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!

Daily Workout ~ 5/11/12

Because I didn’t have to work and had no other serious plans today, Saturday, 5/11/12,¬†I didn’t start my run until 2:00 pm. Again, I hit up my new favorite spot on the Mount Vernon Trail, the same spot that I have been running on all week. I find it quite fascinating how exciting it can be to discover a new favorite place to run, or to explore a new spot on the same old trail you always depend on. This type of excitement pumps through my body first thing in the morning, I wake up eager to run.

Anyway, today was sunny and toasty. It was close to 80 degrees, so although warmer then I prefer, I could still tolerate it. I also brought a water bottle with me, even though I was running short. I ran 3.59 miles in 30:32, in my Newtons. This is the 5th day in a row running in these shoes. ¬†I will admit that today, I had a love/hate relationship with the idea of feeling the ground. Don’t get me wrong, I love using my sense of touch when running. I love being able to feel the ground and be aware of my run. But because I still overpronate slightly, I still need to focus on form. And today, I was tired of concentrating on running form. I was tired of being concerned about my feet. I just wanted to run, run far, get lost in my run, be worry free. ¬†However, on a more positive note, my legs never felt heavy, and I still felt like I was running fast.

After I got home, my legs and feet were a little bit sore. Not painful but sore. I know this soreness is normal, because I am changing my stride and using different muscles.  Lets just say my feet and legs are excited for a rest day tomorrow.

© 2012

 

Update on my Newton Experience

So as you may know, I have been running in my Newtons for a month now, but today was my fourth time in a row running in them, while it was Lina’s first time running in hers. I am running in the Distance U and Lina is running in the Motion. There is not much difference between the shoes, except the Distance U is a little bit lighter and has less cushioning and support in the heel. I am a neutral runner with a slight¬†overpronation¬†in my right foot. Lina is a heel-striker who overpronates.

I am really trying to focus on proper running form, natural running. So far my stride has not transformed 100 percent, since running in the Newtons, but I have become more aware of my stride and what I need to do to change it. The one thing that I have noticed and love about running in the Newtons is how much I can feel the ground. Feeling the ground also makes me more aware of how my foot moves and how it strikes the ground while running. ¬†Here are pics from today’s Daily Work Out.

LINA: has had stress fractures in both lower legs. The shoes she has run in previously have not helped her stay injury free. Hopefully, she can changer her stride by wearing the Newton shoes.

Lina running in her Newton Motion shoes. Although, she is still heel-striking, she is confident that with time her stride will improve. She also loves the lightweight feel of the shoe.Lina again running in her Newton Motion Shoes. As you can see the shape of her elevated leg, shows she is over-pronating. Again, this is Lina’s first 3 mile run in her Newton shoe. Hopefully, with time her stride will improve.

MEG: I have never had any injuries, only a blister here and there. I have always run in Asics Nimbus  in a size 6.5 and just recently the Brooks Glycerin in a size 7.0. Both are good running shoes. But after reading Born to Run, I have always been interested in the idea of Natural Running. I am hoping the Newton shoes will help improve my stride and make me faster. There I am running in my Newton Distance U shoes. I am not heel-striking but rather running by landing on my forefoot/midfoot, the key to Natural Running. Also notice legs and ankles fall right under hips.

Again running on my forefoot/midfoot. Also notice legs and ankles in line, right under hips. Key to Natural Running.Again forefoot/midfoot striking, and legs landing right under hips. Demonstrating Natural Running.

I have always been a neutral runner, so I am having a little more success in the Newton shoes and in transitioning to a Natural Runner, than Lina is. However, I have also been running in these shoes for a full month longer than Lina. Today was her first day wearing them.  I still am not perfect and still heel-strike a little sometimes and slightly over-pronate with my right foot. Another awesome way to judge is to look at the bottom of the shoes. You can see more wear and tear on my right shoe.

Daily workout.

Friday, 5/11/12: Today, I woke up early, and hit the trail with my running buddy, Lina. The Mount Vernon Trail was super sunny, a tad breezy and around 60 degrees. It was Heaven out there, only a runner would understand. I felt like running far, but because Lina and I,  are both running in our Newtons, we are still transitioning into a more Natural Running form, so we still ran short.

Today, I ran 3.41 miles in 31:17. This is the slowest time, I have run this week . I think it is because I was with Lina and she is a slower runner than me. I started with her, but then went on and ran ahead. After we were done with our run. We practiced high knees and video taped our running strides. We also snapped a couple photos.  See next post for update on my Newton shoe experience and pics.

 

Rave Run

My favorite page of Runner’s World world magazine is the Rave Run page. This page, usually found towards the beginning of the magazine, describes a spectacular place to run, that is worthy to Rave about. The page reminds me of a tour guide, revealing a secret running spot that is not known by the tourist, but rather an amazingly cool place to run, popular among the locals. It immediately makes me day dream and inspires me to plan a trip.

Well my city, Washington, DC, has been on the Rave Run page several times before. I have lived here my whole life, and although sometimes I get bored of the area, I am lucky to live in a city with numerous places to run. If you run or cycle DC is your dream city. Let me tell you why…

DC has several bike paths, paved for the road cyclist and road runner. The most popular are Mount Vernon Trail, Four Mile Run, WO&D, The C&O Canal, and although not the safest there is Rock Creek Park.  DC also has several trails for the trail runner, including Roosevelt Island, Capital Crescent, Rock Creek Park, and Great Falls National Park. All of these paths/trails I have run and cycled on several times except for Rock Creek, and when it comes to safety, they are all pretty safe except for Rock Creek.

If you do not want to be stuck on a trail, the city has some amazing loops around the historical monuments. There is also tons of cool bridges to run over, including Memorial Bridge and Key Bridge. There is water to run next to, such as by the Tidal Basin, and even cemeteries to run by, including the famous Arlington Cemetery.

DC also has an amazing community of runners, and tons of running events. There are running groups/clubs that meet several times a week. There are also tons of races year round. Marine Corps Marathon, Army 10 miler, and the Cherry Blossom 10 miler are the three most popular races. There is also the Nations Triathlon, and several bike races, including some Centuries.

weekly workout recap

Monday: I rested. The weekend was overwhelming with Friday’s 2012 CrossFit Games, Saturday’s Crab Feast, and Sunday’s Photo Shoot.

Because I am running in my Newtons, I am still running shorter distances and paying close attention to the way my body feels and my running form. I am really trying to focus on

  • leaning forward
  • relaxing my shoulders
  • arm positioning
  • looking straight ahead
  • most importantly landing on my mid-foot

Tuesday, 5/7/12: I ran a short 3.41 miles in 28:39, in my Newtons. Honestly, I am not sure how accurate my garmin is being. Because Newton shoes are light weight, they are known to make you run faster than traditional running shoes, but I am still not sure how much faster.  When timing my mile using the markers I am running 8.30 min. mile.  But I think the best way is to run in my other shoes to compare, timing to milage. The timing is correct, but I think I am running closer to a 5K. There are mile markers on the trail. I have been paying close attention to those markers.  Tuesday was a hot and humid day, it felt good to really sweat hard.

Wednesday, 5/8/12 : I ran again a short 3.41 miles in 29:10, in my Newtons. It was overcast and breezy, but it felt fantastic. I felt like I was in Seattle, the trees were so green, and the sky so gray. I just love running outside. Being surrounded by nature, is so refreshing.  I also recently bought a 25lb kettlebell, that I always leave in my car trunk next to my yoga mat. I decided to take them both out an go by the water in the grass. I completed 3 sets of squats with the 25lb kettle bell 10 reps per set. In between each set I held plank for 60 seconds. Energy was pumping through my body for the rest of the day!

Thursday, 5/9/12:  Today, I ran again a short 3.69 miles in 32:25. It was cooler today, about 65 degrees. It was gusty breezy and sunny. My legs today were sore from the squats from yesterday. I ended my run with 3 sets of high knees. It was a good run and once again felt great to work up a sweat and be outside.

The GW Parkway Classic

The Parkway Classic, is a 10 mile running event, put on by DC’s local running store, Pacers. ¬†It is scheduled in late April, a couple weeks after the famous and very popular, Cherry Blossom 10 miler. It’s timing is perfect, because the Cherry Blossom 10 miler is now a lottery, so those that registered, but then were rejected from Cherry Blossom, can still have the opportunity to run a 10 mile race in the Spring. ¬†Another benefit to running the Parkway Classic is its capacity. The Parkway Classic is only around 4,000 runners compared to Cherry Blossom that is capped at 15,000. ¬†Less runners mean less crowded on the course, and more freedom to run the fast pace you desire, allowing a new PR.

So three weeks after I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, I ran the GW Parkway Classic. This is how it all went down.

FROM THE BEGINNING…

The reason why I ended ¬†up running the Parkway Classic is because my sister Emily, my original running buddy, didn’t register for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, but still wanted to participate in a spring race. ¬†Unlike me, who uses Cherry Blossom 10 miler as a yearly tradition, Em, doesn’t find it exciting to run the same races over again. So I registered us both for the Parkway Classic. Although, we have run plenty of 10 milers before, it would be our first time running this particular race. Lina, my coworker and new running buddy, who ran Cherry Blossom with me this year signed up as well. ¬†Cherry Blossom was her first 10 miler and she loved it so much, that she immediately wanted to run another one.

After running Cherry Blossom, I was feeling pretty good. I hadn’t over trained at all, so I wasn’t feeling burned out. But I didn’t under train either. I was consistently running, and it showed.

LET ME EXPLAIN MORE IN DETAIL…

I have been running for five years, and I have run plenty of 10 milers. I am no longer at the level, where I am running, “just to finish.” And while I am writing this, it seems like I am bragging, but I am actually just reminding myself that. I guess it is time to start thinking about timing.

For the last three years, when running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, I have always set my goal to run it in under 1:30:00. So three years ago I ran it in 1:29:25. Last year I ran it in 1:29:33. This year I ran it in 1:29:26. As you can see, very consistent. I guess my body is just comfortable with that pace, or maybe it is a mental game and because I put it in my mind that I want to run it in under 1:30:00, thats what I do. I don’t know which one it is, but I do know that I really wanted to set a new PR for the Parkway Classic. Just get me away from 1:29 please.

THE TRAINING…¬†

Now that I reviewed my past times, and mentally prepared for a faster race, it was time to train a little faster. Unfortunately, I got a little sidetracked when I was introduced to the Newton shoe. If you have read previous posts, you should know, that I went to a running form clinic, and bought a pair of the Newtons, and became obsessed.

The Newton shoe is a light weight running shoe, that promotes Natural Running. Well before a race everyone knows it is a big NO NO to switch your shoes, and it is definitely not a good idea to start changing your running form and stride, but I did.  I was thinking, switching to a lighter shoe, will make you faster. Adjusting your running form, will make you faster and help prevent injury. Or it could totally backfire.

The day after the Running Form Clinic was Easter. My sister really wanted to fit in a 7 mile run that day. She hadn’t run longer than 5 miles in a while and she just wanted to have the peace of mind, that she could run a strong 7. But because of the holiday it was difficult to find the time. So we ended up heading out randomly at 3:30- 4 pm.

Here are some factors to keep in mind…

  • I had already had a mid day Easter dinner with my boyfriend and his parents which included a cocktail. So I was very full and dehydrated.
  • The day was sunny and 80 degrees. I hadn’t run in that type of heat in a while.
  • The Friday before I sprinted a 5k. I am not use to sprinting short distances, and hadn’t done a 5k since November.
  • The day before, I had participated in a Running Form Clinic which included running drills, in a light weight, almost minimalist shoe.
  • I also ran this seven miles in my regular traditional running shoes.

So as you can see, I had been doing a lot of different types of running, totally out of my normal routine. So as you can guessed, my seven mile run didn’t go as well as I had liked. I was still happy I ran, but I will admit, I felt very sluggish, and my legs were really sore. I think it was a combination of everything I said above, including the fact that the day before I was testing out a more light weight shoe, and then during my run I was wearing my Brookes, and they felt extremely heavy.

After that training run, I felt a little insecure, maybe I won’t PR, after all, the course is rolling hills the whole way. ¬†So I continued training, consistently running in my new Newton shoes, working on my form, up to the day of the race.

The Wednesday before the race, Lina and I met up for a training run. I was wearing my Newtons. She was jealous, and tired of feeling pain from heal striking so right after our run, we headed to Pacers to get her a pair as well. On the Friday before the race, we met up again for a training run, then headed to Pacers, to pick up our bib numbers for the race. The Saturday before race, I relaxed and grilled steak and veggies for dinner. ¬†I set up my race clothes, updated my Garmin, and charged my iPod. ¬†I didn’t feel nervous, just really excited. I set my alarm for 5:20 am, and fell asleep to the sound of the rain.

RACE DAY…

I am not a morning person, so when my alarm went off, I felt like I had hardly slept. ¬†I even thought, “Ugh, maybe I shouldn’t even run this race.” It was dark, cold, rainy, and all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed, but I didn’t. I got dressed in my race clothes. Packed my bag I was going to check, and met Lina out front of my apartment. We headed to the shuttle buses, met my sister on the bus, and headed over to Mount Vernon, the start.¬†

After the horrible Hot Chocolate 15K, that I had to endure and run in December, I was a little worried about getting people to another Race Start that wasn’t metro accessible. But there is a difference between 20,000 runners and 4,000. Anyway, I had total trust in Pacers, and they did not disappoint.¬†When we arrived to the start, it was still cold and rainy, but they provided us with space blankets. I have used them before, after a marathon, but I never remember them doing anything. This time I was very impressed, they actually really trap your body heat and keep you warm. There was also breakfast, coffee, and coconut water. Over all, I¬†thought Pacers did a fabulous job organizing this race. ¬†It is very important to have a well organized race. It makes a difference when a running company, that is made up of runners, organizes a race. They truly know a runners needs and wants.¬†

Soon enough it was time to check my bag and get in line at the start with all the other runners. So around 7:45 am I stripped down to my shorts and tank top. I almost chickened out, and wore my long sleeve running shirt, that is how cold I was, but I shivered and checked it. Then my sister, Lina and I headed to the start.  We lined up with the 9:00- 9:59 corral. It was fine but now looking back maybe we should have stood with the 8:00-8:59 corral. 

The start line was crowded, but it had an amazing energy. We were all cold, just ready to run and  get warm up.  But soon enough the race began, and we were off.

For the first three miles of the race, my legs felt heavy and sore. I wasn’t sure if it was because of my pace or maybe it was because I was in my heavy shoes, rather than my light weight shoes. Whatever it was, it took the first three miles for me to really warm up. When the fourth mile went by, I was feeling good, fast, and strong. It was funny because I was running side by side of my sister, Emily. But then she started to slow down. At points I was ahead of her. I took advantage of most of the all of the water stations. I pulled of to the side at one of the water stations and then saw my sister go by. I finished my water and ran to catch up to her. I thought she had chosen not to take water at that water stop, but it turns out she missed it, not realizing there was a water station. At mile 7, we saw our friend, Adrian. She came to the cheer us on, with a huge sign. Emily went on running ahead, while I pulled to the side to give Lina’s daughter Kadi a hug. Letting her know that Lina wasn’t far behind. A guy actually stopped me saying the hug I gave Kadi was sweet and totally worth the loss of 30 seconds. I totally agree. Although, I am trying to take my running to the next level, and work on getting a little faster. When people come out to see you, they want to have an enjoyable experience too, and it is rude to run passed them. I wasn’t with Lina during the race, but according to the photos it looks like she ran a very fun, controlled race.

There is Lina, looking focused and relaxed.

In the end, I set a new PR of 1:28:05. I finally broke 1:29. I was really happy with this race. I felt strong and fast. I felt like I could have continued to run 3 more miles or more.  So for the month of April I ran 3 races, two 10 milers, and one 5k.

ALL (but 2 of these photos) were taken by Swim Bike Run Photography.  © 2012

Running Form Clinic

On April 7th, I participated in a running form clinic, held at the Pacers Arlington.  Juda McGannon, who taught the clinic is a representative for Newton shoes. I first met her at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler expo. To my understanding, the Newton brand focuses on running form and the inventor himself, Danny Abshire, hosts clinics weekly, nation wide.

Correct proper running form has been a topic that has always interested me. I have never had any technical running training in the past, so I thought the clinic would really benefit me. Who wouldn’t want to learn how to run faster, further, safer? So bright and early, on Saturday morning I headed down to the clinic to learn about proper running form. I started the clinic inside the shop. Juda immediately took off her shoes, and began to demonstrate foot strengthen exercises, explaining that years of wearing protective/corrective running shoes actually make feet weaker. It is important to have strong feet, no matter what shoes you wear. She discussed many facts about the foot. A strong foot should ¬†be capable of spreading its toes apart from one another,and should easily be capable of grabbing and picking up items.

Then she had me balance on one foot. I closed our eyes. At points I wiggled around a little, loosing balance. When running we are technically always balancing on one foot. One foot is in the air while the other is on the ground. Everyone uses their sense of sight and hearing while balancing, but those senses should not be our dominate senses used while running. We should be using our sense of touch. Unfortunately, conventional running shoes, with all of its cushion, support, and protection makes it hard to use our sense of touch, impossible for us to feel the ground we run on.

Juda then explains what our feet do while we are barefoot. When we walk barefoot, we place our heel down first, then forefoot, then toes. When we run barefoot, we place our forefoot down first, then heel. When we sprint barefoot, we place our forefoot down first, but it is so far up the foot, it almost looks like we are on our toes. When we wear our traditional running shoes, there is so much protection, cushion, support, that we can barely move our foot with in the shoe, and it is impossible to use our sense of touch and actually feel the ground. Traditional running shoes, make 80% of runners heel strike. Heel striking causes injuries. Why would you run one way barefoot, and another way with shoes.  That is where the Newton shoe comes in handy. This shoe is going to help correct form, by getting us to run on our forefoot, preventing heel striking.

Running too slowly will also cause heel striking. That is why it is important to run with a quick, short stride. Soon enough,  I was getting fitted with the proper Newton shoe, and then heading out to the trail.  Juda had the group participate in some running form drills, which included high knees, and skipping. When running you should be light on your feet. The lighter you are on your feet, the less impact you will endure, and the quicker and shorter your stride will become. Juda also taught us to lean forward and breath deep from your belly.

I had been debating on trying a minimalist running shoe ever since I had read the book, Born to Run, two years ago. Although, the Newton shoe is not a minimalist shoe, for me it is the perfect shoe to try, because it is light weight, and mimics  Natural running, but also has the cushioning to help absorb impact. So after the running clinic I happily purchased my first pair of Newtons. The running form clinic, was awesome! I am very glad I participated in it, and highly recommend it for all runners, whether you have the desire to try Newtons or not.

Runner’s World is talking about Newton shoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s funny how once you hear about something, you start to hear about it everywhere. Well thats what happened to me with the Newton shoes. After seeing the Newton shoes at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, I went home excited about participating the next week in the running form clinic, and started reading the April issue of Runner’s World, where there was a several page spread dedicated to an article about Newton shoes.

A couple years ago when I read the book, Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, the Vibram FiveFingers first became popular. I wondered is this barefoot running concept just a trend? A trend similar to the Atkins diet, where everyone starts doing it, but then five years later, experts reveal that evidence shows it is not healthy, but actually unhealthy, and an injury risk.  Or is barefoot running, ironically the future type of running. Will all running shoes evolve into something more weightless, a minimalist shoe? These are the questions that have crossed my mind, but after being introduced to the Newton shoe and then seeing so many other running brands, such as Brooks and Nike, come out with a shoe that mimics running barefoot, I am now starting to believe that this is not a trend, but rather the future to running.

So as I said earlier, I found a lot of my information about Newton’s in the April issue of Runner’s World. This is what¬†Runner’s World¬† had to say. First thing that I was confused about was does Newton consider itself a minimalist shoe? The answer to that is a big fat NO, which was a huge relief.

Minimalist shoes such as the Vibrams, scare me. And the reason why, is because of injury. When runners first started to transition into barefoot running, they purchased the Vibrams, and many got injured. Because of the traditional running shoe, having so much protection, feet became weak. Many runners didn’t have the muscles developed in their feet in order to run in the Vibrams. So it was suggested to adjust your feet and strengthen them by simply walking around in the Vibrams or going on short runs no longer than a mile. But too many runners got to excited about running barefoot and went to far to fast, causing injuries to themselves.¬†¬†So it wasn’t necessarily the shoe that caused injury, but rather the runner, herself.

The inventor of Newton shoes, Danny Abshire first started developing the shoe 20 years ago. He claims in the Runner’s World article that this shoe is nothing like what runners have¬†worn in the past. And although, it weighs about a third less than the traditional running shoe it is not‚ÄĒa”minimal” shoe.

Well if it is not a minimalist shoe, then what is so special about the Newton? For one it is weightless, which makes it feel like a minimalist shoe. Seriously, when I put Newtons on, I felt like there was no shoe on at all. ¬†In the Runner’s World article, Abshire warns that, heel-striking is inefficient, and potentially dangerous. And runners heel-strike, he says, only because traditional shoes have an unnecessarily¬†high heel-to-toe drop.¬† But Newton shoes have a ¬†heel that is more level, only measuring 6 mm, which in ways is similar to the minimalist shoe. By having less heel, it makes it easier to run on the forefoot.¬†¬†But what makes this shoe so unique is the lugs found on the forefoot, preventing injury. The lugs are plump and springy cushioning similar to a trampoline. It is elevated maybe a half inch or so away from the shoe. These lugs provides a shock absorber, while bringing energy back to the runner. Reducing impact, and returning energy back to the runner, allowing the runner to run faster and farther, is what Newton calls Action/Reaction technology.¬† This design is very odd, but helps mimimc the same stride you would have if you were barefoot, which Abshire calls, “natural running.”

According to Runner’s World, Abshire, who has completed one of the toughest ultras in the country, the Leadville Trail 100, felt like the sport became overcomplicated‚ÄĒand dangerous‚ÄĒas shoes got more and more built up. If you run barefoot, on the sand in on the beach, you will automatically land on your forefoot, so why use a traditional running shoe that changes your running stride and may cause you to heel strike.¬†Experts are now saying landing on the heel is not proper running form, and it puts stress on ankles, knees, hips, and back.

Learning this, made me very attracted to the Newton company. People talk about minimalist shoes, and lightweight trainers, being for shorter distances. Many say you can not put serious milage on these weightless shoes. But I am a distance runner, who trains for marathons, so it is important for me to hear that the inventor of the Newton shoe, has completed ultras, and is too, a distance runner. I also like the idea that this company, is promoting natural running form. Spreading the word about proper running form, and getting runners running correctly, is the key to injury prevention, regardless what shoes you run in.

In conclusion, similar to a minimalist shoe, the ideas behind the Newton shoe are just like¬†McDougall’s idea’s in his book, Born to Run.¬†The Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, were known to run long distances daily in thin-soled sandals, in order to survive. If they could run like that, we are capable of it as well. But we need to learn proper running form, which is landing on our forefoot, avoiding heel striking. ¬†Runner’s World reveals, ¬†that Abshire claims, “Cavemen were smart enough to build a moccasin‚ÄĒa protective coating for the foot. But they also lived in a natural environment. It wasn’t concrete and asphalt. This is where people get mixed up. Our shoes promote natural running in an unnatural world.”

© 2012