Moving Forward

In my Marine Corps Marathon recap I mentioned I’d be doing a post on what I thought went wrong. After playing it over in my head a million times since Sunday though, I have decided against it. Thinking of every little possible thing I could have done differently or done better, and continuing to beat myself up for it, won’t change my finish time from Sunday.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to just forget about it and not learn anything from it. There is always something to be learned from every race – good or bad. It just means that I don’t see the need to dissect every factor that could have impacted my race.

Instead I’m choosing to focus on things I can do moving forward to help me hit my goals in future races.

  • Stick to a strength training plan all the way through my training cycle.
  • Do my best to get enough sleep on a daily basis to help keep my immune system strong and fighting off colds.
  • Don’t change too many things up too close to race day.
  • Get more training runs in at or faster than goal pace.
  • Conversely, make sure I have enough easy runs that really are easy runs.
  • Find new shoes and make sure they work for me.

It all seems pretty simple. Now, time to put it into action!

Hopefully, this will be my smile at the end of my next race – not just at mile 1.5!

IMG_3713

What big lessons have you learned from racing that have helped you get better?

 

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Running, New Gear and Mac N Cheese Bites…Perfection

I kicked off last night with a 7-miler at the end of my work day and finished with a few striders that left me feeling both exhausted and energized at the same time. From there the night kept getting better.

Ian and I had a dinner date planned, but stopped by Pacers first so I could pick up some new Newtons since my latest pair have seen a few too many miles. I’ve been eyeing the MV2 model for some time now. At just 5 ounces and with a zero heel-to-toe drop these shoes are built for speed and will be great for my weekly track workouts and shorter distance races. The black and green model looks super sharp as well. I can’t wait to get them out on the road. Once we got home I put them on right away and Ian poked fun at the fact that I always do this with new shoes. Apparently that’s not normal?? This is the one time I can wear them inside without them being gross, so it makes total sense to me!

newtonsMV2s

While I was testing out my shoes at the store Ian wandered off around the store and picked me up a little gift…

thestick

The Stick helps to reduce muscle soreness, stiffness and pain. It’s a great massage tool that claims to accelerate muscle recovery and disperse the effects of lactic acid following activity. It’s also a great size for travel so it will be perfect for when I’m on the road, which means I don’t have my foam roller with me and usually end up pretty sore after my tough workouts with no way to work out the pain. I’ve known I’ve needed one of these for awhile, but have put off buying it so I was so excited that Ian got it for me. He said he was thinking about buying me flowers this week, but thought I’d like this better…he sure knows me well!!

After Pacers we walked across the street to Hard Times Cafe for dinner. We couldn’t decide on an appetizer so we ended up getting a couple – turns out their appetizers are pretty filling, so that along with a couple Miller Lites ended up being dinner for me. I immediately saw one of my favorites on the app menu – fried mac ‘n cheese bites. They might not be the healthiest meal, but they sure taste good. We also ordered some Santa Fe egg rolls, which I was a bit skeptical about, but they turned out to be absolutely delicious. I highly recommend these if you find yourself at Hard Times.

hardtimes

 

We walked back home to Rosslyn after dinner and watched a few episodes of House of Cards, which we started watching recently. We’re already about 12 episodes in and you might say a little bit obsessed.

Talk about a perfect Friday night! Hope you all have a great weekend!

What’s the latest running gear you’ve added to your arsenal?

Shoe Showdown: Newton Gravity vs. Nike Free 5.0

I LOVE running shoes. They’re one of my favorite things to buy. I think most runners would agree – you can never have too many in your closet! I currently have six pairs in my rotation. Two of them are probably ready for retirement, but sometimes it takes me a little too long to throw them out. I know this isn’t good for my legs, but sometimes I get attached!

I’ve been wearing my Newton Gravitys and Nike Frees for the longest, so they’re my back up shoes right now. I leave the Nike’s at work in case I forget my sneaks and want to go for a run at lunch or at the end of the day. I left my Newton’s at home after Christmas so when I visit – especially when I fly – I don’t have to stuff a pair in my carry-on.

Here’s how they stack up…

Newton Gravity 2012

Just The Facts:
$175
Women’s Size 8
7.6 oz
3mm heel-to-toe drop

How they Lace Up:
Putting on my new Newton’s was love at first step. I got to try them out in a series of four Friday 5ks wear Newton reps showed up with tester pairs, but it only took 2 weeks – and 2 PRs – to win me over. They’re incredibly light and breathable. Like all Newtons they feature their trademarked Action/ReactionTM technology and a biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate. Check out the lugs on the bottom that make them so unique and while still providing cushioning, give you a very engaging and responsive feel making you more efficient and costing you less energy with each step. The sensor plate lets you run more naturally since it allows you to sense the ground better making your stride more efficient and more stable.

These shoes are prefect for neutral, midfoot strikers like myself. They can also help encourage a midfoot strike if you’re looking to transition, but you should definitely take it slow and only run a couple miles at a time in them until you build up and strengthen the different leg muscles you’ll engage.

Newton’s bright colors are super fun, and combined with their patented technology they make me feel like I have an extra bounce in my step. I ran my fastest 5k ever in them, and yet they also were supportive enough to carry me through a marathon (also a PR) and all the long training runs along the way to it.

Nike Free 5.0

Nike Free 5.0s

Nike Free 5.0s

Just The Facts:
$100
Women’s Size 8
7.4 oz
7mm heel-to-toe drop

How They Lace Up:
The Nike Free’s are super light and feel like there is barely anything on my feet. They’re also incredibly flexible. I think they’re a good first step into more minimalist shoes. Most of my runs in these shoes were on a treadmill since they were my back up pair at the office for when I’d fit in runs at the gym there. I was stuck doing most of my runs for that training season on the treadmill though, including three of my 20-milers (ugh!) so they saw plenty of miles.

After wearing heavily cushioned shoes for years, I was warned to ease into these, but I loved the light weight barely there feel right from the start. Again, these are best for neutral runners. The heels don’t have a lot of cushion either, so if you’re primarily a heel striker these might not be a good move.

Showdown – The Verdict:
Both shoes were great to me, so this is a tough call, but the Newtons win out. Both were pretty breathable, but the open air mesh upper of the Newtons dried a bit faster. The Newtons also force you to focus on your form a lot more. It’s easier to slip into a heel-first strike with the Nikes, which isn’t easy on the foot with their lack of cushioning.

While any specialty running store would lecture me about not choosing a shoe based on color, the Newtons fun, bright colors are definitely a plus! Sometimes it just comes down to feel and my Newtons felt great on every run, gave me support without weighing me down and most importantly – made me feel fast!