Monday, July 25, 2016

Baptized in Blood

I had my first real fall on a trail.  Oh, sure, I've tripped plenty of times, but the reality is that I'm so scared of falling that I don't take chances on the trail.  This time I don't know what the heck happened.  Shelby, Sydney, and I were about 3 miles in on a super-hot, humid 10 miler starting on the Wetmore Loop.  Everything seemed to be fine, and then it was not.  I felt myself trip, and I could tell that I wasn't going to be able to right myself this time.  So weird--I felt as if I were falling in slow motion, slow enough to talk myself through it: Ok, you're going down.  Don't brace with your hands. Don't face plant. Roll when you hit the ground.  

As you can see, I learned how to fall from the best. I did manage to roll rather than skid, and I avoided face contact, so I think I came out pretty well.  I bruised my shoulder, elbow, and one finger, and I have gouges on my shoulder and knee.

This is EXACTLY how I looked when I fell.

I didn't take pictures because. . .gross.  Also, as far as badges of honor go, this wasn't that big of a deal, thank goodness.

So now, I am officially a trail runner, baptized in blood.

This was a fallback week, with nine miles of trail running, but next week the mileage goes up again.  Will I make it?  Will Shelby have to pull me by my hair?  Will I remain a ray of sunshine?  Stay tuned to find out. Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

16 Miles!

Well, the mileage is ramping up.  Last Sunday Shelby and I ran 16 miles--the farthest I've ever run!  You know what?  It wasn't too terrible.  In fact, our last mile was our fastest, and overall we finished 48 seconds sooner than last week's 15 miler.  Damn, we're good!

I hear a lot about training burnout, but the novelty hasn't worn off for me yet.  I'm doing my best to stick to the plan and take care of myself while still doing interesting things to shake it up a little.  Like what?  I'm glad you asked.  Here are some of the ways I am preparing myself for the Akron Marathon:

1.  Track work

Wednesday Night Hell. . .er-- I mean Fun!
Wednesday is track night, and the members of TORN have been meeting to do a little speedwork in 90-degree weather.  Why?  Because we are awesome that way.

2.  Recovery-Wear

I love my compression socks!  I wear them after speed workouts and long runs.

3.  Protein

I like chocolate.

I've upped my protein, particularly after workouts.  Muscle Milk isn't the most delicious shake on Earth, but it was on sale at BJs, and it has only 130 calories per carton.  Sometimes I eat plain Greek yogurt sprinkled with Grape Nuts, but frankly, I look forward to this shake.

4.  Friends--Old and New

I still run with my TORN peeps, but I decided to branch out, and I recently joined the Canal Rats.  They meet around 5:30ish AM, which suits my schedule. The only problem is that they are MUCH FASTER than I am; however, for two weeks in a row, there has been a kind soul who waits for me at the turnaround point and runs back with me.  Today that kind soul pushed me to an 8:39 mile in the last mile, and I am grateful for it.  I have decided to label my Canal Rats days the tempo run.

Thankfully, not this kind of Canal Rat.  Yuck.
5.  New Challenges

Of course the marathon is new, but I'm also running two new races in August: The Burning River Relay (Leg 7, 15.6 miles in the dark!) and the Ragnar Trail Appalachians ultra relay (3 loops of 10 miles each in 24 hours).  Trail running is a different animal than road running, and I'm looking forward to these weekends to see what I can do.

If I say it enough, I should start believing it.
6.  Rest

I am doing my best to get to bed at a reasonable hour.  Since it is summer, I also get to incorporate my favorite form of recovery: naps! God, I love naps.

All in all, I still have about eight weeks to go before the Akron Marathon, but I feel that I have a lot of exciting stuff to do in the meantime.  Let's hope I can keep a positive attitude.

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Product Review: SLS3 Compression Socks

Last Sunday I ran 15 miles on the Towpath--the longest distance I've ever run at one time.  I was very nervous about the distance, but it was a great run.  The weather was beautiful, and the company was even more beautiful:

I love my running Peeps!  
Although I like running by myself, I am so glad that Mandy, Shelby, and Jen came out with me.  They were able to keep the crazy away, and because we kept the pace slow, I didn't get into the silent, ugly period I usually have in the last two miles.  Thank you, Peeps!  You are MAH-velous.

After that run, I made sure to do lots of stretching in the parking lot and at home, and I drank a protein shake to help with recovery.  After a long shower, I pulled on a pair of compression socks and did Legs-up-the-Wall pose--my favorite form of recovery (that doesn't involve beer or ice cream).

I am new to compression-wear.  I own one other pair of compression socks and one pair of compression sleeves because now I am hooked!  I love the SLS3 Compression Socks.  I am a women's size 10, so I ordered the S/M and they fit perfectly--just the right amount of compression.  I am wearing them right now after my run, and my legs feel so good!

Butterflies make me happy. So do naps.

Not only that, the socks are super-cute.  I chose the black with purplish butterflies, and I really like them.  If I had to leave the house right now, I'd have no problem wearing these in public.  It's really hot here lately, but the socks don't feel too warm; on the contrary, the compression makes me feel much better after a sweaty run (and a shower).  I'm training for my first marathon, so I am putting a lot more miles on these legs than I ever have before, and I think the SLS3 Compression Socks really help with recovery.

Do you want to try compression wear?  You could check out the SLS3 webpage, OR you can go to Amazon and order them there for half price!!!

I haven't run in compression socks, but I did a trail run in calf sleeves.  I'm curious, Peeps.  How do you wear your compression wear--as recovery or during the run?  And why?

Next week the mileage goes up to 16, which is better than the 18 I had written down.  Shelby and Mandy, who have more experience than I do with marathon training, told me that 18 was too much of a jump in one week, so I will be smart and listen to them.  I admit that 16 miles make me less nervous than 18.

Until then, run happy, Peeps!

SLS3 sent me these compression socks for review; all opinions are my own.  

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Race Recap: Cleveland YMCA Firecracker 10k

All runners know that Independence Day isn't complete without a Firecracker race.  I usually avoid those races because the weather is too hot, but the YMCA Firecracker 10k had a 7:30 start, and my friends were already running it and had offered to drive to Cleveland, so I thought, "What the heck? I'll give it a go."

Sheila and Shelby picked me up at 6:00 AM, and I had already risen at 4:00 AM, not only to fuel properly, but because I kept waking up in panic because I was CERTAIN that I had put my heart rate monitor in the washing machine.  Of course I didn't, but that didn't stop me from thinking I did. It was a comfort to ride instead of driving to Cleveland.

Sheila, Shelby, and I take our pre-race selfie.
I was a little worried about this race because of the epic fail I had when I ran the Hop for Hope around Easter.  This time I wore my heart monitor, and I discussed race strategy with Shelby.  She and I are capable of running the same pace when we want to (although Shelby is actually faster and more experienced than I am), and we reminded each other not to go out too fast, which is my classic mistake in most races.

Before the race but after the three of us took a quick running warmup, there was a group warm up set to music.  I was going to skip it, but Shelby joined in so I had to also, and it was fun.  We did some dynamic stretching to music, and then it was time to line up.  The race is small, there couldn't have been more than 250 people there, so there was plenty of time to hit the bathroom (a real bathroom inside the Galleria food court).

I tried to remain true to the plan Shelby and I had discussed, but by mile 2 Shelby was feeling her oats, and she left me in the dust.  I wanted to play it conservatively because I felt so hot.  Every so often I would pour water from my bottle over my head, and that helped a lot.  Nevertheless, I started to lose my grip around mile 5. . .somewhere I dropped a whole minute messing around.  Shelby also ran more slowly for mile 5, so we think there were a few hills there. I regrouped for the last mile, and--joy of joys--I found it in me to sprint to the finish line.  I love finishing with a kick.

Here is the lowdown of the race:

The Good:  The course was great!  I loved running around Cleveland in the morning, especially the stadium.  The small hills were nice; they were never too bad even in the heat, and there was always a downhill for every uphill.

A nice surprise was seeing Josh Cribbs at the race.  He stood at the corner before the finish line and high-fived every runner.  When I came back to his corner so I could cheer for other runners, I heard him yelling encouragement to everyone.  What a nice guy!

Of course, I couldn't pass up a chance at a selfie!

The Bad:  The course was short by at least 1/4 mile.  My Garmin said 5.91, and it was pretty consistent with other runners' watches.  That's a significant error.  I still liked the course, but it bothers me that I don't really have an accurate 10k time.

Back to More Good:  The after-party was great--lots of fresh fruit (not just bananas) and hot dogs!  I'm not going to turn down a hot dog at 8:30 in the morning.

Also, the goody bags actually had goodies in them!  Most races have resorted to stuffing the bags with advertisements, but these bags had cookies and pop and bracelets and stuff.

Even better was the shirt.  Normally I don't like cotton shirts for races, but this shirt was SuhWeet!

I wore it to the parade later.
Overall, I really liked this race. The price was right ($25!!!), and the event was well-run.  I hope the race directors fix the distance because I would love to run it again next year.  I would also like to know if I'll be able to place in my AG in a real 10k.

Congratulations to Shelby on her first place AG award!

And I got second place in our AG!
This Sunday I'll be running 15 miles to train for the Akron Marathon.  It will be my longest distance ever.  Will I melt down?  Will I make it?  Stay tuned to find out.  Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read?  Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!