Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Marathon 7 Day Countdown

I over did it on the taper this week but I would not have been able to do much more running if I had wanted to. Houston has been out of town since 5:00am Thursday morning, so I have been in one-parent mode during a busy week/weekend.

Monday: 9 miles very easy, M.&D.
Tuesday: 7 miles
Wednesday: 2 mile w/u, 3X2 mile w/ 3 rest, 1x1 mile on roads, 2 mile c/d (11 miles)
5:57, 5:45
5:46, 5:48
5:44, 5:56
5:49 ~ felt really good so I cut it short. I did this workout alone at 4:45am on a hilly route.

Thursday: 5 miles (Maddy woke up in the middle of my run, ran out of time)
Friday: 10 miles, 69 minutes
Saturday: 12 miles in 80 minutes w/ 5 miles in the middle at marathon pace, 6:18
Sunday: Recovery, planned 8-10 miles

My legs feel good. The heat at NOLA is not something I am worried about, I have been doing a lot of long runs and hard workouts on the treadmill in my house with the heat kicked up to 75 degrees. The humidity...that's another story.

On another note, I have enjoyed the Mommy & Maddy time. We have played hours of peek-a-boo and destroyed much of the contents of my kitchen cabinets. Its fine, not like they were organized before!
Our beautiful little lady. She is just over 16 months.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sof Sole FIT Insoles Product Review

I recently was given a pair of Sof Sole FIT Neutral Arch Insoles to wear-test and review on my blog.

When I was given this product I was not wearing an arch support (my current training shoe is the Brooks Launch, I have been wearing them ever since I wear-tested them in 2009). When I first started running, I used to use a small arch insert because if I didn’t, I would end up with Plantar fasciitis.  In college I switched running shoe brands and became a minimalist and had never-ending problems with my plantar fascia. Every time I was given a pair of orthotics my feet would cramp up so bad I just took my shoes off and ran without (we had grass fields, one thing I still love about the Mississippi State Track).  After college I tried MORE orthotics and had some success but I have since not been able to afford the $300 price tag.

In my experience, orthotics are expensive, heavy and uncomfortable.

Now I’m not saying that Sof Sole is the replacement for orthotics.  I am starting to believe maybe I didn’t really need orthotics after all. I have had great success running in the Brooks Launch, but I am forefoot running and I suffer from oversupination, meaning I roll way too much to the outside of my foot.  I would believe that the FIT insoles are designed for overpronation too.

When I first received the Sof Sole insoles, I was a little hesitant in trying them. Most arch supports I have tried were stiff and uncomfortable. I was surprised and pleased to find out that the insoles were not hard to adjust to. I did an 11 mile run the first time out the door (promise) and I could immediately notice that I was not rolling out near as much (over-supination). I knew this for a fact because within a day or two I was sore, like I was running a completely different way than I was used to. For some one that has suffered with hip problems for ten years, I think this is a good thing.
Picture from sofsole.com/fit

One thing I remember about insoles and arch supports is that they typically wear out in about 3-4 months. Sof Sole FIT insoles have a one year warranty. For a mere $40 bucks, anyone that is even THINKING about an arch support should give Sof Sole a try first (I also have a $5 coupon if anyone is interested, just message me or comment if you would like me to send it to you).

Here is a full list of Sof Soles Women’s Performance Insoles

Other products: for those that are interested, they also carry some pretty nice knee high socks with fashion prints for $9.99

Sof Sole FIT Neutral Arch Product Information:
3.0cm arch height (also options for low arch and high arch, see www.sofsole.com/fit for more information) and 60 durometer EVA provides the ideal arch height and density levels to promote a natural range of motion for end users with neutral arches
Anatomical Nylon Plate provides torsional stability while maintaining flexibility and range of motion. The nylon plate’s durability offers resistance to cracking and compression.
CK Mesh Top Cover is an abrasion resistant material.
(Taken from SofSole.com/fit/neutral)
Image taken from Sofsole.com/fit
And did I mention they have a 1 year warranty??? Worth a try. Visit www.sofsole.com/fit for more information and a list of other great products available from Sof Sole. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Just this weeks log....

Monday: 10 miles
Tuesday: 70 minutes
Wednesday: 80 minutes (11 miles)
Thursday: 3 mile w/u, 4X Mile/800m w/ 90 sec rest btw sets/reps, 2 mile c/d (12 miles- treadmill)
Set 1 pace: 5:46/5:30
Set 2 pace: 5:42/5:27
Set 3 pace: 5:39/5:27
Set 4 pace: 5:36/5:20 (this was actually a 1200m because I forgot how long I was running)
Friday: 10 miles (71 min)
Saturday: 15 miles @ 6:45 avg ( a few miles at 6:20 to get the legs feeling good)
Sunday: 60 min recovery run

2 weeks until NOLA. Feeling good, a bit tired on the run today but took it pretty relaxed compared to a normal long run.

Might be a good thing with this marathon in two weeks.. might not!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mercedes Half-Marathon Race Recap: PR, 2nd Female.

As I have already posted: Mercedes Half-Marathon: 1:19:38 for 2nd female
$500 (spent most of this on registration/travel/bad hotel)

Running this race was a logistical nightmare. We (Husband, Maddy, myself) did not have anything planned out and were scrambling last minute to try to make things work. Not the way I like to do things, but worth it.

On Saturday after running group, Maddy and I drove to Birmingham to pick up my race packet just in-time to watch about 7 heats of 3000m heats on the new indoor track facility in Birmingham, the CrossPlex. It was a great evening for the team, several PRs for some of the younger athletes on the team, men and women. Unfortunately, we didn't get away early enough and I missed the scheduled dinner with M., K., and D.

After driving around for almost an hour, we finally settled on Moe's. Not what I had in mind but I knew they had some chicken/rice bowl thing and Maddy likes cheese and nachos. In the end, Moe's was the right choice and I am happy to say that I survived whatever catastrophic events could have taken place in 13.1 miles the very next day.

Since the race hotel was booked, as well as anything else within driving distance, we ended up getting a great deal on a Baymont Suites some 20 minutes away from the start line. It was a dump, but the sheets were clean and there was bad morning coffee available... for $56 and one night I was not going to complain.

Race morning.

We woke up tired from Maddy tossing and turning all night long (our 2 1/2 star hotel did not offer us a child's crib) and cold...it was 20 degrees and I little bit breezy - not optimal but I was game for anything! We had planned on meeting Meagan and M, K, D in the hotel lobby of the Sheraton at 6:15. It was absolutely impossible trying to get there - let alone try and find a parking spot. After Houston dropped me off I didn't see him or Maddy until mile 12.75 of the race. Being as cold as it was, they spent most of the race drinking coffee and getting a snack at Starbucks - I would have done the same!

After a quick warmup, we all stripped down to our race gear...HA. I had on tights, a training top, arm sleeves, gloves, and a hat. Not once did I feel overdressed and waiting for the gun to go off, I wished I would have wore a warmer shirt. Funny, I had originally packed shorts and a sports bra, its a good thing I had a back up.

Meagan and I had planned on running 6:00-6:05 for the first 4 miles, and when the gun went off it felt like, well, 6:00.

Hmmm, wrong.

We went through the first mile in 5:50, and at this point I think we (Meagan and I) both felt so good that we just kept the miles coming whatever pace they were. Its not often...almost never...that I have such a great group of people to run with, so I figure if there was anytime to just go after it (make it or break it) it was today.

I will say that the mile markers and the Garmin didn't agree...at all. After the first three miles I really didn't pay attention to the mile splits. The Mercedes website clocked me at 36:03 at the 10K. I'm not sure which is more accurate, the garmin or the race clock.

The first 4 miles were fast and felt great. Mile 5 I started to feel amazing, mile 6 I thought I could pick up the pace. Mile 7, were turned a corner and all of a sudden I felt like I was sprinting. My legs started tightening up, and instead of fighting to stay with the pack for a few miles, my hip cramped up (along with everything else) and I quickly fell off around the 7.5 mile mark.

Damn. 

At first I was worried my race was over. I just ran 80:07 by myself three weeks ago, I didn't want to run another 80. Men started passing me (I rarely get passed after half way) and I did my best to try and work my way back up with the pack, but I could see Meagan and her group getting farther out of site.

I remember racing through mile 8 in about 47:3X, and then passing through mile 10 in 60:2X. I gave back a lot in those 2 miles, but my hip was also the tightest here and I believe it was a good bit up hill. At one point, I must have reached over and bumped my watch (maybe reaching for a cup of water?) I don't have a single split after mile 9, but I average 6:03 for the first 9 miles, so I know I slowed down...a lot. You could say I died a little, yes.

For someone that is typically good at math, I didn't do very good math during the last 2 miles. I passed through mile 11 thinking "Wow, I'm going to run 1:18 for sure." Then about a mile later I realized I was running 13.1 not 13.0, and if I was still going to break 80, I needed to pay attention to my pace. At mile 12 I needed to run the last 1.1 miles in 7:15 or less.

I could do that.

I passed Houston and Maddy at about 600 meters to go and we all knew I was going to break 80. Turning the corner heading into the final 100 meters I was almost crying, I didn't know how important breaking 80 was until I finally did it.

Going back a year ago, I had just ran 1:27 at Frostbite, I was only 14 weeks removed from pregnancy, getting back into shape, training fore my first marathon. I told Houston quietly, almost not believing it myself and a little nervous what his reaction would be, "I really want to break 1:20 some day for the half-marathon....." In which he quickly and confidently said, "I think you can do that."

And here I am, after 1 year of 4:30am workouts, 365 cups of instant coffee, hundreds of miles and 2 Garmins later, I crossed the line in 1:19:38 (or :41, still confused) good enough for 2nd (Meagan won in 1:17:XX) and making the whole trip completely worth it.

Finish! Photo by Cathy Sharp
After the race, I went up to sign for my $500 prize money, something I didn't anticipate getting. Someone asked me what I was going to do with the money. I answered without taking a second to think, "Pay Maddy's ER bill." Exit: Athlete, Enter: Mom. I guess I had thought about the money at some point during the race.

Garmin results before I bumped my watch. Not sure how accurate they are.


After packing up, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Cracker Barrel so Maddy could fill up on pancakes and sleep most of the way home. Monday morning I was up at 4:30 am as usually, ran 9-10 miles, got Maddy ready and was off to work - coffee in hand. By 8:00 AM I was at my desk, checking emails, writing my to-do-list, refilling my coffee cup, smiling the whole time.


Here I was back to being Mom, back to work, back to reality- after successfully checking "break 80 in the half" off my bucket list...and it feels pretty good.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mercedes Half-Marathon Results

Mercedes Half-Marathon Results: 1:19:38 for 2nd female!
Recap coming soon. What a freaking awesome feeling!!!
WooHoo!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mercedes Half-Marathon Race Prep Workout

So after 3 weeks of going back and forth on whether or not I should race the Mercedes Half-Marathon or the 5k at Choctaw Trails (the female who runs under 17:45 at Choctaw gets a $500 gift-certificate to fleet feet) I made a last minute decision to register for Mercedes. Very last minute, the last day you could even register.

And why give up the possibility of a shopping spree at an awesome running store to run a hilly half in Birmingham, Alabama? Well M, K, D are planning on running the Marathon and Meagan Nedlo posted on her blog that she was planning on running the half.

Now I have no idea how my legs will respond on Sunday, but Meagan will keep it honest, and even if I can't be dragged to a fast time, it will still set the tempo for a good run. For those of you that don't know, Meagan just ran 2:41 for the Marathon at the Olympic Trials. Part of me hopes she goes out a little conservative (having that she just raced a marathon) so I don't get dropped in the first 1200 meters....

Mercedes typically posts fast times year after year, so I figure I'm going to eat this race and just go after it, even if that is not a PR, it will be worth going to see M, K, D finish their marathons and K, D chase 2:59.

This week...

Monday: 90 ish minutes (12 miles)
Tuesday: 11 miles (9 or so w/ K, and then a loop of Sherwood)
Wednesday: AM: 5 miles, PM: 1.5 mile w/u, 2 miles in 11:26 on the hills (5:48/5:37), 3 minutes jog, 20 min of fartlek, 4:51-5:40 depending on hills/interval length, 1 mile c/d (quick lunch break workout)

Also, I have a few articles on the Georgia Marathon Blog, just some fun stuff. If you all have a second, please like/share. It will help me win some nice gear from the Georgia Marathon folks.
http://info.georgiamarathon.com/blog/?Author=Meggan+Franks

Thanks!
Meg

Saturday, February 4, 2012

4 weeks and an almost marathon simulator.

Monday: 87 minutes 12 miles hilly run
Tuesday: AM: 20 min, PM: 57 min
Wed: 2.5 mile w/u, 6X 1 mile on treadmill w/ 90 sec recovery, 5:46/5:42/5:38/5:36/5:32, 2mile c/d
Thurs: 65 min recovery
Friday: 80 minutes
Saturday:4 miles (28:30) 12 miles at Marathon Pace (6:18 pace for 75 minutes), 1 mile c/d
Sunday:planned recovery run about 70minutes

Not a huge mileage week but my daughter is not feeling well and I have been tired. Tuesday I slept in and ran during my lunch break. Friday I slept in but managed to get out the door just before 5:00AM, just enough time to get 80 minutes in.

Being that I have a race, 20 mile run and another possible race sandwiched together, I skipped the marathon simulator and ran a long run with 12 miles at marathon pace instead.

I ran this workout on the treadmill in our bedroom with gels/salt/water within reaching distance. It was surprisingly relaxed, with the exception of a bathroom break and hip cramp at mile 8. The bedroom was also 75 degrees (I feel like NOLA is going to be warm) so I was sweating like crazy.

Here are my splits for those of you that are interested in that sort of thing.

6:18, 6:18, 6:18, 6:18, 6:18, 6:18, 6:18, 6:18, 6:18, 6:18, 6:18, 6:15, 6:11

--I did mention earlier that I ran this on the treadmill, right? Haha.

The reason for so many treadmill runs is because NOLA is flat as a pancake. Though I have been a lot stronger on the hilly courses, the flat courses have been easier on my back/hip. Not to mention, NOLA is within a 5 hour drive, and its NEW ORLEANS.

On a very different note, I want to give a shout out to some awesome running gear I have gotten to try lately:

1.) I have been running/walking in a pair of Sof Sole FIT insoles, they have been awesome for my recovery days and in some of my flats that do not have much support. Years back I used to cough up $300 or so for custom made orthotics. Obviously, I can't afford that anymore, and I feel like SofSole would have been  a good replacement (they are only $40 bucks!). These insoles are not heavy, ridged, or uncomfortable, and they feel like the perfect amount of support. I will do a full review in a week when I get a few more miles in them!

2.) Have any of my fellow IDers tried the new Brooks Women's Versatile 3.5" Low Rise Shorts??  Wow, AWESOME! For short torso ladies like myself, I absolutely love these shorts. I can't stand shorts that fit tight and high on the waist. They come in all sorts of awesome colors (not just black). I'm certain you can also find a matching sports bra on brooksrunning.com also.

Hope everyone had a great running weekend! - Megg