10 Things I Learned During My Long Run

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Today was my last 20+ mile run for my Walt Disney World Marathon training.  It was a wet, muddy, and sloppy run due to the storms here in Memphis yesterday, but the temperature was in the fifties, so there was nothing to complain about there.  Today’s run marks the furthest distance that I have run yet, and remarkably, the run was not longest duration that I have run.  It feels good to notice progress, even if it is small.  But since this was my last 20 miler until race day, I thought it would be prudent to assess the good and the bad from the run to assist me at Disney.

This is my ultimate goal!

This is my ultimate goal!

  1. My wall definitely is between miles 16 and 18.  I know some people claim that the wall is at 20 miles, but for me, this is not the case.  Every run that I have reached this plateau has drastically changed during this mileage.  Now, I must combat it.
  2. When I hit the wall, I need to deviate from my “Barney Stinson All Rise” playlist.  Instead, it seems that some variation of 80’s power ballads, Seal (Kiss From a Rose specifically), Darius Rucker (Hootie!!!), and songs of similar stature.  These are songs that are not adrenaline boosters, but rather songs that you sing along with and put you in different place mentally, which is huge.

    All rise music

    All rise music

  3. 20 mile runs in my neighbor are BORING!  It wears on you as you plod along.  I cannot wait to be at Disney so there are spectators, cast members, and characters to cheer me along.  I think that I chose wisely by picking WDW Marathon to be my first.  There is going to be so much going on throughout the race.  Also, the adrenaline boost of actually running a race will be nice as well.
  4. Gatorade, or a similar drink are important on these longer distances.  I almost exclusively drink water on my runs, but today I tried some Gatorade and it was a life saver.  The electrolytes and change in taste palate was crucial to aiding my run.
  5. Running with a CamelBak now will pay dividends later.  I use a CamelBak for my longs runs so I have plenty of water throughout the run.  This adds some weight and adjusts my posture slightly.  Today, when I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade around mile 18, I dropped off my CamelBak at the house and felt better over my last few miles.
  6. Susan bought me some new shoes for the race and I after the added mileage today, I think that they will be ready for race day.  She opted for the Asics Nimbus, a shoe that I listed in my runner’s Christmas list a few weeks ago (I will explore what all I received from the list for Christmas and my birthday as well later this week).  She actually has a plan for what I should wear on race day, but more on that in the upcoming weeks.  I now have 35 miles on the shoes and will have a little over 50 on them by race day.  Actually, once I hit 50, I am putting them away until the marathon.

    Asics Gel Nimbus 15 - Susan opted for a black pair

    Asics Gel Nimbus 15 – Susan opted for a black pair

  7. The race is only three weeks away, and I cannot wait!  This time of year leads to a running funk, but as I was eclipsing mile 22, it began to sink in that the race is rapidly approaching.  These long runs are going to serve a purpose, and my mental state, which faltered today, will be perfect on race day.
  8. My Nike+ watch will not make it for the entire run if I do not charge it properly prior to the race.  Today I got the low battery warning, but I know that it was not fully charged.  I will do what I need to in three weeks to charge the watch.
  9. It is a good thing that I ran these miles today because I am now at my parents’ house, and my mom has quite a few Christmas treats to enjoy.  She has some chocolate oatmeal no bake cookies, a homemade pecan pie, and her famous German cheesecake!  The 4,000 plus calories that I burned today will be consumed before bed tonight!
  10. These little lessons that I learn during the runs are just as important as the building of mileage.  Knowledge of how your body will react and just what it feels like to run 20+ miles.  Prepping for all facets of the run will strengthen the run.

It is hard to believe that race day is only three weeks away!  In fact, exactly in three weeks from right now, Susan and I will be enjoying a steak in Canada at Epcot.  That sounds like a great post marathon meal to me!

I will be here on 1.12.14

I will be here on 1.12.14

To all my fellow Disney runners, I hope this last week of long runs went well for you and you are prepped for the big day.

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4 Bridges Half Marathon Recap & PR

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Finish

Finish

I ran in the 4 Bridges Half Marathon in Chattanooga over the weekend.  This was the first time that I have run in this event and since the weekend coincided with my anniversary, we incorporated the race weekend into our anniversary trip as well.  This was the first time I had been to Chattanooga for more than a night since I was a young child, so I honestly did not remember much about the city.  After spending an extended weekend there, I can see why my sister-in-law loves the city so much.  Chattanooga is very scenic, with the Tennessee River running through the middle of it and surrounded by mountains.  There is a great mix of modern and retro architecture, and actually a growing culinary scene much like the ones in Memphis and Nashville.  When I go out-of-town, I try to eat at local places, and this weekend netted a few amazing options.  After packet pickup and expo, which was held in one of the several parks in town, we went to a hot dog place called Good Dog.  It was excellent, even if it isn’t the healthiest of meals.  I went with the BLT Dog, which is exactly what it sounds like.  After lunch, we checked into our hotel for the weekend, the Mayor’s Mansion, a fantastic bed and breakfast that was built-in 1883 and is just off of the UTC campus.  It was definitely a better place to stay than the Holiday Inn.  There was quite a bit of character throughout the building, and the service was top-notch.  Originally, we booked the Cumberland Suite, but my mother-in-law upgraded us to the Laurel Falls Suite.  Honestly, from the pictures, I was not crazy about the new room, but the pictures did not do the room justice.  Yes, these curtains and wallpaper on the ceiling are weird, but it did kind of work.  And the bathroom was as large as the rest of the room, including a gigantic tub that was great to soak in after the race.

Laurel Falls Honeymoon Suite

Laurel Falls Honeymoon Suite

Sadly, I did not pack well for this race since the weather I was expecting turned out to be ten degrees cooler than I anticipated.  Also, I was mistaken on the time for the start of the race.  I do not know why, but I thought the race started at 8:00 am, but it was actually 7:00 am.  I guess that I saw the start time, and automatically assumed that it was in central standard time.  Of course, the 7:00 am start meant that the race was beginning in the dark.  But, since the temperature was expected to be 40, and I would be starting before the sunrise, I needed to find something to keep me warm.  Sadly, this realization came to me rather late on Saturday night, so a trip to Wal-Mart was my only option.  This impromptu trip netted me some hand warmers, body warmers, and a Ninja Turtle winter hat, because when you come across a TMNT hat with a built-in mask, you buy it.  The hat actually was warm, and the hand warmers certainly served their purpose, but the body warmers were worthless.  After an hour of waiting for them to finally heat up, I just discarded them.

1 hour before the race w/ my TMNT hat

1 hour before the race w/ my TMNT hat

There were no staggered corral starts for this race, but rather signs and pacers posted with expected finish times for people to line up according to.  There were 1,200 registered runners for the half marathon, and probably close to the same in the marathon.  The 5K runners started after all of the half and full marathoners left.  I love how the concept for this race is to incorporate the several bridges in Chattanooga.  As the name suggests, there were four in the half marathon.  Within the first half mile, we were already running across one and since it was still dark, there was a great view of the downtown lit up.  Both races followed the same course for the first ten miles before the marathoners split away.  The race started in Renaissance Park and ended in Coolidge Park, which I honestly thought was the same park.  By the time we reached mile three, the racers were separating and hitting their desired pace.  The course went by the minor league baseball stadium, Tennessee Aquarium, UTC, and several other local landmarks.  The city is beautiful, but has a significant graffiti problem.  Everywhere we went the entire weekend, there was something tagged.  The race course was no different.

Heading to the finish

Heading to the finish

I did not look at my Nike+ watch until mile three, and I was plugging along at a very steady pace.  The cooler weather was definitely helping me maintain a steady pace.  The second bridge came at mile five, and it was here that I started to think that I might have a shot at eclipsing my PR.  I was running ahead of my expected pace and feeling great.  This and a turn downhill led to my fastest mile of the entire race.  Mile 6 was ran mostly on a running trail through a park, with a part of the course ran across the grass.  After exiting the park, it was time for more streets and another bridge.  Miles 7 and 8 were a steady incline, that I was able to maintain my pace on, including a negative split on mile 8.  Mile 9 was the longest straight shot of the course, and as the two races separated, we looped back on another running trail along the Tennessee River.  This lasted until the mountain that was mile 12.  I actually had an average pace under ten minutes after nine miles, but I gave away a good chunk of that time in mile 12.  The last mile took us racers across the pedestrian bridge into Coolidge Park.  That bridge was very cool and enabled us to have a little bit of a downhill jaunt to the finish line.

I finished the race in 2:11:09 according to my Nike+ watch, which was a PR by 5:17!  Of course, this was not an official time, so I was very eager to see what my official time would be.  After waiting in a ridiculously long line for my time, I noticed that my time read gun time and was over a minute slower than my Nike+ watch.  I was curious about this, but thought that it would be sorted out once times because official.  It was then that I noticed that I had a chip malfunction.  My chip time was 0:00:00, which was a little off.  This was quite a bummer!  I ran a great race, and now I am saddled with a gun time rather than a chip time.  But at least the gun time was still a significant PR at 2:12:16.  I know how well that I ran this race, and it was a PR, on a very hilly course, so that is definitely a positive!  Plus, even the gun time should be good enough to bump me up a corral at the WDW Marathon in January if the corrals are similar to what they were last year.

Course: A: The multiple parks, four bridges, several landmarks, and mix of grass, road, running trails, and stairs, yes, there were a few stair towards the end, made for a very interesting course.  The course was very hilly, as was to be expected, and did a great job of showing off the city.

4 Bridges Swag

4 Bridges Swag

Swag: A: There was  some great swag in this race.  I got a good-looking tech shirt, panoramic poster of Chattanooga, and a good medal, even if last year’s medal was even better.  Also, at the end of the race, reusable water bottles were distributed instead of disposable plastic bottles, which was an awesome touch.  Food at the end of the race was in a prepackaged box and there was also a table of fruit for runners as well.

4 Bridges Medal

4 Bridges Medal

Overall: A-: Great swag and neat course, but there was some organization and communication issues with this event, which were the only blemishes that I noticed.  I emailed the race director on Monday and as of Thursday night, I have not heard back from him.  There were several friendly volunteers, plenty of aid stations, and a great vibe.  Plus, I did PR, so that is always a good thing.

I am not sure want the protocol is, but I am claiming my Nike+ time as my PR time for a couple of reasons.  One, I started in the ten minute pace group, so I certainly did not cross the start line as soon as the race opened.  Two, it gives me more of a goal to strive towards in future runs and PR attempts.

I will post more about our trip on a later date.  I have a midterm to study for and paper to start.

Weekly Recap

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This was my view for most of the week

This was my view for most of the week

It has been a busy and expensive week (in a good way) for me this week.  This week was a down week for the Galloway WDW Marathon training plan which also serves as a brief taper period for the 4 Bridges Half Marathon.

Monday: This was a rest and recovery day after my fifteen miler.  I left work early so I could meet the driver from my buddy Zach’s dealership at my house because I purchased a new vehicle!  I did not really need a new vehicle, but I decided to upgrade to the 2014 GMC Sierra SLT.  It is an awesome truck with all the bells and whistles.  It is bigger than my old truck, so there is a little bit of an adjustment period to driving it, but taking it to and from the beach was good practice.

My new truck

My new truck

Tuesday: No run since I opted for an extra hour and a half of sleep.  I went to work, then class, and then I loaded up the new truck and headed to the beach to meet Susan and friends.  Seacrest, FL is eight hours from Memphis, so this was quite an endurance test.  I would like to thank the makers of Perky Jerky, Monster Energy, Diet Mountain Dew, and Snickers for helping fuel my midnight ride to the beach.  I am happy to say that I made the trip without an incident and really was not too tired to enjoy my mini vacation.

I reached Nike+ blue level while on vacation

I reached Nike+ blue level while on vacation

Wednesday: After a quick three hour nap, I woke up to enjoy the day.  I first went for a four mile run along the bike path parallel to Highway 30A.  It was a strong run with great scenery.  It was even better than the Greenline here in Memphis simply because the scenery was even better.  The rest of the day was spent at the beach and dinner consisted of some peel and eat shrimp and fried crab claws at a local eatery.

Thursday: I started the day with a mile long beach run followed by a quick circuit of incline pushups, crunches, bicycles, jumping jacks, side crunches, and normal pushups.  I followed that with a key lime doughnut from the Donut Hut, which was good, but would be trumped later in the week.  Afterwards, I discovered that Samuel Adams Octoberfest is an excellent beach beer and tried the local Grayton Beer IPA, which was excellent.  Dinner was at The Back Porch, which has great food, but next time I will order a blackened sandwich instead of the Angry Amberjack Sandwich.

Studying on the beach

Studying on the beach

Friday: I started the day with another four mile run down 30A, this time in the opposite direction as my Wednesday run.  I followed with more beer on the beach, as well as some grad school studying.  I very well might be the first person ever to read the textbook Mission Mystique on the beach!  Dinner was my first experience at The Red Bar, which was by far the best meal of the week.  I had their famous crab cakes and was not disappointed!  We opted for dessert, and it was the right choice.  Susan had bread pudding and I had the key lime pie, which rivaled any that I have ever eaten.

Everything at The Red Bar was great, but this was the bread pudding

Everything at The Red Bar was great, but this was the bread pudding

Saturday: Sadly, we had to return to Memphis.  Before we left, we ate at The Donut Hole, which is very well known in the Destin area and if you get there late, you will wait for a very long time.  We thankfully beat the rush there and were seated almost immediately.  I went with the “Diet” Plate, which is biscuits, sausage, eggs, and hash browns, covered with cheddar cheese and country gravy.  Amazing, even if it is not healthy.  We also order some doughnuts to go for later in the day.  We went with the key lime, chocolate chocolate, blueberry cake, and plain glazed doughnuts.  They were all amazing, and the key lime doughnut here was even better than the Donut Hut.  The biggest positive to returning to Memphis was that we were able to see our dog again!  Maybe next time we will take him with us.

Sunday: My weekly “long” run was actually just another four miler.  It was my only run of the week that did not have the ocean in the background, but I did not let this get me down too much.  It was another solid afternoon.  After my run, I decided to wash my truck since the drive accumulated quite a bit of dirt and grime.  This may have been more of a workout than my run!  But, the truck looks almost as good as it did on Monday when it was delivered.

If we could have prolonged our vacation another day and a half, I would have tried my best to run a half marathon on 30A.  Maybe I should have done some research before getting down there, because the Blue Mountain Half Marathon was Sunday morning and would be a great addition to my running resume.  Oh well, I could not justify the extra expense of two more days at the beach and an extra half marathon to my schedule.

Now, it is almost time for SNF between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, and The Walking Dead returns tonight as well!

Tupelo 14.2 Recap

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Yesterday I ran my third ever half marathon!  Well, actually, it was a touch longer than a half marathon, but I am still going to count the race in that category regardless.  The event was the Tupelo Marathon and 14.2 Miler that is held annually on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, which happens to coincide with some races with a little more notoriety, namely the Disneyland Half Marathon and the Rock ‘N Roll Virgina Beach Half Marathon.  While there were thousands of people competing at these events, I was in a small town in Mississippi with 676 other racers, battling the heat and humidity in a race that you probably have not heard about.

Race logo taken from my bib

Race logo taken from my bib

When I discovered this race, I knew that I wanted to run it for several reasons.  One, Tupelo is only an hour and a half from Memphis, so travel was a piece of cake.  Two, after getting hurt, I needed a redemption race to fill the void of missing the Germantown Half Marathon.  Three, where else could I run a race of 14.2 miles?  FYI, the distance of 14.2 miles is not just an arbitrary number to be different, but a necessity in the area that the race is run.  The full marathon is an out and back course, but where the race halfway point occurs is in the middle of a country street, nowhere near a suitable finish line.  The start/finish line for the event happens to be another 1.1 miles away, so that is tacked onto the race.  And since this is the only race of 14.2 that I have found or competed in, just finishing the race netted me a PR!

Susan and I drove up on Saturday afternoon because we both agreed it would be foolish for me to make the drive in the morning prior to the event.  Besides some construction on Highway 78 in New Albany, MS, the drive was quite pleasant.  Susan swears that as we got into Tupelo that she saw a goat in a dog kennel on the back of a car, but I could not confirm it.  Once in Tupelo, we went straight to packet pickup at a place I assumed was an ATV dealership by its name, but it turned out to be a running store.  The place was packed, but the race packet process was quite organized.  I was in and out of the place in under two minutes.  If the place was not so packed, I may have poked around the store a little bit, maybe even inquiring about a 14.2 sticker, but it I instead just headed back to the car.  We checked into our hotel, the Best Western Plus, which was one of the two race hotels and we were pleasantly surprised by how nice and updated the place was.  I have stayed in much worse hotels in bigger cities for a higher price with no HD TV.  The hotel was even running a shuttle to and from the race the following morning and hosting a breakfast for the runners at 3:30 am, both of which were much appreciated.  Our room was little noisy due to a combination of the road sounding like a drag strip all night and some random clicking from the bathroom that sounded like a mechanical cricket.

The shuttle process, sadly, did cause some of the racers some panic.  The driver was given bad directions and the shuttle that was slated to run every fifteen minutes was running every thirty minutes!  We finally got to the race location at 4:40 am, and of course I had to visit the head.  I stood in line for a port-a-potty for twelve minutes, but was able to take care of business and get to the starting line about a block away with a couple of minutes to spare.

There is a substantial drawback to the race and that is the weather.  Mississippi on Labor Day weekend is not known for being very temperate.  And this year was no different.  The race starts at 5:00 am to miss some of the heat, but the temperature was 76 degrees yesterday morning and hit 80 degrees before I crossed the finish line.  Couple that with 87% humidity and a dew point north of 71 degrees, and you have a challenging race.  Also, there was absolutely zero breeze all morning, so we were running in thick, moist, stagnant air.

When the race starts, it is still dark outside, and it stays that way for about another hour.  Several runners had on headlamps and glow sticks.  I did not, but I was able to follow the masses without any major incident.  It reminded me of back home when we were running down these country roads and I could smell freshly cut hay and hear cattle moving about.  Each mile was marked with a sign and a glow stick, and since it was dark, I did not even bother looking at my Nike+ watch, which is a bad habit that I have.  It was mile seven (for me) before I noticed the sun over the horizon.

Finish line

Finish line

I was able to maintain my speed well early in the race, and I had negative splits at miles seven, nine, and eleven, with miles four and five being virtually identical.  I think that is no coincidence that these miles coincided with the water stations.  Sadly, the last water station, at mile thirteen, did not possess the same luck for me.  I almost skipped the water there, but I knew that it was hot and decided at the last second to grab some.  A quarter of a mile later, I thought I was dying.  I felt that I was going to puke and had to walk for a second to compose myself.  My last mile was my slowest of the race by a considerable margin and once I finished, I could not understand what happened.  My legs felt good, I was running comfortably, but once I entered uncharted territory, my body immediately freaked out.  But I did finish, and I am still here to talk about it, so those are two victories in my book.  Also, I did PR since this was my first, and thus, fastest race of 14.2 miles!  The race did not have starting mats, so my gun time was 2:35:42 while my Nike+ time was 2:35:04.  Susan was at the finish line, and despite the fact there were not many spectators there, I did not see her.  I was focused on finishing and getting my medal.

Awesome finisher's medal

Awesome finisher’s medal

Medal: A+:  This is probably my favorite race medal that I have gotten thus far in my running career.  It was modeled after the iconic Boston Marathon medals, with the marathon medals being the Boston colors of blue and yellow.  The 14.2 medal was pink and white.  I meant to take a picture of the full marathon medal so I could put it side by side with a Boston medal, but from looking at my 14.2 medal, you will get the idea.  The medal is also the largest one that I have ever received.  The last couple of years, the 14.2 medal was just a portion of the full marathon medal, but I am thankful that this was not the case this year.

Back of the medal

Back of the medal

Swag: D: I usually include the medal in here, but I wanted to make it clear how much I loved my medal, and really got little else of value.  The website advertised “Long sleeve tie-dyed shirts, award-winning medals, and secret stuff we only share with our entrants.”  The shirt logo is great, but is tie-dyed in such a manner that it looks like there are reverse elbow pads on the sleeves.  I will still where it much more than a plain white race tee, that is for sure.  However, the “secret stuff” was so secret that I never saw it.  I just got some materials from the Tupelo Chamber of Commerce, all of which features Elvis since he was born in Tupelo, and an ad for another local race.  That was it.  Post race, there was plenty of water, powerade, and coke products, along with oranges, bananas, and cookies.  As I was getting on the shuttle, which was about three and a half hours after the race start, they were putting out some more food, but I have no clue what it was.

Race swag

Race swag

Course: B-: It was all country roads and the rolling hills were a little steeper than advertised.  The highest point was advertised as 351 feet, but that was about 100 shy of the truth. The course was open to traffic, and this only became an issue after 7:00 am.  In fact, after the race, a fellow racer told me that I should have been running on the other side of the road because I was holding up traffic, even when there was only one car on the road.  Maybe I was in the wrong, but I was on the shoulder, following the crowd in front of me, and running in the same lane as the majority of participants had for the race up to that point.  I need to learn the rules on this so I know I am doing what is proper and safe.

Overall: B: The race relies heavily on having great medals, low numbers, and a unique course.  I am not opposed to running this race again, but hopefully not next year since my goal is to complete the Coast to Coast Disney Challenge next year during this weekend.  But 2015 is a strong possibility.

Accomplished!

Accomplished!

I did take away a couple more learning moments from this race.  First, this race was good practice for the early start at Disney in January.  I now know a little bit more about what I need to do the night before the race.  Second, I need a new place to hang my bibs during a race.  The race claimed my Batman Under Armour shirt as a casualty.  One of the safety pins ripped a small hole in the shirt.  And third, when I go out-of-town for a race, I need to wear race gear, lots of race gear.  I was the only participant not sporting gear from previous events or runs on Saturday.  Come October in Chattanooga, I need to step my game up!  Maybe my Tupelo shirt will make the trip.

Now I see why Batman goes through so many bat suits!

Now I see why Batman goes through so many bat suits!

Also, I love the race slogan “Trample the weak, hurdle the dead.”  That slogan with the medals, shirts, skull and crossbones, and the tie-dye makes for a great race vibe.

Early Lock Laces Review

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After having a couple of shoe lace issues during my last race, Zoom Through the Zoo, I decided that I needed to hurry up and try out Lock Laces.  Lock Laces is a race sponsor and has a generous race promo for free shipping with 20% of the sale being donated to St. Jude.  They also donated ten pairs of Lock Laces to be raffled off to race participants.  I had been delaying purchasing some laces of my own since I am going on vacation soon and didn’t want to spend the extra money (they are only $8, but I can be a tad frugal at times), but with my shoes coming untied twice during the event, I could wait no longer.

Sponsor #10

Sponsor #10

I ordered three pairs of Lock Laces for my current group of shoes, but I have only added them to one pair of my running shoes.  We shall consider this a controlled group experiment.  I added the laces to my newest running shoes, the Saucony Grid Cohesion 6’s that I was wearing when I ran my latest race.  I chose black for these shoes since that is the color of laces already on the Saucony’s and I only ordered one pair of lime green ones (for my Nike+ Lunarglides).

Packaging for Lock Laces

Packaging for Lock Laces

I do believe that this is the old packaging for Lock Laces, but I didn’t grab a pair from my race stash with the updated packaging.  The new packaging says “Win. Never tie.” across the front, which is a great slogan for their company.

Installation for these is quite simple.  The website gives three steps for installation, but I decided to simplify it even further here.  The following are the steps needed for installation:

  1. Remove your previous laces (obviously)
  2. Lace the Lock Laces cord through eyes of your shoe like normal laces
  3. Put your shoes on your feet
  4. Squeeze the lock and thread the cords through it
  5. Pull the cords tight
  6. Cut off the excess cord at 2-3 inches above your shoe
  7. Insert the cord tips into the clip and close

Installation was quite simple and as long as you know how to lace shoes, you can add Lock Laces to your shoes.

Lock Laces vs standard laces

Lock Laces vs standard laces

Honestly, the aesthetics of Lock Laces take a minute to get used to, simply because they look different to the laces that we are accustomed to.  The clip seemingly floating above your shoe is odd the first time you look down, but after that, it is barely noticeable.  But do they work?  So far, my answer is yes.  My first run with them last Saturday was a four miler and I did not have a single issue with my shoes sliding off of my foot or becoming loose.  I have run in them two other times this week for a total of seven miles, with zero incident.   Also, it is very easy to put your shoes on and off with Lock Laces.  Just loosen the lock and slide the shoe on and off your foot then tighten.  It is that simple.  I know it is still early in the process of using Lock Laces, but my shoes have stayed tight, have been comfortable, and fit my shoes perfectly.  And for a person like me who ties their shoes too tight often, they probably provide a positive health benefit to my feet as well.  I will do a follow-up post in a few months, I’m sure, but as of today, I think that these laces are a must for runners.  Also, with the lack of laces flopping around everywhere and the ease of putting on the shoe, Lock Laces would be perfect for triathletes since the shoe goes on easily and you have no excess of laces to get caught while cycling.

The Great Shoe Search 2013

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Yesterday was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC and one of Susan’s bridesmaids (actually, one of only three people that knew Susan and I separately prior to our relationship) ran it as her first half marathon.  She has been training for several months, and once the big day came, she was very excited and wanted to soak in the entire experience (as well she should have).  Well, Nike never half asses an event (a lot like Disney in this respect) and they never let an opportunity to make a dollar elapse either (again, like Disney).  So, of course, a women’s specific Nike event means that there will be a limited edition shoe, and in this case, that means a Tiffany blue pair of Nike Free 5.0+.  These shoes are the thing to get at these events (apparently) and our friend was lucky enough to buy a pair.  Of course once Susan saw these, she really wanted a pair as well.  But after coming to the realization that the only two ways to score a pair of these shoes was run in a Nike Women’s Half Marathon event or pay an exorbitant amount via eBay (like the runDisney New Balances), Susan moved on to wanting to buy a new pair of shoes period.

Tiffany blue Nike w/ We Run DC 4.28.13 on the tongue

Tiffany blue Nike w/ We Run DC 4.28.13 on the tongue

Our first stop was to the Sports Authority by the house.  The rationale was that Susan’s best friend had been there the week prior and saw a pair of shoes that Susan really liked.  Of course, when we got there, the shoe in question was not in stock in Susan’s size.  So we looked at some other options and Susan finally decided on a pair of Nike Free 5.0.  She had no plans in running in them, but she liked the way that they looked and thought they were comfortable.  Or at least initially they were comfortable.  Within the first 30 minutes of wearing the shoes, the sides of her feet were going numb.  Not good, so I returned the shoes and took Susan to the local Fleet Feet to have a foot assessment done.  The first thing Susan saw at the store was a sign that read “Do not buy running shoes by how they look.”  Great, Susan has already got a reason to be resistant to what the employees are going to advise her of today.  And after the initial assessment, they bring Susan three horribly ugly pairs of shoes that even if they were free, she would not wear.  And the lady even told Susan that the look was not the most important part.  That was not the greatest of sales strategies for someone not looking for a pair of shoes to run a marathon in.  But, at least we now know to be looking for a neutral shoe and the proper size as well.

Our next stop was Dick’s Sporting Goods, and they had a better section than the Sports Authority and their shoes were clearing marked with a color-coded system to separated neutral, stability, and minimalist shoes.  It was quite helpful.  The only problem was that they did not have any neutral shoes in Susan’s size.  OR that is at least what we were told.  The sales associate was a high school aged kid wearing basketball shorts and a t-shirt that kept disappearing.  We are now 0 – 3.  We decide to go to the Dick’s Sporting Goods at Wolfchase in an attempt to exhaust all options, and it was a great thing that we did.  They had a different selection of shoes that the previous store, as well as a sales associate that was determined to find Susan a pair of shoes.  Susan had multiple pairs of shoes to decide upon here and settled on a pair of Saucony ProGrid Ride 5’s.  She wore them last night without an issue, and is trying them out at work today.  Hopefully she made the right choice.

Susan's New Shoes

Susan’s New Shoes

During all of this shoe shopping, I also decided to purchase a new pair of shoes.  My current pair of shoes are too small, especially for running (completely my fault for not researching) so when I came across a pair of Saucony Grid Cohesion 5’s very cheap, I decided that go ahead and buy them.  Even if I don’t like them as well as the Saucony Triumph 10’s I wore the other night, for the price I bought them, I will get my money’s worth out of them for sure.  Of course, I nearly made a similar sizing mistake to my last shoe purchase.  I ended up going to two stores and made one return to finally land the correct pair of shoes.  And after getting injured, I am dedicated to doing whatever is necessary to avoid the avoidable injuries.

My New Shoes

My New Shoes

We also both bought some new socks, because you can always use more socks, especially when you are a runner.  I also bough a sensor pocket for my Nike iPod sensor so I can use it with my new shoes when needed.  With all of the purchases, coupons, returns, and such, I ended up qualifying for a couple of promotions (that I really shouldn’t have with the returns) that saved us about $20 on the purchases!

After skipping it last week, I will for sure have a Motivational Monday post sometime today.

New Shoes

Standard

So I finally went on my first run in my new running shoes last night!  I opted to go for a shoe with a little more support than my Nike+ Zoom Vomero 7’s, so I chose the Nike+ Lunarglide 4.  I’ve had them for a few days , but since they are brand new, I didn’t want to have my first run with them on my long run or for a race.  I bought the shoes online without trying them on at a store prior to ordering, so there is always a chance that they will not fit right, but I never really know how good a shoe is until I run in them a couple of times.  The color I chose was electric green, which turned out to be even brighter than I expected, but I am certainly OK with that.  I wanted something that would stand out in the early morning and late evening runs, as well as a pair that I wouldn’t be mistaken for my everyday shoes.

Very bright

Very bright

My Tuesday run was four miles and was right on par with my training over the past few weeks.  I ended up running at a 9:41 pace, but more importantly, I didn’t have any blisters from the new shoes.  I started really slowly with a 10:54 pace through my first half a mile but as I got used to the feel of the shoes, my time improved.  The new shoes were noticeably tighter than my current shoes, but in no way were they uncomfortable nor too small.  They just fit differently than what I have worn over the past several months.  The shoes were very light and I noticed the extra support in the heels from the moment I took my first step.  I am interested to see how my next few training runs with these shoes go, but I will probably wait until after the Germantown Half to wear them on a long run.  There still is plenty of life in my Vomeros and this will afford me the opportunity to actually break in the new shoes properly.