First 20 Miler in the Books

After an 8 mile run Thursday with some serious lead legs, a typical 5 mile easy loop with the push up challenge after (83 push ups, squats and reverse crunches) I had no idea how this 20 miler would go.  It was warm compared to how it has been, around 73 feels like 78.

I also finally broke down and got a new hand held water bottle.  I got mine before my first marathon in 2009 and the zipper finally broke a few weeks back.  We had logged quite a few miles together but it was time to move on.  I hit the local running store in Decatur call the Big Peach yesterday and picked up this new one.  Mine is actually the pink and purple one but I couldn’t find the picture on Amazon.

Nathan 20-ounch Quick Draw Hand Held Insulated Water Bottle (thats not a mouthful or anything); Photo from Amazon

Nathan 20-ounch Quick Draw Hand Held Insulated Water Bottle (thats not a mouthful or anything); Photo from Amazon

I can tell the company has really been working to make this better since I got mine.  There is a larger pocket that actually fits my iphone with out me squeezing it in there (hence the broken zipper) and I can fit all my gels as well.  This model also has a thumb hole that helps with grip as well as the draw string to make it tighter so I don’t have to squeeze the crap out of it the whole time I am running.  My fingers would actually be a little stiff when I was done a really long run with the old one.  If you are in the market for a new hand held bottle, I would highly recommend this bottle.  It is so well designed!!

My run went beautifully.  I don’t think I have ever had that good of a 20 mile run.  I spent some time last night doing some hip opening yoga and did my yoga for runners on youtube routine that I love before heading out.  I don’t know if it made that big of a difference but that is certainly going to be part of the routine from now one.

The run was split into good thirds that helped me mentally stay tuned in.  The first 7 miles went from my house, down through Decatur and back up the Stone Mountain Trail.  The next 6 miles, I bumped off the Stone Mountain Trail to catch the Beltline to Piedmont Park and ran around there.  There were so many people on this part of the run, there almost needed to be traffic signals, haha.  It kept me so motivated to see so many people out being active.  By the time I picked the Stone Mountain Trail back up I had 7 miles to go into downtown Atlanta and then back to my house.  Having different chunks to tackle really helped keep me going the whole time.

20 miler

I am so happy to have that run go so well, it is so motivating, especially with Boston one month from yesterday!

Tonight my friend Allyson is coming over to hang out because we are volunteering for the Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon tomorrow.  I ran this race last year and had a great time.  I have never volunteered for a race before because I am usually running so I am excited to finally pay it back to the running community.  And I am even more excited that Allyson is coming with me.

We are making quite a day of it actually.  Tonight we are going to hang out and have an old school sleep over and make race signs because we are stationed right by my house and she lives on the other side of Atlanta.  We are done at our posts around 9:30 (we are at miles 8-9), so we are going to go back to Folk Art where Casey and I went last week for brunch.  I have to have the peanut butter banana french toast/pancakes/waffles (I haven’t decided yet).  Then we are going to go see Divergent and maybe go to Lulu and see if they have any shorts that want me to wear them to run Boston!

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend and that your long run goes/went as well as mine did today!!

The Blister Strikes Back

Last Friday was a fairly wet day but ended up clearing up in time for our long run.  However, the roads and our trail was left a wet, muddy mess.  This combined with new shoes I am in the process of breaking in brought me this lovely gift (starting at mile 4/19, womp womp)…

Saturday Version

Saturday Version

In my Saturday class, everyone kept asking me if I was going to pop it.  I said, “No, for once I am going to be good and let this thing work itself out.”  That plan was going great until Casey kicked it in the grocery store on accident.  I swear people probably thought he was abusing me I yelled so loud.  So the leave it alone plan failed.

Sunday during my run it bugged me a little but nothing crazy, the top skin layer was still there for protection.  Today though I decided to put a Blister Pod on it before I left for my 45 minute tempo run.  Well, that thing worked it self loose at about mile 2.  It didn’t hurt that bad, more that it was just annoying.  Then when I got home I tried to take the shriveled mess off and it ripped off the top layer of skin.  That felt awesome, and the shower that followed felt even better, let me tell ya.

Now it looks like this

Now it looks like this

I know this looks better, but I swear it hurts 100x more.  So I got some supplies today before my upcoming runs.

Loaded down!

Loaded down!

My plan is to use a blister pod and then the coban over it to keep it from coming free during the run.  I guess we will see how it goes tomorrow.

Does anyone have any magical blister tricks? I will love you forever, as will my left heel with a 20 mile run coming up on Thursday!



Keeping the Knee Pain Out of Running

One of the most common problems distance runners come upon is knee pain.  This occurs often because of an increase in miles faster than your body is ready for it.  The other reason is your hips and knees just aren’t strong enough to take the pounding, literally.

Based on what I have learned in school and the research I have done throughout I have developed a quick circuit that you can supplement your runs with to avoid injury!

Injury Circuit

Rationale for each:

  • Squats and Lunges: increase quad strength and improve patellar tracking to reduce Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
  • Fire Hydrants: strengthens hip external rotators to align the hip and therefore the knee better; be sure you hip is the only part of you that is moving, the rest of your body should be stable throughout
  • Standing Leg Lifts: this one is a double wammy, the leg you are standing on gets strengthened as well as the one you are lifting (use resistance bands if you have them available and hold a chair or desk for balance if needed).  This strengthens your hip abductors helping maintain hip and pelvis alignment preventing knee, hip and back pain.
  • Plank, Crunches and Push Ups: these all strengthen your core, which will be super important in the late miles of a marathon, you can pull everything you need from your core if its strong (I live and die by my core strength); be sure not to be lazy on the planks (your quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs and back should all be working during this exercise; don’t let your back drop down because it increases pressure and can cause back pain)

I plan on doing this on my two easy days of running during the week.  This isn’t a circuit meant to make you “big” or define any muscles, rather to protect your joints to withstand the pressures you are demanding out of it.  You can add weights if you feel it necessary, but it is most important to focus on form and make sure you are getting good quality work outs in.

Any questions are welcome, I in fact love it (helps me review for my comp exams)!