Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What to do with those old running shoes? has the answer!

Hey Guys, I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend and is looking forward to a summer full of running fun!
 I'd like to take a moment and tell you about my friends over at  Kindrunner is the only place on the web where runners can trade in their old running shoes for new shoes.  Runners receive ‘Kindness Cash Rewards’ for every shoe they send in. In turn, they give those old shoes to their shoe donation partners, including Soles 4 Souls and the More Foundation, to benefit people in need. Now that's pretty cool! But it is more than that!

  Kindrunner also plans to change the way running shoes and products are purchased online.  Their goal is to bring the knowledge of a local-running shop to your fingertips online, with a group of runners who have a combined 40+ years working in the industry.  They also realize that there are millions of running shoes that go into the trash yearly, and think we can do something better with those shoes.  There are tens of millions of people around the world who would get years of use our of the shoes that most of us consider to be trashed... they also think that people should be rewarded for helping others, hence the kindness cash idea!

Check out their video for more info!

Kindrunner video
I am very excited to be working with these folks as a Kindrunner Ambassador! Their site officially launches on June 3rd! Here's how to learn more about them:


Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend in review

After the successful suck fest with hill repeats last week, I once again joined my friend Mika last Thursday for more half mile hill repeats.This round was even more challenging due to the fact that my dumb ass forgot that I had already scheduled speed work with a client that same morning, just a few hours before. SO, after running 3 minute repeats at 8:15 pace six times with 3 min recoveries, I got to rest a few hours before our lovely hill workout.
  It was warmer than the week prior, which just added to the fun. The hill is just a tick over a half mile, with about a 5% grade. Our goal time to the top is around 5minutes 10 seconds. I felt okay on the first three trips up, but the last time was a struggle! We stayed fairly consistent. Four repeats: 5:15, 5:02, 5:04, 5:08. Here is a pic of the aftermath:

  Friday morning started with teaching a spin class at 5:30am, then followed with a 5K run at 9:30am. I could definitely feel the previous days workouts in my legs on that 5K run! I enjoyed a delightful nap Friday afternoon in my ProCompression socks and drank lots of water the rest of the day. Bedtime came early Friday night! 
  Saturday morning I took a group of runners out for a practice run of the local "Quay 5K" route. We had a good turnout, and after a slow start I picked it up a little and did 5K in 28:45.
Me and the 5K Crew!

I spent Saturday afternoon getting my mountain bike ready as I was going to be lead biker for the North Carolina Road Runners Club Invitational Half Marathon on Sunday morning. Needless to say, Saturday night was about as exciting as Friday night was.
 The Half started at 7am and it was crazy humid with rain in the forecast. The race wound through Umstead State park, along the hilly bridle trail and ended with a short section along a greenway. The count down started, and I was off, with several hundred runners chasing me down the road. The first mile was paved, until we got to the entrance gate of the park, where it turned to crushed gravel. There was a lead pack of about five guys who sprinted out ahead of the pack early. By the first aid station at mile three, it was just me and the lead runner, and this dude was flying! We cruised through the next AS, then past AS #3, and before I knew it, we were at the turn around. The lead runner had a nice gap on the rest of the field now, as we could see who was behind us now.This guy was making me work hard on the bike, and I was a tad nervous about climbing "The Corkscrew" hill and "Cemetery" hill on our way back. We started to see the main field of the runners on our way back, and I was making sure folks stayed to their right to leave a lane for us. I made it up corkscrew fairly easily but really started to feel the burn in the legs going up cemetery hill. The lead runner behind me seemed unaffected by the hills or humidity, as he methodically pounded through the course. We leveled off after the airport overlook and flew down the trail back towards the exit of the park. There was also a 10K race, which started at 7:15am. We were now beginning to pass folks finishing up the 10K! We exited the park and got onto the greenway. The greeway was much more narrow than the bridle trail, so I had to really watch folks and keep shouting "on your left!" and "lead runner!" to clean a path for us. The section on the greenway was short. and before I knew it we were done!  Congratulations to Derek Fenton on a great race. He ran the half in 1:18:53. That's a 6:02 min/mile pace. No wonder I was tired!
  Not content with that thrashing, I met a client for a run immediately after the bike. We ran 4.3 hilly miles. I was now shot for real. Thanks God the rain held off for both workouts.
  Needless to say, Sunday afternoon was not very productive.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Fitness Friday How was your week?

Happy Friday! Got the morning off to an early start by teaching a spin class at 5:30am. Had 19 people in the class too! Back to the gym at 9:30am to teach a boot camp class, then I will squeeze in a run for myself. 5 runs and two spin classes so far this week for me, group run tomorrow after spin class and a long run on Sunday! How was your week so far?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hump Day Hill Repeats

Happy Wednesday!! Yeah, well maybe not. My friend Mika and I had this great idea to meet at 1pm today at Umstead Park to run some hill repeats. This evil seed was originally planted in our head by our friend Jim, (damn enabler!) who was running some repeats in the morning. Mika could not do the morning, so we let Jim do his thing and agreed to meet in the afternoon. Mika's text to me the night before was classic: "This is going to suck!"

Fueling up with some Generation UCAN before the Hills!

The run from the parking lot to the bottom of our hill was about a mile, which was perfect for a warm up. We got down to the bottom, right before the bridge at the lake. Let the fun begin! Here is video of the first repeat. The total length of the hill was about a half mile.

We wound up doing a total of four repeats, and with warm up and cool down we got in a little over 5 miles. Here are the stats: 
  It was a tough workout, but we survived!  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Weekend Recap: The running of my Annual 5K

 This past Saturday I stepped out of my ultra comfort zone and ran a 5K. My friend Mo is the race director, so I come out to support her, then cuss her out after I run. 5K's are painful! I have gotten spoiled by the casual start of an ultra running event. This was the second year of the race, and I still had a faint memory of the pain from last year. I looked at my schedule, hoping that I was teaching a class that morning at the gym, but as fate would have it, I had nothing going on that morning. I reluctantly texted Mo on Friday telling her I would be back for more.

    Last year's race was a showdown between my running buddy Lauren and I, prompted by some smack talking by her a few days before the race. I believe the exact phrase was "I am going to beat you old man!" Granted, she was 17 years younger than I, but a challenge is a challenge! I did wind up beating her, damn near killing myself in the process, with a hamstring searing time (for me) of 24:26. I just remember it feeling like one long 24 minute interval with no recovery in between!

   So I approached this year's race uncertain about how I was going to run it. Lauren is now pregnant with twins, so she is out of racing for the moment. I thought about running it easy and enjoying the race, but deep down I knew I would be a knucklehead and run it hard.

  So there I was, at mile number one, gasping for air at a sub 8 min/mile pace. Javier, one of the people in my running club at the gym, had just passed me. "Let him go!" my legs screamed. But my stubborn little Irish brain had other ideas, so I quickly caught back up to him, then passed him. The rest of the run was just a haze of heavy breathing, snot bubbles and pain. Last year the weather was hot and humid. This year's weather was cool and cloudy with wind. I rumbled to the finish line, just barely ahead of some 10 year old kid. 24:42, 13th overall, third in my age group. (Thank God it is a small race!) I missed a PR by 17 seconds. Not bad for someone who's only speed work has been running downhill!
  Mo was there at the finish line, watching me shake my head and mutter at her. "It's a good thing I like you!" I gasped. She smiled knowingly, secure in the knowledge that my dumb ass will be back next year for more!

     Sunday morning arrived with the same "Pacific North West" weather. I wanted to get out and run early so I could spend the rest of the day lounging, drinking coffee and watching sports. I somehow found the will to cut, trim and edge the yard after the 5K on Saturday, so I could totally rationalize an afternoon of sloth!
  I had just gotten a pair of the new Altra Lone Peak 1.5 Trail shoes and was anxious to test them out on some single track. I also wanted to flush the legs out a bit with an easy run to assess how angry they were at me. The hamstrings were a bit tight!
The New Lone Peak 1.5!

  I went out to run the Peninsula Trail at nearby Harris Lake. I would up having a really nice, easy run. The Lone Peaks felt great. The legs felt okay. 5 easy miles done! Here is a quick video of the trail at Harris Lake:  Harris Lake Single Track

So, with my annual 5K behind me, now I can focus on my next ultra event, the Black Mountain Monster 24 hour Run! Good Times!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Shoe Review: The Saucony Kinvara 4

Saucony has done it once again with the debut of the new Saucony Kinvara 4! Low drop and light-weight, (7.7 oz, 4mm offset) this is a durable shoe that is extremely comfortable to run in whether you are running  5K or 50K.
 The upgrades on the 4 include a redesigned FlexFilm upper for a nice secure upper fit and triangular lugs that provide some great underfoot cushioning as well.
  The fit felt great the minute I put them on, light, flexible and responsive. I did a few short road runs in them initially, as I was recovering from running the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run on April 6th. I must point out that I ran the entire 100 miles in a Pair of Saucony Viratta and did not have a mark or blister on my feet afterwards!
  The Kinvara 4 have the same great light feel and cushioning and I wound up running a 5 miler less that a week after the 100 with no discomfort whatsoever. I was back to full training the next week, my feet nestled comfortably in the 4's for each run.

  Double Duty:
  The next test was a 9 mile run on a Sunday morning on bridle trail. the traction and cushioning really came through on the loose rock and rolling hills of the course. (We ran part of the 100 mile course I had just done two weeks earlier.) On That same Sunday I ran in a 3 mile "Run for Boston" in the afternoon in downtown Raleigh, NC. I had originally planned to run the three miles easy, but these shoes make you want to run fast! I wound up running the 3 in a tick over 25 minutes. So much for an easy recovery run. Kickassimus indeed!

Kickingassimus for Boston!
I am 3rd from right, if you look hard you can seen the 4's!
I am very impressed with the Kinvara 4 and would recommend them to folks looking for a light but durable shoe with a comfortable fit that last for miles. Another great job by the folks at Saucony!
Learn more about the Kinvara 4: