Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Feelin the Heat between the Rain drops

What a summer. We've had weeks straight of chilly fog and rain punctuated with glorious sunny days that are hot and humid. It took about 2 weeks to get used to it but I think I've finally adapted so I don't feel like I'm going to collapse during a sunny afternoon run. As for those rainy days, well, I've been spending much more time than I'd prefer in the gym indoor track, but at least I'm still running.
I've taken on a new training plan, designed to make me faster. It's been doing wonders thus far, my overall average speed is down to 5:50 per km, which is amazing, since I swore to myself over a year ago I would be the happiest runner alive if I could just maintain a 6:00km for longer than 3 km.
My brother is running is butt off in Vancouver. He told me it's pretty easy for him to get out and run with all of the new places to see and the gorgeous weather they've had. I just tell myself all the rain and humidity is just making me a stronger runner ;-) He plans to run his second marathon (ever) in a few weeks at the Victoria Marathon. His goal is to BQ, but we'll see. They do say that a runner typically makes the biggest gains during the second marathon though...
One last thing. I had my birthday last week and my husband and daughter bought me a hydration pack (which works wonderfully on the trails and I will use from now on for runs longer than 2 hours!!) and my mother treated me to an afternoon at the spa :-) When it came to pedicure time I warned the lady she'd have to break out the industrial sander. She laughed it off but after a minute asked (in the most polite way possible) what happened to my feet. I laughed and told her my small toes were broken during a caving expedition and the large calluses under my toes were from running in minimalist shoes. A wide-eyed "Ohhh" was the expression and she got to work. My toes look just lovely now but there wasn't much she could do for the calluses. Ah, the drawbacks of running in VFFs. Plod on!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Onto New Goals and Speedier Times: My new Training Plan

As I reviewed my new training plan I was a mix of excitement for a new challenge and a side bit of fear that I may injure myself in this process. First off it wasn't the overall training load per week that kind of freaked me out, nor was it the interesting mix of hill repeats, speedwork, tempo run and long runs that had me worried; no it was the shear number of days this program called for. 13. 13 Straight days of running. I've never had such a streak and here I sit reviewing a plan that promises to make me achieve my new PB goal of under 2:10 in a half marathon in ten weeks if I can only commit to the work.

The first week went by surprising well. I was happy to mix things up in my routine coming off of marathon training so the new workouts were a treat in variety and shorter time out on the roads. My long run of 13 miles left me a bit stiff, but that wore off after the next day's recovery run. My cross training virtual buddy, Tony Horton and P90X, was shelved as my exercise time was first and foremost going to my new training plan. I still try to work it in, at least twice a week, but by the 9th day doing an extra workout seemed almost sadistic.

I was seriously feeling the burn of this new plan after 8 days straight. Each night I went to bed wondering if I would wake up with incredibly cramped calves or a sudden pain in my foot. No such luck. I reflected on how just a year ago increasing my running days to 4 a week seemed crazy and somehow that gave me more motivation to keep going.

After 10 days I am still going with the plan not only because I want that new PB in the half marathon, but because I don't want to beat myself up if I gave up after completing 10 days of running. I plodded along. Yesterday I ran my final aerobic run. I think it was a wee bit shy of aerobic in effort, but hey I got out there and did it, my 13th day.

Today is a blessed rest day. What did I do? I went to a race...but as a spectator with my 4 year old little girl to cheer on my husband running a 5k in support of Prostate Cancer research :-)

These past 13 days have been a challenge, but that's what I signed up for. If I don't push myself how can I grow into a faster runner? Tomorrow I have another 40-50 minute aerobic run and I'm actually looking forward to starting off a new streak, another 13 days straight. I'm curious to see if these next 13 days will be more difficult or a little bit easier on my body than the last. Time will tell.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So far, so good

There are less than 12 weeks to the Bluenose Marathon and *knock on wood* my feet seem to be holding up really well in my VFFs. I'm now officially on my second generation of VFFs, this time going with the real-deal. I gotta say though the seam thing I heard about is a pain in the butt. I've managed to get two tiny blisters when I've run without socks. Today I tried taping the spots before wearing the VFFs and it worked perfectly.
So this weekend is a 25km long run. Last week I did 20 and it went really well. The bottom of my forefoot was a bit tender but not as bad as I expected. Other than that mild soreness under my feet, my legs and back felt great and I had alot more energy than the previous week. My training plan has me running the 25km at a 7:10 per km pace. With my 180bpm podrunner tunes I think I can manage it. I've noticed that my legs have gotten used to the fast cadence, its when I try to extend my stride that I find I can go a bit faster, but it also tires me out faster as well. If I take short little steps I go about 10 sec per km slower but I feel like I could run forever.
So, since the training's been going well I guess its time to actually register for the race! *Gulp*

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's a fake!

Ever since my husband bought me my first pair of beloved VFFs I wondered if they were the real deal, that is, made by Vibram. The packaging and insert company info all seemed to add to the VFF's legitimacy. But, after today I am certain that my first generation VFFs are indeed counterfeit.
After a couple of runs through the hard rock salt on the city`s sidewalks I decided a few weeks ago to check out my VFF`s condition. I found a small hole starting on one toe where fabric covered the side, and a second hole on my right big toe. The second hole went all the way through the material and small insulation barrier material, so no wonder my toes were getting extra cold on that foot!
So, after lamenting the sorry state of my shoes to my husband he surprised me yesterday by offering to swing by a store today to look at buying a new pair of VFFs. Yay! Not only would my toes benefit, but I would finally find out if my VFFs were real or fake.
The stock and selection of the Trail Shop on Quinpool isn`t huge, but they did manage to have my size and the model I was looking for. The salesguy was pretty knowledgeable and a good help. Right away I noted that suddenly I needed VFFs two sizes larer than my first gen pair. Then I noticed how muted the color was on this legit pair of VFFs, and the straps were a bit smaller. Once I got them home I compared the two more closely. My first gen pair was wider, brighter in color and had missing stitching that the second pair did have. Yup, my first pair of VFFs, the ones I`ve worn through the past 7 months were a fraud.
But hey, I got 7 months out of these VFFs, they made me love running again and made it fun, yes FUN to do. My feet have gotten stronger and thinner and I want to run more now than ever before. So does wearing VFFs that were likely made in a Chinese warehouse change any of that- Nope. But now I`m curious how my new pair will perform, so I gotta run.