Monday, August 20, 2012

Training Update!

I know you have all missed my running rambling lately ;-) so here is a nice long training update for you. If you want to know what else we've been up to in the last couple of months, check out my next post.

First of all let me just say that I LOVE my Vibram Five Fingers. I realized however that my size 41s are stretching out and getting more comfortable each time I wear them but that also means loose - which isn't great for running shoes. After much begging and pleading and convincing (ok it didn't take that much haha) Lukas agreed that I should get a smaller pair so I got these lovelies - o my heck I'm in love with the orange/pink awesomness!

Aren't they awesome?? :) They were a bit snug when I first got them which made me a little nervous but after wearing them around the house a few times they loosed up across the top of my foot and now they fit like a dream. I am sooooooooo glad I got a size smaller!

However, my VFF obsession didn't stop there. Lukas and I have been doing a lot of trail running lately and I absolutely LOVE it. We only do a 5k loop but it is so much fun and definitely a lot more challenging for me with the trails and hills than our normal road runs. I tried my VFF Bikilas out on a trail walk one day with a few short jogs and they were definitely TOO minimalist for me with the rocks and roots and everything else poking the bottom of my foot. They are the best road shoes but definitely not a multi-purpose shoe.

So what is a girl to do? Research of course! We went to a few stores and I tried on several models and read TONS of reviews and in the end I got my heart set on a pair of VFF Komodosports. They fit a lot like the bikila and have a seamless toe area which a lot of the others didn't - and those others bugged my feet just trying them on! If I was going to do major hiking in them, they probably wouldn't be the best choice, but just for our state park trail runs I figured they would be good. Thanks to a little birthday money from my mom, I am now the new proud owner of these:

The color is more periwinkle than bright blue in person but basically they are awesome -only second in awesomeness to my pink ones ;-) And how are they on the trail you may wonder? FANTASTIC! Ok... so I did stub my toe once and it felt like it almost got ripped off - but hopefully I'll learn to be more careful with practice and won't actually break anything in the future. You still have great groundfeel with them - but a lot more protection from the bigger pointy things than the bikilas offered. I love love LOVE running in these "barefoot" shoes on trails - ultimate runners high for me :)

One minor issue tho... they are causing me some pain in the side of my calf. Now mind you, I had this pain before. During our first 2 months of getting back to running earlier this year it got progressively worse and was causing me a lot of worry so I finally went to the doctor and got some inserts which made it mostly go away. I think it needed some more time to heal completely tho and overexcited me went and ran a full 5k as soon as I got my new shoes so I probably just irritated it. My bikilas didn't bother that area much - just made my main calf muscle sore if I used them too much too quickly - so I don't think this will be a reoccurring problem. I took a week off of using them and will try them again this week. If either my bikilas or the komodosport make that area sore again, I'll probably put them away until after our 1/2 marathon just in case - but I'm not anticipating major issues if I don't push the mileage in them too much. To be fair, I've only been using my bikilas for a couple months and that really has only been about once a week doing a 35 min walk/jog loop with my friend on our lunch break - and that is probably about 1 mile jogging and 1.5 miles walking… so not quite enough to get me ready for a full trail 5k :-) I blame myself, and not the shoes… and hopefully I’m right because man I love running in both of these VFFs and would hate to give it up or not be able to increase my mileage in the one day!

And speaking, of 1/2 marathon training... it has been going pretty well. Due to vacation and weather we've had a few "easy" weeks which I think has been really good for us to let our bodies recover a bit. We had a fantastic 9 mile run last month in nice cool weather which made me super happy but it has been soooooooo hot and humid these past 2 months in general that we’ve decided to give ourselves some extra time to train and pushed our race goal back to September 29th. This race is up in Lancaster County, PA too – VERY hilly Amish country – just like the other one. We’ve been getting some really good hill training in lately so that is making me feel more confident about the race and having 3 extra weeks to train and let the weather cool down will hopefully help. My pace has been a lot slower than I’d like due to the weather but I can’t do anything about that so we are just training as best we can and will keep our fingers crossed for a cool and breezy race day in Sept. I have a secret time goal in mind but I'll just keep that to myself because really, I just want to be able to finish it and if the hills or heat or humidity keeps me from hitting my time goal that is ok, there is always another race. This will be my first race ever and for a super non-atheltic giraffe, I'm pretty proud of the progress I've made :)

Last weekend – the 10th of August – we had a nice 10.4 mile long run. This is our longest run so far in our training and the longest I’ve ever run in my entire life. I was soooo happy that we made it and we were both relatively pain free after stretching. We did a 7.5 mile hilly run last week and will do the same this week since we might go to the beach and therefore don't have time for something longer, but that will still give us 2 weeks for 10+ mile runs before we start tapering down. I really believe that I can do the 13.1 mile distance now but I’ll be glad to have the extra weeks of hill and trail training and the last 2 long runs to boost my confidence and endurance. We’ll probably sign up for the race around Labor Day weekend once we decide for sure everything is ok, no one is hurt, etc. so keep your fingers crossed for us that all keeps going smoothly!

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