Saturday, September 4, 2010

Support, please

I walked into Three Rivers Running Co. with one thing on my mind: Replacing my soon-to-be worn out Mizuno Wave Riders with a gorgeous pair of Brooks Ghost 3. Not only did the neutral Brooks shoe won accolades from Runner's World's fall shoe guide, it came in orange - one of my college's colors. Go BG!

I walked out of Three Rivers Running Co. with a pair of Nike Zoom Structure Triax+ 13 and a new understanding of why I've been having slight knee pain.

I am now a pronator.

Yep, in the eight months since I was first fitted at the Running Co., my gait and form has changed. Casey (I think that's his name) said it's not uncommon for a runner's gait to change as she steps up her mileage. The more the body works, the more inefficient it can become. It sounds weird but from what I could ascertain, in the first year of running - especially with mileage increases - the body adapts and becomes inefficient. The longer you run ... say three years from now ... I will become more efficient.

We might not have ever figured out that I was a pronator had he not noticed how I was walking out to the parking lot to do a lap in the Nike Vomero 5+. (It's a great shoe for you neutral runners. Just sayin'.) I stepped like a neutral runner but the roll-off or kickback was that of a pronator. He tested me out on the treadmill and sure enough, the ankles rolled in slightly.

The Triax+ is a minimal stability shoe, ideal as I'm considered a mild to moderate pronator. It's also not too heavy - 9.6 ounces - but still has some cushion. Just what I wanted! I did try on the Brooks Adrenaline, which Mark bought a couple weeks ago, but I think I'm just a Nike girl. Sorry, Brooks!

Casey did say that I can still wear my neutral Mizunos for shorter runs. I could even have a new neutral for short runs and keep the stability shoe for long runs. Seeing as the Mizunos are getting high in mileage, I'll probably just stick with the Triax+. No need to give Mark a heart attack with a second demand for new shoes.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Original intent

Pre-workout fuel: Half of a peanut butter and jelly
Workout: Ran 5.35 miles in 46 minutes, 55 seconds; average pace, 8:46.

There are times when you have good intentions to workout ... and those intentions end up being the only thing you have.

Last night, Mark and I had plans. We were going to enjoy some leftovers, watch some "Wheel of Fortune" and head out for a bike ride. Ahhh ... it sounds fantastic just thinking about it.

One problem: D-boy has been scratching up a storm the past week and was in desperate need of a flea bath. Bathing a 65-pound dog that doesn't really like the water is no small feat, as I'm sure you can understand. It can, however, be humorous as you get decked out in your tankini and enjoy some quality time working up a luxurious lather on the furry beast as your husband waits outside the tub to block any escape attempts. I tried to get a photo of him - Denali - soaking wet and looking a bit put off but he gets too excited when he sees the camera.

It's OK, though - about missing the bike ride, not Denali getting excited about the camera. Life happens. A day is just a day. You can wake up the next morning to overcast skies, a slight chill in the air and set out on a good 5-mile run.

At least, that's what I did.

It was drizzling a bit when I set off, and I wondered whether I should go back to the house and get my hat. "Naw," I thought. "We'll brave it." The rain got a bit heavier for a moment and died off, just enough to give the air an "it just rained" smell. Delightful!

The cloud cover stayed, and it kept the temperature at a reasonable level. There was a nice breeze. Sometimes too nice but I took it. I really tried to enjoy this run, the feel of my feet beneath me after Wednesday's apathy fest. After all, running isn't a "have to" - it's a "get to."

The only thing that would have made today a bit better was if Denali could have kept up the last 1.5 miles or so. He really seemed to fade after mile 3 - just as I wanted to kick it up. And let me tell you, kicking it up with the resistance of a 65-pound dog isn't easy. So I slowed a bit, took some extra time at crosswalks to give him water and enjoyed what I could.

This weekend, I have an 11-miler on tap for Fort-4-Fitness training. (Excuse the "have," if you don't mind.) I am actually kind of excited because I won the motherload of Gu giveaways (photo to come this weekend) over at Secrets of a Running Mom.

And speaking of giveaways ... don't forget about mine!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three Things Thursday: GIVEAWAY

Pre-workout fuel: Peanut butter bread
Workout: 25 minutes of arms with 5-pound weights
Workout, foiled: Walk with dog - neither of us like the pouring rain
Workout plans for latas: Relaxing bike ride with Mark

1. I'm not sure if you remember but a few weeks back, I found myself the lucky winner of Rustbeltrunner's CSN giveaway. I had $35 to put toward anything I wanted but seeing as I am all into the exercise I went with a stability ball and yoga strap. But I didn't have to. You see, CSN has bistro sets (dang! I could have got a new one instead of painting my old one); area rugs (feel free to get me this one); and well, I could go on but my fingers would hurt and you'd be bored.

2. Of course, you could win your very own $35 gift card because, well, I have one to give you. Nice, right?!? For a chance to win, follow my blog and let me know you did so with a comment. Additional chances can be had by visiting the CSN site and letting me know what items you'd like; following me on twitter (@redheadrunswild); tweeting about the giveaway; posting this giveaway on your blog; and answering this question: "Do you eat at the dining table?". Just make sure to leave a comment for each form of entry.

3. The contest will end at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 7 and a winner, with the help of, will be announced Sept. 8.

Good luck!

Winners have 72-hours from the announcement time to claim their prize by e-mailing me. Otherwise another entrant will be selected. The winning entrant must have followed the above listed guidelines, or else their entry will be invalid. Only U.S. readers may enter.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Run through it

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams
Workout: Ran 7.27 miles in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 54 seconds; average pace, 8:47.

Every now and again, you'll have a run where your heart is willing and your body isn't. On occasion, your body will be willing but your heart will not be there.

And then, there's the rare event when your body rebels and your heart leads you back to bed. This is a story about one of those mornings.

I went to bed at a reasonable time last night, gave Mark a smooch and turned over, waiting to go to REM land. Instead, I was taken to "let's jump on the floor as loud as we can" land in the upstairs apartment. I am not sure if they were playing Whack-A-Mole, Roller Derby, Annoy Kim - but nonetheless I didn't fall asleep as I had wished. And when I did, I got a nice little wake-up call. Thanks, bladder. Toss in some weird dreams and hearing Mark get up at 5:20 a.m., and it's a mix that makes for a very cranky girl.

Determined that all I needed was some coffee decaf flavored water, I got up and went about my routine - get dressed, check e-mail, put on Garmin. Fought with Mark. Wait, that's not part of the routine. (It's his fault, though. He questioned my need for a.m. runs.)

This cranky girl was crankier as I stepped out for my 7-mile run, with 5 miles at tempo. As I walked the two blocks of my warm up, I could feel the tightness in my muscles. Must have been the dern walk (in flip-flops) to Dairy Queen last night.

Determined that all I needed was to get my legs moving, I hit start on my Garmin and went. I tried to keep the pace slow (and avoid anger taking me out too fast). About 0.75 mile in, I felt a twinge in my right leg. "Frack, I thought. I hope to bejeebus I'm not getting a shin splint. I haven't had a shin splint in forever." I began to pay close attention to my leg, analyzing every step and looking for ANY sign of discomfort.

And then, in that moment, I heard the honking of a horn and the loud "Hi" coming from an SUV. Apparently, the rear view as I run is worth such exclamations. I kept going. I forgot about the pain.

The first mile seemed to go by in an instant and it was time to turn up the pace. But my body felt slow. My head resisted. I found myself loathing each step, conscious of just how far I had to go - 4 miles ... 3 miles ...

"I could turn off and get home in 0.75 mile," I thought after the first two tempo miles. This horrific run, this horrific morning ... it could all be over in less than 10 minutes and with one bite of butternut squash pancakes.

But I stopped. Not literally but mentally. I made myself fight. I fought to push through. I fought to keep pace. I fought to stop thinking. And when I did think, I told myself, "You might not feel good on race day. You might not want to go on. You need to train to get through it. This. Now."

And so I got through.

Splits: 8:41, 8:34, 8:21, 8:26, 8:28.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hometown swap-out

The Skyline Chili 3-way might be the most perfect food ever if there were to be a most perfect food. A bed of spaghetti topped with Cincinnati-style chili and a MOUND of Cheddar cheese. It's delicious in every way and also manages to take me back home, even if just for a moment.

The very thought of it also manages to make me gain 10 pounds. As I'm sure you could guess, the 3-way is not necessarily what someone would call healthy. A regular 3-way has 760 calories, 44 grams of fat and 2,850 milligrams of sodium. And to think that I would eat one of these along with a chili-cheese burrito or a cheese coney (or all three).

If you want to do the math, eating all three would be 1,450 calories, 82 grams of fat and 3,970 milligrams of sodium.

Thank goodness I only get a taste when I'm in Cincinnati. However, that doesn't mean I don't want one every now and then. I just have to be smart about it.

Enter my Meatless Monday/lunch for the week idea.

I had made myself a big ole pot of Great Northern White Chili (double the chili powder if you like things spicy) when I thought it would be really nice to serve with some spaghetti. Except spaghetti sometimes feels like empty calories.

"I wonder what it would taste like if I used spaghetti squash," I thought to myself.

Now let's get this straight, I haven't had spaghetti squash in a good five years and I wasn't a huge fan of it then. My food palate has expanded, though, and what's a couple bucks on a spaghetti squash. Right? Right!

I roasted it at 375 degrees for an hour, let it cool and went to work cutting it, cleaning it and pasta-ifying it. Then, into my bowl went 1 cup of spaghetti squash, a serving of chili and 1/4 cup 2% cheddar cheese. (Stats: 342 calories, 8 grams of ft and 1,228 milligrams of Sunday.)

My very own Meatless Monday 3-way! It wasn't quite like the original but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the dish ... twice.

How do you health-ify your favorite meals?

August wrap-up

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with reduced-fat peanut butter
Workout: Ran 4.1 miles in 38 minutes, 15 seconds; average pace, 9:19.

Monday catch-up: Did 40 minutes yoga, 15 minutes arms and a short walk with the dog.

Another month has come and gone in what seems to be the blink of an eye. It amazes me how fast time moves, especially when you find yourself counting down to your next race. (Twenty-four days, in case you were wondering.)

Instead of looking forward, let's take a brief look back.

Total miles ran in August: 112.02 (an all-time high and third 100+ mile month in a row!)
Farthest run: 13.1 miles (RnR Chicago)
Average distance (per run): 6.22 miles
Fastest pace: 8:39

Not too shabby, August!

My goals for September are simple: do my best, train hard and break 2 hours at Fort-4-Fitness.

Wait. Maybe that last one isn't so simple.

Happy running!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Buffet concert

The weekend is over. So sad because it was actually a good one. There was a successful WW meeting, a painted table, a trip to the Indian buffet, a decent movie, frozen yogurt, a good 10-mile run.

Oh, and did I mention the Indian buffet?

Oh, how I love the Indian buffet - nann, Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer and the dishes whose names I don't remember. It would be so easy to go crazy, stuff myself and leave feeling guilty. As I am starting to learn, there are a few tricks to pull out in order to enjoy your favorite foods.

Trick No. 1: I always start with soup. As long as it's broth based, it's often a low-cal, nutrient-dense option. I am a big fan of dahl, Indian lentil soup, which is high in protein and fiber. Dahl wasn't an option on Saturday so I stuck with a brothy chicken soup that was quite tasty.

Trick No. 2: Try a little bit of every thing, including your favorite dish. I filled my plate with veggie- and protein-filled entrees, leaving little room for rice. (Disclaimer: I did have Mark go back for more rice. I needed it to sop up some of the Chicken Tikka Masala sauce. So good!)

Trick No. 3 (and the most important one): Eat with dignity. It's easy, as a formerly obese person, to equate buffets with shame, embarrassment and guilt. It doesn't have to be that way. Eat what you want but only until you are satisfied. And sorry to say, satisfied doesn't mean finishing off the restaurant pan and asking for a third basket of naan. Satisfied means getting a taste and eating until you are satiated and not stuffed. It also means taking your time, enjoying those foods - not stuffing your face with such fury that you don't remember what you're eating. If you start to feel old habits or desires creep up, remind yourself that you DESERVE to eat with dignity.

And if that fails, push your plates in front of your husband and give him the option of finishing it off (or make him at least look like the gluttonous one).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Better together

Pre-workout fuel: Slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and a bite of banana.
Mid-workout fuel: Mandarin Orange Gu at mile 3.5 and another at mile 7.
Workout: Ran 10.15 miles in 1 hour, 31 minutes, 16 seconds; average pace, 9:01.

As Mark and I ran the path that winds around the local university, the first Sunday after the RnR half, I remember asking him an important-ish question. I requested that, if I were to do Fort-4-Fitness, that he accompany on my long runs ... on bike. I would run, he would pedal and would keep each other company.

Then he decided to go ahead and register for the half-marathon himself. Way to foil my plans, buddy!

He still joins me on the long runs but he's on foot. While I am thankful for his company of these high mileage days, his presence is having quite, umm, the effect. My warm-up mile isn't much of a warm up. I maintain a respectable pace even though I am fatigued. Oh, and my average pace is faster than what I need to do come race day to achieve my sub-2:00 goal.

I am sure a running coach would tell me to make these runs a smidge more comfortable -- and I might have thanked them about mile 8 today -- but it's a little thing I call compromise. He runs far, I run fast. They are things that neither of us thought we'd be doing but we do it for our partner - or find the motivation because of our partner. Isn't that what marriage is all about, anyway?!?

Random notes from today's run:
  • I saw a beaver.
  • I saw the shirtless running brigade ... AGAIN. I wonder if they recognize us as they whiz by us.
  • I had to stop several times to adjust some too-big garments (which prompted a trip to the mall and VS this afternoon).
  • It was pretty cool despite the fact that today's temp hit 90.
  • I definitely felt some twinges in my knees. Either I really need to get the new shoes I wished for last week or the downhill at the park is the devil.
Hope everyone had a good weekend!