Jan 29

Airia One Running Shoe Review

IMG_2797-1.PNGA while back, after the Indiana Veterans Marathon, I was contacted by Airia Running wondering if I was interested in trying out their running shoes. Of course I jumped at the opportunity, but as you know, I had some over-use issues that prevented me from running on a regular basis. I was trying to maintain some kind of fitness level and at the same time heal from injury. That’s not the best time to try new shoes.

Finally, this past weekend, I was able to test them out. After my 12 mile run, I slipped them on and ran a mile, slowly trying to get a feel for them.

Before I tell you what I thought of the shoes, I’ll give you a little background on what they claim on their website. The company is based out of Sweden and claim to have created shoes that will make you run faster. In short, the shoes force you to run “the way we were meant to run”, which I will get into later in this post. As  a point of interest, these shoes took 12 years to perfect!

When I first got the shoes and opened the box, i thought, man, are these things going to get dirty fast. I suppose they will go with everything, but the bright white won’t last for long especially if your running through Pittsburgh’s raining seasons, which I do. So, if you’re fanatical about keeping your shoes clean looking, this may be one downside. I was also thrown off by the way the toe box angles up, but when you run, this isn’t really that noticeable.

One of my favorite things about these shoes is how darn light they are. I typically train in Brooks Adrenalins (stability shoes) and they are heavy, even by normal running shoe standards. These are even lighter, or feel lighter, than my Brooks Pure Flow racers.  I consider that a bonus.

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When I first put them on, they felt too big. I tried to walk around in them despite the fact that the website very clearly states – THESE SHOES ARE NOT FOR WALKING IN. Clearly, because they feel very awkward to walk in. Amazing, when you start running, they don’t feel awkward anymore – they feel kinda normal. They didn’t feel big when I started running either.

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I didn’t run that far in them, but enough to notice a difference in my running mechanics. The biggest thing I noticed was a fatigue in my calves. They do claim to change the way your body works while running and may cause muscle soreness in unusual places until you get accustomed to them. As a matter of fact, they recommend running several shorter runs before attempting anything as long as even a 10K. They also DO make you run the way you’re supposed to run. Strike on the ball of the foot and roll off the big toe.

I liked these shoes when I ran in them a little more then I originally thought I would. But like most runners, have a “fear” of trying new shoes and messing with my stride. I’m having a hard time figuring out when I’m going to give these shoes a real chance. I’m in the middle of training and trying to adjust to new running mechanics sounds a little scary. But when the marathon is over, I may give these a serious chance. If they really can make me run faster, why not.

The shoes retail for $190, so slightly higher than your run of the mill running shoes, but not a ridiculous price. If you want to research and read more about these, visit the website Aria Running.

Looks like more snow is in the forecast this weekend runners. I better get those Yaktrax ordered!

Jan 26

Monday Motivation

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Jan 25

Marathon Training Update/Lesson – hang in there when it gets tough!

It’s been a while since I’ve written. You want to know why? I’ve been sulking. The start of training wasn’t what I expected or was mentally prepared for. To be a little more clear, or I guess honest, it’s sucked. I lost some fitness, gained a few pounds and just felt completely out of shape. My runs have been slow and I feel like I’ve had so much pressure on myself to perform at the level I left off at in October. Between giving my body a little break and coaxing my knee back to 100%, I just didn’t run all that much through November and December. My performance right now is expected.

When marathon training starts, it can be hard to get back into a regular running routine. The early morning runs before work, dragging yourself out of bed before the sun comes up on the weekends can be just downright cruel. However, we you feel lousy every run, it becomes twice as hard to motivate yourself to get it done. The most important lesson I’ve learned over the past couple years:

Running has many ups and downs – remain persistent and it will pay off. 

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I’m not going to say that a miracle happened, I’m not running 8:00 minute miles all of a sudden, but I FEEL better. I was under pressure to run a marathon pace run Saturday morning and I decided to ski instead.

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When I got home, I changed right into my running clothes and headed to the gym. (I felt like jumped into a filing cabinet in ski clothes and jumped out in running gear) Then it took me a few minutes to figure out what cartoon that was from my childhood; Hong Kong Phooey. Classic. I decided I was going to do what I could. Take the pressure off and just do this because I really love the way it makes me feel. It was a good 5 miles. Which fueled my desire to get up and run this morning. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. It was cold, rainy and a little icy, but I wasn’t dreading it as much.

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Today’s run was great. I felt like my old self a little. Still not as fast as I was a couple of months ago, but I tackled the hills like I haven’t in a while (I actually think I’m getting it) and used my new hill mantras borrowed from a friend – “even effort”, “belly breathe”, “it’s a hill, get over it”. I lost my momentum a little towards the end of the run and despite pushing, couldn’t quite get as fast as I wanted, but hey, it’s week two and there’s time. No pressure, right?

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I did a lot of whining over the past two weeks and I’ll tell you, I am a big baby when I’m not running well. Thank god for my running support system to pull me through. By breaking my runs down, telling me there’s plenty of time, and reminding me of my ultimate goal, I stuck in there and hit all my runs. I owe a lot to those who’ve been through it before and to remind me that I have too and it will pass. So happy I’m not in this alone.

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This training cycle, I started journaling my runs. I was afraid I wouldn’t have time or make time for this, but I’m really enjoying it. First, when I’m frustrated, it helps me “get it out” by documenting how I was feeling and what went wrong. This may come in very handy when I fall into he next slump (I hope this one is really over), so I know that there are better days around the corner, you just have to hang in there through the bad ones.

Question: are you training for a Spring Marathon right now? How’s it going? 

 

Jan 16

How to deal with no good, horrible, very bad runs

TiredTurtleI’m not sure if this is going to exactly be a “how to” blog post as it is going to be an exercise in convincing myself that bad runs happen and I need to get over it an move on. Its the first week of marathon training. I’m pumped up, but honestly, not as much as I normally feel when a training cycle starts. I typically love the winter, but it’s been cold. Not normal, yeah it’s winter cold, cold like I feel like I live in Minnesota cold. Between that and the darkness, I feel a little like laying in my bed most days – which seems to be going around from what I’ve heard.

So, today was my first marathon pace run. I typically love these runs because they’re great confidence builders. They make me feel like I can handle the pace and go the distance come marathon day. Except when they go bad. Like today. Let me set the stage. 4:45 alarm goes off and my first thought it, I must be insane. I grab a cup of coffee, and poke my head out the front door to check the temperature. Yep, still winter, still very, very cold and oh wait, extra bonus, it’s windy. So 28 degrees carries a real feel of 17 because of the wind. PERFECT – *rolls eyes*. I go upstairs and start piling on the layers, like 5 layers. I feel like my mobility will surly be hampered buy all these clothes.

Drive to the industrial park and start my run. First mile is an 8:45 (mind you, it’s downhill) but it’s still nice to see on the watch. Off to a good start, I keep going. I won’t give you the blow by blow, but miles 2,3, and 4 are decent, not superb, but decent. Then the pace slowed, A LOT, in miles 5 and 6. I was pissed, I was disappointed. But I have to get over it.

I’m a person who hates excuses. I’ve always tried to be the kind of runner who didn’t fall back on excuses every time a run goes south. But here’s the thing….there are factors, undeniable factors that affect performance. There’s no way around it. So to make myself feel better, I examine these “factors”.

Factor 1: I’m not supposed to be doing my marathon pace run today. Its supposed to be on Saturday with a rest day today. I moved it because I’m skiing tomorrow. More importantly, I ran Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. my legs needed a rest day.

Factor 2: I’m functioning on little sleep. Between the running and the busy work calendar, I’ve been getting 6-6.5 hours a night. This is not good. I know it’s not good. My legs don’t like lack of sleep and they rebel. I think they actually have a mind of their own and say “I’ll show her, trying to get by without resting us enough”. Well, they won today.

Factor 3: It’s freakin’ cold. I know what you’re thinking, this girl complains when it’s really hot and now she’s complaining about the cold. Totally two different problems here. Hot = can’t breathe, Cold = freezing butt, hand and other muscles – breathing however, is great. Truth be told, I like winter running. I like winter running when it’s above 25 degrees and the sun is shining, but I can’t always have that and I need to stop whining.

It’s okay to analyze the factors that could impact your run, in fact, I encourage it. They aren’t excuses, sometimes, they’re facts.

I’ve looked back at my journal and over the past several weeks, I’ve done other MP runs. I hit my pace several times, so I know I can do it. This is what’s so great about tracking your runs. Being able to go back and look at more successful runs sheds light on the fact that, yeah this one sucked, it happens. I highly recommend journaling, using a spreadsheet or whatever you can to log a variety of things pertaining to your runs. I track:

Date, Distance, Pace, Shoes, Route, Cadence, Temperature, Wind Speed, Daily Weight, How I Felt.

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My training trackers

I hope, and you may find, that you see a pattern that will help you identify things that make the run good or bad.

Something kind of cool about today’s run is that I used a headlamp for the first time. I could actually see the ground in front of me before I hit it. I took this before my run – I was still smiling.

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I hit the road again Sunday for my long run. I NEED to keep my attitude positive, so I’m closing the door on this run. I did the miles, I kept going even though I slowed down, and didn’t quit. I have 15 more weeks to improve my pace. I’m not hitting the panic button.

Have a great weekend runners!

 

 

Jan 12

Monday Motivation

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Jan 05

Monday Motivation

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Jan 01

Light and Breezy – a little bit about me

Happy New Year! I was tagged by running buddy Steffany, (Run Steff Run), to do something a little fun and share a few things about myself. I thought today would be a great day to do this and start the year off with something light and breezy. :)

 

If you’re tagged at the bottom copy these questions and tag me when you answer so I can read them. :)

 

Four names that people call me:
1. Kimmy
2. Flash
3. Peanut
4. Kim

 

Four jobs I have had:
1. Bartender (college)
2. Executive Assistant
3. Office manager
4. Business Analyst/Developer – yeah, all pretty boring :)

 

 Four movies I have seen more than once:
LOTR
1. The Lord of the Rings (all 3 of them) yes, I’m a nerd
2. Just Go With It
3. The Hangover
4. Spirit of The Marathon – of course

 
 
 

 
 

Four books I’d recommend: 
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1. The Art of Racing in The Rain (favorite book of all time) by Garth Stein
2. 11-22-63 by Stephen King (fantastic!)
3. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (currently reading for the 3rd time!)
4. The Taker trilogy by Alma Katsu

 
 
 
 

Four Places I’ve Lived:
1. Newton, New Jersey
2. Indiana, PA
3. Monroeville, PA
4. Plum, PA

 

Four Places I Have Been:
1. Napa California (I could move there)
2. Dominican Republic (lovely, hot)
3. Atlantis, Bahamas (hottest place I’ve even been)
4. Las Vegas Nevada (non-stop entertainment)

 

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. Southern California – because the weather is choice
2. Colorado Rockies – cause the powder is fresh
3. Maldives One and Only Resort - cause its my dream vacation
4. Northern California because I am amazed by the Redwoods!

 

Four Things I Don’t Eat:
1. Most any meat
2. Fast Food (hate!)
3. Fried Foods (99.9% of the time)
4. Most Dairy products

 

Four of My Favorite Foods:
1. Almonds – I would eat only this if it was nutritionally sustainable
2. Almonds
3. Almonds
4. Pizza

 

Four Things I’m Looking Forward to This Year:
1. Skiing in Breckenridge, California
2. The Pittsburgh Marathon in May
3. Qualifying for Boston
4. Another trip to Napa, California

 

Four Things I’m Saying:
1. Good Lord (yeah, I say that a lot)
2. It’s a Grind
3. This is Ridiculous – almost every day at work
4. I have to get up early – I really do

 

Four People I’m Tagging:
3. Melissa (The Wheezy Runner)

Dec 30

2014 Wrap Up – Bittersweet

When I finished the Sunday evening #RunChat on Twitter, I couldn’t stop thinking about one of the questions,  ”describe in one word your year in running”. My Answer: BITTERSWEET.

No doubt about it, 2014 has been an amazing year for me. I trained almost the entire year and fell even more in love with running as a result. It used to be a hobby, a way to stay fit. It’s become part of my life, something I just do and I can’t imagine stopping now.

January – May

Pittsburgh marathon training. This was the first training season where I actually ran every run with a “purpose”. Marathon pace runs, medium pace days, speed work and long slow days made me a much more well rounded runner. I learned to recover and as a result remained injury free. I also moved from a 4-day-a-week runner to a 5 day runner which was another big change and adjustment.

Jan-MayI also started running with other people which I always shied away from. It was the best thing I ever did. I developed a real network of people who could help me reach my goals. Friends who coached me and taught me the proper way to train for a marathon. It was motivation having to meet someone on the weekends even when the snow and ice were piling up outside. When the marathon came in May, I was ready. All I wanted was to see a “3″ as the first number in my time. I didn’t actually SEE the “3″ but my chip time was 3:58:24 a marathon PR that brought me to tears.

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May – July

I was riding the high of my marathon PR for quite some time through May, when I started setting my sights on a fall marathon and my first real try at a Boston Qualification. I needed a 3:55 or better – so really 4 minutes shaved off my Pittsburgh, time (safely) to grab it. I thought on a nice flat course, it was a real possibility. I maintained my fitness and waited until the first week of July to start training for the Columbus Marathon in October. 

July – October

Summer training did NOT start the way I had hoped. It took me way too long to acclimate to the heat and I almost went to see a doctor because I had such a hard time breathing when the humidity hit. I didn’t miss a run, but cut myself a little too much slack, which is something that took me some time,  and a hard look at my training to admit.

Cooler temperatures brought better runs, and more solid times. I started working towards my goal with more fire and drive than I had in months. Unfortunately, it was a little too late. I should have been pushing all summer. It cost me a Boston Qualification when October 19th came and I crossed the finish line with a disappointing 4:02:21 in Columbus. It was my 5th marathon though, and that in itself is something to be proud of, no matter how you slice it. I had more fun last summer training for that marathon than I ever had running thanks to the company I kept.

summerAfter Columbus I was mad at myself. I was the only one to blame for what happened on that course. You get out of running what you put into it and I got exactly what I put in. I put in a 4-hour marathon effort during training and learned a valuable lesson when that’s what I got back.

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November-December

A few days after Columbus, I got this crazy idea to hurry up and run another marathon. Part of me even thought I could get redemption for what happened in Columbus. But more realistically, it would give me the bragging rights of two marathons in a month, which to me is pretty cool. On November 9th, I ran the Indiana Veterans Marathon near Indiana, PA. It was ridiculously small with only about 90 runners on a crushed limestone trail. 13 miles up a steady incline and 13 back down. I won’t do the blow by blow again but the IT band wasn’t having another full marathon. It seized up around mile 19 and the last 7 miles of that marathon were a struggle to finish. But I did, and marathon #6 was in the books. Indiana

Unfortunately, since then my knee (IT Band, Tendonitis) has been touch and go. I haven’t been running regularly, but it’s okay because it’s the off season. I was really upset about not being able to run at first, but then I embraced the time off (just a little) knowing that this next training cycle starting in January will be the hardest one yet. No fooling around, you get out what you put in. I’m fired up for 2015 and for the possibilities that it holds for me as a runner.

Bittersweet, that was my year. 

Great friends, great miles, a marathon PR, but somehow I still fell short of my own expectations. But that’s part of being a driven and motivated runner right? The pursuit of the best we can be, training for and running the best races we can run. These are the things that drive me forward, the reason I get up at ungodly hours to run in the dark, in the freezing cold, through rain, or scorching heat. The desire to find out what I’m really made of.

2014 miles: 1400

Bring on 2015! Happy New Year.

Dec 22

Monday Motivation

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Dec 15

Time to VOTE! My favorite place to run photo contest…

Okay – it’s time to vote! Thank you to everyone who submitted a photo. I loved hearing the descriptions and what makes you feel strongly about the location you chose. Voting is simple – descriptions are above the photos with a check box. Choose your favorite and scroll to the bottom and click “vote”. You may enlarge photos for a better view by clicking on it directly.

I will keep voting open until Wednesday and the winner will be contacted Thursday with your coupon code for your FREE registration for either the Dick’s Sporting Goods Marathon or UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon.

You may only vote once so get all your friends to visit and vote for you. :)

Good luck

 

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