Sole Mates

Yesterday I registered for my 4th fundraising stint benefitting Girls On The Run. In the past this program was called Team Tiara, but recently the organization realized that this gave it too heavy a female-specific spin and turned away potential male fundraisers, so Sole Mates was chosen as the new moniker for GOTR's adult racing fundraising program.

Last time around I set my fundraising goal at $1000 and raised $1155. So this time around I am setting my goal higher--$1500. We have a very active and growing local chapter, so I am happy to do what I can to help it continue to benefit local girls and help encourage them to be healthy and make good choices...while they are young, and for the rest of their lives. There was no GOTR program when I was young, but I participated in track & field from junior high through high school and that experience really helped me to pick up running and taking better care of myself in recent years.

I would greatly appreciate any and all financial support. If you can help me reach my fundraising goal, please click here.


That was a wise decision

Several days ago I decided to sit out on the 10k that took place yesterday. As much as I would have liked a new 10k PR, it was just not meant to happen...for several reasons:
  • My back is STILL bugging me a bit...not enough to curtail my mileage, but definitely enough to make me limit any sort of "quality" workouts or races.
  • It ended up really humid yesterday AM and humidity and my lungs have never been good friends, but especially not in recent years as my asthmatic issues worsened.
  • I didn't arrive home until almost 3AM from the Domestic Problems show on Friday night...and was also just a tad bit hungover for the first half of yesterday...heh. Apparently this 36 year old girl is too old to be partying like a rockstar.
  • All the cigarette smoke in the bar has really taken a toll on my lungs. I am STILL feeling like someone took sandpaper to them nearly 2 full days later.
What a great night, though. It was so great seeing Andy, Billy, Job and the rest of the band. Those boys were STILL playing when we called it a night at 1:30 (but apparently only for maybe one more song).

It was hilarious to see all of these old-timer DP fans, though. I have not managed to make it to a live show since I was 5 months pregnant...with the kid who is now 8.5. The fans I remember were all in their mid-20s/30s. These same fans are now all in their 30s and 40s. And you could tell that there were a LOT of moms and dads who don't get out much and are of the weekend-warrior variety of partiers nowadays. Lots of sloppy drunk people approaching middle-age...and without a lot of grace. As one person I talked to said, it was like they were damned if they weren't going to get their money's worth with the kids are at home with a babysitter.

The guys who were very obviously looking for hook-ups near the end of the show were just plain pathetic, though. Really, guys...it didn't work when you were in your 20s...and it's not working now, either. The married couples groping on another during "Untitled" were amusing.

We were surprised by how many people left with still an hour or so of the show to go. I was exhausted, but who knows when I'll get to see DP play again. The 3 original members of the band are all spread-out across the US, now (jobs and family needs have taken 2 of the original members out-of-state). The stars need to align properly for them to be able to put a show together, so I won't miss any of them in the future if I can avoid it.

The club they played at (Billy's Lounge) was decent, but not the experience that the shows at the State Theatre in Kalamazoo always were--the sound at those, alone, was so amazing. Plus we really weren't able to see the stage at Billy's. Short of standing on barstools there were just too many people in front of us and I'm no longer keen on being pressed-against a bunch of drunk, sweaty old farts like myself.

Even though I felt pretty off yesterday AM, I did manage a S-L-O-W 6 miler before heading over to the first West MI JDRF ride team pool party of the year about 5 minutes from our house. Around 3pm or so the first few riders starting trickling-in. What a nice afternoon of swimming, eating, swimming, eating...more eating...chatter...eating...perfect day.

Tomorrow I need to make up the speed workout that was supposed to have been done yesterday. Today is a rest day, though I do need to do my ab workout before bed. Anything to help avoid future lower-back issues. My back is still not 100% and I've read and been told that even minor back spasm issues can hang around for a couple of weeks, at least. Ick.


How did I forget the butt?!

In that poll up there...somehow I forgot the category for glute injuries. And last night I realized I had forgotten it as I was dealing with piriformis pain, particularly in my left cheek.

While looking at the extended forecast for the weekend (scattered/isolated T-storms) and my event schedule I realized that yesterday may have been my only safe day to do my "long" run for the week, 13 miles. So I got out and did it, though the last 5 miles included a lot of walking. My right knee, hip, and lower back were starting to give me fits. 13 miles was probably too-much-too-soon after that 17 miler last week without my orthotic insoles...the run that left me injured the next day.

My runs in the interim have felt pretty good...often loosening things up. Yesterday was probably too much, too soon. NSAIDS + heating pad were not helping and really took a toll on sleep last night. Perhaps I should have gone with ice, but sleeping on an ice pack didn't sound appealing--who wants to wake up on a wet, clammy, squishy ice pack?

Tomorrow and Saturday I'm hoping to do 7-8 miles each...but I'll play it by ear. Today I want to do some yoga (mmm...pigeon pose) to help my problem spots and also an easier core workout. No speed work for the rest of the week. I was just starting to get back to doing some tempo runs, which I really enjoy, but that faster/longer stride can really anger an already angry piriformis, which I don't want to touch.

Speaking of core work, I'm not sure I can entirely blame the run without my Superfeet orthotics for the back issues. The day before that run I did just 10 minutes of core workout, but it was the core segment from Cathe Friedrich's Bootcamp workout. She is brutal...and the workout involved doing a lot of planks, including some one-arm/twist planks. I can't help but wonder if that contributed. My poor back...no wonder it's so angry. That was a lot of abuse for 2 days.

I just hope this resolves by next week. I have 50 miles on the schedule. If I have to, I will cut back...but that will likely mean readjusting my marathon training plan, as the next few weeks are currently planned-out pretty aggressively.


Definitely Not

Yep, not doing the 10k I had originally planned to run this Sat. My back is STILL not 100% better (I'd say it's about 75% good...mostly just stiff and a little achey at this point), so I've not been able to front-load my mileage this week. The last 3 days I've run 6, 8, and 5 miles, respectively. Tomorrow I hope to do either 7 easy or 8 (2 warm-up, 6 @ marathon pace). Weather is going to be sort of iffy the rest of the week. Rain doesn't bother me in the least, but lightning does. I'm planning to do my 13 miler (my long run on this scale-back week) either Friday or Saturday, depending upon which day offers the best window of electrical storm-free weather.

I'm not terribly bummed about sitting-out this race. 10ks are really, really hard. All the effort of a 5k, for twice as long. I don't mind 5ks, I like 15ks a lot...but that distance in the middle...ick. Though it really is a good distance for gauging overall fitness and figuring what is a doable pace on marathon day.

My next 2 races on the schedule are both 5ks. I look foward to setting new PRs. The last 5k I did was under freakishly humid conditions between storms. I recall that Motion Based had recorded a high of 99% humidity and average of 97% at the time of my last 5k (over a year ago). Not good with stupid asthmatic lungs. I'm hoping that one of these upcoming races yields more reasonable breathing air.


This explains much:

Strenuous Exercise Linked to Memory Loss
Study Shows Mental Decline in Women Who Run or Swim Laps
By Charlene Laino
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

July 15, 2009 (Vienna, Austria) -- A warning to female marathoners: Long-term strenuous activity may lead to memory loss.

In a new study, women who regularly engaged in exercises like running, swimming laps, or calisthenics for decades experienced a significant decline in memory, recall, and other brain skills.

Long-term moderate exercise, such as brisk walking or cycling on level streets, helped women to sharpen their mental skills.

"People often think, if a little is good, a lot is better. But that's not the case here," says researcher Mary C. Tierney, PhD, of the University of Toronto.

The study was presented here at the Alzheimer's Association 2009 International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease.

Tierney tells WebMD that she undertook the study after research showed that moderate exercise lowered breast cancer risk, and strenuous exercise lowered risk even further.

"The researchers argued that exercise exerted its protective effect by lowering estrogen levels in the body. Since estrogen is known to affect the brain positively throughout a woman's life, we wondered about the effect of exercise on cognitive function," she explains.

Additionally, studies in which rats ran on a treadmill showed that "the further they pushed, the greater the damage to the brain, especially in the hippocampus, the key area for learning and memory," Tierney says.

Strenuous Activity and Memory Loss
The new study involved 90 recently menopausal women ages 50 to 63. They were asked how frequently they engaged in strenuous and moderate recreational activities from high school to menopause.

Strenuous activities included swimming laps, aerobics, calisthenics, running, jogging, basketball, cycling on hills, and racquetball. Moderate exercises included brisk walking, golf, volleyball, cycling on level streets, recreational tennis, and softball.

Eight memory and brain function tests were administered to all participants.

The researchers found that the more strenuous activity a woman did, the worse her cognitive function -- on all eight tests. They did particularly poorly on tests of recall, memory, and attention, Tierney says.

The more moderate activity a woman did, the better her cognitive function on all the tests.

The analysis took into account age, education, smoking, and other risk factors for cognitive impairment.

Still, the findings don't prove that vigorous exercise causes mental decline, and further study is needed, Tierney says.

It could be the strenuous activity itself or some other lifestyle factor shared by these women that is responsible for the negative effect, says Maria Carrillo, PhD, director of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer's Association.

Stress, for example, could lead women to work out more intensively, and stress is known to be harmful to brain health, she tells WebMD.

Pending further research, "it wouldn't hurt to do a trade-off," Tierney says. "Don't be sedentary, but don't push yourself too far either. After 15 minutes on the treadmill, take a brisk walk rather than a long run."


Heh, I'm already spacey...and apparently in the worst sport possible. I definitely suffer from CRS: Can't Remember Shit.


6 miles with my Superfeet...back felt MUCH better. I woke with it still feeling pretty stiff and achey, but decided that a short run might do me some good.

The first half mile felt pretty stiff and awkward...I'm sure my form looked "off" (I mean, moreso than usual, heh), but I felt better the further I went. Thought about doing more, but didn't want to push it.

I'm sort of thinking I may skip the 10k on Saturday, though. I really want to take it easy for the first half of this week, instead of front-loading my long run and speedwork, as I had originally planned--probably not wise with the back still not near 100% healthy. I'd rather save the tougher stuff for later in the week, when I was going to be taking it easy in preparation for the race.

Plus I'm not a huge fan of 10ks (well, I've only done 2--both were the same race, 2 consecutive years...horribly organized). I've not run this particular race before, but it's almost an hour away...and the morning after a concert I can't miss. My favorite little local band ever (Domestic Problems, a rock/blues/funk band out of Grand Rapids, MI). The band members are spread all over the US now, but manage to reunite here and there for reunion shows. But, as my best friend pointed out, there may come a day when they can no longer do this. So we have to take in their shows whenever we can.

I've not had the opportunity to see them perform live since I was 5 months pregnant...so almost 9 years ago. This is the first time that the stars have aligned just right. I gotta go.

And I'd rather not try to run a race the next day, especially after an evening in a smokey bar. I'm guessing I wouldn't be in my bed and asleep much earlier than 1am (concert is an hour away). And I'd have to be up 4 hours later to drive to the race site, register, run a warm-up, and "take care of business." Eh...just seems not worth it for a race distance that I don't care much for. Plus the registration fee...meh.

I'm also planning on 2 5ks in the next couple of months. One is a tiny evening race 5 minutes away, the other is a fundraiser an hour away that several of my RunningAHEAD.com running buddies will also be running. I'd rather not blow so much $$ on too many smaller races. I still have a half-marathon, marathon, and trail race before the years is out, too.


Tried & True

So tomorrow I am back to wearing my trusty Superfeet insoles in all of my running shoes for all of my runs. I think any discomfort I was having with the Superfeet in my newer shoes were while wearing the blue ones (which have almost no cushion over the plastic orthotic base to allow one to use them in tighter shoes or shoes without removable sockliners). I had given them a try in my current narrower shoes, as they are thinner and allow me to wear a relatively heavier sock without creative lacing. But thinner socks would allow me to continue wearing the "berry" Superfeet insoles, which served me well through 2 marathons and countless shorter races and training runs. The blue Superfeet feel hard under my arches. When I put a blue one in one shoe and a berry one in the other there is a subtle difference in feel under my arches...the sort of thing that isn't so noticeable while standing, but after miles of running becomes VERY noticeable--to the point of discomfort.

So today ended up being an unplanned rest day, which is fairly frustrating. I had planned to log more miles this week than last, but it was not to be. Next week my schedule includes a 10k race on Saturday, so my miles won't be terribly high then, either. But if the back is still tender for the next few days I will have to rearrange my schedule and perhaps bail on the 10k race. I don't particularly like that distance (all the agony of a 5k, for 2x as long!) and it's the morning after the Domestic Problems reunion concert an hour away, so if I had to eliminate that race it wouldn't be the end of the world...

Off to enjoy a beer. I haven't earned it today, but it should at least make my back feel better...or something.

Oh, my achin' back!

Owie! I have never been prone to much in the way of back problems. Most of the time any backaches I experience are neck/shoulder issues...often due to a certain cat who thinks my pillow belongs to him. I've woken-up more times than I can count with my head off the pillow and my neck contorted. That usually leads to a few days of neck spasms. Fun fun.

I'm attributing this lower back business to 17 miles without my Superfeet insoles, yesterday. During the run my right knee and full arch area hurt a fair amount...these are areas that don't typically bother me with the insoles (my outer arch/peroneal tendon area may sometimes still bother me with the insoles, but this usually seems to have more to do with shoes that have stiffer forefoot areas).

The run itself went pretty well, especially considering the dry, hacking cough that has interrupted my sleep every night for the past week+ (I think it must be allergies, as I don't have a cold...but during the day have no issues. Apparently being horizontal is giving me sinus draining that's irritating my throat). This afternoon I need to get in an easy 6 miler with the kiddo along on his bike. Today I definitely won't be going sans-Superfeet. I think it's pretty clear that the new Nike Lunarglide+ shoes still don't offer as much stability as I need. Nike is marketing them as a shoe that is idea for everyone from underpronators to those with moderate overpronation, but I would say that the stability correction offered by the shoe is no more than mild stability.

At least I slept reasonably well last night. I took Delsym before bed, so that kept the coughing at bay for most of the night--woot! I also had the entire bed to myself, as DH stayed down at his aunt's place. Today he is riding in the Holland Hundred bike ride. Looks like the weather cooperated a bit better than had originally been predicted. It was supposed to be off-and-on rain all day, but it's mostly just intermittently overcast with a good breeze. Any rain now looks like it will hold-off until closer to suppertime, when he should be done with the ride.


I would run 500 miles and I would run 500 more...


Today I hit 1k miles logged for 2009. Phew! I had a little help from my pint-sized coach along on his bike. Less than a half mile after hitting the magic mileage marker we stopped for ice cream (in celebration of my mileage and in observance of my brother's birthday...he is 33 today), then ran/biked another mile-and-a-half home. It was great!

Tomorrow I will continue the celebration with a 17 mile run...in some heavenly running weather, too. Predicted temps in the upper 50s when I start and topping out in the low 60s by the finish. Ahhhh...you won't hear THIS girl bitching about the cool Summer, nosireebob! Nothing like being able to plan a run following a route I like, not necessarily a route that has ample places to get water. I can only carry so much on me and I expect to be out over 3 hours. With those temps I can easily bring one 20oz bottle and only have to refill once.

And I am going to do my first long run in my new flashy shoes (honestly, the blue is even brighter than in that photo). I have logged about 50 miles in them and am quite happy. It took me a few runs to determine whether or not I need my Superfeet insoles for added stability and arch support...I'm definitely leaning towards NOT needing them, which is excellent. Those suckers add an additional $30-40 to the cost of shoes and need to be replaced every 2-3 pairs.

My runs with the Superfeet have had me feeling overcorrected and sore on the outsides of my feet. Runs without feel much more natural. I haven't had any shoes that have felt right without them in over a year, so this is a nice experience. Nikes naturally have high arches built into the last, wheres NBs are notoriously flat (they were too flat for me, even with my semi-flat feet). With the Superfeet in I feel a MUCH higher arch that is uncomfortable under my foot, as a result.

The stock Nike insoles are still a bit bulky, but nothing thinner socks and a bit of creative lacing doesn't solve well. The shoe would fit better in a wide width, but Nike doesn't make such a beast...perhaps it's something they will add if the shoe does well. I have a feeling it will, so perhaps in a generation or two I will be able to purchase a pair that fit my duck feet like a dream right out of the box and don't require ultra-thin socks or skipping a row of laces on the forefoot. I dare to dream. For now I'm pretty happy and after tomorrow may even bump my beloved NB 902s from the top spot on my favorite-running-shoes-of-all-time list. Though I think a full marathon is really the true test of a shoe. I have high hopes that the Lunarglide+ will serve me well come Oct.

After tomorrow I should also have a better idea whether or not I will sell my remaining 3 pair of NB 903s on eBay, too. Right now I'm thinking that's where they will end up. The Lunarglides may be just the slightest-bit snug, but that's better than a toebox that is so tall that my foot feels somewhat unsupported and floppy in the shoe. It's one thing for a shoe to LOOK like clown shoes, but it's quite another for it to FIT like them.


Nasty Yellow Pit Stains

Sounds like the name of a band, doesn't it?

Anyhow, I am frustrated to find that my only white wicking tank has horrible yellow pits. The strange thing about this is that none of my white wicking Ts have this issue--and I have worn them MUCH more than the tank top in question (a Champion/C9 "long and lean" tank from Target). I have worn this top maybe 5-6 times, at most. And the really odd part is that the other colors of this tank (it's my absolute favorite Summer running top and I have 6 in all different colors, since they often go on clearance for $10 or less) have not had such issues. Weird.

I wash all of my light-colored clothing with Oxyclean or Borax added to the wash cycle, but that doesn't seem to have helped with these stains. Anyone have any idea what might help?

Tomorrow I have my short core workout, then DS and I will do a 4 miler, with him along on his bike. I think we will plan our route to include a stop for ice cream...and maybe add an extra mile for good measure. We can consider it celebration of my brother's birthday, even though he lives out-of-state, heh. We can eat ice cream in his honor.


3rd time's the charm...?

Results from a recent poll:

This really gives me a lot of hope--it's encouraging to see that most runners are not entirely pleased with their first several marathon distance races. My first 2 marathons have left me fairly frustrated...especially this last one.

Just about everyone anticipates that the first one will be tough and have no real prediction of how things will end. Unlike every other race distance, the marathon is where most competitors have not run at least the race distance in training. Most runners top-out at 20-22 miles, so that last 4-6 are shrouded in mystery.

My training for #1 was hampered by knee issues for at least the first half of training, so my miles were decreased. Training for #2 went relatively well and I really didn't expect the same cramping issues the second time around--surprise! Even though my finish time for #2 was a bit improved over my first race, I had fully anticipated finishing with a 20+ minute PR, not a 3 minute one. So in many ways I was more upset with my performance in marathon #2.

In training for #3 I am applying lessons learned from both of my previous marathons in the hopes that I will eventually finish a race feeling like I ran as well as I possibly could and was not slowed by cramping or other mid-race "injuries." This time around I am working on the electrolytes as well as speed work, so that race pace does not come as a complete shock to my legs on race day.


2 Mug Day

2:30pm and I am on my second 16oz. mug of joe. Recall that I was posting a blog entry at 1am this same day. Yeah...I was still awake at 2. Didn't help that I took some cough syrup with codeine right before bed. Narcotics never play nice with me...they make me relaxed, but not sleepy...kind of zombie-fied. At least I wasn't coughing last night, though. Codeine + tussin does work very well to at least keep the hacking at bay.

Not sure what the coughing is about. I'm not sick in the least bit and haven't had coughing issues during the day, but as soon as I lay down to sleep I get this dry tickle in my throat. Very annoying. I'm wondering if it's asthma-related, though my breathing has been pretty good during the day and my allergy issues are very mild in recent weeks. Probably would be a good idea to pick up a peak flow meter to really get the full picture. An asthmatic friend of mine swears by this to predict asthma attacks before they hit and proactively treat her illness.

So my motivation is pretty non-existent. I am getting laundry washed, including bedding...but the car washing and vacuuming will likely wait. I did just take the car through the car wash earlier this past week, but it only removed the very surface grub and there's a lot of stuff now stuck under a coat of wax. Plenty of goobers of tree sap and bugs that need a little more gentle elbow grease to remove, too.

Next on the agenda is cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming...but I'm in no hurry. Sitting here with my coffee sure is pleasant. I have to get to my ab workout at some point, too. By the end of yesterday's 16 miler I could definitely feel the weakness in my core...lower back started to feel sore and my posture began suffering. Once that starts all sorts of aches and pains present themselves.

I did finish my 6 consecutive days of running with nearly 45 miles, which is cool. Haven't run that much since before Bayshore. Only about another month before I hit my first 50 mile week in this training cycle. This time around I'd love to hit a 60 mile week, though I think a 55 mile week is more likely for my peak.

Second Wind

You may be wondering what I am doing awake at 1am the morning after running a 16 miler (ie like less than 12 hours ago)...I, too, am wondering this. I don't know why it is, but I often seem to find myself WIDE AWAKE in the evening after my long runs. My legs may be achey, but my eyes are like this: 00

Even the relatively strong beer (Flying Dog Brewery Snake Dog IPA) I had earlier didn't make me drowsy. Perhaps I should have had 2...or 3, but I wanted to blow some calories on buttered popcorn, instead.

I need to make myself go to bed...kiddo will be up in 7 hours or so. I know tomorrow I will regret burning the midnight (er...1am) oil. At least tomorrow is a "rest" day. I have cleaning the bathroom, washing the car, vacuuming (house and car) and my ab workout on the agenda.

Am I the only one who experiences this phenomenon? Perhaps this is like when I was a little kid and would get overtired and wired (my kid also does this--on top of ADHD it's almost a comical sight to watch him literally buzzing all over the place). At least I'm not bouncing off the walls.



I just saw this graphic on Run Faster Mommy's blog:
Nike has always had some of the coolest ad campaigns and marketing.

I feel the need...the need for speed!

Yeah, Top Gun was lame (I didn't really "get" what many of my girlfriends saw in that film. My guess is they no longer get it, either), but that infamous line is pretty much where my head is right now.

The primary differences in my training for Grand Rapids '09 and Bayshore '09 are that I did next-to-no speed work for Bayshore (I also ran "only" 5 days/week up until recently. I want to try to run 6 days most weeks, now...the trick is doing this while DS is home for the Summer). I was still a little gunshy about my knee issues from last Spring/Summer and it seemed that every time I did try to incorporate speed work I was battling health stuff or icy roads. By the time I got later into training and the roads were no longer an issue I was afraid to suddenly throw faster stuff in.

This time I'm doing better with that. I ran 6 mile marathon tempo runs both of my first 2 weeks of training. Though I have decided that I do need to add a couple of easy warm-up miles at the start if I don't want to end up benched. Those first 2 miles feel awful as I am starting out at marathon pace from the get-go. Unwise.

I'm still loving my new Nike Lunarglide+ shoes. Such a different feel from my other lightweight trainers, even though the weight differences between the Nikes and the NB 903 and Mizuno Wave Elixir are not all that great. The Lunarglide feels like a much beefier shoe in terms of cushion...like running on Nerf foam. I love it! They seem just as flexible as the other shoes in the forefoot, but cushion is not minimized to achieve that quality.

I have had a tough time getting my hands on a pair of the Superfeet "Blue" insoles I need, though. Our nearest store that carries Superfeet had NO blue insoles in stock (almost looks like they are no longer carrying the blue, which is weird...they had the green, berry, orange...). So I ordered a pair from RunningWarehouse.com, but they sent me a pair of orange. Kind of annoying, as I am not male and that is their male-specific insole. Now I wait until Monday, when they are due to arrive.

I already have a pair of blue Superfeet, but have decided that my fit issues with them is due to them not being the best size for my foot. They are Cs, which is marketed to women's shoe sizes 6.5-8...I wear an 8, but my berry insoles are a D (trimmed to fit...my heel base width fit in the berry Ds better than the Cs, which is how I ended up in that size for that insole in the first place) and fit me better. Apparently my arch is weird. My blue Cs always feel like the arch is too far back.

Today I wore my berry insoles with a pair of very thin Balega socks. The shoes fit better through the toebox with less sock (stupid-ass wide, hard-to-fit feet), but the arch on the berry insoles is still a bit aggressive in the Nikes, so the blues will work better AND since they are much thinner (due to no added cushion) I can go back to my preferred Smartwool socks. I found that the Balegas were too silky and my heel wanted to slip in the back, even with lock lacing. I hate my dumb feet.

Tomorrow I have a 16 miler on the schedule. As much as I would like to wear the Nikes for that run, I think I will wait until I have the proper insoles. So tomorrow I'll be in the NB 903s I wore for Bayshore...a shoe that I will be glad to retire. I'm pretty sure I will be selling those 3 remaining pair on eBay, now. I wore my pair currently in rotation yesterday and they just felt so meh. I have never loved the shoe, but now that I have a shoe that I think I may like even better than the 902s that they replaced I REALLY am not eager to wear them. They're not too narrow and never caused me any actual pain (unlike the 904s that are NB's current lightweight stability shoe), but that's about all I can say positive for them. The toebox is too deep and my foot feels like it's flopping around funny in them. Can't go smaller or narrower, though. NB is really good at messing up a good thing.

Speaking of...I have at least 2 pair of NB shoes (both are on that godforsaken new, narrower "performance" last.) that I avoid wearing at all cost. One pair I actually removed from rotation as they were causing blisters on my baby toes and both were bringing back my peroneal tendonitis issues--I think because the outer edges of my feet were spilling over the midsole (mind you, these are shoes that are marked wide). I really should just give these shoes to Goodwill. They are of no use to me, but may be perfect shoes for someone else...for running, walking, working, whatever. It's not as if I will recoup the $$ loss from the dumb things.

At least I know I'm not alone. A couple of running shoe store employees I have talked to have said that NB has gained new fans, only to lose ones like me...lots of wide-footed runners who struggle to find ANYTHING to fit acceptably. We've given up on shoes that fit perfectly. With the right Superfeet insole I think my Nikes are going to come really close, though...phew! Perhaps NB's revamping of their entire running product line will prove a blessing in disguise. Now Nike just has to keep up their end of the deal and not screw up the Lunarglides in the next installment.


And so begins week 2...

Today starts my 2nd week (of 16) of training for the Grand Rapids Marathon on Oct. 18. So far, so good. Today was a X-training day...which amounted to a 15 minute ab workout. This week I am going to try to run 6 days, instead of my usual 5. I hope to run 6 days most weeks...this will allow me to run maybe 5 miles more every week. Not a huge leap in training mileage, but every little bit helps.

Wish I could do some days of doubles, but it's hard with the kiddo home. And I'm really not sure I'm all that keen on the idea of running, showering, running, showering again...and increased laundry. Though I do like the idea of running more than once/day. Often after my easier days I find that I feel so great a few hours later that I am twitchy to go again. Yeah, I should probably seek mental help for that, heh.

Speaking of training strategies, we were having a really great discussion in the private "girls-only" area of Running Ahead about training stalls and the causes of these lulls and solutions that has solidified things I have been mentally mulling over for many months (how's that for some hot alliteration?). My mileage has increased by leaps-and-bounds over the last couple of years, but my average pace on most runs is no faster...and probably a little slower. Granted, I am actually running at a comfortable, conversational pace, which was almost certainly not true in the first year or two that I was running, but it does seem to have come at a cost. In the past year I have trained for 2 marathons with more miles, but almost no speedwork....and my marathon times have been FAR slower than I would have expected giving my mileage and pace on long runs.

Of course, most miles SHOULD be run slow and easy...the alternative is running miles fast and hard...which usually will result in running no miles while sitting on the bench nursing an injury.

But I I seem to have turned myself into a machine that can run lots of miles at a single pace...like I have just one gear. It's like someone (I forget who) once said, "long slow distances make long slow runners." It's true. I have trained my body to function so well at a single speed that I only have that single speed. I look at my log and my average pace on nearly every run is in the 10:45 - 11:15 range. That's not much variety and it hasn't given my legs much opportunity to know how to run faster and to be able to run faster for very long.

Counter this with my best friend. When training for Milwaukee she logged about half the miles I did, but kicked my ass by about 20 minutes (she had 0 cramping). In most shorter distances we are very equally matched--I will beat her by a small margin in some races, then she will return the favor in others.

Only explanation I have is that she tends to run the bulk of her miles at almost her race pace. Sure, this sets her up for more injury risk, but it also prepares her body to go faster on race day. I think my cramping issues are equal parts electrolyte problem and lack of speed training. My body simply is not ready to go the 60-90 seconds faster than my training pace...because it hasn't had any practice at those speeds, regardless of the miles I have put in. At my mileage I *SHOULD* be able to run faster, but that mileage also assumes that I'm not running every run easy and comfortable, I believe.

I think part of the problem is the knee thing I struggled with for most of last Summer's marathon training. It forced me to really scale back and slow down while things healed. Enough so that I have become paranoid of it returning, even though I am almost certain that my knee issues were the result of insufficient rearfoot stability in my shoes (it whispers of return every time I try more than an occasional short run sans Superfeet).

I have not had any substantial injury issues in nearly a year, yet I still plod along. Time for that to change. I am sure I have it in me to someday go sub-4 in the marathon (I mean, assuming I can rein the food/weight issues in), but at this point I haven't even gone sub 4:30, which is due to the cramping issues. Training my muscles to run faster should at least help with that, in part.

2 nights ago was my first non-race speed work session (6 miles) of this training cycle. It went SO well. I think in part because I was still riding the temporary increase in speed that last weekend's 15k gave me, but also because of how much I was enjoying those new Nikes. Wow. Such a fabulous feel...soft and flexible, but more like Nerf softness than marshmallowy softness. Almost a springy, bouncy sensation. The addition of the slimmer blue Superfeet insoles, instead of the stock Nike ones really made such a difference. My toes had more room and the overall fit and stability was improved. I may even wear them for my 16 miler this coming weekend, which says something. I rarely will wear a new shoe for anything longer than 8-10 miles for several weeks. I still have not worn my Mizuno Wave Elixirs for anything more than 11, and they now have nearly 80 miles on them. They are a firmer shoe than I like and are not proving to be durable at all (already some of the little black outersole nubs on the forefoot are nearly worn through to the white midsole foam--I doubt I will get more than 150 miles from that shoe).

If the first couple of long runs in the Nikes go well, then I will sell my 3 new-in-box pairs of NB 903s on eBay. They are a fine shoe in a pinch, but if I don't love a shoe I find excuses not to wear it. I have at least 3 other pair (mostly NBs with the new narrower last that didn't suit my foot well at all) that I currently avoid unless it is pouring rain...I should donate these to Goodwill, since they are quite gently worn and may work for someone else.

The Nikes are definitely snugger than what I am accustomed to, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The 903s go too far in the opposite direction. I'm also not wearing the thinnest sock that I could be (Smartwool ultra light weight, which is still heavier than a thin synthetic sock), so I am going to try some thin Balega and Drymax socks, since I know a lot of people really love these (and they are a LOT cheaper than the Smartwools). I have been in Smartwool almost exclusively from my very first days of running...it's worth trying some other socks to see if I might love something even more.

Yesterday was the 4th of July. Had a nice day with family...eating too much... Thankfully I have at least 40 miles on the plan for the week. 44-45 miles if I do that 6th day. Right now I think it's a necessity. *burp*


I'll never have to number my shoes again!

Seriously, how awesome would that be to never have to keep track of pairs of identical pairs of shoes in rotation by marking them in some way? At one time I think I had 3 pair of my NB 902s going at once. And because they aren't a white shoe they never really look all that different from fresh-out-of-the-box to ready-for-retirement a few hundred miles later.

One of the colorways (those gorgeous, garish blue ones) of the women's Nike Lunarglide+ went on sale via Nike's online store this AM...so, of course (duh!), I pulled the trigger. If I love them I will let RRS fulfill my pre-order when they get them in early next month. If I don't like them I will just cancel that order.

But I hope I will like them. Sure would be nice to not have to ration those remaining 3 pair of NB 903s...a shoe I don't even love, but about the only shoe I've tried in the past year that fits my foot well enough for distances beyond 8 miles. That seems to be my limit for shoes that are not a really good fit in terms of upper or support under my foot.

I read somewhere that Nike planned to put out 4-5 different colors of the shoe (not including those custom NikeID models that a person can order for extra $$). I found a few versions online. Not sure if these are all planned for US production or if some are only for overseas markets. Those insane purple ones were on a Japanese site:
I could run for an entire year (easily) without having to repeat colors--and by then Nike would surely come out with the Lunarglide+ 2. Those orange and pink ones are so sweet...I have a running skirt that those would match perfectly (though I hope to lose enough weight so that the skirt no longer fits...unfortunately it's not a color combo that RunningSkirts.com carries in their line-up anymore). I would wear any of those colors...I may not be fast, but at least I can blind the competition!