I have been running 9-minute miles for as long as I can remember. Every now and then there is a little variation with my slower time hovering around 9:12 which I usually see on runs of 10 miles or longer and my lower end averages 8:54 on my shorter runs. And for as long as I can remember I have been perfectly content with my 9-minute mile pace. Until this spring. After I ran my first marathon and tacked some other races onto my spring and summer schedule I got my head wrapped around the idea that I wanted to run my 10K in 8:30-minute miles and maybe even try to run my 10-miler at the end of the summer in 8-minute miles.
I ended up dealing with ITBS recovery after the marathon and wasn’t able to ramp up my training to make my 10K goal but there is still plenty of time to work on my 10-miler goal. I’ve always thought it would be nice to have a slightly faster pace, but I never sought out the ways to make it happen. Since I have been triathlon training, however, my eyes have been opened to a whole new way of training. Instead of just going out and running at my same old 9-minute pace and consistently adding miles, I have *gasp!* been training with variety! Not only have the weekly work-outs included swimming and biking by necessity, but even the weekly runs are different. Continue reading
An old pair of my New Balance shoes, now retired to the role of gardening shoes.
I believe my first pair of “running shoes” was a pair of retired volleyball shoes that I used in college until they wore thin. Once I realized the value of actual running shoes I dabbled a bit with different brands. I started with Saucony and switched to New Balance, then ran in Nikes, and moved around between the three brands for a while. Most of my purchase decisions were entirely based on price. I had no knowledge base of how a shoe should fit when I was first buying running shoes.
A couple years ago, however, I started to really care about the shoes I was putting on my feet. I’ve had my share of blisters in every shoe imaginable from running shoes to high heels to flip flops so I often figure blisters are just part of the deal. After the Annapolis 10-mile run one year, I took my shoes off to find that my big toe had much more than a blister. My poor toe was bleeding, discolored, and looked just awful; it was the first time I’d seen my feet really take a beating from running. When I commiserated about this with friends, they instantly pointed to my shoes as being the culprit. They were not sized right for the amount of running I was doing and the A10 was the long run that finally took its toll on my feet.
It was time for a new pair of shoes. Continue reading
I’ve found a sweet spot lately with a five mile loop. It seems to take just the right amount of time, it has the right amount of hills, and each time I finish the five miles I feel a little better about it than the last time. As nice as it’s been, you might say I’ve been in a five-mile rut. If I weren’t planning to run a half marathon the first weekend of August it might not matter that I’ve been stuck at five miles, but I am. So I finally upped my mileage and it’s been several months, since the Cooper River Bridge Run to be exact, since I’ve ran more than five miles.
One of the reasons I love MapMyRun is for my archived running routes. I think I could do my five mile loop with my eyes closed but I needed a quick refresher on my six mile route. I “dusted off” the routes and looked it up. For some reason, those six miles looked a lot longer online than I remember them being. Knowing I wasn’t going to give myself a chance to get out of the run, I switched mental gears and focused on how nice it would be to run a little longer than normal and planned to let my mind wander. Continue reading
My enthusiastic gear check buddy making sure runners would know where to drop their things.
Most runs start pretty early in the morning and the ZOOMA Annapolis race had a start time of 7 a.m. for runners of the 10K and half marathon course. This means that volunteers had to be there long before the sun was even up to ensure that water stations, information centers, parking lots, exhibitor areas, and the gear check station were set-up and ready to go when the first runners arrived at the start line.
I had volunteered to work gear check at the race as well as hand out chocolates to finishers as they arrived back at the Expo from the finish line. I woke up almost every hour to make sure I didn’t miss my 4:30 a.m. alarm and by the time I got to the Naval Academy stadium to meet my fellow volunteers I was remaining optimistic that the ominous clouds overhead would blow over.
Not having volunteered to work a race before I wasn’t sure what the flow of things would be and it turned out it couldn’t have been simpler, more organized, or run by the most patient and helpful people. The ZOOMA race is the brainchild of Brae Blackley and her calm demeanor and constant smile eased both volunteers and runners as she responded to a constant flow of questions. Her core volunteers are her friends, mother, mother-in-law, and husband as well as the many willing locals who came out to support her race whose mission is to empower women to live healthy, active, and happy lives. Continue reading
If you were to dig through my drawer of running gear, you’d either be shocked, disgusted, or entertained by the variety of sports bras in the drawer. I played volleyball in high school and wore only cotton Columbia sports bras probably because that is the only brand I knew of at the time and there are still a couple of them in my drawer, albeit at the bottom of the pile. I like to stick with what works and what I’m comfortable in and for a long time those cotton bras with their now disintegrated elastic served me well.
Around the same time when I realized I should replace those old bras I also started to learn of the alternatives to cotton and the benefits of technical fibers designed for wicking, compression, and performance enhancement. While I understood the need for a better sports bra, I was essentially lost in finding the next best bra. For a long time, years, I was on the hunt for the perfect sports bra and the variety of brands and styles in my drawer is evidence of my search. Continue reading
The Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, South Carolina, is by far one of my most favorite events. It’s not just the 10K run that I love, but every aspect of an event that the city embraces and that becomes a complete experience for anyone participating, watching, or just living in Charleston. I’m a College of Charleston alumni and for some reason I didn’t do the race all four years of undergrad, but I did get started during junior year. Once I graduated, the Bridge Run was the perfect excuse to visit Charleston and my first year returning for the race I brought my now husband with me where we rendezvoused with my best friend for the weekend.
It was then that the Bridge Run became a tradition for us, just like it has for so many of the other 40,000 runners. Registration sells out quickly so we make a point to sign up as early as our schedules allow. Like many events (though not many road races that I’ve done), the Bridge Run follows up with you once you’ve registered with regular email blasts giving training advice, information about travel, updates on the city, reminders for race day, and all the while builds the hype for a spectacular running event. Continue reading