01/12/14

Make Your Own Screw Shoes For Under $5

Wayne Screwing My Shoes

Wayne The Handyman Hard at Work to Make His Running Wife Happy

Marathon Mama’s Step by Step Guide for Making Your Own Pair of Screw Shoes:

Step 1: Select a pair of running shoes you’d like to pimp out with grabbing power for those icy runs!

I prefer to use a pair that I’ve worn for some time but that still have enough cushion and wear to last a couple hundred more miles or so.   When making your decision, it’s good to consider what size of sheet metal screws you will be using, since a very thin sole would not work well with say a 3/8th inch hexagonal screw since it would likely push through the outer sole and into the insole (where your foot will be.)

I had hoped to use my Brooks Pure Grit 1s but the 3/8 inch screws we had purchased were too long to make it a safe option.

I had hoped to use my Brooks Pure Grit 1s but the 3/8 inch screws we had purchased were too long to make it a safe option.

I opted for my Brooks Cascadia 6 shoes for this winter’s version of screw shoes.  The soles are thicker, which made them a better match for the size of sheet metal screws we had on hand.

Step 2: Gather Your Tools

*You will need to buy a package of hexagonal sheet metal screws, which can be purchased at any hardware store for under $5 for a pack of 100.

*Power Drill (optional) – Wayne has done it both with drilling holes into the shoes and without first drilling. If you don’t have access to a drill or don’t want to use one, no worries.

*Hex Screw Driver (not optional) – This was the tool that did the bulk of the work to get the screws into the bottoms of the shoes.

Sheet Metal Screws

Sheet Metal Screws

 

Hex Screw Driver

Hex Screw Driver

Step 3: Screw Your Shoes

Place one of the shoes between your knees securely with the sole facing you and use the hex screw driver with one of the sheet metal screws and begin turning it while you apply steady pressure into the shoe. It took me a couple of tries to get the hang of it, but I was able to handle it myself after that.  I would recommend no fewer than 10 screws per shoe and no more than 16. It’s really up to you and your preferences and it’s not hard to remove a few if you find the tread too uncomfortable once you finish up and test them out.  I like to make sure to put a few along the top, a few in the middle and some at the heel for grip no matter where your foot tends to strike.  Here’s an important point: Place the screws into the lugs (raised surfaces) along the bottom of the shoe, since there’s more sole there to drill into.

Apply steady pressure as you twist the hex screwdriver.

Apply steady pressure as you twist the hex screwdriver.

Keep working until the screw is entirely embedded in the sole of your running shoe.

Keep working until the screw is entirely embedded in the sole of your running shoe.

 

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Step 4: Test Them Out

Always be cautious when running on packed snow and ice, but I do promise that you’ll soon realize that you are much safer with a pair of these babies than you were without as you take to the roads and trails with your studded shoes.  Now get back to that winter training!

01/8/14

Whoopsie Daisy! Running in Winter Conditions

Whoospy Daisy! This was me on a trail run Tuesday when my feet ended up in the air and my back was on the icy ground beneath.

Whoospy Daisy! This was me on a trail run Tuesday when my feet ended up in the air and my back was on the icy ground and I was thinking, “Why didn’t I wear my screw shoes?”

When I peeked out my window this morning the world was blanketed in sparkling white! A winter wonderland!!  About 4 inches of fresh powder had dropped onto Boise before I left my cozy bed this morning! Like a small child, I couldn’t wait to get dressed and get outside to play in it too – only these days, I have less snowball fights and spend more time running or trying to look like I’m running in the white stuff!

Most devoted runners who live in areas where low temperatures, snow and ice are part of the winter training experience learn to find creative ways (or extreme courage or extreme insanity – you take your pick) to deal with such challenges.  I’m currently training through my sixth winter as a runner and looking back at my log books has shown that I usually get some of my best mileage (though I must disclose – not always my fastest miles) in during these tricky, frozen months!

Here are some tips to keep you training hard through the winter months until that blessed day arrives when you hear birds singing, see flowers blooming and you can finally bust out the shorts to show off those sexy runner legs you’ve kept fit by keeping up your winter training miles while your less-hardy competitors were sipping cocoa by the fire and getting soft (don’t let that be YOU!):

1. Assess the situation.  If you live in an area where it’s -30 then you’ll have to be smart and factor in that frostbite can happen in just one minute with exposed skin in those frigid temperatures. If there’s heavy fog (making visibility low), and the roads are covered in black ice, it might not be a good idea to go running on the roads since the risk of a car sliding into you are higher. If you’re 20 miler is on the schedule and you look out the window and notice that golf-ball sized hail is coming down hard, it’s probably a good idea to postpone the run until conditions are more favorable.  If, however, conditions are chilly, but you have the proper clothing and equipment (such as a headlamp and reflective gear for training while it’s dark outside – which is more common during the winter months when the days are shorter) then there’s no reason you can’t keep right on logging your miles and getting in your endorphin fix for the day! Woo hoo!

2. Get the right gear! When the temps dip below 40, I like to wear a long sleeved, snug-fitting base layer like the Under Armour ColdGear shirt.

Under Armour ColdGear Shirt

Under Armour ColdGear Shirt

For 40 degrees, this might be all I need on top, but if it’s between 35-40, I like to add a thin jacket over the top like this Brooks Nightlife Jacket.

Brooks Nightlife Jacket

Brooks Nightlife Jacket

Here’s a photo of my pacer, Derek and I both wearing the Brooks Nightlife jackets at the finish line of the Antelope Island Buffalo 100 mile run in March where temperatures dipped very low and the winds were high this past year.  The Brooks jacket did well until it dropped below 25 degrees, then I needed to put on a warmer jacket for the middle of the night, below-freezing temps.

Notice I am wearing my Bondiband beanie, my sunglasses (Ironman), my Brooks Jacket, my Danskin Now tights and my Brooks shoes.

Notice I am wearing my Bondiband beanie, my sunglasses (Ironman), my Brooks Jacket, my Danskin Now tights and my Brooks shoes.

This type of jacket is great for keeping the biting chill out when it’s windy out and the best part is it’s so light-weight and thin that you hardly notice it’s there and it’s easy to stow in your hydration pack’s pocket if you change your mind while you’re out and don’t need it. It’s my go-to jacket for bringing  “just in case.”  It also has great reflective features keeping you safer when out in dark conditions and it has a small, zippered pocket (on the back for the ladies’ model and a the breast for the men.) It even has a hood that can be adjusted to pull snug around your face if the weather really gets bad, which feels great to keep the ears and lower part of the face warmer! I’ve used mine in many mid-long distance training runs and at many ultras and have lots of good things to say about it.

When the temps are in the 10 – 35 degree range, I prefer to wear a warmer jacket over my ColdGear top. Something like this usually makes me feel comfortable and cozy without feeling too hot. The jackets in my closet that fit this category are thicker than the Brooks Nightlife Jacket.

Peal Izumi Women's Infinity Softshell Running Jacket

Peal Izumi Women’s Infinity Softshell Running Jacket

I don’t personally own one of the Pearl Izumi jackets, but I have seen a number of friends use them in all sorts of bad weather conditions with positive feedback.  My own closet consists of similar jackets from Wal Mart’s Danskin Now line (that cost me about $20 each) and an Asics thermal jacket that I was given as a prize for winning a local 2 mile race last year. I look for a thermal inner lining, a high neckline that zips up and zippered pockets as well as reflective accents making the runner more visible in low light conditions.

To keep my ears and head toasty, I like to wear a knit cap or a beanie.  I have several inexpensive Wal Mart $2 knit hats that work just fine for most weather conditions and with such an affordable price, you can buy them in several colors to keep your winter wardrobe more fun! My favorite winter hat is one I earned from finishing the local Foothills Frenzy 50k.  It’s from the company Bondiband and here’s a photo of me with two of my pals at a local 60k we did a few months ago and it kept my ears toasty as always and looked stylish!

Bondiband Beanie

Bondiband Beanie

That pretty much covers the upper half of  my body for running in temps between 10 – 40. If the wind is crazy or there’s hail or blowing snow, I might also wear my sunglasses to protect my eyes or add a scarf around my lower face for more protection, though that’s something I rarely need to do in southern Idaho typical winter weather.

For the lower body, I’m comfortable wearing shorts or a running skirt like a TStarRunning skirt until temps dip below 30. Below that temperature, I prefer to wear tights. I own a few pairs of Danskin Now tights from Wal Mart that I purchased years ago for about $10 each. Unfortunately, they no longer sell the types that I wear (the form-fitting, tight-legged ones with reflective touches.) A similar pair of tights for winter running would be the REI Women’s Fleet Running Tights as pictured below.

REI Running Tights

REI Running Tights

Some of the other accessories you will need to stay warm and comfortable for your winter running are gloves, running socks, good shoes (sometimes used with traction devices like Yaktrax, Kahoola spikes or fitted at home with sheet metal screws (my own personal way of dealing with the ice at a low price! – Keep at eye on my blog later this week and I’ll share how to make your own at home for under $5) and a headlamp and clip on light for running in the dark. Below are some examples of the products I’ve used or that are comparable to ones I use for these winter conditions that I think you’ll like.

Gloves:

Nike Women's Elite Storm Fit Tech Run Glove - my favorite feature is the fleece fabric on the thumb and  inner fingers to help wipe the nose when on an icy, winter run. It sounds completely disgusting  but it's truly one of the most useful product improvements I've seen!

Nike Women’s Elite Storm Fit Tech Run Glove – my favorite feature is the fleece fabric on the thumb and inner fingers to help wipe the nose when on an icy, winter run. It sounds completely disgusting but it’s truly one of the most useful product improvements I’ve seen!

I also own a few other pairs of running gloves such as Nathan and Brooks that each have features I find useful. The Nathan gloves have a band of blinking lights on the outsides of the hands for winter running and the Brooks gloves have special features added to the thumb and pointer fingers making them useful for answering a cell phone during a run without removing your glove, which is a practical feature for a mother of 5 who sometimes needs to take a call from the kiddos when I’m running.  When the temperatures are below 20, these gloves are not quite warm enough on their own for my super chilly hands. In those times I either pop in a couple of hand warmers to keep my fingers from feeling painful or I choose to wear my much thicker Thermolite gloves (the types I’d normally use when having a snowball fight with the kids or on a winter walk where I’m not generating as much body heat!)  Though I do sweat more in gloves with such a thick thermal lining – it’s worth it to feel my fingers at times. On a really long run, I might start by wearing the thick gloves and then put them in my Nathan Hydration pack zippered pocket once it warms up and then wear the lighter gloves.   I also have had success wearing the $1 Wal Mart knit gloves for temperatures between 30- 40 as a less-costly option when the temps aren’t too crazy cold.

Shoes:

You can wear any running shoes for winter running, but you’ll likely prefer to have more tread if conditions are snowy or icy. I prefer Brooks PureGrit 2 Trail Shoes at my preferred shoe year round on the trail, but during the winter, I use them on the roads as well. Watch for the new Pure Grit 3 trail shoe to come to a running store near you in the summer of 2014.

Brooks PureGrit 2 - I have owned 7 pairs of Grits. These shoes have gotten me through 6 mile morning trail training runs and 100 milers. They are my "go to" trail or bad weather shoes. I love them!

Brooks PureGrit 2 – I have owned 7 pairs of Grits. These shoes have gotten me through 6 mile morning trail training runs and 100 milers. They are my “go to” trail or bad weather shoes. I love them! You can see the rugged lugs on the bottom of the shoe. This feature is what makes them a preferable shoe when running in snow or on rough terrain. They are also fairly light-weight, so they won’t slow you down!

 

If you’re like me and you fear the ice (with good reason), you’ll want to do something more aggressive.  Just this past week I neglected to put on traction devices before an early morning run and when I hit a stretch of ice at a high speed, I very quickly found my feet flying out from under me, heard myself yelping and then I was lying flat on my back in some pain since I landed hard on my tailbone. It all happened so fast!  Another friend of mine just slipped on ice yesterday and broke her wrist.  It happens.  Please slow down and make careful choices about where to run and how fast you’ll go when conditions are sketchy.  Last year I slipped on black ice on a trail run and pulled my soleus muscle in my calf and couldn’t run for 6 weeks. That totally sucked and it was preventable. Again – I wasn’t wearing traction devices of any kind and had assumed I would be ok. I fell.  Sometimes you’ll find (as I did in those two runs where I got hurt) that it’s hard to tell if you’ll need anything for traction or not. I ran successfully for over 31 miles on Saturday over many icy patches, the week before I did the same and the day before that I ran a reasonably fast 10k on solid ice – all without any issues.  It only takes one misstep to cause an injury, though.  My new motto is: Better safe than sorry!

Though some of my friends have had success with Yaktrax or Kahtoolah Microspikes which strap onto shoes and range in price from around $30 – $70, I’ve had good success in the past with having my husband use his hand drill and putting several sheet metal screws in the bottoms of my shoes. It sounds crazy, but it works really well.  I’ll do a blog entry later this week on the “how to” and show pictures describing the process for those who’d rather make their own traction devices for under $5!

Here’s a photo of an older pair of my shoes the last time my husband turned them into “screw shoes.”

My own pair of Screw Shoes! You can do it too!

My own pair of Screw Shoes! You can do it too!

 

My favorite head lamps have always been from the company Black Diamond. I own the Storm and the Spot. They cost between $29 – $59, the Spot being the less expensive option. I like them both, but prefer the lighter weight of the Spot and like that it only takes 3 AAA batteries instead of 4 like the Storm, though I still use both regularly for my early morning runs and long distance ultra marathons.  I’ve had many people comment that I have the brightest light in the gang when they see me coming.  I also find that using the Lithium batteries gives a huge boost to the power of the light and I like to splurge on those for races.

Black Diamond Spot

Black Diamond Spot

 

Energizer Lithium Batteries - these will help you have a brighter light that lasts longer in your headlamp.
Energizer Lithium Batteries – these will help you have a brighter light that lasts longer in your headlamp.

 I hope these tips will help you to keep on training outdoors as much as possible during the cold weather months! I am not a sponsored runner and none of the brands I’ve shared here have paid me anything or given me any product in exchange for me to suggest their products to you on my blog. I simply wished to share my own experiences and what has worked for me in the hopes that you, too, can enjoy training like a beast even in the worst of weather!

My friends and I running in the snow, feeling jolly because of the warm winter gear!
My friends and I running in December in the snow, feeling jolly because of our warm winter gear! My guy friends here are finishing up a 26.2 mile winter run and the clothing you see is what they wore the entire time. I joined in for the final 10k after crewing for them. I was warm and comfortable despite the 20 degree temperatures.

Happy training!

Christie “Marathon Mama”  🙂

 

 

02/6/13

Feeling Sexy

Me in my other TStarRunning Skirt! It's easy to run when you feel so sassy!

When I run solo, I like to have a few specific goals for my runs. Today my goals were: Run easy, keep the heart rate steady at about 75% of max and run for two hours. So, I pulled on my adorable purple and black new sexy skirt made my Biddi that I’ve been dying to take on a run, added a few matching articles of clothing (including my jazzy purple and white zebra striped Mizuno Wave Elixer 7 shoes) and headed out into the fog for a morning run! It was a cozy 28 degrees and my legs were so happy to be set free again today instead of trapped behind a pair of winter running tights!

I settled into a comfortable jog and relaxed and breathed. I love running in the fog. A little bit of hail must have happened in the night because I was running on these tiny pebbles of it for the first two miles which made my footing kind of funny, but I didn’t mind. I realized how happy I was to NOT be focused on pace for the day. I’m glad I’m training for a 100 right now and not another fast marathon. I do love running fast, but I also like to slow down and enjoy the moments, savor the morning while I run – and that’s harder to do when you’re focused on going fast! Today was good for the soul and the body — gentle, easy, light-footed and steady.

I got it in my head that I was hoping to make it down to the Train Depot, which is this really cool looking clock tower building in downtown Boise. I wasn’t exactly sure how far it was from my house, but I was hoping that running for an hour would let me at least glimpse it before turning back and it turned out I was exactly right!!!

I came in sight of it (as much of it as I could make out in the fog) right at 1 hour into the run. I saw my HR was at a 158 average which is right on target! I switched my Garmin screen to only show HR so I wouldn’t “cheat” and try to race myself back home. I wanted to practice staying in control and NOT pushing too hard the whole way.

Now, on the way out, I had a nice, gradual downhill of about 256 feet of loss, so that meant I was running uphill gradually on the way back, so I expected to find that it took longer to get home than it did to come (especially since I was watching the HR and my heart always goes berserk on uphills if I push at ALL!) I was trying to guess how much longer it would take with those factors and I guestimated it would be about an hour and 5 min for me.

As I was running along, I noticed a cop car pulled over a little ways ahead. I ran tall, smiled devilishly and thought, “Ohhhh, I hope I get a ticket for being too SEXY in this skirt!!!!” but I did not. Darn! Maybe next time! 😉

Just about two miles from my house, I noticed a small SUV with dark tinted windows pass me by and then slow down and stop. I crossed the road approaching the car and when I reached the driver’s side door and saw a very handsome, beared man, I leaned in and gave him a kiss that left him breathless!!! Good thing for me it was my husband, huh?! 😉 We chatted and then I ran the final two miles back home.

It took one hour to reach 6.58 miles at the turnaround today. I hit my front door in an hour and 3 min and 22 seconds. My ave HR was still 158! WIN!!!!!! It must have been the SEXY skirt, Biddi!!! That’s what I’m thinking…..

09/21/11

Hoka One One Test Run (Day 5 of Streak)

I got some new shoes! I’d been eager to try out the Hoka One One’s since I first viewed these crazy, boat-like flotation devices on the feet of many at Big Horn this year. I’ve since ran into other local trail runners who swear they are the greatest things since sliced bread, so, when I won a gift certificate for free shoes from Bandanna this past weekend, I knew exactly what I would cash in my prize on (and considering the grand total came to over $180!! I’d say I got my money’s worth!)

I first came home with the Mafate Women’s shoe in size 8 after trying on the Bondi B, Stinson and the Mafate at the store. The sales guy was a real gem and was really great about letting me take my time to find the right fit and the right Hoka for my needs. I’d done some homework, so, my husband sat by with a sly smile as I jabbered on and on about which shoe was for which purpose (I think I taught the sales guy a thing or two – haha!) The Mafate are the trail shoes. They come in women’s, men’s and unisex styles! The Bondi B are the road shoes (and look much smaller in comparison to the other two models.) And, the Stinson are supposed to be the best of both worlds – part road shoe/part trail shoe.  I knew I wanted a trail shoe, but did enjoy trying on all the various styles to get a feel for what they were like.  “Cushy” is the first word that comes to mind! And “Floppy” at first too, before I really yanked on the shoe strings and got a snugger fit.

After a few test runs on the sidewalk outside of the store, I ended up buying the Mafate women’s shoe in size 8 (the closest they had in stock to my usual size of 8.5.) I thought it would work. It felt fine on the little test run, but when I took them out on the trails on Sunday, I quickly developed a little blister on my baby toe.  The toe box of the shoes all seemed a bit narrow in comparison to the other shoes I own (mostly Asics Cumulus 10’s and Brooks Ghost 3’s.)

Bandanna was awesome and exchanged the shoes for the Mafate Unisex (which were MUCH cuter with the bold yellow, black and gray than the boring white and blue of the women’s version!) I bought those in a Men’s size 7.5 (which according to the tongue tag is equivalent to the women’s size 8.5 though the toe box is slightly roomier than the women’s version – so it was PERFECT!)

I wore the newly exchanged Hoka One One Mafate Low shoes today. No blisters or hot spots this time! Yay! I really do love the traction and grip on the soles! They are the best grip I’ve ever experienced (keep in mind, though, that I did all my ultra marathons and 99% of my training in plain old Asics Cumulus 10 road shoes!!) I love the wide surface area on the bottom. I never felt unstable and in fact felt MORE stable with more surface area to grab with on the downhill sections (very small today since I was running a canal path and not in the mountains.)  I’m eager to take them on a really long trail run with more climbing, downhill and some technical stuff to give a better review. I will report back after Sunday’s long run in them!

My IT band is still sore and stiff after a few miles, so from the start, I did more of a Galloway run. I’d walk for at least a minute of every mile – more if the knee was feeling off. I also walked to warm up and walked at the end to cool down. My calves are still feeling kind of sore from my race on Saturday and my 18 mountain trail miles on Sunday. Slowly but surely….. I’ll rebuild this running body!

I didn’t want to carry a waist pack today. I always carry my cell phone and a house key when I run, though, so my kids can call me if they need anything and so I can let myself back into the house when I get back. Luckily for me, I wear a Moving Comfort bra! They’re awesome! The ones I wear have two layers of fabric, so in the past I’ve used the little “pocket” that creates to stick gels during runs. I’ve done that for over a year! I’ve also put tissue or other things that I needed nearby in my “secret pockets”. Today I figured, “Heck, why not try the phone and key too?!” And, it worked beautifully! Yay!!! No more wearing my annoying waist pack on short neighborhood runs!!!!!! Who needs a fuel belt when you have a BRA, right?!!!! 😀

07/25/11

My First Brick Workout

I was chatting with my pal, Otto, on Saturday about “brick” workouts – where you do one sport and then quickly transition to another (usually biking, swimming or running.)  Last night I decided to google “brick workouts” and get a few more specifics on them. I got the gist and then decided this morning to bike harder than usual for about an hour, jump off and then go for a short run and do it all in the heat of the day (lunchtime with a temp of 86 degrees and full sun for some heat training as well.)

I took the mountain bike out first for the ride and wore my Nathan pack so I could sip water as needed (man I love that thing – so handy!) I pushed myself a bit out there. Most of my rides lately have been about 11.2 – 11.4 mph on the bike, which for me, as a beginner, feels just about right.  My goal today was to push into the 12’s, push really hard at the last half mile and then jump right into the run on wobbly legs to see what it was like.

I could tell right away on the bike that my quads were still fatigued from Saturday’s epic 20 miler in the mountains with Amy and the gang. So, I took it easy on the first 2 miles, letting the muscles warm up. Then, I pushed a bit, feeling really good.  The funniest thing that happened today was around mile 10, when I was riding in the countryside and see Dumbledore (well it looked like him!), holding a “slow” sign. There was no traffic behind or before me, so it felt funny having this little old, gray-bearded man holding up that sign just for me on the bike. He hollered out, “Young lady, there’s new asphalt up ahead. You may have to get off and push your bike!”  “Ok, Dumbledore. Love your movies and books. Sorry you died at the end” No really, I said “Thanks for calling me  YOUNG!” No, not that either. I just thought those things.  I said, “Ok, thanks!” and headed on.   It’s probably good that my Ally McBeal thoughts mostly stay private. I have way too much fun in my head for most people to think I’m sane. 🙂

I rode on for another mile before I finally came to the actual construction crew – a huge steam roller, driving backwards on my side of the road, another construction vehicle head of that one also heading my way and then on the left side of the road, under a shade tree, sat about 6 road workers, in their neon yellow vests munching sandwiches and drinks. I just kept riding, silently praying, “Please don’t let that steam roller smoosh me into a pancake!” His vehicle was SO loud, I knew there was no way he could hear me if I yelled, so I pulled to the left side of the road and just went around him.  I saw the end of the asphalt.  It was new and built up higher by about 10 inches from the right side of the road.  I think I heard one of the workers comment about my bike, “Lucky! I bet it gets sweet jumps!” So, of course, I had to ride for all I was worth and go leaping off the ledge catching some sweet air before landing with a skid on the other side, right in front of the steam roller guy and tipping my hat before zipping off down the road towards home. Or something like that!!!! 😀  And, yes, I made up that last comment. I’m pretty sure many of you will get the movie reference, though. It’s one of my all-time favorites. I DID leap off the ledge and all of those people and machines were there, though. 😀

I picked up the pace and pushed on towards home.  I gave it a final hard push in the last half mile. Total distance: 13.1 miles. 1:02 total time. 12.6 ave pace (YES!) Ave Heart rate: 151.

After I jumped off the bike, heart racing, and looked down at my feet. Doh! When I dressed this morning, I put on the only pair of shoes I own that sort of look like bikers shoes – my Sketchers!  They’re really relaxed shoes for wearing with jeans or bumming around, but I’ve never ran in them! OH well! I didn’t want my heart rate to get a break, so I parked the bike, switched the Garmin to a run workout and took off, still wearing my Nathan hydration vest (since it was getting hotter than heck and again, I didn’t want to take any extra time to go in and get something smaller like my new handheld.)

I almost burst out laughing when I realized how jello-like my legs felt after riding so hard! It was hilarious! I had read to ease into the run after the bike ride for the first few minutes, so I let my legs settle in and slowly but surely, the run started to feel just fine. I also was pretty amazed at how much  my plain ole Sketchers felt like Kinvaras! I felt like I was running in a racing flat, almost – very responsive, comfortable and light. Huh! Who knew?!

I ran along, feeling good – not great – but not too bad, either. The first mile was 9:44, then I spun around and headed back to the house, intent on getting 2 miles. I picked up the pace for mile 2 just a hair. I saw a pair of power company workers give me a funny look as I went by. I thought, “What?! Haven’t you ever seen a runner in the middle of the day busting a move?!”, and I kept going, ratcheting it up, little by little as I neared home. I went into full sprint mode as I rounded the corner in the last tenth of a mile. Mile 2: 8:41. Best pace: 5:13. Average Heart Rate: 175.

As soon as I got back to the house, I reached up to rest my hands on my head. THAT’S when I realized I’m a DOOFUS! I still was wearing the hot pink bike helmet! hahahaha! No wonder those dudes were looking me over with confused looks! hahahah! They probably thought someone had stolen my bike and I was chasing them down or something! Sheesh! I could have run faster without that hot thing on my head, I bet! hahaha!

Anyways… good first brick workout for me.  It really did feel weird to try to run hard after a bike ride. 🙂 It was fun! I’ll do it again soon just for the heck of it!

Ok, after the bike and run, it was time to cool-down. I headed a quarter mile out and practiced my power-hiking arms for the first quarter mile (a VERY important ultra marathoning skill that I’ve been putting extra effort into lately since my next 50 mile race is less than 2 weeks away and has MORE climbing than I’ve ever done in a run in my life!) In the last 1/4 mile, when I spun around and headed back to the house, I just focused on easing the heart rate back down again.  I felt good! Very proud of myself! Great start to the week!

Looking forward to a couple more group runs this week (a moonlight run on Thursday night where I think the group  is doing 12 and my buddies Amy and Jon are running home from there with me for another 4 miles or so on roads) and then hopefully a shorter, higher altitude, easy trail run on Saturday (one week before my race – FAINT!)  Then, it’s taper time! I’m sure I’ll do lots of other fun workouts the rest of the week, but I’ll figure those out as I go. 🙂 Happy Monday everyone!!! Go get active! And, don’t forget to have a little party in your head while your doing so. Smile! It makes people wonder what you’re up to!

I finished up my workouts with 30 min with the Wii Fit Plus doing Yoga and Strength. Felt good!

 

04/9/11

The Foothills in the Fog

This was the first run on technical trails since I sprained my ankle at Orcas Island in February. It was challenging. It was beautiful. It was difficult for me. There are many loose, jagged rocks along the singletrack trail and I kept accidentally rolling my left ankle on them. Leaping over a stream around mile 8, I landed on the weak ankle and let out a yelp. It really hurt. I tried the Addidas Kanadia trail shoes today for the first time (other than the one mile around my neighborhood.) There were some problems. Sand and pebbles kept getting into my shoes and socks, rubbing against my toes hard as I ran downhill. I have two blisters on my right foot as a result. Maybe it’s time for some of those cute gators for my shoes I see the other ultra runners wearing? My friend, Mark, was very thoughtful and stayed with me as I was the last pokey puppy out there today, amongst my pals. I appreciated the babysitting. 🙂

This was definitely a reminder that running trails in the mountains can increase your strength and speed (neither of which I am currently exhibiting due to my lack of recent training on them.) I’ll fix that in the upcoming weeks and months and hopefully be back to where I was by Summer time.

Stats: 37 degrees. Snow for most of the run. Foggy. Elevation Gain: 2,659 ft. (I could look down and see Rocky Canyon from the peak which was amazing!!!) Max elevation: 4,579 (which was pretty good. I live around 2,500 elevation.) 15.2 miles. 13:37 moving pace. 3:27:10 moving total time. Best pace: 5:12 (still love the downhills, but found myself more reluctant on them for fear of hurting the ankle worse.)

04/4/11

And the Bonding Continues…..

I ran on the treadmill again this morning while watching A Baby Story. It really is so convenient and I’m hoping to start growing my weekly overall miles by using the trails, the road AND the treadmill. I really liked seeing that 50 miles in my log this past week and I’d like to see more of the same in the future. 🙂

Stats: 3.25 miles. Felt: Good. Wore: Brooks Ghost 3’s (I’m really happy with these new shoes!)

04/3/11

Bonding With The Treadmill

My husband bought me a treadmill about a month ago. I’ve used it only a couple of times. When my buddy, Randy, e-mailed me tonight to brag that he’d pulled ahead of me in weekly miles by one, itty, bitty mile, I knew the battle was on! I’d intended to go running this morning, but my husband lured me back into bed for more snuggle time while the kids slept in. We spent the afternoon driving the marathon course and taking springtime photos for the web site. By this evening, I was starting to think Randy was going to win the battle for the most miles for sure.

Then, I saw the treadmill. Even though it was dark out and getting late — it wasn’t over yet! I pulled on my running clothes and my new Brooks Ghost 3’s (which I love, by the way), filled my water bottle and grabbed the remote. I had my husband put the treadmill in our bedroom facing a window (which is nice when it’s daylight out), but also facing our television, which came in pretty handy tonight. I turned on the fans to high (a feature I am so happy to have when I’m hot and sweaty), surfed until I found TLC and relaxed into watching the latest episode of Sister Wives as I ran.

I slowly ran through the full Halloween episode, where the family buys and carves 24 pumpkins! 24 PUMPKINS?! And, Wayne and I thought it was a big deal to carve five this year. After that, this odd show about addictions came on and I watched in amazement as a woman admitted to eating – yes – eating 150 squares of toilet paper a day. Ugh! And, I thought my chocolate addiction was bad! I will never look at my Charmin the same way again (and no, I don’t plan on taking a taste test the next time I’m in the bathroom!)

You know, I’ve had some reservations about my treadmill. It’s really nice. It has all the features I wanted and many I don’t even need or know how to use — but since I’ve become such an avid outdoor runner in rain, snow, heat or cold, I wasn’t really sure how to convince myself that running on a treadmill could fit into my world. I think tonight was kind of a breakthrough for me. I liked it. Yeah, I said it. I liked it! I’m still much slower on the treadmill than when I run outside, but I think that’s normal as I get used to the strange feeling of the belt moving under my feet. I don’t watch a lot of tv, so this might be kind of fun, actually. Now, I’ll be able to jump into the conversation when other gals start chit-chatting about Cody’s weird hair on Sister Wives. Ha ha!

Stats: 6 miles! That makes the total for the week -50!!!!!!!!! Woo hoo for fifty!!!!! And, unless Randy sneaked in another workout since his last e-mail I think I’m this week’s victor. Bwhahaha

03/29/11

Kanadia Tr 3 Shoes + Barefoot Running

I was really eager to try out my new trail shoes – the Kandia Tr 3, even though I won’t actually see any trial until this Saturday, so I went ahead and gave then a little test run around my neighborhood.
Now, I’d run laps around my block before and I’d noticed it was close to a 1/4 mile though a little short. I thought about it and decided to picture it like a track where the longest distance is at the far lane (if you start and finish at the same spot.) So, I went to the opposite side of the street, right along the sidewalk and started running there and kept my path as close to that as possible. Know what? Doing it that way, it was a perfect .25 miles! Yes!  I ran four laps like that in the new shoes.  They felt well cushioned, responsive and they didn’t rub in any weird spots. Basically, I’m hopeful they are another winner in the shoe search. The real test will be this Saturday when I take them on the trails and do 16 miles in them. THAT will tell me a whole lot more than today’s test run, but it was still nice to get a little taste and see how I felt about them in action.
One of the most impressive features of the Kanadia Tr 3 are the huge grips and even those little pointy rubber things you get on new tires! The bottom even says it has “Mud Surface Release.” Niiiiicceeee!!!! I can’t wait to run hard in them this weekend!
After my first mile, I decided to take the shoes off and run the last mile barefoot for foot strengthening, so I did. I was pretty sweaty after the first mile, so it felt pretty nice to kick off the shoes and socks and just run a little more freely. Now there were several little bits of gravel on the road that made me want to yelp so I kept my pace nice and easy since it hurt less if I wasn’t coming down on those bits of rock with as much force. I also stayed mindful of the fact that this is a new activity for my feet without all the cushioning I’m used to I kept things easy peasy. I started thinking about this huge grassy field not far from my house and decided I’d really like to get out there soon and try a barefoot mile on that soft surface for another experience. I bet it would feel really good! 🙂
Stats: 2 miles. 10:31 pace. Total time: 21:04. Felt: Good
03/28/11

Scared Up Some Miles in the Brooks Ghost 3’s

Now I see some unusual things when I run sometimes, but today was especially unique. This was the first time I’ve ever ran by a Hot Dog on roller skates — HONEST! Once that happened, I made sure to keep my eyes opened for more fun and interesting people out enjoying a windy but sunny spring break!

I saw a little old man in running shoes and knee socks and shorts pushing his little wheeled fertilizer spreader around his lawn – I’m sure dreaming about how green and lush it would be as a result in a few weeks. Did I neglect to mention that this same man had on a knit stocking cap and his winter coat? It was that kind of ironic weather today.  45 degrees, 15 mph winds with gusts up to 20 mph and sunny. Peering out your window, it would be easy to be fooled into thinking, “Woo hoo! Shorts weather!”, but one step outside and you quickly would realize that “Brrrr! No, it’s not!” I wore a long sleeved, tech shirt and capri tights which seemed about right. I tucked my chilly hands into the sleeves, balling up my fists with the fabric and felt just fine.

I ran up that hill affectionately nicknamed “Nemesis” while the wind threatened to blow me back down again. I saw many golfers out at the golf course today, enjoying the sunshine and the spectacular views of the valley below. I ran by a cow who “mooed” at me. I mooed back. I was chased down by a weenie dog, but it was a pretty fair match seeing as how we both have stubby legs. I also saw a little boy on a pogo stick and really, really wanted to ask for a turn, but controlled the urge.

It was a good run! The new Brooks Ghost 3 running shoes did a fine job! I hardly noticed them! That’s always the whole point, isn’t it? To find shoes that make you forget about your feet so you can focus on moving forward. So, if you’re a neutral runner who likes cushion, a wide toe box, a snug heel cup and a lacing system that doesn’t make your toes go numb, I’d recommend trying on a pair of these.

One more fun thing to share.  I have this phenomenal running friend named Lynette. She’s a fellow mom, an ultra -runner with a capital “U” (this past weekend she finished yet another 100 mile race and earned another one of those coveted belt buckles hard core ultra runners lust for) and she’s even a college professor – of Chemistry!  In addition to all of those honorable achievements and claims to fame, she is also known amongst my running pals as the “Vera Wang” of ultra runner fashion! She designs and wears the most adorable tutus for her races. I remember the first time I spotted her. It was the Weiser River 50k in April of last year. It was my first official ultra and I was scared. But, I saw this woman in this gorgeous pink and red fluffy tutu gracefully running along and all I could do was smile. She brought a lot of joy to me that first race and since then we’ve become friends, so I’ve been able to admire even more of her lovely tutus (even on the likes of her main running buddy and my super hero, Dennis – who ALSO did the 100 miler this past weekend — all while wearing one of Lynette’s tutus.)   Lynette had something special planned for this past weekend. Since the race is a 100 mile event, it happens through the day and the night. She’d rigged up her tutu with glow sticks so that she glowed in the dark as she racked up the miles. How fun is that?!

Anyways… I’ve been thinking about a way to help me really enjoy my upcoming marathon – the Lake Lowell one that I’m also directing. I think the pressures of the planning have kept me from remembering why I agreed to do this in the first place — because I love running around Lake Lowell and I wanted to share that with others.

I ordered my first tutu from Lynette today. I asked for lots of neon, loads of colors! I really think that just like that first time I saw Lynette bounding by in her lovely designer-wear tutu and it brought joy to my heart, that wearing something so colorful and fun will also help me to remember why I’m there and why I do what I do — because girls (and Dennis) just wanna have FUN ………and feel pretty, oh so pretty! 😀

Stats: 7.33 miles. 11:34 pace. 1:24 total time. Felt: A little sore, but slowly rebuilding the mileage and strength again.