Week #1 of 6 Weeks to Drop 7

Week 1 Statistics (Ending 04/20/2018)

  • Weight (157.0 last week): 155.6 pounds
    • Lost 1.4 pounds
    • Down 1.4 pounds from start
  • Body Fat % (24.7% last week): 24.4%
    • Lost/gained 0.3%
    • Down 0.3% from start
  • BMI (24.6 last week): 24.4
    • Lost/gained 0.2 points
    • Down 0.2 points from start
  • Time Spent Being Active (>= 6 hours): 6 Hours 43 Minutes 07 Seconds
    • Miles Run: 22.05 Miles
    • Number of Runs (>=4 runs a week): 4 Runs
  • Days within Calorie Goals per MFP (1200): 6 days
  • Exercise:
    • Saturday – Rest
    • Sunday – Ran 4.75 miles (46:14); Walked 0.50 miles (7:26); Upper Body (12:20); Abs (12:16)
    • Monday – Ran 8.25 miles (1:20:10); CDF MMA Speed (26:16); Hammer Abs (10:33)
    • Tuesday – CDF Power Sculpt (36:19); CDF MMA Speed 2.0 (20:26); Uptown Funk Abs *2 (9:38)
    • Wednesday – Ran 4.66 miles (45:07); Walked 0.34 miles (5:28)
    • Thursday – Ran 5K (30:48); Walked 0.45 miles (7:35); Upper Body Weight Machine (13:13); Abs (10:14)
    • Friday – CDF Agility Strength (35:47); CDF 5-min Core (5:30)
  • Notes:
    • Kicked it off right – working hard!
    • Super happy with Week 1 – exceeded weight and day loss goals!
    • I forgot how hard CDF is on my ankles… OUCH.
  • Picture of the Week
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This is why I haven’t been running outside… spring forgot to arrive. I’ve run outside a total of 3 times in 4 weeks. I should have a sun tan by now but NOPE.
  • The Week’s Workouts:

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  • Starting Statistics on 04/17/2018 (A Tuesday – not the typical Friday)
    • Weight: 157.0 pounds
    • Body Fat %: 24.7%
    • BMI: 24.6
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Kicking Off the Big Plan – 6 Weeks to Drop 7!

I’m super excited to drop 7 pounds – it is time to get this done! Racing season is here and I don’t want to be running 13.1 miles over and over again at 157 pounds – ugh! 150 pounds will be a much more comfortable weight to carry for that kind of mileage!

Goals for these 7 Weeks (actually 6.5 weeks since I weighed in on a Tuesday):

  • Finish on 05/25/2018 with a body weight loss of 7 pounds or more (minimum target weight is 150 pounds)
  • I am targeting a loss of 1.5% or more of body fat as reported on my scale
  • I want to see major changes in my physique since I’ve been there before and know I can look a lot better
  • Complete 6+ hours a week of dedicated exercise
  • Run 4 times a week at minimum (following my trusty 6-week half marathon training plan)
  • Lift or do weight training at least 3 days a week
  • Use Core De Force for strength training and additional cardio
  • Do abdominal work at least 4 days a week
  • Stay within daily net calorie goal of 1200 calories at least 6 days a week
  • Report into My Fitness Pal daily (478 day streak already!)

Starting Statistics on 04/17/2018 (A Tuesday – not the typical Friday)

  • Weight: 157.0 pounds
  • Body Fat %: 24.7%
  • BMI: 24.6

Starting Measurements:

  • Natural Waist: 29.5 inches
  • Belly Button: 33 inches
  • Hips: 37.5 inches
  • Chest: 35.25 inches

The Workout Plan:

There will be 4 runs a week, per my training plan. On days I don’t run, I will do Core De Force (CDF) for cardio and CDF for strength training. On run days, if I decide to add some weight lifting, I’ll do that with free weights or the weight machine. Any supplemented cardio will be CDF workouts because they do incorporate strength as well. Abdominal work will be done with CDF, Hammer Abs, and on my own.

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Before Photos

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Weekly Stats:

  • Week 1
  • Week 2
  • Week 3
  • Week 4
  • Week 5
  • Week 6

 

 

2018 Race Schedule

Thank God for great friends!  My best friend comes over every Sunday night for dinner and tonight, we were discussing our plan for next Sunday’s race (10K minimum or a half if the weather is great!).  That quickly led us into our weekly discussion of our 2018 race schedule and we were commenting on how we have a LONG lull between June and the fall.  She reminded me to sign up for the DSM half in October and I said, “oh, yeah, I registered for that last fall already.”

“Um, I don’t think so – they just sent out the registration email a couple of weeks ago.”

“Huh?”

A quick email search confirmed what Emily already knew – I was not registered for the IMT DSM half marathon.  Rates go up in a week.

I registered on the spot.

I’m usually way more on top of my schedule but the weather this “spring” has not been conducive to running and training.  I am not kidding – I’ve run outside only 3 times so far in this training session and last year at this time, I had a great tan already on my shoulders, face and back from running outside.

It’s been depressing.

I’m behind schedule and will likely convert next Sunday’s registered half marathon to a 10K because I have not run more than a 10K yet at one time (running more than 7 miles on the treadmill is a special kind of torture).  That race is a week earlier this year than in the past, so I really got a late start with the weather.  I’m OK with bumping down to the 10K.

I will run a half two weeks later and then another one a few weeks after that.  I need to find something to keep me motivated in the middle of summer to keep me on my 6-week training rotation through the fall and the DSM half (now that I’m registered!).

4/29 – Drake Relays ROADS Half Marathon or 10K (registered)

5/6 – Des Moines Women’s Half Marathon (registered)

5/12 – Market to Market 75-mile relay (of which I have 3 legs totaling 12+ miles) (registered)

6/2 – Dam to Dam 20K (last year EVER for this iconic road race) (registered)

9/16 – Capital Pursuit 10-mile (not registered yet)

10/21 – IMT DSM Half Marathon (registered)

My husband wants to run a race together this year and I’m looking for something fun for us to do.  It would be fun to run a 10K with him (because a 5K is over and done too quickly!) like old times!  Maybe a fun trail race… hmm…..

 

 

Here I Go…

We have been doing some serious traveling this “spring,” (in quotes because we just got 1.5″ of seriously not-melting-today snow last night) and the indulgences have caught up to me. Despite still running and lifting multiple days a week, I haven’t been giving it my all and I need to drop 7 pounds immediately.

IMMEDIATELY.

When we got home from 10 days in Hawaii, I’d only gained 2.5 pounds, but then we left again to see my sister in Virginia. And we had a good time! Good food, more than one beer for the first time in OVER A YEAR (I had 4-5), cocktails, snacks, and only one day of running over 4 days pudged me up.

I’ve just finished my schedule for the next 6 weeks and it’s aggressive. It’s appropriate. It’s necessary.

I have a half marathon in 3 weeks and because of the weather, I’m behind on my long runs. I’m running a 10K next week because I couldn’t get trained for the half in time. I’m feeling so not ready.

I need to get ready.

Here I go!

2017 Race Season in Review

I have had a pretty crazy race season!  It started in late April, just like last year, and just wrapped up yesterday.

I followed the same training plan I used all last year, and ended up beating some of my race times from 2016.  I was hoping to replace half of my race bibs on my “power wall” with new PR’s this year, and I ended up replacing 4 of the 7 from last year, and adding an awesome race to my race schedule.  So… I’m happy!

4/29 Drake ROADS Half Marathon

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  • 2017
    • 429/857 Overall (50.06%)
    • 128/381 Women (33.6%)
    • 18/46 Division (39.13%)
    • Finish Time 1:59:09 = 9:06 Avg Pace
    • PR for this race and big advancement in the rankings!
  • 2016
    • 489/864 Overall (56.6%)
    • 186/422 Women (44%)
    • 30/59 Division (50.8%)
    • Finish Time 2:04:18 = 9:30 Avg Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • So happy to PR this race – I worked hard to beat last year’s time
    • Was THRILLED to be in the top 50% of women in my division
    • I never expected to be in the top third of women – not expected!
    • Already signed up for next year!

5/13 Market to Market Relay

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  • 2017
    • Leg 1 = 4.4 miles with 8:13 pace
    • Leg 2 = 5.78 miles with 8:24 pace
    • Leg 3 = 4.27 miles with 8:55 pace
    • Killer pace for legs 1 and 2!  Because of those, I’m considering this a PR for this race!  
    • Coming in at an 8:55, sub-9:00, for the last leg is a big win considering how I felt during that run
  • 2016
    • Leg 1 = 5.7 miles with 8:26 pace
    • Leg 2 = 4.3 miles with 8:23 pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • Was the fastest on the team!
    • Already signed up for next year on the same team!

6/3 Dam to Dam

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  • 2017
    • 696/2984 Women (23.32%)
    • 70/316 Division (22.15%)
    • Finish Time 2:07:08 = 9:35 Avg Pace
  • 2016
    • 559/3456 Women (16.17%)
    • 66/387 Division (17.05%)
    • Finish Time 1:58:53 = 9:04 Avg Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • The weather was TERRIBLE – hot, humid, and people were dropping off like flies on the side of the road
    • Was trained to PR it but the weather ruined that plan
    • No starting mats at the start for chip timing, so place values are not at all accurate (took 10 minutes to get to the start line after the gun)
    • Will do this one again next year because it will be the 30th and final year for it

9/2 On-Own Half Marathon (She Power Half) / Prairie Dog Half

  • 2017
    • Finish Time 2:04:02 = 9:20 Avg. Pace (13.3 miles)
    • This is a PR for the “random half of the year” – I had no idea!
  • 2016
    • 92/260 Overall (35.38%)
    • 41/160 Women (25.63%)
    • 8/43 Division (18.6%)
    • Finish Time 2:05:48 = 9:36 Avg. Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • I like to run 4 halfs a year – so I’ll always find a random one to do each year

9/17 Capital Pursuit

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  • 2017
    • 185/346 Overall (53.47%)
    • 53/164 Women (32.32%)
    • 11/28 Division (39.29%)
    • Finish Time 1:26:54 = 8:41 Avg Pace
  • 2016
    • 172/334 Overall (51.5%)
    • 62/175 Women (35.43%)
    • 18/51 Division (35.29%)
    • Finish Time 1:26:13 = 8:37 Avg Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • I had the wrong finish time in my head from 2016, and coasted in.  I could have beat my time from 2016, but screwed up my plan by thinking my 2016 finish time was 1:27:13 instead of 1:26:13
    • Obviously should have run at my fullest ability and not just to beat a specific time
    • Did not PR this race
    • I’ll probably do this one again next year

10/15 IMT DSM Half

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  • 2017
    • 935/3870 Overall (24.16%)
    • 322/2401 Women (13.41%)
    • 33/300 Division (11.00%)
    • Finish Time 1:55:58 = 8:53 Avg Pace
    • PR for this particular race and a PR for half marathons overall!
  • 2016
    • 916/4378 Overall (20.92%)
    • 328/2737 Women (11.98%)
    • 40/350 Division (11.42%)
    • Finish Time 1:56:44 = 8:55 Avg Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • Rankings are outstanding for the field of runners in this race
    • I was shooting for a 1:56:00 the entire time, and I paced myself perfectly for it!
    • I said I wouldn’t do this one again last year.  HA!
    • Yep… will do again next year!
  • New Half Marathon PR/PB

11/5/2017 On Own / Hillbilly Hike 10K

  • 2017
    • Finish Time 53:34 = 8:38 Avg Pace
  • 2016
    • First Place in my division
    • Finish Time 50:35 = 8:08 Avg Pace
    • 10K PR
  • Thoughts on this race
    • I was all ready to do the Hillbilly Hike 10K on 11/5 when I found out at 11:00 PM on 11/3 that it was the NEXT DAY, not Sunday
    • I skipped the race for a myriad of reasons (I’d run 3.5 miles the night of 11/3, my friend who was to run the 10K with me dropped down to the 5K, it was going to be cold and dark the morning of the run, and I didn’t sleep well the night before) but decided to push myself into a race-paced 10K on the day I thought the race was – 11/5
    • Decent pace for running on my own and on hills
    • Can’t see myself doing this race again next year

11/11/2017 Dirty Duatholon (runner)

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  • New race in 2017
  • Asked by an old friend to be his running partner and he’d do the biking
  • Lap 1 (2.31 miles): 22:59 = 9:57 Avg Pace
  • Lap 2 (2.3 miles): 23:37 = 10:16 Avg Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • Was super fun!
    • So happy with my lap times!
    • Would do again next year

It was a super great year of running – probably the best I’ll ever have!  I will need to find a half marathon in 2018 to be my 4th next year, and then focus on finding a half marathon in 2019 to replace Dam to Dam.

Where the Hell Have I Been?

This is going to come way out of the blue, but I’ve been training.  HARD.  I never stopped running after my 10K win in November because our season of great weather just kept going and going, so the break season was super short compared to most Iowa winters.  I kept up an average of 17-22 miles of running each week through the winter and then kicked into half marathon training 6 weeks ago.  During those 6 weeks, I did kickboxing here at home and classes at the gym, so I’ve been building up endurance big-time.

The training went well, but I wasn’t feeling on-pace with last year.  However, my long runs proved that my gut feelings were wrong and I ended up running a half this morning at a pretty good clip, beating last year’s race pace by 24-25 seconds per mile (all calculators put me at a 9:05 pace this year, but the official results, with a second faster time than my GPS watch and app, put me at a 9:06 pace).  I also did a negative split without even having to verify it, the second half paces were that much faster than the first half.

I’m pretty happy!  To start the year 0:25 faster per mile at a half marathon distance is pretty encouraging.  Last year’s race stats were:

  • 489/864 Overall (56.6%)
  • 186/422 Women (44%)
  • 30/59 Division (50.8%)
  • Finish Time 2:02:43 = 9:30 Avg Pace

This year’s race stats are:

  • 429/857 Overall (50.06%)
  • 128/381 Women (33.6%)
  • 18/46 Division (39.13%)
  • Finish Time 1:59:09 = 9:05 Avg Pace

So… a big improvement!

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Onto the relay in two weeks!

 

 

A New Year, A New Gym

For Christmas, my husband enrolled us in a new gym.  It’s “the gym” to join here in our area, and I’ve never stepped foot in it because I knew that upon my seeing it, I’d want to join.

And… I don’t need a gym.

I run like a crazy person, I do Beachbody workouts at home, I use our treadmill at least 3 days a week, and I’ve gone through good stints of using our weight machine in the basement.  When it comes to working out – I’ve got it pretty figured out.  All I need is the ability to run somewhere (or on a machine), internet access, and my own motivation.  That’s it.

I don’t need a fancy gym with a great kids’ program, an incredible pool, super nice and clean showers, and hot tubs in the locker rooms.  I don’t need top-of-the-line cardio machines (my treadmill is going on its 17th year of life and it’s a trusty old steed).  I don’t need endless yoga classes at my disposal.  I don’t need plush sitting areas throughout the gym, and I certainly don’t need a café and spa in my gym.

I don’t need much.

But… I’m drinking the Kool-Aid.

Truth be told… I love it!

The kids’ programming is everything everyone said it was.  We pay for the kids on our membership and it’s $30 a month for each of them, which is a tough pill to swallow (the Y was free), but…. there are terrific classes every day that they love going to and the gym has “Parents Night Out” twice a month and that costs what the sitter would cost us, so… no brainer.  The kids absolutely love the pool and they have a “family locker room” which is way easier to use than the “family dressing rooms” at the Y.  When we went to the Y, I felt guilty dropping the kids off in the child-watch area because they just went there and played, and there was no growth going on.  I was dumping them there so that I could do my own thing, and that did not feel good to me.  At the new gym, they get so much out of going that there is no guilt at all.

The classes are truly top-notch – I really enjoy them!  I had no issues with the classes at the Y, and enjoyed them quite a bit, but they changed the schedule so often that I was often frustrated that my classes were dropped.  And… they always ran out of equipment at the Y.  So many times, I’d have to use lighter weights or not have a step to use because what I needed was taken already when I’d get there 5 minutes early.  You can walk into a class at this new gym and get everything you need, even after the class has started.  And the class rooms are way bigger, allowing more participants.  The group exercise experience is just more pleasant at the new gym.

The cardio equipment is stellar and there is plenty of it.  I never have to worry about finding a treadmill or weight machine to use.  The treadmills have a neat “outdoor” feature that has you walking along a trail at Lake Merced, for example, and you see people running by, statues, lakes, etc.  It sounds corny, but I like it.  I do have to work a lot harder to burn calories on their treadmills than at home and that’s because they’re smoother and just more efficient.  I was running at almost 7.0 mph to burn as much as I do at home at 6.2 mph.  That’s good though.

The new gym is closer to us, and it’s on the way to my husband’s work and the kids’ school.  I can get to classes on time (9:30) now when I couldn’t do that before.  My husband can stop on his way to or from work and not lose 10 minutes each way because this new gym is between home and his office.  The proximity is great.

The locker room… I never thought I’d get excited about a locker room.  The lockers are very large and don’t require a padlock, so I don’t have to stress about that.  Each locker room has a dry sauna, a steam room with eucalyptus, and a huge hot tub.  I love that about it and have already used all three.  There are private dressing rooms and the showers are terrific, very large and nice products (including razors, shave gel, deodorant, etc) are provided.  The towels cover an average sized person’s body.  It almost feels like home because the ventilation makes it nice and dry so that you can actually dry your hair, put on makeup, and get dressed without being sticky.  People used to rave about the locker rooms and I’d think, “how shallow are you to care about THAT?” but I’m eating my own words.  I’ll admit it.

The pool… swoon!  The indoor pool is terrific in that the kids’ pool never goes deeper than 3 feet.  Oh, the peace of mind!  It is well-lit and feels like a nice hotel pool (the Y was very dark).  They have a HUGE, powerful hot tub that has strong enough jets to fully massage my sore back and legs.  The Y has no hot tub AT ALL.  The outdoor pool has great water slides and a play area, and the biggest benefit… I can see the entire pool from one spot!  I told my husband this past summer that by the time our oldest is 7, that I would need a private pool so that I can let my son run off and play, but so that I can see him at all times (the public pools here are full aquatic centers and they make me very nervous because of how vast the property is).  This past summer, when I mentioned this to my husband, I said we’d need to join this gym or one of the country clubs.  He chose the gym and I think it’s a great choice!

There is a nice café with good food at this gym.  It’s not the best food in the world, but it is good enough and is very healthy.  I’ve run into so many friends there and that’s fun!  The kids love the food and they’re eating things enthusiastically that we can’t get them to eat at home.  That’s a big win!

And… they have tennis courts.  You pay more for tennis but I think it’s something that my husband and I may enjoy doing together.  We’re definitely enrolling our son in tennis lessons and I’m super excited about that!

So… I’m drinking the Kool-Aid.  I avoided it for two years but the time has come.  This summer will be so nice with the pool for the kids and I’m excited that they’ll have a fun place to go when I work out.  I also like knowing that they’ll be well taken care of while I sit in the hot tub or steam room in the locker room – I’m not gonna lie!

There are things that are weird, though.  It is like a country club in that you see people you know all the time.  I love that about it, but it also can feel weird when you’re in a hurry to get to class or get out to get the kids.  I missed a class today because I ran into my neighbor and instead of going to class, we sat in the café and talked for 45 minutes (I did run hard and fast afterwards).  Then, on my way out, I saw a friend I haven’t seen in a while and truly had to avoid her so that I wasn’t late to get to my kids’ school for pickup.  Also, people refer to this place by name (“Lifetime”) with a sort-of snotty tone rather than, “the gym.”  I make fun of people for asking, “where’s my iPhone?” when people without iPhones just ask, “where’s my phone?”  I mean – think about it.  No one asks, “where’s the Charmin?” when they’re out of toilet paper – they ask, “where’s more toilet paper?”  There are some things in life that people like to say for status, and “my iPhone” and “Lifetime” are two of those things.  I’m sure I’ll refer to it, soon enough, as “Lifetime” too, but I swear I won’t add the tone to it.  The same is true for the kids’ programming.  I just say, “I’m taking the kids to child watch” but people really look alarmed when I say that.  They correct me, “you mean, The Kids’ Academy?”  Yes… that’s what I mean but come on – you knew what I meant.  HA!  There is that snobbery attached to this place and I wish it wasn’t so, but it is.  On the upside, the Y felt very clique-y to me and this place, because it’s so big and there are so many class options, just doesn’t feel that way at all.

Good and bad… you take them both.  And the good, as much as I resisted it in the past, outweighs the bad at the new gym.. I mean, “at Lifetime.”

😉

 

Ending On A Win!

This morning, I ran what is my final competitive race of the season. It was a 10k, I had trained hard all season, and I knew from last year’s stats that I could win my division. I drove there, 25 miles away, in the dark and alone. I was in the zone. I got on the bus that would take me to the start, and I barely uttered a word to anyone. In the zone. I lined up with a very fast runner friend of mine and we discussed our goals and moved to the front of the group. Zoned in. I took off quickly and never slowed down, only getting faster each mile. ” YOU ARE IN THE ZONE.”

I kept a close eye on my pace and could not believe what was happening, but just kept doing what I was doing. It felt good and I never wavered, I never felt tired. I repeated my chant to myself in my head over and over again. “You are prepared. You are trained. You are ready.” I passed more people than passed me, which is always a goal of mine, and… I won my age division and came in 8th of all women. Right now, I don’t know how many women finished, but 8th is good. And winning?!?! I’ve never won my division! I was so excited to tell my husband!!!

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My 2016 race season is complete! I don’t think I will ever have another year like this… And that’s OK

 

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My Go-To Running Shoes

I’ve been a runner now for several years, broken up by one very long hiatus as we worked on having kids (multi-year project) and then nursing them. That hiatus brought on ligament pain in my feet that needed to be addressed before I could run again.

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My husband and I were avid recreational runners between spring 2007 and summer 2009. We started up a running club and had nearly 100 members ready to run races any given weekend, and in the summers, we were running races probably 3 weekends a month.  It was a lot of fun, but I had lots of shin problems. I was told that shin problems are a part of the game and to power through. So… power through I did.

I have always known that I’m a heal striker with control problems – I overpronate when I run. I’ve been a heal striker since elementary school and I remember my PE teachers telling me to, “run on your toes!” That never made any sense to me. I was never good at running because of my heal striking so I wrote the sport off. Looking back, that makes me sad.

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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it here, buy my regular shoe size is 11.5 AAA – very narrow. Both of my parents have narrow feet and my grandma was a AAAA in width. I’ve always worn very expensive shoes because, well, cheap shoes aren’t made in my size. My older sister cost my parents lots of money with her musical talent, my little sister cost them lots of money with her love of horses, and I cost them lots of money with my specialty shoe size. Ha!

When it came time to buy running shoes in 2007, the only brand that made shoes in my size was Asics. I was sized and told that I needed an entire size larger to leave room for my second toes which are both longer than their respective big toes – so I needed a 12.5 narrow. Asics shoes are narrow in general, and their narrow shoes are very narrow – just what I needed. I got the GT 2000’s (because I wasn’t paying $160 for the gel kayanos) and was on my way.

My shins always gave me trouble.

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After my running hiatus, my feet were very different. I would wake up in the night or in the morning and step onto my relaxed feet and pain would pulse on the tops of my feet for the first 20 or so steps.**  It hurt a lot and I was concerned that something was seriously wrong.  Wanting to start off round 2 of my running career correctly, I bit the bullet and bought the Asics Gel Kayano 20’s on clearance for $90 in September, 2014. They were so ugly, but my only option.

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I LOVED that shoe! It was like running on a cloud! My control issues were seemingly gone and my shin pain was a thing of the past. I wore those shoes out after 500-600 miles and, of course, they were no longer available in my size when I needed new ones in April 2015.

I begrudgingly ordered the newer version of the Kayanos (21) and they just didn’t feel the same. They felt stiffer.  I still had no pain at all, they just weren’t as comfortable.  This, I thought, was going to be a problem but, again, I had no options.  I held onto my ugly Kayano 20’s for the times that I really needed to be pampered and back in my favorite shoe.  I would wear the 21’s for all runs until something hurt a bit, then would run in the 20’s a couple of times to get the pain resolved, and then would go back to the 21’s.  The shoes did their job and lasted me 6 months before I needed a new pair and aside from them just not feeling right, they were a good shoe.

wp_ss_20161101_0001-2I always keep an eye on my shoe prices because I hate paying $160 for a running shoe, especially given how quickly I burn through them.  To this day, I have not spent more than $100 on this shoe, and I’ve bought 7 pair of them over the last 2+ years.  When it was time for a new pair in January 2015 (because the price was right), I jumped on it but they didn’t have my size.  UGH.  I had to order a regular medium width or I’d have to upgrade to the new 22’s for $160.  No way.  So I got the 21’s in a size 12.5 medium and that’s when I started to worry.  The only good thing about buying them in medium width were the color options, but at the time, all they had was sea foam green (the 12.5 narrows only come in ONE color combo per release).

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I did not dig these shoes.  I hated the color but more importantly, I disliked the ride.  I am certainly a true narrow and forcing myself into a medium is something I know not to do.  However, they weren’t awful so when the price dropped further in April, I bought a second pair (but in that nice purple again) to put up in the closet for later – also 12.5 medium width.  Then, in June, the price dropped again so I bought a second pair to put up in storage.  I was wearing the green ones with two pair of purple shoes ready to go because you never know if I’ll be able to buy my size when I need them.  I wore the sea foam green ones through two half marathons and then moved onto the purple pair in July.  By then, I was very used to the ride of the 12.5 mediums and had learned to live with it.  I would sometimes go back to my 20’s just for a nice cushy run, but the 21’s in 12.5 medium had definitely turned into my solid shoe.

The purple shoe I ushered in in July was very good to me, generating a few PR’s and faster times, but only lasted me 4 months – they were run into the ground.  The soles were tearing off and the stitching was coming undone – a sign of true love and use!  My sister started having plantar fasciitis issues in September and when I recommended the Gel Kayano to her, we saw that the 22’s were on sale for $99.  AH!!!!!   With a pair of purple 21’s boxed in the closet, waiting for their turn, I secretly had my sister order me a pair of 12.5 NARROW Gel Kayano 22’s (my husband can handle one box of running shoes on the ready, but two sends him over the edge).

I’d been told that the 22’s were more like my beloved 20’s, so it was worth it to me to just get them ordered.  My sister hung onto them until we were in town this past weekend and I took them out for a maiden run and ….. I am in love!  With my current tattered 21’s ready to be tossed in the garage for yard work, and my sea foam green ones with just a bit of life left in them for emergencies (like when my primary shoes are wet), and my 12.5 narrow 21’s in my gym back for treadmill use only… I was more than ready to make these babies my primary shoe!

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I’ve worn them just a few times but, like all Gel Kayanos, there was no break-in period for me and they were good to go from the minute I tied the laces.  I LOVE running in them and they are most definitely reminiscent of the 20’s that stole my heart back in September 2014.  They look pretty bad-ass too.  So last night, after only wearing these a couple of times, I went to Amazon and saw that the new Gel Kayano 23’s are out and they are getting TERRIBLE reviews.  Because of that, I quickly checked to see if the 22’s were still available in my size.  They were, and they were $78.  I have NEVER paid that little for a pair of running shoes, not to mention high-end $160 running shoes.  I nudged my husband, told him the situation, and told him that this would mean that two pair would be in the closet, boxed, as I just start with this current pair that I’m loving.  He’s so good to me – he said, “as long as you find the room for them and keep them in the box so they don’t get confused with all of your other running shoes, order them.”

They’re on their way!

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I look back to 2007 and wish I’d bitten the bullet and just bought the Kayanos when I knew I needed them.  My shins suffered constantly in the GT 2000’s simply because the GT 2000’s weren’t a cushioned control shoe.  It’s no one’s fault but my own – I was being cheap.  I used to be of the mind that a shoe can’t make a lot of difference but now, in 2016 with record times, record mileage, and no injuries… well, I know that a shoe can make all the difference.  I don’t struggle with form like I used to, I’m not wiggly when I run like I used to be, my heal striking isn’t causing pain, and my shins never scream at me.  It’s amazing.

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My shoe-buying history (purchase dates, not use-start dates)

  • 9/15/2014 (5 months of use through 4/30/15) Kayano 20 12.5N black
  • 4/30/2015 (6 months of use through 10/31/15) Kayano 21 12.5N purple
  • 1/26/16 (5 months of use through 06/15/16) Kayano 21 12.5 sea foam green
  • 4/2/16  (4.5 months of use through 10/29/16) Kayano 21 12.5 purple (worn into the GROUND after 425 miles)
  • 6/15/16 Kayano 21 12.5 for backup (not opened)
  • 9/15/16 (just started using on 10/29/16) Kayano 22 12.5N
  • 10/31/16 Kayano 22 12.5N for backup (not opened)

** (A side-not, after suffering from my foot pain for a few months, I went to see a podiatrist.  The first question he asked was if I’d had a baby recently.  No – he was one and a half.  Next question – how long did you nurse him?  Well, I’d just weaned but we were tapering down after his first birthday.  Turns out, pregnancy loosens up all tendons in your body and nursing keeps them loose. When I started running again, I was slowly weaning my son, triggering my body to tighten back up those tendons, so my feet were sore. I had no idea!  I was told to suck it up, keep running, and get a good control shoe because, “you are a serious overpronator.”  Yeah… I know.)

Changed My Game and My Game Changed Me

I’ve been a runner before, but I never had any goals to get faster.  I treated running like a calorie burner and just went out to go through the motions and enjoy the freedom that comes with running.  I’d lock in around a 10:00 pace and was happy with that – and I could run for as long as I was told to run at that pace.  I ran some 20K’s, 15K’s, a half, 7-mile cross countries, and heaps of 5K’s and 10K’s while operating a running club of almost 100 people.  It was fun, it passed the time, and it kept me healthy.  It was good.

This time around, things have been markedly different.

Since early February, I’ve been running at least 3 days a week.  In March, I ramped that up to 4-5 days a week, and by April 1st, I was up to a solid 5 days a week.  From April through now, I’ve been in a constant cycle of training for aggressive races and personal challenges using real training plans with tempo runs, intervals, hill training, and distance runs.  I’ve really enjoyed the different challenges, and shifting my focus from distance to time blocks has made all the difference for me.  Instead of running X miles each day, I’ve focused on running FASTER and HARDER in X amount of time.  You know – real training!

Looking back on my first big race of the season on April 30th, I chuckle at my excitement over my pace.  I mean – 9:30 was GREAT back then but it’s nothing compared to now.  That rigorous training plan got me out of my 10:00 pace rut and I’ll forever be glad that I tried that plan (and kept doing it for each race).  Going from an average long distance pace of 10:30 years ago when I was in decent shape to 9:30 this year is a huge improvement and proves the importance of real training.

The second race that was important to me was on May 4th and was a simple 5K – but a 5K with 2,000 participants (many with strollers and/or walking) so a decent amount of delay at the start through mile 1.  This particular race was my best 5K of all time back in my early days of running, so I wanted to beat that time by a significant margin.  Back in 2008, my pace was 8:54 which was GREAT for me.  In 2016, it was 8:18 with no start mat timing (I was a ways back from the start at gun time).  With this 5K, I realized that my training plan was not only helping me with distance running, but with shorter races as well.  I was pretty excited to have another PR/PB at this particular race – “apples to apples!”

The next race was a 75-mile relay, something I’d never done before, on May 7th.  I was a fill-in for the race and was worried I’d be the slowest on the team, especially coming off of the half the weekend before and that fast 5K just a few nights earlier.  I ended up being the first or second fastest on the team out of 8 runners (we didn’t compare official times but there was a big difference between the two of us and the others) and my two sections of the race were run in the 8:20’s range.  My first leg was 5.7 miles with a 8:26 pace and my second leg was 4.3 miles with a 8:23 pace – I was definitely happy with my contribution to the team.

On June 4th, I ran my second half marathon of the season and PR’d/PB’d it with a finishing time under 2 hours.  I was shooting to beat my first half marathon pace by 10-20 seconds, but shaved off 26 seconds per mile.  Of course, coming in so close to being under a 9:00 average pace haunted me the rest of the summer… I should have (and could have) run faster.

July 23rd brought my third half marathon for the year and it was run 5,000 feet higher than where I live, so I was targeting a very slow pace for myself.  I targeted a 2:10:00 finish but came in just under 2:06:00 which made me happy.  Being in the mountains added 32 seconds to my half marathon PR/PB pace from the month before but only 6 seconds to my starting half marathon pace at the end of April.  Another “win” for me, but it was tough having a non-PR race so late in the season… being perfectly honest.

On September 21st, I ran a 10-mile race I’ve wanted to run since I started running 10 years ago.  I took a quick look at the route but didn’t concern myself with elevation.  I’d tapered back my training a bit and was slipping into a routine of running for distance goals again versus time block goals, which was what I really needed to be doing at the time.  I was feeling a little burned out.  The morning of the race, I had no expectations other than coming in under a 9:00 average pace. I came in with a 8:37 average pace, the best long distance pace I’ve ever had, and likely ever will have.

And now finally, I’ve finished my last half of the year  with yet another PR/PB which was not what I expected.  My pace was slower than the 10-mile race, but for half marathons, I set another PR/PB for myself that will probably be my PR/PB for the rest of my life.  I know I shouldn’t sell myself short that way, but I expect this one to be the one that sticks.  Coming in at a 8:55 pace for 13.1 miles is something I never thought would happen and I’m super proud of it… and stunned.

What is really a HUGE improvement for me is that each of these long races (half marathons and the 10-mile race) was a “negative split” race, meaning that the second half of the race was run faster than the first half.  To improve my pace in the second half of a race is something that I’ve worked hard at doing, and I do think that the training schedule I used contributed to that.  I will for sure use the same training plan hfor distance running in the future, but I don’t plan on running this many races next year.

I’m still deciding if I’m going to run a 10K on November 5th or not – I feel like I need to have an official 10K race this year for record-keeping.  We shall see.  For distance, though, I am done.  I’m thrilled to end on a high note with a half marathon PR/PB in the 8’s!

Below is a summary of my significant races this year – there were some other 5K’s but they weren’t serious and I was always pushing a stroller or double stroller with heavy kids.  Ha!

4/30 Drake ROADS Half Marathon

  • 489/864 Overall (56.6%)
  • 186/422 Women (44%)
  • 30/59 Division (50.8%)
  • Finish Time 2:02:43 = 9:30 Avg Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • Thrilled to come in under my 10:00 pace goal
    • Was happy to be close to the top 50% of women in my division
    • So excited to be in the top half of all women runners!!!!!
    • May do this one again… undecided
  • Half Marathon PR/PB

5/4 Klompen Classic

  • 272/2098 Overall (13%)
  • 67/1222 Women (5.5%)
  • 4/94 Division (4.3%)
  • Finish Time 25:47.5 = 8:18 Avg Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • So fast!
    • I’ll never beat this 5K time – I have no idea how I could!
    • Rankings were insane – so excited!
    • I so wish I’d been #3 in my division just so I could have that honor
    • Planning on doing this one again next year
  • 5K PR/PB

5/7 Market to Market Relay

  • Leg 1 = 5.7 miles with 8:26 pace
  • Leg 2 = 4.3 miles with 8:23 pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • Loved this – will want to do it again!
    • Shocked with my paces for both legs
    • Relieved not to be the slowest on the team
    • Probably will do this one again next year – working on putting a team together
  • Best recorded paces aside from official 5K PR/PB

6/4 Dam to Dam

  • 559/3456 Women (16.17%)
  • 66/387 Division (17.05%)
  • Finish Time 1:58:53 = 9:04 Avg Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • Happy to come in under 2 hours, but in hindsight wish I’d pushed myself harder to come in under a 9:00 average pace
    • Always a nice race – it’s a classic here
    • Top 17% of women and division is awesome for this race – did not expect that!
    • Will do this one again next year
  • New Half Marathon PR/PB

7/23 Prairie Dog Half

  • 92/260 Overall (35.38%)
  • 41/160 Women (25.63%)
  • 8/43 Division (18.6%)
  • Thoughts on this race
    • Just glad to have it done and to be under a 10:00 pace with the elevation
    • Best medal of the year 😉
    • Won’t do this one again next year
  • Finish Time 2:05:48 = 9:36 Avg Pace

9/21 Capital Pursuit

  • 172/334 Overall (51.5%)
  • 62/175 Women (35.43%)
  • 18/51 Division (35.29%)
  • Finish Time 1:26:13 = 8:37 Avg Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • Could not be happier with the pace!
    • Obviously a competitive field with my rankings and pace – I knew that going in
    • Females in my age division are damn fast!
    • I think I’ll do this one again next year – I really enjoyed it!
  • 10-Mile Distance PR/PB (and fastest distance pace of the year)

10/16 IMT DSM Half

  • 916/4378 Overall (20.92%)
  • 328/2737 Women (11.98%)
  • 40/350 Division (11.42%)
  • Finish Time 1:56:44 = 8:55 Avg Pace
  • Thoughts on this race
    • Rankings are outstanding for the field of runners in this race
    • I think this will be my half marathon PR/PB for a very long time
    • Very proud of both my pace and finish time, but wish I hadn’t walked as much as I did
    • I won’t do this one again next year
  • New Half Marathon PR/PB