Monday, March 29, 2010

Product review: KT Tape

The best new tech gear thingy find of the year may be KT Tape. (Cue choirs of angels now.) After my last long run, my left knee got progressively painful throughout the day. I iced it a lot (no better way to ice knees than with a bag of frozen peas), but that didn't help much.

I remembered this product from goodie bags from a number races--Wasatch Back, Moab 1/2. I went and found one of the samples and decided to give it a try. I went on the website to see the proper application. I'm pretty sure I was experiencing "runners knee". From the online Runner's World magazine: "It occurs when a mistracking kneecap irritates the femoral groove in which it rests on the thighbone."

I applied the tape (is waterproof so it can be worn in the shower or to the pool without coming off, and can be left on for up to 5 days) as directed. Stepped down, walked around and there was no more pain. Amazing.

I don't usually get a lot of aches or pains other than the general muscle soreness that goes away in a couple of days, so I haven't thought about this issue before. I'm a believer now. I'm going to run my next long run (20 miles) with the tape actually applied to the knee to support it and see how that feels after.

I love this product and I'm going to go out and buy a roll at the new Salt Lake Running Company store ASAP! Hopefully I won't have much use for it, but when I do it will be worth every penny.

FYI, I've priced it out around $12-14 a roll with 20 applications per roll.

18 miles: 7 weeks to marathon

Overall the 18 mile run Saturday went well. I met a couple of runny buddies (well one new running buddy and a friend from last year's WBR), and we carpooled up and ran 18 miles of the course. 18.3 according to google maps.

This is a beautiful course. We started up at the corner for the turn off to go up to Causey Reservoir. You go down a little canyon into Ogden Valley. It's a pretty straight, flat few miles then you go around Pineview Reservoir on the Eden side. Then it's up the big hill at mile 14. That section along the west side of the reservoir, is a little be hilly. Not really bad, but after 13 miles you feel it a little more than if you are only running the 1/2 marathon.

I stopped just at the bottom of that first steep downhill running into Ogden Canyon. I haven't done a whole lot of downhill training so far so I wanted to give my body a little taste of it before the race.

My total time was 3:03:12. Almost 10 min miles dead on. It occurred to me that I have to maintain that pace for 8 more miles to finish at my goal time. Sigh.

I tried out Cliff Shot Bloks in this run. I had tried them at a race expo once and didn't like the flavor I tried. Too salty tasting. I got a free sample of Tropical something at the Moab 1/2 Marathon so I decided to give them a second chance. I had a lime Gu at about 4 miles, 1/2 the shot bloks at mile 7, Cliff Mocha gel at 12.5 miles (stomach protest a little), and the rest of the shot bloks at about mile 15 or 16. No more stomach issues.

I've had bad experiences with 4 or more gels before so I'm feeling good about staggering the gels and the shot bloks. They may become a permanent part of my long distance fueling regimen.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gear review--Aero bars & Zoots

If you are my friend on Facebook you may have noticed me making a big deal out of some shoes I won at a tri clinic last week. It was love at first sight. Plus they are just seriously sweet. I was a little nervous to try them out cause if they didn't wear on my well I was going to be so sad.

I did my speed work on Monday in them. I even tried them barefoot as they are constructed to be worn. It was a little strange to not be wearing socks, but I could get used to it. I really like these shoes.

First they are easy to put on. They have these tab/hole things that you just put your fingers in and pull them on. The "laces" are these stretch things and you don't even tie them. Pull them on and go. Obviously for a daily workout or straight running race this isn't an advantage. In a triathlon though that will be awesome. It will save some transition time.

Second they were comfy. Other than the weirdness that I wasn't wearing socks, they felt nice. They had great flex and I felt some good cushioning.

The Zoot Ultra Tempo+ 3.0 gets two thumbs up and a high five from me. How can you go wrong with anything "Born in Kona"?!

I bought some aero bars for my bike at the REI winter clearance sale. I don't have a pic. I don't even know the brand or name of the the thing. It's got the diamond shaped grip bar and padded, foldy things where you rest your arm.

It was sunny and nice yesterday after work and I was itching for a ride. I rode down 13th east a few miles and back. I didn't use the bars much. I found I was a little wobbly. I need to get used to them. And probably not on the road where I'll make the cars nervous even if I'm in the bike lane.

I did like the feel of them. It was a comfortable position and it took the pressure off my arms. I'm going to give them more practice on a long straight route like the frontage road out to the marina or on the legacy parkway. Somewhere long and flat and away from traffic. They're not convenient if you need to shift or brake often.

Not using them, they were a little awkward on the front of the bike, but on a long bike ride I'm going to like them I think.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Moab 2010

I love how it looks like a refugee camp for spandex at the race start

I had a last minute offer to run the Moab 1/2 Marathon. I spent all of maybe 5 minutes thinking it over. Of course I did it. Technically Saturday was my rest week and I only needed to run 10 miles. I figured I would just run it for fun. Sadly I came down with a cold on Thursday and it's still lingering on a bit.
This guy is wishing he had bought the 13 gal garbage bags, tight fit

Here's a note for future reference for any aspiring new runners. Whenever you read "I probably shouldn't have..." in my blog, don't do whatever it is I did. Just because I didn't die doing it doesn't make it the smart thing to do.

So, I probably shouldn't have run with the cold, but I did. I've read if the cold is in your neck up (head cold only) it's ok to run, but if it's below the neck (in the chest/lungs) don't do it. It was basically only in my head. I did start coughing a tiny bit Friday night, but it felt primarily in my sinuses.

As this was a last minute I had no accommodations set up. I was thinking about camping, but that didn't seem the safest bet as a solo lady. So I threw a 2" foam mat in the back seat of the Dynasty and parked at the shuttle pick up at the city park. There were probably a dozen other people doing the same thing. With the foam mat, I was surprisingly comfy. It was retched cold in the morning though. I wanted to stay snug and warm in my down sleeping bag.
I decided to take it nice and easy. I started out at about a 11 min/mile pace just to see how that could go with the breathing. After a couple of miles I was feeling good and went up to about a 10 min/mile pace. Did I mention how cold it was at the start? Seriously, uncomfortably cold. My toes were numb until mile 2. It was nice for running, but for waiting, not so good.
I remember last year, I couldn't wait to get out of the sunny parts and back into the shade. This year it was the opposite. I loved the sunny sections. You just can't please everyone.
It was fun how many people I ran into that I knew. I saw lots of friends, people from my old WBR team, people from this year's WBR team, people from the Salt Lake Track Club. Good times.
The best part about doing this race this year was to see that my current training style has improved my time. Despite having a cold, I got a PR for this particular race. Not my best time ever, but I was happy with my time for just taking it easy. I am totally motivated to keep on strong with my current training plan. Theoretically, I am predicted to finish my marathon around 4:30:00, 39 mins faster than my first try. That's a big deal.
I placed 1895th out of 3282. With a chip time of 2:08:22. Moab is usually one of my slower races because it's the first of the year. My previous PR for Moab was 2:12:49.
After the race I went for a short hike (2.5 miles each way) up Negro Bills Canyon. It was a nice mostly flat hike up to Morning-something Arch. The trail follows a little stream pretty much the whole way. I'm guessing in about a month when the trees along it break out their leaves, it's going to be amazing.

I love Moab.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

16 miler

I had a great run this morning. The Salt Lake Running Company organizes Saturday morning teaser runs. There's not a group start time. You just show up between 6:30 & 7:00 and go your own pace. My only complaint is the time. I mean seriously? 6:30? I like to start at 8:00. That's early to me for a Saturday. It actually turned out for the best cause by the time I finished it actually got colder. I'm just not planning on making a habit of it.

The route was the Jordan River Parkway. The starting point was the park at 5400 South. They marked the trail every mile for 5 miles north and south. I went south first for the 5 miles, back, then 3 miles north.

The nice thing about this trail is that it's about 99% traffic free. I had to run across two roads, but there wasn't really any traffic.

It was kind of motivating to see all the other runners out too. We pretty much owned that trail. I like runners cause most of them smile or say hello or whatever as they pass. Two guys (very cute) actually talked to me for about a 1/2 mile as they were passing me. They said they noticed I have very steady pacing. If I had a dollar every time someone admired my pacing....

I think my new training style is working (see the previous post). My first 5 miles were actually the slowest--10ish/min/miles. The middle I had some 9:30-9:40 min/miles. The last three miles I had a slight headwind so they were a little bit challenging but I tried to push myself to keep up and I did.

I'm not supposed to push hard on the long run, but I did actually push myself on the last mile. It was for the psychological training. I like to push through the tiredness so when I'm on runs/races that are hard at the end I'm mentally ready.

I really felt good with the run today. I was actually under my pace time that I'm supposed to run at according to the chart. I felt like I could have run further or harder at the end. I tend to underestimate my capacity. I kind of feel like I could push harder on my speed training runs too, so I might up my intensity level anyhow.

In my past experience, 16 miles is the last distance I enjoyed the whole distance. After that the last two miles that get added seem a little more agonizing. That's were it's more mental than physical. I'm looking forward to the 18 miler in two weeks though, cause I'd like to see how that goes. Theoretically if I have raised my lactate threshold, I should be able to longer/farther with more efficiency. Check back in two weeks to see how that goes.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Marathon Training Week 6

10 weeks to go! I can't believe how fast the time is going. I'm going to be honest. I have not been as consistent in my training as I should be. I've had things come up. I've thrown on some of the tshirt designs I've been playing with. I made shirts for people who supported me last time.

The truth is, you are either 100% committed or when things come up, you'll get sidetracked. I'm trying to decide if I'm 100% committed yet or not. It's not enough to just say to yourself, I'm committed. There's some inner something that just clicks, and you know you are. I think it comes down to motivation. So I've written down some of the factors I think should be motivating me to train more consistently.

1. Want to beat my previous time (5:09:00).
2. Don't want to hurt myself or have an excessively long recovery time.
3. I want to finish. Period.
4. Feel awesome about the event
5. Impress my friends and family cheering for me at the finish line

Let me eloborate a little on my training program. I have revolutionized my training strategies since I went to a workshop at the Salt Lake Running Company. It's based on some of the same principles from the Run Less, Run Faster book.

I have 3 run workouts per week. Quality Run 1 is basically speed training. I go one 400 m lap really fast (right now I do 8:00/mile speed), then a lap at a slow jog/walk. I've been doing 8 repeats (8 fast/8 slow).

Quality Run 2 is a tempo run. Basically a tempo run is a fast short run. I've been doing a little warm up jog, then 2 miles at a 9:15/mile pace, followed by a short cool down jog/run.

The Long Run is the only run I care about my miles really. It goes up incrementally by around 10% per week. Last Saturday I did 13.6 (supposed to be 13), so I'll go 14.5-15 miles this saturday.

Every 2-3 weeks I throw in a rest week. That means I don't run so hard on my quality runs and cut my long run by 50-60%.

I should also be doing some cross training 2-3 times a week on my off-run days. That's where I've been slipping. Bad Amy. I shouldn't because I've got a couple of tri's this year too and I need to keep my biking and swimming skills up.

Update to 2010 Adventures

It looks like I will be going skydiving this year. One of my friends is going for his birthday in about a month.

As an update, I have kind of formed the jazz band. We have no name or schedule, but we do have a playlist and 4 members. :)