Category Archives: Shoes

Rock and Roll VA Beach Half Marathon

I also like to think of this as the WORST race experience ever. My performance wasn’t terrible, all things considered,  but I know I could have squeaked out another sub-2 considering my training. Anyways…the RNR VA Beach race actually took place over Labor Day weekend (so yeah…in September…3 months ago), but I think it’s worth recapping, especially since it played a roll in my training for the full.

I was pumped about the race because it was my first RNR race, and I had always wanted to run one. I’ve heard mixed things about RNR, that they’re kind of cookie-cutter-big-box type races, but I LOVE a race with a big crowd and a lot of support just as much as I love a small-I-can-place-in-my-age-group race (and that has to be SMALL for that to happen). I was planning to run the race with one of my Marathon Training Team (MTT) buds, Katie, since she and I both hoped for sub-2s. And my good friend Meredith was also running, despite not having much training. Just a fun run for her.

Meredith and I went to the expo together on Saturday and had a grand ole time looking around. We got TONS of free samples of stuff (and about 50 fortune cookies, thanks to PF Chang’s being a sponsor). I also loved the Brooks area (they’re the presenting sponsor), especially since they had my beloved Pure Cadence shoes on a very deserving pedestal.

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Read to ROCK.

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Pure beauty. I actually ended up buying ANOTHER pair of Pure Cadence at the expo…the blue/green pair was on ridiculous sale in my size, and I couldn’t pass them up. I love those shoes.

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Perfect.

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Free PEAS! Yum. And yes, I think it’s fair to say I’m often motivated by wine.

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I wish I ran a 2:03…

So after the expo we went back to our hotel, which was actually quite far from the starting line. It was almost impossible to find a room in VA Beach that weekend that wasn’t insanely expensive (like $250+ per night for a CRAPPY little place) or that required a 3 night minimum (because of the holiday weekend). But we were lucky to find the VA Beach Hotel and Conference Center, which is actually on the sound side of the water (I think it’s a sound??). It was a nice place on the waterfront, reasonably priced, and only about 15 minutes from the main strip of VA Beach.

The next morning we got up bright and early and very quickly got the fear of God in our eyes when we saw this…

ImageThis pic was taken right after the race, but it was 97% humidity the entire race too.

The humidity was out of control. When we woke up it was somewhere close to 92% humidity already, and in the high 70s. I knew at that moment that I was probably in trouble, despite having trained in the VA humidity for several months already. Running in the humidity is the WORST…there are only so many layers you can reasonably take off. At least in the bitter cold you can bundle up.

Bri dropped us off near the start with enough time for us to run into McDonald’s for a last minute bathroom stop. Then Meredith and I split ways to find our respective corrals and I met up with Katie.

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Me and Meredith. Scared but smiling. And it looks like I have a massive sock bun in my hair, but that’s actually just a tree.

The race started pretty normally and uneventfully. Katie and I managed to stay together for the first 3-4 miles, and were pacing conservatively so we didn’t burn out at the end of the race. We got separated at a water stop, and I waved for her to go ahead. I knew by mile 4 that a sub-2 was NOT going to happen unless I planned to pass out or die along the way, so I told myself to just keep pushing through and play each mile by ear.

By mile 8 I was already completely soaking wet with sweat. I had no idea my body was capable of such levels of sweat. It was gross. And I made sure I stopped at EVERY water stop (just for a short moment) to grab a cup of water to dump on my head and a cup of water to drink. I also drank Gatorade at every other stop. I figured it was foolish to pass up water in conditions like this.

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The race actually had a relay portion, so also around mile 8 there were a whole bunch of people who got to STOP and a whole bunch of people who got to start on fresh legs and only had 5 miles to do. This was a major downer for me and I really resented those people. The finish seemed SO far away and I was already feeling horribly tired.

I honestly have no idea how I managed to run the majority of the race. According to my Garmin, my moving time was actually pretty decent, somewhere in the 9:20s. The stopping at water stops sucked my time down quite a bit,  but I don’t think I would have been able to finish without them.

Around mile 10 I started to get an INSANE pain in my left foot. Like excruciating. The arch of my foot was stabbing me with pain and I was limping when I walked through the water stops. It was scary and horrible. However, I told myself to just keep going, and my foot actually felt BETTER when I was running. It started flaring up again around mile 12, but by that point I was pushing myself with my mind more than my body.

The race finishes on the VA Beach board walk which is nice and flat, but also cruel. You can SEE the finish line arch from just about a mile away, and it seems SO CLOSE. But my Garmin told me that I still had a ways to go, so I just put my head down and moved forward. I did manage to snap a happy photo though. This is the biggest BS smile I’ve ever given. I was hating life at that point…

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I ended up finishing in 2:07:32, which I think is pretty good all things considered. I threw the sub-2 dreams out the door early, and just focused on finishing. I was still faster than my first half marathon, so I’ll take that.

After crossing the finish line I knew my foot was in trouble. I couldn’t walk and it was SO painful. It felt very plantar fasciitis-esque. I got a bag of ice from the medical tent and then attempted to find Bri. When I did find him he took all my post-race stuff and we found a place to hang out while we waited for Meredith. Unfortunately we had to wait on the beach and I didn’t want to sit down…beach+soaking wet = incredible amounts of sand sticking everywhere. I ended up standing for a solid hour while we waited for Meredith. Turns out she also had incredible pain in her calves and could barely move forward. Poor thing!! But she did it!

ImageMeredith in pain.

On our way back to the hotel I couldn’t walk without a limp, and I felt like puking. It was horrible. The heat drained me of all energy and I was seriously worried about the foot. We went out to eat later and I couldn’t put any weight on the foot.

ImageHappy to be done, and totally favoring the left foot. Also, no idea why the heck I decided to wear jeans?? It was sweltering. But the race shirts are awesome.

All in all, I’d say the race was a good experience. I NEVER want to run it again for fear of the same terrible conditions, but at least the course was flat. I thought it was well managed and would have been a great race if the weather wasn’t so awful. Now I kind of want to run the Shamrock Half, also in VA Beach, but in MARCH, so the weather may actually cooperate.

Half marathon #4, success!

Stuff. Yup, stuff.

What an original title, right? And now, a thought dump. Since I am clearly sucking at getting back into my blog…

  • We’re living with 1 dog, 2 cats and 2 chickens (outside). That’s one big happy family.
  • Grad school is going really well so far, although it’s definitely going to be a lot to handle. I’m studying integrated marketing communications and it’s completely online. I really enjoy the flexible environment and the fact that I can continue to work full time. AND I can apply a LOT of what I’m learning to my job, so that’s an awesome bonus. My classmates are smart and talented and have been fun to interact with. YAHOO!
  • Can I just get a big ole HECK YEAH for working BEFORE entering grad school??? I can’t imagine the pressure of finally getting a job after decades of schooling. I’m very thankful to have been working for a solid 5 years.

Hi Dad.

  • I seriously love this photo of me and my dad from my wedding. I sent him two boxes of Fiddle Faddle for Father’s Day. I’m pretty sure it was the perfect gift for him.
  • While I got some serious PR awesomeness in my bright blue Adidas, I suddenly had the urge to switch back to Brooks. I kind of felt like I was cheating when I made the switch to Adidas (based on the salesman’s suggestion) so I’m very excited to be back in Brooks. They just feel like the right brand for me. And I LOVE their slogan, Run Happy. So, so true. So yeah, I am now the proud (and HAPPY) owner of these babies:

Heaven in a shoe does exist.

Brooks Pure Cadence in neon pink. They are awesome to look at, and even more awesome to run in. I sort of broke some “rules” of running by running for these for the very first time at a 5 mile race. But I PR’d so I’m not complaining. I love that they are kind of a happy medium between a “Free” shoe and a shoe with a little more support. The adidas just felt so BIG on my feet…like I was hauling around bricks.

  • I signed up for the VA Beach Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon on September 3rd. It will be my first RnR race, and I’m super excited! I’ve done several races in VA Beach and love the FLATNESS. One of my good friends is running too, so we’ll get to experience the RnR hype together. I had to choose a half to run around the end of August/early Sept to work in to my marathon training plan, and I’m so happy this RnR race is going to work out!

 

That’s it for this dump – hope to keep it up throughout the summer!

 

New Shoes

Hello Blue Beauties.

First of all, I can’t believe I’m not running in Brooks. I’ve gone through 3 pairs of Adrenaline GTS shoes but have been having some issues with my most recent pair. My purple beauties (I seriously love the look of these shoes) had about 400 miles on them, and I could just feel that it was time to move on to the next thing. The bottoms of my feet start aching on short runs, which is usually an indication for me that it’s time for a new pair.

I went to the Road Runner store to see if I could get re-fitted for a shoe. The Adrenalines served me well, but it seemed like I was having more trouble with the 3rd pair than with the first two. I experienced plantar facitis in the purple wonders and recently started feeling funny in my right hip. I told the shoe-expert-man about my troubles with the Adrenalines and he decided to re-test my feet/gait/etc. Normally they would just give me another pair of Adrenalines (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), but since I was having issues we started from scratch.

The shoe-expert-man had me walk and jog around the store and looked at my feet very carefully (I would so NOT want his job). He told me that he didn’t see ANY pronation at all…that my feet were straight as an arrow. Seriously, WHOWHATWHYHOW?! The Adrenalines are a support shoe…meaning they help correct issues in pronation and generally provide a lot of corrective support (at least that’s what I understand). Shoe-expert-man said that it is possible for feet to correct themselves, and he thought that’s what happened to me. I no longer need the support of the Adrenaline!

I tried on a bunch of different options but the Adidas Supernova Glide 4 just felt the best. They are light and airy (at least compared to the other shoes I tried) and the bright blue color is icing on the cake. So far I’ve clocked about 25 miles in them and they’re holding up nicely. I think I still have some breaking in to do, but I am confident that they’ll take me to a sub2 on March 18th. I seriously never thought I’d switch from Brooks, but when it feels right you just have to go with it!

September is the Best Month. Duh.

Where the heck has September gone?

 

Since my last post (so long ago wow) I’ve done a decently amount of things.

  • Had a couples shower in PA
  • Turned 27
  • Ran the hilliest more horrid run of my life
  • Ran a 7-miler
  • Got through a Saturday of FOUR work events
  • Had a surprise mini shower
  • Bought new running shoes
  • Got my bridesmaid’s bouquets in the mail

Oh and the wedding is now like 37 days away or something. How??? Why??? Ahhhh!

Some quick recaps…

Couples shower – ridiculously awesome. My parents were there. His family was there. We constructed a tent. We drank like 15 bottles of wine. We kicked a keg. We sang karaoke. I cried. We got more gifts that we know what to do with. It was epic and amazing.

Turned 27 – no biggie…I’m just practically 30. Geez. Brian cooked me a fancy vegetarian curry and we dined at home. He also got me a Kindle, which I lOVE. Can’t wait to bring that baby on the honeymoon.

Hilly Horrid Run – The morning of the couples shower Brian agreed to do a 4 miler with me. However he failed to mention that we was taking me to a cross country course to do it. Seriously it sucked. It was on ALL GRASS and it was WET and hilly. Imagine just running through fields of rolling hills. I don’t do that. I do pavement. The only good thing about the whole ordeal was that the run was OBVIOUSLY good for me. I was slow as hell but it completely kicked my ass. Hills will do that. I was darn proud when I finished.

7 miler – I redeemed myself this past weekend with a fantastic 7-miler. Yes, it was mostly flat, but I did it without much effort. I think the hilly run of doom really made this feel easy. I finished in a 9:20-something pace.

9/17 – the Saturday with 4 simultaneous work events going on. Thankfully I only had to physically be at one, but I did have to make sure 2 others got off without a hitch. Twas a VERY long day.

Surprise shower – One of my super awesome and amazing bridesmaids surprised us with a mini shower immediately after the long day of work events. Thanks to the generosity of her family we got to watch the University of Richmond football game from a private press box. And her mom made the cutest little treats and invited our friends. It was so cute and so thoughtful!

Epic.

New running shoes – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Thanks to the hilly grassy run of doom, my old running shoes got soaked and managed to capture a horrid stench. I was unable to make it go away…It was time to buy new shoes anyway, so I went with the Brooks Adrenalines again. So far so good. This will be my third pair of Adrenalines. Oh and they’re purple. Love.

You won't let me down.

 

Bridesmaid’s flowers.

These really need no introduction. I LOVE them. Love. love. love. and love.

I heart you.

These are from FlowerThyme on Etsy. I HIGHLY recommend the shop!

I’m off to another dress fitting…cross your fingers it looks perfect!

Shoes OMG Shoes

Since when did we get to mid-July??

Wow sorry about the hiatus.

Anyways, I’ve got some UPDATES in the house!!!!!!!

My first dress fitting is on Saturday. I have been spazzing out about finding shoes (since you HAVE to have your shoes for the first fitting) and I ended up buying FOUR pairs to try on the with the dress. I ended up using Zappos for my shoe needs since they provide free shipping both ways and have a 365 day return policy. So I went nuts and ordered three pairs and bought 1 pair at DSW. Side note: I absolutely hated all the bridal salon shoes, yuck-o-saurus-rex.

In no particular order, here are the contenders.

Badgley Mischka “Fuller” shoe. I really, really love these shoes. But I really, really don’t love the 4 inch heel or $185 price tag. But they might be perfect with my dress, so I need to give them a chance. I NEED to.

“Brie” by Touch Ups. $50, yes please. Especially for a shoe that I’ll wear exactly 1 time. These are a much shorter heel and have a nice pearl detail. They also scream WEDDDDDDDDIIIINNNNGGGGGGG!!!!!!!! They are a bit shinier in real life that I prefer, but they’d do the trick. They are also super bridal-y, which I don’t love.

“Partyy” by Steve Madden. ZOMG. I LOVE these shoes. They are a bit more “stripper”-ish that I usually go for, but the sparkle detail had me at hello. I didn’t see these babies before I placed my original Zappos order, so I ended up having to place a second order just for these. They are extremely impractical however, so I’m not sure if they’ll take the cake. I’m also unsure about the champagne color and the 5 inch heel. But man are they purdy.

Steve Madden Luxe “Glitz Pump”. Love the subtle bling, but not sure how I feel about bows. One of my bridesmaids H.A.T.E.S. the bow-on-the-toe look. I don’t feel THAT strongly about it, but I don’t want to commit a fashion faux pas either. But if the shoe fits, I’ll wear it. (Fit’s the dress that is…)

The jury is still out on this one, but I’m sure one of these lovely ladies will go down in wedding history for me. Oh and if you haven’t seen the SHOES video, you should go watch it. It’s a classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCF3ywukQYA.

Cheers!

Brooks Love and IT Band Hate

I’ve become a Brooks convert.

I used to run in Asics (not even sure what type…that’s how much of a serious runner I once was), but mainly bought them because I thought they looked nice.

Nice shoes, bad form.

I ended up with some pretty horrific IT band issues seemingly out of no where during my senior year of college. I walked around campus a lot and by the end of the year I could barely make it up and down hills. I had no idea what was wrong with my knee (that’s where it hurt) and figured that the few times a week I was jogging on the treadmill couldn’t be the culprit. The pain got so awful that I ended up seeing a doctor. I literally could not walk without pain and I wasn’t even running more than a dozen miles a month.

The doctor told me I probably had IT Band issues and sent me to physical therapy. There it was discovered that my hips are completely out of whack, probably due to the 10+ years I spent as a competitive figure skater. Falling on your butt multiple times a day can do that to your hips. One leg ended up “longer” than the other and was causing my IT band to stretch and rub a bit unnaturally (and painfully!!).

After 3 months of PT and constant hip realignments the doc gave me an insert for the shoe on my short leg to balance things out a bit more. He also told me to strengthen my thighs and to do lots of stretches.

I minimally listened to him and ended up running some pretty terrible races due to the pain.

Doctors are smart. Listen to them. I didn't and really suffered through this race.

Eventually, in summer 2010, I got smart and decided to train for races like a “real runner” and to pay attention to my IT band issues. To kick off my new plan I went to a local running store to find new shoes. And BEHOLD, my introduction to Brooks.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS

I don’t know what it was about these babies, but they REALLY helped with my IT band issues. At first I could feel the usual tightness and pain in my knee, but eventually it just seemed to disappear. Obviously I was getting stronger the more I ran, but I really believe these shoes provided the support to get me there.

I did experiment with an IT Band strap, which also seemed to help. I don’t wear it anymore, so I must be doing something right! I still wear the insert in my “short leg” but other than that, I really think the shoes were meant for me.

TWO THUMBS UP FOR HAPPY LEGS! Hi IT band strap.

Go shoes go!! Oh and I promise I have more than 1 running outfit...

I logged over 400 miles in my first pair of Brooks and loved every mile of it. I’m on to pair #2, but still wear the originals out and about.

The lesson here…listen to your doc, listen to your running store, and buy yourself a pair of Brooks!

p.s. Not that I really need to say this, but I think I’m supposed to say that I am just a straight up Brooks lover…no affiliations whatsoever with the brand!