Wednesday, February 24, 2010

HMRRC Winter Marathon... Race Ratings (#24)

Tagline: "Lowest Entry Fee for a FAST course"
2010 HMRRC Winter Marathon ~ February 21, 2010
Albany, NY ~ SUNY Albany Campus
Registration Fee: $15 early ($25 late). $5 Discount for HMRRC members
Runners: 90 in the marathon (Plus relay teams)
Available Races: Marathon and 3-Person Marathon Relay
Average Finish Time: 3:53:11
BQ %: 36.7% (Second best BQ% race-- the 3rd is the HMRRC Fall Marathon)
Weather: "Cloudy, 34 degrees, 55 percent humidity, Wind: 13 mph WNW"

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.2/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 4.0/5.0

~ Great race with the lowest entry fee! This is definitely a race with some serious runners looking for a BQ time. Don't go for a scenic course, but if you're looking for a fast course with great support this is it.

Race Director: Let's place race director...
~ The only thing this race really lacked was an additional port-a-john (there may have been one there, but I didn't see it) and a medal! If I'm running 26.2 miles I wants a medal (even if that means paying $5 more. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this race and hope to run it again and try for another PR.

Event Organization: 4.0/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll go ahead and include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: 7 Miles (10 min)
Rental Car Required: Yes
~ Mail in app's only! If you're like me and have only snail-mailed twice in your life this isn't ideal (don't worry, MB sent it in for me). You can also sign up on race day so no worries. This is a very simple race with a simple race site but they give you all the necessary information including weather, travel, and detailed course information. They provide all the historical results in one place. The race is very close to the airport along with hotels if you need one.

Race Organization: 4.2/5.0
~ The race is held at SUNY Albany (state univerysity) so you have space indoors to stay warm, stretch, use the resti, etc. They also have bagels and drinks before the race if you're hungry. This is a looped course (most loops about 5.7 miles) so the start/stop/loop turn around, there is a port-a-john, drinks, cheering section and relay hand-off spot. There was another water stop about halfway through the loop with gatorade and water, so you had water about every 3 miles. I don't believe there was another port-a-john stop besides the one at the loop end. The race also did not have GU provided, but for the entry fee I didn't really expect it. Also, with the course being looped you could leave all your GU needs at the turn around or with friends.
~Post Race Food: (new sub catagory) Food before AND after. Post race food had a little of everything-- pizza, cookies, snacks, soup, drinks, anything you need. And they definitely had enough even though many of the relay teams were done long before I was.

Course: 4.6/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating

~ I was a big fan of this course. I like to call this "upstate NY flat"-- if you're from there you would probably call the course flat, but most others would call it rolling hlls. There were no major uphills, but if  was a constant rolling hill. I'm a fan of these easy graded hills because they help change up the muscles that get worked out. I really enjoy looped courses. I like knowing what to expect, especially if you're going after a fast time. I also like being able to break a course up by shorter distances at a time. You're definitely not going to get a whole lot of sight-seeing in Albany in the winter (run their fall marathon for that).

Spectators: 4.2/5.0
~ This is a college campus and a Sunday-- aka nobody is out that early! This is a smaller race but the course is pretty clear if you have spectators out in cars (aka my pit crew chief). The turn-around point for the course is also the hand-off for the relay so there are lots of people there cheering you on.

Pace Group: /5.0

Runner/Corrals: 4.5/5.0
~ No corrals (duh) but this was a very interesting group of runners for such a small race. It seemed like there were a LOT of people out there for BQ time. In a race that small my time would normally get me in the top 3 women, but I was all the way down in 7th! 31 of the 90 runners made a BQ time! Everybody was very friendly and it was neat to be able to see the really fast runners as you past by the turn-around.

Expo: /5.0

Swag: 2.4/5.0
~T-Shirts: They ended up giving out crew neck, simple, sweatshirts for the first time at this race. They were comfy and unexpected for the price you're paying. I liked them :) 2.9
~Medals: No Medals :( -.5
~ Goodie Bag: None

Stephanie~ Marathon
Time: 3:35:41
Place: Overall 27/90 ~ Gender 7/20 ~ No Age Group

Relay Team 3F 120-
Time: 3:53:30
Place: 3Females, 120 years and below (combined age): 3/7

Monday, February 22, 2010


I ran the HMRRC winter marathon yesterday and guess what? (like you have to guess after reading the title)... I MADE BQ TIME!!!! 3:35:41!

I couldn't be more excited, especially after some of the races I've had lately. First I ran a double in Jan and hurt my ankle. Then I had the Myrtle Beach Marathon cancelled last week, taking away NY (this week) as my official halfway there marathon. Well yesterday made up for all of that! I ran my first BQ time. This takes a LOAD of stress off me since A) This is a huge goal in general and B) I have always planned on running Boston as my 50th state in 2011. That meant I HAD to make it asap-- talk about putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.

I ran with tons of support from my pit crew chief, MB, and Jenn who was running on my relay team-- oh yeah, the first 9 miles of the marathon also counted as the first leg of a relay. Our relay team came in 3rd in our division with a 3:53:30. Good job MB & Jenn! Friends and family were at the finish and I ran in crying my eyes out along with MB (happy crying of course).

More to come on my post-race throughts and the post race "Almost Halfway There Party!" Sneak preview: I made a second accomplishment for the day-- consumed the most martinis I have ever had in my entire life!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

SC FAIL and NY ALMOST half-way there!

South Carolina = FAIL!
Last weekend I was unable to complete my South Carolina  marathon as the race was cancelled due to "bad weather." (see picture below of the oh so ominous weather conditions).

I'm happy that this happened in early 2009 as I still have a chance to run the race again next year (if I choose to take my chances) before my goal time to complete the 50 states. Running 2 to 3 marathons a month, you're likely to miss one either by your own faul (missed planes, injury, sickness) or by the fault of the race (cancelled, time issues, etc.). I'm hoping this is my 1 miss and I'll be good going forward (knock on wood!)

I'm a little UNhappy because this weekend is supposed to be my 25th state and we'll be having a "Halfway There" post-race party. Nowwww it will be my (Almost) Halfway There party.

New York Almost Halfway There!
I'll be making my way home for my 24th state--- New York!!!! I'm originally from the Albany area and the race is in Albany. This marathon is TINY with no medals or post race party, so we'll be making our own little post-race action! (more to come in my race RUNdown) If you're running the marathon or relay and would like to join let me know and I'll send you the flier!

I'm definitely excited to go home and have some serious spectators from my hometown and family! I have a good feeling that after this past weekend, Albany is going to be a great race, because....

"I’m from the empire state that’s
In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There’s nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York..."

1 More thing! Suzy (who will also be participating in the Albany marathon on a relay) tagged me yesterday with this SuNsHiNe AwArD!
I guess it's my turn to tag 12 buddies that bring me sunshine with their blogs and leave them a comment, so here goes...

1) Marlene - My fav Canadian for always being so positive and happy-- and esp. for posting the Olympic medal count on her running blog!! GO USA! And go Canada for their first home gold medals!
2) Mel - For not going crazy while keeping track of a few hundred runners making their way to 1000 miles in 2010!
3) Heather - For sticking with her run this saturday following the cancellation of the Myrtle Beach half marathon.
4) Jill, Rick, Libby, Ewa, Emily, Shut Up and Run    for their kind words and support immediately following my Sat morning wake up call to NO snow and a cancelled marathon! I was bummed, but it was nice to have bloggie friends that were so encouraging! 
5) Marcia - For a great blog to follow and always being so encouraging!
6) B.O.B and Morgan - Yeah, I know I call them out all the time for hilarious run-blogging! They're going to start thinking I'm some sort of crazy run/blog stalker soon! Oh well-- still hilarious-- go read up!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Marathon Spirit Shines at the Cancelled Myrtle Beach Marathon!

I thought flying into MB was going to be the more difficult part of this trip. Our flight was cancelled, but somehow we managed to get rebooked on a once "full" flight leaving at 10:30pm. Once we got on the plane and shut the doors the pilot announced that there would be a long wait for a spot to get de-iced. 2.5 hours later we finally took off!!! What's worse? As soon as we got on the plane, myself and several dozen other marathoners get an email saying... the marathon has been cancelled due to "unsafe" weather conditions.

Marathon Spirit!
They took down the mile signs and water stop. They opened the roads up to the cars and told the spectators the race was off. But what did you find this morninig? ... HUNDREDS of half, full, and relay team marathon runners all around the marathon course-- some still running the FULL marathon! The city could call the race off, but they can't stop us from doing our sport!!! There were cars following runners with water, cups, and GU. There were spectators coming out and yelling "good for you!" to the runners!

The "Unsafe conditions":
Right! When I went out to run at 9am the roads and sidewalks were COMPLETELY clear or snow or ice. But 10am it was WARM outside and I had ot shed layers. To the right you can see my "I'm so scared of the HORRIBLE weather conditions" face as I stand on a dry sidewalk and clear road. Hmmm. The city of Myrtle Beach and I need to have a chat!!!

I caught up with some of the marathon runners actually running the marathon on their own. Some started at the 7:00am start and some just started from their hotels on the loop-- they came here to run 26.2 miles and they were going to run 26.2 miles. One woman I ran with was crankin and when I finally looked at my watch I realized I had run over 1.5 extra miles out. Oops. So ~11 miles later I'm back and ready to enjoy Myrtle Beach!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Myrtle Beach Marathon~ Race RUNdown (SC#24)

We're seen some serious drama here at Steph's 50 Marathon Challenge since my January Frozen Double Marathon Weekend. I nearly froze to death in both races, fell in the second marathon banging my knee, and then purposely ran with an extremely overpronated right foot because that was the only position my knee felt good in. Well that turned into tendentious on the tendon that runs under your foot and keeps you from overpronating (yeah, ok). Since then, I've felt better-- but I went for a 17-miler this past weekend in the snow and ice and I think FROZE my achilles on the same foot. It's been a little crazy, but I'm hoping for that "bad practice makes a great performance" kind of situation... or at least not getting hurt and finishing able to run my 25th-state marathon next week!!!!

Inspiration Points...
1. Warmth!!! I will finally be running in warmer weather-- high 40's with SUN! I've been hurting myself in the cold, so I'm hoping the warmth keeps my muscles loose and warm!
2. Kyle will be joinging me since it's Valentines Day Weekend :) He's been to 2 marathons and is an exceptional marathon spectator! We'll be taking a vacation day and be making a trip out of Myrtle Beach!!
3. NEW SHOES!!! If you've been reading along, I've had quite the little jaunt with new sneakers, throwing myself into "barefoot running." I won't be going all out and using the vibrams, but I will be using the next step up-- Nike Free 5.0's!
4. FINALLY excited. It's so hard to be excited for a marathon when you're full of nerves about being/getting hurt. I'm feeling better and hoping to keep up a positive attitude about the race! OOH maybe I should read "Born to Run" again-- that gets my blood pumpin!

SC Race RUNdown...
Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon ~ Saturday Feb 13, 2010 (#24)
Myrtle Beach, SC
Registration Fees: $70 early ($90 late, $110)--SOLD OUT before Feb!!!
Year Running: 10+
2010 Expected Field: 2,750 was max and it's been sold out. There will be another 3.8K in the half!
2009 Field: 1825 Finishers
... Females: 684 ... Age Group: 61
2008 Avg. Finish Time: 4:25:54
Well I WAS excited about warm weather but now it looks like it's going to be a litttttle chilly. NOT as bad as the last 2. WHY can't we have Sundays weather on Saturday??? It would be PERFECT! Let's all pray to the weather gods and hope that it warms up in the am and we get rain showers instead or no showers at all! At least I know it won't be hot and sunny :)

MarathonGuide Rating:
Garmin Distance: I try and look at what people measure the course as. I've seen about a +.16 to +.25 extra mileage for this race. That's a big gap compared to what I've seen in the past!
FLAT! I'm not a pancake flat runner, but maybe this will be good considering all the achilles problems I've been having! The course looks to wrap around the hotels, small neighborhoods and the OCEAN!!! Yay.

This is one comment I found on MarathonGuide:
"As flat as you could want, and not congested at all; there's no excuse for not hitting a PB here" -- wow, no pressure there!

Race 411: This is definitely an EVENT-- not just a marathon. They've been sending an endless number of emails for pre and post race events. There are fireworks the night after as well as 2 different post race parties- one for adults only!
~ Gone Green! As of 2009 this is a "green" marathon.
~ Swag has been kicked up a notch! Due to prior year complaints, there was a resounding response from the race directors with great new swag. Can't wait to see what they have in store for 2010.
~ Port-O-Pots ~ every 2 miles! yesssss
~ Spectators, I've heard, are far and few between but I can't imagine you need them when you're running on the BEACH!!!!!
~ Chip Issues??? Say it ain't so!!! Last year there were some timing chip issues. People had finished and their splits counted, but they had DNFs when they had finished. Yikes-- no thanks! I will kill somebody if that happens. If you read their news articles before the race this is what they had to say...
"The Myrtle Beach Marathon and RMS Sports are proud to announce the use of a new timing system. We will be using the Chronotrack system, which promises 99.8% accuracy." - MB Marathon Site. Maybe they should have stuck with the OLD timing system.

Race Plan: I have a 3 step plan for this race...
1) DON'T Get hurt... or further hurt!
2) Enjoy the race and the weekend
3) Go for time! This is my first of 5 in 7 weeks, so I'll be too tired to push it toward the end. If I can make a good time here without getting hurt, I'll go for it!

Athlete's Spa Pack!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Evolution of Steph's Running Shoes

That's right! My new shoes came yesterday!!! My new Nike Free 5.0's. I'm hoping they help to find a nice balance between "normal" sneakers and my vibrams. My sneaker evolution didn't exactly go on the normal track-- sneakers, Free's, vibrams/barefoot, but that's ok. I'm hoping because of my experience in vibrams I won't need too much work to transition into the Frees.

Barefoot Running: I tried my hand at barefoot running with the vibrams and liked it, but with my ankle issues I was concerned about trying to use the vibrams this weekend and next for marathons. I want to give it a few more weeks and maybe try them in a March marathon. For now, I was trying to find a middle ground as the sneakers are too heavy and the vibrams need just a little more support. The Free's are supposed to help find that balance!

Nike Free 5.0: As you know, I did contact vibrams about their suggestions for transition and they sent back a response suggestion I use this site.  I sent Nike a similar note and they sent back  a prompt response to my request RE the free's: transitioning and their suggestions on distance (is a marathon ok?):

"Hello Stephanie,

That is amazing and very ambitious of you to complete that many marathons!

Here is some information regarding the Free technology, it was inspired by the idea of barefoot training, the Nike Free 5.0 Runner shoe allows natural motion which not only works to strengthen your feet, but your entire body. Stronger, more flexible feet mean better performance and less injury. The secret is a midsole that works with your foot, driven by your foot. The dynamically engineered upper, made of Escaine, a Japanese synthetic suede with fiber base, works in coordination with an extremely innovative midsole. An “unshoe” sensation creates a smooth ride, feel, flow and flex.
As in any training program there are risks. These can usually be avoided with proper use and by following a progressive training regimen. A Nike Free training program is included in the shoe box. Also, do not over extend your training and back off if you begin to notice pain or early signs of overuse.
And it always depends on the athlete, his/her anatomy and a potential predisposition to injury, past history of injuries, body type, running style, training methods, surface conditions and a variety of risk factors.
Don't hesitate to email me back or call 1-800-806-6453 5 a.m. - 10 p.m. Pacific Time, Seven days a week if you have further questions.
Best regards,
It sounds like these are just the type of shoe I'm looking for. I wasn't supposed to run yesterday, but I had to test them out a little!!! Very light -- the entire package they sent (including box, packaging, etc) was 2lbs. I have the same flexability as the vibrams and as I ran I felt myself pulling my legs underneath and standing up straight the way I did with the vibrams. It will take a little more testing-- but I would like to see if this is because of the shoes or because of the good form I've picked up from the vibrams.
FLEX! They're sneakers and they cover more than the vibrams, but they still allow the same flexability as mentioned in their letter above.
<-- can your sneakers do THAT? FUN!!!
Along with my new shoes, came much more snow! As I hurt myself enough in the snow this past weekend and since I have a marathon this weekend I will not be running outside today. I'll go to the gym and test them out a bit on the treatmill.
Yesterday, I tested them out indoors as I did a few series on my new Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred!!! Great workout, but if you're an active athlete I would suggest doing 2 or more of the series at a time if that's your full workout. If you're adding it onto your run or another cardio workout do 1 series.
That's about it-- gearing up for the marathon this weekend and what is looking to be MUCH nicer weather! :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

17 Mile Freeze and Tapering begins... :(

Over Friday/Saturday early morning we were hit with a snow/ice storm my way. Being the impatient little tyke that I am, I didn't want to wait til Sun to get my 17 miler in and I opted to do some snow-shoeing instead! I ran the first 8 by myself, then I met up with my new-to-marathoning friend, D, for the last 9. She's running the Flying Pig half in May and had a 9-miler scheduled for this weekend. The first 8 miles I ran around the neighborhood (hyde park) and probably 10% of the sidewalks were cleared. On top of that, cars line both sides of the street so I didn't so much have the option to run in the streets if I wanted to avoid getting hit by a car....

... ok, so at one point a smll part of me DID hope to get hit by a car. It felt like running on sand and I was getting nowhere. On top of that, I was running in real sneakers (ick) instead of my vibrams so my legs felt like bricks again.

I picked up D and we set out on the back part of the Flying pig loop, then crossed over to the middle portion of the course. If you're unfamiliar with "The Pig" this is where you hit the "Eden Park Hill." This hill is often compared to Boston's Heart Break Hill-- although the Pig is both longer and steeper! The half marathon also runs this hill, so I wanted to take her on the toughest part of the course. She made it with no problem at all!

Fast Forward....

Later that day (post-shower), icing, stretching (a little) I felt a little funny in my achilles (in the same foot that I have a strained Posterior Tibialous). I started to rub the achilles a little and flexed my foot only to hear and feel the strangest sound/feeling EVER... There is no real way to describe it but it kind of felt like a rubber band or 2 pieces of rubber that were rubbing against each other in opposite directions. It wasn't bending and flexing smoothly and making a creeking kind of sound. I know... totally weird!!! HOW do these things keep happening??? I ran 18 marathon last year without so much as a muscle ache and now I'm hurting everything on me!!! I blame winter!!!

I thought back to the run and there was  a point I had a little tightness in that achilles. We had run through some frozen puddles and my feet got wet-- as well as the compression band I had around my ankle. That had gotten frozen and I think it may have frozen my achilles area a little too. Eeek. Sooo it's still making that sound, but it's not as bad. I took yesterday off and I'll be taking today and possibly tomorrow-- good thing this is a tapering week!!!

That's right! Tapering begins today for my marathon THIS WEEKEND. I'm hoping that all my ligaments and tendons decide to function correctly and I'm giving them some serious down time this week. Stretching and icing will be my primary focus. My goal is to stay health this week and this weekend because I have February Marathon #2 next weekend in Albany, NY! My 25th state and hopefully half-way-there race (as long as my ankle coorporates).

I going to need some serious voodo or good mojo toward my ankle this week/weekend!!! Stay tuned.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Happy 100 Followers and Photo Friday!!!

Yesterday I logged onto my account and realized... Steph's 50 Marathon Challenge now has
~*~*~*100 WONDERFUL FOLLOWERS!!!*~*~*~*~

Yay!!!! I remember when my mom was the only person commenting on my post ;). It's been about a year since I started my blog and I've read some wonderful stories and learned a lot from all the blogs I'm following. I hope I'm giving back to the Run~Blog~Sleep Community! I know some of the followers who are always reading and contributing, shout-outs to some of my fav Run-Bloggies (Bloggies I hear from often and/or with great blogs you need to follow):

Marlene (Mission to a(nother) Marathon)  ~ Always sweet and one of the first to comments. Can't wait to meet you in Seattle! Oooh right... I may be in Ontario earlier for a Dr. appt and some lunch ;)

Mel (Tall Mom on the Run)  ~ Ok who DOESN'T love Mel? If she's not sending you motivational emails or going to bat for you against race directors, then she's helping set and complete running goals for 300+ runners!

Shelly (shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama) ~ A dedicate mom, runner and blogger.... puts in more mileage than anybody I know and still has time to check in on all of our blogs!

Anna (Anna Banana) ~ Anna seems to always be up for an encouraging word and with a love for running, she has a wonderful blog with some fun goals ahead. I'll be seeing Anna for one of my doubles in April... as long as I can figure out which state her city is located in!

Morgan (CAUTION: Redhead Running) and Beth (B.o.B.) ~ Can't help but think of them as one because you usually get to read about 1 long run from 2 perspectives. Both hilarious in their own way and doing great in their marathon goals!

100th Follower~ Carlee (Chasing Forest Gump) ~ I just found her blog when I saw she was my 100th follower. From my initial reading it looks like she puts in a TON of mileage. Can't wait to read more!!!

There are MANY many many more but as I go to copy your web addy's I'm reading them all and it's taken me about an hour just to get the few listed above! Thanks everyone for following and as always ... if you're planning on being in one of the states listed in the link at the top  (Upcoming Runs) just let me know!!! I love running buddies.

If you're new or have been following and keeping on the DL I would love to hear from you... 
~Where are you from???
~What are your running goals???
~Tell me a little about YOU!

Photo Friday!

Earlier this week I posted that I bought the new Nike Frees online in hopes to have a balance between sneakers and Vibrams for the 2 upcoming marathons. Well as you can see these are NOT Nike Frees. They are my old Asics. Apparently by "2 days" finish line actually means "1 week" Grrr so I needed to get something for my long run this weekend. It's going to be cold and I need a little more support for my 17 miler.... so off I went for my 7 mile run.

This was SO weird... I felt like I had lead in my legs and it probably sounded like an earthquake wherever I ran. I imagined people running for cover as I ran toward them.

My New Friends! So I was running up a hill in a popular running area of Cinci (Hyde Park) as a girl came down in the other direction she said "Watch out for the Deer." This is not exactly a "Deer friendly" area as it's very populated and not very close to the woods. Once in a while 1 or 2 will wonder in and they'll call people to get them out (hopefully in a friendly manner). But when I came over the hill there were these 2 guys on one side (cute, huh?) But as I kept going I realized what the other runner was talking about-- there were at least another 7 on the other side!!! That's a lot of deer. Maybe they're hiding from hunters-- smart deer!!!

(Double click the picture to make it bigger and see my new friends!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hotel Speedwork and Recovery!

Travel a lot?? Zipping around hotels and finding a hard time to get your miles in?? Well this week I'm in South Bend, IN! (woo hoo??). I knew I wouldn't be able to workout tomorrow so I made sure I was able to get in a solid run tonight.

No offense to you fighting Irish fans, but South Bend isn't the most exciting place in the world outside of football season (and probably doesn't change much during football season either). Knowing south bend, the weather would not be on my side and either would the safety of the streets, so I made sure to find a hotel with...

1) A decent workout room
2) A pool/spa area with a hot tub

The Deathmill and I are definitely becoming better friends!! I'm still not thrilled to be on it and it takes some effort to keep from walking off, but I found a good way to get my miles in and hardly notice... speedwork! If you remember, last week I did my speedwork on a treadmill and left this post about it! My ladders were great, but I wanted something to push a little harder-- to push the speed-endurance. So, I took on a few:

Mile Repeats!!
Repeat 1: 7:41 pace -- Complete!
Repeat 2: 7:39 pace -- Complete!
Repeat 3: 7:30 pace -- Complete!
Repeat 4: 7:20 Pace -- Complete!
I did about .25 miles of jogging/walking between with a good cooldown for a total of 5.5miles

*Isn't the post-speedwork feeling just awesome???* I like the sweat and the tight legs that say "you kicked butt!" I think this is why I like working them on treadmills-- you get extra hot and sweaty.

Recovery- Hotel Style!
I knew I'd be traveling and I thought I would take advantage of the hotel hot tub! Since my ankle is still a little injured and hot tubs are great for injuries I jumped right in!! I started with 10-15 min warm-up with my feet in the tub. I stretched out a little and was ready for my speedwork!

Following my workout I did a quick 10 minutes with an ice pack-- *Yep, brought my ice pack with me and stuck it in the freezer during my workoug.* After my ice time (NOTE: Always ice before heat for injuries!!!!) I did another 10-15 in the hot tub with a little massage.

So far so good! My ankle feels better than it has in a while. I think I'll take one more dip in the morning. :) For now... off to bed so I can wakeup early and brainwash provide job opportunities for young Notre Dame students. Goodnight from my new workout facility/spa-- The Holiday Inn!

Happy Running,

PS! If you haven't already please check out my Daily Mile Cheez Burger Meter!!! MY favorite post-marathon meal and boy have I earned them!!! -->

Race Day Staples at Running with Babes!!!

All over the place-- Vibrams to Frees

Yes, I'm certainly going about my shoe choice out of order. It seems that the logical progression into barefoot running would be normal sneakers, then Nike Free's, and THEN vibrams. But, I always leap before I look.

Vibrams go just when its getting good:
As I said in my last post, I was concerned about being vibram-marathon ready by the Myrtle Beach Marathon (1.5 weeks away). I was still getting a little ache in my ankle with the Vibrams and I don't want to take the risk when I have back to back marathons, 2 weeks in a row.

However, as I went on my run last night I finally found my stride! Yes, you're supposed to run more on the front of your feet wth the vibrams, but I think i was landing at such an angle, I was sort of jamming in my foot/ankle with each stride. Last night, I started out my run with an easy 2 then I picked it up. I found that when I picked it up, my feet were actually pulling further under me rather than reaching out. My legs were picking up, but landed directly underneath me in shorter, yet faster, strides with a big kick back. It felt great and before I knew it, my easy 6 turned into a hard 7.1 at about an 8 min/mile pace.

Nike Free? Possible middle ground?
I knew I wanted to go back to shoes and help support my ankle a little more-- just until these 2 marathons are done and I have a longer break (you know-- a whole 3 weeks) to really get used to the vibrams before declaring them marathon ready. But then I thought...

"What about the time I've put into the vibrams already? What about all the posts I've made on helping my form and building those small running muscles in your feet and ankles? Can I go back  on all that now??"

There has to be a good solution for this... of course there is!! Nike Frees! They're more of a shoe, but still made as a middle ground for barefoot running. I think they'll give me just a LITTLE extra stability I'll need until my ankle is 100%, but still allow me to keep up my barefoot ways. They should be coming this week... cross your fingers that I've found my marathon race shoe solution!!!! Until then, I have 1 more workout in my vibrams (deathmill speed workout) at my hotel when I get to Notre Dame. I'm going for a recruitment day tomorrow and I made sure to get a hotel with a gym so I could get my workout in!! And please, don't tell my vibrams I'm cheating on them-- I would feel horrible if they found out. Off for a 4-5 hour drive (yuck). Wish me luck.

Happy Running,

Mell (Tall Mom) has a recovery sock give a way!! Yay if you go tell her I sent you :) :) :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's Flipping Cold! and VFF short retirement?? :(

You know what's not good for a tight ankle? The cold! I waited until about noon to go on my long run for the week, in hopes that it would warm up. It got sunny, but the windchill was brutal. It was SO cold! How cold was it?....

Top 5 it was so cold...
5) It was so cold I had to keep and eye on my feet to be sure they were hitting the pavement-- I couldn't feel them. I also couldn't feel my butt for hours after. Seriously, you could have full on Turkey-ed me and I wouldn't have felt it.
4) It was so cold, that in the middle of the day people were running with full ski masks
3) It was so cold, I thought about all your Southern/warm state runners in your 40 and 50 degree temps wearing cold weather gear and complaining. Then I thought about how much I wanted to drive to your 40-50 degree temps, put you in my car then bring you to the death loop I was currently on and make you sit there until I could Turkey you and you wouldn't feel it! *Don't worry, I'm feeling better now. You may continue to follow my blog without fear*
2) It was so cold, that when I stopped in the grocery store after (still wearing my full gear- gloves, hat, etc) the pharmacist laughed at me when I tried to chatter out what I needed. I can't blame him, I was sort of standing/walking in a "my knees are so tight and my body won't uncoil until I get warm" half-squat
1) I stopped in a frozen, yet clean, port a potty for 5 minutes and contemplated staying there until spring to avoid the cold. This is one of the many reasons I thank god for port-o-potties... Love me some port-o-potty!

Saturday was unbelievable, but I knew I would be going out Saturday night and Sunday wouldn't be a long run option day-- yeah, I have my priorities straight! So I threw on  many layers and headed out to the local airport for a 5-mile loop on repeat. Half of the time I felt ok (the half that you weren't facing into the wind), the other half I was thinking about continuing to run in the non-windy direction, all the way home and having somebody bring me back to my car later. Unfortunately my car had my keys and cell phone in it. Damn! Oh well...

I completed the loop twice then added on another 2 miles before I couldn't take it anymore. My knees had gotten so tight, and no matter how fast I ran, I was not getting any warmer. My ankle started hurting a lot as well.

Ankle = VFF marathon ready??
I'm getting a little worried about my ankle holding up for the next 2 marathons (in 2 weeks and 3 weeks). I've only gone 12 on it, and it hurts-- but that may be more because of the cold and everything tightening. I've continued to ice after my runs and I've been doing the exercises the PT gave me and most importantly, I've been listening to my body when it says it's done. ie. stopping at 12 when I wanted to do 15.

I may actually be switching back to shoes this week to get ready for Myrtle Beach. I'm not sure if my feet are ready to take the VFFs on a full marathon. Kyle, kindly pointed out that I had a blood blister on the bottom of my feet this weekend. Ew! On top of that, the pads of my feet are getting worn from the treadmill-- The way my feet strike, with the deathmill going in the other direction, it causes a very hot friction and my feet sometimes feel like they're burning. Damn deathmill. Anyways-- I've sort of peeled off a couple of layers on skin. Which... I think is a consideral improvement from the constant hard callus I had before from running in sneaks! At least they look better!! It's like a VFF foot peel/scrub. Who needs a spa?

Warning: If you're nausiated easily do NOT, I repeat do NOT look at the picture below. Bloggy world, It's time to meet... my feet! Feet, bloggy world, bloggy world meet feet! They're actually looking quite dapper today, if I do say so myself. Oh ps. This doesn't include the tops where the toe-nails are mostly disconnected from the toes because they've fallen off too many times. Doesn't EVERYBODY want to be a marathon runner??

Mind you, my feet are normally nasty gross and have always been. I've run long distance for 14+ years plus rugby, Lacrosse, Field Hockey... basically any sport you can find. I've torn them up, so don't take this description as the fault of the VFF's entirely. But, even so, I don't want to risk it with 2 marathons, 2 weeks in a row. I'll be taking the Vibrams on their last run tonight, then retire them until after the race in Albany (btw-- what will hopefully be my 25th state!!! Halfway there!!!). I'll keep you'll posted.

Happy (and hopefully warm) Running,

Oh PS. BIG weekend surprise!! I received my first bloggy-friend package from Shelly!!! She saw that I noticed another blogger talking about "Shred"-- a Jillian Michaels workout DVD and she sent me a copy!!! So sweet! Definitely made my weekend. I can't wait to test it out and report back. Thanks Shelly!!!!