pre-Boston half choice, running lately, and SHOES galore

And the winner is…

e.murraytoddDark horse, huh? Sometimes I write blog posts asking people for advice, when I really end up deciding for myself just by writing down my thoughts on the choices. My last post was one of those times. I won’t be shooting for a PR here. I won’t need to travel overnight or spend over forty dollars. I could do both of these things, if I picked another race. However, I decided this is best. Boston is my goal race. It will be the biggest race I have ever run in my life, and so that is the race on which I want to keep the focus. Therefore, choosing a really hilly, low-key half marathon to run seven weeks before will force me to not stress over it and treat it as a race I’m running purely as part of my training. A running friend of mine said she’s running it as well, so it will be nice to have her there too (whether or not I can keep up).

Recent long runs

If there is one common theme to my long runs so far in 2014, it’s HILLS. If my memory serves me correctly, it was on the last hill of the first one of these runs that I decided something like, this is a hard run because of all these hills. If I do this often, any hill on the Boston course will feel easier. And thus it began, my new motto:

Suffer now. Glory later.

I may have just made up the wording right now. The concept has been in my mind for awhile though: why not do things the hard way in training, so that on race day, the same factors are so much less of a problem? I can watch the pace on my watch slow down and try not to give in to a steep incline on mile 11 of a long run in January, February, and March. I can make weird faces and wonder how my quads can possibly burn so much after the ascent. I sure as hell want to feel better than that at mile 22 on April 21st. Therefore, I must commit to doing more than my necessary share of hills in training, right now.

Here is what my recent long runs have looked like, elevation-wise.

elevations

Those of you living in the Rockies or San Fran, I don’t want to hear it! I’m basically finding all the hills in a certain radius and doing the opposite of avoiding them. I’ll hopefully drive to some even hillier places later, but for now I think I’ve done a decent job. Each of these contains the same hill at one spot on the run, I believe, and my average pace for that particular mile has gotten faster.

I want this.

I want this…

Theorizing: more is more?

As you may know, I am a little terrified of high mileage training. In high school I would run 45-50 miles a week and was just fine. When I started getting injured I cut it back to 40ish and added cross training. When I still was getting injured, I cut it down to 35ish and added even more cross training. I was paranoid for a reason: when you get stress reactions in places like your pubic ramus on 32 miles a week and people say you “must be overtraining” – newsflash: you are going to get really scared of normal mileage levels. Training for the New Jersey Marathon last year, I really did the minimum possible. I just maximized the training I did on the days I did run. My highest mileage week was 40…and that was the week I did my 20-miler. I did a 20-miler and a 18 (okay, 17.8...)-miler, and those were my two “really long” runs. That’s it. To feel totally prepared for 26.2 as I did come May 5th…that was pretty awesome. I’m considering the theory now that running more will teach my body to handle more, though…and furthermore, actually prevent overuse injuries my strengthening everything just because I’ve taught my body to better handle stresses. A podiatrist once told me he thought my stress fractures happened because my body needed more years of running to truly get used to the stress of running. It took awhile, but I’m starting to get that. I am in no place in my training to experiment – Boston is a mere three months awayHowever, I’m going to try to add one more run a week that my former, paranoid self would not have done. Continue to do PT and core and cross training to the max. See how I feel. It can’t hurt…unless, well, it does.

Workouts

I did one workout last week with the Intervals group. It was nice and easy to start: 3 x 10 minute tempo with five minutes rest (mostly active). I felt better as time went on, averaging about 6:59 for the first, 6:42 for the second, and 6:35 for the last. Clearly that was not a workout meant for marathon training, but it’s still early. As the weeks go on though, expect me to be on the prowl for the best marathon-specific workouts others (all of you…) have done…as I said before, this is something I do not want to skimp on over the next three months!

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SHOE REPORT: this just in, from the land of shoes…

New Ravenna: I am still running through the pair of Brooks Ravenna 4s I got in October, but the Ravenna 5 came out January 1st! I’m getting seeded a pair any day now and I can’t wait to try them out!

I tried them on at work on a day I happened to be wearing pink jeans…so much color!

They FINALLY came!

They FINALLY came!

This is the men's Ravenna 5 if you were wondering.

This is the men’s Ravenna 5 if you were wondering.

Sayonara: Riley stopped by today and graciously gave my coworkers and me some lightly-used (former testers) pairs of the Mizuno Wave Sayonara! The first time I tried on this shoe I wasn’t a fan, but it turned out I was trying a half size too big. I wore them for the rest of the day at work and concluded that I really liked them! (It may have helped that they weren’t the magenta ones….) I’d like to try them out for a short and fast workout…I will report back after said workout occurs.

SAY SAYONARA!

SAY SAYONARA!

New Balance Fresh Foam 890This new technology from NB won’t be released until the first of February, but we were given a sneak peak at our annual work party Friday. We’ll all be getting a pair so I shall report back on those as well. It reminds me of the Adidas Boost, but then again we don’t carry Adidas so I was never fully teched on that anyway.

freshfoam

Run Co group pict

Group picture from the party.

Brooks Transcend: Finally, the Transcend is coming out February first as well. I’ve seen the shoe in person several times – heck, I’ve even sat inside of it:

Seattle-20130821-02364…and falsely advertised its release date months after the fact:

franklin-20130923-02595…so long story short: it will be good for this thing to actually get here. In the meantime, I’m channeling the energy garnered from my anticipation toward drawing spaceships:

 I’ll have lots more to say when I actually run in all of these shoes, of course. This got lengthy; I didn’t even realize I had enough to say about shoes to fill an entirely new post until I was well underway!

Ride the Wave: Mizuno Group Run & Rider 16 review

On Thursday night, our Mizuno rep, Riley, paid us a visit for a group run. Similar to our Asics run in January, he had with him dozens of trial shoes in tow. However, Mizuno certainly knows how to start a party! I watched in excitement as a table of snacks, water, beer, giveaway pint glasses and water bottles, and a to-be-raffled backpack unfolded in the store. Nice work, Riley.

I had been looking forward to testing out the Wave Inspire 9, since it feels nice from the few minutes I tried it on at work once. I used to run in the Inspire way back when, in late 2007/early 2008. Now, as you all know, I am a Brooks devotee. I used to be wary about taking a different shoe on a run since I’m so injury-prone and whatnot, and rarely did it when the opportunity presented itself. I’ve since changed my mind and decided to do it, because it really gives me a better idea of how to present the shoe to customers. So, with my luck, there were no Inspires in the bag that were my size, and the sizes around it definitely felt wrong. I tried on the Wave Rider 16 and hopped on the treadmill. I videotaped myself and then analyzed it in slow motion after…and they looked fine! I was surprised, as I thought I would need more stability, but apparently not. Huh. Goes to prove my point that most runners are mildly (or severely) overcorrected if they have never been analyzed running in a neutral shoe! (Haven’t done this? Have no clue what I’m talking about? Go to a good running store, now, and insist on it!)

Thursdays are typically my favorite running day, because I do 7-8 miles wherever the heck I want. I take advantage of my Thursdays. I led the group to Witherspoon Woods – it was the first group run in so long that was light enough to hit up some trails! I felt great, and hardly noticed I wasn’t wearing my Ravennas once we got on the trails. It was an hour of twists and turns and hills, with some interesting talks (did you know that forests can be razed and then grow completely back in just a few hundred years?). I was on such a runner’s high when I returned…cliché, but come on, you know those runs. It’s a real thing. And it’s awesome. So was this stout, to my surprise:

Image

Thoughts on the shoes…most of my expectations before were proven wrong on this run. This is great, because it means I can tell these things to customers from a firsthand experience. Honestly, I want people to come up with and share their own opinions on the shoes, but sometimes you can tell they really want to hear yours, and may even ask.

1. Expectation: narrow forefoot. Reality: even more spacious forefoot than the Ravenna. The stitching placement was perfect, the toe room, height and width, was perfect.

2. Expectation: they are very neutral. Reality: I always thought I needed just a tad of stability, and I was running 100% neutrally in these. I’m not saying it’s stable, it is neutral; but, maybe it is more firm all around (compared to neutral Asics, Nike, etc.).

3. Expectation: Firm ride. Reality: this was definitely true. There was less “bounciness” to the cushion of this shoe than the Ravenna, and many others. I think I like that bounce, but the firmness wasn’t too hard; I could tell there was cushion there.

4. Expectation: hot color. Reality: got that one right too. Loving the coral red.

At the end, I got to keep the shoes! Score! Maybe I’ll rock these Riders on my easy runs this spring.

Speaking of spring, it is finally here! I’m still waiting for the day I can sit outside in a t-shirt and write or read for hours without shivering, though. Jackets are still recommended, I’d say.

Do you run in Mizunos? Thoughts? If you hated the Rider 14 and 15 and swore off the shoe:  listen to me now: TRY THE 16! IT IS SO DIFFERENT AND I THINK YOU WILL FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH IT.

I have like 5 posts to catch up on…going in chronological order here (sooo busy…).