The Race that Wasn’t

Remember how I said I was running a Turkey Trot this year and was all excited to try to beat my time from the Boston River Run? I had it all planned out – I was going to show up an hour early, pick up my packet, warm up, and then race. My plan was to drive over by myself since no one else in my family was joining me for this 5k. At the last minute, my dad decided to come along to watch.

We headed over to Ayer and got there in about 20 minutes. I thought it was a little surprising that there were so few cars on the road, but figured that most people didn’t want to show up an hour early for a 5k. Similarly, there were some spectators standing along the course, but no runners. I didn’t think much of it and hurried over to the fire station where packet pick-up was.

Inside, there was a busy group of volunteers doling out the post-race apple crisp. I was surprised to not see anyone handing out race packets. I asked an older gentleman if I was in the right place for bib pick-up.

“Packet pick-up? It’s over – the race is almost over!”

And that’s when it dawned on me. It was 8:12. I had thought the race started at 9, but nope. 8 am sharp. $h!t. I think I got confused because when I had been looking for a turkey trot to sign up for, I had been between 2 options – one at 9 am and this one, at 8 am.

Embarrassed, I hurried back outside to explain the situation to my dad but found him talking to a couple of runners from my running club. He’d clearly heard the news. I had missed the race.

img_1980-editedSmiling, but I’m actually pretty embarrassed and disappointed.

We hung around for a bit and watched as the fastest runners started coming in and crossing the finish line. The only saving grace was the most adorable yellow lab puppy that was there with a spectator that I got to pet for a bit while the pup attempted to play with our giant, 10-year old lab that my dad had brought with us.

We went home after a while and I channeled my frustration into a 5-mile progression run. M1 – 9:20, M2 – 8:59, M3 – 8:58, M4 – 8:45, M5 – 8:32. The rest of Thanksgiving was a wonderful day with my family and plenty of delicious food. I was bummed about the race but I definitely did not let it spoil the rest of the day.

I’m happy to have another 5k coming up on Wednesday this week at a running conference I’ll be attending for work. I’ll have the chance to redeem myself and you can bet your life I’ll be double-checking the start time, my alarm, AND the packet pick-up times. Generally speaking, I’m a very organized person and I love to plan things in advance. We’ll call this one a wake-up call to give my own races a little more attention to detail the next time around.🙂

Have you ever missed a race? What was the cause?


Half Marathon Training Has Begun!

I ran my current half marathon PR (1:45) at the Augusta Half Marathon back in February. That race was essentially part of training for the Delaware Marathon – I wasn’t following a specific half marathon plan, though I felt very fit going into it from marathon training. To date, this is still one of my favorite races.

2016 Augusta Half MarathonWhile I have 16 half marathons under my belt, most I trained for without any real time goals. When I first started out and my mom and I ran our first half, it was all about finishing. While I did start to think about faster times with each subsequent race, I would say I was pretty disorganized about it. Generally, I would just look up what pace I needed to run to hit a PR and then hope for the best on race day. Maybe I would try to do 2-3 runs at that pace during training. But it was pretty low-key.

That’s easy to get away with when you’re first starting out and able to make huge jumps in progress just as you become more experienced as a runner, but it gets harder as your times get faster. For example, between my first and second half marathons, I shaved 10 minutes off from a 2:15 to a 2:05. For me to shave 10 minutes off my current PR, and run a 1:35, I would have to run a 7:15/mile pace for 13.1 miles. That’s not going to happen by accident.

First Half Marathon | 2 Generations RunningSerious throwback to our first HALF MARATHON EVER!! I am running in soccer shorts. Clearly still have a lot to learn.

Baystate Marathon 2016 Race RecapLost the soccer shorts and added compression sleeves. I finally look like I know what I’m doing.😉

 

I’ve already noticed that my PRs are shrinking in size with each race. From my previous personal best in the half to Augusta was a 3-minute drop. My first marathon to my second was a 40-minute improvement (26.2 miles makes for a lot of opportunity to make up time!). But my second to my third was a 4-minute improvement.

What all of this means is that at this point in my running career, PRs are only going to come with clear and goal-oriented training. I can’t wing it anymore. With that in mind, I’ve picked my next half marathon where I’ll be gunning for a new PR – the Half at the Hamptons on March 5th in Hampton, NH. It won’t be a new state unfortunately, but sometimes it is easier to go for a big goal without adding the stress of travel on top of it. And this will be a big goal. Because I am hoping to break 1:40 for the first time.

Wish me luck!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow – who will also be running a Turkey Trot???

 


New Balance Vazee 2090 Review

It’s been a while since I’ve done a shoe review on the blog, but thanks to Strava and the Back Half Challenge, I have a cool, new pair to tell you about.

img_1779I have never worn New Balance shoes before, but I wasn’t going to say no to a free pair! Not having much experience with the brand, I turned to their website and focused on picking out a speed shoe. I like the cushioning of the Saucony Kinvara for my distance runs so I wanted to pick something different. Enter the New Balance Vazee 2090.

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewAt $150, they are a pricey shoe, but given that New Balance was treating me to a free pair, I obviously didn’t mind.😉

According to New Balance,  the shoe is “…Powered by Nitrogen-infused N2 foam and REVlite cushioning, this women’s running shoe delivers a light and responsive ride mile after mile.” It weighs in at 8 oz. It has a 6 mm drop (the Kinvara has a 4 mm drop for reference).

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewI’ll admit – one of the big draws of these shoes for me was their design. I liked the patriotic red and blue, and they also have subtle gold stars along the toe. Remind me to save these shoes for a 4th of July race!

One of the other unique features of the Vazee 2090 is its “midfoot saddle”. This is the red to blue gradient section in the middle.

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewIn most of the other sneakers I have worn, the upper has wrapped all the way from the toe around the heel. With the Vazee 2090, the saddle is a separate piece, allowing it to wrap more snugly around the midfoot. I liked the cozy fit, and felt like it held my foot very securely especially during speedwork.

Vazee 2090 Review | 2 Generations RunningThe toebox is pretty roomy – a big bonus for me with my history of black toenails. While I seem to be able to get by with a 10 in some running sneakers, I opted for the 10.5 with this pair, not wanting them to be too tight and this was definitely the right choice. They fit like a dream.

New Balance Vazee 2090The ride of the Vazee 2090 is very different than my Kinvaras. They are not the bouncy, cushioned shoe I prefer for higher mileage. But for speedwork, they deliver a perfect, responsive ride. Would I wear these for a marathon? No, but a 5k? Yes, definitely.

Design: A

Fit: A+

Price: C 

Ride: B+ (good for speedwork, but I wouldn’t want to run double-digit mileage in these shoes).

Do you have a shoe you reserve for speedwork? Ever run in New Balance before? 


Kukimbe: Just Swipe Right

Hey all!

As you may have gathered from reading my blog over the years, I really love running – and racing, in particular. I spend a decent amount of time hunting for my next race. Generally this involves logging onto websites like Running in the USA or Halfmarathons.net. Then, I look on Google Maps to check out driving distance. And then I look for reviews and race recaps on other running blogs to really vet an option.

It’s a long process.

But if I’m going to drop $50-$100 on a race, I want to make sure it’s going to be worth it.

And I can pretty much forget about trying to do this all on my phone. These websites are not mobile-friendly and it just gets confusing trying to access the information I need all on the small screen of my iPhone. I ran into this issue recently looking for some of the 5ks I signed up, including the Boston River Run. Eventually I just got frustrated and gave up.

Kukimbe ReviewIf I had been using Kukimbe when I was looking for 5ks, the Boston River Run would have been presented as a possible option just like this.

I was pretty excited when the folks over at Kukimbe reached out to me, telling me about the new app they have designed to help runners find races! Kukimbe means ‘Runner’ in Kenyan, and personally, I think it’s the app we runners have all been waiting for. There are already a thousand different apps for tracking your running/training. FINALLY, there is an app that helps you actually find and register for your goal race!

Kukimbe Review | 2 Generations Running

It works kind of like a dating app (as strange as that sounds). It uses geo-location to find local races and then presents them to the user, one at a time. Swipe right for ‘Yes’, swipe left for ‘No’. The races that you swipe right are then bookmarked for you in the app. You can go back to the races you are interested in, and follow a link which takes you right to the Registration page for that race. It is so easy to use and a really fun way to browse around and discover new races in your area. I probably had a little bit too much fun swiping left and right for races.😉

Kukimbe Review | 2 Generations RunningLove my new Kukimbe shirt!

The app also has a ‘Feed’ similar to your Facebook feed, where they publish running-related articles, blog posts, and updates on the registration deadlines for major races. In the ‘Podium’ section, you can select from categories like ‘Women’s Apparel’, ‘Men’s Footwear’, or ‘Holiday Gift Guide’. You can then browse around items in each category. With Christmas coming up fast, the gift guide might just come in handy for thinking up a different type of present for the athletic/outdoorsy-type person!

One feature I’m particularly excited about with Kukimbe is the ability for users to accumulate points, which can then be redeemed for race registrations or discounts on merchandise within the app. This feature has not been fully developed yet as the app is still very new, but I think it has the potential to be really fun as well as a cost-saver on all the race registrations! The app is free in iTunes and Google Play, so I highly recommend downloading it and playing around.Runners World Classic Review 2016How can you NOT love racing when it comes with all this swag??

Which do you prefer – running or RACING? I would pick a race over a workout any day of the week.

Are you picky about the races you sign up for?

Are you as stoked as I am about this app? 


Boston River Run 5k

Happy Monday folks!

Can you believe we’re pretty much halfway through November? I can’t. But, I’m stoked that Thanksgiving is only a short 2 weeks away.🙂 I can’t think of anything better than a holiday that includes a race, time with family, and LOTS of pie. Seriously, Thanksgiving is the holiday of all holidays for runners!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This past weekend, I ran the first 5k of 3 that I recently signed up for, the Boston River Run 5k. This was a small race held at Artesani Park along the Charles River in Boston. This was also my first race (and sustained effort) since Baystate. Chatting with my mom on Friday, we spontaneously decided to turn it into a girls weekend, even though she couldn’t run (injuries suck). We had a low-key night on Saturday, which was perfect since I was pretty exhausted from working an event Saturday morning.

On Sunday, we Ubered over to the park with plenty of time for me to grab my bib and fit in a decent warm-up. It was sunny and in the low 50’s, pretty much a beautiful fall day. I jogged an easy mile and then did some stretching and drills followed by a few strides. In the past, I’ve been very  loosey-goosey with my warm-ups, but I’m making an effort to try to include them now because they do make a huge difference.

We listened to the National Anthem and then lined up. My mom got into place to play race photographer.🙂 It was a bit of a narrow bike path that we were running on, so I tried to put myself towards the front of the corral so that I wouldn’t have to weave around people like crazy. Right at 9 am, we were off!

I must have been pretty excited that first mile because I really took off. Probably a little too fast. But, the 5k is kind of supposed to be all out, so I’m still  struggling with figuring out how one is supposed to pace it. Anyway, I took off like a bat out of hell and was running hard with some very fast ladies at the front of the pack. I looked down at my watch and saw that my pace was in the 6:40 range. Eek. This was going to hurt. I hit the first mile in 6:57. As far as I know, this is the fastest mile I have ever run. Pretty exciting stuff, but running another 2 miles after that was really freaking hard.

After the first mile, it finally registered in my brain that I still had another 2.1 miles to go and that I was going to need to slow down a bit. There was a slight incline as we crossed a bridge to the other side of the river which also slowed me down a bit. I tried to concentrate on my breathing, but that was slightly alarming because I sounded like I was dying (I have mild exercise-induced asthma and it’s worse in the cold air). So I just tried to focus on the couple of runners ahead of me, trying to keep pace with them. Second mile – 7:31. I slowed down by more than 30 seconds, but this still felt tough!

Once I was past Mile 2, it all became about survival. I only had a mile to go, so I just had to hold steady and try not to fall apart anymore than I already was. We passed a water station and I was tempted to grab a cup but I knew it would probably add seconds onto my time (not really an issue in a marathon, but in a 5k, those seconds matter!).

Boston River Run 5k

After what felt like an eternity, we were finally looping back into the park where the spectators were waiting. My watch beeped for Mile 3 – 7:33. Score! I had managed to hold the pace for another mile. I sprinted across the finish, stride for stride with an older gentleman who had caught up to me during the third mile. Final time: 22:57, which comes to an average pace of 7:19 per mile.

Boston River Run 5k

Boston River Run 5kALMOST THERE!!

Overall, I’m happy with this effort. This does make me realize though that what I consider my 5k PR (the 22:29) was 100% because the course was short. My average pace for that race was 7:24/mile. Slower than what I ran on Sunday, but roughly 30 seconds faster in overall time, which doesn’t make sense. So if that course had been the correct 3.1 miles, I would have finished in 22:56, pretty much equivalent to what I ran today.

So this puts me in a bit of a conundrum. I guess if I’m being realistic, I should call today’s 22:57 my PR. Either that, or I just have to go out and run another 5k (on an accurate course) and beat 22:29. I’ll have another shot in a few weeks on Thanksgiving so we will see what happens then!🙂

Are you running a turkey trot? Have you run a short course before? Favorite type of pie on Thanksgiving? I’m a big fan of pecan pie myself.🙂


Back At It Again!

Hey Friends!

Hope you all had a great weekend! I popped in on Saturday to share a review of a fantastic new brand of compression socks, so if you missed my review, be sure to check it out!

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, one of the things I have been looking forward to most is getting back to running some speedy 5ks now that my marathon season is over. I’m very excited to officially have a few races on my calendar as part of that plan! Next Sunday, I’ll be running the Boston River Run 5k. Given that it’s along the Charles, it should be flat and fast. I’m very curious to see how my legs will handle it. I ran a different 5k along the Charles shortly after Delaware and hit a pretty big PR, so I’m wondering if I will see a similar effect this time around? Honestly, I don’t have any expectations though. I really want to use it to gauge my current fitness level. I also signed up for a local Turkey Trot 5k for Thanksgiving. That course should have a few rolling hills in it, but I just want to have fun and get a little exercise in before feasting with my family.🙂 Then in December, I’ll be running the Cambridge Yulefest 5k. This race is HUGELY popular with my running club and pretty much everyone I’ve talked to about it has said that it’s an absolute blast, so I’m pretty excited for it. So 3 5ks in 2 months! Praise the lord for short races with quick recovery times.

I eased back into some running this week, but so far, I’ve still been keeping the mileage pretty low and most of the runs on the easy side.

Monday – I flew home so no workout. But it felt good to come home to Boston!

Tuesday – An easy 4-miler on my regular route. I ran in the early afternoon and it felt great to finally be back at it.

Wednesday– I ran home from work. I LOVE that I can get in a nice, 4.5 mile run from my office! I wish I had done this sooner! I was treated to this pretty epic view which just made it that much better. I’m beginning to think Boston might just have the prettiest sunsets ever.

img_1796Thursday – Speed workout with my running club. It has been ages since I’ve been to one of these workouts! Between my travel schedule and marathon training, I hadn’t been there in MONTHS. Now that things have slowed down at work, I’m really looking forward to attending these workouts and getting more involved in the club.

Friday – Much needed rest day. I was a little sore from the workout the day before, so I think my legs needed the rest.

Saturday – Another easy 4-miler.Running RouteThere’s nothing like running in the Fall. My route is looking gorgeous!

Sunday – Rest day.

Overall, my legs are feeling pretty good. I’m looking forward to starting to incorporate some harder workouts, some races, and to start slowly increasing my mileage again.

How was your week? What’s your favorite part of Fall running – cooler temps, beautiful scenery, something else?

 

 


It’s Going to Be Legend- Wait for It -Dary: Legend Compression Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Legend Compression Socks to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Happy Weekend folks!

I’m finally back from South Carolina and enjoying Fall in New England more than ever. South Carolina was my last event of the year which means I have a few travel-free months coming my way, which I am pretty darn excited about. More time to run, relax, and gear up for the holidays!

After giving my muscles the better part of 2 weeks to recover from Baystate, I am finally easing back into my runs. So far, I’ve been keeping the mileage pretty low – most of my runs have been around 4-4.5 miles at an easy pace. I have also been pretty religious about using compression gear to help keep my legs feeling fresh.

Legend Compression Wear ReviewEarlier this month, I received a pair of Legend Compression Performance Socks as part of my ambassadorship with Bibrave Pro. Legend Compression Wear is a fairly new addition to the compression market having launched in August, 2015. I had never heard of them before, but as a fan of compression socks/sleeves, I was excited to test their product.

Legend Compression ReviewPart of what sets Legend Compression apart from other compression socks is their motto – “Compression done right not tight”. Their socks and sleeves feature 15-20 mmHg versus the more typical 20-30 mmHg compression seen in other brands. There is some belief that this reduced level of compression is more effective for athletes during exercise (I don’t know if any medical research has been done to corroborate this).

After wearing these socks on a few runs, I can safely say I love them. In the past, I’ve always been more of a fan of compression sleeves because I found that some compression socks pinched my toes and felt too tight (I particularly have this problem with the pair of Lily Trotters I own). Not the case with the performance socks from Legend Compression. They specifically designed the toe bed to be larger with these socks and added an “arch clencher” in the arch of the foot to keep it from moving around while you’re on the run. Both of these features work perfectly – my foot feels cradled and supported while at the same time, I have the extra room to wiggle my toes as needed.

Legend Compression ReviewSome other nice bonuses to these socks:

  • I can pull them on easily. No 15 minute struggle to roll them up my calves.
  • They come in a nice variety of colors, including a couple of shades of blue, white, black, yellow, and more.
  • The material feels soft yet durable.

Overall, I’m very impressed. I haven’t tested them on any particularly long runs given that I received them right after running Baystate, but I’m looking forward to testing them on some double-digit mileage. I have a feeling that these might just become my go-to pair of compression socks.

Ok, now the fun part! The folks over at Legend Compression Wear were generous enough to share a discount code so that everyone can give their products a try! Use code “bibsave15” at checkout for 15% off (and it’s not too early to start buying Christmas presents for your athletic friends/family members!).

Also, a note for all the running bloggers out there – if you’d like to get in on the fun of receiving new products to test (as well as free entries into races), Bibrave is currently accepting applications to be a Bibrave Pro for 2017! It’s a great community of runners and bloggers and I am having so much fun being a part of it.🙂

Are you a fan of compression products?

What does your post-marathon (or any big race) recovery look like?

Any big plans or goals for November?