Tag Archives: kitten

Shoe Switcheroo and Speedwork Surprises

Oh alliteration, I will never get sick of you.

Hey people! Happy Friday!

Jumping onto the blog for a quick update on running things, plus a couple of recent kitten pictures since I’ve been getting requests (and I’m a shameless mama who wants her baby fawned over by the internet 🙂 )

Unrelated photo of Lady Rainier from this past weekend in all her glory.

Unrelated photo of Lady Rainier from this past weekend in all her glory.

Shoes

I’ve recently been cheating on my Brooks Pure Connects. And it wasn’t me, it was them.

Oh dear, sweet, beautiful baby blues...I wanted so hard to love you.

Oh dear, sweet, beautiful baby blues…I wanted so hard to love you.

You see, when I first slipped into the first version of the Connects, it was like sunshine had broken through a metaphorical shoe cloud, and I was finally seeing the light. They were perfect for my foot, and I went through more pairs of them than my paycheck was happy with. Then came the Pure Connect 2s, which I figured, obviously, must be even better! I bought my first pair, and things seemed fine, except for a little nag that started in my right foot. At first, I thought it was just basic plantar faciitis that was coming from having a new shoe, but no matter how much I stretched and iced my foot (both go-to remedies for PF for me), the ache remained after most of my runs. It wasn’t anything serious, but it was annoying and although it took me a while to admit it…I had a feeling it was the shoes. Whenever I’d switch back to my older pairs, I had no issues at all, which only confirmed my suspicions that my beloved Pure Connects were no longer my ray of sunshine.

After a few months of refusing to admit the truth, I started looking elsewhere for a comparable replacement. I considered the Pure Drift, the more minimal in the line, but they were just too low. Good for short, speedy runs—not so much for long runs. And I’m a girl that likes my shoes to be able to do both. Basically, I needed all the qualities of the older Connects but without the new adjustments that were pulling on my arch.

So, I ventured outside of the Brooks family and started researching the popular Saucony Kinvaras. It sounded like they were pretty similar in terms of ride and drop to the Connects, and with so many rave reviews, I figured why not? I also found last year’s model on sale and I already had an REI gift card—making them a $20 purchase. Score. Okay Kinvara 3s, let’s try you out.

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Full disclosure: I did not love these on my first run. My feet didn’t feel very supported, and generally I just kind of felt— as Nicole puts it— like I was running in flip-flops. However, I didn’t want to write them off yet, so I stuck with ’em. It wasn’t until my 4th run that I realized that the shoes actually did feel good. It took my foot a little adjusting to not be hugged as tightly as the Connects do, but I think that once that hurdle was crossed, my stride and strike started to really like the Kinvaras. And so did I.

I definitely still feel like they’re not the best in terms of support, speaking even as a more “minimalist” runner, but they do offer what I was seeking all along—no arch pulling! I have a wide foot, and so I think by allowing my foot to spread out a bit more than that Connect 2s has made all the difference.

But, the Kinvaras haven’t (yet) gained long run or race approval. So, until I find “the shoe” that once again fulfills all my running desires, I’ll be alternating between my Connects and the Kinvaras. I raced in the Connects in Bellingham after having worn the Kinvaras for three-ish runs in a row and didn’t have any arch pain, so I think that this whole “shoe rotation” idea could be the ticket to happier feet.

This is now my life when I try to put on my shoes in the morning. Also, TEASER JASPER PIC.

This is now my life when I try to put on my shoes in the morning. Also, TEASER JASPER PIC.

I’m still hoping that the next version of the Pure Connects are closer to the originals, but for now I think Saucony can stick around to play.

Suggestions??

All it takes is one

One workout, that is. At least for me.

You see, one workout—whether good or bad—can make or break my confidence in terms of my running fitness. I’m certain I’m not alone in this, and it’s definitely something that’s both bad and good in different respects. However, I’ve found that the good workouts tend to outshine the bad ones, so I’m taking this trait of “it only takes one” as more good than bad.

Moving on.

Wednesday’s workout was a good one, a really good one. And it’s kind of helping me go back to the drawing board for both my short term and long term running goals—in a good way.

Due to some scheduling conflicts on Wednesday, I begrudgingly had to do my run in the afternoon, and we all know how I much prefer those early miles. My stomach is always wonky when I run in the afternoon too, which gravely thwarts my desire to do PM speedwork.

Nevertheless, Wednesday afternoon I had an unusual sense of enthusiasm and motivation to have a good, fast run—so I planned out a little tempo. I hadn’t done a real workout since Bellingham, so I was feeling anxious to reacquaint with my Garmin and my turnover.

Unrelated photo #2 from Bellingham. Not too horrible somehow.

Unrelated photo #2 from Bellingham. Not too horrible, somehow.

CONFESSION: I have a very, very bad habit of doing all speedwork on the…wait for it…treadmill. I know! It’s not good. And as a 90%-of-the-time outdoor runner, I’m embarrassed by this little handicap. There’s a few justifiable excuses for it…but more than anything: speedwork scares me, and it scares me less on the treadmill. That’s really all there is to it, and it’s a habit I’ve consciously decided to try and break.

And Wednesday would be the start of that scary adventure. On the docket: 1 mile warm up, 6 miles between 7:25-7:30, 1 mile cool down. I thought it would be manageable but still a quality run. I had high hopes, which helped fuel my fire to work hard. Furthermore, the results were both surprising and encouraging:

speedFirst of all: I clearly suck at following workout directions. This turned into a tempo+progression+fast finish apparantly.

Second: What the what? How did that happen?

I was definitely working for those last miles; they were not in the realm of “comfortably hard” like a tempo is supposed to be. But I went for it anyway, and I can’t say that I’ve seen speeds like that during a training run, well, ever. The most encouraging part was how comfortable those first 4 harder miles felt. It felt like I was working, but not with the same discomfort that those paces brought not too long ago. I’m not really sure if it was the perfect weather, the motivated attitude I started off with, or simply that it was a good day—but this was one of the most encouraging runs I’ve had in a long time.

First time running 8 under an hour too!

First time running 8 under an hour too!

I think the biggest difference I’m learning when it comes to speedwork, which I certainly tried to apply during this run, was to let it be okay to be uncomfortable. Not that I should relish the discomfort—but I shouldn’t hide away when it shows up. I tried really hard to keep this in mind, and I found that there was a sense of strength in hurting a little that I haven’t recognized before. It goes right along with all the cliches—what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, yada yada—but, there’s a lot of truth in it. What seems to work for me is staying in the mile and remembering that it’s outside of our comfort zones that the real progress occurs.

After runs like this, that scary 3:35 half goal suddenly feels a little closer than it did before. And yes, all after one little 8 mile run. But sometimes, all it takes is one.

That said, I’m realizing that if I want more of these speed-highs and if I want actual progress, I’m going to need to up the ante in my workouts. Setting the bar high shouldn’t just be reserved for race days, and I’m definitely going to try to break away from the comforts of my watchless, easy, go-to runs and seek out a little more hurt.

Jasper

photo 3

15 weeks, still as cute as can be. I go back and forth between thinking he’s the most wonderful, precious thing in the world and wanting to lock him in a closet. Little dude is so fun, but still a playful kitten, and he can turn into a rabid tiger at times—particularly right before bedtime and often at 3 am. Yes, he sleeps in our bed. And I refuse to lock him out. Good baby practice? Although I doubt little babies eat your ponytail whenever they get the chance. I’m certain though that he’ll outgrow his constant playful energy, especially when he has his special male kitty procedure in a few weeks 🙂

But really, how can you resist this face?

Just hanging out in the underwear drawer.

Just hanging out in the underwear drawer.

"My bed, not yours."

“My bed, not yours.”

His state of existence when not sprinting all around the house.

His state of existence when not sprinting all around the house.

"Pick me to scrub in Bailey!"

“Pick me to scrub in, Bailey!”

The calm before the storms... And fave Oiselle sweatshirt btw, coming soon in this color!

The calm before the storms… And absolute fave Oiselle sweatshirt , coming soon in this color!

Okay, okay…I’m done. For now. In case you couldn’t tell, all I do anymore is take cat pictures.

So, basically you get three blog posts in one. I wish I had time to separate them all out, but hopefully you can accept my random smorgasbord of posts.

Which shoes do you wear? Do you rotate shoes?

Best workout you’ve had recently?

Who wants to babysit my demon sweet kitten for the night ;)?

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Playing Catch-Up: Running, pets, and Boston

Hello! Long time no talk. How is everyone?

It’s so exciting that fall racing season is in full swing—it’s been fun to hear about everyone’s super long runs, tapering, and race results! I’ll admit I’m a tad jealous that I’m not doing a fall marathon (ahem, Chicago), however it’s made scheduling more relaxed and gets me even more excited for whatever’s next.

For now I thought I’d just give some updates—on running and otherwise.

Lately, I’ve been running between 40-50 miles a week, and recently it’s been closer to 50. It’s been fun, and feels surprisingly manageable. A year ago this would have been really high mileage for me, but it’s starting to feel a little more “normal” I guess you could say. I feel like I’m developing a really good base, and by alternating between speed, long runs, cut back weeks, and easy runs, I’m hoping that my base will be really strong by the time I gear up for my next marathon.

This is what a typical week has looked like lately:

M: rest, always

T: ~10 miles, no watch

W: ~8 miles, some kind of speed work, mostly tempos, and Maximum Sculpt class

T: ~8 miles easy

F: 6 miles slow and Maximum Sculpt class

S: 14-18 mile long run. I did do one random 20 miler last weekend, but otherwise I’m normally around 16

S: cross-training, normally swimming

My Wednesdays are Fridays almost always look the same, but otherwise things float around a lot. I’m starting to switch my long run days to Sunday for the fall/winter because the only thing better than finishing a long run is finishing a long run and laying on the couch watching football for the rest of the day.

Football season=Sunday long runs

So, despite the “not training” higher mileage, I do have some method to my madness—in the form of fall half marathons where allegedly, I’ll be testing my fitness.

Full disclosure/honesty: I’m 99% sure I’m not ready to run The Big Goal Time at the Bellingham Bay Half, which is two weeks from now. I could ramble away on a variety of excuses, but instead I’ll just take ownership and admit that I haven’t put in the amount of work necessary. Yes, I’ve been running and I’ve been diligent about workouts and miles, but I never feel like I jacked things up to the level I need to be at. It might have been fear, laziness, burnout, etc—but whatever the reason, the result is that I’m not feeling prepared to attempt a 1:35 half marathon in two weeks.

However, I do feel like the work I have done could be worth something, and I think I’ll use Bellingham as a fitness test and benchmark race as opposed to an A race. There is the chance of a PR (my current is 1:38:25), although I won’t be all that disappointed if I don’t break that either.

Do I want to be in shape to gut out 7:15 miles at Bellingham? Absolutely. Do I feel guilty for not being there yet? Not really. And here’s why:

I spent the summer having an incredible time running spur-of-the-moment races, spending hours in a van and on the road in two ultra relays, and generally living a life that didn’t revolve around A-race training. And it was fantastic! I don’t regret it for a minute. It was so good for my hyper-competitive self to take a break from the grind and live life a little less strictly. However, my summer didn’t come without some hard work—and in fact it left me more exhausted than I anticipated.

So, I suppose what I’m trying to say is that while I don’t feel ready for a 1:35 just yet, I do feel like with a little more time I’ll get there. I have a few more half-marathon plans up my sleeve this fall, and in no way have I discounted those as opportunities for fast races. I’m also secretly hoping that as the temperatures drop, all my hot weather training will have miraculously made me faster without changing anything else. 🙂 Point blank, my goal to get faster and to be a better runner hasn’t changed one bit, it’s just taking a little more time in the short-term than I originally hoped for.

In other news…

In case you haven’t seen on my social media posting spree:

image

We got a kitten!!!

His name is Jasper, he’s 11 weeks and 5 days old, and he’s perfect.

He’s completely stolen our hearts, and every day I love him even more. I’m also a paranoid kitten owner, and I’m chronically afraid that something’s going to choke him, electrocute him, or that he’s ill with some rare kitty cancer. This definitely bodes well for how I’ll be with a baby.

Nevertheless, he’s a happy, healthy, curious little kitty and makes my day brighter.

image (2)

He is also very helpful at drawer organization.

He is also very helpful at drawer organization.

And lastly…

photo

Stay tuned folks! Boston registration is still open for all us “barely there” qualifiers, and this morning at exactly 7:08 AM, my registration was sent in. I’m guessing we won’t hear until the end of the week, but I do know that if space does fill up…every second counts. Let’s hope that my -2:54 minutes helps me!

I do have my hopes up, admittedly, but even if I don’t get in, it felt so incredible to even have the chance to register. Two years after I ran my first marathon, I never imagined I could be on the Boston Athletic Association website hitting “submit” to my very own application. It was awesome, and I can only imagine what it will be like to actually run the race, whenever that may be.

That’s all for now! I think it’s safe to assume most people are as excited as I am about the upcoming crunchy leaves and cooler weather. And as much as I scoff at all the “scarves!” and “boots!” and “OMG PSL!!!” yammer, I have to admit that fall is seriously my jam, and I plan on soaking it up to the fullest.

Happy Monday!