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Rookie mistake

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Before I even start writing here I must take a moment to log yesterday’s run on my shoe mileage spreadsheet…

So to be totally honest, I was not really looking forward to writing this one.  But lucky for me when I toss around ideas to write about my husband sometimes gives me that little push to get it on paper.  I don’t remember where I first heard the term “rookie mistake,” but it strikes both of us as funny, especially when used in the right situation.  I guess it’s most funny when used for silly things that end up being nothing more than slightly inconvenient. “You forgot to use bodyglide yesterday and now you’re a little chafed?  Rookie mistake.  You forgot to bring your swimsuit on vacation?  Rookie mistake.  You forgot to bring our refillable popcorn bucket to the movies?  Rookie mistake.

As we all know or have heard over the years, we are supposed to replace our running shoes every 300-500 miles or 200-300 miles for the more minimalist styles.  I have worked at two specialty running stores, am a certified running coach, and have been running for 29 years.  I think this somehow relates to the story of the cobbler whose kids don’t have proper shoes…

Anyway, I tend to rotate 3-5 pairs of running shoes when I am training.  Usually I have 3-4 pairs of training shoes and one pair of trail shoes in my rotation at any one time.  I like to let my shoes completely dry out between uses.  I use my running shoes for my own training runs, when I am coaching, and when I go to the gym so 3-5 pairs might seem like a lot but when the shoes are getting wet a couple of times a day, it does take some time for each pair to dry out before the next workout.  Plus, I’ll be honest, I love all the cool colors that the Brooks Adrenaline comes in now!  I have been known to match my shoes with my outfit pretty regularly.

This past year I have not tracked the mileage on each pair of shoes as carefully as I have in the past.  Normally I would at least make a note when a shoe reached 3-4 months of use to keep an eye on it.  Lately I have been dealing with some calf and Achilles tendon pain, hamstring tightness, and blisters.  I have treated it with massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic adjustments in addition to stretching and yoga.  For the blisters I have tried different socks, different anti-chafe products, and changing my socks and shoes in the middle of longer runs.

I spent most of my birthday money on a couple of new colors of Brooks Adrenaline so I have quite a few pairs “in the queue.”


It’s not like I don’t have the new shoes readily available when old shoes are ready to be retired.  Sadly I just wasn’t paying attention to the very important details of how many miles were on my shoes!  I decided this week to retire two pairs of my older training shoes and break out the new neon lime and purple Adrenaline 13.  I went for one 6 mile run and my feet and Achilles felt much better.  After a couple more runs in the new shoes I realized that many of my aches and pains and probably blisters were from running in shoes that were past their prime.  Rookie Mistake!!!!!

I share this story in hopes that others will learn from my mistakes and avoid aches and pains that really can and should be avoided with just a couple of minutes worth of time each day spent tracking shoe mileage, whether on a spreadsheet, training log, or a simple index card.  I have definitely learned my lesson and now have a pretty color coded spreadsheet to track the mileage on each pair of shoes. Run Happy!


1st quarter recap

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Back in January I was training on my hybrid marathon training plan which combined long runs, several races, hill training, and speed work.  The week ending January 15 marked my “highest week ever” (noted that way in my training log) with 63.25 miles.  Highlights of that week included a hill workout, 22 mile long run, and a decent 10K race.

My previous blog entry goes into great detail about the January 21 Ringling Bridge Run.  The week ending January 22 featured a 9 mile speed workout, some hill sprints, and the 26.2 mile run with the race in the middle.  That week ended with 57.45 miles.

I am going week by week for a reason here.  I wanted to share my build up to the February marathon so you can see the crazy hybrid training schedule I concocted.  ;)

Last week of January I totaled 49 miles with a tough speed workout (600s!) and one of my best races in a while – the Newnan’s Lake 15K in Gainesville (6:55 pace for 9.3 miles) which was followed by a 22 mile long run the next day.  Exhaustion was setting in but luckily it was taper time!

First week of February I had another good quality speed workout (800s this time), some 400s uphill, and took first overall female in the Run for the Manatees 5K.  Only 39 miles this week.  I was having some major IT band pain so I decided to switch to shoes with a little less stability to see if that would help.  I normally train in Brooks Adrenaline and decided to try the Brooks Ravenna.  Probably not the best idea a couple of weeks before my marathon but I didn’t know what else to do at this point.  I stretch, get massage regularly, and had acupuncture.

Taper time!  I do not handle the taper very well.  But who does?  The week ending February 12 totaled 34.25 miles with a tempo run, a couple short runs at GMP (goal marathon pace), and the St. Pete Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon which I ran at GMP.  It was tough to hold back during this race but I knew if I did not, I would ruin my chances at a decent marathon next week.  All this week I ran in the Brooks Ravenna (less stability).

Marathon week!  After two and a half weeks training in the Brooks Ravenna, my IT bands felt better but my left hamstring and TFL were so painful.  So bad that I decided I better run the marathon in my good old Brooks Adrenalines.  Race conditions were not ideal for the Five Points of Life Marathon in Gainesville.  It was super windy, extremely humid, hilly, and a small race so I often found myself alone with no one around to even think about drafting.  I felt very good through halfway and was exactly on my goal pace at 20 miles but that’s when the good feelings blew away with the strong wind gusts.  My pace slowed every mile from 20 to the finish.  I even had to walk in the last mile.  I felt awful trying to ascend the final incline before the left turn to the finish line.  I know I looked as bad as I felt from expressions on the faces of my husband and friends at the finish.  My goal was to finish just under 3:30.  For some reason 3:30 has been a weird barrier for me in my last few marathons so I wanted to break it.  I finished in 3:39:46.  Of course I was disappointed.  I felt like I had trained so hard and so well for this.

5 Points of Life Marathon

After I walked around for a while and came back to see the posted results, my mood immediately changed.  The winning female time was 3:20.  I was the second overall female and won $450!

After a week or so of recovery, I closed out February and started March with 30 miles including an 8 mile speed workout, a hilly trail tempo run, and the Gasparilla 8K where I finished 3rd overall female.  Since the marathon I had been back full time in my Brooks Adrenaline with no IT band pain but still some lingering left hamstring and TFL tightness and soreness that just would not respond to anything.  On March 11 Team RunnerGirl won the female division of the Sarasota Half Marathon Relay.  I ran the first leg which was about 6 miles and included the Ringling Bridge while my relay partner Kali ran the longer second leg.  It was our second relay together this year and this time we took home the gold.  What fun!  We had such a great time at this race with so many of our running friends from Team RunnerGirl – On A Shoestring – Brooks as well as Suncoast Striders and many of our local high school runners.

Team RunnerGirl Wins Sarasota Half Marathon Relay

Team Brooks-RunnerGirl-On A Shoestring

And then somewhere in mid March I decided I was going to do my first ultra…

Up to the challenge

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Sunday’s Florida Challenge Trail Run 5K at Alafia River State Park in Lithia is the toughest 5K trail race I have ever done.  This year I was defending my overall female winner title.  This year seemed tougher than last.  Maybe it was the fatigue and soreness lingering from Saturday’s Warrior Dash or the fact that the course was reversed this year or maybe I forgot the course just enough from last year…

The race starts on a paved road and basically you have to sprint a little over a quarter mile to get out fast enough to get in the position you want because once you enter the woods, it is all single track.  It is nearly impossible to pass in the woods.  The course is run over the most difficult of the mountain bike trails at Alafia.  The trails are single track, narrow, winding, zipping up and down short steep hills, covered with rocks and roots, and oh yeah, don’t forget to duck under the low hanging trees!

The trails are so challenging that you really cannot look up to see where the competition is or to glance at your Garmin.  You literally have to keep looking down so you know where your next step will go.  You are not able to get any kind of rhythm going either.  I think that’s what makes it so exciting.  You can’t really tell your pace.  I did wear my Garmin to record my data but I did not look at it once.  My knees were beat up enough from the Warrior Dash that I did not want to risk trail diving.  I kept telling myself that as long as I was sucking wind then I was running hard enough.  If I let up and the breathing got easier, I knew to press on and pick up the pace.  Somewhere in the middle of the trail section, which makes up 90-95% of the race, I cruised down a short steep hill and tried to use that momentum to get up the very steep uphill covered with wet, light colored dirt.  This was the only part of the trail that I found slippery, but then again, it all went by so fast.  I ran the race in my Brooks Adrenaline ASR trail shoes.  I am so thankful that I did!  The extra traction in the forefoot is what saved me on that steep, slippery uphill.  If I did not have that extra traction, I know I definitely would have slipped; it was that close.

That’s another cool thing about trail racing.  It seems more primitive – back to our roots.  You race against the clock, yourself, and certainly your competition, but the main competitor is the trail itself.  How you navigate the uneven terrain, sharp twists and turns, rocks, roots, and the many short, steep up and down hills will determine your success or failure.

Sunday when we were deep into the trail I felt like I could have been in the middle of the woods anywhere.  It was just woods all around us as we twisted and turned following the single track trail.  I tried to keep pushing the pace based on effort and breathing alone.  I did finally catch up to a guy during the last third of the race, maybe in the last half mile or so, I really couldn’t be sure.  But it was single track so I was not able to pass.  That is the only frustrating part of single track racing – being held back by others.  But as soon as the trail changed from rocks and roots to the more sandy area, it widened slightly so I sprinted by him partly on the trail and the other part of me was crashing through the bushes on the right.

Once out of the woods I was [doing what felt like] sprinting for the finish even though I was not exactly sure how far away that finish line was.  I thought I was in second place ever since we entered the woods so I finished strong but not as strong as usual.  The TampaRaces.com races offer a very cool trophy to overall and masters and then the top 30-40 receive a nice finisher award like a campfire mug or hat.  So thinking I was second overall female, I just cruised into the finish chute and when the finish card was handed to me, the scorer said “first female.”  I was definitely surprised and very happy to hear those words, especially since back in the woods I had already settled for second place in my mind.  I was thinking “all or nothing” and I am okay with second since I can’t even see anyone ahead of me.

The course was run in the reverse direction on the trails from last year.  I don’t know if that made it more difficult or about the same but my time was about a minute slower this year from last year.  Maybe it was the fatigue and soreness in my legs from the Warrior Dash the day before.  Whatever the reason, I was just delighted to have repeated as the overall female winner.  That’s one of the cool things about trail races – time does not really matter.  It gives you a chance to just run.

A few years ago at our Florida Athletic Coaches Association summer cross country coaching clinic, we were fortunate to have the featured guest speaker Coach Dan Green of The Woodlands High in Texas.  I learned a lot from him but one thing he said about cross country racing has really stuck with me.  He was talking about how the terrain varies so trying to compare XC times on different courses was nothing like comparing track times since everyone runs on a 400 meter track.  But he basically said in cross country you just get out there and race – try to beat the guy next to you.  Don’t get fixated on splits or times, just race.  It was so simple, yet with all the technology we have now and the focus on pacing and splits, I think we forget to just race.  I challenge you to just race – against your competitors or that voice in your head that tells you the terrain is just too tough.  Once in a while, don’t look at the watch or Garmin, don’t figure out your splits, just run hard, just race, and be satisfied with the effort.  The Florida Challenge Trail Run or any trail race near you can give you the perfect opportunity to just race.

Results   |   Photos

Run Happy

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Brooks Inspire DailyNew Brooks Adrenaline 11 is out!  Brooks seriously makes some of the best running shoes, racing shoes, and amazing apparel.  



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