Thursday, March 19, 2015

Running Fashion, then and now

When I ran my first race 4 years ago I wore cotton socks, a pair of pricey (or what I thought was pricey) Nike capri's, a Champion t-shirt from Target, a Champion sports bra, a FLEECE North Face 1/4 zip because it was cold and my Nike shocks that I had owned for LOTS of years.  Oh almost forgot a fleece beenie.

Not all bad.  I still wear and swear by the C9 sports bra.  On sale you can get them 2 for $20 at Costco.  I'm not even sure that they still carry them now though.  But I've been wearing the same ones for at least 3 years now.  I've since given away or retired almost all of the other stuff.  With the exception of the the North Face fleece, however I would never wear that running today.

After acquiring my first pair of "real" running shoes (I got lucky and ordered the Brooks Ravenna online without ever being fitted for them), and I still run in the Ravenna today.  I was however almost immediately coveting everything Lululemon.  I had started reading some running blogs and this Lululemon was what all the "cool kids" were wearing.  But I could not even begin to stomach the price tags attached to them.

After my first half marathon my gift to myself was a visit to the Lululemon store in Las Vegas with $200 in my hot hand!  At the time we didn't have stores here in Utah (we do now).  I could feel my BRF's thoughts as we walked through the store.  *Who would pay $119 for a pair of stretchy pants?*

MEEEEE .. I would.

And so it began.  I slowly started building a good collection of Lululemon attire.  But now, 3 years later, I know why so many people wear it.  It's good stuff.  Truly.  But it's not the only thing.  Today I run in only Lulu pretty much all the time for my staples (sports bra continues to be the exception).  I have never had to retire anything due to wear.  So I've got a good collection at this point and primarily shop the "We Made Too Much" section.

Exception:  I will buy a new skirt and tank to wear for a big race.  Totally breaking the don't wear new stuff on race day rule every single time.

So here's my list of what I personally think is worth the investment.  Starting from head to toe:

Warm Weather Tank

Why I love the Cool Racerback:
The length is long.
It's got good compression (holding jiggle to a minimum).
No chafing.
They come in a million adorable prints.

Cooler Weather Top

Why I love the Run Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve:
The length is long and perfect.
The weight is perfect.  Keeps me warm.
It's a snug fit, no flapping.
You have to be careful with the fabric, they can snag easy.
Thumb holes.  I have LONG arms and these are plenty long enough!
I 100% wear a cool racerback tank underneath all the time.
Plus it's light enough to tie around your waist should you get hot and take it off.

The Shorts

Shorts are in the above picture.  I love these in particular because they are the 4" length.  But what I don't love about Lululemon is that they discontinue styles QUICKLY.  They generally replace them with something similar but I've bought some that I DON'T love (Tracker Short).  The Speed Shorts are the only ones I've seen consistently over the years. But I have to be in TIP TOP shape to get away with wearing the shorter 2.5" inseam (currently NOT there).  The other thing worth noting when it comes to their shorts and skirts is 4 way stretch versus 2 way stretch.  The 4 way is the most comfortable but some of the cuter prints come in the 2 way.  

I do love their shorts though.  The waistband is the MOST attractive out there.  Really wide, doesn't dig in giving you muffin top.  I run ALL my training runs in these shorts.

The Capri's

I have no picture of these.  I rarely run in long tights anymore.  I pretty much pair these up with a pair of ProCompression socks and I'm covered.  I love that these are so compression y.  They again keep the jiggle to a minimum.  Somewhat high waisted so that stuff isn't hanging over the top.

The Skirts

Why I love the Pace Setter Skirt:
I feel "pretty" / "girly" in them.
Has the same wide waistband as their shorts (attractive).
The freedom of shorts with a little extra coverage.
Because sometimes my thighs like to eat my shorts.
Great colors.
I almost always race in these.

So there you have it.  But again I only wear this stuff to run in. I don't wear it to the gym really ever.  I want it to last as long as possible and I wear it for it's function more than the fashion.  I don't regret an ounce of my collection at all!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Phoenix Marathon { #4 }

I've waited a couple weeks.  Trying to digest my marathon performance.  But I don't really feel like I've digested anything so I guess I had better get a recap up before I don't do one at all (i.e. OGDEN MARATHON #3).

We stopped for brunch (really it was just lunch, but I hadn't had breakfast so I called it brunch) at Pizzeria Limone.  Gosh I LOVE that place.

I was very stressed about the size of our carry on bags.  We were flying Frontier Airlines and they charge for a carry on bag, but allow you a personal item.  And when they charge it's $35!!  PER BAG.  I couldn't check a bag because what if they lost it.  I have never packed so light in my entire life!  Alas, we made in on the plane with no extra fee's.  Once we shuttled over to pick up the rental car and made a mad dash straight to packet pick up.  My other biggest fear had been that our flight would be delayed and we'd miss packet pick up.  The "expo" was outside and incredibly small.  We were in and out very quickly.  Inside the bag I got a GREAT looking Albion Fit running tank.  One of the very few race shirts I will likely wear!  I also got some Albion arm warmers although I have to say I am very disappointed that mine (as opposed to my husbands and others I saw) didn't have the Phoenix Marathon printed on them.

But while the expo was small it was easy access in and out and we were on our way to find out hotel very quickly.  We got lucky to stay at the Hilton there.  My dad hooked us up with a free room using his points.  It was REALLY nice.  We're used to just staying at the cheapest motel we can find.

          I'm always in awe of the beautiful desert sunsets.

After checking in to our hotel we headed out to find a Panda Express.  I know it doesn't sound like the greatest but it's what has worked well for us during training.  No tummy issues, and good amount of energy.  We drove around a LOT and were quite hungry at this point.  The first location the GPS sent us to, apparently wasn't a good location anymore.

          I felt like this was an appropriate fortune.

After eating we laid out our gear and headed to bed.

4:45am came pretty early.  We found somewhere to park pretty quickly and headed towards the buses.  We got on right away and were on our way.  I think this is the WARMEST I've ever been pre-race!  Once we were dropped off we headed straight for the bathroom lines.  I felt like it was a very festive starting line.  They had announcers the whole time talking which made the wait go by quickly.

Before we knew it they were asking runners to go line up.  Right before the gun went off there were fireworks.  That was kind of fun.  I've never experienced fireworks before.

                                         We snapped a quick picture and then we were off.
The Race

I am always amazed at how the elevation map can be misleading.  Considering how steep the downhill looked early on, I kept waiting for the downhill.  There were very few sections that seemed downhill.  However, the uphill sections definitely felt uphill.  Early in the race it was really quite pretty, lots of cactus and huge homes. My goal pace was 9:55-9:58.

Miles 1-4  Went by quickly.  Caught up in the excitement.  I fought very hard to not run TOO fast on the "downhill" section.  In hindsight I wish I'd took advantage of the downhill a little  more.

Mile 1:  9:13
Mile 2:  9:19
Mile 3:  9:40
Mile 4:  9:34

Miles 5-6  The first and what I thought was supposed to be the ONLY big hill.  It felt REALLY big and also like it went on forever.  I was digging deep to not fall off pace too much.  I just kept telling myself that this was the only really awful hill and I just had to make it to the top of this ONE.  I knew I'd banked a little time on the first 4 miles so I was hopeful this would flatten out my overall time.

Mile 5:  9:58
Mile 6:  10:23

Mile 7-12  Nothing much going on here.  I was just focused on settling in to my goal pace at this point.  After the uphill there there was some downhill that followed.  It always feels weird to have that shift in muscle work.  Takes a minute for you to settle back in again.

Mile 7:  9:31
Mile 8:  9:45
Mile 9:  9:44
Mile 10:  9:51
Mile 11:  10:00
Mile 12:  10:00

Mile 13-20  I hadn't taken a walk break yet and I was feeling good about that.  Mile 12 was where I lost Jeramie.  He slowed to a walk and waved me on.  At this point I was still feeling like I had a good chance with my goals.  I hit the halfway mark and I was only a couple minutes off of where I wanted to be according to the clock itself.  So I knew I was close.  Looking at my stats after the race I was ON POINT at the halfway point, exactly where I needed to be for my goals.  But hitting that halfway mark was also hard.  It was a reminder that I was ONLY half way and I had to do that all again.  Plus this was wear it flattened out.  I could feel my right hip getting tight and I stopped at Mile 16 to take some ibuprofen.

Half Way:  2:08:51  (pace: 9:51, rank 1359)

Mile 13:  10:28
Mile 14:  10:05
Mile 15:  10:00
Mile 16:  11:03
Mile 17:  10:33
Mile 18:  11:12
Mile 19:  10:31
Mile 20:  10:51

Miles 21-26.2  This is where I fell apart a little.  Specifically my right hip wasn't having it.  I could go about a mile and I needed to stop and stretch the hip.  Stretching helped a ton.  I could then run another mile relatively pain free.  But that stop to stretch followed by a minute of walking is what killed my race.  STUPID STUPID HIP.  I had no hip issues during training.

And here's the key.  When I was running I was still running VERY strong.  I could hold the 9:58 pace without a problem.  The problem was that I had to stop to stretch and walk for a minute to get rid of the hip pain.  So with that being said I knew that yet again I was stronger than I'd been at any marathon. Maybe it's the downhill that agitates the hip?  I'm not sure.  What I do know is that I continued to pass a LOT Of people the last half.  Lots of people whom I remembered passing me early on.  So I knew I was doing something right.

Mile 21:  12:22
Mile 22:  11:02
Mile 23:  10:36
Mile 24:  11:50
Mile 25:  11:25
Mile 26:  10:30
Mile .2:  9:52

Last Half Stats:  2:23:39  (pace 10:58, rank 1145)
**  I told you I passed a lot of people!

It felt wonderful to cross that finish line!

And then I waited for awhile for Jeramie to finish.  And cried.

Finishing a marathon is emotional.  Lots of people cry.  I cried because I was SHOCKED that my time was worse than Ogden.  And I walked a LOT at Ogden, I was dealing with IT band issues there.

Final Results:

Pace:  10:25
Overall Place:  1228
Division Place:  95 out of 149
Gender Place:  518 out of 848

I'm proud of myself that I didn't give up.  I knew I had missed all my goals.  At Ogden I walked during the last mile because I was SO SO angry.  I didn't go to that place in Phoenix.  I committed to just giving it my all until the end regardless of time.  I was just so sad.  I felt like I trained for a much better race.  I didn't feel like the lower elevation helped.  My HR was through the roof the entire time.  I was working hard for sure.

My husband came in with a solid PR:  4:53:40.

After the race we walked a really long way back to find our car and headed back to our hotel.  Crawled into bed and Jeramie napped while I watched some TV.  For the rest of the weekend we ate and drank. Then it was time to go home.

                                          Finish line picture.  Didn't look like I was hating life.

This post has been weeks in the making.  I guess the short story is that I'm beyond disappointed with my performance.  I was capable of better.  I will run another full marathon. There is no question.  We're already talking about running St. George later this year.

What it leaves me wondering is what am I doing wrong?  Why am I not getting faster??  Is it just age?  It could be.