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Friday, September 17, 2010

Took my Wet Test

Ever taken a wet test? No this doesn't involve a pregnancy test. It involves your feet and some water. I'm going on a running gear shopping extravaganza this weekend in Park City and I don't really NEED knew shoes but just in case I decide to splurge I took my wet test. I do this before I get a new pair of running shoes just to keep tabs on my arch and make sure I get the best shoe for me.

There's a technical way of doing this test where you pour some water into a shallow pan, get your feet wet, then step on some brown paper or cardboard so you can check out your arch and possibly trace an outline to take to a running store specialist.

What I did...
I dumped a cup of water on my sidewalk, stepped in the puddle, then stepped back onto dry sidewalk. Then I snapped a picture so I could analyze the real thing all I want.

My arch is one of three possibilities...

If you can see close to your whole foot than you have a flat arch and overpronate when you step. You need shoes that offer stability (for mild to moderate pronators) or motion control shoes (for sever pronators).

If you only see half your arch than you can opt for a stability shoe that provides a little arch support or if your a feather weight than a neutral shoe may be best for you. Normal arch runners usually can wear either one and be fine.

If you can't see any of your arch than you want to go for a neutral shoe that won't provide much arch support since your arch isn't collapsing very much.

So what do you think?

Looks pretty normal to me. Even though I'm not a very big runner (5'3'', 115 lbs) I opt for stability in my shoes so I can have a little arch support. Otherwise the inside of my left knee starts to ache a little.

Friday Fav's are gonna have to move to Monday this week cause I've gotta get packing. Have a GREAT weekend and good luck in your races!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Running at Night

Fall is in the air. In order for me to get in a long run I've got to be up before dawn and yesterday it was dark enough that I'm sure it was a health hazard to be out on the road. I'd like to keep training as long as I can before the snow starts to fall so it's time to invest in some night running gear. Good thing I've got a shopping trip planned this weekend!

With that said, I don't have enough of the green stuff to buy everything so I want to hear what you recommend. What do you wear and what is the "must have" item(s)?
  • Reflective vest (I've hated the one's I've worn in the past because they flop around so if you have one that fits tight I wanna hear about it.)
  • Head lamp (One strap/two straps)
  • Butt light (otherwise known as tail light)
  • Arm/leg reflector bands
  • Reflective Tape
  • Reflective Head Band

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Have you ever been running down a rural road in the wee morning hours and seen something dark lurking a far off? That was the case for me this morning. As I got closer and closer to this dark form it started looking just like a skunk. I've had a few encounters and a couple close calls so I started weighing my options.

I could run into the field and WAY around the skunk and hope it didn't have any family members hiding in the hay....or I could turn around and make this a out-and-back route instead of a loop...or I could just hope and pray for horse poo and keep running straight on.

I decided to go with option number three since the shape hadn't moved at all during my planning. I started repeating a new running mantra of mine "Please be poo, please be poo, please be poo, etc..." Now I was getting close enough that I was either going to have to quickly dart around the line of fire or hurdle over it. "PLEASE BE POO, PLEASE BE POO,..." Then just before I came upon it I finally could see enough to discover that it was a tumble weed smashed in the road.

WHEW! Wow, all that build up adrenaline for nothing. But ya know what, my pace for the last 3 miles was hoppin'!!! Check out my splits...

Mile 1 - 8:21
Mile 2 - 7:52
Mile 3 - 8:21
Mile 4 - 7:42
Mile 5 - 7:20 (Scene of panic)
Mile 6 - 6:56
Mile 7 - 6:42

I originally set out this morning to do my Kenyan #3 drill (see last post on hill drills) but ended up tacking on a tempo run for the last few miles thanks to the mystery lump in the road.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

STRIDE...SHMIDE - What's it to ya?

In last weeks effort to count my strides and see if I could do some tweakage (it is too a word) and increase my pace I went about it all wrong. I'm kind of embarrassed because this is the stuff I should know but it's been a while since I was in school. Which is exactly why I keep up on this hold onto some of that professional brain in the midst of Mommyland.

Here's a quick review from a couple posts back about stride rate.

"One of the most noticeable differences between recreational runners and world class competitive runners is cadence. Top level runners use a cadence of around 90 to 100 full strides per minute, compared to a rather sluggish 75 to 85 strides per minute for recreational runners. A higher stride rate encourages a shorter more efficient stride. Low stride rates are usually associated with over striding and spending too much time on the ground. Try to maintain a stride rate of at least 90 strides per minute at all running velocities. You’ll run easier and more efficiently." --Rick Morris

...and here's the information I should have remembered before I wasted my time counting strides the wrong way.
  • Stride length is the distance between successive points of initial contact of the same foot. Right and left stride lengths are normally equal.

  • Step length is the distance between the point of initial contact of one foot and the point of initial contact of the opposite foot. In normal gait, right and left step lengths are similar.

  • Cadence is calculated in step or strides per minute. (1)

My mistake - I counted step length instead of stride length. I took 180 steps per minute so divide that by 2 and I've got 90 full strides per minute. Okay, so I'm feeling much better about that number. It shows that I'm already at a "top level runner" cadence but I'm sure not running at top level speed so what else can I do to my stride? Here's what I'll be working on.

1 - Make sure I'm not over-striding. When your heel is striking the ground first this actually causes a breaking affect and slows down your pace. It's optimal to have a flat-footed landing right behind the balls of your feet. It's better to have short quick strides with a flat footed landing than long slow strides landing with a heel strike. Hey, I've still got 10 strides I could add per minute to still be "efficient" right?

2 - Get a more explosive foot strike. If I've already got the cadence down then I need to make each step more effective by having a greater push-off. Time to pull out the plyometrics (jumping drills).

3 - Try to get a higher knee lift. Hills, hills, hills. A driving knee will also help my steps to travel farther. This doesn't mean a longer stride. I'm talking about more velocity per step or covering more ground while in the air.

Here's a great article that has some great hill-drill ideas. It works for the Kenyans so why not me? I'm doing number #3 on Monday.

This quote by Phil English is something I'm going to remember while making all these improvements.

"When it comes to stride improvement, it's important to realize that no two runners are exactly alike. "I believe there is a perfect stride for every runner," said English, "but not all runners should have the same perfect stride."

I'm not going to do anything that doesn't feel natural to my body because it's my opinion that not 1 thing works for everyone. But I'll give anything a shot.

Friday Fav's

My Mom loves me. She surprised my with some new Nike running gloves. Yes even 30 year olds get to be spoiled by their Mom every once in a while.

Now I don't have to wear my daughter's fuzzy bright blue gloves from the dollar store. Not that they didn't keep my hands fact...they were outright sweaty. Yuck. This morning was the first time I wished it was chilly enough so I could test ride the new gloves, but it wasn't. I'll have my review when the time comes. Pretty snazzy though. There's even a pocket in each palm for a key (or lube, chap stick, runner I.D.). The rest of my clothes (minus the shoes) might be from Walmart, thrift store, or a pick from 1 of many race shirts. But my gloves...yeah they rock!

Hmm, not my best picture. It's pretty comparable to the smile I've usually given the camera right after giving birth to each of my kids. Just not normally accompanied with the "rock on" sign but I may have to with the next one just because of this post.

Oh and how will I know when it's cold enough to dawn the gloves? Because I bought myself this really fancy thermometer from said Wally World for a whole buckaroo. Works like a charm. Today I figured out that 50 degrees means a long sleeve shirt and capri length shorts.

See ya on the road...err I mean HILLS!


(1) -

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


In Yesterday's 5k I ran faster than I ever have before. Usually I only get to measure my 5k PR's in seconds vs. minutes because there's just not a lot of time to work with. You've got to be fast right out of the blocks since it's hard to make up for lost time when you're only covering 3.1 miles. Well yesterday I got to measure my PR by minutes. I beat my old PR by 1 minute and 9 seconds!!! I was able to cover the 5k in 20:50 minutes (6:43 pace) and FINALLY conquered my goal of getting sub 21. I couldn't be more excited!!! Except...

My hubby BEAT ME!!! Can you believe that he went from being a non-runner and in 6 weeks has been able to get to a 6:20 pace!!! He ran the race in 19:38 and even had to stop and tie his shoe!!! Obviously I picked the wrong person to challenge. With a virgin race time like that He really should stick with running. Looks like Mr. Maytag or the crew from Energy Star will not be making a delivery to my home in the near future. I think I can still get my hands on the furniture since we just plain don't have any to go in our new home but I may have to offer up some back rubs.

So even though I got pummeled by Mr. Speedy, all this motivation to train hard earned me a killer PR plus I still came in second place over the women and won me some new ear buds and $30 to Al's Sporting Goods. Not too bad. Oh, and don't forget the most important thing. I came away from the raffle with some of this stuff...

Don't ya love that the "B" forms the cyclists backside. Nice. So one day when I decide to take up biking, my rear is prepared.)

I'm not giving up on the washer and dryer though. Ideas for a "triple or nothing" are starting to form. Suggestions? I'm also looking for some new goals to push me through the fall training. What are you aiming for?

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm in TrOubLe!!! + Fri Fav's

I think I may have stuck my foot in my mouth. The big race is this Monday and after only a month to train my hubby is one quick little turd. He probably has only ran about 8 times and only 3.1 miles each time (apparently not wanted to run farther than needed) but is running at a 6:30 pace!!! CRAP! I've never ran that fast! Although on this morning's 4 mile run my last mile was at a 6:29 pace so maybe there's a glimmer of hope? Oh boy. I'm thinking of throwing this offer on the table.

If I come in first among the women I get to keep the furniture.


If he wins then I challenge him to a triple or nothing 10k. I'm pretty confident I've got him there because he's never really ran anthing over 4 miles. Hmmm.....


Should I just suck it up because I agreed to race...even though it was on his terms. ;)

Oh well. If anything I'll have a good time trying to win and I'm sure to get a PR out of this one. Also I may have gained a partner in crime. If he's this good with such little training he really should stick with it! Now I can have some company on my Saturday morning races. We'll just have to find a babysitter willing to work in the wee hours of the morning.

Here's some favorite's I came across this prepared to laugh.

Running Diva Mom - I know I said I wouldn't mention anything about a virtual race until Oct. but I at least want you to get in on this one if you'de like. -k, I'm done.

The Boring Runner - Favorite new blog that I've added to my roll. "Boring"...WHATEVER! This guy really is a crack up.

Frayed Laces - "The $150 Pit Stop Mistake." Probably one of the funniest posts I've ever read. The fact that she had to seek medical treatment made it all the more hilarious. I know that sounds mean but you'll just have to read it.

Run To The Finish - Lessons on runner's ettiquette. Gave me a chuckle as well. Check out the comments for some more reasons to smile.

P.S. I did count my cadence this morning to see if I could make some last ditch effort tweaks to my stride and get a faster pace but I'm WAY above the standard mentioned for elite runners. I'm taking about 180 steps per minute vs. the 90 steps my previous post said was optimal. Hmm, more on those thoughts Monday.

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I'm always open for some great advice or helpful criticism on how to improve my pace and I came across this sweet little paragraph by Rick Morris on No need to paraphrase because it's good stuff and not too much to take in.

High Cadence

"One of the most noticeable differences between recreational runners and world class competitive runners is cadence. Top level runners use a cadence of around 90 to 100 full strides per minute, compared to a rather sluggish 75 to 85 strides per minute for recreational runners. A higher stride rate encourages a shorter more efficient stride. Low stride rates are usually associated with over striding and spending too much time on the ground. Try to maintain a stride rate of at least 90 strides per minute at all running velocities. You’ll run easier and more efficiently."

You better believe I'll be counting my steps on my next run! If all I have to do to add a little more speed is take a few more steps per minute than that sounds great to me! Tomorrow's a rest day but I'll let you know Friday how it works out. I'm actually kinda hopin' I fall short on the candence per minute so I can tweak things a little and improve my 5k pace just in time for a race on Labor Day.

Feelin' the Love

As you may know I recently participated in the "Mama Goes Master" race and I'm pleased to announce that I WON the 8.25 mile portion. Hooray! I'm looking forward to the little prize package arriving in the mail soon. Thanks again for takin' on the RD position MCMmama! Click here if you're interested in the race results.

Also, Andrew at RunningManWannaBe sent me an email yesterday with questions about stretching technique and he appreciated the advice so much that he gave me a little shout out on his blog. It's nice to use my professional brain every once in a while since I'm usually preoccupied in Mommyland. I would love to help anyone with their training and I welcome any questions you may have. Thanks for the link love Andrew!