Monthly Archives: July, 2012

A weird run brought to you by NASA technology

After work today I came in to my house to come home to a very nice surprise. On the bench by the doorway lay a pair of new LunarSwift 2’s that I had ordered a week or so ago. I had originally planned to run anyways and, of course, excited by the arrival of my new shoes, I decided to take them for a spin. 

Straight off they looked kind of big. It might have been the color, red; they reminded me sort of like clown shoes but much more stylish. I slide them on and tightened the laces as I do with all my running shoes- not too tight and not too loose. Weird, they felt like the heel were slipping but the toe room was similar to all my shoes. I tightened them more before I went out for a run. 

First impressions for the first few steps. Stiff but responsive. This is my first venture into Lunar technology and I realize they are mainly more supportive. I come from more neutral cushioning shoes/minimalist shoes. I ran on and hit a patch of gravel that had uneven terrain. I thought great, stiff shoe! It’s gonna be a hard ride in there. Ran through it with a more flexible than expected ride. Flexible, but supportive.

When I hit about the mile point I noticed my feet started aching. New technology or poor lacing? Initially, I noticed that the lacing pattern of this shoe was pretty simplistic. I honestly think it could have benefited by adding another set of eyelets on top or at least a double eyelet at top loop. The shoes just didn’t feel locked in. I loosened my shoes and trekked on. No more aching. And oddly enough, at the end of my run the heel and the shoe in general felt more snug on my foot. 

Truthfully for most of this short run (only 3 miles) I was more concerned about how the shoe felt and when this happens, I usually suffer time wise. Between my re-lacing, achy feet, and preoccupation on feel, I definitely thought my time would suffer. I know I said that the shoe felt stiff yet responsive. But, if you could imagine, even while being responsive I still felt as if I was going slow. Surprise, Surprise! I actually finished my 3 mile jog in under 30 minutes (26:45 to be exact). Usually during my first run in a shoe I take it slow and I have generally ran, for my first few runs in a new shoe, 9:30-10:30 minute miles just to break them in.  Surprisingly, I went a lot faster and didn’t feel any worse than usual. Could be the shoe, and it could be my attention to speed work as of late. But nonetheless, something to take note of. 

During my run, I liked the feel but didn’t love it. I am used to more flexible shoes. Though stiff, they were responsive and gave the feeling of a bounce back. Just by the results of my first run, I think I should pay more attention to the lunar line, or at least this pair that I have now. 

In summary. LunarSwift 2. Stiff but responsive. Felt slow but performed fast. Felt loose initially, tightened the shoe, felt too tight, loosened the shoe then felt snug by the end of the run. 

Lunar foam was developed by NASA and this shoe is definitely “alien” to me. The dynamic support definitely kicked in. The shoe seemed to just self correct itself. I hope to really break these in and hit their “magic” phase where I am sure I will fall in love with these shoes.

Onward and Upward

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File this under “problem”? Or part of the territory?

It’s been about 2 months since I started running. I used to just incorporate it into my gym routines but now find that I am running about the same amount as I weight train.  The more runs I do, the stronger I get. My endurance grows and so does my speed. I mean, I have always had speed-I used to run sprints in high school but the endurance has caught me by surprise. I am seeing more of my city. I am learning more about myself. All great things just from simply placing one foot in front of the other.

I mentioned before that I was somewhat of a perfectionist and a borderline OCD type when it comes to an activity that I am serious about. In high school it was Basketball. Wake up-think about basketball. At school-think about playing basketball. After school-basketball practice. At home-watch basketball and research about all things basketball. Now, as of late I have turned to running and fitness. I am always looking up on the internet ways to better myself as a runner. Looking at new technology, new training tips, and new gear in hopes of getting faster and more fit.

I mentioned before that I was a  shoe fanatic. And, “unfortunately”, this has only grown worse with running. There is a plethora of information out there regarding best running shoes and best running styles. I have recently jumped on the minimalist shoe bandwagon-I started with the Saucony Hattori’s and recently purchased a pair of Kinvara 2’s. Before that I had Vomero 6’s and Nimbus 11’s that I rotated for the past year and a half; remember I mainly ran as a warm up for my weight training sessions. Those shoes have no been relegated to my work shoes. My experience with the Nimbus 11’s were good so I picked up two pairs of Nimbus 12’s and for the hell of it decided to try Saucony Triumph 8’s. What can I say they were on for such a great deal at my running retailer I could not resist.

So, here’s a breakdown. Hattori’s-Love. Kinvara-Love. Nimbus 12 (x2)-Love. Triumph’s-Love. What can I say? I now know and have decided that specific shoes will play different roles in my training. Hattori and Kinvara for speed work. Then the more traditional cushioning shoes (Nimbus and Triumph) will be for my long runs. And get this…I just ordered Brooks PureFlow’s and Nike LunarSwift 2+ online. That’s 7 pairs of shoes in the last 3 or so months!!! Granted they were all way below MSRP, but still. This is a problem right?

What do you guys think? Should I settle with one or two go to pairs of shoes? I definitely think for speed work I will use minimalist shoes and for long runs I will stick to more cushioned shoes. I am a neutral runner who strikes mid-forefoot, BTW. Do you think I am still in the “trial and error” period?-I think that is the answer as I am very “green” as a runner.

So here is the question…

File this under “problem”? Or part of the territory?

Can’t wait to hear what you all have to say.

Onward and Upward!!!

Running is H.A.T.E.

Running is HATE. No, I do not hate running and running is not another word for hate. Rather, running to me is now Honoured As The Experience.

As my endurance and speed grows I am now better able to enjoy my beautiful city much more than in the past. Vancouver is full of great majestic landscapes and quite often I, like many Vancouverites, take our own backyard for granted. We go in vacations to warmer destinations that offer beautiful beaches- my counter is Kits beach, Lacarno, English Bay, or Spanish Banks. And what happens when you look due east? You see our beautiful skyline.

You go to places like Los Angeles to experience shopping and a chance to gaze at stars. The bad side of this is that infamous LA smog. My counter is Robson Street, Main street, or 4th Avenue. Considerably less smog here. That means cleaner air and more desirable “hot” weather.

Vancouver is so beautiful that you just get spoiled over time. You drive to work over the downtown bridges and you forget to really take in the majesty and complexed beauty around you. It’s the perfect mix of nature and metropolis. Yin and yang.

I usually on really fall in love with our city during big events or when I return from a vacation. When you go away you become used to the same flat beaches, palm trees and hot climates of the tropics. When you return to Vancouver you see huge mountains, breathe fresh air, and feel “just” right in our dynamic weather. You are immersed in many diverse cultures, eat such different foods, and are engulfed by our eclectic landscape. But, since I started running around my fine city, I have begun to fall in love with it more and more each day. Running has allowed me to reconnect with myself and reconnect with my environment. It is starting to enable me to truly take in and experience my amazing city.

Running is Honoured As The Experience.

Onward and Upward.

BLISS-ter

Barefoot running has gained steam in the past few years. Brands have slowly began to put some crazy research into minimalist shoes and their advantages over conventional running shoes. I have jumped on the bandwagon to see what it was all about.

My weapon of choice was the Saucony Hattori. A super light shoe, only weighting in at about 4.4 ounces (male size 9) it is one of the lightest runners out on the market today. They do fit like a sock and because of this, on my first run in them I decided to go barefoot in them. Felt great for the first 2 miles, but after I developed a blister at the junction between my heel bone and achilles tendon. This was caused by the lining of the shoe. I had to take the shoes off and readjust and eventually had to stop my run. In short, the fix was to wear thin socks and tighten the heel lock velcro feature on the back. As of late I have been able to wear the shoe without socks without experiencing any blistering simply by tightening the heel lock velcro very snugly.

Since I have had luck with running barefoot in the Hattori, I decided to try the barefoot approach with my more conventional,.heavy cushioning Nimbus 12. Again, it felt okay for the first few miles. I felt kind of off once I tried the shoe on. I don’t know, it felt like my feet were kind of slipping even when I was walking to my run’s start point. I guess I should have taken that as a warning because after the 4.5 mile mark, I started to feel blisters forming on my insteps bilaterally. I completed my 10K run and when I took off my shoe I did indeed have small blisters on both insteps. 

I am confident that this will be fixed with wearing socks. 

I realize that blisters are an injury, but I kind of felt that it was part of my initiation as a runner. Kind of a morbid thought, I know. 

In the next few weeks I hope to increase my long run to about 10 miles. The 6.2 mile distance has been good so far and I feel like I can do more. Wish me luck.

Onward and Upward!

…and another one

So after my very first 10k long run I decided to go to the gym. Fair enough. I wasn’t sore post run, nor was a sore after the gym. That included a 2 mile cool down run. I guess I thought I was Superman because I decided to do yet another 10k the following day. Felt fine still. My time even improved slightly from the day prior.

But man, oh man! My calves felt like they were going to explode the next day after that. Needless to say I had to rest up because I think I over did it.

One day’s rest and I’m back to the gym. I’ve been feeling as if I had to catch up as I missed a whole week a few weeks back due to sickness. I was doing a few two-a-days a few times a week. My body was generally ok but my calves were shot. That rest day really helped as my calves feel happy now.

Lesson learned. Don’t be a rock star!!!

Onward and upward.

Midnight run

I do not know why but I decided to go for a midnight run-technically I started running at 1 am but still. No, I am not an insomniac. What makes this run crazier was the fact that I did it while on break from work. Let me tell you, the air during this time was amazing. I felt as if very very high quality oxygen was entering my lungs propelling me onward with it’s energizing powers. Like most of my runs, my legs felt dead in the beginning. But after about 2 miles I hit my stride. I ran around Vancouver with no real route planned. I took a few lefts and a few rights. Made a few loops, went up hills, went down some. A pretty helter skelter kind of run. I had no real goal for the run. I just felt good after 2 miles so I just kept going. At about the 3.5 mile mark I decided to go for a goal of 6.2 miles (or 10Km).Previous to this my longest run was 5.25 km.

I posted earlier about wondering if I should enter a 10k in October. I finally got some people from work to give me a tentative “yes”. I think this hyped me up and caused me to run this 10k at 1 in the morning. I took it slow at first…I think the first few miles were at 10:30-10:45/mile pace. Then after about mile 4 I cranked it up a bit and ended up with an average speed 9:45/mile. I finished the 10K at just over 1 hour.

 

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I guess I am going to do that 10K. Hopefully my training goes well.

 

Onward and Upward

The Decision. To enter, or not to enter, that is the question.

To enter, or not to enter, that is the question.

This isn’t as big of a decision as Lebron James’ melodrama from two summers ago. And unfortunately, this decision does not come with a lucrative multi-million dollar contract. I am not even taking my talents to South Beach. I am staying right here in Vancouver.

This is a much simpler and is a more low-key decision that was only a private matter, until now. I have decided to train for my first 10 K run. I have not formally signed up for the run, but I think committing mentally is a huge step. I do not plan on starting my actual 10 k training until mid-August. The race is on October 13 here in my hometown of Vancouver. It has an entrance fee and additional donations/pledges go to a good cause (Starlight Foundation Canada). Here is the official link to the 10K race: http://www.runningroom.com/energizer-night-race/vancouver/.

As my interest in running has grown, I have began to take it more and more seriously. It began with my shoe fetish. Like my fellow Filipino, Imelda Marcos, and many Filipino’s alike, I have a weakness for shoes. The look, the smell, the feel, and the shear knowledge that my feet are being pampered makes me feel great. Before getting into running, I did my research on the “best shoes” for running. Once that phase ended, I started doing intense research about how to improve my running; I looked at proper form, proper breathing, and training schedules. Then, I started with simple mile runs and just last week I finally broke the 5 mile plateau. Now I am looking at doing a 10K. Am I crazy? This whole process happened relatively also. I only just started my mile runs back in mid-May.

Needless to say, I am excited and pretty nervous with prospect of doing this 10K. I am both hesitant and eager. Worried and confident. A real mish-mash of feelings. I am more leaning towards entering but am wary because I have never done something like this. I think part of my anxiety comes from the fact that I currently have no training partner. I have asked a friend of mine to try to train with me for the 10K but he wasn’t having it-I will nag him in the upcoming weeks. I have other co-workers and friends in mind who I think would definitely join me. In short, I really need a training buddy to do this run with. Sure, internal motivation should hold enough driving force and should able you to muster up the confidence to do anything. But, let’s be honest…did you cross the street for the first time all by yourself? No, you had a hand to hold. The first time you went out on a date, did you just wing it? No, you probably asked for advice from friends or family. Even if you have all the confidence in the world, the only reason you reached that level of confidence is because you have proper supports around you.

Don’t get me wrong, I told my fiancee about my interest in doing this 10K and she was all for it. She’s my rock and makes me who I am. Unfortunately, she has borderline arthritis in both knees and has problems with her patella so something as intense as training for a 10K is almost out of the question.

So I ask again: to enter, or not to enter? I really think I can do it and don’t know why I am even questioning my abilities to do it. It’s just a 10K, right? I think it goes back to what I said earlier about “hand-holding”. Anyways, if for some reason I chicken out, I will at the very least do the 8 week training program. But hopefully I go through with it because I believe that it will give me more confidence to continue my pursuit of fitness.

Cheers! Wish me luck!

Onward and Upward!

The morning after

I know what you may think-and no, this isn’t about the morning after a bender, nor is it the morning after an irresponsible “one night stand”. Speaking to the latter, I’m very happily engaged to my soon to be wife, Kristyna. This isn’t a post about any of that, it’s about the morning after my long run.

It may have been only a 5 mile run, but hey, it was my longest run to date. Again I woke up today to drop my fiancée off at work. I made coffee for the pair of us and strapped on my running shoes for an early morning workout. I felt good this morning; I wasn’t sore at all from last night. This was encouraging. After I dropped off my fiancée I made the trek to the gym.

I’m still on my second phase of my 12 week workout. I busted out a warm up on the bike to loosen me up. I then did my weight training. I was contemplating not running after it but something inside me said, ” Why not?”

I log my workouts on my phone and quite often type in what I’m going to do for my activity beforehand so as to give me a goal. I aimed for a 15 minute wind down run at a slow pace. 15 minutes came and went and my body was still yearning for more exercise. So, I went ahead and finished another 15 minutes. I don’t know if I’m rushing into things-I read somewhere that you should only increase your mileage about 10% a week. Lately, my mileage has seen an exponential increase. This may be attributed to my change in form and new focus on breathing. But I don’t think that’s it.

Unlike the aforementioned “morning after” scenarios, this “morning after” brought on no guilt at all. In fact, it brought more will and enthusiasm. I’m coming to realize that this healthy lifestyle thing has a snowball effect. My want and might I dare say “need” to be more fit and healthy has evolved from a tiny nugget of hope that I will look better into an avalanche of knowing that health is my life.

This blog has been helpful to me as well. It puts my words out to the public. And I find it an obligation now to follow through and be active and be a better person internally and externally. Journaling has always interested me and I suppose I’m striving for a better sense of myself. Hence, my entry into the blogosphere and new found commitment to health.

Onward and upward!!!

My first 5 Miler

Naturally, since I’ve started running I have slowly tried to increase my mileage. I didn’t really have a set program nor did I actively aim for certain goals each time I ran. Sure, I would try to run as long as I could but that was about it. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I was running without a rhyme or reason, but I didn’t follow anything strictly.

Yesterday, I experienced my first real “Runner’s High”. Today, I jumped on that positive feeling and decided to do an extra run; I went to the gym earlier in the morning and did my warm up cardio. I thought my second run of the day would be a short run-my usual mile or two. But surprisingly it turned into my “long(est) run’ to date-a 5.25 miler. Needless to say I was quite happy. My legs didn’t feel too tired, and again I only stopped because of time constraints-this time I had yet to eat dinner and it was getting late. Actually, I am writing this post while making dinner-it’s currently 10pm! For my last few runs I have been using the Saucony Hattori’s and for this long run I decided to switch back to an old friend-the Asics Nimbus 12. My strategy of using the Hattori more for foot strengthening is working I think because today’s run felt almost effortless.

I guess you can say I am a perfectionist and once I get my mind on something, I usually set out to do and perform at that specific duty or thing to the best of my abilities. I have found that I am constantly reading forums and blogs about running and slowly I have been picking up and trying out new things to enhance my running. It started with switching my form to forefoot striking and today I focused more on my breathing; I used my diaphragm more and tried to time my breathing with my strides in a 2:2 ratio (inhale for two strides and exhale for two strides). These things I have implemented have worked great and I think my run today has benefited as a result.

I hope to set out and run tomorrow for a longer time. We will see what happens.

Onward an upward!

Runner’s High

I have heard about it. I have read about it. But, I have never really felt it before…until my last run yesterday. It’s called the “runner’s high”

People have desribed it as an overwhelming sense of joy while on a run. A sense of worth. A getting to know yourself. I felt all of the above on my short run. After a 12 hour day shift (I am an RN and we work long 12 hour shifts), I decided to go to the gym for a recovery run. I must admit, I did not feel like going to the gym but I really had nothing better to do, so why not? I am so glad that I decided to go because I finally experienced my very first Runners High.

I can’t really describe it but it happend around the half way point in my run. I felt sluggish for the first 5 minutes, which I usually do, but after that, I felt energized and felt alive. It may sound corny or cliche, but I knew then that making healthy life choices were worth it.

I used to play competitiive basketball at the college level. I used to hate running drills. Mainly because running drills used to be a sort of punishmment for not making the right play, or having a teammate show up late for practice. It was hell for me to run “suicides” and wind sprints. I did like track and field, and was pretty good at it. I was a sprinter, which correlated well with “Basketball Running”. But I never reallly loved running.

This past May I went for my bachelor party in Vegas with my groomsmen. They are all quite healthy and fit, and I, like many ex-athletes, had that mindset of…”I can get back in shape anytime I want” and “I’m still fit”. However, I noticed how unfit I looked after seeing a poolside picture of the “five studs”. It was more like four studs and the token porky friend. Unfortunately, I was that porky friend. After seeing that picture, I knew that I had to change something in my life.

Luckily, one of my close friends, and one of the “studs” in that very picture, is a personal trainer. He devsed a 12 week workout program for me to shape up before the big wedding day. I started off slow but as I eased in to the program, I became infatuated with working out and living a healthy life.

Back to my runners high. So, I am currently in the tail end of my sixth week of my 12 week program (the half way point). I did cardio on my off days and for warm up but lately, I have seen myself wanting to run more and more. So yesterday, that ever so elusive “Runners’s High” came into my life. Like I said, I felt alive. I really wanted to run forever. My run was only all of 30 minutes, but it felt amazing. If it wasn’t for my loving fiancee’s delicious home cooked meal that was waiting for me at home, I would have ran for much longer.

I hope that in the weeks to come I get the opportunity to feel the excitement and joy I felt yesterday more and more. I believe that, with time, I will become a runner’s aficianado.

Onward and Upward!

(image from http://www.worldhum.com/features/speakers-corner/inspiration-travel-writing-and-lesprit-frondeur-20100216/)

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