GU and Shoes

A few months ago I purchased the Brooks Ariel (affectionately referred to as the Geriatric Shoe) in attempt to correct my atrocious overpronation. Everything was going well until the mileage ticked upwards past 10-12 miles. The shoe is pretty bulky, and my legs started to push back once I was spending more time on my feet.

Since Road Runner Sports has an awesome VIP Program which offers a 90-day Wear ’em & Love ’em Guarantee, I was able to ship the Ariels back and receive store credit. By the time my return had been processed, I had already started running in a pair of Brooks Adrenaline from HCR. I used my credit to order the same pair in a different color to break in starting a few weeks pre-marathon. With my VIP discount I was able to get the shoes for $89.95 (from $99.95), plus free shipping, and I still had a $5 credit remaining on my account.

Exactly one week after my new Brooks had been delivered, RRS hit my inbox with a Top Secret Shoe Sale promotion. The shoes were now only $74.95 (sale + VIP discount). RRS happily agreed to credit me back the difference. Their customer service is phenomenal.

Just after lunch today I received yet another promotion from them: for four hours only, VIPs would receive 20% off any one item. I perused the website for a bit and came across something I could use the discount + my account credit for, and essentially receive for free:


The sampler includes 9 GU gels, 3 Roctane gels, 2 Electrolye Brew, 1 Recovery Brew, and 2 packets of GU Chomps. It came to $19.19 after the discount, so my $20 credit covered it perfectly.

After stocking up on my GU products, I headed to the gym to get in my 3 mile run.

I started & finished with a 5 minute walk. Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 10:14 (easy)

Mile 2: 9:23 (fast)

Mile 3: 8:46 (faster)

Mile 4: 9:48 (easy)

4 miles in 38:10 (9:32 pace)

Yeah, I wasn’t supposed to do 4 miles – only 3. I felt like I could push for another mile, so I did.

Last tempo run of MCM training = done.

What’s your favorite running fuel? Gu? ShotBloks? PB&J? Peanut butter filled pretzels?

Confessions: Part Deux

It’s been awhile since my last confessions post, and Michelle’s post yesterday inspired me, so I bring you: part deux!

I am terrible at quitting things.

  • Quitting drinking (had to, while I quit smoking – clearly NOT a long term goal), quitting smoking, quitting coffee. It doesn’t matter what the vice is – I will inevitably be terrible at kicking it. I eliminated coffee back in May, ramped up my workouts, and I had more energy than I had seen in a LONG time. I fell asleep at reasonable hours and was able to get up early with ease. I must quit (or scale way back, at the very least) again. I MUST. 

I haven’t cut/colored my hair since March 4th.

  • Clearly that whole ombre look is coming to me for free, but unintentionally. Holy rats nest. Hair maintenance frequently gets overlooked because I RARELY (as in, once every 3 months) do my hair. My mornings are all about the ‘wake up & go’ mentality. I wash it everyday after the gym, and it’s naturally curly. Blowdrying & straightening would be a serious waste of time, since I’d ruin it with sweat less than 24 hours later. Does my hair need some TLC? Hell yes. Do I want to put out the cash for it? Hell no.

I haven’t ran since last Tuesday.

  • Yup, my shin pain has returned. I’m not sure when it happened, since I was fine post-13 miles on 8/20. But when I tried to make it through my 4 miler two days later, I had to stop at 3 and even that was a struggle. I skipped my Thursday tempo run, Sunday long run, and Tuesday speedwork session. I’ve been filling those days with RPM, which may be my new favorite workout.

photo source

  • Low-impact and you can give it every last ounce of energy you’ve got, leaving on an incredible endorphin high. I felt euphoric on my way home Tuesday night. Kind of how I feel after consuming an entire bottle of wine.

I am having doubts about next month’s marathon.

  • This feeds off the previous confession: injury. I’m trying to take off as many days as possible to heal, without setting myself back endurance-wise. Since the calendar switched over to September today, I’m less than 60 days out from my first 26.2 and I am feeling nervous, anxious, excited, worried. What if I can’t make a comeback? To make it through two months of training and have to come to a screeching halt and defer to 2012 is heartbreaking. I suppose only time will tell.

I bought another pair of running shoes.

  • I announced this on Twitter last week, with a desperate plea for an intervention. Twittervention?  Turns out I’m not the only one with a shoe problem. Anyway, yes, I invested in yet another pair of Brooks.
    photo source
  • I have a 30-day window to return them if they don’t make my shins feel like a million bucks. And just to clarify: I didn’t buy them just because I wanted a new pair. I bought them because my shins suck and I need a pair to make them happy and allow me to run a marathon next month.

What do you need to get off your chest today? Confess!

Vacations & Running

I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking lately, particularly about the upcoming fall months.

Back in March I booked a cruise to the Bahamas for the bf’s 30th birthday in September.

photos from our last cruise circa 2009

Then he lost his job, and started a new job in sales. The first month was awesome; he was making more money working 30 hour weeks than when he was working 65-80 hour weeks. Initially I planned on paying for the entire vacation, but as his income grew, he felt guilty letting me fund the trip. He decided we would use his first bonus to book our airfare. Unfortunately, he was one sale short in April of hitting the bonus. And then in May he hardly sold anything at all, and obviously did not hit his bonus.

I started to panic a little bit because as his income slowed, my savings started to disappear. The money I had planned on using for airfare, spending money, etc. was slowly being trickled out of my bank account to pay our bills. After going back and forth close to one thousand times, I finally cancelled the cruise last week. Arms crossed, stomping my feet, totally upset we had to abort mission.

Guess who hit his bonus this past weekend? of course, now that I cancelled!

Ah well. He’ll be coming with me to DC in October for Marine Corps, so it’ll sorta be like a vacation for us. Except I’ll be doing a lot of sleeping, running, and limping around for 50% of it. Seriously, I’m still trying to figure out how to pull this cruise off – I can just re-book it…

Speaking of running, I haven’t ran once since the 5 mile trail run. I talked about getting the spark back, and I also got something else back – pain in my shins that WILL.NOT.GO.AWAY. So I’ve been on yet another running break for the past week or so, just icing and resting. I get so bummed that I can’t reach my full potential with running & racing. It seems that whenever I get into a groove, the shins start to hurt and I scale back on my training. Then I have to start from ground zero again. No wonder I can’t run any faster – I can’t train consistently!

Then this thought pop into my mind: what if I end up not being able to run Marine Corps? Then all of the money I’d be putting into traveling to DC could have been used to take my boyfriend on vacation. What if I defer my entry until 2012? Then I further branched out: what if I ran Rock n Roll San Antonio as my first full? Or if I needed to take some more time off before starting to train – I could run the Austin Marathon as my first. Should I just jump ship on MCM altogether and choose one of those to save money? Wait – could I still go on this cruise?!

But then if I don’t run MCM, my family won’t be there for my first marathon. And the crowd support at San Antonio was less than stellar for the full last year – I’m going to need a lot of people screaming in my face to stay motivated. Austin crowds were better, but nowhere near MCM’s… And what about all the people I was looking forward to meeting in DC?

So I haven’t switched to a different marathon.

I didn’t defer my entry into Marine Corps to next year.

And I’m still not going on that damn cruise. ugh…

Norwegian deposited my refund into my bank account this morning. Thank you NCL, that was WAY faster than the 4-6 weeks you told me I’d receive it. And because I have zero self-control, I immediately turned around and logged in here.

Absolutely no self control. I have one last pair of shoes to test out before I say with 100% certainty that I absolutely MUST go to the ortho doctor and have custom orthotics made. That’s going to be an expensive trip…

Yep, Brooks Ariel. In all their geriatric glory. I ordered them from RRS because of their awesome 90-day return policy. If these beasts don’t work out, you won’t catch me wearing them to Body Pump or around the house – they are going straight back to the store. Brooks, please don’t let me down! You’ve already disappointed me with the lack of color choices for this shoe – really, one? And a boring one at that.

So I bought another freakin’ pair of running shoes. Is there a rehab I can check myself into? I’m willing to go voluntarily.

They’re baaaackkk!

I’m referring to my lovely friends, shin splints.

Yesterday, I completed my fourth run on the MCM training plan. It should have been my fifth, but I skipped my long run last Saturday. Yes, you read that correctly. I SKIPPED MY LONG RUN. If there’s ever a run not to miss – it’s that one. So kudos to me for being an idiot so early on in training. All because on Wednesday night I had a killer workout…

Never again. My next workout didn’t happen until Monday because I was so sore. Four consecutive rest days? Not cool.

Anyway, my shins felt slightly achy after my 3 miler on Tuesday night. I stretched and iced afterwards, and felt much better the next morning. Last night, the pain returned. WTF. I’m not sure if it’s just “hey welcome back to running” pain or “hey your bones are breaking in half” pain. I iced again last night for 3 rounds of 20 min each, and then rocked my CEP compression sleeves for an hour while I polluted my brain with RHONY.

Shins were feeling slightly better this morning, but I threw the sleeves on under my jeans today as a preventative measure. I’ll ice again tonight, and rest up for my 5 mile trail run tomorrow.

I noticed yesterday I run pretty weird at slow paces (11:00-12:30 min/mi) and normal at fast [well, fast to me] paces (9:15-10:30 min/mi).  It was just feeling much more natural to run a sub-11 min/mi pace. When running slower, I tend to land on the outside of my foot, then my foot rolls inward, and I push off awkwardly with my toes. I also can’t run in a straight line; I’m seriously all over the treadmill from the right to the left, as if one of my legs is longer than the other. But when running faster, I land mid-foot and normal. This little experiment of mine very well could have contributed to my shin pain, since I don’t usually run fast … ever. Or maybe I should be running faster, to fix my gait/stride? Maybe my stability shoes + green SuperFeet give me too much support, and that’s why I’m having shin pain / landing incorrectly?

I don’t know.

Honestly I’m sick of talking about my damn shins. I research and read articles, I visit running specialty stores, I try new stretches, I buy new shoes.

I don’t know what else to do. If I can’t figure out a solution soon, I think running a full marathon is completely out of the question 🙁

A year in running … and shoes

It’s hard to believe last year at this time I wasn’t running.

In May 2010, I started a lengthy training plan in an effort to prepare myself for my first big race: Disney Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon. In those six months, I went through several pairs of running shoes on the quest to find the perfect ones (for the record – still haven’t found ‘em), invested in a Garmin, ran my first 10k, discovered Gu, and made myself a regular on the Town Lake Trail. I became a runner.

I’ve read several times how running is such a cheap sport, just lace up your shoes and go. I quickly learned this was not the case – well, for me anyway. Race fees add up!

Operation Honor Our Heroes 10k

Disney Wine & Dine ½ Marathon

IBM Uptown Classic 10k

Rock n Roll San Antonio ½ Marathon

Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot 5m

3M ½ Marathon

Austin ½ Marathon

ESPN the Weekend Champion 5k

Rock n Roll Dallas ½ Marathon

While the Austin races are basically get-up-and-go, destination ones are killer. I won’t even allow myself to tally up all the expenditures on airfare, hotel, food/beverages, and expo purchases in October at Disney. Nope, can’t do it.

disney-expo

And speaking of expos, let me be honest here, I’m a sucker for them. I stock up on as many freebies as I can get my hands on, but I haven’t quite mastered getting out of there without whipping out my wallet. Maybe I should learn to leave that at home…

disney-expo-1

Disney Wine & Dine ½  – wine glass (duh, how could I not?!), shirt, Bondi Band, and an iFitness Belt

Rock n Roll San Antonio ½ – Zensah Compression Socks

compression-socks

Austin ½ Marathon – Yurbuds, Clif Shot Bloks, Sweatyband, and 13.1 key chain

austin-expo

Rock n Roll Dallas ½ – 3 Mission Skincare items, CEP compression sleeves, new iFitness belt

dallas-expo-1

dallas-expo-2

Self-control? What’s that?

 

Last Friday on my way home from work, my car veered down an unfamiliar path. Before I knew what was happening, I found myself in the shoe department at REI. I walked in intending to purchase a replacement pair of Yurbuds (I lost one of the buds, boooo!), but I walked out with more. Money is going to be tight for the next few months, so with my quarterly bonus hitting last week I knew it was best to invest in a pair of shoes for marathon training which is JUST AROUND THE EFFING CORNER! If I didn’t buy them now, I wouldn’t be able to get them later.

I had my gait analyzed on a treadmill for the first time ever at the Dallas expo. In running stores they basically had me frolic around the store and watch.Hmm, maybe that’s why I was never put in the correct shoe… The Brooks guru recommended either the Ariel or the Adrenaline with green Superfeet. I tried on the Ariel, and WOW did it make a huge difference, but also WOW they were incredibly heavy and unattractive. I know, I know – I shouldn’t care what the shoes look like but I felt like I had bricks on my feet. I’ve tried the Adrenaline on before, but I felt the toebox was too tight so I wasn’t a fan of that option either.

After much research, I decided my best option would be the Asics Gel Foundation with green Superfeet. And what do you know, REI had both in stock for me! I took ‘em for a spin around the store (holy crap I miss running) and decided it was meant to be. Yes I’ll take both of those, please & thank you, and where are the headphones because I damn well better get what I came to buy in the first place!

I REALLY hope this is the last brand/model I have to try. I’m ready to stick with THE ONE. I’m so sick of spending money on running shoes only to find out a month later that they aren’t alleviating my shin splints.

asics-gel-foundation

How long have you been running? Can you imagine your life without it now?

A little positivity can go a long way

The plan yesterday to tackle Monday and come out on the other side unscathed was a success! Yes, I had been up since 4 and I was tired. Yes, I had a mountain of work to do, stayed late at work, and certain things didn’t go my way. Yes, I spent over two hours yesterday commuting and it was horrendous. But you know what? I didn’t bitch, whine or complain about it. I didn’t mention how much I despise Monday. I stayed in a great mood all day.

Here’s a brief recap of the day’s events: I hit my calorie goal for the day, which hasn’t happened in a while. I think I can attribute it to my lack of stress-eating, which stemmed from my low-stress day.  At lunch, I returned my sneakers – no questions asked, no hassles. When the cashier asked why I was returning them, I informed her I had found them somewhere else for $50 cheaper. She insisted I couldn’t have been buying the same shoe – surely I must be mistaken. I received an email from the event organizer for the Cupid’s Chase 5k that was cancelled; they are refunding all of the participants registration fees. Amazing, I’m really impressed. I sent a referral code to my sister since she is signing up for Dish Network, and was rewarded $5 off a month (every little bit helps!) for 10 months, plus 5 free pay-per-view credits. Score!

Also, I noticed in my email that I made a couple purchases Sunday evening. The bottle of wine I consumed temporary fogged my memory. I finally invested in a RoadID:

elite_id
I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile, especially since I’m alone on 90% of my runs. I also purchased a new gym bag:

Puma-Training-Sports-Bag
I haven’t exactly figured out why I bought it, considering I don’t carry a bag to the gym. Ever. It has tons of compartments though – it could likely turn into a great travel bag. We’ll see after it arrives and I give it a onceover. Annnnd… my new shoes arrive tomorrow! I can’t wait to break ’em in on a run.

T-minus 12 days til (sold out!) Austin!

austin-marathon

 

 

 

 

Do you believe in the power of positive thinking? Any particular reason or possibly a story you would like to share?

Planned vs. Actual

What I planned on doing today:

    sleep in until at least 9
    organize the bedroom / hang up clothes / do laundry
    12-miler at Town Lake with a fellow blogger from Reese’s
    break in my new sneakers

What I actually ended up doing today:

    woke up before 7 bc of the pooch we are dog-sittng
    host a Super Bowl Sunday party
    make spinach dip & cook a huge vat of chili
    no running, resulting in a goose egg for weekly mileage
    bought another pair of sneakers

I’m most bummed about missing the Town Lake run, I really was looking forward to meeting her! Hopefully we’ll be able to get together prior to the Austin 1/2 before we take on the hills of that atrocious course.

Okay, so I didn’t technically buy an additional pair of sneakers; I’m returning the ones I bought yesterday. I went to RunTex with the intention of purchasing the Asics Landreth. The salesman strongly suggested I steer clear of them since my overpronation (even with the orthotics) was terrible. I clearly needed a bit more support than those would provide me. I convinced him I surely wasn’t interested in the Kayano either, since spending $140 on a pair of running sneakers makes me want to throw up a little bit. So Saucony it was.

While online today reading reviews on the new kicks, I came across a website advertising them for $50 cheaper than what I paid. And in a better sexier color. With free shipping. And after some research, I discovered a 15% off discount code. Out came the credit card, and those babies were mine. I’ll be returning the other ones this week.

saucony-progrid-guide

I also purchased a pair of black laces for them – hotness. AND with the money I saved, I have my eye on a new gym bag 😉

Currently I’m halfway through a bottle of Francis Coppola Claret and watching the Super Bowl halfheartedly. Not gonna lie, still bitter the Patriots couldn’t get it together against the Jets. Ugh. Anyway, Go Green Bay!!

How was your weekend? Any fabulous runs or PRs at races?

The Great Running Shoe Debacle

IMG_0354

Last fall when I first moved to Austin, I came to the realization I would need a new pair of sneakers. I had a couple pairs which I wore casually, but none I would be able to run regularly with.

After a bit of research and test runs in Academy, I decided on Asics Gel Nimbus 11. They fit like a dream, as if I was walking on soft, pillowy clouds. I used them for a few classes at the gym, and on the elliptical.

When I began training in May for my first half marathon, I slipped on the Asics and hit the road. A month went by, and I decided I needed a new pair. They weren’t worn out, but they just didn’t feel right. And hey, I’m a girl – I love buying a new pair of shoes 🙂

Enter Mizuno Wave Rider 13. I really liked how light they were and the way they looked, but after a few runs I noticed they weren’t quite supportive enough. I ended up wearing them to work instead (be jealous, I wear jeans & sneakers to work) and switching back to the Nimbus.

In the beginning of July, I was plagued by an intense case of shin splints. I was icing after every single run, stretching, and following a training plan that increased weekly mileage by no more than 10%. I took a few weeks off from training to allow my legs to recover.

I went to the Road Runner Sports website and answered a few questions from Shoe Dog to determine which pair was best for me. My feet are incredibly flat, so I pronate quit a bit when I run. At this point, I was using the Nike+ system and I was looking for a Nike shoe. From the results the website provided me, I chose Nike Structure Triax 13.

I am really not a huge fan of Nikes to begin with, but these really alleviated the problem. I was officially pain free. For about a month. This was just enough time for me to wear down the cushion on the arch of the shoe.

Next up? Asics GT-2150. The arch support in these shoes was the best out of all of the previous shoes, as it is a stability shoe. After an 8 miler and a 9 miler, the pain returned. Gah! It was at this point where I headed to Runtex to see if they could help. I was given a prescription for orthotics, and off to InStep I went.

The combination of the 2150 and orthotics was just what I needed! I ran the half marathon in them, and I had no shin pain whatsoever afterwards.

After my recent 10k, the outsides of my calves started hurting. This was a completely new issue, which I can blame the speedy downhill running I did for an hour. I think also it may have come from “over-correcting” my pronation problem.

Yesterday, I went back to Runtex on a mission to purchase a new pair of running shoes. A few pairs were recommended to me, and here’s the winner:

 

 

Mizuno Wave Inspire 6. I am keeping my fingers crossed this will be the LAST time I need to change running shoes. I am tired of having to take unplanned rest days because of shin pain, and most importantly? I’m tired of shelling out $100+ every couple months! Wish me luck!

What running shoes do you run in? Did it take you awhile to find the “perfect” pair?