Saturday, November 27, 2010

My little runner

One of them anyway, they all like to run! 
But I thought this picture from the Thanksgiving day races my family did was classic. 
Cute little thing

Friday, November 26, 2010

Favorite Person Friday

Ok so I won't really do one of these regularly, but my twin sister Stephanie definitely deserves it right now!  We are the best of friends!  We had a rough growing apart patch during high school, but since then as we've gotten married we've become super close.  She lives in Michigan, but we still know exactly how one another will feel in a given situation and can confide anything.  We'll still end up dressing alike unknowingly when we're together which I find fun.
Her first race shirt!!

Anyway, she started running in the summer after what I think she told me what a bug from watching Ironman St George.  Can't say I didn't know it would happen  :)   I'm really proud of her.  She's had some aches and pains since she started that I'd like to go away sooner than later, but she's still going.  I got to get her a 'coach to 5k' plan together and she followed it.  So on Thanksgiving we ran the Earn Your Turkey 4 miler together while she's out here for the holiday.  Her first race, I'm honored to have run it with her and she did great!  Was breathing quietly the whole time, never walked or complained, and we ended up finishing in 42 minutes, 3 minutes faster than she thought she could go!!

It was so fun running together.  I wish we could be neighbors so we could meet outside our houses in the morning and run a few miles together just chatting and enjoying the sunrise.  Someday, but until then we'll just make it a point to run together any time she's here or I'm there (our next race is already plotted for May).  And someday out there, she'll do a triathlon, I just know it......right Sis?   ;)
We watched my kids race after and all of them ran happily and self motivated, that's all I would ask for.  I'm so grateful for family.  I love my kiddies and husband to death, as I do the rest of my family, especially my sister with whom I share such a special bond.  You did great Sis!  Come back soon!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Guess what I got to race in??

No no, no cool Ironman or anything like that, just a 5k, but that's not the super cool part.  The race was fun and all, I got to run at my old high school, but I got to race IN the Altra Intuition road shoe!!  These aren't available to the public yet, but will be soon!  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned it before, but my husband is 1 of 3 co-founders of Altra Running, a high energy innovative thinking company creating new and unique and awesome running shoes!
There are plenty of running shoe manufacturers you might say, why one more, how are they any different?  Their concept lies in 4 key things
  • Foot shaped design - last time I checked my feet and toes weren't pointed in the middle like most running shoes.  Altra's shoes are rounded toes, wide in the toe box allowing the toes to spread out while running.  Try running barefoot on a soft surface sometime, or heck just stand barefoot on the ground.  Your toes will naturally spread out a little.  Altra's shoes make that possible, allowing you a bigger more powerful platform (your wide toes) to push off from.
  • Zero drop - meaning zero hight deviation between the front of the shoe and the back, no chunky heel.  It does not mean NO material/cushion (the term cushion is very misused/misunderstood) under your foot, it simply means a flat natural surface to work off of.  No one's heel is raised off the ground when barefoot.  A large heel grabs the ground first, and a heel strike equals more impact and less efficient running, you're basically putting the brakes on.  You should try running in these, or just barefoot, it is so much easier to land on your mid foot underneath you, it's lovely
  • Gender specific shoes - Here's my favorite term ever - 'Pink it and shrink it'.  That's what every other running shoe does for their women's line.  Add some pink and make the shoe narrower.  Last time I checked my feet were not the same shape as my husbands.  Women's feet are anatomically different in their bone structure.  So these guys at Altra made a true female specific last (or model for what the sole of the shoe is made from).  I can attest it really is different, and great!
  • Learn To Run Initiative - Altra has a motto: Learn to Run, Live to Run, Love to Run.  Part of that is running with good form.  Not only will it make you faster and reduce your chances at injury, but it will make running more enjoyable!  So many people start and stop or never even start running because they don't understand how, it doesn't feel good, it's hard, I can't run.  Not true!  With some form guidance and the knowledge that you have to start out slowly, anyone can run if they want to.  You can read more about it here.  There are 4 simple steps to good form, it's worth your time.  Altra isn't just in this to sell shoes, their mission is to improve your running experience.
So anyway, the shoes are set to release to specialty running stores (contact yours and tell them you want Altra!) and online probably too, by April 1st (maybe Feb/March for the road shoe, Instinct and Intuition), but the boys just got back from the biggest running retailer expo in the country, The Running Event, in Austin, TX this week, and of course they needed demo shoes to show to the world.  Well after being rushed from the factory overseas, a couple came home with us and I get to wear the Intuition around for a while.  Yay!  It's been a long hard road getting this far so it's great to hold the real thing in your hand.  And it's almost time for everyone else to be able to too!

One quick note I thought I'd make, I mentioned barefoot running a lot in the 4 points above.  When people say barefoot running, they don't usually mean truly bare feet.  Yes some people do run many miles that way, and no they aren't tribal.  Barefoot Running usually means natural running by wearing minimalist shoes or simply running barefoot some of the time.  The misconception starts when people think they're supposed to throw their shoes away and never use them again.  Well yeah, that might make some people question the validity and safety of this barefoot movement going on.  This isn't the case though!  Barefoot running is meant as a drill, a strength tool, strength training for your feet if you will.  By taking your shoes off once a week and running on a soft surface for 30seconds-30 minutes you will improve your running.  Your feet will get stronger, joints more resistant to injury, and you'll teach your body better form.  It's much harder to reach way out in front of you and heel strike barefoot.  Most people land closer under their body and take faster shorter strides when barefoot.  So for the beginner barefooter, seriously, start at 30 seconds one day a week and don't run fast, just a easy to doable pace.  The next week add 30 seconds or a minute working your way up to maybe a mile or two after several weeks.  That's a great distance, you don't really need to go past it.  You must start gradually though as our feet are very babied and weakened by traditional shoes.  Those arch supports?  A crutch for most people.  Barefoot running will strengthen your arches.  I am not a wing nut barefoot proponent.  I'm a proponent for strong feet and joints and proper form, and incorporating a few minutes of running barefoot on a soft surface will help you achieve that.
Checking out the shoes pre-race  :)

And just like barefoot running, when the Altra Running shoes do come out, you'll start gradually with them, and there will be guidelines in the box telling you that.  Most shoes don't expect as much out of your feet or legs, and the positive change in form that will happen with a zero drop shoe will take time for your muscles to adjust to.  I've been running in modified zero drop shoes for about a year now.  We take regular running shoes into a cobbler, or shoe-smith if you will, and they cut out a section of the heel, glue it back together so we can have a closer attempt at zero drop, but the real thing?  Oooh baby it's nice!  I was 'blessed' with bunions (bony protrusion by my big toe) on both feet and they make finding any kind of shoe a challenge.  The Intuition felt so great, in fact, I could hardly feel them at all.  The shoe wraps around your heel and ankle so well and feels very secure.  I am so excited that these are finally becoming public, they sincerely are great shoes!  And they're not only for the elite runner or the extremest.  They will make anyone's running a better experience.  I'll keep you updated as the release dates approach, but you can also visit their website or Facebook page (lots of new shoe pics on Facebook too).

No new PR, I took 3rd overall, but just the chance to get out and be with my family, run fast and run in some great shoes made for a great Saturday morning for me!
Running on my old stomping grounds with 2 of my babies after the race

Monday, November 8, 2010

You know it's the off season when.... spend all Saturday morning (7:30am-1:30pm to be precise) cleaning, doing yard work, and caring for children INSTEAD of enjoying some long epic workout or race.  Oh well, such is life.  I thought about working out but it was my oldest's birthday party, and I just didn't really have time, and I'm ok with it.  Of course once I see pictures from races (like Turkey Tri that morning) it does me in and I wish it was race time again.  I'm weak, I know.

I just love racing.  I love going fast and feeling my body that I've trained cooperate and 'show up' on race day.  I love the anticipation of a race coming up, I love the 3 days before a race where I really prep my body nutritionally, I love seeing people I know at races, I love hearing and seeing my kids cheer for me when they come, and I love trying to podium (not being prideful, just saying it as it is, it's satisfying and fun JUST like finally placing in my age group was at one time and should be for most people).  I love following a training plan, knowing what I'm going to do every day.  So much in fact, I must get one back.  I am useless without it

Now there is for sure a time and a place for a break from everything, I've taken about a true week off so far.  I have worked out a couple times, but none really planned, just going out to do something.  It's nice to focus on my kids more, my house and cleaning it (my Achilles heel - I am NOT a domestic goddess), just other stuff.  But honestly, after about 2 weeks I've had enough and it's time for a training plan.  So I'll put something simple together so I know what workout is scheduled so they actually get done, because I feel so much better when they do.  A long base period until January/February when I can start thinking more about periodization and speed work and long rides/runs.  I'd really like to work on strength training this winter.  I have slacked seriously in this department for quite a while, at least a year.  A strong base is so important to effective speed and power, injury prevention, and just feeling well.  Here are a few strength training and off season training articles I found online.
Here - Periodized Strength Training Program.  Doesn't have some of the bigger movememt/dynamic moves I've been turned onto lately, but good info none the less.
Here - Off season article by Keena Schaerrer, a great coach and fellow Powertri athlete
Here - Another great summary on off season training by the great Debbie Perry, a great nutritionist and coach in SLC
And not off season specific, but I just found it and thought I'd show you the topical index for David Warden's (an owner of Powertri and the completely-geekiest-know-it-all when it comes to triathlon coaching....he's my boss, I can say that) Tri Talk podcasts, the most popular triathlon podcast site online.  Great thing to listen to during this off season.
Did I mention geeky?  Yes?  Well this is the man responsible for David's nerdiness.....I mean complete and impressive obsession for training knowledge and numbers  :)  Joe Freil, and he's written 4 excellent blog posts recently on Base Training.

So there's some jabber from me, what's your "you know it's the off season when..."  line?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Want another chance at a Handful Bra?

A Little Great
My favorite bra ever!!  Check out my friend Aly's cute blog,
A Little Great
.  Good luck!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Half Marathon review

My husband and I had the chance to run the Halloween Half Marathon together this past Saturday in Provo, Utah.  My husband ran a little track in high school, but nothing serious.  Then he picked up running (or any exercise for that matter) last summer, 10 years later, and I'm so glad!  While it can present training time management challenges with the two of us, he understands me better now, and best of all we can go out and be active together!  Now I've come to learn that we have our differences still, speed/endurance obviously being one of them because I've been fit for over a decade, he only has one year under his belt.   He doesn't care that I train or race faster, but he isn't overly fond of trying to do my quality workouts with me, even if he goes at his pace, and frankly I don't like having to worry if he's upset or not that I'm ahead.  So that's ok, we've learned that we can go on base. or non-tempo or speedwork runs together, and most trail runs (although he is way more into 'bagging' peaks than I am, I'd rather find a rolling trail and run fast, he likes climbing to the top of stuff then flying down).  Anyway, not sure where I was going with that except that we wanted to do this together.  I'd normally be about 20 minutes faster, but didn't care about that Saturday.

So anyway, we arrived at the buses at 6:40am or so only to find a VERY long line of people waiting to get on.  We also saw at least a dozen if not more buses waiting to be loaded.  We probably stood in line for close to 45 minutes while they loaded 1 bus at a time.  That's ridiculous.  I went up and asked some guy who appeared to be in charge why and he said "we have to make sure every bus is full, it's just easier for us".  Well yes, I'm sure it is, but there's no reason you can't load 3 buses at a time and check the full status of 3 buses, that's not 10, it's 3.  Just seemed silly to me that they were trying to get the race as large as possible, even encouraging people to call their friends to sign up the night before at packet pickup, yet they weren't being smart about getting everyone up there and not waiting in the cold for an hour.  We got up there in time and there was only 2 buses that were after the 9am start time, but still, could have been SO much more efficient.
Pre Race
So we get to the top and to the race director's credit there is a heated 15,000 sqft tent.  Very nice touch.  Not room to spread out per say, but plenty of standing room to watch the somewhat disorganized but entertaining costume contest.  The usual lines for bathrooms, not more than 15 minute wait probably.  The only thing the start was really lacking was water and music (both which can be important).
Steeper downhill about mile 2, Mt Timpanogus behind us
Anyway, so a brief post about the race itself.  Starting a couple miles above Sundance Resort, the first 5 miles are very steep, much steeper than one would normally run.  Didn't feel unmanageable except for in a couple spots.  The next 8 were on the Provo River Trail which is very forgiving, either flat, slight up, or slight down.  No big deal.  I was worried about crowding, but I think our pace managed to avert it.  Seeing some pictures like this one, from slower paces though, it looks like it got pretty crowded.
The aid stations were fine, simple, but fine.  Although they totally could have put MUSIC at least at the aid stations.  They made a big point that this was a fun exciting race, but it was kind of quiet and lonely during all but the start and finish.  I took a gel at mile 5 and water at most aid stations and was fine.  My hubby did well until about 9 or 10 where I kind of had to keep the motivation alive (very carefully though as not to make him feel like I wanted to run ahead, I did, but I didn't want him to feel that way), and then finally we got to mile 12 and we ran the last mile in under 8.  So we ended up with a 1:46 which is a 3 minute PR for him and not insanely slow for me, but yes, 20 minutes slower than I could have gone and it was hard sometimes to be running that slow, but it was easy and fun and gave me a chance to observe the fun costumes around me.  Some favorites were a Forest Gump who carried a box of chocolates the whole way, a Mr Clean who carried a mop the whole way, Dwight from The Office, and a huge 6ft5in guy in a full Captain America muscle costume.  Oh and my good friend Jason Crompton sported a full Super Grover costume.  Check out Zazoosh or the Halloween Half website for more.

Couple more tiffs I had with the race.  Finish food was sad, self serve cut up oranges and apples and bottled water, that's it.  No carbs (bagels), treats, chocolate milk etc.  Had to walk back 3 blocks from the finish line to get our drop bags.  I heard the transportation back to where people parked was ridiculous, taking an hour to go 10 minutes, and we saw several people walking the 2 miles back to the cars.  And finally the shirt.  Now don't get on me because I'm being prideful or something, my husband even pointed it out.  The shirt says in big bold letters "Halloween Marathon".  Now I've done marathons, and I don't know about you, but they were quite noticeably different than the half marathons I've done  :)  My husband could've thought that was cool to have a shirt that says he did a marathon, but he didn't and he doesn't.  That's like saying you're an Ironman when you haven't gone the 140.6 miles, not cool  ;)
We had fun though and that's what was important.  I don't know that I'll race with him again unless it's some fun race with costumes or a team event or something, but this was fun.