Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome 2010!

Happy New Year! 2010 will be a great year for you and yours!

I am not crazy enough to do this run tomorrow, but I really, really wanted to. Chicago's New Year's Day forecast high is 17 degrees. I'm worried about getting sick again. Nope, not going to be able to do it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Indoor Track and Safety Gear Stuff

Oops, forgot to write about my indoor running experience this weekend. It snowed most of the day Saturday, but I was able to get in four miles at a nearby indoor track. The facility had two treadmills, but I wanted a break from the from that. It's a small two-lane track suspended over a basketball court. When I say small, I mean 19 laps around this track equals one mile! I felt a bit like a hamster in a wheel. I understand some people feel this way about running on a treadmill, but this track being so small, was much worse. I think I got a good workout. It felt good not to have the help propelling that the treadmill offers.

I ended up with a few more cool safety gear items. I exchanged the headlamp for a pair of Pearl Izumi Shine Wind Mitts and a Fuel Belt reflective arm band. The mitts are gloves with a hidden reflective mitt piece. I had been eyeballing these since October. I can't wait to try them out. I'm sure they're warmer than the 99 cent magic gloves I had been sporting. I happened upon a Fleet Feet in Chesterfield. I had no idea there was one out there! I picked up a clip-on flashing safety light. This will be great to hook onto on my waist or hat. It's incredibly bright. I'm anxious to run outside (in the dark) again! The treadmill at the gym is working out well, but hopefully I can get in a run outdoors between the the snow and sleet showers soon.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanzaa, Go Solstice!

I'm so happy I won't have to hear those GAP commercials for at least another year! I had a nice Christmas. It turned out to be a white one here in St. Louis. I plan to get in at least five miles by Saturday so I'm hoping it melts quickly! I'm excited about my new running gadgets. a Princeton Tec LED headlamp, and a Road ID bracelet. My gifts went over well, especially the tutus I made for my nieces. I originally looked into making a tutu because I was thinking about running in one for the half marathon in April. The jury is still out on that one. I would do it though!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Everyday Shoe: Brooks Ravenna

Let me start by describing my feet. They’re big (11.5 in women’s), they’re wide across the top, and narrow at the ankle, and my second toe is longer than my big toe (I think that’s a sign of being highly intelligent). For these reasons, my feet like the fit of men’s running shoes. When I started running about a year ago, I ran in a pair of running shoes already in my closet, a pair of Nike Air Pegasus. They were comfortable at first, but as I started running more often, and further, they felt too tight. The ends of my toes were rubbing the inside of the shoe. At the time, I didn't know that feet swell when you run, and in general it's best to run in a shoe at least a half size bigger. The genius that I am decided to purchase another pair of Air Pegasus, one size larger. They were ok at first, then I totally hated them. They fit well on my toes and my mid foot, but had way too much space around the ankle. Come to find out, Nike had since changed the design of the Air Pegasus to accommodate the Nike+ sensor in the sole. Instead of one continuous air cushion, they broke it into two. One in the toe box and one in the heel. I should have researched a little better before shelling out the dough for them! I had a pair of racing flats I purchased from Fleet Feet that I absolutely loved, so I visited there again to find an everyday shoe. After about an hour of trying on four or five pairs, running around the store, running on the in-store treadmill, I decided on a neutral shoe, the Brooks’ Ravenna. They were immediately comfortable. I did end up going a whole size and a half larger, but I try not to focus on how big they are! The toe box feels like it curls up a bit, which I like. It makes my foot feel springy. I read a few reviews where some people did not like this feature, and their toes even went numb! But overall, I read mostly great reviews. I've had these about six months, they are so friggin comfortable. I was trying to think of a way to describe the cushioning. The best I could come up with is they feel like walking on a firm cloud, if that makes any sense. Also very cool, the midsole is biodegradeable.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Girl's Gotta Run, Outdoors.

I was a bit defiant of my cold today and ran four miles outside today. It was 34 degrees when I stepped out of the apartment. The sun was shining, I couldn't resist. I needed an excuse to test out the arm warmers I won at the Hot Chocolate Race last month. These are Nike Pro short sleeve, so they are not as long as regular arm warmers. I've been thinking about them since last Saturday's chilly forearm run. Last Saturday, my layers were long tights, a short sleeve tech shirt, my Old Navy half-zip pullover and fleece vest. The only area I felt a chill was on my forearms. I've been wearing these Lucy wrist sweatbands, but they're actually a little too warm and make my wrists sweat. I've tried wearing a long sleeve tech shirt, but the inside of my elbows get sweaty. The arm warmers are perfect with a short sleeve shirt since they cover my forearms, and leave a gap for my elbows to breath. My forearms were happy this run! The only issue I had was after I got a little warm, I took them off. When I got chilly again, it was not easy getting them back in place under the pullover. So if I wear them, they stay on the entire time. My nose and throat feel alright now, hopefully I haven't slowed my recovery.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Winter Hibernation

When I woke up today, the temperature was one degree. 1!!!!!! I'm still getting over the sore throat and a runny nose I think I brought on from running in thirty degree weather on both Saturday and Sunday. I dressed in layers, and felt comfortable, but I think deep breathing in that cold air roughed up my throat. I tried to run two miles Tuesday morning, but still felt like crap, and it was freezing so I cut my run to one mile. Sooo, today I finally broke down and bought a gym membership. I prefer to run outside, but the way the weather has been acting, I'll just end up missing more runs. The weather is only going to get worse! The gym is in my work building. It's a nice facility, and the rates aren't bad at $30 a month. I ran for an hour today between 3.5 and 4.5 speeds. I definitely did not feel that I worked out as hard as if I had run outside, but it felt better than not running at all. I'm going to experiment with the incline and interval programs. Bonus, I can cancel my membership at anytime with no penalty. So as soon as the weather breaks, it's sayonara dreadmill!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Black Girls Run!

The cutest thing came in the mail today . . . MY BGR SWEATSHIRT! Black Girls Run! hosted a giveaway for thier readers to let them know how we shed our Thanksgiving Day calories. I entered my post about my three mile run with the fam. I discovered BGR! after Googling "black girl running" while trying to find articles or info for black women who enjoy running. Because as black women who run know, we are not the majority! It's a great blog with great info and stories. Let me tell you, I NEVER win contests. Drawings, bingo, lottery scratch offs, it doesn't matter, but I won! Thanks ladies! It was right on time for Chicago's first snow of the season (ugg).

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Wish List

There are a few cool running related things I have on my Christmas list this year. I haven't really asked Santa for anything in quite some time, but I've actually had a few people ask me what I want! What a nice change of pace. First up, the Road ID. I usually run with a fanny pack which has tissues, my cell phone, my giant ring of keys, and if I'm with my dog, poopy pick-up bags. To be safe, I need to run with some type of ID, but don't want to move my license back and forth from my wallet to my fanny pack, or take the time to get an extra state ID. I've seen ads for this thing on Runners, and read a few positive blog postings about it too. It comes in fun colors, I'm leaning towards pink. They also offer some nice looking, inexpensive safety gear. I'd like a couple of the Firefly clip on lights and the High-Viz Stickpak. Next, compression socks. I've read a few articles about how these can help with recovering after a run and improve circulation in the legs. I just think they look cozy. Plus, they're available in pink! Soon it's going to start snowing (everyday) here in Chicago. I like running after it has snowed (on cleared, salted paths) because it's typically a few degrees warmer outside. The only winter running issue I had last year was with my dog. He loves being outdoors no matter the temperature, but his paws can get irritated by the salt on the sidewalks and roads. After a little research, I discovered these babies! Aren't they cute??? And functional! They're specially made for 'canine athletes'. Too much. Lastly, I'm really pumped about the St. Louis Go! half marathon in April. Of course I have to coordinate a special outfit to race in. I want something really different. I came across this workout apparel website with some really unique stuff. A couple of my favorites are the Margarita ribbon capri and top, (both in pink) and the Margarita numbers capri. The ribbon capris and top are my favorite. I think the numbers capri would be a better if the numbers went up to 13 (.1), representing the miles in the race. Even still, it's a stretch. In case you were wondering, all of these websites offer giftcards. Just sayin'.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hot Chocolate Redemption

Truth be told, I was very upset that NOT ONE picture of me was taken at the Hot Chocolate race earlier this month. Turns out there was a video made recapping the race, which I make an appearance in. At the starting line, I come in at the 0:16 mark, right above 'Illinois'. You can see me checking my ipod in a gray top. Exciting stuff.

Hot Chocolate 15K from RAM Racing on Vimeo.

St. Louis Hill Work

Reality check. St. Louis is hilly. How could I forget that? I visited Forest Park for my last run while in town. I've walked the almost six mile trail around the park several times, so I was familiar with the route, having said that, I've never actually tried to run it. When I came upon the first hill, I said a little mantra I picked up from a random You Tube video, "I love hills!". By the time I hit the third hill, the mantra had worn off. I had to take a minute walking break after a few hills. They were very steep. I couldn't even imagine how bikers could take those hills! I started out heading southeast toward the highway, so the hills were mostly in the first half of my run. The last 3 miles were smooth sailing! Despite the inadvertent hill work, today was a great workout and great preperation for the St. Louis half marathon!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Run

Hooray for me, I didn't overeat this holiday! The weather is so nice here in St. Louis, I convinced some family members to get in a quick three mile run with me at a nearby track. What a gorgeous day! We also had some yummy post-workout asparagus and blue cheese salads, courtesy of my unparalleled salad making skills.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

St. Louis Marathon Clip

I had to post this cute video about the Go! St. Louis marathon (formerly the Spirit of St. Louis marathon)

Monday, November 16, 2009

2010 Race Season

I already have most of racing season 2010 planned out! There are some exciting new additions. First in the lineup, The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k. It takes place in March, on the first day of spring. This past March I believe it snowed, sounds like fun, right? It will definitely still be winter here in Chicago as far as the temperature goes. Next, the Go! St. Louis half marathon in April. This will be the furthest distance race I've done so far. I'm SLOWLY building up to the marathon . . . maybe in 2011. As of now, I've got a long break from April until July, when I'll be doing the Fleet Feet Women's 5k, 10k, and Festival. Last year I did the 5k, next year we're taking it up a notch and doing the 10k. On a side note, the upside to an all female race, the port-a-potties are impeccable. It also raised funds CATCH YOUR BREATH, A Women and Lung Health Initiative. In August, I'm venturing into the triathlon world and entering the Fleet Feet Sports Super Sprint Triathlon. I got a little obsessed with watching the Ironman coverage on NBC's Universal Sports channel. It's amazing. This race differs from the Ironman in that sprint tris are much shorter distances. There is a 375 meter (.25 mile) swim in Lake Michigan parallel to the beach, a 10 kilometer (6.2 mile) bike, and a 2.5 kilometer (1.55 mile) run. I think it sounds do-able. In September, I'm repeating the Chicago Lung Run 5k. This was my favorite this year. It is in support of lung cancer survivors and their families, and in memory of those who have lost their lives to lung cancer. I'm sure there will be more fun additions, especially between April and July, but I have a pretty packed schedule so far!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Beat the Cold!

I attended a cold weather running seminar hosted by Fleet Feet Sports Chicago last Sunday. The idea of attending a seminar seems pretty boring, but it wasn't half bad. Two buyers for the Chicago area stores spoke about layering, safety, and general winter running stuff. The one resounding theme was, cotton is the enemy! It’s all about wicking material. I learned this lesson early, but I guess not everyone knows this. Also, reflective material and bright colors are essentials of course, with fewer daylight hours. I'm trying to rationalize the purchase of these $38 Saucony 'Ulti-Mitts'. They're bright AND reflective!

Fleet Feet came up with a fun little chart to help with apparel choice decision making. Detailed right down to the skivvies . . .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nike+ Human Race Recap

I was really looking forward to this race, and it turned out well! This was the longest distance I've run, 10K. I finished in 1:11'09", in 6394th place : ) I wanted to finish in under an hour, but I was still happy with my time. I got poured on for about 3 kilometers of my run (My Old Navy zip mock pullover kept me dry, reviews to come!). I decided against running with the Chicago group leaving from Fleet Feet Sports and going it solo. Kind of regretting that, seeing as how I missed out on the t-shirt and all. From the looks of it they had a great (chilly) run.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

5K Victory! . . . Sort of

I finished the race! I ran my first 5K in 46:17 on April 19th. The women's race started at 9:00 am, the men at 9:50 am. I was very nervous when I arrived, but the whole environment was very positive. No snobby runners. I added myself to the Clydesdale (weight divisions) open category before the race. I started off great, slow, and not stopping for the first mile and a half, then I lost steam. I walked more that I thought I would. Then as I got closer, I heard the men's race being announced, starting in 5 minutes. I did not want their race to start before I finished! Then, I started RUNNING. I flew past the woman speedwalking in front of me, ensuring I was not the last woman finsher! Adrenline really works : ) I finished 3rd in my weight category, and actually got an reward! Talk about positive reinforcement. I'm signed up for three more 5Ks in 2009, woohoo!
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