Wednesday, January 27, 2016

LVTC Poker Run 5k Race Report-Trading Speed for Endurance or am I Just Getting Older?

We are our own worst critic aren't we?  I know this post is going to veer on the side of whiny. But, I do want to be honest about my training and how I feel.

I have a half marathon coming up, and I was going into this weekends 5k race feeling a bit over confident in my athletic ability. This race wasn't a confidence booster at all.  I felt like I ran a smart race, it just wasn't as fast as I had hoped it would be.

Saturday's event was being held out at the Silver Bowl Park which is located behind Sam Boyd Stadium.  The theme of the event was a Poker Run, and during the 5k you pick up two playing cards , and at the end of the race you receive your third card.  Then after the race, there would be a Texas Hold em game with a flop, turn, and river card...The players with the best hands get their pick of the prizes.  The money raised goes towards track club scholarships.

I am very familiar with this 5k course. I ran this event in 2014, and I have also raced several other 5k's on this same course as well.

The last time I was out at Silver bowl park was last June.  It was the beginning of the summer, I wasn't in the best racing shape.  I was a few pounds heavier, not running as much mileage, and trying to regain some fitness that I had lost earlier in the year.  I ran a 22:31 that day, and it was a meh race for me. I took off too fast, crashed and burned at the end.  My splits ended up being: 6:47, 7:24,  and 7:15
Morning of the Race
Last Saturday I left my house at 7:15am to get to Silver Bowl Park by 7:30. The main entrance gate by Sam Boyd Stadium was closed, but  I found another way to get to the park. I also had to flag down another car, It was my runner friend Sergio and he looked like he was getting lost trying to find the park as well.  
I got to the park at about 7:40am, and that gave me just enough time to pay for the race, do a short .7 mile warm up run, use the port-a-john, change my shoes, and strip off my gear.  I had hoped to do some form drills and some strides... But, I shouldn't have been dicking around with all of my gear for so long.
I lined up close to the front.  I guess the cold doesn't bug me so much for short races. I had stripped down to my skivvies while everyone else was in long sleeves and longer shorts.
Polar bear run club anyone?
I'm in the blue shirt.
At least I'm not the only heel striker.

I wish I weren't so barrel chested.

My buddy James A. was also running, and I so didn't want to get out kicked (again).  He often races with his son, so on those occasions he will pace him.  During the first mile I heard him say "Don't worry we will get her at the end".... C'mon man... I laughed and groaned when I heard that.  I said. "I'm trying to hold back"   FWIW, we joke and kid around.  The competition is friendly and always welcome. We push each other.

We went around the first loop and I collected my first card.

Mile 1: 7:07

I felt pretty relaxed at this point.

I really like this course because there isn't any 90 degree turns.  It's one loop around a baseball field and then a nice long stretch of road before the turn around point.  On the way out there is a slight incline, but that means you have a wonderful slight decline on the way back in.

I tried to hold back so I could let loose on the way back in.

Mile 2: 7:22

After the first mile the runners had become pretty spread out.  During the 2nd mile I was able to catch one runner ahead of me.

Once I hit the turnaround point I threw it into another gear, and tried to just run all out, but still save something for the final kick down.

Mile 3- 6:52

I kept expecting to hear James come hauling by me. (he has an awesome kick)  But, I think he was working hard on pacing with his son, and on this day I managed to finish ahead of him.  

.18- 1:04 (6:38 pace)

Official Time: 22:31

That is exactly the same time I ran last year in hotter weather, being less conditioned, and a few pounds heavier....
I guess you can say that I ran a smarter race.  But, I'm feeling conflicted for sure.... I know this wasn't a big time PR attempt, But the 21 minute bench mark was always a given for my previous 5k times (I realize how lame this sounds writing it out)  

I  ran a pretty decent 10k two weeks prior.  Was it too soon to race again?
Maybe it was the 13 miler I ran on Tuesday?
Maybe it was because I didn't do a proper warm up?
Am I just getting older? (Say it ain't so)

I'm a little nervous about my upcoming half marathon on February 20th..  But, after that race I hope to back off on some of my mileage and start spending more time in the gym.

I'm not going to readjust my goals for my  next half marathon (sub 1:35)
I'm stubborn like that.

Thank you for reading.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Training Updates, Saying Goodbye to the Village Runner, and Shoe Talk

I finally have an abundance of running shoes to wear on my feet. So many choices and options to wear....
Training Updates (Since my last post)

Wed 11/20- 3.3 miles easy. I was feeling pretty tired, from the previous days 13 mile run, however I was headed outside of the building on my lunch break, and I grabbed my gear for a short run.

Last weekend I found out on Facebook (best way to spread information quickly)  that the Village Runner was going out of business.  This is my local specialty running store that is very close to my workplace.  I was shocked and saddened by the news. I also feel as though I am partially responsible for them closing down.
Many years ago, my husband and I would purchase our running shoes from the Village Runner, they had a wonderful shoe buyer program.  You buy 8 pairs, and recieve the 9th pair free.  With two runners in the house, it didn't take long for us to earn a free pair of shoes.  After awhile they discontinued that program.  Probably because they couldn't keep giving away shoes for free.
As time went on I began to become a more budget conscious runner (kids will do that to you) I had less money for running gear and shoes in general...
I sometimes buy my running shirts at the thrift store.

I would still sometimes buy shoes at the Village Runner, but I would also brag about purchasing my shoes from online retailers.  I would still stop by the Village Runner to cruise the clearance rack, and to buy my fuel.  The sales associates were always willing to listen to me chatter on about running, and I will really really miss this store...(Sob)  I feel so guilty for not giving you guys more of my shoe business the last few years.

I stopped by last Wednesday to check out the closeout sale.  I felt like a vulture picking through their wares.  But, that didn't stop me from buying three pairs of shorts and two pairs of running shoes (one for me and one for my husband)

After shopping, I had time for a short run at Cornerstone Park.  I ran 3.3 miles around the dirt paths.  I set my Garmin to display the actual time, and I just ran by feel. I didn't listen to any music either.  I forget how peaceful it is to just run sometimes.

Thursday 1/21  I ran 3.6 Miles easy, and then I headed into the gym to strength train.
I did the following exercises:

Bench press with bar
Hamstring dead lifts with 45 lb bar only

Decline chest press with dumbbells
Decline chest flys with dumbbells
Around the worlds for chest
Sit ups on incline board

Back raises
Back flys

Mountain climbers

Friday 1/22 -Rest Day- I stopped by the Village Runner one more time just to say goodbye again.

Saturday 1/23 LVTC Poker Run Low Key 5k... I don't know if I was still tired from Tuesday's long run  but, I didn't run as fast as I had hoped...

Sunday 1/24  8ish  Miles.  I woke up in a foul mood.  I don't know if I had a bad dream, and didn't remember it.  Or if I was still disappointed with Saturday's race.  Or if it's just good ol' PMS rearing its ugly head already...  My husband told me to "go for a run if it will make you feel better"  I ran almost 7 miles.  And it helped me not want to be so snippy with my family.  The day got progressively better. and in the afternoon I took my son for a short run as well.  We ran just over a mile.  Later on that afternoon I took both kids back to the park pulling them in their Radio Flyer wagon.

Shoe Talk
I recently went back to my beloved Brooks Adrenaline GTS last year.  The GTS 14 was an awesome shoe.  I wore these for my last marathon.  They were a perfect fit, and I had  no issues with this shoe.
You were the best!!
In comes the GTS 15.  I was really excited about this pair of shoes.  
Nice Colors but, you suck!
So far I have run about 80 miles in these shoes, and they are too freaking small. I'm a size 7 in running shoes, and when I wore them for the first time my feet were rubbing against the front of the shoe.  I had also worn my old ass Dr. Martens that were a little snug the day before so I thought my feet were just feeling tender anyway. I also had needed to cut my toenails...About six weeks later I'm still making myself run in these shoes because I don't feel right returning a shoe that I have already run in for about six weeks...  I can wear these shoes for short runs.  But, after my 13 miler last week. I had blisters on both of my big toes. And I have been cutting my toenails extra short just to make this shoe work. 
I'm glad I'm not training for a marathon right now,  I also looked at the reviews on and it appears that this model was made really short.  Grrrr....
 It serves me right for buying this shoe at a deep discount...

I have a few pairs of shoes to rotate now...

The Saucony Guide 8 was the other shoe that I purchased at a deep discount.
This shoe is great, but it's not perfect either.  It doesn't have as much arch support as I would like.  I can sometimes feel my left arch collapsing, when I run.  I do like this shoe for tempo paced workouts. It's light and pretty flexible for a stability shoe. And it's a true size 7.  It fits correctly.

I was wearing the ASICS GT-2000 in 2014, and I really liked that shoe. At the closeout sale at the Village Runner I purchased another pair of ASICS GT-2000's
Hello old friend
I took these out for a test drive earlier today, and they felt great.  These will be replacing the Adrenaline as my long run/recovery pace shoe.  They have great arch support, but don't feel super clunky.


On Saturday, the track club was giving away sample shoes (slightly worn)  from Newton.  I received an almost free pair of shoes
I don't know what to do with you yet.
I don't think I'm going to try these out until after my half marathon.  These shoes are supposed to help with running form. I put them on and they just felt weird.  But, I have been such a shoe slut lately that I couldn't resist grabbing a pair to try out.

I hope to have my race report up in the next day or two.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, January 22, 2016

SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt-Review and Giveaway!

Hi everyone.  I recieved a new piece of equipment to tryout. SLS3 sent over a Dual Pocket Run Belt for me to try out.

The race belt folds up really small for packing.
A picture of it loaded up.
I think that I'm a pretty good candidate for this product review.  I wear a run belt about 90% of the time.  I usually wear a running belt to carry my phone, and for longer runs fuel and money (just in case).
Over the years I have had a few different waist packs. I don't wear the ones that have the bottles attached because I would rather hand carry a water bottle.  I started wearing a running belt several years ago during the summer months. I had stashed a few dollars in my Nike running shorts with the small inner pocket, and I lost my money on a very hot day when I needed to purchase water...  It was a tough lesson to learn.

I received my SLS3 Run Belt  over the weekend, and I have taken it out for several runs, to see if this would be a good replacement for my existing waist pack.

Runs that I have used this belt for:

10 mile Sunday run

5 Miles with some speed work during the later miles

13 Mile trail run.

3 Mile recovery run.

My biggest concern with running belts is the bounce factor. Nothing is more annoying that having your waist pack fit securely when you take off running, and then a short while later it starts to bounce around on you.

This run belt comes with  a thick elastic strap, and even during my 5 mile run with speed work at the end.  This run belt stayed firmly in place. But at the same time it didn't feel like it was digging into me from being too tight.  With other run belts I have had to cinch tightly so it wouldn't budge only to be greeted with horrible chafe marks after my run (very ouch).

I like that there are two pockets.  One for my phone, and the other one for my keys, energy gels, and money.

My only complaint is that I wish the zipper pulls were a little bit larger.  I'm kind of ham handed and the little zippers were hard to mess with during tempo pace.
Also if you have a larger size phone (Galaxy Note) your phone may not fit in this waist pack.

The SLS3 Run Belt can be worn in the front or in the back. I prefer to wear my waist pack in the front for easy access to my things.  I really liked how sleek and small this waist belt is.
This isn't the best picture
but I'm wearing the belt,
and it doesn't look bulky at all.

If you would like to purchase the Dual Pocket Running Belt SLS is offering the belt for nearly half off.  Here is a link for you to purchase 

I will also be giving one of my lucky readers an SLS Dual Pocket Running Belt to try.
a Rafflecopter giveaway ***Disclaimer:  Other than the belt that has been sent to me, I have not been compinsated for this review, and my opinons are completely my own.  This blog is also not monitized (I write this running blog as a hobby). So I'm not even being compinsated for the links, that I post.***

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Training updates, Running with a friend makes the miles go by faster, and Weight loss.

I really like my Where's Waldo
striped running top.
I have about 10 days worth of workouts to post.  Most of the miles were on the road, but I did get some  trail miles in as well. I had a killer run this past Tuesday.

I went exploring in the Clark County Wetlands Park . More on that later.

Training Updates
Monday 1/11  3.3 Miles, Two a day- In the morning I did a very short strength training workout... At this point in my life I'm not lifting weights to body build.  I'm lifting weights to keep my mobility, to stay strong for speed workouts, and to keep my upper body conditioned.  I don't lift super heavy or try to max out for my lifts.  Here's the short weight workout that I did.
Flat bench press with dumb bells 
One Arm Rows 
Hamstring Dead Lifts 
Bicep Curls 
Lat pull downs

At lunchtime, I went and returned my broken Garmin Forerunner 25,
Bummer because I really liked the black and purple watch.

and I picked up a replacement Forerunner 25.
Pink and white was all that was left

I tried out my new watch, and ran 3.3 miles at recovery pace. About halfway through my run, my mom called me and I talked to her the rest of the way.  It was nice to catch up with her.

Tuesday 1/12 5.5 Miles. Track work.  I was able to get my kids up and out to school (daycare) a little earlier than usual.  On my training calendar I had 4 x 800's.  I jogged from my workplace to the park that has a dirt track as my warm up , and then I did a quick stretch, and some form drills.  I wasn't expecting much from this workout, because I had raced a 10k over the weekend, and I was still feeling a little tired. In between 800's I jogged about 150 meters for recovery and then got the workout started again.

Here's the data: 3:40, 3:38, 3:29, 3:27
I ran the first two repeats in one direction, and then I changed directions for the third repeat.  I was short on time so I started to head back to work, and my last repeat was on a downhill grade.
That night I foam rolled and stretched.

Wednesday  1/13 7.1 Miles of mixed surfaces.  I had to run about two miles of roads, and then I decided to run up part of the Amargosa trail.  This is a really steep, rocky, and technical trail.

I love to climb, but I am so scared that I will do a face plant into the rocks on the way down. So I take my sweet ass time getting down the hill.

I climbed about a mile, and then came back down, and then I had to hurry back to work, and I ran tempo pace on the way back. Here's the data.

Thursday 1/14 6.2 Miles.  I had a hectic day at work, and I was really looking forward to running at lunchtime.  This really is the best time of year for running in Las Vegas.  At lunchtime the temps are in the 50's and its' perfect running weather. I am going to miss this in July....

I wasn't sure how my lunchtime workout was going to shake out. But, during the first mile of my run I recieved a phone call that I had been expecting, so I was able to extend my run.  I warmed up during the first mile, and then I started picking up the pace.  The first half was uphill, and the second half was downhill. I really tried to crank up the pace during miles 4-5, Mile 6 was supposed to be a cool down mile, but I started picking up the pace again.
 Here's the data.

I had to stop for a few red lights.

After this workout I stopped the Garmin, and ran a very short untimed cool down jog.

Friday 1/15  2.9 Miles Two a day... In the morning, I headed over to the Whitney Mesa Recreation Area.  This place is fantastic for getting a short run in without being bothered by traffic.  I didn't have a whole lot of time, so I just ran up onto the mesa, to one of the turn around points, and then I headed, back down.
There was a little more cloud coverage last Friday.
At lunchtime, I headed into the gym to lift....I'm kicking myself for not writing down my workout, after I finished it.  I do remember that I used a 25lb EZ curl bar for circuit training, I did the following exercises:
Bicep Curls
Upright Shoulder Rows
Shoulder Presses
Good Mornings
Single Leg Lunges.
I also did some side step downs (single leg squats body weight only)
and I think some cable flys....

Saturday 1/16 Rest, My son's birthday was over the weekend, and we threw a party at Chuck E Cheese.  That day I also received my first piece of equipment to review.  SLS3 sent me a new run belt to try out.

fully loaded.
I will be posting a review and giveaway later on this week.

Sunday 1/17 10 Miles, I took my new waist pack out for a test drive.  This ended up being a tempo progression run I also had the crap scared out of me by three different German Shepards. These dogs leap high enough for their heads to clear the brick wall, but not quite high enough to leap over...

First two miles were easy, and then I just tried to gradually increase the pace. The last mile was a cool down mile. Here's the data:

Monday 1/18-5.3 Miles  I had planned on taking a rest day, because I thought my husband had to leave early for work, but he was nice enough to watch the kids, so I could get a run in...I ended up doing another progression run, and I ended up running a really fast downhill mile unintentionally....
Strava is addicting when you are given praise for imaginary PR's

I was running one of my normal routes...And I was up by the mountains(I don't want to give away to many identifying details of my neighborhood).. I was running by an area that wasn't super isolated, however I saw a man coming back down the hill with buckets, and bags. 
Maybe he had been camping behind the Jr. High..... But, it didn't look like camping supplies, and he didn't look homeless either.  He saw me, and put down his gear, and turned away from me. I didn't want to get any closer to him, so I began to haul my ass down the hill as fast as I could.... Maybe I'm super paranoid, but I will never ever take my safety for granted...
Here's the data.

That night I stretched and foam rolled extra.

Tuesday 1/19-13.1 Miles at the Clark County Wetlands Park...I had the day off from work because my parents and brother came into town for a visit. I wasn't linking up with them until 10:30am, so I had time for a two hour run.  I met up with my friend Ana. She lives on the other side of the valley, but she is such a nice person, and friend that she is willing to drive over to my side of the valley to train when our schedules are compatible.  She's a really strong runner too, but mostly she cycles...  I had run through the Wetlands once before.  I was worried about getting lost, so we agreed to run 5-6 miles in one direction and then flip a u-turn.  There was a mixture of paved roads, and trails.  We also hammed it up with the camera. On the way back,  when we got close to our cars we  were close to 12.75 miles, and we decided to round it up to 13.1ish miles... Here's the data:

And the photos.

This is not the Usain Bolt pose,
This will always remind me of
 Hulk Hogan

The Captain Morgan

Weight Loss
I don't really like discussing weight too much on this blog (Hello this is a running blog)... And when I see photos of myself like the ones posted above, I'm okay with how I look and feel.  But, over the last year I have lost about 10lbs.  The first 5-7lbs loss I was pretty happy with it.  But, recently coworkers and friends have been commenting on my appearance. and when I saw this photo from my son's party over the weekend I was a little surprised.
This photo makes my normally
round face look awfully pointy.

I'm not doing anything extra special to lose the weight, and I feel like I"m still eating plenty of treats...If I continue to lose weight without trying (who knew this was possible?)  I think I will have some blood work done to ensure that there is nothing amiss.

Well I guess that's all I have for now.  I didn't intend for this post to be so long... Be on the lookout for a SLS3 runbelt review and giveaway tomorrow.

And Thank You for reading!

Friday, January 15, 2016

LVTC 10k Race Report- Hoping to fix my heel striking

Well I feel a little silly ranting and raving about my Garmin issues.   I also want to warn you that this is going to be one of those long rambling posts, I have a few things I would like to mention.

A few days before the race
I had a 10k race scheduled on my calendar for the Hal Higdon Training program that I am using.

 I didnt' think that I would be racing, because I thought my son had a birthday party to attend. (that was the reason I couldn't race this event last year).  It turns out that the party will be held at a later date, and my schedule was now clear to race on Saturday.

I did speed work on Tuesday, and then I tried to keep my workouts on the light side in anticipation for Saturday's race.  I took Friday off completely as a rest day.

Saturday Morning
I was up early to bake, and assemble breakfast for my family.  I really enjoy baking/cooking first thing in the morning.  Last year for my birthday I received a wonderful Kitchen Aid mixer, and I have been using the hell out of that thing.  I love to make home made bread from scratch,

 and I also like to make muffins and waffle batter.

For my pre-race breakfast I whipped up a batch of Oat Hemp Berry Muffins.  These muffins are vegan.  Let me know if you want the recipe and I will post it.

My kids aren't vegan so they had Greek Yogurt Chocolate Chip Pancakes.

I also ate half of a banana, and I drank a cup of coffee.

The race had a 9am start time, which is a little on the late side for me, but it was nice that I didn't have to hurry up and leave, first thing in the morning.

The weather was going to be a crisp 42 degrees at the start. IMO it wasn't cold enough for tights.  I went with boy shorts, a t-shirt, and beanie hat. I'm a terrible blogger and I didn't take a picture of my race outfit.  I also wore my light weight shoes that I reserve for speed work only.

My co-worker Clarice was also going to meet me down at the race.  She wanted to check out the LVTC race scene.  She was so sweet she even made a sign for me.

It was  great to see some of the LVTC members.  I don't get to race too often, and half of the fun is saying hello to old friends, and meeting new members as well.

I was having issues with my Garmin the day before, so I brought my regular TIMEX watch just in case.  I'm so glad I made that decision.

I ran a short warm up with my friend Jamie, we ran about 1.7 miles.  I had tried to save the data on my new watch, and the data didn't save..... Uh oh.

I stretched, and did a few strides, then I striped off my warm up outfit (yoga pants, cheap target pullover), and went into the corrals.  I lined up a few rows back and then it was go time.
I'm behind the first two rows of dudes.

The horn went off, and I started both of my watches.  My Garmin was working as far as pace, and time.  But, to be honest, I didn't really look down at my watches much during the race.  For the past 5-6 weeks, I have been running blind and, I'm okay with just running by feel...After the run, is when it's time to analyze the data....
unfortunately this is the only photo from the
race that I'm in :(
I'm all the way to the left with the grey beanie on.

The first mile climbed 122 feet
Mile 1- 7:25

I hit the first turn around point and I noticed that I was the 8th woman overall. The course was well marked with mile markers at each mile point.  The next two miles were downhill.

Mile 2-6:53 (-123 feet)
During this mile I noticed that my left hip niggle was starting to hurt... This meant that I was doing something wrong with my stride....*Sorry for the tangent***  

As of late I am really trying to be diligent about proper running form.  I have to lift my knees high enough off of the ground in order for my foot to land properly instead of an ugly heel strike.

This was from the marathon, my heel striking
is especially ugly on the left side.
No wonder my hip hurt!!!
After I got my photos back from the marathon, I was shocked at how much I freaking heel strike now.  I can get away with it when I'm running a slower pace, but when you try to run fast (it's all relative), the force of the heel striking is causing some horrible things to happen with my hip....

I used to be able to do the splits with my left leg in front (gymnastics when I was a kid , and martial arts in my 20's).... I don't really have a practical use for doing the splits in my day to day life now, but by losing flexibility over the years, when I over stride I'm reaching out to the ground with my heel first... EWWWWW....

Now that I have figured out what bothers my hip, I'm am trying to increase my flexibility and strength on that side. Form drills such as high knees, butt kicks, and A-skips help, and in the gym I am doing side step ups onto a bench and single leg lunges.. **end of tangent**

Because my hip started to talk to me, I knew that I must be heel striking, I immediately told myself "lift your knees land with your whole foot, not just your heel".  It seemed to work and the niggle went away.

Mile 3 - 7:03 (-82 feet)  We were on a stretch of bike path that was concrete, but then we made a loop around a dirt track to the turn around point and then we  headed back up the bike path

Mile 4 7:39 (64 foot gain)
I tried to just focus on the runners ahead of me.

Mile 5 7:50 (100 foot gain)

At the final turn around point I noticed that James A. (my arch rival, I'm kidding, but he never fails to out kick me) was closing the gap.

Mile 6 7:07 (-44 feet) During this mile I'm working my butt off to not get picked off, but sure enough James goes right by me.  I held on though for a bit before I got dropped, and I was able to pass another runner as well.

Mile .2 1:28

I  could feel the dry heaves coming.  I crossed the finish line and then I puked a little bit.  Good times for sure.

Watch Time: 45:35
Please excuse my gross cuticles
and runner feet.

Official Time 45:30

I ended up being the 7th woman overall and 3rd in my age group.  There were some speedsters out there for sure.

I borrowed this data from one of my Strava buddies that also ran this event.

I'm kind of bummed that I didn't take any photos before or after the race.  But, I am really happy with my finish time.  I think now that I have addressed my hip issue, I will try to work on getting stronger, and hopefully race more often this year.

I'm sorry for this being such a long blog post.

Thank you for reading!