Gear update

Note: There are no affiliate links in this post and no ads. Just ordinary links to things I like and use. Any questions? Just ask!

I pulled on my Sauconys to go for a run today and realized that I'd been running in these same shoes since 2014. Not Sauconys -- but THIS pair of Sauconys. It's been that long since it's seemed important/necessary to get new running shoes.

Once I was back at home I did a rough estimate of how many miles were on them, and yeah, I'm more than overdue for a fresh pair of shoes. These were my race day shoes for the Tobacco Road Marathon back in March 2015!

I've been in stability shoes since I started running back in 2011 -- first, the Brooks Adrenaline, then the Ravennas. Later I switched to Saucony and ran in both the Guides and the Mirage, but the Mirage (now discontinued) never really worked for me. The Guides have kept me healthy and fit great. I wear them for road and trail running, and every workout, no matter whether it's a long run or track workout. Every once in a while I get it in my head that I want to try a new shoe, but fear of injury or spending money on something that doesn't work out for me usually stops me. I thought about trying a lighter stability shoe (maybe the Fastwitch) for speedwork or races but let's be honest, I'm a ways away from trying to shave time by cutting a half ounce off my shoes.

Here's the gear I'm into lately:

Shoes

  • Saucony Guide (I'm on the 8, but just ordered the 9). Great shoes! No complaints!

Clothing (favorites)

  • Nike Essential Running Crops: I've tried other brands but nothing holds up like these Nike 7/8 length crops. And they are not very thick, so I can run in them for three seasons out of four, even here in North Carolina.
  • Lululemon Speed Shorts: Every time I try to quit these shorts I come back to them.
  • Moving Comfort Juno Bra: A million sizes and colors, and also great for breastfeeding!
  • Darn Tough No-Show Sock: I've been running in wool socks since 2012 or so and they are fantastic. I've only gone through about 10 pairs of Smartwool socks since then (WOOL!) but I recently discovered Darn Tough. Their socks come with a lifetime guarantee. A lifetime guarantee!! On SOCKS! Don't let anyone tell you America isn't great.
  • Any old shirt I have around the house

Fuel:

  • Honey Stinger gels: Easy on the stomach and have more grams of carbs than Gus or any other brand I've found. Plus, caffeine.

Accessories

  • Garmin 310xt: Still into this watch! It's a great watch with a super long battery. I admire the new ones but don't feel the need to upgrade anytime soon.
  • iPod Shuffle
  • Earbuds
  • Dog: Still into running with this dog! She lost some of her fitness over the past year or so but now that we're running together it's coming back for both of us. Today during our run, no fewer than 4 people rolled down their windows, leaned out their cars, and gave us a thumbs-up. How's that for an endorsement.

Race Recap: Mountains to Sea 12M

I raced the Mountains-to-Sea 12M on April 9. The MST is a really unique trail - it's 1,175 miles and runs from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. The trail race benefits the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail, which works to build and maintain the trail. The MST is a wonderful, runnable single track trail - not too steep, not too rocky, and not so narrow that you can't pass when you need to. The course runs along Falls Lake and loops back and forth over various streams and rivers without a lot of elevation change. Plus, April in North Carolina is SO nice for trail running - it's warm without being oppressive, and the trees are starting to leaf in, providing some shade. Can't recommend it enough! The short summary is: I was slow but had a wonderful time. Feeling very psyched about "real" training again.

Goals

None - The last time I ran this race, I was just a few weeks away from setting my marathon PR at the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon. This year, my expectations were modest. My longest run before this race was just 10 miles. 

Pre-race

Work/life factors converged and so, while I did manage to get a couple Gus for the race, I forgot about pre-race breakfast and made do with Cheerios and plain yogurt and 1/4 of a banana (all that was left) -- and NO coffee. Thankfully, once I arrived in the shopping plaza where we were waiting for the race shuttle, I ducked into a Starbucks for a coffee and one of their bazillion calorie breakfast breads, which I ate on the shuttle on the way to the start.

It was about 39 at the start but quickly warmed up to the high 50s. I wore my Nike crops with a short sleeve shirt and kept a long sleeve shirt on until just before the start. Their drop bag system made it easy to keep extra clothes on until the last possible second.

The race

I felt fantastic at the start and enormously grateful to be running without any back pain! I was nervous for the first few miles -- the 10 miler I had done two weeks ago took me two whole hours (!!!!) and I was worried about being LAST or wanting to drop out but not being able to (since it's a point-to-point course). But after the 3 or 4 mile mark I settled in. I noticed to my relief that I wasn't having any back pain like I did at Little River.

No falls, though at one point I wrenched my ankle pretty hard, but after a few minutes it felt fine again. I finished in 2:20 something, an 11+ min/mile pace. Woah. I'm not as fast as I used to be (yet) but things are starting to click. Pain is gone - check. I'm logging more miles finally - check. Speed will come. 

Next up

  • I need a fresh pair of shoes -- I stay a version behind (to save $), so I'm excited to try the "new" Saucony Guide 9s.
  • I'm putting together a rough plan for the next few weeks to keep building up mileage to a consistent 20+ mpw.  I also need to re-start my PT exercises I was given -- I've completely fallen off of doing them. 
  • I also want to get a date on the calendar for a goal half and then get my training plan going!