So it seems that I have finally found a pair of lightweight, soft running shoes that feel good and look good! *cue the choir of angels*
Last week a pair of the much-adored Saucony Kinvara 3s arrived at my door, and I couldn’t have been happier. Everyone everywhere seems to love these shoes, so I was sure after the toebox issues with the Saucony Ride 5s, these were my shoes. They’re super lightweight and a little cushiony and have some seriously awesome colors. I quickly tried them on and they felt fantastic, so I laced them up Thursday morning and hit the trails. Omg. Oww. Pain. The shoes themselves are fine, even with the lower heel-to-toe drop (4mm, instead of 12mm like my Ride 4s) – but the back of the shoe comes up super high and gave me awful blisters after just one mile. I can’t even remember the last time I got blisters from athletic shoes. Seeing as I had run one mile out, I had to make it back… that was the longest mile ever. All was not lost though – other than a bit of heel skin – as I did eek out a mile PR on the outbound trip. And another trip back to the UPS Store.
So after this run, out of frustration, I stopped at Dicks Sporting Goods on my way to the gym and picked up a pair of Brooks Pure Cadences. These shoes are part of the Brooks Pure Project, and are lightweight, cushiony, and flexible, with just a touch of stability. And did I mention it’s like running on clouds? I (hesitantly) took these shoes out for my 6 miler on Saturday. After Thursday’s mishap, I was a bit nervous to try these out on my long run, but the squishiness and hot pinkness were just too much to resist. I did, however, put my old shoes in my husband’s car, which we parked further down the trail with some water, in case we needed it. I definitely did not need to even think about changing shoes. Aside from a little bit of stiffness in the first mile or so, these shoes are a God-send. My feet and legs have never felt so good after a run – and best of all? No blisters! But let me tell you, the neon pink shoes look superhot with my neon green calf sleeve and my neon orange shirt… at least no one should hit me while running on the road! Unless they’re blinded by my neon-ness…
Our run took us down the trail (downhill) about 3 miles, before we veered off the trail (gasp!) and onto the road up a hill. If you look at the Baltimore Half elevation map, you notice it’s surprisingly hilly. I grew up in Baltimore and had no idea Baltimore had such hills. So in order to not get our asses handed to us by the streets, we are adding more and more hills into our training, aside from the 2-3% incline the trail gives us.This hill wasn’t long, but boy was it tough. The worst of it’s barely half a mile, but it’s really quite steep at parts – far steeper than I ever realized driving it. It was definitely tough, and now we know we really need to work on hills, but we conquered it. And all 6 miles of our run. In 1:16:53. Aside from a 1/2 mile walk break just before the big hill, we ran almost the entire distance, which is a huge step for me.
As if 6 miles Saturday wasn’t enough, we had a 5k race on Sunday evening at our favorite local vineyard, Boordy Vineyards. It was a trail/road race, with the beginning and end of the race going through the fields around the vineyards, and the bulk of the distance on the paved road in front of the vineyard. When I think trail, I think grass and dirt and some bumps here and there, but this was more like off-roading than trail. There were divots everywhere, some of which could have easily broken an ankle or 50. It seemed like a lot of people were being fairly cautious on this part of the race, with good reason. The seriously uneven nature of the ground really aggravated my leg injury, and kept me in a fair bit of pain for most all of the race. But, I did something I have never done before in a race. I sucked it up and kept moving. There were lots of times where I wanted to stop and walk, but I kept telling myself it wasn’t going to hurt any less if I walked, so keep running. And I’m glad I did – I got my self a shiny new PR 36:59. Although I’m spending much of today with icebags strapped to my legs, I’m super thrilled that I’ve made so much progress in just two months. Back in June it took me 43:35 to get through the Baltimore Women’s Classic – that means that even with the injury issues, I’ve cut over 7 1/2 minutes in just 8 weeks. If I can do that much in 8 weeks, I can’t wait to see how much more I can do in the 8 weeks leading up to the half.
On a side note, I’ve discovered a wonderful pre-run snack – Oatnut bread with honey. Super delicious. And if you can squeeze it in, a banana is a great accompaniment (or, if it doesn’t completely gross you out like it does me, cut the banana up and put it on the bread with the honey and some peanut butter).