Sunday, 20 November 2011

Race Day The Vibram Way

Monday Morning Edit: Race times have been posted. Official chip time was 50:01, I finished 16th in my age group. How exciting! 

I am officially done the Nike study. I had a really great time at the UBC Fall Classic today. I ran into Maha, the study director a couple of times. She wrote my name on her hand and asked me my goal time. I said 52 minutes but I thought it would be highly unlikely that I actually run that fast. I honestly felt like 52 was a really, really ambitious. I've never gone under 55 in a 10k and my avrg 10k time is 56:02. So I thought shaving 4 minutes off on a 10k would be hard. Walking out to the start line I was so nervous I actually thought I was going to barf, my heart was racing. I always get like that at the start line. I left my friend and went closer to the start line. I have figured out that I run much faster alone, racing 10k alone is easy..not sure if I'd run a full alone.

This was the first time that I didn't talk to anyone/strangers during the run. There was a guy on the course that I wanted to talk to cause quite frankly he was pissing me off. Cause he kept passing me. Like frequently. And he was wearing DENIM cut offs. Denim cuts offs and a tee-shirt, in -4 weather. He was run walking but in very short intervals. I've never seen anything like it. I would catch up to him and he'd stop and walk, then I'd see him passing me like 2 minutes later, as soon as I passed him he'd stop and walk again. It was bizzarro. I want to know what the heck he was doing.

I wore the Vibrams 5 fingers with socks for the first time today. It added a bit of warmth but I have to say that by about 3k into the race my feet were numb and really cold, I was actually concerned. But once I hit the hills it got much better and my feet started to warm up. When feeling returned to my toes the run was much more comfortable! I also have to say that the socks and vibrams probably made me look pretty awesome, I had some pretty sweet fashion going today and I bet it made me run faster. :)-

The interesting thing that happened again today, that has been happening since I started running in the vibrams is I couldn't feel/figure out what pace I was running. Its like my output doesn't match my effort. I used to have to push it soo hard, until I was uncomfortable to run like a 5:30 km and now with what I perceive as way less effort I'm easily running a 5:00 km.

I felt like I was running super slow so I got Runmeter to chime in and I was currently running under 5min/km with average under 5min/km. For the record, that's really fast for me, like crazy fast. Yet, I felt like I wasn't moving, I didn't even feel like I was giving it 80%. I mentally and physically felt like I could run so much harder/faster but my legs just wouldn't do it. It's strange. I didn't feel uncomfortable like I used to when I'd push it in the past. Maybe I need to spend more time on the track and work until I'm uncomfortable to have a gauge for racing? I don't know. I didn't do a lot of the track workouts like I was supposed to, in fact I think I did 4 of the 14 (only 1 was actually on a track, the other 3 were treadmill). Maybe it would have helped. I feel like I could have ran it so much faster but something was holding me back. Saying that, I also want to say that I am ecstatic with my time, I'm very proud of it. I just think it could have been faster. I really need to find a track group that can run when I can run. I know of a few groups that I'd love to train with but I work too late.

I crossed under the finish line at 50:19. Maha took a photo with her iphone, I'll upload it when she sends me it. I yelled out "F**k Yeah" as I crossed cause I was so excited. I didn't think it was loud but she heard me so it must have been. Like I said, I'm proud of my time. Meeting my goals and exceeding them is great motivation to keep going.

My Run Meter app says:

Run time: 50:23
Distance: 10.12km
Avrg Pace: 4:59/km
Fastest Pace: 4:27/km
Ascent: 466 Meters
Decent: 502 Meters

Saturday, 19 November 2011

BMO Vancouver Marathon- Revisted.

Just revisiting my race report from the full 7 months ago, cross posted below from @dailymile. I wanted to re-read this to talk myself out of running the full in May, except I'm pretty sure it's had the opposite effect on me. After reading it I  feel really jacked up for my 10k race tomorrow in my vibrams. I really excited to run a 10k that I trained for!

BMO Vancouver Marathon Re-cap 

I just wanted to write a quick note about my third marathon yesterday. I don't want to sound blase but I found the first half of the race pretty easy. I had little pain and mentally I was doing great. I celebrated my fastest half when we crossed under the inflated thing, random strangers celebrated with me. I was so proud of myself, I felt great. I remember in the first half how easy it felt to be so ahead of my goal pace. Earlier in the week I said on here that I wanted to do 4:20, at the time I felt apprehensive putting that out there. I was pretty sure that I couldn’t run that fast and I didn’t want to face up to getting it wrong. The pace for 4:20 is 6:09/km, I ran the first half in 5:41/km. I kept looking at my watch and telling my partner wow, were like 5 minutes ahead of schedule. This is crazy!! It felt amazing. I felt so accomplished.
Shortly after that, like many others, I struggled up pipeline, a hill I have probably ran 200 times. Mentally it just kicked me. I felt sluggish and was starting to lose my resolve. This feeling stuck with me until km 28 where my husband was waiting for us with gaterade. We had seen him at around 17/18k when I was flying high and riding the runners rainbow. I was a different runner when has saw us 10k later. I could feel myself approaching the wall. I stopped, refilled my 4 bottles with cold gaterade, took a Tylenol, and chatted with him a bit while my partner applied body glide. I didn’t really care how long we were stopped fueling up. I was mentally done.
About half a click later I asked my friend to start doing math with me. When I ask for math it’s a bad sign, its my wall buster. At this point we were coming onto Burrard I knew our other running buddy was waiting to run with us in kits. I told myself that I had until Burrard crested to pull my shit together, kick the wall and do this thing. And that’s just what I did. And, it worked. Our gf kept saying how fast we were going, how good we looked, how strong we were and told us about a cycle to Horseshoe Bay she had done the day before. I started to truly feel amazing.
As we started to go up Cornwall I just started to feel great. There were soo many people out cheering, the sun was out, I had my 2 best running buddies with me. What a perfect day. I can’t really describe how I felt. I tried to vocalize it cause I could see/feel my friend was not on the same rainbow as me. I was trying to share the positive vibes. I don’t think it worked. By the time we got up to Candy corner I was all runners high, nothing could have stopped me, not even the hill we were approaching. At the crest I was geared up to get some free speed on the downhill. I turned around and my friend was walking and hydrating. She looked done. So I slowed down and started walking/dancing. I couldn’t help myself, it was such an amazing day. Once she finished her water we started down the hill. I could feel she was slowing up.
I looked at my watch we still had a bit of a lead on our 4:20 finishing time. I really wanted to leave her and get my 4:20. But I couldn’t leave my gf that had been there through all my BS on training days. Like that time I made her walk up Burnaby Mnt the second time we went up it on our 35k run, while we were both soaked and miserable. She has always been a rock and has always been there for me. She is a strong runner and has an iron will. I couldn’t leave her at the wall alone. So I decided to stay. I started encouraging her. At around 37k she said that she was going to tuck into her box and that I should leave her. Immediately myself and our other friend tried to tell her how good she was doing, that she could do it. Everything she would have said to us. About a km later she told me to go, get my 4:20. So I did.
I started going down Cornwall and I felt like I had a huge fish bowl strapped to my gut, sloshing around. I was soo full of water, gaterade and shot blocks I thought I was going to be sick. Despite this I ran for about 3 km with a huge smile on my face. I started chanting if you believe it and you can achieve it. I started telling slower runners coming towards me how good they looked. Despite my Buddha belly I felt unbelievable. I can’t think of a time on any run where I have been in such a good place mentally.
I looked at my pace band and realized that I had gained back some of the lead I had on 4:20, as I was going under Burrard I realized, if I pick it up I can go under 4:15. Holy. Shit. I was sorer than I ever have been in my life. I could feel my toe nails hanging on by shreds. I knew I was close to being done. I was trying to stay positive and on the rainbow. A volunteer told me we only had about 5 k left, he laughed when I said I eat 5k for breakfast! What he didn’t know was, I also had an ace up my sleeve, my dad whom had run the half was waiting for me and going to run me in the last 3 or 4 km. I knew if I could just make it to my Dad everything would be fine. I could do anything then. I was making deals with my body. I got to the spot were my dad met me on my first full and he wasn’t there. I actually said “Dad” out loud. I was crushed. Where was my secret weapon?! Ok. So another pep talk. Achieve/Believe. You can do it etc…as I was coming to the water station at the base next to Burrard Bridge on-ramp I spotted my Dad. My first question was how did he do in the half. Then he asked me how I was, I said, when we pick up the pace here Im gonna crack 4:15 and you’re gonna help. He was excited for me. He was almost as proud of me as I was!
So we get to about halfway up to the crest of Burrard and my 15/1 timer goes off. Of course im walking. I trained this way. I may be less than 3k from the finish line but its hot, Im thirsty, were walking. So we walked. High fived some awesome spectators. And then we ran. I truly felt like I was giving it 150% and my legs wouldn’t move. It felt like my finish was the slowest section of the run. My legs were done and they knew it. I tired to push it as hard as I could I wanted 4:15 soo bad. It felt like my dad and I are were the only runners in the chute, I felt like I made eye contact with every single spectator, I saw my husband, my step mom. I even heard the guy announce my name! It was like the finish line was just for me. My watch said 4:15:38. I was so happy. Its really hard to describe how it feels to think that you can’t do something and prove yourself wrong. I think I’ll be riding this rainbow for a long time. This run has given me a different outlook on things. I can do anything. I can set my mind to something and if I believe I can do it I will.

Chip time was 4:15:03, 21:33 faster than my second and 56:04 faster than my first.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Vibrams + Snow = No go.

Just had my first ever run in the snow in my Vibrams. For the record my favorite runs are in bad weather, give me rain and snow over hot sun any day. There is something so still and peaceful about running by yourself in crap weather. I know I winged a lot about yesterdays weather but it was still quite nice to be alone on the seawall with nothing but my foot falls to keep me company.

However, tonight my feet were cold after about 5 seconds and were so cold by the end of the short 30 min run that my toes and the tops of my feet were numb and tingling. It was actually painful. It's one thing to enjoy solace, another to be so uncomfortable you're in pain. As much I hate to say this, I think the Vibrams will be for indoor and summer running only. How sad. I really love to run in them. Perhaps I will explore the sock option however, I don't think it will actually add much in way of protection from the elements. Don't know til we try. Have you had any experience running in colder weather with vibrams? How do you do it?

I really hope it isn't snowing on race day or I'll be one cold little lady!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Best Paleo Dessert I've Ever far

Today marks my 5 month "anniversary" for lack of a better term on Paleo. I thought I would celebrate by posting one of my favorite indulgent recipes.

I met a dietitian about 3 months ago that specializes in Paleo nutrition, among other things. She gave me loads of great advice and great recipes and I would like to share one with you.

Paleo Macaroons / Raw Chocolate Macaroons

1/2 cup Organic Cold pressed Coconut Oil

1/2 cup Raw Organic Cocoa Powder

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup shredded coconut

dash of sea salt

 1. Melt coconut oil

2. Mix all ingredients together and form into balls

3. Pop into fridge and let set

4. Try not to eat all in one sitting

I have taken these little treats to parties, had them as dessert at my house, I've even given them as gifts. Everyone loves this simple, easy delicious recipe. I hope you will too! :) 

Plans for Jan-June 2012

My race goals for the first half of 2012 are as follows (I've read it's useful to write down goals so that you actually achieve them, I'll one up that by publishing it on the internet where no one will ever read it)

February: First half  My goal will be, as usual for a half, a PB.

(Technically my best 1/2 is 1:59:03, which was unofficial since it was the first half of the marathon in May. I did officially finish first half this feb in 1:59:20. It makes me very happy that after like 4 years of trying to break 2:00 in the half and coming very, very close on many occasions that I did it twice in 3 months.)

Feb 5, 2012 Edit:

My goal for this race is 1:49:59. I am very confident that after aprx 12 weeks of training with a coach that I can achieve this goal. We did a lot of strength training and drills in the early days at the track and for the last 3 weeks have done M-pace long intervals. As long as I can mentally and physically recreate those training runs I should be able to reach my goal.

March: UBC Duathlon This will be my first ever race involving a bicycle. I'm a little nervous about the transitioning but think it will be fun and a great way to keep me motivated to cycle this fall/winter.

Feb 5, 2012 Edit: I wont be doing this event. I volunteered for Chilly Chase a few weeks ago which gets me free entry into Green Sock Half which i would rather do. Especially since it's free.

May: BMO Vancouver Half Marathon I'll be training for the full with the girls, but racing the half with my Dad. We're planning to finish together. My Dad ran me in for my last full but we have not raced together side by side since 2007 when we finished in 2:01:56 at the time a PB for me and a slloowww finish for him.

June: Scotia Half I've always wanted to run this, and have even signed up for it on a few occasions but have not ever run it. In 2012 I finally will!!

I may also do some 5ks along the way depending on their schedule. Short races are fun! And I do intend to run a full marathon in the fall, just have not decided where or when yet.

Sick. Nervous. Slipping.

I'm really nervous for race day. Just have to get that off my chest.

I had a really bad cold and missed almost 2 solid weeks of runs. I'm nervous because the course is pretty hilly and running in my vibrams on hills is a challenge. As I said before, when I run up or down hill my toes slip out of their pockets and it makes running at a quick pace a bit of a challenge. I had planned some hilly runs to practice so I wouldn't be as frustrated on race day but I have now missed those runs.

My goal is to go under 52 minutes. I figured that was pretty solid easy goal since I did it in the first 10k of First Half in Feb and I figured if I could do it then and then still run 11k it should be easy enough to just do it and then be done. Now I worry that with the toe slipping it won't happen. I guess it's not a big deal. I just like beating goals. Having had personal bests in all my races this year I wanted to really push it on the 10k. I've never actually trained for a 10k before, it's usually a part of training for something else. My current best (official) 10k time is 55:17 on the same race, different course though I think, that was also in 2006 so at this point it's really like comparing apples and oranges. 

I'm sure what ever happens I'll end up having a fun day as usual, no matter what my finishing time ends up being.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Mock 5k race. Do your damn hill training!

I'm obviously not very good at blogging, apparently not great at keeping promises either. I got an email 2 weeks ago from Maha at the study reminding me that I promised both verbally and on paper that I would attend the mandatory Saturday runs. Up until last Saturday I had not been going to the runs. I had some weeks covered by good excuses, conferences, moving, weddings but let's be honest mostly I was being lazy. I prefer to sleep in and run alone. I tend to run faster when left to my own company and my itunes. I recently downloaded a mix from rockmyrun, it literally rocks my run and I think it makes me run faster. I love it, I recommend everyone checks it out. Its totally free too.

Last week I ran at the shop with a woman that does the same job as me. We got to know each other over the 6 mile run in a way that only running can really bond strangers. It was a really fun way to spend 75 minutes. I hope shes at the next 2 weeks 10 milers to keep me company. Its nice to chat to someone that I have stuff in common with.

So today we did a "mock 5k race" at the clinic. It was fun, in hindsight. Most of the run I  felt like I was pushing pretty hard, not all out but probably 75-80% effort. I say it was fun in hindsight because I was mad at the end cause km's 4-5 were all up hill, a very steep, very hard hill. That I had to walk part of. Cause I thought I was going to barf. It was actually that bad. I don't walk hills.  I don't know who thought it was a good idea to make me run that hill. I was mad cause it brought down my pace, and cause I had to walk. The good thing is though, it taught me a very valuable lesson, that yes, I already knew but a good lesson none the less. Run hills. Hills should be a part of everyone's training sessions obviously or you'll suffer when you encounter hills. I did some hill stuff when clinic called for it in the past but most of my runs are totally flat. I live like 4 blocks from the seawall why would I add hills? I guess I'm going to have to. I'm glad I have 4 weeks until race day so I can add hills now and shouldn't be too bad off. I'll post my splits below.

Happy Hill Running! Oak street here I come!

1k avrg 4:56
     fastest 4:34
2k avrg 4:40
     fastest 4:34
3k avrg 4:57
     fastest 4:40
4k avrg 4:57
     fastest 4:46
5k avrg 7:47... see what happens when you DONT hill train!?
     fastest 4:40
5.76 avrg 4:52
        fastest 4:37

Overall: 30:59 5.67km avrg 5:23/km

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

No Longer a Vibram Virgin!

Last week I tried out the Vibrams for the first time. It was a really unusually long day. It started with 6 am "Run Day" Boot camp, then I worked my usual 8.5hr Thursday shift. After work hubbs and I went straight to the new apartment we are looking at moving into. By the time we got home and had dinner and got out the door for the run it was nearly 10 and I'd been on the go for over 17 hours.

From the time it took to get from my apartment to the seawall walking (ten or so mins), my feet were super sweaty and hot. I felt like I was walking in mud, you know when it gets squished between your toes? Like that. My husband was making fun of me saying the Vibrams looked ridiculous. What do I care? I have to say part of why I love running is because it is truly the only time when I am out in public that I don't care how I look. Clothes don't match? hair looks silly? no make-up? Don't care, here to run. Anyways, I was actually a bit scared to run for the first time essentially barefoot in the dark but after about 2 seconds I forgot all about it. I was running pretty slow- even slower than easy- cause I was exhausted and full up on the half chicken and sauerkraut I had for dinner moments before we left. My big toes were catching on the pavement as we ran and I had some like 2/10 discomfort in my foot where the big toe meets the actual foot. However, I think that was from my sloooow speed. For the last 2 minutes I sprinted and it felt amazing. I was up on my toes running like a pro. The other cool thing was that I was almost totally silent. It felt really good. All the pain and toe catching went away when I sped up. I'm really looking forward to running my natural pace in the Vibrams to really see what I can do in them.

I was reading Greg's blog and he said that after trail running in his barefoot shoes that he really felt his heels and calves. I have to say that wasn't really the case for me, again probably because of my slow pace. So far I really like running in the Vibrams, they sure make my chunky neutral cushioned shoes feel big and clumsy!

As for the Saturday group run I have no update. I skipped out due to being exhausted from the crazy week and as well I had my cousin in town to visit with. I still managed to get almost 6 hours of fitness last week so I don't feel so bad about it. I'm supposed to be starting track tonight with the first workout being Fartlek but I have to work so I will do it on my own tonight on the seawall. Official track work starts next week and I will definitely make it a priority to be there with Steph after work to get my paces in. I'm really looking forward to it.

This weeks schedule:

Saturday: 5 Mile run     ...skipped see above :)-
Sunday: Rest     ...rested
Monday: 40 Mins Easy     ...ran 7.35km/40:03 on seawall at lunch
Tuesday: 40 Min Fartlek     ...60 min "Leg Day" Bootcamp + 6k cycling before work, Fart 7.45km/40:03 after work
Wednesday: Rest     ...looking forward to sleeping under my desk
Thursday: 30 Mins Easy in Vibrams
Friday: Rest

Sunday, 21 August 2011

I'm a Nike Sponsored Athlete

Yesterday was the first meeting for the Nike Minimalist shoe study. We had our first run and picked up our shoes. I arrived really early, probably only a handful of other runners were there. I started to get really nervous, I was worried that everyone else would be way fitter than me and that I would be eating their dust. Slowly more people started to come and people started chatting to each other. I overheard several people saying that they were disappointed that they didn't get the Vibrams. I feel pretty lucky that I did.

Promptly at 9 am Phil started talking and making introductions, then Jack Taunton took over. He talked about how this is a landmark study that the media is very interested in. I'm pretty sure he commented on how we're all rock stars and that the world is watching us. Which I have to admit was pretty cool to hear.

Jack continued to talk about the Nike Global Research Foundation over the last 10 years and how he has worked with them to publish many studies. He talked about the Nike Free and how it was designed to be a sports rehab shoe by a Canadian female who's name I can't recall (how rude of me!) He talked about how Nike used to have 40 research centers but since the economy went bad that its down to 10 and he/we are one of them.

Then he started to talk more specifically about our study. That we are 104 participants about how hard it was to get the Pegasus, which is why we started late because they sent him the wrong ones and the right ones had only come in at the very last moment. He said that everyone wants to know what happens to statistically fit people that are randomly assigned to use different shoes after 12 weeks. He mentioned how his last study, that involved pronation control shoes and half marathon distance, saw 90% of the study finish the distance and every single person had a personal best and that he expects the same from us. This made me super happy, free shoes AND a PB?! Yes, please!!

Jack mentioned a recent health set back that would not allow him to be able to run with us but he did assure us that he would run again!! 

Jack talked about how Brent will put us through our paces on Tuesday nights to build strength and speed. He thanked us for giving our time and energy to the study and asked us to be totally honest and specific about how we feel during the study. He said Nike is delighted to prove if the product is any good. He said that we are all very valuable and we will all be stars. He then thanked the store and its staff and introduced Bruce who spoke briefly about how speed work is for strength and different intensity and they want to see how the body reacts. Bruce said that we would see speed improvements and be able to tolerate running faster. The goal? A better 10k time for all. They talked about how important it is to follow the schedule as closely as possible and stressed how important communication is.  There has never been a study like this before and they have a follow up study planned. We were introduced to group leaders: Moses, Steph, Chris and Ron. I'm not sure if I am remembering everyone. They said in the future we would run on Saturday with pace groups, 9/10/11/12 minute miles. We were all thanked again.

We then ran to the end of the block and back, did a group active stretch then ran 25 minutes out to the sea wall and back. The run was bloody hot, 21 degrees at 1030 am when we finished. I have to say the heat kicked my ass, I am used to running at night and have not run in like 3 weeks because I've been to sick with strep throat. I ran 8.42km in 49:27 average pace 5:52, which I guess isn't that bad considering for most of the run I was talking Stephanie's ear off. I asked her about a million questions about the study and she very kindly answered them. She is super nice and I look forward to working with her. I'm also pleased to say that I was not eating everyone's dust. There seems to be a really good mix of paces in the group.

My Vibrams are actually super cute.

This weeks Schedule:

Saturday: 50 min run
Sunday: Rest Day
Monday: 30 min easy
Tuesday: 40 min run
Weds: Rest Day
Thurs: 20 min easy in my Vibrams
Fri: Rest Day

Sunday, 10 July 2011

This is your mission if you choose to accept it...

I initially found out about the UBC minimalist footwear study on my twitter friend @becomingajock's blog. At the time I was shopping around for Nike Frees to wear to work and I've always been interested in running in Vibrams. So, the study seemed perfect. I did a phone interview with Maha and was scheduled in for my baseline session.

I arrived at Lady Sport in Kits and Maha explained the study to me. It will try to figure out if new minimalist running shoes actually strengthen feet or cause injury. The study requires runners to train in the shoes for 14 weeks, following a training schedule laid out for them by the study: 3 runs a week by yourself and one run as a group on Saturday mornings. The runners will slowly work up from a couple of hours at home in the shoes to eventually all of their runs in the assigned shoe.

I was given a lengthy questionaire about my history as a runner. It included questions about my running frequency, duration and any injuries I might have had. We also discussed personal best finishing times, I got to boast about my recent personal success in the half and full marathon. Then Maha randomly assigned me to Vibram FiveFingers. I'm really excited that this shoe was chosen for me, its the shoe I would have chosen myself.

I then had measurements taken of my feet, legs, my Q angle, which apparently can be an indicator of how likely someone is to get injured but they didn't tell me what my angle was.  I've never had a lot of knee/shin/leg/hip injuries so I guess it must be close to normal. The ladies drew on my legs and feet. Then I signed some release forms and learned that Nike was sponsoring the study.

It was finally time to get fitted for my new shoes.  Putting on the first shoe was tricky, it was hard to tell my little toes where to go. The girl helping me fit them said that a guy she helped the previous day took like 15 minutes to get each one on. Thankfully I did not have any big problems and the second shoe slipped right on. I tried on a size 38 and it felt big. However, I am used to huge running shoes, as I am sure every runner is as well. I then tried on a 37 and they felt snug, like a glove. They were more comfortable than I thought they would be and they felt really supportive despite being so much less shoe than my current pair. Because we were unsure of the size I took them out onto the side walk for a little jog. Walking in the store I felt like I had mud between my toes. Taking my first few strides I felt two things almost simultaneously: I felt short, I felt free. I have not gone outside and ran barefoot since I was a child, being able to run free but have protection from gravel, glass etc felt unbelievably freeing and really cool. I felt short because I am, and I felt even shorter not having the extra 2 inches of cushioning. I returned the shoes to the girls in Lady Sport and Maha told me that they would order my shoes and that they would arrive mid August and that the study would begin shortly after.

I am really excited to run on a schedule that someone else has created for me. I'm really looking forward to seeing how my feet and the rest of my body do in minimalist shoes. I think this is going to be really fun!