Sunday, February 5, 2012

Snowman Shuffle 4 Mile

a Cherokee Park hill on a sunny day

Katie and I packed up our gear on Friday night to head down to Louisville, KY for the "Snowman Shuffle 4 Mile" race put on by River City Races.  Since I am injured, I actually got to spectate and cheer at a race for once.

The weather had been beautiful all week but the Louisville area got hit by an absolute downpour beginning an hour or two before the 9AM start of the race.  Cherokee Park is certainly a "jewel" of Louisville and encompasses a few miles of rolling hills in the middle of the city.

Since temperatures were on the colder side and the rain was unceasing, Katie wore some Mizuno tights and my Sugoi hydrolite jacket to stay warm and dry.

Course Map

This race was chip timed, which was probably good idea given the crowded race start I saw.  The rain and weather conditions probably cut down a little bit on the participation, but the results list still included 653 runners so there were definitely plenty of runners on the course.

After a great downhill start and a fast first mile Katie ended with a personal best 32:48 and 7th of 51 finish in the 25-29 female age group.  Katie finished with a strong uphill climb and 100 feet of elevation gain that left many other runners struggling.

The Final Climb

I "interviewed" Katie after the race:

J: What did you think about the mostly downhill first mile, how did it feel?
K: I actually felt like I didn't warm up as well as I could have the first mile.  I think I would have preferred an uphill or flat start.

J: How was the congestion at the first downhill with the number of runners out on the course?
K: I usually like to stride out downhill so that was a little difficult because of the congestion.

J: After you went downhill and went around the first switch back and climbed a little, how did that first climb feel?
K: It wasn't bad.  I guess it got pretty rolling after that.

J: You wore the Nike Free 3.0 today during the race and in the rain.  How did you think the shoe performed in the wet conditions?
K: I think it was good.  A little wet.  I think it probably didn't hold as much water as a heavier shoe might have.

J: What was your favorite part of the race today?
K: I enjoyed the second mile the most, it was interesting and not all uphill or downhill.

J: Did you get motivated by other runners during the race to pick up the pace at any points?
K: I caught some runners younger than the kids I teach, I was motivated to pass them. (laughs)

J: At the 2 mile mark how did your pace feel?  How did you think your pace compared with your usual 5k pace?
K:  It was definitely faster than my usual 5k pace.
J: Why do you think that is?
K: Because I've been running.
J: Hmmmmm.

"The Boot" and the "Correct Toes Experiment"

The Boot

When I was in high school, I once suffered a metatarsal stress fracture at the end of a cross country season that I didn't recognize until beginning winter "conditioning" practices in January for track.  To address this, I ended up wearing a "boot" for around six weeks before I could resume running and training for the spring track season.  This spring, I find myself back in that familiar time of year and state.

Although it wasn't strictly required, the doctor agreed with me that I would probably get the best and fastest results in healing my metatarsal head injury (metatarsalgia, neuroma, bruise, stress fracture, or whatever it is) by going to a boot to immobilize my foot and make it impossible to put stress on my forefoot for a while.  I started wearing it on January 24th so I'm getting close to the two week mark with this clunky "shoe".

Rest and  Relaxation

In the meantime, I still feel driven to accomplish something that will benefit my running this year.  It's time to rest.  I haven't taken any sort of complete break from training (cross training included) in a few years so it might be good at this point to just do nothing for six weeks.  We'll see.  I'm taking this rest seriously, in that I really am doing absolutely nothing.  No weights, no cardiovascular exercise, and I've been driving everywhere.  I probably have driven more miles in the last two weeks then I have driven in the entire past year.

This was pretty difficult at first, as I just felt on edge pretty much all the time for about a week.  I've finally started settling into my new sedentary lifestyle.

Fixing My Feet

I'm far from a barefoot running fanatic, but I do think modern shoes are to blame for some of the injuries that runners suffer from.  Notably, the size and shape of some shoes (women's especially) cram the toes together in a way that forms a foot overtime that probably doesn't exactly resemble a foot with a little room to move and spread.  I've been trying to be a little more careful about selecting shoes with a little more forefoot room for a while, as the toll this crowding takes has become a little more obvious to me with longer miles.

Since at least my right foot will be an open boot for the next six weeks, I've decided this is a good time work on spreading my toes out to a little more natural position.  The day I got the boot I spotted a well placed and timed ad from the Indiana Running Company for "Correct Toes", the apparent invention of a podiatrist.

With Correct Toes


I'm not sure if this device will help my foot more equally distribute forces on it or not but I think it's worth trying.  I've been wearing the correct toes as much as possible and constantly on my right foot in the boot.  I'll post a follow up photo after some time passes to see if my foot's "natural" position has changed in any significant way.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Baseline Data

Being married to Jeff has made me an all around better person. I've heard that the ideal partner and friend helps you to become your best self. Influenced by Jeff, there are things I do more regularly...and most of them are due to his positive influence rather than obtrusive force. (Sidenote: Jeff doesn't know I'm writing nice things about him right now and trying to have a nice calm time. He's forcing me to listen Ice Cube featuring Dr. Dre and MC Ren. It's a school night! It's too late for this offensive language!) I am a better person because of Jeff. I floss regularly (my dentist even complimented my flossing last week!), I eat healthy foods, I get 8 hours of sleep a night, I don't wear my diamond earrings in the shower or to bed (be proud, Mom!), I've struck a very nice balance between my personal and professional lives, and to top it off I've even completed a few triathlons since Jeff came into my life.

Right now, Jeff is injured and it's on my shoulders to carry on the Yoder name in the running world. Let's be honest...I am nowhere near the runner I once was in the olden days. It's time to get back into shape! Today I ran about 6 miles near my school on the rolling hills of southern Indiana. As I ran past the horse pastures and pickup trucks, I came to the realization that I am such a wimp when it comes to really pushing myself to be at a point where I'd be proud to post my running times on this blog. I also had one of those pivotal moments where I could feel my heart, lungs, and muscles cross over from being out of shape and still in the "I've taken the past 4 years of college plus a few more years" vacation and cross over into a mode where I feel motivated. Maybe it was the strangely warm January weather and sun paired with a great day at work. Maybe it was the handful of almonds that I ate before I headed out to run. Maybe it was these socks that I am still wearing because they feel good on my legs. Anyway, I've decided it's time to put the "s" back into

So to begin I need some baseline data. As a special educator, I'm pretty big into baseline data and setting observable and measurable goals. I've been working out at the Y regularly for awhile now, but not as much cardio as I'd like. I've just registered to run a 4-miler in Louisville on Saturday. Jeff will be my cheerleader and then we plan to get Hot Browns with my brother and his girlfriend. Sounds like a fun little Saturday. My goal is to complete the race with a semi-respectable time, but nothing too respectable because how will I otherwise demonstrate growth, right? Just a little educator humor. I will try my personal best!

The race I'll be running is the Snowman Shuffle in Cherokee Park.

Stay tuned - I think good things are coming!  Anyway, do you really want to see more pictures of the bottom of Jeff's foot or of insoles of his shoes?

High School - I caught this girl in front of me as 4x4 anchor for the win!
 My high school self would lap my current self if we raced right now...even in a 400.