Okay, I can’t necessarily blame the exhaustion I feel right now on running 20 miles. I had a jam-packed weekend. Dinner out with friends after working late on Friday, baby shower and family dinner on Saturday, house chores and 20 miles running on Sunday… Not enough sleep, and I am starting to feel the effects. I am going to be grateful for the next two weeks of “taper”. Fewer miles to run = more time to sleep! Today my legs are exhibiting some signs of use in the form of that “ugh” stiffness that you feel after sitting for too long, and mild soreness. No limping or hopping around, just a slow start after a complete stop. 🙂 Okay, yesterday, I did not consume a normal amount of nourishment – I had consumed about 1.5 meals by 2:30pm and then went out to run 20 miles. Hard to keep the pace when your energy is low. Overall, I was not consistent. I was thrown by the heat, and was slow and fast alternately (probably depending on when I hit shady spots!). I averaged somewhere between a pace of 10:45 – 11 minutes/mile. Not exactly what I was thinking I would do, but hey, I ran 20 miles in 70 degree heat! (Yes, that is hot compared to the usual 45-50 degrees of six o’clock in the morning). I was pleased to get to go to dinner tonight and take it easy with a friend at one of my favorite restaurants in Portland – The Sweet Hereafter. Nice atmosphere (before it gets crowded – this place can get a little noisy on those Thursday/Friday/Saturday nights), tasty food, and great drinks. And all Vegan (if you’re into that – I just happen to love the Jamaican Bowl. SO delicious!)
It is so refreshing to know that summer is on her way bringing blooms of all kinds – and I will just have to remember to run before the sun takes over the sky and heats up the black, city pavement.
As I write this I am fighting a losing a battle with my eyelids, so I shall bid you all good night! Happy Running! ~Alaina
Today’s run took place after work; getting out to door early to run before the coffee had perked seemed a little too much effort today. Fortunately for me, as the day wore on, the weather improved, leaving me with party cloudy skies and a lovely 55 degrees outside. 5.65 miles later, this is what I have to show for my time outdoors:
I hope you enjoy my run as much as I did! It was the perfect route for testing my newest gear: New Balance Minimus WR00. A review will follow later…
What is your favorite time to get out and run? Are you a fan of pouring rain, bundled in layers, or do you lean toward tanks and sunshine? Morning or Night?
A couple of months ago, a weekend vacation was planned for some birthday celebrating among good friends. While on this vacation, a Saturday happened to pass. The day of the long run. Here is my (unforgivably belated) story of the long run exploration of Hood River countryside:
On a weekend excursion, some running buddies and I took to stomping some new trails out in Hood River. Usually, our group leader plans an out and back route, but this particular Saturday we decided to play it by ear and see which road caught our eye and called our feet. Our tentative plan was 8-10 miles… I was hoping for closer to eight, since I had missed the long run the previous weekend, but with no definitive plan, we were at the mercy of Hood River’s roads, our feet, and the willingness of legs to keep moving.
The landscape was breathtaking. The weather was Perfect. We could not have picked a better time to get out for a run.
And shortly after becoming only slightly lost trying to cross ravine, followed by a steep downhill, and a set of very long stairs, we were back at our starting point – and ready for brunch!
My friends will tell you that I do take in the atmosphere on our long runs; or rather that I become extremely goofy and the affect of endorphins on my system is like a kaleidoscope filter that makes even the most unappealing mud puddle a fantastically brilliant mirror of the gloriously colorful world around me. I am a snap-happy photographer on each and every run, with the most beautiful model ever; the landscape. I hope you enjoy the pictures; I take great pleasure in my on-the-go iPhoneography. 🙂
Do you find yourself marveling at the glory of the world after each run? What is your “running filter” ?
On this wonderfully sunny Tuesday with a touch of the Mondays after President’s Day holiday, I resolved to do my first run of the week during the work day. I was cheered knowing that this was going to be a fantastic break in my day and quickly went to work creating a to-do list. After four of the items noted were checked off, and my lunch had settled a while, I was anxious to hit the pavement!
I wore my original Vibram KSO‘s (purchased … five years ago??? they live at work and are my go to’s for exercise at the office) planning to fit in a 4.5 to 5 mile run. I had to use a little force and yank the shoes over my heel, but once I strapped down the velcro, I remembered why I decided to continue using Vibram shoes. The KSO has wonderful arch support (that velcro strap does a fantastic assist), and while the KSO’s I own are a size or two smaller than my newer Komodosport version, they felt tight but were still comfortable.
I left the building, smile blazing, sun shining in my eyes, a yearning for the sunglasses I left at home forcing grin wider toward my ears. I had not run on a clear, sunny day in what felt like months. ecstatic, I jogged out of the parking lot, started down the street, taking a deep breath… and suddenly sputtered, coughed, and found myself spitting sporadically. I inhaled a bug. And I couldn’t get it out! I was grossed out, a little freaked out, and amused by the irony that I had just gone from totally blissed-out to discombobulated in mere seconds. I continued on my chosen route alternately laughing and spitting. I still do not know if I was able to dislodge the winged insect from my airway, but the irritation has decreased and I’m no longer worried it will start crawling around inside me.
On many occasions I have swallowed bugs, this is something I expect while running; I am moving through the air at an increased speed with my mouth hanging wide open to be able to breathe more easily through the delighted smile I wear. I have never actually inhaled an insect where it has passed my mouth and entered an airway! Have any of my fellow runners out there experienced this? I swear I can still feel a lump in my throat…
Oh, the adventure lives on… (well, hopefully not the bug… but you know what I mean!)
P.S. Look for a new post soon from a gorgeous run our group did on an out-of-town run a few weeks ago! Also, last Saturday’s run – the long waterfront loop! Playing catch up this week…
Last Saturday, with a few girlfriends, I tackled 9.5 miles in below freezing temperatures. The run was on a momentous day – the Sellwood Bridge in Portland was being moved to make way for construction of a new bridge. We started our run at the park near the base of the bridge to get a glimpse of the beginning of the momentous move.
We took a peek at the beginning of our run to check progress (very minimal at 8am – we don’t think they had started moving yet), and we were off! I was a little nervous about doing this run; I have not run more than 8.5 miles in over three years, so in my mind, this was going to be a pretty serious physical challenge. Deciding to brave cold, and numb toes, I wore my Vibram Komodosport LS (now KMD Sport LS) because my experience with them on long runs has been fantastic. I have felt no knee pain the entire time I have been wearing them, and the only discomfort has been the cold on my feet (which I found through experimentation, I experience the same numbness with a regular shoe if it is very cold out, as well). My toes were only numb for the first mile this week! The body sure does know how to adapt.
Along our route on Saturday, we saw some pretty spectacular nature scenes:
We entered into some farm country along the last leg of our path before turn around; we saw horses, heard some crows, and to our right we were blessed with a lot of foliage to gaze into (the left was a somewhat busy road).
At our turn around, we took a little carbohydrate in gel form. We each had a different variety: Clif Shot, Gu, and Honey Stinger, which we followed with a sip of water and headed back. The first half of the run felt like quite some distance, probably due to the frequent mild uphills on the “out” portion of our jaunt, which, incidentally made the return “back” much more speedy.
Once we returned to the park, site of the start of our run, and viewing area for the Sellwood Bridge move, the fog had cleared a bit, and there was quite a gathering of folks to watch the momentous move. We figured they may have moved the bridge 6-12 inches since we left (it was hard to tell a difference at that point). In the end it was a success! (You can read about it here or here).
Post-run, I felt great, and hungry! We went to The Hazel Room on Hawthorne for brunch. Great atmosphere, good coffee, fantastic food. Sunshine was pouring in the window of this little tea-house and it was the perfect place to celebrate a successful 9.5 mile run!
I am unfortunately missing the long run today with my friends as I am out-of-town on vacation, and coincidentally, came down with a cold as soon as I arrived in (lately not so sunny) California. Sleep, rest, and recuperation are on the menu for me here, but I plan to jump back in the shoes and hit the pavement next weekend.
To the Saturday’s Run group, I hope you all have a great run! See you next weekend!
“It’s important to remember that each footstrike carries you forward, not backward. And every time you put on your running shoes you are different in some way than you were the day before.”
– John “The Penguin” Bingham, Author and Runner
I recently joined a mass of runners for an group run organized by Portland Running Company (PRC). It was an event I had been looking forward to for three weeks, ever since the email announcement landed in my inbox. A run from their SE store to Peacock Lane for holiday light viewing, returning to the store for hot cocoa and shoe shopping. What could be more enticing? I found myself extremely motivated at work, efficiently completing my tasks for the day to leave work on time to get to this event. I had asked a few friends if they wanted to join me, but in the end made the trek to PRC solo.
When I arrived, the store was packed! I had never seen so many people gathered for a fun, friendly, short, easy group run. I was ecstatic! Walking through the door to donate the jackets I brought with me, I was giggling with excitement. So many people in bright running clothes, fluorescent yellows and reflective stripes, beanies and headlamps, and flashing lights being passed out to clip on to clothing for added safety. I was surrounded by my people! Or rather, like-minded persons who appreciate running, safety, and camaraderie. The anticipation was almost as high as pre-race giddiness, but we were all there for fun without the time chip and anxiety of competition.
Halfway to Peacock Lane I found myself in conversation with another runner, and it made the experience even more enjoyable to share the joy of the lights (as my new friend had never been to Peacock Lane, and I had not visited since my childhood). The run was four miles, which we swore could not have been more than 3 because it was so easy and so much fun.
Post run, I decided to take advantage of the offered discount for jacket donation, and found myself purchasing a pair of Saucony Kinvara 3, in a brilliant colorway. I have been running in my Vibram shoes for most of the year (the Komodosport LS or the KSO), and the past few times I have noticed how uncomfortably cold my toes are at the beginning of my run. I do not wear socks with my barefoot shoes, so the chill of the concrete (most of my runs take place on the sidewalk) seeps right through. On the Peacock Lane run, I found my feet were cold, and toes were numb, for the first two miles. Eventually, my toes and feet were warm again, but then quickly the run was over. For the winter, I have decided some insulation between my foot and the ground may be beneficial, and as I add miles to my training program, switching between barefoot running and running in a moderately minimal shoe sounds appealing. I took them out for a jaunt this weekend.
Admittedly, after barefoot running, wearing a “real” running shoe feels very different. I was able to try on several pair of shoes at Portland Running Company, and this Saucony Kinvara felt most light and natural on my foot. The footbed is accommodating, but not overly wide. There is some midline arch support, but it is not too noticeable as I wear them. The most surprising part of the shoe I am aware of while running is the heel cup and the top heel edge. The back of the shoe is taller than the Vibram shoe, and much more structured, therefore I was able to feel it against the back of my achilles. Overall, I really like these shoes. Perhaps they are not as minimal as I would like (any suggestions for a real racing flat?), but the Saucony keeps my foot much warmer, ending the search for a shoe to keep my toes from going numb from cold.
And look at them. They are so cool!
I have long been looking for a way to become ready for running and train more seriously. I now realize that you can’t “look for a way” to become ready. It happens. Running is something you simply do, and when you are finally making time for the activity and it is a normal routine to put the shoes on and pound some pavement, that is when you can really begin training.
Last week, I ran four times, logging 15 miles. I know this is a pretty minimal amount of mileage for a runner, but for me, this is the beginning of a great change. A great challenge. I want to run a marathon next year, and I intend to set goals (a.k.a. shorter races along the way), a training schedule, and keep a log to help myself reach this goal. My grandpa was kind enough to give me a couple of well-loved, and highly recommended books for training purposes:
To start the year of 2013 on the right foot, I am signed up for Portland’s First Run 2013, a 5K at midnight on the 31st. I am hopeful that a couple of friends may join me (wink, wink to all you running buddies out there) to bring in the New Year at a trot, but if not, I am sure I will make new friends out on the course.
In order to lead the life we want to live, it takes a certain amount of self-worth and determination to make that life possible. We need to set our own desires at a higher level of importance over our outside influences (job, the weather, family, daylight savings time, friends … even sleep, unless that is one of the things you desire and value) in order to keep moving forward.
It’s interesting and amusing to observe, that despite all of the extraordinary life events that have happened throughout this past year of life – people very important passing from this life, others walking out and ending friendships, my first exploration outside the United States on a trip to Ireland, dealing with awful apartments, moving THREE times, turning thirty, starting to get out social dancing again, and finally making the choice to learn to drive and get my license – I feel more settled and at home in my own skin than I have in the last six years combined.
So, in the spirit of doing what I need to lead the life I want for myself, tonight I stayed home, cooked dinner, baked cookies, and washed a LOT of dishes. I plan on running in the morning before work (dark and early!): the coffee pot is prepped, lunch is set to go, and while I am so Monday-tired I can barely keep my eyes propped open, I still sit here writing because that, too, is an important part of my expression, and my desire to share my experiences keeps me from cutting this short and going to sleep, right here with my head on the table.
And in the morning, no matter how tired I am when that alarm goes off at five o’dark thirty, I will crawl out of bed and put on my vibram fivefingers, reflective vest, and head lamp because running is important to me. This year, I aspired to run my first marathon when my Grampa completed his 50 state plus DC during the Marine Corps Marathon, but did not plan and make time to achieve this intended goal. I let work, weather, life, social commitments, and other obligations take up all the “extra” time I could have been running. Unfortunately for me, running 26.2 miles isn’t something a girl can easily go out and do without training if she decides she wants to, so I let myself stay home, and missed that momentous occasion. So, now… training begins.
I may be 31 by the time I run my first marathon, but I am going to get out, get some miles under these legs, and cross the finish line. And if I’m lucky, my Mom and Grampa will be there with me, holding hands, goofy smiles, and burbling tears as we cross the line together. 🙂
Ever have one of those days? I mean one of those days, when you wake up late, an hour of your day that you thought was still available already gone, and you just can’t really motivate yourself to put on your running shoes? For me, today was one of those days. The sun was shining brilliantly into my apartment, and all I really wanted was to sit and relax, read a book, and bask like a cat in the sun rays beaming through my windows.
I needed to run. My legs were twitchy. It had been more than two days, and I could feel my body craving the exercise even though my mind wasn’t in sync. So, I pulled an old trick out of my hat. If I go for a run, I get to reward myself with a latte. Hm…
Moments later… the shoes are on, I drop off my Keep Cup at the coffee shop (trying to save the world, one paper cup at a time) so I can easily stop and get the coffee to-go guilt-free on my way home post-run, and I’m on my way! Let the running commence!
My plan was to traverse downhill the first half of my run, and return on the uphill because I primarily find myself doing the opposite due to the lay of the terrain near my home. As they say, “The best laid plans…” I found myself running uphill. And then up a very steep hill – with glee! – anticipating what I would find at the top:
The morning air was chilly, but the sun was warm on my back and the garden lent a delightful perfume to the air. This was absolutely worth running straight uphill for a mile; the garden was unexpectedly still blooming, and gorgeous.
To my surprise, the gardens were filled with people! I did not expect that anyone got up before ten to walk in the Rose Garden. Understandably, they are taking advantage before the Portland rains befall us and proclaim: “Winter is coming…” with her 40 degree temperatures and torrential downpours. If there be sun, get out and enjoy!
As soon as I started my jaunt this morning, I knew this garden was where I wanted to end up; to spend a few moments peacefully meandering and smelling each rose in turn. Each one unique with fragrance all its own. I adored this white beauty:
I need to return to the garden soon and get her name. I dream of the someday, when I live in a house with garden space, rather than my upper floor apartment with no strip of land to plant, with this lovely variety of rose perfuming the breeze as it sweeps through my yard… Truly beautiful to admire and an extremely enjoyable bouquet. This was a very welcome unanticipated deviation from the normal run route.
Each time we get out and run it is for a purpose, with a goal in mind, whether that is training for a race, to gain speed, increase our mileage, or maintain fitness, and we take these things seriously because they matter to us. But once in a while, it’s important to stop and smell the roses.
Sunday, September 9th, 2012 I ran my first race in two years. It is hard to believe that much time had passed since my last personal running challenge. Looking back, my last race was the Pints to Pasta in September of 2010, and to re-initiate myself in the world of (semi) competitive running, I gladly signed up to run the PtoP 2012 race. It’s my tradition to run this race (like eating dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory on my birthday). This time, I ran in my Vibram Fivefingers KomodoSport LS, taking them out for their first race!
This race had the usual challenges; the main one for me was a bus re-route (due to the very race I was trying to get to as a participant). Fortunately, I met a very kind driver that morning who was willing to make a quick (if not entirely on her route … or legal) stop to let me and another racer out near our destination. I quickly started up a conversation with my new-found running-mate, and made friends with this runner, Liz. She was very sweet, had run the race before, has completed a marathon, and her stories of success inspired me. I now have greater desire to sign up for more races. And to wear the shirt to work the next day as bragging rights. 🙂
We were waiting with a crowd of 1585 runners. And they all wanted coffee!
Our race started promptly at 8am, and we were off down the hill! I love that technology has brought us the timing chip – there’s no mad rush to cross the start line when the race begins. Everyone just shuffles slowly to the line and then picks up the pace. Much less pushing and shoving takes place, and the event keeps a more relaxed feel, preventing unnecessary pre-race injuries from elbows and stumbling into others.
My intent for this run was to take is easy; my run pace of late has been comfortably in the 8’15” – 8’45″/mile pace, so I assumed I could probably keep in that range relatively easily. I wanted to take pictures to document for myself, and for you, what this race looks like. The first two miles are pretty much all downhill.
Giggles burst out from behind me when I took this photo. I loved it! No one expects a runner to be photographing as they race! I was having a blast, probably near the 1 mile mark, and at this point, I thought I’d take more pictures… But as I continued down the hill on the course, I decided to run and look around, forgetting the camera in my belt, focusing more on the act of running and encouraging my running-mates instead.
I have a long history as a runner. I ran cross-country in high school for only one season, for reasons I will need another blog post to explain, and loathed every moment of it. I developed a ritual before practice: make sure lunch is consumed and digesting 3 hours before practice, stop drinking water 1 hour before practice… I was beyond nervous every day, and developed these neurotic habits that I honestly kept practicing half-way through my college years. I had a love-hate relationship with running; it was mentally the most difficult thing I could do, but it gave me a great connection with the runners in my family. It wasn’t until two years ago that I finally started feeling that metal block melt, and running ultimately became something I wanted to do – just for me and for joy. (And I no longer have the limitations regarding food and liquid consumption pre-run. Food is energy, and water is necessary!)
Now I have new “runner” symptoms or tendencies. For example, when I see people running, out for their daily workout, and they’re really putting in effort, I find myself cheering and saying (or rather, yelling) “Go, Runner!” …and I get emotional. My sister was at the race on Sunday with her cross-country team; they were supporting the racers, handing out water to runners at the first aid-station, and when I heard their claps, cheers, and saw all the hands holding out cups of water… I admit it. I giggled, choked up, and got teary-eyed. At mile two. So you can imagine what I looked like crossing the finish line…
I cannot say how wonderful it was to finish and have someone there cheering me on through the funnel at the Finish line. My Gran-ma came to snap my photo, give me a hug, and say congratulations. (And then we went to breakfast)! She is so sweet, and I appreciate her so much for getting up early and being present to watch me grin like a fool at the end of this race. I was the 542 racer to cross the finish line on Sunday.
As it turns out, I finished with a 10K time of 55’06”, knocking four minutes off my last 10K race time. Right on the money per my guess, and a new PR. I’ll be setting a new goal for next year!
For the past few months, I have been getting out on the road, doing the two to five-mile shuffle at least three times each week. This for me is a great improvement in consistency over my last two years as a runner. It’s not that I have put myself on a schedule, so much as I like to run. So I get out and do it when my legs are itching. (Tomorrow morning, it’s on!)
But I have no goal set. No pace to hit, no mileage to train up to, no real structure to my workout regimen. So, when I wake up, I base my distance on time available before life activities begin (work, family gatherings, appointments, etc.) … and on fear. I haven’t run more than five miles in… Well, truthfully, I cannot remember the last time I ran more than five miles. Running in my new shoes, I get nervous about injuries if I run farther.
But let’s be serious for a moment. I can (and have) run five miles, no issues, in my Vibram Fivefingers KomodoSport LS. Why should adding one mile cause fear to creep into my bones and tense my legs?
I admit, I have a running injury. We all do, right? We did something at some point, where maybe we weren’t really listening to our bodies and we pushed just a little too hard, for a little too long, and maybe it was while we were going downhill, and now our knee hurts when we “run more than five miles”. Okay, MY knee hurts – more specifically, it has been painful in the past – when I increased my mileage. What reason does this give me to refrain from at least trying a greater distance? Every part of my leg is functioning without complaint right now, and I am smarter, more attentive, and running with a much better foot fall, stride, and pace than anytime in my past.
So how do I push myself through the fear and past my five-mile mark?
I sign up for a race! I will be running the Pints to Pasta 10K Race this weekend, truthfully one of my FAVORITE races in Portland. I ran it in 2009, 2010, and due to a lack of consistency, skipped 2011. It is certainly time to get out and do this race again. The course is lovely; a great downhill to start us all out at a good clip, crossing the bridge into downtown, running along the waterfront (beautiful!), and finally ending at the Old Spaghetti Factory, my childhood favorite restaurant. Wonderful memories flood my mind when visiting this family style restaurant of many birthdays and celebrations. I still enjoy the Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter (A la Homer they called it, when I was a kid), on my adult birthdays. I just no longer ask to sit in the Caboose. 😉
So, this Sunday, I will complete a 10K, in my favorite Five Fingers, and see what my pace is at the end. If how I’ve been running recently is any indication, I will surely come out of this race with a significant PR. Times to beat: 2009 – 59’17” overall time, 9’32” per mile, 83 out of 216 in my age division, 947/2032 overall. 2010 – 59’13” overall, 9’32” per mile, and finishing 119 of 304 in my age division, 1252/2528 all runners. Until now, I wasn’t aware that I had achieved nearly the same time on both those races! For this year’s race, I’m going to guess conservatively, say I run about 9 minute miles, I’ll be crossing the finish with about 55’48” chip time. Should be fun to see how it turns out!
Please note, I will not be running this full-out as a race. I do truly enjoy this run. It is stunning; I like to take the time to look around, breathe in, and just have fun. My purpose of signing up for this race is to see where a good dose of fun and much improved technique get me on a fast, downhill 10K. Are you up for a race?