Sunday, July 29, 2012

Victories and shopping sprees

OMG you guys... does anyone else have Olympic fever like I do?! I don't know how I am going to concentrate at work this week, all I want to do is watch these amazing athletes! I have always admired how hard these folks work and how amazing their athletic abilities are, but I appreciate their talent even more now that I understand what it takes to train for an event. Granted, my first half-marathon and someone's Olympic dreams are nowhere near on the same level but that's what makes me appreciate these elite athletes all the more.
My new Olympic-themed running shirt!
Speaking of my half, training is going well! This weekend we did 8 "easy" miles, followed by the group's annual pancake breakfast. Let me tell you, knowing there are piping hot pancakes waiting for you at the finish is an excellent motivator! Maybe I need to have someone with pancakes waiting at the end of my half. My long runs have been alternating between 8-10 miles lately and will stay like that for most of the summer until we get closer to go-time. I can't believe I am already running 10 miles and all I need to tack on to that is an extra 5K distance to reach my goal of 13.1. I am finding my biggest challenges to be hills (of which there are plenty around here) and the heat/humidity. I'm told that all of this heat training will make my November race all the better, I sure hope so!

My NSV USATF shirt!
I have been fortunate to have experienced some non-scale victories lately. One occurred just yesterday after my long run, when I was browsing around the running store that was sponsoring our run. I saw an Olympic-themed USA Track & Field tech shirt hanging on the wall and made a beeline for it. After browsing through the sizes and seeing that the largest size was a Large, my face fell. The shirt was women's cut and made by Nike, whose shirts notoriously do not fit me well. I tentatively took the Large shirt down from its perch and peered at it skeptically. I held it up in front of me while staring in to the mirror. It looked like it might fit... kinda. I wanted it bad enough that I decided to just get it and hope for the best.

Once I got home, the first thing I did was try the shirt on... and it fit! In fact, it fit perfectly! Not only was this a NSV, it was a lesson yet again that things are not always as they seem. See, in my head I sometimes still see myself as I looked 60+ pounds ago. It is always a shock and a surprise when I learn that I am physically smaller than I thought. This is a really weird feeling because it makes me wonder what else about myself (and the world) I am viewing incorrectly.

"These are more than just running shoes."
Another running-related purchase I've made recently was in the form of shoes. Granted, I did not need them as I have backups of my current running shoe. But I had seen these everywhere and I wanted to try them out, if only to get them off my mind. I found them at my local Dick's Sporting Goods store and was able to put them on my feet for the first time. I'm pretty sure my first words were "It feels like walking on marshmallows!!" I felt like a dork running around the in-store "track" and wasn't sure if the shoes were in fact "right" for my foot, and decided to check with my local running store.

Unfortunately when I walked in the door of my (usually-amazing) running store, I was paired with an older gentleman who must have been a new employee. He didn't know the answer to any of my questions and didn't go through the routine I'm accustomed to when being fitted for a shoe. I had to finally put an end to our rapport when instead of selling me what I was asking for, he started showing me shoes I was not even interested in. I walked out no more knowledgeable than when I walked in and decided to just order the shoes and form my own opinion.

I had done a lot of research online and everything I read said I would love the shoes. They had stability, which I was told would be good for me when I bought my current shoes a year ago (but prior to running with any regularity). They were a minimalist shoe... which is not something I necessarily wanted but surely I was curious. As a result, they were also significantly lighter than my current shoe and had more cushioning. The kicker for me though, was the fact that the shoes were neon-freakin-pink. I know, you shouldn't pick shoes by the color. Stop making stability shoes in boring white and I will! Plus, I get excited every time I get to wear these gorgeous shoes so it's instant running motivation! I have been breaking these bad-boys in one day a week on a short, easy run. They are comfortable as all get-out and I can definitely feel my calves and glutes working harder than they do with my other shoes. They wont be replacing my Adrenaline 11's, they are just something different to add to the mix.

Brooks PureCadence
Another NSV of late has come from my Polar FT7 heart rate monitor. I wear it every single time I workout and I have learned so much about my training by using it! It helps me to know when I am working too hard or not hard enough, and lately it has helped me to see some progress in my health that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. See, when I first started running my heart rate was in the 180 range for the majority of my runs. I was definitely over-exerting myself and sometimes my HR would go even higher when I really pushed it.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been noticing that I've been burning fewer calories doing the same activities. After more scrutiny I noticed that even when I am running at what feels like an extremely fast and difficult pace, my heart rate stays below 170. I'm not going to lie, at first I thought the battery in my HRM was dying. It's funny how doubtful I can sometimes be about my abilities. In actuality what has happened is that my conditioning has improved a great deal! My heart and body have become stronger and therefore more accustomed to my current level of activity. I continue to be amazed what the human body is capable of doing!

I've got more goodies to reveal to you guys but it will have to wait for another day. I need to give full attention to my DVR because it's time for women's gymnastics!! Have a great week everybody!


  1. Congrats on your NSV's.

    It's amazing to see what the human body & mind can do and the Olympics is a perfect example of that.

  2. I try only to run in lite shoes.. i gave up comfort a year ago. I put all my importance into lightness and flashiness :)

  3. I also an contemplating the Pure Cadences and I agree that stability shoes should not be so freaking boring.

    BTW, I nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award over on my little blog!