Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A new PR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

O.MY.HECK... I am still giddy :)

This may not seem all that exciting to anyone else who runs because I'm sure you are all WAY faster than me - but I'm finally faster than me too, woo hoo! Last night I asked Luke to run faster than we usually do, and I would try to keep up. That ended up translating into a 9:05 mile - a new outside PR for me! There is even a smallish incline/hill at the reservoir where we run so that is like bonus points lol.

THEN I decided I needed to do some actual hill work after that speed work so I walked .1 and ran the rest of the 1.05 total including going down a .35 mile hill and back up it - 100 ft incline - and finished  in 10:47 - all together that is 2.05 miles in under 20 minutes - another outside PR for me, especially going up that big hill!

I may still be a ground hog - waddling around at the park - but darnit my inner gazelle is trying to get out, slowly but surely! haha

So yaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy for PRs! :)

ps. a PR is a personal record for anyone who has no clue what I'm rambling on about haha.

And tomorrow I get to spend my lunch break going to the doctor because I'm pretty sure I have strained/pulled/torn/who knows?! my soleus muscle... awesome :-p

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New fuel and new shoes!

We tried out some new fuel yesterday on our 8 miler - one was so nasty I could barely get it down but I'll be nice and not mention which brand/flavor that was.
We did find 2 new things we love tho and I ordered a box of each online last night!

For breakfast we had these Gu Chomps - Watermelon flavored - because we didn't have time for real food before our run but needed to make sure we had enough energy to get through the first 4 miles. Generally I would also get breakfast in too but we just didn't have enough time yesterday.

The taste and consistency was great - 1 package is 2 servings so we can split 1 between us which is nice. I felt nice and strong for the first few laps so I think we'll keep using these before our long runs from here on out. Not saying they will make you stronger or faster, but I did feel like I had enough energy to run 4 miles with nothing in my stomach but these. They also didn't upset my stomach which is saying A LOT because I have the most finiky stomach ever!

At mile 4 we took a Powerbar Gel - Vanilla flavored.

The taste was maybe a little too sweet but def. better than some of the others I've tried. The consistency is awesome tho - more liquid than gel and I didn't have to gag it down like the other one we tried and the ones we used last year. You can quickly drink 1/2, drink some water, drink the other half, a little more water - and get back out there. I really think I could get this down while walking too which is important, because those others there is no way I could have without throwing them back up. It didn't irritate my stomach at all for the next 4 miles which is fantastic and I felt like I had a good amount of energy even with those crazy hills.

We still need to find a way to carry our fuel with us when we do runs in town instead of laps at a park, and also for our races. Neither of us have pockets and I'm really not interested in the idea of a fanny pack. Any suggestions are appreciated!! :)

Now on to the best part of this post - our new shoes!! Technically we don't need new shoes until August but I found good deals online and decided to snatch them up while they were there. Our mileage has been higher lately on our current shoes but we can def. get by using them up until the race. My plan is to trade off between old and new shoes in August and then wear the new ones for the race in September. I'm also planning on using them for my 2nd round of training for our race on Dec. 8th which will either be a 1/2 or full marathon.

Luke upgraded to the Ascics Gel Cumulus 13. I read reviews that they are just as good as the 12 version which he's had 2 pairs of so hopefully he will like these just as much. We were planning on just getting another pair of our current version but I found the 13s for the same price as the 12s so it was a no brainer there. Here is what his lovely new shoes will look like:

He is excited to have a new and brighter color this time around. Hopefully they will work as wonderfully for him as his 12s have.

And now for my awesome new shoes!! Picture before the ramble haha.
These are not the exact color I was coveting - Osaka limited edition aqua with yellow along the bottom - but they are bright and fun and it is going to be SO hard to not use them until August lol.

These are the Mizuno Wave Inspire 8. I have the Wave Inspire 7 and really, I could have gotten my same shoes for $25 less than these. However, I read A LOT of reviews and everyone says the 6's were a better fit than the 7's and that the 8's went back the better fit and cushioning of the 6's. I couldn't resist and had to give them a try - and yea, the bright color totally won me over too!
I love my Wave Inspire 7's and have no complaints against them, but if people have been wearing several versions of this shoe and swear that the 8's are more comfortable - who am I to deny my feet that pleasure? :) 

Will let you know if I end up holding out an extra month to use these - maybe it is good for me that they are a pre-order and won't be out until July haha.

O! And speaking of shoes - I am still absolutely loving my Vibram Five Fingers!

At first I was only using them to walk the dog so that my feet could get used to them on an easy 1 mile lap. 2 weeks ago I decided to use them on a jog/walk with a friend at lunch and have absolutely no complaints. The foot strike and feeling are completely different than my Mizunos but I still felt stable and comfortable jogging in them. I tried them out again this week on the same route and still have no complaints.

We have a 2.5 mile course that I'm helping this non-running friend to run bit by bit so I think I'll keep using these shoes for that so my feet can slowly get used to them as we build up her ability to run a little longer each time. Right now we are probably jogging 5 minutes and walking 5 minutes so I'm definitely not overdoing it and setting myself up for injury. After the holidays in July we'll start jogging together twice a week so hopefully my good review of these shoes will last when I start putting them to more use.

That is it for my super long ramble about gear - keep your fingers and toes crossed for us that our training keeps progressing safely and I'll do the same for you! :)

No 10k for us but great training instead!

Yesterday should have been our 10k race but we decided to skip it. It was only going to be 80 degrees out and I could have gotten through it, but I still don't feel comfortable pushing the pace too much in the warm weather and what is the point in signing up for a RACE if you are just going to go at a slow comfortable pace? If that seems like wussing out to you, you should know that my body emits an amazing amount of heat and running in shorts and a tanktop in 50ish degree weather is just heaven to me - yea, I can't handle the heat and get dizzy/pass out easily - not cool.

Last week we did our first 8 mile run and it was rough but we got through it. On Thursday I met up with a friend to do a new running route with a 1.75 mile loop and hills. Apparently she and I had done the easy direction (and let's be honest... we walked and talked for 1/2 of each lap lol) because I def. do not remember going UP huge steep hills on Thursday like we did when Luke and I went back yesterday! Apparently one direction is way easier than the other, so we made sure to switch directions each lap to get the optimum workout in without over doing it. 8 miles of up/down hills later and I was beat. I think we are going to try it again next week - our race up in PA is super hilly so this will be good practice for me... or convince me to find a new race haha.

I can't believe that I was just hoping to be able to do 6.4 miles after 6 weeks of training and I was able to get up to 8 hilly miles in that same amount of time. So happy that my recovery is going so well! I did happen to get a sharp shooting pain on the bottom my left foot while running yesterday and woah buddy did that ever hurt! We walked .25 of a mile while flexing my foot repeatedly and it finally got better so we could finish the last few laps - thank goodness! I also have some weird issue with the lower part of my calf - it really isn't even my calf tho because it is on the side of my leg there - no clue what it is but it has persisted for 4 weeks now. I stretch and roll and ice it and it feels better but never goes away and gets sore each time I run. O well - discomfort I can handle, pain I will avoid - let's hope it doesn't get to the pain stage at any point in time so we can keep training!!

We are way ahead of our training schedule for a 1/2 marathon in September so we made a modified schedule where we are doing each of our long runs twice. We will end up doing 9, 10, 11, 12 mile runs 2 x's each and probably can even get a 13 miler in before we start tapering down before the race if we want to. I think having more long runs like this and having 11 more weeks to build up to 13.1 miles will keep me injury free (I hope!!) and also give me more confidence that I CAN do a half marathon and not keel over at the finish line.

My pace has been slow for these longer runs - a lot slower than I'd like but really I just need to focus on getting to the finish line without getting hurt and hope that in the next 11 weeks my body adjusts to running 90+ minutes in the heat and our pace will go back down naturally. Someone please tell me this is true and I'm not just wishful thinking? haha :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Into the woods...

Memorial Day weekend was BEAUTIFUL and we took a 4 day weekend to play outside as much as possible. It was super humid and hot so our long run that Saturday was basically awful and made me question if I EVER wanted to run again, but fortunately our state park pass arrived before the weekend so we spent some much needed time hiking in the woods and I found my inner runner again by zooming through the trails like a crazy person... even if only 2 minutes at a time :)

I have to say as much as I love running, and as much as I now love hiking, nothing beats running in the woods. It is such a wild and free feeling when you just take off down a path, dodging trees and jumping over rocks and roots, running as fast as you can just for a few minutes... I'm telling you people, it is amazing!

Lukas on one of the two "tree bridges" on our path

There is a nice 3.1 or 4.1 mile loop at the park entrance which is only 5 minutes by car from our apartment. We decided that we really need to get out there 1 or 2 x's a week, especially since it is so close. We went twice during our 4 day weekend and again Wednesday after work and it was a great way to unwind. It is just so pretty and peaceful and fun to get out into nature together - best stress reliever there is.

We also spent some time at the pool on Saturday and Monday which was nice. When it gets that hot out the a/c isn't doing a whole lot more other than keeping a tiny space in our living room cold for the dog, so we decided to get some sun and embrace the heat. I wish we were still working 6a - 3p so we could have extra pool time like last year but o well... guess I will have to brave the scores of loud children on Saturdays like everyone else if I want to get some sun :-p

On Friday we decided to walk to Main Street and get a yummy lunch together - what better to do to celebrate not being at work?! :) We also wandered around and checked out the 2 running gear shops in town to see their minimalist shoe options. I tried on some Vibram Five Fingers running shoes and while Luke HATED them, I absolutely fell in love!

They feel so cool on my feet and all of the research I've done has led me to believe that they will help me to strength my feet, ankles, calves, and improve my form... all of which I need! I found the pair above at a great price during the holiday sales and have been breaking them in for the past  few days. I'm still going to use my normal running shoes for long runs but after I break these in for a bit, I might use them for shorter training runs. So far I'm enjoying them when taking the dog for our mile walks, starting off slow to avoid the injuries people have complained about online. Will let you know what I think after I've had them longer.

And last but not least... a training update.
Although last Saturday's long run was awful, I did get a few runs in during the week inspite of the humidity. On Thursday my 5k before work went really well because it finally cooled down and on Saturday (yesterday) it was even better! A nice 65-70 degrees while we were out in the morning, only around 50% humidity, and we knocked out a 6.4 mile training run in 66:45. That might seem really slow to longterm runners or natural speedsters but for me it was a great pace and faster than 2 weeks ago when we ran our first 5.2 miler.

I've only been back to running for 4 weeks now but I'm feeling good inspite of hip and calf issues that've popped up. As long as it is calling for cool weather on the 16th we will sign up to race our first 10k and first race ever! Honestly tho, if it is going to be hot and humid out, I'm not going to waste my money. We will just go out early in the morning as usual for a training run and save our first race for our 1/2 marathon in September. I haven't been back to running long enough to be used to the heat and humidity and I generally overheat/pass out easily anyway... not worth the risk nor the cruddy race just to say "I did it!"
Pray for cool weather for us tho because I'd really like to do this 10k to get a feel for the race atmosphere before our 1/2 Marathon this fall!

This has been an exciting week for the Fischers since we've finally gotten to go play outside and do something new and interesting. We'll try to take more woodsy pictures on our adventures so this blog is a little less rambly and more optically pleasing :)