Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ohhhhh 800's

I have a love hate relationship with speed work. As I’m gearing up to run another 5k on Monday, the Firecracker 5000, I really want to do well. So far my PR in the 5k is 24:15, in fact I took a first place medal for that time, however I really want to beat it. The last 5k I did I had a slower time and was really unhappy with my time of 25:18. Yes I am fully aware that that is still a pretty good time for a 3.1 mile run but what can I say other than I like to always reach further.

A few weeks ago I was able to crash the Team Steam training (it’s a training program that is offered to runners of the Steamboat Classic) and the day I was there they were doing hills and speed. I chose the speed group because I do a ton of hill work and need to start focusing more on building on my speed. You start at Woodruff run the mile to Springdale Cemetery, one of my favorite running grounds, and then you run 800 meter loops in the lower part of the cemetery. It’s the loop that is off that entrance over there by PAWS, I’m sorry but I don’t know the street name. I really wanted to do 8 loops, which would equal 4 miles. I only did 7 and that 7th round was tough but I was able to keep my pace below an 8 minute mile so I’ll take it. Then I run the one mile back to Woodruff. Below is from my Garmin so you can check out my splits and the map of my route. Try it out next time you work on speed it’s a great route.

PS: So what’s the deal with the photo I posted? I HATE to run with a fuel belt or with a water bottle in hand but when working on 800’s I need something so I tough it out for the first mile and then leave my bottle in the park, after all I’m just running a continues loop. Springdale is so welcoming to runners and I want to respect that so I throw my garbage away, as EVERYONE should. But again I HATE running with something in my hand so once I drain my bottle and leave the park I crunch it up and put in my sport bra lol! Runners find odd places to stash things, if you’re one of them please share!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Record Numbers Come Out To Run the Steamboat Classic

Saturday's 38th Running of the Steamboat Classic was the largest crowd to date, up by 1,500 from last year with almost 5,000 people running in this years fastest 4 mile race and Illinois toughest 15k. I am proud to say I was one of them. Diane Nukuri-Johnson, who's headed to her 2nd Olympic games, took the female lead on the 4 mile race with a finish time of 20:41. On the male side Kenyan Kevin Chelimo easily won the race in 18:02. On the 15k front and the race that I ran Tim Hird from Naperville won the men's side of the race in 49 minutes and 34 seconds and on the woman's front Samantha Bluske from Illinois State took home first with a time of 56:06 which also happened to be the fastest time since 1987!

Saturday's 15k was a dream race for me. Every year I've ran Steamboat I dreamt of doing the 15k but I knew I was overweight and not fit enough for Illinois Toughest challenge. Excuses no more, I am strong enough and I did it in 1 hour 22 minutes and 57 seconds, running at an 8:57 pace and placing 21st in my age group (out of 59). I'll take it! The night before the race I was asked by Adam White, owner of Running Central, to be a part of Team RC (Running Central) so I was so honored to run Saturday as a member of Team RC.

Here is what I love about the Steamboat Classic, although you have some fierce competitors and some world renowned athletes this race is open to anyone and everyone. No matter the shape, the size or the fitness level you can do Steamboat. It's inspiring to see so many lace of their shoes and get out there and do something. Running is once again emerging as a sport and I'm so excited to see other's catch the fever. What I love most is that with running you can only rely on you. You have to say "just another step", you have to say "don't back down", you have to say "pick up the pace" and you have to say "keep going, don't stop", no one can tell you want to do and how to do it, it all comes down to you. Running not only strengthens your body but it also strengthens your mind!

I don't know what is next for me, I really want to do the Main Street Mile but I know I have to work. So I think I'll do the Firecracker 5k on the 4th of July. I can tell you my next big race will not be until October 22nd I'm returning to the Mankato 1/2 Marathon. I'll still be running but over the next couple months my focus is to take a short break from race training and focus on getting certified to be a Body Combat instructor. However, I'll still be out there, I'll still be blogging and I'll still be racing after all I can't let my new teammates down at Team RC. Congrats to EVERYONE who participated in the Steamboat, I want to know how you did so please share your times and experiences and let me know what's next for you.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How To Be A Great Spectator At A Race

I posted this on my work blog and had to repost it here, enjoy!

The Steamboat Classic is just a few days away and with over 4,000 people registered to take part in one of the races its shaping up to be another amazing run. And one of my favorite part of being in a race is the spectators. I love the kids. I make it a point to high five every single one of them see on the race route. Spectators are a huge reason why races are so fun. I love running into downtown and see all the people lining the streets to cheer on their runner. In fact I believe that is why I’m so excited for Saturday because I will have some very special loved ones here to cheer me on. Here are some tips on how you can be a rockstar spectator at Saturday’s Steamboat Classic.

Make a ton of noise; clap, cheer, shout, sing, play an instrument, we love it all!!!

Make a sign! One of encouragement for everyone and even one for your specific runner. I still have the signs that were made for me at a race and the sit proudly amongst my medals and bib numbers.

If the route runs along your house have a mini party in your yard.

Dress up in a silly costume, make yourself stand out!

Bring a camera and take lots of pictures pre and post race and during of your runner!

Block the route. For this course all runners are on the road so please make sure you stay to the side or on the sidewalk or your likely to get run over as runners don’t stop or slow down in a race so please stay off the course.

If a runner doesn’t smile, wave, high five you don’t take it personal most likely the are focused on their pace and may even have on ear phones and can’t hear you or didn’t even see you. Trust me they are very appreciative of you just being there.

Don’t boo that is just flat out rude.

Don’t waste your time and money and offer water or any other refreshments. There are plenty of those offered along the course for the runners.

Don’t throw stuff on the course.

Keep in mind that the runners at the end need encouragement too, cheer the loudest for them. It’s hard being last but its better to be last than to not have done it at all, show them how inspired you are by them!

Last but definitely the most important spectator rule and that is please do not smoke. Running is hard, breathing while running is even harder, breathing in toxic smoke while trying to run and breath shouldn’t happen…EVER! Don’t be rude and puff smoke into a runners face. And if you must smoke then go FAR away from the course and suck on that cancer stick.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Running Shoes Tips and Tricks

The Steamboat Classic is one week away, your training is just about over and have you taken a look at your running shoes? When it comes to running shoes they are the most important piece of equipment you’ll need for this sport. Yes, even more important that your ipod, even though sometimes you feel you cannot survive with out your tunes.
So how do you know when you need new shoes?

The rule of thumb on shoe replacement is about 300-400 miles depending on your body, where you run and how much. You really want to replace your shoes before you start experiencing any pain because that can lead to injuries. New shoes equal injury prevention. I’m so bad at this one. In fact when I ran Indy in May I had 355 miles on my shoes, I was hoping they would hold up until after steamboat but I was stupid and wrong. I waited until I felt pain. Please learn from my BAD habits and don’t wait till you feel pain. My ankles were weak (sooo bad) my hamstrings tighter than tight but the worst pain of all was I have been having constant back pain. Deep down I knew it was from my worn out shoes but I told myself I needed to do more core and back strengthening. WRONG. So dead wrong. I’m lucky I didn’t hurt myself.

What do I look for in a running shoe?

I think this will vary per person, your size and what your looking for. The marathoner, the causual runner, the track star are all going to have different needs. Bottom line is you will want something that fits well and offers support.

Where do I go for running shoes?

I always tell people stay away from the big discount shoe stores. Nothing against them but if this is something you want to do seriously you’re simply not going to get the expertise and knowledge at a big box shoe store than what you will from a running specific store. Locally in Peoria I love Running Central. Last year when I took up the sport I broke down and went there. I was terrified because I thought I was going to “pay through the roof” for my shoes. Well I didn’t and what I got was a whole load of knowledge and information I didn’t know I needed. They know things that your probably don’t from your arches to your pronation. They watch you run and have you try out all sorts of different shoes until you find the one that is a perfect fit for you. In fact every time I’ve been to RC they always put me in multipl pairs of shoes with a different shoe on each foot. Plus they encourage you to take a run down the sidewalk to ensure you are wearing the right shoe for you. They keep track of all the shoes you’ve purchased and truly give you one on one service that I have yet to find anywhere else.

What about the cost?
I price check EVERYTHING! And the shoes I’ve gotten have been the exact same price at all the different shoe stores. The difference is the knowledge behind the store and the sport. I will also tell you I have gone with the cheap shoes before looking to save a buck and I always end up spending more. They don’t last and never feel as good so I will have to go back and get another new pair.

Other tips-

When buying shoes remember you do need them a size bigger. Because as you run your feet swell. If you don’t have that extra room it leads to injuries, discomfort and sometime even the dreaded purple toe nails!

Make sure YOU’RE comfortable in the shoe, after all it is YOU that is doing the running!

Don’t be swayed by fads! Just because “everyone is wearing it” doesn’t mean it is the right shoe for you!

And its okay to not want a shoe if you don’t like the colors. I say this because today I really liked two pairs of shoes. In fact it was a very hard decision between the two, the colors turned me off on one pair, so I went with the other. Hey, I’m a girl, I do like a little bit of style. But only let this one affect you if you are in the same situation. If you hate the color but it is indeed the right shoe and the better one for you then get it. But also just pick up some new tops to go with it, then you’ll love the colors!

Last I just wanted to thank Danielle and Running Central for all their help today I can’t wait to get out there for a run in my new Saucony’s!

Disclaimer-I am not a professional just someone who loves to run and has learned a few things along they way. I hope what I have learned helps and inspires you.

Happy Running-See you next weekend at the 38th Annual Steamboat Classic!