Today we visited a nearby trail for the first time. There are several out-of-service rail tracks that have been converted to public use trails.
The particular trail that we went to is a 10 mile liniar trail mostly surfaced in crushed limestone. I wanted to see the conditon of the trail after the recent rains we have had, and they were in surprisingly good shape.
We walked out for three miles then back to the car. It was a very pleasant 6 miles and I think this will be a great place for future runs, especially as I increase distances. It will be nice to get a break from the hard surfaced roads I normally run on, though it will be some time yet before I am up to a 20 mile out and back!!
The last couple of times that I have gone on a long run (6-7 miles) I have experienced pain in my left knee which lasted for about two days after the run. I have not figured out what is causing this pain, but am beginning to suspect that it could be due to implementing mid-foot running technique while still wearing my traditional running shoes.
Today I decided that I would take my VFFs on their first run of any distance, but due to newly healed blisters, I did not want to get too far from home in case I had troubles. I chose to do my run on the treadmill for the first time since starting back up in my running this year.
I set the treadmill at an incline of 2% and, after a warm-up walk, set the speed at 6 MPH. (10 minutes per mile has been my target pace for my runs outside, and I am amazed at how much easier this pace is on the treadmill)
I ran for 5 miles continuously at this pace and experienced no knee pain what so ever. However, my feet were not used to the stress of running that far with no padding and were beginning to hurt, so I ended at the 5 mile mark despite the fact that other than my feet, I felt like I could have gone several more miles.
The lack of knee pain, in my mind, lend credit to my theory that it is my shoes that are bothering me. However, before rushing out to buy new shoes, I am going to take the VFFs on my next long run outside to remove the treadmill from the equation... even though I really like the idea of new running shoes ;)
I have been sort of hit and miss on running since the race. Still getting in a few miles here and there, but the weather has not been very cooperative (and I don't run in the rain). On top of that, this is finals week at school, so things have been a little crazy.
Today I wrapped up finals for one of my classes, and celebrated with a nice 7 mile run. This is my longest run to date since getting back into running. As is my typical method when extending distances, I did a run/walk at 4:1 minute intervals. I ran two loops around the municipal airport, a popular route for runners and cyclists in the area. It is basically flat with two moderate hills on the north end. I averaged a 10:30 pace, which I thought was pretty good for a first attempt at this distance when taking into account the walk cycles.
However, my left knee started bothering me again toward the end of the run. This seems to be the norm every time I increase distance, so I am hoping that it is just my body's way of dealing with the new stress. I will keep a close eye on it for the next couple of runs, then try the 7 mile run again to see how it feels.
Hopefully after this week I will be able to keep up on posting a little better...at the very least, I will be glad to have a break from school for the summer!
Today was our first official race! The Kansas City Trolley Run, this was the 22nd year for this charity race for the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired. I would call it a success, as we completed the 4 miler on both feet. Over all, it was quite an experience. We showed up at the finish line at 6:00 AM and were shuttled to the start line on buses. This was all planned very well, the only trouble was that it was raining and 53F, not to mention 10-15 MPH winds gusting to 25. The race did not start until 7:45 (for the first wave, our wave started at 8:00) So it was hard to stay warm and loose while waiting to begin.
There were 10,400 registered participants in this 4 mile race, so we definitely got a taste of running in a crowd! runners were divided into four groups by ability and then there were two groups of walkers. Each "wave" started separately with a five minute lag between.
Needless to say it was crowded (we registered for the slowest of the runner groups so there was a lot of walkers to navigate around) but, at least the rain stopped before start time. We manage to keep a 9:19 pace for the four miles; official run time of 37:13.
we went for our 4:30 AM run yesterday... ugh... hate getting up so early, but was really looking forward to running. We did a 30 minute run around the neighborhood. I was surprised at how well we did. We maintained about 10.5 minute pace for the 3 miles, and I felt strong at the end, which is a change from most of my earlier runs. I felt like going another mile or so, but alas, the work day called. I am glad that I have the opportunity to run during the day most of the time, with no limitations on my schedule, because when I feel like going farther, I hate having to wrap it up early.
On another note. Race day is this Sunday and I am really excited to experience this first race, even if it is basically a charity fun run. I picked up our packets yesterday evening and am looking forward to pinning on the bib and timing chip! I do not expect to kill the course, it is more about finishing at this point but, I am looking forward to the learning experience of running in a crowd, water stations, and the whole race atmosphere. If only the weather will hold out for us... they are forecasting rain that day now, but hopefully they will not call off the race.
After reviewing the information in the "Evolution Running" DVD, I decided to try to incorporate some of what I learned into today's run. I have already been working on a mid-foot strike so the biggest change for me was using a metronome. I cheaped out and downloaded a 90 BPM metronome mp3 track rather than purchase an actual metronome. It worked out for this test, but I recommend going ahead and getting the real deal if you decide to try this training method. (The problem I had was that the track was only ten minutes long, and I could not figure out how to make the track play in a loop on my iphone...probably user error)
I set out on a new running route for this run, which was probably not the best choice, but I am not always known for my sound decision making. The route turned out to be much hillier than my other running routes. It was a good workout, but hard to compare with my ability on other routes.
It took about 100 yards or so to settle into the 180 BPM rhythm as it was quite a bit quicker than my normal stride, but once I got settled in, I found that the steady rhythm of the metronome was a big help in keeping me consistant both up hills and down. I practiced "falling" down the hills. It was a bit scary at first, but I was amazed at how fast I could run them while still recovering my wind from the up hill struggle.
I felt like I was short of breath quite a bit more on this run, even in the flatter portions, and was afraid that I was really dragging ass around the lake. However, to my surprise, I was actually holding a higher average pace than I normally do. I ran a total of 5.5 miles (the equivalent to my long run distances at this point) and shaved almost a full minute off my normal pace. But most importantly, even though I ran farther and faster than I normally do, I experienced zero knee pain through the entire run! I was honestly very worried after Saturday's run when my left knee started hurting, and was still stiff on Sunday and Monday. But after 5.5 miles of tough running (for me) with no pain, I am reassured that my goals are still attainable!
On the subject of goals, I have been thinking a lot about my running goals for the near future. I started running not really knowing what I wanted to do, or what I would be capable of doing, but as my first race is coming up this weekend, I find that I am already looking forward to the next on even before running the first! I have finished reading "Born to Run" and loved it! I have now started reading Dean Karnazes's book, "Ultramarathon Man." It is very inspirational to me, and although I have a long way to go, (I have no aspirations to run 262 miles..WOW!) I want to see how far I can push my body and what I can achieve.
I just had my 39th Birthday this past weekend, and I am sure this has had a lot to do with my introspection. I have decided on a couple of goals and am going to put them out here for all to see (not too big a step being as I doubt anyone reads this). My goal for this year is to run the Kansas City Half Marathon this fall, and then to finish my first full marathon at age 40. I never dreamed I would even consider such an undertaking, so this is going to be a life changing journey for me. I do not know where I will go from there. I am intrigued by the notion of running ultras, but I will have to let my body make that decision. In the mean time, I will just keep logging miles and increasing distances while enjoying the ride.
My morning run got rained out of Friday. As much as I am enjoying my running this time around, I could not make myself get out of bed at 4:30 Am to run in the rain... this is supposed to be enjoyable after all, right? Instead, I did some weight training that evening after work.
Sunday we did our long run as scheduled. We did laps around the lake in the park near our house, finishing up with 5.3 miles. I felt like I could do more, and was actually beginning to pick up my pace more toward the end, but I was starting to get that tell tale twinge in my left knee. Bad memories from previous attempts at running convinced me to call it a day. The knee feels fine today but, I am concerned that this may plague me more in the coming weeks.
I received my "Evolution Running" DVD this weekend, and watched it Sunday afternoon. It was a pretty good description of this running technique, was demonstrated by several of Ken's athletes. It did not go into great depth, though I suspect anything more than the basic technique would have to be tailored to the individual runner, and not something you could mass distribute on a DVD. The DVD contains a few drills to help get a feel for technique, and I am going to try my best to apply thees to my workouts. I am hoping that future problems with my knees can be avoided with better technique and more efficient running style. All in all, I think it is a good DVD, though by no means a substitute for a running coach.
I am 38 years old and fed up with the inactive lifestyle I have grown accustomed to. In an effort to improve my mind and body, I have decided to take up running, and more specifically, barefoot running. I am starting this blog to share my experiences and to help keep me motivated toward my goals.