Monday, March 30, 2015

Mixing It Up: Hitting The Trails


Last week I went out for one of the most amazing runs I have ever had.  I didn’t break any speed records either.  I went out to a local regional park (Hidden Falls Regional Park) for some trail running.  I have just started getting into trail running and love it.

 


When I run on pavement, I enjoy my runs.  I can zone out and just escape for a while.  I can push myself beyond my boundaries and break new PR’s.  It gives me time to think about things I need to do this week and things that I am grateful for.  I can do the same thing on a trail run, but there are several advantages that I see with trail running that I don’t get with road running.

1) Running on a trail, you need to look where you step to make sure you don’t land on a rock the wrong way.  It is not just looking ahead of you and not focusing on foot placement. 

2) Running on uneven terrain will help with ankle and leg strength because your body will need to work harder to stabilize itself.  This will help you not only on the trail but will carry over to your road running as well.

3) Trail running can be extremely challenging.  The trails that I ran last week included about 1,500 feet of elevation gain over 8 miles.  There was a lot of running up hills as well as down hills.  It was like running intervals.  I had to work hard running up the hills, but got to rest on the way down. 

4) I really got to enjoy the beauty of nature.  I didn’t take my headphones with me and didn’t miss my music for a second.  The sounds of nature and watching my surroundings kept my mind occupied.

5) I found myself really focusing on my form.  Making sure I did not heal strike and keeping my body upright.  This will really help me in my road running as well.

6)  I got to test out the Topo AthleticRunventure.  It is the big brother of the MT which I love so much.  It has more underfoot protection and felt amazing for all 8 miles.  I will be reviewing this shoe in April, so keep an eye out.

Road running is great, don’t get me wrong.  I won’t stop running on the road, but I definitely want to do more trail running.  What do you prefer, trail running or road running and why?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

5 Things I Never Thought I Would Do Before I Started Running

I have only been running for a year and a half. As I have become immersed in the sport and adopted some of its rituals, I started thinking how I would never do these things if I weren’t a runner. Here are five things that have changed since I started running:

1) I plan my bathroom schedule around my running. I used to laugh at a coworker who went to the bathroom, like clockwork, at 11:30 a.m., right before his run. Guess who is on the same schedule now?

2) I never thought I would have a shoe fetish (not a weird one). I am always looking at running shoes. Let’s just say that I don’t need another pair.

3) I put Band-Aids on my nipples. You should have seen the look on my wife’s face when she saw me put them on for the first time. She was at a complete loss for words.

4) I have BodyGlide strategically placed at work, home, and in all of my workout bags. You can never have enough BodyGlide.

5) I have sharted and wasn’t even embarrassed. My only thought, “It’s too late now, might as well enjoy my run.” Now that’s positive thinking!

What things have you done as a runner that you never thought you would do? .


Copyright 2014
*Used by permission of MOKO.Mobi, Inc.

Monday, March 16, 2015

6 Themed Races I Would Like To See

With themed races becoming more popular each year, I thought I would compile a list of some themed races I would like to see:

1) Rock Out with Your Clock Out – Dress up as your favorite rock, pop, rap or country star. Bring out the 80s hair for a rockin’ good time. Bonus points for mullets.

2) My Team Is Better than Yours – Dress in your favorite team’s gear for this NFL-themed race. Wear a jersey or go all out and dress like the mascot.

3) The Scariest Run in America – Think haunted house meets 5K Zombie Run. Dress up in your favorite Halloween costume for a thrilling race that begins at sundown. Along the course, people will jump out from behind bushes and chase you. Good motivation.

4) Single and Ready to Mingle – If you’re a single person looking to date, you will want to sign up for this race. Each participant will have 10 cards with his or her phone number printed on them. During or after the race, you would hand your card to someone you would like to take on a date. At the post-race festivities, there will be a beer garden to loosen you up and a section for speed dating.

5) The Dog Days of Summer – At this half marathon, dress up as your favorite type of dog, dog treat, or fire hydrant. One person could be a bone, and their friend could be a dog chasing them. You could even run with your dog! By the way, you will have to eat a hot dog every mile. Hope you can keep the food down.

6) The Great Baby Race РNo, babies will not be racing. You will dress up like a baby. You could wear diapers, onesies, and bibs and carry baby bottles for water. Bonus points for someone wearing a makeshift BabyBjörn or making your diaper look like you had an accident (hopefully it was just pretend).

What is the craziest themed race you have participated in? Do you have an idea for a new themed race?

Picture Credit: Google Images (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/Flavor-flav.jpg)

Copyright 2014
*Used by permission of MOKO.Mobi, Inc


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Monday, March 9, 2015

Another Race, Another PR?



I ran my second half marathon this year on Saturday.  I wanted to hit a 1:50:00 pace, which is an 8:24min/mile pace.  I have been training hard, but am not sure that I am fully recovered from my last half marathon, which was only a month ago. 

I started my race day ritual, waking up at 5:00.  I threw on my clothes and went out for a 1 mile warm up run.  After getting back home I ate some pancakes and a banana before headed out the door.  The race I did was the Lucky Run in Davis.  There were 606 people who ran the half, the smallest race I have done so far.  I decided I would try to stick with the 1:50:00 pace group as long as I could.

We started the race and after the first half mile I realized that the pacers were going a little too fast (about 7 seconds per mile faster than they should).  This trend continued and mile number 3 they averaged an 8:10 min/mile pace (14 seconds to fast).  It really started to take a toll on my legs that I was trying to keep up with a pace group that was banking time.  If I was smarter, I would have just run my 8:24 min/mile pace using my Garmin.

I was running an average pace of around 8:17min/mile for the first 8 miles.  At that point, my legs just started to get tired.  Trying to push too hard almost pushed me to the point of having to walk.  At that point, I just tried to run a little bit at a time until my legs came back.  It took almost 4 miles of wanting to give up, but I was back on track.   That gave me one mile to try and make up some time to catch my goal of 1:50:00.

I pushed like I have never pushed before.  I kept my cadence up and tried to gather strength.  That last mile was tough.  I started passing people and almost lost my breakfast a few times.  With about .25 miles left, I started to run out of steam.  I pushed with every available drop of energy I had left.  As I approached the finish line, I knew that I missed the 1:50:00 mark.  I ended up with a 1:50:20.  That is a 2:17 faster than my last PR and 10:14 faster than my first half marathon, which was in April 2014.  The training has definitely paid off. 

I am extremely happy with the results of the race.  While I wanted to reach my goal, I accomplished something far more important.  I once again pushed my body past the breaking point and came back stronger than ever.  Our bodies can do amazing things.  Sometimes we just need to tell our head to shut up.  With my next Half Marathon in less than a week, I don’t know how I will do, but I can’t wait to see.