Moving this blog

I’m not really sure how this will work, but the blog is now being redirected to a subdomain of my runnj.org site.

It sounds like followers can be moved, but it’s unclear to me how long that will take.

I have plenty to write about and will attempt to cross post on both for now and see how things work out. In theory, if I can do that it means my posts will still appear here, but anyone clicking on the post will automatically redirect.

If it doesn’t work out, I’ll work out what to do (which may mean just moving back to runninginnj.wordpress.com

Posts coming up soon:

This past weekend’s race (comeback race for an injured friend, and an age group win).

My longest barefoot run so far.

The upcoming River to Sea Relay.

It’s a world record run

(Well, not officially yet). On Tuesday night RVRR held their final Summer Series race of the year. This was also the final race for the race directors who started it all 30 years ago, and to go out in style they arranged a world record attempt for the “Shortest Chip-timed Cross Country Race”.

50m_xc

The kids races started at 6 as usual, and I volunteered to run the 1 mile as lead (seriously hoping that the fast girl that turned up last time I volunteered wasn’t there again – didn’t think I’d do particularly well that day trying to run faster than a 7 minute mile before the 5k race). I ran the quarter mile with my youngest, and then the half mile with my eldest, and then the mile, which luckily turned out to be a nice 9+ minute mile.

The kids had the lollipop race, then the pizza, and then we waited around for the 7pm 50 meter cross country race. I signed up the kids and fixed the chip timing tags to their shoes, and then Jose took this great picture of us:

rvrr_50m

I ended up running with the kids – there was a hay bale across the middle of the course, and the little one was a bit small to jump over it. He tried and stumbled, fell to the ground on the other side and didn’t want to stand up again (he was looking at his knee to make sure it was okay). Eventually I got him back on his feet and running again, but it meant we finished in 160th, 161st, and 162nd out of 169 people. (Full Results here). Pictures from the race are posted here and in photos 63 to 67 you can see the sequence of events from that hay bale jump (in picture 62 we’re about to negotiate it).

The 5k started soon after – all this race did was confirm what I already knew – I am a road runner, not a cross country runner, not a trail runner, but still I got third in age group for the whole series (although there were fast people out there that night, so for this particular race I think I was 4th). I really wanted this one to be fast – it looked set to be my fastest of the series given the other 2 I had run were in wet, boggy conditions. On Tuesday the grass was actually mostly dry for a lot of the course so you’d think it would be fine. It ended up as my slowest – not long after the start my legs were just feeling heavy and I just felt it was such an effort to move. I’ve never had a race where I felt quite like that so I think the 50m race beforehand must have just been too much.

Niagara Falls run (and Merrell Trail Glove 2 review update)

Vacation is over – 15 days of travel, 2238 miles covered in the car, and a total of about 38 miles run over those days in 5 runs. Now to start thinking about marathon training for Philadelphia.

Before I get on to talking about the Merrell Trail Glove 2 (as per the title of this post), here’s a quick rundown of my Niagara Falls run.

The last run of my vacation was on Wednesday morning in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. I had to run here mainly to be able to say I had run in Canada (in my 3 years of running I have only run in the US, England and now Canada).

My phone battery was so low I didn’t take it with me, but I wish I had – firstly the sky was impressive, and secondly, it was early enough that there was hardly anyone around (one other runner and a couple of people working to clean the sidewalks). So, if you’re there, it’s worth getting out early (I was out at about 6:20am) to get the falls to yourself.

I ran from the hotel, and towards the Rainbow Bridge (my intention was mainly to run the other way, but decided to head up that way first) and then looped around to run towards the horseshoe falls. The falls mist was spraying very strongly over the path which was pleasant because it was a very humid morning and then I continued on along the path by the river. I hadn’t looked at a map so I wasn’t sure what I would see or where it would lead, but really it didn’t seem to be heading anywhere after about a mile. I only planned on about 4 miles total anyway so when I came across a set of steps up the hill I figured it would probably take me to the higher road that would lead me back to the hotel.

Ultimately it did but I was a bit worried at first – despite the height of the hotels, I couldn’t see them at all, but I pushed on. There was really nothing to see for much of this so it was a bit dull, and eventually I got back to the hotel after 4.7 miles. At least I got another run in and the first part was very scenic.

niagara

In my recent runs, when wearing the Merrell Trail Glove 2 (original post is here, I have been thinking more about them. I have been wearing them with very thin socks generally and on longer runs I have found that the bottom of my feet have felt like, if I go much further, I could end up with blisters, or at least sore feet.

For the run at Niagara Falls I couldn’t find my socks (they were probably in one of the suitcases I left in the car) so I had to run without socks. At first I was concerned because when I put them on I could feel a seam that I was convinced was going to cause me a problem. I thought I might have to cut the run short. However, when I started running I couldn’t really feel it and there were no adverse effects and no apparent rubbing, so it seems like it would be fine (I think if I’d run long I would have had the same issues as with the thin socks of course).

This morning I ran with thicker socks and didn’t seem to have the same issues, so it seems that the correct socks are important for me with these shoes.

The Merrell Trail Glove 2 is still, by far, my favorite shoe for longer distances, so it will definitely be my marathon training shoe and ultimately (unless something drastic happens) the shoe I will run in for the Philadelphia Marathon.

Running in (not NJ)…

This week I have run in PA, IN, and IL. I already wrote about my PA run, so here’s a catch up on the others.

Indianapolis didn’t seem like an easy place to run, the hotel couldn’t even offer suggestions other than “there’s a golf course as long as you avoid the security guards” and “well, there are sidewalks here and here”. Perhaps it was just the area I was in, but even driving around town I didn’t spot anywhere that looked good for a run. I took the option of just running along the sidewalk along the road the hotel was on. The first thing that struck me was that they really didn’t seem to want pedestrians to cross the road – I swear it was over a mile before there were actually pedestrian crossing points for the main road, despite having them across the side roads. At one point I took a turn down one of these side roads because it had a sidewalk and I was getting bored running along the same road. I got about a quarter of a mile down and the sidewalk ran out, but there was a crossing right there – great, I thought, so I crossed and turned to carry on down that same road only to realize that came to a dead end less than 100 yards ahead, so back to the main road again.

This morning I ran in Schaumburg, IL (not too far from Chicago). This was a much more successful run. The hotel was only just over 1 mile from Busse Woods (I’m sure the hotel staff pronounced it “Bossy” Woods when they told me about it – wasn’t expecting a “u”, so it took me a minute to find the info online).

It was a nice, cool morning – I guess that’s what happens when you’re further north – and as I was getting ready I started to try to talk myself out of wearing the skirt again (why is it so difficult to put it on?). My thought process involved the fact it was colder and so it wasn’t as important. On my run in Indiana I had not worn it – this was because when I looked at the weather it said it was raining (I have found that this material gets pretty heavy when it gets really wet) and I couldn’t take a look out of the window because it would have disturbed sleeping bodies – but when I got out there with the humidity, I instantly regretted not having it on, partly because there was no sign of any rain so I could have worn it. I talked myself round and put the skirt on (and once again I’m glad I did – so comfortable).

When I first entered the park, this was the view – pretty nice:

photo (11)

In the park there were a lot of runners and cyclists using the paved trail. It’s difficult to tell if my skirt got reactions here – it definitely did from the first runner I came across – this particular woman smiled widely. clearly amused by my skirt. After a mile or so I passed an older guy, who was running at a fairly decent pace, but as I haven’t been running much I had decided to make this run count and was running at between 7:10 and 7:30 pace. As I passed him he said “looking pretty good” and I wasn’t sure whether he was referring to my skirt or to my pace and/or running form. I guess I’ll never know. Most others kept their reactions to themselves, with the exception of the old guy fishing who I thought might have a heart attack when he saw me.

This was a nice place to run – there are a few trails, although only one loop which is 7.7 miles long (the hotel had told me it was 7 miles, so at the end I was struggling to keep my pace as high as I had on the rest of the loop). The only downside is that at one point you have to cross a major intersection which involves waiting at a crossing (it does cross the road twice but at the other end there is a bridge). Including the slower parts of the run to/from the hotel the total distance was 10.8 miles at 7:41 pace.

Here are a couple of other photos (although I shouldn’t try to keep running when I take photos apparently – I only tried this with one).

photo (13) photo (12)

While I’m talking about the skirt again, it’s interesting to note that every day I seem to be getting multiple hits from search engines for search terms along the lines of “mens running skirt” or “men’s skirts”, so it does seem like there’s some interest out there. My running skirt review has easily surpassed my Merrell Trail Glove 2 review as my most read post.

The Sweet Sprint 3k

sweetsprint2

It was a close call this morning as to whether or not I would be wearing my running skirt or not for the Sweet Sprint 3k – the reticence was only partly down to going out in it again in front of a whole bunch of new people in a new place where I knew nobody; it was also due to the potential for rain. Earlier in the week, during a club track workout, the rain had come down hard and I found that the running skirt soaked up that rain and really got quite heavy and was clinging to my legs causing slight discomfort. My shorts don’t seem to get so heavy in the rain (although they cling just as much, the weight seems to make enough of a difference).

It looked like the rain was going to hold off so I went for it. In some ways I think it helped that I was wearing it; being the sort of person who does not easily talk to strangers it forced me to smile at everyone and generally be more forthcoming in conversation, although I pretty much just tagged on to two women who happened to arrive around the same time as me (too early really, but not knowing the area and being worried about getting lost – those Pittsburgh roads are confusing – I wanted to make sure I left myself plenty of time).

The registration area was at the finish line, and although a shuttle bus was provided to the start, I wanted to get some miles in as I hadn’t run since Tuesday, so I took a leisurely run to the start. It was still way too early and a few people had turned up at the start to register on the day – they weren’t too happy to hear that registration was at the finish line, but they spoke to a couple of people setting up at the start and I’m guessing they got shuttled down to the finish to register, as they were gone after I had run a bit more.

As it was getting close to the start time it became clear that it wasn’t going to start on time – no information was given out, but it wasn’t really a problem as it was clear they were waiting for shuttles from the start, and then for people to finish using the one porta potty (I still prefer the British “portaloo”).

There were apparently around 100 runners, and when I first heard this I wondered if that meant I would be in with a good chance of at least an age group win, but looking around, there seemed to be some fast looking people so I wasn’t so sure by the time the start came around.

Before the start was a nice speech about the race, the sponsors and the proceeds that would be going to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and then it was go time. It was a fast start, and quite a few people seemed to get ahead right away but as we got further through some dropped back. At about halfway a few people got ahead of me. I was able to stick with two of them and about half a mile later actually got ahead of them again, and stayed ahead to the finish.

It was my first race at less than 5k distance and it was a case of going out fast and hanging on as long as possible. My time was 11:18.7 and I was in 8th place overall (I’d had the impression that there were more ahead of me than that, so I suppose I misjudged, or perhaps I passed more than I remember). The winner ran it in 9:24. I narrowly missed out on the age group win, with the 7th place person also being in the 35-39 age group, just about 7 seconds ahead of me. Full Results.

The finish line party was pretty good with some decent music from a local band called Mace Ballard, plenty of cupcakes and cookies, and even a raffle of gift baskets from a variety of stores.

Overall, a very nice way to spend the morning.