Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Kicks!

It was well-past time to buy new shoes.  I bought my last pair of shoes in NOVEMBER 2012, people.  Just since January I have put over 550 miles on them.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Some runners will tell you that you should change every 500 miles; some say 300.  Either way, I screwed up.

Yesterday I set out to rectify my mistake.  My store of choice is Second Sole because it is closest to my house and I have had wonderful, spiritual experiences every time I've gone there--no joke.  This time I brought my old shoes with me (my last rookie mistake was NOT bringing my old shoes), but I didn't bring my running socks to try on a new pair.  Duh.  I guess I thought that I would be getting the same shoes, just newer.  So, Dear Readers, you now have learned two lessons so far from my rookie shoe-buying mistakes: bring your shoes, and bring your socks.

Anyway, the store has a bin where you can borrow socks that approximate the thickness of your own socks, so it wasn't that big of a deal.  The "borrowing socks" were much better than my own socks, by the way.

The salesman asked me how many miles I'm putting in a week, and when told him 20-30, he responded, "Wow, that's a lot!"  Extra points for making me feel like a badass!  He took my shoes to the back and came back with these:

Saucony Guide 6

These were a size 10--a half-size larger than my regular Saucony size (which is still a half-size larger than some of my other shoes).  The salesman said, "I looked at the wear on your shoes, and I think they are too small for you in the toe box, especially for the amount of miles you are putting in.  Try these on, and we'll see if they are better for you."  Be still, my beating heart!  Did he actually analyze my old shoes?

Ok, here is a reality check.  When I looked at the Guide 6 reviews on Saucony's website, I noticed that the number one comment was that everyone had to go up a half-size.  I'm pretty sure the salesguy automatically brings everyone a half-size larger, but because I am a narcissist and an optimist, I am going to believe that he DID look at the wear on my shoes and think about my needs.  I love you, Second Sole.

I took my beautiful, bright shoes on the running path this morning for four hilly miles.  I was a little worried about the size because I felt that my old shoes would sometimes rub in the heel.  Notice the special ankle-lock tie on the left shoe.  The shoes felt lighter (the website says they are lighter), and they felt more cushiony and less stiff than my previous shoes.  They felt like I had already broken them in.  I didn't have any blisters or soreness during or after the run, so I'm going to tentatively say the Guide 6 is a win.  The real test will be the long run on Sunday.

What do you think of Saucony?  Have you tried the Guide 6?  Do you notice a difference from the Guide 5?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

ALWAYS Pack Your Running Gear!

The title of this blog is the moral of the story, so I will repeat it up front:  ALWAYS pack your running gear.  Always.

This week was the family vacation in New York City.  We rented an apartment in Weehawken, New Jersey, which is an awesome town on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel.  I could go on and on about how fabulous this location is, but I don't want you to find my secret apartment because then I'll never get in as cheaply as we did this year.

Anyway.  Before leaving, I debated about packing my running gear.  Is it worth the extra room in the suitcase?  I knew that I would be walking for miles and miles in the city each day, so I wondered whether I would be motivated enough to get up early and run.  Also, I wasn't familiar with the area where we stayed, so I didn't know if I would be safe running alone or not.  In the end, I decided that I didn't need to pack my running gear.

I am an idiot.

This is part of the running path that is DIRECTLY IN FRONT of my apartment.  On the river.  SMH.

Every day I woke up before my family and looked out at the myriad runners on that path, and every day I cursed myself.  As a result of my stupidity, I haven't run in nine days.  Never again.  I will always make room for my running gear.

Tomorrow I intend to punish myself on the run.  Tempo run, anyone?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I Have a Guardian Angel

When I was in my late twenties, my best friend Paige and I visited a psychic.

"You have a guardian angel," she said.  "Her name is Carol Anne."  Paige was taking notes for my session, and she immediately started writing, "Run to the light, Carol Anne!" while I tried to choke back my laughter.  "She's doesn't like Poltergeist jokes," the psychic said sternly, "and she's telling me that you spelled her name wrong."  Oops.

They're he-ere!

Let me say it loudly right now, "Thank you, Carol Anne!  Thank you soooo much!"  I will never use your name in the context of a cult horror film again because tonight you probably saved my life.

Jill and I were running my favorite 10-mile route; it is the former "Blue Line" run from the Akron Marathon, so-named because the runners follow a painted blue line on the road.
This is what the blue line run looks like in some parts of Akron.

Twenty seconds after we turned a corner, there was a t-bone car crash in the exact spot where we had previously run.  It was horrible.  Neither Jill nor I had a phone, but luckily a woman walking with her baby did have one, and after I promised to keep an eye on the baby, she called 911 and investigated the crash to give as much detail as possible.  I saw four of the victims; one was a small child, but she seemed to be ok.  The other victims looked horrible.  Within minutes many medical personnel stopped to help, and then the police and EMT's arrived.

When we realized that there was nothing more we could do (after telling arriving cars to turn around and go back), we decided to continue the run.  We had about six more miles to go.  My arms and legs were shaking, and no matter how much Jill and I tried to shake it off, my mind kept going back to the crash and the woman with the cell phone who said, "Twenty seconds slower, and you would have been right in that."

I am praying for those people tonight.  I am thanking Carol Anne, God, and any other forces in the Universe that pushed my ass a little faster down that blue line today.  I am a grateful runner.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Strip: Las Vegas, that is

I just returned from a six-day conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It was my first time in Vegas, and boy, was it enlightening!  I had two main concerns about my running in Vegas:

1.  I couldn't pack a bunch of running gear.  How would I get by on two bras, two pairs of socks, two shirts, and running shoes?

After some thought, I decided to try to wash my running clothes in the bathtub and hang them there.  Luckily for me, my roomie said this would not gross her out.  Just today I found out that there is a laundry soap (I think it's Tide) designed to hand wash in the sink.  Too bad--I used bath soap.  It worked ok; I was able to rinse out most of the horrible stink.  Problem #1 solved!

2.  I knew I would be keeping late hours (the conference usually started at 7 am and finished around 11 pm with networking activities), so how would I be able to work out on very little sleep?

This is exactly how I look after only 4 hours of sleep.

After the first night, I went to the gym at the Venetian and ran four miles on the treadmill.  I HATE the treadmill.  Then I had to complete part of the 30-day ab challenge.  The second day I did the elliptical, since I had never tried it before.  The elliptical is for coordinated people, so I had NO BUSINESS trying it.  The third day I ran on the Strip, and that was AWESOME!

The Bellagio

New York, New York


Looking down the Strip

After Day 3 of workouts, I was D.O.N.E.  I wanted to run the Strip again, but I was getting less than three hours of sleep a night.  Plus, I ditched the 30-day ab challenge, which means I have to start over on Monday.

Also, another interesting point:  While I was running the Strip, a bike policeman pulled up beside me and said, "You may not want to go as far and and hard as you usually do because you're probably not used to the smoke."  He was absolutely right.  Cigarette smoke is EVERYWHERE in Vegas.  Really, it's the only fault I can find with Las Vegas.

Today I  suffered for neglecting my workouts by running nine miles with the Turtles.  We had to run the Bike and Hike because the floods in our area shut down the Towpath.  There was no flooding in Vegas, btw.

I leave you with a tip I learned from fellow-Turtle Rosie today.  End a hot run with a washcloth soaked in ice and sprayed with aromatherapy spray.  Heaven!