Category Archives: gear

Week in Review 4.24.17 to 4.30.17

MEDICAL SCHOOL IS OVER!!!!!!! Finished up my last shift in the SICU on Friday and when it was done, wasn’t sure if I was supposed to spike my badge, fist pump through the halls or run out of the building. Med school was never as bad as I expected it to be but I would never, ever want to do it again. Sorry, not running related but good riddance!

Monday: Tested out the ankle with a 30 minute trail run. All good, although I was being a wimp on the more technical portions. Legs after.

Tuesday: Simple treadmill fartlek with 10 by 1 minute on, 1 minute off. On pace was somewhere between MP and tempo.

Wednesday: Got out of the unit early and snuck in a 13 mile long run. Did a couple of miles alternating between regular pace and MP to shake out lazy legs.

Thursday: Rest Day, prorated at 4. Much needed after three days that were harder than easy in a row.

Friday: 7.6 miles easy. 82 degrees out so I felt terrible! Arms afterward.

Saturday: 3 mile shakeout. Ran to the track and back, then a mile of ins/outs.

Sunday: Sleepy Hollow Mountain Race.  Remember the last time I ran a trail race? My only goal for this morning was to use some of my lessons from last year’s Rivah. My biggest goal was to keep both shoes on, which I did! I’ll recap the rest in a Race Report tomorrow but I had a blast, stayed upright and finished somewhere around 1:01:50, although I don’t know what place I was.

Total Miles: 44 miles, 2 strength workouts

Total April Miles: 153

Going up…

Now that school is done and I have a couple of months off, I’m looking forward to getting in some more consistent training. I’ll slowly be increasing my mileage towards 55 and working on fitting three explicit strength workouts in weekly (plus my daily toothbrush squats/core etc). My next race focus is the Asheville Half Marathon. I haven’t honed in on goals yet but as I get back into workouts, I’ll be setting my A, B and C goals. I also spent a lot of time putting all sorts of possible races on my calendar for the next year. Although I don’t have my call schedule, I’m hoping that I can just keep myself in good enough shape to jump in races as I can!

 

Product Review: Lumo Run

As I shared in January, I was lucky enough to be selected to be a Lumo Run ambassador for the next year which means that I got my own sensor for use for free AND have codes to pass along for all interested.

I will admit that at first, I was nervous to wear the Lumo Run. After all, did I really want to know exactly what things I was doing wrong while I was running?! After my first run, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that in fact, my running form isn’t all that bad. You may recall my embarrassment last year during my track 10,000 when a woman yelled “stop shuffling and run!!” as I went by. In first place. The truth is, we could all probably use a little help and for me, Lumo Run is a much more private way to improve.

The Lumo Run is a tiny sensor that clips onto the back of your shorts or tights and just hangs out there while you run. For your first run, you do need to run with your phone to calibrate, but after that you can run with just the sensor or the sensor and your phone for instant updates and suggestions. I never run with a phone, so I sync up afterwards which probably diminishes a tiny bit of the benefit that I could be enjoying.

Approximately the same size as a chapstick.

Lumo Run measures five key categories for efficient running: cadence, braking, bounce, pelvic rotation and pelvic drop. Once it identifies your weak areas, it suggests exercises to help improve your statistics in those areas. For those who use it on with a phone, it can also provide suggestions and corrections throughout your run.

For me, my biggest issue has been braking, which is how much you slow down with every step. Although this is often associated with people who overstride (which is not my issue with my teeny, tiny choppy steps), I’m willing to bet my patented shuffle is creating a similar issue. To work on this, I’ve been doing ankle rolls before every run and recently, had a longer run where all my metrics were in line! Interestingly, this long run was on a car free bike path with no curbs or potholes, which may have something to do with my confidence moving more smoothly over a surface. I did wear it the other day on a trail run, but it was out of batteries so I’ll have to test my theory again later.

This tool is a great one for runners of all abilities. For new runners, it can help with common issues like bounce. For runners with weak hips, it can help reinforce good habits and reduce drop. For runners who haven’t done speed work in a while or are primarily trail runners, it can help encourage a more efficient cadence. What I love most is that your data are kept private if you want to which allows you to improve without feeling totally self-conscious. If you are a someone who runs with their phone, then this tool is practically indispensable for you.

If you want to try out a LumoRun, you can buy one here and with code SM10, you can get $10 off the price of the sensor.

Product Review: Soleus Pulse HRM

It’s always awkward to find a product that you are totally disappointed in, especially when it’s a relatively new company. That said, one of the beautiful things about the blog community and the endurance blog community in particular are the availability of candid product reviews. In the time of a bazillion sponsored posts, as uncomfortable as it is to give a product zero starts, it’s also important to keep it (really) real. I (obviously) wasn’t sponsored for this review; I saw an internet special on this watch and sprung for it because I wanted a wrist based HRM.

I had EXTREMELY high hopes for the Soleus Pulse HRM. It has a built in heart rate monitor which meant no futzing around with a heart rate strap; I could just put the watch on and go. I really like training by heartrate for outdoor tempo runs and for recovery runs but the strap is uncomfortable and almost untenable in the winter under a bunch of layers. It also featured a GPS, activity tracker and chrono function, so my hope was this watch could become my all the time watch. Not so much. If I can’t figure out how to return it, I’ll probably throw it out.

Right off the bat, the watch disappointed. First, the face is HUGE. I can’t take too many points off for this because I have tiny wrists but the watch face was much broader than my bones and to tighten the watch such that it could even work as a heart rate monitor, I was at the very last hole on the strap before the face. I’m not overly vain but it wasn’t a watch I wanted to wear around work because it was just so bulky.

Second, you need a PhD to make this thing work. I’m a relatively smart person and actually tech savvy but the startup guide that comes with the watch is all but useless. You have to go on to Soleus’ website to figure out how to configure it. Again, not a deal breaker, but it certainly wasn’t plug and play and the buttons still didn’t make sense after reading the manual. I would have been willing to spend more time getting to know the watch, however, had it actually worked once I figured out how to start it.

On my first run, it took me all of half a mile to realize that the heart rate monitor just didn’t really work. When I was doing hip swings, it was close to what I assume is accurate in the 90s, but when I started to run, it went to 99. And stayed there. The entire run. Occasionally it would flash in the 120s, but it was never over 99 for more than a second. When I would stop running (say, at a red light), it would occasionally pick up a more believable heart rate but as soon as I started running again, it went back to 99. This happened on the second and third (coincidentally the last time I used it…) runs as well. Meh.

Not only does the lauded heart rate monitor flop, the GPS doesn’t even work well. I’ve been running in Burlington for enough years and with enough watches and GMaps Pedometer checks to know the length of my routes. On my second run with the Pulse HRM, I headed out for a known 10.25 mile loop. When I got home, it measured just over 8 miles. That’s more than just a little error and it was a bright, sunny day.

All in all, there is just nothing redeeming I can say about this watch except that thankfully, the web special that I bought it under seems to have wiped out the stock so you can’t make the same mistake as me. Back to my good old fashioned chrono Timex!

 

Product Review: Skechers Go Meb Razor

I’m a good secret keeper when I need to be but when Dave showed me this shoe in October, it took all of my self-control not to say something. I had pictures on my phone that were burning a hole in my pocket and I texted him a number of times asking him when the Razor was going to hit the market. When my pair finally came in a couple of weeks ago, I broke it out immediately, even though it was snowy and terrible out and decidedly not the conditions for a sports car like the Razor.

Let’s back up for a moment. As I’ve raved about here before and in the real world, the inspiration for the Razor was the GoMeb Speed, which is my all time favorite racing flat, and the GoRun Ride which has been my regular workhorse shoe for the last year. Suffice to say, there was little chance I didn’t love the Razor. With a 4 mm drop, it’s what I’m used to running in and with an improved sole (no holes for rocks to stick in) and upper (comfortable cloth that actually moves with your feet), this shoe nails it. One of the other bonuses of all Skechers shoes is that they come with two insoles which allows you to further customize the fit. I have two different sized feet and if I wear a shoe that fits my left foot, my right foot gets slammed around in too much toebox. With Skechers, I can order a 7, take the insole out on my left and wear the insole on my right and voila, happy feet on both sides. For other people with narrow, wide or some other bizarre foot issue, the insoles give you a chance to essentially get quarter sizes out of the same base shoe size.

I’ve now done a regular run, tempo run, long run and track workout in these shoes. They were great for all uses but I think their real strength is for long tempo runs, marathon race shoes and long runs with quicker effort. They have excellent return off the pavement for workouts but are not quite as responsive on the track for the super-discriminatory. That said, if you were looking to only purchase one shoe (I realize that most people don’t have a quiver of shoes like I do), the Razor is an excellent all-purpose shoe that you can train, race and recover in.

Product Review: Powerlift Tight

I was recently at an interview where the Program Director commented that I was not the person he expected to be the tallest based on our pictures. At 5’10” in flat feet, I am way over 6′ when I’m in my interview shoes and am almost always the tallest woman in the room. All of that height, however, is in my limbs. My torso is short and in a chair, you can never tell how tall I am. As great as long legs are for running, skiing and hiking however, finding running tights that fit is a perpetual pain. If they are long enough to reach my ankle bone, they are falling off the top and if they fit the top, well, I’m on trend for the 7/8th tight.

Regardless, I have a closet full of “close enough” tights but really wanted a pair that was long enough AND warm enough for most winter running days. I don’t run outside below zero because of my hands but I’m generally happy outside otherwise. I checked out Athleta*** because I heard that they made tall tights. Imagine my happiness, however, when I found out that even their regular tights are long! (29″ inseam versus 26 to 27 on most normal tights). I tried on their Powerlift Tight and was instantly impressed. The small regular was both long enough, incredibly comfortable and warm. I think the small long would have been slightly better but they didn’t carry it in store and I was completely happy with the fit of the regular.

To be clear, not me. Just the tights that I bought.

I put them to the test almost immediately in Kalamazoo but they are WAY too warm for 30 degree temperatures. When I was in Minneapolis and it was barely above zero, however, I was warm and happy in just one layer of tights. I have worn them for many runs here, regularly nordic ski in them and also have them on under my downhill ski pants. They hold their shape through many days of activity, are extremely warm and best of all, actually hit my ankle bones. I also bought a pair for my six foot tall aunt who lives up in Northern Maine and she is raving about them as well.

The bonus of these tights are that they come with two well-made pockets on the side of the tights that hold keys, phone or anything else bounce free. They also feature a thick waistband so that you can tuck a shirt in for winter-proofing. Unlike some tights, they also allow for almost unrestricted movement which makes them useful for outdoor winter workouts.

At $98 (although now on sale for $78), these are not a small investment but if you are a cold weather sports person, I can’t recommend them enough. I plan to invest in another pair of lighter tights from them for mid-range temperatures and toss out the rest of my “almost” tights.

***All on my own, I received no compensation of any sort for this review.

Sponsors for 2017

‘Tis the season for companies and athletes getting situated for 2017! Although I updated my sponsors page, I wanted to recognize those companies with a post and take a moment to reiterate both my policy on sponsorship and what you can expect from me for transparency.

First, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to run for Skechers Performance again in 2017. The shoes that Skechers puts out are fantastic and they are constantly seeking to improve and innovate. My new favorite offering? The Go Meb Razor.  What do I get from Skechers? A full racing kit, a set amount of money to buy gear and shoes through the year, discount codes for friends and family, access to certain Skechers-sponsored races and the opportunity to try shoes long before other people. What do I do for Skechers? Train and race in their shoes and gear, represent them on social media and work to spread the word about their shoes.

The next sponsor I picked up for 2017 is Honey Stinger, which I announced in late December. I get discounts on Honey Stinger products in exchange for representing their products while I train and race. To balance my obligations with Skechers, I do this by rocking a Honey Stinger sticker on my alpine helmet and wearing a Honey Stinger trucker hat or beanie around town and in the gym. On race day, I’ll rock one of those hats as well but haven’t raced yet in 2017. Of course, I fuel up on the mountains, trails, roads and hospital corridors with all their offerings. Current favorites? Vanilla Waffles and Cherry Almond Protein Bar.

My newest sponsor is Lumo Run and is one that I’m exceedingly excited to pick up. I’ve been watching the buzz about Lumo Run for a while and when the opportunity to apply to be an ambassador presented itself, I jumped on it. Lumo Run is a small sensor that clips to the back of your shorts or tights and monitors your biomechanics throughout your run. I am incredibly interested in gathering more data about my cadence and hip motion and if I like the functionality, will likely gift a set of these to the cross country team as well. From Lumo Run, I get sensors, other swag and a portion of any sale that comes from someone finding Lumo Run off of my page. Want a coupon for $10 off? Use SM10 at checkout!

Finally, the other big change for 2017 is that I chose not to reapply with Nuun. I still LOVE the product and just ordered another big box for the beginning of the year but chose not to reapply because I felt that I wasn’t representing them as actively as I promised to. One of the great things that Nuun does is get all their sponsored athletes together at a variety of events like Hood to Coast or other relays and races. Because of my schedule, I was never able to participate in these events and I felt badly about taking a spot from someone who might both love Nuun AND be able to participate.

And there you have it, my #sponsorsquad for 2017!

Week in Review 1.9.17 to 1.15.17

Monday: One of my favorite runs ever. 8 miles around Red Rock Canyon in Nevada. We did the White Rock Loop then added on and ran up to La Madre Springs. The terrain was incredible and varied but 100% runnable and the weather was perfection at 45 degrees. I was super grateful for trail shoes as it was muddy and rocky at times. Ended the run completely gassed.

We started at the White Rock Road Trailhead and ran in the direction of the highpoint. The descent was fun, the return to the parking lot was not.

Cameras can’t capture the vastness of this area but we tried anyway.

Tuesday: 20 minutes on the elliptical in Salt Lake plus arms and core.

Wednesday: 30 minutes on the elliptical plus legs.

Thursday: Planned to run in Maine but the gym didn’t open til 6 am so I did an in-room bodyweight workout instead. I loved the Elbow Plank with Leg Lift and Negative Pushups.

Friday: 2 mile run plus arms. “College” core routine at night.

Saturday: Hilly progression run on treadmill in Cleveland. 6 miles total. Legs afterward.

Sunday: Traveled home, rest day.

Total Miles: 16

This week was INSANE in terms of travel. On Monday, I was in Las Vegas. On Tuesday, we flew to Salt Lake City. On Wednesday I flew all the way to Portland, Maine. On Thursday night, I flew to Greenville, SC. On Friday night, I flew to Cleveland, OH and finally on Sunday, I flew home to Burlington. For 36 hours. I leave tomorrow for Virginia, although I’ll be back Wednesday night. With all this travel, I’m thankful I got any exercise in at all!

What I am super excited about is that I’m getting back into a routine of getting daily strength work in and it is making a big difference. I feel stronger and my back is much less achy than it usually is. Will and I both agree that going forward, it is more critical for me to be consistent about strength and core than get 5 or 10 extra miles per week in.

This week, I’m back to running at about 35 miles a week with a long run and two workouts. I’m trying out a new watch (Soleus Pulse) and excited to pick up my GoMeb Razors later in the week. This shoe is EPIC. It is a lightweight neutral trainer and I suspect it’s going to supplant all the other shoes in my arsenal.

Sting or Bee Stung: Welcome to the Hive

honeystinger_nobuzz_color

I am undoubtedly one of the luckiest people on the planet as I get to run and chase my dreams while being supported by an amazing group of sponsors who go out of their way to cheer me on and set me up for success. That being said, I’m pretty picky about who I partner with both because I need to use the products authentically and because despite being just a blogger in a small corner of the world, people trust what I say!

When the opportunity to join forces with Honey Stinger arose, I jumped on it and hoped they would see me as a good investment. I first encountered Honey Stinger when training for the Vermont City Marathon a few years ago. Although I’ve improved markedly in this area, I used to get extremely nervous before races and eating any substantial meal was out of the question. I was able to successfully nibble on a Honey Stinger Waffle, however. At that time, there were no fancy flavors like now, just basic honey flavored waffles. Once I’d discovered that I could tolerate them, however, they were always in my bag in case of pre-race anxiety emergency. Now that I’m a little less nervous but my schedule is 100% more chaotic, there are waffles and chews tucked all over my life; in the glove box, in my white coat pocket, in my locker, in my ski bag etc. They are super portable and if they get crushed, they still taste good! I’m currently obsessed with the Gingersnap and Caramel flavors. If you can be patient, melting the caramel over your coffee or tea makes a delicious treat. I’ve also been experimenting with the Grapefruit Chews. I’m not sure how I’ll attach them to my body for racing (I may not be successful on this front), but they are a great pre-workout boost if I’m starting to get hungry before a run.

As I get back into more long runs, I’ll be trying out the gels as well and will report back. Another great feature is that Honey Stinger features quite a few gluten free waffles, which is a great option for athletes who have celiac disease. One of the hardest things about celiac is having a quick snack to grab before your workout (because so many carbs are gluten-containing), so it’s great that Honey Stinger has a full collection.

As always, full disclosure in this crazy world of blogging endorsements and sponsorships is my goal. While I am not paid by Honey Stinger to discuss their products, I do receive a discount and occasionally free items from them as part of my role as Hive Ambassador. My goal, regardless of my sponsor affiliations, is to always be honest and transparent and you can expect that in this setting as well!

Week in Review 11.21.16 to 11.27.16

Monday am: 8 mile workout on the treadmill. 20 minute continuous tempo then 5 by minute hard, minute easy.

Monday pm: 2.25 miles easy with the team.

Tuesday am: Drills and 1 mile warmup with the team.

Tuesday pm: 7 miles easy on the treadmill.

Wednesday: 5 miles with 6 by 100 meter strides on the track.

Thursday: 5 mile workout. 5 by minute hard, minute easy.

Friday am: Lower Back Yoga from Jasyoga.

Friday pm: 3.5 mile easy run around NXR course.

With the Nike logos everywhere, stole a covert shot of my shoes of choice...

With the Nike logos everywhere, stole a covert shot of my shoes of choice…

Saturday: 3.6 mile progression run on hotel treadmill. Unknown amount of running at the course; at least 4 additional miles but not in total.

Last coaching huddle despite the fact that I spent the ride home trying to figure out how to keep going...

Last coaching huddle despite the fact that I spent the ride home trying to figure out how to keep going…

Sunday: 5 mile easy run.

Total Miles: 40.4 miles

Another crazy week down. I am happy to get a couple of reasonable runs in this week although weather and travel had me on the treadmill far more than I would like to have been. I opted not to do another race on Thursday as my right hip has been sore and is clearly not firing well. I couldn’t rationalize racing on a sore hip four days after my last race since the best case scenario was a few seconds of improvement.

The newest addition to my training is more yoga and I decided to try out Jasyoga, a website that shows up a lot on social media under the hashtag #hitreset. I started using it when I traveled to Rochester, where I did the 5 minute reset for my hips and hamstrings after my drive and felt much better. This week, I decided to try the lower back video before my drive to New York and although it wasn’t easy, my back felt MUCH better upon arrival. The other tool I’m just starting to use is the Yoga Wheel by YogDev (which was sent to me by the company). My flexibility is VERY poor but as I’ll talk about in an upcoming post, the next few months are all about building a routine that will keep me comfortable and pain free throughout residency. The Yoga Wheel is helpful because it allows me to do back bends that I would not be able to sustain on my own because my back and hips are so tight. I’ll do a full review of the Yoga Wheel in a couple of weeks as well AND will have a giveaway of an additional wheel for a lucky, interested person.

The week ahead includes a trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan where I’ll be checking out the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and the campus of Western Michigan University. I’m planning on doing a long run when I arrive on Thursday (I land early and Will doesn’t get in until the afternoon) then a nice campus tour run on Saturday. Friday is my interview, so that is likely to be a treadmill adventure at the hotel instead.

Week in Review 10.24.16 to 10.30.16

Monday: 2 miles continuous tempo with team, 5.25 miles total.

Tuesday: 6 mile easy run around school.

Wednesday: Interval workout. 4 by 400 (82, 85, 86, 86) and 4 by 200. 9 miles total.

Thursday: 6 miles in Asheville! Hot, humid and hilly (and high!). Fun to be back. First installment of #wheremyskechershavebeen.

Sunset from my hotel room!

Sunset from my hotel room!

Friday: Interview Day. 20 minutes of yoga for runners before the day started and a walk from Mission back to downtown.

Saturday am: Halloween Hustle 5K (19:22) and 7 miles total.

Saturday pm: 3 miles easy of course preview at NVACs.

Sunday: Off. Tried to get caught up on to-do’s, to little avail.

Total Miles: 36.3

Not the most impressive week mileage wise but really happy to get two workouts and a race in. Somehow, the weather remains atrocious in the Northeast with another race in the soaking rain and 39 degree temperatures but I ran a much smarter race and am feeling like things are actually starting to click together! I’m also really happy that I got some yoga in again. Traveling made it a necessity and I’m thinking I need to incorporate more of it as interview season goes on.

It’s States Week again, which means that my entire priority is getting a happy, healthy and tapered bunch of teenagers to the start line. I am still planning on getting in two workouts and possibly another race in, but if the girls need me, so be it!

Has anyone tried Jasyoga? Any other yoga apps that you love?