmin’s Cadence my be inaccurate. I just downloaded an app to measure cadence, but I have yet to try it.

11.5 Mile Training Run

Anyway, lets get to it. I felt pretty good on my 11 mile run. L came and picked me up yesterday morning. We headed down to the south side of the MVT. I felt cold at first so I had my gray Nike fleece on, but I new I would warm up, although it was 48 degrees out, the sun was bright.

After the first mile, I ditched my fleece on the side of the trail, I knew it would still be there on the way back.

2.5 miles on the MVT. Looking over the GW parkway. It was a Beautiful Fall Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L and I continued on. I like the south side of MVT because it is so beautiful. Although, it is a paved path, you feel like you are on a trail run. You also run so close to the Potomac River that you could fall in. I also like it because it is much more hilly. Annapolis will be all hills so it was a good practice.

In it for the long run!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we headed back and I hit mile 10, I realized I was making better timing then I thought. We ended up finishing in 1:48:00, running an average of a 9:23 min/mile. I would like to run an average of a ¬†9:00 min mile for the race. Which I am pretty sure I can do. I am still debating on which shoes to race in though… Distance U are lighter, and I feel faster in them. The Gravity are a bit heavier, a little more supportive, but sometimes I feel like I am dragging in them towards the end.

RUN ANALYZE

SUMMERY from my Garmin

Distance: 11.5

Time: 1:48:00

Average Pace: 9:23 min/mile

Best Pace: 8:46 min/mile

Calories: 938 C

Cadence: 96 – which can’t be accurate. I use to have a cadence of 160, which is lower than average, but not that low.

Future Goals

The plan for this week is up my weekly milage a bit! I am going to have plenty of time to get some good runs in with days off thanks to the Thanksgiving Holiday. I also plan to strength train, stretch, and continue to work on form.

Questions for You

  1. Does anyone know of a good Cadence App?
  2. What is your favorite running app?

© 2012 sweatdaily

 

And this is why I love fall time…

The other day, I did a short post on Washington, DC: Rave Run worthy. In the post there was a photo of Washington, DC durning the peak of Cherry Blossom season. It was a pretty photo I found on tumblr. Well yesterday, I went running again on the MVT and I had to stop to take some photos, it was that gorgeous.

Although, DC, is pretty during the spring, nothing beats the Fall time here.

And this is why…

Color

The Potomac shines from the sun.

I feel like I am bragging, but I can’t help it. I live in a city, but I get to run by this everyday!

RUN ANALYZE

SUMMERY from my Garmin

Distance: 3.03

Time: 27:48

Average Pace: 9:11 min/mi

Best Pace: 8:19 min/mi

Calories: 245 C

Run Cadence: 93

© 2012 sweatdaily

10 mile Run with Em and Honey Stinger

Last week two exciting things happened.

  1. On Saturday, I ran a 10 mile run with my sister, Emily.
  2. And I also finally typed up my Blog Award post. If you have any desire to get to know me better, you should read the post, because it is super personal.

Anyway, in my Blog Award post I was asked what was the last movie I had watched. I answered with, The Fighter. One thing that I love about the movie, The Fighter, is the bond the two brothers, Mickey and Dicky have. I am very close with my family, so I can totally relate to this.

Dicky is the older brother, who has a star shining boxing moment back in the day. He still wants to be involved in boxing so he coaches his younger brother Mickey. Drug abuse ends up becoming an uncontrollable obstacle that alters Dicky’s ability to coach. Although, Dicky’s quality of life suffers, the brotherly bond never breaks.

Of corse there is no drug history among the relationship I share with my sister. I can relate to this because in life, your sister, is the one person, you can be totally honest with, and who will push you to your fullest potential (especially in sports.)

And that is exactly what happened during my 10 miler.

My sister pushed me to my fullest potential.

Here is what went down…

I met my sister at her apartment. Before we left we looked up this Half Marathon Pace Chart. I am no longer just going out there to run. I learned from Hal Higdon, if you want to run fast, you have to train fast several times a week. So we decided to practice our 10 miler by running at a pace similar to the one we are planning to run race day.

We decided to hit the MVT, but to get there we had to run down hill for two miles, stopping at some street lights. Once we got to the trail, we ran three pretty flat miles and then turned back. The last two miles were off the MVT and up hill. We wanted to add two miles up hill because Annapolis is super hilly, so we are expecting a lot of hills race day.

Honestly, I don’t know what happened during this 10 miler. Normally my sister and I run at a similar pace, and sometimes I am a little bit faster. But during this run my sister was much more speedy.

There is a quote from the book, Born to Run, it goes like this, ‚ÄúBut you can’t muscle through a five-hour run that way; you have to relax into it like easing your body into a hot bath, until it no longer resists the shock and begins to enjoy it.‚Ä̬†¬†Even though, it may seem like an excuse to you, it is the truth. During this run, I just wasn’t feeling it. I couldn’t find my running rhythm.

RUN ANALYZE

SUMMERY from my Garmin

Distance: 10.00 miles

Time: 1:37:31

Average Pace: 9:45 min/mi

Best Pace: 7:51 min/mi

Calories: 814 C

Run Cadence: 96

HONEY STINGER

One thing that did help me when I felt a little bit low in energy was my Honey Stinger. This is the first time I have ever tried this product. I actually had never heard of this product until the blogger from All Seasons Cyclist suggested I give them a try. ¬†I am really thankful I did. I love the fact that this product is more natural and free of chemicals. They also tasted really good, and didn’t cause any stomach problems. The Honey Waffle was a fantastic post run snack. For a more detailed review check out the blog All Seasons Cyclist or click here.

 
Tomorrow, I am scheduled to do an 11 mile run with L. So stay tuned…
Questions for You
  1. Have you tried Honey Stingers?
  2. How did your long run go this week?

© 2012 sweatdaily

Speed Work Drill

I wanted to share with you another recap on a speed work drill I did last Thursday. Again this was run on the treadmill in my Newton, Distance U shoes.

picture found on tumblr

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

11: 40 PM

RUN ANALYZE

SUMMERY from my Garmin

Distance: 3.10 miles

Time: 25:19

Average Pace: 8:09 min/m

Best Pace: 7:14

Calories: 253 C

Run Cadence: 97

I felt really good about this treadmill drill. However, because I am only doing daily 5K runs, my weekly mileage is drastically lower.

© 2012 sweatdaily

Washington, DC: RAVE RUN worthy!

 

I love that my home is RAVE RUN worthy. I probably have run this area along the potomac a million times. If you were ever wondering what it would be like to run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, this is what it looks like.

Questions for You

  1. Is your home town/city RAVE RUN worthy?
  2. Where is the prettiest place you have ever run?

© 2012 sweatdaily

* photo found on tumblr.

 

Blogger Award… this may get personal.

I was nominated for the Liebster Blog, by Katie from the blog, fitness, food and photography. I want to apologize for responding to this post so late, but better late than never. I also want to thank Katie for being so sweet to nominate me.

So here it goes… 11 facts about myself.

1) I try to eat everything organic. I don’t label myself as vegan or vegetarian but I eat meat in moderation.

2) The last two years I have become passionate in growing my own food. Although, I live in the city, the older I get the more I develop a longing to have some sort of farm.

3) I am a knitter. As a child, my mom taught me how to knit, but it wasn’t until last September that I really began to think of knitting as a form of art. Now I have become a ‚Äúyarn snob,‚ÄĚ guilty of having an obsession with high quality yarn. I love natural fibers such as merino wool, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, angora, silk, cotton, and linen. I also have a knitting blog on tumblr. If you are interested in checking out any of my projects you can find them at my tumblr blog, ¬†Cashmere and Silk.

My latest Chunky Knit! Hand knit by me.

4) I am a hairstylist. In many ways, I find knitting and hairstyling similar. Both, satisfies my passion, for texture and color, it allows me to build a shape.

Me doing hair for photo shoots.

5) I was born with copper hair, as I aged it turned blonde. I started coloring my hair when I was 18 and have been every shade of blonde. Two years ago, I changed my platinum pixie hair, to red. And I love it!

6) I am an artist. Charcoal is my favorite medium. I like to draw people.

7) I love to travel. Barcelona is one of my favorite places in the world.

8) I am a marathon runner. I much rather run far, than run fast.

9) I have been practicing Bikram yoga for 5 years.

10) I drink a Chai Latte almost everyday.

11) I have two dogs. Sometimes I think puppies are cuter than babies.

Here are the Questions My Nominee wanted me to Answer:

1)  How much time do you spend Blogging every day?

Oh I don’t know… It is not consistent.¬†

2)  What is the one song that get stuck in your head all day after you hear it?

I dunno, it changes all the time! I am always trying to discover new music. 

3)  What TV shows are on your DVR right now?

Homeland and Dexter

4)  What is your favorite season and why?

I love Fall. The crisp cool clean air makes running so refreshing and enjoyable. Oh and nothing is better than being wrapped up in a chunky knit. I also love fall flavors, such as Chai and Pumpkin.

5)  What is your favorite brand of jeans?

I would have to say AG, but to be totally honest I live in my black Lululemon leggings. 

6)  Last movie you watched?

I actually watch a ton of movies. Last night I was at a friend’s house, and we watched The Fighter. It is amazing how much weight Christian Bale lost in order to play the role of Dicky- the older brother crack addict. The movie, based on a true story, takes place in¬†Lowell,¬†Massachusetts.¬†This really touches my heart because I have ton of family in Mass and¬†the accents in the movie are amazing. I mean Christian Bale is from Wales, but you would never know. The costumes are really good too. ¬†Immediately you know this movie is set in the late 80s, early 90s, just because of the costumes. But in the end, my favorite part is the relationship the two brothers have, Dicky and Micky. I have two sisters, and I am really close with my family. I could totally relate to this brotherhood bond Dicky and Micky sure. In life, your sister, is the one person, you can be totally honest with, and who will push you to your fullest potential (especially in sports.)

I also love documentaries. The other night, I watched one called The Elephant in the Living Room. This is based on Exotic Animals kept as pets. It makes me sick that people are so selfish to keep Lions or any other exotic animal in a cage when they belong in the wild. 

7)  If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be and why?

Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I love red hair. I love the water. I love the beach. I was actually her for halloween. 

8)  Name one talent that you wish you had.

I love to Dance, but I wish I could dance at a professional level.

9)  What is your best feature/ favorite body part?

My booty! 

10)  What did you eat for dinner last night?

Indian Food.

11)  Favorite childhood game?

Truth or Dare

These are the blogs I nominate are…

1) Running in Mommyland

2) Sweat Every Day

3) Super Foodie Adventure

4) The Dancing Runner

5) Midlife Makeover blog

6) super generic girl

7) The Barefoot Monologues

8) Knitting Is Awesome 

9) Katie at Fox Flat

10) I heart Vegtables

11) Vedgedout

For those who I nominated you don’t have to answer any questions from me. Just write 11 interesting facts about yourself and then nominate 11 other blogs. ¬†Thank you!

At Night Running Rituals

The night before a race, my ritual is to lay out my running clothes and prepare everything for the morning.  I have never actually slept in my running clothes, but I recently heard from another runner that this is quite normal. Now I am considering this, it seems like a pretty practical idea, especially for those that are not morning people.

Do you sleep in your running clothes?

©2012 sweatdaily

 

Proud to be a Runner. Proud to be an American.

“If you want to run at a fast pace, you need to train at a fast pace several days a week.”¬†– Hal Higdon

Before I wasn’t too worried about speed, and never did any speed work training. ¬†But now, I know I can run a 5K, 10K, 10 miler, half marathon, even a full marathon. I think after 2 full marathons, I finally have the right to call myself a runner. So it is time to take my running to a different level. I have decided it is no longer about, “Can I run this milage or not… ” because I have already proved that I can, physically and mentally. ¬†So my running is now about doing my personal best. And in order to break old records and create new ones for myself, I need speed drills.

I was always confused on speed drills. Maybe that is why it has taken this long to try one out. But I tend to always complicate things, when really it is very simple. Hal Higdon says, “If you want to run at a fast pace, you need to train at a fast pace several days a week.” So that is what my plan is. The only thing that I regret is not starting this speed work training sooner. My half marathon is in less than four weeks. But my one fitness goal for November is to train properly for this half marathon. Training includes, speed work, tempo runs, long distance runs, strength training, and some mild stretching.

On Sunday night, I felt really good, after I ran, my 5k speed work training run. So I decided today to try it again.

RUN ANALYZE

SUMMERY from my Garmin

Distance: 3.12 miles

Time: 26:03

Average Pace: 8:24

Best Pace: 7:20

Calories: 253 C

Run Cadence: 96

TREADMILL DETAILS

Again I ran this on the treadmill. (I hate the treadmill, and usually run outside) This time, I started out running at 6.8- 7.0, for the first mile. Then on the second mile I brought it up to 7.0-7.5. The third mile I ran at 7.5-7.8. whole time I felt really good. I never felt like I had to stop. I felt like I could keep going. This is a very good sign, but I think I can push myself more. Next time I do speed drills I am going to do interval training and really sprint hard.

Again I ran in my Newton- Distance U. This is the lightest and most minimalist shoe in my shoe rotation. Because of the shoes, my run felt light, easy, and fast. I still want to work on bring my Cadence up.

STRENGTH TRAIN

I also have been trying to do more strength training. It is a must for me on days when I do speed drills. I am really trying to strengthen my core. So below are the details.

seated dumbbell rear deltoid raises¬†–¬†3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells

seated dumbbell front raise¬†–¬†3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells ‚Äď this was my favorite one and this one intensely works your abs.

weighted crunch on stability ball¬†–¬†3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells

plank on forearms while balancing on the stability ball Р3 sets 1 minute each

VOTING

Also everyone knows what today is…. ELECTION DAY! So this morning I woke up at 6:40 am and was at the polls by 7:00 am. It felt good to be so productive before work – getting my work out in and my vote on. As you may or may not know, I live in Washington, DC, which is by far the most political area in the USA. Sometimes being surrounded by politics all the time can be exhausting and stressful, but today was a happy day. I am so proud have the freedom to vote. It is days like these that make me grateful that I was born an American.

My sticker. My proof. I voted.

If you haven’t had the chance to vote yet… it is not too late!¬†

© 2012 sweatdaily

Speed Work

This morning, I woke up at my normal time, 8:00 am, but because it was daylight savings time, the clock went from 8 to 7. If you have been following my blog, you may already know how much I love my mornings, so having an extra hour this morning was a real treat. Unfortunately, I didn’t squeeze in a morning run, so instead I hit up the gym after work.

It is funny how things change. Four years ago, I was a gym rat, spending all my running time on the treadmill. But now, I can’t even remember the last time I set foot in a gym. Honestly, I hate the gym atmosphere and can’t stand the treadmill. However, I wanted to get in a short really fast run. The best place to work on speed is either at the track or on the treadmill, and because it is getting darker earlier, I decided on the treadmill.

So I put on my pink Newton shoes, the Distance U, and headed to the gym.

Time to get faster! Decked out in my favorite Lululemon.

RUN ANALYZE

SUMMERY from my Garmin

Distance: 3.12 miles

Time: 26.19

Average Pace: 8:27 min/mi

Best Pace: 7:42 min/mi

Average Run Cadence 97 spm

Calories: 254 C

TREADMILL DETAILS

I did a brief warm up walk on the t-mill for about 1 minute. Then I ran the first mile at 6.5 taking the speed up to 6.8 the last two minutes of the first mile. This was around a 9 minute mile. Then I ran the second mile at 7.0 which is around an 8:30 minute mile. Then I ran the last mile at 7.5 which is an 8 minute mile or slightly under. I was pretty satisfied with my speedy 5k.

At first, my Newton shoes felt really weird on the treadmill. But after a minute or two, I felt super light and fast, never feeling tired. It felt good to work up a sweat quickly and get those muscles moving.

Questions for you…

  1. Do you prefer to run far or run fast?
  2. Where do you do your speed workouts? Treadmill or track?

© 2012 sweatdaily

Half Marathon Training: Weather can make or break a long run!

WEATHER can make or break a long run.

Newtons and Camelbak. You guessed it- its long run time!

Yesterday, I went on a 10 mile run with L. It was a really good long run. I never thought weather would effect me so much, but ever since I started running five years ago I remember how cold past winters have been and when we have had a heat wave summer. As for yesterday morning… it was sunny and around 50 degrees, perfect running weather. It is officially time to swap out my running shorts for running pants and tanks for long sleeve shirts.

Yesterday, I ran in my adidas running capris and my brooks MCM long sleeve running shirt, (no lululemon- shocking I know)  but I felt perfect, never too hot, never too cold.

MENTAL

I remember telling L that I thought this was going to be a really good run… so mentally I was in the zone. Have you ever tried that before? In the beginning, of your next run, just say it out loud, “This is going to be a good run, I can feel it.” Trust me, by saying positive words like this, you are setting yourself up mentally for a really great run.

PREPARATION

Running can be the most simple minimalist sport ever. You can do it anywhere and all you need is a really good pair of shoes – or according to some runners, shoes aren’t even necessary. But when it comes to a run longer than eight miles I always bring my stuff. For this 10 miler, I was prepared in many ways . As I said above, I was dressed appropriately, and mentally set myself up for a success. Along with both of those things, I also had my Camelbak filled with two liters of water, my Jelly Belly Sports beans ( for fuel,) my iPod, my Garmin, keys, phone, money, and pepper spray. ¬†I was ready and feeling good.

THE RUN

So L and I hit the MVT trail and headed south towards Old Town.  Because it was around 9:00 am, the trail was pretty empty, only a few walkers.  This was very relaxing, and heading towards Old Town is always very pretty, right along the Potomac. I was trying to run between a 9:30 Р9:00 minute mile for the first half hoping I could run the second half faster. I was sipping water every two miles, and fueled up with sports beans twice, once at mile 4, a second time at mile 8.

The first half felt really good. I did have to stop two times to make sure L, who was right behind me, knew her way. We made it to Old Town and then turned back. On the way back, I felt really good, except for around mile 8, I really started to feel the ground in my Newtons. I believe this feeling is just a friction feeling of sweat, skin, and the ground all mingling. This sensation made it harder for me to maintain anything faster than a 9 minute mile, so I kept my pace at around 9:15. L and I ended up finishing in 1:40, and we both felt like we could have kept going farther – which I am pleased with.

THE PLAN

I am following the Hal Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon Plan. I love Hal. I was fortunate to meet him at the Chicago Marathon Expo! Although, I have never followed a plan for a half marathon, I have followed Hal’s plans for my marathon training and felt successful. So hopefully his half marathon plan will also bring me success. This week’s long run is a 15k, but depending on how I feel I might just do another 10 miler.

The plan also includes shorter daily runs, speed work, and strength training. Durning my shorter training runs I am trying to run between a 8:30 and 9:00 minute mile. As for speed work, I might actually do some drills on the treadmill at the gym- even though I hate the treadmill.

STRENGTH TRAIN

Yesterday, after my 10 miler, I did some strength training. Because I have changed my stride to a more natural running stride, it is very important for me to strength train. I have to mainly focus on my upper body and core.

I did all my strength training using a stability ball, which works abs as long as shoulders and back. I also used dumbbells, and kettle bell.

seated dumbbells lateral raises¬†–¬†3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells

seated arnold press Р 3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells

seated dumbbell rear deltoid raises¬†–¬†3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells

seated dumbbell front raise¬†–¬†3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells – this was my favorite one and this one intensely works your abs.

seated dumbbell press¬†–¬†3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells

seated alternate dumbbell press¬†–¬†3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells – for a more advanced move try this with one leg crossed over the other.

weighted crunch on stability ball¬†–¬†3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells

plank on forearms while balancing on the stability ball Р3 sets 1 minute each

wide leg squat¬†–¬†3 sets(10 reps) 25 lb kettle bell

stability ball squat¬†–¬†3 sets (10 reps) 5 lb dumbbells

All of these work outs I found in Oxygen Magazine

In the end, I was really happy with my 10 mile run and my strength training. I still need to pick the pace up and work on cadence, but besides that I am feeling pretty confident and excited about my half marathon scheduled for December 1st. Although, I have done four ten mile races since April, I never felt like I was running far or training for a long distance race. For some reason this felt like a long run for me. So let me tell ya- it feels really good to run long and hard again. I really missed going the distance. I need to continue to make time, at least once a week, to run long and hard.

Questions for You

  1. Do you bring pepper spray with you when you do a long run?
  2. How do you mentally get in the zone?

© 2012 sweatdaily

The New York City Marathon is Canceled.

 

 

Joint Statement from Mayor Bloomberg and NYRR President and CEO Mary Wittenberg:

‚ÄúThe Marathon has been an integral part of New York City‚Äôs life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch. While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source¬†of controversy and division. The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track. The New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead for participants.‚ÄĚ

I think the above statement is beautifully said. I just wish it was said sooner. That is the only real mistake made here. Telling people the friday before the race is not ¬†a good idea. I have traveled for races in the past and I normally head to the city of the race, either Thursday night or Friday morning, before the race. I hope people didn’t already head up to the city. I hope everyone heard it was canceled in time.

I see both sides.

How can you tell 30,000 runners coming from every corner of the earth that their race is canceled.¬†I understand why NYC didn’t want to cancel this race. NYC wanted to show that they are unstoppable, and 30,000 runners plus their family and friends all coming to the city would really help the economy of NY. ¬†But unfortunately it would also bring a lot of chaos to a place that is already under stress and devastation. The subway is down. Hotels don’t have power. Restaurants are packed… and that is just a small part of it.

What do New Yorkers think? ¬†I am not a New Yorker, and don’t want to speak as one. But the New York City Marathon is suppose to be a fun event not only for the runners, but also for the City of New York. And I’m pretty sure that the City of New York is working hard to get things under control after Sandy. They don’t need a bunch of runners, spectators, tourists causing more confusion.

On the other side of things…

I am a marathon runner and I know the significance that the NYC Marathon has. It is up there on the top of the list right under Boston for being one of the all time greatest Marathons. It is also a very hard one to get into, being a lottery. So I understand how disappointing this can be, for those that have trained hard, and are ready to run this race. But there will always be another race…

The NYC Marathon has been Canceled. Any thoughts?
© 2012

Warning: This post is Bratty!

Because of Sandy, I have become enlightened. There are things about myself I never knew. The first thing is that along with everyone else, ever since Sandy rolled on through, my schedule is royally effed. And now I am beginning to realize how much I love a regular routine.

Because I am a hairstylist, my income relies on my daily appointments with my clients. Because of Sandy, clients are coming late, canceling and rescheduling. I am trying to be understanding and accepting. I mean, I get it, stuff happens out of our control, that’s life!

Because of Sandy, I also have No Power. Having no power really got me thinking. What did they do back in the old days? I began to feel grateful to live in a country that has power available at all times. Can I survive with out power? Can I act like a minimalist, and rough it out for a day or two?

Well yes I can. I have tons of magazines to read, mostly health and fitness themed. I have tons of books to read. I am an artist who would love to use this time to get my fingers smudged with charcoal. I also knit and have a fabulous yarn stash, for those who are interested, you may follow me on my knitting/art blog, Cashmeresilk.

Other than my schedule changes at work, the only other negative aspect Sandy brought on was the change in my work out routine. As you all know, I am a serious runner. And running daily outside is a necessity for me. It is good for my health- physically, emotionally, and menally. But the storm was too dangerous, so I took a rest day yesterday and then again today. And now I am rested, actually overly rested.

I can’t believe I feel so anxious right now. Yesterday, Sandy came through, and the whole East Coast shut down. I am hoping everyone is safe and sound, but can life get back to normal now?!

I’m so well rested I feel like I could climb a mountain!

20121030-135918.jpg

Questions for You

How was your schedule interrupted from Sandy?
Did you run or bike during Sandy?

Army Ten Miler aka ATM

On Sunday, October 21st, 2012, I ran the Army Ten Miler. ¬†With almost 22,000 runners crossing the finish line, this is the largest ten mile race I have ever run. I was really excited to run this race because as popular as it is, I had never run it before. Normally, I am running the Marine Corps Marathon, which always falls on the weekend after the Army Ten Miler, so I don’t really see a point of running a 10 mile race the week before my marathon when I am already passed that point in my training.

EXPO

The Expo was held at DC Armory. Because it is a military event, security was tight. Everyones’ ids were checked and in order to enter you had to go through a medal detector. The long lines went by quickly and we were able to get our bibs and t shirts.

Me and my Bib. Bib # 9525

L with her bib number, and running in memory of her hubby who died fighting in Iraq.

Me with my t shirt!

What can I say… one of my favorite things to do is shop for new running stuff… So I love huge Expo’s with tons of vendors. One of my favorite vendors is One More Mile. One More Mile is a company know for the most hilarious phrases written on their t shirts. The shirts are not the best quality but they are fun and very comfortable to wear post race.

One More Mile

L found one for me that said, “Does this shirt make my butt look fast.” And I found one for her that said…

One Bad Mother Runner…

The Expo was also very well organized and although I didn’t buy anything from them, I spotted two of my other favorite vendors, Garmin and Newton.

NIGHT BEFORE RACE DAY

So the night before my race, I prepare everything. I get my my race outfit ready. I pack my baggage claim bag. Then I take a picture of everything and upload it to Facebook. All of my runner friends get it, and all of my non running friends think I’m weird. But that is what I do and L started to do the same thing. I guess you could call this a ritual, because I do it, the night before every race. This helps me at 5:30 in the morning, when it is too dark to see. I don’t need to see because everything is organized.

My race outfit!

If you are interested to know what makes up my race outfit please click here. I review each product in detail.

RACE MORNING

On the morning of the race, I received a “wake up” text from L at 5:30 am. Because I had prepared my race outfit and baggage claim bag the night before it didn’t take me long to get ready. The only thing I couldn’t find in the dark that morning was a hair tie which is ironic because I am a hairstylist. I normally have a pixie haircut and never needed to worry about my hair.

Anyway, L picked me up and we drove five minutes to Pentagon City where we parked and met up with friends. The start of the race was at the Pentagon, and although the Pentagon is walking distance from Pentagon City we decided to hop on the metro.

One of my favorite things about race morning is riding a metro train packed with runners. The energy that fills the train is intense, exciting, and positive. It really gets me pumped up.

30,000 runners at the Pentagon Metro stop.

THE START

Although, it was a little bit cold, L and I stripped down at the start and checked our bags.

L and I at the start of the ATM 

We got one last group shot and then headed to our corrals.

The whole gang at the start!

I love military races because they always have the most organized races and the most entertaining start lines. At the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon, all of the runners huddled together on 110 while they flew Military Jets over our heads. At this race, military men/women entered the race by sky diving to the start line.

the sky raining people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE RACE

Then the gun went off and the race began. Honestly, the start was a slow one for me. Once I started running, I began to feel really crowded and couldn’t run at the pace I had planned.

We ran down 110 to Arlington Cemetery. I love running on highways that I normally drive on. As I ran down 110 I began to remember the last time I ran down that highway, in Marine Corps Marathon.   We ran up to Arlington Cemetery and then over the Memorial Bridge. This part of the race was also very familiar because it is a part of one of my regular training routes. Then we ran around the Watergate Hotel, the Kennedy Center, the National Mall, then over the 14th Street Bridge.

The 14th Street Bridge is cool place to run over because it brings you from DC to Virginia. However, it is also an annoying place to run because whether you are running a 26.2 or a 10 miler it is a place that is hard for spectators to get to, and a place you really need support, being a spot towards the end of the race.

The 14th street bridge also brought back memories from when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. This was around mile 20 in the marathon and mile 8 in this 10 miler. So far, besides a slow start from crowding, I was feeling pretty amazing. I was running with natural form, landing on my forefoot. Legs felt strong. Breathing was good. My form was perfect, staying balanced and focussed.

landing lightly on my forefoot!

A tad bit of an over stride. The photos never lie.

running

However, it was on the 14th Street Bridge in this race that I started to feel a weird burning blistering sensation on the bottom of my feet. I continued running, and even sprinted to the finish line. After the race I checked the bottom of my feet and only had one small blister, and it wasn’t even a blood blister, so I guess it was just from friction feeling the ground. So although, I felt pretty amazing through most of the race, it is times like these (when I feel an unusual discomfort) that I begin to question how far I truly can run in the Newton shoes.

Finish line

Once over the bridge, the race route took us down to Pentagon City and finished where we started, at the Pentagon. Because L and I parked at Pentagon City, we decided that once we go our bags from baggage claim we would just walk over to the car. So thats what we did, which was shockingly quick and easy.

Overall, I though this race was pretty well organized, but not as organized as the Marine Corps Marathon. I though the route was pretty amazing and in the end I recommend this race to anyone and everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on the Newton Shoes

When I first started using the Newton shoes they felt extremely fast and light. I love that weightless feeling, however I have yet to PR in them. Since April I have run four 10 mile races two of them in my traditional running shoes, and two of them in my Newton shoes.

Cherry Blossom 10 miler -April 1st, 2012 –1:29:26 (traditional running ¬†shoe)

Parkway Classic 10 miler РApril 22nd, 2012 Р1:28:05 (traditional running shoe)

Annapolis 10 miler – August 26th, 2012 –¬†1:33:23¬†(Newton shoes)

Army 10 miler- October 21st, 2012 –¬†1:30:16¬†(Newton shoes)

These may sound like excuses but, the Annapolis 10 miler was run in a hurricane, and the Army 10 miler was crowded at the start. But overall, I feel pretty consistent when it comes to my times.

December 1st I will be running the Annapolis Half Marathon, in my Newton shoes. If I get 1:59:00, it will be a PR for me. So I am hoping for that.

Questions for You

  1. What is your favorite vendor at the running Expos?
  2. What is you race night ritual?

© 2012

The Storm is Coming!

Well the weathermen are predicting that hurricane Sandy will be aggressive and strong, with winds at speeds of 70 mph. Washington, DC is right along her path as she continues up North. But who really can trust the weatherman’s predictions, aren’t they always wrong?

So last night, I ran a quick 5K on the south side of the Mount Vernon Trail. I really wanted to get a run in before the storm came through. The trail was absolutely gorgeous when the sun was going down. The orange, red, and yellow fall leaves lit up the trail while they canopied over my head. There was a light breeze that felt gentle and refreshing. Could a storm really be coming?

Then I saw the birds… You can always find the truth with in nature. Animals have a special sense, a survival instinct that over time humans have lost. The birds know the storm is coming and they are preparing for it.

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These are the birds I came across on my run. Aren’t they beautiful?

Questions for You

What is the weather like where you are?
What is your favorite running weather?

What does your race outfit look like?

So¬†let me explain to you what makes up my race outfit. Most of the stuff in the photo, no longer is available, but I’ll tell you what it is anyway.¬†

1. Newton Shoes – As you may know since April I have been running in the Newton shoes. I started in the Distance U (the pink ones) and after the Annapolis 10 miler in August, I started to explore the idea of shoe rotation. So I purchased the Gravity and wear them along with the Distance u. I like both shoes, but how far I can run in them is still questionable. I have begun to wear the Gravity when running long runs, and the Distance U for shorter faster runs.

2. Lululemon РIt is a rare day, if I am running in something other than Lululemon. The shorts above are Lululemon running shorts that are no longer available. They are amazing because the back is longer then the front and they are seamless which makes them anti chafing. The shirt is also Lululemon. This shirt is  made from a material that is anti stink and contains SPF. Sometimes, I just want to run in a simple comfortable t shirt, nothing fancy.

3.¬†Garmin –¬†My Garmin running watch is a five year old Forerunner 50. It has been with me through 2 full marathons and a million other races. I also like the Garmin Connect for tracking runs. In the past, I use to use Runner’s World running log, but since I have had my Garmin there is no point to log milage on there. The Garmin program has it all, and it is also very helpful for me to have the ability to look back on the previous years Marathon training. That way I can compare long runs and see progress. This watch also runs on a battery so you don’t have to worry about charging it. Unfortunately, I don’t think they make this watch anymore. ¬†In the near future I will invest in a new Garmin, but for now I love and trust this watch!

4. iPod –¬†This is the iPod shuffle. The smallest of all the iPods. Some runners get annoyed when people run with head phones, but for me running is the only time a day I get a chance to listen to music. Unfortunately, L just notified me that Apple is no longer making these. Is that true?

5.¬†Sports Beans –¬†Jelly Belly makes these amazing (almost magical) ¬†Sports Beans. Ever since the one time I tried the Gu and almost barfed from the texture, I have been a Sports Bean user. These beans taste really good, and refuel your body with carbs, salt,¬†electrolytes, so you can remain energized. Or in the case of low energy they pick you up and help you continue on. I love them and highly recommend them for any endurance athlete, just always remember to wash them down with water and not gatorade. ¬†If you need more information on the Sports Beans then you can find it here, on the blog, All Seasons Cyclist.¬†

Questions For You…

  1. What is your favorite running accessory?
  2. What do you use to fuel up during a long run?
  3. What running brand of clothing is your favorite?

© 2012

Daily Work Out

Today, Friday, October 25th, 2012, I ran a 5 mile loop on the Mount Vernon Trail. Because it is my day off, I didn’t feel obligated to wake up early and rush out the door to get a run in. So I headed out around 11:45.

The trail was gorgeous. Fall is finally here, and it seems like all the leaves have changed overnight. We are also expecting a hurricane to come through so the skies have been overcast and the air has been breezy- perfect running weather, in my opinion.

My run felt really good, averaging an easy 8.30 to 9 minute mile in my Newtons. I also am just beginning to get use to my new iPhone 5. But I brought it along with me, and was able to take some really cool photos.

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Sharing is Caring.

Motivation

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try boxing yesterday. L, bailed on me last minute, because of a family emergency. I know that sounds like a big fat excuse, and yes I could have gone with out her, however, the experience wouldn’t have been the same. She is the one that has been nagging me to try it, so I will wait until we can find time to go together.

So instead of boxing, I went running. And running never disappoints me. The weather was cool, crisp, and sunny – a beautiful fall day. ¬†I parked my car five minutes away, in my old neighborhood, the hood I grew up in. I ran from my mom’s house to the airport and back, an easy 4 mile loop.

The only thing about my run that was a little bit annoying was the Susan G. Komen 3 day Breast Cancer Walk.

Let me start out with… I¬†totally support the Susan G. Komen 3 day Breast Cancer Walk.¬†It is a great way to raise money for a good cause. It is great to get a group together that are all passionate about the same thing, and support each other’s stories and experiences. But… please share the trail.

My run ended up being a little bit difficult because there were about 100 plus ¬†people dressed up in pink and tutu’s for the Susan G. Komen 3 day Breast Cancer Walk, walking slowly, chatting up a storm, taking up both sides of the trail. At one point I was running by the side of the trail in the grass, just to get around them. The other time I had to pass 20 people on the far left side. I bet the cyclists were even more pissed, most of them clipped into their bikes. I feel bad complaining about this, but I just think it was a safety hazard, and thank goodness there were no accidents.

Next time the Susan G. Komen 3 day Breast Cancer Walk, walks on the trail, someone needs to inform them of the rules and  how to be safe on the trail. If I was in charge, I would simply say no one is allowed to walk left of the yellow line. And everyone is required to walk in a single file line as far right as they can, leaving space for runners and cyclists. Because let me tell ya, the cyclists on the trail, go super fast.  The commuters have meetings to get to. And the road bikes all think they are Lance Armstrong. Trust me, I know, because if I am not running, I am on my road bike.

So there you have it, I want to end this post with a big shout out!

Good Luck to everyone participating in the Susan G. Komen 3 day Breast Cancer Walk!

found on photo on site.

© 2012

October Goals

This morning I woke up to rain. Normally, I love running in the rain, but this morning the sky was gray and the rain was slow but heavy. So I decided to skip my morning run, and get a little extra shut eye. And as long as skipping a workout only occurs at irregular intervals and doesn’t become an everyday excuse, then go right ahead, take a rest day.¬†Sometimes, your body just needs it.

Anyway, yesterday, I said goodbye to September and welcomed October.  It is a new month, a new beginning. It is a perfect time to set some new goals. As you may know, I had started my journey of exploring a more forefoot/midfoot stride in April, by switching my running shoe to the Newton Distance U.

I have never had any running injuries, so when I told people, I was experimenting with the Newton shoe, and working on changing my stride, they asked, “Why? Why fix something that is not broken?” Honestly, I was just bored and wanted to try something new. I had read Born to Run, and was ready to try to work on running form.

In the beginning of September I purchased my second pair of Newton shoes, and I am now running more regularly in the Gravity. On my vacation, at Martha’s Vineyard, I finally had the opportunity to finish reading the book, Natural Running. This book made me even more sold on the idea that a more minimalist shoe is the way to go.

And then in mid September, it just clicked.  I had a break through and I started to run with a natural running stride, landing on my forefoot/midfoot.

OCTOBER GOALS

I want to continue practicing my natural running stride by continuing to land on my forefoot/midfoot.

  • However, I really need to work on running posture. I tend to lean back when I run. So I need to work on slightly leaning forward. Leaning back when you run is a stopping/halting position. You will most likely heel strike when leaning back. It is important to slightly lean forward, because the momentum will automatically help you land on your forefoot/midfooot, and make you a faster runner.
  • Cadence.¬†Cadence is how many times your foot hits the ground per minute. It is very important to get your running Cadence around 180 or more. A Cadence of 180 helps prevent injury and increases speed. Mine is all over the place. My garmin measured mine around 100, once at 120, and then 160. But this month, I really want to work on trying to get my running Cadence around 180. It will really help improve my running.
  • I am also thinking about playing around with shoe rotation. Instead of just throwing on one pair of shoes. I want to wear the right one depending on the type of running I am doing.
  • This month, I also really want to work on strength training, whether I am boxing, lifting weights, or just doing running form exercises. Now that I am running differently I need to strengthen everything.
  • In order to fit all this in, I also want to change my sleeping habits so I can wake up earlier. I’m hoping to wake up at 6:00 am instead of 8:00 am. I love my mornings.
  • As for Attitude, I am really going to focus on me, and my running PR.

As for October plans, I really don’t have any except some upcoming races. In October, I am running the Army 10 miler, and then in December I am running the Annapolis Half Marathon.¬†Do you have any up coming races?

Have you ever completed a 30 day challenge in something? It has been a goal I have been contemplating on trying to set. ¬†I have been thinking about a …

  • 30 day running challenge
  • 30 day blogging challenge
  • 30 day sleeping challenge

I’ll let you know if I decide on one for the month of October.

Well those are my October Goals…¬†What are yours?

© 2012

Goodbye September

September flew right on by…
It is hard to believe it will be October 1st tomorrow. Looking back on September, I started the month with my new Newton running shoe, switching from my Distance U to the Gravity. Meanwhile, I traveled up to Martha’s Vineyard and ran through out the Island, running comfortably along the coast.

The minute I came home, I went running with Lina, and had a BREAK TROUGH! I finally found my natural barefoot running stride. One day it just clicked, and I stopped heel striking and over pronating, and just stayed balanced. I started landing on my midfoot/forefoot and began to have a neutral stride.

Lina and I also had an amazing 10.5 mile run, giving us the opportunity to practice more midfoot/forefoot form while exploring the south side of the Mount Vernon Trail. We also created a new 5 mile loop through my neighborhood that includes running on a trail and then running through a country club, that according to Lina has some “bitch” hills.

As for non running stuff, I do have a life besides running. I went to New York City. I saw two comedy shows. My aunt came to visit twice. After 3 months of waiting, I finally received my custom made sectional couch from Ethan Allen. (No more sitting on the floor for me.)

So that is a recap of September. I can’t wait for October! Fall is my favorite – it has been absolutely gorgeous out.

© 2012

Early Bird, Morning Run

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Yesterday morning, Saturday, September 29th, I woke up to a text from my running buddy, Lina. The text said, “On my way.”

Oh damn, I rolled over in bed and looked at the clock, it was 6:30 am. I was late. We were suppose to be at our meeting spot at 6:30, and I was just waking up. I hurried and put on my running clothes, grabbed water, my garmin, my iPod and rushed to my car. It was still dark.

In my mind, I was thinking of how early it was, but I knew that after my run I would feel really good about doing it, I always do.

I got to our meeting spot around 6:45. The morning sky was just starting to brighten a little. Lina and I both parked and then started a slow warm up jog down Lee Highway toward the trail. Once we hit the trail we picked up the pace. With in minutes we went from running under a dark morning sky and through quiet streets to the sun rising over the Lincoln Memorial and a crowded running trail.

I must admit I really loved the morning energy. The sun rising was absolutely gorgeous. It turned the sky orange. The temperature outside was cool and crisp, it defiantly felt like fall. As for the crowded running trail, it was actually quite refreshing. I run this trail a couple days a week, and every time of day it has a different vibe. Even the different parts of the trail have a different vibe too.
Normally, the earliest I get on the trail is 8:30 am, when most people are heading into work. I come across a lot of cyclists or commuters, but this time it was all runners. Some days when I don’t make it out there early enough, the trail I totally empty. It can be quite lonely running by yourself on and empty quiet trail.

I never thought I would enjoy a crowded running trail, but I did. Normally, I run alone, or with Lina, but this time I was surrounded by a ton of runners. Some in running groups, others by themselves. Some fast, some slow. I loved the vibe, seeing all of these other runners made me totally energized. While concentrating on my form I was running stronger, faster. It was an amazing feeling, very motivating.

After we were done running. I hit up Starbucks and CVS. I just felt like refueling. I headed home, and took a shower. I felt energized and relaxed. I had the whole day ahead of me.

I have been contemplating changing my sleeping habits for a couple years now. I will admit that I have been waking up earlier then I use to. There was a time when I would sleep in until 9:00 or 10:00 am. I just have never been an early bird, but the weird thing is that I have never considered myself a night owl either. I am normally in bed by 11:00 pm. But I would like to have more time in the morning before I head into work around noon. I also would like to regularly run in the early mornings, instead of trying to squeeze it in whenever I can. I really enjoyed running early in the morning with all the other morning runners. I have to wake up early for most races so why not practice running at these early morning times everyday.

So the plan is to wake up early morning wether I run early or not. During the week, the earliest I will run is 6:30 am the latest I will run is 8:30 am. Unfortunately, the colder darker months will be here soon, so it will also depend on that. But I am excited about this new goal, and I think blogging about it will help me get on this new routine.

Questions for You

When do you run? Are you and early bird or night owl? Do you have any tips to share about waking up early? Please share, I need all the tips I can get.

Why do you run?

Image

I saw this and immediately thought of my sister. She always looks like this when she crosses the finish line of her races. Actually, I belive the finishing photo for her first half marathon (taken 5 years ago) looks just like this.

Sometimes, I need to remind myself that I am not an elite runner that runs a 2 hour marathon, but instead I am a runner that runs a 2 hour HALF marathon. Sometimes, I need to remind myself why I run in the first place.

I run to be healthy and stay fit.

I run in the morning because it keeps me energized for the rest of the day.

I run at night, to reduce stress and wind down.

I run in the hot months of spring and summer because the heat leaves me drenched with sweat and the sun gives me Vitamin D.

I run in the fall and winter months because the cold is refreshing.

I run in the rain, because it is my favorite time to run.

I run in the snow because it is pretty.

I run in the woods…

in the city…

on the beach…

over bridges…

I run races…

to train…

set goals…

make new PRs.

In the end, running is about me. ME running my personal best and having fun, while staying healthy and happy-mentally, emotionally, and physically. And, although I will never be an elite runner, over the years I  have become quite good at it.

Why do you run? What motivates you to run?

© 2012

Running East Chop in Martha’s Vineyard

East Chop in Martha’s Vineyard is a 3 mile loop that has amazing million dollar beach homes, that sit ocean front. The area doesn’t have any sidewalks, so if you run here, keep in mind that you will be running in the street. However, besides the beautiful homes, and ocean front views, the loop is very quiet. Not very many other traffic or people. It is just you, the wind, and the sounds of waves crashing.

If you need to squeeze in some hill work, East Chop is the place to do it. The hills are big and long, but not too steep. I actually didn’t run the loop, but rather ran 2.5 miles and then turned around for a total of a 5 mile run. It was a peaceful place to run. I highly recommend it.

Ocean view on the East Chop loop.

Waves crashing.

 

East Chop

The road I ran in East Chop.

The light house in East Chop

Views from my run.

 

My Newton Shoes running East Chop.

Well that is East Chop on Martha’s Vineyard.

Questions for You?

  1. Have you ever run East Chop?
  2. Do you like running around nature or through cities?
  3. Where is your favorite place to run?

© 2012

Never Forget 9/11

Today is September, 11th. As an American it is impossible to go though out the day with out constant memories, of 9/11/01. I woke up remembering where I was that morning. I have mentally said several¬†unconscious¬†prayers to those who were victims, for those who lost their lives, that violent day. Our country could have fallen into Chaos, but we didn’t, we stayed strong. Under the horrible circumstances, we came together and found order. I¬†feel thankful, thankful for all those that have served our country. And grateful, and proud, extremely proud to be an American.

What is happening in DC

Today, my home, DC is under high security watch. There is traffic everywhere. The exit to the Pentagon is closed. No one can access it. But I still ran. Here are some pictures from one of my favorite running routes.

Washington Monument on the left. Exit to the Pentagon in the middle. Capitol on the right.

Air Force Memorial

Air Force Memorial

Night Shot of the Capitol

© 2012

Running the coast of Martha’s Vineyard

My Morning Run in Martha’s Vineyard

I am from DC and it is a pretty good running area. It is full of trails, great bridges to run over, and running loops around the Monuments. But I have lived here all of my life and sometimes it can get boring running in the same place everyday. Somedays, I have that, “been there done that attitude.”

So on my way up to Martha’s Vineyard, all I could think about was running. ¬†If you are a runner you would understand. One of my all time favorite things to do, is explore a new area by running through it. But¬†the Vineyard isn’t exactly a new place for me. I had been there two years ago, and have memories of running the most amazing runs. Runs where I felt so good, that I could keep going. I just couldn’t wait,¬†I was excited about running in cooler northern temperatures. Running with breezes from the beach. Running under sunny clear skies. ¬†But most of all running along the coast with breath taking views of the ocean.

Finally, it was the first morning of our trip in Martha’s Vineyard. I woke up and immediately put my running clothes on. I had just purchased some new Newton shoes, so I was also excited to get running in them. The running route I took was the same one that I had taken two years ago.

RUNNING ROUTE 1

I ran down to the Oak Bluff’s harbor ran along the water, and then hopped on the bike path that takes you towards Edgar’s Town. The path has some hills, but nothing to steep. It goes over some small bridges too. It is fun having water on both sides of you. And just how I remembered, the sun beats down on you, while the breeze from the water cools you down. I went 3 miles and then turned back, doing a total of 6 miles. I probably could have gone further.

Oaks Bluff’s Harbor.

Me running along the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in my new Newton shoes, the Gravity. I am still using the Distance U too, in my rotation.

Ocean view from my morning run!

Ocean View on my running route

Views from my morning run in Martha’s Vineyard

So that was my morning run in Martha’s Vineyard. Along the coast from Oaks Bluff towards Edgar’s Town. I ended up running this route twice equaling up to 12 miles. Runs go by fast when you are surrounded by such beautiful scenery.

Questions for You

  1. Would you want to run here?
  2. What is the prettiest run you’ve been on?

©2012

Running the A-10. A race in the rain!

I have been waiting to write this blog post because it just wouldn’t be as good with out photos. So here it goes…

Races around here fill up so fast. Marine Corps Marathon has a total of 30,000 entries and filled up this year in 2 hours and 45 minutes. Army 10 Miler has a total of 50,000 runners and filled up over night. The Color Run 5K filled up in 2 days. The Cherry Blossom 10 miler is now a lottery entry, just like the NYC Marathon, because it is that popular.

If you really want to run a popular race in the DC area, your best bet is to stay awake until midnight and register the minute the race opens. There is still that frantic feeling that your computer will freeze and the race will sell out. This was the feeling Lina (my running buddy) was having.

It all began in June, while I was on my vacation in Idaho. I received a phone call from my sister saying that Lina had contacted her through Facebook. She told me that Lina was trying to get a hold of me. We had just run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and The Parkway Classic in April, but Lina was ready to sign up for her next race, and honestly I was too. She was debating between the Spartan Run or the Annapolis 10 Miler. Both of these races fill up fast so she wanted to sign up ASAP. So immediately the three of us got registered, for the A-10.

All summer, Lina and I ran.  However, this was the first summer in three years that I was NOT intensely training for a Marathon. So although I did run, I will admit,  it was a different type of running. It was shorter runs. It was faster runs. It was running experiments in my Newton shoes. It was runs focused on form.

Well after three months of this type of training it was finally the weekend of the Annapolis 10 miler. On Saturday, August 25th, around 1 pm, my sister and I left DC and headed to Annapolis. Unfortunately, the predicted forecast of Sunshine changed. And although, Hurricane Isaac, was swarming around the Florida Keys, winds and tropical storms were all over the Annapolis Harbor.

The expo was really small, but I accepted that because the race was organized by a local running group. It was also outside under a tent and it started to drizzle so people were getting their bibs and heading on out. My sister and I had to rush on through because we had reservations to go sailing.

Me at the Expo getting my Bib for the A-10. I got a cool hat too!

When my sister and I got down to the Harbor to catch our boat, we both were a little annoyed about the weather. Questions like, Should we go? Should we get our money back? It sucks that it is not sunny. It is horrible weather? But we sucked it up and got on the boat. And I am glad we did.

Sailing in Annapolis.

Me Sailing!

So let me tell you about this boat ride! ¬†It felt like we were on an amusement park ride. I felt like I was going to go over board several times. The sail boat tipped to one side and then the sailors would change the sail and it would aggressively tip to the other side. The sailors were loving it. They would yell, “Wohoo! This is the best wind we’ve had in months.” This was definitely not a peaceful boat ride, but it was fun, and actually the best boat ride I have ever been on.

We got off the boat looking like we had just came from Gilligan’s Island. We tried to clean up the best we could in the Marriot Hotel’s bathroom. And then we headed to an Italian restaurant for dinner. The food was amazing. We both ate¬†vegetarian dishes and they were delicious.

After dinner we walked around the harbor and checked out some of the boutiques. I of corse hit up one of the local tea shops, called The Spice and Tea Exchange.

Finally we arrived at the hotel. We prepared our running stuff for the morning and set our alarms for 5:30 am.

My running stuff! Newton shoes and Lululemon!

RACE MORNING

I woke up the morning of the race not to my alarm but rather thunder.

Thunder in the morning!

OMG, I thought the race would be canceled for sure. But we got ready and headed to the start. We were lucky because we had saved our ponchos from sail boat ride we took the day before, and we had umbrellas.

At 7:45 right on time, the race started and we began to run. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have corrals, because I had seen Lina in the parking lot and told her to meet me at the 8-9 min corral. So we didn’t start together, but I did see her later in the race.

At the start we thought, maybe the rain would stop, but boy were we wrong. It just came down harder and harder. This rain was the type of rain that when you are driving your windshield wipers can’t keep up and you have to pull over to the side because you can’t see.

My sister and I running in the rain!

 

MY iPOD

At mile 2 my iPod’s volume got really low and then it just shut down because it was that wet. My sister and I actually pulled over to the side of the race because she thought her iPod was dying too. I ended up moving my iPod to the outside of my shirt, in hope that the crazy hurricane like winds would dry it off. This actually worked and at mile 7 my iPod randomly started playing again.

MY GARMIN

All week I had been training without my garmin because it had a full memory and I needed a new USB plug. I purchased a new one on Amazon and received it that week. Well I went through all that trouble for nothing. When I started running, I looked at my garmin and noticed the numbers were all fucked up. It turns out that I am an idiot and didn’t realize until mile nine that my watch was programed for km and not miles. So I basically was clueless the whole race about my pace and milage.

NEWTON SHOES

As you may know from previous posts, I was using this race as the ultimate test for my Newton shoes, and I was expecting to run it super fast, however I did not PR.  I do want to say this though, my Newton shoes felt awesome, and in the end, I love them, and will continue training and racing in them. I was also very surprised to see so many others wearing Newton shoes.

No Regrets!

So although, this race was not a¬†PR for me, WOW what a race! ¬†Thunder, lightning, torrential downpour, hurricane like winds, iPod dying from being wet, and garmin programmed for km, not miles. I ran across the finish line soaked and muddy in 1:33:23.¬†I have come to the conclusion that you just might not PR in every race and I am totally fine with that. And like the above photo says, “I really regret that run. -Said no one. Ever.” I have no regrets.

Me with my game face on!

Let me hear your stories…¬†Questions for You…

  • Have you run through bad weather?
  • Have you had a race when all your electronics died on you?

© 2012

 

 

Results or Excuses.

You can have Results or Excuses not both…

I came across the above picture on a running tumblr blog, and I literally lit up. This quote is exactly what a friend and I were talking about the other day. Everybody can relate to this idea. Most people don’t see results… why? because they make excuses.

Is it possible to make excuses without even being aware you do? I never thought I made excuses. But the other day I found myself venting to a friend about reasons why I couldn’t fit in a run. It wasn’t until then that I realized I too make excuses.

Some of the most common excuses I make…¬†

  • It is too hot outside.
  • It is raining.
  • It is too dark.
  • It is too cold.
  • I am way to busy at work, and just can’t fit it in.
  • I will run tonight.
  • I will run tomorrow morning.
  • I haven’t had a chance to fuel up.
  • My iPod is dead.
  • My Garmin is full, needs a new battery.
  • I didn’t wake up early enough, it is too late.
  • Or my favorite… I want to go for a run, but I already showered today.

When I train for a marathon, I always follow Hal Higdon’s¬†training program. This is an amazing plan, because it gets you out there running 5 days a week, cross train 1 day, and rest the other. Having a disciplined running plan like this one, makes it easier for you because it is all written out. You literally don’t have to think about anything, you simply run the miles it tells you to run that day.

This summer, I did train, but in a different way. I didn’t have a plan and just went out and ran shorter more faster runs, focusing on form. And although, my form has successfully improved, I don’t think I was as prepared for the 10 miler as I could have been. ¬†When it came to this race, my excuse was… “I’ve run marathons, this is only a 10 miler… no big deal.”¬†

Well I have another 10 miler coming up. On October 21st, I will be running the Army 10 miler, and I want to take my training to a different level. No more excuses. I am going to get organized and write out the milage I will complete daily. It is that simple. I need to set goals for myself.

Another interesting idea is to do a 30 or 60 day challenge. My bikram yoga studio does this, and I have seen on some other running blogs, runners doing this challenge as well.  The idea is to choose 30 or 60 days, and make it a goal, to run everyday for the amount of time you choose, even if it is just one mile a day.

Every day counts!

Look forward to seeing more motivational pics in the future. I will also be posting  a recap on my race the Annapolis 10 miler, and a training plan for my future race the Army 10 miler.

Questions for you…¬†

  • What is your biggest excuse?
  • What motivates you?
  • Which training programs or plans have you used in the past?

7 Mile Morning Run

This summer is the first summer in three years that I have NOT been training for a marathon. So instead of working on slower longer runs, to build endurance, like I have in the past, I have been focussing on speed, natural running, and proper form.  As you may know, form earlier posts I have also switched my running shoe to the Newton Shoe.

On August 26th, I will be running the Annapolis 10 miler. This will be my first race I will be running wearing my Newton shoes. Honestly, this race will be the ultimate test. ¬†I do feel that these shoes have made me faster, or let me rephrase that… when wearing these shoes I run faster, but have they made me a faster runner over all? ¬†Honestly, I do not know, because I have not run in any other shoes (since April) to compare them to. Sometimes I wonder, what if I ran in my Asics or Brooks, would I run as fast? Has my over all speed improved?

These are all questions that have come to my mind lately. ¬†I am hoping after this race I will find some answers. And although, 10 miles is not that far, sometimes I wonder if these shoes will support me when I go farther distances. ¬†I have had some really awesome runs in these shoes, where I feel light on my feet, and so fast I felt like I was flying. ¬†But I have had a few really bad runs, in these shoes as well, where I just couldn’t wait to be back to my car. Are the shoes inconsistent, or me?

After writing this blog post, you are probably thinking, that if I trained properly for this 10 miler then I should have all of my questions answered. Well the fact is, is that I have been training, but in a different way then I am use to, working less on distance and more on speed.  I am using this 10 miler as a test to see my progress. I also have another 10 miler in October, and a half marathon in November. After this 10 miler I am going to take it up a notch, by adding strength training and cycling into my weekly workout mix.

By running in the Newton shoes, I have begin to see physical changes in my legs. They are longer, leaner, and more muscular, especially in the calf area. But I still need to work on high knee exercises and strengthening my ankles.

Daily Workout:¬†As for my 7 mile morning run, it went really well. At 7 am, Lina and I hit the Mount Vernon Trail, south of Old Town. ¬†The weather today was 70, over cast, with a slight drizzle of rain, perfect running weather. Unfortunately, my Garmin’s memory was totally full. This is the first time in like 5 years that I didn’t have my Garmin working,¬†but Lina had her’s and there were mile markers along the trail. I counted mile markers, but I have to admit, I missed my Garmin.

Anyway, the tail was gorgeous and hilly. It was beautiful to run along the water. And Annapolis will be hilly, so I am glad we did a hilly 7 miler. Plus I love hills. I can’t help it, I live in a hilly area, so it is something that is hard to avoid.

Overall my 7 mile run was pretty fast, pretty challenging, pretty delightful all in one. And my Newton shoes did just fine.

Future Goals: So as I said before I am hoping the Annapolis 10 miler will answer my questions about the Newton shoes, and my summer training. Before I run my 10 miler in October I want to continue working on Natural Running, but I also want to Strength Train. Because at the end of the day, it is not the shoe that injures you, it is your body’s weaknesses that injure you. When you body has weaker areas, the stronger area’s over¬†compensate for the weaker ones, and therefore, gets overused, causing injury. I also want to get on my bike. Cycling is great cross training, and the fall time is the perfect time to go cycling. If I had to choose between the two, short speedy runs, vs longer endurance runs, I would have to say I just love going the distance. And I actually miss running really really far. So I want to pay closer attention to my milage, and in the end, up my weekly milage.

Questions for You:

  1. What do you like better speed or distance?
  2. Do you have any races coming up?
  3. What shoes are you wearing?

 

© 2012

 

Running or Flying…Was it the Watermelon or just me?

This week I had some really amazing runs. Lets talk about today’s…

This morning I hit the Mount Vernon Trail. On average I run this trail a couple times a week, so I guess you can say I am a regular on it, or lets put it this way, normally if I am on a trail, I am on this one.  The Mount Vernon Trail is my favorite because it runs along the Potomac so it has beautiful views of DC. It is also refreshing to run by the river. Another great thing about the trail is that it is surrounded by trees, so it has some shady areas, which is nice on hot summer days.

It totally relaxes me when I am surrounded by nature, and even though, the trail is a paved path, I sometimes feel like I am on a trail run, through the woods. ¬†When running on this trail keep your eyes open WIDE, ¬†you don’t want to miss the Wild Life.

The Mount Vernon Trail has many different entrances, and each entrance has a different vibe. Today I drove to the entrance south of Old Town. I parked at the Bell View parking lot and ran 2.60 miles south and then headed back.

Running 2.60 miles south is a mix of up hills and downs. It is mainly shady on the trail. In a couple places you have to run over wooden plank bridges that carry you over some swampy marshy areas. It ends in a residential area, with some gorgeous houses.

Today, my run was amazing. I ran a total of 5.11 miles in 41 minutes. That is super fast for me. I don’t know if my speed is because I have been running in my Newton running shoes since the end of April, and I am just getting faster. ¬†Or maybe it is because it has been 100 degrees the last couple weeks and today was a refreshing cool 79 degrees. Or maybe it was the Watermelon I ate for breakfast. Whatever, it may be, it felt cool, breezy, and I was running, but it felt like I was flying.

During this run I figured some things out…

If I am going to run some serious distance like 10 plus miles, I usually eat a bagel with peanut butter, because it is a good source of calories, fat, protein, and carbs.

But today my pre run meal was Watermelon. And this was a  fabulous choice. I recently saw on Dr. Oz that watermelon is a super food. Why?

  • Because it cleans your arteries. Dr. Oz says swap your morning glass of water with watermelon juice, because it reduces body fat, lowers LDL cholesterol, cleaning heart -threatening plaque from arteries. I juice mine fresh with my Breville Juicer.
  • It drops blood pressure and boosts circulation. It is one of the few foods that has a powerhouse protein called citrulline. Citrulline produces powerful stuff called nitric oxide, that opens and relaxes arteries. It helps heal wounds and divide cells. It helps with blood flow enhancing circulation to all your vital parts. (just like Viagra does)
  • Watermelon is loaded with lycopene, which fends off heart disease and cancers (other than prostate.) Tomatoes are considered lycopene superstars, but watermelon has 40% more.
  • It makes you think faster.
  • It is low cal.
  • Another great tip: Always keep your whole watermelons out of the fridge. Watermelon stored at room temperature delivers more cell-protecting antioxidants. They continue to ripen and build antioxidants even after they are picked.
  • It is also made up of mostly water. So before my run I was pretty well hydrated. I literally had to pee 2 x before I hit the trail. I also sprinkled a little salt on my watermelon chunks before I ate them. I just like the taste, a little salt won’t hurt an athlete, its actually¬†good for electrolyte balance.

Picking a Watermelon: A common question I have always asked is, How do you know which watermelon to pick? Well this is what I have discovered. When picking out a watermelon, always look for one that has a flat yellow side. This side is where the watermelon was sitting on the ground, and if your watermelon does not have this, then it was picked too early.

My boyfriend’s grandma once said, “The way to find out if your watermelon is sweet is to look for bug bite marks.” Every time I look for bug bite marks on my watermelon, it ends up being really sweet. I promise.

This morning I ate watermelon cut up in cubes with a little bit of sea salt sprinkled on top. Right now as I type this I am sipping on some fresh watermelon juice that I just juiced with my Breville juicer. I added a hint of mint fresh from my garden. Add cucumber for additional flavor.

Watermelon the Superfood! Great for pre run meal.

The Breville Juicer is amazing. Buy it and then try juicing watermelon.

Crush ice, pour juice, top it off with fresh mint.

Enough about watermelon… more about what I learned on my run…

While running I really got into my music. Music for me is a tool I use to enhance my running. Sometimes when I run I use my music as background sound, and when I am done I realize I am barely listening. Today I listened hard and found a rhythm.  Sometimes it is really nice to get lost in a run, in your breath, in your music.

I also became one with my hills. That may not make since to you, but I’ll try to explain.¬†Hills bring me variety, a total flat course makes me bored. Just as I use music as a tool, I use hills as a tool as well. I take them one at a time. Sometimes it hurts running up, but it feels amazing running down. Sometimes I feel slow running up, but boy can I fly running down. After a down hill I try to use that momentum on the next up hill.¬†Some hate hills. I actually quite enjoy them. Some think a flat course is a fast course. I think the opposite.

I know I was a little all over the place in this post, but I had a lot on my mind. I hope you learned a little bit about watermelon, and juicing with the Breville juicer. I look forward to sharing more juicing tips and recipes.

I also hope I motivated you to run a little further, a little faster, a little harder. Today I ran an amazing 5.11 mile run in 41 minutes in my Newtons. This isn’t far for me by any means but it was super fast. It was cold today, 79 degrees, but should be even colder tomorrow. So take my advice: Get out there. Don’t hold back. And just run… run as fast as you can.

©2012

Boise, Idaho

East Coast Girl visits the Wild Wild West continues:

According to my boyfriend, the plan was that we were heading to Boise, Idaho for ¬† his Grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and then we would drive four hours to Idaho Falls to visit his Mom and Nana. I was excited about the trip, because I hadn’t been to Idaho since we first started dating seven years ago. My memories of Idaho were so-so. I don’t remember hating it, but I don’t remember being wowed in any ways either. I was also only nineteen years old, young, immature, and very closed minded. Back then I was city girl, passionate about fashion and art, and although I still am those things, as I grow, I find myself appreciating nature, and seeing beauty in other ways.

Although, we were exhausted from an overwhelming week of moving into our new house, our 6:30 flight went smoothly. My boyfriend and I arrived in Boise, Idaho at 11:00 am. Then the partying began, literally.¬†We spent three days partying with his ¬†family. We attended a birthday party, a graduation party, and his grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

Downtown Boise

After every party, we headed down to downtown Boise for more drinks and food. And to my surprise, downtown Boise was quite fun. It is by the university, Boise State, but it has more of a liberal urban feel, rather than a college town vibe.

This may sound weird to you, but a person’s hair reveals a lot. It can reveal who they are, and what they are about.¬†¬†I am a hairstylist, so I began to understand the people of a city or town and I determine the vibe of a place by what hair trends I see. Downtown Boise, continued to surprise me, I saw lots of great hair color, classic high-end cuts, but then I also saw a lot of dreadlocks.

To my surprise, I also saw some familiar shops. There was an Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Lululemon. I also spotted a Bikram Yoga studio, and a running shoe store that had Newton running shoes.

I am a foodie, who also loves a fresh brewed beer, high quality wine, or a unique cocktail.  So of corse I hit up some of the local bars. One night we ended up at Matador. It was a tequila sipping bar, that also had a wide range of Margaritas. My favorite part was that the Margaritas on the rock were made from fresh fruit juices instead of a mix. They also had really good appetizers.

My boyfriend’s cousin’s birthday party was at a bar call Solid. Solid had a variety of unique cocktails, and fabulous appetizers as well. But my favorite part was the desserts. We devoured a S’more.¬†

There was also an Irish pub in downtown Boise. We went over there because they had a live band.

After three days of parties. I felt hungry. We had drinking plenty and although we had been eating plenty as well. The food we had been eating was mainly appetizers. I was ready for a real meal. So after the 50th wedding anniversary my boyfriend and I went to dinner at a place called Forks. Forks was amazing. They had all american food, but it was definitely more gourmet.

Running in Boise

Besides eating and drinking, I actually found time to go running. In Boise they have a trail along the river. Although, I think the Mount Vernon Trail (which is my regular running trail here in DC) is prettier, this trail that ran along the Boise River was really pretty too. Along the trail, I saw fly fishermen, I  ran past the Boise State football field which has the famous blue turf, and then I saw a man barefoot running. The best part was the weather, nothing could beat it.  At 7:30 in the morning it was probably 65-70 degrees and it was dry heat, perfect for running.

I had a really good run, in my Newtons, but I felt like it was a little hard to breath. I also felt like I was running a little slower, but then I remembered the altitude was different. In DC, I run at sea level. In Boise the altitude was 2900 ft. I could feel the altitude change the minute I got off the plane. I developed a headache and my body craved water. I was proud of myself for running five miles in a higher altitude than I am use to. In the DC area running can be a challenge in the summer, because we get 100 degree days with 70 percent humidity, but Boise has the altitude change.

So that is Boise, I highly suggest you go check it out.

MOODBOARD

So I have discovered a new app. for my iPad, called Moodboard. Yesterday, I was playing around with it, and I have a feeling it will be useful to me at work and on my blogs. It is a digital poster board, or cork board. It is a way to show and organize your photos more creatively. You can change the background color and add arrows. When uploading photos, you can change their angles, their size. You can add text, changing font and color. The possibilities are endless.

Good Reads

One of my favorite things to do is read, and one of my favorite types of books to read are running books! I just love to learn more, and be inspired. The last running book I read was the best seller, Born to Run.  I fell in love with this book. It opened my mind to explore a more minimalist way of running.

On Sunday, after my run in my Newtons, I stopped at Barnes & Noble, to check out what running books they had to offer. There I found Chi Running by Danny Dreyer. ¬†But then as I continued to scan the shelves I spotted, Natural Running, by Danny Abshire. What? I didn’t know the guy who invented the Newton shoe had ¬†written a book. Beyond thrilled, I scooped up both books and ran to the register.

Today I will finally get a chance to start reading. I can’t wait to dive in to both of these books. I am hoping I can get a better understanding of natural running, and also find some easy running drills to strengthen my feet and get me running more on my midfoot/forefoot.

Daily Workout ~ 5/14/12

Yesterday was my rest day, and although I worked, it felt good to just relax.

Monday, 5/14/12: Today, I woke up to a gray sky and a light rain. It was 62 degrees when I hit the trail, surprisingly because of the humidity it felt much hotter. Again I ran in my Newton shoes. I only ran a short 3.36 miles in 28:50.

When I first began my run I felt good and fast. When I headed back I felt a little slower. The whole time I was focused on running form. I tried to keep centered, slightly leaning forward. I tried to be bouncy and light on my feet, trying to land on my mid-foot.  At the end of my run, I felt more confident in my form. I felt like I was heal striking less and running good. I will admit I still felt some ponding, and some soreness. It was not pain, but even though I have been running in these shoes for a month,  it still is different then what I am use to, and a bit uncomfortable. I am not sure if this is just because of years of running in my cushioned Brooks and Asics, or if this is just how Natural Running shoes feel. I also could really feel my feet move in the wide toe box, stretching and gripping the ground as I run. I am still trying to decide if I like all of this moving and feeling of the ground.

P.S. Army 10 Miler’s Registration opens tomorrow, 5/15/12!