Changing Stride: Newton Running vs. Brooks Pure Project

November 30, 2011

Sorry for the week long hiatus…it’s been crazy busy!  I am happy to report that I managed to get in two quality workouts during my 4 days off…including a nice 7.6 mile run on Thanksgiving morning.

So last week I mentioned that I finally received my Brooks Pure Cadence and I have been enjoying doing some runs in them.  I even used them for my longish run on Thanksgiving morning and I felt great the whole time.  Running in these shoes is definitely helping my ankles get stronger and also reinforcing my change in foot strike.

Call me crazy, but during the NYC Marathon I changed up my stride to more of a forefoot strike for the entire race (for real, who DOES that?!?!) I have always tried to concentrate on this but wind up getting lazy and letting my feet do their thing which I believe led to the knee injury in the first place.  I had discovered that if I ran more on the ball of my foot that it relieved the pressure in my knee and I kind of just went with it for the entire marathon.

Given this new finding (and the fact that I thought I was never going to receive my free Pure Cadence), I decided to order myself a pair of these:

 

Newton Terra Momentus  Yes I realize that these are marketed as a trail shoe — but I liked the color and got an incredible deal on them through Road Runner Sports so I jumped on it.  Besides, the tread isn’t all that much different from the Distance U trainer.

I received these puppies on Saturday and given that we already had plans (and I was already showered!) I waited until Sunday to test them out.  I will admit that they take some getting used to and the 4.25 miles that I ran in them led my calves to be a bit tight afterwards.  I ran 4 miles in them again the next day and I’m definitely liking how they “force” you to adapt to the forefoot strike; however I feel that the Pure Cadence do the same thing to some extent…with a bit less cushioning than the Newtons.  Hopefully this weekend I can get out for a longer run in the Newtons to get a better feel for how they perform distance wise.   After the 7.6 miles in the Pure Cadence, my feet were definitely sore from the lack of cushion….again all things I need to adapt to.

More of my non-expert opinion to come after a few more runs in each shoe 🙂


Brooks Pure Cadence (my non-expert opinion) and other musings

November 22, 2011

Greetings blog world!  I must say that this week I’m definitely feeling back to “normal” (whatever that is) and this is the most energy I’ve had post marathon.  Yesterday I got in the pool for the first time in 2 weeks and it felt amazing….I also didn’t feel the need to take a nap under my desk for the rest of the day so that was most certainly a win-win.

After a ridiculously busy day at work,  I came home to two incredibly hyper dogs a strange box on the table.  It was an odd shape and I thought nothing of it until I got a closer look at the shipping label.  It was from City Sports!  FINALLY my free Brooks Pure  Cadence that I won via a FaceBook contest had arrived!  After almost 8 weeks of waiting, I was beginning to think they were never coming.  I was stoked!

I immediately went upstairs to get changed and take my buddy Arthur out for a test run 🙂  He was excited too!

Only problem was that it was already dark and kind of wet and gross outside so we only did a quick loop around the neighborhood and called it a night.  My immediate reaction was that they felt a little snug in the arch but otherwise were pretty comfortable.

This morning I was excited to get my butt over to the gym to give the shoes a good test on the treadmill.  I really despise the treadmill but it’s dark in the morning nowadays and I prefer the gym for my runs during the October – March months.  Anywho… I rocked out a solid 4.25mi tempo run in 39:45 –> that’s the fastest I’ve run in months and it felt SO GOOD!  The Pure Cadence were awesome and very responsive for a more minimalist shoe.  What I love about them is that they are a nice gradual step down from a super cushy shoe (like my Glycerin 9) to a more “pure” shoe.  For someone like me who needs to strengthen the ankles/calves for a more consistent footstrike and to prevent injury in the future – these are nice choice for “feeling the road” while still having a bit of meat under you feet.  I definitely feel the difference already as my feet are a bit more tender in areas I didn’t think existed!  I’m very excited to have these shoes as part of my rotation and plan to use them for shorter runs and speedwork.

Who’s getting excited for Thanksgiving??  Even though I’m trying to watch my portions and lose the “marathon chub”, I’m looking forward to enjoying my mom’s cooking and pumpkin pie!!!


Manasquan Turkey Trot 5 Mile: Race Recap

November 19, 2011

I had no idea how this race was going to play out.  I only registered for it in the beginning of the week because I promised my sister I would run it with her since this was her first road race in 5 years.  My only goal was to finish without knee pain!  Given that I still have felt pretty sluggish this week, I set the bar really, REALLY low and decided to go into it just to have fun and to take what was given to me.  I had no expectations other than to run at the speed my legs would take me and get in a nice workout with 2000 other people.

Me and my sis before the race

We got to the start area with about 30 minutes to kill.  There were no bathrooms or anything so we kind of just stood around waiting for the start (while taking pictures of ourselves):

Finally around 10:55 we made our way over to what was the start line.  There was no marked line or indication of where the actual start was.  We made sure to stay to the mid/back of the pack because we wanted to start out slow (my knees were a little achy and I didn’t want to push it right off the line).  All of a sudden we heard a cannon fire and we were off!!  I was a little thrown off because I wasn’t sure when to actually start my Garmin as there was no line to cross.  Looking back,  I should have just hit the start when the gun fired because my mile indicators were off by .05.

Our first split was 10:23 (right about my sister’s average pace) and we were feeling good.  I even was able to get a couple action shots while running:

This was also the point in the race where I was warmed up and feeling like I could increase the pace a bit so I put the camera away and got down to business.  I still stuck by my sister but pulled ahead a bit because my legs were just happy to be running just a smidge faster at that point.  Let’s get down to business

Mile 2 split 9:55 — hmmm, okay I’ll take it.  Haven’t seen a split like that in about 3 months and I was still feeling like I wasn’t really pushing so I just trotted along and tried to pick it up just a tad more.

Mile 3 split  9:33 — I was feeling good!  At this point I wasn’t pushing for a PR or anything but decided to pick it up even more.  I still wasn’t even out of breath or feeling fatigued but I was nervous to go too hard and have my knee start hurting.  Then I figured that just two weeks ago I was in the most “running pain” I had ever been in and managed so just go for it and see what happens.

Mile 4 split 9:08 — what?!?!?  still trucking along but feeling just a bit tired in the legs.  What’s one more mile?  I kicked it up some more and decided to just let my legs do their thing.  With about a 1/2 mile to go I started running even faster.

Mile 5 split 8:30ish — I say “ish” because I crossed the finish line with my Garmin stating 4.95 miles (remember not knowing where the official start line was?) and I also forgot to hit stop as I was walking through the chute.  The split says 8:23 on the watch.

The results?  A PR with a gun time of 47:51!!!  Was SO NOT expecting that …. and then subsequently a little disappointed that I didn’t have a Garmin time to compare to…because gun time is always “longer” than chip time.  In any case, I’ll take it 🙂

This race brings out all abilities and is Manasquan’s version of a race “block party”.  Heck, there was even a beer stop at mile 3.5!  Definitely a fun time and will do it again next year.  This race brought me out of my post marathon slug funk and I’m now itching to sign up for more!


It’s my ONE YEAR BLOG-I-VERSARY!

November 18, 2011

It was one year ago today that I became “live” in the blog world.  Time flies when you’re having fun (or training for a marathon).  This time last year I had already registered for the NYC marathon and set up my DetermiNation fundraising page.  365 days later and the registration still isn’t up for 2012 NYCM (hint) and I’m still trying to come to terms with the post marathon “lead-legs/sickness/recovery”.  This past year has been a whirlwind of accomplishments including completing 3 half marathons and 1 full.  I never thought in a million years I would surpass my fundraising goal for the American Cancer Society or have a major setback during marathon training.  But that is all behind me now….and it’s time to focus on the future.

I still haven’t decided what the next 365 days will bring.  I’m always striving for “bigger and better” so maybe that will include 2 marathons for 2012 and even more good deeds on the charity front.  I want to be lighter, faster and stronger (read: lose 5 lbs, train faster and lift more).

THANK YOU to my readers for being so encouraging along the way.

Cheers to the next 365!


No need to rush into things, right?

November 16, 2011

I’m very Type A – I like to complete things and move onto the next while finding ways to constantly improve myself.  I’m learning now that I need to chillax a bit and constantly remind myself that I only just ran my first marathon 10 days ago.  Today at the gym I did a nice 3 miles on the TM at a good pace and then headed over to the stairmill for my usual 15 min interval workout.   That was definitely a not so gentle reminder that I’m  still in recovery mode and after 5 minutes I needed to hit the stop button because I thought I was going to pass out, puke or quite possibly die.  The raging head cold I have is not helping the situation either.

I don’t like not having a plan.  For the past 5 months I’ve carried around a training log in my purse and accurately noted what I did each day.  I had the whole plan laid out and knew exactly what was expected of me.  It’s very strange not having that at the moment and I need to get used to not being in “training mode”.

So when is it appropriate to go into training mode again?  Pick a race and get to work or do the proverbial “listen to my body” and take the next couple of weeks to fully recover before jumping into things?  I guess time will tell and until then


Recovery

November 14, 2011

I think it’s time I stopped basking in the post marathon glow and got back down to business.

My plan last week was to take the entire week off from any sort of training and just give my body a chance to recover from the hell I put it through on Sunday (11/6).  Monday and Tuesday I had a hard time walking without waddling!  My hips and quads were super tight and I did my best to stretch and apply heat to loosen things up.  I actually got stuck on the floor during my Tuesday morning stretch and needed the help of my husband to get back up.  Wednesday and Thursday I felt much better and regained the normal use of my leg muscles.  (Read: could walk down the stairs without wincing in pain and could walk at a normal pace instead of looking like I needed a walker for assistance.  Friday through Sunday I felt completely fine except for some residual tightness in my knee joints.

OHHH and that pesky knee pain that drove me to wits end during the 10 weeks leading up to the marathon?  GONE!  I’ve had absolutely no pain or soreness…WTF?  I have a feeling it’s because I ran the marathon in these shorts.  I’m not one for gimmicks and I rarely fall for things that are advertised as such but because I was grabbing at straws and saw this product all over the blogs and twitter, I decided to give them a whirl.  I put a note with my order that I really wanted them before the marathon and I received an email the next day from their CEO telling me that he had a special stock in his office and would mail them right away.  I got them the next day 🙂  These shorts apparently keep everything aligned the way it should be and are used to prevent knee injuries….OMG I was shocked when I had NO PAIN in my knee.  Today I ran 3.25 miles in them on the TM and decided to take a gamble and not wear a brace or tape or anything — um…..NO PAIN AGAIN!  Granted I am taking it slow and I have noticed a change in my stride when I wear the shorts but if they are teaching my muscles to stay the way they should be and I’m not having any pain….then I’ll wear them everyday if I have to!!!!!

One thing I noticed all last week was that I felt very run down.  All of the anxiety leading up the marathon lead me to not sleep so great and whenever I have a lack of sleep it leaves me open to catching a cold, etc.  Couple that with the added stress of running a marathon and I was a prime candidate for getting sick — and that I did.  I have been blowing my nose and coughing up a storm 😦  I’m hoping it passes quickly though because I HATE being sick 😦

That’s all I have to report for now.  I plan to still keep things relatively easy this week and then it’s time to start deciding what my 2012 running schedule is going to be.  Who knows, maybe another marathon will be on the horizon……you’ll just have to wait and see!


NYC MARATHON RECAP

November 8, 2011

Before I even begin, I just want to say that this whole experience was AMAZING.  Unlike anything I have EVER done in my entire life and I have a whole new respect for people that complete marathons.  It’s definitely true when you hear veteran marathoners say, “you’ll never fully understand what it is like to run a marathon until you’ve actually done it”.  O.M.G.  I had NO CLUE that this would test  every physical, mental and emotional fiber in my body. I am a different person because of this race, honestly, I am.

The day started off early with at 5:15 wake up.  Needless to say my nerves got me up at 4:45 and I just laid in bed and stared at the ceiling until about 5:10 when I just decided to hop out of bed.  It was weird because the minute I hopped out of bed all of my nervous energy seemed to dissipate.  I had some coffee, took a quick shower and got changed into my clothes.  I must have checked my gear bag 50 million times to make sure I had everything, kissed my husband goodbye and made my way down to the hotel lobby.

All set and ready to go!

I stayed at a hotel in midtown so I had two options to get to the ferry 1.) ride the subway or 2.) just take a cab.  Even though I don’t mind riding the subway, my nerves started getting the best of me and I decided the most painless (even though much more expensive) option was to jump in a cab and go straight to the ferry terminal.  Within 15 min. I was among the throngs of runners walking into the terminal where it was PACKED with people waiting for the boats.  Since I pee ALOT when I’m nervous, I decided my first stop was the bathroom where, imagine this, the MEN’S line was 4 times longer than the women’s.  About 10 minutes later I was boarding the ferry and on my way to Staten Island 🙂  I have to say that there was never a time when I felt that thing were disorganized or rushed.  The boarding process was super easy and the ride over was nice.  Immediately after we disembarked the boat, we were calmly directed to where we needed to go and right outside the ferry terminal there were tons of port-o-potties with minimal wait time so I decided to pee (again) before boarding the bus to the fort.  Glad I did because the bus ride felt LONG .. at least 30 minutes.  And I had two very loud people talking behind me the entire time.

Once we got to the fort, I just followed everyone else until I could find a directory of where I needed to go.  This part was a bit overwhelming because the start area is like a town in itself….and you have 47,000 people milling about.  Luckily the Charity village was super close and I was inside the Team DetermiNation tent before I knew it.  I think the best part was we had our OWN bathrooms with NO LINES — score 🙂  I swear the minute I laid out my garbage bag to sit on and get my spibelt packed, etc.  our head coach was telling us it was time to head to our corrals.  REALLY?  I seriously thought I’d be waiting around forever …. so not the case!  so after another 2 pee stops I made my way over to my corral and sat for about 5 minutes before it opened.  I couldn’t have asked for better weather — I shed my sweats and sweatshirt in the corral and was warm from the sunshine.  I almost wish I had my camera with me because it was amazing to see all the clothes EVERYWHERE. Literally 10 minutes later we were making our way to the start line. No turning back now … this was really happening and I was so excited.

After a quick few words from Bruce Beck, the singing of America the Beautiful and a hearty cheer from the crowd – the cannon fired, Sinatra was blaring over the loud speakers and we were off!!!  Holy crap – I’m running the NYC Marathon is what zoomed through my head.  It was surreal running over the top of the Verrazano and all I kept telling myself was to take it slow, really really SLOW!  And that’s exactly what I did 🙂

The first 10 miles of this race seriously blew right by.  Brooklyn was like one huge block party and I was having a blast running with everyone and smiling and cheering.  I literally had a smile plastered across my face for those 10 miles because it was UNREAL.  The love and support from these total strangers is like nothing you’ll ever experience and they are all out there cheering for YOU — not just for their friend or family member.  I was holding a steady 11:15/11:20 pace the entire time and feeling really good.  After mile 10 I was amped to get to the half way point so I put in my headphones and rocked out for the next 3 miles.  My legs started to feel a little fatigued but it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t push through so I just kept pushing forward to the next “obstacle”…the Queensboro bridge.  Many say that this is a somber place in the marathon — a place where there is basically no crowd support and the only noise you hear is that of running shoes hitting the pavement.  For me it was a welcomed place of solitude.  It was almost like I had experienced sensory overload in the hours leading up to this quiet stretch and I actually kind of enjoyed the peace that it brought.  It was also the first time I took much needed walk break.  I was now entering “uncharted territory” as this was the longest distance I ran since my knee flared up 10 weeks prior.  I was feeling pretty good and started back up running again down to First Ave. and through the insane crowds once again.

Once I got to mile 16 things started to mentally fall apart on me.  This was the point now where I had no idea how my body was going to react since I hadn’t gone further than this distance EVER.  I was still hanging onto my slow pace but more walk breaks were on the horizon and I started to get choked up with emotions because I knew I still had 10 miles before this thing was over!  Suddenly, the awesome block party became a harsh reality of pain.  My lower back and quads were starting to rebel with every step but I kept on pushing and going as fast as my legs would carry me (whether it was power walking or slowly running).  I made sure to take a Gu every 5 miles and had a full cup of water at each water stop (which was every mile) so I don’t think dehydration or poor nutrition were a factor in my fatigued legs — I think it was just that I hadn’t trained enough to push through.

Pretty much the entire way up 1st Avenue I was choking back the tears and trying not to imagine my family waiting for me at the finish line.  It seemed that the more emotional I got, the more the anxiety built up and I couldn’t breathe — so I just kept trying to snap out of it and press forward.  By mile 20 I was SO DONE but our DetermiNation coaches were there and ran with some of us that were in a group.  I didn’t realize that I had some teammates behind me so I joined up with them to see if I could hang on.  At that point I couldn’t talk without crying so I just said that I was hurting and I needed just follow them.  We kept repeating “I am fast. I am strong. I can run all day long” … which helped for the next 2ish miles.  I eventually lost the group because I my legs and back just couldn’t go anymore.

Around mile 23 I called my husband (yes I had my phone on me and yes I used it during a race – don’t judge!) because I just needed someone to talk to.  I started crying hysterically when he picked up and  I was just in a really dark place at that point in the race.  It was at that point I would have given anything to see a familiar face on the course.  Even though everyone was so encouraging the entire way – I really just needed to at least hear my husband’s words of encouragement.  I told him that my whole body hurt and even though I didn’t think I could do it, I was going to finish no matter what.  I also apologized profusely that it was taking me so long!  I had kissed breaking the 5 hour mark goodbye and just accepted the fact that even though it was taking me forever — I was going to get to the end.  I only spoke to my husband for about 2 min. because his cell battery was going to die, but I told him  I was going to walk until the end and that it might take me a while.  He said he was proud of me and to just give it my best…..and that’s what I did.  I power walked as fast as my legs would take me until mile 26.  Those were the most painful miles and I wanted to enjoy it so much — but I hurt so badly that I didn’t care what was around me or who was clapping — I just wanted it to be over.

There were so many people that kept saying “Go Determination” and I made sure to acknowledge every single person that cheered for ME.  I even gave out a few high fives because at that point – time wasn’t a factor – getting to the finish was the only thing that mattered.

I saw the finish line in the distance and said to myself that I didn’t care if my legs crumbled underneath me, I was going to run to the end.  So I ran as fast as my legs could go (which was a pitiful speed) and I heard my parents and friends yell from the bleachers (they had VIP seats thanks to a friend)…this was the moment I had waited 5:37 minutes for — the finish line.  I crossed it with my arms held high and I thought for sure I would burst into tears but I think I was too delirious and in too much pain at that point.

Suddenly I saw my husband who told me he was waiting for me right at the the end.  This is something that simply DOES NOT happen at the NYC Marathon unless you’re a volunteer or have connections.  Luckily, we had connections!

I gave him a huge hug and our friend a huge hug and the next words out of my mouth (no lie) were, “where’s my damn medal?” LOL!  I had to walk about 30 feet to the group of volunteers that were handing them out.  There was one lady that was just handing them to people — um, I just ran 26.2 miles, the least you could do was put it around my neck!  I made sure I went to a volunteer that was doing just that.  After I got my medal, I headed back to my husband…I don’t think I could feel my legs at this point:

Our friend managed to grab me a heat sheet because I wanted one to keep me warm and we took a quick picture and I was out of the finish chute.  SO HAPPY I didn’t have to do the “death march” out of the park because honestly I don’t think I could’ve have walked much further.

After we exited the park, I had to pee so BADLY (I hadn’t gone the entire race) and the thought of trying to walk to a port-a-potty just wasn’t happening.  Thankfully there was a super nice church that allowed me to use their facilities! I think they saw the extreme look of pain on my face and felt bad for me.  Before I knew it I was in the car with my parents and friends and whisked back to the hotel.

As soon as I got out of the car (smelling horribly and wrapped in my heat sheet) all of the bellmen and reception area broke out into applause and congratulations as I hobbled my way to the elevator.  I felt like such a celebrity 🙂  The camaraderie amongst total strangers was unlike anything I had ever experienced.  Simply amazing.

After a nice ice bath – followed by an extremely long hot shower – I put on my compression tights and my marathoner shirt and just basked in the glory of what I had just accomplished. What was even more fun was going to dinner that night and seeing all the finishers proudly wearing their medals.  As corny as it sounds, it felt great to be “one of the gang”.

I slept like a rock that night and even though I wanted to get my finisher’s gear at the Marathon Pavilion the next day, the lines were way too long so we opted for some pics by the park and then headed home!

What’s up I’m a MARATHONER!!!!

If you asked me on Sunday if I’d do it again I’m fairly certain my answer would be NO!  In fact, I’m pretty sure I muttered those exact words, “yeah, I don’t think I ever need to do THAT again”.  But as the days press on I’m already finding myself thinking about 2012 🙂   Maybe I really can do this again!