Thursday, November 29, 2012

Runner's Christmas Letter

Dear Santa,

I've been a pretty good runner this year. I completed my first and second half marathon and my first full marathon. I'm sure you know that already. I was thinking of what I would like in my stocking and under the tree and I've come up with a few things that would make me very happy.

1. Anything from Oiselle. If you want some options to choose from...

Silver "Wings Out" PR Necklace 
Big Marathon Long Sleeve Tee

Stripey Long Sleeve Scoop Neck
Trials Hoodie

2. Mizuno Wave Musha 5 ... okay so these don't come out until after your big day, but maybe you can work some of your Santa magic. Raincheck?

3. Garmin Forerunner 10. Finally, an affordable GPS from Garmin!

4. L.L. Bean Polartec Power Dry Base Layer Pants. Because it's getting cold here quick...I'm sure you understand the need for these.

5. Zensah Calf Sleeves. I'm loving the Tie-dye Violet...though the Neon Green are nice and bright.

6. Maine Running Company gift certificate. This is pretty easy for you and I can use it whenever for whatever!

Of course there is a bunch more, but I don't want to sound greedy. Thanks Santa. Have a Merry Christmas!



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Random Running Recap

The last couple of months have been a nice break from hard running. I only ran 22.6 miles in October and 34.1 thus far in November. Without a race to train for it's been great to sleep in and get short treadmill runs (2-3 miles) in during the day while the boys are awake. I'm glad that they are finally to the age when the can occupy themselves for 15-20 minutes so I can get a run in. When scheduling allows, the girls and I have still been going on our long runs on Sundays...thank goodness. I do need to run so I don't turn into a cranky monster. And with December and a month of craziness (Zeke's birthday, Christmas, and something else I can not bring myself to tell you about due to risking jinxing it), I need to run more than ever to keep stress at bay. 

My last long run of 11 miles this past weekend brought my yearly total over 700 miles. Of course this is nothing compared to Jen who put this number to shame when she mentioned she has run over 1400 miles. Holy crap! But no comparing here. ;-) The training programs I've done focus on low mileage and with my foot issues I don't think higher mileage would have done me any good. Speaking of those foot issues, my plantar fasciitis has gone away with this period of rest. Thank goodness!

I did just register for the 2013 Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler in February. This was my first double-digit race last year and pretty much my last "fast" race. 

Mid-Winter Classic 2012
You can read my recap here. It seems like I started running a lot slower after that. I think this comes with the high-mile training runs for the halves and full that I did at an easy pace. I have gotten used to running comfortably for longer distances and so now my mental toughness to break through the pain of faster runs is lacking. So of course, with any repeat of a race, I hope to post a faster time. I'm hoping to go sub-1:20, so I'll have to run anything less than an 8-minute pace (last year was 1:21:28/8:08 pace). I can do this! I still have over two months to start upping my training again. I do want to hit 750 miles for the year!

What do you prefer, fast running and it's over quick or long, slow distance?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oiselle Lesley Knicker {product review}

The great thing about running is that it makes you leaner. After going through a marathon training cycle this past summer, I found that all the pants I wore last fall are way too big. Yes, I can wear a belt, but there is only so much you can cinch the waistband until it looks ridiculous! And given that I can't wear a belt with workout tights and capris, I had to get something new for running.

Enter the . . .

I've been eyeing the Oiselle product line for quite some time, but this poor runner most often gets her running wear off the sale rack at the "bullseye" store. The line of running wear they offer is great on the budget, but I have had issues with how they hold up over time through run after run, wash after wash. When it comes to Oiselle products, the better quality fabric, construction, and performance far outweigh the (slightly) higher price tag.

Oiselle was founded by Sally Bergeson after she became frustrated at the selection of available running wear for women. There is something about how she, and others at Oiselle, view the sport of running that resonates with me. From

At various times it's our therapy, escape, religion, and girl time. 
But perhaps simply enough, it's been our sense of freedom . . . 
Oiselle . . . A French word for bird, it alludes to that 
feeling of weightlessness that most runners know and love. 
That sense of flight - when the legs go fast and the heart goes free.
I squealed with delight when my package came in the mail.

And of course I immediately put them on.

And then took them for a run!

I busted out a 6:40 pace for the last half mile!
They rock going fast!

The Lesley Knicker is made with a 90% polyester/10% spandex compression fabric that really holds you in and feels great on. Some compression wear I've tried is pretty thin and can't really be considered compression, but the Lesley Knicker uses a heavier weight fabric yet it doesn't leave you sweating. There is mesh behind the knees that helps with ventilation.

I also wore them for a twelve miler with the girls and could not be more happy with them. My legs felt great even though my mileage has taken a nosedive since the marathon in September. I had no problem finishing 12 miles strong. 

I was concerned at first glance that all the stitching might cause chafing, but I didn't have any problems. They utilize a flatlock stitching that leave the seams smooth. There is a zippered pocket at the right back that is surprisingly roomy and accessible and the waistband and drawstring are very comfortable that required no adjustment during the run. There is also some darting at the knees that takes into consideration the fact a runner's knees are constantly bending and flexing. It's this attention to detail, down to the understated, yet noticable location of the Oiselle logo, that sets the Lesley Knicker apart.

The fit is great, too. I ordered a Medium, which according to their size chart equates to a size 6-8. Even though my waist is now down to a size 4 in regular pants (YAY!), I'm pretty hippy and larger in the quads. The Medium holds me in just enough without feeling like a sausage.

Oiselle has created an incredible piece of running clothing that looks classy, performs at a high level, and would be a great addition to any wardrobe. And the surprise gift in the package looks great on the car with my runME sticker!

For more on Oiselle and their full product line, visit their website at oiselle [dot] com.

Disclosure: I was not compensated by Oiselle for this product review. I am just so impressed by the company and product that I felt compelled to share my experiences. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bond Brook Tread Fest 5-Miler {Race Recap}

Nothing like taking my sweet time to write up my latest race recap...from a race that was several weeks ago.

I joined up with my awesome Rail Trail Chicks for my first trail run in, ahem, 17 years. It was a great day for a run. The air was crisp and the sun was shining, a welcome change to the all the rain we had in October. We met up with plenty of time to get ready, but soon enough it was time to line up. I wasn't nervous at all, this was meant to be a fun run and was my first race since the marathon. Jen, Jill, and Stacy were all running as a pack and "made" me run up ahead to drop our team time (team placing was based on the top three finishing times). After some quick announcements on how to follow the trail and to be cautious about the mud on the course, we were off. I didn't feel like I was running too hard, but the first part is up and I was trying to keep Jess, who sometimes runs with us and is very fast, in my sights. After a quarter mile I was having second thoughts on going out fast. I was already breathing heavy and wondering if I'd be able to make it five miles.

The trail was very well maintained, but very technical. I don't remember running on that difficult of a trail back in high school. There were some surprise muddy spots and a lot of roots, rocks, and drop-offs, and I had to keep my eyes on the ground at all times. A few people fell, but I managed to stay on my feet the whole way. A good portion is on a single track, so there wasn't a lot of passing, but I did end up walking toward the end on the hills and let people pass me. My limited training in the weeks since the marathon and lack of trail running for nearly 20 years became apparent. 

My goal was to finish in less than 50 minutes and with my walking, I knew it would be close. Finally, the end was in sight and I saw the clock read 49:50 and ran as fast as I could through the mud and last hairpin turn to the finish. 

Stats - 
49:57, 10:00 m/m
25th out of 61 overall
15th out of 43 women
8th out of 18 in AG (30-39)

And some pictures from the day -

Me, Stacy, Jen, and Jill (photo courtesy Chuck Maletich)

Photo courtesy Chuck Maletich

Trying not to slip in the mud at the finish (photo courtesy Chuck Maletich)
Muddy Mizunos
5-Mile Team Winners...minus Stacy - we won a pie! (photo courtesy Augusta Trails)

We were quite the winning group! This is what our little group, including husbands, won: 

Running friend, Jess, won the individual women's 5-mile race (won a pie)
Joe, Jess's husband, came in second in the men's 10-mile race (won a gallon of cider)
Ward, Jen's husband, came in third in the men's 10-mile race (won a 1/2 gallon of cider
Wade, Jill's husband, came in 1st in his age group in the 10-mile race (4th overall and won a pint glass)
Their team, The Old Goats, came in first in 10-mile race (won a pie)

Another cool thing is this marked the year anniversary of running with these ladies. I am so blessed to have such great friends and look forward to many more years with them!