Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkey Tri 2010

To burn off my pre and post dinners for the past few weeks, training and competing in the local turkey tri was the plan. And I especially liked how it was only 1 exit away from my house. Score!

Having been bitten by the Tri-Bug, I've been working toward having a better performance.

The tri group that I train with had a large group of people participating as well, so it was a nice gathering.

Before I begin, there were kids participating in the race, as young as 12. It seriously was the Cutest thing. When I have kids, they are going to be triathletes.

Since I was closer I didn't need to wake up as early, I had my breakfast and got a good stretch in.

I did pretty well packing lighter this time

It was my first time swimming in a lake, and I was FREAKED out. I had nightmares the night prior of getting tangled in weeds, mud and garbage. I really didn't know what to expect and as usual, anticipated the worse.

Competing in the winter is COLD => COLD lake water.

As I entered the water, I could Not get it together. I struggled to catch my breath, I couldn't get my stroke down, It was just a mess. After the race, a group member told me because of the cold, your heart has to work harder to keep your body warm, hence making it harder for you to breathe.

I took a lot of breaks before I even made it to the 1st buoy. It was at that point I decided to just finish the race, and try to not die in the midst of it. So I did the back stroke occasionally to catch my breath and swam on. It wasn't until the 3rd buoy where we turned around before I got my rhythm back and was able to swim back to shore and finish the swim portion. I was so glad to be done with that.

The crappy thing about having a race in the park, you have to walk quite a distance, barefoot over rocks and asphalt. It was uncomfortable.. but nothing as gross as the greenish/black lake water, which I'm so desperately trying to suppress the unfortunate memories of swallowing at least 3 gulps of it.. Ew..

Trying not to cut my foot on the rocks walking up to the bikes, I suited down and rode off, the bike portion was nice, lots of hills and STRONG winds. There was one portion where my bike was being blown sideways. It was pretty creepy, so I really slowed down.

Already mentally telling myself this race isn't going as anticipated, I spotted a 51 year old lady in a neon green bike and bright green/purple jacket. She was about my pace, so I told myself to just keep up with her.

We would take turns passing each other up, until I hit the steepest incline, switched to a lower gear, and heard a terrible noise.. My bike chain falling off..
You really don't know what to do, and me, being new to biking, Really didn't know what to do. As I'm tilted at a 45 degree incline, with no chain, and a bike that isn't moving forward, I try to get out of the way and topple over.

A really nice 30 yr old guy stopped to help me up and helped put my chain back on. It was really nice of him. He said he was dying from that incline anyway and needed a break. Most people are trying to PR and can't really stop, which I understand. Quite a few people asked if i needed assistance, but that guy was helping me so I told them I was ok.

(fyi the reason why I know everyone's age is because you have to write it on your calf)

I thought at this point, I had lost the green lady for sure, but as I rode on, I found her again, and passed her, and didn't see her again til the run portion. I had beat her!!

I've been increasing my brick training, and my run portion went Much better. I was still slower than normal, but at least my legs were working.

It was So cold that I couldn't feel my toes until the 2nd mile.

Finally the race ended and I was relieved it was over.. It wasn't my most comfortable race, but I do plan to improve and train harder.

.5 mi Swim - 32 mins
14 mi Bike - 63 mins
4.5 mi Run - 52 mins

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

1000 miles in 2011

I've been using the Nike+ system since 2008 but never really got into the Nike+ community until recently.
I paused using it for about half a year because my sensor died, and I was too lazy to get a new one.. Thats the one thing that sucks about this system. $$$ But if you have an Iphone, you can download the Nike+ app, for only 1.99 which tracks you via GPS. much cheaper than a $60 system, and a $20 sensor that needs to get replaced every 3-6 months.

With the Nike+ system, it tracks your runs and uploads it to the community where it keeps a log of all the runs you've done. Its a pretty nifty tool.

Here are a few snapshots

Originally I just used it to track my own runs, but you can also make Goals for yourself, and training plans so you can complete that 5k, 10k, or marathon. Its pretty helpful.

But what I've really been hooked on are the "Challenges!"

You can join any challenge or even create your own, and see who wins, or completes their goal.

I created a challenge for myself and my Nike+ friends to run 1000 miles in 2011. Its open to anyone, and there are actually like 5 other people who have created the same challenge so I joined those as well. It sounds daunting but its about 20 miles a week. Not too shabby.

I've also joined lots of other challenges people have created such as Guys vs Girls, Which State can log the most miles, Which Age Group, and Country, and more.

These all just for fun, but you feel accountable to win, and instead of skipping that run, to LOG IN THOSE MILES!!

Since I created the challenge, I better not wimp out.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Zensah Compression Calf Sleeves

My NEW favorite Accessory!
Zensah Compression Calf Sleeves.

Forefoot running has taken a toll on my calves, Achilles, and ankles.

In the home:
I put these on and immediately felt relief on my sore calves. Its not a miracle worker if you're in a lot of pain, but there is a significant difference from having them on and off..

The only drawback, is once you take them off, you feel back to normal again.. So.. not sure if its speeding up the recovery process or if its just pausing the pain..
We'll see.

On the Road:

Wearing these during training definitely made a difference.
It felt a lot more comfortable and less strain on my achilles, calves and lower legs.

I opted for the calf sleeves instead of the whole calf+sock cus
(1) I'm cheap like that, I didnt' want to buy 7 pairs of compression socks at $45/each, where 1 calf sleeve can be paired with any sock
(2) I like to experiment with socks cus my feet are high maintenance {aka everything makes them hurt}

I did some research and this brand got pretty high reviews and is a Very decent price at $35-40/pair, where Zoot is $55 for 1 leg!! can you believe that?

*Update* the price has now gone up a bit.. its around $40 a pair, or $20 for 1 leg

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Barefoot "Revolution"

There's a lot of buzz going around this new/"old" method of training - Barefoot Running.

(as with all things in life) Some love it. Some hate it.

As with me, I welcome all forms of training, because there will be "some" type of benefit to it.

IF you ask a person their "opinion" on the matter, it will most always be a biased answer
(1) they dont do it themselves.

ex. If you ask a barefoot runner what their opinion is, they're of course going to say, "its the ONLY way to run"
If you ask a person with Motion Control shoes, what their opinion is, they're going to say "No you need support" If one has not tried the other, then you can't get an honest answer.

So its really up to You to evaluate your own body and what You Ultimately "Want" to get out of it.

What is your goal -
Is your goal to run faster?
To strengthen your feet?
To reduce injury?
Run 20 miles?
Just to try it?
And do you think that this 1 new method will be the cure all? (answer - Most likely No) it Can be an addition to your training, but the only answer, there is never just 1 answer to Anything in life.

For me, I've started out running a pretty heavy Heel Striker, causing pains to my knees and feet. I slowly worked on my stride to a midfoot/heel striker, which I've been comfortable with up to date.

But for the past few months, I've wanted to step it up. I wanted to be a Fore-foot striker.

This is where barefoot running comes into play.
Since without shoes, if you run barefoot, you'll Quickly realized that it HURTS if you run on your heel, so after a few steps, you'll adjust to a midfoot strike, where it will hurt less.
But with a midfoot strike, your feet slap around and isn't as effective, where a forefoot strike is the most economical.

Transitioning to a forefoot strike hasn't been a smooth or fast transition. I've rolled my ankle a few times, my Plantar fasciitis in my left foot is Very unhappy, and my calves are very sore.
But its working, I used to run about 10% fore foot, now I can go about 70-80% fore foot running. And it feels really great. I feel faster and lighter with more energy.

I never went fully barefoot, (only on the treadmill) I'm too afraid of germs on the ground to subject my feet to that, but I do use minimalist shoes. For me, my leg muscles are working and getting stronger, and my body is adjusting to the new form just as it were being barefoot. And my goal was to be a forefoot striker. I feel its really important to work your way DOWN to barefoot, and not just go from shoe to barefoot the next day, else you'll be in some pain or worse injury. To me, minimalist shoes are fine, and its not going to Destroy my running.

So in "my" opinion evaluate what you Want and See if this new training technique can help you get there.

If you're 110% fine with how you run and how much you run then I say, don't do it. Why fix it if its not broken.

IF you are not a forefoot striker, going to all barefoot is a very LONG process and you are subject to injury because your body isn't used to the sudden change.
So if you want to do it, do it right, and stick with it!

Else its fine to be happy with your shoes.

The main goal is to Run, however you do it, doesn't really matter.

There are increasing amount of research and articles regarding barefoot running.
Here are a few that I feel are the most unbiased and honest.

Runner's World Article - Is less more?

Coach Brett - Trifuel.com - The Science Behind Barefoot Running. Is it the right thing for you?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How fast do you run a mile?

Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a not so intelligent young man, who might have been a little drunk as well. As comical as it was, its a conversation that I've had frequently.

Often when people ask me:
"What are your hobbies"
I reply: " I love training, I like to do marathons and triathlons"

Immediately the next question is,
"How fast do you run a mile?"
I usually reply: "I'm not very fast, I can average about 9:45 min miles."

They usually brag,
"I can run faster than that"
And I reply: "That's great, you can hold that time for 26.2 miles?"

And they usually either (a) Don't reply, (b) walk away or (c) say, "a marathon is 26.2 miles?"

I usually try not to be a snoody bitch, cus my very rational and wise boyfriend Kevin, teaches me otherwise, (and scolds me when I do - hehehe). I could tell if he was standing next to me during that conversation, he would give me that look that parents usually give you and they're telepathically saying, "you know better young lady!"

But I digress...

Endurance and Speed are 2 very different monsters, I mean "times".

In my HS Track hay-day, I ran a mile in under 7 mins.. I think my best time was 6:40.
I dont think I can ever come close to that now..but also I've never tried. I never timed how fast I can sprint 1 mile.. Which I think I will try to do that in the near future, because now I'm curious.

With endurance training, its less about how fast you can do something, but how Loooooong you can do something, and to do it well, (aka without dying..)

Micheal Johnson, a winner of 4 Olympic gold Medals, can run 100m: 10.09 seconds, tells everyone he can't run 1 mile.

Endurance and speed are very different categories, and I'm proud to say, "I'm an endurance athlete."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why, Hello Endorphins!

Today I woke up feeling, not my best.. I didn't feel ill, or angry, or on the wrong side of the bed.. I woke up feeling sad. Not depressed, just upset and clingy (if I could've clinged to someone or something - I would've) I felt like I just needed a hug.. all day long..

I really had nothing to be upset about, I couldn't pin-point the cause to anything. i just wanted to hide in my closet, and wait for tomorrow.

We've all had those days.. really nothing causes it or relieves it.. (or is there?)

I knew I had to go for a run.. and in the back of my mind, I knew that I would probably feel better after my run..

I did 6 sprint intervals.. and at the end.. I feel great.. The feeling of Woe from this morning has vanished.. and I'm ready to tackle the rest of the day.
Exercise really does help release endorphins and emotions of feeling great.
So next time you feel in a rut.. go out an run :-D

and even if it didn't help, at least you burned off yesterdays bagel. (+1 pt)

Happy running everyone.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't wait for New Year's to make a Resolution.

Don't wait for Tomorrow for something you can change today. DO IT.

Since Ben's Video, its been very inspiring to me. Not just for working out, but for life.. If you want to take that vacation, Do it. If you want to eat that cake, Do it. If you want to take a walk, Do it. If you want to try that new place, Do It. Just Do Life. (http://bendoeslife.tumblr.com/)

Something has been looming over my head for a few months, and instead of waiting for New Years to address it, I'm gonna get some balls and tackle it head on..

I know I haven't been as focused on improving my running for the past few months. I'll run just to run.. to do the cardio, to get the miiles, but my mind hasn't been focused, and I know my performance has suffered for it.. With Life and School and Work, it gets hard to find the time.. I LOVE my new job that gives me the flexibility to focus on my workouts, so I really have 1 less excuse.

So.. My resolution is to run each morning/day.. Be it 15 mins or 60 mins.. I will get a run in each morning, in addition to my regular work outs later in the day. I've been so distracted with doing other workouts, swim, bike, yoga, weights, etc that I keep putting running on the back-burner, not having time for it. Its been months since I've even attempted a HIIT or sprints session. So getting it done in the morning, I'll have no excuse.

Each morning, will be my "run time" Time to get focused. So far Day 2 has been on track, and it feels great!


Falling Down While Running

Just wondering if other runners experience this alot...i run outdoors 5 1/2 miles a day and i run on the sidewalk usually...every couple years i fall.....i dont even know how...i have good shoes i dont slip or trip..but just fall like my whole body slides..but i get back up and finish running all bloody and banged up...so today i had another fall but thank god i had a jacket and capri workout pants on so the damage wasnt as bad as in the summer when i wear tank tops and shorts..anyhow after i got home i didnt even remember how it happened...but i had the injuries..i just thank god that everytime i fall i dont break anything..just bruises and scrapes...does anyone else experience this alot


When does it happen in the middle, beginning or near the end or your run?

Do you only run 5 miles or do you vary with more and less mileage?

If its during the beginning, it might be due to your legs needing a warmup and a good stretch to get the muscles relaxed and flexed.

If its in the middle or near the end of your run, it may be due to your legs are tired and not strong enough, which could be due to nutrition, not enough protein, or hydration so your muscles aren't flexing and contracting at their optimal level. One little twitch and you're on the ground.

Strengthen your legs with exercies, like lunges and vary the mileage so you go like 6-8 miles so your legs get stronger and used to running longer distances, so when you hit 5 miles you legs will think it'll only be the "middle" of the run.

When our legs get tired near the end of our run, you dont realized but you dont lift your leg up as high off the ground as when you start, so your foot is more prone to tripping over objects, or just buckling over.

Hope this helps :)


Friday, November 5, 2010

Run to Overcome

"Dream big and never give up"

A very inspiring tale of Meb Keflezighi who challenged himself and all obstacles to take 1st place at the 2009 New York City Marathon, the first American to hold that title since 1982. USA! USA! USA!

Meb came from the war-torn country of Eritrea where he and his family came face to face with death numerous times.Luckily, his family was able to escape to Italy and then to San Diego, CA.

Meb didn't come out of the womb a star runner. He actually didn't start running until Junior High as a backup when he wasn't playing soccer. It was then, Meb realized Running was a gift that enabled him to overcome all obstacles and succeed. It was through Running he was able to attain a scholarship to UCLA, sponsorships with major brands, such as Nike, meet the love of his life, and to be where he is today.

This book is an easy read and it takes you into the personal life a how a boy with nothing channeled his energy with running through the rises and falls, the wins and defeats to become a pro.

"Running is like life....You can't make excuses. Its on you"

for more info check out the site  http://www.runtoovercome.com/

They are giving away one signed book per day from Nov. 1, 2010 – Mar. 31, 2011. There will be monthly grand prize winners that will receive a signed copy of the book, other free Tyndale titles, as well as Sony and PowerBar products.