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!

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

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!

One week to go!

I can’t believe there is only one more week left until the half marathon! I realized I never “announced” which one I was running! Back in January, I decided a half marathon around the third week of March would be ideal for my training plan and my history of when I tend to feel best in a training cycle. I thought about the RnR USA Half on March 16, but thought there were too many logistics to worry about (place to crash, etc.), so I chose the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon in Wilmington, Delaware on Sunday the 17th. (It was cheaper than USA, too….)

This sounds strange, but I set my goal for this race on July 30, 2011. That was River to Sea, when I averaged 7:05 pace for both my first 6.5-mile leg and my second 7.95-mile leg and felt even better at the end of that last one. It was then that I realized I could probably run a half marathon, race it, fast. Obviously, things did not work out at all regarding this plan since that day. So, I am finally running this half marathon that I planned to run, hypothetically, in 2011. I had done two workouts prior to the relay…as in, two workouts in July having not been ready for them since the prior March due to injury. My goal right now, for next week? I would like to run under 1:35:00, meaning 7:15 pace or faster. Doable. I know it is. Some days I am really confident, others I am not. I think that means this is a good goal. 

I skipped the Intervals workout Tuesday for the first time this season, so I could finally  get this tempo run over with. It was sad. But I am glad I did the tempo. Tempo day was Thursday, but it may as well have been Tuesday, because I was flying on Tuesday. Unfortunately, I paid for it Thursday, because I was tired. I mapped a five mile route…actually, like five of them, but I finally decided to do a mix of towpath and hilly roads, to mimic the elevation profile of the race, on a smaller scale. Oh, want to see it? It’s beautiful:

More on this later.

The weather was strange, cold and warm at the same time, humid, snowing, raining, not raining – just confusing. I wore shorts, obviously, and sweat like crazy of course. I did a longer warmup than I intended. At 7:38 pace. Short story: it was not my ideal tempo day, but in the end, I thought this might be a good thing. All my workouts have been mentally easy, and somewhat physically easy, so I needed to be prepared for this come next week, just in case. I wrote the mile marker landmarks on my arm. I hate writing on myself for some reason, but I had to do what I had to do! Reason #1 why I need a Garmin!

…does anyone else do this for tempo runs? Or am I just a lone, sad GPS-less runner?

Splits…well, approximately (+/- ~2 seconds?) since I did not specify which side of each house/driveway I was supposed to split my watch: 6:44 (flat towpath and climbing up from the lake), 7:12 (hilly roads, mini shock to the system for a moment), 7:11 (more hilly roads, almost quit), 6:54 (uphill, flat, and downhill roads), 6:29 (all flat towpath, might have stopped a little early, around 20 meters?). The splits sound so varied, but the “course” I mapped was even more rolling than I thought it would be! At the end, I was sufficiently spent. The nice cooldown felt well deserved and good, like cooldowns post-workout should be. 

I literally ran to work, and later that day, we received a visit from our New Balance rep, who is super cool. There was this movement around Princeton a couple years ago called “Eat More Kale.” It is a Vermont thing, apparently (and a hipster thing…a vegetarian thing, the list goes on…), but it was big here; people had bumper stickers and t-shirts. Anyway, now we are going for “Sell More New Balance!” They have reinvented themselves, make good running shoes, and deserve to be known, and worn! I like any excuse for dinner and drinks post-work, so it was a good night. 

I am a bit behind on writing, but next up will be my run at Watchung Reservation with fellow RunCo employees this morning, and some interesting, thought-provoking (if I say so myself) musings about life that came to me this (great) weekend. 

In the meantime, a few questions for you: What are your initial thoughts when you hear “New Balance” in regards to running? Have you/do you run in NB? How much longer can I get away with training without a Garmin and not waste a ridiculous amount of time mapping routes and writing on my arm?